Wednesday, November 2, 2016

"How are you doing?"

There is never a simple answer. 

It depends on what minute of the day you're talking about. I would say, I'm good 75-85% of the day. But, every day, something reminds me of my new reality. 

Maternity clothes delivered the day I got home from the hospital. The news so fresh even Amazon Prime couldn't pump the brakes fast enough. 

The next morning, a barrage of e-mails and app alerts about what size my baby should be, since we marked her weekly milestones every Sunday. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an 'unsubscribe from all my future plans' button. 

Then there's social media. Do I even have to explain the Facebook effect at this point?

Worse, the ads. My Meme always says, 'I don't trust a phone smarter than I am.' Well, I sort of get it now. Since the internet can serve up ads catered to your every search history impulse, I'm constantly getting alerts about what crib I should buy. The internet won't let me forget the nursery I had planned, the maternity style I dreamed of, or the sweet little outfit I would bring our baby girl home in. 

The first trip back to the gym, when spandex reminded me I definitely was not pregnant anymore. 

The sad eyes at the grocery store, gym, gas station, the ones I imagine in my head, and the 'I'm praying for you's' which mean so much, but also make me tear up. 

Getting on a scale. The only time in the history of my life I wish the numbers were higher, and the little gasp I let out was a reminder of a plus one on board.  

My masochistic habit of sneaking into what would have been her nursery to look at her cute little clothes she'll never wear folded up in a drawer. 

My check-up visit to my doctor. Walking in those same hospital doors again. Seeing a happy family get into a car to leave at the exact same spot I did, except instead of a dazed look and swollen, red eyes, they had balloons and two tiny bundles. 

Some days, I think I'm almost 'normal,' again, and wham. 

I think the hardest part is not being able to out think it. Austin is constantly giving me the reassurance I need. I know the stages of grief. I know I never actually met this tiny person. I know I have dealt with loss and grief before. I know we are young and can try again. I know there was probably something wrong, which is why my body did what it was supposed to do. I know late miscarriage is very unlikely to happen a second time. I know my hormones are partly to blame. I know 'at least we were able to get pregnant.' I know a lot of people are fighting much harder battles. I know God has a plan. I know time heals all wounds. I know it all. 

Which is why I can't believe how hard this has been. 

And why, if you are going through this, you need to know, you are not crazy, and you most certainly are not alone. 

There has been such a weight lifted by hearing other family's stories. It's been such a blessing to hear so many of your stories. I know it's not a luxury a lot of families going through this get, which is why I want to share them with you: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pCqFcJLq1tV5KLeuMCZxC9Y53ZMTZtuX5cgmPxWdRfo/edit?usp=sharing

All of that being said, I have learned the toughest lessons and the biggest blessings somehow come from the worst of times. I have never hugged my husband tighter, told him I loved him more, or felt his love more than I have in these past few weeks. 

We've planned impromptu trips. We've talked about love and life. We've counted the many blessings we have and thanked God for the friends we are lucky to call ours. We've thought twice about sweating the small stuff. And, we've prioritized what we want in life.

I've learned grief isn't a competition and each person feels, deals, and heals differently. And, that's okay. 

It's not a lesson I want to be taught twice, and I'm sure the lesson isn't over. The strangest part, writing this and reflecting, I think something my husband said the other day hits the nail on the head. He said, "I think we needed this." And I knew exactly what he meant. Not the pain, but the reality check.

Life isn't perfect. But it is so, so precious.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Week 18: That look.

It was supposed to be a great day. We hadn't seen our little sweet potato since she was 8 weeks old, when she was too small to see anything but an assurance that this was all real. (An assurance that looked more like a kidney bean at the time than a baby). 

The day was FINALLY here for our 18 week sonogram. We'd get to see her moving around and check all of her organs and see her little arms and legs. 

But, then. That look.  

It's the look a doctor gave me and my mom when they told us there wasn't anything more they could do for my dad. 

It's the look the hospice nurse gave us when they told us just to make my Papa comfortable.

It's the look my dad gave me when he told me my Uncle David took his own life. 

And it's the same look my doctor gave when she came into the sonogram room, after the sonogram tech was gone way too long. 

'There's no heartbeat.'

'She's only measuring 15 weeks.'

'You see this tissue here, it's what happens when, I hate to say it, but decay sets in.'

'I'm so, so, sorry.'

All these phrases, these horrific memories, keep bouncing around my head like something I watched in a movie, or something I read in a book that was so vividly written, I got sucked in and lost in it. 

But, how? I followed so many rules. We took the extra prenatal chromosome tests. I had no symptoms of a miscarriage. We made it all the way to nearly 19 weeks. And now? Is it something I did? Is it something I didn't do? 

And now, it's not just her heart that's broken, it's a trail of hearts. My heart. Her daddy's heart. Her grandparents' hearts. 

It just seems so unfair. 

Ironically, just last week, I was having a conversation with a coworker about life not being fair. And what age you come to realize that it's just not sometimes. He's trying to make his kids understand that, and it's tough. (Of course, we were talking about something stupid like overtime or comp days that seems utterly insignificant now, but hey. Two lessons for the price of one.) But it turns out, I'm still learning that tough lesson. 

But, I have quickly learned, as lonely as this feels, we are not alone. Within hours of our loss, I found out some of the people I'm closest to in the world have experienced this same loss. Some of them personally, some of them have parents with these stories, friends, or siblings. I would have never known. Miscarriage is not something people talk about. It took me one Google search to realize that. 

I have always been a big believer in fate and God's master plan. And, what I keep circling back around to, sometimes, there just aren't any answers to the questions you need answers to most. And that's where your reasoning has to let go and your faith has to pick up. 

So that's what I'm doing. I'm letting faith step in. I'm letting myself be sad for a while. I'm leaning on my friends and family and letting them help when they ask if we need help. 

And, most of all, I'm amazed at the power of love. How much love I could have for someone I never even met. How much love I could be blessed with coming from friends and family. 

And most of all, the love I couldn't even fully understand yet when I married my best friend. 

I'm reminded of that love about every five minutes during this grief process. 

I will never forget being in a puddle of tears in my doctor's office, about ten minutes after we got the news, looking at him, wondering how he could even look at me. Asking how he could ever look at me the same again after this? 

Austin looked at me and said, "I'm so in love with you. And we are going to get through this together. And we are only going to come through this stronger. The only outcome is me loving you even more."

It's the kind of love it takes to be the rock when I know he feels like going to pieces along with me. The kind of love it takes to never leave my side through a delivery neither of us ever dreamed we'd have to endure. 

And, now as we piece this broken puzzle back together, it's knowing how much love we will have to give when the time is right again to grow our family. Because we know this is not the end. It's just another new beginning. 


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Week 18: An adoption story

Getting ready for our sweet baby girl to enter the world has me thinking a lot about my own entrance into this world. Those of you who know me, know that I'm adopted. These are photos of the day my parents met me, at 10 weeks old, after getting 'the call' and driving full steam ahead to Virginia to pick me up. 

My mom says it was love at first sight when I started giggling at my dad who couldn't figure out how to hook me into the car seat. I had them wrapped around my finger from that moment on.


I write this blog post because I've met so many people either thinking about adoption, in the process of trying to adopt, afraid of adopting, or wondering how they should handle the subject with their adopted kids. I never hesitate to tell them my story, which is why I want to share it with you, too. It's something I've always been so proud of, and that's largely because of the way my parents always made me feel. Wanted. Special. An answer to years of prayers. 

Of course, they aren't perfect and their plan back fired a few times. (Like the time in preschool I got a note sent home for upsetting the other kids. As the story goes, they were picking on me because I was adopted and I promptly replied, 'Oh yeah? Well my mom picked me out. Your mom got stuck with you.' I have no idea where I got that sass from... ) But that was me. Being adopted was rarely something I felt made me different in a bad way. It was actually the opposite. 

As early as I can remember, my parents started explaining adoption to me. It wasn't news they dropped on me when I was 18 or a secret they hoped I never discovered. They explained it to me and discussed it in the open from the time I could comprehend, just like you would explain a baby coming into the world.  When I would point to pregnant ladies and say 'baby' my mom would explain yes, that's where babies come from. But, that I didn't grow in mommy's tummy. I grew in her heart. Later, they would explain it all in more detail, but it made perfect sense to me at the time. And, come to think of it, it still does. 

As I got a little older, in Sunday school, I learned about the story of Moses. My mom said, 'Yes! Moses was adopted just like you, and he was so loved. He grew up to be a great leader who helped set his people free.' 

Of course, my dad's take on explaining adoption was different. When I asked my dad if they found me in a reed basket like Moses, without skipping a beat, he said, 'No. It was wicker.' (I miss his wit. So quick. Remind me to tell you the story about hatching watermelons some time.)

Birthdays were the best! My parents could throw a mean party! Check out this carousel cake my mom made one year.



And this was my Grease themed birthday party! Poodle skirts and glass bottle cokes...




And the celebrations continue...here's birthday #21

 
Okay, I got carried away on memory lane. But, the point is, birthdays are for parties and cake and friends and family, but I have another day that comes around every November 15th just for me and my parents to celebrate, and that is my Adoption Day! We would always go out to dinner and I would get a small present, and it was just our little day. In fact, not an adoption day goes by that my mom still doesn't mail me a gift and a card. 

If you're going to adopt, take my advice. Make adoption something to celebrate!

Any kid is going to have questions. And my parents always tried to be honest and tell me as much as they knew about my biological parents. (Like the time I was certain I had a twin out there somewhere. My parents assured me if I was a twin, they would have adopted us both. But, I still watched Parent Trap on repeat. I'm still not quite satisfied with that answer.)

My parents always told me, when I turned 18, if I wanted to go through the process of trying to track down my biological parents, they would do anything they could to help. That always meant a lot to me. But, as I got older and gave it more thought, I realized, I already know who my parents are. And, I've never had anything but complete gratitude to the teenage girl who made the very adult decision to give me a better life. 

But, don't get me wrong. This isn't supposed to make adoptive parenting sound like some cake walk on a rainbow. Even parents who are as 'good' with the whole adoption thing as mine are going to have hiccups and missteps along the way. And 27 or so years later, we can finally laugh at those hiccups. 

When I was four, my parents had a brilliant idea to let me pick out a dog to adopt. It would be so great! I'd get to adopt a pet and bring it home, love it, and in turn, I would learn about adoption. 

Well, alas, kids have minds of their own and even the best laid plans can sometimes go awry. 

So, we get to the dog pound, (the scariest, saddest place on earth, might I add). After trying to take all of the dogs home, I pick out this little black and white fluff of a puppy who would not stop licking me. Bailey. 



We are inseparable. So, my parents think, great! Mission accomplished. 


Then, they notice I'm really quiet on the way home. And, I continue to be quiet for a while (and this should come as no surprise to many of you, even as a child, I was rarely quiet...) So they knew something was up. Finally, my mom was able to weasel out of me why I was being so quiet. With a death grip on Bailey and tears in my eyes, I asked her if they picked me out from the pound.

Luckily, she had some pictures squirreled away of me at the foster home where I stayed for 10 weeks. I was loved, cuddled, had a crib, and I was called Kristy. NOTHING like the scary pound. 

But, that's a kid for you. It doesn't matter what you plan or how good your intentions, sometimes, things are going to get bumpy. And sometimes, the questions will be tough. But, if you are considering adopting, don't let that scare you. Because guess what? It's going to get bumpy whether you fall in love with a picture of a sonogram and a kick to your rib cage or a picture of a baby taken from three states away who one day will giggle their way right out of their car seat into your heart. ​

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Week 14: The big reveal

Our original plan was to find out the baby's gender in the delivery room. BUT, that plan went out the window pretty soon after we heard the first heart beat. We just had to know what was in there.  But, as I'm sure we're going to tell our child at some point, we're the parents. We make the rules. And, we're allowed to change our minds. See? Don't we look like parents already?


Modern medicine is a crazy thing. Instead of waiting for the baby to be big enough to play 'Do you see that? It's a boy! I think...' on a sonogram, now a blood test can tell you your baby's chances of having a chromosomal genetic disorder like Down syndrome or Trisomy 13, along with its gender, all by week 12. That's pretty amazing.  So, since I'm adopted and my medical history is a little sparse, we decided to find out as much as we could as early as we could.

SO, I find myself on the end of a voicemail that says something like, 'The tests are back. Good news, they look great. We know your baby's gender. Call us back if you want to find out.' Of course I get this voicemail after their office is closed and have to wait a painstaking amount of time for them to open.

Up until this point, I am pretty sure it's a girl. All of the wives tales I've heard seem to be full on girl (they say they steal your beauty--dull hair, break outs, nausea, the works). (Although the spider incident [see last blog post] had me questioning that...) Austin was sticking with boy.

Finally, it is 8AM, and I call and ask for the nurse to stick the results in an envelope. I rush to get them. I rush home. But, my timing is JUST off. Austin is 3 minutes away from a half hour conference call. He is itching for us to just open the envelope, but I am not interested in being on a celebration timer for this news.

In the meantime, I grab a shower (where I have my best ideas) and hatch a plan to make Austin work for this envelope. (Insert maniacal laugh here because I sort of know this is going to stress him out letting the suspense build even more.) (Did I mention I love surprises?!) (Did I mention I'm pregnant, and I get to do what I want?!)

SO, I create this little scavenger hunt (in about 10 minutes, so ignore the terrible handwriting and floral post it notes....)
 Austin bought me Modern Family on DVD for my birthday and we're obsessed right now.
Pantry. I tried to make this pretty easy for my own anxiety, too.
Garage.
 Go easy on these clues. Remember, 10 minutes prep time. 
THE ENVELOPE! 


AND, we eventually are holding the envelope, feeling a little like Steve Harvey at Miss USA at this point. There's a lot of pressure riding on this envelope. We open it...and...


Did I mention I love suspense?


Okay, okay....mercy rule. Our little Bulldawg is going to be a..........


GIRL!

Both of our eyes get realllllllly big when we see 'female' on that little sheet of paper.


Because even though I've really been thinking girl this whole time, we've both always pictured having a boy first. We had the name picked out for a boy, I'd pretty much designed the nursery in my head. Also, I could see Austin taking a mental tally of my closet and multiplying that by 2.


I could also see him calculating how soon it takes for him to cave at the first thought of a tear in my eye and imagining that times 1,000 with a baby girl. Here's me as a kid, and let me tell you, as soon as that bottom lip started trembling, it was game over for my dad.


Then, of course, you have to think about the teen years. Should I start my prayers now?

Dear Lord,
Please let ankle skirts and turtlenecks be all the rage throughout her high school and college years. May her tattoos be temporary and self driving cars completely indestructible by her 16th year. May the boy who breaks her heart, well, on second thought Lord, I don't think you are the one to handle this. I'm sure her dad will have this covered. May her legs not be of her mother's chicken persuasion and her eyebrows come in a pair. May 'sexting' become as dated a concept as 8 track tapes and may she get in early acceptance with a full ride scholarship to Georgia for her academic prowess.

Amen.

So it took several hours for the fact that, holy $H*T! We are having a daughter! To fully sink in. And of course it hit me at the most RIDICULOUS moment ever.

I decided to treat myself to a pedicure and the first PSL (That means Pumpkin Spice Latte, mom) of the season since I assume I will never have pocket change again because I will soon be poor from buying adorable baby girl clothes...and those adorable baby moccasins.

I was deeply debating whether it was acceptable to walk into Starbucks in those plastic floppy shoes the nail salon gives you when I decided I had a few minutes to kill. I thought, I know! I'll listen to Carrie Underwood, 'All American Girl.' Because, you know, I'm having a girl! 

Bad mistake. I think I got to maybe the first chorus. Maybe. Before I was ugly sobbing alone in my car. 

And that's when it hit me for real. We are having a girl. Is there anything more wonderful in the world than a baby girl? The bows and sparkles and tears and butterfly kisses and Barbies and sass and sweet cuddles of a baby girl? It's going to be really great. And expensive. And terrifying. And I can't wait. 


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Week 12: Early bumps, nesting, and 8 legged freaks

Sooo, I'm 12 weeks along and I definitely have a baby bump.



AND I have a lot of friends telling me they were about 16 weeks before they had a bump. So, this makes me a little nervous. Does this mean:
a) My next sonogram could show surprise multiple babies we didn't see the first time
b) I'm going to have a 12 pound baby
c) I am going to have a beach ball belly by month 8 with stretch marks that look like a road map instead of the cute little basketball tummy everyone keeps assuring me I'll have

Stay tuned...

In other news, I hate clutter. And I know a baby means a whole new world of clutter. Between bouncy seats, pack n plays, toys, diaper genies, and whatever else Baby's R Us can assure us we need, I have nightmares of our home swallowing us up in 6 months.

I blame my mother for my extreme aversion to hoarding. She was well trained by my Meme---to THROW AWAY NOTHING. My Meme washes tinfoil and Ziploc bags and reuses them. My mom finally cleaned out our attic after my dad passed away because I told her, if anything happened to her, I was lighting the house on fire and collecting the insurance money. You couldn't have payed me enough to venture into that labyrinth of broken record players and headless Barbies.

My husband was out of town on a business trip when I went through a major de-hoarding/ nesting binge. I kept texting him to see if I could take his stuff to the consignment store (or the garbage...) and eventually he said, 'Really busy right now, you can just make executive decisions.' Which I translated to, 'Congratulations! All of your anti-hoarding dreams have come true. You can toss anything without repercussions.'

SO I did. Like this neon fish light that has been sitting in his closet for most of our marriage....

(Admittedly, he was a little sad when he found out about that one...but hey, executive decisions mean no more neon allowed.)

So, I'm having pretty much the greatest day ever, just cleaning out our garage (it's when I say things like this I realize just how old I've become....) when all of a sudden, I am stopped dead in my tracks on the way to the trash can by this horrifying creature.



I have severe arachnophobia. And now, all of my neighbors likely know that, or they assume I've been murdered, after the blood curdling scream I let out. I swear, spiders must be afraid of Austin, because they never come out unless he's gone. I think they conspire to attack me as soon as they see his car leave.

I only have one choice. This thing has to die, or I will never walk into our garage again knowing it's lurking. So, I find Austin's shoe (clearly not killing that jungle creature with any of my shoes...), whack him, and scream some more. I eventually get up the courage to scoop his remains up with a shovel and put them in the pine straw bed.

After I am done with this truly embarrassing display of femininity, I finally start to breathe again, although my trips to the garage are pretty much over unless it's absolutely necessary

Fast forward, and it's time for one of those necessary trips. Time to go to work. I look like the bag lady. Hands full with a tumbler full of water, purse, another bag full of hair and makeup supplies, cell phones, keys, it's a juggling act. I'm about to get into my car when I feel something fall into my hair.

I. LOSE. MY. MIND...because I'm certain this is part of the spider conspiracy, and they have indeed plotted and are now carrying out their attack. Water goes everywhere, bags go everywhere, I do some kind of spider-removal maneuver violent enough to break my favorite pair of wedge heels I am wearing, nearly go into labor six months early, all to discover, there is a leaf in my hair.

But oh no, this story is not over.

I get home from work around midnight to find the garage door I closed before I left for work open and a light I am certain I turned off, on.

Again, Austin was not home. So I inventory my options.

1.Go inside armed with my best karate moves
2.Call a friend to come over...at midnight...to help me look for burglars
3.Cry, because I'm pregnant
4.Sleep in my car
5.Call the police

So I went with option 3 and 5. There was zero chance I'd be able to sleep if I didn't.

Two of North Augusta's finest roll up in two squad cars. Thankfully, dispatch sent the nicest, most understanding human beings on the payroll. They searched the whole house, guns drawn, while I'm telling them, 'In case my husband came home early, he's blonde and answers to Austin. Please don't shoot him.'

I'm certain my neighbors that were still awake were sure I'd been murdered by this point, between the spider screams and the cops.

They found nothing, and I apologized for being crazy about 12 times. As they're leaving, I close the garage door and watched in disbelief as it bounced back open. Upon further investigation, I realize my spider shovel is blocking the door from shutting.

Yep.

This spider managed to single-handedly (well, I guess it took eight legs....eight-leggedly) ruin my life from 11AM until 1AM.

After this ordeal, I am sure this means I am going to have a baby boy who loves creepy crawly things. But, with my luck, he'll take after Austin, whose mom tells me, as a toddler, would not let his parents kill ANY living thing, bug or otherwise. And, let's be honest. With this face, he probably got whatever he wanted.



But, I'm just hoping, all of the spiders will at least leave me alone until that day comes. In the meantime, I'm not going in the garage.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Week 10: Worry? Why Worry?

I always give my Meme a hard time about being a worry wart. I never worry because I know she's probably worried enough for the both of us. When my husband and I landed from our trip to Europe a couple of months back, I called to let her know we were home. Her response was, "Oh, thank God! I'm so glad you're back. I worried every minute you were gone. Mostly about the terrorists getting you. Now hopefully you've got that out of your system and you'll stop travelling." [Keep in mind one of the worst terrorist attacks in history happened in Orlando while we were gone...not in Europe, on US soil.] Yeah, needless to say we are wired a little differently. And in three days, I'll give her another heart attack as I board another plane to visit Minneapolis and continue living my life. And so, the worry cycle continues. She always says when I have kids, I'll understand. (How many of us have heard that?)  

I guess the one thing I AM thankful for is that Meme refuses to use a computer, because Google would be the end of her. Between WebMD telling her we all have cancer when we get a headache and the conspiracy theories she could research....I can't even think about it. 

I know I have no idea the full extent of what 'worry' means quite yet, but I'm starting to get a teensy taste of it. 

We had our first ultrasound, and I have never been so glued to a computer monitor. When we didn't see the baby within the first 30 seconds, I immediately thought, great. I'm one of those crazy ladies who invented this WHOLE pregnancy in their mind, and believed it so fully that I gave myself symptoms AND a positive pregnancy test. And just when I'm about to start asking the ultrasound tech about false pregnancies....we see a little peanut. 



Then I have something else to focus my worry on, heartbeat. It takes maybe a minute (but easily feels like 15). Then, the most beautiful sound in the world. Hearing a heart beat (that isn't your own) coming from inside your own body is the most surreal/awesome thing ever. Here's the video (if you can't see it, try watching from a computer instead of mobile device).


video


So, from that point on, I've had plenty of things to worry about. What's going on in there? Am I eating enough vegetables? Should I take all 34656 of these birth defect tests the OBGYN has to offer? Can you die from nausea in the first trimester? I've lowered my caffeine intake to a cup of coffee every two weeks, is that enough? 

And let me tell you, Google is not helpful

Tonight, CBS aired a story on parents not heeding warnings about SIDS. Don't swaddle. Nothing in the crib. Bumper pads are death traps. Basically, just put your baby in an empty shell of a crib and watch them at all times when they sleep is pretty much what I gathered I should do. So, of course, Google will tell you all of these heartbreaking freak accident scenarios to back all of these things up. Thus, cementing these rules in your mind forever. I remember my husband looking at me after that report aired and saying, "What are we getting ourselves into?! No blankets?!' Yeah. It's getting real. 

But, worry has become a natural part of my day in my slow evolution into parenthood, and thus, one day, my Meme.

This is a brief list of things I suggest you NEVER Google before you get pregnant (and the things I know once you read this, you will likely Google): 
SIDS
Stretch marks
Episiotomy
Things kids can stick up their nose
Best cereal to eat if you're pregnant
Amniocentesis
Things not to do while pregnant
Breast engorgement
Placenta pills
Mucus plug
Baby rashes
Lotus birth
Post baby belly

That should get you going, and if you're looking for birth control for your teenager, please pass this list along. 

Now, worry and panic attacks aside, we've also all heard how much your life changes for the BETTER when you have a baby, and how thankful you become for your own mother who put up with you and didn't accidentally smother you in crib bumpers. 

I can already start to see that appreciation for my own mom, mainly because not a day goes by that I don't know how lucky I am to have been loved so fiercely my whole life by this lady. So, I will leave you with the cutest video you will see all day. *Unless you Google sneezing panda. I can't compete with that...* 

This is the moment we surprised my mom and told her she would be a grandma. (She thinks she's opening some mail that was delivered for her to our house by mistake).

video


And just like that, all of the worry seems to pale in comparison to the excitement. The promise and hope of a life unwritten. It's going to be a fun journey. I hope my Meme has enough Xanax. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

WEEK 8: The 'glow'

My mom always used to say she had me 'the easy way.' Adoption. I'm only 8 weeks into this thing, and now, I can tell her, she was right. Take the next few paragraphs of straight WHINING with a grain of salt, because I know there are thousands of women out there struggling with fertility issues who would give just about anything to experience pregnancy aches and pains, but ladies---if you're reading this, take a step back, and know the 'glow' of pregnancy you crave is actually perspiration from holding back vomit. 

I don't know what it is about human nature that makes us tell ourselves lies. 'Oh, not me. I know 75% of pregnant women have first trimester nausea, but surely I'll be in that 25% category?' If the flawless Duchess of Cambridge can't escape horrible morning sickness, you don't get a pass either. The nausea is real, and for all of my friends who told me they didn't really have nausea, I'm just going to take this moment to mentally poke a voodoo doll of you in your belly. 

First of all, I'm assuming a man came up with the term 'morning sickness.' A man who knows nothing of pregnancy. It should be called---'all day, every day, unless you're constantly eating crackers' sickness. At least in my case. It's torture, because I have zero appetite because I'm nauseated most of the time, but the ONLY way to curb the nausea---you guessed it---to force something into my belly. And only 10% of foods sound appetizing at any given time. (And .0001% of those are healthy foods)

Pregnancy symptoms are this giant paradox--because you are supposed to be eating so healthy so your baby doesn't grow an extra ear, but meanwhile, your body is playing food roulette: spin the wheel and hope the food it lands on doesn't make you want to vomit. I buy healthy foods and I might as well be buying dog food because my cravings change more frequently than Trump's pick for VP. But, of course there is one thing I can ALWAYS talk myself into eating, fast food. Awesome. Artery clogging Wendy's spicy chicken nuggets. Steak N Shake double cheeseburgers? Yes, please. IF you are one of those pregnant people who crave apples, or quinoa, I don't know if we can be friends right now. 

And in case you couldn't tell by this giant rant, moodiness and emotional irrationality is real too. I consider myself pretty even keeled. Not a lot ruffles my feathers. But today, I almost cried when I noticed Kroger was out of Snack Pak pudding. I didn't even want pudding, I was just upset it wasn't an option. 

And I'm worried because all of this drama is playing out inside my body and I haven't even had my first doctor's visit. Which brings me to another cruel paradox of pregnancy---apparently the first trimester is the worst for pregnancy symptoms. Which, of course, is the trimester where you are keeping this giant secret from everyone. So you are a moody wreck of nausea and strange 6 meal a day eating habits, but you aren't supposed to tell anyone. 


Thankfully, I have the most understanding husband in the world who does not seem concerned that my McDonald's intake may provide our newborn with an extra limb. And cheers for me and reminds me I make a lot of good choices when I put grapes and nuts on my salad for extra nutrition points. 

But, I hear it's worth it. Or so the human race seems to think because we're going pretty strong. I'll keep you posted---but to all the mom's out there who survived the first trimester, go get a cheeseburger. You earned it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

WEEK 5: There's nothing like a good surprise

I. LOVE. SURPRISES. In fact, I may like pulling off a good surprise almost as much as I enjoy being the recipient of the surprise. (Almost...) 

Which is why I really wanted to tell our families we were pregnant in a fun, memorable way. (Cue disaster music) 

Let me start this blog post by saying I am seriously blessed in the in-law department. And, I'm not just saying that because they are the other two people, besides my mom, reading this blog. BLESSED. I genuinely get excited to visit them, and try to lure them to come visit us any chance I can. Trapped on a desert island, you only get to pick 10 people, they're coming on my island. 


So, I know John and Heide Grieb well enough to know, I have full license to tease them about this story because anyone who knows the Grieb or the Schmerge family knows this story is SO fitting (and I wouldn't have it any other way.)

It was really too early to tell anyone we were pregnant , but we were booked for the next several weekends, and I wasn't sure when we would both get a chance to see Austin's parents in person again. So, we decided to go ahead and let them in on our little secret early. 

I've never proposed to anyone, but I would imagine planning the details feels similar to telling your family you're pregnant. You can't sleep the night before. You're nervous and excited. Capturing the moment on camera is a plus. You only get one shot to surprise them, and in about nine months, you make it official. (Also, you give them a big diamond. What? You didn't give your mother in law a 2 carat diamond to commemorate the day? No wonder she doesn't like you.) 

So, Pinterest was little help. Everything I see on there feels overdone by this point. We figured we would come up with something that relates to Austin's parents' hobbies/interests/routine. Sooo, that left us with wine, their yellow lab, Starbucks, traveling to Europe, or sitting on the dock. 

Plan 1
Little dock chair---for future baby. Well, they're getting ready to sell the house and move closer to the city, so that plan was no good. Didn't want any more sentimental attachment than there already is keeping them from making that leap. 

Plan 2
Bandana on family dog, O'Malley. We figured we would write something like 'future Aunt' or 'Aunt in training' but didn't know if they would see the writing or if it would make sense.

Plan 3
Just tell them. Of course, I didn't like this plan...

Plan 4
Starbucks coffee cup. Sneak out of the house and have the barrista pass the cup to them through the drive thru along with their morning order. It would say 'Baby G is brewing. Order ready March 2017.' Brillaint! Right? 

SO, we had to tweak our fourth plan several times. And, thank goodness we did, because they didn't go to their usual Starbucks that morning. #ATLprobs 

We decided to bring it home, set the cup on the kitchen counter. They both walk in at the same time---and Voila! Excited grandparents. 

Alas, nothing is ever that easy at the Grieb house. 

They are renovating their bathrooms, so who rolled down the driveway? Not John and Heide. Four workers who invaded the house with tile products. We figured questions about grout color might kill the 'you're a new grandparent' mood. So, we took the cup out to the dock, surely their next stop of the morning. 

These people are like clock work on Saturday mornings (except when you're waiting anxiously to tell them they're grandparents.) I think we sat on the dock with that coffee cup for an hour, which feels like three when you're that antsy. 

Finally--Austin's mom starts to walk down to the dock. Alone---sooooo, whatever at this point, they'll find out at different times. She FINALLY sits down where we've put the coffee cup in a fail-proof 'NOTICE ME' spot and......
she moves the chair closer to us and misses it completely.

Eventually Austin asks her to look over there. She's confused, thinks it may be our coffee or John's coffee, THEN....finally reads it and freaks. 

I was giggling so hard by this point at the sheer 'typical-ness' of this Grieb story that I couldn't wait to see what happened when Austin's dad walked out. I wasn't disappointed....

He comes out, chairs are moved, Mrs. Heide's entire cup of coffee is somehow spilled, water is poured on the dock with a coffee cup to clean off coffee. Everyone just tries to get Mr. John to sit down. EVENTUALLY, he too notices. Light bulb---and happiness. 

But I think the best part of this story is how appropriate it is. Nothing ever goes as planned in this family---this big crazy Grieb family. 

And, I love it.

I hope our little baby G is blessed with Mrs. Heide's enthusiasm, big heart, optimism, and good naturedness no matter what life throws her way. And Mr. John's brains, athleticism, wit, and loyalty. 

But, no matter what genes they inherit---one thing is for sure, not a single day of their life as a Grieb will be boring or predictable, and they will be loved fiercely every single day. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

WEEK 3: Test results


If you're like me, you like to plan and prepare. Prepare to make a plan. You prepare your whole high school career to get into a good college. Prepare your whole college career to land a good job. Prepare for your boyfriend to pop the question. Prepare for the wedding. Prepare to be financially ready to buy a house. Prepare to have a baby. 

But no matter how many blogs you read, friends with babies you talk to, or romantic comedies you watch, nothing can ever really prepare you for seeing that faint hint of a line on a little plastic stick that translates to---hey, this is really happening, you prepared? 


Well, that happened this morning. 


I've come up with so many reasons not to write this blog. I'm in the business of sharing people's stories, but it's a little bit different putting yourself out there to tell your own. But, lucky for you, I found out I was pregnant this morning, and by this afternoon, I was an expert on all things pregnancy. (**Note to the reader, if you do not speak sarcasm, turn around now. This blog will likely be confusing.) 

Joking aside, I'm writing this blog mostly for my mom. (Which is probably the only person who's going to read it.) I was adopted at 6 weeks old by a fabulous set of humans, which if you know me, you probably already knew. I tell everyone. Seriously. (In pre-school, kids were being mean to me because I was adopted. My response was "My parents picked me out and your parents got stuck with you." You probably will not find that advice in 'How to Win Friends and Influence People.') More stories on adoption to come...

But, I digress. My mom has been dying. DYING. for us to get pregnant. Not in that subtle hinting way, like 'Oh, you look so comfortable holding that baby.' More like, 'I got you an Elf on the Shelf for my future grandchildren!'...two Christmases ago.  TWO. 




I'm no psychologist, but I think 1. She is really excited to have grandchildren (obviously) and 2.She never went through pregnancy herself, so it's FASCINATING to her 

So, as repayment for all of the nail polish I spilled on her carpet, the hours spent at my dance recital practices, the Mother's Day spent in the emergency room when I broke my arm, and the overall sass she had to endure through those glorious teen years, I figured this blog would pretty much make us even. 


So back to the point. The pregnancy test. It's positive. I tested while my husband, Austin was out jogging. I freaked for a solid 10 minutes while googling everything related to 'positive pregnancy test' you can imagine. Seriously, even the most simple pregnancy concepts I can't seem to grasp without Google confirming. 'Yes, if the pee stick says 'pregnant' you are pregnant...' Then, I realized (back to the preparing...) Pinterest had told me it would be a cute idea to tell him over a game of Scrabble. Spell out the words 'im pregnant' or something like that. Well, I figured a game of Scrabble at 8:30AM before he starts work, and I head to the gym seemed like he would probably sense something was up. 


Plan B is, I have no Plan B. 

But fortunately I had a chalkboard and some string.



I was so nervous he was going to come home before I could get it all together I could hardly get the ribbon off the spool and tie it. Which is why the ribbon is like 7 feet long. But, my news anchor deadline instincts kicked in and the Bulldawg in me finished the drill. Austin got about halfway up the stairs before his mouth hit the floor. I have never seen anything cuter than how excited my husband is about being a daddy. (It reminded me of the look he gets when the lone trumpeter hits those first few notes in Sanford Stadium on the first home game of the season...yeah, THAT excited guys.) 

Conveniently, we had a meeting already booked with our financial adviser around lunch that day. The preparer in me was shocked when our adviser told us we have to have actual children before setting up their 529 savings accounts. Minor details.

On to day two of pregnancy...thank God for Google. And also for trusting me with this little nugget of a human to grow.