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I have been meaning to write this post for a while, but per usual I become distracted by my demanding diva, I mean *ahem* baby.

Prior to having a child, I anticipated many things.  For example, I anticipated the sleepless nights.  However, I did not anticipate how extremely exhausting those sleepless nights are.  I did not anticipate how much of a bitch those sleepless nights would make me.  However, I have come a long way.  I can now prepare a bottle and change a diaper while half asleep.  I can also pretty much function with less than five hours of sleep.  I have learned how to adapt, I guess you could say.

Let me share other lessons with you (literally as I finished typing this, she starts screaming in her swing out of no where):

1. That whole getting ready in 1 hr, 15 min thing? Yea, lets extend that.  As soon as I lay Isabella down to sleep, I race to the bathroom to take a shower.  Some days I anticipate being able to shave my legs, but if Isabella begins to cry then I have no choice but to allow the hair to grow another day.  Oh, and sometimes I get into the bathroom with my two towels and she begins to cry.  So much for that attempt.  So, let's just say that I am able to shower.  Will I be able to put on my makeup? What about blow dry my hair? If I am able to put on makeup, blow dry my hair, and then straighten it ... well, then I am amazing.  That's all I will say about that.

2. It is no longer easier to go somewhere with a baby.  First of all, I have to get myself dressed (see above for that one), get her dressed, pack her diaper bag, and then put her in her huge ass car seat (seriously, the thing weighs a billion pounds), haul her into the car, run back into the house to grab my purse and diaper bag, then take off.  All of this takes approximately two hours if I am lucky.  Then, to actually pack her around in a store? I have to get my carrier out, take her out of her car seat and place her into the carrier, buckle her in and adjust, then I walk around the store hoping and praying she will sleep while I attempt to shop.  I am terrified to go anywhere by myself.  The few times I did, she screamed and cried.  You can always tell who is a parent and who isn't.  The parents act like it ain't no thang, but the non-parents side eye you and have the whole, "Well are you going to do anything about that screaming baby?" face.  Yea, it isn't pretty.

3. Eating dinner with your husband is a real treat.  Heck, eating WARM food is a treat.  Yep.  It's as if Isabella has a sense that her mommy and daddy are about to enjoy a meal together.  Oh no, she will not allow that! Cue the crying, and one of us has to put our plate in the microwave and soothe her while the other one eats.  We usually take turns with this task.  The few occasions where we were able to eat together, even if it was just Hamburger Helper, were quite special.

4. It takes about two hours to watch a television show.  We pretty much have to press "pause" every 5-10 minutes depending on what she needs.  Then, by the time we get a moment to sit and watch it through we have forgotten what it was all about.

5. Intimate time with your husband? You might as well forget that.  By the time you get your child to bed, the last thing on your mind is doin' the damn thing.  It's usually, "Ahhh (this would be a sigh) you wanna do it?" "Um, no I'm tired." "Yea, me too.  Goodnight, I love you." "Love you too." ZzZzZzZzz.

6. Your wardrobe pretty much sucks once you have a child.  First of all, your body is radically different, making it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to fit in this pre-pregnancy clothes.  So, logic says that you go and buy yourself new clothes.  Instead, you buy way too many clothes for your baby because dressing them up is so much fun.  Those one pair of jeans with the holes in them and the shirt that is one size too small (totally revealing your muffin top)? Totally cool with you.

7. Getting spit up, peed, and pooped on is no big deal.  I have found baby poop underneath my finger nail and totally brushed it off as if it was nothing.  I wear spit in my hair like it is in style.

8. The two most common asked questions in your household are 1) Is she asleep?, 2) Where is the pacifier?

Perhaps this is the biggest lesson of all ...

8. I have learned that there is no love greater than the love I have for my child.  I never expected to feel this way.  I would throw myself in front of a train before I would allow anything bad to happen to my child.  Whenever she has tummy troubles, I want to take her pain away and put it all on me and multiply it times ten.  There is nothing I would not do for her.  She is the love of my life, and I do not regret one thing.  I love my new life.  Being a part of the mommy club is the absolute coolest.  I love being her mother.  The end.

Isabella's First Month

Isabella Grace turned 1-month old on October 25th, 2012.  I have been meaning to write about some of her milestones so that I won't forget them later.
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Weight: Per her two-week appointment on 10/12/12, Isabella weighed 8 lbs., 1 oz.
Height: Per her birth date on 9/25/12, Isabella was 19.75 inches long.

What have I been up to?
  • On October 13th, 2012, Isabella embarked on her first road trip to York, South Carolina.  It was also her first over night trip.  She spent some quality time with her Maw Maw, Paw Paw, Aunt Riss, and Aunt Allie.  She also met close family friend, Melissa, and her daughter Hannah.
  • Isabella received her first bath within her first month of life.  She loves receiving a warm bath as she finds it to be very relaxing; however, despises the part after where she gets lotioned up and clothed for the night.
  • She had her first photo shoot on October 3rd, 2012, where she posed for two hours.  Hey, it is not easy being a diva! On this day, she had her first shopping venture with mommy and Maw Maw.  Yes, she went to Carter's to stock up on more clothes, and out for lunch at Macaroni Grill.  She did great!
  • She has been working on building her neck skills through "tummy time," although she is not a fan of it by any means.  Oh well, Mama said that nothing comes easy in life! You have to work hard at everything.

What do I love?
  • Isabella loves her pacifier when she is upset as she finds it to be calming.
  • Obviously, bath time!
  • Isabella loves to be rocked by her daddy in the evening before she goes to sleep.
  • Isabella loves her swing, as it is also soothing to her.  Her best naps are in the swing!
  • For the most part, she loves car rides and does well on them.  She has to have her pacifier though, or she gets very upset.
  • Her play time mat- I think she finds the colors to be fascinating.  When she is placed on the mat, she looks around at everything, makes sweet little noises, and kicks those legs and flails those arms!

What am I looking forward to in the next four weeks?
  • Isabella is excited to participate in her first presidential election on Tuesday, November 6th.
  • Isabella is looking forward to spending more quality time with her grandparents and aunts.
  • She is excited to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 24th, with both of her families! She has the perfect dress picked out.  ;)
  • Finally, she looks forward to growing and developing more! And her mommy does too.

Isabella's Birth Story

This is going to be such a fun post to write.  Next to my wedding day, this was the most memorable day of my life.  I am not sure if anything can top giving birth to your child.  It was truly a roller coaster ride.  So, buckle in.  We're taking off ...

On Monday, September 24th, 2012, my husband and I attended my 40-week appointment.  Technically, I was 40 weeks and 3 days.  Walking in, we both felt extremely discouraged for two reasons: (1) We were already past my due date, and (2) We knew they would not discuss induction until I was 41 weeks.  So, being the pessimists that we are, we wondered why we were even going to this appointment.  Oh, how wrong we both were! My OB did another internal exam and discovered that I was 3.5 centimeters dilated, and 60% effaced.  He asked me, "Well, what do you want to do?" I looked at my husband, my mouth dropped, and I said, "What do you mean? I'd like to have this baby, if that isn't obvious." Well, it turned out that I was in perfect condition for an induction, and if I wanted to, I could be scheduled for the following day.  I was in total and utter shock.  My answer was, "Yes!" So, we scheduled it for Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 at 8:00 a.m.

In the car, I called my mother and told her to pack her bags, we were going to have a baby! She started crying in excitement, and immediately got off the phone with me to spread the news and pack her bags.  That ride home with my husband was a quiet one.  In my mind I was scared, happy, nervous, overwhelmed, anxious, excited, and just about every extreme emotion out there.  I thought I was going to be sick! My husband was so excited, he could not believe we were going to meet our baby girl in approximately 24 hours.  We decided to go out for one last dinner date.  Mama was craving a greasy hamburger, so off to Chili's we went.  I grubbed on a bacon burger, side order of fries, and a couple of Diet Cokes.  So delicious.  My big belly barely fit into the booth, so I knew it was time to wish my sweet belly goodbye.

Later that night, my mother arrived along with my two very crazy, but excited sisters.  We called it an early night as I was beginning to have menstrual-like cramps.  Apparently I was beginning the labor process, and I had no idea.  The cramps were quite intense, but very inconsistent.  My husband asked me if we needed to go to the hospital a little earlier.  I told him hell no, everything was okay and I was determined to get in one last good rest.  Well, that didn't happen.  I probably slept a total of 3-4 hours, and even that was interrupted by the cramping.  It felt like the night before Christmas.  I just could not wait for the alarm clock to go off.

Tuesday morning arrived bright and early.  I wanted to have plenty of time to get ready and gather my thoughts.  I was so nervous I thought I could throw up, but I pulled myself together.  I showered, threw on some comfortable clothing, blow dried, and straightened my hair.  Everyone was very giddy, and beginning to get on my nerves.  I was rushing everyone along.  Why was it taking so damn long for everyone to get ready? After all, this day was about me and Isabella! Who cares if your hair is perfectly straightened, Marissa, let's go! Mom, get your sh!t together, let's go! Yes, Allie, we are going to stop and get something to eat! Brock, did you pack the chargers? We (finally) left the house around 7:15 as I wanted to stop and get a sausage biscuit.  I didn't know how long it would be before I would be able to eat again, so I was very determined to get one last greasy biscuit in.  Yum! I probably ate that biscuit in five seconds.  Thank goodness I never got sick while in labor because that would not have tasted good coming up!

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My last pregnancy picture; 40 weeks, 4 days.

We arrived at the hospital, checked in at the front desk, and was escorted back to the labor and delivery room.  Right away, I changed into that hideous gown and got hooked up to the monitors.  I also answered a billion questions, got stuck with an IV (ouch!), and began the Pitocin.  Once everything had calmed down, I invited my family back into the room.  We were only given four visitor passes, and of course my husband had one, my mother, and his mother.  My sisters, and sister-in-law Christy, rotated using the fourth visitor pass.  In the beginning, I thought to myself, "Wow, this is easy.  I can handle these menstrual cramps.  This is nothing!" Yeah, I tried to play the role of super woman.  I tried to tell those contractions who was boss.  Yep, I was the idiot who did not request an epidural until my contractions were 1-minute apart.

Anyway, let me back track a little.  Everything was great in the beginning.  My contractions were minimal and inconsistent.  Everyone in the room was talking and laughing, including myself.  Funny how that would all change within a few hours.  My OB came into the room and broke my water around 9:30.  At this point I was still 3.5 centimeters dilated.  Fast forward a couple of hours, and the contractions become more intense, more consistent.  There was no more talking, no more laughing.  Instead, there were whispers and loud moaning (duh, from me of course).  My husband sat beside me at the bed, holding my hand and reminding me to breathe.  That pissed me off.  I knew how to breathe! How dare he tell me to breathe? My nurse came into the room and I requested something for the pain.  She gave me two choices: morphine or epidural.  Again, being the "brave" woman that I am, I asked for the morphine.  Yeah, that ole' morphine did not even touch the pain I was in.  Forget this.  I needed the epidural and I needed it now.  It took a while for the anesthesiologist to come into the room to give me the epidural because he was the only one on the floor.  I always thought I would be nervous when getting the epidural, but at that point I couldn't care less.  I wanted to be drugged! Heavily, might I add.  Well, after the epidural I began to feel great.  I felt very minimal cramping and thought I could possibly nap.  Well, my body had other plans for me.  Around 1:00, approximately 20 minutes later, the nurse came in to check me and discovered that I was 9.5 centimeters dilated.  Oh, at that time my epidural failed.  Yep, FAILED.  It was too late to have it corrected.  My mother-in-law probably hit that button a billion times, and it did not do anything for me.  The nurse sat me up in the bed to allow gravity to bring the baby down, relieved my bladder (that catheter was a b!tch ... hurt way worse than the epidural), and told me to let her know when I was ready to begin pushing.

Well, it certainly did not take long.  Around 2:00, I was ready to begin pushing.  I was given instructions to take in a deep breath, hold it in for as long as I could, and push with all of my might.  I had my mother on my right side, my mother-in-law on the left, and my husband right beside me.  My mother's job was to give me a drink of Sprite in between pushes and to wipe my disgustingly sweaty face.  My MIL's job was to give me words of encouragement and to pass the chapstick.  My husband's job was to fan me, and apparently piss me off.  Yes, you see, I was not pushing hard enough; therefore, my husband decided the best way to correct this was to piss me off.  It worked.  I only cussed at him once.  Looking back on this, I am quite proud of myself for that accomplishment.  I was terrified of pooping on the bed, and that is why I kept holding back on pushing.  TMI alert: Yes, I pooped.  I felt it.  I was horrified, and had a difficult time getting past that.  Eventually I stopped pooping every time I pushed and began to focus on pushing this baby out of me.  It was incredibly difficult to push with the contractions as the pain was so excruciating.  It was not letting up.  The nurse would say, "Give me one more, Jessica!" Well, eff that lady, I need to breathe and I need to quench my thirst! There were many times that I recall saying, "I cannot do this anymore! I am done! I give up!" I felt incredibly helpless.  It just hurt so bad.  I tried to think happy thoughts while pushing.  Oh, you know, the ocean waves crashing against the shore, palm trees swaying with the breeze.  Ha, that did not help at all.  So, then I decided to simply open my eyes and focus on that stupid parking garage across the way from me.  I eventually told myself that there was no one who was going to get that baby out but myself, and the harder I pushed, the faster she would arrive.  So, I began to give it my all.  Finally, I got her head down.  I could actually see her head through the reflection of my nurse's glasses.  It was amazing! At this point I was told to stop pushing and wait for my OB to arrive.  'Scuse me? I have a head right here at the edge of my hoo-ha and you want me to STOP pushing? You must be crazy!

Alas, I waited for what felt like an eternity.  I had never been so happy to see my OB walk into the room.  How is this for irony? The very first OB that I saw at the practice was the one to be there for my delivery.  I was so relieved to see her too as she was a huge source of comfort me in my final month of pregnancy.  She looked right into my eyes and told me that I could push.  That push, where my daughter's head came out and into the world, was the most difficult push.  I could no longer hold it in and screamed aloud.  I gave one final push, and out came my daughter.  My husband reminds me quite often of how I said, "I can't do it anymore!" Not knowing that I had essentially pushed her out at that point (I kept my eyes closed).  He said, "You don't have to!" I opened my eyes, and I saw my daughter for the first time.  Isabella Grace Day was born on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 at 3:09 p.m.  She weighed 6 lbs., 15 oz., and was 19.75 inches long.

No, I did not cry.  Instead, I felt pure happiness and extreme fatigue.  I felt like I was in a dream.  This could not possibly be real.  That little being that I carried for nine months was finally here, right in front of my eyes.  It was such a surreal moment.  I felt so proud.  They immediately took her away to clean her up and get her vitals.  I delivered my placenta, and my OB stitched me up as I had a second degree internal and external tear.  I was so tired that the pain didn't even bother me.  Once they were finished, they brought her over to me.  In holding my daughter for the first time and looking into her beautiful, puffy eyes I immediately felt love.  It's a love that I have never felt before.  The love that you immediately feel for your child is indescribable.  I will never be able to find the words that describe this type of love.  You simply just have to feel it for yourself.  In viewing my baby for the first time, I noted to myself how beautiful her full lips were, and how she was fortunate to get that from her father as I love his lips.  I also recognized myself in her eyes as she unfortunately inherited my squinty, small eyes.  I touched her soft little cheek, and pulled her hat off to peek at her head (oh my goodness, black hair!).  I got lost in her.

After holding my daughter, I passed her on to her daddy.  Watching my husband hold his daughter for the first time, staring at her in complete awe and with love-filled eyes, I fell even more in love with him.  It was beautiful.  Right then, our relationship strengthened and our bond became unbreakable.  After her daddy held her, she was passed to my mother.  You can pretty much guess that she cried many happy tears.  She was so in love, and so happy.  It was precious to watch.  She had been wanting a grand baby for so long.  I was so happy to give her that gift.  After my mother held her, my mother-in-law got to hold her.  She was a natural, singing and humming to Isabella.  There was an abundance of love in that room, and it was all for my baby girl.  I felt so lucky.  My baby girl would always be loved.  That is something she would never go without.

I am going to end this post by sharing some of my favorite pictures from those two days we spent in the hospital.  I believe that these pictures show the love and joy we all have for my beautiful baby girl.

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My pregnancy story

I am going to admit that this is a rather long story.  Actually, this is the shortened version of a long story.  My purpose for writing this is so that I can forever keep it in my memory (as my pregnancy was such an incredible one), and share it with my daughter when the time arrives.  I want her to be able to read her story.

So here it is ...

In January 2012 I received news that would forever change mine and my husband's life: We were expecting a baby.  We were in utter shock as we had just started to try to conceive, and honestly did not expect it to happen so quickly.  For days I stared at that stick with those two pink lines.  Who would've known that a stick I peed on could hold so much meaning? Brock and I were ecstatic! At the same time, we were cautious and nervous as we knew the chance of a miscarriage was high with a first pregnancy.  Therefore, we thought we would like to keep the news quiet until after my first doctor's appointment.

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January 2012

It did not happen that way.  We went home to visit my parents at the end of January.  My mother was acting very strange that day, and I found out from my youngest sister, Allie, that she was expecting some news.  Apparently my mother had a feeling that we came in town to make an announcement.  It was not my intention to share the news with my family so soon, but after discussing it with my husband, we decided it would be okay.  After all, it would be cruel to not make the announcement my mother was expecting.  My sister, Marissa, knew we had recently started trying to conceive, so I broke the news to her first.  I pulled her aside in her bedroom and showed her a picture of my positive pregnancy test.  She was shocked, yet unbelievably happy.  I don't think she stopped grinning the entire night.  Later that evening, after supper, I decided it was time to make the announcement to my entire family.  I pulled up a picture of my old pee stick and told my mother I had a picture I wanted to show her.  I wish I could explain her reaction in a way that would accurately portray it.  She could have won an Oscar for her performance.  For a couple of seconds, I was almost sure we would be taking a trip in the ambulance as she started violently shaking, screaming, and crying.  She shouted, "Is this real?! Are you f!*@&! with me?! Jessi, this is not nice! Are you messing with me?" She was over-the-moon excited as she desperately wanted a grandchild.  It made me so happy to give her the news she had been craving for years.  The atmosphere in the living room that night was the best.  We talked for hours about this little baby that we loved so much already.  It finally felt real.

My first appointment was just a couple of days later, at the tail end of January.  At this appointment, my pregnancy was confirmed, and we found out that our due date was September 21, 2012.  We sat and listened to the nurse as she shared an abundance of overwhelming information with us.  Despite all of this information, we were so happy.  My mother cried when I called her to confirm the due date.  We just could not believe all of this was happening.

On February 14th, Valentine's Day, I had my first ultrasound.  My husband attended this appointment with me.  I was so nervous that I thought I would be sick.  I thought to myself, "What if there is not a baby in there? What if something bad happened?" I cannot tell you how relieving it was to see that little being on the screen, and then to hear the swooshing sound of her beautiful heartbeat.  Wow.  I was in awe.  I just wanted time to stand still in that moment as I watched my baby's heart beating on that screen.  How amazing.  My love just continued to grow for our baby.  I still could not believe it.  There was a real live baby growing inside of me.  One that was conceived out of love and want.  How did I get so lucky? I probably rubbed my bloat a billion times.  I could not wait to watch my stomach grow as my baby grew and developed inside of me.  I could not wait to wear those ugly maternity pants with the belly band.  I could not wait to shop for over sized pregnancy tops.  I could not wait to go shopping for baby items.  I could not wait to eat everything in sight and feel guilt free.  Oh, how I could not wait.  My journey was beginning.

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February 2012; 8 weeks

Over the course of the next two months, my stomach began to grow.  My bloat turned into a small bump, and I was in love.  My hands were glued to my belly.  My husband and I talked to our baby every day.  We could not wait to find out the sex as we already had the two names picked out.  In April, we had a second ultrasound session.  Instead this time it was an optional scan to find out the gender of our sweet baby.  My mother was able to drive into town for this appointment.  I was a ball of nerves that day.  Good nerves though as I could not wait to see how much our baby had grown, and to be able to start referring to our little one by his/her name.  That afternoon, my husband and I went into the dimly lit room and watched as the ultrasound technician poured goo onto my belly, pulled out the magical little wand, and revealed our miracle on the big screen.  Right away we found out the exciting news: We were expecting a baby girl! Oh, how excited we were to discover this.  It was a sweet confirmation for my husband as he suspected this all long.  Her name was going to be Isabella Grace.  We had her name picked out since we were friends many years ago.  Now we were finally able to use it.  I could not believe it.  We invited my mother back into the room, broke the news to her (as she once again put on a show of happy tears; my mother is quite the actress), and watched in awe as our baby girl moved across the screen.  We discovered that she was a wild little thing, resembling her father as she moved all over the place.  We could tell that she had long legs (just like her papa), and a skinny little butt (I don't know who she got this from)! We could see her kicking me, although I had yet to feel it.  From what we could tell, our sweet baby girl was healthy.  The most important discovery of all.

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April 2012; 16 weeks

The following week in April I felt my baby girl move for the first time.  It was a small flutter, and if I had not been paying attention, I would never had noticed it.  It was amazing.  For days I wished to feel her move again, but nothing.  I continued to will her to move for mommy one more time.  I began to consistently feel her movement around the beginning of May.  From that point on, I felt her move every day.  It never got old to me.  It was the most comforting, soothing feeling.  I wanted to feel her move all day long.

At the beginning of May, I had my third ultrasound with the doctor to confirm the gender and check out her anatomy.  Again, I was nervous as I began to wonder if something bad could have happened between April and May.  Perhaps you're discovering that I am a pessimist.  A paranoid one that is.  Her anatomy scan went wonderfully.  My husband and I were thrilled to see her moving around, comforted in hearing her beautiful heartbeat, and relieved to discover we were still expecting a very healthy little girl (as we had already spent a fortune on clothes ... well, a princess does need lots of clothing).  After the appointment, we went out for an early dinner and to shop for more baby girl clothing.  It was indeed a celebration!

I am a teacher; therefore, I finished out the year in mid-June and was finally able to relax for two months.  Oh how nice it was to spend every day kicking back on the sofa, feeling and watching my baby girl dance across my stomach.  At the end of July, we had our fourth and final ultrasound.  This was another optional scan as we wanted to see our baby girl's features.  This time, my husband's mother attended the session.  It was pure joy watching the happiness spread across her face as she saw her granddaughter in action on the big screen.  At this appointment, we discovered that baby girl had chubby cheeks (like her mother), full/round lips (like her father), and a perfect button nose.  She was a sleepy baby, but that was okay with us.  We just wanted to stare at her face.  Nothing else mattered.  Oh how anxious we became to meet her and hold her.  Everyone complimented on how beautiful my baby girl was.  They said she was the prettiest baby they had seen.  Of course she was.  She was perfect.

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July 2012; 32 weeks

In August, I returned back to work.  We began attending weekly appointments, and I watched as my body began to take on the biggest transformation yet.  I sometimes stood in front of the mirror and stared at myself in awe of how my body accommodated for this little being living inside of me.  It was hard for me to imagine a fully grown baby living just underneath my skin.  With each passing week, my husband and I became more and more anxious.  Every phone call I made home was answered with an anticipation of, "Is it time?!" Little did we know that baby girl was going to make us wait.  So, I continued to work and watch as my feet, ankles, and legs became so incredibly swollen that they appeared as if they belonged on a different body.  I watched as my belly continued to grow larger.  I watched my face begin to swell and become much puffier.  I no longer looked the same.  This little girl had changed my body completely.  Amazing.

Isabella's due date came and went.  I officially began maternity leave.  My husband and I, along with both of our families, waited and waited.  On Monday, September 24th, we received the news we had been anxiously waiting for: We were going to have our baby girl the following day.  Apparently I was 3.5 centimeters dilated, and 60% effaced.  It was time for Isabella Grace to enter the world.  Yes, on September 25th, 2012, we were going to welcome our baby girl into the world.