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We’ve been doing a lot of artsy stuff over here lately because the craft store had a sale and Bob Ross got added to Netflix so now I feel like I can conquer the world or at least a canvas. 

I’m Bob Rossing it tonight, like I said, the first season of his show is on Netflix and so it’s Nostalgia City over here, population: me.

I used to watch Bob Ross when I was little and I credit a good bit of the beginning of my desire to create with words back to the days of sitting as a kid and watching him create with paint. There’s something about watching a blank canvas turn into a beautiful landscape that makes you feel inspired to create something yourself.

You see a white void and then all the sudden there is a sunset along a river and some happy little trees.

Watching this has me thinking about creating versus consuming.

Think about what you experience for yourself and see in others most often in the day to day… We consume video games, food from hip restaurants, clothes from Name Brand stores, cell phone Apps, literature, sports, news, etc. The list could go on, and the list isn’t all bad but I wonder how long our list is of things we’re creating. I would guess it is pretty thin.

When is the last time you let yourself create something you would otherwise just consume? What holds you back? For most I would say we probably like the convenience of ready-to-consume things and we also fear not creating something worth the amount of effort we’d have to spend creating. We might not admit it, but in the deep down place that we don’t let many people into we probably don’t create as often as we should because we’re scared others might not find what we create “good enough”, so we’ll look for already approved methods and products and just consume those instead, then if we receive criticism we have a place to fall back on “it was a highly rated recipe”, “this magazine said these shoes were popular”, “Pinterest told me to.” Blah blah, you get the idea. 

The longer I am a mom the more I become burdened to be intentional with my children in the way they are raised. I don’t want them to feel pressured to be perfect, I want them to feel comfortable with their own gifts and at peace with their own weaknesses. 

I want them to feel confident in their ideas. 

Sometimes my kids say they are bored and want me to structure their play time, but honestly they are kept the most entertained when I leave them to their own imaginations and don’t bombard them with fixed activities but allow them the space to figure out how to have fun with what’s around them, and the ideas in their own brains. Then they play until they are bored again and then figure out how to keep themselves entertained again, it’s small scale creativity. 

Creating keeps you hungry, with moments along the way that satisfy until you’re hungry again. This is a natural and good process. We learn balance in that ebb and flow.

Consuming keeps you starved and dependent on another source to continue to give.

This extends beyond creating things, though, right? 

When we let our kids create we give them permission to know their value. Their ideas for playtime are just as good as my ideas for playtime. (Honestly they are usually better, a Pinterest craft is not as fun as a pretending you are a princess night ninja on a mission to rescue a baby dragon who is about to set the house on fire because the baby dragon hasn’t learned to control its fire breathing yet. And yes this is a real example, and yes we caught the baby dragon in time.)

I feel like this is a small way to teach them about their importance as functioning members of society as they become adults. We can be contributing members to change but we have to take the initiative to offer ourselves when we’re generally looking to other people to give us the change we want to be a consumer of, so we can let ourselves off the hook of hard work. And it is hard work sometimes: to be a voice for change, to put action to that voice, to stand up when a lot of people are sitting down.

When we live simply as consumers we walk around like zombies looking for the next thing to feast on until that’s not enough and we need more. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to create ideas and things and change, we don’t just contribute what we’ve created but we contribute our very selves
I want my kids to be conscious that they are important members of society with much to offer. I want them to feel like they can accomplish things because they aren’t afraid to fail. I want them to feel empowered to speak out against injustice because their voice matters, they don’t need someone in a higher position to take the lead – they are allowed to be world changers themselves. 

I want them to see the blank canvas of their lives before them and not be scared of the void, I want them to be excited about the potential they have to offer. The world needs less consumers and more princess night ninjas ready for action. 

It looks like a thunderstorm may come tonight and I’m pretty excited about the potential for rain.

I think my favorite thing about the rain is that it causes everything to be still mostly, except for the falling rain of course.

Sometimes there is so much to process in your mind, or even just visually throughout the day, that it is a very welcome experience for something to cause the scene to still. Rain is like the white noise of nature, other things may exist outside of it but it commands your attention subtly enough that you can withdraw without much effort.

I don’t mind the gloomy hues, either. I like the darker skies, they make me feel relaxed, almost safe and sound.

Now I’m not a fan of total darkness, but when everything is just gray enough it makes what’s illuminated that much more beautiful and apparent. A lightning strike, a vivid flower against a dreary background, a candle. These things come into focus more when muted tones surround.

I was reminded today of something Sam says in Fellowship of the Ring, when he’s decided to embark on the journey with Frodo:

“I don’t know how to say it, but after last night I feel different. I seem to see ahead, in a kind of way. I know we are going to take a very long road, into darkness; but I know I can’t turn back. It isn’t to see Elves now, nor dragons, nor mountains, that I want–I don’t rightly know what I want: but I have something to do before the end, and it lies ahead, not in the Shire. I must see it through, sir, if you understand.”

Despite the darkness ahead, Sam was able to have clarity- maybe not on the outcome of the journey, but he had a peace about moving forward in the unknown because there was a purpose ahead of him that he could no longer reach in the place he was so familiar with, the Shire.

I think we all have a ‘Shire’, the comfortable places for us, maybe not even comfortable but at least predictable – and not even physical locations. Maybe habits or social circles or opinions on things that we don’t allow space to grow, because growing is painful and our Shire’s are, even if not comfortable, familiar. And even familiar pain is better than unknown pain.

We can feel fear if we’re trying to break away from our typical ways, because: what if?

Isn’t that the question people torment themselves with most often: what if?

But we can’t let “what if?” hold us back from “what is:”

The “what is:” are the truths we have before us instead of the questions we have behind or ahead of us, and since I’m already on a Tolkien theme:

“No half-heartedness and no worldly fear must turn us aside from following the light unflinchingly.”

I was talking to someone I love earlier who is struggling in many ways I’m familiar with and they were making a comment about the contrast of their own thoughts where darkness is present but at the same time God is present there as well.

And I think that’s something a lot of us have a hard time reconciling. How can I know God and still be plagued by a certain mindset/habit/struggle?

But that’s the thing: apart from God, we are only capable of darkness, and so it should be no surprise that is what we are bent towards. That is the truth we must cling to, that is the “what is:” that we present to our “what if?”

We must know what is truth: God is the only source of light we can alleviate our darkness with, that is why we much ‘follow the Light unflinchingly’. He is the only remedy for the things that hurt us, and the fears that follow us, and the struggles that attempt to enslave us.

As you feel the nudge to leave your place of familiar, comfortable, or routine, I hope you can look beyond the darkness of the unknown. As you come across the many “what if’s?” I hope you can learn to focus on what is seen rather than what is not seen, I hope you can follow the light unflinchingly.

If you’re in a similar place and reading this, I hope this is a small reminder that there is light to be found even in the darkest of places.

 

Mother’s Day thoughts in my head but we’ve got a busy weekend ahead and I don’t want to forget to write out some things…

The longer I am a mom, the more I appreciate my Mom.

The more I have to resist raising my voice, I wonder how she kept it cool all those years. With grace and gentleness, I cannot remember a single time she raised her voice at me. But I never questioned her authority.

The more I learn who my kids are, their interests and how they are so different from me, I appreciate that my Mom never tried to force me into a box of what I was supposed to be interested in or make me a mirror image of my peers. As a little girl, when a lot of kids were at the ballfields on Saturdays, I was in a neighborhood art class. As a pre-teen when kids were asking for various ‘age-appropriate’ Christmas gifts, I got a bread maker I had wanted. When high school prom rolled around and I wasn’t interested in going to mine [not that I even got asked to mine ;)], I didn’t get some speech about how I’d miss out or needed to get dolled up, I had dinner and watched a movie with my Momma, which I doubt she even remembers because it was such an ordinary day, but I’ve never forgotten that memory.

The days I’m running on zero sleep with little energy, I think about how many days she must have been feeling depleted but still gave us her time and her love and without complaint. And still does. I think I can confidently speak for my sisters, too, she’s never made us feel like a burden.

As I learn what motherhood looks like to me, sometimes that looks different than the way we were raised, in little ways and sometimes significant ways, and I never get a condescending “well back when I was raising you this is how we did it”. Our parenting is always met with respect and an eagerness to understand why we feel such and such is best, which – I’m friends with a lot of young moms, I know this is rare.

I think about the days she prayed with me and for me, and it challenges me to pray for/with my kids more. I think about the meals she and I cooked together and it makes me pause to allow the kids to actually be a part of the process and not just micromanaged so a mess isn’t made. I think about little treasures she’s purchased for me over the years and not because it was a holiday or birthday but “just because it reminded [her] of [me]”, and it makes me take note of things that make my kids smile so that I can find treasures of their own over the years.

More vividly because it was more recent, I think about the way she cared for her mother in her final years. What that must be like to have grown up under a woman who all of these same things could be said about, and then have to say goodbye. There are some moments that could never be verbalized to anyone else, they are only known to those who exist within those moments – and many of my Maw Maw’s last days fit into that category. The magnitude of those memories can probably never be written out in a way that carries the proper weight with them, but watching the way my Mom cared so delicately for her Mom pushes me to be a more gentle human being. I hope that I can thank you for these things for many more years to come, but I just wanted to highlight them as Mother’s Day approaches.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there, and especially so to mine. Love you Momma.❤

Today started a new session of a woman’s study I regularly attend on Mondays in the fall and winter. We’re going through the book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life and today was an introductory lesson about why we should even be thinking on Spiritual Disciplines.

My small group leader prompted us with a question: if we had to share with someone what Spiritual Disciplines are/why they matter, how would we explain that?

I didn’t answer the question in our group but as I’ve thought about it I think a condensed way to say it is: Spiritual Disciplines help crush human habits. This is why they are important, this is how they are beneficial.

From the start of our lesson today I was captivated, our teacher opened with some facts about the rise of anxiety in our culture, especially women.

Hi, my name is Alyssa and I have anxiety.

When I say I have anxiety, I don’t mean that I at times feel slightly worried here or there about this or that. I mean that sometimes my husband will look into my tired, almost lifeless eyes and say “you’re not okay, would you like to talk?” and then I begin to explain that I feel like I can’t breathe and my heart is racing and I can’t stop obsessing about things out of my control and I’m .2 seconds away from bawling my eyes out and I need to lay down soon because I think that’s all I can manage – being still. Anything else seems too difficult. So he lets me lay on his shoulder and cry or if the kids are up he takes total control and I go to my bed and just crash. Or we painfully talk through what I’m afraid of and what I know to be true from my walk with my Lord to fight against these catastrophic thoughts.

It’s not a desired trait. It’s not a practiced trait. I don’t have to “try” to be anxious. I don’t sit around thinking “hmm, wonder how I could really make the most of my anxiety today, let’s figure that out!!” It’s a habit. Anxiety leans in to what the flesh is inclined to: brokenness.

In order to combat this human habit, I need to be spiritually disciplined.

Spiritual disciplines aren’t new for me, I’ve been a believer for 16 years now – but as with any person, different seasons of my life bring different meaning and understanding to already familiar parts of my life.

I want to be clear here, for as long as I’m on Earth – I will always struggle with what humans struggle with – because I am a human.

Spiritual Disciplines don’t rid you of your human habits, they aren’t a “quick fix” to help you achieve your “best life”. They equip you to deal with your human habits and lessen their impact as you focus on Christ instead of focusing on worst case scenarios. I have seen this to be true in my own life, and I look forward to this study to dive deeper into my understanding of how to continue to lean in to spiritual disciplines to combat my human habits.

A habit is a tendency, it’s something you don’t have to put much effort towards because you’re already wired to work that way. A discipline is a practice, it does not come naturally, it has to be skillfully prepared for and paid attention to, you’re going to have to be intentional.

Spiritual disciplines are a variety of things: prayer, worship, evangelism, stewardship, silence/solitude, journaling, etc.

These are all tools that provide us an avenue to readily receive what God has for us, we have to be disciplined in utilizing these tools available to us.

Think of it like food: Spiritual Disciplines are the organic, fresh-from-the-garden meals that our body can take every nutrient from and put it to use, but we’ve got to cultivate and tend to the garden if we want to use those wholesome ingredients or else we’re left with pre-packaged or pre-made food that isn’t as satisfying, it has fake ingredients posing as real nutrition but it leaves us wanting more. (I know, it’s a stretch, I eat a cookout tray with the best of them…but try and see the parallel here, haha) My body appreciates a well thought out, fresh meal that is prepared by me much more than a cookout tray, I can tell you that.

So if I want to be ready to battle anxiety, I have to equip myself for the battle. God does not leave me alone and defenseless, this is where I think we miss the mark often. I’m reminding myself of this just as much as I’m offering it out there to you. We think when we are facing difficulty that God has left us, this is not true – we have readily available open avenues to Him if we will take the initiative to meet Him where He has never left. He is close and we are looking far instead of looking where He said He will be, near.

Instead, we try to patch up our broken selves with unfulfilling fixes that may alleviate for a moment but never bring a lasting healing. Books, blogs, medicine, food (hey, chocolate), friends, spouses, hobbies, jobs. Everything we can seek on the outside, we do. Motivational quotes and a tub of ice cream may make you feel good for about 3 minutes, but they offer no long term solution.

My battle, your battle – it isn’t going to be won by filling our time and mind with external fixes. It is only when we pay attention to our internal state that we can begin to recondition our external state. It’s not about never being anxious, we can’t escape humanness while we are human, it’s about being equipped to view life and find joy in life in the face of anxiety knowing that “my flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (psalm 73:26)

Amen? Amen.

Whatever you’re facing now – if you are in Christ – I encourage you to spend time learning about Him and seeking His guidance in the ways He has made available to us. Spend time in His word, pray intentionally, worship each and every day – not just when there is music on Sunday. Discipline yourself so that you are equipped to face the battle.

I’m in the struggle with you, and I hope my small stories of learning and re-learning help you in some small way so that we may sharpen each other as we strive towards Christ.

 

Dear Mom Trying To Figure It Out,

I see you at the store, juggling your crew. You look sort of tired – but I won’t mention that to you. I see how you bounce along the aisle as you wear your baby in a wrap, and hold your toddlers hand. I see your cart full – but not full of food – full of a 4 or 7 year old, which leaves a little less room for groceries, so you’re playing food tetris….you might even be losing the game😉 but as long as the eggs make it out unbroken you’re still winning in my book. You do this all with a smile on your face, trying to keep your tone in check for the moments the energetic one wants to dart for another aisle or rushes towards all the breakables (because they will never rush towards something as harmless as cotton balls, right?). I see you make it to the car, and as the final child and bag is loaded in, you breathe deeply – the marathon is over for the moment, until the next time you need milk.

I want you to know you’re seen, and you’re doing a good job. I want you to know that long after they are grown and making their own trips to the store, they will remember these moments that you took them along on the adventure of the ordinary. (After all, I still do – If you’re reading this…I could go for a breakfast pizza, momma😉 )

 

I see you at the doctor’s office. It doesn’t matter if you’re waiting for your appointment, or one for the kids, you have a full crew and I watch you receive the comments: “wow your hands are full, don’t you know how ‘those’ happen?” said with a snarky smile, or “look how blessed you are!” said so sweetly. I watch you show the same kindness to each person. I observe how you know what maintains the sanity of each kid, and it’s never the same thing. A book for one, a snack for another, mommy’s hand or lap for yet another. I visibly notice how tense you get when one is crying, you feel like they are disturbing everyone around you – and they might be – but that’s okay.

I want you to know that it wasn’t just me who saw you respond to a critic and complimenter with the same gentleness, your children saw this, too. I want you to know that the way you handle each of their needs in the “maintain sanity” part of waiting, you’re showing them that each of their needs is just as important as their siblings and likewise their siblings are just as important as they are. You’re validating each of them while at the same time reminding them to think of others. I want you to know that even though you feel like your screaming baby is grating the nerves of the onlooker beside you, you’re an example to the general public that we all have different things out of our control, some as visible as an inconsolable child. So let them look, just as much as your child’s cries are out of your control  – so is the onlookers response to you. It’s not you, it’s them. And I know, it makes you all the more patient the next time you see or hear an upset little one or experience people from different walks of life. Don’t let rude people let you grow cold, let them make you softer in judgement towards everyone you meet.

I see you in church. Walking along the halls while everyone else is learning and partaking. I know you seem a little unsure of what you should even be doing, should you participate in everything even though the baby might cry? Should you keep to yourself so you’re ready to console quickly? I know this is especially true if this is your first baby, everything is new – even your experience at church. I see your struggle and I want you to know, even in the moments away from the “big gatherings” you’re teaching your little one(s) about worship and commitments and what matters to you. You’re showing them that a hushed lullaby in a quiet, empty church room off to the side is just as worshipful as a hymn in corporate worship, so long as they are both lifted to the glorification of Jesus. I see you, but more importantly He sees you. You are quite literally living out Romans 12:1, your body isn’t as free to go to this bible study or that class, you are sacrificing the very placement of your body in the church building in the interest of getting down on your child’s level and showing them that their presence at church is just as important to God as yours. That the smallest of minds and tiniest of souls matter to God.

I see you in all of these places because I am you, and I’ve been there – and will continue to be for as long as I’m raising these little souls.

There are lots of women I know who have gained the title “Mom” recently, but this is true for all the tiny years – whether first or fifth time Mommy, you’re seen. I know you’re not trying to be noticed, but we are collectively in this together – trying to do the best for our littles, and so I’m standing with you in solidarity in the good times and the hard times and the times they both intertwine. I know you are in the process of figuring out this Mom thing, in my opinion it’s not really something to be figured out – but something we’ll continue learning and growing in for as long as we have the privilege to.

motherhood & healing

So we’re approaching Brantley’s “two weeks on the outside” day (Thursday), and I wanted to jot down some additional thoughts I’ve had about him and my labor/delivery.

While I was pregnant with him my labor fear was pretty high. I kind of have not fun pregnancies (let’s be real, I was still puking with this kid at like 36 weeks). So on top of just general pregnancy fatigue, the way I felt most often while I was carrying him could be summed up in one word: depleted.

I couldn’t get enough rest, command myself to find enough energy, nourish myself in a satisfying way (hungry or sick all the live long day). Also: 2 and 4 year old in my care.

I try intently to keep a positive tone while pregnant, because the more pregnancies I have- the more people I know who aren’t able to carry life or lose their babies. I never want to be someone who takes this for granted. So, while it is taxing, I try to not bug anyone with the hard moments when asked how I’m feeling and just focus on what’s going well. All of that to say, as I was nearing the due date- I felt like I didn’t have the energy to go through birthing a baby, especially given the way my previous birth went. 

When I had Timothy, I was very focused on having him naturally. My decision to do this was for a few reasons but I really wanted to have a different experience than I did with Brooklyn (which by the way you aren’t owed a reason but many people feel inclined to a reason). I was met with a good deal of support, and a few negative comments about how that was dumb to try that/you don’t get a medal for not using drugs/why would you put yourself through that, etc.

So, whenever I shared about Timothy’s birth, I shared about how I was so happy to accomplish my goal, but I never really gave myself permission to say: it was really traumatic.

If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time you probably know I dealt with post partum depression after I had Timothy, and I think a large part of that was due to a false pressure I put on myself to convince everyone his birth was a fairy tale. 

It was, without a doubt, empowering and beautiful but it also left me somewhat traumatized as everything happened so fast and I felt like I needed to be silent about the mental battle in that delivery room and the weeks that followed lest the naysayers throw an “I told you so” in my face. I am so confident still in my decision to follow a natural birthing plan, but I’m no longer afraid to talk about the shadows that may lurk in one of the brightest moments in my life.

So as I neared Brantley’s arrival, I was really nervous to maybe plunge into a mental abyss again, and so I prayed, a lot. And I allowed myself permission to reconcile my thoughts about Timothy’s birth- I was okay with our story and not meeting anyone else’s ideal/version of sanity (because yeah: “you’re totally insane” has been said to me more than once about the whole no epidural thing). I let myself process.  

So a few days before Brantley was born I came to peace with embracing whatever was coming and not bringing my past birthing experiences into it, and letting it be whatever it would be- on its own.

So when I had Brantley, I went into it allowing myself to totally absorb all of it, instead of just trying to have a “good natural birthing experience”. 

It healed a part of me I didn’t know needed healing. 
His birth was so many things. Intense. Fast. Furious. Beautiful. Challenging. Healing.

The way my children have come into my life has deeply and uniquely shaped each of our relationships.

Brooklyn was my surprise, I loved her in an overwhelmingly protective way. She came into my life without any “trying” on my part, and that made me grow up in responsibility and protectiveness very fast. If I could not have given her consideration to be made, I dang sure was going to give her everything I could as soon as I learned I was carrying her. I hadn’t prepared to be a mom to her, but she has shaped so much of how I handle and experience motherhood. I will fully embrace whatever unexpected things come and I have seen the goodness in doing just that through her precious life.

Timothy I had to fight for. I had to explore fertility options for him. I fought for a different birthing experience. I fought to love him, really. When depression took over after he was born I had to make myself bond with him, it didn’t come naturally. Holding him in the late night hours as I was balling my eyes out. Reminding him I love him even though I couldn’t fully feel it. Trying to be attuned to his needs even when depression told me not to care about anything. That fight led to an incredible bond. Everyone knows he is my side kick. He is always in my arms (when they are free). I love him fiercely and will fight for him, always. 

Brantley so far has been my refreshment. His life has made me revisit why I love being a mom. Made me appreciate the little things, the tiny moments of joy that set flames to keep you warm on the darker days. I went through such a shadowy season before he arrived. Carrying and delivering and loving him has been life-giving to parts of me that just a few months and years ago felt very dead. His tiny life has brightened my days and I love him dearly.

I may not have been seeking the title Mom when it found me, but I feel incredibly honored to hold that title. So thankful for these three unique blessings in my life.

I wanted to write about Brantley’s birth while it’s fresh on my mind. It happened so fast I’m not even sure I’ve processed it yet but I want to write while I still remember.🙂

For a day or two before his arrival I was feeling the emotional/mental fog set in. I didn’t “know” he was coming soon, but I felt similar to how I felt before my labor with Timothy started. Extra sensitive to what was going on. A few nights preceding Brantley’s arrival I hugged Timothy a little tighter and told him I would miss him if I wasn’t there when he woke up and I couldn’t wait for him to come see his baby brother at the hospital. I remember doing the same with Brooklyn before T came. Something about that 2 year old age- they are aware enough to know you’re gone but not enough to understand why. I don’t leave my kids often so it was just on my mind to give him some extra attention this week.

Though my mind was gearing up for labor, I really didn’t think my body was. I felt as pregnant as I had been feeling and didn’t really have any labor signs. I felt good enough to hang/serve at Awana just 6 hours before I was in labor, so I really felt physically unaware of his arrival.

After putting the kids to bed after Awana I decided to call it a night, usually I have to eat dinner after I get them down but for whatever reason I decided we would eat at church beforehand so I just went to bed.

I woke up around 12:30am from a contraction, this has been pretty normal for a few weeks. Poor sleep and infrequent contractions. As I was laying there trying to go back to sleep I realized there may be a pattern to pay attention to so I started logging their frequency.

  
Once I figured out they were four minutes apart and realized they were strengthening I decided to wake Joseph. I knew it was time. I called the hospital to make sure they would admit me and then we called my parents.

My contractions still aren’t horrible at this point, but I’m having to pause in conversation if I’m experiencing one. I was still mentally together though.

By the time I finished packing my bag, writing notes to my parents about the kids schedules, and my parents arriving – we left for the hospital around 2:30am and were checked in our room around 3:15am.

I’m not really sure at what point labor shifted but I remember filling out paper work in L&D and thinking oh boy this is where the pain comes haha. I could still answer all the questions I needed to for the most part, I could just feel my aggitation rising that I had to talk to anyone. 

It’s probably about 3:30 by the time they check me and I was pleasantly surprised I was 6cm. By the time I was 3cm with T I had already lost my mind I think. I still felt together for the most part (losing it here in a minute, don’t worry). One thing that helped was counting down from 60-1 every contraction. My friend recommended that to me and it was a different distraction / coping technique than I had used with Timothy and I found it very helpful – I always knew the 1/end was coming. 

I’ve lost track of time at this point but Joseph is asking me do I need anything (because he was gonna visit the restroom) and I snapped at him to not leave my side and then hurry inbetween contractions. Haha. Looking back on things I say and the way I act during labor is embarrassing sometimes.🙂 When I reached the point of snapping I knew this baby was coming sooner than later.

I told my (amazing!) nurse I was feeling a lot of pressure and she checked me again (I think this was around 4am?) and I was just at 7cm. Devastation! I wanted to fall apart and shortly did.🙂 again, feeling the embarrassment as I recount all this.

The next part of this happened so fast, I don’t know the timeline, but I had a baby in my arms at 4:23am.

Within minutes of her telling me I was 7cm I was like “hey yeah I’ve gotta push” but a lot more frantic and with some screaming. Everyone in the room was like nope, you can’t, don’t, you have to wait. And I was like “you guys don’t understand #sorrynotsorry I’m gonna push”, except with more yelling and no hashtag. I have never felt my body not able to control what it’s doing, so this made me lose my mind. I wanted to stop because they suggested I did but I literally could not control what my body needed to do. With that first small push my water broke and the doctor arrived (shoutout to Dr. Sweeney for being my favorite doctor ever and also for being on cal). Next thing I know nurses are shifting me into position for him to catch the baby (because remember, #sorrynotsorry I had to push…and continued to). And then I went into that state where I only know what’s happening with me and the baby and no one else in the room and I heard Brantley scream and then I felt his snuggly body lay on me.

  
He was so sweet, and chunky, and soft.

  
He weighed in at 8lbs 13oz and 22 inches long.

  
I love him.

  
When morning rolled around there was a beautiful sunrise. I was so excited because Brooklyn had been hoping for a sunny day. 

  
She was thrilled to meet her brother. She cried with excitement as soon as she walked in.

   
 
Timothy had food on the brain (always) but kept saying “I wanna hold you baby nant-ney!” He’s not about that selfie life.

I won’t bore you with the rest of our stay. Just wanted to write down while it was still fresh on the brain.

Thank you so much for all of the congratulations and well wishes.

We have loved having this little guy added to our life.

I feel so special that I get to be his mom. I cannot wait to get to know him.❤