Three years ago…

My due date with Molly had arrived.

But she had not.
I went to my 40 week appointment and was devastated when the doctors told me there was little progress (between 1 and 2 cm!) and that they’d let me go 10-12 days before an induction. While I didn’t want to go 10-12 more days, I didn’t want to be induced more. I cried, called my mom and my sister, and we did what any normal woman would do – we went shopping! Jim and I walked miles and miles that week, ate lots of Dairy Queen and watched more movies than I probably ever have in my entire life. {I’m pretty sure I told you guys this story already, but I enjoy retelling it. Obviously.}

I had four more doctor appointments before they finally said I had to have this baby and scheduled me for an induction. I needed to choose between August 6 or 7; my favorite doctor was on-call August 6, so I chose that day. It was so weird to know that the next day I was going to wake up, take a shower, and waltz into the hospital to have my baby. The last six weeks of my pregnancy, I was anticipating a dramatic water breaking event, or intense contractions stopping me in my tracks.

There was a dramatic water breaking event – just with something that resembled a knitting needle. And there were intense contractions and lots of vomiting that I endured for 8 hours before asking for an epidural that didn’t really relieve the pain. I don’t even know what words to use to describe that day, as we waited for the labor to progress. It was scary and calm and funny and sweet all at the same time.

Hours and hours later, we sent Jim to get something to eat. I was stalled at nine cm and remained there for three hours. The nurse kept checking the contractions and Molly’s heart rate {they had turned down the heart rate monitor at this point}; Dr. B came in while Jim was gone and hesitated, seeing that Jim wasn’t there. He said he was just checking in, which was weird, because they don’t do that. When Jim came back, the nurse and Dr. B came back in right away and told us I needed to have a c-section.

I wanted to brush my teeth, which I remember being a funny request. It feels like it was only minutes before I was wheeled to the operating room. I remember Dr. B making a joke about watching “Grey’s Anatomy” and being prepared for the surgery. It was almost time for him to go home, and I had a new nurse at this point. I threw up while strapped to the operating table, which is kind of hard to do, by the way. I remember so much about the surgery and recovery afterwards; it felt like forever before I could actually *hold* Molly and I know it was forever before I could sit up on my own!

Jim was so excited to introduce Molly to our parents and Beverly, all of whom had waited ALL day for Molly’s arrival.

While Molly’s birth story is not exactly what I had planned, she was perfect and healthy and lovely and I know in the end it doesn’t matter how she arrived in this world. It’s so crazy to think that it’s been almost three years since she was born.

And obviously it’s true that moms DO “forget” the pain of childbirth; I mean, I’m getting ready to do it again, right?


Jim and I had another date night last night – two dates in four nights! So fun! I had planned for us to go to Barrington’s for dinner, knowing they would help me make the gender reveal a fun surprise that wasn’t overwhelming. Jim really wanted to know the gender but didn’t want to have a party or anything, and I didn’t want to know the gender, but am always up for a night out, so this was a good compromise. The ultrasound appointment was yesterday morning; the baby looks great! Then we picked Molly up from camp early, went to lunch uptown and then spent the afternoon at Discovery Place. It was such a FUN afternoon. When we got home, I had to run a quick errand for a customer and I swung by Barrington’s to drop off the gender results. The sous chef was excited to be part of the surprise! When we got in the car to head to dinner, Jim said he was a little anxious about the surprise I had planned, then he joked we should just go to Chick-fil-a. I told him if he wanted to know the gender of the baby, he better not stop at Chick-fil-a! After a lovely dinner, we ordered dessert (the cobbler is our absolute favorite!) and this is what was brought to the table:

Even though Jim and I both thought it was a boy, we just weren’t prepared for a boy! It was quiet for a minute while we processed the information and the staff at Barrington’s came over to congratulate us. And then we headed to the mall to find something for boy-ish for Baby G. Jim picked out the babe’s first pj’s – blue striped Hannah Andersson. We had to make ourselves look at the blue stuff since we are so used to picking out pink!

We told Molly this morning she was going to have a brother and her first response was, “No, it’s a girl.” But by lunchtime, she seemed to have accepted the fact it’s a baby brother and even circled the B’s on her word search at lunch in honor of baby brother. She’s going to be a fabulous big sister; I tear up just thinking about the amazing gift of a sibling!

Ok, so now that we’ve announced the gender, we have no idea about the nursery or the name or anything else, so hopefully this is enough information for now! And rest assured that any name Molly {or Jim, for that matter} gives you is NOT the name. We would be crazy to tell her; we might as well take out a full page ad in the Charlotte Observer!

Jim and I are going to the anatomy ultrasound this morning. Surprisingly, Jim is the one who wants to know the gender this time around. Both of us kind of think girl, although I’ve been leaning more toward boy recently. Molly is determined it’s a sister for her; she told me if it was a boy baby, she would just have a girl!

A lot of my friends also think it’s another girl, although one of my sisters thinks it’s a boy. What do you think? For full disclosure, I was as sick if not more so with this pregnancy as I was with Molly and I have had the same rash/reaction on my back that I had last time. I have not had a reaction to my rings yet, however, and last time I had a massive reaction on my left hand to my wedding rings.

Cast your vote below.

Jim and I are going out to dinner tonight and plan to find out then what the gender is, so no texts or phone calls this afternoon because we won’t know!

My parents watched Molly for us last night while Jim and I headed into the big city for dinner at a new {to us} restaurant, 5 Church.  The food was yummy, the atmosphere cool and the company fantastic. The best part was that Jim was home before the sun set, so I felt like we spent eons together. It was nice.

Or maybe the best part was that we were home by 10 and in bed shortly thereafter? Lame? Maybe, but there’s only so much to do uptown when one is pregnant.

We continued our great weekend today with a pretty lazy family day – a.m. cartoons, a walk to Starbucks, checked out the new playground, sold a desk on Craigslist, lunch at East Blvd Bar and Grill {Molly loved the round fries, even though she doubted us at first!}, naps all around and then banana and chocolate chip pancakes for dinner.

Molly even chose the Kevin Henkes book A Good Day for one of her bedtime stories because it was indeed a good day. How cute is that?

This song is one of Molly’s new favorite requests; it’s like she knows how much I, ummm, love it.

I had to make several phone calls and a visit to the doctor last week, and they might as well have told me to stop jumping on the bed. I thought it was going to take an act of Congress to get someone to see me, even though I couldn’t even make it through a phone call with a nurse without hacking up a lung.

It all started last Tuesday…I was kind of tired most of the day, but it had been SO hot and Molly is three and I’m pregnant and I was still reeling from the saddest news. I tutored in the morning while Molly played with her friend Graham, then we headed home for lunch and quiet time; I had been coughing for a few days, but that was expected seeing as how Molly had just gotten over bronchitis. Molly was bouncing off the walls during quiet time and I had invitations to deliver, so I told her to put on her shoes and head to the car. She wasn’t happy about leaving the house because she wanted to watch a show, but I let her wear her nightgown and bribed her with a milkshake, so off we went. While in the drive-thru at Chic-fil-a, I decided I needed a few last minute things for our 4th of July party, so we pulled into Michael’s {where yes, my child went in with her milkshake, wearing a nightgown and silver sandals. I’m not proud, just desperate sometimes.} where I found what I “needed” and off we went to drop off the invitations.

When we got home, I was going through my Michael’s loot, finishing my milkshake, when all of a sudden I needed to throw up. Needless to say, I’m off chocolate milkshakes for a while…I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, wondering if I had gotten a bad milkshake or what. Other than some graham crackers, it was all I had eaten all day. Within an hour, I had a fever of almost 102 and couldn’t get off the couch. That whole evening, I battled nausea, chills and coughing and I said to Jim, “What are the odds I’ll feel 100% better so we can have our 4th of July party tomorrow?” He just looked at me, so I sent out an email. Wednesday and Thursday, I only got out of the bed to move to the couch. Jim has probably only seen me this sick once or twice – when I had meningitis before we were married and maybe when I had mastitis a few weeks after Molly was born.

Thursday morning, I called my primary care. When I explained my symptoms to the receptionist in order to make the appointment, she immediately transferred me to the triage line, where a nurse instructed me to call my OB. I tried to explain that my daughter had had bronchitis and I really didn’t think this was OB related, but she basically cut me off. So, I waited for my OB office to open and called them. I had to leave a message for the nurse, who called back and was SO kind and helpful, but said it didn’t sound like this was OB related.

So, I called my PCP back, and by this time it was lunch time. There were no more sick appointments for the day. I contemplated driving to the ER, but luckily Molly fell asleep, so I did too. When we woke up, I texted Jim and told him he had to come home. I got right in the bed when he got home and he called my doctor’s office back, getting me the first appointment of the following day with a PA.

Sparing you the exciting details of the appointment (of which there are NO exciting details, fortunately), she diagnosed me with pneumonia, “but not conclusively, since I can’t give you a chest x-ray.” I’m pretty sure every textbook symptom warrants a fairly conclusive diagnosis, but hey, I’m not a PA so what do I know?

And do you know what they can give a pregnant woman with pneumonia? Nothing. Ok, amoxicillin and an over-the-counter cough syrup like Delsym. So basically nothing. After THREE more days in bed, I finally felt better on Monday and today was even better. I expect it will take a while for my lungs to feel normal and for me to stop coughing, but just being out of the bed is progress enough.

I was about to lose my mind on Saturday, so I made Beverly, Ben and Addison come meet us for dinner. About an hour into the evening, I realized that might have been a mistake physically, but I was so excited to be out of the house and listening to other people interact with each other.

I could keep writing about how I entertained Molly, what a huge help Jim was, and how the world didn’t stop while I was sick, but I’ll save that for another post; this one has gotten long!

I have to start this post saying that I just typed the best.post.ever about our anniversary and it literally disappeared and then I yelled at Jim while he was helping me find it. It doesn’t exist and this post just won’t be the same. Me + Technology = love/hate relationship.

Six years ago, Jim and I exchanged vows on an incredibly pleasant summer day in North Carolina. Our wedding day remains one of the BEST days ever, and every day since, I have been so grateful to have Jim as my husband.

Is it always rainbows and butterflies? Well, no.

But have I ever doubted our relationship? Never.

Even though Jim and I are different in practically every way, our end goal is the same. We simply want to be content and with each other and be good parents and generous people. Even though our approaches differ drastically, we end up in the same spot most of the time, even though it might take one of us longer to get there. Think of it like Google Maps – when you hit “Get Directions,” you might get three different maps, right? While Jim and I would never, ever choose the same map, we still get to the end destination. The trick is remembering to let each other lead every once in a while and travel together, instead of separately.

The traditional gifts for the sixth anniversary are iron and sweets. I started doing some research a few months ago, and do you realize how creative one must be to find a thoughtful, affordable and maybe useful iron gift? A lot creative. Iron candlesticks, anyone? (One suggestion online was a gym membership, for pumping iron. Hardee-har-har.)

My favorite suggestion by far was to visit the sugarcane fields in Maui.

Jim’s response? We did that one six years too early. (See, he always makes me laugh. Just not always IN the moment.)

Anyway, I was holding out hope and dropping major hints that a weekend away somewhere near an ocean would be lovely and perfectly acceptable. My parents were out of town, so I was secretly hoping Jim had arranged for his parents to come down and keep Molly but then we got an email that his parents were traveling out of the country and I knew we weren’t going anywhere.

I got pretty sick on Tuesday and our anniversary was the farthest thing from my mind. Until today, when I regained some brain activity and my mom called to offer to watch Molly so Jim and I could go out to eat. But, Jim says, why don’t we wait until you really feel better? I pouted and may have even cried between coughing fits and poor Jim didn’t know what to do because really, hadn’t I just spent the better part of the day in bed?

When Molly woke up from up her nap (yes, a nap! The girl has been so sweet to her sick mama.), I heard Jim promise her ice cream. I pulled on some shorts, a tank top and flip flops to join them for half a piece of pizza and a trip to DQ (at which I turned down any ice cream. Told you I was sick!) and by the time we got home, I was pretty exhausted and could barely read Molly a bedtime story.

As our kid was licking the last of the chocolate ice cream out of the plastic bowl, I looked over her head and smiled at Jim. “She’s the best of both us, isn’t she?,” I marveled with pride. While grand gestures and trips and nicely wrapped packages entice me, I wouldn’t trade the life we’ve created for all the sugar in Maui

After Jim tucked Molly in, I said to him, “You were right. A nice dinner out would have been no fun tonight.”

And that, my dear, is a gift that lasts forever. Or, as long as the internet at least!

Jim, thank you for being a supportive, adoring and generous husband to me and father to Molly. You are a wonderful role model for what our daughter should look for in a partner, and I pray every day that she is as lucky in love as we are. I am infinitely grateful for you and our relationship, even if I have strange ways of showing it. Like yelling at you when you’re just trying to help. xoxo, H.

This week, my  heart hurts for my friend Jeani and her husband Zach and their families. Jeani was expecting her first baby, a sweet girl they planned to name Paisleigh Jean (a beautiful combination of family names), and one week after her due date, Jeani went for a routine ultrasound to confirm that all was going well. Except that it wasn’t. There was no heartbeat. Jeani delivered her baby girl this morning.

The sadness I feel for my friend and her husband is incomparable to what she must be feeling. While everyone is a good person, Jeani is a really, really good person and I am angry and sad and hurt that she has to deal with such a loss. I hate that she is sad and hurting and lonely and lost and that I cannot help her right now. Understandably, she and Zach want – and need – space to grieve their loss.

While I know that one day she will want hands to hold and meals to eat and friends to cry with, we don’t have to be inactive until then. Please pray and hope for peace for Jeani and Zach right now. I heard that she was strong during the delivery and is doing well. I pray that she continues to heal, physically and that she *knows* how many of us love her and that she feels the love and hugs and prayers we are sending her way.

Life is so wonderfully hard and all we can really do is just BE for each other.