Magnus' Birth Story: Delivery



WARNING: Delivery stories are a bit graphic.

At around 11:30 pm on May 17, I could feel my baby's head very, very low in my pelvis.

Doctors and nurses will usually tell you that when you feel like you need to poop, it's time to push. Sure enough, I felt like I needed to poop.

When the nurse came in to check on me, I told her that I thought it was time. She took a quick peek and agreed.

Everyone left the room except the nurse and Brandon and she began explaining to me how and when to push.

The entire experience was nothing like I expected.

I had pictured a delivery the way I had always seen it in the movies - lots of screaming, a whole team of doctors, etc. So I was shocked when she explained that I'd begin pushing with just her and then she'd call in the doctor when the baby was closer to being born.

I had also expected a long delivery - 3+ hours or so.

And to be honest, my entire pregnancy I just figured I'd end up with a C-section. C-sections are extremely common in the US, with 1 out of 3 births resulting in one. And since my mother had ended up needing C-sections with both of her kids, I thought I'd likely end up the same. So the entire time I was pushing, I never really thought a baby would come out. Silly, I know.

"Push like you're pooping."

"Push like you're pooping," the nurse instructed me. It was so counter-intuitive to me (I mean, babies don't come out of your butt), but it was the best advice she could have given me.

During each contraction I'd take a deep breath and push for 10 seconds and then repeat 2 more times.

When his head started to come out, she made a comment about how much hair he had and invited Brandon to look. I had been so anxious to know what color my baby's hair was and how much he would have that it made me so happy to hear her comment on it!

She also asked me if I wanted a mirror so I could see what was going on.

I really didn't, but I figured I better get one anyway just so I didn't regret it later. Seeing your baby being born is supposed to give you the energy to keep going.

I did look a couple of times at what was happening - enough to see my baby's hair, but it was all pretty gross and I spent most of the time closing my eyes so I wouldn't have to see what was happening down there.

In between contractions, I did wear an oxygen mask to make sure the baby stayed stable.

It was all just so quiet and peaceful. I didn't scream while I was pushing, I was too busy focusing on my breathing.

After 30 or 40 minutes (which seemed more like 5 minutes to me), I got to the point that I could really feel myself making progress and I just wanted to push that baby right on out. I could feel him RIGHT THERE. The nurse suddenly said, "STOP PUSHING," and then rushed to call the doctor.

If you haven't delivered a child before, let me tell you that you can't simply "stop pushing." Your body is getting that child out whether you like it or not. So while we were waiting for the doctor to come, I actually had to take deep breaths to focus on NOT letting my body keep pushing.

The doctor and a few other nurses arrived and every push felt like it was going to be the last one, this baby was so low.

Then I felt my skin stretching and it hurt like hell. The pain was so bad that it made me want to push even harder to get him out and get it over with. I kept thinking to myself that it couldn't possibly hurt any worse. That this time, the next push really would be the one that got him out. But nope, every push hurt worse. And he was not coming out. He was stuck.

I wasn't aware at the time, but being stuck was causing my baby distress and his heart rate was dipping, so the doctor asked me if she could make a cut to allow him to come out. I panicked and asked her, "will it hurt?" As if I wasn't already in excruciating pain.

Side note: I actually did yell out in pain once I felt that stretching.

She looked at me clearly not knowing how to answer. Like..."Duh! I'm about to slice your vagina open with a knife, of course it's going to hurt!"

But I let her do it and sweet Jesus, I've never felt so much relief in my life. She sliced and that baby slid right out.



They put him immediately on my stomach and he didn't even cry. He was so content just looking around, taking it all in. It wasn't until the nurses started rubbing him that he began to cry.

I put him on my chest and was so amazed at what he looked like and that he was finally here. It was incredible. I looked at Brandon and he just had a shocked/dazed look on his face.

Brandon got to cut the umbilical cord and I laid there with my brand new baby on my chest for an hour.



Brandon was in charge of naming him and I asked a couple of times what his name was going to be and Brandon would just look at me wide-eyed and say he didn't know. There was just so much going on, I think it was the last thing on his mind.

He finally decided on Magnus and held his baby boy. It was so sweet!

As a funny aside, Magnus pooped on me when I was holding him to truly welcome me into Motherhood!



Meeting my baby was amazing. He was 7lbs 10oz of perfect baby boy. I remember getting sad when they put a diaper on him because he was just so perfect the way he was. And I didn't dress him the entire time we were in the hospital because I just wanted to stare at him and take in every inch of him.

The physical recovery from childbirth was rough, but I'd do it a million times over for my little boy.

Magnus' Birth Story: Active Labor

Part I of this story, we left off with me arriving at the hospital, waiting to find out if I would be admitted.

Heading up to L&D

I was wheeled up to a beautiful delivery room to be examined and immediately upon entering the room I threw up. Up until that point I had been holding an open bottle of peppermint essential oil under my nose to help with the nausea, but the pain finally got bad enough to put me over the edge. I changed into the hospital gown to be examined and in walked a familiar face...the nurse, Diane, was the same nurse who had been the instructor for our Childbirth Preparation class!

My exam revealed that I was only 3 centimeters dilated. When I asked her how far you have to be to be admitted, she told me 5 or 6 centimeters. I was DEVASTATED. This was my worst fear, to have come all this way, be in all of this pain, and be sent back home.

Diane encouraged me to get up and walk around while she checked with the doctor to see what he thought. She said she'd come back in an hour.

Getting up to walk was so painful! The contractions were so much more painful when I was up and moving. To ease the pain in my back, my husband rubbed it to apply counter pressure during contractions. My husband is a 6'2" diesel mechanic. Strong guy. And he was pressing so hard he was afraid he was going to hurt me. It was a lifesaver! The contractions were still incredibly painful, but having that counter pressure took a lot of the pain from my back.

An hour later, Diane came back in to do another cervical check and I was only at 4cm. I was absolutely terrified that this meant I'd have to go home. Being the saint that she is, she went back and updated the doctor, being sure to emphasize that I had been vomiting. Luckily, the doctor agreed to admit me. I was in!

At around 1:30pm, four hours after arriving at the hospital, it was finally time to get my epidural!

In my original vision for my birth, I had imagined walking around and laboring on my own until I was 7 or 8 centimeters, and only getting an epidural then. I didn't like the idea of being bound to the bed. But as soon as that epidural was offered, I puked again, and then I was all over it!

The epidural

The epidural was incredible. I had a couple of contractions while it was being put in, which is difficult because it required me to sit perfectly still. But with the help of Brandon and Diane, I was able to breathe through them for the 15 minutes or so it took for the anesthesiologists to do his thing.

Once it kicked in, I felt so much better! I did have what's called a window on my right side, which means that the epidural worked everywhere except for in one window on my right side, where I could still feel everything. The window made things painful, but it was nothing compared to how those contractions felt before.

I asked Diane about the window and she told me to try to lay on my right side to get gravity to move the medicine into that area of my body. At the same time, my contractions had slowed down, so we decided to administer Pitocin to pick things back up.

A little scare

20 minutes after getting the Pitocin, nurses and doctors came running into the room. Baby's heartbeat had plummeted. So the the Pitocin was immediately turned off, I was taken off of my right side, and we started talking about a possible C-section.

Luckily, his heart stabilized and I was able to continue to try to progress on my own. The doctor did, at this time, mention the possibility of breaking my water. Since Pitocin was no longer an option, he thought it would be a good option to continue to make labor progress.

But the doctor decided to wait a little bit before he broke my water just to see if my body made some progress without intervention.

Transition

Side bar: My medical group's birthing experience is a little bit different than normal. Instead of having one dedicated doctor that you see throughout your entire pregnancy, and having that doctor there to deliver the baby, your baby is just delivered by the doctor on call that day. This might bother some people, but I've never known anything different, so it didn't bother me at all.

Shortly after our little episode, the doctor who had been on duty was off and a new doctor came in. Both were fantastic. This new doctor was a woman and she came in to check my progress. It was around 7pm and I was really hoping to be at a 6 or so.

She checked me and after a few minutes, announced that I was at an 8! I couldn't believe it! Only 20 minutes of Pitocin had kicked my body into gear and it was time to go! I was so proud of my body.

She asked if I wanted her to break my water and I told her I'd leave it up to her. "Let's do it!" she said!

Having your water broken is so much different than I thought. For one, it's done with what looks like a giant crochet needle. I also expected there to be a huge splash, but it was nothing like that. It just felt like I peed my pants.

Time passed and my nurse, Diane, also went home because her shift was over. I can't remember the name of my new nurse, but she was also great.

At around 11pm, I was still feeling pain from the window where my epidural wasn't working. We decided to try laying on my right side one more time and administering a little more Pitocin. Baby's heart rate decreased again, so unfortunately I just wasn't able to completely get rid of that window.

The nurse advised me to let her know when I felt like I needed to poop, because then it was time to push. Meanwhile, I had been pushing my button to get more epidural medicine as often as possible, so I was terribly afraid that I would be too numb to know when it was time to push.

The nurse assured me that they would also be checking me and be checking the monitors, so it wasn't possible that the baby would just fall out without anyone there to catch him.

Around 11:30, I felt it. The nurse came back in to check me and agreed, it was time.

I can't explain how I felt. I wasn't ready! I didn't know what to expect! I mean, of course I wanted to meet my baby, but everything was about to be so different! And if it was time to push, why weren't doctors running into the room?! Why was the nurse so calm?! What if I didn't know what to do?! What if I was going to push for four hours?!

Stay tuned for Magnus' Birth Story: Part III

Magnus' Birth Story: Early Labor

This time last week, my whole world started to change.

On Wednesday, May 15, 2019, I had reached 40 weeks pregnant. I was so sure I would deliver my baby before his due date and was physically and emotionally exhausted.

Starting at about 39 weeks, I started to experience swelling for the first time, I gained about 5 lbs in a couple of days, and got my first official motherhood badges - stretch marks.

At my 40 week check-up, we scheduled an induction and I cried. I was ready to meet my baby, but not ready to share him with the world at the same time. I was feeling so many emotions.

Early Labor

The next day, Thursday, I went to lunch with some colleagues and started to notice some pretty strong contractions. They felt just like the Braxton Hicks I had been getting for several weeks before, but were just a little bit stronger.

After lunch, I went back to work and made sure to take care of some things that needed to be addressed before I went out on leave, even though at this point I was sure I'd end up making it to my induction date the following Wednesday.

Now that the induction had been scheduled, I was actually hoping not to go into early labor. One of my biggest stressors there at the end of my pregnancy was the fear of not actually knowing when I was in labor - calling in sick to work one day because I was having strong contractions, thinking it was labor, and then it turning out to be nothing. I had also heard so many stories of prodromal labor that lasted for days - miserable!

The contractions stayed strong throughout the day and they definitely kept my attention. I noticed that when I walked they would feel stronger - good indicator that they were real. At the same time, I had been googling "signs of labor" 24/7 and none of the "signs" I had experienced had actually turned into anything, so I didn't think much of it.



I got home from work and the contractions stayed strong, but were still pretty well-spaced apart. So I texted my cousin, who has three kids, and asked her what real labor contractions feel like. "Like Braxton Hicks," she tells me. Great. I still had no way of knowing if they were real or not.

I decided to lay in bed and ride the contractions out to see if they fizzled out like they usually did. Then my husband came home and reminded me that my sister-in-law, her new fiancé and their kids were in town and we had plans to meet up with them for dinner.

Dinner

Dinner plans. Crap. Here I had planned on just laying in bed all night trying to figure out if I was going into labor...

I told my husband what was going on and he didn't seem to think much of it. He asked me if I still wanted to go to dinner and if so, if he should pack our hospital bags in the car. I really debated because dinner was going to be at Beau Jo's Pizza in Idaho Springs, a mountain town about an hour from our house.

If you haven't had Beau Jo's - it's fantastic. Especially the Idaho Springs location. The crust is so thick and delicious, and you eat it with honey...yum...

I ultimately decided that we should still go. I wanted to see my sister-in-law, and it would either be a good distraction from the contractions, causing them to go away if they were fake - or my last meal before I had a baby.

I spent the entire car ride timing out the contractions, which were still pretty far apart, but strong.

Dinner was a good distraction and while the contractions didn't go away completely, they were much less noticeable.

Cool! They weren't real and I can still plan on my induction next Wednesday I thought.

Wrong.

Experiencing true early labor

The contractions grew in frequency and intensity throughout the night and that's when I started feeling them in my back, too. I promptly sent a message to my May Mother's Facebook group to ask them how bad contractions hurt when they were real and it was time to go to the hospital. The answers were across the board - still no help to me in determining if this was real labor or not.

Around 2am I had to get out of bed because they were becoming so painful. I tried all of the tricks to work my way through them - getting in the bath, bouncing on a yoga ball. They were still so incredibly painful and getting closer together. From around 9 minutes apart to 6 minutes apart by 5am.

I suggest using an app to time your contractions. I used the Baby Center app and it was wonderful because it automatically calculated for me how far apart my contractions were averaging over the last hour and how long they were lasting.

My contraction timer when I got out of bed because I could no longer lay and breathe through the contractions.

Shortly after 5am I decided it was time to wake my husband up and let him know what was going on - just in case the contractions quickly moved from 6 minutes apart to 5 minutes apart and it was time to go.

He got up, took a shower and ate, and I finally reached the point where I felt like I needed to call the doctor and see if it was time to head in.

Calling the doctor


The medical advice line that I was supposed to call was backed up and said I'd be only hold for 45-70 minutes!

THAT IS AN HOUR, I thought! I WILL DIE BEFORE THEN!

I waited as long as I could and by the time I decided I was in far too much pain to wait for a call back, my doctor called me and agreed that it was time to have a baby!

Before heading out the door, I grabbed some bread and cheese to try to eat on the way to the hospital, knowing that I wouldn't be able to eat once I got there (I did not eat the bread, I was in far too much pain). I also gave my parents a head's up, but asked them to wait until I got there before they came because another big fear of mine was getting to the hospital and being turned away because I wasn't progressed far enough. (They, of course, didn't wait)

The car ride

The car ride was miserable. I felt every single bump in that road and when I'd make noise to try to get through one of the contractions, my husband would sometimes mistake it for me trying to say something to him, and then I'd snap at him because I could neither talk when they were happening, nor wanted to hear anyone else talking. Poor guy.

FINALLY we arrived at the hospital. I told my husband he could park in the parking lot and we could walk in together, instead of him dropping me off and then parking the car. I swear that was the slowest, most painful walk of my life.

As soon as we walked in, the hospital provided a wheelchair and made a call to Labor and Delivery to come get me. I started crying for the first time since labor had started. I was so scared and overwhelmed that this was actually happening. I was also scared that we had come all this way, I was in such pain, and that I might not be dilated enough to stay...

It's OK to Touch My Baby Bump



Ever since becoming pregnant, I've read a lot about how to handle other people touching my baby bump. There's the subtle, "turn away" move. The "baby is resting" line. Or, my favorite, the "rub their belly back" piece of advice.

These articles come up regularly in my pregnancy apps, and are a frequent topic of conversation in my May Mothers facebook group.

Well, I've got a confession to make...I don't mind when people touch my bump.

Even strangers! I might even be so bold as to say that I kind of like it.

Don't get me wrong, it's not because I'm super comfortable with my changing body, or because I'm generally OK with physical affection from others. I'm not.

Even now, at 32 weeks and very obviously pregnant (see photo below), I'm still shocked when strangers will ask me when I'm due or tell me congratulations. I mean, it's nice of them, but every time it happens I always think to myself, "that was a bold move."



But for whatever reason, I am 100% okay with people touching my belly. I even encourage it!

Disclaimer: I was NOT okay with it in my 1st and most of my 2nd trimesters. But now that I'm showing and there's actually something to feel, I am.

What's happening inside of there is so incredibly amazing that I'm happy to share it.

This baby is growing so big, he's now over 3 lbs. He's so active and even though his movements are sometimes painful, I'll never get tired of feeling them. At home I'm constantly telling my husband, "Whoa! Come look!" just in time for baby to get stage fright and stop moving.

It's the best when you can actually feel a leg or his back because of how he's positioned at that moment.

In fact, if you do come to touch my bump, I'll probably give you a lesson in where to feel, or I might tell you to push a little harder so you can really feel him.


So I'm sorry, fellow moms-to-be. I cannot join you in your campaign to stop the belly-touching.

I'm so fascinated and proud of what my body is doing (I'm sure you are, too) and I love when others want to share in that experience with me. There is nothing better than when he moves and I can look up at someone else and say, "did you feel that?!"

I've only got two months left of him growing safely inside of my body, where I can monitor him 24 hours a day. So I'm going to relish it. And if you happen to see me and have an overwhelming urge to touch my bump, chances are I'm going to say....."YES!"

My First Trimester Pregnancy Experience



So you just found out you're pregnant.

Maybe it's your first time, or maybe it's not, but this time around is so much different than what you've gone through before.

First-time mom here and I'm nearing the end of my 2nd trimester.

Now that my first trimester is months behind me, I thought it might be helpful to tell you some things I learned from my experience.

Conceiving is Emotional

Whether you planned to become pregnant or you're surprised to find yourself a few days late, that moment when you're about to take a pregnancy test brings on a lot of feelings.

Your whole life is about to change...or not.

Our story: We were trying to conceive and expected it to take several months. We were so surprised and blessed to have been successful after two months. The month that I was actually pregnant, I took two tests in a row that didn't work. Not even the control line. The third one had a line so very faint that I couldn't even tell if it was there or if the light was making me imagine it.

Symptoms May Not Be What You Expect

Pregnancy symptoms can be your typical sore boobs and morning sickness. Or they might be non-existant. Nothing is normal, and everything is normal.

My experience: My best friend, Steph, told me about the intense dreams pregnancy can bring on. After I stopped taking birth control, my cycles were pretty long. So for the second month in a row, my period was late. I didn't think much of it.

One night I had a crazy intense dream that I was on a cruise ship that was flooding and I was drowning. Weird, right? The next day at work I was in a meeting and BOOM! I remembered Steph's words and I thought...is it possible? It was. That was the day I found out.

My symptoms after that? Nothing. Some food aversions, a lot of foods just didn't taste good. MAYYYBBEE my stomach felt a little upset if I ate breakfast too late. I didn't feel good when the weather got cold. But they were all things that weren't totally out of the ordinary for me.

I spent so much of my first trimester worried that something was wrong because I couldn't relate to what other pregnant women were going through. I even longed to feel terrible like they did. At one point I went so far as to take another pregnancy test at 7 weeks just to make sure I didn't imagine it. And guess what? THE TEST WAS NEGATIVE! I obviously lost my mind and called the doctor immediately. Turns out it's just some phenomenon that happens sometimes when you're a few weeks in.

Two first-trimester doctor appointments and my little baby was developing right on track.

Some people just don't experience a lot of symptoms.



We Have So Much Information at Our Disposal

You can find out anything you want to about your growing baby. Insomnia got you up at night? I always searched different hashtags on Instagram to see how my bump compares to others that are just as far along.

It is so cool to learn about how quickly your little embryo is developing, especially when you can't see or feel it yet.

Information also comes with a large dose of reality. You will learn about the alarmingly high rate of first trimester miscarriages, birth defects, and everything else that can go wrong.

You have to know when to put down the laptop and just have faith that everything is going well in your body.

My experience: I'm a researcher. So from the instant I found out I was pregnant I was constantly scouring the internet, or flipping through the pages of What to Expect When You're Expecting. A lot of what I found was scary, but I couldn't get enough information.

I also joined a private Facebook group of other women due around the same time. Believe it or not, that group was by far what has caused me the most stress in this pregnancy. It was about 160 women, and all too often they were posting about bleeding, miscarriages, going to the doctor and not finding a heartbeat. These were all things I head read about on the internet, but putting a face to the stories made it very real. I spent far too much time worrying that their terrible stories would happen to me.

Joining the group was really eye-opening for me. I didn't realize how common miscarriage is and how blessed we have been to have a hassle-free pregnancy. But seeing the posts was so anxiety-inducing that I actually wished I hadn't joined at all. It wasn't until I was at about 15 weeks that I started to find the group helpful. There were other first-time moms who would ask questions I wanted to know the answers to, and plenty of experienced mothers who could provide sage advice.

Each person has different needs, but if I had to do it all again, I wouldn't have joined that group. Pregnancy is stressful enough.



The Human Body is Incredible

Pregnancy really is a miracle. I was and am continually amazed at how quickly a baby grows in utero.

A pregnant body is making so many changes to accommodate that little being and giving it everything it needs in order to thrive.

For as often as we complain about sickness or fatigue, they are minor symptoms compared to the miracle that is happening inside.

My favorite first trimester moments: My first two doctor's appointments were unforgettable. The first appointment was at just seven weeks and the instant that I saw that little heart beating on the screen I started crying. It was so surreal seeing a living being inside of me.

Just four weeks later, at 11 weeks, the ultrasound clearly showed my baby's arms and legs. The difference in just a month was amazing.

Those two appointments made the pregnancy so much more real for me.

My baby at 7 weeks gestation vs 11 weeks gestation

What was your first trimester experience like?

Weight Loss and Body Image

Earlier this year I lost around 35 pounds and I’ve kept it off.

(Side note: I am pregnant and now gaining pregnancy-related weight)

But this isn’t a post about weight loss and how great it is. It’s a post about how I never had any body image issues until I lost the weight.

If you’re wondering how I did it, my response is always, “we’ve been trying to eat healthier.” Which is true. We cut a lot of carbs and drank a lot of protein shakes. But there’s more to it than that.


I stopped taking my anti-depressants, a side-effect of which can be weight gain. But feeling mentally well is worth a few extra pounds.

I ate a lot less. Arguably an unhealthy amount less. I felt terrible all the time and when people commented on it, I felt even worse. But once I started losing the weight I felt guilty about everything I did eat.

I took appetite suppressants. Again, not really healthy.

I DID NOT work out more. In fact, I probably worked out less. Prior to dieting, I was playing a lot of soccer and trying to run regularly. But shortly after we started dieting, I sustained an injury and stopped playing. That alone caused me to lose a lot of weight, mostly muscle mass.

But let me tell you some more not-so-great things that happened when I started to lose weight:

I didn’t like my body anymore. I felt like I looked saggy. I had no butt. And my clothes started hanging off of me, which caused me to lose a lot of confidence.

Why not buy new clothes? Because I kept losing weight and wasn’t sure what size I’d end up at...or if I’d gain the weight back.

I started to feel really bad about how I looked before...because of other people. I NEVER had any body issues. I couldn’t really tell you why I started dieting in the first place. I think I was hoping to maybe lose a couple pounds, not 35. But people started making comments. They were trying to be nice, but often ended up just making me feel bad. Close family members would say, “wow, you just look so fantastic.” And then inevitably follow it up with a comment about how I looked before. Well, it’s hard to hear you look fantastic when you feel terrible because you’re starving yourself. And all I could think was..."what was wrong with how I looked before?” I even asked a few people that very question and they’d generally respond with something that made me feel even worse, like..."you just looked...”



To this day, it’s very rare that I receive a compliment on my weight that doesn’t come with some sort of back-handed comment on my weight before. Which again, I didn’t have an issue with. And either did my doctor. Sure, sometimes I wished my pants weren’t so tight, but doesn’t everybody?

And now I feel this enormous pressure to either keep losing weight or to weigh myself every day to make sure I haven’t gained an ounce. Even if it means having terrible stomach issues or feeling guilty every time I eat. Because I now see the judgement that people had towards me when I was heavier. Judgement I hadn’t realized was there.

So I’m going to leave you with this...

If you feel the need to comment on someone’s weight loss, just say “you look great.” That’s it. Don’t comment on how much weight they’ve lost or on how they looked before.

Weight is not necessarily an indicator of how in shape someone is. I was a much better athlete when I was 35lbs heavier. And to be honest with you, I hate how skinny my legs have gotten. I don’t have the same soccer player muscles that I prided myself on when I was playing.

Don’t ever make someone feel bad about their weight. You have no idea if they have a health condition, or take a medication that causes weight gain, or how they feel about their own body.

I want parents, boyfriends, girlfriends and spouses to hear this one particularly loud: weight is not what makes up the character of a human being and shouldn’t define how much you love them. I have always viewed myself as a smart, sporty, funny woman. And that’s whether I’m 100 lbs or 200 lbs. And I HOPE that every woman and girl out there feels that same way about themselves, too. It’s what inside that defines you. And you are BEAUTIFUL.

Reflecting on 2018


2018 was one of the best years of my life.

Career

I started a brand new position at my company as a Human Resources Business Partner. That was a big change for me since up until that point, my career had always been focused on corporate training. 

The new position was a lot of learning and also afforded me the opportunity to understand the operations side of the business in a way I never had before.

I grew a lot as a professional in 2018 and for the first time in my professional life, understood where my calling and strengths are, and where I want my next steps to be.

Personal

I rang in the new year engaged to my love.

I already knew this was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, and our engagement reinforced that.



Even after spending years together and living with somebody, you don't think about things the same as you do when you've made a life-long commitment to them. How we wanted to handle money, kids, family, where we want to live, the career choices we want to make and the kind of life we wanted to establish for ourselves all started to come to fruition. It was wonderful!



After nearly a year of planning, we had the wedding of our dreams in Mexico.



The amount of love and support that we had from our friends and family was incredible. We are so blessed to have our community.


Animals

We became chicken farmers this year, which was so much fun!



We adopted six chicks, made some rookie mistakes, and have since become experts in raising hens.

Our neighbors and family love those eggs!



Our dogs, Eleanor and Boyfriend, are happy as ever. Boyfriend turned 11 and has been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure, which is hard and scary, but he's happy as can be just enjoying the time he has left with us.



What's Next

Brandon and I made the decision to start growing our family!

In late spring of 2019, we will we welcoming a little boy into the world.



We have a few pre-baby trips planned, including a trip back to Florida to reunite with my friends from when I did the Disney College Program. But the majority of our time will be anxiously awaiting the arrival of our son, and then doting over him every second after he is born.

I am so looking forward to 2019!