three

Little girl, 

Your second month was a big one. You hold up your head and roll over. You want to crawl so badly! You still have all your hair and have grown out of almost all of your newborn things. You had your first little virus and your mom felt like a mama bear for the first time.

It was an early start to your 3rd month. It’s been the busiest couple of weeks for your dad and me and you have slept the worst. 

Last night, though, your terrible sleep had me awake at just the right time. You see, little girl, you’re at camp. In New Mexico. With 300 kids. One of this kids needed help at 1:44am. Exactly when you were finishing your late night snack. 

It’s the first night of 4 here, and I’d be lying if I wasn’t counting them all down. We have no idea what we’re doing and this week is reminding us how much we need God. As I texted with the mom of the student who needed something in the wee hours of the morning, I realized I’ll need faith no matter how you turn out or what age you are. 

And I don’t mean the generic “I need faith” sort of thing. I mean the, “I’m drowning and it’s my only lifeline” sort of faith. Whether you’re a great kid with a disease or a tough kid who makes bold, bad decisions, or just a 3 month old at a summer camp, we’d all be lost without Jesus. It’s the only thing keeping us above the waves.

You are such a good baby. I love you with my whole heart, Everly Alice.

two

Little Girl, 

Today you’re two months old. Today, we also packed you and all your junk up for the first time to dog sit for two weeks. I wrestled your pack and play/bed to the ground and back up again. You woke up for the first time at church. Your dad helped you stand up and move one leg at a time like you were walking. I wanted to get you on Ellen. 

We’re “those” parents who get excited to see pictures of when you were smaller and marvel at how much you’ve changed (hello, that’s every first time parent). You’re a pretty good sleeper at night and a terrible napper. We’ve taken our first trips to the library, ice cream shops and a hipster coffee shop – you know, all the important, educational places.

Your best friends are your uncles – John, Trav, Jovan, and Brian – (none of whom are your actual uncles), your aunts (the real blood related ones and all the pseudo ones who love you), Ruthie, and Claire. 
You’ve been to 2 weddings and will go to at least 2 more before you even turn 1 year old. And you’ve decided your favorite way to be walked around is facing out, looking at the world. 

Right now, you are sleeping in my lap with your arms splayed every which way and I am trying to remember all the sweet things I can because I know our time with you is going to come fast and furious. 

You are so loved, sweet girl. I hope you always know.

father’s day

One of the best things about this new little life we’re building has been watching Tucker become a dad. He’s a great husband – always buys me flowers at Trader Joe’s, let’s me have the last, best bite of dessert by pretending he’s full, and doing almost all of the heavy lifting in our move since I was pregnant. But now he has a new, tiny little life to take care of and he’s been better at it than I ever even imagined.

Because Everly was a C-section, Tucker got to see and hold Everly first. I hope I never forget his tone when he said, “we have a little girl!” While they closed me up, he took her back to our room for the earliest moments of Everly’s life.

In the first days, Tuck did every diaper change since I couldn’t get up or move very quickly (he also opened EVERY cabinet in our room and knew more about where things were than the nurses #architect). He slept on the terrible plastic couch that the hospital touts as a “full bed.” When she wouldn’t settle down, he got up and walked her bassinet in circles for hours.  And the poor man has heard and talked about breast-feeding more than anyone should have to.

He showed our little girl around our room, always made sure I didn’t need a nap before he took one, and sat with me through every painful feeding and all the times I dry heaved into a tiny plastic tub.

All the times I cried – with reason or without – he was right there. He held me while we stood in the NICU while our girl was under blue lights. He took my hand when I burst into tears at the pediatrician’s because breastfeeding is a FRICKIN BEAR. He just put his arm around me when I cried for no reason at all.

I can’t wait to see what happens as our little girl grows up – the new ways she’ll need him and he’ll take care of her, pointing her to the best Father like he does for all the students in his life.

one

The first month has been trying. We’re getting excited about 5 hours of sleep in a row and our conversations revolve around blow out poops and when the next feeding us. Last night this happy little face peed out of her diaper onto the bed (OUR bed, mind you) not once, but twice.

But the first month has also been so sweet. We’re learning which cries are which and that she likes music and to be on the move. And there hasn’t been a heel prick in weeks. We’re getting more smiles and alert hours every day and can’t help but just watch her.

It’s 6pm on a Saturday afternoon and we’re just here on the couch with music on and a sleepy girl in our arms and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

she’s here

This morning, I cleaned off the last bits of stickiness from my c-section band-aid. It’s been a whirlwind of just over a week and nothing has been as we expected or planned.

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At 10:45am on May 2nd, Tuck and I went for our normal scheduled appointment to hear baby’s heartbeat and get measured. One of the normal mid-wives is on maternity leave so we saw a new visiting nurse practitioner after answering all of the normal “are you bleeding or leaking from anywhere” sort of questions. She noticed that I was measuring small and brought in our normal midwife, Misti, who came back in to see us and confirmed that they’d like to see us back that day for an ultrasound – something that had been mentioned previously in passing as a possibility since I am a small person. Tuck and I both had busy days – extra planning for a split night at REV – but said we could make the 2pm ultrasound work if that is what they recommended.

As soon as we left the hospital, I felt sick. It felt like something was wrong. Any ridiculous Web-MD sort of problem ran through my mind as a possibility. I cried in the car and Tucker assured me that it was normal and told me all of the logical things I knew to be true, but his voice and my logical reasoning were drowned out by dread. Something felt worrying and I couldn’t shake it.

Tucker picked me back up to head back for the ultrasound. James and his robotic assistant who’s name I think James was constantly mispronouncing did the ultrasound. When he finished taking pictures, he asked a series of questions about baby’s movement that day – where it was, when it was, how often – and said that he’d have results in ten minutes… no, five minutes.

So we waited.

When the time came to go over our results, our nurse practitioner – whose name I didn’t even commit to memory – said everything looked good except for the amniotic fluid. It was low and she was going to talk to the doctor. When she came back, she said if the fluid was really that low, then we may be having a baby today.

TODAY.

They were going to get another ultrasound to make sure, but there was a danger with low fluid that baby would sit on its umbilical cord and cut off the needed nutrients. She left and came back in a rush. Spotting my water bottle on the floor, she said not to drink anymore and asked when I ate lunch.

Baby is breech.
You’re scheduled for a c-section.

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The next several hours were a whirlwind of moving room to room, tears, and getting prepped for surgery. So much for our “plan” (which consisted of “do what the doctors recommend”) and the way we pictured our little one entering the world. We had to help the nurses and doctors understand exactly what was happening at first, Tucker went back for our hospital bag that we had packed literally just the night before, and the little life I’d been carrying for 38 weeks was scheduled to be born at 8pm.

We texted friends and family to let them know this wasn’t a drill. I braided my hair – the one part of the situation I felt like I could control – and braced for whatever was next. Nurses, the doctor, and anesthesiologists went in and out, had us sign forms, and told us what was going to happen next. They all asked if we had questions. “Not yet,” we said.

Then it was time. I kissed Tucker and they walked me across the hall in sticky yellow socks to the freezing cold OR. It felt like a weird point-of-view shot of someone else’s life on a medical drama. Getting the spinal block. Laying out with arms stretched and taped down. Machines. Curtain drawn. Instruments being counted. Is this shot really going to keep me from feeling being cut open and a PERSON taken out of me?

They went to get dad and Tuck sat with me behind a blue tarp and held my hand while I shook – still freezing and unable to get warm. Finally, the anesthesiologist said, “Dad, do you want to watch this happen?” Tucker stood up and watched our girl be pulled out – feet…then body… then slowly, the head. I could hear little cries getting louder and more insistent. “We have a little girl!” Tuck said.

They brought her over to be put on the little bit of my chest that was on the awake side of the curtain. We talked about what to name her – find something new? Or the remaining name on our list that we had decided maybe we didn’t like anymore? Everly. Everly Alice. That was it. Our little girl was here.

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