It’s a Girl: Cora’s Birth Story

21 Oct

After three and a half long, stressful weeks of waiting, doing everything to stay pregnant, our third baby’s birthday had finally arrived. We had said goodbye to Delaney and Owen the night before, leaving them to sleep at my mom’s. We had to be at the hospital at 5 a.m., so no way were we dragging them out of bed for an early morning drop off.

I tried to pay special attention to every detail of those hours leading to her birth. I had so much anxiety brewing after Owen’s birth – we were truly traumatized by that experience and desperately needed a happier ending this time. I hoped this baby’s birth story would be both joyful and healing.

My last meal was red velvet cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. It was divine. I couldn’t finish it all because there was a person squashing my stomach, but the bit I could get down was smooth and yummy. Ryan watched Monday Night RAW (sorry to out you, Tack) as I passed the remaining stack of sweetness his way to finish off. I sat there overwhelmed with all I still needed to do. I still hadn’t even packed my hospital bag. Still riddled with anxiety about going back into the operating room, I just procrastinated like I’d never done before. For weeks, friends and family had been on me about that. Pack your bag for God’s sake. But for whatever reason, I couldn’t bring myself to actually do it. Even knowing that we would be leaving for the hospital in the next six hours wasn’t enough to push me. I took a shower instead.

With scheduled cesareans, you have to wash your whole body twice with this special surgical soap leading up to your admission. There were specific instructions about how much and how long you had to wash your skin, head-to-toe, with the chemically smelling suds. I paid special attention to to my pregnant body, feeling my swollen belly and the sweet life kicking me from the inside. In a few hours, this sweet baby would be earthside and I would never feel this feeling again for the rest of my life. Such a bittersweet moment – so ready to meet this little person and so relieved to be at the finish line, but still mourning the feeling of never experiencing pregnancy and birth again. I’m a firm believer in never say never, but let me assure you, in this case, we can only say never😉

By the time I went to bed, bag still not packed, it was just after midnight. I set my alarm for 4 a.m., but knew I wouldn’t make it there. Up and down all night, half the time because I couldn’t hold my bladder, the other half, waking to horrific flashbacks of our last time in the OR. Anxiety filled my chest – so panicked that something would go wrong again. That even if everything went well, the trauma from Owen’s birth would cloud this experience and cast a shadow over this baby’s birth too. I finally got up around 3:30 a.m. when I couldn’t take it anymore. I went through the stack of clothes I could still fit into and started tossing them in an overnight bag. I showered again with more of the surgical soap, put on some makeup and started loading the car. Ryan was on a smoothie kick, and still half asleep, was taking his sweet time making his breakfast concoction. Annoyed that he was making us late – and grumpy that I couldn’t eat or drink, we bickered a bit as we got into the car and started our drive to the medical center. Thankfully, there aren’t many people on the road at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday.

We made it there in about twenty minutes. He dropped me at the door and I went up to check in while he parked the car. The hospital was eerily quiet – I don’t often spend time there at that time of day, so the silence and empty halls seemed out of place. Or rather, I seemed out of place. I took the elevator to the sixth floor, approached the waiting room and signed in. My name was called before I could sit down (good thing – it took a bit of effort to get back up at that point in my pregnancy) and I made my way to the desk.

“Busy night at the inn?” I asked. The unit clerk shot me a grin and said, “Actually, no. Knock on wood. You won’t even have to wait on a room.” Most people would have been thrilled. I was devastated. I thought I’d have more time to sit in the waiting room with my husband to collect my thoughts. Muster up the strength to walk through those sliding glass doors and not well up. Calm myself enough to relish in the happiness that awaited us. For whatever reason, fate had different plans for that morning. Sometimes you just have to rip it off like a bandaid.

All checked in, the clerk led me back into the Labor and Delivery unit to the pre-op area where we would spend the next few hours. She asked me to change into a gown and wait for my nurse to arrive. Once she closed the curtain, I sat on the bed and could feel my chest stiffen. This was the same bay I was in for Owen’s birth. This is the very spot I laid for hours, weak from blood loss, shaking from the anesthesia, not knowing how Owen was, listening to those in adjacent bays experience their first moments of motherhood. I thought to myself, I should just ask to be moved. They absolutely could and would have moved me.

Then I thought, no, I can do this. I am strong enough. For the first time since seeing those two pink lines pop up on that pregnancy test, I felt like everything was going to be okay.

Ryan popped his head through the curtain and sat down while we waited for our nurse and doula to arrive. The nurse got there first, greeting us with a warm smile and a Happy Birthday wish for the baby in my belly. She breezed through the pre-op blood work and paperwork – our doula arrived during the intake questions. We were hopeful she would be allowed to join us in the OR, but knew it wasn’t likely, as it was against hospital policy. She brought copies of our birth preferences and made sure to get a copy to our nurse. I had a knot in the pit of my stomach as she handed her the white piece of paper, expecting her eyebrows to ruffle and her face to sneer at our list of hopes for our birth. Quite the opposite happened, in fact. She nodded her head as she scanned the list of requests, placed her hand on top of mine and said, “I’m very sorry to see you’ve had a recent traumatic birth. I’m going to do everything I can to help make this a healing experience for you. The things you’ve requested seem more than reasonable and we can absolutely accommodate most of them. Now, there are some that we’ll need special permission for, but I’m happy to share your wishes with those who will be making those decisions.” My eyes welled up because I honestly wasn’t expecting this kind of response. I thought to myself, Oh hey, Fate. Thanks for hooking us up this time.

My doctor arrived a couple of hours later as we were wrapping up the pre-op process. We talked a bit about how anxious I was about the OR, that I felt like I might start falling apart at that point. She assured me that I’d do great – and just in case, she’d put in an order for IV anxiety medication to help keep me calm through the surgery. Oh, thank you, Jesus.

My OB and I had previously discussed how some of our requests would require special permission from the anesthesiologist – specifically my request to not be restrained during the surgery and for our doula to be present in the room. The anesthesia resident came in shortly after to go through the consent process. She agreed to pass my request onto the powers that be and that she would be back with some answers for us shortly. In the meantime, it was time for Ryan to get suited up. Poor guy was so nervous he put his OR boots on backwards. How is that even possible?

About thirty minutes later, they came in with a second suit. I couldn’t believe it. And then, they said the head of anesthesia gave them permission to not restrain my arms. I was going to be able to hold my baby in the OR! I never in a million years thought they would accommodate ALL of our requests! The adrenaline kicked in at that point and it really clicked that this time was going to be different – it was going to be fantastic. Beam me up, Scottie – it’s time to have a baby.

They wheeled me down the windy hallways to the operating room for my spinal. My doctor was already in there waiting with a smile. “You heard the good news?” she asked. I teared up and nodded. I mouthed thank you to her. She came around the table and held my hands while they began to numb my back. We made small talk about Delaney and Owen’s first day of school and the weather. With a tear in her eye, she told me she’d sent her youngest off to college that morning. I squeezed her hands and took a deep breath as the pressure of the needle pressed into my back. “Thank you. For everything,” I said. “And I think it’s no coincidence that on the day you said goodbye to your youngest, you’re helping me say hello to mine.” She smiled and bowed her head, then looked up and said, “I wouldn’t have missed this for anything. Today is a very special day for the both of us.” It was going to be the happy ending we both needed.

This time was going to be different.

IMG_7254Laid out on the table, the blue curtain rose up across my chest. Ryan and our doula, Elaine, walked into the room and joined me on the left. Elaine had our camera and began taking pictures. Ryan grabbed my hand and we both held on for dear life. It was like being strapped in on the climb of a roller coaster, anticipating that terrifying drop. Fear. Adrenaline. Excitement. But we never dropped. It just kept building. 

“Baby’s out.”

Those words had haunted me for the last two years. Those words paired with silence. This time, they were followed with a healthy, newborn cry.

“10:20 a.m.,” someone shouted. Happy tears.

IMG_7260

“Ryan, do you want to come back here and see?” my doctor asked. “Would you like to tell Kim if you two have a new son or daughter?”
“Oh. No. No, I’m good. I don’t think I can – you can just tell us,” he stammered.

“Your baby looks perfect. Just cutting the cord now…alright guys, it’s a girl!”
In unison we both shouted, “NO WAY!!!

I can’t explain the shock and overwhelming joy that shot through my body at that moment. Only those who have waited to find out the gender of their baby can understand the level of surprise it brings – and the excitement, oh the excitement! Such. A. Rush. It’s silly because it’s not like they’re going to shout, “It’s a baby goat,” – either boy or girl – 50/50 shot. But it still surprised the hell out of us in the best way possible.

IMG_7263They lowered the curtain enough to hold her up for us to see. With giant smiles and happy tears, we laid eyes on our youngest daughter for the first time. IMG_7265
I reached up and touched her with my right hand. She was absolutely perfect. Healthy and perfect. And big! Much bigger than we expected – about double the size we expected actually! They took her back behind the curtain while the pediatricians did their assessments.IMG_7280

“She’s weighing in at 8/8 and APGAR’s at a 10. We have a perfect baby here, guys!” PerfectIMG_7323

“Does this little lady have a name?” the pediatrician asked.
“Cora,” I said. “Cora Elizabeth.”
“Oh, it’s beautiful. She’s beautiful.”

They swaddled her and brought her to us. They held her close to me and I placed my left hand on her. IMG_7297 We were holding our baby – in the operating room!

IMG_7317IMG_7313IMG_7320IMG_7325Once I was stitched up, they lowered the curtain and the pediatrician asked, “Would you like to do skin-to-skin with your baby?” Oh, would I ever! IMG_7326

They unwrapped her and unsnapped my hospital gown – placed her on my chest and draped blankets over the two of us. I laid my hands across her back and closed my eyes. I breathed in her new baby smell and kissed the top of her head. Tears slipped out of my closed eyelids. My doula later said that she usually has one specific moment that sticks out to her from each birth – a moment she’ll never forget.IMG_7328

She said, “I’ll never forget the feeling of watching you get to hold your daughter for the first time. After having two episodes where your baby was rushed away, there was so much healing in you just holding her, breathing her in. There was so much pain in your heart, but in that moment, it was all gone. There was only joy. It was like she healed you right before my eyes.”IMG_7329

She really did, guys. Cora is the happy ending we needed.

They wheeled us out of the OR and back into the same bay we’d just left. The same recovery bay from Owen’s birth. Alright, Fate. You got this right. Everything came full circle. So much healing. So much joy.

“You did great, Dodson. I’m really proud of you,” Ryan said as he leaned over us.
“No, we did it, Tack.”
“We did.”
“Ahhhhh…I still can’t believe it!”
“Believe what?”
Its a girl!” IMG_7333

Caught Off Guard: 34 Weeks

24 Jul

This entire pregnancy I’ve been planning for a VBAC. I’ve changed how I envision birth, how I wanted our birth experience to go this time. I’ve gone to workshops, practiced techniques, hired a support team and read countless articles about evidence-based practice and family-centered care. I was ready to fight for the chance to labor on my own. I was arming myself in every way I could think of.

Yesterday afternoon, we got a call that would change that fight. Now, I’m fighting to stay pregnant until 37 weeks.

After about week of feeling “off,” swollen, blurred vision and headaches, I went to the doctor. After rattling off my symptoms, I was sent to labor and delivery where I was monitored for the next several hours. My blood pressure eventually leveled out, baby was moving well and my labs came back fine, but because my symptoms were still concerning, I was sent home on temporary bed rest until I could meet with my OB. I saw her yesterday morning and she decided she wanted me to begin working from home in an effort to stave off an increase in symptoms. Unfortunately, that evening, we got a call that my labs came back, confirming a preeclampsia diagnosis. This is the same point in my pregnancy where it was confirmed with Delaney. So while I’m shocked it’s happening again after a healthy pregnancy with Owen, the timing didn’t really surprise me.

What does that mean?

No VBAC. C-section will be scheduled for 37 weeks, but possibly sooner if the condition moves from mild to severe. With Delaney, they were confident I would make it to 37, but ended up taking her at 36. We’re trying to stay optimistic, but cautiously so. For now, I’m on home bed rest. I go back to the doctor on Monday for an non-stress test and more labs. I’m hoping with all I have that I can remain on home bed rest – at least a little longer. The thought of being inpatient with two little ones at home breaks my heart. I try not to think about it because then the tears start collecting.

Any positive thoughts or prayers you can spare are so appreciated. We’d like to make it as long as possible and avoid any NICU time for this baby.

It’s ironic how our fight has changed this time. We were fighting for a healing birth experience and now we’re just fighting to keep baby baking to term. One day at a time. Every day is a victory at this point. Trying to keep that top of mind.

Can’t wait to see your smiling face earthside, sweet munchkin. Hang tight as long as you can though❤

The Best Gift You Can Give to Your Children

24 Jun

Once you have your first child, you understand the motherly love you couldn’t before. The instinctual, guttural feeling that you would give anything in the world up for this one little person. The feeling of knowing you would do absolutely anything to protect them. The gut wrenching sensation when they get physically or emotionally hurt.

When you get pregnant with a second, although not everyone will admit it, there is this ongoing internal struggle that consumes you.

How can I possibly love another child this much?

Will I be able to love this baby enough?  

Did we make the wrong decision?

And then the second baby comes and your heart explodes into a million tiny pieces. You laugh at yourself and how anxious you were because now you get it. You couldn’t before, but you do now. And everything falls into place just as it should. You don’t love your first any less and you love your second just as much – you appreciate their differences and love them even more for their individual quirks. You didn’t think it was possible, because you just couldn’t comprehend it yet.

I get that. I’ve lived it and I know it’s ok on the other side. What I wasn’t prepared for, was that same anxious feeling creeping up again as we approach the birth of our third.

We had family pictures the other night. In the true form that is our family, my kids were monsters. Naturally. Most of the group shots encompassed a child throwing his head back and wailing, a little girl putting her hands over her face or someone looking at the sky. It was a challenge. Then, they saw the water fountain and all bets were off. My children climbed into troughs full of water and rolled around like little guppies. We had zero control at that point. Family pictures were done. Cute though, right?

That night as I laid in bed with Owen, cuddling him and stroking his hair, I suddenly felt very anxious.

We can’t even control the two we have. What were we thinking?

He still needs so much extra love and attention. Delaney needs a totally different kind of support right now. How will I ever be able to meet every child’s needs when there are THREE?

I don’t think we can do this. What are we going to do?

Then I think back to some really sound advice I got from a friend while we were expecting Owen:

A sibling is the greatest gift you can ever give to your child.

But why, you ask? How? It is something no one else in the world can give them. They won’t outgrow it. They can’t lose or break it (okay, wishful thinking). It’s something that will help teach and guide them, something that will help keep them grounded, but simultaneously reach for the stars. The bond is strong and important – unique to any other relationship they’ll experience. They will always have each other, even long after you’re gone from this earth.

Now, I know it won’t always be rainbows and sunshine. There will be fighting, hair-pulling, harsh words and struggles to share. But there will also be giggles, cuddles, secret forts, big hugs and lots of love. Some days they’ll be best friends in the morning and worst enemies by lunchtime. But they’ll always have each other.

This helps me get through the anxiety of adding another – knowing this baby will be the best gift I can give to Delaney and Owen (and that this baby will be blessed with two amazing gifts from day one).

The worry won’t fully go away until I’m holding the newest Tackett in my arms.

Because then, I’ll get it.❤

And not a moment before.

mommy1

This is My Fight Song

11 Jun

We all get those songs stuck in our heads and think, “Did someone really get inside my head and write this song to describe exactly how I feel?” Right? I’m not alone in that, am I?

Here’s mine, especially after today’s OB appointment:

 

I’m down a pound from my last appointment and am told I need to stick with this diet for the rest of my pregnancy. If it mattered for something, anything, I would happily do it, no questions asked. I asked if I stuck to the diet and maintained my weight throughout the remainder of this pregnancy, if my doctor would be more comfortable with me attempting a VBAC.

Nope. Nothing to do with weight. Just the size of the baby. Which, guess what folks? WE WON’T KNOW UNTIL THE BABY IS BORN HOW MUCH HE OR SHE WEIGHS.

Ryan and I went into Delaney and Owen’s births very uninformed (only ourselves to blame) and therefore didn’t advocate for ourselves. We weren’t participants in our care because we didn’t know we should be. We thought you just go to the hospital and do whatever they tell you. I didn’t know I shouldn’t have an epidural at 1cm. That I needed to move as much as possible during labor. That I was essentially setting myself up for a csection. I think our care team at the time assumed we were good with whatever since it wasn’t our first rodeo, but Delaney’s birth wasn’t exactly normal by any means.

I feel like I should have asked more questions. Been more informed of our options and preferences. Participated. Not just show up, smile and nod.

And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

I know not everyone understands my need to push for this. Honestly, before our last birth experience, I probably would have looked at someone like myself as crazy and irrational. But I know more now. A lot more. I know that this is something I can do and something I should be allowed to try to do. If there is a medical reason that pops up, making it no longer safe, I’ll be asking for the surgical paperwork. I don’t want to put this baby at risk because of something I’m fighting for, but I don’t see it that way at this point. As of now, everything looks perfect. Zero red flags.

Losing friends and I’m chasing sleep
Everybody’s worried about me
In too deep
Say I’m in too deep (in too deep)
And it’s been two years
I miss my home
But there’s a fire burning in my bones
And I still believe
Yeah I still believe

I haven’t really publicly talked about how deeply Owen’s birth affected me. I was literally traumatized. Birth trauma. It’s real. It’s not something you can take a pill for. It’s not something that goes away in a few counseling sessions. It’ll rock your world and tear it down. It’s hard to understand unless you’ve been there and I know that. I don’t hold grudges toward people who don’t get it – I know it’s nothing personal. They don’t see how something like that could affect your life forever when you have a healthy baby at the end of the day. Two different things, guys. Apples and oranges.

It’s been two years and it still hasn’t left me. It probably never will.

But that’s ok. Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me. 

 

Oh Hi, Third Tri!

5 Jun

rutabagaOfficially 27 weeks today! At this point, this baby is about the size of a rutabaga or a bunch of bananas, although he or she feels closer to basketball-sized.

I had my gallbladder ultrasound which found ZERO gallstones – woo! Unfortunately, it also showed that I have an enlarged liver, so I’ll have to cut back on my rum and coke intake for the next 13 weeks – bummer! In all seriousness, it could just be a weird pregnancy thing or something to be concerned about, but we won’t really know the answer to that until after delivery, so to-be-continued on that topic.

I also had to see a dietitian to help me better control my weight gain for the rest of this pregnancy. Fun, right? I could hardly wait to get up at the butt-crack of dawn to get weighed and have someone tell me to fight my cravings and cut out carbs and sugar – good times! The woman I worked with was actually really nice and understanding, which helped, but I’m still being put on a diet…wahhhhh!

I have to limit meals to 30g of carbs, make sure they have at least 30g of protein and fill everything in with a truckload of veggies. Yum (not)! Just for an example, this is what I’m allowed to have for lunch:

lunchDon’t think it looks too bad? Well, no worries – I’ll be happy to make lunch for you anytime you’d like to join me. We can play who gets hungry first!

For realsies though, it’s tough. I’m sure it’ll get easier over time, but right now I feel like shoving my whole face into the chocolate drawer at my office (yes, we have an entire filing cabinet drawer full of chocolate – maybe that’s how I got in this place to start?). What does this mean? If you can somehow sneak me a Sonic Master Blast, I will give you naming rights to this child.

Aside from all the fun going on with that, everything else is pretty good. Ryan is home with the kids for the summer and they’re having a blast with zoo and pool days – he’s faring well too🙂

Less than three months to go, guys. Crazy, huh?

Now, back to the important stuff…giphy

And on the 25th Week, There Was a Doula

28 May

So, still reeling off my last appointment, it’s been a tough couple of weeks. Lots of self-reflection and talks with Ryan about our birth plans. I was able to talk with my doula following our last OB appointment and she assured me that everything I was feeling was accurate based on the evidence. Late-term ultrasounds are highly unreliable. We don’t need to make rash decisions at this point. As of today, there is no indication it’s not safe – and what’s in mine and the baby’s best medical interest – to attempt a VBAC.

Attempting a VBAC is safe, reasonable and appropriate for most women. Unless there is a medical contraindication, there is no real reason any woman should be refused the right to try for a VBAC. They come with risks, but those risks are minimal. Please don’t tell me c-sections are always safer (although in some cases they are and save the lives of moms and babies every day). Mine was horrific and I want to do everything possible to avoid another one.  If that’s unavoidable, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, but we’re not there yet.

At any rate, I’ll be 26 weeks tomorrow and other than not loving the heat, feeling tired and the lingering nausea, I feel pretty good. Huge, but good.

25weeks

We met with our doula this past weekend and it helped us refocus tremendously. We did a couple of exercises that helped hone in on the specific things we hoped for with this birth experience. We looked at a series of 30 or so note cards – all with different things written on them, front and back. We had to choose one side over the other (e.g., vaginal birth v.s. c-section, breastfeeding v.s. formula, epidural v.s. no pain medications). We went through the cards and picked all the things that we thought were most important to us. Then she asked us to remove 12 of them – things that if we couldn’t have our way wouldn’t make or break the birth experience. In the beginning this seemed easy – who cares whether we have a boy or girl? What difference is it if I can can control the level of lighting? However, as we continued, this proved more difficult than I’d thought. I was having to choose between things that I did really value. Definitely not easy.

Then after removing the 12 cards, she asked us to choose only three. Those would be the most important things to us and ideally the ones we had the most control over. This was the hardest part for me. As many of you know, I’m a woman of many words. Now, I’d have to pick three that were the main focus.

want need

Frustrated, I blurted out, “I just want a normal birth experience. I want to have a healthy baby – one that I can hold right away. I want my husband to be able to find joy in the moment he meets his child, not in a room riddled with panic and fear, having to choose between being by his wife’s side or rushing to the NICU to be with their ailing newborn. I want to go to a postpartum room with my baby. I want to joyously post a birth announcement, sharing one of the most special moments in our lives with those we love. I want to invite people to visit us at the hospital. I want this to be a happy time. I just want what we’ve never had.

What I didn’t realize is that I’d dictated our priorities already. I didn’t have to analyze the cards and figure out which was most important. I already knew, but I just hadn’t realized it yet. 

Our doula, Elaine, said, “You can have all of those things whether you have a successful VBAC or a scheduled c-section. You don’t have to pick between the two. You both experienced such trauma during the births of your children, that you don’t realize what you’re asking for is something that most people don’t think to request, because it’s expected. We just need to get everyone on the same page and work toward the end result. You can have that experience. You guys can do this.

I really needed that. It’s so easy to get caught up in the research and evidence-based practices – experiencing push back from doctors and fielding insinuations that you don’t have what’s most important in mind – to have a healthy baby. Bottom line: I can have a VBAC safely and end up with a healthy baby. I can have a c-section and end up with a healthy baby. It’s possible.

We’re having a baby, guys. And it’s going to be different this time. 

 

 

Letters to My Son: Two Years Later

23 May

While waiting for Owen’s arrival, I started a series of posts called Letters to My Son. Tons of people loved them, so I decided I’d start doing them for birthdays, too. I also love the idea that the kids can go back through and read these when they’re older❤

My sweet Owen guy,

It blows my mind that you are two years old. TWO.


You’re remarkable. It still blows my mind on a daily basis that you’re the same baby I met in the wee hours two years ago. Your birth was earth-shatteringly terrifying. I had no idea whether the first time I held you would also be the last – a hello and goodbye all at once. That day told me a lot about you. A lot about your dad. Even more about myself. We have a special kind of bond, you and I. I’d go so far as to say it’s a bit more extreme than a typical mother-son bond. Good luck and God speed when it’s time for you to grow up – you’re going to live with us forever, right?

owen nicu

You’re freaking adorable. Seriously. People say it all the time, so I know I’m not too biased! Your smile lights up a room and your giggle makes everyone break out into spontaneous laughter. You have gorgeous blue eyes that I hope will stay just as they are forever and a curly mop on your head that totally matches your personality – some people are jealous and other are judgmental: why keep a boy’s hair long? It fits you. Rock it out, dude.

You’re joyful and hilarious. Whether you’re playing basketball with a soccer ball, making ramps for your Hot Wheels through Delaney’s dollhouse, trying to suck the baby out of my belly with a leaf blower or patiently waiting by the window to spot a dinosaur (just so we can ROAR at it), you make me laugh. You make everyone laugh. The goofiness you share with the world keeps me confident that you’ll never be alone. You’ll always have a big group of friends to support and share life with – you’re just too dang funny not to like! Stay funny, kid. It’ll keep you and everyone else around you laughing. There’s never too much laughter in the world.

You’re a risk taker. So while this often terrifies me, I also see it as an amazing characteristic for you down the road. You literally have NO FEAR. None. You’ll walk up to anyone and instantly become their little buddy. You have no fear of any animal or insect. No fear of running into the street (ok, this one we need to has out ASAP). You reenact wrestling moves that were popular decades ago. You make my heart race daily. But I know someday, this will all come full circle and you’ll accomplish great things because you have nothing to hold you back – not even yourself.

You’re a lover and a fighter. You’re one of the cuddliest kids I’ve ever met. You will crawl up in my lap 20+ times in an hour, get your cuddle fix and be on your way – only to be back in my arms a few minutes later. You give you hugs like it’s your job and give high fives to anyone feeling down. You’re also a brute sometimes though, kid. You fight for what you want and I can appreciate that. I sometimes want Starburst and suckers before dinner too. I can’t really blame you there. You fight for what you believe in and I’m sure that will get you far in life. Right now, I’m cool with it as long as you share the good stuff – please save the pink Starburst for me.

owen cuddle

I love you to the moon and back – a few laps around the Milky Way, too. You’ve made me a better person and have touched the lives of so many already. I cannot wait to see what great things you do and am so looking forward to watching you grow (not too fast, though). I’m so excited to watch you become a big brother on a few months (don’t worry, it’ll be a cinch). Thank you for choosing me as your mom. You’ve been one of the most amazing and rewarding challenges I’ve come across so far.

I wish you the happiest of birthdays, my guy.

Love always,

Your Momma

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