Wife to my high school sweetheart, boy mama to sweet baby boy Macrae, and two fur babies Shiloh and Milo, a full time high school history teacher, and overall enthusiast for life. Avid podcast listener, iced coffee drinker, and organized chaos manager. My passion is to encourage and inspire. To cultivate an intentional life, a life full of joy and an abundance of grace.
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We are having a baby!
The longest secret I have ever kept (and I am the worst at keeping secrets) but my heart could not be any happier to finally say I am pregnant!! There will be a gracefulandfree baby arriving June 2021! Goodness, 2020 has been such a hard year. And while I have been looking forward to a fresh start that a new year brings, I am so happy that our rainbow baby is on the way! If you have been following along the journey over here, you may know Justin and I miscarried in July of this year. I wrote a very honest reflection about our miscarriage on the blog as well as have been pretty open and honest about the grieving process since then. But oh my goodness, gracious we are having a baby!
I found out I was pregnant, Saturday October 17th. The night before, we had a cross country meet. I remember two odd things about that cross country meet. First, as I was running around cheering on our athletes, collecting one-and-two miles splits, I remember getting really emotional as one of our runners ran her fastest mile time in the past two years. I legit started crying. Yes, actual tears induced because of a girl’s one mile time! And as I was sprinting around cheering on our runners over the scope of four different races, I remember thinking holy cow my chest hurts. Again, both of these things could easily be PMS symptoms, which I just assumed they were. Well, that next morning, I woke up, got ready to go and run some errands, but before I left the house, I took a pregnancy test in the downstairs bathroom. I remember seeing two faint lines appear on the screen rather quickly. “Seriously,” I thought? I only had taken the test that morning to rule out that I was NOT pregnant. As a craft beer lover, I was excited to indulge in a few good beers over the weekend, and wanted to rule out that I was NOT pregnant beforehand as this was THREE days before any missed period!) It is worth mentioning that this was also the weekend of the National League Championship Series between the Braves and the Dodgers. Being an avid, loyal and relentless Braves fan, this girl needed her liquid courage to get her through those stressful games. Anyways, not believing the first test, I quickly took another one, and sure enough, PREGNANT! Well, I will deal with this later, I thought and left to go run my errands.
I was gone pretty much all day running errands. It was a beautiful day outside, gorgeous fall weather, as I drove around Marietta, Georgia. I went to a few different Targets to pick up a few things that I was planning on using to tell Justin later that night, he had NO idea! Also, the video of me telling Justin about us being pregnant is another one that is quite hysterical. Basically babe was obsessing about how much he loved wings, while I am secretly filming everything, trying to get him to put the wings away, so I could tell him that he was going to be a dad! Oh the memories!
Pregnancy after miscarriage is something that is truthfully hard to put into words. Finding our you are pregnant after loss, you want to be excited, you yearn to be happy, yet your mind immediately protects your heart. Instead of feeling complete joy, you feel worry. Moments that should be full of all the hope, are equally met with fear. Each new day and week is met with a comparison to the previous time. Goodness, it is a challenge. A challenge that is worth it, but definitely not for the faint of heart. I plan on sharing another blog post within the next week or two, all about navigating the first trimester after a pregnancy loss. I want to be able to share what helped me in those moments of doubt and fear. But, as I write to you today, I am 14 weeks and 1 day pregnant. Hello glorious second trimester. And with the growing baby bloat and the extra pounds that were quickly added in the last few days, I can say for certain that every hard day, dark thought, and fear-based emotion were worth it to be where I am right now and the feeling I feel in my heart as baby continues to grow inside me!
The Monday after we found out the news, I called my doctor. I feel so fortunate to have doctors and midwifes who work to make sure I feel confident and cared for throughout this pregnancy thus far. I had blood work done pretty soon after, right at 4 weeks and 2 days. Upon getting those results, I went in for additional blood work at 5 weeks, to be sure that my hormone levels were growing at a rate to support a healthy pregnancy. I had my first ultrasound at week six, followed by another ultrasound at week seven. I definitely felt at peace getting to see baby and hear baby’s heartbeat so early on in the pregnancy, however, I still moved with caution. Every single mother’s story to motherhood is so incredibly different, and I have known quite a few number of people to have experienced multiple miscarriages this past year. I still did not know what my journey to motherhood was going to look like, and I wanted to guard my heart!
The five weeks between my seven week ultrasound and the 12th week ultrasound were some of the longest weeks of my life. It didn’t help that they also were marked with the most stressful teaching weeks, coupled with my raging hormones, I was struggling. I scheduled my 12 week ultrasound on the first day of final exams. In my head, I wanted most of the final grades to be complete before processing whatever was to come at this mark. I had put so much weight and emphasis on the 12 week appointment. Up until this point in the pregnancy, my mind was consistently on overdrive, protecting and guarding my heart. I believed most certainly, that upon seeing the hopeful good news at this appointment, that my heart would fully take over. Well, I was wrong, my heart was not ready to accept the good news and I wasn’t quite ready to handle that processing of emotions.
So there I was, watching the ultrasound technician rub jelly on my bloated belly. Waiting, holding my breath, hoping and praying that everything was okay. I looked up on the screen and saw sweet lime baby on the screen. Baby was very active and moving its hand above its head as if Baby was waving to me saying “Hi, mom!” My mind was so incredibly happy. While, my heart felt so disconnected. I was hoping so much to experience this overflowing joy and excitement upon seeing baby and hearing heartbeat at the 12 week mark, yet joy and excitement were the furthest feelings my heart was experiencing. And the fact that my heart was disconnected bothered me so incredibly much. The next day, we were to get our family Christmas card pictures taken (which we were going to use to announce the pregnancy). Well, those photos were a disaster, the pups were not having it one bit. As we got to the car with zero photos, and one emotional breakdown later, I was defeated.
Later that night, full of a painful migraine (thank you pregnancy side effects) I completely lost it and felt at the lowest point I had been in during this pregnancy so far. I told J, I don’t think I can do this. I was so distraught that I felt so much disconnect. What I didn’t realize at the time, was how much my heart was still processing from before. What I have been struggling with the most at this point, was feeling like I was robbed of so many happy and joyful pregnancy emotions. I felt like so many women get to experience pregnancy without the fear, pregnancy with pure bliss, filled with all the joy. I felt like in our pregnancy thus far, the moments that should be filled with excitement, joy, and all the happy things, were instead filled with caution and fear. With concern and worry. I was missing the joy, and wanted it to be found.
The week of Christmas was a really sweet and special week. Monday marked 13 weeks pregnant. Truthfully, I do not take any single day of this pregnancy for granted. Every day I wake up and smile, so thankful for this growing baby! Mondays are my favorite, because every new Monday means we have made it another week with baby! Anyways, up until this point, I have been attending all my appointments solo, thanks to Covid. Honestly, that will probably be still the case up to the point of delivery. So, the week of Christmas, Justin and I scheduled an ultrasound at a boutique clinic in Kennesaw that allows for a plus one to accompany you! It was so special seeing baby and hearing the heartbeat with J. Earlier, that same day, I secretly did a blood test at a clinic to inform us of baby’s gender. The results were sent directly to a friend, who wrapped up the gender in a Christmas present, which we opened Christmas morning. Don’t you worry, a video with the gender reveal will be shared later this week on my Youtube Channel. Be sure to subscribe to not miss it! Anyways, back to the week of Christmas. We told the news to my sister on Christmas Eve Eve while baking Christmas cookies. On Christmas Eve, we shared the news with Justin’s family and on Christmas Day we told my family and our friends. Goodness, it was definitely a Christmas to remember.
The journey to get here has definitely not been easy. But I would walk through it again to be able to hold sweet baby in my arms. In the past week, joy had been found. Excitement is here. Anytime a song comes on that is about anything remotely loving and cute, I am a puddle on the floor. Baby already has quite the growing supply of baby clothes (they are seriously the cutest!) J and I are so incredibly excited about this lifelong adventure as parents. We are so looking forward to June 2021 where baby will officially join us and make our family and hearts complete. Baby also has no idea how much love is in store for him/her and how excited its two big brothers Shiloh and Milo are. Goodness, friends if you have made it all the way here, thank you! Thank you for your endless support, love and encouragement! Much love to you all and wishing you a happy and healthy new year!
xo. Haley (and baby!)