MY BIRTHS

I was nine weeks pregnant and my own mama was in the ICU the day of my first ultrasound. 

I flinched at the cold gel, looked at my midwife and told her “We really need a win today.” She put that probe on my belly and there it was – that reassuring “whomp, whomp, whomp” filled the room, our first precious win in what was quick to become a season of loss.

Carrying our good news, my husband Kelvin and I flew to Washington that afternoon and told our families. My mama was in a hospital bed when I told her, too sick to give me a hug, but overjoyed all the same. 

I’ve never met a  woman stronger than my mama.

I’m not certain I ever will. Tiny in stature but enormous in hope, she refused to let anything beat her. When I was little, she was diagnosed with sarcoid, an autoimmune disease that her doctors could not make go away. As the years rolled by, sarcoid took a slow steady toll on her body, quietly creeping into her lungs, her liver, and her spleen. She had a lumpectomy, a lymphadenectomy, chemotherapy and radiation to beat breast cancer. She had her spleen removed as a result of the sarcoid. She was diagnosed with “smoldering” myeloma; she and her doctors quietly waited and watched for it to show its true colors. 

That day I told my mama I was pregnant, she was in the middle of a four-week stint in the ICU, her lungs bravely fighting a dangerous combination of flu, pneumonia, sarcoid and fungal infection. So we talked of death and life, diapers and baby names, fear and hope. We talked of trusting in what we can’t control. And I grieved and I celebrated that Spring, sharing our news, growing our baby, and desperately praying for my mama.

Read the full story HERE.

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My life wasn’t ready for another baby. It was a stunning and beautiful surprise in every way – and each moment of their life has been so, so good – but if I’m being honest, I didn’t know if I would be able to be what they’d need me to be.

My own mama had been gone 8 months when that little line turned pink. When they made their presence known. I’d had a quiet inkling for a couple weeks that they could be there, that perhaps my body was quietly creating another miracle. And then there they were.

QUIET AND UNASSUMING, AS ALL LITTLE PINK LINES APPEAR TO BE – BUT ALSO IRREVOCABLY LIFE CHANGING.

My pregnancy with this baby was a blur. I’d imagine most are when the mama is chasing another tiny toddler around. I was also deep in the throes of fresh grief, of putting a life back together that had been blown apart when I lost my own mama. It’s why I didn’t know if I could give this baby what they needed – because I just wasn’t sure I had anything to give.

But I grew and I grew, exactly as a I should, a beautiful testament to the things a mama can do when their baby needs them too. My body showed up for me, showed up for this baby, even while my mind and my heart wrestled with the grief that my mama’s death had left behind.

Read the full story HERE.

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My first two kids were 21 months apart. If I can be honest, that age gap wasn’t completely planned. In our heads, my husband and I had always thought 2+ years apart, but our tiny, feisty Quinn made up her own mind and snuck into our lives a little bit earlier.  

Two under two rocked me. I’m assuming it does most everyone who experiences it. And I’m also sure that things were even harder in the wake of my mama’s death. I’ve heard it said before, that “the body keeps score” – and if my life is any indication, I think it does. The year after Quinn was born was hard. My weight plummeted. I battled migraines, postpartum anxiety, and DMER. MRIs, chiropractors, and doctors’ appointments couldn’t figure out my headaches. It took SSRIs, prayer, support, and the end of breastfeeding before I started to feel halfway whole again, before the thought of another child seemed plausible instead of insane.

But eventually, we were ready.

Excited. I felt well again – finally, more whole than broken. We talked about getting our IUD out, the potential of a Spring or Summer baby, maybe even a son this time. And then COVID hit the world – and Kelvin and I started debating the rightness (or wrongness) of trying to have another baby when the world was on fire.

We watched, we listened, we prayed, and we paid attention. Like the rest of the world, we weren’t certain what was right or wrong – so we followed our guts, trusted our hearts, read up on the (small amount of) science, and decided to chase hope in the middle of another very bleak year.

Read the full story HERE.

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