The Thing About You

The thing about parenting is, nothing can prepare you to become a parent. People give you ALL the advice. Advice about pregnancy, advice about birth, advice about babies and advice about children. You read the books and the blogs, you do your best to ask the “right” questions and notice the right things, but, nothing can truly get you ready.

IMG_4472.jpg

I remember when we found out we were pregnant like it was yesterday. I knew something was different, so after work, I went to buy a test, and waited for you to get home. I just knew it would be negative. I set a 3 minute timer on my phone and before a minute had even passed, I saw the word… Pregnant.

I ran back to the den and I couldn’t even get the words out. You saw the test and we both started crying. We knew our lives would never, ever be the same.

IMG_4492.jpg

For a while, it was just our little secret. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops, but we made a promise to one another to keep it between us as long as we could.

I remember one night after dinner we went to WalMart and we went down the carseat aisle — strictly out of curiosity — but the whole time we were looking over our shoulders to make sure no one saw us.

It was so hard to keep it a secret, but looking back I’m so thankful for that special time.

The thing about pregnancy, is it goes by so fast — and at the same time, it lasts for 3 years.

But, pregnancy really was so kind to me. I enjoyed every minute. (Until my lips swelled and I looked like I got bad lip injections , but whatever) And you were so good to me, too. Every craving, weird mood, and nesting project - you were there. And with a smile on your face most of the time! You helped me create the perfect nursery for our future son, went to every doctor’s appointment and stood strong with me when everyone in our lives wanted us to find out our baby’s gender : ) You made me feel confident in myself as a mother when I was feeling insecure, and helped me see the meaning during the seemingly mundane moments of pregnancy. It was such a special few months. I really do miss it sometimes!

IMG_2953.jpg

I love this picture. Most people don’t know about all the moments that lead up to this. From timing my contractions on the couch, to waking up at 3:00AM when my water broke… To going to get us Bojangle’s on the way to the hospital and yelling at the drive thru lady “We’re going to have a baby!”

… And then came the decision by our midwife to move forward with a c-section. I know how scared you were in this moment. But you stayed strong for me and our boy.

You held my hand through my surgery, and prayed and sang over me during the chaos in the recovery room. I have never felt love like I did in those moments. They were some of the most terrifying moments of my life, but also some of the most meaningful.

The thing about giving birth is, it’s anything but glamorous. I was so sore and drowsy from my surgery, you had to do everything. Every diaper, every bottle, every middle of the night wake up. I knew you were exhausted in every way, and I was helpless to do anything about it. You helped me get in and out of the bed, go to the bathroom, take a shower, and even eat. And you never complained.
You never snapped at me or blamed me. You never got outwardly frustrated with me or Bryant — even though I know you had to be ready to shake both of us in your mind.

Looking back, I know they weren’t fun. I know they were long, hard, and exhausting. But I wouldn’t change a thing about them.
I realized how much you loved me, and how much you loved Bryant from the moment he came into the world.
You took the role of husband and father so seriously, and in turn made me better.
Growing up, I never had dreams of being a wife or even a mother. I just knew that’s what I was supposed to do.
But you made me realize that dreams I didn’t even know I had were coming true.

The thing about coming home is, all bets are off. No more nurses, no more doctors and no more visitors.
It was just you and me and baby makes three.

I think as I get older and reflect on the past, some of the most significant days of our life together will be the weeks after we got home from the hospital. I struggled so badly with post-partum anxiety. They were truly some of the most trying times of my short life. I felt trapped, I felt alone, and I felt like I would never be myself again. But you were right there through every moment.

You listened to me cry, talked me out of wanting to drive myself to a mental hospital (more than once) and constantly encouraged me in my new role as a mother. As tired as you were, on top of starting a new job TWO WEEKS before Bryant was born, you never once complained to me or about me. And an even more significant moment for me was when you completely supported my decision to talk to my doctor about medication. I believe a lot of women are hesitant about this because they are afraid of the judgement or stigma regarding anti-depressants, even from their spouses... But you never made me feel silly or crazy or like I was bad mom for needing a little extra help to make it. I’m reminded daily that this was the right choice for our family. And I will always credit you for giving me the final boost I needed to take that step.

IMG_0527.JPG

But, that’s the thing about you.

You know. You see. You pay attention.

You recognize the things that make me me. You are committed to me. You put me first.

You are loving

You are kind.

You are good.

And I truly cannot imagine a better man for Bryant to look up to as a father.

I hope he sees your quiet strength. I hope he learns that you don’t talk much, but when you do, he should listen.

I hope he gets your patience, your wisdom and your steadfast heart.

I hope he learns to love and care for the people in his life the way you do.

He’s got big shoes to fill.

Happy Father’s Day, B.

I love you.

Hospital Bag Must Haves

When I was preparing for Bryant’s birth, I looked up a lot of information about what to bring to the hospital, and I was honestly shocked at how extra some of these mommas were. No offense to any of my mom friends who brought everything but the kitchen sink with them to the hospital, but I felt like all I needed were the basic essentials.

Of course, this is just one new mom’s opinion, but I wanted to share what I needed and actually used in the hospital!

The bag came from Jane.com but in case it isn’t available anymore here is the same bag from a different site: Buffalo Plaid Overnight Bag

I loved this bag. It was really big inside and I loved the buffalo plaid design. At this point, we still didn’t know the gender of Baby Harpe, so I wanted something gender neutral, but also stylish. I was really happy with this bag! I did end up having to pack 2 bags, but this one held most of my stuff, and the other bag was just for my toiletries/makeup (yes, I did my makeup almost every day in the hospital— don’t judge).

  • Chapstick

I know this seems really random, but hear me out. Once I got my epidural, I coudn’t eat or drink anything and my mouth was SO DRY. The chapstick distracted me from my inevitable death by dehydration, but also kept my lips moist when ice chips just weren’t cutting it. I personally love Carmex, but you do you.

  • Flip Flops

Again, I realize that this is so random, but I have a great explanation. I hate sleeping in socks, and I really don’t like wearing them underneath a blanket either. I just get so hot and I cannot deal. So, flip flops were great to have by the bed to put on quickly when I went to the bathroom or had to do my twice-daily walks around the maternity hall. Also, my feet stayed swollen for a few days after I gave birth, so the flip flops were the most comfortable thing for me! I just got some basic flip flops from Old Navy.

  • Maternity Bras

Obviously, putting on a bra after you deliver a baby doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing in the world, but you gotta do it. So, I wanted to find some bras that were comfortable and supportive and these bras were THE BEST. They were comfortable like a sports bra, but gave good support at the same time. I didn’t breastfeed, but they have a clip that gives you easy access for nursing, too! I was so pleased with them, and I still wear them postpartum. Win-Win!

  • Loose Night Gowns

I get very hot when I sleep, so I wanted loose and thin pajamas to wear in the hospital. I also wanted something long enough that everything would be covered when we had visitors. I loved these gowns. I got one in grey and one in navy. Like I said earlier, I didn’t nurse, but these have easy breastfeeding access, too!

  • High Wasted Pajama Pants

I absolutely love these pajama pants and have already ordered another pair post-partum. They are high waisted so they were comfortable even with my c-section incision, and they have so many cute designs to choose from! I will say, if you order these, they run extremely small. Based on other customer reviews, I ordered 2 sizes up from my regular size and they fit me perfectly. Just a heads up!

  • Robe

So, for the times that I wanted to look a little more put together for visitors, both in the hospital and at home, I wanted a pretty robe. I LOVE this robe and I still wear it all the time. Again, I am hot-natured, so I didn’t want anything plush or thick, so this was perfect. They have so many different designs on Amazon, too which I loved!

  • Folder, Notebook, & Pens

So, maybe I am just a little bit extra because I bought a set of folders that matched my overnight bag… Oops! :) But, even if you don’t order a special set, you will probably need a something like a folder to keep all your paperwork in! I felt like the nurses were constantly giving us paperwork and information, so I was glad I had something to put it all in. I also suggest bringing a notebook and some pens to write stuff down, because sometimes it is straight up information overload in there! And trust me, you will not remember anything they say, no matter how hard you try…

  • Baby Gear

I only brought Bryant’s coming home outfit with us to the hospital and I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. Thankfully my mom went to our house and brought back some outfits, socks, hats and blankets for us to use in the hospital. They did give us a few onesies, a pair of socks and a little cap, but it was nothing cute or cozy like we had for him at home! I suggest bringing at least 5 or 6 pajamas or outfits for your baby, just so you can have backup for the (inevitable) spit up/blow outs/etc.

  • Water Bottles

I know this probably seems like it’s not necessary, and I realize you may not want to bring a 24 pack of water bottles with you to the hospital. I actually had to get a friend to go get a pack of water bottles for us to keep in the room, but I suggest having a game plan for this. There’s only so many times you can ask the nurse for an 8oz styrofoam cup of ice water, before you realize you’re single handedly destroying the ozone layer. I was SO THIRSTY after delivery and I was so happy to have bottled water easily accessible.

  • Phone Charger with an Extension Cord

Bringing your phone charger may seem like an obvious thing, but the extension cord: WHAT A REVELATION. You never know how many outlets will be in your room or how close to the bed they will be, so come prepared!

IMG_2678.jpg

I really hope someone finds this list helpful! I remember packing my bag the week before my due date… I (thought) I was ready!

Of course, there are so many things you may have taken with you that I left out or things on my list that you think are unnecessary… So, let me know in the comments! What are your hospital bag must haves?!