Motherhood and What I Wish I Had Known

Baby boy is two months old today! Everyone told me time would fly by and it really is so true, I can’t believe how fast he is growing up! How is he 2 months old already!? I remember the day I bought this onesie - I remember thinking how tiny it was and being in awe that I was going to be a mother to such a tiny little human. The crazy thing is it just now fits my sweet mills and is still a tad too big! It never occurred to me that my baby boy could be even smaller than the tiny newborn onesies I was so lovingly collecting. Being a first time mama is full of surprises - here are a few of the things I've learned over the past 2 months that I wish I had known :

You can go into early labor and have a preemie for no reason. Throughout my pregnancy, doctors told me that I would probably deliver late since it was my first pregnancy and many of my friends were late with their first pregnancies and so that’s what I prepared for. Sure I knew that wasn't a guarantee but it never occurred to me that I could go into early labor for no reason - not stress, not drugs or alcohol, not an illness or genetics. No matter how healthy you are, how easy your pregnancy or how great your checkups it can happen to you and it's not your fault. The good news is that if it does you will be a part of a special group of preemie parents who share a unique bond from experiencing something so raw and emotional and they will offer incredible support and understanding. 

Postpartum dressing is a bitch - prepare yourself. I survived my jeans no longer fitting, my breasts getting huge, my feet outgrowing all my shoes and all of the awkward wardrobe changes of pregnancy. What I was not prepared for was how tricky and frustrating postpartum dressing would be. If you’re breastfeeding everything must have easy access to the tatas - this means dresses are out unless you want to nurse in the nude with your dress pulled up to your neck (which I’ve definitely done...). Tops are fine but nothing strapless because lord knows the boobs can’t handle a strapless bra and watch out for buttons or fabric that will be rough against babies face. And what about bottoms, what bottoms do you wear with these tops when you’re no longer your pregnancy weight but nowhere near your pre-pregnancy weight - nothing tight or restricting that's for sure! Even pajamas are tricky now that you have to sleep in a bra- gotta have something to hold your breast pads in place so you don’t leak all over your sheets. Suddenly the stretchy jersey dresses I swore by in pregnancy are a nightmare and nothing pre-pregnancy seems to fit quite right. Whatever you do do not try on your pre-pregnancy jeans - just don’t do it! I’ve spent a small fortune on nursing bras, sleep bras, soft lounge wear that is comfy for being at home but normal enough if I need to get out of the house. It’s never ending so start early with pieces you can enjoy during and after pregnancy.

You’ll have a love hate relationship with your postpartum body. On one hand this incredible body created, birthed and is now providing all of the nutrients to sustain this tiny human! You know when it’s time to feed baby based on the sensation in your breasts alone and have the power to calm and soothe your baby just by your presence. On the other hand you’re constantly leaking milk and squishy all over, you’re sore and different and you’ll hate the way you look in pictures. Try to be gentle with yourself and know that you will feel like yourself again eventually (at least that’s what they tell me...). Try to focus on all that this amazing female body is doing for baby and be proud!

The mom guilt starts immediately and never stops. For me it started during pregnancy - am I exercising enough, am I eating healthy enough, am I doing enough kegels, reading the right books? When I went into preterm labor my first thought was what did I do to cause this? Now that he’s here I wonder am I present enough? Did something I eat cause his gas? Am I holding him too much? Should I have more of a schedule? Is he gaining enough weight? Is it bad if I have a glass of wine? On and on and on. I was warned about mom guilt but I didn’t realize how much uncertainty would go along with it. Thankfully I have an incredible, supportive husband and amazing girlfriends who have new babies that share the honest truth about the ups and downs of motherhood. We’re constantly asking each other advice and sharing our mom fails and hacks and it’s so nice to know you’re not alone in this. Find your Mom tribe and be honest with them always.

Motherhood so far is such a wonderful, exhausting, beautiful experience. Mills is showing me a new kind of love that I've never known before. Our 8 lb 7 oz boy makes eye contact with us now, grabs onto us with his strong little arms and fists, raises his little head and looks around during tummy time and even rolled over front to back a couple of times!! He loves to stretch out in his crib and watch his mobile and I love seeing him learn and grow every single day. Happy 2 months baby Mills! Thank you for teaching me how to be a mama!


Mills' Whimsical Vintage Nursery

Decorating the nursery is one of the things I've looked forward to most about our new home and it has been so fun to pull together Mills' little space! As you may remember from this post my goal for the nursery was for it to be a colorful collected space that was functional, charming and adaptable over time. So naturally, I made myself a mood board and got to work creating the perfect whimsical nursery for our little one!

There were a few pieces that I feel in love with early on that I knew I wanted to incorporate into the space. The first was a set of vintage flash cards that my mom had given me from her class years ago - I love their nostalgic charm. The second was this embroidered tiger rug from Anthropologie -  it's just so wild and fun, such a statement! The third was this sweet little woodland animals mobile from Petite Pehr - I love the soft colors and texture. These pieces set the tone for the room and from there I layered in pieces that are fun and functional and add whimsical charm.

To anchor the space I layered this large neutral rug with the tiger rug on top and hung floor to ceiling drapes to add softness and impact. I love a good stripe and these Pom Tassel Curtains from Anthropolgie in navy were the perfect compliment to the gold tiger rug. The Flisat wall shelves from Ikea fit perfectly for a book wall between the two closets and the touch of natural wood creates a great pause point, allowing the colorful books to pop. I loved the Crate & Kids Hampshire Dresser but at a $999 price point, no way! So, we got the raw wood Tarva six drawer dresser from Ikea, found our perfect shade of dusty-olive-slightly-retro-but-still-fresh-and-fun green, Rural Green SW6418 by Sherwin Williams, and put my mother in law to work - I absolutely love the way it turned out! The Babyletto Gelato 4-in-1 Convertible Crib in white and our Babyletto Kiwi Swivel Electronic Recliner in dark grey tweed are both functional and durable options that help balance out all of the other colors and patterns in the space. I absolutely love this rocker - it is so comfortable and being able to swivel, rock, and recline is amazing! These adorable Little Unicorn Bison Sheets, a collection of vintage paint by numbers and a bright green plant add fun and color to the space.

I am so happy with how this little space turned out! It's comfortable and eclectic with personality and plenty of functional space for our little man to grow and play. I love that it is filled with a mix of new and old, nostalgia and function but most of all love!

Welcome to the world Mills Harry Thompson, our precious preemie

Our sweet Mills is 5 weeks old today (4 days shy of his due date) and I cannot believe how fast the time has flown by!

Mills Harry Thompson joined the world 6 weeks early on Monday June 4th at 1:35 am weighing 4 lbs 12 oz and measuring 18.25 inches - our precious little preemie. Giving birth at 34 weeks was definitely not a part of our move-across-the-country-buy-a-house-have-a-baby master plan but I am learning that life doesn't go according to plan and parenthood certainly doesn't. Mills' entrance into this world was absolutely nothing like what we expected but we are so glad to have our little doodlebug here in the world and it sure makes for a great story...

When we found out we were pregnant and due in July, the same time that we would be moving to Birmingham for Max's new job, we knew we had to be strategic about timing to ensure we were all set up in Birmingham before baby boy joined the world. We moved into our new home at the end of May and Max returned to California to finish out a few weeks at his job there. He would officially move to Birmingham on June 18th giving us the final three weeks of my pregnancy to have our baby showers, prepare our home, take birthing classes and read the baby books. It was certainly not ideal to be on opposite sides of the country that late in my pregnancy but it was important to get me and baby safe and settled in Birmingham. As long as Max didn't miss the birth...

To be safe, as my due date drew near we planned for my mom and dad to alternate staying with me all but a few days until Max moved back. The night of June 2nd, one of the few days I was by myself, I laid in bed writing up my birth plan and decided that it was time to get serious, to pack the hospital bag and get all the baby clothes and gear washed and ready. I woke up on June 3rd, pulled out the baby stuff to get started and noticed something unusual. I called Max and said "don't be alarmed, but my underwear were wet with a clear liquid when I woke up and it seems to be getting worse." (don't panic, don't panic...) "Why don't you just go to the hospital to get checked, just in case" he said - (only later to confess he knew that meant my water had broken but didn't want to send me into a panic.) Fast forward a couple of hours, and I am at the hospital alone and in labor at 34 weeks with my husband across the country. Max booked the first flight out of California and frantically called all of our family and friends trying to get someone to me as soon as possible until he could get there. My mother in law got here first, then my aunt arrived from Atlanta, my mom and brother happened to be together in Tampa and hopped on the first plane out and my dad drove here from Texas. As my family arrived over the next few hours, the doctors and nurses assured me that they would do everything they could to keep the baby put until Max got there. I was so consumed with the idea that Max might miss the birth that it didn't really hit me I was HAVING A BABY until I started pushing! Finally around 11pm Max arrived and my contractions slowed - the doctor decided they would induce me in the morning. Minutes later I had two huge contractions and we knew, once again, that baby boy had other plans. About an hour and a half after Max arrived the nurse came in to check my dilation and said "girl, we're having this baby!!" - daddy was here and baby boy was ready to join the world! I pushed for about an hour and a half before our precious tiny boy was born with a full head of dark hair. I have never felt more overwhelming joy, love and gratitude than in that moment as Max was there holding my hand, cheering me on and helping bring our boy into the world. Mills was tiny but healthy - max got to cut the cord, I got to hold him in my arms and our family got to see him as they whisked him off to the NICU.

Since Mills was born six weeks early, he is a preemie and spent the first two weeks of his life in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and CCN (Continuing Care Nursery). Seeing our child in the incubator, hooked up to wires and monitors, struggling to regulate his temperature and weight was heart wrenching. Instead of the joyful birth experience I envisioned, ours was full of worry and uncertainty. Instead of leaving the hospital with balloons and flowers and a baby in my arms we left empty handed, as our baby lie alone in an incubator. I mourned the abrupt end to my pregnancy, felt cheated that I didn't get the baby showers and the "this is it" moment with my husband, was frustrated at how unprepared I was and then the overwhelming guilt for such selfish feelings over such superficial things. So many emotions flooded my heart but more than anything was my gratitude that he was healthy and strong, that it wasn't worse and that Max was there. I have never loved that man more. It was a rollercoaster of emotions but we are beyond grateful for the incredible nurses and doctors who guided us, taught us, and consoled us every step of the way.

So here we are, this Friday is my due date and instead of anxiously waiting to go into labor I am wearing this baby boy on my chest, listening to his rhythmic breathing and kissing his sweet head full of hair. He is the most precious, expressive little peanut and being his mama is the most incredible gift. We are so happy to see him growing, gaining weight and changing rapidly before our eyes (so many tears!). Our birth experience, in retrospect, was the perfect initiation into parenthood. Mills is teaching me that life doesn't go according to my plan and what's important is to live in the moment, surround yourself with those you love, and always be grateful - God has a bigger plan than I can ever have for myself or this family of mine. I am so excited to see what other wild stories and broken plans this sweet boy will bring.

A huge thank you to all of our amazing friends, family, nurses and doctors who showered us with love and support in the toughest time of our lives. The gifts, the meals, the encouragement, love and support is what got us through this. We could not have done this without you and are forever grateful.



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