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.


Baby Thank You Notes with Basic Invite

Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good handwritten thank you note. People often give me gifts and say "no thank you note required" but that doesn't stop me. My mom teases that I give her thank you note anxiety and my husband recently discovered my stash of blank thank you notes in my glove box because hey, you can never be too prepared right?! To me, a handwritten note is the least you can do to thank someone who went out of their way to celebrate you. So, a few weeks ago when Basic Invite contacted me regarding a blog collaboration, I couldn't wait to try their adorable baby thank you notes to have a special way to thank our friends and family for all that they've done to celebrate our little one. Baby Mills joined the world six weeks early and we have been showered with gifts, love and support beyond what we ever could have imagined. These personalized thank you notes are the perfect way to thank all those who have done so much to help us welcome baby Mills! 

Basic Invite offers a wide selection of baby thank you note styles but I was immediately drawn to the Stoked Stork and Twin Ducks because of their sweet, soft, old fashioned appeal. After finally deciding on the Stoked Stork thank you notes, I was able to customize each element with over 180 different color options and instantly preview it as I made each change. For example, I wanted a bit darker background for my thank you notes and wanted the baby bundle to be blue instead of pink and it was so easy! I was also impressed to see that I can order a printed sample of the actual thank you note so that I can see how it will print and paper quality before ever placing my final order.  To me, this is such a great feature because quality and coloring are so critical for stationary. Another HUGE perk - Basic Invite offers address capturing service where you can share a link on social media to request friends addresses which are stored in your account and then can be selected during the design process - how convenient is that!?! I couldn't be happier with how my Stoked Stork thank you notes turned out - the quality and finish are beautiful. 

Basic Invite is known for their gorgeous wedding invitations, but they have everything you could need for weddings, baby, events, stationary and more! Of course I was drawn to all of the great baby stationary products and just love their sweet boy baby shower invitations and nautical themed baby shower invitations. No matter what important event you have come up in your life, Basic Invite has the card to help you celebrate it and right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51. 

A big thank you to Basic Invite for partnering on this post - I look forward to finding the perfect birth announcement to share baby Mills with the world (the good old fashioned way). I mean, how sweet are these!?


Our 30 hour cross country road trip at 32 weeks pregnant ...

A 30 hour cross country road trip at 32 weeks pregnant is no small feat but we survived and made it safely to our new home in Birmingham where it's been non stop unpacking and moving and nesting ever since! Max loaded up the car early on Saturday 19th and we said goodbye to our sweet little long beach apartment and neighborhood. With a cozy back seat and some serious patience we survived the trip and did our best to document some of baby t's journey along the way.

Max was quite the chauefer and didn't even complain that bruce and I kept dozing off in the back. We made our way from the coast of California, through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi to Alabama and saw some incredible sights along the way. The rocks and boulders in Arizona were truly incredible and that heat, my god!

This time around, we took a bit of a different route so we missed all of the crazy wind turbines in Texas, which I was kind of disappointed about because it really is something to see, but we did see our fair share of flat land and texas hill country. Texas seems to go on forever but from there we flew through Louisiana and Mississippi. Bruce settled into the road trip pretty quickly in the backseat, ha!

We crossed the state line into Alabama with the most gorgeous blue skies and puffy white clouds and of course the summer heat and humidity. We made it to our new house by Monday afternoon where we were greeted with a beautiful gardenia bush (my favorite!) blooming by our front porch. All of our stuff had been safely delivered earlier that day, thanks to help from Max's parents, which was so nice to arrive to!

Max worked tirelessly to get us setup and comfortable in our new home before he had to head back to California to finish out his job. It was so hard to say goodbye but we know that he will be back here in no time. I am loving our little Edgewood cottage so far and am so grateful for all the help from family and friends! We are so excited to be back down South and to get settled before we welcome baby Thompson in six short weeks!



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