October 31st, 2017
Right around our 1 year anniversary, Chris and I decided we were ready to start trying to have a baby. We both agreed we wanted to have kids when we were younger. And we had the mentality that if we waited until we were “ready” to have kids, we’d be waiting all our lives. Let’s face it, does anyone every actually feel 100% ready to have kids? We felt like we were as ready as we’d ever be.
Now if I’m going to do something, I’m going to give it my all. I don’t like to half-a** anything! So I started researching the most effective ways to conceive. I stopped drinking and taking medications. I started taking prenatal vitamins. And I changed my diet to include healthier foods and foods rich in folic acid. I bought ovulation strips off Amazon.
On Halloween, after a week of taking pregnancy tests every day, I finally saw the two pink lines! I was prepared for this, and that night I convinced Chris that we should make some coffee and pass out candy to trick-or-treaters. After what seemed like an eternity, Chris finally finished his coffee and found out he was going to be a daddy. There was crying, a lot of hugging, a few more pregnancy tests just to be sure…and the excitement that we had a baby on the way was electric. We immediately began wondering about our little poppy seed. What would baby look like? Who would baby grow up to be? What was baby’s gender? How would we tell our families and friends?
November 4th and 5th, 2017
Christian Grace is the first grand baby on both sides of our families, so we were ecstatic to tell our parents. That weekend we got together little gifts to tell them the exciting news! There were tears…and more hugging…and more imagining all of the unknown and exciting things to come. Would baby have my green eyes or Chris’s blue eyes? Would I have morning sickness or dodge that bullet like my mom did? What would the theme of the nursery be? What types of grandparent names would mine and Chris’s parents go by?
December 29th, 2017
We shared our big news on social media with all of our friends and extended family. I was so excited for all of my friends to finally know. I was extra paranoid the entire pregnancy that something might go wrong, so when I finally hit 12 weeks, I felt a lot of that paranoia fall off my shoulders. According to my research, I could finally take a deep breath because the odds of something going wrong had dropped significantly.
Here’s the shorter version of how we told everyone.
I was so excited to share the news in a unique way that I hadn’t really seen done before! Within minutes of posting the video, we were showered with love, well wishes, and more questions. Would I go back to work? What were we thinking for baby names? Would there be a gender reveal? How did I tell Chris? How did we tell our parents?
January 27th, 2018
It was a Saturday, and we had scheduled an elective ultrasound at one of those cute places where you can get a recording of your baby’s heartbeat in a stuffed animal. We checked in, filled out some paperwork that included our OB’s information. I checked a box saying I understood that our ultrasound tech could not diagnose anything.
Chris and I were beaming with excitement! We didn’t look for the first half of the ultrasound because the tech was determining the gender. We heard her typing something, and I tried to count how many letters she was typing but couldn’t keep up! We had no clue. We watched the last half of the ultrasound. I was only 17 weeks along, but the tech did a 3D ultrasound. I remember baby’s face looked a little “off” but in the car ride home, Chris assured me it was probably just because I was only 17 weeks and baby didn’t have a lot of fat on his/her body and face. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling and even called my mom to talk about it. The word “cleft” was passed around a little, but my mom googled it and apparently plenty of women saw strange things on their 3D ultrasounds but ended up having healthy babies.
Straight from the ultrasound place we went straight to FedEx and shipped off the sealed envelope to my Godmother in Houston. She would be the only one to know the gender, and it was her responsibility to purchase confetti cannons in either pink or blue for our gender reveal! We couldn’t wait to find out. Would Chris be bummed if he didn’t get a boy? What if the ultrasound tech read the ultrasound wrong? What would our reactions be like when we all found out the gender in front of everyone? Should we pick out paint colors for the nursery?
January 29th, 2018
It was nearing the end of the school day. I was in 6th period, and we were playing a review game. I noticed a missed call from my OB on my phone, and I immediately knew something was wrong. I thought back to the past weekend’s ultrasound and I froze. I was right; something was wrong. The voicemail said to give my OB’s office a call back as soon as possible. I knew I couldn’t wait 40 minutes for 6th period to end, so I stepped to the back of my class to make the call while my students played their review game.
The woman in charge of scheduling appointments said she needed to make an appointment for me. I was confused. I already had an appointment scheduled for later that week. What was this about?
“The ultrasound tech noticed a cleft lip and other possible birth defects.” I don’t even know this woman’s name. But does she know that I’ll never forget the sound of her voice. That she changed my life. That she delivered the most terrifying news I’d ever heard in my life?
No. This wasn’t right. I passed the 12-week mark. The chances of this were slim to none. My baby was healthy. I left work in tears. I called my husband and wept. I called my mom and wept. Chris didn’t want me driving. The sound of my voice scared my mom. I felt helpless. Was the ultrasound tech right? Could there have been some mistake? Did this diagnosis mean my baby’s life was in danger? Why me?
February 17th, 2018
The confetti cannons were fired, and we found out our cleft cutie was a baby girl! The day was filled with so much excitement. Friends and family began asking the fun questions: What would her name be? Would she be artistic, athletic, academic? Would she be a cheerleader like her mom? Would she be a daddy’s girl?
My mind was filled with the same questions I’d been asking myself since January 29th: Would the cleft be complete or incomplete? Would her palate be affected? Would she be labeled “failure to thrive” and need a feeding tube? Would she have to go to the NICU? Who would her surgeons be? How many surgeries would she need? What would her scar look like? How would I handle inappropriate comments or kids bullying her at school? What was the best way to give her confidence in herself as she got older? How could I be the mom she needed me to be?
July 6th, 2018
By the time my induction rolled around, I was feeling at peace as best I could with her cleft diagnosis. I had done as much research as I could. But I still had some questions in the back of my head. How would I react to seeing her face for the first time? What if something else is wrong with her and they rush her to the NICU? Would I post pictures of her to social media? Would she be able to breastfeed?
Once Christian was born, the questions that had been cycling through my mind on repeat for the past 5 months were replaced with radio silence. Nothing else mattered. She was here. In my arms. I knew I could be and do anything she needed me to be. There were still unknowns and scary times ahead, but as I held my baby girl for the first time, I knew we could overcome anything. My daughter is strong and beautiful. She gives me the strength I need to be her mommy. I love her big, wide smile. #CleftStrong