5 Ways to Get Rid of a Cold Without Medicine!

Here I am all smiles as I go through week 17 of being pregnant! Goodness this baby sure has grown in the last week or two, apparently my uterus is the size of a cantaloupe now and I believe it! Unfortunately I wasn't smiling so much last week when I came down with a little cold...not sure if giving our two dogs a bath stirred up some allergies of mine, or maybe it was just something that was going around, but boy I did not feel good!
17 weeks

Here's the symptoms I had: constant sneezing, sore throat, stuffy nose and then really runny nose, sinus headache, and achy muscles, just to name a few. Now the easy thing to do would be to down some DayQuil or just head to the doctor for a round of antibiotics...but I'm not a fan of meds or traditional doctors before I was pregnant so I'm not going to either of them now. Time to go alternative with it! So here you have my top 5 tips of how I got rid of a cold without meds.... (just a note, this is what I did to fight off my cold and I immediately felt better the next day, but it took about 2-3 more days to shake the rest of the symptoms). Now for my disclaimer...I am by no means a doctor! Everything I post on here I've learned from books, online research, talking with natropaths/midwives/chiropractors, so I am not the end all to be all so take these tips with a grain of salt and decide for yourself. What worked for me, may not work for you, but it sure doesn't hurt to share! So without further ado...my top five tips for getting rid of a cold without medicine!

1. Sleep! My all-time favorite cold remedy is sleep. Here I am with my sleep mask on...a must-have (usually I don't sleep with all the lights on, but I needed a pic for this post-lol!). So on the day I was feeling really sick I came straight home and turned my usual 15 minute nap into an hour long nap. After that I went to bed about 2 hours earlier than usual, and in the morning the next day I slept in for an hour later (since there was no way I was getting a good workout in at that point). So my sleep advice when you're fighting off a cold is to take anytime you're not at work and replace it with sleep!

2. Go to the chiropractor! When I feel myself coming down with a cold the first place I go is my chiropractor's office. But if I'm already miserable and sick I definitely set up a time to get in! (Clearly this isn't me in the picture, but it shows my favorite neck adjustment from a chiropractor!). Aside from the neck adjustment, I also have my ears popped (she just pulls down on them till they pop...this seems strange, but I always feel much after it's done) and I also get electronic acupressure done on my sinuses. My other favorite thing about the chiropractor is that before I get adjusted I get to lay on this rolling massage table for about 30 minutes! Picture like a massage chair that does your whole body (well at least from your lower back up to your head)...here is kind of what it looks like. There is also a heat pad in there as well, so it basically feels like I'm getting a 30 minute back massage! To enhance the relaxation, I also like to listen to some tracks on my iPod like the "Relaxation Track" from the Hypnobirthing book CD (to help get me ready for labor), or one of my other favorite guided imagery tracks from Belleruth Naparstek's album: "General Wellness". Basically, after laying on the massaging table and then getting adjusted...I usually walk out of the chiropractor feeling pretty good, or at least more at peace knowing that my body is now adjusted and aligned.

3. Heat Pack! Usually by about day 2 of a cold all the drainage just goes up to my sinuses and just stays there, till the point that I can't taste anything or breathe out of nose. So to help with this I use the almighty heat pack! It's basically those blue gel packs that can be frozen or warmed up, for this instance I like to have it warm. I'd love to get one of those that is specifically for your sinuses, but for now I kick it old school and just put the rectangle-shaped pack right on my forehead/sinuses with a cloth napkin under it. I actually kind of like how it covers my eyes, because usually I'll lay it on there when I'm taking a nap or about to fall asleep. I like to visualize the mucus that was hard and stuck now melting and dissolving out of my body. These things are very inexpensive and can do a lot of good when you are stuffed up!

4. Noodle-Based Soup! You know what you're mom always fed you when you were sick as a kid...chicken noodle soup, but I wouldn't touch canned chicken noodle soup with a ten-foot pole at this point for a number of reasons. First, when I'm sick the last thing I want to eat is chicken (aka animal carcass) because it takes forever for your body to digest it! Why would I want to waste by body's energy digesting meat when it needs to be healing me! Another reason I don't want canned chicken noodle soup is all the preservatives and chemicals used (not to mention off the chart sodium counts) in the canned soup. And let's not forget BPA (an endocrine disruptor which has been linked to breast and prostate cancer as well as infertility), has been shown in some of the highest levels in cans of chicken noodle soup (ravioli and infant formula weren't far off either!) click here to read more.

Without canned chicken soup, what's a sick greenie to do? Make your own! Here's my all-time favorite "I'm Sick Soup" called, "Broccoli Noodle Soup" and it's from a book called, 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson. You can see the yummy pic above! Although I couldn't find the exact recipe for you online, it's on page 143 of the book and here's a post about it on a vegan blog. Basically all the prep work you have to do is chopping a head of broccoli, an onion, a few carrots and some garlic. Usually I like to make my vegetable broth from scratch, but when I'm feeling sick I do not feel being Betty Crocker with this one, so one quick alternative I have been loving lately is Gaylord Hauser's Instant Vegetable Broth. I love this one because it doesn't have any MSG, all you have to do is measure out 1 teaspoon to 1 cup of hot water and stir, and you get about 23 cups of broth from the little box that cost me about $4-5 at my local health food store. Unfortunately you can't by it online, but I suggest looking for it at Whole Foods if you're interested. Last but not least in this awesome soup is the noodles! Since I'm gluten-free I always go for Tinkyada brown rice pasta, and it tastes delicious after being cooked in with the veggies and broth! This recipe is amazing when you are sick and I wouldn't doubt that it had some magical healing powers...or maybe that's all in my head-oh well! ( :

5. Tea! To add to the nice warm broth aspect of the soup I mentioned, I continue the warm liquids with some nice caffeine free, herbal teas. Curious what my mug says? It's a reference to the show "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" that show cracks me up! Thanks to my brother Andrew for the mug! The only brand I really like to use for my tea is Traditional Medicinals, mainly because they are organic and only use pure ingredients. Some of my favorites are: Pregnancy Tea (has a bit of a minty flavor, and I'm drinking a lot of that now since I'm about half-way through my pregnancy!), Throat Coat (this somewhat sweet and soothing tea is awesome if you have a sore throat), and Ginger Aid (not sure if you'd be craving a ginger flavor when you're sick, but it would be great for an upset stomach. I usually have about one cup of tea a day when I'm not sick, so when I am fighting off a cold I bump it up to 2 or 3 because it is not only good to get the benefits of the various teas, but it also helps me to remember to drink more fluids!

So, that's my top 5 list of ways to get rid of a cold without taking medicine. Here are the runner ups: taking 1 teaspoon of Apple Cider vinegar in a glass of water (tastes funny but has numerous health benefits!), drinking Elderberry Juice (1 tablespoon in a glass of water also contains many benefits as well such as helping to stimulate the immune system), staying away from sugar (impairs your immune system), and cranking up my vitamin C and vitamin D. Hope these tips can help the next time you are fighting off a cold...without medicine! Have you tried any of these tips before and had them work for you? Any others you would recommend? Please share!

When Life Sends You a Fruit Basket

We all know what to do with lemons, right?  When life hands us lemons, we make lemonade and add our libation of choice. Common sense, that. When we have only one choice, we make the best of it.
But what to do when life hands you a basket filled with mangoes, kiwi, and all manner of luscious fruits? I'm ridiculously blessed, and perhaps, sometimes, have too many choices. If I fill up on figs and strawberries, I won't have room for a peach, right? And I love peaches...

Saying yes to one thing always means saying no to something else. Saying no is hard for me. I spent years of my life so over-extended by commitments--okay, yes, I'm no longer talking fruit here, we're on time management, please stay with the group--that I was in need of an intervention and regular doses of that spiked lemonade.

But the need to make hard choices, embrace them, and not look back applies to so many things. (Leaving time management, on to life choices...it's all about the fruit...)

A few weeks ago, when I was explaining how Sugar and I are not cut out for subdivision living, I mentioned that we were working on a plot with our old neighbors--the ones we lived next door to for years in the house we loved, before I filled up on pears (decided we should live downtown, within walking distance to restaurants, etc)--to convince the interlopers who bought Barbie's Dream House that it was in fact haunted, and they must move to satisfy the spirits and whatnot.

Well, I guess it worked. I got a phone call a few days ago from said dear friends next door, who we'll call Wilson and Sandra, because those are their names. It seems the folks we sold our house to are interested in selling. Now, I have no evidence that Sandra or Wilson either one hid a tape player with a timer in the neighbors' attic that played "GET OOUUTTT" at 3:15 a.m. every morning, so we'll say no more about it.

Sugar and I have an appointment to see our old home and discuss details on Saturday morning. Right now, I so long to drive into OUR driveway when we get home from Indiana and be home again. Of course, there's the detail of selling the subdivision house...

But saying yes to Barbie's Dream House will mean saying no to some other things we really want to do. It will need new windows soon (two vacations we won't be able to take). And Sugar wants to replace the paneling in the den with sheet-rock. The master bath needs updating... Already we have a list of projects we're excitedly considering. The budget for all those projects would eat up a lot of travel.

And the time spent on all these projects could be spent enjoying family, volunteering, or taking up crop circle interpretation.

That house is special to us. We have so many wonderful memories there. It's home. But saying yes to it will mean making choices. It will mean fewer date nights out, fewer vacations, and less time and money for a long list of things we enjoy.

But I suspect if we can come to an agreement with the very nice folks who bought it, we will buy our home back. We'll eat the peaches with the juice dripping on our hands, having learned that pears are nice, but you simply can't eat all the fruit in the basket. You must choose.

And there's no place like home. (Clicking my heels together...)

Peace, out...



One of my favorite times of the night is when Beau and I change Cruz’s diaper together. I know it won’t always be a two person job, but I think deep down we tend to congregate around the changing table as a sort of family bonding time. At first, Cruz hated anything having to do with his changing table; this meant he was minutes away from having his pants off, his privates exposed, and well, as I said, my son is modest. But lately, our little CB falls into a magical little trance when he’s on his changing table. He lazily lounges on his chamois changing cover and Beau and I talk about him…

Sometimes we get emotional, hug and stare in amazement at the little person we created. We marvel at our astounding parenting skills, the fact that we’ve managed to keep him content, safe, and fed for the last two weeks. Sometimes we laugh hysterically at him and the many faces he makes…his half-asleep face, his Grandpa Ray scowl, his sleepy smile, and his 'Professor Watson' scholar face. We make fun of his smelly umbilical cord, put him face to face with the many stuffed animals that adorn his room, and sing the, “He’s a Maniac” song as he kicks his little chicken legs and moves his arms up above his head. Other times, we talk about who he will become and what we hope for his life. He’s only two weeks old and we’ve already begun to see snapshots of a personality unfolding…

This week, Cruz is two weeks old. Although a part of me feels like we just brought him home yesterday, a bigger part of me can’t stand the thought of him getting older and bigger. I stare at him sometimes, weave my finger in his tiny little hand, or push my cheek up to his, and get a deep lump in my throat thinking about how fast time goes. I know life is only going to get better and better with him, but a part of me wants to get all Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye, stick Cruz in a glass case and protect him from the world around him. My momma bear instinct is much stronger than I imagined…

Sundays have taken on a whole new meaning since being home with Cruz. During the school year, I often loathe Sunday nights, nights full of grading, lesson planning, and kissing the short weekend goodbye. Tonight, I put on my favorite pair of pre-pregnancy sweatpants, a thick pair of socks, and curled up with my baby on the couch. Dressed in nothing but a diaper and blue and white striped onesie, he laid on my chest, arms up by his face, cheek pressed close up to mine, butt elevated in the air. Two weeks ago, we watched Boardwalk Empire with a baby in my belly; tonight, I have one sleeping on my chest. I told Beau that the only thing that could make this night better was a carpet picnic and a roaring fire. Pretty soon, it will be twinkling lights on a Christmas tree, a pile of blankets on the living room floor, and a baby sleeping in between a pair of proud parents. As the days get shorter and the wind grows colder, I begin to anticipate cozy nights at home with two of my favorite men.

This week, as the visitors begin to wind down, I look forward to relishing in all that is maternity leave. Today we are off to a good start. A morning nap, a cute sleeper, and some successful tummy time. Beau came home for lunch and put his little hot box to sleep. We are spoiled with a baby who loves to snuggle. The more blankets, the softer and sounder he sleeps. Right now, he’s on my chest, snoring like his dad. A snore that hums a ‘life is good,’ tune with every breath.

Life is good.

All that is Fall

Today, after snuggling with Cruz for two hours in the recliner, I decided it was time to get out of the house for awhile. I pulled the baby wheels out of the trunk of the car, wrapped Cruz up in a sand colored knitted blanket, and strolled down the sidewalks of our neighborhood. We’re nearing the end of one of the prettiest Octobers in my memory and I was determined to give Cruz the opportunity to get a taste of it before it gets too cold.

Somewhere between giving birth, bringing home a baby, and getting used to this new thing called parenthood, I failed to notice just how pretty our neighborhood was. On our street alone, there was a tree dressed in every shade of fall. Crisp orange, burnt red, golden brown, and lime green covered the sidewalks and crunched under the wheels of the stroller, creating a perfect melody to lull Cruz to sleep. Every now and then, when I stopped to snap a picture of a leaf or a tree, I found myself caught under a rain storm of falling leaves. By the time we reached our driveway, Cruz was perfectly decorated in maple, oak, ash, and birch. He didn’t seem to mind a bit.

It’s been a fall to remember. What began with a belly the size of a pumpkin and cravings for pumpkin spice cappuccino, comfort food, and a Honeycrisp-apple-a-day, has transformed to late night lullabies, footed sleepers, and afternoon naps with a swaddled baby on my chest. Our little hot box has warmed our lives in ways we couldn’t even comprehend…he’s transformed our little family and made our cozy little nest complete.

Call me bath lady...

Parenthood is full of surprises, new experiences, lots of change, and most of all, a helluva lot of laughter. 

Since Cruz has been home, I've been waiting on pins and needles to give him his first legit bath.  For the first week, we were instructed to give sponge baths, which although fun, are nothing compared to a cute little whale-shaped tub, warm sudsy water, soft washcloths, and a naked baby.  I have enough Johnson's & Johnson's products to last until our next child is born, and have a zoo of Pottery Barn critter hooded towels folded and ready to go.  A bath before bed, followed by a baby lotion massage, and a cozy blanket cuddle was exactly what I had planned for a peaceful Thursday night.

Or so I thought.

Cruz's first bath experience at home was sheer chaos.  It took us a few tries to get the water at the perfect temperature, Cruz immediately started screaming the minute we stripped him naked, Beau spent the entire time worried Cruz was about to pee on us, and because we failed to screw the legs onto the back of the tub, it kept sliding further and further down the sink, taking Cruz with it each time.  Cruz was crying hysterically.  I'm talking hyperventilating, mouth wide-open, arms and legs desperately kicking, trying to escape the sheer terror of getting his hair washed.  Pretty soon, our new parent nerves turned into laughter, and while Cruz screamed through his first bath, his mommy and daddy snapped pictures and laughed hysterically.  It seems we've been doing a lot of that lately.

After the torture of lotion and pajama time, Beau wrapped his little one up head to toe in blankets and consoled him on the couch.  Every time I walked by, Beau would refer to me as the mean bath lady, holding up Cruz's hand to curse me as I walked by.  He's already trying to plot against me (little does he know that I still have the "milk" advantage).  That night, Cruz slept for five hours straight, the longest he's went without milk since he was born!   

Now, every time I feed him, we laugh at the one eye he keeps open at me, skeptically wondering if he's in for another experience with 'bath lady.' 

Yesterday morning, as Beau and I were tag-teaming another diaper change before church, we noticed a funk coming from our little man's belly.  We discovered that his umbilical cord, which was hanging by nothing but a string of dead skin, REEKED!  Although Cruz didn't seem to mind, his father and I were gagging!  The rest of the afternoon, Beau covered his belly with an extra blanket and referred to our son as 'the smelly one.'  After some research, I discovered that I was maybe a little too anxious to give Cruz his first, unwelcomed, bath...as it turns out, his cord isn't exactly supposed to be wet!

Luckily, Cruz only had to deal with being pegged the smelly kid for a day.  During a late night diaper change, I was greeted with a precious little belly button!  No more disgusting umbilical cord...Halleluiah!

Tonight is another bath night.  Let's hope little Cruz enjoys this one a little more.  He either hates being cold, or is proving to be a lot more modest than his parents.  In college, Beau was known for being quite comfortable in his skin, and it turns out, my favorite place to breast feed is directly in front of our picture window.  I think the labor and delivery floor does that to you.

Week 15 and 16 Recap!

Hey everyone! So I've been loving my 2nd trimester here! My energy levels seem back to normal (or pre-pregnancy), and when it comes to food, it all sounds good! We had an appointment with our midwife Monday night and it went great! We got to hear the heartbeat again, and this time it was very easy to find (right up front in my lower abdomen) and according to our midwife it was "nice and strong". We also got to hear the pulse of the placenta, which was pretty fascinating...and after hearing this, we decided to call it "Super Placenta"! We will meet with our midwife again in about 4 weeks, but more exciting...we will get to find out the gender in about 3 1/2 weeks! I'll post some more details about that as it gets closer!

As you can see the bump is getting bigger, I know this week it really seemed to "pop"! According to some of my "baby apps" the baby will be doubling in size in the next few weeks, so I'm looking forward to seeing how my body will continue to change. This past week, the baby was an avocado, and it's time to graduate to an.....ONION! Avocados and onions, this baby sure seems to like Mexican food, which is ironically what we had for dinner last night!

Well, time to get back to the 16 and Pregnant marathon on MTV...don't mind me as I curse at one of the girls on there because she's 30-some weeks along and painting the nursery and getting her nails done....jeez can you say TOXIC!!!! Okay, I'll stop my rant, she probably just doesn't know any better! Have a good week everyone!

Musings of a New Momma...

Sometimes I stare at my baby and can’t believe he is mine. This happens especially at night as I watch him sleep. I love watching him sleep. Watching his little chest rise and fall with every little baby breath he takes. The way he snuggles in as close as he can and finds just the right position against me. The little sucks of air he takes as he swallows, and the deep breath he takes when he’s decided he’s finished eating. These little moments we have together are the purest form of love I’ve ever felt in my life.

We’ve had a good first week at home. Cruz is a good baby, and has already begun to fall into a schedule with feedings, making it easier for mommy to get some sleep. The last two nights, he’s woken up about every three to four hours to eat. It’s so funny how the little things, like taking a shower, throwing in a load of laundry, or making lunch, have now become my significant accomplishments of each day. Today was the first morning Beau would not be at home when I showered. I stewed and stewed about this last night, worried I wouldn’t have time to take a shower before one of my colleagues stopped by in the morning. I talked strategy with Mom, attempted to plan Cruz’s feedings around this, and made sure Beau taught me how to work our baby monitor. At 7 o’clock this morning, as Beau got ready for work, I watched The Today Show and fed a hungry Cruz. Three and a half hours later, I had showered, done my makeup, taken out the trash, made the bed, picked up the house, and soaked a load of baby clothes, all while my little man took a morning nap in his crib. Three weeks ago, that would have been an easy morning’s feat. Today, I felt like Superwoman (who desperately needed a nap).

Every day, it seems Cruz is picking up on more and more of the world around him, becoming more alert, spending more time looking around, and more time listening to the sounds around him. This morning, he listened to his Grandma Kelly talk to him for about an hour. This afternoon, he sat in his boppy pillow and I talked to him about his first week at home.  He spends a good chunk of every afternoon either chilling in his bouncy seat, or lounging in his boppy, just taking in his surroundings.  I don't know if he can quite make out our faces yet, but he's getting close.   

A couple nights ago, I discovered Cruz’s secret sleeping weapon…a Halo swaddle blanket, aka, baby straight jacket. Cruz is one happy baby when he is toasty warm (probably one of the reasons he despises having his diaper changed), and the tighter he is swaddled, the longer he sleeps.  Although he loves being wrapped up tight at night, he loves sleeping with both arms up by his face during the day. Beau says he’s working on his antlers. He also loves sleeping in his crib; besides our bed or someone’s arms, it’s his favorite place to sleep. I love peeking in his room while he’s sleeping, I sometimes wish I could climb in there and snuggle up next to him! It looks so cozy!

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, when it seems Cruz and I are the only two people up in a sleeping world, I curl up with him in his room, put on one of the lullaby CDs I made before he was born, and rock him extra long. One song, Lullaby, by the Dixie Chicks always leaves me in tears. It speaks of the love and protectiveness I already feel for my baby.  Beau likes it too, and I often catch glimpses of him singing it to Cruz from the other room. 


They didn't have you where I come from
Never knew the best was yet to come
Life began when I saw your face
And I hear your laugh like a serenade

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I'm never, never giving you up

I slip in bed when you're asleep
To hold you close and feel your breath on me
Tomorrow there'll be so much to do
So tonight I'll drift in a dream with you

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I'm never, never giving you up

As you wander through this troubled world
In search of all things beautiful
You can close your eyes when you're miles away
And hear my voice like a serenade

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I'm never, never giving you up

How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough, is forever enough
How long do you want to be loved
Is forever enough
Cause I'm never, never giving you up
Is forever enough
Cause I'm never, never giving you up

Looking forward to a weekend at home with Cruz.  I'm seeing a morning of PJs, cozy blankets, and snuggling in my future...

Happy weekend!

Cruz's Newborn Pictures

Well, Darcy did it again.  She not only managed to capture some great pictures at Cruz's newborn session last Monday, but more importantly, captured the quiet love and emotion that seemed to be in abundance at our house that morning. 

Just two months ago, Beau and I playfully strolled up and down Main Street in Cedar Falls as Darcy, owner of At Play Photo, captured life at 35 weeks pregnant.  Although Beau is not a fan of pictures (sorry for him), it was a special experience between the two of us, a chance to really soak in the blessing that awaited in my belly.

Now, Monday morning, Darcy packed her camera bag and came to our house.  This time, she was greeted by a new mom, a new dad, and a brand new baby.  At just six days old, Cruz rocked his photo shoot.  I planned to feed him right before Darcy came to ensure he would be fast asleep and easy to pose for pictures.  Up until that morning, Cruz would easily fall into a food coma minutes after feeding him; however, he had other plans for Monday morning.  I finished feeding him, looked down, and was greeted by a wide eyed little boy.  I immediately grew nervous and envisioned a fussy baby and a picture re-schedule.  Little did I know that Cruz is already showing us that he doesn't like to miss out on things.

The morning was fun and so relaxed...the perfect way to document the first days at home as a family.  Wide awake for the first half, Cruz lazily stared out the window and sometimes, directly into the camera.  We changed and unchanged him, swaddled and un-swaddled him, rolled him from his tummy, to his back, and to his side, and tortured him with his pacifier all morning, pulling it in and out, in and out, between picture poses.  Then, after a quick diaper change, Beau put him to sleep and we played with him some more.  Darcy was amazing with him!  I can't wait to see what she has in store for his three month session!

Here's the link to check out a sneak peek of Cruz's shoot.  Lots more to come!

It all started at Bourbon Street...

Beau and I have quite a history at Bourbon Street, the pretty little Creole style restaurant on Main Street in Cedar Falls. It was the place of our very first date, the place we shared conversation that seemed to flow like a good bottle of wine, and the place where we both realized we wanted to spend more time together. Bourbon Street was also the place we got engaged, the place where Beau sat, nervously brushing his finger across the velvet ring box in his pocket, the place where I obliviously sat unaware of where the remainder of the night would take us. We don’t eat at Bourbon Street very often, but it has become a sort of sacred place for us as a couple.

I had no idea that when I suggested Bourbon Street as my craving of choice last Monday night, that it would again define a special place for our relationship and journey together. It was supposed to be a sort of ‘Last Supper’ for us, just two days away from my scheduled induction, aka, the last possible day I would have to wait to meet the baby I had been carrying for so long. I was hungry for chicken parmesan and looking forward to one last special date night with Beau before becoming parents.

It was this very place, in fact, the very booth we sat in the night we got engaged, that I also experienced my first labor contraction. Beau could tell something was off by the look on my face. It felt so different than any other ache, pain, or Braxton Hicks contraction I held felt the last few weeks, and it made me a little nervous. So nervous, it completely wiped my appetite. We ended up leaving after an appetizer, glass of wine, and glass of Sprite. Excited and overwhelmed, we hurried to the car, hurried home, and waited.

By the end of the night, much to our disappointment, the contractions had stopped. We watched an episode of Boardwalk Empire, I assured Beau that this baby would wait until he was forced to come out, and we went to bed. A part of me was overridden with disappointment, a part of me was overwhelmed with relief. Was I truly ready for this? How do I know when it is time? Can I do this? These questions raced through my mind as I curled up in my bed Monday night.

3:30 am. The time it finally registered to my half-asleep self that I was having contractions once again; however, far more defined than at dinner. I knew without a doubt they were indeed contractions and decided to start timing them. I also decided to wake up my sleeping husband, to simply give him the ‘heads-up.’ He took the ‘heads-up’ similar to a soon-to-be father in the movies. He jumped out of bed, paced the house, threw cell phone chargers, laptop chargers, and cribbage boards into bags, and packed my hospital bag in the car before I even had the time to get out of the shower. My contractions started about seven minutes apart; within a half hour, they were four minutes apart, then three minutes. Although they were more uncomfortable than painful, my impatient husband insisted I call the hospital and insisted we go in as soon as possible. I showered, put on my makeup, did my hair, and snuck one last baby blanket in my hospital bag before saying goodbye to Jade and shutting the door of one more chapter of our life together.

As I look back on the day of October 12, just one week ago, it’s amazing to me to see the magnitude of the miracle that was at work. As nervous and unsure as I was, the minute we walked through those hospital doors, I was overwhelmed with a sense of faith and trust. God was working behind the scenes in so many ways that day, watching over the three of us and providing just what we needed to make the day perfect in its own way.

The first person to greet us on the third floor of the RWH Clinic for Women at Covenant was Amy, a nurse I had met at one of my last prenatal appointments. She instantly made me feel comfortable, answering questions, calming some nerves, and treating me as a friend instead of patient. Beau told me that as he watched the two of us interact, it seemed as though we had known each other for some time. Amy S…Godsend Number One.

After changing into my hot hospital gown and getting hooked up to my first two (of many) monitors and cords for the day, we were able to watch and confirm that I was having contractions; however, they were not progressing at a ‘satisfactory’ pace. This news only confirmed the over-looming fear I had of the day that was to come. A long labor, lots of pushing, exhaustion, a failed epidural…pretty much every horrific detail I could possibly imagine. At about 7:30 am, Amy told Beau and me to grab a little breakfast and start walking the halls of the labor and delivery floor to hopefully give my contractions a little more ‘kick’ before starting me on pitocin.

So, we walked. We quickly realized we had about three long hallways to walk and in order to make this task somewhat enjoyable, we needed to create our own fun. We called our moms. We developed a rating system and code name to track the level of pain I experienced with each contraction. We made friends with the laundry guy. We walked until we reached the very end of the hallway and tagged each fire extinguisher and hand sanitizer we found. We made fun of my socks. We did what we could to walk, talk, and breathe in the day ahead…a day that would eventually be the most memorable, most important day of our lives.

I never thought I would go into labor on my own. I was destined to go late, likely through induction, and after my induction was scheduled for October 13, I accepted the fact and actually looked forward to the opportunity to ‘plan around’ my labor. I also loved that my doctor, Dr. Hines, would be there to deliver Baby J. As we walked, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointment that I wouldn’t have her there to be the support she had been throughout my pregnancy. She was exactly the type of calming presence I needed in that delivery room. I trusted her and genuinely felt that throughout my pregnancy, she cared about me as a soon-to-be mom. As much as I wanted her there, I knew it was wishful thinking when Amy mentioned that she might come in on her day off to deliver Baby J. “We’ll give her a call and just let her know that you are here today,” she said.

When Dr. Hines walked into my hospital room that morning, Beau said my face said it all. There she was, on her day off, ready to deliver our baby boy. My mind was flooded with emotions. Excitement and gratitude, relief and reverence, guilt and a new motivation to get this baby out in a decent hour so as to not keep her there all day. Although Dr. Hines didn’t exactly commit to hours upon hours of labor, she simply smiled and casually said, “Well, I’ll be around for awhile to see how you’re doing.” I think at this moment, we both knew she was there for the long haul. Dr. Hines…Godsend Number Two .

In the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I always found it interesting (and a little disheartening) that women found it important to tell me every horrific detail about their own labor, as if to fill my already clouded mind with nightmarish visions of what was to come. Well, now that I am part of the motherhood club, I plan to be different. I plan to hug soon-to-be moms and tell them about all the joys I remember about the day I gave birth. Joys that blow the horrific details out of the water.

I think God had decided I had waited long enough to meet this little boy. The morning that had started off so slow quickly turned to a series of quick snapshots that will forever be etched in my memory. I had no idea that at 10:00 that morning, as I apprehensively gave the ‘okay’ for my epidural, that I would hold a baby boy in my arms in a matter of five hours.

It all went so fast; however, there are details I will never forget about that afternoon.

I remember Amy’s hands pulling my shoulders in close as I silently prayed through my epidural. I remember Dr. Jackson laughing when I asked whether I would feel the needle and he replied, “I’m already done.”

I remember my mom giving me a kiss on the forehead when they arrived and wondering how she felt to see her daughter just hours away from having one of her own.

I remember the look of worry on my little brother’s face as I winced in pain through the ‘hot spot’ that developed in my abdomen.

I remember Amy being so excited about my progress and making Dr. Hines “find out for herself,” instead of telling her how dilated I was.

I remember Dr. Hines telling me she had better run home and “put something in the crock pot for dinner,” and me smiling, knowing she would not leave until this baby was born.

I remember Dr. Hines saying, “well, I guess I better get ready,” as I first realized this baby was ready to come much faster than I anticipated.

I remember the look on Brenda, another nurse’s face, as she calmly encouraged me through pushing. I remember the impressed faces of the nurses and the motivation it provided me to keep going. I remember the “oh mys,” and “wows,” and “this is amazing,” and “you are doing so good, Ashley,” that accompanied my 20 minutes of pushing. I remember feeling stronger than I’ve ever felt before. Superwoman.

I remember skipping a couple contractions and breathing through an oxygen mask because the baby was coming much faster than what he should. I remember Dr. Hines saying, “this is incredible,” and Amy grabbing my camera, and looking at Beau’s face, and wondering what my parents were thinking in the waiting room.

I remember the first cry. The first glimpse of the sweet body, the scrunched up face, and the warm touch of my little boy on my chest. I couldn’t stop touching him, kissing him, staring into his sweet little face. I remember whispering, “mommy’s here,” and “I love you,” and Beau’s face so close to mine, sniffling through tears as we stared into the face of our son.

I remember the warmth of his body on my chest, all 8 pounds, 21.5 inches of him. I remember his new little cry, and his perfect little round head, and the way he seemed to instantly recognize my voice.

(Isn't this picture awesome?!?!  Thank you, Amy, for capturing such a moment.  I have a feeling this is a picture we will laugh about for years.  I can just see it displayed on Cruz's graduation table someday!)

I remember the nurses asking for our name and Dr. Hines telling me she had never delivered a Cruz before and that she thinks we may have started a trend.

I remember the looks of my family’s faces as they filed into the room. The smiles and laughs and kisses and hugs they shared with us, with the nurses and doctors, and with each other.

I remember the peace I felt in our hospital room after the last visitor left for the night. The dimmed lights, a swaddled baby in my arms, and the soft quietness of the room. I remember feeling so proud, so in awe.

It’s really hard to put into words the next two days in the hospital. A part of me felt like we were playing house, but a bigger part of me knew it was the real thing. We were parents. Our lives were changed forever. I remember wrapping Cruz in a tiny blanket and taking him for his first walk around the hospital, down the same halls we had walked just one day before. I remember decorating his hospital cradle with my favorite blue blanket, his hippo from Grandma Kelly, and puppy from Cousin Charly. I remember feeling such a bond, such a strong instinct to love, protect, and take care of him.

I loved our days at the hospital.  It was a sort of honeymoon.  Two days of drowning out the world around us and focusing on nothing but the new baby in our lives.  Having an amazing group of people there giving us time to bond as a family, yet, making sure I was taking care of myself.  And who can forget the amazing jacuzzi tub!  Beau was more than ready to go home on Thursday, but I knew I would miss the people, miss the newness, and miss the escape. 

The day we went home from the hospital was a whirlwind. But the moment we walked in our house, I felt this incredible sense of peace. Peace in the form of a wide-eyed, soft faced boy laying on his mom and dad’s bed for the first time. Peace in the form of a house tour, showing Cruz every room, every important detail of our world. Peace in the form of staring at him from the side of the crib rail. Leaning over and kissing the forehead of this little boy…it became real…this moment is a moment I have dreamed about for so long.

Welcome to this world, Cruz Bennett. Know that we have more love for you than we know how to give and our lives forever changed on October 12, 2010.