Brantley: 2 Months Old!

Hi baby boy! Every day you show us more and more of your personality. This month we’ve enjoyed watching your little grin become a wide open smile with a twinkle in your eye. You are such a happy baby with the exception of your reflux, which causes you terrible pain and discomfort. During the last week you’ve spent most of your waking hours screaming, crying, and just wanting to be held. I can’t say I’m so upset about that part of it as I love walking around the house with you in my arms, but it’s absolutely heartbreaking to hear you cry. We’ve tried just about everything to help you but after spending the last 24 hours in tears (both you and Mommy), we think we’ve finally found what we hope will be the solution.

So other than the reflux, you’re a happy boy! You love when we sing to you and your eyes are just bright and open as wide as can be while you listen to us and look around the room. You have quite a fascination with fans and the wooden artwork hanging on our living room wall, although I think Daddy would prefer that you just look at us all the time instead of inanimate objects! You also discovered your toys this month. The crinkly toys are your favorite and you’re starting to turn your head toward the noises you hear and watch as we move the toys side-to-side in front of you. Sometimes I think you’re soothed by hearing our voices but then again, the only time you really cry is when you’re having reflux so my voice can only soothe you so much when you’re in pain.

My favorite part of the day is when I get you up out of bed. Usually when Daddy goes to work (either at the fire station or landscaping) he wakes up and is out of the house well before we wake up, so I get the pleasure of going into your room, unsaddling your little body, and watching as you stretch your arms high above your head and always give a big yawn. It’s quite possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

And while we’re on the subject, I have to brag on you a little. You are a GREAT sleeper. We put you down around 9:30 or 10pm and you consistently sleep until 7am. That’s 9 hours! Your Mommy (and Daddy) are soooo thankful for that. People told us that you would never catch onto a schedule and that it just wouldn’t work, but at least for now it’s working beautifully and you hardly ever make a peep after we put you down for the night. You nurse around 9pm then take another bottle shortly after while I rock you in your nursery and Daddy reads you a book. (Another favorite moment of our day.) When we lay you down you just go right to sleep. This may all change tomorrow but we really appreciate it right now!

Early in the month, we started taking you over to Nanny and Papa’s house to hang by the pool. It was so nice to relax by the pool with you in your bouncy seat beside us, and I think your grandparents and great-grandparents also loved getting to spend so much time with you.

IMG_8693IMG_8658Each day we would do our morning rituals – wake you up, feed you, have some breakfast, pack up our bags, then head to the pool for the rest of the day. You were happy and content just sitting next to us but you didn’t like the pool very much. Whenever Daddy would drop your toes in the water you would start screaming!

We also spent some time with your friends Brayden and Alexis. The Mommies started scheduling weekly day-dates with walks through the neighborhood and down to the boardwalk. It was definitely a much-needed break to get out of the house, get moving, and have some real conversations with other adults rather than just talking to the littles who are barely even making cooing noises back to us.  After a few trips to the boardwalk, the guys started getting jealous that the girls were having all the fun so we also scheduled some group get togethers including a night of fun at the oceanfront for your first concert!



The night of the concert it was unusually cold so we had you all wrapped up and you were happy as could be! You even slept in your carseat outside while we danced to the music, which didn’t seem to faze you at all.


My Brantley Bug, you are the most wonderful baby. Even through your long hours of screaming and tears (yours and mine), you are the most precious little boy.

Every day when I go into your room to get you out of your crib I am reminded of the wonderful opportunity God has given me to be your Mama.

I love you, Bug.

Brantley: 1 Month

Dear Brantley,

It’s been one month since the day you came into our lives, one month of trying to figure out how to get you to sleep, how to get you to stop crying, and how much and how often you need to be fed. They say nothing can prepare you for parenthood and of course “they” are always right.

Our first week home… emotionally draining but overall we faired pretty well. You had a pretty consistent schedule during the day, you went to sleep around 11pm each night and only woke up once to eat, and sometimes we would have to actually wake you up for that meal so maybe you would’ve slept even longer. (These first time parents aren’t quite ready to break out of the box yet. Maybe with the second kid.)


Five days after you were born and only two day after arriving home, we began taking daily walks around the neighborhood. Mommy couldn’t walk for very long or very far but we would go down a few blocks to the end of our street to our favorite little spot overlooking the water and hang out with friends.

About a week after you were born, we gave you your first bath in your little blue tub in our kitchen sink. Daddy watched the nurses bathe you in the hospital so he took the reins on bath time while Mommy took the camera for a photo shoot. You weren’t so thrilled with your bath. Sorry, bud.


We tried to make it up to you by taking you out on your first outing to none other than our favorite restaurant: Chix! (Let’s be honest, where else would we go?) You did just fine at dinner, sitting there quietly while Mommy and Daddy enjoyed their dinner. It would be only the first of quite a few outings we took you on over the next few weeks. We figure, the more we go out with you, the easier it will get!

At day 10, your little body started going through a growth spurt and all hell broke loose. We didn’t know what was going on at that time other than the fact that you wanted to nurse nonstop for 8.5 hours the first night: 45min on, 10min off, 50min on, 15min off, etc. Being that we were not adequately prepared for this crazy feeding schedule, we immediately panicked and worried that my body wasn’t producing enough milk for you. After nursing for hours on end, we gave you a bottle of formula and finally you were able to sleep. In the morning we spoke with a lactation consultant who told us not to supplement with formula and just “weather the storm” for the next few days as a growth spurt typically only lasts a couple days. So each night around dinner time you would get hungry, nurse right on through our dinner – I quickly learned to nurse and eat at the same time – nurse straight through a few episodes of Rescue Me (our current Netflix obsession), then we’d take you upstairs and you would continue nursing sometimes until midnight, 1am, or 2am. It was beyond exhausting but Daddy was very supportive, telling me that I could back out of nursing and try something easier like pumping, bottle feeding, or using formula if t was just too much to handle. But I was determined to do what was best for my baby and if that meant staying up all night long to feed him then that’s what I would do. It was rough, but six days later we were finally out of the woods.

The next few weeks were much easier, well… easy is a relative term now that we have a newborn. You settled into a pretty consistent routine during the days and also through the night. Daddy is still off work and doesn’t go back until this weekend so we’ve really enjoyed our time at home as a family. We’ve developed our own little daily rituals which I treasure. Daddy makes breakfast for me nearly every morning, we play with you on the floor during tummy time while you usually just scream and cry through it, we take walks almost every day through the neighborhood, and every night during your “witching hour” we dance in the living room while playing a mixture of beach music and motown to keep you calm.


This month you also met your future friends, Brayden and Alexis! Our good friends Blair & Ty and Brent & Heba got pregnant around the same time we did and had “Preggers” dinners and nights out with the other couples throughout our pregnancies. You three little ones were born just a few weeks apart. We are so excited that you will be able to grow up together and looking forward to being able to share the joys and stresses of parenthood with good friends. While we would love for you and Brayden to become best friends through childhood, we’re kinda hoping you’ll stay away from Alexis for a while. 😉


Our favorite moments over the last 4 weeks have most definitely been our days at home spending quality time as a new little family. This was one of the things I was most excited about before beginning maternity leave – the opportunity to wake up every morning next to my husband, feed my baby, cuddle on the couch with our little man, and marvel at every little smile and movement he makes.

It’s been a wonderful 4 weeks and I treasure every minute, just the three of us.

Brantley’s Birth Story

I know I’m still a little behind on the weekly updates, but I’ll get to those soon. Our little baby boy, Brantley Thomas, was born on July 12th at 3:31am. I was just a day short of my 40-week due date. This is his birth story.


Dear Brantley,

Welcome to the world, baby boy! The story of your birth starts a few nights before your due date. You were due on a Sunday and all day on Thursday while I prepped for maternity leave, making sure that my fill-in therapists would have everything they needed, I also felt like it could easily be 2 more weeks before you arrived. I was reluctant to put patients in my planner for the following week as I just didn’t have the heart to accept the fact that I wouldn’t be able to meet you yet, but I didn’t think you’d be going anywhere anytime soon.

Thursday evening rolled around and I started having contractions around 6pm. I had Braxton Hicks contractions over the last 2 weeks or so, but I could feel these ones lower in my abdomen and they were coming pretty consistently every 20 minutes. Still, I thought there was no way it was really happening. By midnight, with very little sleep so far, they increased to every 10 minutes and I did what every first-time Mom of the 21st century does and googled the difference between Braxton Hicks and “true contractions.”  It looked like this could be the real thing, but I also read that they could last for days before progressing any further. Although only slightly painful, the contractions kept me awake until 4am when my body finally figured out how to sleep between the contractions… so a whopping 8 minute span at a time. It was a long night.

I had a doctor’s appointment already scheduled for that morning so Daddy called work to let them know that he was going to go see the doctor with me and I called my parents to let them know they might want to delay going out of town (they were going to the OBX for the weekend) until after we heard news from the doctor. Come to find out, I WAS having true contractions but only slightly dilated (1cm) and the doctor also told me that I could continue with these contractions for days. Ugh… that’s the last thing I could imagine. Three days and nights of these, which were getting increasingly painful.

Daddy drove me to get my allergy shots – cause life goes on even when you’re in active labor – and then home. All the while, I was still having contractions every 10 minutes or so and while they were becoming more painful, I was still able to get up and do things around the house between each contraction so I settled in for a day of up and down off my yoga ball. Blake packed his clothes in the hospital bag and ran some last minute errands just in case we did end up in the hospital by the end of the weekend (we were still on this “it’s gonna be a few days” thought process). Every time a contraction would come on, I’d sit down on the ball with the heating pad on my back, which really seemed to relieve the pain I was feeling in my lower back, and as soon as it was over I was up and moving around, cleaning the house, vacuuming, doing the dishes, etc. (Looking back, I have NO IDEA how I was doing all that!!!) By 4pm the contractions had increased to every 6 minutes and I was in a routine of breathing with slow deep breaths and letting out a long “ooo” sound with each one to get through the pain that was increasing as time went on. My pain tolerance is pretty low to begin with so even at this point, I didn’t think I was very far along and figured it would get a LOT worse before we were anywhere close to meeting our baby boy.

Daddy came home, we ordered pizza for dinner, and by 7pm we had a page of timed contractions that ranged from 3-6 minutes and lasted 45-60 seconds. The rule is, when your contractions come every 5 minutes, last 60 seconds, and occur regularly over an hour, it’s time to go to the hospital. Mine were definitely coming every 5 minutes on average but ranged in duration so we weren’t sure if it was time yet. We called the doctor and she told us to come on in, get checked out, and if I wasn’t yet at 4cm I could walk around the hospital for a while and see if I could get my body to progress a little more so that I could be admitted that night.

We called our dog-sitter, dropped Shadow off with the neighbors who would let him play with their dog for the evening, and headed to the hospital. The drive was not too bad. I was still having regular contractions but my breathing patterns seemed to be getting me through ok. When we got to the hospital, I grabbed my purse because I knew I would need an ID and insurance card, but we left everything else in the car expecting that the doctor may say I’m not yet 4cm and we would have to go home and come back in a few hours.

The moment that everything changed was when they checked how far along I was and to EVERYONE’S surprise, I was at 6.5 cm!!! When they told me this, my jaw about dropped to the floor. I was WAY farther along than I thought and this girl, with a lower pain tolerance than a 5 year old, who would probably be the one to get an epidural for a scratch if it were legal, had pretty much labored entirely at home without meds for the past 26 hours! The nurses were impressed, Daddy was impressed, and felt like a superhero.

We were admitted and by 8:30pm, and I labored for about an hour in my room with Blake by my side, still in great spirits. I was probably still in shock that I had come so far all on my own without meds but as time went on I decided I was far enough along to get an epidural and not risk stalling my labor. I received an epidural around 9:30 and had progressed to about 7cm in the hour I was there… it wouldn’t be long!

Unfortunately, the epidural didn’t take in one area on my right side and I was feeling increasing pain with every contractions, in my abdomen and back. The nurse had me lay on my right side to see if gravity would help the medicine work its way into that area, but every time I would shift to that side, your heart rate would drop after a few minutes on my side. A quick change of position and it would jump right back up so after a few attempts at laying in a slightly different position to get the medicine moving but the same result we decided to get an extra dose of the epidural medicine. That seemed to do the trick and by 3am I was finally feeling relief from the pain and Daddy and I both fell asleep preparing for a long road of pushing ahead.

Before I go on, many of you reading this may be in the field or have significant knowledge about labor and delivery. Any details I am about to give are from my hazy epidural/adrenaline-induced recollection and may not be accurate. I’ve heard more than enough advice from people about what I should do, should be doing, and should’ve done and I really don’t care to hear anymore. I can tell you one thing: when my baby was not safe inside the womb, I wanted him out and safely in my arms as quickly as possible. The following represents the best choice for ME and MY baby. It may not be what you would’ve done or what you would recommend, but please keep those opinions to yourself. He’s in my arms right now, he’s safe, and Mama is doing exceptionally well in recovery. That’s all that matters.

All of a sudden, the nurse came bolting into the room, quickly followed by another and another. Your heart rate had dropped again and was not jumping back up like it had before. She asked me to change positions – I was still able to move around fairly well in bed – but every time I would move to a different position, the external heart rate monitor would lose your heart rate completely and they couldn’t tell if it was bouncing back or staying down. After a minute or two of failed attempts to get an accurate read on the external monitor, they decided to use an internal monitor which immediately picked up your heart rate and we were finally able to find a position in which you stablized. Eight and a half minutes had passed.

Obviously, I could not deliver you on my hands and knees with my face flat on the bed, which was the only position you seemed to tolerate, so the doctor crouched down beside my bed and explained that we had to make a choice right then. She and Daddy discussed the possible options while I cried and prayed and ultimately we knew the fastest and safest way to get you out without risking further drops in your heart rate was an emergency C-section. (As we would later find out, your umbilical cord was wrapped around your body which caused your heart rate to drop and also prevented you from dropping lower into my pelvis. In addition to that, you had flipped since our last ultrasound 3 weeks ago so that you were facing “sunny side up”, which was causing my back pain during labor. Both of these situations are dangerous to the baby and can result in a C-section.)

Through tears of fear for my baby, I signed the release forms while Daddy dressed in scrubs for surgery and I was wheeled into the OR. They administered anesthesia to numb me from the chest down. While the medicine took effect, they had to lay me propped up on my left side to avoid further drops in your heart rate, but this resulted in portions of my right side yet AGAIN not receiving adequate amounts of anesthesia and I could feel dull pain when they started the first cut. No thanks.

The anesthesiologist asked the doctors to let the meds take effect and after about 20-30 seconds they tried again, no luck. “Give her 2 minutes” I could hear as he asked for more time, and although they must’ve been trying to hide their concern because they knew I could still hear them, I could tell from the seriousness in their tone of voice that they didn’t think we even had 2 minutes. They tried one more time after about 20 more seconds and when I could feel that one too, they told me I would have to receive general anesthesia. Within seconds everyone in the room was moving around, repositioning, etc. and the last thing I remember was asking “Is Blake here?” Then I was asleep.

Daddy would not get to see your birth. He was left in my labor and delivery room and was told someone would come and get him when I was prepped for surgery. A few minutes after they wheeled me out, a nurse came back and in and told him I would be under general anesthesia and showed him to the room where they would bring you after you were born. Within 3 minutes, you were out and in your Daddy’s arms, with an overall clean bill of health.

While I remained in the OR for another 50 minutes to complete the surgery, your two grandmothers were able to watch through a window as you got your first bath in the nursery and they commented on your enormous toes… we think you get those from your uncle Cameron, somehow they hopped through the hereditary line.

When I woke up, over an hour after your were born, a nurse brought you to me in a rolling crib and placed you in my arms. Daddy was there, too. The moment I first saw you was a rather low point for your Mommy and still brings me to tears whenever I think about it. I have heard that the moment a mother first sees her child, she loves him in a way she never thought possible. A mother is supposed to have this connection to her child that cannot be broken, as if she already knows him solely because he has grown inside her body for 9 months and he has been a physical part of her for so long.  It hurts my heart that I did not have this experience with you but I will write about it in hopes that other mothers who may read this and have similar experiences will not feel alone in their pain.

I remember the moment vividly. I was still under very heavy medication and when they handed you to me, my first question was, “Is this really my baby?” When they told me yes, I looked up at your Daddy with an unsettled confusion: “I’m just supposed to believe them?” You see, I didn’t get to watch your birth. I didn’t see your little face, fingers, and toes as they lifted you up for the first time. There were no tears of joy as we heard your first cry. I did not get to hear the doctor announce your birth time, weight, and length with a smile that you can hear through his surgical mask. Your daddy and I didn’t get to look at each other with tears streaming down our faces because you had finally arrived. We missed all of that and so when they brought you to me for the first time, you were still a total stranger to me. It was like they just handed me a baby who I had never seen before and I was supposed to just know that you were mine. I was supposed to just love you and trust that they were telling me the truth. It was a surreal moment and one that I won’t easily forget. Fortunately, you, me, and Daddy would have plenty of time over the next few days to bond, laughing and crying together, and growing into the little family we are today.

I spent my first day in the hospital in a rather hazy fog from the multiple anesthesia medicines I was given in addition to the intravenous Benadryl to tackle the severe itching response I had from the anesthesia. I was also on some pretty serious pain killers, so I can’t remember much of what happened that day. Your grandparents came to visit after you were born and then eventually went home to get some sleep since it was still early in the morning and no one had slept all night. They all came back later to hold you and talk with us about the delivery.

Daddy did all the work that first day. Well, he really did all the work the first day, first night, and most of the second day because I still wasn’t allowed out of bed. He is amazing and not once did he complain. We had you in our room on the first night, thinking “he’s our son, we can handle this.” Boy, were we wrong. For starters, you cried almost every 20 minutes for different reasons but we didn’t always know why so we would just try different things – changing your diaper, holding you, patting your back to see if you would burp, feeding you – yet, sometimes you just kept crying. Not to mention, I was stuck in bed and high on all those drugs I was taking so I would wake up when you started crying but immediately fall back asleep within seconds of Daddy getting out of bed. I know it was a very long and frustrating night for him as I drifted in and out of sleep while he dealt with a crying newborn all by himself during his 3rd night without sleep. But he never once got frustrated with me. He did at one point say, “What have we gotten ourselves into?” and when it was almost morning and we were both beyond delirious, he turned to me and said “This is all YOUR fault.” Even in my drug-induced high, all I could do was laugh. We quickly decided that you would go in the nursery at night time from then on.

Our next few days were filled with intimate moments between new parents and their newborn.

We held you, laid with you asleep on our chests, listened to your little grunts and noises, “ooed” and “ahed” over practically every move you made, and took an insane number of pictures. We limited visitors to just parents while we were in the hospital and while we knew this would upset some of our family members, we knew it was the right decision. I was still going through a lot physically post-surgery with frequent follow-ups from the nurses, and Daddy and I needed this precious time to bond with you. Not to mention, there were moments when all the sweetness and cuteness of newborn-ness was gone and we just cried in frustration because we didn’t know what we were doing, we didn’t know what you needed, and we didn’t know how to fix you. Luckily, we had an incredible staff of nurses who would watch you in the nursery so we could take naps during the day whenever possible.

We were discharged home on the 4th day and as we got in the car, your Daddy and I both had a moment of clarity. This was our new “normal”. Daddy, Mommy, and Baby Brantley. And it was perfect.

Brantley, you are the most perfect little creature. You were born with a full head of hair, skinny fingers and long legs. When you’re awake you seem so alert, like you’re taking it all in, and you have the baby bobble-head thing down to a science. You love to sleep in our arms and you hardly ever cry unless you need a diaper change, you’re hungry, you need to be burped, or you just want to be held. And as soon as you hear our voices as we come into your nursery, you quiet down. The sound of your cry is just starting to change and we’re beginning to notice your distinct voice amidst the wails. While we don’t want you to ever get any bigger because we love you just the way you are right now, we can’t wait to see your first real smile, hear your first laugh, and walk through all the little milestones with you.

Daddy and I have said over and over again that this is the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do, and for different reasons. I carry a lot of responsibility and put a lot of pressure on myself because I am fully responsible for your food source. Yes, we can always supplement with formula. My brain knows that but my heart believes and responds as if you’ll die without the precious food only I can provide for you. Meanwhile, Daddy’s biggest struggle is listening to you cry, listening to me cry, and sometimes listening to us both cry at the same time and not being able to fix it.

But as each day passes, we’re realizing that we really can do this. I love our little family and we love you more than you’ll ever know.

IMG_8139Welcome home, baby boy.

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