Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Amelia & Mae Parker's Birth Story

This post has been 23 days in the making, so it's quite detailed and lengthy. But it's also the one and only time I'll ever be able to write and post about it. A few things to know throughout the post: when I talk about "Amy"...she is one of my dearest and life-long friends. She's also a Labor & Delivery nurse and also a photographer on the side. Hence all the photos in this post. When I talk about "Dr. Gernt" or "Paige", she is our OB and also a close family friend. Today, October 26 was our scheduled c-section day..only God and our girls had a different plan in mind. To get a good feel of how quick this all happened: 

12:20pm - the check out time on our SAM's reciept
12:45pm - the time noted as our Labor & Delivery enter time
2:21pm - the time noted as our OR enter time
2:47pm - Amelia Gentry Stafford was born
2;49pm - Mae Parker Stafford was born

Now, on to their story...

Sunday, October 2nd started as a normal Sunday. Wake up, get ready, quick breakfast, off to church...

You couldn't have paid me enough money that morning to believe that we'd have our girls just hours later. Who am I kidding, you couldn't have paid me enough money two hours before they were born to believe that. Several people asked us at church how they were doing and how much longer we was the same answer to each, "I'm feeling good...we're scheduled for a c-section on October 26th.."

Normally on Sundays, we have lunch at Stephen's grandparents' house, but on this Sunday for some reason we weren't having lunch there. On the rare occasion when that happens, we'll typically go out to lunch with some of my family, but we had decided not to do that either. We had a few errands we needed to run and we decided to just take care of those after church. We headed to SAM's, got what we needed some cold items from the grocery section, which we typically don't do but who can resist Panera Bread soup, am I right?! Then we headed to the bank to leave a deposit in the box. Since I had the deposit slip filled out, Stephen pulled in the drive thru from the wrong direction to let me drop it in. When I leaned out the car window, I noticed a sharp pain, but nothing drastic. I did mention it by saying, "OUCH...that stretch just hurt." And on our way we went. 

THEN, we were headed to make a return at Kohls. We had been joking about some of the stuff we had just bought and were commenting on what a pretty day it was and I said, "This is just a really GOOD Sunday." Little did I know how good of  Sunday it would end up being. 

About three minutes from our bank stop I noticed something going on "down there". I first told Stephen, let's just go home and let me lay down. Less than thirty seconds later I had changed my tune and was telling him "GET ME TO THE HOSPITAL NOW!" I knew something had happened, but I was dumb enough to think it's probably nothing and certainly probably not my water breaking. In fact, we approached the hospital I told Stephen, "You know if this IS my water breaking, she's going to put me on bedrest." Dumb. I was so dumb. 

My first intention was to walk into the hospital on my own, I mean it can't be that serious right? Stephen pulled up to the door, I put one foot out of the car and fluid was gushing out of me. I told him to go get me someone and I grabbed my phone to call Dr. Gernt. Stephen lucked up and ran into a nurse from OB passing in the hallway, they grabbed a wheelchair and came out to me. She rounded the back of the car and said, "OH MY!" as soon as she saw me.

She ran me and the wheelchair to Labor & Delivery, immediately 4 other nurses and assistants were rushing around getting a room set up for me, hooking me up to various monitors, calling different people, slipping and sliding all over the room from the fluid EVERYWHERE. All the while, I'm STILL NOT recognizing that these girls are coming now. I told Stephen to call my sister or brother in law since I knew they'd be a lunch with my parents and have their phones near them. Stephen was frantically calling our parents. I'm laying there thinking, ugh..I'm going to be on bedrest for 3 weeks now. Great. 

My L&D nurse, Megan asked "When's the last time you ate?" I looked at Stephen and the clock and said, "I don't know...7:30 or 8 this morning?" As soon as I said this, she and the others in the room were all saying "Oh that's good...perfect!" AT THAT MOMENT, it hit me. I'm having these babies - she wouldn't be asking if they weren't thinking surgery today. So I calmly asked, "'re thinking I'll have these girls? What kind of time frame are you thinking?" She looked down at me and said, "Um....within an hour? Maybe 2?" The monitors were showing a steady stream of contractions, which I wasn't feeling. She examined me and I was dilated to 1 cm and 90% effaced. 

My mind started racing. The girls would be so early. I haven't packed our bags. What if they have to be sent to Vanderbilt? Stephen's mom is in Chicago. Dr. Gernt....she's not on call. Amy...I've got to call Amy to come for pictures. It's October 2nd. OCTOBER 2...I'm scheduled for a c-section on October 26...this is so early. We've not even unboxed one of the carseats yet. We have cold groceries in the car for crying out loud!

I remember shaking uncontrollably (which I would end up doing until about 3 hours post-op) and asking several times if that was normal. They all assured me it was just from the adrenaline and sudden hormone change from my water breaking.  The next hour was a total blur. Everyone (nurses included) was trying to get in touch with Amy by any phone numbers we all had. My sister had tried calling Dr. Gernt also, but knew she was over an hour away. She called Paige's husband and he immediately tried getting in touch with her also. The pediatrician on call, Dr. Nghito, came in to talk to us and we immediately felt at ease with him and knew he'd be great with for our girls arrival. The anesthesiologist on call came in and explained his role, answered whatever questions I came up with. The OB doctor on call came in and talked to us about how the surgery would go. After her visit, everything was a go. By that time, I was hearing there was quite the crowd that had quickly assembled in their Sunday best in the waiting area, but no luck in finding Amy. Paige was informed and called us. I don't know whose cell phone it was but it got passed between myself, Stephen and my sister. She hated that she wasn't in town but said she knew I'd do great and would check in as soon as she got back later that afternoon / early evening. Just talking with her eased my mind and I was ready to go. 

They wheeled me off to the OR leaving Stephen behind to get "suited up". The anesthesiologist (Aaron) started my spinal right away, got me laid back and within minutes I couldn't feel anything from the chest down. They pulled the curtain up at my neck and I kept making small talk with Aaron trying to distract myself from the disbelief of what was so quickly happening and all of a sudden all that could so quickly go wrong. They brought Stephen in and all of a sudden I heard Amy's voice. She had been found and made it. Right before they started I heard someone say, "Dr. Gernt's here!" She gowned up enough to come in the room, but obviously wouldn't be doing the surgery. She came and sat by my head with Stephen and Aaron. She said "Well, I got here in about 40 minutes...didn't go exactly the speed limit but I just had to be here for this with you all." She talked us through what was going on step by step with light hearted chit chat in between. Once the girls were born and taken to the Nursery, Stephen went with the girls and she stayed with me. She's the absolute best, and I cannot ever repay her for her presence and investment in us. 

Amelia was born first at 2:47pm, the quick glimpse they gave me of her as they took her over to her warmer...I lost it. For the first time since I had been there, I lost it. This was real. Both girls were crying, the excitement in the room was shared by everyone, and I was a sobbing joyful mess. These babies were real and were here. I'm a mom. It was unreal. Mae Parker followed two minutes later at 2:49pm. (I should say she followed reluctantly. Turns out it was Amelia's water that had broken. Mae Parker's had not so they had to break her water once they got to her and I heard them saying she was fighting them back. She was NOT ready to be born that day and kicked back at them as they were breaking her water. Oh Mae.) I didn't get a glimpse of Mae Parker because her warmer was in front of me instead of behind me. I was hearing enough to know that she was needing a bit more attention. I was hearing that they both "looked good" "had good color" "were good size for 34 weeks"...I was praying with every fiber in my being that they were both ok. They briefly brought each girl over to my face before leaving the room with them. The girls, Stephen and Amy went to the Nursery and Paige stayed behind with me. She asked someone to find out their weights for me - a few minutes later the Nursery called the OR and we heard the nurse on the phone say that Amelia was 4 pounds 3 ounces and Mae Parker was an even 5 pounds. As the doctor finished with "putting me back together" Dr. Gernt asked me if  I wanted her to go out to the waiting room to let everyone know and what all I wanted her to tell and not tell them. 

From what I hear, it was quite the celebration when she rounded the corner and saw mine and Stephen's family. She let them all know the birth times and weights and briefly their condition. She and the nurses were under my instruction to not let anyone see them before I was able to. I was taken back to the Labor & Delivery room for a brief time. I was alone in that room for about 5 minutes before my mom came in. I just laid there thinking, "Did this REALLY just happen?....It's all over. 8 months carrying these babies inside me and they're all of sudden not in there any more?" 

My mom, dad and sister all took turns coming back and sitting with me when they found out I was alone. I rattled off random things and their locations to my sister to go get at our house since we hadn't packed our bags yet. Stephen came back to our room once. I wanted him to stay with the girls. He assured me they were going to be ok and were of course beautiful. The pride in his eyes and voice...I just melted and knew these girls were going to have THE BEST daddy. He was smitten instantly and was suddenly a different the best way that I never imagined. 

Once I was moved to a post-partum room, I was determined to go see my girls. But there was one small problem....I still couldn't feel anything from my chest down. Apparently I had gotten the "good stuff" because it was 3-4 hours before I got feeling back. As soon as I was able to wiggle my toes, some strings got pulled to get me into the nursery. Three nurses maneuvered me from the bed to a wheelchair, then whisked me to the Nursery on what felt like a covert operation to get me to my daughters.   

Seeing and touching the girls for the first time, I'll be honest...a part of me didn't feel like they were ours, and I knew it was the quickness of the situation and the unpreparedness for it all. I was being given information from Stephen, the girls' nurses and Dr. Nghito about their conditions. While I was hearing every word they said, I wasn't listening. All I kept thinking about was that these babies are ours...they're really here...they're going to be ok...we're going to get through this...thank you Lord. 

The rest of the afternoon was filled with family members taking turns coming back to see me and Stephen taking a few one by one into the nursery to see the girls. I wanted so bad to do two things: hold my girls and stand on my own two feet. Told ya that anesthesia was some good stuff that day. Stephen's mom and grandma were on their way back from Chicago. They were originally not supposed to come home until the next day, but hit the road running as soon as they found out what all was going on. They made the 10+ hour drive in about 8 hours. Once they got back into town late that night, they came straight to the hospital and stayed briefly with us and were able to see the girls in the nursery. 

After they left, Stephen and I made one more trip back to the nursery to see our little girls then we spent the next few hours just talking and recapping our whirlwind day. The girls would be kept in tehr Nursery for the foreseeable future and would not  be coming to my room. It broke my heart and wasn't at all what I anticipated but I knew they needed to be in the nursery to receive the care they required. We tried to sleep but we were just too high up on cloud nine. Reality was setting in, the shock was wearing off, we were parents! Our girls were early, would need extra attention, but were going to be ok. We couldn't believe how good our Sunday had turned out!

Coming up, I'll be sharing about the girls' time in the hospital, their long awaited homecoming, a little about each of them and how they're doing now, their nursery, and our first days home as a family of 4! 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Our Girls are Here

It has been proven to me, yet again, that God's plan is better than mine. Looking back at the last 18 days, that's all I can come up with. 

I've been away from this space for a while, because as most of you know by now, our girls were born unexpectedly early and QUICKLY. I'll be back next week sharing their birth story and a bit about their first couple of weeks, but for now, it is my pleasure to introduce you to....

Amelia Gentry Stafford

She was born on Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 2:47pm.
She weighed 4 pounds and 3 ounces and was 16 1/2 inches long.

Mae Parker Stafford

She was born on Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 2:49pm.
She weighed 5 pounds and was 17 3/4 inches long.

To say that these girls, who are just 19 days old and have been in our home for just 3 days now have rocked our world, is an understatement. I posted on Instagram yesterday after Mae Parker finally got to come home with us that I had always heard other parents describe this immediate, unconditional love, a feeling of joy, a full heart, a completed life, being so blessed and happy that they could burst. I often wondered if I would ever experience those same feelings for myself. Now that there are 2 girls under our roof...I get it and all of those "sayings" are beyond true. Two precious lives that God chose for us and entrusted to us. It's incredible. 

The last 2+ weeks have been nothing short of a blur, and honestly I kept zero notes along the way. In hindsight, I wish so badly that I had been recording their progress each day, but I have beautiful memories of watching these girls grow and be oh so loved by their nurses during their hospital stay. Maybe those memories are meant to outweigh all the daily numbers, levels, test results, etc. 

Our girls have a beautiful story to tell and I look forward to sharing that with you. Thank you all so much for all of your kind words and prayers these past several months and these past several days. I've said it before and will say it again and again...our girls are loved beyond measure by SO many. It's our honor to be their parents.  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Thursday Confessions: Nesting, Unfollows & Gnats

I've been saving these up for two here we go!


If I ever made a "Favorites Things List" (in Oprah form of course), I would definitely include a subscription to XM Radio for my lucky audience members. We just have it in our cars, but it's probably the best bill we pay every year. Yes, I just said it was the best bill. ANYWAYS, recently XM debuted the new Garth Brooks Channel. Y'all. I'm OBSESSED with this channel. It's the perfect mix of all Garth's songs and some of the best songs from ALL other genres of music.

I have some major sing-alongs to this channel. 


"Nesting" hasn't hit me yet for our home, but when I find my 33 week pregnant with twins self on all four's on the floor squeezed under my desk DUSTING the bottom of said desk...I think we can all agree it's "nesting", yeah?


For reasons unbeknownst to me, we've had an unreasonable number of gnats in our house the past couple of months. We keep NO fruit or food laying out, we take trash outside, our garbage disposal is clean...we shouldn't have them. Hopefully it's just something to do with the HOT summer we've had and the cooler temps will help get rid of them. They have to be the most annoying thing ever...a close second to Seinfeld, presidential debates and the basset hound next door that decides to howl at 1am for no reason other than to hear himself. 


Call me shallow, but one of my biggest concerns lately hasn't been ANYTHING pregnancy related or about the life changing events that are about to happen to us. Nope, I sit and wonder most days about where we're going to put our Christmas tree this year with a new recliner currently in its place. Of course our babies are on my mind always, but that dang tree's got me stumped. 


Lately, I've unfollowed or blocked several people's posts from my Facebook and Instagram feeds. I'm over the drama and I'm over all the random politically driven shares. I want to see pictures of my friends' everyday life and read uplifting posts...and the occasional meme cracks me up.

But I'm done with complaints and rants. Too much negativity for me. 

Happy Thursday friends...the weekend is in sight and Fall is in the air!!! Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

3 Years

Today the Mr and I celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary. This year, I am more thankful for him and our marriage than I've ever been before. Marriage is truly "for better or worse". 

When I think back over the last three years, I want to cry, laugh, and roll my eyes at the same time. We've shared so much and experienced more together in 36 months than we ever anticipated. 

We had the BEST day three years ago with our friends and family...

but we had NO idea then what three years later would look like. 

I'm grateful for the good and easy times and in hindsight, I'm just as grateful for the down in the dumps, life sucks, hard times. The tears, the overwhelming punched in the gut sadness, the arguments...real life moments that are just plain hard. As my husband, Stephen has been the best supporter I could ask for, especially during everything we have dealt with the past year and a half. It's cliche to say but I really can't imagine going through this life with anyone else. 

Our biggest adventure and joys await us in just a few short weeks. We're excited to start to this journey as a family of FOUR. We're excited to see just how much our lives are about to be flipped upside down. There are still moments of nervousness and overwhelming anxiety, but our excitement to finally meet our sweet Amelia and Mae Parker outweigh all of our fears. 

(Just a little side note for those following our journey to parenthood, if nothing changes, we do a have a date and time scheduled for a c-section. WHICH IS NUTS! We found out Monday, and I'll share that on here in time; just want to wait in case something does change.)

We appreciate all the love, encouragement and support you have all shown us, and continue to show us. We can't wait to share this next chapter with you! 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Bumpdate: Week 32

How Far Along?

32 weeks and 6 days



Amelia Gentry & Mae Parker

Due Date?

November 12 will always be the technical 40 week due date, but we’re still planning on a mid-October delivery.

Weight Gain?

I’ve gained about 3 pounds in the last 4 weeks, but the girls are growing like weeds!

Stretch Marks?

Just a few, but nothing horrible. It’s amazing to feel them move and feel different spots across my stomach turn rock solid.

Maternity Clothes?

Umm…yes. And whatever genius at the Motherhood Maternity stores that designed their leggings…God bless you. Those are THE MOST comfortable things I’ve ever worn!

Belly Button In or Out?

Still in but it’s stretching out sideways. It’s weird. What’s even more weird…one of my gall bladder surgery scars is inside my belly button, and it’s all popping out and disfigured looking. It’s attractive.

(Please ignore whatever condition the guest bed is in behind me in these bump pics. I usually take   them right before i walk out the door for work or last thing at night. Either way, that bed is usually in disarray by that time. I typically get ready in here in the mornings since I leave before Stephen gets up so there's either stuff to grab for work, or clothes laid out for the next day. OR my huge body pillow...which I will finally admit is AMAZING!)

Currently Reading?

Nothing really of importance. Did I ever mention that I left the private FB group I was in for Fall 2016 moms of multiples?? I did. It got to be waaaay more drama than I cared to see on my newsfeed every day. For the most part it was supportive and a good source of shared info. BUT, it got to be where a few of the moms were whiney..and I can’t handle that. Yes, pregnancy is hard…a multiples pregnancy is REALLY hard. But this is such a blessing and answered prayer for some of us, and I choose to be thankful over posting little complaints every hour. (Literally.) OR complaining about family members. (Please, keep your family drama off of social media.) OR calling out some of us in the group who don’t post on a frequent basis. (REALLY? It’s a closed group, we ASKED to be added, so I’m pretty sure we can comment and post when we want to or when we don’t want to.) That was the final blow for me, and I left the group immediately. I’m pretty content with NOT reading that mess on my newsfeed anymore.


A friend of mine posted this on IG, so now I’m on the hunt for it!

I’ve also desperately been wanting chocolate cake or brownies every night lately. I eat apples instead. It’s NOT the same, but the better choice for all 3 of us.

Am I Showing Yet?

I’ll be 33 weeks with twins tomorrow…this question is irrelevant.


Knock on wood, the heartburn has been significantly better in the past week. Maybe the girls have moved just enough to give digestion a fighting chance. Whatever it is…I’ve been grateful for it.

Best Part of the Week?

We had a couple of fun things this week that I want to remember. I decided to go ahead and get the girls’ hospital bag ready… which meant it was finally time to do some baby laundry. We washed most of their newborn sleepers and gowns, their bibs, socks, blankets and swaddles. The smell of baby laundry…heaven help. I’ve heard about this scent before, but it’s better than I expected. Honestly, it was an emotion time doing this “chore”. For all the years and prayers and tears shed so desperately wanting to be a mother and now, SO close to meeting two little girls...our girls. It’s just A LOT to take in lately!

The bookcase we ordered for the nursery came in and it’s literally the last thing we were waiting on. We’ll be putting that together and HOPEFULLY finish the room this weekend!

Worst Part of the Week?

I broke down and went to my least favorite store ever. Verizon. I DESPISE going in there; mainly because the sales guys treat me like I’m a little girl and that I’m clueless and I HATE that. My phone is past due an upgrade and I’m having to delete texts, voicemails, call logs, ANYTHING at least twice a week because of storage space…or lack there of. So, it’s time to upgrade before the girls get here because let’s be honest, the amount of picture and video taking is about to become my favorite hobby of all time. I got the info I needed and my options written down from the guy after asking him multiple times to do it. Now, I just have to decide which route I want to go and then fun part, GO BACK, and get a new phone. Anyone else hate going into Verizon or another cell carrier store??

Miss Anything?

I still miss overall comfort. It’s getting difficult to get up and down from chairs and from the bed at night. BUT, that’s just part of it, right? It’s temporary. I can handle temporary.


Both girls are still rather active, but they’ve started slowing down. I’ve read somewhere recently that after 30 weeks, you tend to not notice as much movement as in previous weeks just because the baby is growing and her space is becoming limited. SO, I assume with 2, they have even less space. However, when we see them every week on ultrasound, both are just fine and moving around as normal. Just not as many kicks and jabs as I’ve felt before.


Overall, it’s been a good mood around here lately. Everything I’ve been stressed about with work, is GONE. Our new hire started on Monday and she’s picking up QUICK. I already know she’ll handle everything just fine while I’m gone. It’s been SUCH a relief and answered prayer really!

What am I Looking Forward To?

Our anniversary is next week. We’re still trying to decide what to do, but we’re both looking forward to it.

Worth remembering...

I posted this on Facebook and IG earlier this week, but Stephen was helping with the laundry and started matching all of the girls’ socks. It was just a full-circle kind of moment that hit me. I can’t wait to see him with his girls. He is going to be SMITTEN I just know it!

We couldn’t get scheduled this week for our weekly appointment and ultrasound, so we’re going 10 days in between appointments this time instead of 7..which is fine. We’ll go Monday and see how they’re doing. Our doctor said last week, we’d start talking soon about calendar dates. EEK! 

Chances are these girls will be born via c-section whether it’s scheduled or if I go into labor on my own. They’re just not positioned for a vaginal birth and never have been. Of course, anything can happen and anything can change in the next few weeks, but MORE THAN LIKELY, we’re looking at a c-section. Which is totally fine with me, whatever is best for our girls I’m on board with!  Time frame wise if everything continues to go well, she won’t let us go more than 4-5 more weeks. FOUR TO FIVE MORE WEEKS!?!!? How has this flown by THIS fast?!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2016


I had every intention of sharing my Thursday Confessions today (because I've got some doozies saved up), but it's the "official" first day of Fall so I thought I would break out the annual Fall decor post! 

PLUS, if you've been following my blogger friend, Sarah, you've seen that today in her Fall Favorites Series she's sharing her Fall decor. Be sure to check out the comments to find links to others' fall home decor ideas!!

I didn't go back and look at last year's post, but I'm going to assume that not too much has changed this year. This is the first year, I've not bought a single new item to add to my collection. WHAAAAT?! To see last year's post, just click here. I think the longer we're in our home, the more our seasonal decorations will find their set places and not be moved around as much...we'll see. 

I took all of these pictures early yesterday morning. Early, as in still dark outside early and my real camera's batteries were it is what it is this year friends. 

Anything that looks specific for Halloween will be removed for a few specific Thanksgiving touches. The "trick or treat" will become "gobble, gobble, gobble"...gotta love the $1 aisle at Target for little goodies like this! The canvas I painted last year and ended up selling several of; it was a last minute decision but turned out fun! 

Inside my antique cabinet, there's the usual breakable seasonal things. I have a feeling these will be in here FOR SURE for the next several years. 

I've kept our table simple this year because lately it's been a catch all for random gifts coming in, thank you card writing, owners manuals and warranty cards to fill out for carseats, strollers, etc. It's just been too cluttered lately to worry about a bigger centerpiece.

More breakables that will never be moved until the girls are what...10?

On top of the same cabinet...I love this little space!

My favorite wreath! I love changing this thing out every season or on a whim to new colors! The box of all colored fabric flowers makes my heart happy when I open it. 

I added a couple of fun pumpkins to our tv stand and will use the jack-o-lantern on top for Halloween candy in a few weeks. 

I got this Halloween table runner years ago at Kohls and just LOVE it. At some point, I'll add some candy corn to the glass pumpkin jar and then remove the table runner after Halloween. But for now, it's cheerfully perfect!

Ok, on to our mantel. I managed to shove the large stroller box that had delivered the night before out of the way for this one picture. 

I don't think this has changed much from last year. Our mantel is the perfect size for fun decorations and for layering.

This metal pumpkin by our entryway table will be moved out side in a couple of weeks. For now, I'm trying to keep my fall-craziness contained to the inside of the house and not parade it to the neighbors just yet. (Hence the HUGE mum I'm hiding on the back porch for the time-being.)

Fall means football, and I'm still in love with these printables I found online a couple of years ago along with the wood power T that I picked up at the Bell Buckle arts and crafts fair last October!

Finally, our orange and (kind of) white burlap rag wreath. Stephen loves when this one comes out every year. It's his favorite piece in my Fall collection. 

That's it friends...thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you're enjoying this first day of fall too! I maaaay have filled my cup with cider this morning before walking out the door...the heart wants what the heart wants!