Author Archives: Kaitlyn White

Easy Like Sunday Morning

21st August 2019

This is a story of how our littlest guy made his way into the world on Sunday, July 21, 2019, but before we get there, I think you should understand a thing or two about Sundays in this house. 


Pink sprinkle doughnuts. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Sunday mornings as a kid. On the mornings we made it to church (sorry, Jesus, it wasn’t every Sunday), we would stop by Dunkin’ to pick up pink sprinkle doughnuts before heading home. At home, my Dad would fill the kitchen with smells of bacon, eggs and hand-crafted-letter-shaped pancakes for each of us. 


French toast and a fruit platter. That marked the next Sunday chapter I can recall. The first year Patrick and I dated he was on soccer scholarship which meant his parents gave him a monthly stipend (thanks, Roger and Corky). For some reason, two 18-year-olds found that spending that stipend on a ritual of Sunday morning brunch at Five and Ten in Athens was the best use of money for the first year of our relationship. #millennials


Quiet neighborhood miles with Charles Osgood and Jane Pauley. In recent years, Sunday mornings have meant a long-ish morning run and getting home in time to cook breakfast and watch CBS Sunday morning together. Can you tell we’re aging?


Sunday mornings are my own little slice of heaven. I feel closest to the big guy upstairs thanks to simple, quiet routines, so it should come as no surprise that it was on a Sunday morning when the next chapter of our lives took root. 


Early in the afternoon of Sunday July 21, 2019 (12:06 PM to be exact), our little nugget, Beckham Matthew, made his way into this world. 


Before we make our way to Sunday, we’ll start with a few things I expected on how we would get there…

  • Expectation: I’d gradually start feeling contractions, labor at home for several hours and only then would we head to the hospital. 
  • Reality: My water broke in the living room and chaos ensued. 
  • Expectation: I’d labor naturally, using all of the props. I was so concerned about the availability of the props. I even planned to bring my yoga mat and essential oils to really calm myself down. Charming, right?  
  • Reality: I was hooked to an IV immediately and I left my yoga mat at home. 
  • Expectation: I’d labor drug free. 
  • Reality: After 12 hours on Pitocin, nope. Just nope.
  • Expectation: Pushing would be the most terrifying and painful part. 
  • Reality: Not quite. 
  • Expectation: New babies are not cute. 
  • Reality: Well maybe just this one. 


Saturday started like any other Saturday in our house. I went to barre class. I bought us chocolate croissants at the farmers market. I showered AND washed my hair (thank goodness). Patrick made several trips to Home Depot to get started on a swing in our yard. I struggled to find something to cook for dinner on Pinterest, finally settling that we were going to get takeout. 


They say God laughs at our most well laid plans and boy was he just chuckling at mine.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have it’s full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

James 1: 2-4

Expectation number one: Labor only starts with your water breaking 10% of the time. Reality: I was in the 10%. 


I stood up off of the couch to stretch out the babe sitting under my ribs…and I felt a gush of liquid. I looked to Patrick and said “uh-oh.” He knew exactly what that uh-oh meant.


After having packed a bag weeks ago, I spent the next 20 minutes frantically running around the house, half clothed, while tossing everything we owned into an already packed bag. Four pairs of pajamas, six bras and a bag of gummy bears? Yes, I will need those. We did enjoy the gummy bears. Thanks, Kristin.

One last pic of the two of us before heading into the hospital.


We called the OBGYN’s office who put me through to the doctor on call. It turned out it was my favorite doctor in our practice and she’d be there until Monday morning. Since I had tested positive for Group Strep B, I needed to come to the hospital right away to be put on antibiotics. 


Expectation number two: Zen labor.  Reality: I’m how far dilated? Are you sure? 


The next few hours moved quickly and not at all at the same time. We were admitted right away and I was checked to find out I was not having contractions and only 1 cm dilated. Since my water had broken, we made the decision to start pitocin right away to try to move things along.


What this meant was that I was hooked to an IV, hadn’t eaten and went from zero contractions to pretty wild ones in a matter of hours.

I’ll stop here to let you know that despite my expectations slowly diminishing by the hour, the nurses at Piedmont were an absolute dream. We were the only people in labor that night at Piedmont so not only did we have an exceptional care team, but we also had the attention of every soul on the floor. Our nurse took the time to create a boy/girl pool on the whiteboard and I’m pretty sure everyone working the floor stopped by to love on us and make a guess over the course of the evening. 


By midnight, my contractions had really ramped up, though they were still not consistently timed. Another expectation myth busted. It was at this point that I was super thankful to have thrown the wireless speaker into the bag along with 47 bras. Patrick queued up the babe playlist I had made on Spotify while I hung onto the birthing ball and Patrick’s knee for dear life.


Expectation number three: say no to drugs.  Reality: I’ll take whatever you have. 


By 4 AM, I was experiencing contractions every 90 seconds and it felt as if there was no relief in-between. I decided that I’d hold out until my 6 AM check and if I was 7cm dilated or above, I’d hang on, if not, we’d call the anesthesiologist.


At 6 AM, I was 4cm dilated. I can’t express to you how defeated I felt in this moment. Everything I thought would happen, had gone the opposite. I sobbed that I couldn’t do this and even told Patrick I would be carrying zero more children in the future. In this moment, both Patrick and our nurse reminded me that the goal was a healthy baby, not an artificial “I did this naturally” medal. Encouragement is a miracle worker, friends. 


By 7 AM the epidural was in successfully (how that was possible during 90 second contractions, I’ll never know) and I finally felt some relief. To not feel your body’s pain is a weird sensation. I did not care for it whatsoever, but I was thankful for the ability to breathe again. 


Expectation number four (I’m taking liberty for my husband here): No way I’m cutting the cord and stay above shoulder height.  Reality: Let’s do this thing. 


By 10:30 AM, the doctor checked and I had progressed to 10 cm dilated and 100% effaced. She looked at us and said “OK, we’ll start pushing on this next contraction.”


Wait, what? 


I’m not sure how to push. I’m not sure I even really know what that means. Are we sure it’s really time? Stay above my shoulders. Let’s take a nap instead. Take your wife’s leg. What. Is. Happening. 


Thankfully, the nurses again came to our rescue and talked us through every step. After less than 90 minutes of pushing, including 30 minutes of break time for oxygen to keep mine and baby’s heart rate steady, our little guy made his way into the world.


Remember the no other laboring mamas thing? Still true. In fact, it would take until 9 PM for another baby to be born at Piedmont. By this point, we had a flurry of people in the room and it was a pure celebration, set to that Spotify playlist.

I can recall thee songs during that 90 minutes: 1. Lauren Daigle’s “Look Up Child”, when the nurse shared “I love this song” 2. Ingrid Michaelson’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, our wedding song, and the look Patrick gave me when it started playing and 3. fittingly, Lionel Richie’s “Easy Like Sunday Morning.” I have no idea what was playing at 12:06. 


My “no cord cutting husband” cheerfully cut the cord, admitted to me that he “looked” and announced that we had a sweet little boy on our hands. The room had overwhelmingly voted girl. I was in shock, not just that he was a boy, but the simple fact that this baby had been a boy all along and I had no idea. I’m not sure why that was so mind blowing for me, but it was.

We gave him the only boy name we both ever agreed on: Beckham Matthew. Beckham simply because it was under 100 in popularity on the Social Security website and we both liked it and Matthew in memory of my late Uncle Matt, who spent nearly every Christmas with our family growing up – most of that time spent in our kitchen. That entire 90 minute period still gives me chills to think about. I’ve never felt more calm or confident it my life.


Expectation number five: Rough looking baby.  Reality: Beautiful little boy. 


The doctor placed baby Beckham on my chest and he was absolutely perfect. He wasn’t red. He wasn’t jaundiced (later we’d learn he was a 0.0 on the jaundice scale and the nurses assumed it was broken). He had a head full of the softest, slightly strawberry blond hair. He weighed 8lb 1oz and was 20.5 inches long. Say what? 


My first words to Patrick were “he’s not ugly” followed by “let’s have another one.” My first words to Beckham were overjoy to share with him how long we’d both waited to have him in our lives. I simply could not believe that this moment had finally arrived. It was perfect and I’d give all of the money in the world to relive it. 


While I could share plenty on how the last few weeks have been less than glamorous, I’d simply be sharing what ever first time parent knows to be true: this gig is HARD. Labor, that’s the easy part. 


Easy like Sunday morning.


Beckham, my prayer for you is that you always look up. That you make plans and then throw them cheerfully in the wind when God sends you in the opposite direction. 


I pray that you’ll trust the path laid forth for you and that you’ll allow Patrick and I to guide you as best we can from this moment forward. 


I pray that you’ll always find joy in easy, Sunday mornings and that you’ll like sprinkles and pancakes and French toast and chocolate croissants. Maybe you’ll even be a chef someday like the great guy who shares your name.


Welcome to the crew little buddy, we sure are glad you’re here. 

Holy cow. We’re having a baby.

12th February 2019

As I sit here closing in on 17 weeks, I still can’t believe I’m typing those little words: we’re. having. a. baby.

Patrick and I started dating when we were 18 year old, babies ourselves, and still we talked about kiddos for about as far back as I can remember. Those of you who know us well can likely even recall a conversation with P where he spoke of the “soccer team” he hoped to have one day.

After getting married in 2014, we took our time. We traveled. We built careers. We built a home. We traveled some more. I always assumed we’d settle into building our own little league crew quickly, but as time went on, we found ourselves calling time outs, feeling we weren’t quite there yet.

We spent my 29th birthday in the car tackling a seven hour drive up I20 to Ocean Isle Beach to catch the solar eclipse with my family (spoiler alert: it rained). I spent a solid three of those hours working up the courage to broach the subject that we’d assumed was a given nearly a decade earlier. Somewhere past the Augusta line, I finally blurted out the words “I think I want go stop taking birth control” Patrick laughed at me. His response “you’ve been holding that in for three hours haven’t you?”

And off we went. Whether it was the Catholic guilt, that scene in Mean Girls or the stellar sexual education I received in middle school, I had it in my head that once you stop preventing pregnancy, there it is. Wham. Baby. So when weeks turned into months, turned into a year, it took its toll.

For those of you who were along that journey of crazy with me, God bless you. I’m not sure what I would have done without your calls to ask how it was going, to be a shoulder when I needed to cry on or to be the ear that listened when I just felt like screaming at the world. You’ll never know what those conversations meant to me. “What if” followed behind me like a lurking puppy and it if weren’t for your questioning when I’d fall quiet, your prayers and your encouragement, I would have punched that puppy in the face. This thing I’d be told would happen if I as much looked at a boy just would. not. happen.

This past fall, we started the journey of testing to get some answers. By early October, after a flurry of testing appointments, I had my first ultrasound appointment that started with the tech asking if we were “coding this as infertility” and ending with a cheerful sendoff of “I hope to see you here for another reason next time!” Gulp. Here we go.

Following that visit, when my doctor didn’t have too many clear answers for me (things looked a little off, but not so off to warrant medication), we talked about what was next (P getting tested), what would be next after that (a potential surgery in the new year) and we would go from there. While it was overwhelming, felt ready to brace for the impact of what could be a longer road that I could have ever imagined sharing with my 18-year-old self.

Then low and behold, two days after Thanksgiving and five days after a missed period and in the midst of terrible cramps, I took a test. A test that I hadn’t even purchased for myself. I hadn’t needed to. A test that had been sitting in my medicine cabinet for nearly a year (expired? who knows?) and after a few minutes, that one little word emblazoned on it: pregnant.

Boy does God’s timing just get us sometimes. Just a few short weeks later, we were back in the doctor’s office and this time I think my doctor was the one ready to cry — happy tears. We were expecting. Here are a few examples of what we would have missed if it happened just months, even weeks, sooner than it did.

  • I wouldn’t have celebrated the making it through in-Restaurant days with my work bestie by clicking champagne glasses in Chicago (literally my last glass!)
  • We couldn’t have had a care-free trip filled with pisco, penguins and endless hikes to South America with my brother.
  • I wouldn’t have lead the launch of quite possibly the biggest project of my career at Chick-fil-A.

I woke Patrick up to tell him, he asked to go back to bed and I headed out the door to yoga, thinking, “gosh, there is no way.” After picking up new, not questionably expired, pregnancy tests at Target, we confirmed it was indeed a thing.  

The weeks that followed were the most anxiety inducing of my life. I clung to every Google search for what could been happening in my body convinced this could not finally be true after so many years of dreaming. 

We had the chance to tell both sets of parents, together, on Christmas eve and they were over the moon. Our requests to keep the news a secret from our large families lasted approximately eight minutes. We would tell our friends and our coworkers in the weeks to come, each hug a little sweeter than the last. 

So that brings us to today. Today we’re nearly 17 weeks along with this little one who I’ve affectionately named nugget, mostly as I ask he or she to behave as I’m dying to run up Mount Kilimanjaro that until a few months ago was only the neighborhood hill on Skyland. Today, I’m still nearly as nervous as I was 18 months ago but even more thrilled than I could have ever imagined 12 years ago. 

Patrick and I can’t wait to add a little adventurer to our crew in late July – girl or boy, we don’t intend to find out until he or she makes an arrival onto this earth. We pray that things continue to go smoothly, but if they don’t, we pray for understanding and trust that God has us exactly where we are meant to be, no matter what life might throw our way. 

To our littlest nugget, my prayer for you is that you come into this world ready to tackle the next adventure by our sides. I pray that you’ll be ready to be the leader of the pack, God willing, because we think the world is waiting on you. I pray that you’ll always keep an open mind and a curious heart towards those around you. And finally, I pray that you know that you are so, so loved beyond measure. 

To anyone reading this in a season of waiting, a season of miscarriage, or a season of what feels like endless non-answers, gosh, I. Am. With. You. We are thankful that our story has continued with easier answers than expected, but I understand that is not the case for everyone and gosh, I can’t even begin to fathom what you’ve each experienced. I can’t begin to imagine how every story is different and I wish I could lift each and every one of you up in hugs, share with you a glass of wine and even respond to that feeling of I just want to punch my ovaries in the face. If someone can ever do any of the above for you, let it be me, I’m your girl.  

Visiting champagne country: Reims & Épernay, France

14th May 2017

Some people love margaritas, others a nice glass of pinot, myself, it’s always been a glass of champagne. I even keep the mini-bottles in the fridge at all times.

So naturally, the first question I asked after hitting “purchase” on airlines tickets to France was “so we can plan a trip to the champagne houses, right?” Thankfully, my non-champagne fan of a husband responded with an immediate “of course.” We quickly looped our cousins, Will and Ashley who are stationed in Germany, in and began planning a weekend in champagne country, to coincide with Easter.

While the champagne region in France is quite large, La Route Du Champagne is nestled between the towns of Reims and Épernay, to the northeast of Paris. Since we would be coming from Paris, we booked a trip on the TGV train from Paris East to Reims. The ticket was roughly €15 each way, per person and is an easy 45 minute ride. The TGV app was a breeze for both booking our tickets as well as presenting them onboard the train.

After arriving in Reims, we took a short walk over to our hotel, Hotel Mecure. It was inexpensive, comfortable and central enough to be able to walk about town. They also had a parking garage, as Will and Ashley drove in from Germany to meet us.

I’d read it’s easy to do Reims/Épernay as a day trip and while that’s certainly true, if you’re planning to see any of the town or multiple houses, I’d certainly recommend doing at least a one night stay.

We wanted to be able to see a mix of big houses as well as some of the smaller ones. On our first day, we walked along the water to Veuve Clicquot, our “big house” stop on the trip. Ashley was able to get us in for a tour a day or so in advance. For €50, we received a full tour of the caves as well as two “tasting glasses” of champagne.

I was thrilled to see on all of our outings that unlike wine tastings champagne “tasting” means a full glass that must be completed before you move on to the next.

Through the cave tour, we experienced the process of making champagne, as well as heard the story of Madame Clicquot Ponsardin. “Veuve” translates to “widow” in French. To imagine a widow, taking over her late husband’s family business, at the age of 27, in the year 1805 is nearly unfathomable, and to experience the brand Veuve Clucquot has blossomed into today is just remarkable. Nineteenth century girl power, let me tell ya. You go girl.

 

The next day, we opted to explore by car, taking in the full Route du Champagne between Reims and Épernay. The drive is about an hour from end to end, but we made a full day out of stopping between the tiny, countryside towns.

Before heading out, we checked with the local tourism office. They offer day tours of the region, which include a stop at one of the houses for a tasting. Luckily, the woman in the tour office pointed out a few of her favorite houses, as well as the one the group would be visiting that day. As it turned out, this was really the only way to get into a smaller house without previous arrangements.

After a few calls, the family at René Fresne invited us to join the tour group later in the day, free of charge. We had the pleasure of joining the tour with Hervé, the head of the family’s house. After tasting three very full and very tasty glasses of champagne with no bus on which to depart, we were able to stick around and spend time with Hervé who told us more about his family’s history, his business and his life in France. It was the most special little treat.

After leaving René Fresne, we made our way towards Verzy, where I had talked a big game about some crazy trees I read about in the Atlas Obsucra. It was a fun little hike, but I expected a bit more out of these guys.

We continued on to the Perching Bar, also in Verzy. The Perching Bar is a champagne bar nestled in the woods and up a few rope bridges. Admission was around €15 each, but again, this included a glass of champagne. The views up top were incredible and the bar had heat plus really fun swings.

We ended the evening with dinner and a walk around the town of Épernay. This is the home of some of the bigger houses you’ve likely heard of, a la Moët & Chandon and Dom Perignon. Most required reservations well in advance and were a bit pricer.

Back in Reims, we ended the weekend with Easter mass at La Notre-Dame de Reims. The cathedral began construction in 1211 and until the mid-1800s served as the site to crown France’s kings. While beautiful, cathedrals built in 1211 don’t come with heat, so it was quite a chilly little morning. While we didn’t understand a word, thank goodness for Catholic tradition. We at least knew exactly where to be and what to do. It was a great way to celebrate my favorite season of the liturgical year. Something tells me Jesus would have been more than OK with an Easter weekend spend surrounded by family, celebrating each other with bubbly at every turn.