Category Archives: Let’s Be Adults

The Wild Card

3rd February 2023

“Third babies can sometimes be wild cards!” I remember my Doctor sharing with me as I glided through my third of three pregnancies and we discussed birth plans. So when at my 36-week appointment the Doctor shared that the baby wasn’t quite heads down “wild card” and is what jumped into my mind. He asked me to follow up with another appointment a few days later.

On Monday, my 37-week appointment, the baby was heads down, but this time, the Doctor asked “have you ever had high blood pressure?” It turned out this deck had more than one wild card in it. It had been a particularly stressful week at work and I brushed it off as such, determined to make it a few more weeks. I had already scheduled another appointment for Friday, so back I’d come in a few days.

By Friday, work had really escalated and so had my contractions. I had a sneaky suspicion the wild card might show its hand again and I asked Patrick to join me at this appointment, carseat and hospital bags packed in tow.

Show itself it did with another  high blood pressure reading and off to the hospital we went. We settled in and were given a green light to walk the halls of Piedmont for 45 minutes of every hour, with 15 minutes to monitor. I set out to walk like it was my job, including a quick detour of getting locked outdoors in the 30 degree weather while wearing a hospital gown. It turns out the Piedmont Hospital Walgreens is not accessible from the inside and they don’t sell lottery tickets. I digress.

Somewhere along our third round of this, we ran into the Doctor who joked about my speed walking, I asked her if I was allowed to run this baby out down Peachtree Street, we are situated on cardiac hill after all. She didn’t find that funny. Nor did she think I was serious. I was. I didn’t run.

After several hours of this and few places left to explore, little had progressed. I argued with the Dr. to head home, it was after all “just stress” that had caused my blood pressure to spike. She argued that was probably not the case and to induce me. She won. She was certain I’d have this baby quickly, overnight. It was my third after all.

Night came and went and that little stubborn wild card stayed put. Despite Pitocin and Cervidil, baby hadn’t moved an inch. With morning came a change in Doctors and my own Doctor would now be doing rounds. She chuckled when she saw me. I was here, two weeks early, thanks to two rogue high blood pressure readings, destined to deliver my third of three babies with her by my side. She assured me I would not leave this hospital without a baby, no matter how frustrated I was becoming.

At this point in the story, I’ll pause for an intermission of a different kind. That morning, we got word from my in-laws that our sweet dog Vida was not well. Patrick and I were both convinced they were overreacting, so with a stalled labor and no baby in sight, we agreed he should leave the hospital and check on her. His call came quickly, Vida was not well. He would stay with her a little longer before my father in law took her to our vet to say goodbye.

That damn dog, 15 years young, had waited until we left to have a baby to turn a corner. I was angry, sad and had to laugh a little bit that she was going to do this her way, while I was stuck in a hospital unable to pet her head while telling her exactly how I felt about this shenanigan. If you’ve ever wondered if it’s possible for two emotions to perfectly coexist in a single moment, I can assure you, they can. Joy and grief. Perfectly hand in hand.

By this point, my frustration in labor had really begun to grow. My Doctor decided to break my water and see if that trick might get things moving. She tried and couldn’t. It was terribly painful, but I was so ready to get this show on the road, no amount of pain was going to stop my hard headedness. She opted to wait until I could have an epidural and try again.

An hour or so later, epidural was in and she successfully broke my water. With Eloise, breaking my water lead to a baby in arms about 45 minutes later, but remember, this is my wild card. No such luck. A few more hours passed with little progress and more frustration on my part. Impatience is a theme here.

I changed positions, sitting up, and Patrick left again to get a snack. Welp, that did the trick. Suddenly this baby decided now was the time to make his or her arrival – and do it quickly. The nurse let me push once, then asked me to stop and I didn’t ask too many questions why. Patrick and my Doctor had barely gotten back to the room by the time this little one was ready to make an entrance. Wild card number three.

Baby arrived swiftly and quietly. No immediate cry. I only heard the words “double nuchal” and no words on gender from Patrick. It turned out she was a she and she had a double wrap of the cord around her neck, which may have prevented her for moving down earlier in labor. Thanks to being two weeks early, she had extra vernix on her skin, making her appear paler than she actually was. He was convinced, if only for a brief moment, something was terribly wrong and was in shock. She let out a beautiful little cry, he let out a sigh of relief and awe and joy filled the room for a third time to learn this little one was a little girl – our Lilah Cordelia. Praise be to God.

From the moment you take a pregnancy test, you begin to imagine what that baby might be like. Brown hair or blond? Stubborn or easy going? Boy or girl? I think it’s natural to dream up who this little person you carry for nine months might become. However, what they don’t tell you to prepare for is how this little person might change who you are destined to become too.

Lilah Cordelia was just the wild card I needed. A reminder that you don’t get to pick the timing, the circumstances or even believe the story you’ve told yourself that you have a stubborn little one who refuses to come into the world. In the weeks since her arrival, Lilah has been everything except stubborn. She sleeps softly, nurses like a champ (my first baby not to fall backwards on the growth chart post birth!) and will stare at you with these big, round blue eyes as if to say “I’m so happy I’m here.” Us too baby girl, us too.

Lilah, my prayer for you is that you always force us to slow down and take in the world at a slower pace. I pray that you march to the beat of your own drum, unapologetically, and that you see the world with those big, open eyes. And perhaps if we are so lucky, or simply not too stubborn, your wild card will rub off on all of those around you too. All my love, mom.

We get to do this

13th October 2019

Each fall at Chick-fil-A we gather as a company in our main building atrium to hear updates from our leaders on what’s taken place throughout the year. The space is billowing with beautiful stone floors and a five story spiral staircase that if you arrive early enough can be the best seat in the house. Inevitably, I never arrive early enough and wear heels like I shouldn’t have, therefore I spend the hour shifting my weight from left to right, cursing my improper choice of footwear, while balancing my phone and a cup of hot tea in hand.

Last fall, while contemplating my poor footwear choices, I listened as a leader I admire dearly shared a line I won’t soon forget, “we get to do this.” He talked about record breaking growth. About Operator frustrations. About all of the challenges and celebrations that come with growing a brand beyond what anyone of us could imagine. What Shane didn’t talk about was feeding an almost three month old in the hospital at 4 am, but it’s the line that sticks with me at this moment. We get to do this.

I expected to spend today putting the final things together to tomorrow waltz across those stone floors in printed, pointy-toed heels (yes, I already have an outfit picked out) and head back to a job I love with B attending daycare on-site with me. Instead, we are here at CHOA watching an almost three month old battle salmonella.

Friday afternoon B started acting off. He was running a low grade fever and I called the nurse who assured me it was likely something I ate but to watch it and give Tylenol if need be. By bedtime his fever had made it above 100.4 and we opted for Tylenol. By midnight his fever had spiked again. After an agonizing 90 minutes back and forth with the nurses line and never getting a call back from a doctor, a nurse suggested bringing him to the ER just to be sure. That nurse (and doctor who never called) were our guardian angels. We checked in around 2 am.

By 6 am our little guy was pooping green with blood, vomiting and still running a 102 fever. We waited for what felt like an eternity to see a doctor and to hold it together while B acted like the world’s happiest guy. When the day shift doctor took over she began a flurry of tests that felt a little overkill to two sleep deprived parents who were 99% sure this was a viral infection and ready to go home.

Rather quickly, we would learn B contracted salmonella. You or I would get the same, have a bad stomach ache and get on with our lives, but to someone so tiny this gig is pretty dangerous. We’ll never know exactly how we contracted the bacteria, but my best guess is somewhere between me making dinner and feeding B earlier this week, which was a test run of sorts for what rushed evenings might look like soon. It only takes a touch to pass the bacteria along and boy am I working through mom guilt over here.

While we’re still pretty shaken and still very nervous, we know we’re in the best hands possible at CHOA. We caught this thing quickly and we’re praying the antibiotics are doing their job and not allowing this bacteria to enter his precious little bloodstream. As I publish this post, they are looking good.

We’re settled into a room complete with a futon, full bath and crib. I’ve joked that it feels like P and I are shacking up in Brumby again (sorry mom and dad), but this time there’s a baby in the room with us instead of Jessica (Jess, you’re much quieter as a roommate).

While I expected to be closing the chapter on these night time feeds very soon, I’ll savor the chance to have them now. I texted with a girlfriend earlier this week on the best way to wean night feeds as B has been sleeping until 3-5 am each night, but the last 24 hours have thrown that and all of our plans to the wind. In fact, I think I’ve written on this predicament of God + Kaitlyn + well placed plans before ?

The next few days most certainly will not look as I expected, but I’m reminded that we get to do this. To snuggle. To be cared for by talented healthcare professionals. To miss work for a few more days and still have our jobs to return to. To fight. To be parents. We get to do this and we don’t plan on giving up anytime soon.

To baby B, oh the prayers we have for you right now my little friend. We pray for your strength, for your healing and for those strong kicking legs to keep knocking those monitors off (after the doctors take their readings, please).

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.