Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Rewind Series: {Bellies & Babies}

Hey there, friends!  Today I've got another installment in my Rewind Series!

You can find my first post HERE where I rewound things and showed y'all our trip to the Bahamas in 2009 for our 4th anniversary.

But today, we're talking pregnancy, which is one of my all-time favorite topics of conversation.

I love a pregnant belly.  And I love (almost) everything about being pregnant.  

Yes, I was one of those.

But first. a little backstory:  Craig and I were married on March 19th, 2005. He was with the Packers at the time and we decided on waiting 3 years before trying for a baby.  We wanted that time to enjoy ourselves and our incredibly blessed situation while we were young and just live it up!

But after 2.5 years, a move to Buffalo, a new contract, and a big new house, I was ready.  And thankfully, I didn't have to do too much persuading to get Craig on board. 

I mentioned this in my Confessions of an NFL Wife post, but a lot of the wives who were trying to get pregnant tried to be as strategic as possible in this little venture.  No one really wants to go into labor when your husband is across the country playing the Raiders.  So everyone's ideal conception time is typically between June and October.  That way, the baby will be due in the off-season.  But obviously, the earlier in the off-season, the better!  Those first few months of having a newborn are rough so having two parents at home full-time for as long as possible is always better than one!

So if you start trying in June and aren't pregnant by the time training camp rolls around in July...well, that doesn't just stop our plans. ;)  

Most teams have training camp out of town.  The Bills hold their training camp about an hour and a half away, in Rochester, NY.  


This means the guys are holed up in college dorms (at St. John Fisher College) for about 3 weeks.  So if we want to see our boys, we travel to see them.  If we want to spend the night so we can be there early for the next day's practices, we get hotel rooms.  And yes, the guys do get a few hours of free time here and there. And I'll just leave it at that.  Because my mom reads this.  #awkward

I was so excited and so ready to get myself knocked up.  I wanted a baby NOW.  I researched all the weird tips and tricks to getting pregnant and used them all.  Because why not?

Thankfully, we were lucky.  In late August/early September, I started noticing all those classic preggo symptoms.  My boobs hurt, I would get dizzy randomly, and I had that weird taste in my mouth.

I was taking pregnancy tests like crazy.  There was no "wait until your missed period" stuff going on.  I was all about those early positives.  My life was completely wrapped up in TTC (trying-to-conceive) lingo.  BFP (big fat positive), BFN (big fat negative), AF (Aunt Flo), and so on...

My favorite website was Two Week Wait.  It was a place where all the women TTC could go to discuss their "symptoms" during those two weeks between doing the "baby dance" (BD) and being able to test.

I was obsessed.  And before you judge me, you also have to remember that I was 25, not working and this was getting all my attention.  Because what else did I have to do?!  (I barely even remember that life but it must have been nice! haha  I mean seriously, what the heck did I do all day?!)

When we got pregnant after a couple of months of trying, I was GIDDY.  I could barely contain myself and I couldn't wait to tell Craig.  I got a "BFP" (super faint but definitely there) with one of those super cheap pregnancy tests from Amazon.  They were super cheap but super sensitive and I got a positive test 7 days before my missed period.  So that was fun.  :)

I wanted to come up with a fun way to tell Craig but I was so excited that I could barely think straight.  I am TERRIBLE at holding in surprises so I just ran up to our neighborhood supermarket (Wegmans for all you northerners!) and grabbed a pink pair of booties and a blue bib, wrapped it up on a glass bottle (because we had a "message in a bottle" proposal in Hawaii) and then just taped on the digital pregnancy test that said Pregnant.

It wasn't all that great but I was just so excited.

And clearly, so was he.  Look how cute!!


I also bought the dogs some cute big brother and big sister shirts because they were our first babies.  


I took my first belly pic around 12 weeks.


Look at my pooch!  It was the first time I was actually proud of a pokey belly. ;)

I still remember going out and trying to buy maternity clothes at this point because I just couldn't handle all the excitement.  It was months before I really needed them but I was so proud.

But as proud as I was, I was just as sick!  For those of you who have never been pregnant or never dealt with morning sickness, it felt like having motion sickness all.day.long.  And the only things that sounded good to me were chili and banana splits.  So that's what I lived on for the first 3 months.

During the pre-season, I had friends come and in the pics you can BARELY see my little belly poking out.  Again.  I was so proud.



Unfortunately, a hamstring injury had sidelined Craig most of training camp that year and it ended with him getting cut and signing with the Houston Texans.  It was then that we decided to purchase a permanent home here in Mckinney.  The writing was on the wall and after 7 seasons in the NFL, we knew that teams could get two rookies for the price of a 7th year vet.  (Each year, your minimum salary increases.  So a 7 year backup QB can easily be replaced by 2 rookies, salary-wise.)

But we had other things to think about.  Like my 28 week belly, a nursery and a new home in a new city!  We found out "it" was a boy and were so excited! We picked out the name Matthew Jay because I wanted a strong, traditional name.  Matthew is Craig's middle name and Jay is my dad's middle name.  My favorite two men.


And we I had so much fun decorating the nursery.




This room is now my craft room and I look at these pictures and all I can think of is "Oh look how pretty that carpet used to be!!".  Ha!  #paintspills #allthevinylscraps

Later on in my pregnancy, we took maternity photos.  And at the time, there weren't a ton of stay-at-home-moms turned photographers.  But I wish there were!!  We paid WAY too much for our photos and I didn't LOVE them (like I would if Narci D took them or my girl, Brooke!) but I was happy to have pretty (and retouched) photos of my big ole belly.




And then in April, about a month before my due date, we had a shower.  It was hosted by some of my besties from high school and college and we had it at my house because everyone was coming from out of town.  It was a couples type shower which was so fun and it was a crawfish boil.  

But all morning long, I was so stressed because nothing fit.  Nothing looked good. And I felt so puffy and swollen and UGLY.  I was in tears for most of the morning tearing apart my closet because you're typically supposed to be in "nice" clothes for a baby shower.  But all the things I had that I was sure would be great that day, ended up being failures.

Finally, I threw on my favorite maternity jeans and a comfy tank and just let it GO.  It was hot.  It was humid.  And I was 8 months pregnant.  So I figured I could get a pass on the dress code.


Thankfully, I was being completely irrational and no one cared.  Remember, it was a co-ed shower.  You know those boys weren't showing up in suits for a Crawfish Boil.  ;)

I miss all these sweet friends so much.  The two on the left (Ashleigh and Chauna) and the one on the far right (Whitney) were girlfriends from childhood.  And the cutie pie in the green, Kristi, was my college "soul sista".   Love them all!!

And look at my sweet Matthew in his 4D ultrasound!  I was so in love with this baby boy. 

We decided to find out the sex ASAP.  If you don't know by now, I am incredibly impatient so waiting 9 months to find out what our baby was was just out of the question.  Although, I praise those people who can hold out for the surprise! That sounds like so much fun but I just don't have it in me.  I should work on that.


My due date was (I think) May 23rd but since I was incredibly impatient and Matthew was over 8lbs already, they induced me on May 18th.

Was I a supermom during labor and delivery?  Ummmm nope.  I wanted ALL.THE.DRUGS. (Again, please don't judge).  I'd done all the research. I'd read a thousand birth stories.  And you know what?  Having an epidural didn't seem to harm anyone.  So I went for it.

I was also induced which I know raised my chances for a C-section but again, I thought "Cut my stomach?  Or cut my you-know-what...".  Neither option sounded fantastic.

I checked into the hospital around 5pm on May 18th, 2005.  I was given Cervidil to help "ripen" my cervix and it was hands-down the worst part of the entire labor and delivery.  #cutyournailsLDnurse

The Cervidil was supposed to be in for 12 hours and then they'd induce me.  But around 1am, my water broke on its own.  I had to tell the nurses that I thought it broke TWICE before they believed me!  The first time, I called them in and they tested me and said it was negative.  But immediately after that, I tried to get up to go to the bathroom and whooosh!  As soon as I tried to stand up....there was no doubt.  So I sat on the edge of the bed laughing and crying and telling Craig (who was asleep on a cot) to wake up and tell the nurses my water really did break!

At 3cm, I got my epi.  I may have exaggerated how bad I was hurting because I was terrified about the pain that was to come.  

The epidural barely hurt at all. And it worked like a freakin' charm, y'all.  I was so scared I'd be one of those where it only worked on half of my body.  I'd watched wayyyyy too many A Baby Stories.  (Do they still have those?)

 I did get itchy.  It was crazy annoying but then again, I'd rather be itchy than in excruciating pain.

Finally, at 1:44pm, after just 15 minutes of pushing, my sweet Matthew Jay was born.

First Facebook picture.


Saying "peace out" to the hospital.


Abby meeting her little brother.  (And not super happy about it.)


Odie was much more into a new playmate.


A sweet gassy smile.


Craig took a picutre from the hospital of the first sunrise of Matthew's first day on Earth.


Oh my sweet baby.



Sleepy boys.  I honestly can't get over how young Craig looks in this picture!


So in love with our sweet Matthew Jay.  He was a great baby.  He didn't sleep great but 1) he was a newborn and 2) we were new parents who had NO CLUE what we were doing.



But by that first birthday, we did know one thing.  We wanted another one!



So we started trying! We got pregnant on our first month of trying which was a lot sooner than we expected but we were still thrilled!

My first belly pic (that I could find) was around 15 weeks.


We found out pretty early on that Mason was a boy. And I was SO SURE that he was a girl.  So sure.  And I hate to admit this, but at our 13(ish?) week, NT scan, the tech said it was almost definitely a boy and I remember walking out of the scan alone, crying because I wanted a girl so bad!  And then a  few days later, at 9pm on a Thursday night, I got a call from my OB. Which can never be good. She called to tell me that my NT results showed that I had a much higher chance of having a baby with Down's Syndrome. I just bawled my eyes out on the phone with her.  I know she hates this part of her job!

I called Craig home from his poker game and while I was waiting, all I could think of was how hard my baby's life might be.  I wasn't crying for me.  I was crying for him and all the things he might not be able to do.  I had no experience with DS and was completely clueless.  But I knew that whatever came, we would have the best life with this little boy!!  I decided against the amnio that would tell me for sure and just went with it.  I prayed for my baby's health but I worried about all the heart issues that come with DS babies.  I was worried, yes, but I gave it COMPLETELY over to God.  And I felt an immense sense of peace.  I was fine.  And my baby would be fine, either way.

At 24 weeks, that belly was looking like this...



...and 29 weeks (and one way too short haircut...)


....34 weeks...


...36 weeks...



...and my last belly pic, at 38 weeks.




At 38 weeks, we knew Mason was over 8lbs.  So I googled "acupressure to induce labor" and started pressing hard on the webbing between my thumb and forefinger.  Within 24 hours, I knew I was having contractions.  I had a doctor's appointment at 38.5 weeks and remember sitting on the paper on the table, thinking "I feel a little trickle...".  I told my doc and again, she tested the fluids like they did the first time and said it was negative.

I swear the acupressure worked, girls.  When I did go into labor, the nurse asked what my bruise was from on my hand!  haha!  It was from pressing on it so hard for the past day or so!

It was April 20th.  The night before Craig's birthday.  He went to a local restaurant with his friends to celebrate while I stayed at home with his mom who was in town to help out during my final days.  I remember we were watching TV in the living room when I got up for some reason and took two steps and felt a definite "whoosh".  I stopped in my tracks, cut my mother-in-law off, mid-sentence, and said: "I think my water just broke".  She looked shocked, I took two more steps and uhhh yes.  My water had most definitely broken. I ran to the bathroom and started giggling.  I was so excited I got the whole dramatic water breaking spontaneously scenario! 

I called Craig.  I got his voicemail TWICE!!  On the third try, he answered.  I told him my water broke and he needed to get his butt home NOW.

It was around 9:30pm when we left for the hospital.  This time around, I endured actual pain before I had the epidural.  I wanted to feel like a real woman and all that.  And then I was over it.  My pain was at most a 5 before I got the epi.  But this time, my epidural hurt a lot.  Totally worth it though.

My parents were driving in from Texarkana, about 2.5 hours away and by the time they got there I was well on my way.  My dad was trying to sleep in the parking lot, but my mom was too excited to sleep so she was up in the room with us.

At around 1:30am, the nurse checked me and said I was ready to start pushing.  I told my mom to stay, which she was not expecting, and with 2 pushes, Mason Presley had joined our little world.

On his daddy's birthday.















I loved being pregnant. I even loved the labor and delivery.  (Granted, that epidural helped a ton.)

The recovery part was much harder the first time although I had the same amount of stitches (a lot) in the same exact place (you know where) both times.  But I was just so much better at it the second time.

I was up and showered with a little makeup and my hair dried within 12 hours of Mason being born.  It took me way longer than that with Matthew. ;)

Mason was the easiest baby ever and has continued that trend over the years.  He slept through the night starting at 6 weeks, he walked at 9 months, rode a bike without training wheels at 3 and would eat anything we put in front of him.  He never cried unless there was something wrong.  He was so eager to keep up with his big brother!

And those two wasted no time becoming BFFs.















 I could go on and on.  And on...and on...and on...

Their little love fest hasn't stopped as they've gotten older.  Yes, they bicker a little more.  But not all that much.  They aren't physical fighters.  We don't do much kicking/punching/hitting in our house.  They learned early on that that's not ok.

I am 100% certain God gave me two boys because he knew me, personally.  As much as I wanted a little girl, He knew what He had planned for us.  And I can't imagine anything better than these two little boys.  They are my absolute JOY.  They are well-behaved.  They are sweet.  They are kind.  They are smart.  And they are loved beyond words.

I toy with the idea of having another one all the time.  But I'm 36.  My youngest is 8.  It would be a very dramatic life change for all of us and I'm just not sure it's in the cards.  But regardless, I'm incredibly happy and satisfied with my sweet family.

These boys are my everything.  Feeling them kick and roll in my belly was amazing.  I still daydream about it to this day.  I loved nursing my babies and holding them and rocking them.  But even as they get older, I find so many other things to love.

Basically, I love being a mom. Even the gross, painful and hard parts.  It's all so worth it.

I could go on and on (and I have...) but I'll end this Rewind here because we all have things we need to be doing, right?

Linking up with Erika and Ashley for Tuesday Talk!

Find my FB group HERE.
Find me on Instagram @amandanall.
Etsy shop HERE.

And before I let you go, since today's #photoadayinmay2018 is "shoes", I had to mention these!  (I also showed them to you in my FB group as well because I love them SO MUCH!!)



They are (in my opinion) the perfect pair of flip flops.  They have a 1" sole with a crazy soft cushion.  They can get wet.  And they have the perfect amount of sparkle.  I LIVE in these and just bought myself the tan ones because I wear my black ones every single day.  They aren't crazy expensive either which is the best bonus.


Find them HERE and grab them in both colors.  You won't be disappointed!  (For size references, I am a 7.5 and ordered the 8 which is perfect.)

One more pic because I just love them that much.


Happy day, friends!!


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14 comments

  1. What a fun and super sweet walk down memory lane!! Loved taking a look back at your prego and baby days!

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  2. Loved reading this! I have two little ones (4 months and 2 years) and it’s crazy to think how fast the time will go !!

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  3. How funny....I went to St John Fisher College and now my daughter goes there. She will be living in Dorsey Hall where most of the Bills players stay. Loved reading your prego stories. I'm the opposite, all girls here, three ages 18-14.

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  4. I LOVED being pregnant too & LOVE being a momma even more :) I remember when I was getting ready to graduate high school, my parents asked me where I wanted to go to college. I told them I didn't need to cause I just wanted to be a stay at home mommy!! Hahaha, needless to say I ended up graduating from college but being a mommy is still my favorite! Now my oldest is fixing to graduate high school & I swear I feel like I just had her yesterday :(

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  5. I just had my first baby in February and I LOVED reading this!!

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  6. Loved reading this! So sweet! I love your boys' close relationship with each other.

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  7. We're going to start trying soon and I'm ABSOLUTELY terrified of EVERYTHING. Reading how easy your labor seemed gives me hope that this isn't all too bad. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  8. What a fun post! My daughter and step-daughter were nine and eight when my youngest was born... it's never too late! :)

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  9. I think another baby would be adorable with those two older brothers!

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  10. Love your birth story. I love how you dont go with the craz of all natural birth. It isn't for everyone.

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  11. I love this post so much!! I tend to binge read blogs, because I get behind, and I love learning about your life!! I am pregnant with our last baby, our 4th, and feel just like you in every way!!

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