Months 1-4

Here I am.  I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth.  I’ve been just a touch busy though.  When Carter was a month old I thought about how I should write a blog post like I did for his sister when she turned one month old and again how I did it when Brady turned a month old.  But then time got away from me and by the time he was two months old the same thoughts came into my mind.  So here today he is 4 months old and I am finally sitting down because I WILL write about these first 4 months.

Month 1
Weight: 9.5 lbs
* Still rocking his newborn clothes
* Sleeping anywhere from 4-6 hour stretches towards 4 weeks old

He’s such a good baby in all honestly.  He sleeps well, he nurses well, he cries screams when he is cold and in the bathtub, and hates getting his diaper changed (because he gets cold) but loves when he’s so fresh and so clean.  Seriously, being cold is like his worst enemy.  I even had a heater cranked in the bathroom during bath time but it did not matter, he was a scream machine.

During the day he napped like a dream.  2.5-3 hours at a time.  He would sleep on me, on Brian, strapped in the rock n play and while the kids were running around the house.  We were not trying to be especially quiet like we did with the first two.  When you have a third with two other younger kids, that’s basically impossible.  I was lazy with naps this time around.  I didn’t put him in his crib as much, I just held him.  He IS my last so I was soaking up those baby snuggles he is so good at.

He started his first night home in his crib for night sleep and hated it.  He did 1-2 hour increments that night and I remember thinking “oh my God, I’m going to have to hold him to sleep forever.”   That’s when BK stepped in, talked me off the ledge, and reminded me, “Stacy, he’s 5 days old and has no idea what a crib is.  Let him adjust.”  The next night was better and our little swaddled burrito extended his sleeping to 2.5-3 hour chunks.  We continued putting him in his crib, in his room, so he eventually would realize, this is where I sleep!  At one month old he was sleeping anywhere from 5-7 hour increments, going to bed around 8:00p or so.  After that initial long stretch of sleep though he would wake up anywhere from 1.5-3 hours each time after until he was up for the day.  And towards the early morning hour of around 5:30a, he did not want to go back into his crib so either I held him or Brian came in and took over and held him until around 7:00/7:30 or so.

He picked up nursing right away, as soon as he was born.  Thankfully all of my kids have been great nursers which is definitely one less stress for me.  At 10 days old, we took him to Children’s Hospital Anschutz, for a moderate tongue tie that needed to be clipped.  I had a suspicion from a bit of clicking that he did when he nursed and it just looked tight when he would cry and open his mouth.  It took less than 10 seconds and he immediately nursed when the procedure was done.  I did go dairy free again with Carter because it was a problem with the first two kiddos, so I figured it would be for him too.  So far, Brady had the least amount of issues with dairy as I was able to reintroduce it all when he was 4 months old. I don’t see myself doing that for Carter just yet but for sure around 6 months.  I miss my chai tea something fierce though….

He also started meds for his reflux and went to the chiro 2x per week for an adjustment when he was 3 weeks old.  He loved being adjusted and his chiro loved adjusting him because she got a lot of snuggles from him.

Daddy took his first work trip leaving me with the 3 kiddos for a few days.  And although I was scared out of my mind on how I was going to do it all on my own, we survived! I’ve sort of come to realize that it is what it is.  If the night is a shit show then let’s hope for the best the next day.  I don’t have a lot of control over what may happen and that is hard for me but…. I need to learn to let go and just go with the flow a little more.

Month 1 was an adjustment, mostly for me.  The kids were great with their new brother although the mommy guilt of feeling like I couldn’t be as present as I was just a few months prior was tough.  I felt like I was always saying, “I can’t, Mommy has to feed Carter…” and I could see the sadness in their eyes.  Those first few weeks and months are hard.  So hard.  Hormones are out of control, your body is recovering from giving birth, and if your breastfeeding, like I am, dealing with things like engorgement, sore nipples, fast letdown, fitting in some pumping to save milk, and being dairy free, the list goes on. One of the biggest adjustments for me was going back to the baby stage.  Brady and Makenzie are very independent kids where they will go play together in the basement or upstairs in their playroom and Brian and I were just starting to get some time back.  I could make dinner without a crying toddler at my feet telling me how he needed to eat now, now, now.  I could get up and go to the gym when I wanted and not feel guilty about leaving Brian with two kiddos.  Everything with two seemed so manageable and even easy! Three is a whole new ballgame but we wouldn’t change it!

Month 2
Weight: 11 lbs 3 oz (19%)
Height: 22+ inches (22%)
Head: 40 cm (73%)

We have our first social smile from Carter! This happened around the 5 week mark! So fun to see them do that.  They begin to feel like actual human beings at this point!CK also found his hands around this time and started to try to put them in his mouth and suck on his fist.  He still likes his sleep and so far is the easiest baby of the three to put down at night.  Makenzie was fairly easy but we would have to swaddled her up and walk with her for a good 10-15 minutes before we laid her down.  With Brady, if he was overtired (which happened a lot) he was super sensitive to his wake times and often would take 1-2 hours to get down for the night.  Carter nurses before bed and we lay him in his crib and he is out.  There have only been a handful of times that we have to go back into his room and when we did it was because he still had a burp or wanted just a few more cuddles for the night.

Likes
* Drinking all of the milk
* Napping
* Cuddling/being swaddled (this will calm him right down if he is screaming his little face off)
* Being Warm
* Being Held

Dislikes
* Being cold
* Being hungry
* When he manages to pee on his own face
* Diaper changes
* When mom tries to eat dairy

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Month 3
Brian started taking some longer work trips and my dad came to my rescue and flew out for a week to help me out which was amazing.  CK started daycare on April 8th and I went back to work.  I work from home and have a good set up but there is just no possible way to be working AND having a new baby during the day.

We have hit cat napping territory in our house.  I remember little BK did the same thing around this age and it drove me a little crazy.  We are looking at four to five 30 minute naps throughout the day unless he’s being held.  So obviously when 5:30/6p rolls around we have a very tired baby that is just done and wants to go to bed.  So I start his nighttime routine which always includes bath, lotion, jammies, nurse, and then bed.  I also decided to take him out of his swaddle at this point because although he was still sleeping good, he got so angry when he was in it.  He would move his head back and forth (so much so that he rubbed all the hair off in the back) and seem very restless.  So one Sunday night I whipped out the Merlin Sleep Suit and stuck him in it.  He looked like a little marshmallow but so cute and he went right to sleep and proceeded to sleep for the next 11 hours straight! I was hoping it wasn’t a fluke and he continued to do so the rest of the week.  Swaddle, be gone!

We are getting into a good routine in the mornings with daycare while Brian is traveling but once 4:30p hits and I have all three kids it’s basically chaos.  Carter usually needs a quick cat nap to get him until about 6:30p but that cat nap usually happens with someone holding him so…. when Brian travels, that person is me! When Brian is home, he takes him upstairs and he’s lights out within 5 minutes!  So cat nap while the two kids play, and then as soon as he wakes up I hustle downstairs to make some dinner for the big two.  Thankfully, CK is pretty happy sitting in his bouncing chair while I’m getting stuff ready.  While the big two eat, I hold CK and play with him and then as soon as they are done we go upstairs and I give baths and then nurse CK in his nursery for bed.  Once he starts stretching his wake times and consolidating his naps and is at 3 naps or even 2, it will be so much better in the late afternoon!  Everything comes with time, right? 🙂

Likes
* Smiling
* Blowing saliva bubbles
* Talking
* Lights
* Cat Napping
* Snuggling

Dislikes
* Dairy
* Being tired

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4 months
I don’t have his weight/height/head stats yet because his 4 month check in on Monday morning.  Love seeing how much he grows but really hate when he gets his shots.  😦  Even though for his 2 months shots he did fine and literally only cried for about 20 seconds but had very sore legs later that night.

This little guy is such a sweet baby and so easy. He nurses great, sleeps great, and is so smiley. He has a very laid back personality and just goes with the flow. (He sort of has to). He is still a pro cat napper (30 minutes) and is usually sleeping in his crib between 6:30 and 6:45p and will sleep for 11 hrs straight. He’d probably go back to sleep if we let him but during the week he needs to be up for daycare. He has recently started putting himself to sleep at daycare for naps and self soothes by sucking his little thumb. He likes his bath water very warm and the room temp better be the same too or else! He loves watching his brother and sister play and smiles when they come talk to him. He isn’t rolling over yet and doesn’t really have any interest in doing so. Tummy time is still just an OK thing for him. It’s not his favorite but he’ll spend some time on the floor when we put him down to practice. He likes laying under his activity mat and grabs onto his toys with good precision. He talks to them from time to time as well. He has his first cold and cough and has been such a trooper through it! 💪🏻

He’s such a sweet little guy! Can’t wait to see how he changes over the next month.

 

Rest and recovery period

There is a reason our OB’s tell us to take it easy for the first 4-6 weeks after birth and honestly I thought it had to do with the fact that our bodies are hormonally going crazy and whether you delivered vaginally or by c-section those parts of the body need time to heal.  For me personally, I thought it was giving the 7 layers that the OB had to cut into to get my babies out time to heal and sadly I really didn’t know the true reason until now.  Whether you’re a first time mom or having your third baby, you can learn something new every day.

Have you seen the paper plate post on Facebook made by Laura Fry of Labor of Love Doula Services – Lancaster, Plamdale, Valencia that went viral?   It was a picture of a paper plate with the text;

“22 cm or 8.6 inches.  That is the exact diameter of a paper plate, AKA the fine china in our house.  It is also the average diameter of a placenta.  After a baby is born, mothers are told to take it easy for at least 4-6 weeks.  There are good reasons for that!  One of those reasons is that after the baby is born, mothers are left with a wound on the inside of their uterus where the placenta was attached.  That wound will take at least 4-6 weeks to completely heal.  During that time they are still susceptible to infection and hemorrhaging.  Even if they have a complication-free vaginal delivery and feel ok, they still need to take care of themselves and not overdo it for those first several weeks postpartum.  To those mothers, rest! To their husband, partners, parents, in-laws, friends – let them rest! Help out as much as you can and don’t let them overdo it.  As the saying goes “one week in bed, one week around the bed, and 2 weeks around the house.”

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Apparently Western woman bleed a lot more during their postpartum period than women in other cultures that really take the time and rest.  Think about it.  It’s not just the uterus and the massive paper plate size wound that is healing.  Our bodies are trying to get back to normal in a major way.  We are producing milk, burning calories by nursing, physically recovering from giving birth, and we are desperately trying to adjust to hormonal changes by up to 1000%…. and we are doing this on very minimal, very broken sleep.

So all new mamas out there… give yourself a break, give your body time to heal, and don’t try to do too much too soon.  I’m not saying lay around for 4 weeks without moving but listen to your body and take care of yourself too.  I know it can difficult to do especially if you are chasing after older kids as well but do the best you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Now, it’s time to take my own advice!

16 days postpartum

We are 16 days post c-section.  Time has seemed to stand still and fly by all in the same breathe.  Is that even possible? I think it is when you are sleep deprived, have barely left the house, are still rocking the same zip up hoodie for days in a row, and haven’t been able to part with the stock pile of mesh undies the hospital sent you home with. #livingmybestlife

In all honesty, my emotions were all over the board those first 10 days.  Pregnancy is a funny thing and what your hormones do afterwards is just down right assholish.  New word, just go with it.  You are happy, sad, filled with emotions and your anxiety is high.  For me, the first week was especially tough.  My anxiety was fine during the day but once the sun went down, it started creeping in.  I am such a routine person and crave a schedule.  Carter is still just so new that schedules don’t really work just yet.  I mean, we can try but at the end of the day, it sort of is what it is.

Brian and I are pretty set in our ways that our babies go in their cribs from the first night they are home.  Some people agree with it and some don’t.  And honestly I don’t really care what your opinion is on it because it won’t change mine.  Carter didn’t do well the first couple of nights and when I started getting emotional about it, Brian calmly reminded me that this little guy is brand new and doesn’t know what the hell a crib is or why no one is holding him all night long.  But we needed to stick with it and he would begin to learn.  Thankfully, it only took him a couple days and then he started giving me a 4 hour stretch to start the night, followed by a 3 hour and then another 2.5 hour to round out the morning.  I feel like he still sleeps all day long too.  I often have to wake him from 3 hour naps for fear that he is getting too much daytime sleep and he won’t sleep at night.  So far, he just seems like a sleepy babe.  I’m guessing he will wake up more in the coming weeks.

Thankfully, Carter is nursing well and hasn’t had any issues there.  I feel pretty darn blessed that all 3 of my babies were great at nursing from the start.  He did have his tongue clipped last week Friday for a moderate tongue tie and hopefully that will help with any sort of air he may have been taking in when he was nursing.

As for me, I have lost 30 of my 44 lbs already and have been feeling really good.  I didn’t have to take any sort of narcotic in the hospital after my c-section or at home and was able to get by on Ibuprofen the first few days and haven’t taken it for almost 2 weeks now.  My pain wasn’t very high at all and I was super happy with that.  This c-section by far as been my easiest.  For any mama’s out there that know they are going to have a c-section, I highly suggest you ask your OB about the ON-Q Pump.  I had this with Carter and it was amazing, life changing. ON-Q* is a postoperative, non-narcotic pain relief system designed to deliver local anesthetic to or near the surgical site through specially designed catheters – Providing patients days of targeted pain relief after surgery and less likely to use any sort of narcotic.  I had this On-Q Pump from Wednesday until Friday morning when they took it out.  Even afterwards my pain was maybe a 4 and very manageable by taking just ibuprofen.  Carter was born at 1:18p and I was up and walking by 8p that night.  After having 2 prior c-sections I’ve learned that it’s important to get up and walking as quickly as you are able to.

I’m excited to get back into the gym but I am going to wait another 4 weeks to do any sort of working out/lifting weights.  Walking is fine but I am not running anytime soon.  My ab muscles are still a little sore and the incision itself is still numb which is just a weird feeling to begin with.

Shameless 2 week PP picture:

 

 

From a family perspective, everyone has adjusted well.  I told Brian not to worry about nighttime with Carter because there really isn’t much for him to do.  I am capable of changing diapers on my own, swaddling him back up, and then nursing him to sleep.  Unless we get to a point where I am rocking, swaying, bouncing with a cranky baby for hours on end and need a little relief.  Plus, he is in charge of responding to Makenzie or Brady if he hears one of them wake up.  It’s a good little plan of attack we have going on right now.  It allows him to get some good sleep at night and wake up with the kiddos in the morning and get them ready for school.

My friend asked me how the transition from 2:3 was going and from a family standpoint, everyone is pretty well adjusted.  Makenzie loves her baby brother and wants to hold him every chance she can.  Brady also has done exceptionally well and hasn’t showed any sort of jealous or animosity towards me or Carter.  He also asks to hold him every now and then but once he starts crying he says, “Will you please take this baby from me? I’m done holding him.”  Lastly, I have to give major props to Brian.  I am so very thankfully that he isn’t traveling until the beginning of March.  That has helped my anxiety dramatically and I am hoping when it is time for him to start, we have a routine in place.  Just having him at home has made a huge difference and as a family we have all grown used to it and will be really sad when his travel has to resume in March.   When he isn’t traveling he works from home so I have been able to hand Carter off in the morning so I can shower and what not.  I had my first taste this week of having the 3 of them on my own at night.  While it wasn’t terrible, I felt bad at bedtime because I wasn’t able to lay with the kids like I normally would for 5-10 minutes.  But I know this won’t last forever and it will be ok.  Also, props to our little mellow man Carter.  He actually lets me put him down during the day and get things done when I need to do something like scrub a toilet or throw some laundry in the washer.

I’m hoping and praying that this little man stays mellow and chill and continues to sleep and stretch out those sleeping times during the night.  Every mama out there can tell you that a rested mother makes a huge difference, especially in those first few months of having a newborn.

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Welcome Baby Carter!

• Hello •

I’m new here!

My name is Carter. I weighed in at 7 lbs 5 oz, 20 inches long on 1/9/19. I was about 10 seconds short of being born at 1:19p but 1:18p was my arrival time.

My big sister, Makenzie, thinks I’m the best thing ever but my big brother, Brady, was initially a little sad my name wasn’t Jack or Santa. 🤷🏼‍♂️

Mommy is doing good, just a little tired but hanging in there. I’m nursing like a champ and my entire family is so in love with me. I’m the last piece of the Kopecko family puzzle, we are now complete!

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Third Time is the Charm

In twenty four hours from now, Brian and I will be making our way to the hospital to have our third little baby, second boy.  This will also be my third c-section and for some reason, I am more nervous about this one than I have been the other two.

When I was pregnant with Makenzie, my induction at 36 weeks for pre-eclampsia resulted in labor for 11 hours, my body fighting the induction every step of the way, her heart rate declining with each contraction which then turned emergency c-section.  So, I didn’t have much time to process what was happening.  I don’t remember much except having these uncontrollable shakes once laying down on the table.  She was whisked away from me once she was born and I didn’t get to see her for a few hours.  I remember groggily asking the nurse if I could see a picture of her because I was so out of it when she was born, I couldn’t even remember if they showed her to me.

With Brady I tried hard for a VBAC but my OB would not induce me and the only way I could attempt one was if I went on my own.  40+5 days and he still wasn’t coming so we strolled into the hospital in Chicago on 9/29/15 and I had him via scheduled c-section.  This time around, I remember much more.  I was a lot more calm, I knew what was ahead of me.  I still got these uncontrollable shakes despite the doctor and anesthesiologist doing what they could to help control them.  Brian, the anesthesiologist, and I talked about fantasy football while my OB went to work.  I needed to talk about something, anything.  Otherwise from a mental standpoint I would be laying there thinking about how even though I couldn’t feel it, my insides were being cut into right then and there.  There is the pulling, the tugging, the pressure, the separation of ab muscles and everything else.  If you allow your mind to go there, you may just freak out.  Hence the reason for my request to talk about how awesome my then fantasy football team was.  Afterwards, Brady was given to me and we did immediate skin to skin, he nursed like a champ, and it was all very calm.  On the way to the PACU, I felt myself getting nauseous which did not happen the first go around so that was something new for me.

With Makenzie and Brady I was up and walking within 24 hours.  I had always heard it was important and as much as it hurt like hell, to stretch those ab muscles out because it really did help with recovery.

Fast forward to this little man… c-section number 3.  I’ve been there done that two times now.  Why am I so nervous for this one? Is it the recovery? Is it fear of the same stabbing pain I got a week after having Brady that came out of nowhere, would stop me in my tracks, and put me into tears? I like to think that I have a pretty high pain tolerance, I normally kick the pain meds that they give me within a week of being home because I didn’t feel like I needed them and hated how they made me feel anyway.  My last OB told me it was scar tissue that was trying to heal and I know having a third C will only result in more of that scar tissue.  Or maybe it’s a little bit of a mental game like I mentioned before.  They are literally cutting me open while I am awake.  Seriously, how weird and creepy is that in all honesty.

I’m not sure what exactly it is that is making me anxious this time around but I can tell you this.  The one person that can talk me off the ledge, make me smile, keep me laughing and my mind off of things the best he can will be sitting right next to me in the OR, my BK.  My only job will be to make sure he doesn’t stand up though, he doesn’t do too well with the sight of blood.  So he is to remain seated at all times, right next to me, just holding my hand, and telling me how next fall, no matter how bad I want to, do not draft a QB in the 4th round.

37 weeks and flying by

37 weeks • Ho, ho, ho just 2 weeks to go • We are running out of womb • My boobs are still touching my belly which means he hasn’t gotten the memo to drop • C-section date is scheduled for 1/9/19 • Weight gain: 40 lbs and proud of it 🍪🍦🧀

Cheers to 8 years!

Remember that day, BK, when we were 7 years old, and you stole my heart back on Audobon Ave in Grafton, WI? My first crush, my first concussion, you drew me a picture and wrote me a poem. I remember hearing the name BK and my heart would skip a beat and the butterflies in my belly came alive. You had the same effect on me 30 years ago as you do today.

Our journey has taken us from Wisconsin to Iowa to Illinois and now Colorado. We have two beautiful babies and one more on the way to complete our family. Cheers to 8 years of marriage and 30 years of friendship.

Remember remember the sixth of November. ❤️ #happyanniversary#steadyaswego

 

Active Hydration Body Replenish

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I have a favorite. At almost #30weeks my skin is crazy soft and my expanding belly feels amazing. I apply #RodanandFields #ActiveHydrationBodyReplenish daily, after my shower, and my skin stays so hydrated which can be hard at this time of year and dry climate in #Colorado. Let’s hope it keeps those #stretchmarks away too!  If you have any questions on this product, send me a message or drop a comment below and I am happy to answer!

What’s Your Sign?

Signs.  It was something that I clung to after all of my miscarriages.  Not stop signs, or traffic signs, or restaurant signs.  But signs from God, a loved one, the universe.

There was that one time that the butterfly followed me while we were on a boat ride up in Minnesota on a family vacation.  This was the month before Brian and I suffered our first miscarriage.  We were trying for a baby so I took this as being a good sign with only good things to come.  Butterflies were not my sign.

I saw shooting stars right before I became pregnant as well as when I was newly pregnant with Makenzie.  Thinking those were a good sign that all would be ok with my pregnancy, I made silent wishes for God to bless us with a healthy baby.  Shooting stars turned out to be Makenzie’s sign.

I prayed to the Virgin Mary a lot the months leading up to my pregnancy with Brady.  I remember sitting at midnight mass in December of 2014 praying for a healthy sibling for Makenzie and silently begging for the Virgin Mary to give me some sort of sign that things were going to be ok.  Fast forward less than 3 weeks later and I woke up early one morning after an extremely vivid dream.  She didn’t have a face that I could remember, just a calm voice telling me everything was going to be ok and that I should take a test. It had been almost a year since our 2nd miscarriage and was sick of the let down feeling I had.  Up until that morning I had refused to test but after I woke, something felt different.  The dream.  It felt so real and like the Virgin Mary really was talking to me from heaven.  So I decide to follow my gut and my heart and take a test.  It came up positive and I was pregnant with my now almost 3 year old, Brady.

The one constant sign that I have had during the last 4 years from above have been hearts.  These hearts seem to appear when my own heart is having trouble processing something or unsure of what to do or what the outcome may be.

 

The first heart was captured in August of 2014.  It was after our 2nd miscarriage which took place the day after Mother’s Day.  The baby was 9 weeks old when his/her heart stopped beating.  At this point in time when the picture was snapped, I had no idea that I still had retained placenta in my uterus and that the roller coaster was still moving but would be over soon enough.  “Soon” being January 2015.  I remember feeling sad on this particular day, right before I saw the heart in the sky.  I wasn’t sure Makenzie was ever going to get the chance to be a sibling.  I happened to be running something over to our neighbors house when I looked up and saw it.  My Instagram post read:

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The second heart.  The crisp blue and white picture that looks as if the heart is trailing with angel wings I took when I was newly pregnant with Brady and it was Valentines Day.  I happened to be driving home from the grocery store when I looked up and saw it.  Since it was only February I was still only in the first trimester.  I had already experienced random, sudden, and unexplained bleeding and I was on edge most of the time but this heart….. this one put me at ease:

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And the last heart.  Y’all, my friends here in Colorado will tell you, I would corner them at the gym, at my house, at their house, if we were on a girl’s night out, and yes even in a garage with a bottle of wine tucked under my armpit.  The question was always the same: Should the Kopecko family have a third baby?  My heart said maybe and then it said yes and then it went to maybe not.  Then my over analyzing brain said, “I just don’t know… Do you really want to start over? But you’ve always wanted three kids!” My heart was confused.  Really, really confused.

One day in early winter we went for a walk as a family.  It was the middle of the week.  Brian was home and not traveling, Makenzie had off of school and I know she was going stir crazy so I took a 20 minute break from work and made everyone go outside and take advantage of the unseasonably warm winter day.  I don’t go for random walks during the work day but that day I did.  And during the walk I just so happened to look down on the ground and there laying on the sidewalk was this perfectly shaped heart rock to which my own heart skipped a beat.  I bent down and put it in my pocket because really what were the odds.

Now, I’m not saying I found this rock and said, “YES! Let’s have another baby, Brian!” It didn’t work like that.  But this little rock sat on my window sill, perched up against a candle so I could see it every morning, noon, and night that I was home.  Basically all the time.  To me it was a sign of, “It’s ok. You’ve got this.  The right decision will be made and you and Brian will make it together.”  And over the next few months, we did.

Maybe you guys have caught on to all the hearts that I’ve had in my pregnancy announcement photos and gender reveal post. Maybe not. But there is a reason they are always included in.

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Do you believe in signs? Signs from God, a loved one that has passed or the universe?
If so, tell me your story.  What is your sign?