Mimosas and a Baby Shower

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My milspouse girlfriends celebrating Maddox.

Maybe it was how I was raised. Maybe it is just my personality (maybe both?), but I have never been a huge fan of wedding or baby showers.  I’ve been told countless times, “Micah, it’s not about you. It’s about ______.” Yes, I understand that, and I am completely ecstatic to celebrate in a friend’s happiness, but those couple of hours of celebration are so long…

I’m not sure if it is any one thing specifically, but the mere detail that most showers are very traditional.  Wherever the location (a house, restaurant, etc.), there is usually limited “fancy” food.  Often the items are little bit sized, something or others I can’t pronounce, and if a giant veggie tray takes center stage on the food table, I’m already starting off depressed.  The guests then tend to sit around and socialize with one another.  I don’t mind this part, depending on how close I am with the other guests.  The beautiful bride or mommy-to-be then opens her presents.  Ok, this one is up for debate.  If we can chit chat while she opens her gifts, I’m completely fine watching her and oohing and ahhing when appropriate.  If we end up being silent, while she painstakingly opens each gift and reads each card, then I will slowly start to die inside, but my least favorite part of all…

The games! I despise them. Fill in the missing nursery rhyme. Match the celebrities to their babies. How well do you know the bride? Who can guess closest to the size of her belly?  For a long time, I thought I was the only one who dreaded this part.  Everyone else seemed so into it, but the more I talk about it, the more I find that others don’t care for them as well. I’m sure some still love them, and great for those fortunate ones! Honestly, I wish I was more like you. I’m just not.  So for me, I knew my baby shower couldn’t be completely traditional.

When I got married, I didn’t even want a shower, fearful of it falling into the traditional category, but my husband insisted.  We ended up having a couples’ shower during the Florida vs. Florida State football game. The shower was football/tailgate themed. Guests wore their team colors, and the food was phenomenal.  We opened gifts in a very casual way.  Our 40 guests moved about and chatted with one another, and the only game we had was the one on TV! Also, there were drinks-lots of drinks! It was perfect for me!

However, a baby shower is a bit different.  It would be just the girls, but I am very fortunate to have close friends who offered to throw it and are not exactly traditional either.  It ended up being wonderful!

It took place at one of my hostess’ beach house in Fripp Island-a tightly gated community.  It was brunch styled and the food suited that well-no veggie tray!  The brunch started off with lots of mimosas (8 Champagne bottles worth), and just as I suspected, they were completely gone within 2 hours.  A friend of mine who lives in another state said to me, “I don’t think I would want drinking at my baby shower. I wouldn’t be able to drink, so I don’t want others drinking.” My response, “Why!?!” I want people to have a good time, and seeing others happy and socializing is wonderful! I didn’t have a desire to drink.

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Socializing and enjoying one another.

The music was blasting through the house, and people were moving about meeting others and catching up with friends.  When I opened presents, the music remained loud, the guests continued talking, and drinks continued pouring. There was nothing awkward about it.

The best part? No games!  In addition, two guests mentioned they would usually skip showers, but they had heard that I didn’t want games, so they decided to come!

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The shower lasted about 3 hours and a few of the girls    stayed to hang out by the pool afterward.   I had several guests tell me it, as well as the hostesses, that it was the best baby shower they had ever attended. I could not have asked for a better baby shower.

Again, I am not trying to criticize those that love tradition. Quite honestly, I feel I am in the minority, but to simply acknowledge that not everyone is the same.  I love things that are different and fun. My style may not be the same as yours, but take my advice, Mimosas help!

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Results of Mimosas. Lots of Mimosas.

Handle It

A few snapshots from our ultrasound at MUSC.
A few snapshots from our ultrasound at MUSC.

Yesterday, my alarm was set for 5:45.  I don’t know why I even bothered setting it because I wasn’t going to be able to rest fully through the night. I began waking at 4:00 am and finally got up at 5:30 as my husband continued sleeping peacefully for another 15 minutes.  Once we were both up and moving, we quickly got ready, and we hit the road headed to Charleston for our 8:30 appointment.

I thought I may be a basket of nerves, but honestly, I was at a peace.  I was trusting God to heal this baby, and there was nothing more I could do. We signed in and were called back within a few minutes.  The ultrasound technician came in-a cute, little blonde with a massive smile. She looked like she had just come out of technical school, but there was something about her that was very comforting.  She began the ultrasound, and we were able to see this little guy up close and personal.

The first priority was to check out this heart.  The arrhythmia was still there, but his heart valves, fluid, development, etc all looked perfectly healthy. We learned this baby of ours was in the 75th percentile for weight, growing 2.5 weeks ahead of scheduled and weighing in at 3.10 oz. I’m growing a linebacker!

We then shifted to a 4D ultrasound. Something that I had not experienced before since the average pregnancy usually doesn’t get this added step.  It was pretty awe-inspiring, and we even saw him yawn. I guess he takes after his daddy, getting bored when he’s by himself.  An hour later, the ultrasound ended, and she gave us a printout of a handful of the better pictures. She left the room to deliver the test results to the doctor, and we waited.

Jesse and I chatted and snapped pictures to pass the time, and about 20 minutes later, the doctor and a young, medical student came in to give us our results.  They both put on hand sanitize, and the doctor sat down, while the young student stood right behind him. He clearly took the part of shadowing literally.  The doctor looked at me and stated,  “It is a fetal arrhythmia.” We knew that. Give me more.  He went on to say, for the most part, doctors consider it a “benign” symptom and most likely to go away on its own, possibly 1-2 days after birth.  The biggest concern is to monitor his heart rate with my own doctor and make sure that the heart rate doesn’t drop too low or go too high.  If that happens, I would have to head back over to MUSC for further care and medication.

I did, however, have to do my due diligence. I had to cut caffeine completely out.  Since my last doctor’s appointment, Jesse had already done some research and noticed that caffeine could be linked to arrhythmias, so I hadn’t consumed coffee or tea for almost a week. I told the doctor this information with confidence, and then he countered me, “What about chocolate?”

Yep! Got me. I eat chocolate. Everyday. Every.Single.Day.  Not only did I need to cut it out, but I especially needed to stay away from dark chocolate-my favorite!  Ok, I can do this.  No coffee, tea, or chocolate. Check!

“Do you use cocoa butter lotion for prevention of stretch marks?”

I paused for a minute, hoping I was dreaming. “Yes, everyday since the moment I found out I was pregnant.”

“Toss it out. Find an alternative.”

It would have never crossed my mind that my cocoa butter lotion, with an image of a pregnant woman on the label, would have caffeine.  Here I am rubbing it all over myself. “Ok,” was my only response.

Maddox Vann experiencing his first 4D ultrasound.

In addition to cutting out these vices of mine that I loved so, I would need to continue seeing my doctor every week until the arrhythmia was either gone, or until it was time to deliver.  Although, not a perfectly ideal situation, I can handle it. We’ve been very blessed so far with a smooth pregnancy, and if I’m being honest with myself, cutting out coffee, tea, and chocolate is probably a good thing. Hey, my teeth should even get whiter!

As I sit here typing this, Maddox is moving all over the place, and I can see my stomach bulging out in various locations. I know that I’m not doing this for me. It’s not a diet, a cleanse, or vanity related. I am doing this to benefit the health of my unborn son, and for him, I can handle it!

Letting Go

Maddox Vann
                                 Maddox Vann

There is quite a bit going on in my life at the moment, and instead of trying to tell my husband every little detail, or going crazy keeping it cooped up in my head, I decided to put my thoughts in words.

To begin, I am 29 weeks pregnant with my first child-a boy. Everything has gone really well: weight in check, baby’s growth on track, measurements perfect, etc.  A perfectly smooth pregnancy up until last week.  I was scheduled for just a random check up. My husband, Jesse, goes to most of the appointments with me, but on this particular day, I told him to just go to work. There was nothing eventful scheduled. It ended up the appointment that changed the meaning of “don’t take things for granted.”

The doctor listened to the baby’s heart rate. I expected the same cute, little rapid beats that I’ve become accustomed to hearing, but this time, it was different. At first, the beats sounded normal, then a louder beat, quick silence, and back to the beats.  My doctor, bless her heart, does not have a poker face, and her scrunched nose, wrinkled forehead, side mouth, and head tilt gave away that this was not normal. “What was that?” I quickly asked.  Tears already beginning to fill my eyes.  She didn’t answer me at first. Just listened. I heard that loud beat again. Silence.

“It sounds like your baby has an arrhythmia.”

I didn’t even know what that meant, but I knew it wasn’t good.  “We are going to get you over to ultrasound right now for a better look.” I couldn’t hold back the tears now. They were streaming down my face as she handed me the tissues.  We quickly exited the room, and she escorted me down the back hallway into the ultrasound room. In that room, which originally I cried tears of joy from confirmation I was going to be a mommy, I now cried tears of sadness to hear that something was wrong.

The technician told me that Maddox’s heart would beat 15-20 times and then “drop.” After a few more tears and quick pep talk from the technician, I was sent back to the exam room to see my doctor.  After several text message exchanges with my mom, and a dozen or so tissues soaked, the doctor came back in and confirmed that the baby did have a fetal arrhythmia.  “I’m sending you to MUSC (Medical University of South Carolina) in Charleston. They will do a fetal echo and take some better looks at his heart.”

She tried to reassure me that many times, arrhythmias heal on their own. She then said those words that doctors have to say, “Try your best not to worry.”

It was with those words that I left the doctor’s office and headed to meet my husband to tell him the news.  Of all the doctor’s appointments I told him to not come to…

So now, we wait until we go to MUSC.  I am a woman of God, and I have faith that everything will be fine. I prayed, Jesse prayed, my mom and dad prayed, and now I just wait.  I am not worrying anymore.  I truly believe in “Let go, and let God.” So as far as my worrying, I’m letting go.