The Birth Story

I told myself I would write these things down right away, so that there was some permanent record of them because pregnancy brain just gives way to mom brain, but of course here we are 4 months later (oops, now 6 months) and I am just sitting down to record the day Reese arrived.

It was a pretty ordinary Sunday morning for me. I was meal planning and making a grocery list, Micahel  had actually met some friends at the gun range to do a little shooting. Laura had worked the night before, so she was downstairs sleeping.  I still felt pretty good for 39 weeks pregnant.  I has ridiculous swelling and was tired, but those things just come with being pregnant, so I couldn’t really complain.  It was when I went to the bathroom at about 11 that I realized there was something abnormal going on, and after consulting with nurse Laura and calling my doctors office, I was to head to the hospital to get checked out.

I remember calling Michael and asking him to come home instead of head out to lunch with the guys.  It was surreal for both of us, me telling him we were headed to the hospital, this might actually be it, asking him to drive careful and take his time, it wasn’t an emergency yet.  Of course being the ultimate procrastinator that I am, there was no hospital bag packed yet so I headed upstairs to tend to that, all the time thinking that I might be meeting my daughter soon. Michael has been packed for the last 2 weeks (maybe even 2 months), so he was ready to walk out the door when he got home.

We got checked into triage where they informed me that I was having contractions 2-3 minutes apart.  I had no clue, I am still unsure if that is because I am so out of tune with my own body, or if I found some amazing bit of pain tolerance to get me through labor and delivery.  I was only dilated to 1 at the time, so after a few hours of monitoring and seeing that Reese was doing just fine, they told us to go home and wait it out there for something else to happen.  I was fine with that, still thinking that Reese was going to be late not early, and planned on going to work the next morning.

When we left the hospital I asked Michael to take me to Costco and Target so that I could do my weekly grocery shopping so that we would be prepared for the week. We got everything that we needed and headed home, ready to start another week.  A couple of hours later, I knew that something just wasn’t right, so after another call to the on call doctor, they told us to head to the hospital, we were going to have a baby!

I remember standing in the nursery at that moment, thinking to myself that the next time we came back it would be with our daughter.  It was such a surreal moment, empty handed and big bellied one moment, knowing it was just a matter of time before that scenario was reversed.  Michael came inside from his nightly dog duties, and with a huge smile on his face I let him know that this was it. We gathered our bags, checked the car seat one last time, and off to the hospital we went.

There are some moments that are so clear to me still, and that drive to the hospital was one of them.  I remember looking at Michael and saying how we would never be alone again. That from here on out it was a family of three, that hopefully we had sowed our oats and were ready for this new chapter. I cried a little, grateful for the awesome life that we had built together, excitedly thinking about watching Michael become a daddy, and honestly mourning the end of life as just Michael and Jenn.  I loved what we were together, but I knew that that would never be the same again.

To be continued…


Reese Avalon Rorabaugh



October 29, 2012

3:55 am

8.1 oz and 20 inches

absolute perfection

Things you should know

Sweet little girl,

2 weeks from today is your due date, although as my doctor continues to remind me that  doesn’t mean much as only 3% of babies actually arrive on their due dates.  I am expecting you to be late, that way I can not be disappointed if you do not show up in the next 2 weeks.  It is amazing how much I love you already, and how much I know that I will miss having you in my belly.  It is a super tight fit right now, and I am pretty certain we are both out of room, but there is something that I just love about the way your feet always seem to find the right side of my belly and stretch out hard against it, and how I can poke them and they tuck back in that I know I will miss. Right now you are mine, and I don’t have to share you with anybody. It is like you and I have a sweet little bit of communication that is just between us, and I know that when you are no longer inside of me I will miss it.
No doubt pregnancy has been harder than I thought, and I have done more complaining then one should be allowed considering the miracle that it is to be growing you, but I hope that that has never been misconstrued as a lack of gratefulness . I am beyond grateful to be growing you, and I can not wait to bring you home to your Dad and your big brother Dodger.  I can’t wait to see your Dad the first time he holds you, I know that it is going to be a moment that I cherish forever and never let go of. I know that your Dad is so unprepared for the overwhelming love that he will be consumed with when he snuggles you that first time.  I spend more time day dreaming about watching you two together than probably anything else right now. I have had the last 9 months to know you and fall in love with you, for your Dad it will all start when you get here.
We talk about you all of the time. We give you personality traits, physical characteristics, we plan for what sports you might play, who you might look like. We like to think that you and Dodger will be best friends for the next 10 years, and that most of the time you will like us too.  We imagine that you will be tall since we both are, but will you get lucky and be thin like your Dad or will you be curvy and solid like your Mama? I keep hoping that you get your Dad’s blue eyes, but I know that that is only a 1 in 4 chance, it is much more likely that you will have your Mama’s brown ones.  We have no doubt that you will have one thick unruly head of hair,  although we are completely undecided if that will come later in life, or if you will be born with it.  We can not wait to see what you weigh, I am thinking that you are going to be a big baby, at least 8.5 pounds and I expect you to be long too. These are all of the things that I can not wait to know, and truly any day now we will have some answers.  The only thing that I am sure of is that I love you already, and can not wait to hear that first little cry and hold you in my arms.


I have decided in the last few months that the world has done a large injustice to pregnant women, feeding them thoughts and ideas about how beautiful the process is and what a miracle it is, how grateful we should be for the opportunity to bear children.  Don’t misconstrue what I am trying to say, for  I know that it is a gift and a miracle to be pregnant, and I am so very grateful that my body is designed for this task, but really, I also think it sucks. 

I have been dying to be pregnant and have a baby since about 20. When Michael and I got married, me at the young age of 24 (didn’t think it was young then, know I know how young I was) and Michael at 28, we decided to give ourselves a few years, get to know married life, enjoy late nights out and sleeping in, finish a bottle or two of wine at night because there were no responsibilities the next day.  It was an enjoyable 4 years, we have a small handle on what married life is like (bottom line is it is always evolving), but in my core my need and desire to be a mother nagged at me everyday.  All this to say, I should love this.  As my husband reminds me nearly every day, ‘isn’t this exactly what you wanted?’  And so I feel guilt, every day. because I hate this.  Because this 6 oz 5 inch baby hasn’t made me feel like a mother, or like a woman with super powers growing this incredible miracle child.

I feel guilty because I haven’t done a single thing to prepare. I have so many friends around me who are pregnant right now, one is even due just 1 day before me, and they are becoming so prepared.  Nursery furniture is bought, sweet little items of clothing are hanging in the closet, names are picked out, patches of paint colors are on the walls to see how the light warms each one, and then there is my husband and I.  We have done nothing. Michael won’t talk about names until we know what we are having, the current guest room that will become the nursery is a disaster still, in need of a serious overhaul before we can even consider where we will put a crib. For the first time this weekend I let myself wander over to the baby section to paw through the racks, and there are some lovely little bitty outfits, but still nothing that I came home with. 

I can’t help but wonder what is wrong with me. Why when you get the thing you really want all of the sudden it isn’t so grand. I am willing to give myself some grace because my first trimester wasn’t easy, and I refused to get attached to this baby because 20% or pregnancies end in miscarriage.  Then for 5 straight weeks I woke up nauseous and stayed that way every single minute of the day.  Talk about a buzz kill, there was no pregnancy glow in my life, just a horrid green pallor.  My skin went to hell and I couldn’t use any of my prescribed medications on it. Then the weight gain started, and as much as I knew that it was healthy and a required part of pregnancy, I still hated it. 

All of this to say, my expectations of pregnancy were so skewed. Maybe from the way people have talked about theirs, partially from the books and blogs I have read, and in some way I am sure that they way I have seen them portrayed on television and movies helped me form those expectations.  I wish that somewhere along the way someone had been a little more transparent about what it really looked like and felt like.  The way you can have mommy guilt before you have ever even help your little love.  At the end of the day, I am still wildly in love with the child that is growing inside of me, and I am in awe of the miracle that started as 1 microscopic part of me combined with one microscopic part of Michael. I don’t mean to complain, because I know that many women will never get to know the joy of carrying their own child, I just want to be honest.  I suppose that is why I have been a little MIA lately. I just don’t feel particularly gushy about this whole pregnancy thing, like I though that I would.  I think that may be changing now, as I have actually felt like a normal human being for the last couple of weeks, we find out the gender on June 12th, and things like the nursery can only be ignored for so long. Hopefully I will be back around, filling you in. I know my dad is waiting, he was complaining yesterday that I do not update this nearly often enough. So this one is for you Papa, hopefully I am back in the saddle again!

Hmmm, how did we go from 6 weeks to 12 weeks you wonder?  Two words, morning sickness.  Although, it should be called all damn day sickness! I felt like I had a mix of the flu and a hangover every day for the last 6 weeks, from morning until bed.  It has sure made life challenging lately. I am grateful to say that I didn’t miss a single day of work though, although I can not guarantee my best work was done 🙂

The exhaustion has been unbelievable as well. I know that I need to cut myself some slack, and realize that on top of my 50+ hours of work each week I am also doing the incredible task of growing a human being, so tired is an okay feeling, but good grief, tired is an understatement.  When I get home from work each night it is all I can do to get my sorry butt on the coach, elevate my feet, and not fall asleep in 0.2 seconds. In the past few weeks I have been known to fall asleep with my dinner plate on my chest, spend the night on the coach, and sleep 13 straight hours without cracking an eyelid.

I am hopeful that as I end this 1st trimester and head into the 2nd, I can kiss morning sickness and exhaustion goodbye and start feeling like a normal human being again. My belly is certainly on its way up and out, and my skinny jeans are just a fleeting memory. Cheers to being 1 week from the end of the first trimester!

Sweet Pea!

6 weeks now, Woo Hoo!!  They say this week that you are the size of a little sweet pea, although I do not think that you are so sweet right now! You are making me feel exhausted and emotional and just kind of icky.  I broke out in tears today for absolutely no reason at all, and while your dad would have no problem telling you that I can be emotional, in this case I had no idea why I was even crying. It was the strangest out-of-body experience, I truly had no control over myself. Frustrating!  I am definitely having to eat smaller portions, if I eat too much now I feel really cruddy for a while afterwards.  Strange though, because I am so hungry when I sit down to eat! I think that this week I am going to try to do a better job eating a little bit at a time all day long.

Work got stressful for me this week, and I know that has resulted in me not taking such good care of myself and you. I am working way too many hours right now, so healthy eating and working our may have been given up for Chick-fil-a and Kraft macaroni and cheese. Your daddy has been out-of-town this week, so I have been off of the hook on the dinner cooking front, so easy has been king for me!

I can not wait to see your heartbeat next week at our first appointment.  I know that you won’t look much like a baby yet, but I am still crazy excited to see you.  I talk to you every morning little love, especially when I am driving. If you know nothing else when you come out you will certainly know your mama’s voice!  You are already so loved sweet baby, I am so grateful to get to be your mama.

6 Weeks

Wow 6 weeks pregnant now. How exciting. I am trying to hard to not wish this time away and hurry myself along to the end. I am trying to make myself slow down and enjoy the subtle changes in my body that are already occurring.  I know that I will want this time back in 8 months, and I will miss being the only one connected to our little love. What an awesome experience to be the only one who knows this baby right now. For the next 8 months it will only be the two of us who are in sync with each other, connected together physically and so in love already.

I continue to feel really good, and I am so grateful for that. Work is demanding a lot of me right now, so I am thankful that I am able to keep up for the time being.  I am still feeling extremely tired by the end of the day, and I was really lucky to get to take a 3 hour nap  one day this week. That nap made me feel like a million dollars!

I told my small group this week that Michael and I are expecting, and that was a lot of fun! As expected they were so excited for us, as they have been praying with us the last 5 months while we waited for our little baby to finally be ready to join us.  I have asked them to continue to pray with us because I have really struggled with anxiety the last 2 weeks over this pregnancy. I want this child so much already, that the thought of losing it sends me in a tailspin, and the chronic worrier that I am can stop the worry.  Amazing how quickly you fall in love with someone whom you have never even met.

My love for the Starburst Jelly Beans is still going strong, I now have a bag of them everywhere! Car, office, work, purse, it is a shame to be without them right now. Michael thinks I need to lay off them a bit, but I think he needs to consider the fact that my body is doing some awesome while I still work my crazy work weeks, do housework, get dinner on the table, and workout, so if baby wants jellybeans it can have the damn jellybeans!  I have also had extremely adverse feelings to bananas, I keep packing them in my lunch as if I am going to change my mind and decide I love them again, but no luck. I just dole them out to a different employee each day, so at least they are not going to waste. Other than those couple of silly things, all is well with this pregnancy right now, and I am trying my hardest to slow down and enjoy it, because previous  experience has taught me that time really does fly!