Welcome to the world Georgia Quinn.

We woke up at 5:00 a.m. like we typically do. The night before I was in quite a bit of pain. Del and I were in the middle of arguing about nothing, and every time he’d state his case the baby would make a sharp move that caused me to cringe. “She seems to only be moving when I say what I think,” he joked.

On my morning walk I started timing my contractions. Braxton Hicks seems to be something that my body loves (although I’m not as big of a fan). The week prior I thought I was going into labor because I was having contractions three minutes apart for an hour – and then they just stopped. But from 5:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., they went from every eight minutes or so, down to seven, then ranged between four to six minutes.

Around 7:00 a.m. I told Del to pack the car. We had a 9:00 a.m. check up with my obstetrician, so we were weighing whether to go to the hospital’s labor floor or go to the doctor’s appointment. We opted to go to the doctor’s appointment early.

Del’s mom has been watching Carly, and she came over at 8:00 a.m. I wasn’t sure if I was really in labor or if it was Braxton Hicks. But at one point Del was taking a very long time to pack something in the car. Instinctually I yelled, “You need to hurry up because we have to go!”

On the walk into the obstetrician’s office I had to stop walking when I had a contraction. When they did the COVID screening at the front door they asked if I needed a wheelchair. Every woman was giving me the look of “Girl, you’re in labor.”

My obstetrician did the normal checkup. He checked to see how dilated and effaced I was and said, “No change since last week.” In that moment I thought Braxton Hicks was going to drive me to insanity. Then a contraction hit me, and my obstetrician said “I was just kidding. You are five cm dilated and we’re admitting you right now.”

They wheeled me to the labor floor. They got the usual IVs going and did all the paperwork. And then my body took over.

After 45 minutes I told our nurse that within the next three contractions I was going to deliver the baby. I told her to call our doctor now and get him in here.

I did one more contraction and knew I was closer. I did another and I knew I was closer still. I asked her to check whether I was at 10 cm, and she said with one more contraction I probably would be. The last contraction took hold and the doctor walked in. He checked me over and said, “You’re ready to have this baby.”

From the time the doctor walked in to the time he left – it took nineteen minutes. I pushed twice. Before I pushed the first time they did a quick reminder of what I had to do. I repeated it back and gave it everything I had. While pushing out I let out a gigantic scream. To which the doctor replied, “You held that note a long time.” I waited for the next contraction to hit and then did one more amazing push.

Georgia Quinn Belcher came into this world at 11:09am. She is perfect. Dark hair, silver eyes, and my chin.

They handed her to me and she breastfed right away. My greatest fear is that she would not eat well, and God decided to settle that for me right away. Its a gift for which I’ll always be grateful.

Through this experience I learned how amazing my body is. I told everyone my due date of July 2nd was wrong and I was going to give birth sooner. I was right.

When I doubted whether my Braxton Hicks were real contractions, my instincts took over and told Del to pack the car faster.

When they asked if I wanted pain meds I said no. First of all, I’m not sure they could have gotten them to me fast enough. Second, my body told me I could do this. I went through 10+ years of severe neck pain. I knew I could handle a few hours of labor.

I knew she’d be there in three contractions and she was.

I knew I could push her out quickly and I did.

My body has a history of trauma. Trauma from others, trauma from accidents. Sometimes I’m frustrated at my high cortisol levels and the fact that I feel everything. However, all of those moments led me to this one. They have put me so in touch with my body that my labor was nothing short of a very fast miracle (Why have a meeting that could have been an email?).

Once again God made a beautiful thing out of me.

Welcome to the world Georgia Quinn Belcher. Our down to earth queen. The fifth in a line of amazing George’s. You will take hold of this world and make it better. You will be fast and furious, and your father and I can’t wait to help you get there.

Maternity pictures

It has been very strange being pregnant the last few months. A pandemic, protests, a continent on fire, and so much more I’m simply forgetting in this moment.

To be honest, it’s scary thinking about giving birth mid-pandemic. I worry that in my last few weeks I may get sick, and have to be separated from a newborn. Our family has gone to great lengths to stay safe. We’ve bought all of our food online, we haven’t hung out at anyone’s house, and we’re wearing masks wherever we go. If you had told me in 2020 we would be living through a pandemic I’m not sure I would have believed you. I studied the Spanish flu in school, never thinking I’d see parallels of it in my own lifetime.

We have also been incredibly fortunate in many ways. Del and I have both been able to work from home. At work I’ve been thrust into data on the pandemic. It’s both stressful and fascinating. Del’s parents moved to Jackson right before the pandemic hit. Grammy has been able to watch Carly since schools and daycares are closed. I’m incredibly grateful for this extra time we have had with family.

Tomorrow I’ll be 38 weeks pregnant. I got Carly out of bed today and sat with her. I looked at her and cried, thinking that it wasn’t long before she was no longer our only child. I’m going to miss all of the time we had with just her. Thank you Carly for teaching me how to be a mommy. You are more than I ever dreamed.

Yet, we’re also incredibly excited for our second child to come into this world. I’m sure there will be difficult times, but I know there were also be so much joy. Who doesn’t love baby snuggles?

Like we were able to do with Carly, my talented husband Del took maternity photos. A COVID maternity photoshoot. Although it’s hard to tell, downtown Jackson is fairly empty. Even though it’s empty, it sure is beautiful.

Dear Baby Belcher two, we are all excited to meet you soon.

On the end of maternity leave…

I’m going back to work Thursday, July 5th after twelve weeks of maternity leave. Over the last few days I’ve felt every stage of grief. On Monday and Tuesday I called my mom sobbing with mom guilt. I thought about asking my boss whether I could take off Fridays, or work from home on Thursdays. Then, yesterday, I was so burned out I felt like I could start working at 8am and feel 100% okay.

This leave is coming to an end. It’s been wonderful, and stressful, and full of life. There has been poop, pee, spit-up, giggles and glorious snuggles. As I move back into working I thought it would be cathartic to write about what I will miss and what is coming next. When I volunteered at hospice (yes – tragic) they taught us to always say good-bye when we left a room. Although no one is dying, we are moving from the “mommy is always with me” stage to the “daycare time!” stage.

This blog is dedicated to saying good-bye to old things, and saying hello to new things.

Good-bye 24/7 Carly time. Without a doubt, I will miss our snuggles, naps, and cute poops. Carly – I love you so!

Hello 30 minutes of eating lunch!

Good-bye 8+ times a day breastfeeding. Although, I will miss Carly’s constant warmth and sweet suckling sounds. However – we still have mornings and nights.

Hello to (some) body freedom!

Good-bye raw fingers from Desitin applications, wiping, and “I seriously JUST changed you.”

Hello to missing changing diapers three times in a row. Carly’s chunky baby butt is just the cutest!

Good-bye to morning stroller walks. I’ll miss these the most. Watching Carly’s sweet face as we walk around our neighborhood is the best.

Hello adult conversation! My how I’ve missed you. Vocab, words, thoughts, oh my!

Good-bye seeing everything new Carly does. Another person will see it first, and that breaks my heart.

Hello mental challenges… my my how I love thee. Coordination. Formuli. Brain gymnastics – my sweet love.

Good-bye knowing Carly is unlikely to get sick at home with mommy.

Hello colds, ear infections, and a slew of weird S#$& from daycare. But also hello to an immune system that is learning to survive. This will suck, but we can do this. Kids get sick. A lot.

Good-bye safety of mommy’s perfect schedule (Ug). We worked so hard on this. Carly is sleeping well and growing so big. Pray we adapt well.

Hello socialization. Carly is going to get to meet so many people! She’s in a safe place with people who dedicate their lives to loving children. Hello to meeting more little friends we can hang out with. We’re going to learn so much from each other.

Good-bye taking a gazillion photos a day. Now it’ll just be a few hundred.

Hello to getting photos every day from daycare. I hope they take good pictures!

Good-bye mommy guilt over…. everything. Hello new mommy guilt over…. who knows? If the FDA makes a drug for mommy guilt I’ll line up to buy it.

Hello to a new trust. Trust in daycare. Trust in daddy. Trust in myself. Trust in God that we’ll all be ok. It’ll be ok. It’ll be ok.

Good-bye to whatever I’ve forgotten to mention.

Hello to those things I can never see or imagine.

Good-bye maternity leave. Hello career and daycare. I am so thankful for this leave, what I’ve learned, and my time with Carly. May we greet what is next with grace, endurance, love, and humor.

Chuck it in the F#$% It Bucket…

If “winning” at motherhood is getting approval from a majority – the attempt to win would be futile.

I was a few weeks pregnant when I was told breastfeeding was stupid and breasts were “for my husband.” I was 34 weeks pregnant when I was told that if I did not breastfeed my baby would be unhealthy. When I mentioned I might use formula one person gave me an audible gasp. You know what is best? A fed baby. However you feed your baby – I support you!

One person told me epidurals were for the weak. Another told me if I got an epidural I would hate it. And two other women told me an epidural helped them go through labor successfully. You know what is best? A mother and baby alive and healthy. Natural, epidurals, water – I support your choice.

One nurse said that childbirth should be all natural and that she’d prefer no one gets a c-section. Yet, I think of my mother and my mother-in-law – who both had c-sections. Without that medical intervention who knows what might have become of Del, our mothers, or myself? Thank God for c-sections, because they save lives!

Yes, it takes a village to raise a child, but the majority of the time I did not ask nor seek the opinion of everyone in the village. I’m 39 weeks pregnant, and no choice I could possibly make is good enough for any group of people. If I google it, I’m wrong. If I ask advice, there are 10 different opinions. It’s a losing battle in a war that can never be won.

Against all of these odds I’m taking the best advice I have ever heard a co-worker doll out: “Chuck it in the fuck it bucket.”

I have a doctor and a husband and a brain. I’m going to do me – and you just do you. Every person is different, every pregnancy is different, and every family has different needs. Let’s all agree to let each other be adults and trust that we are making the best choices we can with the information we have. I know I’m making good choices, and I’m sure that you are too.

And if you don’t like what I’m doing – well – quite frankly my dear…. I don’t give a damn. I just took your advice/opinion/thought and chucked it in my fuck it bucket. Support in an era of tough decisions is the thing for which we should all strive. Motherhood is hard enough, so let’s not make it any harder on each other.

Maternity Pics…

It took me over 30 years to get here.

Where is here? It’s at the corner of pregnant, and embracing the beauty of my body.

A few weeks ago we did a babymoon. We wanted to do maternity pics, and Del is a fantastic photographer. So we merged the trip with the photos and below is what Del created. I love how these turned out. I feel like they capture how amazing growing a human is, how beautiful I felt (most of the time), and how much Del and I are excited to share in this new journey.

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36 weeks along

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Hours. I spent hours staring at my growing belly. I would touch it, talk to our sweet girl, and pray that she grows up to be big and strong.

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My Dellie. When people ask what I’m most excited about becoming a parent my answer is always “Seeing Del become a father.” I have no doubts he is going to be amazing.