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.

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.

36 weeks along

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.

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.

On stopping…

I’m good at doing things. I mean, I’m good at getting things done. If asked whether I would want to nap or do stuff – I would pick doing stuff 99% of the time.

There’s a lot of stuff you need to do before you have a baby. For planners like me, it’s a great time for checklists and ideas. As 20 weeks turned into 25, and 30 into 35, we are now at week 47. I am not certain when the “to-do-list” should have everything checked off, but my lists are all done.

The house is spotless, the go bag is packed, the pediatrician is selected and 100 kegels a day. I have checked to do lists, and I cannot find anything left on any of them.

All that is left now – is stopping. When I typed the word ‘stopping’ I started to cry.

I have not stopped…. ever. Yes, I know new motherhood will be a time of big change. I know I will get less sleep, I will be tired, and life will be hard for a while. I have always expected my life to be difficult, so the majority of the time I come out surprised that I made it through. I’m not 18 and having a baby. I’m 32, and I listen to my friends. I’m not expecting roses and candy; I’m expecting a new life.

I think of all the times I probably should have stopped and looked around and enjoyed the moment. I probably should have rested for a moment after grad school, but instead I started working full-time. A doctor would have likely told me that I should not work out after I hurt my knee doing split squats, but why would I stop when the pain was only a nine? I started working as soon as I could, while playing sports and running clubs. Since I was a teenager, I have been moving and doing.

In a moment of silence this morning, a rarity for me, I took a moment to look around and see what my life has become. My family is humble, and it feels arrogant to list my accomplishments. Yet, I’m 32 with a fantastic husband, amazing house, great job, and I made it through most of pregnancy at a healthy weight. I earned my MA at age 23, I’m on the board of a local non-profit where I just redid an entire website, and I have the most amazing group of lady friends I could ever wish for. Most importantly, my husband, myself, and our incoming baby are healthy. The grace of God got me here. Oh yes, and sacrifice, hard work, eating well, exercise, not being an ass-bag, and making good life choices. I’m scared that if I say out loud how happy I am with my life it could all be taken away. So rather than stop and acknowledge where I am – I keep going.

When it comes to babies, babies stop. They live, they breathe, they eat, they poop, and they stop. They have no skills for working, no muscles for moving, and no grasp of how to talk. I believe this is as God intended. My list and my life, for this season, will stop just to do this one thing. All I need to do is take care of this precious life that God has given us. I’m terrified to stop, and grateful for the opportunity to learn what our life with a baby will become. I’m open to what is next, and terrified.

There is nothing left to do, but to stop.

The 5 best things I bought for my pregnancy

Having a baby is exciting, nerve-racking, amazing, terrifying, and full of new body changes. I’d written about trying to get pregnant a while back, and I’ve written some other posts since that time. In this post, I wanted to do something a bit lighter. I thought about what to write, and came up with what I thought might be helpful to others. Without further ado, here are the 5 best things I’ve purchased during my pregnancy. Enjoy!

  1. A man-sized pillow and this wedge pillow

I have a bad back, and a bad neck, and I’ve always wanted an excuse to buy a pillow larger than my husband. So I bought this monster-sized pillow on Amazon, and this little wedge pillow to go under the bump. At night, my husband helps me roll onto my side and I shove my arm underneath one section and my legs wrap around one of the sides. Then, the wedge goes right under the bump. We got some weird looks from family when we brought the pillows to Christmas, and the looks are probably going to keep coming when I insist we bring them on every trip for the rest of our lives.

Yes, the cover is washable. Yes, I will be buried with this pillow.

2. Three of these shirts from Target

“Ruching” is a French term for “Buy these shirts because they’ll fit forever.” I bought three of these from Target, and I love them. They fit me when I started popping out a little at 12 weeks, and they fit me now that I’m 33 weeks. I wear them under stuff, over stuff, and… whatever… it’s a shirt – you get how it works.

Thanks Target.

3. Flat shoes that go with everything.

I’ve decided nightly leg cramps are my body’s way of semi-preparing me for the pain of labor. How do you make it through a level 8 cramp? Breath, visualize something else, and then yell at the top of your lungs “I think I’m dying.” Anywho, I have a massive shoe collection (seriously, they’re beautiful), but if I wear anything over 1.5 inches my calves attack me at night. So I bought some flats that go with everything, because… I had to.

4. A King-sized bed.

I’m what people call “cheap.” The phrase “you pinch pennies til they scream” has been uttered in my direction. I’m also rarely impulsive. But over two years ago I put a king-sized bed and a king-sized frame into my Amazon cart. Then, after I hadn’t slept well in days I messaged my husband and said “We’re 32. We’re almost like… adults. Let’s get a big people bed.” Before I could re-think my decision, my husband clicked “Proceed to check out.” I think he’d had enough of trying to get comfy next to a rolling pregnant lady and her monster-sized pillow. I realize buying a new bed is a big purchase. But if you’re in the market and ready to feel more like an adult – I’d like to suggest buying a King-sized bed.

This is where the adults sleep. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.

5. Stool Softener

Why are some people cranky? It’s because they haven’t pooped in days. I thought I knew suffering, and I then I realized my pregnant body decided it cannot both grow a baby AND have regular poops. Enter: stool softener. I tried to fight the urge to feel like a 70-year-old, but after weeks of trying everything else I finally gave in. There is no joy like the joy of regular pooping. Everybody poops, but when you have trouble pooping – stool softener.

How about you, dear reader? Anything you bought you’d recommend?