I’ve been sharing all about the history of Lovely Indeed and the winding path that got me here. But really, the most important and my most valuable story is the story of our family. It’s kind of funny, because there are some readers who have been with Lovely Indeed for so many years that you’ve witnessed my family growing firsthand! But there are pieces to the story that we’ve never shared, so here goes.
Let me preface this by saying: we were insanely lucky/blessed/charmed when it came to building our family. We decided to have kids, and it worked for us. I know that’s not the way it happens for everyone. I know that families are built in so many different ways. And if you’re trying to grow your family and it’s not working out the way that you had hoped, my heart goes out to you. As a mother, I know that there is nothing that can grip your heart more than love for a child, and that includes children that haven’t even come along yet, or children that you never get to meet.
All that being said, this was our story.
When Ryan and got married, we were living in New York City and working as musical theatre performers, which is a totally unpredictable and wild job. You never know where you’re going to be working, or for how long. So we knew we wanted kids, in theory, “someday,” but no time soon. So we took our first few years together to adventure, travel, and really just have fun together. It was awesome.
To parent, or not to parent
After a while, we moved to Los Angeles and started to talk more seriously about having kids, because I was already over 30 and felt like it was time to make a decision. Honestly, at the time, neither one of us could definitively say we wanted kids. But we knew we didn’t not want them. We also had this feeling that we didn’t want to regret not having them, and that we were kind of worried that we’d get bored if it was just the two of us forever.
Here’s the thing: I wish I could say that we desperately wanted kids, or I totally knew I was ready, or something. But it just wasn’t like that. And I kind of think it’s important to share that, because there’s often a judgement placed on women who feel that way. Who don’t have that “mom gene” of dreaming of the day when they’ll have babies.
So we decided to go for it, and two months later, I was pregnant. (Again, so lucky.) And once we knew we were in it, we were both so excited. Any doubt went out the window and we were full speed ahead to parent-ville. We did have to make the really hard decision to move from Los Angeles to my hometown of Modesto (which ended up being the best decision ever), but other than that and some all-day morning sickness, things were pretty smooth sailing.
And BAby Makes Three
I went into labor with Henry on his due date and he came the next morning, November 29, 2014. It was all pretty normal and fine. But I realized quickly that the infant stage of being a mom was really hard for me. I was just so scared all the time. I was scared he would die, I was scared he would be sick, I was scared he would stop breathing. And on top of that, I was not prepared for the love. This extreme, all-encompassing love that I had never experienced before. I was overwhelmed by it and had to navigate how to not try to control it, but just sit with it and let those new feelings settle.
On top of that, Henry had some digestive issues and because I was nursing I had to go on a dairy-free diet. It was tricky at first but we eventually got it figured out. I went dairy-free for about six months, Henry took baby Zantac, and things evened out. At about 7 months old, we were able to return to our normal routine.
Somewhere in there (maybe around month 5?) I also started being less scared and really just started loving being a mom. After that infant stage, I felt so much more confident as Henry was becoming less delicate and more interactive. I think also, looking back, sometimes it’s hard to have a winter baby because you’re stuck indoors for those first few months. It can really get inside your head.
But after those first few months, I got into the swing of things and started loving being a mom. Like, deeply. I loved our little family, my time with Henry, I loved showing him new things, singing songs, reading books. I loved it all.
Completing our Family
At that point, we decided pretty firmly that we wanted Henry to have a sibling. And we knew we wanted to have two kids and then be done. So we wanted to have them close together and have them grow up close in age. So we started trying, and again — two months later (just after Henry turned one) I was pregnant.
I was kind of nauseated for the first few months with Henry. But with this second pregnancy, I was lay-on-the-bathroom-floor sick. Not throwing up (I WISH I could have thrown up!) but just so sick I couldn’t function. It was all day long, and it was impossible to take care of Henry feeling that way. So my doctor set me up with some over the counter options and some stronger prescription stuff, which made life bearable. Not perfect, but bearable.
Aside from that, we were also remodeling our house for the whole time I was pregnant with Mags. Literally, we finished about a week before she came. So it was a total blur. Lots of people ask why I didn’t share more of our remodel here on the blog, and the honest answer is because I just didn’t care. I was pregnant and uncomfortable and sick and exhausted, and I just took a pass on sharing the remodel.
But we finished, and little Mags came zooming into the world right on her due date (it was a wild ride, read that story here). When she came, it was an entirely different story. I didn’t have the fear that I had when Henry was an infant. I weirdly got more confident. I felt like a supermom. I would wear Maggie everywhere, she came all over the place with me and Henry, and she was a great little baby.
She did have digestive issues like Henry, so she went on baby Zantac and I did another elimination diet — this time I couldn’t eat dairy, soy, shellfish, wheat, or nuts. It was crazy.
When she was around 3 months old, both of the kids got really, really sick with RSV (looking back, I’m pretty sure I had it too). That was definitely a low point for our family, and shook me and Ryan to the core. It was the kind of sick where you’re ready to throw them into the car and head to the ER any minute (and we did once). You can read the whole story here, but it was a doozy. We fought our way out of it and it has become part of the story of our growing family. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
But that was already three (three!!!) years ago, and now I have a big kid and a toddler.
The baby years are quickly slipping through our fingers, and in this season I’m finding that I’m pretty sad about that. I miss those easy and sweet baby years, with no schedule other than to spend time helping those little babies become bigger kids. Those were such special days.
But as much as I’m missing them, I know that our family is complete.
And even more than I’m missing those little days, I’m loving these days. These are the days. Henry and I have big conversations and read Harry Potter together. Maggie wears a little leotard and takes ballet classes. And I get to be there for it all.
And I can’t wait for the years that are coming, and to see what’s next for our little family. xoxo