Mommy & Me Monday

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Happy Monday!

This weekend was quite busy for The Baby and I. My husband’s extended family came from all over to attend The 8th Annual Jazz in the Gardens concert. While neither of us attended, we enjoyed spending time with family, most of who had never met BK.

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I was on kitchen duty on Saturday. I made conch fritters and they were pretty yummy! BK spent most of the day in the arms of family members, being smothered with love and kisses.
Thank God she got her shots…. Mommy moment

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Since it was the weekend, and I had a few extra moments to plan, I decided to dress like The Baby. I had already chosen her clothes for the day and on a whim I searched the drawers for something comfy and complementary.

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So we ended up being twins for the day.

I always vowed not to go overboard with her, but now I see how things can easily get out of hand.
This is just a simple outfit, but it sparked such inspiration for future Mommy and Me collaborations.

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Hope you have an awesome day! Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time, Live Well & Be Blessed.

Chanell Nicole

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Perspective

As a new mommy, I’m always interested in hearing about what other new, first time moms have to say about motherhood. I’m part of an online community of moms that share ideas. I’m not as vocal as some of the know-it-all, cloth diapering, perfect birthing moms but I chime in from time to time. Today, one of the moms posted about her motherhood experience. I shared most of her sentiments. I won’t post her words but she said, “I’m mourning the old me”.

It made me think. While I am in no way the same “me” from a year ago, I miss her from time to time. She was an awesomely single woman who wore high heeled shoes more often than not. She was free. She actually slept in on Saturdays and had brunch on Sundays.

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Do I mourn her existence? Maybe sometimes, but she lacked so much that I have. She may have dressed better than me and had more money to spend on clothes and sushi but there’s a certain joy she didn’t have.

Maybe that came with motherhood?

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it’s all in the perspective. What was once important to me is now insignificant. Don’t get me wrong, being a mom is HARD WORK, and I know it will only get harder. I don’t LOVE waking up early or going to sleep way too late. I don’t LOVE being exhausted or not fitting into my prepregnancy clothes despite weighing the exact same amount I did before I became a mom. (Weight shifted around, I guess?) I don’t LOVE most of what motherhood is right NOW, but I do LOVE my daughter.

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The old me, however fabulous, didn’t have half my responsibilities or even a tenth of the love I have in my life right now.

So, do I miss the old me, sure? But I wouldn’t trade places with her… well, maybe on a Sunday. Boy, do I miss brunch with my BFF.

Until next time,  Live Well & Be BlessedImage.

Chanell Nicole

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From the Desk of Chanell Nicole, Exhausted Mom/Vacant Teacher

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Are You there, God? It’s me, Chanell. Right now, if I wasn’t typing these words, I would probably fall face down on my desk and succumb to the tiredness that is my life. I am beyond tired and I just gave a busy work assignment to a group of 6th graders who need to be given step-by-step instructions on how to live their lives.

This is my "do your work" face.

This is my “do your work” face.


Did I mention how tired I am? Jeesh! When people (with kids and a sick sense of humor) told me to get my rest while I was pregnant, I took that lightly. While you can’t possibly sleep enough, I think I took those words to mean during the first few weeks of the baby’s life I would need extra rest. I had no idea they were referring to the REST OF MY LIFE!
When I close my eyes, my snoring immediately wakes me up, which means I should probably refrain from blinking while at school. Is this real life? Like, really? Is it?
On the phone with my sister trying to stay awake

On the phone with my sister trying to stay awake


Sleep-deprived is my first, middle, last, maiden, and married name right now.I am in dire need of a vacation, well, not even a vacation, but a nap would be nice.

While I have slept over four hours in a row since giving birth, a few more hours added to that would be GLORIOUS! Who am I?
I’m talking about a nap like it’s a slice of carrot cake cheesecake (mmm, that sounds good right about now).
With close to two hours to go until school’s out, I’m thinking of a way to “go home early”. Aaaahhh! I’m soooo tired.

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So tired that I’m letting my class talk right now. So tired that I’m overlooking the group of students that are blatantly cheating (I’ll get them later).
So tired that I’m wearing flats (for the rest of my life).
So tired that the thought of wearing heels exhausts me…
So tired that I want extra energy for my birthday, Christmas, and every day of Kwanzaa…
So tired that my next class will have a “free day” and do a computer-based assignment.

You get the point.
I’m a new mom who wakes up way too early to get everything done and is still just “on time” (not early) to work.
I have to come up with a way, a system, a method of expending less energy or using the energy I have more wisely.

Any suggestions?
Until then, I’ll be napping with my eyes open…..

Live Well & Be Blessed

Chanell Nicole

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Getting the Hang of Things

I’m slowly adjusting to my ever-changing role of wife/mom/teacher/friend/blogger/whatever else I am these days.

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This week I have been blessed with so much more than I could ask for.

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I returned to my old school and it’s been a seamless transition. Kids are still kids and I appreciate the time spent teaching and learning from them. It makes me miss the baby and cherish our time at home even more. I thought I would have severe separation anxiety but I’ve been fine so far.

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However slowly, I’m finally getting the hang of things. I feel more competent each day. Even when nothing goes according to plan (see picture above, it’s so hard getting her dressed sometimes), I can always get a smile out of the situation.

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I can’t believe she’s two months already! Time is flying by and before I know it she will be walking and talking.

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At her two month check up all went well. She is gaining weight and growing like a baby should. I’m so proud of her. She’s so observant and gives me smiles when she feels like it.

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Yesterday, while talking to a friend, I was encouraged. She had made extensive plans this weekend and not everything panned out in her.favor. Did she cry?  A little. Did she wallow in pity and doubt God? No, she counted her blessings. Given the extent of the situation, I may have reacted differently, but she offered me another option.

All in all, things could be worse so I count my blessings daily.

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How many blessings did you count so far today?

Until next time Live Well and Be Blessed.

Chanell Nicole

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Random Blog #2

So, I’ve been a parent for close to 8 weeks now. What a rollercoaster ride it has been. There’s so much to learn, absorb, and apply. I learn a new lesson or two or three every single day. Just last night, while preparing the family to go to evening service for the first time since having the baby, we got a little scare. The baby was inconsolable and would not eat. She just cried, squirmed, and screamed some more.

As new parents, we were puzzled. None of the tried and true techniques worked. My mother in law even tried applying her personal touch but that didn’t work either. After two hours of tears, jerks, and attempted feedings, we decided to go to the E.R.

 

Upon arrival to the E.R., I had to write down her symptoms: woke up screaming, inconsolable, puts hand to mouth, turning head side to side, won’t take breast, temperature. My mother in law had thought she may have had an ear infection and to be sure, we wanted to let the professionals have the final say.

The Patient Care Assistant called us in and began taking her vitals. Daddy had left her pacifier (yay, she’s taking a pacifier now!) in the car, so she began screaming. “Would you like a pacifier for her?” the PCA asked.

“Sure, but that wasn’t working for us earlier,” I replied.

In an instant, Baby BK calmed down.

Her temperature  and blood pressure were fine but we still had to take her to a room to be examined by the doctor. The nurse dressed her in the cutest little hospital gown and  picked her up. Baby BK began cooing and laughing upon examination. “There’s nothing wrong here. She’s just growing,” the nurse said. “But I’m not the doctor so stay  put, he’ll examine her further.

She left and Baby BK laughed and wiggled while we waited for the doctor to arrive.

“I think she just wanted to take a trip to this hospital,” I joked with The Husband.

In the end, we were given a prognosis of Classic First Time Parents. There was nothing wrong with the baby. She just wanted to be in a new environment, I suppose. My motherly instincts were in overdrive and I would rather be safe than sorry.

In hindsight, it was kinda funny; but seeing your baby suffer to no end is the worst feeling. I am so grateful nothing was wrong but I’m sure she enjoyed her first trip to the E.R.

 

Until next time, Be Blessed and Live Well.

 

Chanell Nicole♥

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Random Blog #1 Friday. 2.15.12

Wow. I can’t believe it’s the second week in February already! I can see this year is going to fly by. Any-who, what’s new with me? (Besides every single day being a different adventure?) Oh, I gave up social media for the next 40-60 days. I need a way to clear my mind and focus on what’s really important right now: my God, my husband, my child, my goals.

(Wait, is blogging considered social media? Hope not. If so, this will be my cheat of sorts.)

 

I have been so consumed with tending to the wants and needs of a new baby that I feel like I have lost a bit of myself. Maybe I’m changing so much that I don’t recognize Chanell. Maybe this is the new me? Either way, I feel like I need to reconnect or re-meet myself.

 

These days I feel selfish for being tired. I feel even more selfish for being a tad bit frustrated at times at such a little, defenseless human being. I have apologized to the baby on two occasions for wanting more sleep. She can’t fend for herself. She needs me more than I need her. Am I wrong for wanting to do more with my day? Should I not want to go back to work?

 

My day-to-day routine has changed from: wake up, breakfast, tv, blog, internet, get dressed, go to work; to: wake up (by way of personal alarm clock/crying), breastfeed, rock back to sleep, stuff down breakfast, try not to fall asleep while looking for clothes to wear to mother in law’s house. Every day I realize in some way that my life has changed and will never go back to what it used to be. In some ways, that’s refreshing; in other ways, it makes me feel a bit trapped (maybe trapped is the wrong word but when you have to sit on the toilet with a newborn attached to your boob, tell me you don’t feel trapped!).

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love being married and I love my baby girl. I may be having a “greener grass” moment. I was so great at being a single woman, that I may have taken it for granted. Either way, I’m at a new place in my life and I must embrace the change. Hug it. Go with it. Love it.  Grow from it.

This is just like any other new role I have to assume. With it comes growing pains and adjustments. I’m finally realizing what patience really is. Especially since the baby refuses to take a pacifier or bottle (which is delaying my return to work). She’s on her own time (hello? she came almost 2 weeks after her due date) and I must respect that.

 

In respecting the process, I must remember that this time won’t be forever. I might even look back on it and laugh (will I?).

For now, I’ll continue to listen out for the cries of my demanding boss and take her orders with a smile (and maybe a few yawns).

 

Until next time, Live Well and Be Blessed.

 

Chanell Nicole ♥

 

P.S. – Since I’m fasting from all social media (Facebook, InstaGram, Twitter, etc) feel free to share.

 

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Hello Brooklyn. My Birth Story

Almost four weeks ago, I gave birth to the most amazing, inquisitive, funny, at times cranky, always loving baby girl. After watching a few birthing videos and hearing so many tales of motherhood gone wrong, right, and unexpected, I knew it would be time for me to actually experience having my very own child.

She made us wait a little longer than normal so I knew she would be special. On January 10, 2013, I was finally able to say, “Hello Brooklyn”:

My due date had come and gone by a long shot.  I had moments of frustration that turned into contentment. God had sent me a wave of patience and I was just waiting on her arrival. In the meantime, I got my hair braided, wrote a blog post or three, and spent the last childless moments being Chanell.

Enjoying fresh coconut water and an arepa at the Farmers' Market (at Memorial Miramar Hospital)

Enjoying fresh coconut water and an arepa at the Farmers’ Market (at Memorial Miramar Hospital)

Every day that week, I received calls, texts, social media messages asking if I had given birth. “Not yet. You’ll know when I do,” I replied.

It stopped getting annoying around day three. I was used to it by that point. My doctor and midwife had given me orders to go to the hospital every other day for a non-stress test and ultrasound to check on the baby’s progress. Since I was overdue, that was common practice. The nurses recognized me by face and the security guard even asked (on my third visit that week) “You haven’t had that baby YET?”

I had gone from feeling tight all over to feeling like my old self with a huge belly. I knew that was the calm before the storm so to speak. On Wednesday, January 9, around 11:30pm, I began contracting. Though I had experienced false labor before, these contractions were a bit stronger. So, I downloaded an app to my phone that tracked the time between each contraction. They were abnormal in length and intensity for about four hours so I decided to wait and go to the hospital in the morning for my scheduled non-stress test and ultrasound.

I barely slept that night. I was uncomfortable but the pain wasn’t too much for me to handle. I eased the pain by stretching on an exercise ball and soaking in the tub for a while. Though I had never taken a child birthing class, I knew the importance of breathing through the pain. So, I breathed.

The next morning, around 6:30 am, I woke up and started getting dressed. My hospital bags had been packed and in the car for two weeks. It was a struggle getting my husband up but a lot of coercion (and a little Pregnant Lady yelling) and we were out the door. We picked up breakfast and headed toward the hospital. On the way there, I could feel every pebble on the freeway. It hurt for me to sit and the ride was about twenty minutes. At that very moment, I wished I had picked the older hospital that was just ten minutes away.

I wobbled into the registration area at the hospital and waited to be called. I had been to the hospital so many times I knew some of the employees by name. I was sent to see the same woman who had checked me in three times before. “It’s time?” she asked.

“Yep,” I managed through contractions.

She hurriedly typed in my information, gave me a hospital wristband and sent me to Labor and Delivery.

The nurse in L&D put me on the monitor to start the non-stress test and track my contractions. At that point, the contractions were still infrequent so we had to wait until they got stronger. In the meantime, I still had to get an ultrasound just to be sure.

It was quite possibly the worst of all the ultrasounds I’d had since being pregnant. I was contracting like crazy and the baby wasn’t moving the way the ultrasound tech thought she should. Again, I was overdue and they were looking for certain movements from the baby. I guess she was tired and didn’t want to cooperate. Well, that meant nothing to the techs. Not only was the lead technologist very impersonal, but he was also training another employee on my belly!  Once that was over, I was wheeled back over to L&D triage where the nurse informed me that she had spoken to my midwife and given orders to check my cervix for dilation (fun stuff) to see if I was ready to be admitted.

I was only one cm dilated (which is the most progress I had shown the entire pregnancy) and my contractions were picking up. So I was admitted.  Yay! Finally!

Party time!

Party time!

The plan was to start the induction process so I could possibly give birth by Friday.

My nurse Anna asked if I wanted to eat something since I wouldn’t be able to eat until after I gave birth. Food? Yes, please!

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I devoured the eggs, toast, and cereal and gulped down the orange juice. While I wasn’t full, it was enough to keep me satisfied. I kept thinking, I can’t possibly survive on this until tomorrow morning.

At 11:55 am, I was done eating, it was time to start the Cervidil, a medicine used to soften the cervix.  I asked Anna tons of questions and she patiently and efficiently answered them with a smile.

“You can’t get up for at least five hours or so, so get comfortable,” she warned.

I got as comfortable as I could on that hard bed. My butt was starting to get numb so I asked my husband (during one of his InstaGram breaks) to get the beach blanket from the trunk of the car so I could have a little extra cushion. I told him to go to work since I wouldn’t be giving birth until the next day. He told me he would wait until someone arrived to sit with me. (He never made it to work that day.)

My contractions kept getting stronger and closer together. But I wasn’t sure if I was dilated. The Cervidil was supposed to help with softening the cervix for possible dilation. Once that part was over, I was supposed to get Pitocin which would force my body into labor. Or, as my sister told me, give me contractions that would start “thundering out of my soul”.

At around 3 o’clock, Anna came in to let me know she had spoken to my doctor. My midwife was busy with another patient and the doctor would be delivering my baby. I was a bit nervous because I knew his track record with Cesarean sections and I didn’t really want to go that route. But if my body wasn’t cooperating (like it had not been for the past two weeks) I would have to deal with it.

My doctor had told Anna that if at 5 o’clock I wasn’t dilated he would come in and do a C-section. I was in so much discomfort at that point that nothing mattered. Another nurse asked if that’s what I really wanted and I didn’t know if I had a choice or not so I said, “I don’t care at this point.”

When Anna checked me, I was at 5 cm! Finally, some progress. By that time, I had a few more visitors. Along with my husband, my friend Roxy, and my minister’s wife (and close friend) were there as well. I could barely talk and asked for some pain medication. Just something to take the edge off. I was given a sedative that knocked me out for what felt like thirty minutes. I could still feel the contractions, I was just sleepy.

Another friend came by (who I completely forgot about until I talked to my husband and read through my text messages) but I was out of it during most of her visit.

By 6:30, my doctor arrived and checked me one last time to see what our next plan of action would be. I was 8 cm dilated and moving fast. “You’re almost ready. You could go natural,” he said.

“Could I still get the epidural?” I asked.

“Yes, but you don’t really need it,” Anna said.

I imagined pushing without it and the pain that I had already felt (which wasn’t that bad) and decided to save my sanity and get the epidural.

By that time, my mother-in-law and one of my sisters had arrived. Once the anesthesiologist got there, everyone had to leave the room. My mom and another one of my friends were on the way to witness the birth of BK. Traffic near the hospital was heavy so I wasn’t sure they would be there. Either way, I had a village of women (and my husband) there to support me.

Once I could feel the effects of the epidural, my legs were placed in the harnesses and I was told to push when I felt pressure.

At 7:10 pm I updated my Facebook status to let everyone know I was at 10 cm and ready to deliver.

“Oh, I’ve been feeling pressure for a while now.”

It all happened so quick.

“Put your chin to your chest and push hard like you’re trying to take a bowel movement.”

I could barely feel my legs but my lower half wasn’t completely numb. I was comfortable. I felt like I was having an outer body experience. In a matter of minutes, I would be holding my baby.

Push! Push! Push!

On my left side stood my husband, my sister, and my mother-in-law. On my right side was my minister’s wife and a nurse. My husband was about to pass out and looked on as the ladies held my legs with me.

“She has a lot of hair,” someone said.

I was still in a daze. I would have a baby, one that I had to take sole responsibility for.

After about 10 pushes she was out.

At 7:25 pm I became a mother.

Tears of joy. Brooklyn reaching up for mommy. Priceless feeling.

Tears of joy. Brooklyn reaching up for mommy. Priceless feeling.

Her eyes were bright and she was looking around like she knew exactly where she was. When her gaze met mine, my life was changed FOREVER!

She was placed on my chest and feeling her heart beat against mine was the best feeling in the world.

“Hi,” was all I could manage. I got choked up and cried silent tears as she was weighed and wrapped up.

Yeah! I'm here! (This is the funniest picture EVER!)

Yeah! I’m here! (This is the funniest picture EVER!)

While I should have been tired and hungry I was exhilarated. My mom arrived shortly after and held her second granddaughter who was busy sucking her fingers.

My husband and I looked one another in the eyes and said, “we did it.”

I gave him a double tap and a salute (we’re corny) and got ready for the ride of my life.

I thank God for every moment, every morning I can wake up and say, “Hello Brooklyn.”

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20 Days

So, how’s mommyhood?

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked this question in the past 20 days, I’d be a thousandaire. I’m not sure how to answer the question but usually I say something like:

“Great. It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. Challenging, but amazing.”

That’s probably the most PC answer I could come up with.

In all honesty, I really want to say something like:

“Overwhelming. Emotional. Scary. Utterly exhausting. Uncertain. Nothing I imagined.”

That’s the most accurate answer I could come up with.

 

Day one in the hospital.

Day one in the hospital.

I’m a mother. A caretaker. Someone on this planet relies on me for comfort, food, a shoulder to cry on, and everything else she needs.  It is indeed the scariest endeavor I have ever embarked on. I do not have a textbook baby and I’m fine with that. She loves her Mommy  and her Mommy’s boobs. She makes me laugh, sigh, smile, yawn, and cry; sometimes all at once.

Day two.

Day two.

During the past 20 days, my emotions have run the gamut from elation to exasperation and I wouldn’t change that for the world. The first night I brought her home, I was overcome with a sense of failure, like I was not ready to be a mom. She could sense my uneasiness and reacted accordingly. Though this is another blog for another day, just know that we passed the test. I had to rely completely on my instincts and I did what was best for my family.

Breastmilk wasted.

Breastmilk wasted.

On the plus side, I have never felt such joy. When I get it right, comfort her or ease her cries just in time, I feel like I’ve won the lottery.  Seeing her eyes open wide in my direction makes the sleepless nights, the sore boobs, the showerless days all worth it.  I had to change my thinking and realize that she’s her own person. She is unlike any of the babies I have volunteered to watch temporarily. She is all mine and I thank God for her every single moment.  In the words of my husband, “I love her just because she is.”

Hey, do you know what you're doing?

Hey, do you know what you’re doing?

As I type these words, she’s by my side. I’m watching her chest rise and fall, listening for her breaths and coos, and I am examining her features; wondering what I did right to deserve such a blessing. Her existence makes me aware of God’s presence. He never sleeps and always watches over us. I get it now. 20 days down, a lifetime to go.

My sleepyhead baby.

My sleepyhead baby.

Thanks for reading.

Until next time live well and be blessed.

Chanell Nicole♥

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From Chanell to Mommy

In a matter of moments, my life will change forever. It all seems so surreal. I feel unprepared; rightly so because it is the unexpected. Motherhood hasn’t always been on my radar. To be completely honest, I thought I’d be the Eternal Aunt! The woman who watched kids on weekends only and returned to sender when it was convenient for me.

In a matter of days, this will change forever. Like, permanently. I welcome the change with open arms and I have no idea what to look forward to. Having always been a risk taker, it’s weird that I feel a little afraid. I can admit that.

Over the past month, I’ve chronicled the delivery and mommy stories of a few women. Even reading their tales of motherhood, loss, and triumph, I have no idea what to expect. Their stories are theirs. Mine will be mine. There’s no manual on how to be a great mother because we all deal with life differently.

My belly photo. Photo credit: B. Taylor Photography http://b-taylorphotography.com/maternity-sneak-peak/

My belly photo.
Photo credit: B. Taylor Photography http://b-taylorphotography.com/maternity-sneak-peak/

I have had an awesome example of what it means to be a mother. My own mom was liberal, jovial, frank, hard-working and easy-going. She was not perfect but she was an AMAZING mom; still is. She is the epitome of sacrifice and love. In becoming a mom myself, I think back to how hard it was raising ME!

I also know quite a few great moms; young and old. It amazes me how much consideration for another human being goes into being a mother. It is such a heavy charge that God has placed in front of me.

I must keep in mind that I will make mistakes and do things that others may question but in the end, I am human. I will mother my child the way God leads me to. This may not fly with everyone but she will be MY CHILD. I will attempt to make the best decisions and be an example of what a woman should be. I may fail at some things but I will show my child love. I haven’t quite wrapped my mind around everything it takes to be a mom, but I hear it’s a learn by doing sorta thing.

So, to every mother out there, I’m ready to join the ranks of the greatest sorority in the world! I will fulfill my God-given purpose of womanhood and bring forth the greatest fruit ever: A CHILD! Embarking on motherhood has erased every judgmental thought I have ever had about the way that stranger in the store handled a screaming toddler. Now I know, it could very well be me.

 

I ask for prayers on behalf of my family as we welcome The Baby!

Thanks for reading, subscribing, commenting, and showing love.
Until next time.  Live Well and Be Blessed.

 

Chanell Nicole ♥

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Wait.

Happy New Year!

It’s officially 2013. Of course, I had to wait and let the year sink in  a few days before I blogged. I’ve been waiting for an arrival of sorts to appear. While I’m typing this blog, I’m still waiting (with an abnormal amount of patience, too).

 

Though I gave The Baby a deadline of sorts last week, I’ve realized that she will come when she’s good and ready. Also, at my last appointment, my midwife let me know that my due date may have been off by a few days. Though I’m still considered overdue, I may not be as past due as I thought.  So, I’ll wait.

 

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I have an appointment today and I have been to the hospital for routine non stress tests and ultrasounds for the past couple days.  I feel regular. Well, as regular as I can feel with this protruding belly 🙂

 

So many people have shown me love over the past few weeks and I appreciate their concern. This experience is teaching me to not only wait but also be more considerate of others’ waiting experiences. While one waits, checking up on their progress can be a source of encouragement or frustration. In my case, it has been mostly the latter. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’d much rather let you know I’m done waiting than to be questioned incessantly about the status of my situation.

 

“You’re STILL pregnant?”

“When’s the baby coming?”

“Are you ready?”

 

^^^ All questions I’ll never ask a pregnant woman, ever!

 

Maybe it’s just me.  I’m okay with that. We all deal with our waiting processes differently. It’s like waiting for a package without a confirmation number. Sure, it’s coming, but you don’t know when. You let your friends know about the purchase months ago and they keep asking if it has arrived yet. Call after call, text after text, post after post. See how that could get to someone?

 

So, what’s the take away here? The next time you know someone is waiting for something, wait a while and let them tell you if their package got there yet. Again, I may be an isolated incident (one who likes to wait in silence) but we all wait differently.

 

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On that note, while I wait, I will watch and pray. I hope The Baby shows up without any needed intervention. If she needs a little nudge, I’ll wait for the right time and pray that all goes well. I know it will because I’ve waited my entire life for this moment.

 

Until next time. Live Well and Be Blessed.

 

Chanell Nicole ♥

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