The Time My Water Broke Too Early

The Time My Water Broke Too Early

December 25, 2019.

This is the last photo I have of my pregnant with Nellie. Just three days later, one year ago today, I would wake up just after midnight to my bed soaking wet because my water broke…and I didn’t know.

If you’ve been following our story for any significant amount of time, you know our story. I woke up to fluid, I called Kaiser, they sent me to a specific location because of how far along I was, and 5 days later I gave birth to a 2lb 8oz baby girl at just 27 weeks.

There are so many feelings I had during this day last year. I remember not wanting to call my mom at 2am because I honestly didn’t think much of what was happening. I did call her. What I didn’t know is that she knew right away that my water had broken. But she didn’t want to scare me so she didn’t say anything while we were on the phone.

I remember feeling nervous because I didn’t know what was happening. I felt scared when the ER nurse told me my water had broke and I was being admitted, most likely until I gave birth. I felt overwhelmed by all the machine, IVs, cords, wires, and hospital staff. I felt lonely when I had to sit in that bed hooked up to monitors, even though I always had someone with me. I felt terrified when the doctor came in and told us what we should prepare ourselves for if we had her too early. And then I felt like a failure when my body gave up too early and Nell was born.

So many emotions surround this day. So many emotions that were warranted and necessary for me to get through that time. But they’re emotions I hope I never feel in that capacity ever again.

One year later, we have a perfectly healthy little girl. A girl whose first birthday we’re about to celebrate. And even though we’re happy, healthy, and thankfully past all of those crazy emotions, I will never forget what happened today in 2019. Today changed our lives forever.

California Will Always Be Home

California Will Always Be Home

I’ll be the first to say that we don’t regret moving out of California. It wasn’t where we wanted to raise our daughter. That said, California will always be home.

I have been feeling…unsettled recently. I feel like we’re in this weird in-between. The house we live in is my parents’ house and ours won’t be completed until May 2021. And while I’m incredibly grateful that my parents have provided us a place to live during this time, it’s hard to merge two households and figure out how to fit two different routines together.

I was recently contacted by my boss who said they wanted to fly me out to CA for a staff Christmas party. I jumped at the opportunity. So, I booked flights for me and Nell for December 8.

Unfortunately, our party was cancelled because COVID has FOMO and is apparently running rampant in California. BUT, I was blessed to keep my flight. I’m not sure my boss will ever know how grateful I am for that.

How cute is Nell’s travel outfit?

Nell and I spent the last week visiting friends and her dad’s side of the family. We spent most of the week getting uninterrupted time with Nell’s grandma, papa, and Auntie Hilly. She also got a couple days with her cousins Maddy and Evan and her Auntie Nomy.

This trip was good for my soul. Everything we did regarding the move was so fast. We spent so much time packing and making sure we were good to go that I think we forgot to spend time with those that mean the most to us.

I’ll say this again, I DO NOT regret moving. We absolutely love Missouri and it was a great decision. But, damn, it felt good to be home. I didn’t need Waze to tell me where to go. I was able to jump in the car and just drive because I just knew where I was.

I am starting to know my way around and I don’t need Waze as often. I also don’t feel as alone now that my mom is here, so that’s nice. Just need sometime to acclimate. Keep an eye out for some fun news next week!

The Same But…Different.

The Same But…Different.

My mom has been friends with my Aunt Cathy since I was a baby. My cousin, Jordyn, is about a year and a half younger than I am. We are very similar to one another. We’re both…leaders. And we seem to go through quite a few of the same situations.

One I remember vividly happened in 2009 when we visited our family in Missouri for Thanksgiving. During that time Jordyn, and I were both going through a breakup. We were both so sad that whole week. Our moms kept telling us that one day we would forget about those boys and laugh about the whole thing. And we did. After those breakups we both ended up finding the men we would marry.

Let’s fast forward to 2020. You all know our story of Nell being born early. I wrote every single day while she was in the NICU to keep everyone updated. The 70 days we were there were not easy, but I knew God had a plan for my story. It took me a long time to find the blessings in our journey. There are a lot of things about what happened with her that I now realize needed to happen. I believe that part of His plan was for me to be able to be there for other mamas that would, one day, go through the same thing I went through. I just never thought it would be for a family member.

I can’t remember when I found out that Jordyn was pregnant with her third baby. But I remember being so excited for her! She and Colten already had two beautiful little girls, but they wanted to try one more time for a little boy. They didn’t want to find out the baby’s gender until birth. They wanted to be surprised.

Around week 6 Jordyn began bleeding and she thought she was having a miscarriage. She was not. A visit to the ER determined that what she had was a subchorionic hemorrhage. Sometimes this kind of hemorrhage will shrink, but Jordyn’s grew. Her doctors couldn’t figure out what was happening and told her that the baby would most likely not make it. Jordyn and Colten were told that their baby had a less than 1% chance of survival. But they prayed through every single doctors appointment. They knew God had a plan for this baby.

At 15 weeks Jordyn’s water tore and never resealed. At week 22 Jordyn was rushed to a hospital about 3 hours from home. Every single week they prayed. She made it to week 23, then 24, then 25. She made it to week 27 without issue. If you’ve followed my story, you know this is where my pregnancy ended. And it’s just one more thing she and I have in common. She made it two days longer than I did. At 27 weeks and 2 days Jordyn had an emergency c-section and gave birth to a beautiful baby BOY!

Colten Ellis Jones was born on November 27, 2020 at 2lb 8oz and 15″ long.

Once again, if you’ve followed my story you know that Nellie was born at 2lbs 8oz and 15.5″ long. Just one more thing Jordyn and I have in common. How crazy is it that we both gave birth at 27 weeks and our babies weighed the same and were just about the same length? It’s hard to deny that I was meant to be there for Jordyn as support from a mama who has been where she is.

Baby Ellis has a long road ahead of him. He has already been on an oscillator and come off of it. What the doctors said would be his biggest issue, his lungs, seems to be going very well for him. He does have a bowel obstruction that needs to be repaired. He has already had one surgery that went very well. He will have a colostomy bag for 6 weeks and then they’ll go back for a second surgery to complete the repair. Jordyn says he is absolutely crushing it in the NICU.

Jordyn and Colten are also doing well. They’re taking it one day at a time, because that’s all they can do. They continue to pray for and with their sweet baby boy. Today, December 5, Jordyn got to hold her son for the very first time. This is a moment that will forever be in her heart.

Their situation is a bit different than Bryan and I. We were only 20 minutes from Nell’s NICU. They’re 3 hours from Ellis’ NICU. Because of this Jordyn will be staying in the same city as the baby. However, because of the current state of COVID Jordyn is unable to stay in the Ronald McDonald House if she wants to be able to have her husband and daughters visit her. So, she’s looking into getting a short term, fully furnished apartment. The cost of this plus the medical bills that are sure to follow will cause a financial strain.

If you feel compelled to give, please consider donating to their GoFundMe campaign. We’ve all been in situations where we’ve needed a little extra help. If you can’t donate, please pray for this sweet family. Prayers are coveted during this time. We continue to see these prayers answered, so keep them coming.

Mommy Friends

Mommy Friends

You guys, how in the world did I go from posting every day to posting once a month? Once a month!

I’ve the idea for this post for a few weeks. Clearly, time has gotten away from me. But it’s really important to me. Especially now.

A couple weeks ago Nellie and I were at Walmart doing some shopping. While in the produce section I asked Nell what kinds of veggies she wanted. As I picked out Nell’s squash (which, by the way, she no longer likes), a lady next to me asked if I made her food. I told that I did make most of her food.

We got to talking and I expressed that I felt stuck sometimes with how much or what kinds of food to feed Nell. I said she is my first and we had a little bit of a rough start. I told her that her adjusted vs actual age had me a little confused when it came to food/eating. This woman was so kind to me.

She gave me a few pointers and before walking away she said, “let me give you my card. It’s for colorstreet, but you can ignore that. Please feel free to contact me if you ever have any mommy questions. And find me on Facebook!”

You guys, I felt so supported. And by a woman who didn’t even know my name yet. I ran into her a few more times during our shopping trip. And every time she had a new tip for me.

We have noticed this transition in kindness among those that surround us since we moved. Yes, people we knew in California were kind. But it’s the people we don’t know that are showing us the biggest difference. It’s the ones that smile and wave just because. It’s the one that stop me and complement us on how beautiful Nell is or how happy she looks. It’s the ones that talk to you about mommy stuff and offer advice whenever you need it, even when they don’t know your name.

It’s so important to have those mommies, and daddies, that can help you through the things you just don’t know. Don’t just be kind to the people you know. You never know how you can turn someone’s day around by just smiling at them.

Before I leave you, here are some Nell updates.

Miss Nell is 11 months old. We are less than one month from her first birthday. And, to be honest, I can’t handle it.

She’s getting SO BIG! She’s wearing 6-9mo now because she’s too long for 3-6. The 6-9 clothes are long enough, but they’re so baggy. She looks adorable, nonetheless.

We are getting ready to baby proof the house because Nellie crawls everywhere and we’re sure she isn’t far from walking.

A few things have happened since our last post. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you have, no doubt, seen these. But here they are. Thanksgiving, where she fed herself some potatoes. Visiting Santa for the first time. And other, just all around cute, photos.

The First Year

The First Year

[I started writing this post four days ago. #momlife]

“The first year is the hardest.”

That is what everyone told me and Bryan when we got married. They said our marriage would be tested and it wouldn’t be easy. And, they weren’t wrong.

Today, we celebrate four years of marriage. And of those four years, yes, the first year was tough. But, what everyone failed to tell us was that our marriage would be tested even further during the first year of parenthood.

I try to be as transparent as possible here. So, how do I say this? This shit is hard. I thought, after making it though our time in the NICU, there couldn’t be anything harder. Boy was I wrong! Yes, that was really hard for us. Unbearable, in fact. But, man, these last couple of months have been killer.

We’ve been experiencing some serious sleep regression. I’ve started calling her naps ‘blinks’ because I feel like that’s what she does. One second she’s asleep and then suddenly…she’s not anymore. And it’s even worse at night. She doesn’t sleep for more than 2-3 hours at a time. That means that Bryan and I are up all night long. All. Night. Long. And when Bryan has to be at work early the next morning it means mama is up all night long. And because daddy goes to work mama is up early the next morning to get Nell through the day.

We’re also going through this thing where she refuses her bottle. She’ll get a few ounces down and then that’s it, she’s done. She doesn’t get upset, but she also won’t finish. And I feel like I’m not feeding her enough. While we try to keep her on a schedule, I’m also having to feed on-demand because the girl needs to eat.

And if that’s not enough, Nellie is also teething. She has two of her bottom teeth that have popped through. It’s hard to tell why she’s upset because I never know if it’s a diaper, hunger, or her teeth. There are times where we’re guessing. And that makes it even harder. I feel like I should just know what she needs, when she needs it. And when I don’t know I feel even worse.

But we’re getting through it all. And we’re doing it together. It’s not always easy, but it’s not always hard either. We’re having so much fun watching her grow and learn new things.

Nellie is now a crawler and has started to pull herself up to a standing position. We have no doubts she’ll be walking in the next few months.

She is also getting to eat some snacks, like puffs and yogurt melts, that we let her ‘pick out’. All that means is that mama puts a few in front of her and we buy whichever she grabs first. It’s a lot of fun.

We’re looking forward to celebrating her first birthday! I can’t even believe it’s been that long. Can’t wait to share that day with everyone!

The Struggle Is Real

The Struggle Is Real

Since we moved to Missouri Bryan and I have both been in a kind of funk. And that’s not saying that we regret our decision to move, we don’t. However, we’ve felt this weird sense of being alone. It’s an odd feeling because we’ve always been surrounded by family.

In an attempt to remain transparent, here’s an update on where we are.

We’re not quite settled. We’ve found ourselves sitting on the couch wondering what to do next. In reality, we have probably 15 boxes that can be moved to the garage. Two dressers that remain empty because we have yet to fill them. Random crap sitting on our dining table. And unsettled hearts.

I have been working a few hours each day, but it’s tough when I know Bryan is doing what he can to look for a job and take care of Nell. She needs a ton of attention. Thankfully, my bosses are incredible understanding and have been very patient with me.

I have felt the loneliness more than Bryan has, I think. Dropping my parents off at the airport left me feeling a little empty. They have since closed on the sale of their house, my childhood home. While it makes me incredibly sad to see that home leave our lives, I’m very excited to have them here with us soon. My dad will be here next week. Then, my mom will join us for Thanksgiving, go home for a few weeks, and then be here permanently before the end of the year. My grandparents close on the sale of their house at the end of October and I already have a place ready for them here. My aunt and uncle won’t be far behind them.

Bryan has submitted more job applications than I can count. It’s been very discouraging for him to receive nothing in return, except silence. We have found ourselves lacking prayer. So, today all three of us sat down together and prayed for guidance and peace. Not two hours later, Bryan receives an email from Bass Pro for an interview! How amazing is that? We forget what prayer can do for us.

Little Miss Nell, on the other hand, is having the time of her life. She is sitting up straight and not leaning so far forward as often. She has tried so many new foods. We’ll go into more detail about that below.

She has decided that sleeping through the night is no longer necessary for any of us. However, Bryan and I have been working on a daily schedule. And she has slept through the night for three nights in a row.

Let’s get back to the food. We’ve been working on her eating solids. I feel like we had to wait for-ev-er to get to this point. But she’s definitely more ready now than she was two months ago. So, here’s what she’s had so far. And if you follow me on any kind of social media you have, no doubt, seen the adorable videos of her trying new food.

First up is green beans. These are probably her favorite and most eaten food. She gets so excited for another bite.

Next was carrots. I decided to make all her food. However, the carrots and her baby bullet didn’t get a long. They came out chunky and weird and she didn’t like it at all. So, I did buy a small container of carrots to see if it was the chunky texture or the taste. It was definitely the taste. She does NOT like carrots, so we won’t be having those again for a while. Maybe I’ll try to combine them with another food later.

Then we tried sweet potatoes. The jury is still out on this one. She doesn’t hate them, but she also doesn’t love them like she does the green beans. We’ll keep trying.

This morning we tried bananas. She definitely like them. But we still have to work on it. She seemed unsure, but she did eat all of them.

Finally, she had avocado tonight. SHE. LOVED. THEM! She was shaking with excitement and kept opening her mouth for more. I was cracking up. She was so adorable.

In a few days, we’ll move on to applesauce and pears.

Stay Strong, Mama ❤️

Stay Strong, Mama ❤️

September is NICU Awareness month.

I write A LOT about being in the NICU, but my hope is that in all of the repetitiveness I am able to shed light and hope for someone else. More times than I ever thought, I have received messages from people about a mama they know that is having her baby early and will be spending time in the NICU. I tear up every time because I started this blog for that exact reason. To share our journey and to show other mamas that they aren’t alone. I love that you all think of me when you find out about these amazing mamas. So, here we go again.

Being a first time mom in the NICU is one of the scariest things I’ve ever been through. It’s not quite how I imagined motherhood would begin. That is a place no parent ever imagines they will end up when they find out they’re expecting. It’s one of those things that you think won’t ever happen to you. Until it does. It’s life changing, traumatic, and an incredibly difficult journey.

It’s now been more than 6 months since we were in the NICU. And while I’m so grateful for the men and women that loved us during our time there, I’m even more grateful that we are no longer there. Nell fought really hard for the first month she was there and then continued to work so hard to learn everything she needed to learn before getting to go home. And now she’s thriving.

I joined Facebook pages so that I could ask for advice from other moms that had been or were going through the same thing. I stayed on those pages after we went home. I find myself in an entirely different mindset when I’m replying to posts now because I made it to the light at the end of the tunnel that everyone talks about.

So, what do I say to those mamas? Stay strong, mama. I remind them how strong they are. NICU mamas (and daddies) and babies are a different kind of superhero. The strength they have is unlike any other. Parents don’t know they have it until they experience it.

If this blog was shared with you because you’re in the same situation, I encourage you to read on. Mama, I am with you. Our situations may be different, but I know where you are right now. I know where your head and your heart are. I am here for you. Sometimes NICU mamas just need someone to listen. I’m a great listener.

If you’ve ever shared this blog with someone, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to be there for someone who doesn’t know what to do or where to go. The next steps are always so difficult. You’ve played a huge role in allowing me to be an encouraging voice and/or listening ear for a mama that needs it. Keep sharing. There’s nothing like knowing and feeling like someone else just gets it.

**Note: the easiest way to read our story:

For desktop users: on the right you’ll see where you can search. Search ‘where do i begin’. Click that post and begin reading. Once you’ve reached the end you’ll see the name of the next post on the bottom right. Click there and keep clicking there when you’ve reached the end of a post.

For mobile users: tap on the pink paper icon that sits just above the title. Scroll down until you see the search bar. Then, search ‘where do i begin’. Click that post title and begin reading. Once you’ve reached the end you’ll see the name of the next post on the bottom right. Click there and keep clicking there when you’ve reached the end of a post.**

Meet Nell

Meet Nell

Little Miss Nellie-Anne is a completely new baby. She is doing things that she has never done before. But before we get to that I want to tell you about her dedication.

On Friday, September 11th Bryan and I dedicated Nellie to God. We promised to raise her in faith and with biblical values and love. We promised to make God the center of our family in order to teach her those values.

We invited family and friends to join us in person and via Facebook Live for this special moment. It was beautiful and perfect and everything I wanted it to be.

Side note: the white dress she is wearing was a gift from a very dear friend of mine, Bettina. She gave it to me as a gift at my baby shower. She said that the lady that made it prayed over every stitch while Nell was in the NICU. It felt fitting that she would wear it to her dedication.

Now, on to the updates.

Nell is desperately trying to crawl. She can get her knees up underneath herself, but can’t figure out how to use her arms and knees together. She’s figure out how to scoot her body forward using her knees. And she can push herself back using her arms. We’re hoping soon she figures out that those body parts can be used together to go forward.

Miss Nell has definitely found her voice. The child screams just to scream. We’re convinced that she just wants to hear herself. When she screams and we look to see what’s wrong she just smiles and laughs. She talks nonstop unless she’s sleeping. I wish I could attach a video. We’ve been taking so many because her little noises are so adorable. Follow me on Facebook or Instagram to see those.

It’s not difficult to get her to smile now, which I absolutely love. All we have to do is look at her or make a noise and she’s got a grin that spreads across her whole face.

Our sweet babe has had some very exciting things happen in the last day or so. I had a telephone appointment with her doctor to ask about whether or not she needed to stay on the preemie formula she’s been on. When we told her doctor that she weighs about 18 pounds now she said, ‘Oh my, she’s definitely further ahead than she needs to be for that formula. Go ahead and take her off the extra calories.”

Along with moving up into 3-6 month clothing, she’s also now in size 2 diapers! She’s getting so big and I don’t think I can handle it.

We fall more in love every single day.

My God Did Not Fail

My God Did Not Fail

Believing gets hard
When options are few
When I can’t see how You’re moving
I know that You’re proving
You’re the God who comes through
Oh, but I know
That over the years
I’ll look back on this moment
And see Your hand on it
And know You were here

– Mavrick City Music ft. Naomi Raine

It has been way too long since I’ve posted here. So, here’s a quick bullet list of things that have happened since September 6 when I posted about my mommy meltdown.

  • We sold our home in California
  • We packed up everything we owned
  • We moved halfway across the country to Missouri
  • Miss Nell has become a whole new baby

Are you ready for this ride?

Awhile back I wrote about how Bryan and I decided we wanted to move to Missouri. After we made that decision everything just sort of fell into place. We got in contact with our realtor, Kelli. She helped us find the house in the first place, so we knew we wanted her to help us sell it. She guided us through the process of getting the house ready to list. That included redoing the front yard.

Our listing went live at midnight on a Friday morning. By 6:30AM that same day Kelli was receiving messages about wanting to see the house. By the end of the day Sunday we had had over 50 showings and we were looking through more than 20 offers. How insane is that?

It took a few days, but we accepted an offer and it happened to be someone I had gone to high school with. Talk about a small world, right? I was sad about leaving our first home and the place we brought Nell to when she was discharged from the NICU, but I knew it was time. And we had chosen the perfect couple. I knew they would love it just as much as we did.

Then came the packing. I posted a little about this. But it got crazy. As the boxes piled up and the room got emptier, the more I hit with the reality of what we were doing. We were leaving the only place we had ever known as home.

On Wednesday, September 16th we picked up a Budget moving truck. Nellie spent the day with her grandma, Bryan’s mom. We were joined, at the house, by my sisters-in-law, nephew, brother-in-law, father-in-law, and a few friends. We got to loading. The truck was completely loaded in just under 4 hours. After everyone left, we walked around our empty home and soaked in all the memories and love that had been created in those spaces.

On Thursday morning about 6:30, we started up the truck and both cars and headed east. We drove through Arizona and made it to Grants, New Mexico on Thursday evening. We stayed the night and headed out the next morning. We drove the rest of the way through New Mexico, through Texas, and stayed Friday night in Weatherford, Oklahoma. We made it to Springfield, Missouri about noon on Saturday the 19th.

Unloading only took a few hours. We did everything we could over the weekend. Bryan and I got our bedroom set up. I got the bathroom set up and ready to use. My mom and I got the kitchen mostly set up. Bryan and my dad did some maintenance things around the house.

Now, we’re here. We live here. Today is the first day that had felt weird. My parents are gone. And now we have to find our footing. I’m working on figuring out how to get work done while Bryan takes time to look for a job and while Nell requests an endless amount of attention and while trying to get boxes unpacked and make the house feel like we live in it.

I chose to include the above lyrics because I feel like there’s no denying God’s presence throughout this whole journey of moving. We don’t regret our decision. We just need to find ourselves here. We need to make Missouri home.

Stay tuned. I have a new post coming about Nellie. She feels like a different baby lately. But she’s just as perfect as always.

Mommy Meltdown

Mommy Meltdown

Question for the mommies. Does it make you sad when your babes get too big for their clothes and have to move up to the next size?

I’m there. Nell is getting to big for her 0-3 month clothing and is ready for 3-6 months. This isn’t new to us. I felt it a little when we moved from preemie to newborn, but I was excited to see her grow. I really felt it when we moved from newborn to 0-3. It’s a rough transition. She’s growing too quickly for the mama.

This brings me to my little meltdown the other day. We’ve known for about 2 weeks that our 0-3 days were coming to an end. So, I began looking at what she had in 3-6. Come to find out 75% of that section of her closer is not 3-6 months, but rather just a solid 3 months.

It might sound like this is fine. But the problem is that 3 months is just slightly bigger, if not exactly the same, as 0-3 months. So, now we have all of these adorable little outfits that still have tags that she might not get to wear.

I was so sad. We have all these rompers and dresses that are too small because I didn’t pay attention to the sizes. The one that had me really sad was her little OshKosh B’gosh overalls. I tried them on her to see how long they would fit.

Yea, that’s not happening. The girl is so long that I had to pull the straps as long as they would go and it was still way too small. We’ll save them for our next baby. But honestly, how did I miss the opportunity for her to go out in this outfit?

I put her in a few other things to see how they’d fit. We’re right at the end with these outfits. So, right now if she drools or spits up even a little we change. That way she can wear them at least once.

Here’s another of her 3 month outfits. Today, it was a church dress.

Before I leave, here are some Nell updates:

– 8 months actual / 5 months adjusted

– weighs about 15lbs

– ~ 25” long

– loves to hear her voice

– almost sitting unsupported

– still loves Maui (from Moana)