I hope I remember…

April 12, 2016

Dear Adam,

After feeding you this afternoon, you fell asleep on my chest. Instead of putting you down so I could switch the laundry / wash dishes / get a snack / write thank you notes, I just held you. And cried. (Also, Sleeping at Last was playing which is such beautiful, moving music!)

I cried because I love you so much.

I cried because I so desperately hope I remember these exact moments and how little you feel all curled up on my chest. I just softly rubbed your back up and down trying to lock in my memory its length.

I hope I remember the way you “scratch” my side so sweetly while breastfeeding as if to say thank you.

I hope I remember your new little dimples on your knuckles.

I hope I remember the way you look milk-drunk when you “sit” up to burp.

I hope I remember the way your head smells (sweet heaven)!

I hope I remember all of your funny faces and funny noises and grunts!

I hope I remember the sweetness of when you look straight into my eyes.

I hope I remember your sideways smile when you’re falling asleep.

I hope I remember how your forehead wrinkles stretch across your face.

Even in my tiredness, I hope I create memories of all these things. I don’t want to miss them.

Tomorrow you are eight weeks old. You’ve made some big changes and big growth recently and I’m more in love with you every day!

Also, tonight is your first night in your crib. So many emotions!!

You are my whole heart.
Mom

Lezlie - April 12, 2016 - 11:10 pm

This is beautiful and you made me cry!
I love you. You are such a good mommy and Adam adores you!

Ruth conner - April 13, 2016 - 7:12 am

Beautiful memories! Thank you for sharing your heart. You are blessed.

Adam’s First Month

Dear Adam,

You are actually seven weeks old today, but I wanted to share your beautiful newborn portraits by our sweet and talented friend, Christie Lacy, and share a few fun details from your first month of life! (I’ll be sharing about your second month soon!)

From the time you surprised us with your early arrival, you have come such a long way! Remember that you did’t even know how to eat? In the NICU, you had a feeding tube, then learned how to suck a pacifier, then how to drink from a bottle, then how to breastfeed using a nipple shield, and finally (especially when we came home!) learned how to breastfeed! That was the hardest eating skill they said you’d learn, and you learned in just two weeks!

Month One was full of FIRSTS, and it is so much fun getting to know you! You:

Love: eating (allllll day!), being held chest to chest, going on walks (yay!), and car rides.

Do NOT love: sleeping at night, bath time (although we may be turning a corner?), your arms to be swaddled, or the part of the diaper change where we put a clean diaper on you. Funny boy.

Favorite food: Mommy milk.

Favorite song: This Little Light of Mine.

Accomplishments: being born, learning to eat, coming home from NICU, and – no lie – before you even turned three weeks old, you rolled over three times during tummy time from your stomach to your back. WHAT?! The first time was after your first bath. Your dad and I looked at each other like, “Did that just happen??”

Your whole first month, I was still supposed to be pregnant with you! But you had your own schedule, and we are so happy to have had this extra month with you!

Mrs. Christie came over and took these photos the day before you turned three weeks old. (Your Nana and Uncle Jesse were in town from Georgia to meet you!) You’ve already changed so much from these photos, so we will cherish these images forever. I will mostly love remembering your wrinkly / baggy skin and even Ollie’s awful summer shave haircut!

You are my gift.
You are my heart.
– Forever your Mom


These wrinkly armpits are my favorite! 

Lezlie - April 7, 2016 - 3:43 am

I love the blogs! You will love reading these back as Adam grows up!
Love sweet Adam!!!!!!!
Love you!
Mom

Birth Story

Dear Adam,

You are three weeks old! SURPRISE! The last three weeks have been a whirlwind of your labor and delivery, a nine-day NICU stay, and then adjusting to life at home, but I wanted to write out your birth story while it’s fresh on my (sleepy) mind. I will include as many details as possible, mostly for me to look back on in later years. I know that neither you nor most readers will probably care about the little details, but I will want to remember them! So this story will not be in 2nd person like the rest of my entries. (Did you know I’m a former English teacher?:))

Know that you are my absolute joy and my whole heart. I can’t believe you’re mine! I am loving getting to know you! I already feel so proud of you for all you’ve learned as a preemie, and even though NICU was so hard, I’m so glad you’re already here!

I love you forever,
Mom

 

Tuesday, February 16th, we went to our 34 week appointment at Dr. Rivera’s. It was our last big ultrasound to have, so my mom joined us. Everything looked great! Our ultrasound tech estimated that Adam already weighed 5 lb, 9oz based off of his measurements. That seemed so big to me considering I had six more weeks to go! She also said that my cervix had not softened at all and that they’d want to see some softening in the next few weeks.

 

Then we went to Dish Society for a delicious lunch.
That evening, Randy and I went to Blaire McBeth’s season opener softball game. It was a very exciting game and Cy-Ranch won! We came home and got ready for bed and fell asleep around 10:30.

 

At 11pm, I woke up to what I can best describe as a SNAP feeling inside of me… then GUSH! I threw the blanket off of me, sat up, and said, “Randy? Randy! My water just broke!!” as it continued to gush out of me. He hopped up and ran to get me towels. I couldn’t believe how much water it was! I remember feeling shock and disbelief because it just wasn’t time yet. I knew this was too early. Randy asked me, “So what now? Are you in labor?” To which I replied, “I DON’T KNOW!!” I hadn’t had any contractions yet, and I had just heard 11 hours prior that my cervix hadn’t softened at all! I also had not:

– printed out my birth “plan” (HA!)
– packed my hospital bag
– washed any of Adam’s clothes
– hung anything on the nursery walls
– installed the car seat
– finalized my birth playlist
– attended my last baby shower
– finished our birth classes (irony: the next course we were to take was entitled, “Unexpected Things”)

 

So, Randy GOOGLED “34 weeks pregnant water broke” while I was in the bathroom. We decided I better call my doctor’s answering service. While I was on the phone with the lady, I had my first contraction and asked Randy to download a contractions app. Dr. Rivera called me and asked if I was sure I hadn’t just urinated on myself. I was pretty dang sure! He told me to go on in to the hospital and they would do a test to see if my membrane had in fact ruptured.

 

We started throwing random stuff in a bag. We would pause and look at each other and say, “He’s coming! As in, he’ll be here tomorrow.” We grabbed Adam’s coming home outfit and I told Randy he could just wash it in the sink at the hospital. (I didn’t realize that he would be way too small for it as a preemie. We had no preemie clothes!) I tried calling Shellie to tell her I would not be able to come into work that next day and hoped she would get the message before the morning.

 

We headed to Memorial Hermann Katy as I tracked my contractions. They were about 30-40 seconds long and 3-4 minutes apart and very consistent. We had to go in through the emergency room since it was in the middle of the night. It wasn’t a very busy night at the hospital. First we went to the wrong floor (shows how well I paid attention at the maternity tour!), but eventually we found labor and delivery. They took me into triage where Micheau gave me a hospital gown, took my vitals, drew blood, and asked me a million questions. They did the test which showed that my water definitely broke. (Hello?!? I kept telling them that!) At 2am, they had the overnight on-call doctor come in to do my first cervical check. I was already 100% effaced and dilated to 4cm! It had only been three hours! I was definitely being admitted. They started prepping my labor and delivery room. It took them awhile to set it up since a transportable NICU incubator was needed.

 

They left the room and I called my mom to tell her I was in labor. She and my dad arrived at the hospital about an hour later just as I was being transferred from triage to a labor and delivery room. My parents and Randy sat in there with me for a while. I could chat with them in between contractions, but I was getting really tired. My parents went to sit in the waiting room and Randy stayed with me, even managing to get some sleep on the couch next to me.

 

Since I didn’t have my birth play list finalized, we moved to Plan B and played All Sons and Daughters on Pandora. It played for the remainder of my labor, and these beautiful worship songs took on a whole new meaning for me. I prayed the lyrics of songs like: “You Make Me Brave,” “Great Are You Lord” (“It’s Your breath in our lungs”), “Holy Spirit” (Holy Spirit, You’re welcome here”), “It Is Well” (“Let go, my soul, and trust in Him; the waves and wind still know His name”), and I was reminded that God himself designed new life to be brought forth this way. He wove it into the fabric of the earth. Since the beginning, this was how new life was created, and I was not alone. I was created to do this.

 

At 6:30am, I was 6cm dilated, and the contractions were getting pretty intense, as I had no amniotic fluid cushion. I had to be on IV antibiotics since I had not yet had the Group B Strep test (which would have been done at my 36 week appointment), but otherwise, I had planned all along to go drug free. Erin was my wonderful night nurse, and before her shift change at 7am, I asked her what my options for IV pain medication were. I did not want an epidural. She was honest with me and told me my IV option would make me groggy and help me rest in between contractions but would not relieve any pain during contractions. I said, “Forget it!” and stuck with my plan to go all-natural. I wanted to be coherent when Adam finally arrived.

 

At the shift change, my new day nurse came in to introduce herself. She said, “My name is Jackie. I have three kids and I had two of them all natural. YOU can do this!” She was a God-send in that moment and became my calm cheerleader for the rest of my labor reminding me that no one else could deliver this baby besides me. I’m not sure if I could have done it without her! God bless nurses!

 

At some point that morning, Ma, Pa, Andrew, and Shellie joined my parents in the waiting room. It felt great knowing they were there. (Jonathan was out of town for work.)

 

By 8am, Dr. Rivera arrived and I was 8cm dilated, and by 9am I was 9cm dilated (and exhausted!). I was excited to be progressing and figured that I must be getting closer.

 

At 10am, I was still at 9cm.
At 11am, I was still at 9cm. (OUCH!!)

 

My cervix never fully dilated and Adam was stuck on the top half of my cervix. Jackie had me get on my hands and knees in the bed for 30 minutes to try to move him. No such luck.

 

Any other doctor would have probably pushed surgery at that point, but at 11:45, Dr. Rivera came in and manually lifted my cervix over Adam’s head. This was extremely painful, but it allowed me to finally move forward with labor.

 

At 12:05pm, I started pushing. Being a rookie at labor and delivery, I had no idea what I was doing and wasted about 30 minutes of pushing incorrectly. It sure felt better to push my legs away towards Randy and Jackie than it did to pull them towards my head. Thankfully, it finally clicked with me and I started making some good progress with my pushing. Jackie worked on stretching me during each push which really hurt and made it hard for me to take a deep breath. (Of course, I was soon very thankful for her stretching me so well!) After my third push of each contraction, I couldn’t catch my breath, and this is where Randy shined. As I was basically hyperventilating and Adam’s heart rate would increase, Randy would remind me to relax my forehead and relax my jaw (two tips he learned from our prenatal yoga session with Lexi at Om Grown Yoga that I blogged about previously) which would allow me to take a deep breath and lower my heart rate (and Adam’s). This impressed the nurses. J Go Randy!

 

At 1:06pm, they made me stop pushing. They set up for delivery and brought Dr. Rivera back in. When I started crowning, they said, “He has blonde hair!” Randy and I looked at each other in disbelief! We both thought he would have dark hair! They asked if we wanted to see and rolled over a mirror. Seeing him was actually great motivation for me to push hard and get to the finish line. I had been pushing so hard I actually burst a blood vessel in my left eye. Attractive.

 

At 1:21pm, I gave my final push and Adam Armour Olive was born. The best word I can use to describe that feeling was just RELIEF. I did it. He was here. He started crying and they placed him on my chest very briefly which was so special to me and not always an option with preemies. They delayed the cord clamping and then Randy cut the cord which he had been nervous about. They quickly took Adam to the NICU incubator on the other side of the room and Randy followed. Meanwhile I finished my delivery and Dr. Rivera stitched me up (I only had a minor 1st degree tear – thank you, God!) – still with no drugs! Yowza!

 

Adam Armour Olive
February 17, 2016
5 lb, 12 oz
18 inches long
blonde hair and big, dark blue, alert eyes

They wrapped him up and brought MY SON to me briefly again for a quick family photo. They let my parents come in, then my grandparents, and then Andrew and Shellie (who gave me a beautiful silver “Mom” necklace as a push present) to meet him. Then the nurses took him to NICU and Randy followed. I stayed in my L&D room for about an hour and then was wheeled to my post-partum room. Randy came back to tell me that Adam was doing good except for needing a feeding tube. Randy was able to wheel me to NICU. Adam was in his cubby and the lid was on so I could only touch him through the sides. That was hard. And I hated seeing that tube in his nose and taped to his face.

 

We went back to my post-partum room and my parents brought back flowers, balloons, and a late lunch… a TUNA salad sandwich from La Madeleine (I hadn’t had food since dinner the night before, and I hadn’t had tuna in 8 months!). Later that night, Natalie, Addie, and the entire McBeth crew came to see me and got to see Adam in NICU. The whole day was surreal as we were now parents!

 

Adam had to spend nine days in the NICU learning how to eat and gaining weight. His cubby lid was able to be lifted quickly, his feeding tube was taken out on Day 2, and he learned how to suck on a paci, then on a bottle, then on a nipple shield, and finally breastfeed. His weight got down to 5 lb, 2 oz, and then got back up to 5 lb, 4 oz. where he plateaued for a couple of days. He was discharged weighing 5 lbl, 6 oz. He wooed ALL of the NICU nurses which we were especially blessed by. God bless Sree, Lindsey, Traci, Valarie, Dee, Melissa, Daya, “Anne Hathaway,” and Trina. They all cared for Adam well and taught us so many helpful things!

 

Either Randy or I stayed the night with Adam every single night. It was difficult for me to recover in the NICU. I slept on a very uncomfortable couch, there was one public family bathroom on the floor but far from Adam’s room, and we couldn’t eat in his room. But I knew that Adam was doing so well for a baby in NICU, and it was all worth it to bring him home on Friday, February 26th.

 

Other fun memories:

* It was quite fun attending my last baby shower four days after Adam was born! I got to share my birth story with all of the ladies and everyone was so kind and encouraging.
* HUGE thanks to my mom for helping us transition to life at home with a baby and for helping us finish Adam’s nursery!
* My car had to go to the shop in the middle of our NICU stay (bad timing!), but thanks to my parents and Kelly Lindsay for helping us out!
* Thanks to our family and friends who brought us meals after we brought Adam home! What a blessing!
* Thanks to The Loken Group for ALL of the diapers!
* Adam’s first pediatrician appointment was three days after we brought him home and he was back up to 5 lb, 10 oz. His next appointment was 11 days later and he weighed in at 6 lb, 5.6 oz! He passed his birth weight! So proud! He is breastfeeding like a champ!

Lezlie - March 13, 2016 - 10:27 pm

I loved reading and remembering! Even brought tears to my eyes!
Adam is one blessed little boy to have you and Randy as his mommy and daddy!
I love watching my daughter become an incredible mommy! I love you!
Mom

the Other Ellen! - March 13, 2016 - 11:02 pm

Awesome! I can see Randy on Google…what a trip!

I loved this story, thank you for sharing! He is beautiful!

Ellen

Ma - March 14, 2016 - 6:32 am

I continue to be amazed by you, Ellen. God throws you a curve and you hit a home run…because you had already trusted Him with Adam. I loved reading every word of this blog. And someday Adam will too. You and Randy are on the way to the greatest calling of your life…parenting. And you are starting it with this beautiful baby, Adam. I love you.

Ellen – Maternity Portraits

“Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
The fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents with your quivers full of children!”
Psalm 127:3-5

“For he will be like a tree planted by the water
that extends its roots by a stream
and will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
and it will not be anxious in a year of drought
nor cease to yield fruit.”
-Jeremiah 17:8
“Don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my  heavenly Father.” -Matthew 18:10“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.”
-Jeremiah 1:5
“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
You know me inside and out,
You know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
How I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
All the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”
-Psalm 139:13-16
“Commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9“‘I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for. And now I have dedicated him to God. He’s dedicated to God for life.’ Then and there, they worshiped God.”
1 Samuel 1:27“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Jeremiah 29:11“Cradling the little one in his arms, Jesus said, ‘Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me – God who sent me.'” Mark 9:37
Photography by Randy Olive (aka “Daddy” to the bump)

Dear Adam,

Happy 32 weeks, buddy!

What fun to document this special time. Your dad is an incredibly talented artist! Your Yaya made me the blue scarf I’m wearing, and these photos were taken at your Mimi and BB’s house (McBeth).

I loved selecting these Bible verses for you. I especially like the one comparing you to a tree. I pray that these words prove themselves true in your life.

I love you!
-Mom

Ma - January 29, 2016 - 7:31 pm

Incredible! These pictures leave me breathless! Ma

lisa - January 29, 2016 - 7:46 pm

Beautiful pics, beautiful mom, beautiful Word. So excited for you all. Can’t wait to see your little one!

Lezlie - January 29, 2016 - 7:47 pm

All I can say is wow!!!!!!!!! So beautiful!
Love you!
Mom

Auntie Jeneen - January 29, 2016 - 8:06 pm

Stunning, Ellen! Love these so much. You look radiant and Adam is being kind to you. Not much longer. Yay!

Mary-Stewart - January 29, 2016 - 9:31 pm

These are beautiful. You are beautiful. What a treasure for you, Randy, and Adam to have (and any future babies 😉 ).

Martha womac - January 29, 2016 - 11:26 pm

Ellen you are a beautiful reflection of God’s miracle of birth ! The verses put with the gorgeous pictures are breathtaking and such a testimony from you and Randy.
Love love love !! Baby Adam is one little blessed child to have such a mom and dad !

Telling the Family

Dear Adam,

If the weather cooperates this afternoon, your dad is taking maternity portraits of me! I have had such a wonderful pregnancy with you and am excited to document this time for me to remember. I am so thankful for my body – what a gift from God! That it works, that it walks, that it sees, that it hears, and that it can grow and sustain LIFE… your life!

Here’s a life lesson that took me way too long to learn… We only get one body. And it most certainly is a gift. It is our only vehicle with which we get to travel through life. It houses our spirit and mind and emotions while here on earth. It will not go to Heaven with us. We have it for a limited time. We owe it to God (the Giver of all good things) to love it, appreciate it, to fuel it, and to treat it well. It matters how we view it. It matters what we feed it. I pray you have a positive body image always and understand true health and nutrition at an early age! Your body will not be perfect, but it is still a gift to be taken care of!

And here’s another fun memory from early in this pregnancy. I last wrote about how I told your dad about you. I could not WAIT to tell my family! They were in Alaska on a mission trip but I definitely wanted to tell them in person, so we had to wait a week. My mom (your “Yaya”) planned an Alaskan dinner for us when they came home. I made sure Ma and Pa would also be there and came up with another fun announcement plan that would be captured on video!

The night before our Alaskan dinner, we FaceTimed your Nana (your dad’s mom). We were going to make the rounds on FaceTime (video chat feature on our iPhones. Crazy that when you read this one day, these will be ancient forms of technology! Ha!) to all of Randy’s family members (they all live near Atlanta, Georgia), BUT as luck would have it, they were all together at dinner to celebrate Jaxon’s birthday! Nana passed around the phone so we could say hi to everyone and when it landed back to her, Randy asked, “Who’s missing?” She was quite confused. He said, “I don’t know, someone’s missing from this picture. You’re missing a grandchild!” And we slowly moved our first ultrasound photo onto the screen. She immediately started crying. We could hear your Uncle Jesse in the background who thought something was really wrong, but your Aunt Jeneen knew right away that we were PREGNANT! So then they passed the phone around again in celebration and to share congratulations! What fun!

That night, we also FaceTimed someone very dear to us, Matt McCord (Mills’ dad; also in Georgia). He has known your dad for about 20 years and has invested much time and wisdom into his life! He was about to go on directing a band show, so the celebration was short and sweet, but he called us later that night and said the sweetest prayer over you that has stuck in my ears and my heart ever since. In his prayer, he said that the Holy Spirit already resides in me, and asked God that he would be very real to you even in the womb. That you could be born already knowing, sensing, and recognizing the love and peace and gentle whispers of the Holy Spirit. Wow. I have echoed this prayer numerous times. What a precious man and mentor and friend. Your dad will probably tell you lots of stories about him!

Saturday finally arrived. I was off work and went to my parents’ house early for a baby shower for your Aunt Jamie (Cooper’s mama who lived in your bedroom before she married Uncle Beau!). It was so crazy knowing that no one knew about you yet, but we would be celebrating YOU in a few months! Carrying that secret made me excitedly nervous that entire day!

Ellen and Nat

(Photo from Jamie’s shower – Natalie and I pregnant together! Me with Adam, Natalie with Addie)

The shower ended and we waited for the rest of my family to arrive for dinner. It felt like it was taking forever!! Everyone arrived and we set the table. Papa (my dad) prayed and right after he said Amen, while everyone was actually still seated, Randy got up and said, “This is quite a beautiful spread! Before we eat, let me get a photo of everyone really quickly!” He borrowed my trick and slid his phone to video mode. Everyone posed and smiled as he counted, “1… 2… 3…” and I said, “I’m pregnant!” and just waited for a reaction. It felt like an eternity before anyone reacted. I thought, “Did I actually say it out loud? Did anyone hear me??” Haha. My mom said in disbelief, “Uh uh!” I looked at her and smiled with confirmation and she SQUEALED and everyone went crazy! Your Aunt Natalie said she thought I was joking to just make everyone smile! My mom and Ma asked when I was due. When they learned it was March, they said together, “Cancel Israel!” They were scheduled to travel to Israel that month, but they weren’t about to miss your grand entrance!

(Video in link below)

Telling the Family

Sweet boy, you have quite the tribe waiting in anticipation for you! We just had our first baby shower this weekend, and the amount of love and blessings poured out over your arrival is pretty astounding. You are so loved!

You have my heart,
Mom

Tracy Collier - February 2, 2016 - 10:39 pm

That was beautiful!!!

T w e e t e r s
F a c e b o o k
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