First of all, WOW. It feels so surreal to be writing this post! (And technically, we’ve already made the big announcement on social media, so you may have already heard this news, BUT I still wanted to share a few of my favorites from our announcement photos AND I thought I’d share a little more about our journey to this point, since we didn’t share openly on social media when we began trying to start a family!)
So, whether you’re new around here or you’re just interested in knowing more about our personal story, then I hope you’ll enjoy this post!
first, the backstory in a nutshell.
I guess I should start by saying that I’ve had the privilege of being Jason’s wife for over a DECADE now. (I don’t feel old enough to say that, but it’s the truth!) It didn’t take us long – a few months of dating – to know that we wanted to do life together forever. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the day he asked me to marry him will always be one of the best days of my life, because it was the invitation to every adventure that we’ve shared together since.
And when I think about all of the incredible adventures we’ve shared, the emotion that predominantly overwhelms my heart is simply gratitude. We live a humble little life, but we’ve made dreams come true together – everything from buying our first home (and putting our personal touch – whether in a full renovation or just a new paint color – on *almost* every single room over the last 9 years) to taking our dream trip to Italy, to hiking the Grand Canyon (which, for the record, I never would have survived without Jason! haha!), to countless other little everyday joys that we have shared along the way. I don’t mean to say that it’s only ever been sunshine + rainbows (I mean, we are human and we both make mistakes!) but my goodness, marrying this guy was easily the best decision I ever made.
okay, so now the starting-a-family part of the story.
We knew when we got married that we didn’t want to have babies right away. We wanted to learn how to have a healthy marriage before we added in the variable of a tiny human that we were 100% responsible for keeping alive (and happy). And to be honest, we found that time really does fly when you’re having fun. What was originally a plan to start a family in 3-5 years turned into a 5-7 year plan and then a 7-10 year plan because we (after about year seven, honestly, it was mostly me) just weren’t ready to take that leap into parenthood. We (I) loved our life just the way it was.
But finally, in the early spring of 2019, a few months after my 30th birthday, we both agreed that it was time to start trying! We had just taken a huge leap of faith when I went full-time in my little photography business (another great adventure of our marriage, and one I likely wouldn’t have embarked on without Jason’s support and encouragement) and I felt like I was ready to transition to work-from-home mom life. I somewhat-naively imagined I’d be holding our little babe in my arms within a year of going full-time in my business. But oh, how God’s plans are not always what we expect them to be! (And I’m learning to lean into that instead of fighting against it.)
Y’all, I’m an Enneagram 3, so when I decide I’m going to do something, I learn #allthethings and follow #allthestrategies to ensure that I do it right, the first time. Because I’ll let you in on a little secret: enneagram 3s don’t like to fail. But I have learned firsthand over the last two years that there are just some things in life that you can’t make happen by sheer will or devotion to the cause. (TMI for some of y’all? Sorry – just keeping it real over here! Haha!)
We tried for 20 months. Which is 19 months longer than some couples have to try, and still years less than the wait that others have endured. I’m not going to lie – I have felt the whole spectrum of emotions during this season of our lives. Disappointment, frustration, fear, anger. But also? Peace, joy, gratitude. I’ve learned to trust God on a deeper level, and to trust him even in the midst of wrestling with my own disappointment and insecurities. I’ve learned the value of leaning into his timing instead of trying to force my own. I’ve learned how to be OK with moving forward into something unknown. I’ve learned the power of choosing to be grateful for what I have today (even if it doesn’t look exactly like I thought it would). It’s been a hard season, but in the end, it’s been a valuable season and a season that has proven to me, yet again, that my God is so, so faithful. He’s faithful in pursuing my heart in the midst of the hard times, and he’s faithful to fulfill his promises.
After about 18 months of trying, Jason convinced me to make an appointment with an OB-GYN who offered fertility testing and treatment. They couldn’t get me on the calendar until several months out. So I made the appointment, and we just kept doing all the same things we’d been doing for 18 months, even though we weren’t sure if / when they would yield the results we hoped for.
the anti-climactic realization that we were, in fact, pregnant!
Then one day, about six weeks before my fertility appointment, I took a pregnancy test. It was several days early, but hey, don’t those tests advertise that they’ll give you a result 4-6 days before you expect your monthly visitor?? I’d tested early many times before because I figured, if I could know sooner, why wouldn’t I give it a shot, right?
That reasoning was all well and good until I looked at the results and initially thought they were negative. Then I did a double-take and saw a second line sooooo faint that I legitimately questioned whether I was imagining it. I squinted and held it as close to my face as I could. I twisted it every which way to get the light to fall just right to make it clearer. Is there *actually* a line there, though?? (For those of you who don’t know, a pregnancy test will always yield one solid line that is clear and easy to distinguish. If there is only one line, the test result is negative – no pregnancy. If there is a second line next to it, however faint that second line may be based on the hormone levels in your body, the presence of a second line means the result is positive – aka there’s a pregnancy! That second line will appear stronger with each day that the pregnancy progresses, so it can be very, very faint if you are testing early like I was!)
So here I was, genuinely unsure whether I actually had a positive result or if I was just losing my mind. (How’s that for a good story?) I told Jason about it, and I had another test ready to go the next morning. I waited the appropriate amount of time, according to the test instructions – and again, I *think* maybe there’s a positive line there, but it’s so faint that I really thought it could just as easily be my imagination. Even Jason takes a look and doesn’t see a line … at first. Then he gives it a second look and starts to see one, too. But y’all, it was seriously SO hard to tell. So for the second day in a row, we aren’t really 100% sure if this is for real. Maybe we’re pregnant, who knows! Wouldn’t that be crazy. (I mean, when you’ve been trying for almost two years, that positive result is hard enough to believe when it’s crystal clear – it’s *really* hard to believe when you can barely see it!)
Long story short, obviously, the two additional tests that I took that week were both positive and they did, in fact, get undeniably clear as the days went on. (In case you were wondering, yes, I do think it’s comical that I needed four days’ worth of tests to convince myself that this was real! Haha!)
After all that waiting, in the end, the timing was such a gift – I didn’t need to go to that fertility appointment after all. We had 10th anniversary photos taken just weeks before finding out that we were pregnant, which means those photos are now (technically) the last photos of just the two of us! I was able to tell my immediate family the news in person, which was super important to me. I even got to surprise my dad and my brother with the news face-to-face, which is super special because they live in Myrtle Beach and we only get to see them once or twice a year – but we just happened to have a trip planned for the month after we found out, and it was the perfect opportunity to let them in on our little secret! We got to tell Jason’s family on Thanksgiving, and we got to announce our news publicly (aka on social media) on our engagement anniversary! And … by the time our 11th wedding anniversary rolls around in mid-July, Lord willing, we’ll be snuggling our little newborn babe.
okay, so finally, the photos I promised I was going to share with you!
Whether you read ALL of that text (and hopefully, laughed at me at least once!), or just skipped to the fun part (the photos, duh!), thanks for sharing in the excitement of this season with us!
(And a special thank you to Kaitlyn Phipps for braving the cold and the wind to capture these images for us! We’re so grateful for you!)
Getting our first sonogram was a pretty fun milestone … our first physical evidence (besides those four days’ worth of pregnancy tests, of course!) that there’s actually a little baby growing in there!
But what really did me in was when we heard the heartbeat for the first time (just days before we took these photos, in fact) … I don’t know what it was about hearing it in real-time, but it brought me to tears and it made everything feel real to me on a whole new level.
Also, can I brag on my husband for a hot second? He has been so incredible to me (and by default, our little baby bear) over the last 3 months … he’s been compassionate and forgiving when my hormones have gotten the better of me. He’s been willing to tackle the (not-so-small) list of things I want to do in preparation for baby bear’s arrival. #nestingisarealthing
And probably most importantly, he has kept me well-fed. Which sounds kind of silly, but it’s really more of a sacrifice than it may seem like at first glance. Some days, it’s looked like cooking me something for dinner and then cooking me something else because the first meal wasn’t sitting well. It’s looked like packing me snack bags for outings (to prevent mad dashes to the bathroom), usually before I even have to ask him to. It’s looked like making me breakfast most days before he’s even finished his first cup of coffee.
What I’m saying is, I can’t imagine doing this without him. He’s been my hero for over a decade, and he’s about to become a hero to a teeny tiny little person who doesn’t even know yet how lucky they’ll be to call him Daddy.
Preeeetty sure this next one on the right is my fave (I mean, it is currently the background on my phone lock screen) but gosh, it’s super hard to choose between all of these!
Y’all, seriously, if you made it all the way to the end of this post – thank you! Thank you for caring about our story and joining us in being SO excited for this next season of our lives, the greatest adventure we’ve embarked on yet.
and p.s. all you mamas out there – drop your best piece of advice (oooor the single most important item on your baby registry that you absolutely could. not. live. without!) in the comments below! I’m new at this, so I’m all ears! 😉