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Dear Nora J.,

February 1, 2014

Dear Nora Jewel,
my May baby.

If you ever leave me, I don’t know what I’ll do.

You weren’t planned. I needed a break. Seeing another positive pregnancy test made me want to hurl. It wasn’t until I heard your heartbeat on the monitor that I fell in love.

And this love is like the kind you’ll experience in high school.
I don’t care who you are or what you do or what you want to wear or what you sound like or what you look like or what your favorite flavor of ice cream is. You are mine and I love you so much it hurts.

It hurts because my love for you is so big it would pour out of me if I let it, but I won’t. It hurts because it has to sit next to the fear in my heart that you’ll leave me too.

But we’ve made it this far and if you left it wouldn’t be fair.
If you’re anything like your brother, I know I’ll want a break from you when you’re 4 and you won’t stop asking “why?” and “what does it taste like?” but I won’t give you up for anything. Not for a minute.
I’m going to love waking up every 2 hours to feed you. I won’t even sleep. I hope you like Mountain Dew flavored breastmilk.

I hope you have brown eyes like your daddy.
(Sorry. I always pictured a little girl calling her daddy “Daddy,” but he still wants to be Pops. He deserves the world, so the last we can do is call him that.)

I hope you like to read so when you grow up, we can share books and talk about them like we live there, because you’ll understand that we really do until we get to the end. And in that period of not knowing what to do next, we’ll talk about that place like it’s here. Your imagination is going to be my favorite place to be.

I hope you appreciate having a big brother. Your middle school friends may have a crush on him when he’s in high school, but I’m going to try to teach him not to mind and not to break their hearts. He’s going to look out for you and he’ll always hug you even when it’s not cool anymore. I don’t mind if you have a nickname for him, just please don’t call him Bubba. We live in the south, but we don’t have to act like it.

I can’t wait to see your smile and hear the little sounds you’ll make. Even the big sounds. I want to hear all of them.
I can’t wait to introduce your daddy (sorry, your Pops) to his little girl.
I can’t wait to laugh at the mis-matched outfits he picks out for you.
I can’t wait for headbands and baby leggings. We can skip all the pink stuff if you want.

I can’t wait for your first crush on a boy, even though I know it’s going to hurt after a while. Hurting is  just a part of life, and without it, we wouldn’t appreciate the happy parts as much.
If anyone is going to teach you that, it’s going to be me. I could write you a book. And coincidentally, it would be about you.

I love you.
We still have so much to learn from each other.
Love, Momma.


Dear March baby,

February 1, 2014

Dear March baby,

You gave me a lot of migraines. The worst I’ve ever had in my life.
And I was grateful for every single one of them.

Because you were my baby. You were supposed to make everything right again.

I remember the pregnancy test I took that came back positive. I didn’t want to believe it, because ignoring it would have been easier. I showed it to your Pops and his switch turned back on. He gave me a hug and he smiled. I couldn’t smile. I was too scared for you.

I wanted to warn you about the hostile environment you found yourself in – the one that had already killed 2 babies, the one that I could feel was fighting you from the beginning.

I was happy simply because you existed.
saw you. You were there.
You were a little gummy bear, my little peanut, my nugget baby.

That week was the week I successfully forgot. I heard something about your heart not beating and I shut down. I didn’t cry. Your Pops hugged me again and told me he was sorry. I saw the whole thing coming.
How could I have done that to you?

They took you away from me while I was sleeping.
A week later, we went to the beach and I drank a lot of tequila.
No one could tell, but I had the post-baby body but no baby. I wore bikinis anyway. I never bought the ruffled one-piece I planned on.
I honestly never wanted to get pregnant again. I’d ruined it. I ruined you.

Sweet March baby.
You would have been born sometime at the end of December or the beginning of January. I was hoping for January, because I had already picked out a pretty birthstone necklace and it didn’t need another blue stone on it. It needed a red one because you were supposed to be the fighter.
I have no idea what your name would have been because I tried hard not to name you. You probably would have shared a name with a strong character from a book I read. But I promise it wouldn’t have been Katniss or Peeta. (I’m team Gale anyway.)

I’m so sorry for what I did. I tried to have another baby. I knew exactly what I was doing. I was trying to fill a hole with another hole. I shouldn’t have brought you into that.

You’re the pearl on my necklace now.
Love, Momma.

Dear New Years babies,

February 1, 2014

Dear New Years babies,

Thing 1 and Thing 2,
Mario and Luigi,
my baby and your baby,
The Twins.

I would have had a million things to call you before your Pops and I would spend a month and a half debating your real names. If one of you was a girl, you would have been Natalie.

But I can’t even imagine giving you names anymore.
You were just a plus sign on a stick I peed on.
One of you, a pool of blood I woke up in.
The other, a polka dot on an ultrasound, stuck in the wrong place.

I hoped for you.
I remember how disappointed I was the first time I took a pregnancy test and it was negative. I admitted to your Pops that I wanted a baby over a burger at Handy Andy’s.
A couple weeks later, there  you were: my first episode of morning sickness on Christmas day, my positive test on New Years Eve, then my heartbreak on Valentine’s day.


Where would I have put you? Our tiny shoe box house already stretches at the seams every December when Luke gets presents for his birthday and Christmas. All the junk in our closets… My collection of kitchen gadgets… A roomful of musical instruments that haven’t been touched in a year…
What I would have given away so you could live here.

I came home crying. Of all the nicknames I would have had for you, I never thought “no baby” would be one of them.
I came home and had to tell your Pops, “There is no baby.”
Even worse, there were two. Now there’s none. No baby.

We didn’t tell anybody.
I think we even tried to hide it from ourselves.
We didn’t tell anybody about you until 2 pregnancies later. I was so ashamed that my body failed at the one thing it’s supposed to be able to do on its own. I should have known it would be a little harder to make something out of nothing, especially 2 things as beautiful as you would have been.

I’ve tried to forget a lot of things about you, but not anymore.
Every morning I wake up (on my own) and remember that there could have been two babies around to wake me up earlier.
My baby and your baby.
Thing 1 and Thing 2.

The twins.

I won’t forget you.
Love, Momma.

Last Valentine’s day with my husband.

January 24, 2014

Valentine’s day is my favorite holiday.

My first Valentine’s day with Andy was my favorite. We slept late, went out for breakfast at noon, then went to a pottery shop and painted ceramic mugs.
He loved me, and I knew it and it was nice.

Last Valentine’s day, I found out about our first miscarriage. That one wasn’t fun.

Valentine’s day is my favorite holiday, but I know others aren’t as lucky.
I was in high school once. There were a few years my heart was broken because the boy I liked didn’t bring me flowers. The whole day stings a little bit if you don’t have someone special to share it with. We’ve all been in a classroom listening to the pretty girls tell their pretty friends about what their pretty boyfriends have planned for the day. We’ve all felt the sinking feeling when the flower delivery wasn’t for you, there was no sweet note in your locker, no one called to invite you anywhere…

I don’t want my little girl to put all of her heart into one day like so many young girls do.
That’s why this Valentine’s day will be the last one I spend with my husband.

Ok get your gasp out of the way.
You alright?

From now on, I want every Valentine’s day to be the best Daddy-daughter date of the year. I want him to bring her flowers and take her out for dinner. I don’t care if she’s not old enough to remember. She’ll be a teenager one day and roll her eyes at a dinner date with her Pops, but it’s going to happen anyway. I want this to be all she knows.

Because I don’t want her to ever be empty.
I want her to know how a boy is supposed to treat her and respect her.
She has so much to learn from her daddy and I’d be selfish to keep him to myself for the rest of our lives.

So. I’ve got a few weeks to plan the greatest Valentine’s day ever.
It’ll be my last one until Nora starts dating, which will probably be in like 40 years.

My drug of choice.

November 1, 2013

My drug of choice.

It’s a girl! (aka the “excitement word dump.”)

October 28, 2013


I was starting to get a little upset that I didn’t have any of those “gender dreams” like I did with Luke. When I was pregnant with Luke, I drempt that he was born, I fell asleep, and he was 5 years old when I woke up. I fell asleep again and woke up at his high school graduation. Again, and I woke up at his wedding. Terrifying. But at least I knew he was a boy before the ultrasound.

THIS time, I’ve had some crazy dreams, but none that were very telling of her gender.

In hindsight, I should have known when I whimsically decided to delete all of the boy names from my favorites list on all the baby name websites. I narrowed it down to 4 baby girl names before we even knew for sure.

I kept these names secret from Andy.
As soon as we got in the car after the ultrasound, he said, “So what are these names you’ve been thinking of?”
I told him my 4, then told him which one was my favorite. And that is how Miss Nora Jewel got her name!

Luke was a 4 day process, I think.
Andy said, “I like the name Luke.”
I said, “I do too. But we should think of a longer middle name.”
A few days later, Andy said, “What about Luke Anthony?”
and I said, “I like it!”

Then we took a day to let it sink in to make sure we liked it. We took a day with Nora too, but we’re pretty sure it was going to be the final decision.

I feel like my heart has exploded. In a good way.
I’ve forgotten all about that first ectopic pregnancy and the frightening few days before realizing it was going to resolve itself rather than require surgery or chemo.
I’ve forgotten all about how I felt during the ultrasound when Julie couldn’t find a heartbeat. I remember she said she was so sorry, and I remember I didn’t cry because I was so in shock, but I don’t remember the loss.
I don’t remember any loss.

And now I’m busy picking out pillows and blankets, rearranging Luke’s room and my office to make room for a new little one. The little one that saved my life.

Also, I need to get this color scheme off my chest. Andy thinks these colors clash, but I’m in love with it, so it’s happening anyway. I’m just talking bedset though – not pink walls. I think that’s what Andy’s afraid of.


This is fun.
FYI, I’ll be keeping a registry on and a wishlist on Pinterest.

I’m going to go look at more pillows.

As of late, how I feel about my alarm clock.

September 25, 2013

As of late, how I feel about my alarm clock.