28 September 2016

Hello + Birth Annoucnements + Life Update!

Hi, I'm here! There have been so many of you who have reached out wondering what my little fam has been up to and I'm here to say, hello! We are happy and healthy and loving life with our now almost 6 month old (say what?!?) sweet baby girl! Long overdue, but I wanted to share Evie's birth announcements with you all. I used Minted to create her announcements and I knew (before she was even born and we knew she was a she!!) that I wanted something fairly traditional and classic. When I stumbled upon these, I knew this was it! Minted made the process extremely easy as I was able to customize the card to exactly what I wanted. My favorite part was adding our return address to the envelope and uploading my address book for the free recipient address printing on the cards...sure made life easy for this new Mama! A big thank you to Minted! And, as if Minted weren't awesome enough, they have offered a $150 credit to one of you! Just enter HERE :).

Without further ado, here are her pretty little announcements. And now I am crying seeing how much she has grown. Sigh.

Now, onto me, and why I have taken a bit of a blog break. Truthfully, I have dealt with such a juxtaposition of emotions since having my baby girl. Part of me wants to share every single detail of her life with every single person in the world and the other part of me wants to be a bit more private with the details, big and small, of her life. My husband and I have discussed a lot about how we want to handle my blogging and our daughter and we have decided, together, that having more privacy works best for our family and for Evie. 

I have had some of you reach out to me and my sister asking about my absence on here and about the sudden privacy on my Instagram account. First off, I truly appreciate your care, concern, love, and interest! I apologize for people wondering what is going on, it's taken me a long time to post anything because it's taken us a long time to figure out what we are comfortable with and what we are not comfortable with. In terms of my Instagram account, my husband and I just don't feel comfortable sharing a million photos of our baby girl's face publicly. And it's really just as simple as that! In terms of my blog, well, my chapter with "Hope in a Blog" will be ending, but, I can assure you that you will be seeing me again!

But, seriously....don't forget to enter the $150 Minted Giveaway! It will be up and running through October 5th. Who doesn't love a little Minted cash, and just in time for Christmas cards!!!!

And...to sign off, a cute little family picture from my dear friend, Cameron of Cameron Faye Photography. She even makes a sweet candid brunch picture look amazing :)! Thank y'all again for all of your love + support within Hope in a Blog! I appreciate it more than you know!

28 April 2016

The Story of Evie

Oh my heart. The day Evie was born was easily the best day of my life. In writing Evie's birth story, I am attempting to put into words the way the Lord absolutely redeemed all of my hospital stays, all of my health struggles, all of the hurt I have suffered from in my life. God was ever present in bringing our daughter into the world on April 9, 2016. She was two weeks and two days early, and I am confident that God knew this would be her birthday all along. There is so much goodness that happened leading up to her birth day as well. I am already smiling thinking of God's promise and goodness. He is a good, good Father.

Cameron Faye Photography 

Before I even go into detail about my labor and birth I want to always remember how Spyros and I came to the decision to have our dear friend, Cameron, photograph the birth of our baby. In February, I had an incredibly vivid dream that Cameron was in the labor and delivery room taking photos while our baby was born. I woke up from that dream in the middle of the night and felt such a yearning to want to wake Spyros up and ask him right then and there his thoughts on having her there to photograph. Considering the fact it was 4:00 in the morning, I decided to not wake him up and waited to ask him later on that day. Truthfully, I was expecting him to be "no way" about it. Spyros is super private (unlike me) and loves to tease me about my constant "need" to document everything. Before I had this dream, we were planning on Spyros having my camera around his neck to document the birth because he knew how important it was for me to have the picture of our fresh baby on my chest for the first time...the moment we found out if we had a son or daughter. Anyway, I asked Spyros that afternoon about having Cameron and it was such a quick conversation  - he immediately said, "I actually have zero problem with that. Yes. I really love this idea because I don't want to be worried about taking photos." So, I texted Cameron. Oh her response. I cannot make this stuff up. Cameron said, "Hopey. I am crying! Are you serious right now?!" She was in Nashville with her sister and brand new nephew and literally had a dream the same night that she was in the L&D room with us. She woke up wanting to text me to ask how I felt about her being there because the dream was so vivid to her as well - but she didn't want to overstep. I have no doubt in my mind that we dreamt the dream at the same exact time. It was truly divine and from God. Being that our baby was due in April, and Cameron is a photographer and in the thick of wedding season, there was only a small window of dates she would be there to photograph the birth. Elise said from the moment she found out about our dreams that she knew the baby wouldn't come on any of the dates Cam would be gone. And she was right! April 9, 2016 Cameron was in town and so were her two sisters who are also dear friends...the three of them came to the hospital when my labor began and prayed over me. God is truly amazing. He is a good, good Father.

Cameron Faye Photography 
Back to the details of how my labor "began." After my routine 37 week appointment on Monday, April 4th, my doctor noticed that I was becoming extremely swollen and retaining a lot of fluids. She also noticed my BP was high for me, but not "high" on the official scale. However, she wanted to be extra cautious and rule out gestational hypertension and make sure the baby was doing okay. So, she wanted me to come back 2 days later for a non stress test and an ultrasound and sent me to the lab to get bloodwork done. Thankfully, my bloodwork came back normal so I was healthy...just swollen! On Wednesday, April 6th Spyros and I went in for the NST and U/S. The baby passed the stress test with flying colors. Our ultrasound went well, but it showed my amniotic fluid levels were low. Again, they were on the lower side, but not scary low. They like to see amniotic fluid levels around a 10 with a level 8 being low/normal. My levels were at a 7. The doctor we saw to go over the results (fun fact: he wound up being the doctor who delivered our baby girl) said we need not worry and scheduled us to come back after my routine 38 week appointment for another NST and U/S to keep a close eye on things. We never made it to those appointments! The next day (Thursday, April 7th), I started noticing some leakage for lack of a better word. I told Spyros on Thursday night about it, but I told him I thought I was potentially just peeing myself a little bit because the baby was beginning to drop and putting pressure on my bladder. Considering we just found out my fluid levels were low, Spyros wanted me to be extra cautious and encouraged me to call the doctor's in the morning just to tell them what I was feeling. Spyros is usually anti-doctor, so the fact he was pushing me to be extra careful made me think...am I leaking amniotic fluid?! Surely not. No way. One of my girlfriends went into labor this exact same way, she found out she was leaking fluid, and so I knew I was psyching myself out and being hopeful I would have this baby sooner than later.

Friday morning rolled around and I was feeling that same trickle sensation during that morning and some during the night. I called the doctor's office and they said they wanted me to come in considering it was a Friday (April 8th), they would rather have a peace of mind with the weekend coming up. The nurse said, "it could just be urine leaking" to which I responded, "It probably is and I am going to feel really dumb if it it is!" she said, "Oh no, Honey...it is always better to be safe than sorry, don't feel silly." My appointment was at 10:00am. The nurse also advised me to put all of my hospital bags in the car because if it was indeed amniotic fluid leaking, I would be sent directly to Labor & Delivery. I didn't put any of the bags in the car and I told Spyros not to come with me because it was nothing and I was going to be sent home. However, I did take a nice long shower and made sure I dried my hair and put on some make up...just in case. Fun sidenote: the night before Spyros told me to go treat myself to a manicure and pedicure because he knew I was feeling gross and big and kind of over it. So, I had a fresh mani/pedi! Hooray! Of course, the doctor I was scheduled to see was insanely backed up and I waited for over an hour before I got called in. But, because of this major delay one of my favorite doctor's on staff (and the doctor who scheduled all of my testing after my Monday appointment) began helping out and I got to see her instead. Thank you, Lord. She came in and was like "Hey! What's going on?" And I remember saying, "I'm going crazy is what is going on. I am psyching myself out. I think I am leaking some sort of fluid and I am probably just peeing myself...but I wanted to be sure." She was like, "No worries. Let's test you for amniotic fluid! It's not a big deal if it's not that, but we need to know." So, she did the test...went to go look under the microscope and I heard her outside the door say, "Oh yep! It's fluid." But, I convinced myself in the 5 seconds before she walked into the door that she wasn't looking at MY fluids.  But, no! She came in and said, "You're right! It's fluid. Congratulations you're going to have a baby today!" Insert: me shell shocked. I started crying. I was so happy and shocked and honestly proud of myself for listening to my body and knowing something was off! She checked my progress to know what we were dealing with in terms of induction and I was at a 2 and 80% effaced to which she said, "GO GIRL!" and gave me a big hug and started drawing up my papers to send me to L&D. I was like, "I need to call my husband!"

I called Spyros at work. He answered and I said laughing, "Hey! Get home because we're going to have a baby!!!" He started laughing and said, "I knew it! I knew this was going to happen!" I then called my mom and sister who were together and my Mom started sobbing happy tears and Elise started screaming in absolute excitement. I got my papers to head over to L&D (the doctor's office is attached to the hospital) and I asked the nurse - so are you walking me over or what happens? And she said, "Oh no, honey..you just walk on over yourself they are waiting for you!" And I said, "So nobody is going with me? But I can't leave, right?" She said, "Right. Just head on over." So, I did exactly what they told me NOT to do and I got in my car and drove home to meet Spyros, put our bags in the car, and do one final sweep of the house. We hugged when I walked into the door and were just giddy. Our energy was amazing...all we could do was laugh! We're going to meet our baby! FINALLY! And this baby isn't due for 2 more weeks! Oh my goodness, I loved that feeling of overwhelming, joy filled, excitement! We packed the car, gave Doxie some excited love, and went on our way to to have a baby! We called Spyros' parents in the car and told them to come on down!!! They were so shocked, so thrilled, so excited! And, because it was a Friday - Spyros' sisters would be able to join his parents and come down! We called them once we got admitted into the hospital room. It was so special to hear their excitement - they both answered within seconds and I know they were wondering when Spyros' number popped up on their phone, "is it time?!" Their excitement was so contagious! Everyone was going to be able to be there for the birth! We had written up an email to send Spyros' parents with hospital info, hotel info, etc. and hadn't sent it...so we did that next!

When we pulled into the hospital, we were able to valet our car since I was a "laboring" Mama. I kindly declined a wheelchair since I wasn't in active labor and we walked in, got Spyros his visitor pass, and were escorted to the L&D by the kindest lady. The nurses greeted us at the desk and walked us to our room - it was so spacious and wonderful and we had a view of the skyline and the Farmer's Market I grew up going to, the same place we get our Christmas trees, pumpkins, everything! It made me smile. The next part, oh, what a dream. In walked Colleen. The nurse who delivered Nancy who has become a friend! Colleen IS MY NURSE?! She saw me and her jaw dropped. "ARE YOU MY PATIENT?!! SERIOUSLY RIHGT NOW?!" I got so teary eyed, YES! I was her patient and oh my gosh I felt even more at ease than I already was feeling. I knew Colleen was going to take care of us! I texted Elise and Mom, "Guess who's my nurse?" Elise said, "OMG IT IS FRIDAY. IT IS COLLEEN." And started crying. HE is a good, good Father.

So, considering my "membranes prematurely ruptured" and I wasn't in active labor, I knew we were going the induction route which meant Pitocin. At this point, it was one in the afternoon. We took a selfie, sent it to friends + family, called Maimai and Opop, and Spyros lead the two of us in prayer. He prayed over me, my health, my labor, and the health of our baby. We were beyond thankful and excited. It was baby time! Colleen told me to eat lunch before we started IV or anything. She is an angel. I called Elise and requested my favorite Laurel Market TURKEY (first one in 37 weeks!) sandwich...and a plethora of yellow vitamin water. My Mommy let Elise come to the hospital before she did - she volunteered to watch Nancy and put her down for her nap so Elise could come see me. Now that is a Mother's love. I know she wanted to be there with us ASAP, but she knows how close Elise and I are and gave Elise that privilege to spend some uninterrupted time with me and Spy. That's our sweet, Mommy. Elise brought us both lunch, she brought a cooler in for us because I encapsulated my placenta, and even helped coordinate with Mark to go by our house and get the lab kit that was being delivered THAT DAY for baby and I to participate in a Crohn's + pregnancy study. It's truly amazing how the "little details" all aligned. Elise called Cameron and told her I was going to the hospital! And we couldn't help but laugh because a few weeks before, I met Brooke's baby boy Luca....I knew she was coming back into town this weekend for Lauren's baby shower...and I said, "How cool would it be if I went into labor when all 3 of you were in Charlotte together?" Pinch me! It was happening. The doctor on call (the same one we met with on Wednesday) came in and said, "Well hello! Low amniotic fluid turned to almost no amniotic fluid...ha ha ha" And we talked through the pitocin, epidural, labor process. Since we didn't exactly know when my water began to break (no gush, remember) they were not going to check my progress much at all for fear of introducing infection. I was okay with that and ready to start getting things cracking.

In typical Hope fashion, my tiny veins were not cooperating and we had to wait for the IV team to come in to draw my IV line. Once they came in, we got the Pitocin started...this was at 3:00pm. We started to realize that Baby Skouras (who we all kept calling he) would be born on April 9th. Colleen wouldn't be the one to deliver the baby but assured me she would make sure I got the BEST nurse for the night...and goodness she did make sure! Once the Pitocin started, I got so excited! I was ready to hurt! I wanted to feel those contractions. The first one I felt, I was like "Oh yeah! That was it!" But, I wasn't in any pain. Colleen kept upping the dosage of Pitocin to get things rolling. During this "waiting game" my Mama and Nancy came to the hospital. We all talked about who this little baby would be! We all were set it was a boy. Although, the recent ultrasound we had made Spyros and I think, "that baby is pretty...maybe it is a girl?" But, we weren't convinced enough and continued to tell every nurse and doctor, "Yes, we really don't know the gender but we reallllyyy feel it's a boy!" Soon after my Mom and Pie came, Cameron, Brooke, and Lauren came in to pray over me and the baby and my labor. The girls, Elise, Nancy, Spyros, and my mom surrounded my bed and put their hands on me and prayed. The last time I was prayed over in a hospital bed - my life was being prayed for. This time, the safety and health of the life Spyros and I created was being prayed for. He is a good, good Father!

Cameron Faye Photography

We had sent Cameron home with her sisters after they prayed over me because we knew that things were going to take awhile, and I wanted her to be with her family. I promised we would call when things started to progress but that she need not worry! As the evening rolled on, the contractions continued - and began getting more uncomfortable. My water continued to break - but still no gush. I was feeling the contractions mostly in my back. I wanted to bounce on the ball or lean against Spyros with him putting his arms around me and the two of us swaying. Sitting in the bed, wasn't flying for me so I wanted to hold off on the epidural for as long as possible. My Mimi came in to visit during this time and she kept coming up to my belly and saying, "Come on out baby! Come on we want to meet you!" I swear, every time she would talk to the baby, a contraction would get more intense. It was hilarious! And sweet. Mimi had the magic touch! There was a whole lot of waiting...Colleen kept telling me I was too happy and not in enough pain, the baby's heart rate stayed perfectly steady at 135 bpm my entire labor...my contractions were getting closer together, but weren't intense enough. We kept upping the pitocin. Things were definitely happening. The Skouras crew were on their way to Charlotte - we were elated that all 4 of them would be here in time for the birth! They would get to come see us in the hospital before baby too. Opop was a crucial part in them getting to Charlotte as soon as they did and we called to thank him - he laughed and said, "Hopey! I can't believe you're talking to me right now - will you get back in the bed and rest you wonderful girl!" Oh how I love him! Elise and Mom were able to be at the hospital all evening because Mark volunteered to watch Nancy - and, the Houston's decided to spend the night at Mom's house so they would be close by the hospital. Once the Skouri crew landed, we told them to go have dinner, check into their hotel, and then come see us - baby wasn't coming that night! Colleen's shift was ending and she asked to stay on until 11pm (the longest she could legally stay) to be with me! She introduced me to Nurse Maggie during this time and told me, "You will be in the best hands. She is who I would want to deliver my baby." Just like Colleen, I immediately felt at ease with Maggie. She and Colleen worked together to make me feel safe and comfortable while my contractions picked up. Colleen left at 11pm and Spyros' family and my Papaw were on their way up to visit for a little bit. In fact, we got the funniest snapchat from Sophia of them literally running into my Papaw in the hospital lobby. Everyone was giddy with excitement.

We visited with family for a bit, my in-laws got to see my big 'ol belly before Baby Skouras came out and we all made bets on who this babe was. And, majority was BLUE. I started to get super uncomfortable. The contractions were getting more frequent and more intense. I hung in there for as long as I could and then I think everyone sensed I needed some space. The Skouras crew went to the hotel - we told them to get some rest as well as my Mimi and Papaw, things were probably going to happen the next morning and we would call them before I began pushing. After everyone left, it was just Spyros and my Mom and Sister - It was about 12:30am at this point and I was hurting. I remember looking at Nurse Maggie and laughing through pain saying, "Ohhh my gooshhh how do people do this naturally?!" The decision for me to get an epidural was easy for me because, I have been through A LOT of unnecessary pain in my life from my Crohn's Disease and the surgeries that I have been forced to face. I knew I wanted my birth to be joy-filled and pain free. Since Crohn's is stress induced, I also wanted to be sure to eliminate any extra potential stress on my body.

At about 1:00am I aksed Nurse Maggie to check my progress because I couldn't hang sans epidural anymore. I was only 4cm. I looked at Elise and almost started to cry. She was at an 8 when she got her epidural. I was like...okay, this is going to take FOREVER. They tell you once you get to a 5 to expect 1cm an hour! I felt defeated and said, "I guess I should wait to get the epidural because it will slow things down!" Sweet Maggie looked at me and said, "No. That's not true. You need to rest. You need to relax. You're too tense from the pain right now. I suggest you get the epidural, we'll get the doctor in to finish breaking your water and you sleep. Your body will know what to do." I did exactly what she suggested and at 1:35am I got my epidural. Woosh. Relief. I still felt every contraction just sans pain. The doctor came in around 1:45am and broke my forebag of water. Maggie and Spyros adjusted me on my side and put the peanut ball in between my legs. We turned off all of the lights and Spyros and I fell asleep for about an hour. I woke up a little after 3am and was uncontrollably shaking. I wanted to switch positions so we called Maggie. She coached me through breathing through the uncontrollable shaking and told me this was all normal. I tried to sleep again. My epidural took on my left side much more than my right. I could wiggle my right toes and foot but couldn't move my left leg. It utterly freaked me out. Instead of sleeping, I asked Spyros to get off of his little sofa bed and come poke and touch my left leg about 25 times. I kept saying I felt like a seal. I didn't like not being able to move that leg and I was freaked out. He kept telling me, "you have your left leg. You can feel this!" We kind of laughed about it and tried to sleep again. About 20 minutes rolled by and I felt nauseous and was still trembling. Maggie came in and gave me Zofran and an alcohol swab to sniff - she said I was probably in transition. She was watching the monitor and said things were really happening. I could feel all of the pressure of the contractions and they were very constant. Maggie was like an angel. So calming and peaceful. She encouraged me to relax and to breathe, she would come back in just a bit to check my progress.

At about 4:40am, I called Maggie to come in. I was feeling insane pressure. She checked my progress. We were all fully expecting me to be around 7cm, maybe an 8 since it had been just a few hours. Maggie laughed and said, "I can feel the baby's head!" to which I responded, "Oh good, does that mean I am close to a 10?" and she said, "Girl! That means it's time to PUSH!" I literally said, "What?!?! Nobody is here!!! Not yet!" She laughed at me and said because the baby was not in any distress that I could "hold it in" and call who I needed to call - but, the second the baby showed any signs of distress then it was go time. So, I called my Mom and Spyros called Cameron! Everyone was like "WHAT?!" How did you progress so fast?! I have no idea - but it was go time!! My body went into labor mode ASAP and baby was beyond ready to come out. I called Mimi who frantically said, "Oh my gosh that baby is going to be born before I get there!" Cameron lives 30 minutes away - we were to call her when I was close to pushing - but literally, things happened SO fast. We told her to drive safely and I felt at peace because I knew she would get here in time. I knew I could wait for her even though the pressure was INSANE. Cameron said she  flew down Providence Road and kept praying aloud, "Lord you did not get us this far to have me miss this birth. Lord please let her wait." Mom and Elise got to the hospital at 5:15 am and ran into my room so excited. I was breathing so deeply and loudly at this point. Elise looked at me and said, "Are you in pain - did your epidural wear off?!" and I said, "No, it didn't wear off, but yes I am kind of in pain I am literally holding this baby in!!!" Hilarious. I kicked Mom and Elise out, see ya when baby comes!

At 5:20 am, Cameron walked into my hospital room right as I looked at Maggie and Spyros and said, "I can't wait anymore!" Cameron looked stressed but as soon as she got her camera out, she was at peace, I looked at her and said, "I am so sorry I had no idea things would progress so fast!" She laughed and squeezed my hand - it was baby time. I began my first practice push to which Maggie looked at Spyros and said, "I can see the baby - do you want to look" he said, "I have seen plenty of cows born before!" I laughed because, my husband would compare this situation to a cow. Maggie said, "Stop laughing! Spyros hit the call button. Hope don't laugh. Don't push. This baby is coming!" About this time, "Good Good Father" by Chris Tomlin came on the Bethel Pandora station we had on ALL DAY LONG. I remember hearing it because of this blog post I wrote - this song came on the radio while I was pregnant and I just started sobbing and laughing and praising Jesus for the life inside of me. When I heard this song on during the moments before meeting our baby, I knew it was God saying..."I love you! You're welcome!" - I know He was acknowledging my praise and thankfulness. I smiled and looked at Spyros...we kissed and knew baby was coming! The doctor walked in, we guessed our final guess- "a boy!" - and in 3 contractions, while hearing lots of, "Good job, keep going, oh my gosh this baby has a lot of hair," I pushed for a total of 7 minutes and at 5:33am, I felt the baby come out and I heard my husband say, "Oh my GOD it's a GIRL!" through happy, happy tears, and at the same time I saw Nurse Maggie's face of happiness and surprise! Our baby girl was laid on my chest right away and I just felt an overwhelming joy, peace, and euphoric happiness. Evie was here! Of course it's Evie! It was the most amazing moment in my entire life.

Cameron Faye Photography

Cameron Faye Photography

Cameron captured the most beautiful photos. She looked at me and said, "Hope she came out right as the chorus of Good Good Father began." We were all crying. Cameron later shared with me that while she was at the Pursuit conference the week before, she felt God telling her to pick up the framed gift that was on the empty chair beside her. She had one on her chair, but she felt she was being told to grab the other one too. It was a pink frame. She wanted to find another gray one, but she knew she was being instructed to grab this specific one, so she obeyed. Then, she showed me this photo. Now, it makes sense, Cameron told me...God wanted me to have this for Evie. Y'all. I cannot make this stuff up.

Before we introduced Evie to family, Spyros and I both did skin to skin with her and I was able to nurse her for the first time. Then, Spyros went out and told our families we had a baby girl!!! It was such a proud moment for him.

Cameron Faye Photoraphy
Cameron Faye Photography
Cameron Faye Photography
Cameron Faye Photography
Our families came in and we shared her name. It was the happiest and proudest moment of our lives introducing our families to our precious daughter. It felt like a dream.

God showed up and showed off on April 9, 2016. God is a redeemer. God is faithful. He is a good, good Father. It's who He is. And I am loved by Him. And so is our little girl, sweet baby Evie. And, since my words are long and capture only a glimpse of this day...please watch this amazing video created by the oh so talented Cameron of Evie's Birth Day.

Evie, you are our world. The day you were born is the happiest day of our lives. Your story, sweet Evie, is of God's ever present and constant redeeming love. Your Mommy and Daddy love you beyond measure. Beyond words. But, sweet baby girl, your Heavenly Father loves you more than I can comprehend. We thank God for you every day. Your birth is just a glimpse of the love your Father God, has for you, for me, and for your Daddy. Glory, glory hallelujah! We praise Him for YOU!

Elizabeth Victoria "Evie"
April 9, 2016 
5:33 am
6 lbs, 8 oz 
19 1/4 inches long

Cameron Faye Photography

18 April 2016

One Week with Evie

Oh my heart. How has it been one week? At 5:45 am Saturday morning while nursing my girl, I reached out and grabbed Spyros' hand and said our baby is already one week old! We both got a bit teary. This has been the most blissful, surreal, and absolutely dreamlike week of our lives. We keep saying we feel like we are pretending and have to give her back - but, no! She is really ours! Forever.

I cannot wait to share Evie's birth story. It was truly a day filled with the Spirit. My sister wrote about the day here, but I have so much more to share from that blessed day. For now, I want to document all of the little photos and memories of our first week with Evie. Time is fleeting and I can't believe she's already been here for 9 days (typical new Mom fashion in getting this post finished a couple of days late)! My Mama heart is so emotional about time right now. I want her to grow big and strong, but I also want to cherish and relish in her tininess. Oh, Evie, Mommy and Daddy are over the moon, 110%, fully, completely, in love with every ounce of you. You are our world and we thank God for choosing us to be your parents.

Now, onto some memories. A stream of consciousness, photo overload, no particular order collection of the sweetest memories from our first week with Evie. 

Little Evie Memories: 

When you came out, and the doctor flipped you over, Mama saw Nurse Maggie's face first full of joy and surprise. At the same time, I heard Daddy say through happy tears, "Oh my God, it's a GIRL!" We couldn't help but laugh and cry. It felt euphoric. Also seconds before, Daddy and I vocalized our final guess - Boy. But you're a girl and it all makes perfect sense!

Cameron Faye Photography

Your hair. It's beautiful. So perfect. Hearing everyone rave about your hair made pushing you out so much easier - I wanted to see you too!

My fresh, new baby girl!

You came at the perfect time. You allowed everyone in our families who wanted to be present, to arrive in time for your birth. You sweet, precious girl.

When the nurses took you to get weighed, Daddy went with you and you were crying. But, he bent down to talk to you and gave you his finger to hold and you instantly quieted down. It was so amazing to witness.

Cameron Faye Photography 

Cameron Faye Photoraphy

Daddy did skin to skin with you after Mommy did and before we invited family back to meet you. I've never seen him so calmly excited, it was a proud moment for him and an especially sweet one for me to witness. He held you and just cried and said something like, "I need a lot more guns and please don't start hating me when you turn 15."

Cameron Faye Photography 

Cameron Faye Photography 

Daddy told our families what you were - a precious girl! We decided he would get that privilege since I got to carry you for 9 months. Cameron got this on video and I cannot wait to see it! We shared your name together and everyone loved it! You are named after both of your grandmothers, Elizabeth Victoria. But, we felt that name was just too "big" for a tiny baby girl. So, after some thought we played around with saying your initials out loud...E.V. and "Evie" was it! Evie means "life and lively." It fits you perfectly. 

Every photo you've taken with your Daddy is perfect. Daddy has never been photogenic, but this week every photo he has taken is so good. Elise coined him as having major "dad glow."

We took turns holding and staring at you our first night as three. You've made us both complete mush. Daddy asked me when I wanted to have another baby because he loves you so much. You'll be a big sissy one day, but for now we are soaking in all of you. 

Your daddy and I have fallen into a deeper love this week. He's told me how he loves me even more now that we have you, and I feel the same way about him. Daddy changes diapers (he experienced your first blow out) and always holds you and helps me so much, we're such a team and I love it. I love your Daddy beyond measure and you've just made our bond and love even stronger. 

You're tiny. Newborn clothes are too big. Honest Company newborn diapers are too big and just don't work for you as well as Pampers! You're our tiny little Greek olive. 

When you cry, you sound like a baby teradactle. It's such a girly little shriek. We discovered your voice when you discovered you could be hungry. Thankfully, breastfeeding has been great! Once my milk came in on day 3 you began eating like a champ. Though you much prefer my right side over my left. 

Your Pappy is complete mush over you. It's the sweetest thing for Daddy to see and we can't wait to watch your relationship grow. Your Yia Yia and Skouras Aunties are also extremely in love with you!! We are so thankful that they were all able to be in Charlotte for your birth. What a blessing! Such a special, special time for our family!

Seeing you meet your Aunt Lisey and cousin (bff) Nancy was so special. I can't wait to watch you girls grow up together and be a girl mama by my sissy's side. Other memories with these girls...once we got home, your Aunt Lisey was the first to "wear" you - even before mommy - in the ergo! And, sweet Nancy says "awww" when she sees you and loves to pat you and give you kisses on the top of your head. 

Mimi stayed with us a majority of your first week. Your first night home was rough, you have to have your hands out of a swaddle and you don't like lying flat on the bassinet - we got smart and put the boppy lounger in the bassinet or in between us in the bed. Or, we let you sleep on us - shh! Breaking all the rules! 

Mimi took some nighttime shifts with you, but then you got to eating and sleeping better so we sent Mimi home! I found her snoozing on the sofa with you one morning, it was so sweet! 

We made the hospital a family only zone (visitors: Mommy and Daddy's families, Grand Mimi and Chief, Aunt Jane and Katherine, and your Abuelo!) But, you had many visitors at home this week too: Auntie Addison and Uncle Jason, Cameron, Brooke, and Lauren came to the hospital and then came back to see you at home with Luca, Great Aunt Sarah, Mallory, Mrs. Blake, Mrs. D, Uncle Sammy, Sally, Louise, and Bill Wyche, Ms. Jami and Ms. Lora, and we have a full week ahead of planned visitors coming to meet you during your second week of life! 

Bringing you home was one of the happiest days of our lives. You wore the dress your Mama and Nancy wore home from the hospital that your Mimi smocked. When we pulled onto our street and I saw the stork in the front yard and pink ribbon on the front door I just broke down into happy, happy, hormonal tears. I've always dreamed of having a ribbon on my house and a stork in my yard - and seeing that in front of me was overwhelming in the best way. And a funny thing, our sweet next door neighbor told us our sign had 2015 instead of 2016 as your birthday year on it - we didn't even notice! But, the company quickly came and fixed it and we get to have the stork up an extra few days! 

When we left the hospital you were 5 lbs 15 oz, teeny tiny baby! But, at your first doctor's appointment  you were up 3 ounces making you 6 lbs 2 oz. You also had a major poop explosion when we took your diaper off to get weighed. All over the floor and all over Mama. Daddy could not stop laughing. 

Doxie. We are so proud of your big sissy. Introducing you two in the car (we picked her up from Mimi's house on our way home from the hospital) was sweet and hilarious - she was apprehensive at first, but now she loves you! On your 5th day of life she jumped into the bassinet with you, but we made her get out. She's made me so proud this week - can't wait to watch you two become "sisters." 

Your daddy sent me this text message while he was doing some work. All songs like this hold such a different meaning now that we have you. Tim McGraw gets me every time! 

I swear, Daddy would never put you down if he could. He loves holding you. It's the sweetest. He also takes you upstairs while he does work sometimes. I think we've got a Daddy's girl in the making, but I don't mind. 

Thankfully, you love your carseat and car rides! You also love your mam paci - you used the "soothie" in the hospital, but once you had the mam you wouldn't take any other kind! Mama has already amazon primed some extras to have on hand. Also - a paci has done nothing to hurt breastfeeding, if anything it's been helpful! 

 Your first outing was to Whole Foods (daddy went with us but totally makes fun of the fact that's where we first took you - ha!) and I cried on our way home as I sat in the backseat with you - I couldn't stop staring at you and feeling so happy. I'm telling you, I've shed many a happy, hormonal tear on you. Your next outing was a few days later, you went to the mall with me and Mimi to return some boy clothes I had bought since I was so wrongly convinced you were a he. 

Speaking of happy, hormonal tears...I was cooking breakfast one morning, the den was a mess,  you were in the mamaroo, Doxie was on the sofa and Daddy was doing work upstairs and I started crying again because I was SO HAPPY. Living my literal dream life. I took a picture because I never want to forget that feeling. Thank you, Lord! 

You're literally such a sweet, tiny, perfect baby. We feel abundantly blessed to have you as our very own. Precious Evie, I'm sure I've forgotten something but I tried to capture every detail, no matter how big or small of our first week with you. You've brought a joy into our lives we never knew possible. You've made your Daddy and I more in love than we ever fathomed and the love we have for you is so deep it hurts...a good kind of hurt. You are our heart, baby girl. Forever and always. We thank you, Lord, for our happy and healthy baby girl. All the glory to God!

Cameron Faye Photography