Call The Midwife

I’d like to preface this whole post by saying that the answer to these questions are just my own opinion and what was best for me and my family. Your birth choices are YOURS and you should feel confident in them. Making informed and confident decisions for YOUR birth is what matters.

Here’s some frequently asked questions about why we chose a midwife after 2 previous hospital births and our experience using a birth center.

1. Why did you choose a midwife/birth center?

The factors that drew us to the birth center were; water birth option, private space, one person overseeing my entire pregnancy care from start to finish as well as the birth and postpartum, no lengthy stay, encouragement of natural birth, choice of pushing positions, proximity to our home, visitors allowed, more direct contact with my provider, more intentional prenatal appointments, less pressure to make certain medical decisions.

We originally looked into a birth center in the height of Covid when the idea of being in a hospital was not ideal for us as a family.  I wanted my parents to be there and I didn’t want to push/labor in a mask if I didn’t have to. Although those are pretty petty reasons, it’s what launched us into researching hospitals vs. birth centers.

I had always wanted to have a water birth and a midwife but those weren’t really an option in Midland. With more resources here in Houston, we knew we’d be able to have the birth we’d wanted. As we were deciding which route to go, we watched the documentary called The Business of Being Born. It was very eye opening for us and, with me being very low risk in all categories; we decided that a birth center was for us.

2. What were the differences between the birth center and a hospital?

Because my labor was so fast and furious, I’m not sure of how different the laboring process would have been from start to finish. However, I loved that I got to be in constant communication with my midwife. I labored at home for as long as possible, updating her on contractions and she told me when it was time to come in. Laboring at home as long as possible was more comfortable and felt safe to me. The birth center is really for just that; the birth. When I got to the birth center, I just got to keep laboring. There wasn’t a line to register, wait for a room, wait to get checked, etc. My labor wasn’t stalled.

Another difference was the freedom. With both of my previous births, I’d asked for intermittent monitoring on the baby and, while I technically got it, that came with wires still hanging around my neck and the heart monitoring band around my belly the whole time. With my midwife, she checked the baby’s heart rate with a Doppler after each contraction and had me move if needed, especially when I was pushing. I was also free to birth where I wanted to; in the bed, pool, tub, birthing stool, floor, etc. in any position I wanted to; side lying, back, squatting, lunging, etc. I know most hospitals allow some of those options but in my experience, I got lots of pushback and “discussions” when I chose something perfectly safe that was against the usual hospital protocol. I didn’t want pushback. I wanted someone who would let me trust my body and my instincts to birth how I needed to. Another freedom that was important to me was the freedom to eat during labor. I know that hospitals don’t let you eat “in case” you need an emergency C-section but that’s not really true. Its in case they need to put you completely under and your aspirate, that RARELY happens. My labor with Winifred was 27 hours and by the end I could barely push and needed forceps to get her out, I’ve always wondered how it would have changed if I’d been allowed to nourish my body during labor. I wanted to be able to eat, and I was able to do that with the birth center.

The BIGGEST difference for me with the birth center was the postpartum experience. After Elijah was born we got almost an hour and a half of skin-to-skin and nursing in before anything else happened. It was peaceful and productive for Elijah and I to bond so immediately without being poked and prodded. My midwife did his APGAR screening and then let us be for a while. I can’t say for sure, obviously, but part of me thinks this might have really helped with breastfeeding being successful this time around. We also got to go home that night. 3 hours after Elijah was born we were in the Whataburger drive though headed home. We got to sleep our first night in the quiet of our own home; it was incredible. The next day, my midwife came to our home to do Elijah’s newborn screening and that was truly a gift. I didn’t have to load everything up to take him in after just giving birth. She also did his 2 week checkup and checked on my healing as well. It was amazing to have us both checked on at the same time.

3. How was the cost different than using an OB/Hospital?

Great question, but this is different for everyone depending on your insurance. Most insurances will actually cover partial costs of using a midwife, doula, or birth center! We have a high deductible plan with an HSA account, so we chose not to go through our insurance because we would have paid out of pocket anyway. Our total cost for prenatal, birth, and postpartum care was $4,200 and we paid most of it with our HSA. It was very nice to just pay it all upfront.

4. Did you tear? Could she stitch you up?

Yes, most midwives are trained to stich your perineum if you were to tear in labor. Fortunately, I did not tear badly this time. With Winnie I had a 3rd degree tear, with Daphne I had a 2nd degree tear, but this time I had a minor tear that did not need stitching. I credit that to the water birth and pushing in a lunge position.

5. What if something went wrong?

Most midwives are VERY trained. My provider had a list of over 20 complications she had successfully dealt with in the birth center. She has delivered over 1000 babies and has an extensive list of credentials and trainings. When I asked her this question, she said “You know, I’m not a hero. I know when I’m out of my league and I know when it’s time to go”.  To be honest, I trusted our guts. I knew my body and she knows birth. The birth center was very close to the hospital, so I wasn’t worried about being too far away if we were to need to get there. She looked for any sign of complication during my pregnancy and monitored me closely during the birth. I was confident in her and trusted her fully. The most common reasons for a hospital transfer are failure to progress, pain relief, and exhaustion. We had a plan to combat those reasons. I didn’t go in a “no hospital under any circumstances” mentality. We would have gone there had we needed to.

6. How did you combat anxiety/fear of something going wrong?

This sounds cliché, but I had faith. This was what my body was created to do and I trusted that this was the best environment/situation for all of us. My pregnancy had 0 complications and there was no reason to believe I couldn’t do this. I prayed over this baby every single day and I trusted that I’d done everything possible to ensure this babe’s safe entrance into the world. God was in charge and we knew that.

That doesn’t mean I wasn’t scared at times, I mean I was about to push a hummer out of a compact parking spot, but making decisions out of fear isn’t a way to make decisions. Anxiety/fear are a part of life, they shouldn’t rule your life.

I made a list of concerns and went over them with the midwife and she told me what would happen in each scenario. Knowing there was a “plan” let me take things as they came.

7. How do I know if a midwife is right for me?

Shop around! Interview midwifes, birth centers, doulas and figure out the best provider for you. You have time to switch if you need to. Some midwives and doulas can come with you to the hospital if a birth center isn’t what you want.

Here’s some questions you can ask a provider to see if they’re right for you.

             Do you take insurance? What’s the self pay price? How many babies have you delivered? What’s the percentages of births you’ve had to transfer to hospital? What kind of emergencies have you handled? Have you resuscitated babies? What are your certifications? If I transfer to the hospital, will you accompany me? Are there any type of birth you don’t support? What is your stance on vaccines/circumcision? What is your policy on visitors? Can I have a birth photographer? Do you provide other options for the glucose test? What if my birth overlaps with another client? Do you provide prenatal nutrition advice? What’s your experience with homeopathy? If I tear, can you stitch me up? Can I keep my placenta? Do you offer postpartum care? Are you lactation certified? What happens if I go into preterm labor? What are you procedures for immediately after birth? How can I stay in contact with you? Why did you become a midwife? What is your birth support style? What are my options for pushing? Do you offer comfort measures? Can I eat in labor?

Don’t be afraid to ask any questions, especially if it’s important to you. Your provider works FOR you and with you, it’s important to be on the same team!

The Birth Story: Elijah James

I woke up the morning of 2/24 and I was DONE. Done being pregnant. I was ready to meet this baby, call them by name, and start this life as a family of 5. I couldn’t stand this season of waiting for another day. After feeding the girls breakfast, I was bouncing on my yoga ball and all the emotions bubbled to the surface. With “Encanto” in the background, hot tears rolled down my cheeks as I begged God for today to be the day. The whole pregnancy I put this baby and the birth in God’s hands, but this day, I felt so desperate and started to doubt if this birth would be what I had selfishly planned.

I had a midwife appointment scheduled for 2 that afternoon to check on baby. Out of desperation, I asked if my midwife would sweep my membranes. She immediately responded asking if I could come in at 11:30 instead (bless her soul). When I arrived at the appointment, I think she could see my desperation and said “alright, lets have a baby!”. She swept my membranes and told me I was dilated to a 2, I had a contraction while in the office and she felt that I was going to be in labor really really soon. I clung to that. She asked if I wanted an herbal concoction to “help things along” to which I replied “YUUUUUUP”. The concoction was red raspberry leaf tea, other herbs, and a tablespoon of Castor oil. Now, I know I swore I wouldn’t do castor oil but Desperate 41 weeks pregnant Shannon had no memory of that declaration.

I drank the tea over a 30 minute period and got home around 12:30 PM while the girls were having lunch. I put them down for naps and my belly started to tighten, almost like a Braxton Hicks. It was tight for about 30 minutes and was just a tad uncomfortable. I thought, “ok this is gonna happen anytime now”, so I wiped down the kitchen, moved the laundry, and tidied downstairs. After the pressure released, I laid down to take a nap around 2:15. Thank goodness, because at 3:00 on the dot I was rudely awakened by a contraction so strong it took my breath away.

Let me pause and give you a quick run down of how I envisioned this birth going (feel free to laugh at me because WHY DID I PLAN ANYTHING AGAIN?!). I’d watched countless birth videos and read ungodly amounts of birth stories of women who had peaceful births; candle lit ones where they breath their babies out without a sound, rooms filled with worship music and essential oils diffusing, hours of labor to prepare their mind and body for the process. That’s what I “planned”. I’d go into labor and have a few hours at home while the contractions strengthened and lengthened. I’d shower, pack the rest of our essentials for the birth center, and rally the troops (our parents) to watch the girls and meet us at the birth center. I’d have active labor at the birth center with my carefully curated birth playlist, essential oils diffusing, birth affirmation cards, and practiced hypnobirthing techniques. I’d get into the birth tub and breath/peacefully push my baby into this beautiful world. Spoiler: literally none of that happened, except for me having the baby part. That for sure happened.

The contractions didn’t let up as I stood to breath through them. Most contractions were like a roller coaster, ramping to an intense peak, and then letting up on the decline. These contractions went straight to the top, giving me no warning. I was  already having to moan and groan through them.  They lasted, in my mind, about 30 seconds. After about 3-4 of those, Will came out of his office to see me on hands and knees over my yoga ball and said “Yeah, I think I’m done working today.” I nodded, concerned, because I wasn’t really sure what stage of labor I was in. The contractions were STRONG, but short, but also 3 minutes apart. They weren’t following the rules! I was supposed to contact my midwife when the were 4-5 minutes apart lasting 1 minute for an hour. I’d only been in “labor” for 30 minutes but I texted her anyway asking what to do. She told me to get in the bathtub and see what happens. Will ran me a bath and helped me breath through several more contractions. I opened my eyes to see Will looking a little panicky. This was about the time ‘be careful what you pray for’ came to mind. I’d begged for this, I wanted to be in labor so badly. Boy, did God deliver.  He asked what I wanted to do, I told him to call the parents and pack the car. I really thought I was going to have a surprise home birth. With every contraction I could feel the baby moving down and I knew I was in active labor. It still blows my mind how women’s bodies just KNOW.  I couldn’t think straight. The only thought in my brain was getting through each contraction. After only 15 minutes in the tub the contractions were lasting 1 minute and were 2 minutes apart. It was 4:00PM and it was time to get the girls up for naps. Oops. My midwife told me to come in.  Will sprang into action. He simultaneously woke up the girls, got them a snack, called the parents again, and called out neighbor to come watch the girls until Will’s mom arrived, all in the time it took me to dry off from the bath. He then helped me get dressed and downstairs.

 I stopped in front of the truck door and had a contraction. Will gently said “babe, we have to get in the car.” and I replied “I REALLY don’t want to have this baby in the truck!” to which he replied, “I know, that’s why we REALLY need to get in and go”! In the 7 minutes it took to get to the birth center I had 3 contractions, having to lift myself from the seat to relive the pressure in my cervix. Pulling in the driveway of the birth center I felt relief and fear at the same time. I was really about to do this, God willing, I was going to have this baby unmedicated.

We got into the birth center and my midwife immediately had me get in the bed so she could check me. “Yep, you’re about 9cm and almost ready to go”. Excuse my language but I replied with a big ole fat “Holy shit”. Part of me was terrified that it was happening so fast but most of me was relieved that I wasn’t being overly dramatic about the labor pains. I was on my side for one contraction and hated that position, so I moved to all fours over the birth ball on the bed. My midwife checked the baby’s heart rate and listened for a few more contractions the said, “alright, if you’re wanting to get in the tub, now is definitely the time!” So in I went and everything is a little fuzzy from here. It was about 4:40 when I got in the tub and my parents got to the birth center. I had a few contractions in the tub and the midwife monitored the baby’s heart rate consistently. My body was telling me to get on all fours again, that position felt the most natural/comfortable for me. My body knew what it needed to do and all I had to do was listen.

It got primal from here. Primal is the word I use because nature was completely in control and I let it happen. The contractions were relentless and strong. I had to breathe deeply and loudly to cope with the pressure. My mom said I sounded like an Orca whale but it was extremely helpful to make those orca sounds. All of a sudden I felt a drop into my cervix and extreme pressure as my midwife suggest I get onto the birthing stool to push. “NOPE,” I say, “the baby is coming NOW”. She said “alright then, if you need to push, you go ahead”. My eyes had been closed the entire time and all I could visualize was the baby coming out, tunnel vision. I pushed and felt relief. Working with my body was a relief. Now, make no mistake, I did not do this quietly. Here are just a few things that came out of my mouth as I pushed this baby into the world.

1. Mother F****R!

2. Ok, I’m pooooooooping.

4. How much of it is out?!?! (ring of fire moment)

My midwife gently coached me, asking me to push if I felt comfortable and telling me to do a little or big push. After about 4 pushes, the head was out. I just wanted to be done; I wanted the baby in my arms. The baby we prayed for and waited so long for, I wanted to hold. I pushed with everything I had and gasped as I felt the shoulders emerge and my baby slipped out at 5:11 PM. I couldn’t breathe as I heard Will shout, “IT’S A BOY BABE, IT’S A BOOOOOOOY!!” I was clutching my baby, he was in my arms. My sweet baby boy.  Will and my mom high fived as I worked my way to sitting in the tub. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe how fast he’d come into this world. I couldn’t believe that God had given me the redemptive birth I begged for.  He was here.

Elijah James, a gentle soul from the beginning. As soon as he was born he made a few squeaks to tell us he was breathing, then promptly fell asleep in my chest. We lay in the tub as I delivered my placenta and processed what had just happened. I’d never seen any of my placentas/umbilical chords, so that part was amazing. My midwife showed us all the parts and checked to make sure it had all made it’s way out. Elijah had started searching for the breast and immediately latched. My heart swelled. My mom cut his chord when it was time and we made our way though the bed. My angel of a midwife checked me for tears, massaged my uterus, and brought me some toast and orange juice. Will, the baby and I snuggled in bed for a bit while Elijah nursed like a CHAMP. My midwife weighed him and got him all checked out, 9lbs 7oz. BIG boy.

A few hours later we were ready to go home! It was about 8:30 PM and we wanted to make sure the girls were asleep before we arrived home with the baby. So, naturally, we stopped at Whataburger before going home to sleep in our own bed with our perfect little BOY.

I’m so grateful for our village that was there when we needed them; our amazing neighbor who swooped in so we could leave, both sets of parents offering incredible amounts of support, wonderful friends providing meals, and a midwife who trusted me to trust my body and helped us have a miraculous birth.

Thank God I Failed Geometry: Part Two

The first part of our love story seemed like a teenage fairytale, two kids completely in love with blinders on. We broke up because we needed to grow, not because we fell out of love or someone did something worthy of a Taylor Swift breakup song. In my opinion, those are the hardest breakups to move on from, the ones where your heart is still completely in it but your head tells you its not right. More on that in part one.

I’ve been putting off writing this part for a few reasons. One, because it’s messy, Will and I aren’t even sure of the timeline exactly. Two, because it’s ugly, mistakes were made and the fact that we are insanely human gets painfully exposed. However, I am going to do my best to disclose the realness. We were apart, so there are two sides to this story, here’s mine.

The breakup happened in January of my senior year in high school and the next few months are a total blur. I went to school, went to soccer practice, came home and listened to the CDs Will burned over and over, wrote a text to Will, deleted it, cried myself to sleep, then did it all again the next day. We didn’t talk for months, only some really intense Myspace stalking to see if he’d fallen for some sorority chick. We weren’t together because of how we viewed Jesus, and disagreed on the details we deemed crucial for having a relationship with Him. This sent me into a tailspin really figuring out if it was worth losing our relationship over. I dove head first into my youth group and asked every question I could to anyone who would listen. I devoured scripture and sought refuge in immersing myself with other Christians who brought me closer to God.  I was devout and headstrong that I’d made the right choice to stand my ground. I was “consumed with Christ” and began to feel him soften my heart and lean into the fact that I did not actually know everything there was to know about everything. Hiding my broken heart behind the bible was easy, letting the bible fix my broken heart was on a whole other level.

In March, I started dating a boy I’d met on a mission trip the previous summer. It ended pretty quickly in late April, leaving me dateless to prom. He still wanted to go with me but ya girl was feeling extremely “I don’t need no man” and decided to go stag to prove that point. The night before prom I get a text at 10PM from Bobby and Nathan, you met them in part one, telling me to come outside to hang out. I did, and well well well, who was there? Will. My heart fell out of my butt as walked over to their car, trying to look as calm as humanly possible. We all chatted like it was a completely normal thing, even though Will and I hadn’t talked in months and I still wanted to marry him, but it was cool. I was cool. We all talked for hours before I went inside to go to bed. I mean, you can’t have bags under your eyes for prom, right?? While falling asleep, I get a text from Will. “Hey, if you need a date, I’ll rent a tux and go with you.” Remembering it, it sounds like the ending scene of a John Hughes movie where the girl gets her dream prom date. However, the stubborn Shannon back then really felt like she had to go alone and prove that she really was “I am woman, hear me roar”. I went to prom alone and it was the right thing to do. I needed to know I could do it. It wasn’t until we were married that my mom told me Will texted her that night asking how I looked and if I was ok. The perfect man.

The rest of the summer, we didn’t speak again and only saw each other once in a random movie theater parking lot sighting. My heart ached for him but my stubbornness was stronger. My plan was to still go to Tech and pretend like I wouldn’t be looking for Will around every corner. Fall semester started it didn’t take long for both of us to cave and text each other. We gave into wanting to see each other, but completely ignored the huge issues we clearly still hadn’t figured out. We silently agreed not to talk about them, both of us knowing full well that they didn’t go away. The whole Fall semester was spent pretending to date and every other weekend having the “we can’t do this anymore” conversation, only to be back at it again before the next weekend. A bunch of our A&M friends came up for the Tech/A&M game and we all stayed at Will’s apartment. My friends kept asking what the heck was going on with us and I didn’t know what to tell them. I didn’t even know what the heck was going on, all I knew was that life without him in any capacity was not something I wanted.


In late October, Will went to his first Raider Awakening Retreat. This was a retreat through the Catholic Student Association, and he had the most amazing time. It opened his eyes to a lot of things about our relationship and his relationship with God. He came back so on fire, and I was terrified. I should have been so elated for him, happy that he felt the Lord tug on his heart so strongly. However, I was full of fear that he’d had a revelation that we weren’t meant to be together. He wanted to meet me at Starbucks to talk about his retreat, I didn’t eat all day and I resented him for picking a Starbucks. We first made things official in a Starbucks, why would he pick one to obviously end things with me. My hands shook and my stomach churned the whole time he spoke. He told me all that he’d experienced and how his heart had changed that weekend. I listened as he spoke gently about how strong his faith had gotten and how sure he was about everything he believed in. He then asked me, if I’d wanted to go with him on the next one. Now, this should have made my heart soar. Hearing the man of my dreams express his love for the Lord and then him inviting me to grow with him?! Ideal, right? But I freaked out. My young, stubborn, kinda selfish self took that invitation as him trying to convert me (which he wasn’t). I said some unkind things and made my exit. I texted him later that night to apologize, but we decided that there was no way this could work. We were done. Or so I thought.

We didn’t talk for all of November 2011 and most of December. I don’t remember who contacted who first but the week before school let out for Christmas Break, we attended Carol of Lights together. This Texas Tech tradition is sacred and meant to be shared with the people you love. I wanted to go with Will. We had a great time freezing our butts off and went to dinner afterward. At dinner, I knew. We were both tired of it. Tired of the back and forth, the heart break, the crushed hopes, the yo-yo of it all. We were tired. We also didn’t want to get our families involved again after al this time. Going home for break meant a lot of time with our families and we didn’t want to put them through any of it if we didn’t know where we stood. We decided that we wouldn’t call or text each other no matter how much we wanted to. It wasn’t healthy, it was never going to work, and we couldn’t force it any more. We needed to move on and find other people to spend our lives with. It broke me, but I knew we had to.


When school started again, I looked for any and every distraction I could find to help me move on, Will immersed himself in the Catholic Student Association. Will and his friends had been my community for my first few months at Tech and I found myself desperate for somewhere to belong. I had “rushed” a Christian Sorority in the Fall and didn’t get in. I truly thought those were going to be my people, but that didn’t end up being the case. Then, I’d heard through a friend of Will’s that Chi Omega was doing Spring Rush for the first time (they never did it again at my time at Tech)! I felt God tug on my heart “those are your people” he said. And the girl who swore up and down she would NEVER go greek became a part of an organization that changed her life. I also found The Wesley Foundation and cannonballed into every activity or small group they offered. It was home and I felt like I had a future beyond Will.

I met an incredible boy at The Wesley Foundation and we dated from the end of February-August of 2012. It was a relationship full of challenges and growth. I’ll forever be thankful for that. But we realized we weren’t each other’s forever person and I started my sophomore year with another heartbreak.

The whole year was a blur. I learned so much, found some passions, made some TERRIBLE decisions, dated some wrong people, made the best friends, went to therapy, and learned to stick up for myself. Most importantly, I came to realize that I was going to marry Will or no one at all. As dramatic as that sounds, it was true.

My sophomore year at Tech came to an end in May 2013. My best friends and I found a house and got the chance to move our stuff in before I left to go to Houston for the summer! Watching a movie with my roommate (shoutout Katy) two days before I was set to leave, I see Will’s name pop up on my phone. I couldn’t breathe. He was graduating in 3 days, why in the heckin bob would he be texting me?! I knew he was leaving; he got a great job and was (from what I could tell from FaceBook stalking) dating a super cute Catholic girl. SO. WHY. WAS. HE. TEXTING. ME?!? It took me an hour to open the message because I just couldn’t handle it. Confusion flooded my brain as I opened it. Are you ready?! It said:

“Hey I have two of your movies, do you want them?” LOL. I had no idea what to say, it took me another 45 minutes to respond. Through a series of messages I agreed to pick them up in the morning. Driving to his apartment, I could feel my pulse in my entire body thinking about seeing him again, even if it was just for a second. I pull up to his building, he walks to my car, I roll down my window, he hands me the movies and says “Wanna go to lunch or something?”. Y’all, when I say I almost threw up, I almost blew chunks. On the outside, I appeared to be cool and said yes.

We ate lunch and talked for hours, catching up on the last year and a half and talking about ways we’ve grown. (I learned later that he’d broken up with his girlfriend the day before this lunch.) I invited him back to my house (yikes, Shan) and we danced in my empty dining room to a song we danced to when I was 16 years old. Aaaaaaand I fell in love all over again. We spent the whole rest of the day together and I was really freaking out because what the farking fark did this all mean?! HE WAS LEAVING. I get a text at 11PM from Will inviting me over to play games with his roommates and friends. I was supposed to leave the next day to drive back to Houston, but I went anyway. We stayed up until 5am talking about all the things we were too afraid to talk about a year and a half ago. We talked about where we were willing to compromise and we got on the same page pretty damn quickly. I couldn’t believe what was happening and I was unsure of what this all meant, but I HAD to get some sleep or I was going to crash my car. We decided to regroup, keep this on the down-low, and talk more when he was back in Houston before starting his job.

The next week, we met at my house and had a really intense, logical talk. We both agreed that if we were going to do this again, we were in it for the long haul. We couldn’t keep putting our friends, family, and ourselves through this rollercoaster if it wasn’t going to be a forever thing. He confessed to feeling the same way I did for so long. It was “us” or  nothing. We went down the list of things that had kept us apart for all this time and made sure those weren’t still issues. I softened and realized that I didn’t have to be so stubborn, we really could make this work. He had areas he came to see he could bend on, too. That night, we chose to make it re-official. My heart was full.

From there, the story moves pretty quickly. We got back together in June of 2013 and Will moved to Midland in later that month. The new school year started and he spent almost every weekend with me in Lubbock. The ring shopping happened in November 2013 and on December 30, 2013, the man of my dreams got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. We planned the whole wedding in 10 days and then had to wait a year and a half to get married! On June 6th, 2015 I married the most incredible human I know. We built a life I adore, and he’s given me two babies I can’t believe are ours.

I met the love of my life at 16. I was an insanely tough road to get where we are today, but I’m so grateful for each and every bump that got us here




Am I Successful?

Not to toot my own horn, but I was a darn good teacher. I got a thrill when my students got a new concept or went up a reading level. I stayed awake at night going over lessons in my head and loved when they turned out like I’d planned. I thoroughly enjoyed creating behavior plans for difficult students and seeing them turn around. It came naturally to me and it was easy to tell if I was succeeding or not, the students either grew or they didn’t. The lesson either landed or it didn’t. Their behavior either improved or it didn’t. Clear. Their success was my success.  And I WAS a successful teacher. I thrived, and I loved my job.

I have a new job now, Stay at Home Mom.  I love this job more than anything I’ve ever done, but I struggle sometimes with the question, “Am I being successful?”. That answer is never as clear cut as it was when I was teaching. At first, it was hard for me to view myself as “successful” in my new position in life. Maybe you feel it too? or have felt it? You were successful at a sales job if you made sales. Clear. You were successful at your job as a lawyer if you won cases. Clear. However, as a parent….the definition of success changes, or maybe it loses all meaning completely. Right?

Being a stay at home mom changed my mindset on how I view success. Sometimes, it’s hard to see the “value” that comes with success when you’re home alone with the tiny humans. It doesn’t come in the form of a raise or promotion. It comes in moments. You have these moments where you feel like supermom; both kids napping at the same time, everyone eats their meals without complaining, prepared an activity the kid LOVED, kids hit their milestones. These moments make your heart explode with pride; in your kids and yourself. You feel like you can take on the world and you’re unstoppable. You feel successful. Selfishly, we want our kids to look at us and say “Wow, mom! You’re killin it today!”. (Lets laugh at that idea together for a moment) You wish a reality show would burst through the door and say “We put a hidden camera in your living room and we’ve seen the incredible job you’ve done. Here’s a million dollars and a hot beverage!” (Lets laugh HARDER).

In the beginning, I just kept wondering if I was doing enough. Was I reading enough to Winifred, was I feeding her the right things, was I keeping the house clean enough, was I showing her enough of the world, was she going to hit all of her milestones? Was Daphne going to need physical therapy because of what my body did to her, was my breastmilk ok for her, was I going to be able to sleep train her? I was making myself sick trying to do everything right, and driving myself insane because there was no way to know if I was doing it right until it’s “too late” and she’s grown. It’s dumb, I know, but in the dark and sleepless newborn nights your brain can borrow a lot of tomorrow’s stress.

Then, one day, as I’m crying over spilled breast milk (liquid gold, am I right?) I got a bit of clarity. Winifred was watching me as I sat on the floor and tears streamed down my face. She came over and sat on my lap. I smiled at her, and she laughed. That was it, that was all she needed from me in that moment to be happy. A. SMILE. I was humbled and honored to be her mama in that moment. I was overcome with gratitude that I get to be home with her and teach her how to handle her own emotions one day.

Kids don’t need perfect parents. They don’t need all this fluffy stuff that mom blogs these days are convincing us we have to do or our kids will be the scum of the earth. They thrive off our imperfections. Shoot, my kid regularly has dog hair as a condiment (at least its organic right?). They need US. They need moms who are going to love them unconditionally and take care of their basic needs. Period. They need someone to pray over them at night and teach them what it means to love the Lord. Thats it.

Some days are actual poop storms, but the kids go to bed with full bellies and they’re alive. Some days, my kid eats 3 cups of cheerios, but she shared her toys so joyously at library. Some days, my sink is full of dishes and laundry is up to my ears, but I end the day with both girls in my lap reading stories about a God who adores them more than I do.

Success? YES.

You are the GREATEST possible mother for your kids. Nobody else can do what you do for your babies. WE GOT THIS PARENTS!

Thank God I Failed Geometry: Part One

I had to switch math classes my junior year in high school because I was failing Honors Geometry. I had a brain for Algebra but just could not comprehend the concept of shapes. So, after Christmas break, I got moved into a regulars Geometry class and got seated behind a boy named Zack. In March 2009, Zack asked if I wanted a summer job as a lifeguard! Me and my “I’m independent and need my own money” self jumped at the opportunity. Little did I know what failing geometry and a chance encounter with Zack  would bring me.

The next month, I attended a CPR training to get the first part of my lifeguard certification. I arrived at a neighborhood pool and spotted two cuties sitting in the corner. They were broody and aloof which, to a 16 year old girl, was very alluring. I struck up a conversation with the one I deemed the “Bad Boy” (shoutout Nassim) and ended up talking to him and the other boy I called the “Catholic Cutie” for a little bit. I remember going home and telling my mom that I hoped I was working at the same pool as the “cuties” *Y’all, my 16 year old self was embarrassing* We didn’t end up working at the same pools and nothing ever really came from our brief interaction at training. Months went by with no “Bad Boy” or “Catholic Cutie” sightings and my teenage mind wandered to other boys.

I’d gotten to be good friends with my supervisor (shoutout Bobby) and, one night in June 2009, he invited me and my sister to play volleyball at a neighborhood court. I gathered some other friends and we headed out. We arrived and saw many familiar faces, one of those being the “Catholic Cutie”. My heart did a little jump, but I was playing the field at the time so I didn’t even think about it. We played for hours and the Catholic Cutie didn’t speak to me at all, not even two words. In the sweltering Houston night heat, we all decided to be rebels and jump the fence to take a swim in the neighborhood pool. A few of us made it over and I thought it would be super cool to take off my shirt and do a back flip off the lifeguard stand! *Again, heavy eye roll at 16 year old Shan* Catholic Cutie stood on the outside of the fence with the scaredy-cats looking broody and cute. I secretly wondered what he was like.

^Baby Will and Baby Shan Summer 2009

After our rebellious dip in the pool, we piled into our cars and headed to the nearest Sonic to hang and indulge in a refreshing slushy. I was sitting at a table with my sister and friends when I felt someone slide on to the bench next to me. Glancing over, I see Catholic Cutie looking at me, and moving his slushy in my direction. “I used to work here, try this,” he says with a smirk. “Um, no thanks,” I reply, fully freaked out, and move to another table. (Mmk, I know what you’re thinking “You called him cute, why would you move away?!” Y’all. I didn’t know him at all and the first the first words out of his mouth were asking me to try a slushy he created. All my true crime consumption has told me to RUN.)

Weeks went by and our supervisor got another group together to play Fugitive on a hot July night. Among the dozens of faces in the starting parking lot, I spotted Catholic Cutie. Part of me was intrigued, but most of me just hoped he would try to feed me again. This time around, I learned that Catholic Cutie’s name was Will and he was 18. Again, intrigued. If you don’t know the game Fugitive it goes like this; you get a big group of people together at night, and they need to make it from one end of the neighborhood to the other without getting caught by the “police”. The “police” are 2 people from the group driving in a car with flashlights. If you get caught by a flashlight, you’re out and go to the end spot. It was my turn to be the police and was waiting to see who my copilot would be. My supervisor, Bobby and his friend (shoutout Nathan) made an attempt to shove Will in my passenger seat with no avail. Zack got the seat. Little did I know, Bobby, Nathan, and Will were beginning to hatch a plan to get us together.

Later in July, Bobby got the group together again for another game of fugitive in a different neighborhood. In the middle of the game, I got separated from my friends and began to run around looking for anyone I knew because it was hella creepy. All of a sudden I hear someone running behind me. I turn around to see Will about 30 yards behind me and my heart skips a beat. My true crime obsessed self and my 16 year old flirty self were very conflicted about this potential interaction. Will catches up and stops next to me and simply says “Hey”. I was nervous as heck and I have no idea what we talked about. All I know is we spent the rest of the game running together and talking. My 16 year old flirty self won the battle; he was charming. I ended up having to race home because I was very late for my curfew. I woke up the next morning to a post on my Facebook Wall from Will, asking if I’d gotten home. Through a cringe-worthy comment conversation, he got my number and promised to bring me a Sonic slushy to my work that day. (Is it me or are slushies starting to sound romantic?) I thought for sure he was just flirting, and he wasn’t actually going to bring me a slush at work. However, I’ll never forget the butterflies in my stomach as I saw him walk up to the pool gate with that giant slush in his hand. We talked for a few minutes and he left to go to his own shift. As he drives away, I hear my phone ding. It’s a text from Will asking if I wanted to go to the movies with him on Saturday! I wanted to play it so cool, but I’m pretty sure I texted a big fat “YES” immediately upon reading it.

^Our 2nd date

The rest of the week was filled with anxious daydreams that only a lovestruck 16 year old could create.  When we ironed out the details for the date, I made sure to tell him he had to come to the door to meet my parents before I would get in his car. He did just that and seeing him shake my dad’s hand gave me butterflies. He picked me up in his little blue Pontiac Sunfire, and I was smitten (because just having a car was super cool). He played me a mix CD he’d burned of all his favorite songs, and I listened intently as he explained each one and why he loved it. We joked, laughed, and sang along as we made our way to the movies. In the small theater, we sat near the front, and I couldn’t pay attention to 500 Days of Summer. I was so nervous sitting next to him, and he smelled really good. On the way home, I remember praying he would ask me out again. However, there was a problem. Will was 18 and had just graduated high school. He’d be leaving for Texas Tech in just a few weeks. Despite that unfortunate detail, he did ask me out again. I then proceeded to pretend he wasn’t leaving; we were going to stay in this perfect fairytale.

For the next 7 days we spent almost every ounce of free time we had together hanging with friends, driving around listening to music, visiting each other at work, and going on dates. I was totally and completely head over heels for this boy, and every fiber of my being hoped he felt the same way. We met each other’s families and spent the summer nights at the pool. After our 5th date, he still hadn’t kissed me and I was dying inside. On our way home from the date, I was determined to make it happen without looking desperate (lol). He was taking me home and I was leaned over the console just starring at him for most of the way home. I think he got the message because at the next red light, he laid one on me! Sparks, fireworks, butterflies, all of the above. “Finally!” I said and we both giggled. (We now kiss every time at that intersection when we’re back home.)

On August 14, 2009 Will told me we “had to talk” and my heart felt like it was going to explode. We met at a local Starbucks, ironically on the same intersection we had our first kiss. I arrived early to mentally prepare myself for a break up, but also to think of anything to say to him to make him consider long distance. I’d even burned him CDs for his road trip up to Tech. He sat down and asked me what he thinks we should do about “us”. Vulnerably, I confessed that I wanted to give this a chance and see if we could make it work After all, whats a 9 hour drive? My heart felt like it was going to explode again when he said he wanted us to be official and do the long distance thing. To my 16 year old heart, long distance sounded so romantic and grown up. Little did I know how gut wrenching it would be to have to continuously say goodbye.

I left for family vacation to Colorado on August 15th and returned the day before Will left for school. When it came time to say the big goodbye, I was a wreck. We were hugging by his car and he whispered to me “have you ever wanted to say something so bad, but didn’t want to seem dumb?”, “I love you too” I said. He drove away and I cried for hours. It seems silly now, but in that moment I truly did love him and I believe he truly did love me too. We’d spent the past two weeks bearing our souls to one another, as only two love struck teenagers can. He accepted me as the goody church girl that I was and respected the boundaries I wanted to put on our relationship. He made me laugh uncontrollably and felt so safe at the same time. We understood each other and wanted nothing more than to just be together. He felt “different”.

^Saying goodbye before he left for Tech

The next few months were filled with sappy text messages, hours of phone calls, music filled Skype dates and one surprise visit. We sent care packages and burnt CDs to express each and every angsty feeling. For Thanksgiving 2009 we both happened to be going to New Orleans to visit our extended families. Our families were about 6 miles apart in New Orleans, so we got to go back and fourth to meet everyone and spend our first Thanksgiving together! Christmas came around and I got to have him for a WHOLE MONTH. That break looked a lot like summer, spending every ounce of free time together and taking forever to kiss goodnight. We spent time with each other’s families and baked a ridiculous amount of cookies. Our deepest conversations happened when we’d sneak off to drive around town. We could drive for hours talking and listening to those burned CDs.


^Will sent me a pair of shoes he decorated!

^Thanksgiving in New Orleans, First Christmas, Will decorated my room for my present

The rest of the semester continued much like the first. He came home for Spring Break, Easter, and surprised me a few more times! We had some hard times too. Mostly, we just had “I miss you” fights and arguments, but some real world stuff hit us too. We had to learn how to be honest with one another and communicate extremely clearly. Getting to still know each other from 500 miles away wasn’t easy by any stretch of the word, but we were committed to one another. Fun fact: On Spring Break, in his childhood bedroom, with a James Avery ring, Will got down on one knee and asked me to marry him one day. SWOON. Young Shannon squealed yes, and meant it with her whole heart.

^Will surprising me at one of my soccer games!

Before we knew it, it was Summer and we had 3 months together. My heart couldn’t freaking stand how excited I was to have him back home. I was working at the pool again and he was working with his dad across town, so all we had were nights and weekends to make the most of our time together. Then, poof, he was gone back to school. Our relationship, now stronger than ever, was ready for another year. I decided to apply and planned to go to Texas Tech as well. I told myself, and everyone else, that I was going because I loved the campus. While that was true, I was going because Will was there. I couldn’t wait to be at the same school as him and see what life would be like in the same town. Those daydreams and plans got us through the first semester with him back at Tech.

After a year and a half of dating, important conversations began to come up. After all, he did ask me to marry him one day. Yeah, we were 17 and 19 but the love was real and we really meant the promises we were making each other. We dreamed about our future and what our lives would be like when we got married after college. In January 2011, religion came up. He’s Catholic (hellooooo Catholic Cutie) and I was not. Young Shannon was insanely stubborn, rooted in her faith, and was determined not to be Catholic. Young Will was insanely stubborn, rooted in his faith, and was determined to raise a Catholic family. Both of us were unwilling to bend in that area, causing us to question why we were doing this. We took a few days to think things over and figure out if we were willing to compromise.

The night before Will left to go back to Tech for spring semester, we broke up. Standing on my front porch, we gave each other back our class rings and hugged goodbye. He drove away and I watched his taillights go all the way down our street until they turned. My mom was there to catch me as I collapsed into a ball of tears on our living room floor. I couldn’t breathe when I realized what had actually just happened. Because of how we loved Jesus differently, we couldn’t be together. How was that possible?? It was awful, heartbreaking, soul crushing, and horrible. I cried for weeks and could hardly eat anything. I truly thought I might die from a broken heart. I honestly don’t have the words to write about because I try to block that month out of my mind.

Now, you know this story has a happy ending, but we have many more obstacles to get through before that happens. Stay tuned for part two of “Thank God I Failed Geometry”.


Hospital Bag Round 2

I had definitely learned my lesson from Winifred’s birth: less is more! I had read every mommy blog and Pinterest article out there and had packed every single thing I might need. I used about 1/10 of what I packed (see here)! So, this time around I got real with myself on what would be absolutely necessary.

Truthfully, you’re at the hospital for 24-72 hours depending on how you bring that babe into the world. If you’re anything like me, when taking a 3 day trip you pack 28 outfits when at home you wear the same pair of jeans for a week. Try to resist that urge when you’re packing for the hospital. Trust me, RESIST, even when the “nesting” is telling you to pack all the things. As my husband says, “you’re not going to a third world country, we can always get you what you need”.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate Amazon links. Meaning, I may benefit from purchase made from the links. These are all products I’ve purchased myself and LOVED using. 

Here’s what I packed for the hospital round two.

First, I packed everything in packing cubes and it was an absolute game changer. It made everything easy to organize and access while I was in the hospital. Unpacking was also easier with everything in cubes! I used these!

 Mama Clothes- With my first, I stayed in my hospital gown way too long because I didn’t know I could change. This time, I asked the nurses if I could change in to “real people clothes” the second I got into my postpartum room. This made a world of difference and put me in a good mood!

This all went into two packing cubes (undergarments/outfits)

I used EVERY piece of clothing I packed (we stayed for almost 48 hours). The robe was a savior because hospitals are cold but the “breastfeeding sweats” are real. With my first, I brought slippers and didn’t use them because the nonslip socks were more convenient and got the job done! We also didn’t opt to take photos, so I didn’t need a cute or matchy outfit.

Fun Fact: You don’t need underwear. You’ll want to live in those mesh undies forever!

Toiletries- I put these in the large clear packing cube

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Washcloth
  • Toner
  • Moisturizer
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Chapstick
  • Brush
  • Nipple balm
  • Hair ties

There is no feeling like scrubbing your face and brushing your teeth after birth. You’re in labor for a long time and it feels incredible to freshen up. It’s the first step to feeling human again. This time, I didn’t bring shampoo, conditioner, or my makeup. I had just taken a shower before leaving for the hospital and I didn’t think I could stand long enough to even take one after giving birth. Again, we weren’t taking photos, so I didn’t bring my makeup. I also didn’t bring my oils or diffuser. It didn’t even cross my mind to use them with Winifred’s birth, so I didn’t bother packing them.

Comfort Items

I didn’t bring my massage bar or the baseball. I think I subconsciously knew I was going to get an epidural so I wouldn’t need them. Having more than one charger is a must, especially when you have more than one person in your birthing room! Also, I’m biased but I think my birth playlist is bomb.

Baby- Daphne Grace had her own small packing cube! This made it way easier to keep her stuff together and find everything!

We kept it SUPER simple for DG. Last time, I had a whole diaper bag packed with diapers, wipes, 2 outfits, burp cloths, baby book, everything. Y’all, the hospital has everything you need for baby! It’s also encouraged to do as much “skin to skin” with baby as possible, so we kept Daphne Grace naked and in a swaddle the whole time. This made it more convenient to feed and to skin to skin. We brought 2 going home outfits because we didn’t know if she would need a Newborn outfit or a 0-3 month outfit! We thought she was going to be huge but she ended up needing a newborn outfit! The swaddle and bow were for cute baby pics, but we never ended up taking a cute picture of her in them! #secondbornproblems


The only extra thing we brought this time was a basket of goodies for the nurses! I just bought a cute, plastic crate from Target and filled it with candy from HEB. We didn’t bring our birth ball, pump, or letter board. The hospital has pumps and birthing balls. I also knew I wouldn’t keep up with the letterboard, so I didn’t even bring it. #secondbornproblems

Overall, my philosophy changed from “its best to be prepared” to “less is more, we aren’t going to a third world country”. Keep your birth simple and don’t try to use too many things. Someone can always go get you what you need!





Surviving, Not Thriving

So, you just had a baby. One of the biggest things in your life has happened and everything in your world is completely different. After one day in the hospital, they let you leave with full confidence in your ability to keep this teeny tiny human alive. If you were anything like me, you kept checking behind you to see if they were really going to let you leave leave the hospital with this newborn. But alas, here you are at home with your new baby. You’re tired, scared, unsure, full of raging hormones, and trying to heal.

It’s a lot, lets all just agree on that. No matter how your baby enters the world of how many babies you’ve brought into the world, it’s fair to say you are overwhelmed.

For me, the first few weeks were the hardest. Trying to “get to know” a newborn is messy and, at most times, frustrating. Adjusting to a newborn and a 13 month old was way more difficult than I had anticipated. I was working SO hard to breastfeed, keep my house clean, and my toddler fed. I had stitches, a pooch, and struggled to recognize myself in the mirror. I was juggling doctors appointments and playdates while trying to sleep more than 30 minutes at a time. IT. WAS. A. LOT. The days were definitely filled with sweetness, but they were also full of some very dark moments.

A moment comes to mind that might put this into perspective; I was one week postpartum and struggling. It was 11:00 am and I was trying nurse Daphne because we had a 12:00 doctors appointment. Of course, she is not latching and thrashing around. I had just put Winifred down for a nap and she was in her room screaming her head off like I’ve never heard before. I covered myself back up and gave thrashing Daphne to my mom and went (shirtless) to try and settle Winifred. I rocked her for 20 minutes and set her back in her crib, only to hear her wail again as soon as I closed her door. I decided to let her settle herself because Daphne still needed to eat and we were running out of time. I sat down, put the nipple shield on, and tried to get Daphne to latch. She latched for 5 seconds and knocked the shield off, sending milk all over she and I. At this point, Winifred is still screaming bloody murder, Daphne is crying, I’m covered in milk, and it’s 11:30. To add to the crazy, I realized that the base for Daphne’s carseat is not in my car. My dad, bless his extremely helpful soul, rushes out to attempt to put it in. He comes back and explains how he used the seatbelt to attach it. Confused and teary, I say “what??”, knowing that’s not the way we attach the seats. I tried, and failed, to explain how to use the anchor straps and the anchors in the seat. Out of hormone induced frustration, I burst into tears. Y’all this was a dark place. Both kids screaming, engorged breasts, milk everywhere, and it’s 11:45. Through the tears I ask my mom to take Daphne while I put the base in the car. With milk all over me and mascara running down my face I load up a screaming Daphne and head to the hospital; leaving my dad with  shrieking Winifred in her crib.

On the way to the hospital, Daphne is still screaming. I’m sobbing and whispering to my mom “I can’t do this. I can’t do this.” Resigning to the fact that, for the time being, one of us is going to be crying at all times. She pats me on the should and gives me an empathetic glance, “Yes, you can.” she said, “It’s not forever. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.” I knew she was right, but I had just entered the tunnel….the light was a tiny speck and very far away. We were at the very beginning of this very long journey.

The “baby blues” hit me hard in those two weeks. One moment, I was completely overwhelmed and crying. The next, I was elated and crying. Always crying. I felt like I had to do it all on my own because one day I would have to. I had my mom here, but I was hesitant to use her out of fear. I didn’t want to become too reliant on her and then fall to pieces when she left! Both Will and my’s mom did this on their own without help from their parents, was I a lesser parent because I was leaning on my mom? It sure did feel like it.

The nighttime was the most difficult time to get through. Daphne Grace was becoming nocturnal and was quite fussy. My dad always says, “The world is never darker than from 2-5am”, and he is so right. Will and I took shifts holding her in the rocking chair that sat in the corner of our room. One night, I sat there doing anything I could to just get her to settle down, and my mind went to the dark place. “This won’t end”, I remember thinking. “I won’t ever sleep again. I can’t do this, if I don’t get sleep. Why won’t she just shut up? What kind of mother can’t soothe her baby?? How can I already be failing so miserably at this??” The thoughts and feelings got darker and darker as the hours passed. Guilt crept in when I realized the awful things I was thinking. Tears rolled down my face and silent sobs escaped me as desperation set in. I didn’t want this. I didn’t want to be feeling this way about my baby or myself, and I surely didn’t want to be thinking such dark things at this time of night. I sat there starring at my husband and his useless nipples as I stayed awake nursing Daphne. I began to beg Jesus to let my baby fall asleep. Please.

I’d prayed for babies my whole life and there was a time when I didn’t think I’d even get one.  Now I had two. I should be on my knees with gratitude, but I wasn’t.

This was the baby blues; the least severe form of Postpartum Depression. My hormones were all over the place and I was struggling to cope with my new normal.   I knew I had to do something to pull myself out of this funk. I had to get my ish together or these babies were going to eat me alive.

The first thing I did was accept help. I started to let my mom help me with the kids and the household duties. She would hold Daphne while I put Winifred down, or make me lunch while I nursed. I relied on Will a lot more when he came home and would wake him up more to get the baby at night. The weight got lighter. Day by day, I had my mom help a little less and I began to do more on my own; taking 2 under 2 in small bites. My confidence was boosted, knowing I had her in the wing if I needed. I slowly began to see that I could absolutely do this. Will is also a champion dad. He would come home from work, just as exhausted as I was, and jump right into the thick of it with me. We were surviving, definitely not thriving.

Next, I had to ask for what I needed. I couldn’t expect to do everything on my own, but I also couldn’t expect everyone to read my mind and give me what I needed. I had to be vocal with my needs and my feelings. If I needed 10 minutes to walk outside and take a breath, I need to ask someone to take the girls. It was important for me to recognize my own needs and advocate for my mental health. It definitely made it easier on everyone around me, so they wouldn’t have to walk on eggshells around my hormonal self.

I had to catch myself in the middle of the darkness. I needed to figure out how to pull myself out or let someone know what I needed. I had to realize that these were just feelings, and feelings aren’t truth. Just because I felt like a bad mom doesn’t mean I was one. Just because I felt like I couldn’t handle 2 under 2 doesn’t mean that was true. My feelings were valid and justified, but they were not the end all be all of my value as a mom. The little things I started to do mattered, good or bad. How I treated myself had a huge affect on my emotions. I figured I should make a list of the small things I could do to battle those moments when the “baby blues” got ahold of me. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Wash your face
  • Change your clothes
  • Take a shower/bath
  • Go for a walk
  • Sit in the sun
  • Take 5 minutes to go in a room and breathe
  • Dance to a ridiculous song
  • Snuggle your baby
  • Drive around alone for 10 minutes
  • Get a sonic/starbucks drink
  • Clean something
  • Do a facemask
  • Do some yoga/light stretching
  • Read your bible

**These are just things I’ve found that help me feel better. If you feel like the “baby blues” are getting worse or lasting longer than a few weeks, PLEASE reach out to your OB for help.**

I love my babies. I love my life. I love being a stay at home mom. But I’m not a superhero and I do not have my life together all the time. Quite frankly, its a mess 99% of the time and thats ok. I have a lot of feelings and I feel them. I have highs and lows everyday and I ride the waves. I express my needs to those around me and do my best to keep myself if check.

Mamas, we can’t be afraid to let people know what we need. It’s not a crime to need a break or to ask for help. We weren’t meant to do this on our own. We need support and people to talk to when we feel that darkness creeping in. It’s not something to hide or cover with shame. Some days are absolute s**t shows, other days are filled with incredible memories. We just gotta take them as they come and show them who’s boss.


You got this; We got this.

2 Under 2 Necessities

  • The Haaka– Y’all. Run, do not walk to get this bad boy. The Haaka is a suctioning  mini-pump you attach to the breast your baby is not feeding from. It catches the milk from each let down that would otherwise go into a breast pad or all over your shirt! I cannot tell you how much this has blessed my life. I have not used an electric pump and I already have a huge stash saved with 0 effort. It’s so easy to use and is an absolute MUST.

  • Prepped Caddys- Bear with me, this is a lot but it’s a life saver when you need to get stuff DONE.
    • Breastfeeding Caddy– I keep this with me at all times, especially in the first few weeks. I did not make one of these after Winifred and it would have saved me a lot of hassle. The idea is to get literally everything you might need during a feed into a caddy so it’s easily accessible! There is nothing worse than needing something across the room when you’ve got a baby on the boob. Having everything in one place makes it easy to carry from room to room as well. In my caddy I have:

  • Postpartum Caddy- I keep this in a basket next to my toilet. This has everything I need to do my business and take care of my lady parts after a vaginal delivery. I did this after Winifred and Daphne. Both times it was super convenient and made sure I took care of myself! In my postpartum caddy I have:
  • Stretch-mark Cream– Ok, this stuff is actual magic. My mom purchased this for me based off the amazon reviews and they were RIGHT. After a week of using this stuff most of my stretch marks are completely gone! My stomach was fully covered in long purple stretch marks and now I have 4 tiny ones left. I wish I would have taken before and after photos. The ones I have left have no color anymore and are almost invisible! A little goes a long way and it’s so easy to apply. 11/10 would recommend!

  • Lactation Balls– I love these things so much! When you have 2 under 2 and you’re breastfeeding, feeding yourself is important and difficult. You have to make sure you’re eating nutrient dense food but with what time?? The hospital gave me a recipe for lactation balls and we decided to try them out. WOW they’re amazing and SO easy to make! You can prep them in advance so you don’t have to worry about time. They have ingredients that support breastmilk production and are an easy grab and go option. Pinterest also has different options for lactation balls, cookies, and smoothies to fit your needs!


  • Double Stroller– We were gifted this incredible stroller and we LOVE it. It’s the Contours Options Elite Tandem Double stroller. The seats can switch around to accommodate our growing babes. It can hold the carseat and Winifred and can change for when Daphne gets older. It’s nice and compact so I don’t feel like I’m taking up the whole sidewalk or store aisles. It also has a huge storage space under the seats, which is amazing. Winnie loves being in the front and seeing everything, and I love that I can see baby Daphne. It works for walks to the park, in the library, at the mall, and everywhere else we need to go. It’s definitely a city stroller though, not meant for hiking or beaches.


  • Toddler Activities- Alright this one is hella important. I have a 13 month old who doesn’t understand why she cannot be in my skin while I feed Daphne. We kept having meltdown after meltdown while I was breastfeeding and it was stressing me out. So, I decided to have fun activities or simple things for Winifred to do while I feed her sister. I’ve searched Pinterest and found some fun things to have Winnie do that is minimal prep and super fun for her! Checkout my Pinterest board on what I’ve done/plan to do!


  • YOUR VILLAGE- This is by far the biggest necessity. With 2 babies, I needed HELP. It took me weeks to accept that this was difficult and I couldn’t do it completely alone. My mom was staying with us the first few weeks after having Daphne. At first, I wanted to do it all by myself because “I would eventually be on my own”. This led to multiple anxiety attacks and many many tears. It was hard; really and truly hard, and I needed help. Once I accepted the help, I could breathe again. I could let my mom hold Daphne while I prepped to breastfeed, or let someone do the dishes for me. It didn’t mean that I couldn’t do it on my own one day, it just meant that I needed time to adjust to our new normal.  LET. PEOPLE. HELP. YOU. You can be supermom later.


Eating for Two, Healing for One

I’ve struggled with some form of disordered eating since elementary school. I remember being in 5th grade, comparing myself to the “skinny” girls. I would wonder what it was like to look like they did and to have my clothes fit like theirs did. That’s when the skipping meals started, and continued for a few years. When I was in the 8th grade, the binge eating started. I would eat so much so fast I felt absolutely sick, trying to eat away the bad feelings I had.  That’s when the bingeing and purging started and went on for about a year. The restricting continued until later in high school. I saw how dangerous the behaviors were getting and I didn’t want to end up in the hospital. I fought it, hard. Doing my best to not think about food, my body, or what I wished I looked like. I actually managed pretty well until my freshmen year of college. The anxiety and stress of being far away from home and starting over triggered those thoughts and fears. The restricting was at its worst and I spent hours in the Rec center, on the elliptical.

I felt completely out of control and it scared me. I didn’t think I could get myself out of the darkness I was in, so I opted for “treatment”. I began going to therapy twice a week and accepting an accountability partner to keep my urges in check. With the strategies I learned in therapy, I started to love myself and heal my relationship with food. Eventually, my behaviors were under control and I could ride the waves of temptation without drowning. However, the thoughts and anxieties that surrounded my relationship with my body lingered. I still struggled daily and had an extreme relapse my junior year.

When I got pregnant with Winifred, the anxieties heightened. I knew weight gain came with a healthy pregnancy; it was expected and encouraged for a pregnant woman to gain a moderate amount of weight to grow a human. In my heart I knew that, but my brain panicked as soon as I saw those two pink lines. “You’re gonna get HUGE” I heard, “Your body is going to be wrecked”.  The darkness came and the battle begun between what I knew to be true and what my disorder was telling me. In the first trimester, I developed horrible morning sickness that lasted all day. It made it almost impossible for me to eat anything besides crackers and I felt myself starting to wither away. In 14 weeks, I’d lost almost 15 lbs.  The battle of my brain continued. My disorder was SO happy that I was losing weight without “technically” having any disordered eating behaviors. That part of me overjoyed to be growing a human and getting smaller. In a twisted way I felt like I was getting the best of both worlds! Then, there was the part of me that was freaking out wondering if my baby was getting the nutrients they needed to be healthy.

My parents came to visit when I was 14 weeks pregnant. My mother walked into the kitchen while I was cooking and her jaw dropped. The sight of me made her audibly gasp. My jeans were falling off, my legs and butt had diminished significantly, and my eyes were sunken and dark. She said “Um, how much weight have you lost?”.  “I don’t know”, I muttered, lying. I’d know exactly how much weight I lost due to the morning sickness. For 2.5 seconds, I felt proud that she’d noticed my weight loss. Then, I was crushed by guilt. How on earth could I feel proud that my body was disappearing when it was supposed to be creating a healthy baby? For days, I was sick at the thought of how proud I was. I called my doctor to get checked and to talk to him about my weight loss. I had to take back control for my baby.

Through the rest of my pregnancy, I stayed off the scale and prayed every time a “dark” thought came into my heart. I asked my doctor not to tell me how much I weighed unless I needed to know for health reasons. He continued to support me and only told me I was well within the “healthy” range for my weight. That’s all I needed to know. This didn’t stop me from being extremely sensitive to every word someone said about my pregnant body or what I was eating. I was extremely easy to trigger with words and I dissected every single thing someone said about me and my belly. My moods were completely dependent on what someone did or did not say about the way that I looked. I know how unhealthy and unfair that was to this body that was working so hard to create a little life, but I couldn’t stop. Will got the brunt of it. I would snap every time he made an innocent comment about my cravings or when he encouraged me to eat healthy for the baby. It came to blows one night when I realized how negatively this was affecting him. He was walking on eggshells around me wondering if he was going to say something “wrong” and receive aggressive comments in return. I was blaming him for my insecurities and anxieties when all he was doing was making sure I was eating stuff that was good for me and the baby. I was making my self worth his responsibility and that was completely unfair. I had to put myself  in check and realize that my disorder was twisting Will’s love and turning it into criticism. I was making it his job to not trigger me instead of hearing his words for what they truly were; love.


The next 7 months I spent on my knees praying for God to soften my own heart. I prayed  to put the baby before myself and to view my body as a temple that was creating life. I didn’t want these thoughts and triggers anymore. I didn’t want to see food as a problem and my body as a number on the scale.  I wanted to be able to see my body for what it was; strong and capable of creating life.  Slowly but surely, I began to give myself grace and enjoy my changing body as the baby grew. Soon, I was even grateful for the extra pounds and stretch marks. It meant that my baby was growing. I’d prayed for a baby for years…why had I been so focused on the superficial parts of my body changing?

After Winnie J was born, my body wasn’t mine. I was breastfeeding and going back to work while trying to navigate motherhood. I avoided mirrors at all cost, knowing I wouldn’t be happy with what I saw. I wore baggy clothes and fastened my pants with hair ties. My mind was on Winnie J and keeping her healthy and happy. I know felt like I didn’t even have time to think about the mush that was my stomach or the insane jiggle in my thighs; don’t even get me started on the complete unevenness/”saggyness”. of my boobs. When Winnie was 4 months old, I felt ready to take control back and work to build a new version of the body I was proud of.

As we know, a wrench was thrown into my plans. The week I began to workout after Winifred, we found out I was pregnant with Daphne Grace. As the shock wore off, I couldn’t help but have the thought, “What is going to happen to my body now?”. I had gotten to a healthy place mentally, but my body was nowhere near recovered from my pregnancy or Winifred’s birth. I was overwhelmed with dark thoughts. How much more will my abs separate? How many more stretch marks will I get? Will I jiggle even more? Will my breasts get even more saggy? What the hell with this body even look like after 2 babies in 2 years?? I gave myself a day to wallow in the darkness, then get my ish together. History would not repeat itself with this pregnancy.

I’m proud to say that it didn’t. I was stronger mentally and did my best to fuel the baby belly with great food while indulging in my cravings. For 15 weeks, I felt strong and in control of my triggers and anxieties. Then, one day after school a coworker approached me, rubbed my belly and said “wow! Are you having a 17lb baby? You’re HUGE”. She did not mean any insult with her comment, I know that. It came from a loving humorous place; I was showing very early and very hugely. I wish I would have taking the comment for what it was, but I let it fester. It ate at me for days and I let it sink into my soul. I began to suck in as much as I could in the presence of others and wear shirts that made my stomach look smaller. I couldn’t wait to be further along, as if to justify the size my belly.  I faltered in my strength.

At my next appointment, I asked the nurse to weigh me and tell me if I was gaining at a healthy rate. Instead of avoiding looking at the scale, I wanted to tackle the anxiety in a healthy way. When I asked, my nurse laughed it off.  Triggered. I know she wasn’t laughing to make me feel silly or stupid, but my disorder told me that’s why she laughed. When I asked my doctor the same question, he brushed it off, saying I didn’t need to worry about that. Triggered. Being shrugged off made my anxiety spike. As calmly as I could I explained about my past and why it was important for me to know I was healthy while still gaining weight. He pulled out a chart and showed me my starting weight and we discussed what my goal weight should be and what was considered healthy for me as my pregnancy progressed.

I knew I was stronger, because the old me would have taken that chart and made sure I hadn’t gained an ounce over the “goal”. But I didn’t. I lived my life and loved my baby. I ate when I wanted and what I wanted, just making sure I was eating food that was fuel. I was stronger and better for my babies.

The disorder wasn’t winning, I was.

I’m now two weeks postpartum with Daphne Grace. My skin is saggy and I still have a “bump” that takes me look 5 months pregnant. I’m struggling with clothes and how I feel about this new me, but that’s ok. I’m so proud of this body and the two beautiful humans it created. I’m grateful that it can now supply Daphne with the food she needs. I now have the desire to keep this body strong and healthy so I can be my best self for my family. The dark thoughts are there, don’t get me wrong, and mirrors are still difficult to face, but I’m not a slave to the disordered behaviors anymore. Each day, I decide what voice I’m going to listen too and I’m doing my best to choose the voice of the Lord telling me I’m strong and beautiful. I like that voice.

I now have two daughters; two girls whom I want to love every inch of themselves. My daughters will not see me step on the scale and cry. My daughters will not see me refuse a cooking on account of “calories”. My daughters will not see me pick apart my body in the mirror. They will see me eat fuel, working out to celebrate my body, and love this body that created them. I want my daughters to have a healthy relationship with food and their body, and I now have the opportunity to be an example of that.

I look forward to the opportunity to embrace what my body is now. I get to love myself through these changes and show the girls that their mommy is taking care of her body and is grateful for all it has done.

Call it Textbook: The Birth of Daphne Grace

“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh”, I whispered to myself. It was Thursday afternoon and I was in Winifred’s rocking chair, watching her play after nap time. I’d just had my first ACTUAL contraction. It wrapped around my entire torso and made me audibly gasp. I had back labor with Winifred and Braxton Hicks for weeks, so that was an extremely new feeling. My heart nearly exploded out of my chest to feel a normal contraction! I was 39 weeks pregnant, had been losing my mucus plug for days, and was SO ready to meet this baby. The day before I thought my water broke, but upon doctor inspection I’d just been slowly peeing myself all day. That’s always nice to hear, right? HOWEVER, I was so encouraged by this one little contraction for two reasons. 1. This meant my labor might actually be “normal”. 2. We could possibly be having a baby very soon.

My contractions continued most of that evening and I was having about 1 an hour. With each one, I grew more and more shocked that this reality I’d been begging for was happening. My mind was racing and I decided to head to bed, for this might be my last night to sleep for a while! Welp. “A Pipe Dream” is what I call that. The contractions intensified around midnight and my gut told me to start timing them. They were fierce as I laid in our silent house, breathing through them. I tried to be as quiet as possible to not wake Will until absolutely necessary.

There was something empowering about laboring quietly and alone. Me and Jesus got to have a long conversation about Daphne Grace, her safety, and our family. With each contraction and each breath, I asked God to help me endure this pain for the insane beauty that was surely to come. I asked for him to help me accept that this was Daphne’s process to go through and all I had to do was my best to help her enter the world. I tell you what, my best conversation with the big man was laboring over my toilet, breathing in and out. Give it a try.

The contractions increased to 9 minutes apart by 7am. Will rolls over to kiss me good morning and I say “Ok, so we’re about 9 minutes apart”! With wide eyes he says “Ummm ok.”, flung the covers off, and became a tornado of productivity. While still contracting, I hear him rushing around the house; putting the carseat in the truck, packing his hospital bag, showering, and finishing up some work things. I giggled to myself, thinking about what was going through his mind. Guess I should have given him a tiny bit more of a heads up.

I stayed on the toilet most of the morning. It was the place I found the most comfort and apparently “real” contractions make you have to go to the bathroom a lot. Who knew? They intensified very quickly and by 10am we decided to venture to the hospital. The car ride was calm in between contractions. Will and I kept looking over at each other in shock and awe, giggling. We’d had 9 months to prepare for Daphne’s arrival, it’s pretty much all we’d ever talked about! But there is something about realizing that a tiny human being is coming into your life when you have another tiny human being at home, it’s just surreal.

We got to the hospital as the contractions were almost too intense to breathe through. I was wheeled up to Labor and Delivery which, apparently, was in the middle of baby Palooza week! There were 3 laboring mothers in front of me, waiting to be checked in. Nurses buzzed around, phones rang off the hook, and housekeeping rushed from room to room prepping them for the new arrivals. We waited, breathing, and laughing at the situation. Of COURSE Daphne Grace would enter the world during the baby boom of Midland.

We were finally in our room (the same room WJ was birthed in!) and we had an absolute sensational group of nurses with us, several of which recognized us from last year. I got settled into the bed and got my blood taken as they asked me alllllll the questions. Then it came time to check to see how dilated I was, I was shaking. (See Winnie’s birth story for previous trauma with cervix checks). I expressed my fear and apprehension with the nurse. She was empathetic and told me she would do her best to be fast and gentle. She delivered and I heard the most beautiful words a laboring mother could hear. “All right, so you’re about a 7/7.5! You’re staying here!” “SHUT UP!” I said out of pure disbelief. “Are you serious?!” Tears filled my eyes because all those contractions actually did something. My body was working with me this time.

I decided to get the epidural and it’s a decision I’m proud of. I knew what my body could handle and it couldn’t handle another birth like Winifred’s. I labored for about another hour or so and the cutest man came in and gave me a great epidural. Why was it a great epidural? Well, because I could still move my legs and feel all my contractions but nothing was painful. I found great joy knowing I could still work with my body.  I was laid on my side with the peanut ball (God’s greatest invention) and was told they would call my doc and tell him to come check me!

Womp womp. My lovely nurse comes in and tells us that my doctor was out of town this weekend and his on call doctor would be delivering Daphne. My heart sank. I knew this was too good to be true. My labor was going way too textbook to keep going so well. But, what could I do? I was having this baby and somebody had to catch it! I accepted it and prayed some more about the things I could not control. So, the on call doctor comes in and low and behold, she’s the most positive and amazing doctor I could have asked for. I expressed my fear about Daphne’s size and how difficult WJ’s labor was. She encouraged me and validated my fears, while making me feel safe. Another prayer answered.

After 2 hours on the peanut ball they broke my water, and another hour later it was time to PUSH! I was so in shock about how smoothly it was going and how empowered I felt through this process. Will had been so encouraging and wonderful, holding my hand the whole time and trusting me to trust my body. I was shaking, partly from the hormones, partly because I was so nervous to meet Daphne. It almost felt like a first date. “What will she be like? Will she like me? Will I be enough for her?” etc.

When it comes time to push, a FLOOD of people come in the room; nurses for me, nurses for baby, interns and doctor. Will was by my side, my mom at the ready with her camera, and my dad assumed his position behind the chair. Deja vu hit for sure. I began pushing with every contraction and, damn. I had an epidural and it hurt, bad. By the 5th set of pushes I was exhausted and in pain. My nurse gave me oxygen and every one else in the room was encouraging me with “Come on, mama! One more! You can do this! Breathe! She’s almost here!” and I was overwhelmed with emotion. By the 6th set, her head was “right there” and everyone told me that we were going to have a baby with a head full of hair! Everyone took a turn looking, even Will, and I got to feel her head with my hand! Did I mention that all modesty goes out the window when you’re spread eagle in a room of 20 people trying to push a baby out? Cause it does.

The doctor started to whisper to the nurse and the nurse replied with “yeah, she said that happened with her first”. Oh no, I thought. I asked what she was saying and the doctor said that Daphne’s head has a little crooked and getting caught on my bone. COOOOOL, apparently I make babies with crooked heads. My mind quickly went to a dark place as I envisioned forceps, massive tearing, and torticollis all over again. I asked her what we should do and she said it was nothing to worry about and she would guider her with my pushes.  The 7th and 8th sets of pushes were intense as the pain and pressure peaked, her head was coming out and the doctor had straightened her out, no forceps. After the 8th set, my doc looked me in the eyes and said “If you do your best on this one, she’s out”. So, with every ounce of my entire being, I pushed and pushed. With a quick sharp pain and a release of pressure, the doctor was handing me my perfect baby girl. Head full of black hair, covered completely in vernix, and screaming her lungs out; she was here. “You did it!”, Will said holding my hand and staring at our beautiful girl.

They wiped her off and my mom got to cut the cord! I could not get to her fast enough as we started skin to skin. And I got that feeling. That feeling moms tell you you’ll get when you have another baby. You don’t love your first born less, your heart doubles. They were so right. I felt like the Grinch with my heart growing 3 times its size. She was perfect and beautiful, and ours. She was here.

Daphne Grace entered the world at 4:02PM on Friday, September 27th. She was 8lbs 1oz and 20 inches long. She’s perfect and we are so in love!

This birth was different than my first. Traumatic vs. Textbook, but they were both perfect. These births brought my beautiful girls into the world and I’m grateful to my body for both of them.