On this day 1 year ago, our only son was born.
I've held back on sharing the full story of our precious Hugh the Man. How we found out, how we shared the news, the pregnancy experience, the birth story. It was a completely different experience in comparison to my pregnancy and birth with Lace, which you could read about here.
But now, today, that our baby boy is one, I found this the perfect opportunity to tell you about everything. ALL OF IT. From the very beginning, until his birthday - December 3rd, 2016.
HOW WE FOUND OUT
Conceiving him was not as much of a "surprise" as it was with our first baby, Lace. We had already begun entertaining the thought of getting pregnant again. They'd be over two years apart, just enough for her to get potty trained before we had another in diapers.
Just a couple weeks after my husband and I had this "maybe ready for another baby" conversation, I woke up one morning with a strong desire to go get a pregnancy test. I loaded up Lace in the car, grabbed a test at CVS. But I was super hungry, so we stopped at Chipotle to eat real quick before we went back home.
As we sat in a booth at the restaurant, sharing our black-bean-white-rice-corn-veggies-pico-de-gallo-cheese-sour-cream-guacamole-lettuce bowl, I realized I had to pee. No sense in waiting to pee until I got home, because LAWDY, I had to GO. Like BAD. That sweet tea creeped up on me like nobody's business.
Pretty much right when I sat down I had to stop myself - because I was like "CRAP! This is my first pee of the day! I need to take this test in my purse!"
Super classy way to find out you're pregnant. In the bathroom of Chipotle.
I found out with Lace in the bathroom of Walgreens, too. So my "finding out" moments aren't as glorious or intimate or special as maybe your "finding out" moments are.
Sure enough, that sucker was a big fat POSITIVE. I didn't know what to do (probably because I was halfway embarrassed that I was still sitting in Chipotle), and I still wanted to find a way to creatively shared the news with my family.
So, I just Facetimed one of my best friends instead. I said "hey, um, does this look positive to you?" She responded with "um, yes, but where are you?! Are you at a restaurant?! Wait, you're at CHIPOTLE?! OH MY GOD HANNAH YOU WOULD."
My wheels were spinning on how to tell my husband. I can't keep secrets this big for very long, and he was to return home within just a few hours.
So, here's how I broke the news to him. His response was, well, such a guy response:
Once we shared the news with our family and best friends, and once our midwife deemed that the baby was healthy and thriving, we shared on social media with the rest of our sweet friends. It was on the day of Easter Sunday, and the caption to the picture we shared said this:
"Lace, sweetie, when we say we have "a bunny in the oven," it's just a figure of speech."
We also had decided very early on with names. Probably because I'm a name addict. And my most favorite part about being pregnant is that I can get creative with cute name ideas.
For this pregnancy, Blaine and I agreed that if it was a girl, we'd name her Claire Amelia (Claire is the middle name of my sweet uncle who passed away. My middle name is his first name, Ray.) But if it was a boy, we'd name him Hugh Beckham (Hugh is Blaine's daddy's name, his grandpa's name, and also a popular name on my side of the family).
But in my heart, I always knew it was a boy, y'all. Always.
I had constant dreams about birthing a son (same thing happened with Lace). I would even have vision-like experiences that our next child would be a son (same thing happened with Lace). I never doubted once what the sex was of this baby. It was just one of those things where momma knows best, I guess. Or the Holy Spirit does.
But either way, my heart was in preparation for our boy - and I was thrilled.
At our 20 week appointment, we headed to the imaging center to get the ultrasound. My heart was pounding in excitement and nervousness. "What if it's NOT a boy? What if my intuitions were wrong? What if it's been a girl this WHOLE TIME?"
Though I wanted to puke my guts out the whole drive over there, something amazing happened. Right when the sonographer placed the gel on my tummy, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace flood my body. If it's a girl - praise the Lord. If it's a boy - praise the Lord. Either way, there is a very special and significant purpose for this child. And there is no one more fitting to raise this baby, THIS baby, than Blaine and I.
The sonographer swirled the stick around my tummy, checking baby's measurements and making sure all was well. She then said "well, do you want to know what it is?"
We nodded. And I probably tinkled a little. It was the longest 3 seconds of my life.
"It's a boy!" she said.
And all of the sudden, y'all, I screamed so freaking loud. Like REALLY loud. I didn't even know I was going to do that, it just came out. Kinda like when you do something on impulse that is really abrupt or noisy and everyone in the room is quiet, and you're like "oh crap, why did I do that, I didn't even mean to."
Yeah, It scared that poor lady pretty good. But sorry ma'am, the Lord is just so good!
THE PREGNANCY EXPERIENCE
Those first 12 weeks of pregnancy were miserable, to say the least. The morning sickness and nausea tapered off quite a bit once I hit 17 weeks, but let's just say I got REAL familiar with our master bathroom toilet with this baby. Which was so strange to me, because with Lace, I never struggled with that. So odd how every pregnancy experience is so different!
One essential oil I loved to use during these weeks was Peppermint. I would apply on my tummy, under my nose, and on the bottoms of my feet. The smell of it was very refreshing to my mind, and the cooling sensation it left on my skin directed my thoughts away from how I felt. I'd also swallow a drop of Peppermint Vitality under my tongue, and drink a drop in water all day.
Come 20 weeks, though, I was getting worried. I wasn't "showing" hardly at all, and I was halfway through. With my first, I showed immediately - bloated up and out like a balloon. But my weight wasn't changing, and my stomach wasn't growing very much.
While some people might think that's "cool," that you're "so tiny" as a pregnant girl, I didn't think it was cool at all.
I rarely posted pictures of myself (other than monthly growth pictures), because of the fear I was experiencing. Probably because I feared of appearing "braggy" for looking so small at such a far along date, but also because I feared something was up. Something was up either with me, or either with him.
At our 20 week appointment, it was revealed to us that Hugh was laying "transverse" in my belly. Basically, instead of having his head down into my pelvis, his head was on the right side of my belly, and his butt was on the left side of my belly. It was as if he was being cradled sideways in my womb, instead of being upside down.
Not only that, that positioning caused my uterus to bulge much more towards my back than it did towards my belly.
At around 24 weeks, he shifted a little - pretty much overnight. He was still transverse, but his butt started to stick out in the front of my belly more. I was so thrilled about this - because I FINALLY looked pregnant, instead of just like I had eaten a big ol' turkey leg.
The weeks following were getting increasingly harder, in their own way. Being pregnant in your third trimester while taking care of a toddler is the real deal - waddling after her, changing diapers, getting up from playing with her on the floor, loading her up in the car, still carrying her around the house, cleaning up her toys, potty training. It was a lot. (for those moms who are pregnant with multiple kinds under 5, you're better women than me).
Hugh's due date was supposed to be on Thanksgiving. It was the perfect date for him to come in my mind - my parents and siblings would be there, my best friend would be there, we'd have plenty of help with Lace, and I could birth him in the comfort of my own home during the holiday. What a sweet and memorable Thanksgiving it would have been.
I woke up Thanksgiving morning - no contractions.
I woke up the day after - no difference.
I woke up the day everyone was to leave to go back home - no baby.
At that point, I just lost it. I was so disappointed. I wanted so badly for my family to experience this blessing with me. But once they all finally left to go back home (except my mom), I took a deep breath, and told myself that it was any day now. Any day now.
More days passed. No baby. Finally, a whole 9 days had passed - and I. WAS. STILL. PREGNANT.
People were calling. People were texting. People were messaging. I just kept responding with a big fat thumbs down. I remember telling my mom "Goodness mom, I don't care if they pull him out of my nose, I just want this baby OUT OF ME!" So over it. So ready to hold my son.
We went to get an ultrasound to make sure he was still okay. He was still healthy, but the sonographer told me that Hugh was facing the wrong way, yet again. Instead of being transverse, he was posterior, or "facing up." This would have made for an excruciatingly more painful labor and delivery if he were to have been born this way.
We needed this baby to turn. I went and got a chiropractic adjustment, to encourage him to move. I even went and got an acupuncture treatment, to stimulate him to turn in an anterior position instead. I even did certain exercises and movements that were said to help.
Finally, that night, at 11:00pm on December 2nd, 2016, I was bouncing on the exercise ball while my husband, mom, and daughter were watching a Maren Morris performance on TV. All of the sudden, in the middle of her singing "My Church," my water broke.
At last. Our son was coming.
We called my midwife Danielle immediately after my water broke. Lace came out within just a few hours of my water breaking, so we knew this second birth would probably go quickly too.
She arrived at our house with two of her student midwives. She checked all of his levels and mine - all was well. But I wasn't contracting, not even a little. And it was very late at night. So Danielle told me to just go to bed, and try to get as much rest as possible, because once I woke up in the morning, more than likely I'd start the contractions fast and furious, and Hugh would fly right on out.
Throughout the night, Danielle would come into our bedroom and check my levels and the baby's. The contractions would mildly start, then stop. Nothing was consistent, regular, or significant.
The next morning at around 8:00am, Danielle came into our bedroom and encouraged me to get up and start walking to encourage regular contractions. And right when I slung my feet over the side of the bed, I felt my first legit contraction. He was on his way!
One of my biggest fears was that I wouldn't know how to handle the pain of this unmedicated labor and delivery process. During my first natural birth with Lace, I was not mentally prepared for the intensity of the experience. So, I ordered the HypnoBabies program, and prepared my mind and body for weeks.
Once I felt my first strong contraction, I plugged in my ear buds and listened to my HypnoBabies tracks. With every wave of pressure, I relaxed with the diffuser in the background. With every inch downward he moved, I breathed in my oils. With every centimeter dilated, I hummed in peace as my mom applied oils on my back. And truly, y'all, HypnoBabies made labor virtually painless. I HIGHLY recommend EVERY mom who wants to do a natural birth to go through this program. Changed everything for me!
The pressure became more intense as he started to transition past my pelvis. It started getting to the point to where I was like "man, this actually kinda sucks now, I'm ready for this to be over." Every contraction was pushing him further and further down (and making me poop a little too, sorry, TMI, but that's just what happens. All of your insides are instinctively pushing itself out with all its might).
I then asked my midwife (in perfectly coherent English, surprisingly), if I could deliver him on the bed instead of the tub, because I wanted her to massage and stretch me with plenty of oil so I didn't tear. They helped me on the bed in our den, and after a few "IT BURNS" and "PULL HIM OUT" screams, a 7lb 7oz Hugh Beckham Crews was born, just after noontime, on December 3rd, 2016 - 10 days past his due date.
And he was perfect.
We may be biased, but we think our Hugh the Man is quite the stud. He has very big brown eyes, very light brown hair, very big squeezable cheeks, and very big kissable lips. He is measuring to be tall like his daddy one day - always in the 80-90% range in height and weight at every doctor's visit.
A couple weeks after he was born, we got him circumcised by a well-renowned Jewish Rabbi, who travels the world specializing in circumcisions. It was actually a pretty neat experience for us to watch as parents. The procedure was extremely fast, happening in seconds. Rabbi Mike was hilarious, made it comfortable and jolly, and we stayed by Hugh's side the whole time, touching his little hands and head and singing to him so he knew he was safe. It healed beautifully and perfectly, too.
He is passive, jolly, easy to read. He loves being held by Mommy, being sung to by Daddy, watching The Lion Guard on Disney Junior (hence the lion costume for his birthday celebration)....and his sister. Oh, how he loves his big sister.
That was a fear of mine, that Lace would be jealous, or that she would feel like she had been replaced. But, thankfully, we never experienced that with her. She coddles him, kisses his boo-boos, even gets sad when he cries.
And for all of these 365 days Bubba has been a part of our lives, I've never once seen those two get irritated with each other....yet. I know, I'm sure they will at some point. But right now, they are the best of friends - and I pray its stays that way forever.
Life sure has been peaceful, fun, and so much happier with this little boy in it.
My prayer as his mommy is that he grows up to be a man of VALOR, a man of HIS WORD, a man after GOD'S OWN HEART.
I love you, Hugh. You my son, you my son, you my son!