6 mois de Mae

11:11 AM

SIX months of knowing our sweet Mae Valentine. Her middle name is so fitting and reflective of her love for life and family. My great grandfather Valentine would have been proud to have such a beautiful little namesake.

This half year has flown by.  Wanna know the surest way to speed up time? Have a kid. Boy, does life speed up.  I can remember stopping for a Jimmy John's sandwich on the way home from the hospital with Mae. I sat in the back seat with both girls to ensure every one continued breathing as Mike ran in to get the sandwiches. I remember watching people go in and out of the sandwich shop going about their normal day as I sat recounting the last few day of my life. I just gave birth to my second baby. I can't believe it.  My body is a crazy force! This child is perfect and healthy. I am so hungry. My body hurts. I love these girls. I hope the house is clean when I get home.  When will I sleep again?

SO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT.  I love Mae's age now. She has settled into our family. We got the breastfeeding thing down pat. I sleep. She sleeps. She enjoys sitting in her high chair sucking on frozen blueberries as I meal prep. What a dream girl.  The most common thing people tell me is what a smiley and happy baby she is.  It's so true. She is just content to be around the people who love her most. I am so lucky to be able to stay home and rear her and love her and kiss all her owies.

Then some mom guilt sets in as I get a flutter in my stomach about how I am ALMOST to the year mark of her life. Which means we are done breastfeeding and I get my body back.   It's not that I don't love nourishing this perfect being.  It's just that I am SO looking forward to her gaining independence and growing up. I am excited to watch her eat her first strawberry that isn't pureed. I am excited to watch her eat an ice cream cone.  I am excited to watch her chase after her big sis. I have all the feels right now. MANNNNNNN. Don't have kids if you don't want to have an extra mushy, ultra-sensitive heart. For heaven's sakes, today we were late bringing Jane to ballet by 8 minutes. I was SO stressed out because her ballet teacher is no joke.  Of course as I shooed Jane into class, and the teacher gave me a mean look and rolled her eyes. And all I wanted to do in that moment was cry. Geez, Court, get a grip.  I spent the next hour being mad at the teacher and then I realized I was being silly. I went up to the teacher at the end of class and apologized for being late.  She thanked me for the apology and then life goes on.  Being late isn't ok.  But being human is. Ugh. Such a hard balance!

I hope that my children see me as a strong mama. But I also want them to see my sensitivities and my humanness.  I don't want to seem perfect but I wouldn't mind being seen as triumphant.  As someone who can overcome a problem and learn from it.  I just wanna be the best mama I can be. I want to be present for every moment. Even the bad ones. I want my children to have the best life possible. I want to watch them grow into wonderful, powerful, Godly people. I am along for the ride. Mama is taking her train of beautiful humans into the the land of health, happiness, and possibility.  First stop! Costco. Cuz we are out of like everything.

Cheers to 6 months, Mae Valentine.  You are mama's special girl.

Jane's third birthday

3:02 PM

We have a three-year-old, people! She's wild and beautiful, smart and fierce. This girl is definitely taking the world by storm. We are smitten over this little gal.  

She was so excited to plan her party.  At first we were thinking a Peppa Pig theme (but then the show got really annoying to me and I just couldn't hang with that idea) then we were thinking unicorn theme, so I ordered a bunch of fun decor on Amazon.  Then somehow the party turned into a Moana/unicorn theme. So, in true three-year-old fashion, we had a very mismatched, yet adorable party.  Even Moana herself paid a visit! 

Jane Alexander Hammonds is the true definition of a girls girl. She loves all things makeup, nail polish, hair clips, dresses and pink! She even has quite an active social life.   If she isn't reading books on her pink princess bed, she's jumping on the trampoline or stirring up something to eat in the kitchen.  She always wants to lend a helping hand.  She has a heart for the Lord and even takes it upon herself to pray for people when they seem down.  She's our little blessing and we are so pleased with the little woman she is becoming. 

Jane, when you read this blog post someday, can you please know that mom and dad love you so very much? Maybe we aren't the coolest parents at times, or maybe we are too old-fashioned and strict, but know that what we want for you is the very best. Please forgive us for messing up, because we aren't perfect.  Please come to us when you need help.  Please never feel embarrassed or cornered. Please trust your heart when making a tough decision. And when your heart feels confused, turn your heart to the Lord.  We love you so much. Happy third birthday, daughter. 

Mae's Birth Story

2:59 PM

I've been meaning to write this post for weeks now, but every free moment I get is usually spent catching a few extra ZZZ's or scrubbing the toilets.  With  both girls napping, I decided to do a quick blog post so I don't forget the details of bringing Mae Valentine Hammonds into the world.

After holding on for 42+ weeks, I was STILL scheduled to be induced.  I didn't want to be considering that with Jane, my labor was super painful due to the pitocin.  I didn't want that darn stuff again! But lo and behold, my "pit" drip started at around 2 am on March 5, 2017.  The nurse assured me it would be just a small amount since I was already dilated to a 3.  Mike and I thought for sure we wouldn't deliver Mae until that night, but as the early morning hours crept past, I was dilating quickly. The overnight nurse couldn't believe how quickly I was progressing. I woke Mike up at around 5 and told him "babe, my contractions are super strong and feel myself dilating fast."  When the nurse came in and checked me, I was at a 7! We couldn't believe it.  I was so happy that this labor was promising to be quick and easy.  The next few centimeters did take some time, however.  Mike went and ate some food with his dad in the lobby, Mike's mom came and helped me through those really tough contractions. Meanwhile, my parents were at home with Jane who sadly contracted a fever that day. What timing! 

I have to say that this labor was so different from my first in that I was so mentally more present this time around. I feel like my mental calmness helped me through the contractions a lot more efficiently.  I feel like I wasn't so freaked out about the baby being born with the umbilical cord wrapped around its head or me losing blood after delivering, or any of the other scary, possible outcomes when enduring childbirth.  Also, modesty be-gone.  You really do not care who is coming in and looking at your vagina or touching your vagina or discussing the happenings inside your vagina.   In fact the word "vagina" and "cervix" are used so frequently, they almost echo.

When Mike came back, it was getting pretty close to start pushing. Of course, my doctor was on the other side of town, so they advise you to "hold it in" for a while. I can't believe this is an actual thing.  You're going to tell a woman who has a baby crowning out of her vagina to "hold it in?" 

Luckily, my doctor came quickly and in a few quick pushes, Mae was born.  I then birthed the placenta, which the doctor held up to Mike and I so we could examine it closely. I am not sure if this was really cool, or really crazy.  You can tell my doctor has a true respect for childbirth, which made me feel empowered and respected.  Thanks to an amazing team, this birth was so intimate, calm, and beautiful. Mike got to cut her umbilical cord and the doctor laid her on my chest. We started breastfeeding immediately. Mike and I looked at each other with eyes full of tears.  We were just amazed at her beauty and her sweetness. I have never felt more connected to my husband in my entire life. 

The nurse came into our suite and gave her a quick little bath. She never left my sight. I was so thankful for that.  Of course, as I am holding my new, beautiful, healthy girl, I am worried about my other girl who was at home with a fever. And just like that, you realize your heart just grew twice its size to accommodate that new baby.  I couldn't actually be at rest until I saw my two girls meet for the first time. So, after we settled in our "mama suite," Jane came for a visit. She shyly waited at the door of the room, as she held back a grin. She was nervous to meet her baby sister. All the months of anticipation and mental preparation finally set in for her. You could tell she didn't want to mess up.  After she held sissy for the first time, the nervousness wore off and Jane was already laughing with Mae, tickling her feet and squeezing her cheeks.  

Mike took Jane home for a bath and bedtime, while I stayed in the hospital with Mae.  When Jane said goodbye to Mae for the first time, you can tell it pained her. They were bonded immediately. 

The following hours and days were quite the blur.  I remember my sister-in-law left a tray of brownies and I stayed up the whole night tending to Mae, watching HGTV and eating the entire tray. How's that for Cloud 9?  When you are so overjoyed that you don't know what to do with yourself, the adrenaline keeps you chugging away.  Sleep sounds nice, but you really don't need it.  You're too interested in this new person.  

I could go on and on about the incredible events of March 5th, but for now I will end this post with the truest statement of all time. I am forever grateful to be the mother of Mae Valentine Hammonds, born 7 lbs 10oz, on March 5. 2017.

Ps, how perfect is Mike's Bass Pro Shops hat in these photos? Haha. 

thoughts from my hospital bed..

2:23 PM

So many emotions going through my mind as I sit here in the hospital room, waiting to meet my second daughter.  Today we spent the day at downtown Summerlin and took Jane to decorate a sugar cookie at our favorite bakery. Then we took her to a toy store and got her a new puzzle. We ended our last day as a family of three at California pizza kitchen, enjoying each other's company in the cool, sunny weather.  I was literally fighting back tears the whole day because I am just so happy and blessed aand love my people so much. I am so ready to meet this little girl whom we've waited so long for.  Before bed tonight, Jane was sort of having a hard time knowing mommy and daddy wouldn't be there when she woke up. We assured her that she will get up, have breakfast, then come to meet her baby sissy! She is so excited. She says she can't wait to kiss her cheeks. 

I love my daughters so much. Mae, you are the most blessed and loved little girl. See you in a few short hours!!

before she comes

8:06 AM

Wow, nine months have come and gone. Now we are just weeks, if not days, away from meeting our sweet Mae. This pregnancy was so lovely, quick and easy. This little girl has a gentle, loving spirit and I can't wait to fixate my eyes on her for the first time.  We received these amazing 4D images of her at our last ultrasound. We can't believe how much she looks like big sissy! Jane loves  the one of Mae frowning because she says "Mae wants to come out now and play with me!" These girls are going to be two peas in a pod. I can't wait!

I've gained about 30 lbs during this pregnancy. So, compared to Jane, I am doing much better with weight-gain. My feet are just now starting to swell, which means I am definitely getting close to meeting this girl. I still have my wedding ring and band on, so that's nice.  Overall, these are days leading up to meeting Mae are uber precious and special. We are enjoying our last few outings with just Jane, but really looking forward to the craziness of toting around two little girls everywhere. Thank you, Jesus, for our Mae Valentine.

Rubbing mama's swollen feet

Matching daddy. Can't wait to see daddy with TWO little darlings!! 


8:46 PM

Our sweet girl is getting bigger! We love you so much, Mae.

Her sweet kicks are getting stronger, letting mama know she's strong and healthy.

Big sis & all the rest of the family is so excited to meet you! Here are some photos from today at the park! 

Another little girl

9:02 AM

As He promises, the Lord answered our prayer for another sweet baby. 

The very next month after my last chemical pregnancy, Michael and I were shocked to discover we were pregnant AGAIN. I was thinking "no, this can't be possible, maybe it's just my hormones all out of whack." Once confirmed by the doctor, a heartbeat detected, a life to be excited over, we have been completely overjoyed and thankful.

We were careful not to tell Jane until we knew this baby would be in it for the long-haul. We were excited at around 14 weeks gestation to go to our gender-check ultrasound. Jane came with us and was super excited to find out if she was going to have a little brother or sister. The baby's leg's were crossed tightly, so we couldn't really see much. The ultrasound tech said if she were to guess, she would say this baby was teetering 70% BOY. Michael turned white. But 70% just wasn't a large enough percentage to let us be excited about seeing blue.

At 16 weeks, we went back in to check the gender.  They were in a big hurry, so didn't really get to spend much time looking at the baby.  This time she was 100% certain that our little baby was a GIRL. A girl!!

We were SO excited to run home and tell Jane that her little sister would be coming soon to play dress up with her, to twirl around with her, to have princess parties with her.

We are naming our new daughter, Mae Hammonds.
I am pretty sure we have had this name picked out ever since Jane was an infant. I think we came across it and loved it equally. It has such a perfect, feminine, classic vibe to it. We also feel it compliments the name "Jane" well.  Jane & Mae Hammonds. I couldn't love two girls more even if I tried!

Mae, we are still working on your middle name. Mama wants to use a family name, and Daddy likes to play around with names like "Mae West" and "Ellie Mae." :)  I can tell you though, Mae, that you are so wanted and so loved. We cannot wait to bring you into this world, and show you all the wonderful beauty it has to offer. Please go easy on your big sister, as I am sure she will need a little bit of time to adjust from thinking your a plastic baby doll, to a real-life baby sister. She is so excited and I just know the two of you will be the best of friends.

I love you.


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Trying to Navigate

7:33 AM

Before you get too excited, I should let you know that I WAS pregnant, but am no longer.
Just typing those words are so raw. There is really nothing quite like investing your heart and soul into a new, sweet life, then having it ripped from your hands just days later. 

I want to document this time in my life so I can look back and say "wow, girl, you are one tough cookie. You can do anything." This is my second chemical pregnancy (very early miscarriage) within 5 months. Although I do not have the answers or the medical reasoning as to why this is happening, I do have a sweet, inner peace that is leading me to betterment and fulfillment.

After having Jane, Michael and I decided we really did yearn for a large family. We knew Jane would be a great big sister and having a loud, full, happy home was something we welcomed. Looking back on the day I found out I was pregnant with Jane, I get angry with myself. I thought "wow, pregnant on my wedding night? I must be super fertile." Sometimes talking with girlfriends/family etc, I would say things like "we got pregnant super easy, so we will probably plan for baby #2 for May/June 2016." Hahaha. Oh how naive I was to think that something so divine as human life could just be penciled in my agenda. More importantly, to disassociate human life from God was as sinful as sinful comes.

The Lord opens and closes the womb as He sees fit. For me to completely minimize his role in my life and my future children's life was shameful. But like all things, experience breeds growth. The Lord has taught me a great lesson in all of this. My life is not my life. It is a life that I gave to Him. It is a life that should surrender every desire to Him. My desire for another child should have originally been given to Him, not time-stamped and put in the "to-do" folder on my desk. 

I say these things now, one week after my second miscarriage, with a surprisingly strong sense of self. I am amazed that in one week I have learned so many important lessons in life. I am thankful to be going through this. I am thankful the Lord treasures our relationship so much that He is using me as a tool to help others with fertility issues.  I am amazed at how open and vulnerable I have become. 

But the most important thing I have noticed in these SERIOUSLY trying times is how much closer, stronger, better and happier my little family unit of three has become. Only 7 days later and I see a bond between Michael and I that wasn't there before. I see the patience I have for Jane grow exponentially. I see myself putting my phone down for more than 20 minutes at a time and being more present in every moment. I see myself being kinder to others. 

Rereading those discoveries I realized that I might sound like super into myself. The opposite is true. I am humbled and bare. I have been stripped down to the core of humility. It feels so freeing and good to type this blog post and not feel self-conscious of what others may think. I hope whomever reads this will see my season of suffering and relate it to their own. To lean on the Lord for that is what He desires from us. 

In summation, my life as it is currently is complete and whole. Having another child would be a great blessing, but my family of three is a complete puzzle.  If the Lord decides to open my womb again for a baby, then Michael and I will be standing there with arms wide open (and of course I would probably faint from joy). Until then, I plan on investing my love and my thoughts on my people in the here and now. The ones that are beside me smiling and wanting cuddles and to play. 


My heart is happy & full.

Thank you so much for reading this.

And to my children who might be reading this one day: You were and are more wanted than anything in the world. Like the stars in the sky, I look to you and see light and beauty and wonder. Dad and I will do anything for you. Remember that.

The Post I am Afraid to Post

3:32 PM

I wasn't sure if I would ever be able to write a post about this. But I know that if I don't write about it, then it will just become a distant, hurtful memory that I refuse to embrace. 

December was the most exciting month.  It was a Monday morning and I totally felt something strange going on with my body. So, of course, I took a pregnancy test (definitely not my first in the last 6 months).

I was so thrilled to see those 2 pink lines. My heart nearly burst out of my body. I was the happiest. 

I hastily bought Jane a "Best Big Sister" Tshirt. I wrapped the pregnancy test in a box and set it under the tree for Michael to open Christmas morning.

Then, the unthinkable happened and that sweet little baby I so longed for was no longer there. My body naturally had a very early miscarriage. I feel lucky enough to be spared the emotional and physical pain of having to give birth to an unhealthy child. I feel blessed that the pregnancy ended before it could've really even began.  I am surprised at how my first reaction wasn't anger, but rather gratitude. I felt thankful that the Lord allowed me to feel the joy of knowing another life inside me, albeit so very brief. I know that I will go on to have more healthy, beautiful children, and that Jane will get to experience sibling hood. I know that the Lord's timing is the most perfect timing. 
Of all these things I am sure.

Our family is embracing a new year and we are so excited for many things. 

Jane is turning 2 and I have already started planning all the fun festivities! 
My business is doing really well. My house have never been cleaner. And my kitchen has produced some seriously delicious meals recently. I am feeling so inspired and happy.

I love this family of mine. 
Thank you, Lord, for every one of them.

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