Well, hello friends! After a long absence from blogging I am finally ready to share some updates about why things have been pretty quiet on the social front these last 8 months. It's quite a story. I'm answering the FAQs that we have been getting from you guys, so grab a cup of coffee (or wine...whatevs) while I fill you in on what has been going on and what's coming for TLD in the future.
How was your pregnancy? Pregnancy was....not the best, and is the reason why you never saw a pregnancy blog update. It started out well enough, but at week 6 I developed debilitating morning sickness, which was actually round-the-clock sickness. I hadn't had this with the other 2 pregnancies and was wholly unprepared for it. But at least it was a sign that the baby was doing well, so I did what I could to power through it. Knowing that I was walking alongside Duchess Kate helped me to stay strong (ha!). Thankfully our clients were gracious and understanding during this time and understood when I had to run out of the meeting to find the bathroom. It's a glamourous life, pregnancy.
Then on Halloween last year (2017) we were at our preschooler's costume parade when I suddenly had a lot of abdominal pain. I couldn't stand up. We rushed home and, without getting into too much detail, let's just say I thought I was miscarrying the baby. I was 15 weeks pregnant, into the second trimester. We rushed to the doctors and the entire length of the excruciating car ride I was sure I had lost him/her and was preparing myself to not see a heartbeat on the sonogram.
Blessed be, because the sonogram showed that HE was fine. We got confirmation that we were pregnant with our 3rd little boy, but there were concerns. I was told to stay off my feet for 2 weeks and come back for a follow up. 2 weeks later (we are coming up on Thanksgiving at this point) we went in and found that there were more complications and I was being sent immediately to a high-risk pregnancy specialist. Travel plans were canceled. Tears were shed. We were told the problem could be with my body, or with the baby. He might have chromosomal abnormalities. There was a very good chance of miscarriage. We were not out of the woods, by a long shot.
For the next 2 months I was monitored almost weekly, alternating between my doctor and the high risk doctor. The words 'threatened miscarriage' were thrown around far too much. I had to continue to stay off my feet. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner from a stool in the kitchen, because Thanksgiving is my JAM and I was not going to miss out on all of the carbs. Thank the good Lord above for Kristen, because otherwise the business would have struggled with me unable to attend most meetings, jobsites, shopping trips, installs, etc. And for Steven, who because a full-time house husband and stay at home dad, along with all of his business duties. I couldn't lift anything, clean anything, go to the grocery store, walk the kids to school. I just had to sit. And I was constantly terrified of losing the baby. So much so that I couldn't bring myself to write an update, or even to name him, because honestly, I was trying not to get too attached to someone that I might never meet.
Oh, and I still had all of the morning sickness. That didn't let up until week 24.
Then, in mid-January, a sonogram confirmed that the complication had resolved itself. Most of my pregnancy restrictions were lifted. I was still at a higher risk, but it looked like everything was going to be OK.
Then, 4 weeks later, I was in a very minor auto collision; rear ended in a parking lot. What I thought was going to be a minor annoyance turned into a major problem when I started having contractions 5 minutes apart. I was only 31 weeks pregnant. My doctor told me to go straight to the hospital. Once they hooked me up to all of the monitors they found that my contractions were now 2 minutes apart. This went on for TEN HOURS while they ran tests to make sure they could give me the medicine to stop them. Because of the complications I had just had over the holidays, if there was even a hint of that remaining, the medicine to stop the contractions could actually result in miscarriage. Thankfully after a very long day and 2 doses of medicine, the contractions stopped and I was sent home.
After 2 more weeks of bedrest I was once again in the clear. Except now I was in my 3rd trimester and out of shape from all of that sitting. I began taking short walks and doing light yoga to try to rebuild my strength for labor.
Theo decided to make his debut 2 weeks early. Labor was also not smooth sailing (because of course it wasn't) and lasted about 30 hours, and ended with me needing a blood transfusion. Nothing like starting life with a newborn completely and utterly exhausted!
But through all of it I was reminded that God was in control and kept bringing my thoughts and prayers back to that. We had an incredible support system of friends and family who helped with the boys, brought us meals, and even helped us with house cleaning. We couldn't have done it without our village.
How are you feeling? Oh my word, so much better! My physical recovery after labor was a zillion times faster than with the other 2 boys, even with all of the drama we had during delivery. There are, of course, all of the hormones, but I have felt more like myself again in the last few weeks.
How is he sleeping? I don't want to jinx it, but it's going alright! Daytime naps are still very hit and miss - which, I'll tell you, makes it pretty difficult to get work done. Nighttime is going better, though. Knock on wood, but most nights we are getting stretches of 5-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Hallelujah! Give me that kind of sleep and I can function like a real human being. For anyone else who is approaching the new baby stage, I highly recommend the Babywise sleep training method. We have used it with all of our kids and routinely by week 6 they are nearly (or fully) sleeping through the night.
Were you ready to come back to work? Loaded question; complicated answer. I LOVE what I do and there was no question in my mind that I would be excited to come back to it. This job is incredible. On a daily basis we get to make people's lives better and more beautiful. It's a gift.
But this early time with a newborn is so precious. And short. And exhausting. I'm not sure if any mom ever has that moment where she knows she's truly ready. I know I haven't. There's always that pull between the two worlds, which is evidenced by the thousands of blog posts related to mom guilt/working moms/stay at home moms. Thankfully I've been able to ease my way back in, rather than having to jump back in full time in one fell swoop. The first week back was emotional, but it has definitely gotten better and I've been enjoying using the design side of my brain again!
How are you balancing a baby and work? Honestly, it's a work in progress. If you've ever had a baby you know that as soon as you figure something out, they change. Babies are good at keeping you on your toes. Right now I'm trying to extend myself grace. Working from home with a baby means that I can't just hammer out 6 straight hours of work without stopping like I used to. That child has to be fed every 3 hours, and since I'm nursing, that means that I have to stop what I'm doing to make that happen. For me, it's worth it. I just have to make the most of the focused time that I have and know that my old work habits will have to be adjusted.
Thankfully, since Steven and I both work from home full time, there are 2 of us to help meet Theo and the big boys' needs. So far we don't have any other childcare in place for the baby, and our goal is to keep it that way if at all possible. We'll take it as it comes.
What has been really helping all 5 of us is having routines. Those who know me well know that I'm an efficiency junkie. I'm constantly looking for ways to make my time more productive. In my 20s it was so I could fit more into my day. More work! More tasks! More everything! But over the last few years my perspective has shifted. I try to be more efficient at work so I can be more rested and present with my family. It can be difficult when you work from home to turn it all off, but routines help me to hold those boundaries. Not burning the midnight oil allows me to be a more creative, better designer, not to mention and a more present and kind human.
Our next challenge - having all 3 kids home all summer. YOWZA. It's nearly impossible to keep the bigger kids quiet so the baby can nap during the day. Even writing this blog post they've woken the baby up twice. And since we are already at the triple digit temperatures here in Texas, we can only send them outside for so long. Send suggestions pretty please! And pray for us!
So what's next? We have some incredible projects in the works and coming down the pipeline. We've had a flood of new work come in while I was on leave, so we are doing what we always do - working to serve our existing clients well and planning ahead for the next projects.
We also have a BUNCH of projects that are soon to be photographed, including the 1859 farmhouse and modern remodel that you might have seen on Instagram. Can't wait to share those with you!
Taking a month off from the business also freed up some headspace to look at things from a different perspective. When you spend so much time working IN your business, you can't always work ON your business, and that little bit of distance gave me a fresh outlook. Kind of like how you get your best ideas in the shower or in the middle of the night when your mind is relaxed.
The three of us have spent quite a bit of time over the last 6 weeks talking through adjustments we can make to enhance our clients' experiences. What worked well when it was just me working part time had to change when we added Steven at the end of 2016, and changed again when we added Kristen in 2017. And now it's time to grow and change again. It's an evolution to be sure!
All of that to say, we are going to be adjusting and expanding our service offerings accordingly in the coming months to better respond to the needs of our clients. It's very exciting! Stay tuned for more information as we unroll these changes this summer.
That's a wrap! Ten points to Gryffindor if you made it all the way through that post. I've never been accused of being at a loss for words. And I want to extend a big, huge thank you to all of you who sent us well wishes and prayed for us these last 8 months. Having such a world of support helped keep us going.
And, one more baby photo, for good measure.