Pregnancy.  What an adventure!  Let me start by saying that we are extremely blessed.  After celebrating our five year wedding anniversary last October in Hawaii, we gave up control of the next chapter of our lives and we would have never dreamed that by the end of November we'd know we were expecting a baby.  Our pregnancy certainly had its own story.  One that was full of so many different emotions, doctor appointments and scenarios.  Our pregnancy wasn't exactly smooth sailing, but we got the perfect ending.

Our ending is perfect because of our sweet boy.  We got to hear his cry, feel his touch and we've been given the most wonderful blessing of getting to know him more and more each day.  We've made tremendous strides, but we're still trudging through our tunnel waiting for that bright light at the end. 

We only know our story.  We cannot begin to imagine the heartache of not being able to carry a baby to term.  We can't wrap our minds around the stress of living month to month wondering if we'd ever see those beautiful two lines.  I can't fathom the daily interventions and injections just to have the opportunity to hopefully create a miracle.  And, it absolutely breaks our hearts to know of all the Mommas (and Daddys) out there who hear the devastating silence following the pure joy that expecting brings with it.

While we don't know and can't even begin to understand your story, we have our own.  We do know the confusion of walking out of a 20 week ultrasound with a referral to see a specialist.  We know the longing of wanting to go back to the very first ultrasound at 13 weeks when pure awe lied ahead.  We have felt the absence of air in our lungs when we listened to a doctor's suspicions and again later when they were confirmed by a handful of specialists.  I have laid on my back and stared at ceiling tiles trying to keep the tears from falling out the side of my eyes.  We have lived in the strange reality of everyone around us being so excited (not many people knew what we were going through the majority of our pregnancy), yet we couldn't even seem to sort through most feelings ourselves.  We felt the pain in sharing that there was something seriously wrong with a small handful of people we love completely.  We know the paralysis of fearing a future without the precious baby we worked so hard to healthily carry.  We understand the crazy mix of wanting to believe and celebrate while also feeling and living with such constant heartache.

Physically, pregnancy was a dream.  I'm not sure how I made it look "easy" but people sure thought I did.  Thankfully, I stayed very healthy through the entire pregnancy.  I was able to exercise the entire time and for the most part I even stayed pretty comfortable.  I wouldn't say that I am someone who loved being pregnant, but I also didn't really mind it.  I had moments that weren't as great as others, but I also had days when I'd practically forget I was growing a tiny human inside of me.

Mentally, pregnancy was tough.  We spent the first three months not allowing ourselves to believe we actually were pregnant and the last 19 weeks more scared than we've ever been before.  We had about a 6-7 week window of thinking and feeling all the things that an expecting couple should.  It was bliss, it was joy and it was such a beautiful, special time.  And gosh, I became so brave during our pregnancy.  I pushed though a lot and often felt pretty dang strong.

Emotionally, pregnancy was weird.  I wasn't ever a basket case (even with everything we had going on).  In fact, there were times I wondered if I even had hormones.  When we got the call in the middle of the night (after we had shared our news, but before we knew anything was wrong) that my Grandmother wasn't going to make it, I remember silently crying in bed to try and not upset the baby.  Don't get me wrong, there were all kinds of crazy mixed emotions throughout our pregnancy but it all became a process to me and that kept me (right or wrong) from "feeling" a lot.

Even through the uncertain, scary, madding, fearful, devastating moments there was one thing (really two) that remained.  First, I knew there wasn't anyone in the world besides Dave that I could ever face something like this with and I became more grateful for him and for our marriage with every passing day.  Second, I was still at a place of peace and so in tune with the baby growing inside of me and I simply could not wait to become a mom.  Not just a mom, but this baby's mom.  I couldn't wait for the part of the process where I finally got to meet Baby Kirk, then bring him or her home and begin life together.

Although it was tough (really tough) at times, our pregnancy was also crazy wonderful in so many ways.  After being told over and over again to "try and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy" we worked hard at doing just that.  We soaked in the moments of togetherness.  We didn't take a single impromptu date night for granted.  We hardly said no to any invites or opportunities (insert me at the lake 8 months preggo).  We were already longing to share the world with sweet Baby Kirk and were off to a great start.

In early December we visited Disney (talk about extra magical when you're pregnant!) and attended Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.  We cannot wait for the day we get to take Baby Kirk back.

Later that month we secretively enjoyed all things Christmas a little more knowing Baby Kirk was coming.

We celebrated Big Sister Hopsen's sixth birthday!

Early January brought the state Chamber dinner so we spent an evening together in Lexington for work.

In January we cheered for Dad (and friends) in his lip sync battle for a local non-profit and later spent some time in Louisville.  In case you were wondering, they absolutely killed it.

February we kicked off my 29th birthday by sharing we were expecting Baby Kirk.  It was the best.

The next week we headed to Washington DC for a little work trip for Dave.  Baby Kirk got to visit the White House, checked out a ton of museums and went to a hockey game.

When we got back we spent a day in Bowling Green cheering on our niece at a volleyball tournament.

In April I headed back to Washington DC for work and took Baby Kirk to a second Capitals game.

Later that month my Mom, Sister and Grandma hosted our very first shower to celebrate Baby Kirk.

In May we attended the Kentucky Oaks and Baby Kirk even got to check out the Paddock.

We also celebrated with friends that got married.

We enjoyed another beautiful shower for Baby Kirk hosted by Aunt Judy and Kate.

Hopsen treated me to another wonderful Mother's Day which had an extra special feel.

In keeping with our annual ballpark visits, we took Dave's Dad to Chicago over Memorial Day weekend.

Baby Kirk tagged along picking strawberries (one of the first things I ever did in Owensboro).

June brought the sweetest celebration with all of our friends who might as well be family.  It was such a fun night preparing for Baby Kirk with each them.  It take a village and ours is beautiful.

Hopsen helped Dave feel extra special on his "somewhat first" Father's Day.

We capped off June with an epic weekend at ROMP... yes, an outdoor music festival in the middle of summer at like 37 some odd weeks pregnant.  And you better believe I made an appearance at the after party! 

Before we knew it, it was July and all kinds of emotions came along with it.  My due date was July 19, but since March I was told I would be scheduled to be induced at 39 weeks which would be the 12th.  So, we at least knew with it being right in the middle of the month that we'd become parents in July.

July 1st I dove myself to Cincinnati for an appointment that afternoon with the high risk team that would be delivering Baby Kirk.  I had visits with them previously, but this was the start of three appointments each week for the next two.  It was the day I officially "relocated" to Cincinnati to be close while we waited on Baby Kirk.  The night before that morning mid-packing disaster (think packing for the last 3 weeks of your pregnancy + a hospital bag to deliver a baby + a bag of mom and dad's stuff for the hospital post baby for a stay we didn't know the length of) we lost power.  We won't ever forget the togetherness it forced.

The fact that my sister and her family live near Cincinnati could not have been a bigger blessing to us during this time.  I got to soak in some really special time with her, my brother in-love and my precious nieces.  While waiting I was able to continue working remotely while receiving all the snuggles from the girls.  We were fortunate that Dave got to spend an extended weekend with me over July 4th (he brought Hopsen along, too).  That broke up the weeks and gave me strength to push on to the next.

Having to tell him and Hopsen goodbye that Sunday afternoon was tough.  I knew the next time I'd see them, we'd be that much closer to Baby Kirk.  I also knew that if there were any signs of the baby making an earlier than expected appearance there would be some panic on his end of getting things gathered and heading back to Cincinnati.  Those last couple weeks of pregnancy all you want is your "norm" and while under the circumstances I didn't have a bit of that, I could not have been more grateful for my sweet sister and her family.  They were such an incredible support system to both Dave and I preparing for Baby Kirk.

While Dave was in town, we soaked in those last moments with the two of us and planned date days around doctors appointments.  We knew that life, although such a beautiful part was ahead, would still be different.  The two of us (plus Hopsen) really worked and while we were thrilled of the adventure lying ahead, we also knew these special moments with just the three musketeers was coming to an end.

Oh, pregnancy.  What a crazy journey that ultimately led us to such a beautiful gift.

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