Stella Blythe

Born Wednesday night, June 26th, at 8:28 p.m., weighing 7 pounds even.

We are in love.

 

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Celebrations

We are just days away from the due date on baby watch, and sadly (for me) there is nada to report. Soooo since my main occupation this week is staring at my tummy and waiting for something to happen, and that has led to exactly nothing, I thought I would post some pictures of the various celebrations we’ve had for little Stella since getting back to the States.

First was the Sylacauga shower. It was such a fun time to gather and give thanks for this little girl. One of my mom’s friends pointed out how special the time of prayer was as many of the women in the room that day have walked with the Lord for decades and decades and I certainly agree.

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With the hostesses–such a special group of ladies. Most of them have been in my life for 20+ years!

IMG_2599My mom, my great-aunt Emily, and my Aunt Donna. This side of the family has seen only girls for four generations now!

IMG_2595Mary Emily is in Ethiopia but she left behind a present before she went. Can you tell that at that time we were all expecting a little boy and not a girl!

IMG_2585My mom made a touch-and-feel book for Stella. I’ll have to post pictures later because this book is truly a work of art!

The next week I headed to Tuscaloosa for a gathering with my close group of high school friends (minus one who lives in Atlanta and couldn’t make it). It was definitely a celebration of little Stella, but also an amazing excuse to get together and catch up. Unfortunately I can’t get my pictures to go any bigger but we had SO much fun talking and laughing. I am truly thankful to have this group of friends in my life!

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We think we’re still 16–but taking this picture is a lot harder at 30 (and pregnant!) than 16.

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IMG_1603I thought this was the cutest thing! My friend Andi put together this  diaper holder (no idea what to actually call it) and clipped a verse to each diaper. She said that way I can have a mini-moment of meditation each time I have to change yet another dirty diaper. Then she also had all of my friends write notes of encouragement (or just random silliness) on the diapers to make me laugh or just remind me of them as I’m changing. So thoughtful!

Finally, here are pictures from the most recent shower in Chattanooga.

IMG_6715With (most of) the hostesses. Let me tell you, Pinterest has nothing on these women!

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We were so amazed that Grandmommy, Michael’s maternal grandmother, made it up from Huntsville for the shower!

IMG_6714With my mother-in-law Beverly and sister-in-law Suzanne.

IMG_6718 Michael didn’t stay for all of the shower but he put in an appearance to nab some Auburn swag.

We have been truly grateful for and overwhelmed by the love and generosity we have received from so many in this special season of our life. Stella is a well-loved little girl and we are so incredibly grateful for the many who have helped us to prepare for her arrival!


A rose by any other name

Stella Blythe Gregory: she’s not here quite yet, but we can’t wait to see who she grows into.

Shakespeare wrote that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I come down with L.M. Montgomery, who opined the Bard had it wrong: a rose called cabbage wouldn’t, couldn’t, be as sweet.

To me, words matter. The sound, the shape, the emotions evoked by a string of them put together just exactly so. And names? It’s the ultimate in finding the perfect word for the occasion: a baby’s name has to fit them their whole life, wear well, ought to have some meaning or reason behind it. Michael and I are not exactly simpatico when it comes to naming tastes, but the process of settling on what this little person will be called for the rest of their days was one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy for us. Perhaps also a little stressful…but mostly fun.

Some history on the name game for our Stella: she gets her first name from Michael’s paternal grandmother, the original Stella. We think the name is beautiful (it comes from a Latin word meaning “star”), and are thrilled to honor Michael’s MawMaw, who is more fun than anyone in their upper-80s has a right to be. If little Stella gets one-quarter of her great-grandmother’s spirit and joy of life, she will be one happy little girl.

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This picture was taken this summer when we were in Alabama visiting MawMaw. In Michael’s case, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

Stella’s middle name, Blythe, has been one of my very favorite name for years. The dictionary defines blithe as “joyous, merry, or gay in disposition; glad; cheerful.” We wish all those things for our little girl, and it’s certain she has already brought joy and gladness into our lives by her existence.

My sister, Mary Emily, has already dubbed little Stella “Stella B” and Michael has taken to it–we’re not planning on the double name thing but I think Baby Stella will hear Stella B maybe half the time.

I can’t wait to see who this little bit grows into!


(almost) 38 weeks

For some reason, I feel more than a little silly writing a pregnancy update on the blog…but dang all, I want to remember details so here goes. We start with a nearly-38-week bump. Voila!

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I’ve been in America for literally months now, since early April. We have many American friends who have delivered their babies in Asia, but for us there was not much debate: we always knew we would come back to the States for at least our first child. There are many reasons for this, one of the main being that it was not medically advisable to deliver in the city where we live. This meant our options were flying (at least a month ahead of the due date) to a large city on the east coast or to Thailand, both places where we have no friends or family. After the birth we would again have to wait at least several weeks (depending on if we were in or out of the country) for processing of birth certificates, passports, visas, and etc. Not only could this quickly get expensive as we factored in housing, but it would also be emotionally very difficult to be isolated during this unique time in our life.

We spoke with many, many families who have been through similar decisions and the consensus was that it is highly advisable to have the first child in the mother’s home country. The last thing you want is a stressful labor and delivery where you are struggling to communicate and understand what the doctors and nurses are doing to you–especially when you don’t truly understand what to expect yourself!

Another, not minor, consideration was being around family in this season. Of course, they will want to be with us but (let’s be honest, more importantly) with their grandchild. I personally want my mom to be able to help me out and show me how to do the myriad daily tasks that come with a baby! This summer, we are living in Chattanooga at Michael’s parents’ home. They will be at their nearby lake house for most of the summer, and have graciously allowed us to make their home, ours. This is great for many reasons, the biggest being that Michael and I will have the opportunity to get used to being a family of three. My family will be able to freely come and go for visits (like they would if we lived in the States), and we will also spend lots of time with the Gregory clan. Chattanooga is also where we lived for two years post-marriage, pre-Asian return, so we still have friends in the area, which makes life lots more fun.

When exactly we will be meeting this little one is currently the subject of all my waking thoughts. My regular doctor was out of town this week and the guy I saw didn’t do more than check the heartbeat, so I’ve no idea where things currently stand. At my 36 week appointment, she had started dropping and was already measuring a week and a half ahead of schedule–but these things are so subjective at the end that there is really no telling when to expect her. Michael is proud as can be because apparently this little girl is looking to be quite tall. He’s already talking of volleyball or tennis, though I keep reminding him that the poor thing has my genes as well as his so athletics might not be a big part of her life.

Since our very early ultrasounds, our doctors have talked about what an active baby we have, and that doesn’t seem to have abated. I don’t have anything to compare it to, but this little girl packs quite a punch. We thought that would slow down as the due date neared, but so far she is still kicking and squirming and pumping away in there. Sometimes her little jabs are quite painful! I’ve also reached the phase of pregnancy where I grunt when I stand up (just as attractive as it sounds) and where getting out of bed in the middle of the night (which happens often) requires a lot of effort. While I am so incredibly thankful to BE pregnant, honestly, the actual state of pregnancy is not on the list of my favorite things. We are hoping very hard she comes a little early. I’m ready to meet her (it seems ages since the teary-eyed morning I saw two lines)!–and it would also help a lot as we have a limited time frame to get her passport and visa processed before our already-purchased flights back to Asia. Unfortunately there’s not a lot we can do about it as we really don’t want to induce unless it becomes medically necessary.

Let the waiting continue!