Eleven days ago, on August 11th, my life changed forever. If we’re friends on Facebook or if you follow me on Twitter, you know very well what the last week and half has looked like, and a good bit about the perfect little girl that Jess and I welcomed into our family. Everyone I’ve come across for the last nine months has told me that I’d melt at the sight of my first little girl. And everyone was exactly right. Don’t feel obligated to care enough about our little family as much I do, but, for those of you that might, I’m going to share a little bit about this amazing little girl.
It all started with this:
When Jess and I saw this little digital screen while standing in our bathroom, we freaked. Big time. It wasn’t like the teary-emotional-dramatic scenario you see on TV, it was a “HOLY COW! IS THIS REAL?!” sort of deal. We kind of shriveled into a ball on the bathroom floor and prayed that God would sustain us and bless this little baby whose life was just beginning inside of my wife. And then we went back to Walmart and bought three more tests just to make sure it was real. Each one said the very same thing.
So, life kept happening, and Jess began growing. She handled the pregnancy flawlessly. I mean that. She was teaching in an inner-city school with some crazy kids, and never let her crazy hormones slow her down. Don’t believe me? Look how fantastic she looked in our maternity pictures… taken by the (new mom again) Kelly Moore…
I look through those and get giddy still. Meg has one hot momma.
Getting pictures made wasn’t the only thing that kept us busy. Jess went into FULL nesting mode right around month 6 or so, and Meg got the hook up. So many friends came together to stock us up with the best baby gear around, and Jess got all crafty to make Meg’s little home just perfect. We even got featured on my friend’s blog, tilly & fran. Here’s a peek into little Meg’s abode (well, really, she’s only seen this room once… she’s been chillin’ downstairs with us for now.
Jess’ crafty door hanger that we used at the hospital…
Great letters from Urban Outfitters:
Of course, a canvas print from our maternity session:
So, the maternity pictures were taken, and the room was all set. Now, just a baby, right? Well, here goes the actual baby story (rest assured, I’m keeping it PG–no need for all the gory details.) We were admitted to the hospital Wednesday night, the 10th, to begin Jess’ induction. Because of a wedding the following Saturday (no surprise there) we felt it would be best to have Meg join us on the outside when we knew I wouldn’t be, say, shooting a bride walking down the aisle. So, having Jess induced seemed to be our best option. We stayed the night before the actual induction would begin so that Jess could receive Cervidil, a medicine that is intended to start her dilation a bit more slowly than the pitocin that would come the next morning. Surprisingly, we slept great, and woke up the next morning, Thursday, bright-eyed at 4:30am and ready for it all to get started.
We realized pretty quickly that Jess is, basically, a baby-producing machine because when she began receiving the Pitocin via her IV at around 7:00am, it was no time before contractions began and dilation was happening fast! Added to that, an epidural made life super sweet while the whole process went down.
All we saw of Meg at first was a squiggly green line that indicated her heart rate during the whole thing. And that white line shows that Jess’ body was working hard to get Meg OUT:
Amidst labor (yes, I’m an obnoxious photographer to even my wife), Jess and I snagged our last family portrait as a pair… this was just about three hours before we were holding our little girl:
Let me break right here and say that the ENTIRE team of doctors and nurses at Baptist Hospital made our stay absolutely perfect. Our primary delivery nurse on that Thursday was a friend of ours from college. Our neonatologist who took Meg and was the first human hands to check her out and clean her up is, potentially, a future bride (Hey Katie!) Then, the nurse that took care of us during our first night after delivering (a pretty big night for Jess, especially) is the mom of a former groom (last year) and a future bride (this November). Ms. Sharon, you cared for us like we were your own children… thank you.
Ok, so, back to the great escape. After spending the night Wednesday night and the induction really getting started Thursday morning around 7:30am, we were given the news at about 1:15pm that it was time to start pushing! When nurse Beth told us that, I lost it. I mean it. I got shaky, started tearing up… I was literally overwhelmed. All of a sudden, Jess was calming me and reassuring me that “You can do this… just breathe.” I realized I needed to quit being a pansy, pull it together, and start coaching her through this. Thankfully, I was able to regain some composure and start encouraging my all-star bride and keep her spirits where they needed to be to help get that baby out.
29 minutes of pushing. That’s all it took, and Meg was in our doctor’s hands, STARING US DOWN. That’s the first thing I remember; seeing Meg look at us with her big, blue eyes (a whole lot like her Dad’s) as if she was just wanting to get a good look at the people she’d been listening to for the last 9 months. And, in that moment, Jess and I both were truly overcome. The feelings people have been trying to describe to me were all summed up in those few minutes of seeing for the first time my new baby girl.
Well, here she is, Meg Maylee Followell in her first followell fotography portrait:
Funny that something that looks so miserable can do such a work on your heart. But, it happens, I promise.
First shot of Jess and her baby:
And Meg’s grandparents, Grandmother, Poppa Todd, and Grammy, welcoming her…
So, before I get too involved with showing you all the many pictures I’ve taken of Meg, here are the key players that made it all go down:
Nurse Beth (the one we went to college with)… we loved her before. But now, she’s family.
Annnd, Dr. Ory. Seriously, the calmest/coolest baby doctor that’s ever lived. When things got tense, she remained perfectly chill. We never want her to leave Jackson so she’s available for any future Followells that come about. We can’t praise her enough for the way she handled every detail.
First little mini-shoot at the hospital:
Then, it was time to bust up outta that hospital and bring that girl home…
Which brought on things like her first sponge bath:
And meeting who we hope will become her #1 playmate, our (other) little girl, Shaw:
And so, as you’d imagine, life for her is just one big photo shoot. The transition to home has been smooth and I’m back at work and Jess is championing the role of Mom. I’ve never, ever, been more proud of her. Things have been going smoothly, and Meg has proven to be a great sleeper and eater, and since that’s her only real responsibilities at this point, we think she’s off to a great start.
Oh, and our great friend, Jeanelle Caraway, offered to come take some of the newborn pics that aren’t at all my specialty, and we’ve only gotten a sneak peek so far, but LOVE what we’ve seen. I mean, how couldn’t you?…
Now, I PROMISE that this blog won’t become only a showcase of this little girl and my growing family. It will remain a hub for all that’s going on at f | f, and hopefully will see a picked up pace of blogging now that Meg has made it around. We’ll let Facebook (my profile) handle the bulk of Meg’s pictures, but I can’t promise a Meg post won’t show up every once and a while. :)
I’ll leave you with a couple more from yesterday… and thanks for reading about our awesome journey of bringing a new Followell into the world…