Nursery Artwork

You guys – it’s the final countdown now until we’re a family of 4. I’m right at 35 weeks now and I had H at 37 weeks, so I’m hoping this little lady follows suit and we get to meet her in the next few weeks. But alas, these matters are not up to me and so we wait. πŸ™‚

This pregnancy is really a bit hard to capture for me, but undoubtedly, it’s been atypical and full of more uncertainty than this type-a, planner personality is really all that comfortable with. I know no matter what that everything will always be fine because above all else our family has each other, so even if this sweet girl is born with health impacts, we will deal with it with open hearts and open minds and do our best, and really as parents, that’s all we ever can do. If you all don’t mind taking one second to send good vibes out into the universe though, we always appreciate another soul out there rooting for our girl to have a CMV free diagnosis at birth.

Our daughter’s name is Emerson Jeanne, Emerson because we just liked it and Jeanne, because my Aunt Jeanne is arguably one of the most righteous babes to walk this earth. She is smart and witty and kind and giving and just symbolizes the best of humanity to me and I hope more than anything that my Emerson grows up in her image. I’ve found as I’ve been designing Emerson’s room that I actually dig Ralph Waldo Emerson a bit more than I knew, so the first thing you see when you walk into her space is a quote by the wise sage. It reads: “Be Silly, Be Honest, Be Kind”.

I love how the trim Jay added to the space frames out this art perfectly in the room!

Working off the understated floral / botanical theme in her nursery, I also purchased this cute crib sheet. At $26 it was one of the “splurges” for our space, as everything else was reused from Henry’s room or bought off craigslist for the most part.

Here is another vantage of it – I really love this crib sheet and I’m glad I gave myself permission to get this extravagant purchase πŸ˜€ I was going to go for another floral one I found that was $12, which seemed more palatable, but y’all yolo.

In this photo you can also see the artwork we purchase for the room off etsy, and then printed for ONE DOLLAR at staples. A dollar, you guys.

I love how it looks in the natural wood frame and have the other matching art from the set flanking the left side of our windows, up above the glider.

We also added in some linen window shades that are room darkening from JCP (where I tend to get all my window treatments because they’re reasonably chic and super cheap).

These ones are not cordless which is a bit of a pain, but they were the linen fabric I wanted so I decided to just suck it up. Once she’s born and sleeping in this room on the daily, they’ll most likely remain shut to create as dark and womb-like a space possible any way πŸ˜‰

Here is another shot with my all time favorite light hack sneaking in for another feature. πŸ˜€

So that’s a wrap guys! Now just waiting on our little girl to fill the space. I hope to have a closet update for you all down the road because I *really* want to put wallpaper in that joint to pretty it up. The perfect backdrop for all her cute dresses! πŸ˜€

Little Big Boy

There really is nothing more life altering than popping out a child you guys. Just how much they completely redefine the things you care about (and worry about) and take up 110% of your heart. I’m in awe of our little man and I’m so excited to see how he’s going to navigate being a big brother – my theory is he will view the baby as an enhanced version of his kitty – who he loves to snuggle with, and play with and take care of, and yell at. It will be so fun to see him interact with her – I’m sure they’ll be plenty of inner struggle with the kid getting de-throned and all, but hey, life goes on πŸ˜‰

So as we’ve been gearing up to provide a new space for our new baby, I got to thinking more and more about how I wanted to make an equally nice space for H. Notably, we had to transition him from his crib to a big boy bed, since his sister would get that resting locale once she’s out of the uterus.

Dark Blue Baby Room

Here is a photo above of how Henry’s nursery looked, with the crib and glider tucked into each corner.

And here is a similar angle with his new twin bed, along with his tepee (which he refers to as his “house”)

So one thing I LOVE about his new room is this super cute and super functional sideboard I got on craigslist. It provides ample storage in the room and gives us plenty of locations to store his toys while leaving them easily accessible for Henry to grab himself.

I’m trying to decide what to do with those little cubbys, up above the baskets, for now they’ll just stay empty.


I also got this bed on craigslist and it’s perfectly worn in and really just gorgeous.

One thing I *don’t* love about toddler rooms is that the bed is like nearly impossible to make nicely w/ no wrinkles and that drives me a bit bonkers lol. Between the guard rail for sleeping and the fact that the bed is tight up against the wall to prevent him from slipping into the crack on the side of the bed, the comforter never is smooth and always has so inconsistency to it. Which frankly is a pretty good analogy for life with a toddler πŸ˜‰

On the other side of his room is his closet and another bookcase, where we store all the night time reading selections πŸ™‚

I’d love this room to be wood (keep telling the hubby I want to replace the carpet w/ wood and he sorta laughs at me each time – which I’m interpreting as him being so full of joy about this prospect that it just make him laugh but this may be misguided) πŸ˜‰


Baby Girl Nursery Reveal

I got lots of questions from y’all on the specifics of the wainscoting treatment in our little one’s room, so I wanted to follow up today with some “after” shots of the space, along with a cost breakdown of everything to date. Note, I still need to buy bedding for the crib (we will reuse Henry’s crib in her room), and a touch of artwork, but other than that, y’all we are d-o-n-e (with 9-ish weeks to go!)

So I eluded to it last week, but we decided to go dark in the nursery! We actually painted it the same color as the base on our desk (Ashwood Moss), so that saved us some $$ since we were able to use the same $30 gallon of color matched paint.

Once painted, the wainscoting went from this:

#InteriorDesign #DIY

To this! So classy and I seriously feel like this room is a library y’all.


The trim we purchased was outdoor, plastic stuff (we couldn’t find anything in wood with the dimensions/look we wanted) so it took a few coats of paint lightly applied to the trim to get everything the way it needed to look. It was tedious, but all in all, in a weekend between husband and myself, we had the room done.

The trim we got was closest to this one that I found online, although this is wood grain. Your total cost will depend on how much square footage you need to cover, and how many boxes you want to make, but our total out of pocket cost was just under $200 for this space, and we used about 200 linear feet for ours (which is a 10×11 room).

I decided to go with light wood accents in this space, to go with the botanical theme I have for the room and it looks finnnee next to those dark walls y’all. Here is a shot of the dresser I got on craigslist and a mirror we re-purposed from inside the house. We’ve had it forever, but I think I got it at Homegoods originally.

Here is another angle, of the corner with our glider. Also repurposed from Henry’s room, and the frames have been up since we moved in. They were $12.99 each at Homegoods though! (I have one flanking either side of the window)

And another image of the glider nook, with different lighting. It really does read differently depending on the angle, but I’d say that it’s a charcoal with some greenish tints to it. That lamp base was a $4.99 thrift store find, and it has a target lampshade on it. Craigslist side table. πŸ™‚

Charcoal Nursery

If I have my way and see some beauties pop up on craigslist, etc, I’d also *love* to add pinch pleat drapes to this room down the line, but absolutely refuse to spend hundreds of dollars on it, ya know? If I get ambitious before baby girl comes (or maybe after?) I also plan on wallpapering the closet! I mean, who doesn’t want a sweet looking wallpapered closet? I think it would be the perfect backdrop for a little lady and all their pretty clothes!

That light though y’all – it’s my fav πŸ˜€

DIY Light Fixture

So price breakdown so far:

  • $30 in paint (shared w/ desk project)
  • $197 in trim (splurge!)
  • $92 on light fixture (for the jute ball and the DIY light kit – hoping to sell extra spheres to bring this down)
  • $4.99 lamp base
  • $10 lamp shade
  • $125 antique dresser
  • Glider reused from Henry’s room
  • Crib reused from Henry’s room

Getting Ready for Baby

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. #RegisteringForBaby #CollectiveBias

As always, all opinions are 100% mine (allll minnnee).

It’s hard to believe another Sell is going to be joining us in just a few weeks you guys! One of the biggest things when prepping for any baby – beyond having the room ready – is having all of the other essentials that you know you *need* and definitely won’t have time to grab after you give birth to said member of family. With your first baby, I feel like our registry is what kept everything organized for us and I really recommend registering if you’re a first time parent since it helps you to pre-think a lot of the things that you would just not even know to stock up on.

Target is basically where we do 99% of our baby shopping (mostly so I can do some Mom shopping, too – duhhh) πŸ˜‰ and it’s probably the best place in my opinion to set up a registry.

Some of my favorite things about the Target registry is that it automatically pre-populates a few must have items right off the bat, which is super helpful to guide new moms with some of the basics (if you click on the image above, it will automatically direct you to these items on Target – even easier!) ;).

You also get a ton of coupons and samples when you go pick up your welcome kit and this stuff is great to have on hand once you need to make a quick run to the store. I’d just advise keeping them all in an envelope in a specific locale so you actually know where they are when you need the coupons down the road (for diaper rash cream, you name it). We didn’t do that with H and I’d often find the coupon after I’d already purchased the item, uggh.

I snagged these baby essentials (which happen to be a few of the items that Target will pre-populate for you) in the store, but you can also buy them online. I mostly just wanted an excuse to get my booty to Target since it’s more or less the best thing ever when you can swing it sans children and solo (no offense fellow housemates)…

#RegisteringForBaby

For those that know Target as, ahem, well, as I do – these items can all be found in the baby department, (1) aisle to the right of the diapers with the creams, etc. If you’re not hopelessly addicted to the red bullseye and have more self restraint than me, you can find these items in aisle N37.

#RegisteringForBaby

Here is a snapshot/screenshot of the Target registry. Another sweet perk is that you get 15% off any remaining items left on your registry after birth. A pretty standard addition with any store but definitely a reason to register!

#RegisteringForBaby

We have a Target card which has always made returns easy for us, but the returns process is no hassle and it for up to a YEAR! We tried to return a duplicate off of another registry when H was born and y’all, it was not fun. I felt like I was trying to negotiate a peace treaty or something. Sage advice, don’t tell a woman a few weeks post partum she can’t return something, hehe. Those hormones yo, it ain’t pretty.

Apparently there is now an app as well for your registry which makes it super easy to add stuff (a little too easy?) πŸ˜‰ Maybe they had this when I was pregnant with Henry, but I certainly don’t remember it! The app has a portal where you can see who gifted you what, so you can easily track all the purchases which is a huge win. They also offer group gifting on their app if you have a bunch of BFF’s or Aunties that want to go in together and get you a big ticket item – genius! πŸ™‚ You can easily register yourself by going online here.

For now, I’m busy organizing this nursery and getting things like a hospital bag packed (OMG!) – this baby is coming you guys! I say bring on the botanicals – this girl has lots of flowers in her wardrobe so far πŸ˜‰

Botanical girl clothes

Also, if you haven’t noticed from some of the background photos, the nursery is coming along y’all! I’ll have a reveal on the room later this week – so you can see all the progress but here is a sneak peak! I’ll have a cost breakdown and sources up for the space very soon. πŸ™‚

Charcoal Nursery

 

Trimming it Up

This little ladies room is shaping up nicely so far y’all. It took us a few weekends of dedicated time, but we have some sweet trim action going down in the little lassie’s nursery and I’m getting mighty excited to paint this joint now!

#Wainscoting #DIY #HomeDesign #InteriorDesign

So no, we won’t be leaving the trim white against the gray walls, instead we’re going to paint the whole thing – dark!

Like so!

#NurseryDesign #InteriorDesign

{photo cred, Domino Magazine}


I mean, you guys, are you dying? I’m dying. And I’m loving these dark, dark, moody colors that are in right now. Hey – we went dark on H’s room and I’m all about it, so why not 2/2, right?

Here is a darkish (sorry) shot of how the room looks right now from the doorway, so you can get an idea of how the trim is placed.

#InteriorDesign

I knew off the bat that I wanted everything to be as symmetrical as possible with this trim, which did require a fair bit of pre-measuring to 1) make sure we were optimizing each piece of trim (vs. having large sections of waste and 2) to make sure everything would be centered and equal once up on the walls.

#InteriorDesign, #DIY

We left a 5″ gap around the walls and in between each section – you can see here how that looks on the external corner, right before you get to the door to the hallway.

#InteriorDesign #DIY

Now ideally we would not have had to work around outlets with the trim and all of the outlet boxes would have fallen neatly into each one of these boxes we made, but we have a newer house and by george, they sure love their outlets in like 90’s houses and newer man. I’m like NO ONE has this many electronics they need to plug in – for realz.

Since we were not that lucky we just worked around them to the extent we were able.

#InteriorDesign #NurseryDesign

Overall, I’m super happy with how this turned out! For our install, in case anyone is wondering, we just used a nail gun to put each piece in place, and then came through with a very light layer of caulk to help keep each piece in place and not pop out.

#InteriorDesign #DIY

Jay’s finishing up the caulking this week and from there – get ready to see some paint going on y’all!! Can’t wait to have this room prepped and put together with furniture, etc!


#InteriorDesign #DIY

Nursery Furniture

So, have I mentioned I’m having a girl? Whoa baby. So y’all – I definitely thought, ever since I met my husband and saw that his lineage more or less spurted off boys, I was like – ok – I choose you as mate, I get boys. And girls just never really came into my brain cells as something that like might even happen. And here I am well into the process of baking a girl. Dang.

I mean, there are silver linings. Girl clothes are *really* cute. Evidence of acquisition … I know … right? We’ve had so many people generously give us stuff and I’ve scoured the racks at a few consignment sales as well. (If you can’t tell…)

How_To_Save_On_Baby_Clothes

I’m on board y’all, I’m just not like one of those ladies that was like, my life won’t be complete until I have a girl πŸ˜‰ So another fun thing, in addition to buying clothes, is giving her a space that feels 100% hers and not like our old office.

My first score (and this is a small room, so perhaps the only furniture buy I’ll make) is this dresser!

Antique_Dresser_North_Carolina

It’s cute, right! I love the top of itΒ  – it’s super unique and almost looks like a wood floor to me with the different pieces of wood sewn in on the top.


Antique_Dresser_Baby_Room

So calling out to the internet world, but this thing definitely needs some type of finish on it, and at this point just seems like open/unfinished/not sealed wood. I was thinking about waxing it (vs poly) to avoid it being super shiny, but if others have ideas or suggestions, holla.

It’s got lots of imperfections which is one of my favorite parts about it since I feel like it gives some character to the room right off the bat.

Antique_Dresser

With H, we were in and out of our last house when he was a tiny human, and then moved into a 1-bedroom apartment where there was not room for cute things like glass pumps to hold hand sanitizer on the changing dresser, so I’m pretty excited about being able to pop in little details like this to the space. (This is as far as we got with nursery #1 and H’s room currently, now transitioning to big boy room…)

Changing_Table_Nursery

Next stop, clearing out the closet. πŸ™‚

Organizing_Baby_Closet

For now though, I’m just enjoying our new find and working hard to get the rest of the room up and ready, as I’m hitting my 3rd tri right now.

Antique_Dresser_Changing_Table

We’re up to lots of work on this space – I’ll have an update next week with our paint selections and some other adventures in designing the space.

Here is my design board, so you can see the full vision!

Botanical Nursery Design


Never, Ever, Buy Things New

Y’all, I mentioned a few months ago our new found journey to becoming frugal masters. We’ve always been sorta inclined toward this path and there are *definitely* those that do this much better than me. Case and point, kiddo clothes. So sometimes, I like imagine a life where I would bust my bootie into Carter’s and Old Navy and just sorta crackle with pure glee as I load up my cart with the bargains around me. $5, FIVE DOLLARS?! Why, I really should grab two! I mean, the marketing you guys, they got that down and the clothes are so. darn. CUTE. Feeling me parents of the internet world?

Well you’ve got to use your imagination a bit more when you shop second hand, because the clothes are not marketed and laid out for you so nicely, but y’all, I guarantee you that there are so many other humans out there that paid full price for kids clothes that got underused, that you’ve got a prime opportunity to swoop in there and get your hands on the goods for a steal of a deal.

I’m {personally} totally hooked though. I just got H’s entire 5T wardrobe for $61 and since a toddler jacket at the Gap runs you around $40, I consider this a win.

Kids Consignment Sales Raleigh

Disclaimer – I’ll probably add a shirt or pair of pants here and there, but overall – this kid is going to be looking j-crew posh when he hits the streets.

A few points really quick – notice I said my kids 5T wardrobe? Y’all he’s in 3T right now, but truly, the only way to successfully keep yourself from having to buy things full price down the road, is to start stashing clothes for them early and then add a few small, key pieces as they get older. Like an extra pair of pants, more jammies, or water shoes. Every one of the items above cost less than $3 and they’re all name brand, really nice stuff! (more here on how I keep each size organized)

Consignment Sales Raleigh

I mean, that sweater y’all. It makes me wish for a nice cup of coco and weather that was not 100. NC in summatime, it’s great! πŸ˜‰

Where_To_Consign_Raleigh

I’m loving this Gap windbreaker, $2. Yeaaaasss. So cute, and barely worn!

Best_Consignment_Sales_In_Raleigh

One thing you do need to be ok with is having other children’s names scribed inside the goods (especially things like jackets, I’ve noticed).

Meh – for $2, if people call my kid Jack, I’m ok with that! If he lands up with a Jack in his class we may have to cross it out to say Henry, just so the coat stays in the Sell Casa πŸ˜‰

Why_Buy_Used_Kids_Clothing

My mom is super amazing and chipped in to help buy the kiddo some shoes, too. These are all in great condition and are brands like Stride Rite and Keen (hello $50 per pair of shoes – no thanks!). More like $5 when you buy them used you guys.

Another thing I’ve personally taken a liking to – is at consignment sales only shopping the 1/2 off days. I’m sure there are better selections on full price days but there is still really, really nice/cute stuff on the 1/2 off day – so I typically wait and see what I can find! When you start early, it’s not dire that you get everything you need in 1-shot, too. Consignment stores will often have dollar days, etc, so you can find good deals no matter the locale.

Kids_Shoes_For_Sale

One of the blogs I read, Frugalwoods is all about clothes bans. Like never buy clothes and I’m all – nope. Not happening! 1) Buying clothes is fun, it’s fun to have the kiddo dressed up and dapper. I like doing it, it brings me joy (she would roll over and die hearing me saying buying stuff is fun BUT my other point is 2) Frugal living is all about the ROI y’all – IMO. I’m confident that all the clothes I buy for H will be sold for nearly what I bought them for, giving the dirt cheap prices I paid. Following me, grasshopper? Sure, some clothes will get trashed, etc, but most of them I will sell for what I paid, which is like a $1 or $2. So, I call that a win – it’s like borrowing a cute wardrobe, right? Either way – I think the path to frugal living is all about carving out what it is that you value and minimizing the rest.

Don’t let friends buy new. That’s your PSA for the day.

Here are some of my favorite Raleigh consignment sale locales, for anyone local!

 

 

Round Two – Nursery Design!

Oh you guys. This pregnancy has been rough so far. I’ve been feeling so sick every day and the last few weeks have just started to feel really depressed about it – it literally starts to feel like you will never, ever, feel normal again. I know we’re getting so close to better days ahead though y’all and one thing that helps calm my nerves and make me forget about all my nausea is – designing a nursery! πŸ˜‰ Haha. It’s THAT fun πŸ˜€

Silver lining with this room is that other than paint and 4-5 fill in items, I’m going to reuse staples like the glider and the crib from H’s room. Henry is actually still *using* the crib (hey, I like having a baby jail, don’t judge me!) so we’ll uhhh, have to address that as well. πŸ˜‰

Here is what H’s never quite complete nursery looked like.

Dark Blue Baby Room

I’ll use this glider and the crib, and maybe the bookcase in the new baby’s room. Dark Blue Boys Room Y’all this is what I’m thinking for the new babes space. A botanical themed space with some paneling on charcoal walls!

Botanical Nursery Design

Different than what we’ve done in the past, but I’m just really into dark colors right now! I think with the lighter details, it helps to balance it out and ground the darker base.

Notice those new doors … I sorta told Jay I want to replace all the doors and hardware in the house (our current style looks like this)

Laundry Room Closet

I don’t know – pinterest has pretty much ruined me. Jay thinks I’m off my rocker.

If you’re extra blog savvy, you’ll also recognize that the room we’ll be using as our nursery for baby #2, is also our office. I know I totally was dreaming and scheming of turning this room into a crazy awesome library esq space (not all dreams come true guys), but I’m actually going to try and recreate that look in a little nook in our house downstairs. Stay tuned, it’s on the honey do list this month so I’m hoping to have progress to share on our new office locale sooner rather than later! (not all is lost!)

I’ve always thought this was a boy, but the past few weeks, as I’m still feeling pretty sick every day, I’m like – crap – maybe this is a girl… Not going to lie, I actually want another boy (same clothes, same everything – easy) but the more I think about it, the more I’ve come around to the idea of a potential girl.

More than anything our only hope is for a healthy baby. Cliche, but especially with these first few uncertain months for us, we’re just hoping we continue to hear good news about the prospects of this little ones health. I’ll keep y’all updated, but we’ll have an amnio in the next few weeks along with an ultrasound, which will provide more information. Please continue to send us good vibes!

Capturing my Child

Y’all – my boy is 2. He’s actually like 2 and 1/2, not that I’m counting. I’m counting actually because there’s something so, so sweet about the present life we live. It’s tiring and it’s trying and it’s completely too much (in every way possible), but it’s perfect you guys. They tell you all sorts of cliche things when you’re about to pop your first one out and it’s all true, but it’s all largely insufficient to describe the love you feel and the desire, deep in your gut, to create the best round of life possible for this additional human that springs into your life and suddenly completely redefines it.

So when I was at Target the other day I spotted this journal – and the fact that the cover – in gold letters reads “Don’t Let Them Tame You” with a leopard print on the side, completely sealed the deal. I’ve been wanting to get a journal for a quick second now because I’ve seriously got to capture this time in our life and the words that come out of this child’s mouth.

Journaling_With_Children

Because I never want to forget how we can hear him officiating basketball games from his crib as he falls asleep (foul, up high, basketball!!), or how the first thing we can hear him say as he’s mumbling to himself in bed in the early morning is basketball with a question in his tone (can we go play basketball?), or how he’ll randomly come up to us and give us a big squeeze and say I love you before he walks away, or how he imitates Mickey Mouse saying “Oh Boy!”, or how he can talk about airplanes for hours, how he laughs and loves to be in on the jokes, and how he wants so badly to be able to do everything the grown ups do.

Because I can’t believe that this boy…

Baby_Seat

Let alone THIS boy.

North Carolina Baby Photography

Has overnight turned into this boy…

Thrifty_Living_Blog

Never let them tame you, my sweet, smart boy! You’re perfect just the way you are.

What do y’all do to keep the memories for your kiddos? I’m new to this whole parenthood thing … would love ideas on capturing the essence of their little whipper snapper of a toddler soul!

 

Life Takes Courage

courageous

Y’all, life comes at your kinda fast sometimes. Case in point – pregnancy #2. It didn’t even feel real to me you guys, I just knew, based on peeing on a stick that another baby was in route. So I go to the first ultrasound, of course (for me at least) these interim steps of a pregnancy are always pretty stressful so naturally you sigh a relief when the baby measures alright and the heartbeat is there and they check all the proverbial boxes. A few days later I went in for my routine visit with the Dr. after the ultrasound and she sorta chortled that my medical history was so insignificant that we were all good to go, see you in a month, yada yada. As she was leaving the room, she mentioned that a student would be coming in to tell me about a research study. I’m just thanking Jesus the pap smear is done and kinda absentmindedly nod my head at something else that sounds routine, and frankly, sorta like a pain (ahh research hospitals, if you’ve delivered in one, you know what I mean…)

So this young grasshopper of a Dr. comes in and tells me all about a research study they’re doing where they’re testing women for something called CMV – essentially a cold that won’t go away that can be potentially dangerous to the nugget growing in utero. It’s totally free to participate so I say what the heck, sure, I’ve basically had a cold since I delivered my first one 2-years ago (so. many. germs) and I think nothing of it. She tells me they’ll call me in 2-3 days if I test positive and not to worry – that like.01% of the women they test pop up and get flagged for having a primary transmission (or first time of getting the virus), while pregnant, or immediately prior to becoming pregnant.

A week goes by and life is so busy it’s completely out of my head y’all when I start getting calls from Chapel-Hill (where the research hospital is located). I don’t recognize the number, so I let it go to voicemail – forget about it – and a day later, they call me 3 more times, the third time I answer. The research nurse goes right into it – within the first few sentences I’m starting to feel my heart drop y’all. Shit, I think. I know you. I know who you are. I’m thinking back to my conversations with the research assistant the week before and the wordsΒ 40% transmission rate and neurological damage are sticking out, like hot, glaring, neon danger signs in my head. So I hear maybe 10% of what she says and I try to piece together some brain cells to process what I need to do next – and to what degree I should panic. So she sets me up with a high risk OB at my medical system and off I go to get an ultrasound and learn more about what to do – which is basically – sit around and wait for the fate of this little baby.

I had a full day to read the internet before my appointment, so of course, that provides ample fodder for basically the worst possible outcomes. I learned some positive things, like first trimester pregnancy have a lower transmission rate (20% – since umbilical cord is not fully established) but also some really scary things, like if the child tests positive, a first trimester infection has a 24% chance of leading to severe hearing issues (deafness) and a 32% chance of leading to neurological issues like mental retardation, cerebral palsy, blindness and seizures. Reading over reports you see things like “If contracted in the first trimester, patient should be consulted on pregnancy termination options”Β – so yes – this is pretty real deal stuff we’re dealing with and a pretty big pivot from my pregnancy with H which was healthy and uneventful and full of frozen pizzas. Ok, the frozen pizza part will probs remain unchanged (let’s be honest).

I’m *lucky* in the sense that the research team that approached me about testing my blood for the virus is also looking at a randomized treatment option, which has been studied for nearly a decade, and shows significant promise for curing and preventing infection of children in utero. It’s frustrating however, since the treatment option is completely randomized, I only have a 50/50 shot of receiving theΒ CMV hyperimmune globulin (HIG), and a 50/50 shot of getting a placebo. The results are nearly unanimous that this treatment works, but the sample clinical size is still too small for them to proceed with offering this in anything other than a trial form. It’s humbling, and scary, to be at the mercy of a large, bureaucratic, and broken health care system. I think about things now like – will this child have a pre-existing condition at birth? What will that mean for them? What will that mean for us?

So right now, we’re tracking the pregnancy closely, and once a month I will go to UNC hospital and receive a 5-7 hour infusion treatment where they (God willing) administer the HIG (vs. placebo) into my blood stream, and I’ll sit there and think about this baby – and wonder about what they’ll look like – and who they’ll be – and how this world will impact them and how they will impact this world. Testing positive for this virus is actually so rare that I am the only participant in the region that is actively pregnant – so I will be the only patient receiving treatment for it at present. Only 10-15% positive cases will exhibit symptoms in an uttrasound, so unless I get an amnio done around 21-weeks, we won’t know if we’re looking at a positive or negative diagnosis until birth, and even then, if they test positive, they could be asymptomatic at birth and lead a very normal, healthy life. If they do exhibit symptoms, that could put them on a much more difficult trajectory with potentially severe disabilities including compromised neurological function.

Y’all Jay and I have talked a lot about this, obviously, and it’s been a heart breaking week for us. So much uncertainty but also so much hope that this child is meant for this world and is meant to be a positive agent of change within it. Sobbing through tears of anger and disappointment and fear this week – I looked up at Jay and told him, I don’t want a child that’s severely disabled, I don’t want a vegetable that lacks an ability to interact and explore and understand and impact this world. But more than that, I feel this deep, deep calm within me that this child IS meant for this world and it’s not my job to decide or intervene in that process, rather, as their parent, it’s my job to tell them, from 11-weeks out, that I believe in you child. That I am your biggest advocate, that I’m always in your corner and that I know you are fierce, I know you are strong, and I know that you are capable of fighting this (and any other battles that come your way in this world) and of persevering through to join us come February.

I keep seeing in my mind, the ultrasound image of this child kicking and moving so healthy in my womb. I have a little profile shot of them ready to go for my desk come Monday – I can already see my little H in the profile. We are family, and families stick together.

A few facts on CMV for woman who are, or are considering becoming pregnant:

  • Did you know you have an up to 50% chance of contracting this virus if you have a child under 2 in childcare (germs!) πŸ˜‰
  • You’re not supposed to kiss your kiddos while pregnant (lol, right) or share food with them – apparently the germs can be transmitted this way (I can think of a few slobbery smooches that came my way that may have been the culprit)
  • Wash your hands extra vigilantly when pregnant, always a good policy – but taking extra precautions when pregnant never hurts!
  • Most woman of child bearing age have contracted CMV before – if it’s not a primary infection (first time you’ve had it) you’re incredibly less likely to pass along to fetus (like less than 1%). If you’re considering becoming pregnant, you could ask for a test from your OB to see if your CMV negative, and have never had the antibodies. If not, you’d want to be extra vigilant during pregnancy