Worth the Wait 

  

Hartley will be 10 months old this weekend. Honestly, it feels like she’s always been here. I can only vaguely remember what life was like before I spent my mornings chasing her around, stopping her from chewing on a cord or the remote:) 

Even all those years I spent waiting for her are a hazy memory—until something or someone snaps me right back into that time of my life…

I was at an event for work this weekend. Someone came up to ask me about IVF…specifically how many times we had to do it before it worked. 

I’m not sure “guilty” is the right word, but it’s the only word I know to describe how I feel when I answer that question. 

Once. We did IVF once. 

This couple has already done it once and got a “BFN.” That’s infertile speak for “it didn’t work.” 

I don’t like to compare people’s infertility struggles. When you’re dealing with it—it’s bad….it’s just bad for some  longer than others. 

Science has come a long way, but the reality is it often does take more than one round of IVF bring home a baby. 

I wished I could’ve given my friend some super secret advice, trick I used to make my round of IVF successful. But I don’t have that. 

My little girl is a miracle….as all babies are when you think about it. 

I told my friend I’d be happy to talk or listen anytime. And I’d keep them in my prayers. 

Maybe you will too? 

They’re going to be great parents one day:) 

Side note: National Infertility Awareness Month is coming up at the end of the month, according to Resolve.org. (Which is a great resource for anyone with infertility) 

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Time Slow Down

She’s eight months old today. She sits, she laughs, she loves it when her grandmother and grandfather pick her up in the afternoons, and she loves to steal her spoon when I’m attempting to feed her. She does not love her car seat. 

I never really understood when my friends with babies would talk about wanting to freeze time…freeze their babies right where they were…say “time slow down.” As precious as Hartley was as a newborn, I couldn’t wait to see her roll over, start reaching with her hands or sleep more than two hours at a time:)

But something changed a week or two ago. She isn’t completely helpless anymore. It’s hitting me that my favorite part of the day—rushing in to feed her when I get home from work late at night–won’t be necessary soon. And if I’m being honest- it’s probably for me more than her now:)

The baby I prayed for..waited for…soon won’t be a baby anymore…and while I know there are great adventures ahead…time slow down:)  

 

Real Talent 

I’m a vocal fan of the Miss America pageant. I talk about it, tweet about it..it’s no secret:) Because of that- I’ve been asked a lot this week what I thought of Miss Colorado’s talent.

I think most people expected me to make fun of her…her scrubs…her stethoscope…or say “It wasn’t a talent.”

But I can’t.

I can’t because I love nurses.

Last September, nurses took my blood every week to see if my fertility medications were working.

A nurse wheeled me, crying, out of the doctor’s office when my first egg retrieval didn’t work.

When the next one did, a nurse called to tell me I was pregnant.

A nurse took my phone call every single time some pregnancysymptom made me nervous.

A nurse stood on her feet with me for more than 12 hours while I delivered my baby. It was well after her “quitting time.” She stayed anyway.

A nurse took my baby from my arms to the NICU when she was four days old.

She made me feel like it was ok to worry. And to cry.

Nurses loved on my baby, put up screens to give me privacy so I could try to breastfeed her and encouraged me to keep trying when it was hard.

Maybe what Miss Colorado did onstage wasn’t a talent. I don’t know. But I do know her profession has been a gift to me this year. And I am forever grateful.

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My tiny girl under the Bili light.

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Back to Work

If you’re a regular viewer, you’ve noticed we use IPADs for our scripts on 16 WAPT. When I was super pregnant.. and standing up to deliver the news… I often rested that IPAD on my big ole stomach. Very handy….until one day when I felt a little foot kick it back:)

It became sort of a game between Hartley and me. I put the IPAD on my tummy…wait for her inevitable punch or kick…and try not to stumble or stutter through whatever story I was reading at the time.

Today— I’ll go to work and my little kicker won’t be with me. 

The emotions are complicated. I’ve always wanted to be a working mom- have a job that I love *and* a sweet baby to raise. But leaving my girl is just as hard as everyone said it would be. 

I’ve been trying to put it into words, but my mind keeps going back to a column I read years ago–back when I could only dream of having a baby girl. 

It’s from Parenting.com -called Dear Daughter, Here’s Why I Work.

The whole thing is worth reading, but here’s how it ends:

 There are many reasons mommies work—and they might not be what you think they are. These are mine.

I work because I love it.

I work because scratching the itch to create makes me happy, and that happiness bleeds over into every other area, including how patient and engaged and creative a mother I am.

I work because this nice house and those gymnastics lessons and those sneakers you need to have are all made possible by two incomes.

I work because I want you and your brother to be proud of me.

I work because I did this before you were born, and I’ll still want it to be there after you go off to college.

I work because—despite my being the parent who’s almost always the one walking through the door at 6pm, the one who rarely travels for work, the one who’s keeping track of the fact that the permission slip for the field trip is due tomorrow—you’d never ask your father why he works. His love is a given that long hours at work do nothing to diminish.

I work because even at your young age you’ve absorbed the subtle message that women’s work is less important and valuable—and that the moms who really love their kids don’t do it. 

I work because by the time you have your own daughter, I cross my fingers this will not be so.

So, to answer your question: I do love work, but of course I love you and your brother much, much more. If I had to choose, I would choose you guys.

But I’m so happy I don’t have to. And I hope you never do either.

Source: Parenting.com, Sasha Emmons.
So today I’ll go to work. I’ll prop my IPAD on my (slightly) flatter tummy…and no one will kick it back. 

I’ll try not to stutter and stumble through my stories as I think of my precious girl…as I wonder what she’s doing. 

Whatever it is–wherever she is—I hope she always feels my love…

I hope she finds a passion that becomes her career…

And I hope someday her working mom makes her proud:)
   
    
 

Dressing the Bump.

It’s finally happening. With just days before I go back to work, I’m finally moving my maternity gear out of my closet into storage. If I let it stay there I’m going to eat alll the Twix my husband brought home. And then start on the Snickers.

I’m actually sad to say goodbye to my pregnancy wardrobe. Dare I say–I liked it!

Not at first. The first store I visited must think all pregnant women can spend their days in yoga pants and mumus.

I left with a pair of maternity panty hose.

Luckily, friends pointed me to two websites that saved my professional wardrobe during this time of… growth.

The first is Mine For Nine.  It’s like Rent the Runway, but for maternity clothes.

You visit their website to choose the dress, skirt, top, etc…and rent it…usually for a month.

At the end of the month you have the option to buy most items or just mail them back in a pre labeled package.

I kept a pink dress I wore mid-pregnancy for two months. It was great to be able to ship it back when it stopped looking cute:)

The dress I wore to my baby shower started as a rental. It was brand new when I pulled it out of the package, and I immediately decided I wanted to keep it.

One more thing– customer service at Mine for Nine is INCREDIBLE. When I’ve emailed I’ve gotten quick and direct responses from the company’s founder. How often does that happen? Plus you can get discounts for writing reviews of your outfits.

My second go-to for “maternity fashion” is Bump Style Box. This is a Louisiana based store that got into the business of mail order styling for pregnant women. Think Stitch Fix, but less corporate feeling, and just for maternity.

When I signed up my stylist Hannah contacted me to find out what I did for a living, how I was carrying my baby (like a giant beach ball), whether I liked to show off the bump or not, and what colors I would and wouldn’t wear. She sent me a box of clothes with a hand written note explaining why she sent each item and how she thought I could wear them.

Bump Style Box turned me on to Tees by Tina…a non maternity maternity friendly line of colorful, body concious, one size fits all dresses. Seriously– in this rare case– one size does fit all.

To be clear- I’m not paid by these companies. They’ve given me nothing for free. Just passing along what I’ve learned:) Pregnant women have to stick together!

Here’s a look a look back at a few of my favorite preggo outfits:)  

  

My Hair is Full of Secrets

Last week I woke up to a tweet directing me to this webpage: 

  

A website had combed thousands on TV stations looking for TV anchors with “the best hair.” Clearly they’ve never seen me in person (especially on maternity leave). 

The Station had a field day with it. Posting on our website, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Some people said nice things (thanks;), and others gave us the often posted “Is this news??”

Not touching that one:)

But this does give me an opportunity to let you in on a secret. A secret people who grew up with me in Laurel probably already know:

I’ve been obsessed with “news anchor hair” all my life.
It’s true. When all the other girls were dying for “The Rachel”…I was loving the Jane Pauley. 

I was 16…my hair was going on 40:) 

Fortunately—I now have Kate Mcneely at Trim Salon to remind me that “news anchor” is no longer synonymous with “helmet head”. I’m gradually learning to put down the hair spray and scale back the teasing.

Most of us at 16 WAPT are coiffed by some great hair stylists. You see their names on the credits at the end of our broadcasts. The guys at William Wallace and Watercolor in Ridgeland have also styled my and other team members hair over the years. 

But they aren’t there with us everyday. A common misconception is that we have hair stylists and makeup artists getting us ready to go on the air. 

I wish. Most days we are completely on our own with those curling  irons.

So I guess I’ll accept this slightly ridiculous, probably undeserved “hair award”…

seems I’ve been working for it my whole life:) 

Having Hartley

Several months ago I started polling my mom friends about everything I’d need in my hospital bag when it came time to have Hartley.
I’d ordered monogrammed outfits for her and I’d scoured the internet for the perfect post delivery pajamas for me. Come due date July 14th we would be ready!

Oh well:)

June 15 was a normal work day at the TV station. Truth is– I felt terrible and had for a few days, but since my pregnancy had been a physical breeze until this point I kept my thankful mouth shut.

We finished the 10 pm news and all walked to the parking lot. My assistant news director asked if I was “coming to work tomorrow?”

“Absolutely!” I said. I started to add “unless I’m having a baby!”

But that would be ridiculous, right??

Right:)

Three hours later I was out of bed….frantically googling “signs of early labor” and “do you have to go to the hospital if your water breaks?”

All sites pointed to yes.

My husband was surprisingly calm when I woke him up. I told him he didn’t need to take anything because “they’d probably just send us home.” 

As a *just in case* I grabbed my  work bag– full of labor essentials like velcro rollers and fake eyelashes– and threw in a pair of yoga pants for good measure.

One brief chat with the nurse later— it was clear the hospital would not send us home. We were having Hartley today:)

Over the next 18 hours I fell in love with my doctor- Missy McMinn- and labor and delivery  nurses Karol and Beth. They were so patient with my clueless self and anxious family, tough and encouraging at the same time. 

At 6:31pm Hartley Victoria Allen came into the world. Quietly at first…then with the sweetest little cry I’ve ever heard. 

It was the best moment in what was the best day of my life. Hands down. I’d do it over and over if I could. 

Late that night I thought about my fancy pajamas and the monogrammed outfits I’d left at home. They’d be too big for my tiny girl anyway:)

All my efforts to “be prepared” seemed so funny to me now. 

In that room I had my husband, and an early but healthy little girl. All I ever really needed:)
 

The face of a woman just told she’s having a baby…today.

 
   

The husband of a woman just told she’s having a baby…today.

  

Hartley Victoria Allen… 5lbs . 12 oz.

 

The Perfect Day.

I feel her kicking. I clearly see even my “extra loose” maternity dresses stretching, but nothing made this whole “I’m having a baby” thing feel quite as real as this weekend.

This weekend a group of precious friends threw the most perfect shower to help me celebrate Hartley Victoria. (The story of how we chose her name is for a different day:))

Food, flowers, invitations…simply beautiful.

But what I loved more than anything was having so many of my favorite people…many of them who had never met… all in one room.

It was the most special day:)

Here are just a few of the pictures….(thanks to Candace;))

babyshowerflowersbabyshowerentrybabyshowertableflowersbabyshowercookiesbabyshowergroupic1babyshowertinybabydressbabyshowerfriendsbabyshowertutu

babyshowermoms

babyshowerwithhostesses babyshowerwithmompic

On Fathers and Flat Tires

When I was in college, I often talked about how much I loved “unexpected” weekends. This usually meant going to a really great party, discovering some new pocket of DC or meeting someone new and interesting.

Well…unexpected weekends aren’t what they used to be:)

Last Friday night- heading home from work- I hit a one of Channel 16 Way’s angriest  potholes….and lost two tires.

My car was kind enough to let me swerve (on my rims) into the nearest gas station to see the damage for myself.

So what’s a 30-something pregnant girl to do…stranded.. near midnight.. at a gas station.. miles from home?

Same thing she’d do at 13.

Call the best fix-it man I know…my dad:)

Dad (with my mom and dog that they were babysitting in tow) rushed to the Raceway where we determined my car would have to sit– sans wheels— until morning.

With the help of the local Walmart- dad replaced my tires early the next day, and I was good to go.

Or was I?….

I planned to roll to Hattiesburg on those new tires. I was coasting along…singing Uptown Funk for about the 5th time it played since Jackson…when what I can only describe as “a toothbrush bobbing in water” warning light showed up on my dash… and my car slowwwed down.

I slid into the Magee Little Caesar’s…and I cried.

(Ask the guy hosing off the pavement if you don’t believe me. He was scared to look.)

Between pregnancy, exhaustion, two busted tires and whatever *this* was…I had had it. 

I had *no* sense of humor when I called my dad this time. I was stuck at Little Caesar’s in Magee. And no, I wasn’t looking for crazy bread.

Dad got off the gym treadmill… flew to Magee… hazards blinking… and rescued his hanging by an emotional thread daughter.

…and then he took me to Hattiesburg while we waited for my car to cool off.

On the way back I was still complaining about my unexpectedly “bad” weekend.

Why me….why now…how much more…etc.  A pretty pathetic pity party, to be honest.

Dad dug around and handed me the “Coffee Talk” he’d picked up at the gym. You know that free flyer? He pointed to quote in the center of the page.

  

When you’re looking for wisdom in a Chinese proverb on a free flyer– you know you’ve seen better days. 

But the Chinese aren’t wrong. And neither was my dad when he guessed that calling me “his diamond” would make me smile…sarcastically…but still:)

The thing is–when I think about the unexpected events of this weekend…I won’t  remember how much the tires cost or how much I paid for the new water pump (that’s what that toothbrush means..FYI)…and it won’t matter at all that I got to Hattiesburg 30 minutes later than I’d planned.

I’ll remember my dad… the eternal optimist…with his  Coffee Talk wisdom…fixer of flat tires…the man who *always* shows up.

I’ll meet my baby girl in just a few weeks. Maybe I needed this unexpected weekend… to remind me just how much I’ve got to live up to:)

Distinguished Young Women

I was a little girl when my mother took me to my first Junior Miss program. The girls wore long white dresses, sang and danced, and at the end of the night one of them got a medal. Part of me wished it was a crown, but then I likened it to the Olympics and felt ok:) 

Years later I became Jones County’s Junior Miss, and I’ve been lucky to be involved with the Hinds County program ever since I moved back to Mississippi .

I say lucky because Distinguished Young Woman (as it’s now called) teaches girls skills I don’t believe they’d learn anywhere else at 16. They’re rewarded for thinking critically about current events, expressing their opinions in tough interviews, raising their GPA’s and SAT scores, honing their talents and perfecting push-ups:) If you’ve never see a DYW fitness routine– it’s no joke. 

This weekend four girls competed for the Hinds County title. Yes, four is a small number. Spring break and other school commitments kept other would be contestants away. But our four girls blew me away Saturday night. 

We had one medal to give away at the end of the night, but I bet if you keep an eye on those girls over the next few years you’ll see they all won something…confidence, a new skill–maybe just a perfect push-up…but something that will be with them forever. 



2016 Contestants with Outgoing DYW Riley Kellum



DYW Winner Emily Box, 1st alternate Taylor White and me



amazing choreographer Tee Land and my bump hiding sequins from Rent the Runway