September, 2016 | The Not So Hoity Toity Life

Month: September 2016

My Baby Comes First. Everything Else Can Wait.

Lulu is in a cling to Mama phase {or at least what I think is a phase}. She won’t let anyone else hold her. Not even poor Daddy who tries so hard for a snuggle. She struggles to play by herself unless Mama is sitting next to her. She won’t take a nap unless I hold her. And car rides are a nightmare because she can’t see me. I love how much she loves me. I love how special our bond is. But,  it would be nice to get to work on time at least once a week. I would like my house to look like a family lives in it and not a pack of wild animals.  Sometimes I would like to eat a meal without a toddler on my lap who steals all my food. And sometimes I just want to pee alone. It would be nice to not have to juggle a child {and the ten stuffed animals she insists on holding} while I try to get dressed. Putting a shirt on is now a 5 minute ordeal.

Everyone has said ‘she needs to learn that you can’t always hold her’, ‘just let her cry’ and ‘she’ll get over it’. I started to follow this advice. I would put her down or refuse to pick her up if I was in the middle of doing something. Her eyes would swell up and she would cry out ‘Mama’ over and over again. My heart broke every time tears rolled down her face but I convinced myself that this was what was best for both of us. She needed to gain independence and I needed some space to get things accomplished.

This went on for about a week. And then the posts started. The first day of school posts. All these children were headed to their first day of Kindergarten. It felt as if I was just liking their ‘Welcome to the World’ posts and now they were already five years old headed off to school. All the moms were commenting how quickly time flies and how sad they were that their little baby had disappeared before their eyes.  There was one post though that wasn’t like the others. The post that changed everything for me. It was a post that was going viral. I didn’t know the woman who wrote it. I didn’t know the specifics of her situation. But she reminded me of something I had forgotten as I was rushing through life. Time with your children is precious. She didn’t have a bright smiling Kindergartner in her picture. There was no sign saying her child’s likes and dislikes. There was nothing. Her child had passed away. She would have been starting her first day of school but instead she was taken from this world way too soon. I cried for this Mama. I cried because this world is an unfair place. I cried for that baby because she had so much more life left to live. But I also cried because I knew that Mama would give anything to hold her baby again. She would happily stop all of her meaningless daily tasks to be with her baby. And here I was trying this ‘new’ approach. I was wasting invaluable time that we could be spending together because I was trying to teach her some kind of life lesson.

I was the one who needed the life lesson. This phase isn’t an inconvenience, it is a blessing. Life is too unpredictable to take it for granted. How lucky am I to have someone who wants to enjoy every minute with me? How lucky am I that my sweet baby is comforted just by being in my arms? How lucky am I that I get to spend my days with her? The luckiest.

I’m sure it wasn’t easy for that Mama to share her story but I am so grateful she did. She didn’t share it in vain. I am going to hug Lulu a little longer today. I am going to hold her for naps and rock her to sleep at night. I am going to pick her up anytime she says ‘Mama’ with her arms reached out. I’m going to bend down and hug her every time she grabs onto my leg. No matter how long the car ride, I’m going to reach my hand in the backseat and touch her face so she knows I’m still there. I’m going to sit on the floor and play for hours. It doesn’t matter what is waiting for me outside of those play room doors.  This is what matters in life. One day I will finish my ‘to do’ list at work, I will get all the laundry done, I will make a four course home cooked meal and the house will be spotless. But not right now. My baby needs me. Everything else can wait.

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Fall Traditions and the Most Amazing Potato Cheese Soup


We LOVE traditions in our house. And this is one of my favorites. Every Fall we pick one Sunday to watch Lions football, set up Halloween decorations and most importantly we make the most AMAZING Potato Cheese Soup. Today was the day! When I smell the soup cooking it makes me nostalgic. I immediately think back to when it was just Sam and I in our first house. We weren’t even engaged yet. It was one of the first meals we ever cooked together in our home. The kitchen was a disaster afterwards but it was totally worth it. We made something together and we were closer because of it.

This year was even more special than previous years because it was the first time Lulu could participate in the tradition! And she absolutely loved it! As you can tell:

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I have always enjoyed traditions but getting the opportunity to share these special moments with Lulu make them even more enjoyable. I want Lulu to grow up loving traditions as much as I did. I want her to look forward to the start of fall because of soup day and watching football with her Daddy, even if the Lions do lose every year. I want her to know that every year there are things she can count on. Things that will never change even though the world around her is constantly changing. I want her to have that security. When she gets older I want her to continue these traditions with her family.  And when she is cooking the soup for her family, I hope she remembers the sight of Mama cutting potatoes and singing along to music while Daddy yells at the TV because the Lions have thrown yet another interception. I hope she remembers the laughs we shared when we sat down for the meal together. I hope she is reminded that her Mama and Dada gave her the best childhood they could.

But seriously, this soup. It is so good. Sam and I started making it together the first year we bought our house. We have changed it a lot over the years and I think we finally have the best version. Of course, it can be personalized because Sam and I rarely agree on toppings so pretty much every recipe I make has to be able to accommodate some variations. I like extra Cheddar cheese, bacon bits and green onion. Sam prefers very light cheese and bacon bits. He doesn’t even want a green onion to touch his plate. But, no matter how you top this soup, it tastes incredible!

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You can see the recipe HERE!

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DIY Tutu

I love to dress Lulu up in tutus and they are super easy to make. I made the one in this tutorial to be part of her Minnie Mouse Halloween costume. You can see the rest of the costume here.

-This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to  click the links provided, then I will receive a small commission. This does not impact the price that you pay or your experience on the website.  I only provide affiliate links to products I trust and fully believe in. –

Step 1:

Collect all of your materials. You will need elastic, 2-5 yards of  tulle {depending on size} in any color you chose, scissors, hot glue gun and cardboard {I used cardboard from a cereal box}.

I purchased the tulle I used for this tutu at the local craft store but it is a much better deal to order tulle off of Amazon in a bundle package. I would recommend purchasing THIS BUNDLE.  It has a good variety of colors at a great price.

Step 2:

You will need to determine the length of the elastic you will need. The best way to do this is to measure the waist of the child you are making the tutu for. If you are unable to measure the waist of the child you can use the chart below. Once you cut your elastic you will need to use the hot glue gun to seal the two ends together.

Clothing SizesElastic Sizes
Newborn11 Inches
0-3 Months12 Inches
3-6 Months13 Inches
6-9 Months14 Inches
9-12 Months15 Inches
12-18 Months16 Inches
24 Months17 Inches
3T18 Inches
4T20 Inches
5T22 Inches

Step 3:

Cut your red tulle into rectangles. See chart below to see the length of your rectangles based on the age of the child you are making a tutu for. All rectangles should have a width of 10 inches. I used 35 rectangles of tulle. I was making the tutu for a child in 9-12 month clothing.  You will need more or less tulle pieces depending on the size of the child.

Clothing SizeTutu Length
Newborn4 Inches
0-3 Months4 Inches
3-6 Months6 Inches
6-9 Months6 Inches
9-12 Months8 Inches
12-18 Months8 Inches
24 Months10 Inches
3T10 Inches
4T11 Inches
5T11 Inches

 

Step 4:

Fold each of your rectangles in half and roll each piece.

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Step 5:

Slide 1/2 of each rectangle  underneath the elastic band. Then tie the tulle around the elastic band. Once this is tied, you need to take the next piece of tulle and tie it to the elastic band. This tulle should overlap the previous tulle piece. Continue this until your elastic band is completely covered with tulle. You will want to have the tulle overlapping as this is the best way to cover your elastic. None of the elastic should be showing.

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The polka dots in this sample picture were glued on to complete the Minnie Mouse costume. You can see the tutorial for it here.

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You did it! You now have an adorable tutu fit perfectly for your little princess! You can leave your tutu like this or you can tie a bow onto it. Either way it is super cute!

 

10 Minute Headbands!

This may be my favorite craft. Ever. Lulu wears headbands every day of her life. Purchasing new headbands started to become an addiction. A very expensive addiction. You can imagine my excitement when I figured out how to make headbands myself! And it is seriously so easy. I swear once you get the hang of making these headbands you can actually make one in less than 10 minutes.

-This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to  click the links provided, then I will receive a small commission. This does not impact the price that you pay or your experience on the website.  I only provide affiliate links to products I trust and fully believe in. –

Step 1:

Prepare your materials. You will need fabric {I always just purchase fabric squares}, pair of nylons {old of new}, scissors and a hot glue gun.

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You can find fabric squares at your local fabric or craft store. Amazon also has A LOT of fabric options and they sell bundles like THIS ONE which is a really great deal and gives you a variety of options for headbands!

Step 2:

Cut two pieces of fabric. You can make your bows as big or as small as you want. I made a rather small bow in this example. My large piece of fabric is 8in X 3in. My small piece of fabric is 3in X 1in. You do not have to worry about having perfectly cut edges. You won’t see these edges by the end.

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Step 3:

Take your large piece of fabric. Use the hot glue gun to put a vertical line of glue down the middle. Fold over the edges of each side and stick them to the glue line. Do the same with the small piece of fabric.

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Step 4:

Put a horizontal line in the middle of the fabric. Fold over the edges on each side and stick them to the glue line.                                                                                                                                    img_8810img_8809

Step 6:

Cut the toe piece off of your nylons and discard. Cut off approximately 4 inches from the leg of the nylons.

 

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Step 7:

Take your large piece of fabric and pinch it in the middle. Hold it up to the nylon. Then take your small piece of fabric and wrap it around the middle of the large bow and the nylon. Glue into place.

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You are done! You now have an adorable headband that was cheap and super easy to make! Warning: You may become addicted to making these!

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DIY Minnie Mouse Costume

Lulu loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I knew for Halloween this year I wanted her to be Minnie Mouse. I started an endless pursuit of the perfect Minnie Mouse costume. I went to multiple stores and completed approximately 45 internet searches but I could not find the Minnie Mouse costume I had envisioned. So, I decided to make one! As you all know, I am not very crafty. If I can do this, so can you!

-This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to  click the links provided, then I will receive a small commission. This does not impact the price that you pay or your experience on the website.  I only provide affiliate links to products I trust and fully believe in. –

Step 1:

Collect all of your materials. You will need elastic, 3 yards of red tulle, white felt, black felt, black headband, red and white polka dot material. I found it really easy to find red material with white polka dots. At my local craft store I had the option of three different types of materials that would work for this. If for some reason you can’t find red material with white polka dots you could always use plain red material and glue on small white felt. You will also need scissors, a hot glue gun and cardboard {I used cardboard from a cereal box}.  To cut circles, you can use a circle cutter or you can just use circular household objects.

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I purchased the tulle I used for this tutu at the local craft store but it is a much better deal to order tulle off of Amazon in a bundle package. I would recommend purchasing THIS BUNDLE.  It has a good variety of colors at a great price.

Step 2:

You will need to determine the length of the elastic you will need. The best way to do this is to measure the waist of the child you are making the tutu for. If you are unable to measure the child’s waist, you can estimate the length of the elastic based on the table below. Once you cut your elastic you will need to use the hot glue gun to seal the two ends together.

Clothing SizesElastic Sizes
Newborn11 Inches
0-3 Months12 Inches
3-6 Months13 Inches
6-9 Months14 Inches
9-12 Months15 Inches
12-18 Months16 Inches
24 Months17 Inches
3T18 Inches
4T20 Inches
5T22 Inches

Step 3:

Cut your red tulle into rectangles. See chart below to see the length of your rectangles based on the age of the child you are making a tutu for. All rectangles should have a width of 10 inches. I used 35 rectangles of tulle. I was making the tutu for a child in 9-12 month clothing.  You will need more or less tulle pieces depending on the size of the child.

Clothing SizeTutu Length
Newborn4 Inches
0-3 Months4 Inches
3-6 Months6 Inches
6-9 Months6 Inches
9-12 Months8 Inches
12-18 Months8 Inches
24 Months10 Inches
3T10 Inches
4T11 Inches
5T11 Inches

 

Step 4:

Fold each of your rectangles in half and roll each piece.

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Step 5:

Slide your elastic band over the cardboard. Slide 1/2 of each rectangle  underneath the elastic band. Then tie the tulle around the elastic band. Once this is tied, you need to take the next piece of tulle and tie it to the elastic band. This tulle should overlap the previous tulle piece. Continue this until your elastic band is completely covered with tulle. You will want to have the tulle overlapping as this is the best way to cover your elastic. None of the elastic should be showing.

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Step 6:

Cut circles that are approximately 1.5 inches across. You can use larger circles if you prefer bigger dots. You can use a circle cutter if you have one. You can also just use anything around the house that is circular and a size that you like. I used 22  circles but it depends on how many dots you want on your tutu and how large of circles you choose to make.

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Step 7:

Use the hot glue gun to glue each of the dots onto the tutu. You can glue as many dots as you prefer but be sure to glue each dot onto one tulle piece. One dot should not be glued onto more than one rectangle of tulle.

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Step 8:

Fold the black felt in half. Place your circular object on the fold of the felt. Your circles should measure 4 inches across {mine are a little smaller because I couldn’t find the right size object}. Leave a small portion of the object off of the felt. Trace the circle with white chalk.  Cut out the shapes.

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Step 9:

You are going to fold the black shapes over the headband. Use the hot glue gun to glue around the edges of the felt.

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Step 10:

You will now need to make the headband. You can go here to see my headband tutorial. The bow in this tutorial is much smaller than the bow I made for the Minnie Mouse ears. This tutorial shows the bow being put into nylons. This won’t work with the Minnie Mouse ears. You can either use a standard plastic headband or you can use an elastic headband. I had a black elastic headband that I wasn’t using so I just removed the flower that was previously on it.

Step 11:

Use the hot glue gun to glue your bow in the middle of the ears.

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Your work is complete! Pair the tutu and headband with a black shirt and black leggings. It is the most adorable Minnie Mouse costume I’ve seen!

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Acute Reactive Arthritis

Sam left for his first {and maybe last} golf trip with his friends on Thursday.  I made all kinds of plans for Lulu and I to keep busy while he was away. After an activity packed Friday, I stopped by my parents house to visit. Lulu had been exceptionally clingy all day. When we were at the library she hung onto my leg and wouldn’t participate in a lot of the activities. At the park, she would have normally loved running around with the other children but instead she chose to sit in her stroller and watch. When I tried to get her to walk around she refused. When we got to my parents house her eyes lit up when she saw the big yellow ball that she loves playing with. I put her down so she could get it and she screamed in pain. I assured her it was ok, held her hand and tried to walk with her but she fell down when she was trying to take a step. I picked her up and tried to stand her up but again she screamed and fell down. After several failed attempts to have her walk or even stand I decided to take her to the Urgent Care. Luckily, my mom offered to come with me because my Mama panic was setting in hard.

When we got to the Urgent Care, we were asked by at least three different people if she fell or if I knew how she would have injured her leg. I really didn’t know how to answer that because she falls ALL THE TIME. She is an incredibly active child and she is also very accident prone. I sign at least two ‘booboo’ reports a week from school. Could she have fallen or hurt her leg and I didn’t even notice? I was feeling like a pretty horrible Mama. To top it off, while we were waiting for the doctor we noticed she was very warm and when the nurse checked her she had a temperature of 101 degrees. The doctor checked her ears and reported she had an ear infection in the right ear but this would not cause her inability to walk. They ran x-rays to check for any broken or fractured bones in her legs. It was heartbreaking to hold her down on the cold x-ray table. All she wanted was to cuddle with her Mama and close her eyes. The fever and ear infection was starting to hit her.

The doctor showed us all of the x-rays and thankfully, there were no signs of any broken or fractured bones. He also assured me that it is very difficult for a child to break their bones and if she was to have broken a bone it would have been from a very obvious injury. He explained that given the ear infection and no sign of trauma to her legs he believed she had Acute Reactive Arthritis. This is a type of arthritis that occurs in children or adults when they suffer from an infection. The symptoms appear as very severe as it can cause significant pain and limit mobility. However, the arthritis is temporary. The best case scenario would be that the pain would begin to lessen as the infection cleared and she would be able to walk again within the week. The worst case scenario would be that the pain and inability to walk would last months. Of course I was worried but I was also so incredibly relieved that she didn’t have any broken bones that the full flegged Mama panic didn’t set in until I went home and talked to Dr. Google. Do NOT ever talk to Dr. Google. When will I learn?

That night she slept in bed with me so I could monitor her fever and so she could get the extra cuddles she deserved after such a long and trying day! The following days she slept A LOT but still had trouble walking. It has now been five days and she is able to walk fairly well. In the morning she walks with a very obvious limp and she still stumbles more than usual but it doesn’t seem to be bothering her anymore. I am so thankful that we got the ‘best case scenario’ as it seems that the pain and immobility has lessened as the ear infection has improved. It’s impossible to explain the feeling of having your child look at you with pain and sadness in their eyes because they can no longer move around without their limbs burning. There was no way to explain to my 14 month old that this was only temporary. There was no way to explain to this very active child that she needed to just sit and play and couldn’t walk around like she loved to do.

Just my luck that this would all happen the one weekend that Sam goes out of town. Mom life.

 

My Birth Story

When I was pregnant I loved reading about people’s birth stories. It gave me so much excitement for my upcoming delivery. I was that pregnant woman who had everything ready a month before my due date. The nursery was completely ready and our bags were packed for the hospital. We just needed a baby. We waited and waited and waited. On my due date, the doctor saw no signs of labor. We made a plan for induction at 41 weeks but she assured me that the baby could still come any day.   I walked more than I have ever walked. I even tried running. I was determined to get this baby out. I tried every tip and trick I could find to induce labor naturally. I ate so much pineapple that my entire mouth burned for two straight days. Still nothing. The day before I turned 41 weeks pregnant we went into the hospital for a scheduled induction. That night they started with Cervidil. The next morning the doctor checked me and we were no further along in the birth process. Nothing. I wasn’t dilated, I wasn’t effaced. This baby had no intention of coming out. Pitocin was started and I had some very minor contractions throughout the day. After a day of Pitocin the doctor estimated that I was maybe dilated to a one. A one?!? You must be kidding me. I have been here for over 24 hours and still a one. I knew that I officially had the most stubborn baby. The doctor decided to take me off the Pitocin for the night so I could eat and give my body a break. I didn’t want to eat and I most definitely didn’t want to take a break. All I wanted was to meet my stubborn sweet baby. I didn’t have much of a choice. The doctor said that this approach was best for the baby and my body. We ate dinner and then walked laps around the hospital. Still nothing.

The next morning, the doctor said if I could bear the pain she could try to break my water to help move things along. Of course I could bear the pain. At this point, I could bear anything other than waiting another second for this baby to decide to make his or her entrance. She wasn’t lying about the amount of pain. I was barely dilated. How she even managed to break my water I don’t know and I didn’t care. FINALLY labor started. I had contractions all day. At about noon I decided to have an epidural. Prior to labor, I contemplated getting the epidural. I was pretty certain I wouldn’t get an epidural because I was more afraid of the pain and complications from the epidural procedure than I was of actual labor pains. But when the time came I figured what the heck? Let’s get the epidural. After all, I had little hope that this labor process was going to wrap up anytime soon so I might as well have a little less pain. To my delight, the actual epidural process was not as scary and horrible as I thought it would be.  Sam on the other hand, passed out. Yes, he passed out while a giant needle was being inserted into my back.

At 9pm I was finally ready to push. I pushed. I kept pushing. My due date was June 22nd so I felt fairly confident that my baby would be born in June. I had bought an ornament the Christmas prior, that had a man and pregnant woman on it. It said ‘special delivery coming in June’. We also bought a chalkboard to track my growing belly. The chalkboard had in large letters ‘coming in June’. For Valentine’s Day, Sam bought me a picture frame that said ‘We can’t wait to meet you in June’. Everything said June. I wanted this baby born in June. As the final day in June came to a close I tried bargaining with the nurse. I asked her if we could just write a different time on the birth certificate if the baby was born after midnight. I assured her no one would know.  Shortly after this request, she went to get the doctor. I think she thought I was losing my mind. I don’t think she understood. Everything said June.

I pushed for four hours. This baby was not coming out. The doctor said we had two choices. We could try to use the vacuum method which  may allow me to still have a vaginal birth however, there were risks associated with this. The doctor explained that it was likely that the baby was stuck for a reason and using the vacuum method could cause damage to the baby. The second option was a C-section. I never even considered a C-Section before. I didn’t research C-Sections. I skipped over the C-Section birth stories because I was confident that this wasn’t going to be part of my birth story. We were told we only had a few minutes to make this decision. This possibly life altering decision. I slept for approximately five hours in the past three days and now you want me to make this decision. A decision that could potentially change my babies life. There were complications with both procedures. I certainly didn’t research C-Section vs. Vacuum. How was I possibly supposed to make this decision? Luckily, I didn’t have to make it alone. Sam was there. We talked through it calmly and ultimately decided to proceed with the C-Section. The vacuum would have likely ended with a C-Section anyways so we decided to limit the risk of having both procedures.

Everything after this moment is kind of a blur. I was so exhausted that I kept going in and out of sleep. I could feel them cutting into me. They had to stop the procedure and administer more anesthesia. I wish so badly I could have seen the moment they pulled my baby out. But instead all I could see was an ugly blue curtain. I do remember that amazing feeling when I suddenly no longer had a giant bowling ball resting on my internal organs.  It was such a sense of relief. I asked Sam if it was a boy or a girl. He looked at the baby and then looked at me and said ‘I’m not sure’. This was the moment I had been waiting for since I found out I was pregnant. What do you mean you don’t know? ‘I think it’s a girl’. I had never heard better words than those. I secretly {or maybe not so secretly} wanted a baby girl so bad. My entire life I dreamed of having a daughter. I never imagined I would be so lucky to actually have a baby girl. I instantly started crying.

It didn’t take long for me to realize something was wrong. All of the doctors were rushing around. Lulu wasn’t crying like I knew she should be. I kept asking what was wrong. No one would tell me. I couldn’t see anything and I couldn’t move. This baby who I was solely responsible for over the last nine months was now in the care of strangers and no one was telling me what was going on. The nurse could tell I was starting to panic. She explained that my baby was having some breathing difficulty but it was nothing to worry about. She said this is common with C-Section babies. I don’t think she realized that I didn’t care about what was ‘common’ or what happens with other babies. All I cared about was what was going on with my baby. I wanted so bad to hold her. To have skin to skin with her. To look over her body and count her ten fingers and ten toes. Instead I was told that she was going off to the special care unit and I would be heading to the recovery room. I had to beg to just let me see her and kiss her. The nurse persuaded the doctor to let me have just one moment with her.  She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

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She was in the special care unit for about a day and a half. She had a hole in her lung which led to it collapsing. Babies are absolutely amazing. Her little body was so tough. The hole closed and her lung was able to function normally. Almost a week later, we were finally released from the hospital. The real journey was about to begin.

It took a long time for me to want to talk about my birth story. For me it was an incredibly traumatic few days. I realize now that these difficult days led me to Lulu. I need to celebrate this birth story. It was all worth it. A miracle happened in that hospital. My baby was born and my life forever changed.

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