The Day She Was Born

I haven’t shared the story of the day that June Belle was born because I wasn’t ready. And I honestly don’t know if I’m ready now but I feel like someone out there may need to hear my story so I’m going to share it anyway. I’ll start at the very beginning.

It was the week that the baby was due and I was ready to have the her so I had Tim get eggplant parmesan. The next day, I started having mild contractions at work - maybe the eggplant parm trick really works, maybe not. Anyway, the following morning was my due date and I had my scheduled 40 week doctor appointment. I was thinking that I wasn’t too far into labor but the doctor checked and I was actually at 5 centimeters and 80% effaced! I couldn’t believe it. She sent us home to get our things and come back to the hospital. I was terrified. But it was Halloween and alot of the nurses and staff were in costume and that really helped the fear. We were checked in by a nurse dressed as a jar of playdoh and we were taken to our room by someone dressed as a giant baby. It was hilarious.

So we were at the hospital by noon, we called the doula and the labor commenced. I wanted to have an all natural birth with no drugs or interventions but it never goes as planned. I labored all day and night and the pain was unreal. I progressed to 8 centimeters over time but June Belle wasn’t having it and didn’t want to come out. Around 3A, I asked for the drugs. They were suggesting that the pitocin would help my labor progress and they were starting to question June Belle’s safety because she was stuck. A few hours later, nothing was progressing and the doctor started talking about C-section. We decided that would be best for baby so we went in for the surgery and she was born at 11:05A on November 1st. I couldn’t believe it when I saw her. She was so incredible and had a head full of hair! I was thankful she was safe in our arms and she was absolute perfection. Weighing in at 8 pounds, 5 ounces and 20 1/4 inches long, we were absolutely smitten. When we got back from surgery, our hospital room was filled with people we loved getting to meet our perfect girl. We had a few hours of absolute bliss and then around 3P I hemorrhaged. And after that, it’s kind of a blur for me.


They got the bleeding under control and then I hemorrhaged again a couple of hours later. The nurses were frantic as soon as I hemorrhaged again, they whisked the baby off to the nursery and one nurse told Tim to kiss me and tell me he loved me. As in, her life is in danger and you may not see her again. They rushed me to the OR and it was honestly like on the TV shows. I was laying there weak and in and out of consciousness watching the fluorescent lights pass by me above. When we got the OR I just remember asking everyone I saw if I was going to be okay. No one answered me. So I either just thought I was saying it out loud or no one knew if I was going to make it so they didn’t know what to say. The last thing I remember thinking was, “dying isn’t that scary after all”.

While I was in surgery, my family was scared. They still cry when they tell me about it. They spent hours not knowing if I was going to be okay. We read later in my charts that my blood pressure dropped to 56/25 and then shot up into the 200s. I lost over half of my blood and had to have a transfusion. The doctors had a hard time figuring out why the bleeding was happening and it turns out my uterus wasn’t contracting and was basically just like a deflated balloon.


I woke up after surgery not knowing that any of this happened to me. Not realizing that my family didn’t think they were going to see me again. The doctor cried when she told me that they had to do a hysterectomy in order to save my life. I woke up without a uterus. Here I was, completely elated to finally have this baby girl after all we’d been through to get her and then also completely devastated to learn that I’d never be able to carry another. And I’ve basically been on that rollercoaster ever since that day. The only thing keeping me sane is gratitude. I’m grateful for having this healthy baby and I’m grateful to be alive.

Some days I try to figure out who is to blame. Sometimes I blame myself. Was there something that I could have done differently? What if I’d had a different doctor or given birth in a different hospital? But then I hear God’s voice and He asks me the same things, what if you’d had a different doctor and they couldn’t save you? What if you were in a different hospital and they did things differently and you didn’t survive?

So I’m going to be celebrating June’s birthday on November 1st but I’m also going to be celebrating the fact that I got to stay in this world and raise this baby girl with Tim.


Making Changes

I’m nine months postpartum and I’ve never been more miserable in my own skin. I’ve wanted to do something to change it almost every day since JB was born but I realize now that I need some accountability. So, I’ve decided that starting September 1st, I’m going to post my progress on my instagram account (@tennesseepretty). And since I want to set myself up to win, I am going to start with a few simple rules for the month of September.

  1. No Dessert

  2. No Bread

  3. No Sugary Drinks

  4. Move for 30 Minutes Everyday - could literally just be an outdoor walk.

I’m not going to crossfit or doing high intensity workouts. I’m going to start small and watch the progress happen because this isn’t about dropping weight fast. This is about making subtle changes to create new habits.

So, each day for the month of September, I am going to post in my insta stories about that day’s exercise, talk about changes in the way that I feel or physical changes that I’m starting to see and I’ll be marking off each successful day on this hideous graphic (that I literally made in 3 minutes using microsoft word) below. I’m calling it the ‘Making Changes Challenge’ because I’m tired of being stuck where I am. Feel free to call me out if you didn’t see a story about my workout one day. And to do one even better, join me! I’ll be posting this on my insta stories if you want to take a screenshot to follow along. If you’re coming along on the journey with me, use the hashtag #MCSEPTEMBER

See you on instagram!



Screen Shot 2019-08-15 at 12.33.48 AM.png

My Daily Routine with June Belle

It’s been a little over a month since I left my job and started my life as a stay at home mom and we’ve gotten ourselves into a little daily routine. When I first came home, I was obsessing over getting her on a strict nap schedule but it just didn’t work for us. She started to wake more in the middle of the night and so I decided to relax a little about specific nap times and it’s going pretty well. Remember though, that every baby is different so you’ve got to find what works for you. Some babies are sleepers and some aren’t. Now of course there are some exceptions to our days together because we love to meet up with friends or go to the park or zoo so that disrupts our routine. But for the most part, this is what a day in the life of us looks like.

Around 7A - June Belle wakes up for the day. I nurse her and then feed her some oatmeal or rice cereal.

7:30A - I make myself some breakfast and coffee (that usually gets cold). JB goes into her exersaucer or if I’m feeling bold, I leave her on her blanket where we play all day in the living room and peek in on her every 10 seconds while I make my breakfast because she’s wild and is crawling all over the place. I prefer to put her in the exersaucer. I’m usually super hungry at this point from nursing and my go-to breakfast right now is oatmeal with fresh strawberries and a little brown sugar.

June Belle will play on her blanket while I sit beside her and guard her from crawling to the fireplace or the hardwood floors. I shovel in bites in between picking her up and moving her back to where her toys are. But she’d rather play with the wipes package.


We play after breakfast until she starts to get sleepy again. Sometimes she’s ready to go down as soon as an hour after waking up.

8:30A - She goes down for a nap. She usually sleeps at least 2 hours so this is when I get to work on my business and catch up on emails. I reheat the cup of coffee I made at 7:30 and enjoy the quiet house. But usually about 20 minutes into her nap I miss her and wish she’d just wake up already! This naptime is also when I get showered and dressed for the day.


10:30A - JB wakes up. I nurse her and get her dressed for the day. We play or go for a walk - if it’s not a million degrees outside. I sneak in little chores like making the bed or throwing in some laundry when she doesn’t need me.

Her afternoon nap varies in time based on when she woke up from her morning nap. I put her down when she starts showing signs of being tired. I know she’s ready for bed when she starts rubbing her eyes or staring. If she doesn’t get overtired, I can usually put her down in her crib and walk away while she’s still awake and she falls asleep on her own.

12:30P - I eat lunch and try to get some more work done during her afternoon nap which is usually around 1.5 hours.

2P - JB wakes up and I usually feed her something like sweet potatoes or her favorite banana/blueberry pouch. This is when we’ll run quick errands like to the grocery or to Target. We both love an afternoon Target run.


Around 4P - JB will take a short nap and I start to prep for dinner. Or, if I was able to get something in the crockpot, I’ll usually pick up the house and do a little cleaning. Or maybe I’ll sit down on the couch and watch tv and not even feel bad about it.

5P - JB wakes up and I nurse her. We play a little and then I finish making dinner.

6P - Tim gets home. We eat dinner - JB will have some kind of vegetable puree mixed with rice cereal.


After dinner, Tim always loves to play with her while I clean up the dishes. Then we’ll give her a bath before bed.

8P - JB typically goes down for the night. Tim takes care of the bedtime routine after I’ve nursed her a little.

IMG_0455 2.jpg

Once she’s down, I usually finish any chores that I didn’t get to during the day if I’m feeling up to it. Or I put them off until the next day because I’m grown and one of the perks of being an adult is putting off chores until the next day.

JB will usually wake up twice in the middle of the night - at midnight and at 4A. I give her a little bit of milk and then put her back down.

And that’s what we do on the days when we stay home! The days when we’re out and about, she’ll usually catch a nap in her stroller or in the car. I’ve driven around while I played her lullaby songs so many times that the cd is starting to skip. This doesn’t seem to affect her nighttime sleep but she does tend to be a little more fussy in the evening if she doesn’t get at least one good nap during the day.

When hope shows up at your door

In December 2017, I started to hear a pecking sound at the backdoor every morning. It was so annoying. I’d be sitting on the couch enjoying my coffee when I would hear this noise over and over again. Come to find out, it was a cardinal that lived in the tree right outside of my kitchen window. Apparently they like their reflections. I tried several ways over the next couple of weeks to try and get the bird to stop and I finally told Tim, “you’ve got to get rid of this bird!”. It was driving me crazy and I promise that I’m not exaggerating when I say it happened EVERY morning. You may even remember a few of my instagram stories about it.

At the same time, I was reading the book Christmas at Carnton, and I was stopped in my tracks when I read the quote, “when you see a red bird in winter, your sorrows will be lifted by spring.” -unknown

Why did this quote get to me? Because, besides the obvious bird problem at home, I should also mention that sorrow was exactly what I had been feeling. We’d had our second ectopic (and 3rd unsuccessful pregnancy) that summer, I was in a wintertime funk and honestly, feeling pretty hopeless.

I’ll admit that my faith wasn’t strong - I was feeling pretty abandoned and alone and not really seeking the peace and comfort that I knew only God could provide. But the moment that I realized the Lord was literally knocking on my door to remind me that He was with me, I couldn’t stop feeling Him everywhere. That same week, a friend from work bought me a cute little soap shaped like a cardinal. In the weeks following, red birds would fly right in front of my car as I drove down the road. The red bird at my back door continued to knock on the window. Every day.

At the time, I didn’t know what the spring would hold but I was so hopeful. I didn’t know how my sorrows would be lifted. Would we be in the process of adoption? Would we start IVF? Would God just stop my heart from aching?

Well, we know how this story ends. At the end of February, I took a pregnancy test. It was positive. I held my breath for days because I had been there before and positive tests ended in heartbreak every time. On February 26th, I learned that this time it was really happening and November 1st, June Belle Gillean came into the world.

Photo by Brittany Wood

Photo by Brittany Wood