Baby Clare’s Debut


Now that Baby C is 2.5 months old, I figured it was a great time to post her birth story. Ha!

Clare was due on January 28th, but almost the entire pregnancy, I just ‘knew’ she would come in February. So much so, that we wait-listed her at Daycare for a start date of April 25th. Whoops. But somewhere mid-November, I felt like she was going to come sooner. I really thought she might come in December and I had this mad rush and panic of needing things to get done. I had our tree up and presents wrapped, and all birthday and holiday presents wrapped and boxed up —anything happening between Christmas and March was ready to go  by December 1st. We did a major stock up trip at Target on the only day in December that I felt like getting out of the house. I think somehow I just knew she’d be early. This was not nesting. That TOTALLY came later. This was just sheer crazar.

Okay. I have to just stop and confess to you all that I really hated being pregnant. I mean, I felt so bad because this was our fifth time, and first time we’d carried a baby through the first trimester and I knew in my heart that this was so huge, and we had waited and waited and prayed and cried and begged for a child, and here I was hating life. I did not have any of those blissful pregnant mommy feelings. I did not weep with joy as I visualized my precious child and what she might look like. Pregnancy turned me into a mean crazy person who hated standing more than two minutes, needed to sleep or eat constantly, and pretty much just checked out of life because I was “PIH” (pregnancy induced hypertension). It made me depressed, anxious, tired and unwilling to do anything. I felt lazy and awful 99% of the time. (I swear that 1% was our trip to Disney World. It was magic, people!)

I had awesome prenatal care, tho. We go to a practice where we see and Midwife and an OB, and they were just all so fabulous and held my hand through everything. I also saw my great friend Laine for chiro adjustments almost every week, and got regular pregnancy massages. You haven’t had a massage until you’ve had one at 8 1/2 months pregnant (that’s when my last one was). Talk about relaxing! I snored through most of my massages tho. And haircuts…movie dates…I fell asleep on everyone.

My first tri, I had the heartburn/headache/hellish sinus combo every. single. stupid. day. Also, I didn’t have cravings so much as I just had aversions to everything. Food. Drink. Daniel’s mouthwash. Everything. The second trimester was just a big ol’ pile of, “haha, you just THOUGHT barfing was only for the first trimester, sucker.” Ugh. The third tri was less barfing, but that’s when my blood pressure started to go bananas. And the swelling. OH the swelling. Just awful. All the time. I had only one pair of shoes I could wear for most of my pregnancy and they were flip flops!

By the beginning of January, my midwife had decided with my BP teetering in and out of the Danger Zone, that it would be a good idea to induce somewhere around 38 or 39 weeks. We knew the baby was plenty big enough and doing really well. Dr. Blake (the OB) gave us the thumbs up to schedule for 1/23, which was you know, 1-2-3, and all kinds of awesome for a birthday.

HOWEVER, my body had ideas of it’s own. And for this I am thankful for modern medicine and hospitals.

I went in for a regular check up on January 13th and had been feeling really bad that day. I was extra cranky at work beforehand, and just generally not good. The night before I had had all these plans to finish the 210932 projects and chores since DANIEL WAS OUT OF TOWN, nay, OUT OF STATE, AT OUR NATIONAL SALES MEETING. Bahaha, more on that later. –but had opted to just go to bed immediately upon arriving home from work that day. I have never been so thankful that I skipped out on chores. I got a LOT of rest that night.

So January 13h. My sister, Mary, had come with me to the appointment kind of on a whim. I had even told her that morning not to come, but I am SO glad she did. Right off the bat my BP was 170 over something or other, and as soon as Liane walked into the exam room she said, “No bueno! Off to the hospital you go!”

It took me a minute to realize what she had just said and immediately started shaking and silently panicking because the “planner” part of me was completely wigging out. My husband/coach was out of state. I was probably going to have to get an epidural (which turned out to be the BEST EVER because it also lowers blood pressure). I had 4 bags of trash that needed to be taken out, at my apt. I needed to put clean sheets on our bed. I had a pile of office stuff (including a big desk) just sitting in our dining/living area (btw, we live in a 900 sq foot apt). I needed to organize the pantry and bottles—just in case we needed them (we did). I needed to install the carseat. I needed to finish putting together our stroller. SIGH.

Liane (Midwife) decided to do an in-office procedure that was weird but also cool. She inserted a balloon into my cervix to make it dilate. Isn’t that the craziest thing you’ve ever heard of? She said the conditions were perfect and that the balloon would get me to a 5 before they started me on the full dose of pitocin probably late that night, so my body could work on it’s own (with the balloon) for a little bit. This also gave Daniel a chance to catch a flight back to Texas before things really started to get going.

Mary picked me up from my apartment immediately after my doc appointment so I could get my bags and park my car. And of course, lament over the trash, the carseat, the stroller, the pile of office stuff. Not to mention pacing back and forth all over the apartment realizing that the next time I’d be there, I’d have a tiny human to take care of. WEIRD. I sat on the edge of our bed and just cried. But there was a part of me that started to get really excited at this point. I was scared, but also joyful about meeting our baby, really and truly for the first time. I sat quietly and prayed. And cried. And focused on breathing.

I checked into the hospital around 3pm and was in my room getting IV’s and hooked up to the monitor by 3:30pm. Turns out, the balloon insertion had put me into labor and I was already having some very close together contractions. I was like…dang, no wonder. I just thought I had a horrible backache (back labor = no joke). Both sisters were there at this point making sure I had everything I needed. Laine (not to be confused with Liane), my Doula and amazing chiropractor, also came by to see how everything was going. Since I was getting induced, I was going to be needing her a different way than what we had originally planned, and I am SO glad she was there! Everyone should have a Doula. Best decision.

We started the first round of pitocin and penicillin (I was Strep B positive) about 5pm, and everything started to majorly intensify. I was getting no break between contractions and my back was constantly hurting. By about 9pm it was just radiating through my legs like a bunch of tiny needles. I was breathing through it but it was getting hard. My Coach had only made it to Dallas at this point, and I was getting exhausted. Just before midnight, Daniel finally arrived (YAY!) and we called in for the epidural. Holly wow. That thing was amazing, relieving, and brought my blood pressure down.

We got a lot of rest on and off that night. My BP cuff was going off every 15 minutes but I learned to sleep through it. I was just so relieved to have Daniel there. He sat by my side until I insisted he get some sleep on the tiny couch in our room. He also snuck me honey and peanut-butter packets throughout the night. You would have thought he was bringing me stacks of cash or something. I lurv him.

Dr. Blake checked on me a few times throughout the night. Epidurals generally slow things down so it took me until 7am the next day to get dilated enough to take the balloon out. She also broke my bag of waters to help move things along. I shut my eyes the entire time but fortunately didn’t feel much. Just some pressure. I had watched several births on youtube, and whenever one of the ladies would have to have this procedure done, it freaked me OUT.

So after my water broke, I was dilated to a 6 and 90% effaced so we just needed to give it time and let my body do it’s thing. It was clear, however, that the baby was definitely ready to come, and we figured we’d see more action around lunch time.

Laine came up around 9am to hang out with us and offer support and encouragement. She’s such a calming presence, so it was perfect to have her there with me at that point. She and Daniel both. Liane came on after Dr. Blake, and I was so excited that she would be delivering my baby. She told me it would be a beautiful birth and had nothing but great things to say about how the baby was doing. By 2pm, I was a 9.5 so she decided to let me labor down for 1-2 more hours.

During this time, Laine and Daniel were AMAZING. Laine put some heat and pressure on my neck and shoulders which was like heaven, and Daniel was rubbing my legs and feet. Even tho I had an epidural, I was really starting to get weird and uncomfortable and restless. I was feeling completely out of my body and knew I was for sure in transition.

A few minutes before 3pm, Liane came in and said, “let’s have a baby!!” It was very surreal. I was seriously out of my body at this point, and had that big ‘I feel like I have to poop’ pressure. I could barely even talk it was so intense. It was like everything went from 0-60mph in a matter of minutes. I was feeling contractions BIG TIME. I kept pressing on that epidural button, but it wasn’t helping to relieve everything.

So….I was now at that point in labor where you just loose all modesty. You have to let it go or the tension of you will just eat you alive. I remember being afraid I was going to poop or fart, or throw up on someone (because with your legs all propped up and spread out, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN).

Liane and her team of nurses set everything up, dimmed the lights (except for a lamp, you know…”down there”) and got to work. She coached me through each step, and taught me how to push and when. She told me I was strong and encouraged me through each contraction. She made me feel like I could do it and gave me the confidence to keep going. I say all this because it’s true, but also because at this point, I could pretty much feel EVERYTHING. I could barely talk, my mind was racing, and I grunted like a wild animal with every push. Clare came fast. I only had to push for about 25 minutes. The only point in which I thought my life might actually end was when her head was barely out and ‘stuck’ in the ‘ring of fire’ for what felt like years. WOW. I was fighting myself because part of me wanted to push her back in to relieve the pain (what?) and another part of me knew I needed to calm down so I could have another contraction and push, and then another part of me was like, “Jesus take me right now!”

So 27 years later, I had another contraction and her head came all the way out. And it felt like what you’d think it’d feel like (at least it did to me). Liane said, “You’re done! You did it! We’ll take the rest from here!” And promptly pulled Baby Clare the rest of the way out. THAT part felt sooooo alien like!

They put Clare on my belly as soon as she came out. My cord was short so she couldn’t come any higher but man she was screaming and using her lungs so well! HA! I remember just looking at her, not knowing what to say. I was shocked and she was kind of gooey. I remember thinking she was kinda cute (we had major discussions pre-pushing as to whether or not she would be cute or ugly…LOL), and, ‘holy moly, that just came out of my body.’ SEE??? No blissful Mommy stuff. It’s okay. That stuff comes later. Or sooner. Everyone is different.

Daniel stepped in like a champion and hero, and cut the cord. I was so happy for him. This is something he really wanted to do as a way to participate in the birth, and he then went with the baby across the room to get her vitals, stats and a wipe down. Meanwhile, Liane was “assessing the damage” as I called it. I had hemorrhaged during birth. I had a second degree tear and a torn labia, and I sure did feel every one of those darn stitches go in. I was the worst patient in the world because I could absolutely not sit still and was freaking out. I knew something was up when I could feel the temperature of the water they poured on me, eeeek. But you know what? In retrospect, it all went really fast. Even tho the hours were long (24 hours total for labor!), we all survived. And it was awesome.

When they were done, they wheeled me in this funky contraption to the bathroom. My epirural and IV lines were removed and they got me all ice packed and fixed up. It was awesome. But upon taking my vitals Clare and I both were running a slight fever, so this sent everyone into crazy mode. My blood pressure went bananas and they had to call in another doctor to take care of me. I got several doses of this or that and something (I was out of it!). I was shaking so bad from delivery I couldn’t really tell what was happening. They monitored me all the way across the hospital to the postpartum wing and I remember yelling at my night nurse because everyone was poking and prodding me SO MUCH that of course my BP was out of control. I just wanted to be left alone and drink my water. They had to call in another doctor at this point, and I barley passed his test without having to be admitted to another part of the hospital, and I was SO glad. Nurses were in and out every 2-4 hours from that point on until we hit the 48 hour mark (yay!).

Clare, on the other hand, was doing FABULOUS! She latched like a pro, slept like a pro and was generally cute like a pro.

We had a fairly good rest of our stay in the hospital. We had some amazing nurses–you are all just…awesome. No words. Amazing! Liane came to check on us and all was well with my recovery. At the 48 hour mark I had showered and felt like a new person. My BP had stabilized and I could tell that all my prep work (pelvic tilts, yoga, chiro care, massages, good nutrition, KEGELS) had all played an amazing role in the healing and recovery process, despite having to get so many stitches. Bodies are amazing things and they really do bounce back after delivery. I remember the second night we were home, being able to squat down to get something. So crazy.

Pregnancy was hard. Labor and delivery was hard. But it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever done and I’m so thankful for our sweet, sweet, healthy, beautiful girl, Clare! It took about 10 days for all my swelling to go down. It was SOOO hard at this point, to stick to the doctor’s orders for recovery because I was feeling so freaking awesome. No high BP, no swelling anywhere–life was AMAZING and I had so much energy despite only sleeping 2 hours at a time.

And you remember all those chores I had left to do? My amazing family took care of almost all of them for me  (sans the storing of the random office furniture, but I can not fault them for that, haaaa!).  I have had so much amazing support and love through this entire process, and continue to. So cool. We even got Clare into her school a month early AND SHE STARTS TOMORROW!!! I die.

So that’s about it. If you’re still reading, CONGRATS FOR FINISHING! Our sweet baby is 2 1/2 months old now! I can’t believe it.

Here’s a pic I took of her today. I lurv her.DSC_0272[1]

Thanks for reading!

moms, please.

can we make a deal, friends? when i am postpartum and feeling like my body is still no longer my own, please for the love of all things right in the world, do not offer me whatever it is you are selling. i love you, but you’re so missing the point. i saw a sweet and incredibly gorgeous mama recently, post about overcoming shame and the struggles that come with the amazing ways your body changes during and after pregnancy. and i’ll be darned that the FIRST COMMENT wasn’t about plexus. this comment-er even mentioned parts of the body that this woman needed help with. WHAT???? and many others followed–peppered in the long list of encouragement to this mama. but no–there’s just no reason for this. just don’t. you’re being gross.

while we are making deals–what the heck is up with mom’s anyway? i mean, as mentioned previously–EVERYBODY has an opinion. (note – it’s most hilarious when someone without kids has given me tips, or advice or an explanation as to why i’m experiencing a particular pregnancy symptom…or OH MY WORD the reasons why we conceived a girl). you name it. breastfeeding, where and when to do it, not to mention how long. vaccines. organic food. your choice of birthing rituals. which—just what. i know i’m still on the other side—we can say what we will, but i’m pretty convinced this little girlie is going to very much decide on her own when she will make her appearance. sure, we can plan and prepare for a specific scenario, but the fact is; we just don’t know what will happen. we’ve never ever done this before, and my birthing journey will be unique to me. we are researching and taking classes wherever we can, so that we can be the most prepared to make a decision when something causes us to deviate from our, ‘plan.’

but there are some strong opinions. wowsers. and so many decisions to work through. we are over halfway done at this point, but we’ve had pediatrician meet and greets, birthing classes (and oh, so many more to come!), infant cpr, a hospital tour, day care interviews (awkward), and many other appointments. not to mention, we’ve already contracted with our blood cord bank, and i’m preregistered at the hospital for a time somewhere around my due date. and there’s just so much more to do!! like figure out where this babe will sleep! install the carseat! launder—EVERYTHING!

i applaud any mama for just making it to the end of pregnancy. this is no joke! solidarity mamas. right?? we are all in this together. we can not do this alone and we need each other to speak life and encouragement into one another in a way that only we can.

whew!! go mamas!! you’re all amazing!

five names that we did not pick for our child

we decided to keep our baby’s name under wraps until she makes her debut in january. here are five names you can cross off your guessing game list. (i know you have one!!)

1. hyacinth. nope. we are not naming her hyacinth. i love the idea of flower names (we have a ‘lily’ and an ‘iris’ in the fam—so awesome). this particular flower name may have been inspired by comedic genuis of patricia routledge on one of the best old skool british comedies, keeping up appearances. i love her. i just do. alas.

2. dumbledore. as much as it would benefit our unborn child to be named after the greatest wizard of all time, i had to nix this. this is a real live suggestion made by one of my nieces—who, by the way, i’m pretty sure has not seen or read harry potter, nor has she ventured to his magical land of witchcraft and wizardry to dine on chocolate frogs and pumpkin juice while choosing a wand. (nay! the wand chooses you.) but then again, she’s five, which means she’s way more awesome-er a knowing about things than i am. (fun fact: spell check recognizes “dumbledore.”)

3.  apple. or any other inanimate-like object. nothing too crazy, but i mention apple here because green apples are one of the few things baby r actually likes. i think she may come out green. or tart. ha ha ha.

4. no names from lord of the rings/star wars/star trek/game of thrones, etc. much to my husband’s disappointment, and probably others as well, she will not be named leia, or…okay i can’t even pretend to try to know these names.  i don’t even know if that’s how you spell, ‘leia.’ laiah? leyah? liasdjq4394? ugh. i get that this works for so many people, but i am not one of them. sowwie. (not sowwie.)

5. creedence, ajax, blip, cheese, zamboni , hurricane, felony or flame these were listed as some of the worst names given to babies in 2013, so we tried to take note and avoid these names that actually belong to boys and girls around the world. really?? real talk tho—my other niece suggested ‘blip’  multiple times, along with ‘blip blop’ and some other noises that i don’t know how to phonetically communicate.


well. what do you think we will name her?

thanks for reading!

we’re having a BABY!

wow, it’s been forever since i have updated! it’s mostly because shortly thereafter my last post, we found out we were PREGNANT! many of the lovely symptoms you hear about had already set in, so i quickly became MIA from just about everything for the first 15 weeks. wow. pregnancy is no joke!

for fun, i have decided to compile a list of questions and thoughts i have on the subject. but first, a picture of us with our gender reveal cake! IT’S A PINK!

cake picphoto courtesy of the fabulous!

1. as mentioned. PREGNANCY IS NO JOKE. i don’t think i’ve ever experienced anything more refining. and i don’t think most days i’m winning at this refining me for the better. others assure me the blissful mommy feelings will come, and that all the barfing shall pass, but it can wear on a girl! i mean we’ve been doing all the ‘right things.’ regular chiropractic care, solid nutrition, staying active, pregnancy massage (lurrrv), awesome awesome awesome prenatal care– but i’ve been sick a LOT and the baby hates almost every food and drink in existence. i have a deepened respect for anyone who has been with child. you are all awesome, and SOLIDARITY, ok?

2. how am i supposed to pack a snoogle, 2 king sized pillows and a body pillow in my luggage when we go on our babymoon? this struggle is for real. the pillow fort i’ve built is FOR REAL. every week it becomes a more and more necessary to my survival in this adventure of growing a tiny human. my sister just suggested that i ask for ‘a few extra pillows’ upon our arrival, so here’s hoping they will give me at least ten.

3. just don’t tell anyone your baby name ideas ever. we learned this pretty much right off the bat. if there’s a name you even remotely cherish or love–even if it’s not a sure thing, someone will inevitably have an ex-girlfriend or some other treacherous figure from their past that is just like the worst ever. and then you must endure story after story of the wrongdoings of this person you obviously want to name your child after.

4. every pregnancy is different. it’s so funny how before you have kids, you have all these preconceptions about pregnancy. has old wives tales for you, predictions and facts opinions about what you are or are not having, and what you should or should not be doing. i think this is where the first feelings of just needing to trust your own judgement and gut come in. we’ve had some very wise and godly counsel. and we are big fans of practicing common sense. we communicate often and approach things with prayer, so that we are proactive and informed in the choices we are making. enough said.

5. it’s a GIRL. those are three words that changed my whole entire world. i am not one of those people that magically had a sense either way of the gender, but i just hadn’t thought of our baby being a girl! we had a boy name picked out. both of my sisters are having boys this year–it just made sense! when the tech told us it was a girl, it was the first time in this entire pregnancy that i’ve burst into uncontrollable tears. (baby r makes me mean, not teary.) and it wasn’t a bad cry at all—it took the whole afternoon to come to grips with, but dang i am EXCITED! something also happened in my brain upon obtaining this knowledge, where suddenly i was desperate to find pink things. pink clothes, pink blankets, pink crib sheets. i did NOT see that coming, because you know, i’m, ‘miss let’s stay gender neutral so we can use all this stuff for multiple kids.’ see? practical.

well this is all the wisdom and advice i have so far. holy moly,–do you have some CUTE baby girl stuff. i’ll have to post about this very soon, plus some of the awesome finds i’ve made on zulily.

thanks for reading! love, daniel, emily and baby GIRL (ahhhhhhhhhh!)

pregnancy through the eyes of a 4 year old

(one of) my sister(s) is pregnant, and my niece has the most hilarious things to say about this. and it needs to be documented. you’re welcome, world.

there has been a lot of talk about the baby getting bigger each week. and of course with the baby growing, consequently ‘mommy’ is growing too. she explained, “it’s kind of like santa.” i almost spewed my water all over the table, but i held it together because i wanted to find out more. i asked her if she thought mommy might be eating a lot of cookies, like santa, but she found this to be a ridiculous and absurd suggestion.

“salads,” she said. still offended at my comments. she then proceeded to tell me about all the types of salads she has been making.


i assumed at this point, that they were pretend salads. but further confirmation from my weirdo sibling later on, lead me to conclude that some of these are actually REAL. but whatevs. we bryant’s have always been fans of crazy food combinations. queso and oreos…ranch with, well, everything. vodka and pickles. the list goes on…


so the salads in question were things like grapes and carrots. cheese, tomatoes and mustard. lettuce and pickles. grapes and pickles. grapes and broccoli. grapes and mustard. (i sense a grape-like pattern here.)

anyway, this will not be the last that i report on this matter. but you can bet i am not going over there for dinner anytime soon, just in case it’s salad night.


There’s a group of six of us who get together on a semi-regular basis to pow-wow about the world. It helps that I’m related to two of them. I also work with one of them, was roommates with another, and shared office space with the other. We all have different stories and backgrounds. Some of us work in publishing (yet contribute to this market in very different ways), one works in a corporate office, one is a stay at home mom, and one works for an incredibly amazing theater project. It’s just fun to talk about life with these women.

Last week we got together at an incredible new East Austin Eatery called Mettle.

We tried a little bit of everything. I recommend trying the Salmon Crudo and Beets for sure. The miso aioli that comes with the fries, is also not to miss.


Thanks for reading!


the domain

we took a big risk last thanksgiving and put our house on the market, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions we have ever made! 

we had been wanting to move/make a change for awhile, and the timing was absolutely perfect. 

it was no joke downsizing from a 4/3, 2 story house, to a 1.5/1 apartment. holy moly. but we LOVE our new place and live next door to work, the movies, whole foods, and many other amazing amenities. it’s a wonderful season that we are very grateful for.

here are a few pictures of the new place!