Greetings from the Patrick’s & Happy Holidays! What a wonderful year 2009 has been to us. Our daughter Reese was born on June 13th and this letter is about Reese, Reese and more Reese! Is there anything else once you have a newborn?
Reese was welcomed with excitement and love by both the Patrick & Harpe families and so many dear friends. It was so wonderful to hear that during her birth the waiting room was completely full of family & friends eagerly awaiting her arrival. Thank you for all of the love and support we received from so many of you. Your love & thoughtfulness has truly made this experience incredible.
We started the year off by preparing for Reese’s debut. With baby showers, learning how to put baby gear together (this should require a college degree), preparing the nursery, selecting paint colors, fabrics, and furniture, birthing classes, and lots and lots and lots of waiting. We also had our final pre baby couples trip to California and Arizona, where we spent time with best friends, we had business meetings in San Francisco, Kevin was able to race corvettes on a professional road course (watch out Richard Petty!), and we were able to finally make it back to the Tickle Pink Inn in Carmel, Ca where we were engaged and spent time dreaming about what our baby would be like and look like and how our lives were about to change. It was the perfect place to celebrate our new chapter since of course it’s the same spot where our story began. (Highly recommend this place for a quaint romantic getaway :))
Like most women who have never been pregnant, I had always wondered what being pregnant would be like but life in the third trimester was so much more uncomfortable than the first two trimesters, if that is even possible. I think it has everything to do with the fact that I’m 32 years old and certain body parts just don’t bend or maneuver with the ease that they used to. Every morning before we would go for breakfast I would take a look around and figure out what I was going to need for the day. Because SO HELP ME, I was only going to bend over to pick things up once. This means that Kevin spent a good portion of his day retrieving things for me. He’s very good about not complaining about this act of service (the non-complaining only applies to pregnant days), although once after bringing me a pair of pants he dared to ask why I just didn’t put them on first thing in the morning. And I was all, “dude, may you never have to experience a state of being that makes PUTTING ON PANTS such a loathsome set of contortions that you would seriously consider going grocery shopping in your panties”.
Kevin was a true hero during my pregnancy, although apparently no one forewarned him that my brain would revert to a preschoolers and that I would constantly weep, but every time, even though he would be caught off guard, he patiently waited for me (does this Kevin sound at all familiar to anyone?), rubbed my back, or in the more emotional and irrational times, he just ignored the event all together. I wish they had a Wii fit game for the brain because for almost a year my brain was complete mush (aka “baby brain”). Now I know that Kevin is not only a great husband but a perfect pregnancy partner too!
Up until about the 30th week of my pregnancy I hadn’t given labor much thought, only that I was going to ask for the epidural two days before contractions started. I’m not kidding, that was the extent of my birth plan. There was no need to experience any of the pain, I thought. I mean seriously, would you get a nose job without drugs? Exactly. Give me the epidural and any other pain relief, maybe throw in a couple dozen shots of bourbon, oh and how about you just put me under general anesthesia and wake me up two days later. Apparently, I’m not good with pain. I tend to complain and holler and call people regrettable things. But surprisingly after 24 hours of labor and 8 hours of pushing and my epidural wearing off, along came Reese and Kevin said I came through like the true champion I really didn’t think I was.
As time grew closer I knew I was going to need to prepare myself for the pain, mentally, physically, and emotionally, and surround myself with a team of people who could help me through it. So I gathered my birthing crew: Kevin, Daisy, Robin, Mom and Dad (my dad cheered me on for hours and hours behind a curtain without ever sitting or taking a break & oddly enough watching him pace back and forth for endless hours in a 4×4 area was strangely comforting!). Mind you, I went into this knowing fully that what I wanted to happen could be completely derailed by any sort of crisis concerning me or the baby. Making it out alive with a healthy baby was my top priority so Daisy Schuurrman flew in with only 3 hours notice and Robin Leavengood drove up at midnight. Luckily Reese’s birth was a lot more dramatic than taking care of her has been. I don’t know what was more scary the fact that I was about to go into labor, or the fact that the hospital was actually going to let me and Kevin walk out with this baby. I mean shouldn’t there be some sort of test or parent approval process we need to pass? How could we be good parents if we drink boatloads of coffee & diet coke, still enjoying partying with our friends and are both THIS excited about the new season of Amazing Race!?!?
Before Reese I had absolutely no idea how scary having a newborn would be. Kevin blames it on the hormones raging through my body but, like walking outside at 0 degrees, the cold blast of air hitting you at once is a strong dose of realization that you are responsible for a miraculous human being. So now what?! Reese must have sensed this initial onset of panic and has been sooo wonderfully cooperative. She was sleeping through the night at two weeks but determined to be sleep deprived I would still wake up and stare at her in her crib just to make sure she was ok. Her smile, we soon discovered, can simply change the world. We are so blessed!
Life with a baby has been nothing short of exciting, exhausting, hilarious, scary, & unpredictable. And sometimes all at one time! Adjusting to life with a new baby is never without it’s excitement & funny stories (actually maybe they’re only funny after the fact). Reese has truly been a very laid back and easy baby. Although apparently she reserves the right to turn into a completely different baby once mommy leaves the house (according to daddy). Once, I finally convinced myself to leave her and get out of the house after being a home body for over a month, I was just beginning to enjoy myself when I received a frantic call from Kevin demanding I come back home immediately. When I got home I found Kevin sitting in the dark hallway with his head in his hands and baby girl in another room sitting by herself (and not crying by the way). He tried very hard to convince me that our very easy going & seldom fussy baby had a total meltdown and cried uncontrollably the moment I left the house for 3 straight hours. I think Kev’s exact words were “You can never leave the house again”. It was clear at that moment that we still had parenting 101 lessons to learn before we could even hope to begin resuming a normal life again.
It’s finally time to jump back into the swing of things, or so we thought. 3 weeks after Reese’s arrival we attempted to jump back into our normal busy life by heading over to St. Augustine with her for our first family trip to celebrate the 4th with friends. Initially it didn’t seem like to big of a deal to take a vacation with our brand new baby, but boy did that change once we arrived in St. Augustine. Apparently you don’t take a new mommy out of her comfort zone once she gets settled in at home and begins to feel comfortable with taking care of her new baby. To Kevin’s surprise, he woke up at 3am with me on the phone with my parents begging them to come to us as quickly as they could! Of course, they came and made everything better, and I wish I could say that was the last of my post-pregnancy melt downs, but it was not. Getting comfortable with Reese (as easy of a baby as she is) took a little time for me, but I think we’ve got the hang of it now and we’re having a blast together!
After the 4th we did not attempt to travel again until Oct when Reese was 5 months old. We decided that we needed a trial run on leaving Reese for at least 1 night to see how it goes (by we I mean me). We spent our 1st night away from our baby in Tampa where we attended the U2 concert with Robin Leavengood & Stephanie McNulty and had a great time. (By the way Happy 1st Anniversary McNulty’s)
Just this week Kevin got to truly experience what I do on a daily basis, and boy did it make him appreciate me even more. I left for the night to pamper myself and have some down time without baby girl and Kevin kept Reese by himself (which neither of us have ever done). They had their 1st Daddy & baby girl slumber party, and I’m not sure if he’s ever been or looked so tired in his life! I feel sure he probably asked himself the following question countless times over that 24 hr period, “How, how, how do mom’s do it”?!?!?!
2009 was an amazing year for our family that was filled with love and excitement. Reese has been the most amazing blessing we could have ever received. We’re hoping 2010 is going to be a great year as well. Kevin was able to sell our marketing company this year and is going to enter the insurance industry once he wraps up the commercial real estate project he is working on and I am entertaining opening a tutor company in Gainesville and Tampa/St Pete (Ha, Ha to my friends who think they just misread that). We also are looking forward to Sean and Erin’s wedding in June, as well as, Reese’s 1st birthday and our 5th wedding anniversary.
We can’t wait to see all the new ways she will continue to amaze us and to see how she will grow over the next year. I feel certain that we will never be board! Happy holidays to you all & may your 2010 be full of love, joy & happiness!!!
Becky, Kevin & Reese
P.S. – We would love to hear from you and find out what you have been up to in the comment section below.