Baby Goes International

Before we ever found out we were pregnant, and even before we were engaged! Bry and I booked a cruise as a graduation present to each other and an escape before the realities of the working “real” world began.  In early October, shortly before we decided to embark on this journey of parenthood by going off BC, Bry went to a GIS seminar on his college campus. I tagged along since we were leaving directly afterward for a weekend in the Guadalupe Mountains. While Bry learned about GIS, I researched cruises. I knew I wanted to go on Royal Caribbean. I’d only ever been on one cruise before, my senior year of HS with my mommy, and we absolutely loved Royal Caribbean. It also suited Bry and I better than the other cruiselines because it catered to an older crowd. Despite being in our early 20’s we are both old souls and find it easier to befriend older people rather than their younger counterparts. We’re more mature than most our age 😉

We decided January would be the perfect month. Right after gradation and the holidays and before our move to Maryland scheduled for February.  I looked at our options for leaving from Galveston since it was the closest port of call to us, only a 4 hour drive. Some of our options included destinations in St. Thomas, the Bahamas and Grand Caymens.  The first 2 I’d already been to and the latter Bry went to last Christmas. We wanted a 7 night getaway that would be firsts for both of us.  I found a cruise leaving from Galveston in mid January with stops in Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize and Cozumel, Mexico (we’d both been to Mexico previously but never Cozumel). Bry agreed it sounded perfect and with the click of a few buttons I purchased and confirmed our caribbean cruise.

Before we knew it cruise week was upon us. We’d just found out I was pregnant 2 weeks beforehand and I was enjoying the loveliness of morning sickness and it’s 24/7 presence.  We left as scheduled with a few new goodies in hand: seabands, nausea meds, saltine crackers and peppermints that my father in law recommended.

Our first port of call was Honduras where we enjoyed a taxi ride around the island by a native guide. It was the only port where we got to learn the history and truly experience, first-hand, the life of the people of Honduras. It was eye-opening and humbling to learn that most never leave the small island, even to see the mainland of Honduras.

We had a wonderful day exploring the island and became even more thankful for all the places we’ve been lucky enough to see around the world.

Our second port of call was Belize City, Belize. We had tickets for snorkeling which luckily, I was still able to participate in despite carrying a baby (it was one of my mom’s Christmas presents to us. Thanks mom!). One of the things I really wanted to do in Belize was scuba dive but alas, you are not allowed to when you’re pregnant. So at the very least I wanted to snorkel the reef off the coast since it’s the largest in the western hemisphere!

Bry & I had a blast snorkeling! It was absolutely gorgeous. I still have to say diving in St. Lucia yielded much better views but the company couldn’t be beat in Belize. Husband and baby on board. What more could a girl ask for? As soon as we finished snorkeling the skies opened up. Bry and I just sat on the boat and talked to another couple who had actually lived in DC for awhile and both worked for homeland security (my dream job!).

Third port of call was Cozumel. We got off only for about a half hour or so since in Belize I was feeling the affects of the heat and started to feel a bit faint before the boat arrived.  We wanted to take it easy in Mexico and take advantage of some of the things the ship had to offer while it was docked (such a putt-putt!).

Despite our short outing we managed to find a gorgeous turquoise pendant for me to wear at our big wedding in October. It’s perfect!

The rest of our cruise consisted of a lot of lounging in our room. I was sick most of the time thanks to a never before experienced sea sickness (and I grew up sailing ever summer) thanks to pregnancy and a new knowledge of trying to hightail it to the bathroom before regurgitating meals.  We only went to formal dinner three times, both formal nights and the first night on board.

We had 8:30pm seating and being pregnant I didn’t last that long most nights. Despite big lunches and snacks of pizza and sandwiches with green apples scattered about I was still ravenous by 6pm so most nights we went to the buffet dinner so we could eat at a more reasonable 6:30. Even then I’d feel sick and often couldn’t eat more than some rice with soy sauce or pasta. I tried though! After dinner we spent a lot of time in our room watching CNN and Fox News following the primary. We don’t have TV in our house so it was a luxury we utilized.We also played a lot of UNO and surprisingly I didn’t read much since the rocking of the ship made me sick without adding reading to the mix.

Overall we had a great time though we’d never travel during the first trimester again. Lesson learned 🙂

It’s still hard to believe that the next time we travel internationally we’ll be a family of 3!



The Growing Belly

Every week since the day we found out we’re expecting we’ve taken a picture to document the growing belly. Here’s a look into the changes so far. It’s only just beginning!

13 weeks 5 days 🙂

A Sneak Peak

We were absolutely thrilled when we found out we were pregnant but both of us were scared to get too excited too soon.  Though it was inevitable.  I worried that with my past infertility something might happen and Bry is extremely analytical and was afraid we’d miscarry or in someway jinx it by telling anyone or making plans.  We had my first set of HCG run the day we found out we were expecting.  However, the doctor failed to ever get back to me and it was about to be New Year’s and a 3 day weekend for all the local clinics. I was nervous not knowing what the results meant and the receptionist who read off my numbers barely knew how to count.  I know how mean that sounds but she told us they were almost 6000 less than the actual count (which we found out many days later by a knowledgeable nurse).  Needless to say we were confused and scared.  Instead of going restless nights until I could speak to a doctor, we decided to walk into a walk-in clinic on Saturday the 31st.  You know, just to be sure 🙂

The doctor completely understood. First time parents often freak out over little things.  He calmed us a lot reminding us that I wasn’t having any cramping, spotting or other pains that would precede a miscarriage.  He drew my blood and sent us home to continue our wait.

Instead of spending New Years like most young 20s, we spent it like parents-to-be.  We ate dinner at Mama Fu’s a delicious Asian restaurant with fresh food and delicious choices followed by a movie.  “We bought a zoo” was actually one of the best movies either of us had ever seen. I laughed. I cried. I showed my true pregnant colors. We got out at 9pm and ate some Amy’s ice cream then went home to crash.  No worries, we set our alarms for 11:59pm so we could still get in our New Years kiss 🙂

The next morning we went to Bry’s parent’s house to spend New Years day.  The entire day was overshadowed by trying to keep the biggest secret of our lives and wait for the results of the blood test. Around noon, it came.  My results had nearly tripled! A fantastic sign that despite all our worries baby was growing just fine. We had originally agreed to wait until our first u/s the following Friday to spill the beans to our family but couldn’t contain it any longer once the good results came back.

Instead, as we sat around the kitchen table eating black-eyed peas and cabbage Bry started a conversation. “So dad, what are your New Year’s Resolutions?” I kept my head down with a smile knowing where it was going. I’m terrible at secret keeping. Everyone went around the table and then his mom asked him “Well Bry, what are yours?”

“Well, obviously I want to be the best husband possible and I also want to be the best father possible…”

A few seconds passed and his mom responded, voice slightly shaking “…wait?…” Bry: “We’re pregnant!”

The entire table tears up, Bry’s parents and his brother.  It was a moment we’d all been waiting a long time for. Next, we called my mom. She’d known we were going to the doctor about my hair loss and seeing as we’re extremely close, I had to avoid her for the 3 days between breaking the news and finding out. “Well mom, the results came back…”, Mom: “yeah? What is it?”, “I’m pregnant!” She was thrilled.

We waited until Friday, our first ultrasound to tell the rest of our families. The appointment was amazing! Everything looked great and baby was growing perfectly with a steady and strong heartbeat at just about 7 weeks. We were given a due date at the end of August. Another August birthday for the Parks’ clan (Lily: August 1, Bry: August 13, Me: August 14, My dad: August 15) and now baby.

And mama:

A Big Surprise

Bry and I have talked about kids even before we started dating. Back when we were “just best friends”.  Though my choices for majors in college changed frequently (I have 4 various ones before deciding on Criminal Justice and sticking with it), my life goals changed often going anywhere from becoming an Interior Designer designing model homes to being a Preschool teacher to working hand in hand with a 3 letter agency in the realm of homeland security <— still a goal.  The one thing that never changed throughout it all was my desire to be a mommy.  I knew from a very young age that I wanted to become a mother one day and that that role in and of itself would be the most rewarding and the most challenging I could dream of.

After months of dating, already purchasing an engagement ring and planning a wedding before Bry officially popped the question and living together for months Bry and I had a serious baby talk in November 2011.  I’d had problems with infertility in the past and we knew that there was a good chance it would take us a very long time to get  pregnant on our own, if it was possible at all without fertility meds/procedures.  We were both ready to start trying with the knowledge that it could take well over a year, or it could happen right away.

We decided to go off BC. On November 13, I had my first period off BC.  In the past I’d gone off the pill and never ovulated on my own or had a period without meds. So when 4 weeks passed without Aunt Flo, we didn’t think anything of it.  We kept on living our lives as usual. We celebrating Bry’s graduation with burgers and beer, celebrated our engagement with margaritas and enjoyed our fair share of raw sushi when visiting my mommy over Christmas.

Before going to visit my mom I’d noticed I was getting up at night a lot more frequently to use the bano despite the fact that I wasn’t drinking very much during the day at all (I know, bad!).  I also woke up one morning to horrible swollen gums with we attributed to eating chips the day before. In Maryland, I’d sleep 12 hours a night and still be tired for a nap in the middle of the day which was very uncharacteristic of me. I figured I was just stressed from traveling and everything going on or that I was coming down with a cold. But the entire stay in MD my mom kept making pregnancy references.  “Are you craving pickles?” she’d constantly ask. Bry and I would look at each other but we were certain I wasn’t actually pregnant. We’d just gone off BC…

We flew home Dec 28th and awoke bright and early the morning of the 29th for a doctor’s appt. I’d scheduled it because I’d been losing a lot of hair lately. The comments my mom made over the past week rang loudly in my head. We’d bought a pack of cheap pregnancy tests when we first decided to get off BC and I decided to use one.  What could it hurt? Bry was about to start brushing his teeth and I told him I wanted to test with first morning urine. I asked if he wanted to stay in the bathroom or leave until I was finished. He said he wanted to wait.

I took the test and watched as the moisture moved across the test and a line appeared. I remember thinking “that line is way too close to the testing mark to be a control..” and then a second line appeared.  I stared at it stunned, mouth agape and then “I’m freaking pregnant!” came out of my mouth. Bry dropped his toothbrush in the sink and embraced me as I stared at myself in the mirror repeating over and over “I’m pregnant! OMG I’m pregnant!”

I took 4 tests before believing it. Bry even took one (the one on the left) to be a control. We went out to Walgreens to buy the fancy ones that stated “pregnant” or “not pregnant”. Sure enough, within seconds it blared back PREGNANT!

We went to the doctor’s as planned where they drew blood and confirmed I was indeed knocked up 🙂 My doctor assured me that the hormonal changes of pregnancy could be attributed to the hair loss and the frequent trips to the bathroom were a common symptom of early pregnancy.

In just a few hours our lives had changed forever. What I thought might not ever be attainable, was. The one dream I’d always had, to become a mother, had already come true.  In the blink of an eye our world changed in the best possible way.

The Whirlwind Months

It’s been awhile. Namely my absence had been due to the fact that my last 2 apartments lacked Internet. And that I’ve been busy living this crazy life rather than documenting it. But as things have begun to settle down (at least for a little bit) and I’ve yearned to track everything that’s been going on, I’m back. No guarantees as to how often but at least you’ll get, at the very least, a peak into this new life that’s just begun.

Last I wrote, I updated about Bry. The boyfriend. In October, after months of long distance dating and 12 hour one way commutes to see each other I took the plunge and moved to Austin.  We moved into a one bedroom apartment together with Lily-butt. It wasn’t the nicest place. A HUGE step down from my pad in Pcola but it included Bryan and together, we made it a home.

The next few months were filled with weddings, a Tough Mudder (I spectated as Bry competed), lots of biking, hiking and running and general bonding.

In December Bry graduated from Texas State with his Bachelor’s in Geography and a minor in Business Administration. Just 4 days later he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.


I didn’t say yes as I was literally speechless but I did manage to nod my head incessantly in an attempt to get the point across. A few moments later after tears, hugs and kisses he asked “So is that a yes?”, “YES!” I bellowed.

The next morning we left for Maryland to visit my mom for Christmas…

To be continued 🙂