I hate to interrupt all the pretty wedding goodness - but today, I have a personal blog post to share with you today.
On April 6, 2016 my husband and I were thrilled to welcome our baby boy, Ryan Elliott Cash. After going into labor at 3:00am that morning, we made our way to the hospital and were all checked in by about 6:00am. I was actually 5 days past my due date and our midwives had scheduled an induction for that Friday. (And I swear to you that having that induction date scheduled was what sent me into labor!) Coming into the world a whopping 10lbs 11oz and 23inches, our son was a bundle of perfection with the prettiest red hair I've ever seen! And where the red hair came from, I'll never know. :)
Motherhood has been both wonderful and challenging. The first few days are no joke hard. Actually, there needs to be another word to describe it because hard just doesn't seem to do it justice! But just as everyone says, every single second of the tears - both of joy and sadness - is worth it for the sweet baby you get to snuggle in your arms. And as just everyone says, time flies by! I honestly cannot believe that our little boy is already one month old.
Our birth story is nothing special or unusual. We knew that we would be having a "large" baby from our third trimester ultrasound. I had no health problems prior to getting pregnant, no gestational diabetes, no high blood pressure - nothing except a family history of large babies! At 36 weeks, he was already estimated to be over 7lbs and was measuring ahead by two weeks. We thought maybe he would come early since he was already a good size, but as one doctor reminded us - just because a child is the size of a kindergartener, that doesn't mean he's ready for kindergarten. That analogy helped put things into perspective for us, and we patiently waited and waited for when he would make his big arrival. Around 38 weeks, our midwives talked to us about potentially needing to schedule a c-section due to his estimated size - he was measuring at 41 weeks by this point! We prayed about it and consulted with OB/GYNs, and ultimately decided that it wasn't the best course of action and that we'd continue to wait it out. In the meantime, we put the finishing touches on his nursery, enjoyed plenty of time together, and I even worked a wedding at 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant! Fast forward to the morning of April 6 and it was finally time for us to meet our son.
Our families actually don't live anywhere near us, and I really wanted to have my mom there when I went into labor. I called her as we drove to the hospital around 5:00am, and by 7:30am she was on a plane from New Orleans to Charlotte. When I checked into the hospital, I was already very far along - 6cm! And by the time I was brought into my room I was approaching 8cm. It was at that time that I decided to go for the epidural. I have zero regrets about this choice. I really wanted to labor naturally for as long as possible, and I felt that I hit my limit and pulled the trigger before I was in too much more pain. The epidural made the process of birth so much more enjoyable and I was able to really be present rather than wishing I was anywhere else in the world, doing anything else! (And for anyone considering an epidural - I'm not a needle person. In fact, I pass out usually when I receive a shot. But the epidural was not bad at all and it was over in a flash - don't let it scare you, too!) So with the epidural by my side, we continued to wait. But we didn't have to wait very long. My contractions were increasing and I continued to dilate pretty quickly. Magically, which a change in position as directed by the nurse, my labor stalled a little. This delay allowed for my mom to land in Charlotte and make it to the hospital just in time for the birth! I know that was God working in our lives so that she could be there for this huge moment. Pushing was a whole different ballgame and it nothing like you see in the movies. After roughly 40 minutes of pushing, he was here! As they laid him on my chest, I was in shock that he was actually here. I was so overwhelmed with what was happening! This baby that I had prayed for, thought about for 9+ months, and dreamt about was actually here! And when the put him on me, I thought okay he's not that big - no emergency c-section like we thought might happen and he looks absolutely perfect. After a while they took him to go weigh him and clean him off and my husband, Todd, went with him. A few seconds later he goes, are you ready to hear how much he weighs? My guess was 9lbs 6oz, and we had taken the guesses from family and friends, too. So when Todd says 10lbs 11oz, I was just shocked! There's no way this baby was that big - he definitely didn't look like it. Then they gave me his inches and he was off the charts there, too! When they went to go stamp his foot, it was actually too big for the pad. So we realized pretty quickly that our baby boy was overcooked! :) But he was perfect in every way - just a little overachiever, I guess.
When we tried to figure out a name for our little guy, we really wanted something with significance. The only problem was that we had no significant family names for boys! (Go figure the list of girl names we had created was full of family names and names with emotional attachment - isn't that how it always goes, though?!) All of my family names were way too Italian to go with Cash, and Todd's family didn't have anything either. Todd's Dad had passed away in 2013 and the loss of his Dad still leaves a big hole in his heart. We wanted to honor his memory in some way - but no one, not even his Dad, was a fan of his name. So we decided to use his initials instead! Now that we had the letters REC, we needed to fill in the blanks! Ryan had always been a favorite name of mine since I was a little girl. When I was younger, having the large imagination that I had, I named my guardian angel Ryan Elizabeth after learning about angels in religion class one day. She was a "person" I prayed to all the time and I truly felt like I had an angel guiding me through life. Ryan Elizabeth was on our list of girl names, too. So when we nailed down the initials REC, using Ryan for our baby boy was a no brainer for me. I mean, Ryan is traditionally a boys name anyways! And now it means that my guardian angel finally came to life! I loved that we found a name with significance for both my husband and I - it makes saying his name that much more special.
Now that Ryan is here, our lives are that much more sweeter ...and a little less restful! We feel truly blessed to be his parents and to be given this gift. So happy one month birthday to our little sweet redheaded boy. We love watching you grow everyday!
Photo Credits: Hospital photos by my talented and sweet friend Allison Kuhn Photography // Newborn photo by the awesome Lindsay Thalinger Photography // iPhone snap by yours truly with a Batz Kids monthly milestone swaddle