My little apple seed

A baby is growing inside of me. When I look down at my belly, I cry. I have never felt more blessed, excited or happy for anything in my life.

I’ve really been struggling with my fears these past few days since I found out that I was pregnant. What if something I did before I knew I was pregnant hurt the baby? What if I have a miscarriage? I know it’s common for a lot of first pregnancies. But then I remember that God is in control. He gave me this baby for a reason. He answered my prayers and blessed me with this little angel because he knew I was ready for it. Gods plan is so much bigger than I can even comprehend. If he believes that I am strong enough to grow a tiny human inside of me, then I know that I am. I cannot live my life in fear and I know the importance of being happy and excited for what is to come.

I have had nothing but pregnancy on the mind since I found out. I’ve focused on the baby inside of me every time I go to eat something, every time I feel like I’m about to throw up, and every time I smile. In 9 months, I will be holding my baby in my arms smiling at their little face and wondering how I got to be so lucky. As far as symptoms go, I haven’t really felt too much. Nausea, gas, bloating a fatigue mainly. I slept for ten hours last night, then came to work and have slept another five hours or so, on and off.

Thinking back on these last five weeks or so, I laugh at how God planned this pregnancy. I had been to Florida 3 times total. Once for a wedding, and twice because of my Neene passing away. Little did I know that I was pregnant every time I went. I felt bloated, ugly and gross each time I was there, but just blamed it on the heat of Florida and my love for food. I’d been peeing SO OFTEN but just figured I’d grown a weaker bladder. I have had NO energy, one day I slept until 4:30 pm just because I had nothing to do and I was so tired. Just this past Monday I had run some errands with my mother in law and told her how bloated I was feeling.

My period was ten days late but I figured it was the stress of work and of my Neene dying, little did I know, there was a little babe inside of me. My sister in law urged me to take a test, so I went to the store on Wednesday and purchased two boxes of two different tests and two different brands. I took the first one when I got back to work, expecting it to be negative because it was the middle of the day and I had already consumed a ton of water and sweet tea. I walked out of the bathroom and left the test on the counter, did some chores around the house and then went back. I did about thirty takes of the test.

“Is that really a positive sign?” “Am I blind or what?” No, my eyes were not deceiving me. I WAS PREGNANT!!! I called my MIL immediately, shaking uncontrollably and bawling my eyes out with happiness. I then called my mom, grandma and husband and shared the news. Everyone was thrilled! Zack was in shock at first but is now excited too. I then called my doctor and made an appointment, and to my surprise they scheduled me for an ultrasound on April 9th!

I have all four tests saved at home, and I look at them every day to relive how excited I was when I first found out. Only knowing for a few days and being this happy and excited only has me wondering what the rest of the pregnancy will be like. No amount of sickness could keep me away from being happy and excited to welcome this baby into such a beautiful family. I am already so in love with my little *five week* apple seed, and I cannot wait to see it on the monitor in a little less than two weeks! No fear.

Baby

Yesterday I found out that I am pregnant. Pregnant. Pregnant. Still waiting for it to really sink in. I have never been more thrilled and excited for something. Becoming a mother is one of the greatest honors and I cannot wait to see my little blessing. 

In two weeks I have my first ultrasound and doctor appointment, I believe I’m around 5.5 weeks right now so at that point I will be closer to 8. So far, little baby is the size of an Appleseed. I’m not making it public knowledge until I go to the Dr. and see my little angel for the first time, I don’t know how I’m going to wait two weeks! 

Life 

I have really been struggling lately. My job is beyond stressful, my bank account is suffering greatly, I’ve been feeling super self conscious and I’m lonely. 

Going to Ocala three times in 5 weeks had its pros and cons. I loved being able to see Neene before she went to heaven, telling her I loved her and sharing stories with family members about our memories of her. Being with my family and seeing a select few friends really helped me in my time of mourning. 

Yet, I did miss four days of work which is about $600 that I did not make. Money isn’t everything and it doesn’t make you happy, I know that. But when I get my paycheck and realize I’ll have $200 left over for two weeks, I lose my mind a little. 

I’m having a hard time being positive and happy. On my days off, I’m lonely. When I’m working, I’m stressed. I know things will get better but right now I’m in a dark space and trying hard to see the light. 

Family First

We have all heard that God places people in your life for a reason. One of my favorite quotes is actually, “people come into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime”. I’ve really been reflecting on the people in my life lately. From birth, I have been insanely blessed with the people I’ve been surrounded by. Grandparents and great-grandparents, mom, dad, step-parents, sisters, brother, cousins, aunts, uncles ETC. I have a huge, AMAZING family. 

I had never really put too much thought into the family I would marry into. I seemed to be the permanently single friend, third wheel extraordinaire and the “she’s super weird but cool but do I really want to date her?” I lucked out when I moved to Charlotte and met a handsome 24 year old who was sweeter than Hummingbird Cake on May 24 (my birthday). 

On our first date we talked a lot about our families. We both come from a large family whom treasure time together, which immediately thrilled me. After a few dates I got to meet his parents briefly and then started going over there more and more. In October of 2012 he came to Florida with me to meet mine. The first thing my Grandmomny said after she met him was “Olivia, he is perfect.” Duh. Neene called him “Jack” but was thrilled that I was so happy. 

It didn’t take long for his family and I to connect. As Vickie (his mom) said once in a card to me, I just fit right in to their crazy, fun family. And I do! I love them like they’re my own. I have never felt more comfortable around such a large group of people whom I’ve only known for a few years. 

Vickie is truly a gift. She takes mother in law to a whole new height. She is sweet, selfless and funny. I can tell her anything, honestly, and she will not only cast no judgement, but will provide a solution. She is quick to love and give, whether it’s a pair of socks because my feet are cold or a personalized notepad because she knows I constantly write notes to myself. Wedding planning was SO fun with her as my sidekick. She knew what I wanted and stopped at absolutely nothing to make my dreams a reality. 

Billy (FIL) is one weird man. And I love it. He and I are sarcastic, funny and stupid together. We make fun of each other and don’t get upset because we have such a bond that I am so thankful for. His country accent and big bear hugs are the best. For being in a state where I have no immediate family, I’m thankful to have the best second family imaginable. 

As far as siblings go, besides having my own badass sibs, the Cecil/Baldwin/Whitleys are too awesome. Micah and I share a common interest in tattoos and music and I consider her one of my best friends. Melanie and I bonded from the start when she offered to kick someone’s ass because they were harassing me. Melissa is beyond fun to go out with and have serious conversations with. I enjoy time with each of them in different ways and I’m so glad they’re my new sisters! William, the only other boy besides Z is a mini Billy who can sometimes be a pain but I love nonetheless. Our banter and laughs are one of a kind and I’m thankful for our relationship. 

When it comes to family, I believe I have been thoroughly blessed with mine. From my real parents to my in-laws, I have had and will continue to have an amazing support system. Yay, family!

These hands 

Where do I begin? We all know death is inevitable. Whether you’re expecting someone to die or it comes out of the blue, it is going to happen to each person regardless. It is also well known that everyone handles death differently. Some people hold all their emotions inside while others cry and babble Til the cows come home. I am a little bit of both, mainly the latter. 

To the world, Ella Kate Willingham is a 102 year old woman. She was born in 1913 and raised four of her own children, followed by numerous grand children and great grand children. Can you imagine? Living one hundred and two years. All the things she has seen and experienced? It completely blows my mind. 

To me, Ella Kate Willingham is my Neene, my great grandma. She helped raise me, took me to church, drove me to school and cooked for me. She is the strongest, most beautiful woman in the world, to me. 

I remember staying at her house on Lake Weir Avenue eating tuna sandwiches and watching Madeline. I remember one time when she drove Jordan and I to Osceola Middle School and totally ignored our yells that a speed bump was coming up so she proceeded to catch some air in her champagne colored Corolla. 

When my friend Morgan and I would hag out at her house, she would let us use whatever sewing supplies we wanted so we could make our own “fashion” pieces. She always had Reese’s cups in the fridge for snacks and oatmeal on the stove for breakfast.

Because of her, I have a high standard of food. Her recipes are out of this world. Whether it be her gooey butter cake, pound cake with fudge frosting or her crescent cookies, I could literally lick the plate clean. Her fried chicken, candied carrots and peas were phenomenal too. Oh, and we always mixed bacon into our oatmeal at her house, too.

What I admire most about Neene, is her selflessness. She lived to make others happy. She would always ask me what I wanted to eat, if I needed any money, what I wanted to do. She always put me first. There was a point in my life when I lived with her for a while and that woman never missed cooking a meal for me and making sure I was up and ready for school. She has always only wanted the best for me. 

Neene is my favorite person in this world. If you didn’t know that, then you don’t know me that well. I plan to name our first daughter after her: Kennedy Ella. When I look down at my wedding band, I am always brought back to a flood of memories of Neene because it was her wedding band originally. 

I’m crying as I type this because of how hard today has been. My mom texted me this morning and let me know that Neene wasn’t doing well. She was unresponsive and mom said it’d be best if I came home. I wasted no time packing my bags (not sure what clothes I brought with me… It was all a blur), loading the car and grabbing a dog to bring with me. I rushed through goodbye with my husband and hit the road. Through the 8 hour drive I was just a mix of emotions. One minute I’d be singing along with the radio and the next I would be bawling my eyes out. 

Every mile a memory.  

Seeing my Neene laying in that bed was absolutely heartbreaking. The strongest woman I have ever known, someone who’s lived 102 years, is lying in a bed with her eyes closed on the brink of going home to be with the Lord. My heart aches, my eyes are sore and my head is throbbing. I want what’s best for her, but I can’t help but be selfish. She’s my Neene, My great grandma and my hero. Why can’t she be that for my kids, too? Why does she have to leave me? Every time I come home she is the first person I visit. Even though the past few times she hasn’t been all there, she has always known who I am and asked me how I liked the Carolinas. 

Death is inevitable but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Being here in the same city as my Neene is definitely better than being in Charlotte, 8 hours away. I just hope my memories of her will help me through this difficult time.