24 Carrots - Gratitude Dinner

We recently had the privilege to not only help 24 Carrots Catering on one of their opulent events, but this time we were also hosted by them to a beautiful meal. It was 24 Carrot’s Gratitude Dinner. A night where they treated their closest vendor friends and guests to a night of lovely connections, joyful conversation, and copious amounts of delicious food. As 24 Carrots does, every detail was meticulously thought of and everywhere you turned was another vignette that tugged at you and invited you in to experience it. 24 Carrots does an amazing job at turning a simple “dinner with friends” into a journey for the eyes, mind, and soul. We are so grateful to work with them as often as we get to and consider them friends. It was a perfect night.

We were so excited to work on this project because you could tell how meaningful it was to them. Every event that 24 Carrots puts together is carefully planned and incredibly thorough. But with this event, you could tell how deep the gratitude really runs though this team. We had a blast doing the unique signage along with some drink details, of course.

The gorgeous Ring Around the Rosé bar served guests either a still or sparkling cocktail. It was a tough decision between a “Stop and Smell the Rosé” (Rosé, Aperol, St. Germain, Chambord, Soda Water) or “Rosé Sil Vous Plait” (Rosé Sangria). I was a huge fan of the “Stop and Smell the Rosé”. We created these drink “buttons” for each glass and I’m 100% obsessed with them. They were so cute and so different from our popular stir sticks.

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Our good friends at Project Watermark did this epic escort card display. A cascade of leaves, each had calligraphy with your name and table assignment. It was a huge hit. Searching for your name among all of the ribbon and leaves reminded you that you were in a garden, Franciscan Gardens to be exact.

I love this venue. The space is so versatile and has so much potential. There must be a hundred different ways you can host an event here. The outside garden area is spacious, yet intimate. The inside is stunning and elegant, but full of potential to personalize and create an inviting space for your event. On our way into the dinner area from the outside cocktail area, we cut a very large sign for a green hedge that pretty much summed up what was behind the wall. They set up the entire kitchen area just on the other side of the hedge wall, and that is where the magic truly happens.

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Inside the space, gorgeous tables of pink and green overflowed with intricate floral pieces. Tall candelabras made the space feel intimate and warm. Each menu was personalized and informed you of the delectable dinner you were about to devour. In one corner of the room was a beautifully tattered buffet that was a display for the take home gift, along with a full belly and heart. Custom colored pencils and a branded coloring book to help you keep those creative juices flowing after the evening ended.

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Midway through our dinner, Carizza, whom I am fortunate to call a dear friend, spoke on behalf of the 24 Carrots team. Full of sincerity and affection, she summed up perfectly about what the entire night was about, gratitude. Norm, owner and mastermind behind 24 Carrots Catering, spoke as well. Between the words spoken, the ambiance created, and the food prepared…the appreciation was brimming in the room.

Of all the beautiful events we’ve been to and worked on with 24 Carrots, this one will hold a special place in my heart. This company has been a blessing to my company and therefore my family. Friendships have been forged, businesses have been elevated, and creativity has been bountiful. What more can one ask from a fellow collaborator.

Thank you 24 Carrots Catering for a beautiful evening.


Production + Catering: 24 Carrots Catering

Venue: Franciscan Gardens

Floral Design: Oak and the Owl

Furniture + Lounge: Found Rentals

Tabletop Rentals: Borrowed Blu

Linens: La Tavola Fine Linens

Photography: Brett Hickman Photography

Videography: Villa Visuals

Entertainment: Elevated Pulse

Lighting: Premier Lighting and Production

Calligraphy: Project Watermark

Laser Cut Details: Delovely Details

How Our Business Impacts Our Marriage
 
Photography by  Savan Photography

Photography by Savan Photography

When I first started Delovely Details, it was my business. It started out as a hobby but quickly grew. As it grew, it no longer was my business, but also Drew’s. Drew is 100% my partner in this. I would not be able to do any of this without him. While he also has a regular day job, he spends a lot of his nights and weekends helping me manage everything. The impact our business has had on our marriage has been a surprise in many ways.


1. Communication

Drew and I have always been great at communicating with each other. I’m sure sometimes he’d agree that maybe I communicate “too well”. However, I find that it’s been a big strength in not just our marriage, but also in working together professionally. Most business owners will say, “time is money” and so we try not to spend a lot of time beating around the bush. We can be very direct with each other. It can be hard to hear, and even harder to leave it at the door when we are home sometimes. Whether it be a problem with a design, how to handle a customer, accounting; we both are always more interested in solving the problem than exacerbating it with complicated dialogue.

2. Compromise

We both are big idea, creative, and passionate people; which can make compromising extremely hard if I am being honest. This is something we both regularly have to check ourselves with and something we both can probably get a little better at. One thing that has helped us is to have our main goals (for business and home life) clear and sometimes even visible. That way, when we are struggling to make compromises, we can look at our main goal and revert back to it to see if our compromise will help direct us to that main goal. If we have goals for our family, goals for the business, and goals for our marriage, it can help us make the RIGHT choices (most of the time anyways). The more we’ve compromised with the business side of things, the easier I find compromise is on the family side.

3. Partnership

I’ve been with Drew since 2001. We’ve known each other since we were basically kids. We’ve been each other’s support systems, cheerleaders, and back up for quite a bit of time now. When I started this business, it was mine. However, because Drew is my biggest support, it wasn’t long before he jumped in to help me. It was just his nature to do so. With that, I have a trusted partner in my business. I trust that he will do what is in the best interest for my company and therefore our family. I also respect him and he respects me. This makes delegating work very easy. It’s also great for our marriage in that the business only helps us further trust in each other.

4. Work-Life Balance

We struggle with this big time. It’s one of the biggest downsides that our business has been for our marriage. Even though we regularly make goals of changing it, somehow it never seems to happen. We both work 24/7. When we take date nights, we usually end up talking about the business. It’s really hard to completely turn off work when your spouse and you are both working for the same company. I can’t remember the last time we didn’t look at our emails for an entire weekend. We’ve never shut down our shop for a holiday or vacation. This is not ideal or healthy and we are constantly fighting off burnout mode. Having weekends be work-free is a dream of ours though, and while it sometimes seems impossible, we are both constantly working towards that goal. I am grateful however, that if I am going to be working on a Saturday, at least it is with my husband and my daughter can be with us both still.

5.  Disagreements

We are far from the perfect couple or business partners. We disagree, we argue, we can even hold grudges. However, sometimes if we have a fight about family life, it doesn’t mean that the business doesn’t have a deadline the next day. Or sometimes, we will disagree over a business matter, and then we have to go to dinner with each other’s families. So while we may want space from each other, it’s usually impossible and that can be frustrating. We’ve learned to compartmentalize a lot of our issues to get through commitments and then we find time to discuss them and work through them. I think at the end of the day, most times, we both understand that our disagreements are usually a small pebble in our journey and not worth more energy than necessary. We both also respect each other’s feelings if we just can’t get past things and might need to just be frustrated for a little bit.

Photography by  Savan Photography

Photography by Savan Photography

 This is how Delovely Details has impacted our marriage, it isn’t all good and it isn’t all bad. For better or for worse though, I think we would still choose this road. It has been far more fulfilling than not and we both feel that the business has overall strengthened our marriage. Is owning a business within a marriage for everyone? No. I’m actually quite surprised how well our marriage has adapted to it. Like most things that impact a marriage, if you’ve built your marriage on a strong foundation, it’s usually capable of weathering any storm. Our marriage is built of faith, love, trust, and empathy. So far, we’ve gotten through every storm we’ve had come our way. And believe me when I say, we’ve had our share!

 
4 Ways to Celebrate Advent with a Toddler
Christmas Traditions with a Toddler
 

ad·vent /ˈadˌvent/ noun

  1. the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.

    • the first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.

With the holidays looming around the corner, I’ve really been thinking of traditions for us to start with Evelyn. Between Drew and I, our families are stock piled with traditions. All of which we love, but we aren’t sure if they are all ones that we want to continue with Evelyn. So which ones stay, which ones go, and what traditions do we start on our own? We aren’t big “Elf of the Shelf” people so we had to sit down and talk about this.

The advent season is very important to our family. On my side, we always had paper chains that we made to start the countdown to Christmas. In Drew’s family, they would always get their chocolate advent calendars. Actually, my mother-in-law still gets us chocolate advent calendars every year from Trader Joe’s.

When pondering about how we were going to celebrate the season of advent with our toddler, we wanted to keep it fun, festive, creative, and spiritual. I am absolutely dedicated to her understanding the “reason for the season”, but I realize it’s also a time for family and fun. It’s okay to get excited about Santa, presents, and food as long as we remember why we get to do all of those things.

Christmas Pajamas

One tradition we are tweaking is my parent’s tradition to give us new pajamas on Christmas Eve. I love getting our new pajamas on Christmas Eve, it was the one present we got to open the night before and it was just fun! However, as a mom now, I wonder why we would want to wait to give Evelyn Christmas Themed pajamas to wear on the last night of the season. So we are going to start our Christmas pajama wearing season on Thanksgiving night! We decorate our house the day after Thanksgiving (no thanks Black Friday, I’m not brave enough!), so it just makes sense for our family to kick of the season of advent by wearing our Christmas Pajamas. Maybe as she gets older and is no longer wearing Christmas themed PJs (teenagers probably won’t be interested in wearing Santa pajamas), we can switch back to Christmas Eve.

Paper Chains Craft

I also loved making paper chains as a kid. We did them for trips, holidays, back to school, everything! With a toddler like Evelyn, constantly needing to be kept busy these days, I think this is a perfect tradition (until she’s over it) to keep her occupied while Thanksgiving dinner is being prepared. Then every morning, she can look forward to tearing a chain off. Plus it’s fairly mess free and easily transportable. She can do this with her other cousins and create memories of being creative and spending time with her family where ever we end up on Turkey Day.

Advent Calendar - Toddler Approved

We really want her to get into the love we have for chocolate advent calendars. Drew and I get stupid giddy about opening up our piece of chocolate in the morning. Unfortunately, so far anyways, Evelyn has shown NO INTEREST in sweets. We can get her to have a bite of yogurt or ice cream occasionally but we can’t get her to try anything else. So she’s not quite ready for a chocolate advent calendar. Luckily, a quick search on google showed me THE BEST advent calendar for a toddler ever!!!!! Behold, the Little People Advent Calendar! Evelyn is going to go nuts for this. I am a little nervous at trying to get her to understand that she can only open 1 door a day, but I’m sure we will manage. This is so stinkin’ perfect and fun! It’s going to be her first introduction to the Little People world. I’m sure by next year, Evelyn will be ready to enjoy a regular chocolate advent calendar like Drew and I but until then, this will fill in perfectly! P.S. If you want one, they are on Amazon right now and I’d order it ASAP. I saw them on eBay for $80 bucks or more!

Spiritual Advent - The Giving Manger

Lastly, the most important part of advent, is to remember that we are celebrating this day because of Jesus. I got The Giving Manger before I was even pregnant. This book, baby Jesus, wooden manger, and straw helps families focus on the servitude of Christmas. To teach your children compassion, gratitude, empathy, and discipleship. It can start off easy, putting a piece of straw in the manger cause you listened to mommy the first time. As your family grows older, putting a piece of straw in for bringing in the trashcans, helping a neighbor, or volunteer work together. I’m so excited to see Evelyn participate in this part of advent every year. This girl already has such a big heart, I know she’s going to love it. If you want to order one for your family, do it soon! They are already sold out of half their inventory this season so don’t wait!

Watching life through Evelyn’s eyes has turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Things that I forgot were truly exciting (yes, even bubbles) look totally different now that I see them through Evelyn’s amazement. While I am excited to see her reaction to all of these new traditions and experiences, I hope she grasps the true meaning of this time of year. The meaning of faithfulness, family togetherness, and gratitude.

What traditions are you starting with your toddler for the advent season?

This post contains some affiliated links, however I wouldn’t recommend anything I don’t already love!

 
Nicole Abejon
Halloween Activities with Evelyn
 

I have been so excited about holidays now that Evelyn is a little older. To be honest, I am not a fan of the typical holiday season (Halloween - Christmas). Plus, my dad passed around Christmas. I do love all the holidays other holidays (New Years Eve - Fourth of July). They are just less stressful. No months of prep and making huge plans, no excess travel among the masses, etc. However, this year, the idea of seeing these holidays through Evelyn’s eyes has me more excited for them than I usually am.

I think most moms want traditions for their children. I remember the same reindeer bean bag dolls coming out every year at Christmas time, the same Frankenstein paper decor at Halloween, and of course, the fan turkey centerpiece at Thanksgiving. I don’t remember when I stopped caring about those decorations, but I do remember them every year and I want that for Evelyn.

This is a great “test run” year for us. She’s much more aware of things but if we try some things that don’t work out, she won’t remember next year.

One tradition I’d love to start with her is a visit to the Irvine Regional Park Pumpkin Patch. I actually have taken her a few times since it’s free and it keeps her entertained. While I love this pumpkin patch, I don’t love the crowds it creates as we get closer to Halloween. I highly recommend checking this place out in early October. You can go to the pumpkin patch, ride the train and visit the OC Zoo for a few more dollars. It’s a full day and its inexpensive, unless you buy all your pumpkins there. We hit up Trader Joe’s on the way home. Next year Evelyn will be able to play more of the games and enjoy the animals a little more.

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The next event we did, that will for sure become a Halloween tradition for us, was visit the City of Orange’s Treats in the Street event. We don’t live in Orange, but this event made me want to move there. First, it was free which is crazy to me. Irvine had an event at the Great Park that we paid $5 for and it was such a waste of time that I won’t even bother writing about it and we took a few awful photos and that was it. This event in Orange was just awesome. We got there right at 4PM and parking was already getting busy. After about an hour of Trick or Treating at the local stores, Evelyn had the whole concept figured out. She had a good stash and so we grabbed some dinner. When we got out of the restaurant, it was packed and almost every store had a line to get some candy. So we decided to just check out some of the booths and watch some of the shows and let Evelyn do what Evelyn does best, draw a crowd.

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I love how quickly this kid caught onto, “go to a stranger and take some candy.” We did practice at the house beforehand and I told her she had to knock on the door. So regardless of where the person who was actually handing out candy was sitting/standing…Evelyn would walk up to the door and knock and then go grab candy. We let her try to eat a few pieces of candy but she wanted no part of it. No clue where she gets that self control.

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I can’t say enough of the Treats in the Streets though. It was a great experience for us, who are unfamiliar with the area. I definitely see us heading back there to shop those stores, grab a bite to eat and celebrate other community events there.

If you can’t tell, she is a Witch this Halloween. However, so far she has given the hat a hard “NO”.

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Watching Evelyn learn how to Trick or Treat, watching her reaction to seeing other people in costumes (ask me about what she did when she saw another little girl dressed as Elmo), seeing her face explore the decorations on some local haunted houses, and her and her daddy carving her own pumpkin has been way more special than I anticipated. I am very wary but I’m starting to have some hope for the rest of the holidays.

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I can’t wait to see how she does on the actual Halloween night. We are going to let her stay up a little late and answer the door for a few trick-or-treaters. My guess is that will be her favorite part.

Evelyn’s Pajamas are from Carters available at Amazon.

Her Halloween tote is from Little Partridge on Etsy. (She’s currently closed but maybe email her and ask pretty please!)


This post contains some affiliated links, however I wouldn’t recommend anything I don’t feel I don’t already love!

 
Pumpkin Spice Pecan Bread
 

If you know me personally, you know I don’t really drink caffeine. The closest I get to drinking a caffeinated drink, is the occasional Dr. Pepper. So when Fall comes around, and everyone is going nuts for Pumpkin Spiced Lattes at Starbucks, I’m just not one of those people. However, I do get excited for this! I look forward to Williams Sonoma’s Spiced Pecan Pumpkin Bread mix. This stuff is ridiculous and if you haven’t tried it yet, do yourself a huge favor and go get it!

It’s so delicious and so easy! I always add extra pecans on ours since we love them. You also need eggs, water, and butter. That’s it!

Pumpkin Spiced Bread Recipe

They also sell this pumpkin butter, its so rich and delectable. It turns the bread into a dessert instantly. However Drew and I love this bread as a breakfast item. So we keep it simple with warming it up with butter and coffee or tea. I once made it with a cream cheese frosting, oh my dear Lord. It’s heaven.

Pumpkin Spiced Bread Recipe

So while most basic babes are wearing their patterned chunky scarfs, with their boots, at the pumpkin patch sipping on their Pumpkin Spice Lattes, I’ll be over here in southern California in flip flops, shorts, at the beach, eating some soft spiced pecan pumpkin bread for breakfast!

 
It's Fall Ya'll!
 

Are you one of those people who puts out the fall decor the day after Labor Day? Or does fall start when you can purchase your favorite pumpkin-y drink at your local coffee shop? Or, do you wait till it’s the official start of Autumn which is September 22nd, 2018 this year.

I’m pretty sad to see summer end. Especially in Southern California where fall is basically an extended version of summer. It was in the 90’s yesterday. With Evelyn much more active this year however, I am anxious to start a few seasonal traditions with her. Drew and I talked about some activities we want to do with her and I created a little bucket list for us.

So I created this pretty download that I plan to frame and keep in our kitchen to remind of us all the activities we need to make time for. It’s so easy to let daily life keep you from doing important family activities. Sometimes we just need a reminder.

I’ve decided also to make this a downloadable so that maybe it will help you keep those family memory-making activities at the forefront of your brain. Just sign up below and you’ll be emailed your free printable PDF!

Free Downloadable Fall Autumn Bucket List

Do you have some autumn traditions not listed on our list? What are some must-dos for you and your family this time of year?

Hope you guys find it helpful this fall, and don’t forget to tag us and use hashtag #delovelydetails in your pictures of you displaying your bucket list! I can’t wait to see them!

 
Nicole Abejon
Happy Birthday Minnie!
 

One of the many positive experiences I've had since becoming a mom has been all the "mom friends" I've made. Some of them have been friends that I've reconnected with due to our fellow "momhood", some have been through my industry, and others have been complete strangers. One of those moms is Amber, who also works in the wedding industry at Shutterfly, and her sweet daughter Minnie, who is just a little younger than Evelyn. I was so excited when Amber asked if we could be a part of Minnie's special day! We came up with this adorable custom cake topper and everything fell together perfectly.

Custom Cake Topper

Minnie seemed to know exactly what to do with the most gorgeous smash cake ever from Bex Bakes, unlike Evelyn, and dove right in. She's still such a lady though. That gorgeous blue dress from Joy Marie Clothing matches her eyes perfectly! Add in a floral crown from Florabella and I'm pretty much goo over here. 

Custom Cake Topper

Corinne McCombs Photography did an amazing job capturing the essence of this darling girl. Thank you so much for letting us be a part of your celebration! We are so glad we got to be the topper on the cake. We hope you had a happy birthday sweet Minnie girl! 

Custom Cake Topper - First Birthday

I fell in love with this simple design we did for Minnie's cake topper and so we've decided to add it to our shop! If you've got a birthday coming up, place your order now!

Photography: Corrine McCombs Photography

Florals: Florabella

Cake: Bex Bakes

Dress: Joy Marie Clothing

Cake Topper: Delovely Details

 

 
Balance.
 
Evelyn's bow is from  Loved by Sophia Claire  & her onsie is from  Jean & June

Evelyn's bow is from Loved by Sophia Claire & her onsie is from Jean & June

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I panicked about how to find a balance between the "family life" I wanted my child to have and the business that had become my other "baby". For years, I had put my all into my company but I knew that things were going to have to change. I figured I would work to create a balance and we would all live happily ever after.

Looking back on it, I was pretty naive about the whole thing. There is a reason there are a million books, TV specials, podcasts, and a bazillion other blog posts dedicated to women trying to find a balance. For me, at this point in our journey, I've decided there is no balance. It's awful to hear that I'm sure, but realizing that there was no "balanced life" to chase anymore has been incredibly freeing to me. 

I've realized that the days of going to bed at midnight aren't even close to being over. Even though Evelyn has slept through most nights from 12 weeks, my work is what keeps us up till the wee hours in the morning. And that's not going to change anytime soon. Just like Evelyn's 7AM wake up call in the morning. 

There are going to be some days where I'm going to be a better mom than a business woman, just like there are going to be days where I'm a kick-ass business woman and a minimally patient mom. But what I have decided, is that I will be intentional about my time. 

When I am with my daughter, I will be dedicated to making that time "quality time" with her. I won't be checking my cell phone while she's distracted, I won't be answering emails while she eats her lunch. I will be there to soak it all up and let her know that for that moment, I am all hers. 

Unfortunately, there are times where I can't be that. It's sucky to write that and I wish I could always be there. But I have also realized that by pursuing my dreams and showing her what determination and dedication looks like, it's beneficial for her too. Even though, let's be real, it won't always feel like that. But, just like I said earlier, I am going be intentional with my time in my business as well. I am working to become more streamline, more efficient and more organized. I am also limiting the amount of projects I take on that don't directly impact my business positively. 

My time has always been valuable but now that I have Evelyn, where every day, hour, minute seems like she's growing in front of my eyes, it's invaluable. I want to be a good mother but I can't kill myself trying to be a perfect mom and a perfect business woman 24 hours a day because I won't do well at either if I try that.

If you are a business owner and momma, how are you handling the "balance". Anyone have any tips? 

 
Updated and Upgraded
 

It's been awhile huh? It's also been pretty crazy. In the last year, we've moved into a new project house and had a baby. You know, a couple of small changes. To say we over estimated our abilities to juggle, is a complete understatement.

Parenthood is hard guys. Especially when you have a business, or at least it is in my case. However, after a year of our new normal, we think we are finally getting the hang of things. So since we had a bit of an update, we thought it was time for a bit of an upgrade.

We have some new things that are quite obvious, such as the new look and the new website. We also have some new things that will slowly roll out. So we hope you guys stick around, cause it is going to be pretty fun. Plus, it's always fun around a toddler, right?

 

 
Nicole AbejonComment
Evelyn's Arrival - Part 2
 

If you missed the first part of this story, you can find it here.

Since it was decided that I needed to deliver Evelyn but I wasn’t yet in active labor, I was going to have to be induced. Definitely not what I had pictured. I was hoping to be at home for my labor as long as possible. That wasn’t going to happen but it didn’t even matter at this point. All that mattered was Evelyn and her health.

However, unlike a lot of induction birth stories, this won’t be a long story because it wasn’t a long ordeal. It was actually super fast, much to everyone’s surprise!

By the time they got me into a room and set me up, it was around 6:30PM but at that point, I had to wait for the doctor to place an order for me and for it to be filled. This was the most frustrating part of my entire labor.

They started with a foley around 10 PM and said it could take up to 12 hours for that to work. I opted to take a sleeping pill (safe for baby) and wait it out. Those last few weeks of pregnancy are practically torture when it comes to sleep. I had not slept a full night for at least 3 weeks at this point. Well, after only 6 hours, I was dilated enough to start pitocin. Around 6AM they broke my water, which there wasn’t much of, and started the pitocin drip. They told me it could be another 12 hours of the pitocin to get me to active labor so we decided to just sleep as much as possible.

Now I was always open to letting my labor play out however it was going to go. I wanted to try to see if I could go natural but I was totally ready to ask for pain meds. After about 1.5 hours of serious contractions, I went ahead and asked for an epidural. The pitocin was on the lowest setting but after only about 4 hours of it, my body completely took over and went into labor itself and I was able to stop the pitocin around 10AM and my natural labor took over.

Based on how I was dilating at this point, they told me it would probably be around 9PM for me to start to push. We told family and friends not to rush over there and that we were settled in for the long haul.

Literally 2.5 hours later, I woke up from a nap and told Drew I felt pressure. He asked if I wanted him to get a nurse but I said “no way, they said it wouldn’t be till later.” Luckily, he didn’t listen to me because as soon as a nurse came in, she was like “oh my, the baby is right there. Hold on, everyone’s on lunch. We gotta get a midwife back in here!”

Okay, I’ll just stay here lady…

We waited a little bit and they prepped me. I started to push and only ended up pushing for 15/20 minutes. They kept asking if I wanted to feel her head…nope. No thanks. Did I want a mirror to see…nope. I’m good. But then they asked me if I wanted to reach down and pull her out onto my chest. I am NOT the person that would say yes to this…but I did. I was so anxious. I didn’t even say yes actually, I just grabbed her and brought her up to my chest.

Feeling her precious body on mine, and wrapping my arms around her tiny soul is something I will never forget. She didn’t cry at first, she just looked at me. She seriously looked at me like she had been waiting this whole time to see me, the way I had waited this whole time to meet her. They say love at first sight exists, and it does. I saw her and felt every single fiber in my body realize the entire and only reason for our existence. It was to be Evelyn’s mommy. I stared at my beautiful daughter and she just started at me. At this incredibly tender moment, the only thing I could manage to say was “hi baby, I love you so much”. It was so basic, but that was all it needed to be. I have to be honest here and say that I had been more than just worried about my motherly instincts and if I was going to be able to be the mom this baby needed me to be during my pregnancy. Drew was always so reassuring and just kept telling me how great of a mom I would be. But I was still worried. But seeing that babe, every single shred of insecurity melted away. I knew that my life would be spent doing whatever I could do to ensure that my daughter had a great life. There is no way to accurately describe how the first look into your child’s eyes, changes you.

They started to rub her down while she was on my chest and that made her cry. I was trying to shush her when I remembered something I had seen. Drew read stories to my belly every single night, he sang his favorite oldie songs, he talked to her about his favorite cars and planes. I looked at Drew, who at this point was just ear to ear smiling, but I could tell he was unsure of what to do. I told him “talk to her babe.” Drew got down to her, she was wailing at this point, and said her name. “Evelyn.” As precious of a moment as I just had with her, I watched my husband have that moment with his daughter. She instantly stopped crying and just looked at him. I could see this man change. I saw everything about him change and become a daddy.

We got our golden hour, which was more like 2 hours. We just took it all in as we minute by minute became more of a family. I still can’t believe it all happened. Looking at her, Drew and I could only keep talking about how perfect she was and how we can’t believe she was finally here. It’s been four months and we are still constantly saying “I can’t believe she’s ours” and “I can’t believe how perfect she is”. It is amazing that two incredibly imperfect people, could make something so perfect.

My recovery was fairly easy thankfully! My only problem was that I got a “wet tap” on my epidural. Basically, the anesthesiologist leaked some of my spinal fluid and so my brain sat on my skull. It was actually pretty brutal. And there is nothing you can do to fix it except a blood patch occasionally will help, but it didn’t work in my case. It’s been four months and I still get those spinal headaches from time to time but those first couple weeks were a doozy and I had to stay two extra nights at the hospital.

So that’s it. That’s my story. Overall, I had a really rough pregnancy but I feel like things evened out because I had such an easy delivery once it was time. It was not at all how I pictured it but I am just so grateful my daughter is here and healthy. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 
Nicole Abejon