Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Life with June Denson: Twelve Things for Twelve Weeks

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Well, life as we have always known it has changed... and in the absolute best way possible. How could a measly little blog post even attempt to tell all about our new life with little Miss June? There is so much to say...

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Motherhood has not exactly been easy, but my love for her makes it possible and turns this full time job into such a JOY. It has taken me a little while, but I'm getting to know her better everyday... her little routine she naturally falls into during the day, her different cries to tell me what she needs, when she wants to be held and when she is simply content to play independently. In an effort to organize my millions of thoughts that I could write down, I decided to list twelve little facts {with pictures of course} about June and explain them each.

1. She is so loved.

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Well that's an obvious one, I know. Aaron and I have been so amazed how you can love someone so much that you've only known for a few days/weeks/months! It is a different kind of love that we've never felt before and it is fierce and unconditional. She is our treasure and we cherish her so. We just can't help but hug and kiss her all the time. On the night she was born and it was just the three of us in the hospital room, with every little noise/face she made we would just look at each other and gush over her. We were giddy... and we still are! She makes my heart want to explode every single day.

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2. She is active and strong. 

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This little turkey has not stopped moving probably since the minute she grew arms and legs in the womb. I remember wondering if it was normal for a baby to move so much during pregnancy... and then she was born and hasn't stopped wiggling since. She runs in place when you lay her down, she was holding her head up on her own {when alert or hungry} at 2 weeks old and in an effort to get out of tummy time, she started rolling over from her tummy to her back at 3 weeks old. Where there's a will there's a way I guess... and Lord knows she's got a will. Ha! When you go to pick her up, her whole body tenses up like she's "helping" you. When she's hungry she gets abnormally strong and literally hangs on so tight to my arms and neck that I barely have to hold her! As Aaron's uncle said... she's a pistol!

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3. She loves to eat.

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I think this is true of most babies but... you know those baby books that talk about how you shouldn't let your newborn go more than 3 hours without eating so you should wake them up to eat? Well, my little piglet was STARVING every two hours {during growth spurts, every hour} and I think I could count on one hand the number of times I had to wake her up to eat. I remember telling a friend {who has 5 kids} how exhausted I was because June was such a vigorous little eater and may have even said that I felt like she was "sucking the life out of me" and without hesitation she said, "Wow, that's great that she is such a good eater!" And I thought, "Wait a minute... she's right. I could be stressing about failure to thrive... so I have every reason to be thankful for my exhaustion and her weight gain."  Talk about a perspective changer. My goal is to breastfeed June for at least one year.. but we're taking it one month at a time. I had a case of mastitis the first week and the pain during feedings was pretty close to excruciating for the first three weeks. However, it did get better slowly but surely... just like those veteran moms told me it would. Take heart new moms! 

4. She is social. 

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June will smile and "talk" to anyone but when she sees another baby or child she lights up. It's like she knows another "little person" when she sees them. Remember baby Harlan? He's not so little any June and Harlan are best buds just like their moms. She is sooooo happy when she wakes up in the mornings. I hear her in her nursery just talkin' and laughing' and occasionally she'll holler out just to see if anyone will come get her... and when you do, she smiles so big and then giggles... Talk about the best feeling in the world. She also looooves to see herself in the mirror... she talks and laughs and it is quite entertaining to watch.

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5. She is well traveled.

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In her twelve weeks of life, June has traveled to Mississippi several times, the huntin' camp, Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee. We have gone to see "Mimi and GrandStan" in Mississippi, a wedding in Destin, and we've accompanied Aaron on a couple of turkey hunting trips. Traveling with a newborn definitely made us take a more relaxed approach to travel. Which brings me to my next bullet...

6. She hates her carseat.

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You know those babies who need to get in their carseat and ride around in the car to fall asleep? Yeah, June is the opposite. I think it's the confining aspect of the carseat that she hates... and it can't be comfortable! She likes to be able to change positions when she sleeps and likes to be held when she's really tired so the carseat has been a struggle for us with all of the traveling we've been doing. I hear they grow out of it?? She's been doing a little better lately but she still doesn't like it.

7. She loves to be bounced.

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I'm not sure if it's because I was in constant motion during the day while I was pregnant with her or what, but the child loooooves to be bounced. When she's fussy, being bounced is the only way to soothe her... although now she loves to suck on a "lovey". She could care less about being rocked {unfortunately} and she knows when you sit down! Needless to say, I get a good leg workout a couple times a day. She also doesn't like to be cradled like a baby and what is hilarious is that Aaron is the ONLY person she will let hold her that way {see above pic}... He can put her to sleep instantly if he adds a little bounce to his step... She also loves riding around like a papoose in my wrap. 

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8. She has acid reflux.

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Bless her heart... she is a spit up queen. I feel like she has a bib on 24/7 but it's easier to change out bibs than outfits you know? I noticed her starting to spit up around 1 week old and she hasn't stopped. Thankfully, it has not affected her weight gain but the acid part of the reflux has caused her quite a bit of pain. We started her on a small dose of Zantac daily and that has made all the difference for her. She still spits up the same amount but the pain is gone which makes June and my Momma heart feel better. She is now eating larger amounts every 4 hours during the day and I think that also helps because her tummy gets a little break instead of continuously digesting food with her previous every {2-3 hr} schedule.

9. She is a good sleeper.

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She loves to sleep with her hands by her face. In all of our ultrasound pictures, she had her hands there too. During those first several weeks I didn't think the every 2-3 hour night feedings would ever stretch out but we finally turned the corner {consistently} at around 9 weeks old. Now at 12 weeks, an ideal day {basically when we stay at home} she will take a 2-3 hour nap in the morning and a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon with a little catnap in the evening so she can make it to her bedtime around 8:30. She then sleeps 12 hours with one feeding anytime around 3-5 am. That happens most days/nights but then we get a wild card night where she wants to wake up every 3-4 hours to eat and I assume it's due to a growth spurt so we roll with it. On days where we're blowing and going everywhere she doesn't nap as long unfortunately... and she is not a happy camper if she doesn't get a couple solid naps.  I know her sleep/wake patterns will be ever changing depending on the stage she's in but she's doing pretty good for now!

10. She has been ranging from about the 75th-85th percentile in height, weight and head circumference.

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This picture {above} cracks me up... It was June's first dr.'s appointment and she was only 5 days old. While I was signing in, there was a snotty nose 3 yr old trying to touch her and I could see Aaron trying his hardest to nicely and gently keep him away all the while fuming on the inside. After he got rid of the kid he positioned June between his legs so that no one could see/touch/breathe on her. It was hilarious... to me, not to him. Ha!

11. She loves to be outside.

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I think this is characteristic of all babies... and I think fresh air and good ole change of scenery does everyone good. She is so hot natured though... I guess she gets that from her daddy. We enjoy getting out of the house on pretty days and going for a walk/run in the stroller.

12.  She looks like both her momma and her daddy.

When we compare her to our baby pictures it is quite obvious that she looks like a mix of both of us. Her smile and facial expressions are identical to mine and her serious face looks just like Aaron did. She has Aaron's forehead, head shape, ear shape and feet for sure. She has my eyes and mouth and we're not sure about the nose just yet. Of course, it's all subject to change but it's fun to look and compare... and of course, every one has their own opinion of who she looks like and it's so fun to hear!

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These past twelve weeks have not been easy, but they have been so special and sweet. I have seen with my own eyes how quickly June has gone from a newborn to a "baby" and I am thankful that I have made an attempt to savor and enjoy every day. I cannot get over how quickly 12 weeks came and went.

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Tomorrow is my first day back to work and it makes me sick to leave her for 12+ hours. However, I am thankful to be leaving her with my Mom... they are going to have so much fun together! Thankfully I only work 3 days a week and yes, that is one of the many reasons I wanted to do nursing. However, being a wife to Aaron and a momma to June is my favorite job ever.

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Loving these two sure is fun.

Monday, April 27, 2015

"Gerber"

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I had the best of intentions on doing a pregnancy post before June was born heck, before she was 8 weeks old! and well... I got busy with other things {like nesting!} and neglected this little blog of mine. Now that June is here and apart of Our Story, I want to be more intentional about blogging since this is my little online scrapbook after all. How I will love looking back at pictures and stories of life with her sweet little self, just like I do about our stories I blogged about before we ever knew her. 

"Gerber" was the nickname Aaron gave our little one since we decided to let the gender be a surprise. So many people thought we were crazy for not finding out, but we absolutely loved the anticipation of it all! I was planning on decorating a gender neutral nursery and registering for gender neutral baby items anyways because we may have both genders in our family one day and I'm all about being practical! And even though we did not know the gender, we still felt so much love for our baby because he/she was our baby.

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I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed pregnancy. Now I know I may be eating my words on the next go round because all pregnancies can be different, but... carrying my sweet baby around for 10 months was such a special experience. There were days that the exhaustion was a tad overwhelming or I felt weak and queasy... and carrying around an extra 20 lbs was not easy on my joints or back by any means... but feeling "Gerber" kick and move and watching our little one grow was just so much fun. 

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I never realized just how tired I could feel until I was in the throes of my first trimester. I am SO not a napper and while I would still fight it, if I sat still in a comfy spot, I could fall asleep before I knew it.  Those 12 hour shifts at work would be brutal some days and I could easily go to bed each night around 8:00. I had occasional bouts of queasiness but those were mostly on the mornings I worked where I was up before the crack of dawn. I had heard people say they get nauseous if they let themselves get too hungry and that was never the case with me... because I was eating all of the time! haha Before pregnancy, I could blame my appetite on Ironman training and when that was over, it worked out great because I could blame it on pregnancy... now I guess I can blame it on breastfeeding!

I was absolutely ravenous in my first trimester... The foods I craved the most were Little Caesars pepperoni hot-n-ready's, Waffle House all star special and my Mom's fried chicken with rice and gravy and vegetables. I've never been much into sweet treats {except donuts and cinnamon rolls} and they did NOT appeal to me at all until the end of my second trimester. I wanted anything salty, cheesy or crispy. My food aversions were steamed vegetables, pork (except bacon), anything Asian and anything with a sweet, sticky sauce like BBQ.

As far as exercise goes- if I could muster up the energy- I would still ride my tri bike, run a few miles here and there and swim laps. I tried to stay out of the heat for the most part and kept my heart rate in check with my Garmin watch.

The first trimester was the least fun especially because I couldn't actually feel my baby inside of me. People would ask me what I thought the gender of the baby was and mine and Aaron's initial gut feeling was that we were having a girl.

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The second trimester was great because my energy came back full swing and at around 19 weeks I could feel our baby moving inside of me. We got to see Gerber on the ultrasound which was so much fun and everything checked in developmentally sound when we did the review of systems. Whew! Thank you Lord.

As far as exercising goes, running was getting to be so bothersome with how many potty breaks I would have to take... so I started power walking which I thoroughly enjoyed because my mom would walk with me most days. Throughout my entire second and third trimesters I had quite a lot of braxton hicks contractions each day, despite being hydrated... it was probably because I was so active all day at work and my days off too for that matter. I couldn't ride my tri bike anymore because my knees would bump my belly every time I would pedal!

In my second trimester the junk food cravings of my first trimester weren't quite as strong and I craved more fruit and healthier things... the aversions stayed the same except that I could now eat donuts and cinnamon rolls and actually enjoy them. 

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As I started showing more and more, I kept getting a million gazillion comments that I was "carrying low" and that I was having a boy. My friends, coworkers, patients, strangers...about 80% of people predicted that I was carrying a boy! So then Aaron and I both began to second guess our initial instinct that it was a girl because maybe they were right? Not to mention,  little "Gerber" was SO active... like a maniac. That got me wondering if it was a boy too. The good thing about it was... I did not care what the gender was because I loved that little person so much it made my heart hurt.

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My third trimester felt a lot like my second until about the last three weeks. The cravings, energy levels, exercise, etc were all the same. I stuck to power walking and we planned our routes around bathroom breaks! Aaron got me laughing so hard one day that I literally peed in my pants {in a semi-public place!}. 

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The last three weeks were a little more uncomfortable and fatigue was settling in at the end of the day... although, it's probably because I was in hardcore nesting mode and I think I had SO many projects to get done and errands to run that I just wore myself down... not to mention three {physically hard} 12 hr shifts a week. I think my Mom went into nesting mode as well because she was my partner in crime... Aaron was like, "What has gotten into you two?!" Ha! Not only did we get the nursery all decorated and organized, but I had my couches recovered and we painted several pieces of furniture around the apartment. I was on a mission!

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I worked up until my due date and I'm so glad I did because that means I get to spend extra time with June, and I think it helped her come on her due date. Those last couple of days I worked I was volunteering to run upstairs to pick up blood for other nurses, turn and lift heavy patients and carry equipment down the halls just to help get "Gerber" here in a timely fashion!

And... it worked! My water broke the morning of "her" due date and you know the rest of the story...

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I do miss feeling June move in my tummy... That was my favorite part about carrying her... we joked and called her "a worm in hot ashes" because that's how active she was all the time and surprise, surprise she is the squirmiest little baby I've ever held... she never stops moving... {I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!}

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It was you in there miss Junie bug! It was you all along... :)

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

On the Night You Were Born: June's Birth Story

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June Denson Weatherford decided to make her timely debut on her due date of Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 11:14 pm. She weighed 7 pounds 7 ounces and measured 20.5 inches long. She is the sweetest gift we have ever received. 

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The day of her birth is one that I will always look back on and cherish. As tiring and painful as it was, I would do everything over again in a heartbeat for her. I want to write it down so that I will always remember that special day... I will try to leave out the gory details to spare you all and just hit the highlights ;) {even though, as a nurse, there's not much that phases me so read with caution!} Just enjoy the pics if you're not into these kinds of stories!

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I will preface this story by saying that I was bound and determined to do my part in helping her come on her due date... Aaron's spring break just so happened to start March 1 {Thank you Lord!} and I was going to try to avoid a scheduled induction if I could help it. I had worked my usual three 12 hour shifts until Thursday and on Friday, Mom and I power-walked 5 miles of hills (we even attempted running a few!) and I don't think I sat down all day. Saturday, Mom, my Meemaw and I power-walked about 3 miles and then I ran stairs for about 15 minutes. One lady at the bottom of the stairs saw me and said, "Oh honey, you need to be careful!" and I quickly replied, "My due date is tomorrow!" and ran up another flight of stairs. I don't think I sat down that day either. I was trying to have everything ready to go if the baby came on time. I had a hard time sleeping the night before {which rarely happens} and ended up taking two benadryl just because I knew I was in need of a legit night sleep after how busy and active my week had been. The benadryl worked and I slept like a baby until about 8:30 am. As I was laying there waking up, I felt a "pop" inside my tummy and thought that had to be the weirdest feeling gas bubble... When I got up to pee I realized that my water might have broken... it was not a big gush like you see in the movies. Court and Clay had just called Aaron to tell him that they were bringing over donuts from this place I had been dying to try and so I decided to put off calling the doc until I got to eat my donuts... priorities people! Might I add that I could feel "Gerber" moving around in there like always and still wasn't positive that my water had actually broken. 

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I enjoyed my donuts and when I noticed the contractions started becoming more intense, I called the doc on call. It wasn't my doctor unfortunately, but I knew he would be a great one. It took him a while to call back because he was delivering one baby after another that morning so I hopped in the shower and got ready for the day. Courtney and Harlan kept me company and Aaron and I were calling and texting close friends and family to let them know. By then, I was pretty positive it was my water that had broken and I was beginning to have to stop what I was doing to rest during contractions. You know, like I'm doing here in the pic below... I'm sure Aaron thought it would be hilarious to record the moment. 

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When I finally heard back from the hospital they told me to come in as soon as possible. We took a few last pics and headed that way. When we got there I was 2 cm and "Gerber's" head was way down {0 station to be precise}. The nurses were in touch with the doc on call and came in to start the pitocin. I refused the pit and asked if I could have at least three hours to try and make significant progress on my own.  I would definitely take the medicine if my labor was slow because I knew I had a window of time to have this baby after my water had broken. The way my contractions were intensifying I was quite confident my body knew just what to do... and it did!

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Aaron kept me laughing and distracted me as best he could to take my focus off the pain. As the intensity increased, so did the nausea. I knew my nausea was mostly pain related but by then I was second guessing those donuts I had eaten... Oh and I had back labor which doesn't exactly let up in between contractions unfortunately. All the girls in the room kept taking turns massaging my lower back and applying a hot rice bag that Jane Gray had brought. That thing provided SO much relief!

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My Dad stayed in the room for the majority of my labor and coached me through the really tough contractions. He kept an eye on my vitals as well as Gerber's heart rate. My mom was in and out of the room because she couldn't stand seeing me in pain. Now that I have June, I can totally understand how she felt.

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One big contraction I had caused me to lose my donuts unfortunately, but I felt a whole lot better afterwards. When they checked me to measure my progress in that past three hours, I was at 5 cm! One thing that was really neat was that every time the nurses would check my progress I could accurately predict how dilated I was... How I knew I have no idea.

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I know it may seem weird to most people that I had so many people in the room while I labored but I actually preferred it that way... Having them there to support me and distract me was how I was able to cope with the pain. I know Aaron appreciated the backup help as well. It meant so much that they would spend their entire Sunday rubbing my back, encouraging me and offering me ice chips!

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Coming into my very first labor and delivery experience of my own I didn't really have a plan because I know there are so many variables and so many unpredictable scenarios that could happen during childbirth. I was not dead set on any certain way to deliver {epidural vs. natural} because I've seen both ways be successful and not so successful. My game plan was to just play it by ear, knowing my options were wide open. During one of my breaks in between contractions, my mind ventured back to the pain I felt while running that marathon at the end of my Ironman last year. During those grueling miles I could have stopped running and laid down in the grass and my pain level would have been the exact same as if I was still running... there was no break from the pain whatsoever, not even after I crossed the finish line. As intensely painful as each contraction was, the break I got in between {with a little back pain thrown in from the back labor} is what made the whole process bearable. Another thing that helped was the two small doses of Nubain they gave me. I was hesitant to take them because I was afraid they would make me nauseated and I had heard it doesn't always help the pain, but what it did do was help me relax better in between contractions so I could rest and gear up for the pushing part.

My sister Julie was unable to be there because she couldn't get off work and I know it was killing her!  We made sure to FaceTime her and send a million pics and updates. Jessica came to the hospital straight after her 12 hr shift and started tearing up when she saw me have a contraction. I quickly reminded her not to pity me because I had chosen this pain and that I was fine. If I couldn't take it anymore, the anesthesiologist was just a phone call away.

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But I'm telling you... the emotional and physical support from my family and best friends made all the difference in the world.

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When the contractions were getting so intense that my "pit crew" could tell I was starting to bear down during them and hold my breath... Dad was reminding me to breathe and Aaron quickly got the nurses and told them I would be needing the doctor very soon. {I couldn't really communicate during this time because remember those little breaks I was talking about? Yeah, they were starting to get shorter and shorter.} One really cool thing about the day is that my doctor was actually coming back on call that night! He was flying in from out of town that evening and literally made it in the nick of time. In the moments before he got there, my pit crew left the room and Aaron stayed. The nurses slapped an oxygen mask on me, turned me on my side {because I don't think I could follow commands very well then} and told me to "breathe for my baby"... I started breathing as hard as I could! Before I knew it, my doctor had arrived and when he checked me he gave me the go ahead to start pushing. You talk about the hardest, most painful 20-30 minutes of my life! I was totally regretting not getting the epidural then... Ha! Aaron was such a good coach though... he had one leg and literally got in my face and told me what I needed to do because I was so distraught. He's always been able to handle pressure-filled intense situations like a champ and I could not have pushed the baby out without his help.

My favorite part of the whole day was when I gave it one last huge push and the dr. caught the baby and flipped its little booty up in the air and Aaron yelled, "It's a GIRL!!!!" I was like, "It's a GIRL?! Oh my gosh, Aaron we had a girl!!!" Aaron had tears rolling down his cheeks and said, "My baby girl... I am done for..." It was literally the sweetest moment I have ever witnessed. It makes me goo goo just writing about it.

My sweet Doc with our baby girl!!

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Meanwhile in the waiting room... our closest friends and family are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our "Gerber" baby. 

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And June's proud Daddy got to show her off for the the very first time to everyone there! {How cute is that little bow the nurse made for her hat?!} Everyone was giddy with excitement when Aaron walked out with her!

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After Aaron had shown her off to everyone, he brought her back to me so I could nurse her. We were so awestruck by her.

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And so was everyone else...

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June girl... The night you were born was one of the most special times of our lives... You are our greatest blessing and the most precious gift God has ever given us. We love you more than life our sweet baby girl.

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