Our Tallahassee Baby Shower

by Jen on December 22, 2012

Before the days of failed pregnancy tests, and fertility drugs, and miscarriage, and invasive inspections of my reproductive factory, I saw pregnancy through different eyes.  I saw it as a 40 week celebration of pinks and blues filled with anecdotal food cravings and the occasional bout of heartburn.

But after my struggles, pregnancy feels more like an Olympics training camp.  A 24/7 battle to get to the goal.  No frills.  Just hard work and determination.  A battle of mental and physical wills.  I’ve foregone much of the standard celebrations, as I’ve been busy holding my breath.  I’ve spent the majority of my pregnancy too scared to look at the medal, convincing myself I’d be counting my chickens before they hatched, and then, praying like hell my chicken doesn’t hatch a moment before he’s supposed to.

So when Shayna and Renee offered to throw me a baby shower, it felt strange- almost like I wasn’t supposed to have one.  But I accepted their generosity with enthusiasm and began registering for our baby the same day.  (You gotta be on the ball, you know.)

I flew to Tallahassee for said shower this past weekend.  My shower!   I barely slept the night before, knowing I’d be reunited with so many people I love, who love me, and even more than that, people who LOVE my unborn baby.  I couldn’t wait to show them the belly I’m so proud of, and hoped Henry might even high five a few of them through my skin (although he only performed for my sister-in law, for Shayna, for Amanda Smith, and for my mother-in-law).  Stingy.

Renee allowed me to crash with her, allowing me ample time with my nine month old nephew, who reminded me a million times how much fun is in my immediate future.  That kid does things to my heart I’ve never experienced.  (And for fun, here are a couple photos I was able to capture that will make you fall in love right along with me.)  It’s nearly impossible to imagine how my love for my own son will be even stronger.

I was emotional from the moment I landed.  Everyone was busy celebrating my belly- touching on my stomach, squealing polite “you’re all belly” types of sentiments, and talking to my fetus like he might respond.  Every gesture made me happy.  I don’t have many personal boundaries (shocking, I know), so I accept most all advances with enthusiasm.

I even got to talk “baby” with some of my littlest buddies over stir fry and marshmallow ice cream.

 The experience seemed nearly “out of body”.  I watched the weekend unfold, firmly centered around my baby and me.  The shower was beautiful.  My friends proved how well they know me by thinking of the tiniest details and crafting them in a way they knew I’d adore.

Brightly colored month-by-month stickers adorned a garland of onesies, and my friends all wrote notes for me to open each month of Henry’s first year.  My craft-deficient ass was blown away by the intricate choo-choo train constructed of totally reusable baby items by my friend Betsy of The Booten Family Blog fame (also my Fuzz’s phenomenal daycare provider, and her mother, Beth.)  (Betsy also constructed the diaper babies that decorated the room.)  Impressed?  Yeah, me too.  (She’s also a fabulous photographer and provided some of the photos for this post!)  Shayna put together Sunflower centerpieces to remind me of my Kansas roots and threw in baby’s breath because, um duh, it was a BABY shower.

The menu was thorough.  (Right down to Bloody Marys and Mimosas.) The food was delicious. (I had shrimp and grits.)  And desserts were provided by a good friend of mine, who used to work with me in a boring office setting and now flexes her brilliance in the kitchen by baking some of the best stuff I’ve ever tasted!  (Thank Oprah she didn’t bake often when we worked together, because my stomach knows no limits.)  If you are in or around Tallahassee, I STRONGLY suggest you talk to her about impressing the guests of your next event with her sugar cookies.  Ho-lay mo-lay.  Check out Cakes by Alisha on Facebook!

One of the coolest, most “make me tear up” moments of the shower was the favor cards placed on the table.  In honor of my fight to conceive, Shayna and Renee made donations in lieu of favors to Resolve, The National Infertility Association.  I don’t know if I’ll ever stop thinking of myself as infertile- even when they place my baby on my belly in the hospital.  The fear and pain of repeated failures and never knowing if we’d “get here” is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  Their donations toward helping someone else “get here” means more to me than I can explain.

I’m not a big baby shower gamer.  The thought of melted candy bars in diapers disturbs me, so instead, we played a Newlywed Game of sorts.  They asked George a slew of baby related questions prior to the shower, got his answers, and then asked me to see if mine matched.  Such. Pressure.  I’m not totally sure how we scored, but George’s answers were perfect.  Por ejemplo:

Question:  What physical quality of yours do you hope the baby inherits?
George:  I don’t know.  My eyes, I guess.

Question:  What physical quality of Jen’s do you hope the baby inherits?
George:  Everything else.  Except for her boobs, because that would be completely unfortunate.

That guy… is the dopest I know.

I spent a couple of hours visiting with friends, opening gift after gift after gift after…  I wasn’t able to fit it all in my suitcase home, that’s for sure.

I can’t begin to thank my friends and family enough.  Some traveled hours to get there, others spent a gajillion dollars hosting the thing and/or buying gifts, and I was even lucky enough to “meet” a blog friend for the first time!  She’s been a loyal blog supporter and follower, and made her way to my shower!  How lucky is this baby?!?!?  Two people I’d never even met gave him a gift!  People are awesome.  And “we” are grateful.

No one will ever convince me that I’m not blessed with the greatest friends in the world.

Shayna and Renee, I wanted to hug you and thank you and cry and vomit emotions of gratitude all over you, but you know me better than that.  The knot in my throat doesn’t allow for me to say all the things I feel sometimes, especially if those things might choke me up.  I’m better when I have a chance to compose my blubbering self and put those feelings on paper.  This celebration of motherhood once seemed like such a distant dream, and you both put your whole hearts in to making my baby shower something beyond what I could even hope for.  I know how lucky I am.  And I love you both.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 @chicknoodlegrav December 22, 2012 at 11:12 am

This made me smile, laugh, and cry! You really DO have the best friends ever. The donations to the National Infertility Association seriously was one of the kindest, most beautiful things I think I've ever read about. Such a beautiful day for you!!! Thanks for sharing with us :)

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2 Suzy December 22, 2012 at 4:30 pm

This post is full of all kinds of happy!! What a blessing for Henry to be loved by so many already and celebrated in such a grand way. It is incredibly thoughtful to donate to Resolve in honor of your journey.

Thanks for sharing your special day with us!

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3 Renee December 22, 2012 at 8:32 pm

I'm so glad you enjoyed your weekend SIL. Fuzz and I can't want wait for this little guy to bless us with his presence. We love you!

Renee

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4 dweej {houseunseen} December 23, 2012 at 12:43 am

Oh my gosh….I am so crazy happy for you! Look at you, gorgeous mama. Man. So awesome.

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5 Alison December 23, 2012 at 8:20 am

Incredible, I love this Jen! Think of how they will celebrate Henry once he's here. I think it will be epic. :)

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6 Rach DonutsMama December 24, 2012 at 9:10 pm

What an amazing day! So glad you got to go down to FL and be celebrated! You deserve it. And you look fabulous, btw.

And that choo-choo? Um, amazing.

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7 waka network December 27, 2012 at 12:49 am

I' m happy for you my dear and your baby shower was perfect!

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8 rainyday December 27, 2012 at 10:52 am

*SQUEEEEEE*
It's been so long since I popped over to your blog… I was searching for something else online this morning and the link appeared. So I started reading, and saw your belly pic…CONGRATS! Such awesome, happy news!!!!!

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