Maternity Pictures

We had maternity pictures done at 33 weeks in mid-July. Possibly on the hottest, most humid weekend in July. I guess when you’re due in august that’s really your only option. Despite the frizz and sweat we endured we were THRILLED with the way that they turned out. Alex hates doing pictures and still said he liked them. Seriously Crystin Urban is amazing and the sweetest. Here are a few of our favorites from the shoot!

**fun fact: these pictures were taken at Romanza Johnson Park by drakes creek in BG. That is also where we had one of our first dates (three years ago almost to the day!) where alex met my family. Kayaking the creek/floating turned into a disaster 😂 really funny story though.

^^ This one is one of my favorites!

^^ That sunlight 😍

^^ And this one is my very favorite!

Photography by Crystin Urban

Baby Stewart is a…

Genetic testing is all the rage these days.

We’ve had a couple of appointments thus far and at each one they do blood work to test for any genetic abnormalities to try and see how healthy the baby is. A couple of weeks ago at our last appointment we received the results from the first round of testing.

I tested positive as a carrier for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA1). This is a recessive gene that could potentially be passed on to the baby. Being a carrier isn’t an issue but the disease itself is fatal–which is absolutely terrifying.

Upon initially hearing this news I didn’t know how exactly to take it because I wasn’t totally sure what it was. However my hubs lives and breathes these things and knew all to well. He wouldn’t tell me anything about it at first just to keep me from panicking but I know how to work google.

Me being a carrier means nothing unless alex was as well. Go back to 9th grade biology and draw a little punnet square. If both of us are carriers the chances of the baby having SMA1 went from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 4. It would mean there was a 25% chance that our baby wouldn’t live to be a toddler. Absolutely terrifying.

So, at our last appointment they did more blood test on me to check for various other genetic abnormalities, gender, and also tested alex to see if he was a carrier for SMA1.

This news lead to the LONGEST couple of weeks of waiting ever. If Alex wasn’t a carrier then no worries, if he was then lots of worries. This last week has been a lot of praying and a lot of being forced to trust that God has a perfect plan, even if that plan was far from what I would consider to be perfect. It’s been a week of us being forced to understand that this child is God’s and we are just lucky enough to love it and raise it while it’s here, no matter how long that may be. Regardless of what the test results say we have to be okay.

Last night we got a phone call from our OB and we missed it! We heard the phone ringing but didn’t get to it in time and she left us a very vague voicemail saying the results were in. Of course when we called back it was after office hours and we couldn’t get a hold of anyone or even leave a message. So I called back first thing this morning and of course got the voicemail. I left a message and anxiously checked my phone on repeat all day long. This afternoon when I left work alex had me call again–no answer.

Finally I tried back a 3rd time and someone picked up rather than the automated voicemail. We received the BEST news that we could hope for in that Alex was negative for SMA1. I also tested negative for all other genetic abnormalities so as far as we could possibly see at this point, we have a very healthy, growing baby and we could not be more thankful to Jesus for that.

Please don’t get me wrong here, I fully understand that the momentary scare that Alex and I had is nothing in comparison to the reality that so many parents and families face each day. Because of this I have the upmost respect to anyone who has ever been in this position and didn’t get the right test results back. I pray that if that’s you, you find peace, comfort, and strength in Jesus and know that we are praying for you. I speak for Alex in saying that moments like these confirm his desire to make even the smallest difference for patients and families experiencing trying times.

So in relief in finding out this news, we were also overjoyed to find out that baby stewart is a baby girl! Initially only I found out because the OB called me. I had full intentions of doing some kind of fun gender reveal for Alex. However I totally ruined it when accidentally calling her a “she” rather than an “it” when telling him all of the good news. I quickly tried to keep talking so he wouldn’t notice but he did.

It’s totally okay though, we have enough surprises going on around here. Alex was at the gym when I got the call so I immediately had him come home so we could go shopping. Natural reaction, right? It’s a girl, we must go to target!

We were walking around at Baby’s R Us and it had me so overwhelmed and so full of joy. Pale pinks, polka dots, flowers, hearts, we can’t wait for any of it! Baby is so so loved.

Sloane Alexandra Stewart, we are thankful to Jesus for you and your health. We are beyond ready to meet you!

Sincerely, Stewarts.

P.s. It’s not easy making a confused dog pose well with a onesie.

The one where I find out I’m pregnant.

Just so that we’re clear, this was an absolute surprise. Alex and I love children and of course we wanted to have one or two or five eventually. BUT, we’re young. I have a couple semesters left before I graduate and alex has a couple more years before he does. Our goal was to wait until we were finished with school.

BUT LOL AT THAT. So here’s the story of how Jesus wrecked my plans yet again and we found out about the teeny tiny little human that we’ve already grown to love SO much.

So, we’re in Pennsylvania to spend Christmas with the Stewart’s. We went up a little early to spend some extra time with everyone and hang out before we headed to NYC for the actual Holiday.

Prior to leaving Louisville I wasn’t feeling well so I went to the doctor and found out that I most likely had a sinus infection. They wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic. The next day we left to go to PA and about 5 hours into the drive we realized that we forgot to stop at Walgreens to pick up my meds. As the week went on I started feeling worse, I took some cold and flu medicine but it never really went away. My mother-in-law (who works at a surgery center) had one of her doctors write me a prescription for a zpack just to knock out whatever was going on before we went into the city. I didn’t want to be sick while we were there. So Alex and I drove to riteaid one afternoon to pick up my meds.

Now it should be noted that this cold that I had also came with extreme exhaustion and a ridiculous cough. I literally coughed all day and night long and wanted nothing more than to just sleep. Just a couple days before we went to riteaid I joked with Alex that I felt like I had a hernia or something. I swear that I could feel something weird in my stomach every time that I coughed. Not necessarily painful but definitely uncomfortable. He was like “well you can cough yourself into a hernia.” And we laughed and thought nothing else of it.

Fast forward two days and we are at the pharmacy. They inform us that it’s going to be be 10 or 15 minutes before it’s ready so we did a couple laps around the store. We walked passed the “family planning” isle and I looked at alex and said “hey what if I’m pregnant.” I think initially we both kind of dismissed the idea but then it just kinda came over me that holy crap I actually might be pregnant.

I had just peed before we left the house so I bought the pregnancy test and a bottle of water and chugged it while sitting in the chairs by the bathroom in the back of the store. I was beyond nervous/anxious/terrified because I knew it was going to be positive. My hands were shaking so it took me what felt like an eternity to get the test out of the box. I also still didn’t even have to pee so I was convinced that it wasn’t even going to be enough for the test to work.

But it was, and it was instant. There was no waiting 2-3 minutes. Those two pink lines immediately showed up. In shock I threw it into my purse and ran outside to find alex. I sat down and the look on his face said “And…?”

I remember saying something along the lines of “it’s positive, it’s in my purse, I can’t get it out right now.” So naturally he didn’t believe me but I tried reassuring him that I wasn’t lying and that I really just couldn’t get it out because I was processing. I remember initially being so excited but unable to say actual words because of shock. He pulls the test out of my purse and we just sat there in shock. We finally got my zpack from the pharmacy and went to the car and we started panicking.

Was there such thing as a false positive? Do I need to go to a clinic? Should I take another test to be sure? Omg I need to find an OBGYN. How far along am I? How many glasses of wine have I consumed in the last few weeks? Is it even safe for me to take these antibiotics now? Etc. etc. etc.

We drive around for a solid 45 minutes before actually going back home. Sandra called a couple of times asking what was taking so long. I had no idea how I was supposed go home and not immediately blurt out “hey guys, I’m pregnant” as I walked through the door. But I couldn’t because at this point we were 3 days from Christmas and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tell everyone we were having a baby via unwrapping a Christmas gift. So we had to just pretend like life was normal and it wasn’t about to change forever.

I took a second pregnancy test after dinner just in case. Still positive. The anticipation was killing us both though and it was difficult to not seem like we were hiding something because every conversation and gesture exchanged felt so obvious. Later that night we were upstairs watching a movie with all of the siblings and we told them then just because we were dying a little on the inside. They were just as shocked and excited as we were. When we were going to bed Hillary looked over at me and said “Goodnight momma” and smiled and that’s when it really hit me. I’m gonna be a mom. Oh. My. God.

The next morning we went to target and got a cute little miniature stocking and wrapped it up to give to Alex’s parents for Christmas. We face timed my parents and siblings and let them know that way.

Alex and I agreed to push off all of the planning and freaking out until we got back home. We really wanted to just relax and be thankful for our new babe and time with family. We went to NYC for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and it was so much fun to experience, we absolutely loved it. NYC is where I got my first taste of morning sickness, though. Hot dog stands on every corner were a form of torture. I got really good at holding my breath between blocks and using my scarf as a gas mask.

So jump ahead and we’re back home in Lou. Shock and panic have settled and we are just absolutely thrilled. I took a third pregnancy test when we got home, ya know just in case. Again, still positive. We found an obgyn and FINALLY got in for our first ultrasound. It seemed like we had been waiting for ages, but then again the month of January did last 70 years long. Staring at the screen and watching the teeny tiny little arms and legs wiggling was the most surreal thing I’ve ever experienced.

I am officially in the second trimester now and our next appointment is just a week away. According to my app baby has grown the tip of its nose and that little detail excites me more than I can explain. I can’t wait to see a more human-looking version of my babe. Morning sickness has subsided but the dire need to sleep 15 hours a day has not.

It has been so much fun to see my stomach grow this first trimester. We cannot wait for august and sweet Baby Stewart to get here!

GS

Life lately—November 2017

How is it already halfway through November? We have been having beautiful, gloomy, crisp, fall days in Lou. This is my absolute favorite season and I swear it comes sooner every. single. time. This whole year has flown!

Life lately has been so good, busy, and fun. To hit a few of the high notes:

Fed graduated obedience school!


He’s our babe. So, yes, he makes this post. Fed is an austrailian shepherded. I’ve had and been around dogs my whole life, various breeds. But I have NEVER been around one with so much energy. Apparently this is a common thing with aussies. So since he is hyper AF and had a bad habit of jumping on people we decided it was best to get him in with a trainer. We decided on Scott Borden from Our Dog Trainer in southern Indiana and we could not have been more pleased. Scott was incredible with Fed and while he still has all of his energy he’s SO MUCH better at controlling it. Aussies are smart dogs in general so Fed does well with being trained and honestly I think he prefers it. He likes the challenge. He will also be getting fixed soon and has no idea. Poor guy.

I got a new job! 

I have two semesters left of school after this one (PRAISE JESUS) and they can both be done 100% online (again, praise Jesus). I’ve been wanting to get a full time job. Preferably in a school setting since that is what I’m going to school for. My mother-in-law saw a post about openings at an elementary school in Indiana and so I got online and applied. (Thanks Sandra, you da best). Before I had even finished or submitted my application the assistant principle called and asked if I was interested and we set up an interview! About a week later they called back and informed me that I got it. So naturally I’m extremely excited! I’ll be working as a teacher’s assistant in a moderate level special education classroom. After paperwork and all of the legalities I should be starting very soon!

It’s the most wonderful time of year again! 

Our Christmas Tree! Peep the cutest photo bomber ever.

Oh yes. All of the holidays! Last night we had Friendsgiving with our people in Louisville and of course it was a good time. Minus the fact that I literally dumped my plate all over my lap mid dinner. I’m so graceful…..

It should also be noted that our Christmas tree has been up for a week and a half now. We weren’t wasting any time. I’ve been extra excited for Christmas this year mostly because it’s our first married Christmas. We had to go and buy a whole new tree, ornaments, everything. Alex is also Buddy the Elf so we had a lot of fun decorating.

Anyway, we are going to be here there and everywhere in the next few weeks and I can not wait. We are alternating holidays between my parents and Alex’s while his schedule permits travel for both thanksgiving and Christmas. This year we are spending thanksgiving with my parents since we were in PA last year. We’ll be heading down there next Wednesday and staying through the weekend. Then the weekend before Christmas we are going back down for a quick visit with my parents for the holiday, coming back to Louisville because I’ll be working the following week, leaving to go to Pennsylvania to the Stewart’s household, then spending Christmas Eve and day in NYC! Then back to PA and finally back home. Lots of travel but it’s going to be oh so fun. Pray for our dog who will have to be a good boy and sit in our backseat through it all.

Other reasons that December is the best:

It’s my birthday! I’ll be 22 in just a few short weeks which is fun! The beginning of December also marks the end of the school semester for me *insert praise hands*, and also our anniversary! This December 30th we will have been married one whole year and that’s so surreal. It feels like this past year has gone extremely fast but it also feels as though it’s been way longer than just one year. We’ve packed a lot of life into that year so we can’t complain.

Alex’s life update:

There isn’t one. He’s still in the library studying his life away per usual. He said to me yesterday “Oh dear God it’s almost 2018.” Which he hates the idea of because 2018 means step 1. He had to put his first down payment on that cheap little boards exam today so this most likely marks the beginning of a nightmare on Preston street. Those poor med students….

But on a much more interesting note, last week the Global Health Missions Conference was held at church. It was HUGE. One of the coolest things was that Samaritans Purse set up a full hospital inside a tent outside that we got to walk through. It had everything from an ER, to an OR, to an ICU. All inside a tent that fit on a sidewalk right beside Southeast. INSANITY. It looked like this 👇🏼 The most recent hospital they set up was in Iraq. We particularly loved it because we got a little preview of where Alex will be working once he’s finished with his lifetime of school. Just the US Army’s version of a pop up hospital somewhere. Seeing that makes all of the studying a little bit easier.<br<br
hat pretty much covers it. Tons of fun, restful, and exciting things coming up. We are elated ☺️

Have great day everyone!

GS

Quality Not Quantity

On this episode of “my busy husband the saga….”

But really an alternate title for this one could be “dating a medical student 101.”

We are on the brink of test week which of course means alex has set up camp at the library. Test weeks are our busiest seasons.

This time though our busy couple of weeks has turned into a busy month. Last week I had midterms at the beginning of the week and then went on a short little girls trip to the beach with my mom, sister, and a couple of my cousins. This week is Alex’s last week of class and next week is his exam. AKA let the excessive study hours commence. Following his test is Alex’s fall break which he’ll be enjoying down in Cancun with a few of his classmates. (You can only imagine my jealousy of all the guys getting to go on that trip with him. It’s okay though, I’m not sure that any group of people deserve it more.)

Anyway, when I say I’ve only seen him in passing this month it’s not an exaggeration. I’ve been driving him to and from school every day and that short drive is basically when we get our hangout time in. We’re out of the house by 7:30 each day and I’ll be picking him up at some point hopefully before midnight.

Sometimes I can squeeze in some study time with him at school and occasionally he will try getting work done at home but honestly neither of those situations allow much work to actually get done. So, it’s better for the well-being of his future patients for me to just let him do his thing.

Prior to alex starting school not ever seeing him would have been the end of the world. We were spoiled in the dating phase when we were both on campus at WKU hanging out every single day. This past year and a half we have learned the importance of the phrase quality not quantity.

While we would love to spend all kinds of time together it’s just not really possible right now. And frankly we’re just getting started. We’re at the beginning of year 2 out of 10+ of this journey to doctor-surgeon-army-guy.

If our sole concern was how much time we were getting to spend together we would be setting ourselves up for failure. It’s not possible to just hang out all the time. One of the biggest and most important things that we’ve learned in this 10 months of marriage is that if we’re intentional when we are together it makes it’s so so sooooo much easier when we aren’t. While it can be hard/annoying/inconvenient sometimes it’s also always rewarding. It makes the time we do get to spend together that much more special.

Side note. 10 MONTHS of marriage. Freakin crazy.

Quality not quantity. It’s what’s getting us through this week and I assume many many many more in our future. Of course I’d always want to see him more, but it’s really okay that I don’t. Alex is extremely good about assuring me that he’s there even when he’s physically not. I’m grateful for this season of learning and how tough, yet easy it has been. Thank you Jesus for giving us patience and understanding.

I love you, Alex Stewart. Life with you is my favorite, regardless of how crazy your schedule may be.

GS

Love Where You Are 

When I was in high school I went on a few short-term mission trips to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. They were some of the best weeks of my life and until I die part of my heart will live there. I fell in love with the people, the culture, the baleadas, and the heart of serving. I went with a bunch of teenagers. Everyone had a blast, everyone was there to serve, but we were teenagers. With that being said– at some point every single one of us were searching for the wi-if connection to instagram what we were doing and talk to friends and family back at home about our experiences. Justin Ross (the missionary that hosted us–truly incredible guy) sat us down one night and we had the talk about keeping “both feet in Honduras.”
In order to actually be all in and the most impactful in our service we had to be all there. We couldn’t form new relationships if our main concern was with the ones that were back in the states. We couldn’t have one foot in America and one foot in San Pedro Sula. Two feet had to be there. This is one of the most important lessons that I’ve ever learned. Keep both feet where you are.

I’m obviously no longer in Honduras but the concept still applies. In order to (fill in the blank) you have to have both feet there. In order to make an impact/form new relationships/serve your community/etc. you have to be all there.

This was something that I was very conscious of when moving. A new city with no one that I knew was overwhelming. I was in a new home with none of my family (besides alex of course), a new campus with none of my friends, and a new church with none of the people that I had grown to love as family. It would have been easy to focus on all the change and be sad/lonely. Honestly there were times of I was. But Justin Ross taught me about both of my feet so with that echoing in my mind and Jesus being an ultimate comforter I knew better than to dwell on what wasn’t there and focus on what was.


It wasn’t hard to do, Lou is an incredible city. I honestly think there’s something here for everyone. We live close to downtown in a community called Old Louisville. There are magnolia trees here that are taller than the four-story-Victorian houses next to them, small delis and coffee shops on corners, and people who know my dog (and give him treats) just from seeing us walk around everyday–everybodyloves Fed.
Finding a church here was a priority. When alex moved up here last summer he tried out a couple different places but without question we decided on Southeast Christian Church. We have been attending since then and recently became members. We can not imagine being anywhere else. Southeast is freaking huge. We came from Hillvue which is a bigger church in bowling green but it’s still tiny in comparison. When we first started looking around I was honestly against SEC just because I thought there was no way to get involved in anything there because there are sooo many people. I was so so wrong. Southeast has brought us–and continues to bring us–community.

We had been attending services on Sunday mornings and loved it. I felt like we were just in and out though. Around February I was really wanting to start doing more so I got online and started looking into bible studies that they offered. I found a women’s study called Welcoming Hearts. It was specifically for women who were new to the city and just so happened to be meeting for the first time the following Tuesday. (Of course it was, thanks Jesus.) It was truly the best thing. It was full of christian women who were all in the same boat that I was. They were new to the city and to the church and were looking for that same community. I dont know if this is something that all churches do, but they defintiely should. We read After the Boxes are Unpacked: Moving on After Moving by Susan Miller which talks about all of the struggles that may come with moving to a new city and we were just open and honest with each other. It was awesome.

In this group we also learned about how southeast operated. We got tours of all of the churches facilities and information about other studies and groups there. I’ve recently been in touch with a group called side-by-side which is for spouses of people in medical field. (How perfect is that? #wivesclub) Another thing we learned about was called love where you are.

Love where you are is a campaign that Southeast started a couple years back. It is about God using you for his glory where you live, work, and go. No matter were that may be. You can watch the sermon series for yourself here. I definitely recommend. They started community groups based on your address. They group you with people that live nearby in hope to start something amazing in each neighborhood in Lou.

The community groups just started back up this month. So needless to say alex and I were excited to get involved. We love our Historic Old Louisville and couldn’t wait to meet other southeast members close by. The problem though is that there aren’t any other southeast members that live in the Old Louisville area. So we decided to put our house as a location where we could start a bible study community group in the future. We are anxious to see how that plays out.

We met up with the community pastor over our area and his wife for lunch one day and just got to talk about different service opportunities and things going on around us. Alex and I both have a heart for serving so this is something that we were very excited about.

If you didn’t know, I’m going to school for teaching. So by default I love children and I love learning. We live near several different inner city schools. There is an elementary school on the same street that we live on just a block away. This specific school has a campaign called everyone reads which is a mentor/tutoring program aiming at raising literacy rates. When we heard that they were looking for volunteers we were all over it. —-YOU GUYS! I’m so excited I seriously cant wait to start. We’re working on getting the trainings/background checks/applications/etc. worked out right now but we have already had others in the area reach out and say that they want to get involved too. I am so pumped for this and the fruit that can come from it. Its going to be an incredible way for us to make our mark on this little nook of the city in the couple of years we have left.

One of the things our pastor said in this series was that the first step in changing the world for Christ begins next door. So that’s the goal. Loving where we are, serving where we are, and keeping both feet where we are. Jesus has truly been so good in providing comfort and making paths for everything that we have wanted to do here and we are so thankful. We LOVE Louisville.
GS

A different, sweet life.

I’m the furthest thing in this world from type A. I’m not a planner. However I did sort of just expect my life to follow the typical graduate high school–go to college and graduate–get a real job–get married–have kids pattern.

LOL at that. It kind of makes me cringe to think about where I would be now if that’s how it happened. Jesus has a way of wrecking my plans and I’ve come to realize it’s better to just let him. My life was basically thrown off at phase 2.

18-year-old Gabby was doing nothing less than leaving bowling green, going to UK, and spending the foreseeable future in Lexington with my friends. Mostly because there was no way I was going to the same college as everyone that I went to high school with. After just one semester it became clear that UK wasn’t the best option. So back to BG I went with all of Warren East High School and I transferred to WKU.

And that’s where I met my husband.

One simple move and here we are. So freaking weird to think about. We met just a couple weeks after classes had started back that spring semester. Dated for about 8 months, got engaged not long after my 20th birthday, and married just a couple weeks after my 21st. Life was kinda turned into speed mode. Alex had graduated and was going to medical school which meant him moving to Louisville. At that point I still had 3 years of school left and there’s no way I was waiting until then for us to get married. Bowling green to Louisville is barely considered long distance but we still weren’t feeling it.

Which lead to our wedding in the middle of my junior year, me transferring AGAIN in the middle of the school year, and moving to a new city in the middle of the year. Guys this was literally just a week after Christmas. Then Alex started school immediately after  so we had a mini honeymoon in Nashville and then were thrown into this crazy life we were soon to know very well.

All the change. All at once. It was a crazy, but fun couple of months of adjusting.

So, here I am, a 21-year-old college kid and wife to a medical student. Honestly, our life is insane. I have a job in the midst of being in school so it’s not like I have buckets of free time, but my busy schedule doesn’t come close to my husbands. He has just started his second year so school steals him from me more that I’d like but that’s just part of it. A busier year means we are one year closer to the dream.

Looking back it was seriously the smoothest, best adjustment possible. I love being Alex’s wife and couldn’t imagine my life being any other way. Of course we’ve met incredible and supportive people here. I can’t imagine being a student at western and waiting out our engagement, and I definitely can’t imagine what I’d be doing if I were living in Lexington right now.

One of the things that I’ve noticed though is that there are distinct differences in my life and basically every other human’s I come in contact with. Literally everyone from girls in my classes in utter shock that I live with a husband and not roommates to my judgey boss at work questioning if I got married so soon because I was pregnant…. no other logical reason to marry someone right? *rolls eyes*

Most college kids aren’t married, most married people aren’t 21. Too mature to be in college but too young to be married. And that’s about where we are. Right in the middle just learning and going with the flow. Life is different and it is crazy but we’re figuring things out. One thing I do know is that there’s no one I’d rather figure it out with.

GS