Sloane’s Birth Story

Our perfect little angel baby is 1 whole week old and what an eventful week it’s been! I spend most every day reflecting on her delivery and to be honest there isn’t a lot that I can tell you about it. My husband is probably the one who needs to write this story and maybe one day we’ll get him to do that. But nonetheless, here’s my side of the story…

I’ve always felt pretty aware that birth is an unpredictable thing. There’s no real way to control how it’s going to go. The idea of having this structured “birth plan” has just been crazy to me. I went in expecting the unexpected and still I never could have imagined things happening the way that they did. I had such an easy and healthy pregnancy. Complications during birth weren’t anything that we needed to be over concerned with.

Last Tuesday morning I had my weekly appointment with the OB and everything was perfect. I was progressing well and she predicted that Sloane would be here by the weekend. Of course Alex and I were elated to hear that news. Although it did set in and the paranoia of being on water-breaking watch began. She said it would be soon but I didn’t expect it to be that day.

Sure enough it was! Around 8:00pm we headed into the hospital to confirm that my water had broken. It did and we settled into our little labor and delivery suite. We called all of our family and they headed our way.

As I’m sure you’ve heard labor is not in any way comfortable. By midnight I was ready for an epidural and had consumed more orange flavored popsicles than anybody would consider healthy. Mr. anesthesiologist came in to make my life a lot easier but unfortunately it didn’t work out that way.

After an hour in the epidural still hadn’t helped anything. I was still feeling every contraction from start to finish and had no relief. They guessed that this could have been because of how fast labor was progressing. Mr. Anesthesiologist returned and gave me a little more of the medication in hopes that would help my discomfort and it did. Within minutes I was feeling great.

My nurse came in and checked on us and this puts us up to around 2am. Alex and I decided to take a little nap before things really started.

And that is basically where my story stops.

I vaguely remember different glimpses of the rest of the night and when people that were in the room talk about what happened it all sounds familiar.

I remember a light being shined in my eyes. I remember a room full of doctors and nurses telling me to stay awake. I remember Alex holding me on one side and a nurse on the other. I remember the OB holding up Sloane, telling alex to cut the cord, them laying her on my chest, and a sweet little NICU nurse saying that it was time for them to take her away.

That’s it.

Multiple others have informed me of the events of the night so this is essentially what happened:

When Alex and I laid down to nap I went unresponsive. He woke up about 30 minutes later to check on me and I was 100% out of it. Thankfully Alex is a doctor in training and knew what to check for. Praise God for having a husband in medicine.

He immediately called for my nurse and everyone ran in for an emergency delivery. Normally with me being unconscious they would have done an emergency c-section but Sloane had already decided that she was on her way out. They had no choice but to go on with the delivery and thankfully this process only lasted about 30 minutes. However Alex would say that he’s sure it lasted hours longer than that.

Immediately after she was born I started becoming slightly more lucid. So I do remember alex cutting the cord, Sloane crying, and her being laid on my chest. I guess if I had to pick what I got to remember from my child’s birth those would be the three events that I chose.

Sloane was a trooper through it all. Since she was on her way out on her own without much assistance at first she inhaled amniotic fluid which caused her O2 to drop and a patch of fluid on her lungs. She got to say hello and then immediately had to be taken to the NICU. *cue the nurse saying “it’s time for me to take her away now”*

The frustration I remember feeling is unreal. I remember everyone yelling at me to stay awake and being mad because I thought that I was awake. I was trying to talk but couldn’t and that made me mad. I wanted to hold her and miss NICU lady took her away and that was infuriating but my body wouldn’t let me express any of this.

Basically through all of it my husband is my hero.

Had he not woken up when he did, neither me or Sloane would be here. At multiple points throughout this process he thought that his wife and daughter were dying and that’s a feeling that I can’t even imagine. He’s an absolute rock, though.

After they took Sloane back everything was a blur. Alex was in and out all morning. I kept having him run to the NICU to take pictures of her so I could see her. I was still recovering form whatever kind of spell that I had so I wasn’t allowed to get out of bed much less leave the labor and delivery room.

I’d say around 9ish I was once again fully aware. Once my epidural wore off they let alex take me back in a wheel chair to actually meet her and that I remember every second of. The nurse in the NICU at the time handed her to me and I just cried.

Sloane was off of her oxygen by that afternoon. Her nurse said that she pulled it out all on her own so they assumed she didn’t want it. She had one episode after they took her off the oxygen when her levels dropped which was followed by her coughing up the fluid that she swallowed which was actually a great sign. She was just correcting the original problem.

As for what caused my unconsciousness, no one really knows for sure. Every medical professional in that room swore that they had never seen anything like it. They decided that it must have been a reaction to the epidural. It could have been because of how fast the labor process was progressing, the amount of medication that I received through it, or that the medication somehow leaked to the rest of my body rather than staying in my lower back.

Regardless, I basically overdosed. The light I remember being shined in my eyes was them checking to see if I had a stroke, they contemplated giving me Narcan. What we learned here is that I am not someone who can handle experimenting with opioids.

Different doctors and nurses popped into our room the next day and always started with “so do you remember me?” The truth is I almost did. They all had familiar faces but I couldn’t pin point exactly who they were or why they knew me.

We spent our few days in the hospital running back and fourth between our room and the NICU. We tried our hardest to nap between feedings and visitors. We were beyond exhausted.

Sloane had to have been held by 30+ doctors and doctors-to-be in her few days in the hospital. Perks of being friends with so many medical students. It’s comforting to know that we have a list of the most qualified babysitters out there.

I was discharged on friday morning but Sloane had to stay until Saturday just for supervision. We stayed until bed time on friday and then came back again in the middle of the night to feed her. Going home without her on friday was probably the hardest thing that we’ve done. We just had to keep reassuring ourselves that we could go back and get her first thing in the morning. I have such a respect for parents whose children are in the NICU for even longer than just a few days. I genuinely don’t know how you do it.

So here we are! Heading home with a precious, perfect baby girl. We could not be more thankful to Jesus for taking such good care of us. We have soaked in all the newborn cuddles and love this past week.

Thank you so much to everyone who has called, texted, visited, brought us food, and just checked in on us in our first few days settling in at home. We appreciate you more than you know!

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!


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.


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.