100 Bellies in 100 Days, Number 99! The Story Behind the Belly with Heather

On the final day of shooting for 100 Bellies in 100 Days, I had the privilege of meeting Heather for her belly photo at The Mama’hood!  Heather is nearing her due date with her second baby, a little boy!  Heather’s eight year old daughter Arielle was with her for her mom’s belly photo session, and was so much fun to chat with about her coming baby brother.  Not to mention, she had the coolest cupcake shoes!  At one point, Arielle snuggled in to her mom’s belly, and then quickly pulled away claiming “he kicked me in the head!”.  I have a feeling this little boy is going to have a lot of fun with his big sister!

Heather has shared such a wonderful story about a number of things related to life and pregnancy, including opening her heart again to new possibilities, including another baby!  In just a few paragraphs, Heather has touched beautifully on a number of different subjects, and had tied them all together perfectly.  I hope you will find Heather’s Story Behind the Belly to be as heartfelt, insightful and fun to read as I did!  Thank you Heather!

The Story Behind the Belly

by Heather

“People keep asking me if I’m expecting my first baby. I always answer that it’s my first baby in a long time. My daughter, Arielle, will turn 8 shortly after this little guy joins us on the “outside” so it definitely is feeling like everything is new and different.

My pregnancy with Arielle was so easy… No morning sickness, no weird pains… smooth sailing. She was frank breach (a foretelling of her independent will) and stayed put until her scheduled C-Section. I was in graduate school on the island of Oahu, defended my thesis 2 days before her delivery and moved back to Colorado 2 weeks after her arrival.

It’s funny how life’s twists and turns alter your everything. Goals, plans and your vision of the future change dramatically all the time. Around the time a baby turns 9 months, it seems like the question starts… “Do you want more?” How do you answer that? Having this one precious child is such a gift and sleep was just finding its way back into everyday life. I didn’t know the answer.

When Arielle turned 2, divorce rocked our world and everything changed. Being a single parent, with a full-time job (including travel) became my reality. The bond between the two of us and the expectations placed on both of us grew exponentially. It was just her and me. We developed our own routines, patterns and dynamic that carried us through our day to day adventures. It’s funny though, how I still was often asked the question … “Do you want more?” How do you answer that? As a single parent with no partner, I considered all of my options and if I wanted more, but the question just seemed so out of place. I didn’t know the answer.

In November 2011, I was introduced to a man that would change my life forever, Dan. I love him so deeply and passionately that he made it worth the risk of putting my heart out there in a real and meaningful way. A year ago, we decided it was worth the challenges and opportunities and took the leap of combining our two very independent households. Arielle and I abruptly went from a family of two to a family of four. Our home is now a blend of two adults and two spirited eight year old girls, Arielle and Madelyn. After about a year things are finally starting to settle in to place and a new “normal” has emerged.

Shortly after moving in together, we discovered that we were expecting… some very unexpected news. It was an extremely stressful time for us and we were just adjusting to the news when we lost the pregnancy at 6 weeks. This marked a pivotal moment where we made the decision and answered the question… Yes, we do want more. We want one more. We wanted to have the experience and bring our baby into the world to join the family we were creating together.

We waited a bit and then started trying. We were pregnant again pretty quick, but I felt so tentative about sharing our news. What if we lost this pregnancy? How do you balance fear, excitement and expectations? I was SO sick, nausea and vomiting became my everyday experience. I knew I was having a boy because this pregnancy was completely different. We slowly started sharing our news… First with our family, then with our friends, then with facebook. Its official, we’re having a baby! 

The journey to this point has been filled with exhaustion, excitement, support and memories I hope I never forget. Both baby and I have been healthy throughout and in spite of having some pretty decent challenges (contractions, hospital visits, vomiting, violent nose bleeds, insomnia, etc.) I have done my best to look at this pregnancy and this baby with constant gratitude and optimism. I am anxious to meet him and see him. I take prenatal yoga from an amazing teacher and one of the things she guides us to is visualization. I can 100% see myself this summer playing in the pool with my little guy in his little shark swim trunks. I keep that in my mind as I look towards his arrival and the challenges and adventures ahead.  I finally know the answer to the question “Do you want more?” I do want more. I want this family, this little guy and this moment.”