Birth Announcement & Photo Shoot with Rachel Wilks Photography

One of my best friends and college roommate, Rachel Wilks, is in the early stages of pursuing a career as a photographer - and she is absolutely incredible. Right after Jorja turned one month she came over to our house for about 3 hours to try and capture as many pictures as she could for us to use for our birth announcement. While she was taking some of our maternity pictures we were talking about our birth announcement and she showed us one of a friend of hers that had a naked picture of the baby. We began joking about how awesome it would be if we did an announcement that wasn't "traditional". We got the awesome idea to take the naked picture of Jorja and photoshop a tattoo on her rear. We wanted it to be a heart and arrow with DAD written in it... we had such a great time laughing about all the crazy things we could do for the announcement! But, after thinking about it Shane and I began to get serious about it. So, we called on Rachel to get the job done. Unfortunately, photoshopping a tattoo on Jorja was a little harder than we realized and it didn't quite work out. But, in reality, it is probably best because Rachel designed a Birth Announcement for us that was beyond my wildest dreams. She worked on our announcement for MANY countless hours. It turned out so awesome and classy - not that a naked picture of Jorja with a tattoo on her rear isn't classy but... you know!?! HA! Anyway, here are some pics from the photo shoot - oh, and the AMAZING announcement. Enjoy! 

This is an awesome and furry diaper cover a good friend of mine gave me. It was too awesome to not take pictures of Jorja in.  
I had to at least put a crying picture in here. I'm beginning to learn it won't be an official photo shoot of Jorja if she isn't crying in at least a few shots. poor thing - she needs to learn to be more like her mom... when the camera comes near - SMILE & POSE! 

This is the dress I came home from the hospital in. My mom really wanted me to get pictures of Jorja in this dress... but, Jorja wasn't the biggest fan of the lacy yellow dress from '78. This was the best picture we could get with her in the dress. 
Can you picture the tattoo?? Maybe even a pack of cigs on the side? HA! 

Oh my gosh! Her feet are one of my most favorite parts of her body. They are ADORABLE. And look EXACTLY like her daddy's. 


Jorja's First Month

Here are some of the highlights of Jorja's first month. At birth she weighed 8 lbs, 5 oz and was 20 inches long. By her one month check up she weighed 10 lbs, 11 oz and was 22.3 inches long. This put her in the 90-95 percentile for her weight and height. Yup, mommy feeds straight cream and she loves it! :) Other than her just being in our lives we don't have a lot of "major" highlights from her first month - we spent most of the month just trying to figure out a schedule and getting used to life with another one in the family. I also spent most of my time trying to figure out how I was going to squeeze in sleep any second I could. It is seriously mind blowing to me how I even functioned the first month (or two) of her life since I literally only got 2 hours of sleep max at one time. When baby sleeps, mommy sleeps was my motto - and still is a little bit! HA! Here are some highlights from her first month... 

The day we came home from the hospital. Dad and sweet Jorja:
Day we came home from the hospital - 4th generation picture. My dad, his mom, me and Jorja:
Jorja's first diaper change at home:
Jorja's first time in her super comfy crib - she loves it almost as much as mommy's tummy! 
She looks so little and her pacifier looks so huge! She won't even take a pacifier anymore...
Mom is worn out and Jorja is conked out. She is just so precious - and looks so little.
After her first sponge bath at home. 
Her first time in the stroller. It was a beautiful July afternoon so the family went for a stroll! 
Her first real outing - a visit to the Dr. 
Pucker up! She LOVED making this face... she doesn't do it anymore though - guess it was just a phase she was going through... wonder how many "phases" she'll go through in her life? hmm...
And this is pretty much what she did her first month - SLEEP! Well... except all those memorable nights of NO SLEEP. I am SO glad those are over! However, I do remember there were some days where I could hardly wake her to feed. There were even several occasions of stripping her naked, putting an ice cube in a baggie and putting it on the bottom of her foot. I mean, she had to eat and she wouldn't wake up! But, apparently we fixed that problem because she is a chunker now! ha! 
I love this picture. They are just so in love... my sweet daddy's girl. In case you can't read it, her shirt says "My heart belongs to Daddy"
Pretty sure this was the first time I actually fixed my hair and made myself look somewhat decent - don't have many (good) pictures of us in her first month cause I wasn't looking so hot. This whole being a mom thing threw me for a crazy loop. What an adjustment... still not sure I've fully adjusted! :) 
My work gave us a monogrammed blanket. Here she is posing with it.
And again with the sleeping... this is what she did her first month so I don't have many pictures of her doing anything else... but isn't she just precious? 
Her One Month Birthday Picture. I stole the great idea from my sister to make a poster and take a picture of her on the day of each month's birthday. I was very excited and overzealous on this first birthday - when you see the other months you will see how I digress in my artistic abilities. :) 


The Day that changed my life forever!

Throughout my pregnancy it was very obvious that Jorja was going to be an overachiever. I started to show at about 10 weeks and was asked by about every third person I came in contact with "are you having twins?" Yup - I was big because Jorja was big. By my 30 week appointment she was already almost 6 pounds. At that point the Dr. and I started talking about inducing. The date changed several times but we finally decided upon Monday, July 23rd. However, I actually had to check into the hospital on Sunday because I was only dilated to a 1 which meant I needed to come in early to get my cervix "ripened" overnight - and yes, I realize this was too much info for some of you. So what do you do the weekend before you know the rest of your life is about to be changed? How do you spend the last weekend as a married couple alone? Well... I don't know what you do but Shane & I chilled out, went grocery shopping to stock up the house for the next few weeks since we knew we weren't getting out much and packed my bags... however, I use the term "chilled out" very loosely - outside we were cool chillin - on the inside I was FREAKING OUT - I mean, hello! I am about to push a very large baby out of my body and she will be in my life for a LONG TIME. I was seriously FREAKING OUT! Anyway, so Sunday rolls around and we have to check into the hospital between 4pm & 6pm. Well, when I woke up that day I took a shower and shaved my legs - figured that was pretty important considering the circumstances, and then we went on a mad hunt for a baby book. Yup, after 8 months of pregnancy I STILL had no baby book (have I mentioned I'm a procrastinator yet?) and I knew while I was in the hospital I would want the nurses to take hand and feet prints of Jorja so I HAD to find one THAT day. We looked everywhere and finally found one at around 2 or 3pm. I was being so ridiculous about that dad-gum baby book but Shane was a trooper and took me around to at least 10 different stores before settling in on the one I wanted. I had so many plans for that day one of which was to go and get a pedicure... well, by the time we found the baby book I knew I would be cutting it close to make it to the hospital by the time we had planned to get there but I REALLY wanted to get one. For several reasons - 1. I was hoping it would help to dilate me more so that I wouldn't have to be "ripened" 2. I needed some "me time" because I knew it would be the last "me time" for quite some time 3. I knew on this special day there were going to be many areas of my body "exposed" I wanted at least one of them to be pretty! HA! :) So anyway, here we are about 2 hours away from needing to be at the hospital and I start BAWLING - I mean seriously bawling because I wasn't going to be able to get my pedicure... the ONE thing I had my heart set on doing that day! I was a complete basket case about the whole thing. Poor Shane had to put up with me crying about my freaking toes not being painted for at least an hour and a half... basically until we got to the hospital. We even had to stop on the way to the hospital to take Fezzik (our yorkie dog) to my in-laws and we walked in and they took one look at me and saw I had been crying (of course assuming I was nervous about giving birth the next day) and said "it's going to be fine, Becky you have nothing to worry about". I said, "I know, but my toes aren't done." And of course immediately began crying again. Seriously? Oh, the ridiculous hormones of a pregnant woman! :) We finally arrived at the hospital around 5ish and they wasted no time in getting me ripe. HA! Then we waited... later that night some of our best friends came to the hospital with Wendy's for dinner and we played some of my favorite games: Clue and Phase 10 - which, by the way, I won! I was practically the only patient in the maternity wing so we were able to get pretty loud and rambunctious - the nurses definitely enjoyed us... Since I knew I had a long day ahead of me and I needed my rest they all left around 10. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well that night - partly due to the fact that I was extremely uncomfortable being hooked up to several different machines and IVs and partly due to the fact that I was extremely excited and nervous! Everything started taking place around 7am. By the time I woke up I was properly ripe and dilated 3 cm. We were ready to start the induction! I was given some antibiotics through my IV which was administered every 4 hours (I was positive for being a carrier of some virus that is harmful to the baby in delivery so they administered antibiotics to make sure I didn't pass anything on). My Dr. came in around 8am to break my water and started me on the Pitocin. He told me I could start my epidural at anytime... but I felt it was better for me to wait it out for a bit. Why I have no idea but I did... However, it was not long after my Dr. left that my contractions started... and boy did they start. I suffered the absolute worst pain I have ever felt in my entire life, thus far for about 2 1/2 hours. At which point I was hysterical and crying. Finally I looked at Shane and said "will you think I'm a wimp if I go ahead and have the epidural" and of course, him being a very smart man he is, said "honey, there is no way I will think you are a wimp you are giving birth to our baby." About 15 minutes later my hero walked through the door and gave me the epidural - during which I had 2 MAJOR contractions and wasn't allowed to even move during them for fear I would paralyze myself forever - that could have been the worst part of my entire labor and delivery. seriously. After that - I was feeling G-O-O-D! I progressed very nicely in my labor and was dilating very quickly. In fact, the Dr. came in around noonish and I was at a 6. Shane left to go eat lunch in the waiting room with our friends and family and within 30 minutes I went from a 6 to a 9. I texted him and told him and came RUNNING into the room, mouth full of chick-fil-a, freaking out that I was about to push the baby out right then and there. But, it was about another hour before the nurse - whom, by the way was named Vivian Banks - yes, just like Fresh Prince - hilarious! :) came in and said we are about to get ready to push! By this time it was about 1:30pm. Shane asked her if we could hang on for a second while he ran to the waiting room to let everyone know I was about to push and to give our moms the notes I wrote revealing Jorja Mae's name for the first time! The notes explained why and how she was named after them. (My mom's name is Georgia and Shane's mom's middle name is Mae). At about 1:45pm I started pushing (and texting my family and friends - yes, it is a big joke amongst them that in-between pushes I updated everyone through texts - oh, the joys of technology) and Jorja Mae was born at 2:44pm! The most beautiful baby girl in the world. The second we heard her cry Shane and I both began to cry and praising Jesus. What an amazing experience. The delivery was quick, with no complications, and at the time was virtually painless (praise the Lord for the invention of the epidural) although I won't talk about what I felt once the meds wore off. I was in all kinds of pain for MANY weeks to come... did I mention Jorja was 8 lbs, 5 oz - and she was 3 weeks early?!?! Anyway, we had so many friends and family come to visit us in the hospital that I felt so overwhelmed with love and gratitude for my life. I am so incredibly blessed. God is so good. Now, if you've stuck around this long to read all of this - you are awesome! Sorry this was so long. Here are some pics from the day that changed mine and Shane's life forever! 

Me 7 days before Jorja was born:
The night before Jorja was born with our amazing friends that brought us dinner and played games:
Jorja Mae is here!! Her first picture! (don't look too closely at my half-painted toes! HA!):
Jorja maybe an hour after birth - she seemed so little and was so perfectly pink!: 
Me, Shane and Jorja later on that day - Shane looks so proud and I look so exhausted (and fat):
Isn't she perfect? She's wearing a monogrammed hat my sister Blynda got for her - she was the only one who knew Jorja's name ahead of time...:

This is the next morning. One of my most favorite pictures of me and her.:
Going Home: 

Jorja's Room

Well, I guess I'll start with the one place Jorja spends A LOT of her time - her bedroom! Between all the diaper changes - oh my, with all the diaper changes - and SLEEP, Jorja spends majority of her day in here! We are SO blessed to have amazing talent in our family. Shane's mom and grandmother made ALL the bedding, the mobile, and the laundry hamper themselves. All of it is simply gorgeous! I was so picky with what I wanted for her bedding so I decided I would have her bedding specially made and when the lady priced it out she was going to charge me over $800! I mean, Jorja is worth every penny but I wasn't about to pay that for a sheet, bedskirt, bumper and blanket - you MUST have me confused! SO, Shane's mom and 80 year old grandmother decided they had the skills to make the bedding I wanted - and boy did they ever!!! Not only is the bedding EXACTLY what I wanted and I didn't have to dip into Jorja's college fund to pay for it but I now have something extremely sentimental for Jorja! 

The Letter "J" pillow is from the makers of the letter "E" pillow on FRIENDS (the one in Joey and Rachel's apt for Emma) SO FUN!! Thanks, Anne for this awesome gift! :) 

Shane so thrilled to paint the nursery by himself - he wouldn't let me help since I was preggers! 
                              Shane and our friend Ben setting up the crib
Shane and our friend Jason (Duff) unpacking the furniture boxes
Here is MORE talent in the family. Shane's stepmom, Christie hand painted all the flowers and garland on Jorja's wall. It was the perfect added touch to her room that makes it look like it came out of a magazine.

Shane & I posing by the bed after we put the bedding in for the very first time. 

Jorja Mae's Name Banner - my friend Morgan's mom hand painted this for me. I LOVE it!!
The Rocking Chair

The Armoire
The Changing Table and Dresser