Over the past eight years of Lonestar Southern, I have had the immense joy of sharing many big life moments with you all. Graduating from UT, taking Lonestar Southern full-time, moving into my first apartment, navigating the world of adulting, traveling, meeting Andrew, marrying Andrew, moving to Gainesville, bringing Flynn home… it makes my head spin to think through all we’ve “been through” together!
Today, I get to share perhaps the most exciting update yet. Our biggest dream is coming true:
We are having a baby!
It feels a bit surreal to type this out, and it’s hard to know where to even begin in expressing our immense joy, gratitude, and excitement as we step into a role we’ve prayed God would grant us in His perfect timing and in His perfect way. And now, getting to share the news, it somehow feels all the more real!
First, I want to take a moment to thank y’all for every comment, email, dm, every prayer, and every kind word! It is pretty incredible to share such happy news with so many, and Andrew and I are deeply thankful for the love and support.
I’m a jumble of emotions right now (thank you, hormones) so I am excited to share a little Q&A with y’all to catch you up on this new season we’ve found ourselves in. A big thank you to everyone who sent in a question! I picked the most commonly-asked questions to share this week, and think I may make Q&As a weekly thing around here. There were so many great ones, so stay tuned for a part two if you don’t see your question answered here.
I am hopeful that this will fill you in on all that’s been going on these past few weeks!
Q: What is your due date? How far along are you?
We’re expecting Baby Bowman in early February. I’m currently in my 12th week!
Q: Were y’all trying or was this baby a happy surprise?
We were trying! :)
Q: How did you find out?
Do y’all remember our recent trip to Mexico? Last-minute, I had tossed a couple of pregnancy tests into my suitcase, knowing my cycle was scheduled to start on the trip. At this point, I was in a very laid-back headspace about conceiving (after a really difficult, obsessive previous month… more on that later) so I honestly forgot about the tests while on the trip!
The morning after Andrew’s 30th birthday and the day before our two-year anniversary, I woke up early and realized I was a day late. I took a pregnancy test and honestly forgot about it for a few minutes, not at all expecting to see two pink lines. After a few minutes, I picked it up to the happiest surprise of my life! I was pregnant!
Q: How did you tell Andrew?
(Cont’d from above.) I sat there in bed in total shock with a huge smile on my face. I didn’t know what to do! Yes, we had been trying, but for some reason, I still couldn’t believe it! Andrew was still sleeping so I had a couple of moments to think about how to tell him. Let me just say, I was so excited and overwhelmed that I was literally shaking. I ended up finding an empty gift bag from the day before and put the positive test inside. Then I made us both a cup of coffee, set up my phone and pressed record, and woke Andrew up saying I had one final gift I had forgotten to give him the day before. Not to brag, but I think this was the best birthday gift he’s ever received! :)
Q: How did you know/decide it was time to start trying?
I actually love this question, because the Lord definitely shifted my heart! To start off, I’m really thankful for my parent’s example. They had kids on the “older” end of the timeline (my mom was 33 and my dad was 37 when I was born) and impressed on me how much fun they had being older parents. So while being a wife and mom was always my ultimate dream, I have never been in a hurry nor felt any pressure from my family. And I’m so thankful for that!
Initially, when Andrew and I got married, I assumed I would want to wait until he finished training to start a family. The thought of having a baby away from our family and friends, while Andrew was in training and making a resident salary (IYKYK) seemed way too daunting and was nowhere on my radar. (Andrew, on the other hand, has been ready from day one!) But as I got to know some amazing mamas here in Gainesville who have so gracefully started families during medical training, the whole idea started to feel less and less scary to me. Then during COVID, when our lives slowed down, Andrew and I started talking about it more and more on our twice-daily long walks. I still didn’t feel “ready,” but started praying about it and asking my friends here what their experiences were like. One night I had a dream about having a baby, and wow – I know it may sound crazy, but the love I felt was unbelievable. I woke up the next morning with a different mindset and an answered prayer. :) I’m sure everyone will tell you “you’re never ready” and I think that’s probably true, but I am grateful for how the Lord had this precious little one in His perfect plan for us all along, and how He gently showed me that!
Q: How did you tell your family?
Andrew and I are both very close with our families, and instantly agreed we wanted our parents to know right away. After taking some time to soak up and process the news just the two of us, we FaceTime’d my parents. I used the same little ploy in saying I wanted to show them the birthday gift I’d given Andrew, and then basically shoved the pregnancy test at the phone screen. Not a lot of finesse, I was just too excited! (Andrew recorded the convo on his phone… they were totally shocked! :) Andrew’s parents were actually at the resort with us, so we were able to tell them in person. We met them at the pool right before they checked out and Andrew gave them the same little “gift” I had handed him that morning. It’s both side’s first grandbaby, and everyone is over the moon!
I was back in Dallas to help my sister and mom with wedding planning a few weeks later and was able to tell my sister in person. Baby Bowman wrote her a little note and gave her a special present! :) Then, Andrew mailed his siblings funny “aunt” and “uncle” themed t-shirts and we had them open them over Facetime since they are spread out!
Q: What prenatal vitamins are you taking?
I’ve been taking these. I like that they have a slight lemony flavor, don’t make me nauseous and are on automatic refill shipping so I never have to think about them!
Q: Have you had any cravings or aversions?
I wouldn’t say that I’ve had any cravings… it’s more me trying to come up with something that sounds remotely edible and then eating that. (Usually fruit or carbs, haha.) Although I will say, someone mentioned Gatorade as being helpful for nausea this weekend and once it got in my head, I just had to get it. I’ve been drinking it ever since, and let me tell you… nothing has ever tasted as good to me as ice cold blue Gatorade! Not sure if it’s technically a pregnancy craving or just a nice change from straight water… so take that as you will. :) As far as aversions go, I haven’t been able to drink coffee for the past few weeks. Y’all know how I love my coffee, so this has been a really strange aversion for me. Hopefully, once I start feeling better I can enjoy a small cup in the mornings again!
Q: How long were y’all trying to get pregnant?
This was by far the most commonly asked question, and I want to answer it delicately because I know everyone’s journey and timeline look different. If you are in a season of waiting, I just want to say my heart is with you. (And you may be encouraged by this story.) Our ttc (trying to conceive) journey was very quick, and we found out we were pregnant after our second month of trying.
I definitely expected the process to take much longer, and because of that was pretty obsessive from the get-go once we decided to start trrying and all throughout that first month. I was tracking my ovulation daily (something my doctor didn’t even recommend doing until/if we reached six months of trying without a positive pregnancy test), taking pregnancy tests nonstop, and overanalyzing every little headache or cramp. It was literally all I thought about… so much so, that when my cycle started at the end of the month I was absolutely crushed. And it had just been one month! I had a crystal clear moment of realizing “Ok, this is not going to work. I can’t live this way.” And right then and there, I decided I needed to release my grip on control and trust the Lord’s timing for our family. I resigned myself to the idea that it was going to take us a long time to get pregnant, and while I don’t know that was the healthiest way to mentally handle the situation, it did help me relax, breathe, and just live normally again. I threw away my ovulation strips, stopped the obsessive pregnancy test-taking, and just went back to life as normal. And that’s why I was so shocked at the two pink lines a month later.
I just have to say – one of the best things I did was open up to a close friend and get honest about what I was going through. I shared my fears about infertility, how obsessive I had gotten, all of it. Letting someone in who could encourage me and pray with and for me changed everything. That first month was so lonely since no one knew what was going on, and opening up about it to even one person made the biggest difference. The Lord definitely used that month to remind me who is ultimately in control, and resting in His plan brought me so much peace. But I will say, the heartache I felt after only one month of trying was raw and deep and something I’ve never experienced before, and I can only imagine what that looks like after multiple months or years of waiting. If you’re reading this and find yourself in that boat, I just want to give you a hug and say you are not alone. My heart goes out to you, and I’m praying for you right now as I type this.
Q: Were you pregnant when your sis got engaged? And if so, did you know?
Yes I was, but we had no idea at that point!
Q: How did you keep the secret?
Being self-employed and living away from most of our family and friends, it actually wasn’t too hard! I don’t know that I did a great job keeping it under wraps when I “disappeared” from Instagram and this blog for a few weeks, but I was so sick that I absolutely wasn’t able to fake it. I will say, it got harder to keep the secret the further along and sicker I got. Finally sharing the news has been wonderful!
Q: Will you find out the gender?
Absolutely! We cannot wait to find out and will hopefully hear this week. Eek!
Q: Are you shopping the NSALE this year?
This may seem random, but it was actually one of the most commonly asked questions! For the first time in over eight years of blogging, I won’t be covering the NSALE this year. This first trimester has been really difficult (constant nausea, depleted energy, lots of vomiting, etc) and I was not at all anticipating the amount of rest I’d need. So while it feels strange not covering the Nordstrom Anniversary sale this year, it’s also been pretty freeing! Not only am I not covering it, I haven’t purchased a single thing myself and it’s honestly been wonderful to step away from the pressure! No shade to the sale, usually I love it. But it’s always a nice reminder that life goes on and you really, truly don’t “need” anything.
Q: What was your first symptom?
The first symptom I noticed was really sore boobs. Then, I would randomly get these horrible whiffs of smells that no one else would be affected by. The nausea and exhaustion came on for me last! I remember being in Dallas and getting so excited after experiencing a little 30-second wave of nausea on the way from church to lunch. (Pictured below.) Little by little, the nausea got worse every day until it was pretty much an all-day affair at about 6 weeks.
Q: Where do y’all want to go on a baby moon?
To be quite honest, I’m just looking forward to feeling normal again! But if we are able to make a babymoon happen with Andrew’s residency schedule, I think Nantucket would be amazing. I can’t get a lobster roll out of my head… and there’s nowhere in Gainesville that serves them!
Q: Did you do anything in particular to get your body ready for pregnancy?
When Andrew and I decided we were ready to start, I made an appointment with my OBGYN to make sure everything was good to go. I’m so thankful I did that before jumping into the process, because I actually ended up having a health-related situation I had to get taken care of first which delayed our timeline a bit. (All is good, and I hope you understand me keeping this private!) Apart from that, I had started taking prenatal vitamins a few months before we started trying. That was really it!
Q: Will y’all be moving back to Texas to be closer to family now that a baby is on the way?
I got lots of questions about if/when we’ll be moving from Florida and if the baby changes that. In a nutshell, we have one more year here in Gainesville while Andrew finishes his final year of residency. After that, he will have a one-year fellowship which… wait for it… could be anywhere! We will officially find out in December where we’ll be moving for that one-year stint. Then, training will officially be over and we will hopefully be able to move back to Texas. The process of selling our house, finding a one-year rental and moving to a place we don’t know yet with a newborn feels really intimidating when I think too much about it, so I really don’t. :) Ha! But in a nutshell, we most likely won’t be back in Texas for two years.
Q: Do y’all have any names thought of?
It’s so funny… we have names enough for two boys, but are having the hardest time coming up with girl names! I would love something timeless but unique while Andrew loves traditional. So we will see!
Q: Will you do a gender reveal?
Andrew and I will be finding out as soon as we can from our doctor, but we have family trips coming up with both his side and mine so we’ll probably keep it a secret until then and do poppers or something simple! Nothing big. :)
Q: Do you have any guesses for the gender?
I swear I’m not trying to be diplomatic about it, but I just genuinely have no clue! For some reason, I’ve always pictured myself having a boy first (truly don’t know why) but because of the sickness I’ve been experiencing, many friends have been guessing it’s a girl. My side of the family, however, seems to think it’s a boy. Andrew says he doesn’t have any idea either, so I think we will be genuinely shocked either way!
Q: What have you been using to help with the nausea?
I have tried just about everything, y’all. (A big thank you for all of your recommendations!) I’ve tried sea bands (even bought an electric one, to no avail), Unisom + B6, ginger drops, munching on crackers, literally any tip or trick I have been able to find. Sadly, nothing has really worked for me. When I told my doctor about my nausea and vomiting, she prescribed me a medication that I’m currently taking. It isn’t really effective for me, so I’m just pretty much in survival mode right now. I’ve found that having a snack before I even get out of bed helps with morning nausea, and I’ve ended up having a bagel every morning for breakfast. (Basically, the only thing I can keep down.) Some days are better than other, so right now I’m just letting myself rest and trying to give myself a lot of grace. I definitely do not feel like myself at all, which has been really hard, but I’m hopeful I’ll start feeling better in these next few weeks!
Q: How are you doing physically/emotionally/spiritually?
This is a really thoughtful question, I appreciate it! It’s a strange mix. On the one hand, I have never been so excited or so thankful! On the other hand, I’ve never felt less like myself. Physically, everything with baby seems to be developing perfectly (praise the Lord, would love continued prayers for that) and so what more can you really ask for? But not having the energy I’m used to and spending every day on the couch or kneeling by the toilet has been a really difficult change of pace. I can even see it in my personality… just not having the usual pep in my step. It’s also been humbling to have to stop everything: work, keeping the house up, not to mention working out or getting dressed haha. (Shoutout to my literal angel Andrew Bowman. Do not know what I would do without him.) Since everyone has such a different experience with pregnancy, it’s easy for me to compare myself and feel guilty I’m not “doing what she’s able to do.” Things like that. But at the end of the day, I know rest is good. I know the Lord will provide as He already has in so many ways – stamina to get through wedding weekends, support to help with work, etc. And I can already see priorities shifting in my heart. Really all I want is for this little baby to be safe and loved. Everything else is just icing on the cake. So while I can’t wait to “be back to my normal self,” I’m trying really hard to embrace this current season and be thankful in the midst of the hard!
Quick little caveat that I had no idea that answer was going to go on so long. I guess I needed to let it all out, haha! :)
There you have it, friends! Thank you again for your wonderful questions and for sharing in our joy! I will probably continue taking things a bit more slowly around here, but once I’m feeling 100% you’ll be the first to know! In the meantime, let me know if you have any more questions to add to this little series!
Love from the Sunshine State,