I have been off the grid for a little while now. Something more important than I could have imagined has entered my life. So big, nothing else in the world matters, not for one second.
On April 16th I went into preterm labor. I (fast and furiously) delivered our beautiful, 2lb, baby boy at 5:30pm. He was able to thrive in my belly for 26 weeks and 3 days, and now he is in the NICU for what will be months.
Below is an excerpt I wrote to my family. I wanted to share parts of that email with you: my friends, students, YouTube and blog followers.
"... I don't even know where to start. My heart is broken and full, scared but hopeful. My mind and body are numb. Some moments Brandon and I are fine and others we choke thinking about our reality.
I consider myself a very positive person and this has been a true test of that. I need to stay strong, mentally and physically, for our handsome baby boy.
I know it's okay to cry, and I have done a lot of that, but I also need to remember to celebrate. We had a baby boy. Welcome to the family Griffin Asher Bettencourt. Griffin is a mythological creature: half lion, half eagle- representing strength. The lion is considered king of the beasts and the eagle king of the birds and sky, making a Griffin an especially powerful majestic creature. Asher has Hebrew origins meaning happy and blessed.
Griffin is the sweetest boy. He kicks around and moves a lot - the nurses called him feisty before Brandon and I had announced a name. We are encouraged to do skin to skin, so I have been able to have Griffin on my bare chest every day. It is the best feeling, we both just melt and dad watches with a happy heart. Soon Brandon will do skin to skin as well. This is very healing for mom, dad and baby.
He has dark curly hair like his mama and ears like his dad.
I am able to pump, and am getting a lot of milk- more than his little belly can even handle. They are "priming" his belly with small amounts of my milk each day. It's not easy to see a helpless human with wires and tubes all around them, but each day he will get stronger and will no longer be dependent on medical devices.
The next three plus months will be a roller coaster. A lot of good days and bad. As much as I wish Griffin were still in my belly, getting all that organic food I was eating, he is with the best team of nurses and doctors who love him..."
I will need time to mentally heal. Part of that healing for me is getting back into somewhat of a routine. A large part of my days are spent in the NICU, but I do plan to start teaching again, making videos and blogging. I just need some time.
I am already so grateful for the overwhelming amount of support we have received from our family, friends and work. Griffin, Brandon and I are beyond lucky to have such a strong and loving team behind us.
What I need from you is positive thoughts and words. I need love and strength. If I have that everything will be just fine, I know it.
Thank you so much. Griffin can't wait for you to squeeze his cheeks!