Shannon Lynn Stine <3

IMG_2383-1 copy

I have been SO excited to share this story since the minute Shannon was born, and I couldn’t hold off one more minute. I have so many thoughts and feelings and emotions it’s hard to put them into words! Let me start from the beginning…

We moved into our brand new beautiful home in Indy on November 7. It was a whirlwind month to say the LEAST. I got a text from my mom last night: “What a beautiful night. Look how far we have come.” And… I couldn’t have said it better myself. Where we are is where we are meant to be. I miss my sister every minute of every day, but the hole in my heart gets temporarily filled by all of the love and chaos and happy memories we are making. And even though the hole re-opens every morning, or when I can’t sleep, or when reality hits that she’s really really REALLY gone, I know it’s going to be ok because… here we go again! Another day to look at the glass half full and make the best of our new life. Which is EXACTLY what she would want. We talked about it ALL the time. And our glass is more often than not overflowing with blessings.

So fast forward to early December when I had a feeling that something was brewing in my belly. Sure enough… despite our conversation about SAVING the conversation about the CHANCE of having another baby until the summer… there it was on the pregnancy test. Positive. Holy. WHAT?! We just went from 2-4. And now we would go from 4-5!? Someone get my husband an IV. Actually don’t. He would pass out from the needle.     NOT KIDDING! Bless him.

Of course I told my mom immediately. She got teary. Said it must be God’s plan. I asked her if she was more worried about me or her, and she laughed and said she was more worried about her! haha 🙂 She said, on the VERY day I told her the super early news, that it was going to be a girl. If Shannon had ANYTHING to do with it, it was going to be a girl. Mom was so convinced that it was going to be a girl I decided I would not tell her when we found out it was a boy. Because it was a boy. I KNEW IT! We planned on finding out at our 20 week appointment. That was until my friend Carrie convinced me of the latter. She said: “You are going to totally find out what you’re having aren’t you?” And I said, “DUH!!! The second we can!” And she said, “Man we found out with Cael and it was cool, but we didn’t with Maeve and that experience made me wish we never found out the first time There is NOTHING like not knowing. I wish you’d consider it.” And so… I did. I called mom and told her I was thinking it might be cool not to find out. Of course it had to be ok with her. And Doug. And it was! I think Doug thought it would be his way of saving money. Good thing he doesn’t join me for late night feedings when I find all the cute stuff on Instagram. 🙂 /// Dad NEVER wanted to know and it always got blown for him. We had everything we would need, be it a boy or a girl. The baby wasn’t going to have a bedroom right away anyway. And on top of it all… we had had quite a year. How cool would it be to have such an amazing surprise to look forward to? So it was decided and against ALL O’Malia Odds… we did NOT find out. And we did not waiver, or regret it.                        And let me tell you. IT. WAS. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok so fast forward again to May when I was at the kitchen table while Danny was doing his homework. The baby name conversation sparked again and he asked if we decided on a girls name. I said we were down to 3: Morgan, Mackenzie and Megan. Yea I don’t know what the deal with M’s was. And he voiced his opinion, I can’t remember what it was, and then he asked “But Moms. What about Shannon if it’s a girl?” I remember that my heart stopped for a quick second. I had to catch my breath. Of course it had occurred to me but I shut it down in my own mind pretty quick. I told him that I didn’t know how it would make he or Connor feel and I wanted the baby to bring joy and not sadness. And his brilliant almost 9 year old self said: “But… we never called her Shannon. We called her mom.” I was blown away. Of course it had to be Shannon. But first… I had to run it by mom & Connor for obvious reasons, and Doug because he is the pickiest when it comes to names and also I guess because he was the baby’s father (haha JK!). All were on board… so next it was time to talk to the counselors about it. They told me it sounded like everyone was on board. They suggested I bring it up the boys every few weeks until the baby was born to make sure the boys were still ok with it. Make sure I was ok with it. And so I did. And we all kept it a secret. Shannon Lynn (after BOTH my beautiful sisters) for a girl, and James Joseph, or JJ, (after Doug’s brother & uncle and then both of my Grandfathers) if it was a boy. SUCH RELIEF. And then we waited……. and waited.         And waited……

THEN last Thursday I had a 39.5 week check up. I was measuring big and she assured me there was just a lot of fluid. She guessed the baby would be between Ryan and Maddie weighing in at 7lbs 7oz and 8lbs 2oz. We talked about inducing the next day if there was availability. I said it was either that so I was guaranteed to be home by Sunday, or just let it be. I just couldn’t intentionally schedule an induction the week the boys started school. LUCKILY… there was availability. So we arrived very promptly at the hospital at 5:30AM on Friday morning. I was SO excited to meet our baby.

Everything was perfect. I absolutely LOVED the care at St. Vincent’s Carmel. I was nervous because I loved my Dr. in STL SO much! He is still #1 in my heart. BUT I  LOVED my nurse, LOVED my Doctor. Loved knowing that in just a few short hours I would know if it was a boy or a girl and I would get to hold my sweet sweet baby. This pregnancy really gave me a run for my money and I was excited to put a face to the cause of all that 😉

Before we knew it, it was time to start pushing. And it was awesome. I can’t quite explain how it was different, but it was. A whole 2.5 contractions and 7.5 minutes of pushing, and the Doctor was laying my beautiful baby girl on my chest. No one said “It’s a GIRL!” but I could see. We could see. And the tears were flowing. I think I asked, just to make sure “So wait! Is it really a girl?” My heart was about to burst out of my chest. I really didn’t care.  But I didn’t think I would get so lucky to be able to name my baby after my sister who I worshiped my whole life just 1 year after she left us. And at the same time… it was exactly the type of thing she would tease me about. Getting my way. Everything going so smoothly and perfectly! This time though, getting my way (even though I swear I really didn’t care!) has never meant so much.

Ok so here is where it gets good. My lifelong bestie Lauren made it to the hospital from work JUST after I delivered, and shoved her way back into the room. Man am I glad she did. Because take a look at what I get to have forever!

SLS_0815_0001 copy There she is! All 9lbs 3 oz of her!!! #chunk

SLS_0815_0215 copy

SLS_0815_0109 copy

 Soaking up a few precious moments before the chaos! I later learned there were 22 family members waiting for the news in the lobby!

SLS_0815_0112 copyI gave Shannon (my sister. I love having to clarify!) that ring, and stole it back last summer. So I really love this pic ❤

SLS_0815_0099 copyDoug thought it was a girl up pretty much the WHOLE time. I know he is nervous about 2 girls in high school and those weddings of course. But he is a GREAT daddy to girls. Maddie and Shannon are so lucky to have him!!

SLS_0815_0122 copy

SLS_0815_0123 copy

SLS_0815_0126 copyThese pictures pretty much say it all. I can’t stop looking at them. Mom, dad, Jeri (my MIL), Janet and Alli came in to hear the final verdict and meet our new baby. When they walked into the room I simply said, “Come meet Shannon Lynn” and as you can see, they couldn’t have been more surprised or excited. Yeah. NOT finding out was the best decision I could have ever made! And the name was a surprise to all but mom 🙂

SLS_0815_0137 copySLS_0815_0136 copyProud grandmas!

SLS_0815_0143 copyJeri got in from St. Louis about an hour before she got to meet her new granddaughter. So glad she got to be there for this moment!

SLS_0815_0155 copy My dad. You all know we girls worship him. Shannon Lynn will be no exception.

SLS_0815_0172 copy

And finally Aunt Janet gets some snuggles. I am so happy Shannon has names from both of my sisters. And I am SO excited Janet is SO close to be more than an aunt to my kids. And that I get to be more than an aunt to hers! And I am so glad my kids get to grow up with all of their cousins and 2nd cousins and still have a great 2nd hometown to visit! And maybe attend some ball games. Go Cards!

Things are going super well at home. It will take some time to adjust, of course, but all 4 kids really love their new baby sister. It’s so heart warming. It’s like my BFF Colleen texted me today. There is a sense of peace in all of this. Not to get all Lion King on you all but the circle of life really is a beautiful thing. It is sad and happy all wrapped up into one great big ball of joy. I know Shannon is smiling down on us from Heaven, and I tell myself she would have been mad had I not named our perfect little princess after her. She was after all, my idol. I can’t think of a better namesake in all the world. ❤

More updates soon! THANKS for reading my novel. xoxo Colleen