New year. New resolutions. 

One of my resolutions this year is to get reacquainted with my website, blog, and business. It has been on the back burner now for far too long, and I always seem to have an excuse as to why I don't have time (i.e., too busy with my full-time job, being a new mom, etc.). All of these are viable excuses, but I am aching for change this year. 

2016 was tough on us: we spent 40 days in a hospital, delivered a beautiful baby boy, and spent five weeks with him in the NICU. Our house flooded. We had to go through some serious renovations, stress, and financial worries. Work was long and arduous and filled with long nights and countless weekends working. So in 2017, I will be actively taking steps to facilitate change. I want to start saying "no" every once in awhile, and as a die-hard people pleaser, I want to learn to be okay with not pleasing everyone. I want to simplify life and focus on what's truly important. I want to set boundaries; not only with myself and business, but in places where I haven't been able or willing to do so before. I want to grow The Noble Paperie as a business. And that last one starts right now: with making blogging, social media, and promotion a priority. 

Now for the first blog post of 2017, I did have grand plans to share a couple of new things that are on the horizon for The Noble Paperie, but instead I think I'll share something else. As some of you know, today, January 3rd, is the anniversary of when we were admitted to the hospital (for a second time during our pregnancy), but this time we would stay until I delivered (you can read all about that on our birth story here).

I knew it would be a long road ahead. And it was. Just over a month later (40 days to be exact), I would unexpectedly be delivering our son. What a journey it was. When it was all going on, we were in a definite fog. I was worried, elated, scared, sad, struggling with depression both before and post-partum. It took me a long time to accept and be okay with everything. For thirty-some-odd days after he was born, we were concerned about Sebastian. Yes, he was born as healthy as he could be, but he was still in the neonatal intensive care unit, where it was a daily fight to come home. That season was full of ups and downs, and where at the time it was completely consuming and terrifying, we still tried to document it as much as possible in the hopes that someday we would look back and feel differently about the experience. I finally have pulled together a video of our photos, sounds, and videos of that time... which until now we hadn't shared with anyone. It's very special to us, very near and dear to our hearts. And now, on the actual anniversary of the first day of a 73-day-long  journey, I feel like it's finally time to share. 

Sebastian Mark Woolley - Your NICU Journey

I could write all about our NICU experience, but I don't know if I could really do it justice. There may be too many highs and too many lows for me to fully express here. I am hoping this video can give a glimpse into the journey we all took . It's a little long (almost 10 minutes), but it has me in tears every time I've watched it. So that's your warning. 

On a final note, there aren't enough words in the human language to express my love and gratitude for all of the doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers, and staff that helped us, loved on us, and watched over ALL three of us on our journey to baby. I think the screen-shot from this video is one of my favorite pictures during our entire time there. This was only a portion of the Sharp Mary Birch family that encircled us during our stay, but this group was all there on discharge day: Aurora, Sebastian's NICU nurse loved on him every. single. day. she came in. Beth, Sebastian's occupational therapist who fed him his first bottle and checked in on his progress. And Gwen, NICU receptionist extraordinaire, keeper of the keys, and protector for all who enter through those NICU doors; she prayed for Sebastian daily. We got to know these people intimately, and a little bit of my heart aches that I don't get to see them every day. But I am SO thankful for each and every one of them - for ALL of the people that loved on us during our journey. We are eternally grateful. 

So here I am, wishing you a happy 2017. A little bit stronger, a little bit tired from all that 2016 brought to this family. I hope you enjoy our video, and I am looking forward to all the change 2017 has to offer us.