Sweet Hannah Kate

Our friends, Shawn and Lesley Branscum, were expecting their first child this past week. Hannah Kate was due on Friday, February 20 (or so we thought...really she was due on the 14th, which we found out later, but that's a whole different story). Saturday night we got the call that Lesley was in labor and would probably be heading to the hospital soon. We told them from the get-go that we would be there to support them through the whole thing, so Daniel and I prepared to spend a night in the waiting room of the hospital. They went to the hospital around 11 pm and we waited a while so they could get checked in and arrived around 1:00 am. Soon after we got there and saw them, Daniel set up his "bed" in the waiting room and conked out. I, on the other hand, was way too excited to sleep! I played Phase 10 with another friend, Amanda, and then when she left at 3, I attempted to get comfortable and get some rest. Around 4:45 Shawn came out and asked if I'd like to be in the room when Hannah was born (Lesley's parents were in route from Richmond and wouldn't arrive until 10:00 that morning) and take pictures. I, of course, said "yes!" and we headed back to the room for the big moment. Hannah Kate was born at 6:21 am, weighing 6.8 lbs and measuring 20.5 inches...long, slender baby! Here are some of the pics I took soon after her arrival.

Just a couple minutes old

Proud parents

Lovin' on Hannah

Looking up at me and blowing bubbles...how adorable is she?!

I love her already!

Meeting Uncle Daniel for the first time

I've never seen a child-birth before, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I've had in life so far! It truly is a miracle! A friend asked me last night if it got me excited about our baby's birth or if it scared me. It definitely excited me! Ok, not the whole pain thing or pushing, but the end result! To see Shawn and Lesley with Hannah just minutes after her birth was incredible! I can't wait for Daniel and I to meet and hold our little one for the first time. So, since I was already in the baby mood, and because some people had asked to see pics of me, I asked Daniel to take my first "prego" pic last night. His response..."but there's nothing to see!" So I'm not showing a whole lot, but there's definitely a baby bump there! Here I am at 17 weeks and 4 days...
The world may not be able to see Baby Bean growing inside me, but I definitely can! Hopefully in the weeks to come this "bump" will become even more noticeable and pronounced. Don't worry, I'll continue to post pictures for you to see...against my husband's will. :)


Joke becomes Reality

I was completely joking in my last post when I said, "At this rate, we'll be moved into Lipsey by Wednesday!" However, thanks to my hard working (or as I refer to him, "Nazi mover") husband, we were in fact moved in by Wednesday! I still can't believe it. I mean, it was just a week ago that we found out we were assigned an apartment! We didn't start packing anything until Sunday! But last night, there I was climbing into bed (way too late, I might add) in my spacious 2-bedroom apartment. I don't adapt to quick changes all that well, so it doesn't quite feel like home...but I know once we get settled and everything is in its place I will feel more comfortable. I am just SO thankful for a husband who works his tail off in all that he does. If the moving had been left to me, we would still be packing up our Willingham apartment preparing for the big move. Not with the Nazi mover...all was done in three days! Here are some pics of what I came home (Willingham apt) to yesterday at lunch, and then what I came home (new Lipsey apt) to yesterday afternoon after my doctor's appointment.

What used to be the living room/dining room

What used to be our bedroom

Part of our new living room - not the best picture, but you get an idea

View from the living room to the dining room - they're two separate rooms! woohoo!

1/2 of the kitchen

Other 1/2 of kitchen

I don't have any good shots of the bedroom, baby's room, or bathroom, yet, so those will have to come later.

In baby news...I went for a check-up yesterday and Baby Bean seems to be just fine. I heard the heartbeat on the hand-held monitor the Dr. used and she said it sounded great (around 150 bpm)! This week we've grown to the weight of a turnip...not the most exciting vegetable to be compared to, but it gives you an idea of the size of him/her. Also, I am praising God this week because on Tuesday my Medicaid card came in the mail! The timing was perfect since my doctor's appointment was yesterday! He is SO faithful! We don't deserve a single thing, yet He keeps on blessing.

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 100:4-5


Sneezing, Sneakers, and Suitcases

What a weekend! You may think that would be said in a good way since it was Valentine's day and all, but it was a pretty rough few days for this pregnant lady. All three professors I work for were sick last week and the plague fell on me Thursday afternoon. I had to work Friday because I can't afford to use sick days (unpaid maternity leave = save up sick days), but Saturday and Sunday were spent as a vegetable on the couch. If I thought colds were miserable pre-pregnancy, I am even more convinced now that there's very little I can take to relieve the symptoms. Regular strength tylenol, cough drops, and a 200-count box of kleenex have been my companions over the past few days. Until...my husband came home after church yesterday with a Neti Pot. Have you ever heard of or used such a contraption?! I was so desperate for some relief that I was willing to give it a try, but it feels so weird! You pour the saline solution in one nostril and it comes out the other. For all of my visual friends out there, feast on that mental picture for a few seconds! :) I "cleansed" twice yesterday, but am still feeling yucky and congested today. How many times do I have to "cleanse" before it all goes away?!

In spite of wanting to die on Saturday (okay, I can be a bit dramatic at times!), my husband still managed to surprise me with a Valentine's gift. It required my getting in the car and riding to an unknown location, but I am all about surprises and was ready to get out of the germ-infested house for a little while. After him taking alternative routes so I would have no clue where we were going, we landed in front of a Famous Footwear. Now, I realize this doesn't sound very romantic, but you need to understand the history behind it all. I have been telling Daniel for months that I needed new tennis shoes. I've started walking more and am trying to prepare for walking in the Crescent City Classic in April. The last time I got new walking shoes was 2 1/2 years ago. Most people understand that the life of a sneaker is between 6 months and a year, depending on how often you use them. My husband, on the other hand, thinks a shoe lasts until there are holes in the sole and your toe is poking out of the top. :) So, when I realized we had come to Famous Footwear to pick out a new pair of tennis shoes for me, I was elated!! It was a wonderful, thoughtful surprise coming from Daniel Bramlett. So here's a picture of my new kicks. Not at all what I went into the store looking for, but they fit the best and provided the best arch support (I have high arches, in case you were wondering). I'm not a huge hot pink fan, but as my friend reminded me last night, it's not about the look of the shoe...it's all about the way it feels. Now if I can just get to feeling better so I can try them out!

Well, the packing has begun! We don't have any boxes to pack in, yet, but when Daniel realized (last night at about 9:00 pm) how many suitcases and tote bags we had, he went to work! When he gets something in his mind, he's like a well-oiled machine. He packed all of our books (and we have a ton!) last night, most of our movies, and other stuff he saw sitting out that he chose to cram into one of the bags.

Here he is working hard

This was taken early on in the packing frenzy. The pile is twice this large now!

I'm so thankful for my hard-working husband! At this rate, we'll be moved into Lipsey by Wednesday! :)


We're moving!

As I stated in the description of this blog, things are constantly changing with the Bramlett's! The latest and greatest news is that we've been assigned to a two-bedroom apartment here on campus that we can move into anytime after today! Ever since Hurricane Katrina, there's been a bit of a housing crisis here at NOBTS, so the day after we found out we were pregnant, we contacted the housing office and requested to be put on the list to move to a two-bedroom. The apartment we're in now, Willingham 222, is wonderful, but only consists of about 414 square feet...not quite big enough for 3 of us! We didn't expect to hear so soon from the housing office, but a family who was supposed to move into our new apartment decided to get a place off-campus, so that opened it up for us! Because it was such short notice, and we haven't started packing a THING, we're going to pack this next week and move next weekend. I'd be lying if I said I was excited about the packing/moving process, but I am VERY excited about the end result so I know that will get me through the tedious and tiring task (like the alliteration?!) of getting our stuff from one place to the next. Below is a picture of the outside of where we'll be moving to. Technically, our building is the one to the left of this one, but all of the apartments are the same and this was the only picture I could find on the seminary website. :) Don't worry, there will be more pictures to come once we've gotten the key and started moving in.

In other exciting news, Baby Bean is the size of an avocado this week...4 1/2 inches long. My energy has definitely picked up, but my stomach still does not like the whole pregnancy thing. Hopefully it will get on board soon with the rest of my body! The 2nd trimester is supposed to be the most glorious, and I want to enjoy it as much as possible before the really uncomfortable days arrive! :) I called and scheduled our 20-week ultrasound this week. On Friday, March 13th, we will get to see our precious one and hopefully find out if it's a little Daniel or a little Laura! We are so excited and can't wait to share the news with all of you!

That's about all the excitement I have to share today! I hope you all have a great weekend and Valentine's Day! Know that we love you and are so thankful for your presence in our lives!


God is good!

I am excited to report that our experience at the Medicaid office was a VERY pleasant one! We got there at 8:15 am and there was no one in the waiting room...good sign! I went to the window and asked for an application. About the same time I finished filling it out, a lady from another office (still working for Medicaid, though) walked in and handed the receptionist some papers. I overheard her say, "We received this fax and the documents are from a lady whose application has not been processed yet but she went ahead and faxed in the proof of identity and pay stubs." I then heard the receptionist say, "Well, that's the lady sitting right there in the waiting room." Yes, they were referring to me! Here's a little insider information...I faxed those documents on January 21st...today is February 6th! Evidently the papers were enjoying sitting in or beside the fax machine because it took them over two weeks to make their way to the correct office! Anyway, the receptionist then found my "lost" application in the computer system, input all of the information and about 15 minutes later, Daniel and I were told we were approved for Medicaid and my cards would be coming in the mail within 10 days. WOOHOO!!!! I love my husband...he looked at the receptionist and said, "Ma'am, can I please hug you?!" There was no bodily contact, but she could definitely tell that we were VERY grateful! The Lord reminded me today that miracles never cease...even in New Orleans!


Am I in the US?

**Warning: A pretty long post, so if you don't feel like plowing through it, you might want to move on to your next friend's blog!** :)

Because I have had multiple experiences in third-world countries, I feel like it's okay for me to compare experiences I've had here in the 'Big Easy' with what others go through in less developed places. Especially since Katrina, I have asked myself on multiple occasions, am I really living in the United States? For instance, there was the time (just a year ago!) that I applied for a new Social Security Card with my new last name. After not hearing from the office for over a month, I decided to give them a call. My heart dropped when the lady said, "Ma'am we have no record of your application or that any documents were mailed with it." Guess which 'document' she was referring to? That's right, my passport! Well, since I worked in our campus post office at the time, I knew I should mail it certified mail with a return receipt. I received my return receipt that contained a nice clear signature of who in their office received the documents and on what day! They could not argue with that proof...or could they? After waiting in the downtown office for several hours, we were finally told that my passport was simply lost and there was nothing they could do about it. Wish you could have seen my husband when they said that... :) Anyway, they ended up paying to replace my passport, I finally received a new Social Security card, and all was well.

That brings me to the next Louisiana government office I am currently dealing with. I haven't mentioned this on here yet because frankly I did not want to see it in writing and have it as a constant reminder of our current financial state. Due to the current state of the economy and how it's affected the school, on January 20 the Seminary informed us that all student-related staff would lose their health insurance. Needless to say, we were shocked and heart-broken. Thankfully, Louisiana has what's called LA Moms, which is Medicaid for pregnant women. I went on their website and noticed they had an online application. I thought long and hard about whether I should fill it out or go to their office downtown. I thought, surely if I fill out an online application there will be no way for them to lose it! Today, I found that I was completely wrong! After holding for 17 minutes (our phones at work have a timer), I was told that they had no record of my name or application and that I needed to go to the downtown office and fill out the form in person. Are you kidding me?! So, early Friday morning, my sweet husband and I will fire up the Lincoln and head into downtown New Orleans. The thing that really stinks is that I was supposed to go for my 16-week appointment on Monday (2/9) morning, but I had to call and reschedule it today since we currently have no insurance. I am praying hard that the Medicaid office will redeem themselves on Friday morning...I'll keep you posted as to if this becomes a reality or not!

In other news, Baby Bean Bramlett is now the size of an apple! I still call it Baby Bean because we don't know the sex yet, but it's definitely grown out of the bean stage! According to babycenter.com, it's 4 inches long and weighs about 2 1/2 ounces. Other people can't really tell that I'm showing yet, but I can definitely tell a difference! Still having some sickness, but I'm trusting it will go away soon...taking it day by day! :) For those of you who hung in there through this long post...thanks! Hopefully the next one I write will be full of great news about our wonderful experience at the Medicaid office! I think my husband's optimism is rubbing off on me a bit...