Carrying Cullen

A Journey of Life, Love, and Daily Blessings with Our Baby Boy

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Cullen's Birthday (from mommy's view) Pt. 1

It's hard to believe it's been a week since our dear Cullen was born...  THE most incredible and blessed day of our lives.  The happiest, the saddest.  Uplifting and heart-wrenching. 


It was 5:30 when the alarm went off... Countless emotions flooded my mind.  "This is it, today's the day I get to meet my son", I thought to myself.  Nothing was more exciting to me than thinking of holding him in my arms, looking into his eyes, smelling his sweet, brand new baby smell.

Driving to the hospital (which went faster than I thought it might) we received beautiful text messages from friends and family lifting us up in thoughts and prayers for the day we would finally meet Cullen.

We made it to the hospital by 7:30, greeted by our pastor and my parents in the lobby, we headed to the 8th floor, Labor and Delivery.  We checked in, and were taken back to our very own "wing" of the OR.  Joe's parents soon joined us, as well as countless other family members and friends.  It wasn't long until our "wing" of the OR was soon dubbed "Holly's Village".  I said it was like we had our own little town of support in the hallway.  Cullen's cheerleaders.  Cullen's Team.


As the nurse prepped me for my C-section, our family and friends came in and out of our room...  We smiled, we laughed... we were excited and anxious.  41 weeks we had waited to meet our sweet little guy.  Shortly before we were to make our way back to the OR, our pastor, Nick, came into our room along with everyone from our family, to our friends, to Dr. Tressler and our nurses, to our photographers, and even our food provider, Miss Sheilah.  As they circled around us, we all held hands, bowed our heads and prayed.  You could feel God in the room with us.  He wrapped his arms around us.  He calmed us and gave us peace.  He eased our anxieties and fears.   


"Okay Holly, we're ready," the nurse said.  Joe hugged and kissed me.  Liz, our nurse from MFM, walked me back past our family and friends in the hallway to the OR at 9:57 am.  I was terrified and scared as I've never had any surgery or procedure prior to this in my life, but just as I knew He would, he took away my fears as soon as I walked through those double doors. 


I walked over and sat on the OR table brave and ready as I could be.  Before I knew it, half of my body was numb, Joe was by my side and we were ready to meet our baby boy for the very first time.  Joe asked if he could pray before they began the procedure, so 10-12 of us in the OR, stood, sat, and layed as Cullen's daddy prayed for his safe entrance into this world. 

The next thing I know the nurse tells us with excitement, "His head is out!"  A few seconds later, "and there is his body!"  She said, "Cullen was born at 10:10 am."  He was finally here.  I didn't hear any sounds right away, but I could see the nurse carry him over to his bassinet.  Joe was proud and brave to cut his umbilical cord.  What seemed like an eternity, in reality was only a minute or two, as the nurses quickly wiped him off, wrapped him in a blanket, and carried him to me. 

I thought I would sob, ball my eyes outs, and fall apart...  But I only shed a few lonely tears as I held Cullen for the very first time.  I said, "Hi Buddy," and just stared at him.  He was perfect.  Beautiful.  The feeling I felt was indescribable.  How do you explain the happiest moment of your life?  He was mine, ours, here.  In my arms.  Liz, our nurse, freed one of his little arms from his blanket, and I held his hand.  I was already "wrapped", but I let his tiny little fingers wrap around my finger.  I hung on to his every movement as he took his breaths in, and out.  I never wanted to let him go, but I passed him to Joe.   It melted my heart to see him hold Cullen for the very first time.  He was a natural.  You could see the joy beaming from his face, from behind his OR mask, as he held onto him tightly.  He was such a proud daddy.

Passing Cullen back and forth, Joe and I both had the opportunity to hold him several times.  His heartbeat was slow, but he was doing okay.  He was hanging in there.  I was getting slightly light-headed as they finished my procedure, but did well.  Eventually they took Cullen to the scale, and as we were all guessing he'd be 8 lbs. or more, the nurse announced, "6 lbs. 14 oz.!"  Then the measuring tape came out... "and 19 inches long!"  He was a peanut, just as we had nicknamed him. 

Shawnee and Liz, took videos and pictures of the events in the OR.  Cullen made little "squawks" and noises that I could listen to for hours and they would never get old.  It was amazing!  He was as stubborn then as he was not wanting to show his face on the ultrasounds for so many months, though.  He would make his noises and as soon as Shawnee would try to record him, he stopped.  But she did manage to capture this on video when my procedure was over and Dr. Tressler was getting ready to exit the OR.

Video - Cullen "Talks" to us in the OR 

I got a little nauseous when they moved me from the OR table to the hospital bed when my procedure was over.  After settling for a minute, we were ready to make our big debut with Cullen.  Although our family had seen a photo that Jeanine, one of the nurse coordinators, had taken out to them during my C-Section, this would be the big moment as we rolled back through the double doors.  Joe proudly walked beside my hospital bed with Cullen in his arms, as I was wheeled down the hallway to recovery.  I waved as we passed our family and friends who joyfully clapped for all of the miracles that had just taken place. 


As we settled in to our recovery room, I continued to be amazed by Cullen's strength.  Laying there holding him, I couldn't kiss him and look at him enough.  I just tried to take it all in.  I wanted to fall asleep with him in my arms and stay there forever.  He was so precious. 

We asked our photographers to come in and get ready in the background as our parents, Cullen's grandparents, came in to see him for the first time.  As they entered our room, one by one, their faces were filled with sheer love and excitement.  Their reactions were priceless. 


They each had the opportunity to sit and hold baby Cullen, kiss him, and talk to him.  Their sweet little grandson.       



Not knowing how much time we had, it wasn't long before we were bringing in our brothers and sister-in-laws to hold their nephew.  The room was filled with such happiness.  Nothing but love for Cullen and joy to finally meet him after all of the anticipation these past 9 months. 



Among so many, one of the most special moments was his great-grandparents, Joe's Mam and Pap, coming in to see him.  Joe's Pap didn't hesitate to say, "yes", when Joe asked if they wanted to hold him.  They both sat and Joe gracefully helped each one of them hold their great-grandson.


I don't even remember how much time had passed, because Joe and I just soaked it all in.  Cullen was still with us.  He was a fighter.  I just loved every second we had with him.  We had the chance to have a little "photo session" with our little man in his "Cullen -- Made with Love" layette and enjoy some time with just the "three" of us.  I was feeling slightly sick in waves for a few minutes at a time, so after I was feeling better, we had other aunts, cousins, and friends come in to meet Cullen.  It was such a blessing that so many were able to meet him, see him, and hold him.  He was real, and he was loved beyond words. 


The hospital staff was amazing and let us have as much time as they could in the recovery area.  Our family and friends were able to come in and out to see us and little Cullen.  We had the chance to change Cullen and hold his little naked baby body.  I was in awe.  I loved having the chance to change him, for probably the last time...  I loved seeing his baby rolls, and every inch of him.  We put him in a new layette that read "Thank Heavens for Little Boys".  Thank Heavens.  Thank God, for OUR little boy.  The sweetest, most precious I have ever known. 



It was around 12:30 when we went to head upstairs to the Maternity Floor....

To be continued....



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Thank you for sharing Cullen's Birthday with us all. It is such an up lifting story for all to hear and it brings tears to your eyes. As you read this you can just see Cullen being passed around to each and everyone one of his family and friends that love him so and you can see him looking into their eyes and telling them all his own story as he goes from one precious hand to the next because he knows he is protected by each one that is holding him here on earth for the time being and he is trusting all of them. May God Bless You for having the strength to tell the world your story to help the next family get through the heartache of it all.... Thank you n God Bless You

You are brave and God was definitely with you that day. Your words flow as if the Holy Spirit is telling you what to share. Thank you..Prayers to you and your family. Cullin is with GOD and he is healthy and happy, you will meet again. God Bless Roberta

Thank you so much for sharing and thank you for letting us all be a part of your day today! Cullen's life has touched so many!! We love you guys!!!!! Sending many prayers!!!

My heart aches for you and the tears flow so easily. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. Little Cullen's brief life and your sharing faith and strength supplied by our Lord, will touch many lives. May God bless you and comfort you, wrap His arms around you, and carry you through this valley. Sending my prayers and love. -Connie

My Thoughts & Prayers are with you & the whole Family.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories with us, especially loved the video!