And then came Stella ...

There is simply no way for expectant parents to truly understand the way their world is going to be turned upside down by the birth of their baby until it is, in fact, turned upside down. It's so easy to wonder "what did I get myself into?" when you have baby poop under your fingernails, spit up on your shirt, and fuzzy teeth since brushing your teeth is now a luxury rather than an expectation. But then you look ... really look ... at that tiny little person who caused all of the chaos. And you remember that she's worth it. Every stinky second of it. And your start to realize that you can't even really remember what a right-side up world even felt like anyway, and even if you can remember it, there's no way you'd go back. That, my friends, is parenthood. Hayley and Nate, welcome to the parenting club. Our members may be tired, have less money, and say the word "potty" more times than anyone should, but I guarantee you it's one of the best and most rewarding clubs you'll ever join. You two are already exceptional members - your love for Stella and one another is so beautiful and even in your exhaustion, you are still finding time to appreciate the wonder of your daughter. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of Stella's first days - she is truly something special.

7 day old Stella ...