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Grow Through What You Go Through

Hello Loves! It has been some time. I have an entire trimester of updates and lessons to share. This isn't just for a "dear diary" reader experience. Within the story of the last few weeks I have to share I also have a few lessons so I feel as if this will be a valuable, worth your while read. As you know, my favorite form of communication, expression and art is writing. This was inspired by my amazing boyfriend. He wrote the most beautiful blog yesterday on his fitness coaching site. I read it at work and cried and then proceeded to send it to everyone I knew and posted it, Because it really is the nicest shit I have ever read in my life and made me so grateful for where we are at together today. Read it here.


As you probably know I am pregnant. If you didn't know, you are late to the party! WELCOME!


I went radio silent shortly after finding out because truthfully, I was terrified. had also declared that 2020 was my year just a few weeks prior and was determined to get a banging body for summer. I had been called a "fat ugly lesbian" long enough. (Perks of being bisexual, not having a body builder body or fake boobs and having the audacity of dating a super hot body builder I guess.) Not being able to announce the news right away and not consistently sharing progress photos made for me to feel like a total joke, once again.


I had an insanely stressful first trimester. Most of which I brought on myself. Which is why I wanted to share my journey with you. Maybe after reading this you wont create stress for no reason and possibly give a few less fucks and just be happy. Struggle builds strength. Hardships are given to us to create who we are meant to be for those around us. There are lessons in every single hurdle you face.


On March 11th, 2020 I was 4 days late. Doesn't seem like many right? Right. I typically range from 2-3 days late on any other given month. But for some reason I just had a feeling. I knew. But I was totally in denial. I was fairly busy at work and could not concentrate at all. I kind of had some cramping but nothing came of it. So I decided to go to the clinic pharmacy at work and spend a ridiculous amount of money on the clear blue digital pregnancy test. (Because oh yes I did research about what test was the best and most accurate. I also did not have any desire to figure out how many lines needed to appear and what lines needed to show up and what color they were supposed to be. Ain't no body got time for that. I wanted a clear answer.) My intention in taking the test at work was to read a "not pregnant" report and get back to my busy work day. Deep down I kind of knew it was going to read a different result but I digress.


I hustled to the clinic pharmacy through the tunnel that connects the whole hospital and sheepishly looked around for the pregnancy tests. Of course they were right next to the trojans. I felt like a 16 year old hoping her parents didn't see her. The hospital is quite large but quite a few people know me and I became instantly paranoid that someone would see me and then spread around: "Brittany was buying pregnancy tests! OMG!"


Now before I continue my story let me explain why I gave so much of a fuck about who may see me. Because if you know me, you know... I stopped giving a fuck about what people thought about me a long time ago. If there is a person who could give less of a fuck than me on most days... would be highly impressive. I have taught classes on not giving a fuck. But these circumstances were a little different. I am also 31 years old. Like who cares if an adult woman in a relationship is pregnant? Well, let me explain.


My relationship with Brandon had been under a microscope since day 1. Before we were even dating I was told by multiple people who didn't even know him to "stay away" and that someone would be coming after me if I didn't leave him be. Of course I do what I want as I have since I was 9. I knew in my heart he was good. I wasn't really sure if I was going to marry him just yet, but I knew that I wanted to find out. He was different than anyone I had ever met. He made me feel all kinds of feels that I loved feeling and wasn't about to give it up. He stole my heart. Much faster than I had ever expected. I knew that he was worth whatever battle I had to fight.


Oh God was it a battle. I had never felt so prosecuted for just simply trying to be happy. After all I have experienced and been through in my life that is all I have truly ever wanted. I cried so many tears. I was so distraught that there were such awful things being said about me and about him by parties which knew nothing of our true character. I was called a fat ugly lesbian with a big nose, bad teeth that wrote a shitty fucking book. I was accused of only wanting Brandon for his sperm and that my intention was to leave him for my said "girlfriend" of which I did not have. My mothers psychiatric history was thrown in along with my own personal struggles, labeling me "unstable". Sure it was just sticks and stones and I had surely been through worse but I had never been bullied. Not in high school, not in college and certainly not by adults. I had been very open about my past and have overcome a lot in my life which I chose to build something meaningful out of. I have worked tirelessly since 2012 to create a beautiful life of hope and happiness. All of which I had so far. I believed I deserved this more than anyone. I was determined to stick it out and ride out the waves lay low and just let it settle. Which I knew eventually it would. Time heals and helps all things pass.


Then the universe was like... "Hold my beer." Insert the COVID-19 Pandemic and then Pregnancy.





Welp so much for laying low and letting the dust settle. Typical Brittany Cooley. Classic.


So as I was sharing: I was hiding in the clinic pharmacy on my lunch break in line clenching a box of overpriced pregnancy tests like a 16 year old. I checked out and dashed back through the tunnel. Of course I couldn't wait I ran right to the bathroom and peed on the foamy square. (its not a stick. I don't care what you say. It's not. So we are going with foamy square.) It felt like an eternity waiting for it to load. Like its 2020, can't it be instant? To my not so surprise.. it read pregnant. I waited a while for the "not" to appear. Like maybe it took some extra time or something. Well... it never did. I stared at the test in shock and then not so shock. Then I wondered what the hell I was going to do.





I ran into a co-workers office and shut the door and carelessly threw my pee soaked pregnancy test on her desk and sat down in silence. Because truthfully, I didn't know what else to do. She talked me through the next few minutes and what I needed to do next. Which was obviously schedule a fucking appointment. And also that this wasn't a bad thing. So, I sat right there and called OB. They said that they wouldn't see me until 8-10 weeks. (At this point my calculations in a very rapid amount of time might I add; put me at exactly 4 weeks.) WHAT THE HELL WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO FOR OVER A MONTH?! My scheduled appointment was April 20th, 2020. Over a month away. Which added to my increasing anxiety.


The rest of the day at work was a blur. I am fairly certain I got absolutely nothing done and clocked right out at 4:27 PM. Now I had to tell Daddy. I felt like I was going to vomit the whole ride home. The whole 3 minute ride. We had moved in together kind of secretly. (Because we were already being scrutinized by everyone in our lives enough.) And yeah, it was fast. Like, fast fast. Like I kind of felt crazy and delusional fast. But doors closed and opened and this unit became available and it just kind of felt like it was meant to be. When you know, you know. You know? I am 31 years old. I made a carefully calculated decision. After all the best way to see if its going to work is to jump in. So the worst case scenario? Figure out we can't stand each other after all and part ways? Okay..well I have been through worse and so has he. I am at the age where I don't play games. If I know something isn't going to work, I don't waste my time. If I love something and want it more than anything, I have it. Period. I also don't typically listen to unsolicited advice. Which I was getting a lot of.


So I walk through the door and well he isn't very happy. He had received some poor communications and was going off ranting about what had been going on and my heart sank. My anxiety increased because I knew that this news (although it wasn't bad) was going to make all of these issues worse. Much much worse. He noticed that something was off and said "What's going on? Talk to me." I stammered: " I.... I don't really want to now..." He kindly took me in his ridiculously large arms and asked me what was going on. And in a very non-romantic, non-sentimental, non-cute way I blurted out; " We are going to have a baby".


His eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas and he smiled wide like I had never seen before. I was shocked but also not shocked because I know what kind of person he is. He was way more excited than I had expected. He was way more excited than I was. But his happiness gave me a little peace of mind. Just a little. I was still a nervous wreck.


The next few weeks were quite hellish. My mood fluctuated. My anxiety and sheer worry increased significantly. My food aversion came to life and made me so sick every time I smelled any kind of food cooking. Especially meat. The hormone headaches were awful. I was so tired. The fatigue was ridiculous. I am not sure if that was me weaning myself off of 4 pots of coffee per day or actual pregnancy symptoms. But I slept almost 10-12 hours every night and took naps. I was no treat to be around either. Brandon believed that I wasn't happy about the baby. and that wasn't true. I know it seemed like it. Which broke my heart. But there was nothing I could do about it. It was if my body was no longer my own. The fear overtook everything. Which I regret allowing.


I was worried what everyone would say. I was worried about my baby being shit talked like we were consistently being. I was worried that people wouldn't support me being with Brandon and having a baby so fast. I was worried about the baby and if it was okay because my appointment so far out. I was worried about literally everything. I was also worried that all of my stress was hurting the baby and I didn't know what to do about it. So then I felt guilty for not having my shit more together. I created all kinds of awful scenarios in my head. I was also terrified to bring a baby into a pandemic. At the time COVID had just started and everyone was living in fear and the world was being shut down. I have always wanted to be a mother, but I pictured it differently. But I think everyone does. Yes I am 31 years old and most women my age have 2 or 3 kids by now. They are all mostly married and have mortgages. Which I had fallen into the late bloomer category on those things. I wanted my mother to be here. I wanted someone to tell me that it was going to be okay. I wanted her to tell me that it was going to be okay. I desperately wanted some motherly figure to hold me and tell me it was going to fucking be okay. Brandon was more supportive than I deserved. My stress stressed him out. It was the ultimate test of a new relationship and I felt like I was failing.


It was hell waiting for that first appointment. And to top it all off, Brandon couldn't come with me. How absolutely devastating that was. He wasn't going to be there to see our baby for the first time. And I am sorry but face time is not the same thing. Finally April 20th rolled around and I was ... yep you guessed it. A nervous fucking wreck. I sat in the waiting room with my mask on not knowing what to expect. I was scared and absolutely hated that I had to do this by myself. No first time mother should ever have to do that alone.



Finally they called my name. I went back and spent some time with a nurse practitioner. She answered my questions and went through some information with me. I had to sign some papers. The whole time I still could't believe where I was and what I was doing. I wished so badly that my mother was alive and well and helping me through this. For a few brief minutes I went back to hating her for getting sick and leaving me to fend for myself. I was then shown into the room where I saw the ultrasound screen. My heart was in my throat because I again, didn't know what to expect and I was by myself. What if something was wrong? How would I manage to peel myself off the table? What if there were two babies? What if there were none?


The Doctor came in the room and asked how I had been feeling. I said, like shit. Because that was the truth. On so many levels. And within less than 5 minutes I saw her for the first time. In that split second; everything instantly changed. It was almost as if my entire chemical makeup was transformed. Of course at 9 weeks and 5 days she looked like a little alien with a big head and a little body, but it was the most magical moment I had ever experienced. In that moment nothing else mattered. There was a tiny little human the size of a prune in my belly wiggling around. I had a real live human little baby growing in my body. I was a real Mommy.


That moment completely shut down all my fear and doubts. Well, most of them.



A few days later I had some labs done to test for genetic diseases and I would also learn the gender. Despite the pandemic, I wanted a gender reveal gathering so badly I really didn't care about the law. I had worked the entire time through in healthcare none the less so if anyone was going to have it, it would be me. I got the results back a long 7 days later and made my nurse friends look them over to make sure everything was okay. I didn't look because I did not want to find out the gender. I wanted to be surprised. I asked Brandon and he said "That's a girl thing. I don't care either way." I was so happy to hear that everything was perfectly normal and healthy with our baby. The stress and anxiety decreased significantly.


I was almost certain it was a boy. Brandon wanted a boy to play catch, football and video games. We chose the names Brock Daniel Fuller and Bria Lee Fuller. Daniel is my fathers name and Lee is Brandons middle name. He picked the boy first name and I picked the girls. We wanted to stick with BR's. Brandon, Brittany, Brutus _________. Cute right?


Then I figured well since the results read well and everything was okay with Baby B, it was time to tell my Dad. I was nervous because well this isn't something I had ever done before. But I figured if I could tell him I was going to date a girl in 2012, I could tell him I was going to have a baby. I ordered this frame on Etsy. I highly recommend! Great quality customizable frames and quick shipping even during the world chaos.


I went over there on a Saturday morning. We watched a movie and it just didn't seem like the right time at first. The thing about my Dad is he is a man of few words and expressions. But the ones he does say and show count more than anything. He has never been a talker. He has never been someone to just randomly call and "catch up". But his heart is the size of the universe and he has gone to hell and back for me. I know he loves me more than anything in this world just as my Mama did. I had been there for nearly 2 hours at that point and finally said: " Okay, put on your glasses and close your eyes! I have a present for you but I didn't wrap it!" He laughed at me and gave me a funny look, but he did as I requested. I proudly placed the frame in his hands and told him to open.


He studied the frame for what seemed like 10 minutes. He gave me a funny look. He looked back at the frame. I said: " You are going to be a human grandpa. I am going to have a baby."

He said: " You are? Well.... congratulations. and proceeded to stare at the frame and tear up for the next few minutes. He stood up and hugged me and then instantly went down the stairs and walked out to the garage to show me the high chair that had been in our family for 80 years. It is the high chair that I had sat in, my sister had sat in, he had sat in, all of his siblings.... I had no idea he still had this chair. He may have told me once or twice but I likely wasn't paying attention or ever in the place to where I would need it.



He carried it up to the house and said he was going to fix it up for me. Talk about melting my heart. That is my Dad. He isn't a talker. He is a doer. That is how he shows his love and expresses his feelings. It is rarely ever with words or conversation.


After my father knew, it was just a week or so later that I would be skating into the second trimester where the chances of the bad M word significantly decrease. At that point, it was time to announce to the world of Facebook. That pesky stress and anxiety came back. Because, without sounding super paranoid I knew our every move was being watched on social media. I knew it was being chewed up and spit out and analyzed. And I was slightly concerned to get negative back wash from those trolling us. Because you can talk shit about me all day long, thats fine... but I knew if anyone said one ill word towards my baby I would likely instantly mama bear them. And I was afraid of what that would look like with these new fancy hormones I had raging through my system.


My best girl Shannon, found the best photographer to capture the perfect photo for our announcement. She then went on to do the best photos at our gender reveal. Make sure you check her out if you are local! Kiana Zimmer.



I had intentions of posting this on Mothers Day but after I got the photo back from Kiana I just had to get it out there. I knew that no matter what the response was, I would feel relief, as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Carrying around the secret that you are pregnant when you want nothing more than to shout it from the roof tops can be quite suffocating. Especially when you have a large audience.


So the Friday night before Mothers Day, Brandon and I were sitting on the couch. I looked at him and asked him if he cared if I posted it. He said, "Babe, I have wanted to tell people since the day you found out." - Which was true. So I took a deep breath and hit post and threw my phone down. We were in the middle of watching a movie or a show, but I couldn't help but watch in amazement the response to this baby announcement. Within half an hour the post had nearly 500 likes and 150 comments. It ended up having a whopping 949 likes and 360 comments of awe and congratulations. It was completely unbelievable. Not that social media likes and comments are a form of value or love but holy hell, I could not believe how many people cheered for our news and happiness.


It felt like an eternity waiting for the gender reveal. I waited a few weeks to see if any restrictions would be lifted because I didn't want anyone to rain on our parade.



It was a small gathering of under 15. Mostly friends from work which I consider family. I wanted my father there and my Aunt Val and Blythe. My Dad didn't end up coming because he doesn't really do "social gatherings" even not in a pandemic. I was very disappointed but knew it wasn't personal. I knew my mama was there in spirit and that is all that really mattered.


Shannon, God Bless her has always been in charge of parties. She throws everyone birthday parties so naturally I gave her the baton for the gender reveal. She thew my 31st birthday party which I ended up pregnant very shortly there after, so to say "she's good" is an understatement. (Yes I am having a Birthday/Valentines Day weekend baby, not a pandemic baby. I repeat!)


The thing I love most about Shannon is her love for this unborn child. I believe that she loves this baby nearly as much as we do. She has been such a good friend to me and support throughout this entire experience. I don't think I would have made it this far or through the worst of it without her support and daily pep talks. She's one of the very few people who has supported Brandon and I since day one. She's a fire cracker and has so much love inside of her. I truly lucked out to find such a wonderful friend. Even if she calls the baby Paddy. (Long story) She has currently purchased this child more things than anyone else including a pair of real baby UGGS and a Kate Spade diaper bag.


She came running out of the diner in her pink dress which kind of gave it away. She looked more excited than the both of us combined. She told everyone. Except for Brandon and I. (which was good. Because we did not want to know!) We stood outside the back of the diner in the grass and she gave us two cannons to shoot off which would signal the color. Either pink or blue.



As you can see from the video, it was PINK. Bria Lee Fuller was going to be making her way into the world in just a few short months. I knew it was real since I peed on that foamy square but now it was like REALLY REALLY REAL.



There was nothing but love surrounding us and for the first time in over 3 months I felt like everything was really going to be okay. More than okay.


I felt true happiness and peace. I fell even more in love with the father of my child. More than I had before. There was no room for any fear or anxiety any longer.


Since the gender reveal things have been wonderful. I am the happiest I have ever been. My problems consist of wondering what kind of sandwich I want to eat and trying to decide what to do Bria's room in. I worry about nothing else. I mean nothing else. Because nothing else matters.


The lesson in this lengthy story update is this: Fear is "False Events Appearing Real" We often create the worst case scenario in our heads and build up so much anxiety around it we miss important parts of life and close ourselves off to blessings. My first trimester was the prime example of just that. I regret giving my fear power and putting so much strain on my relationship and my poor baby girl. Because truthfully it was for no reason. I am forever grateful for landing such a fine man who is going to be an amazing father. I love the little family that we have and cannot wait to meet our little girl in November. She is going to be absolutely perfect and worth ever single thing I have ever experienced.





It is my hope to be the best mom on the planet, just like my mother was. I hope to create the same magic in my daughters life that my mother once created in mine. With bedtime stories, holidays, snacks and so much love. I will dance around my living room with Bria and tell her all the wonderful memories I have of her grandma Linda. I will protect her from all evil and teach her how to be strength personified. We are going to have such a beautiful life. I can hardly wait.



What we go through, we grow through. Even in the midst of the worst times in our lives. Remember: Everything always works out in the end. and often times what seems like the end, is just the beginning of your greatest adventure.


Until next time friends.


xo,


Brittany


(If you enjoyed this please share and make sure you tag me.) <3


Pre- Order my next book coming this fall along with my baby here.



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