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Monthly Edit: August 2020

Pei Sim


Monthly Edit: August 2020

Y'all, how on earth is it August right now?

I feel like this entire year has been a blur. And I also cannot believe that back in March when we first closed, I figured it would be at most a month or two before we would be back in the store. (Literally LOL at my past self haha) I've been thoroughly enjoying writing our weekly newsletters that have allowed me to share a bit more than just on Instagram and social media - I really feel as though I'm writing to each of you and it slightly makes up for the fact that I have had little interaction in real life with other human beings besides Evan and Penelope for actual months now. 

In this monthly edit, I'll catch you up on: what's going on with the business (a check-in since it's been a little while I shared what's going on), some of my current shop favorites, a life lately (more personal) update, something I've purchased from a small business that I want you to know about, and I wanted to end it with a little reminder and virtual love note :) 

So here goes! 

SHOP UPDATE

We're still closed to the public and plan to stay this way for the remainder of the month. Depending on if the case count isn't continuing to rise, I am going to have a conversation with our girls and evaluate the possibility of weekend hours, by appointment only. I'd really love to bring back curbside on those days as well. But all of this is TBD. As much as I understand the frustration of paying for shipping when you might live close by, it's not worth it in so many ways right now to have y'all out here or have someone on our team here weekly. 

Currently, I am prepared for us to be online only for the remainder of the year. Which very honestly is terrifying as I literally have never been an online only business. I very much feel like I started a brand new business back in March when we closed our doors. The holiday season is so important for us as a retail business (and is important for so many other small businesses too) and trying to anticipate, plan and navigate it right now feels so extremely daunting and overwhelming. 

Trying to figure out how to recreate the holiday magic in our store virtually feels impossible. Trying to plan out what to buy for inventory while managing a different type of cash flow. Trying to anticipate what our community will want and need this holiday season. Trying to decide if it's insane to have a shipping/order cut off date almost a month before the 25th of December in preparation for package delays. All of this feels like A LOT. 

I know it'll all work out - and again, reminding myself that although I love our shop, nothing we offer is life giving (literally, any way). And I'm also just grateful that we have such a kind and understanding community who supports us! 

Anyway, I usually buy for the holidays later in the fall. Since we are in Texas, it doesn't quite feel like the holidays until after Thanksgiving. So usually that's when we have our holiday goods out! But now the plan is to bump that up to perhaps October - with a shipping/order cut off by Thanksgiving (If you're thinking OMG, same, girl, same. )

So that's what's weighing on my mind, my heart, and my bank account - seriously, figuring out how on earth to do all of this! 

SHOP FAVES

Okay on a lighter note... I'm so beyond grateful that with y'alls support, I've been able to continue to make purchase orders from other independent businesses to stock our virtual shelves. 

Here are a few things I'm loving lately! 

These candles are hand poured right here in Austin by a woman owned business. It's hard to pick a favorite scent - for an extra special treat, try burning both at the same time for an amazing combo scent! 



I cannot get enough of these watercolor pencils. They offer you a bit more control as you would draw, illustrate and color as you would a normal color pencil before adding water with your brush to create a watercolor effect! I've been using them to paint and illustrate some botanicals for a friend's wedding invitations.

August subscription box goodies have been ordered and I can't wait for you to see what I picked out this month! Only a few of each are left before our cut off date of the 7th this month so get yours today! 

Also, did you know we added a New Arrivals section on our website? We update this frequently as soon as new goods arrive :)

LIFE LATELY

I almost didn't want to write this section because honestly, I probably feel the exact same way everyone else is feeling right now. I feel like I'm experiencing a whole new level of tiredness and most days I'm running purely off of coffee, baby giggles and day dreams of a time when the world feels a little happier and safer as a whole. 

I know stress manifests in physical ways for me and I'm trying really hard to keep those at bay. The excuse of not having time to take care of myself first is something I have used for a very long time now, even pre-Covid and I feel like I need to reevaluate what I need to prioritize personally. 

Currently, a good place to start looks like actually committing to some form of online work out just once a week and genuinely not turning on my computer or working one day a week. Lofty goals huh? 

Something exciting personally is that our backyard update plans are in motion! The fencing material was delivered last week and will be stored in our backyard until they can come work on it. The timeline is currently last week of August for the fencing and early September for the concrete work! 

I've recently discovered a business I am so excited to share with y'all about - Beam Paints creates handmade watercolors with materials and pigments found in nature. These are handmade in the M'Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island in Canada. I ordered a few to add to to my watercolor stash and also subscribed for a monthly watercolor pod to be delivered to my home. The shipping may seem steep but it is coming all the way from Canada, and also, I don't mind it because I love knowing I'm getting to support an Indigenous owned small business monthly! 

 

LOVE NOTE

Something I've observed over the past few months is how truly wonderful it's been to connect with people through social media. It's a way to feel like you're still interacting with the rest of the world during quarantine - and honestly, even before all of this I've felt like one of the good things of social media is that it allows you to get to know people you may not have otherwise known or met. 

That being said, I've seen from other friends and also experienced it in perhaps a lesser severity as others, how cruel people can be to other human beings with their comments and messages. No matter if someone has 10 or 100,000 followers, it doesn't make it hurt any less when someone says something incredibly insensitive or hurtful. 

Everyone is going through their own difficulties in life, and I'd like to think everyone is doing their best. So consider this a little reminder, what we see of each other online is just a little snap shot of a whole person. 

P+CP Quarantine Book + Resource List

Pei Sim


P+CP Quarantine Book + Resource List

Hello friends! WHAT A WEEK (and by week I mean past three weeks!)

Although we are not meeting for our monthly meetings, our book club-ers are still reading! And we wanted to share what we are currently reading as well as a list featuring some of our 2019 reads that we loved with you. I hope you can find some time during this very strange and even scary time in the world to escape through a good book :)

I think the books listed below are worth a re-read because they’re that good, at least in my opinion!

I’ve only committed to one book probably to span a couple of months - realistically there’s just SO much going on with transitioning the business completely online as well as navigating how to run the business without any support or help at the moment (you can peek at our second March Update for details)

I’m personally reading The Jetsetters, I’m particularly loving how it’s set in different cities and countries around the world - it’s been nice considering I’ve been only leaving the house once a week to go by the shop to fulfill our online orders!

Also not shocking, it’s a part of the Reese’s book club read. I jokingly say that our boo club could be an IRL version of her online book club. But her book choices have all been so good!

Krystal (@homemadeaustin on Instagram) who has been our long time book club-er is currently reading The Upside of Being Down by Jen Gotch and The Stationery Shop (which I feel like I MUST add to my list sheerly from the title!) She’s also reading Meg, Jo, Beth & Amy, which is a modern day re-telling of Little Women in a graphic novel form!

Check out our book list below and tell me in the comments what you’re currently reading!


Here is a short list of creative resources + freebies from some fellow small businesses I love:

  • This lettering book! Plus there’s also a kid version with lots of fun projects! Nicole is one of the most genuine souls I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and I’m so grateful for her friendship!

  • These beautiful floral coloring pages that you can download for free. These were designed by Kristara, one of my best friends who lives in Houston. She owns and operates her own calligraphy studio all while juggling two adorable little girls.

  • Kit + adult friendly ceramics D.I.Y. kits! I’m particularly “frond” of this one and this one too! Y’all know Courtney from our ceramics workshops in our studio, I LOVE her.

  • These downloadable lettering guides from one of the MOST TALENTED lettering artist we know! She even has procreate brushes you can download if you prefer to letter on your iPad. Shelly is the kind of person that just radiates warmth and kindness, I promise you that it’s impossible to have a bad day when she’s around. Everyone needs a friends like Shelly.

  • I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of this book - for so many reasons but also because she’s a fellow newish mama, and we bonded during our last months of pregnancy through the internet :) Eunice is hilarious, talented and just someone I can’t wait to meet in real life once all of this is over!

  • Another free download for ya! Even more coloring fun with another stationery + workshop instructor pal from the West coast! Chelsea has quickly become a very dear friend of mine, possibly from our shared love of plants, food and Italy.

Sending you all a lot of love + joy for your week!

categories Round up

March Update II

Alyssa Nguyen


March Update II

*UPDATE AS OF WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18TH 2020.

We will be closing the doors to our shop + studio for now.**

Our business relies on our physical space for it’s revenue - through our retail space + our workshop studio. Y’all are our bread and butter. 

As a champion for all things analog (duh, we’re a stationery/paper shop) and in person experiences - nothing makes us happier than connecting with each of you who come through our shop. From helping y’all pick out the perfect card and gift for someone special, to creating a space for you to learn something new and craft - not having our doors open not only makes me incredibly sad, but is also going to be a huge financial stress on this small business.

In full transparency here’s what’s going on:

WORKSHOPS + EVENTS AT THE P+CP

We will be pressing pause on all our upcoming workshops and events for the month of March + April - all current workshop ticket holders will be receiving workshop credit towards a future workshop.

HOW TO SUPPORT US

A lot of you have asked how you can support us - and some have already supported us through online sales. Some of you have suggested I host a sale through stories, or host online workshops - while those are wonderful ideas on an ordinary day, it feels painfully inauthentic to me and what this small business stands for - especially right now.

I’ve always prided this business for it’s commitment to quality and as much as workshop kits and online resources has been on my never ending list of things I want to accomplish with the business, it’s obviously fallen to the back burner because of a lot of reasons - like life, a new baby, in addition to me really loving that our physical space encourages people to engage and interact in-person. 

For now, I do not plan to roll out any new online offerings. It does not feel right to rush it. Or to push new online sales with everything going on in our city, in our world. Also, those of you may know me probably know how I tend to move “slower” in all aspects of the business - I’d like to think of it as me being very mindful of the reason behind every business decision :) 

Instead of focusing on how you can solely support us, I’d like to urge you to support others in real life instead. Check in on your neighbor. Share resources you may have (yes I’m talking TP etc.) Choose to share joyful moments online. Try to tune out all the excess noise on the internet. Find the good in the every day.

If you still feel inclined to, you are welcome to continue to do so in the form of our online shop or an e-gift certificate. This will lessen the burden of keeping our team employed as well as help us reopen when the time comes.

LAST LITTLE THING:

I hope and believe that this will bring out the very best in people and I hope to connect with y’all over the next few weeks online (you’ll find riveting videos of my adorable baby, crazy pups, and my face :)

And although it truly makes me sad to close for the next few weeks, I’m trying to be optimistic. I’m so grateful that I will be able to take care of all four of our employees through the next few weeks of our closure. (I swear that book number three on my small biz book list has set me up financially, as a business, to weather out hard times - at least for a bit!)

See y’all soon - stay healthy - be good to each other - stationery with an “e” forever!

xo,

Pei

**Our plans to reopen will be evaluated and assessed in the coming days and weeks. Please check on social media for updates!

March Update

Alyssa Nguyen


March Update

Hi paper friends!

I’ve been mulling over everything that has been going on and the impact it has had on other communities. I believe there is a fine line between the spectrum of running to Costco, clearing out pallets of toilet paper and ignoring the growing situation with the COVID-19.

I’m going to be transparent AF right now.

I could go on and on about what worries me, with a young infant I’ve already been hyper vigilant about exposing her to any kind of illness. But it also extends to my family abroad, in Singapore, particularly my 90+ year old grandmother. We had original plans to head that way this summer so Penelope could meet her great grandmother - all of this is on hold for now.

As a small business owner, who has spoken to a lot of other small business owners, there is a sense of doom amongst these businesses who do not know if they will “survive” this. When you own your own business and have a physical space, you are self employed. You do not have the option to work from home. You do not have a guaranteed salary. You do not have the option to not cover your overhead (rent, bills etc.).

You depend on your community.

It is completely natural and understandable that there is an air of fear since there is so much unknown out there - and I’m not here to add to the fear nor do I want to play into the panic that some people have exhibited. When scary things are happening, the last thing people are thinking of is “ooo, let me pick up a new creative hobby!” or “I really need a new pen and notebook!” They’re too busy buying Purrell and reselling it on the hand sanitizer black market (jokes jokes.)

Jokes aside, I would be foolish to pretend like nothing is going on and to not have some plans in place. This may seem so negative and such a downer but some small businesses may not bounce back from this. And some may. But they will need your support. I will need your support.

Here are the five things I am committed to doing right now:

I’m committed to keeping our doors open as long as it is deemed safe and right to do so for our employees and guests.

I’m committed to not just stop what we are doing as a business - if I let fear take over, it will trickle down to the vendors we order from, the instructors we host in our studio, who are business owners who also depend on us.

I’m committed to taking care of our employees in lieu of my monthly salary if needed.

I’m committed to doing my best to weather out the next couple of months - no matter what happens or doesn’t happen.

I’m committed to not just stop what we are doing as a business and to personally, continue to live my life.

A little PSA and reminder that in general, the world could always use extra kindness. And perhaps even more now :)

xoxo,

Pei


HERE’S OUR OFFICIAL P+CP STATEMENT BELOW:

As of March 12th, 2020:

The Paper + Craft Pantry will remain open and continue to operate as a business - both as a retail space as well as for our scheduled classes. 

Our team has been provided information and resources to maintain a safe, clean and healthy environment within our four walls. In addition to our standard daily cleaning practices, we have added on several operational protocols to disinfect based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization.

We have also been informed by the property management team at Springdale General of their increased efforts to maintain the common areas and the entire property for the safety of all tenants as well as guests to the area. 

WE DEEPLY CARE ABOUT OUR EMPLOYEES, INSTRUCTORS AND COMMUNITY. IF YOU DO NOT FEEL WELL OR ARE EXHIBITING SYMPTOMS (ASSOCIATED WITH COVID-19 OR OTHERWISE), PLEASE HEAVILY CONSIDER STAYING HOME - TO MAINTAIN THE INTEGRITY OF OTHERS WHO MAY BE EXPOSED TO YOU. 


Our Retail Shop:

We will remain open and evaluate daily with regards to the safety and health of our employees + guests. We're inviting guests coming into our shops to make use of our private bathroom to have access to wash their hands.

We will share and update via social media as well as in our newsletter if this changes. 

Upcoming Workshops: 

As long as our instructors are healthy, we will move forward with our scheduled workshops. Our workshops have always been intimate with class sizes no more than 10-12 students unlike the large scale events that have been cancelled around the nation that draws out hundreds and thousands of attendees. 

If an instructor is unwell, we will postpone and reschedule the workshop. This is to prioritize the safety and health of you, our students. And now we will ask you, as a student, to do the same.

We are implementing a Workshop Clause (from March 12th 2020 - April 30th 2020) to our standard Workshop Policy: If a student communicates with us within 48 hours of the workshop that they are unwell, they will receive full credit towards any future workshop in our studio. 


As a small business, we are not taking any of this lightly and have spent time weighing out what is best for our community. This not only impacts us, but has a trickle down effect to all the incredible small businesses we work with to stock our shop and extends to the small business owners who lead our incredible workshops.

Although this may be a strain on us as a small business, we are being proactive and thinking about people over profit. 

We have been committed to delivering the very best to our community and intend to do so in a way that maintains the safety, health, and wellness of our employees, instructors, workshop students, and shop guests.

Printable: 2020 Goal Worksheets

Alyssa Nguyen


Printable: 2020 Goal Worksheets

Wanna know something weird? This is the FIRST year since we opened our doors that we didn’t host our annual Goal Setting Workshop in the studio. I know a baby is a very valid excuse (haha) but seriously, it felt strange not having it on our calendar.

There’s just something magical about starting off the year by carving out some time on a Sunday morning in our studio, surrounded by an intimate group of women who are showing up for themselves. I usually keep the lights off and make use of the cozy natural light we have from our windows, light a candle and put out a pot of warm tea for everyone as we get started.

We’ve had students come every single year to our Goal Setting Workshop and it’s been an honor hearing about how our students achieve their goals. The disclaimer to goals is always that you HAVE to work towards your goals. Writing them down has power in itself but you’ve got to do the work :) And I’m so proud to have seen so many of our students do the work and work towards their goals over the years.

I created these worksheets as a very mini version of our 1.5-2 hour in-person workshop and have plans to elaborate on these to develop a true digital version of our Goal Setting Workshop so that when we get back to hosting them in-person, those of you who are not in Austin or unable to make it to that session can get in on the goal magic.

These worksheets are meant to guide you through reflecting back on last year, before moving on to the current year. I encourage you to carve out at least an hour to spend on these pages, take yourself on a date to a coffee shop one morning or make yourself a warm cup of tea one morning - remove distractions, bust out your new notebook (I know y’all probably have one somewhere and if not, I’ve heard of a great local shop in town ;) and get to it. You can download and print out a worksheet for yourself, as well as download a really cute crystal desktop background below!

Here are a few tips to get started:

Get comfortable (whether you are sitting at your desk or cozied up on your couch)

Take a few deep breaths (inhaling all the good and positivity around, exhaling all the things that feel heavy)

Clear your mind (No excuses, no limitations, nothing holding you back…)

Work through these sheets, if you get stuck - find a moment to pause, don’t stress. Simply move on. You can always go back to what you were stuck on

My word of the year this year is: Savor. To savor the season of life I am in right now with a new baby. To savor the time this business has given me to be able dedicate more time and attention to my family and personal life. To savor and enjoy the hard work I have put in over the past six years for the business to be able to thrive without me working “in” it 24/7. To savor the immense gratitude I have for our shop + studio team, the designers we get to feature in our retail shop, the talented instructors we get to co-host workshops with, and our entire community that supports this business.

Goals are something I really believe in, and I would be so honored to hear from you if you find these worksheets helpful. I’d love to hear what you think of these as you work through them, if you have any big goals you’d like to share with us, as well as if you have any feedback :)

LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND TAG US ON INSTAGRAM SO WE CAN SEE YOU WORK SOME GOAL MAGIC INTO YOUR LIVES THIS YEAR!

The Monthly Edit: January 2020

Alyssa Nguyen


The Monthly Edit: January 2020

A NOTE FROM PEI: 

Hey everyone! I hope you all have had a wonderful start to the new year! It’s wild to think we are going into our 5th year as a business and I find that the new year has always been a great time to reflect back. A lot of people are eager to just charge full steam ahead but sometimes you’ve got to slow down first! I love rounding up the good things that happened the year before and come from a place of gratitude for what the previous year has allowed to happen in my life, both personally and for the P+CP. 

I’m working on so many things behind the scenes - albeit a lot slower than usual as I learn how to fill my role as a small business owner while also being a mom to a sweet little baby girl. Sometimes it feels conflicting that my personal life can cross over into the business but I suppose that’s what small business is - it is personal in so many ways.

One of my many goals this year is to continue to be transparent about everything that goes into this business which will include snippets of my own life behind the scenes. I’m grateful for all of you who have followed along all these years and who have been cheering us on - especially in the past year and for sure in the past couple of months since Penelope was born, it’s been truly a huge blessing to feel y’alls love and support through this community online and in-person through our shop + studio!

xo, Pei


HERE’S A LOOK BACK AT LAST YEAR AT THE PAPER + CRAFT PANTRY!

2019 in Numbers: 

# of greeting cards sold: over 5000!

# of workshops hosted: 90

# of workshop students who learned something new: 1100

# of community events hosted: 21

# of small businesses supported through our retail shop + workshop studio: 134

# of times we felt grateful for you: COUNTLESS


NEW YEAR FORECAST + 2020 GOALS

 

  • Discovering unique paper goods to bring into our shop (with a focus on really special and unique designers)

  • Adding more giftables to our shelves so we can be a one stop shop for y’all

  • Expanding our in-house P+CP line

  • Curate an exciting workshop and event calendar

  • More connection with our community in person and online too!

We usually host multiple goal setting workshops in our studio in the beginning of each year and this is the first year we haven’t - so I’m working on a free printable mini goal guide for y’all that I plan to have up in the next week or so! Stay tuned!


UPCOMING WORKSHOPS

Y’all know how quickly our workshops tend to fill up, so don’t say we didn’t warn ya!



UPCOMING EVENTS

Jan BOOK CLUB

Be a part of our complimentary community book club here at The Paper + Craft Pantry! 

To kick of the new 2020 year, we'll be reading More Than Enough by Miranda Anderson. You're welcome to read at your own pace through the month, just come to the meeting ready to discuss the entire book! 

We welcome everyone to be a part of our book club but we do require a complimentary RSVP via Facebook if you can :)

Here's a little reminder about how our book club is hosted:

  • We are sharing our book picks by the quarter. So you’ll be able to get an idea of what books are coming up!

  • Book club nights will take place on the last Wednesday of each month from 6pm-7:15pm. January's meeting will take place on Wednesday, January 29th!

  • Book club members are encouraged to bring a snack to share at the meeting and we’ll provide a glass of wine for everyone.

  • Book club members will vote on the next quarters books!

FEB VDAY POP UP

 

SAVE THE DATE FOR OUR 5TH ANNUAL VALENTINE’S MARKET!

Join us for a Sunday funday filled with all of our favorite things just in time for Valentine’s Day! We’ve rounded up some incredible small businesses who will be popping up in our studio for the afternoon. In addition to picking up the perfect card + stationery from our shop, you’ll be able to pick up flowers to baked goods and locally made bath goodies to on-the-spot custom poetry for the loves in your lives!

SO SWING BY FOR AN AFTERNOON OF LOCAL LOVE + LOCAL FUN!

2020 Featured Vendors:

Lovelily Flowers

The Good Hippie - all natural apothecary + bath goods

The Matcha Cart - serving up the best matcha beverages

Typewriter Poetry - by Scott James

Whisk ATX - delicious macarons!

FEB BOOK CLUB

Be a part of our complimentary community book club here at The Paper + Craft Pantry! 

For February, we'll be reading The Cactus by Sarah Haywood. You're welcome to read at your own pace through the month, just come to the meeting ready to discuss the entire book! 

We welcome everyone to be a part of our book club but we do require a complimentary RSVP via Facebook if you can :)

Here's a little reminder about how our book club is hosted:

  • We are sharing our book picks by the quarter. So you’ll be able to get an idea of what books are coming up!

  • Book club nights will take place on the last Wednesday of each month from 6pm-7:15pm. February’s meeting will take place on Wednesday, February 26th!

  • Book club members are encouraged to bring a snack to share at the meeting and we’ll provide a glass of wine for everyone.

  • Book club members will vote on the next quarters books!


LIFE LATELY:

In case you’re wondering how life is with a new born...one word: HARD. So so so much harder than I could have imagined or anticipated, it’s truly given me a whole new respect for other women who are moms (especially with multiples!) Penelope is an incredible little human and I’m 100% biased but I think she’s just the cutest thing ever - but it’s been a big life change and adjustment all around. I also may have 100% underestimated just how big of a life change and adjustment it would be for me. And to be honest, I really thought that by now (she just turned 2 months last week) I’d be in some sort of rhythm in this new life of mine. Spoiler alert: I’m totally not adjusted and there’s no such thing as a daily rhythm with a baby haha

Feel free to skip through to the bottom for a cute newborn photo ;)


Alright, I feel like to update y’all would require me writing a freaking novel so I’ll just break it up into little bits instead. So here goes!

Penelope’s Birth Story:

First, I’ll go back to the weeks leading up to her birth. It was no secret I was just not a fan of pregnancy, from the symptoms to also enduring it through a brutally hot Texas summer...it was just not fun. I did not feel like I glowed, and if anyone thought I was, it was probably just me sweating during the summer. Looking back, it’s weird to think I tried to maintain that things were mostly normal when it came to work or when I was physically at the shop.

My birth plan was to not have a plan. But we went ahead and hired a doula (who was a huge support throughout!), I attended pre-natal workout classes, went to acupuncture and got regular massages (by the end of pregnancy I was so uncomfortable sometimes the only time I got to really snooze was during these massages, I found a therapist at a place close to where I live and I’m going to need to thank her again for not laughing when I fell asleep and snorted myself awake during my session) One of the big things I knew for sure I wanted to avoid was a c-section, for the sole reason that it’s major abdominal surgery and it sounded really painful/scary.

Fast forward to a few weeks before my due date, we went in for an ultrasound and found out that the baby was breeched. I’m sure having a ton of hormones didn’t help but I was SO upset about it. My OB suggested I chat with my acupuncturist as well as scheduled me for a ECV (external cephalic version) at the hospital the following week. I literally tried everything between that appointment and the ECV. The acupuncturist gave me these moxa sticks (looks like a cigar and it emits heat) and I was to use it to heat my outer edge of my pinky toes as it’s supposed to encourage the baby to flip. I know it sounds insane but I mean even my OB suggested it and no one knows why it sometimes works. I was supposed to do this every day and then basically be in some sort of inversion (like downward dog) to make room for the baby to turn. This was extra not fun since I had really bad carpal tunnel from pregnancy and being on your hands/wrists with all the extra pregnancy weight was brutal. 

Well it didn’t work, and Evan only burned my toe once (it was an accident). And I ended up going in for the ECV the following week. They basically poured a small travel sized bottle of olive oil (seriously) on my belly and my OB plus another doctor proceeded to try to turn the baby from the outside aka it felt like they were trying to rearrange all my internal organs with their hands on my belly. AND IT HURT SO BAD - I don’t know if I just have the world’s lowest pain tolerance but it was horrible. I also felt immense guilt for trying to “force” the baby to flip when he or she clearly didn’t want to or maybe couldn’t for reasons we could not see or know about.

Well it didn’t work either. So my OB scheduled me for a C Section the following week. Again, cue the waterworks. I was a huge ball of emotion from fear, anxiety, stress, you name it and I felt it. I googled a lot, Amazon Primed a book about C Sections, read other people’s birth stories who had C Sections to try to ease some of the fear. And basically just cried a ton about it. 

 It felt like even though I tried so hard to do everything “right” to avoid a C Section, this baby had other plans. 

Having a deadline of when to have this baby in theory sounds way better than not knowing when you would go into labor, but it really felt like I was going in for a HUGE test or interview that I wasn’t allowed to prepare for. I honestly had never felt more scared of anything in my life. What if the anesthesia didn’t work and I could feel everything? What if the baby isn’t ok? What if I am in so much pain post surgery I wouldn’t be able to care for the baby? What if I’m in so much pain I won’t be able to bond with the baby? What if someone accidentally leaves a surgical tool inside my abdomen? What if the stress I’ve been feeling for weeks somehow affects the baby?

I’m fairly certain that I spent most of the week leading up to the scheduled c section in tears. Any time someone would message me online or if a friend texted to ask how I was doing I would just cry because I didn’t feel okay but I also didn’t know how to communicate what I was feeling at the time. 

Fast forward to the morning at the hospital (still crying btw haha) it was kind of a blur but Evan reminded me of how I basically interrogated the anesthesiologist about his credentials like how long he’s been doing this, how he’s going to determine how much to give me so I don’t feel anything etc. I think I also questioned my OB one last time before I was taken into the operating room. 

The operating room was SO bright and SO cold. There were so many people in there moving around and I was literally shaking in fear. One of the nurses held me in a hug on the table so they could give me the numbing shot before the anesthesia was administered. She would be one of the many nurses who would help care for me over the next couple of days and although I don’t remember all of their names, I’ll never ever be able to repay them for the kindness and care they showed me during such a vulnerable time.

I’m so grateful that we chose not to find out the baby’s gender because it was something exciting in the midst of all the other not so positive feelings I had about the delivery. When they got the baby out, I remember Evan saying she was a girl! And I don’t think I really comprehended anything (still crying by the way), they whisked her to the side to get her checked out and I recall just hearing her scream/cry/yell. It seemed like it took forever for them to get me stitched back up and I think I told Evan to make sure no one left their iPhone inside me.

And this is how Penelope June came into the world.