Making Life a Bliss Complete

Honest and heartfelt stories and lessons about home, family, love, faith, and personal growth.

All About Baby Eve

For about 11 years I have wanted to name my first baby girl Raina after a beautiful 3-year-old girl I watched at my daycare job.  Well, once I found out I was having a girl this pregnancy, I wasn’t so sure anymore. I wanted to make sure that Raina was the right name, so I went through hundreds of names as I usually do. Jad and I discussed them, and he didn’t like most of the names, not even the Arabic ones. I was shocked he had an opinion since he hadn’t had one with the boys. So, we kept looking and looking. We thought about Rose (or a name with Rose in it), a name with Belle/Bella in it, and more lovely names like Ariana, Ella, Ava, Adaline, and Alayna. Jad loved Rosalina, but I thought it was too long. We went back to Raina at one point and felt pretty good about it, until people at work started using it and Jad decided he didn’t like it. So, back to looking at the long list of maybes. My mom kept telling us names she liked, and one day she said she loved Evey. I liked it, but Jad wasn’t sure. Then we got a 4D ultrasound done for our baby girl on October 18.


As I looked at her pictures over and over, I knew she was someone special and needed a really lovely name. I thought of the most beautiful and important names of all time, and my mind went to the Bible. We had already said we liked Esther, but then Eve came to mind. I instantly loved it. Jad wasn’t so sure, but I couldn’t get it out of my mind. The 23rd at my mom’s house, I told her that we were strongly considering Eve. She was ecstatic. Jad still wasn’t sure, but on the way home we asked the kids if they liked the name Eve. Rigel had been wanting to call her Rose, and Casey loved Ella, but when we told them about why we wanted to name her Eve, they got really excited, and we knew she would become Eve Marie Al-Bjaly.

Let me tell you her story…

My due date for my fourth child: December 2, 2016

My actual delivery date of my fourth child: October 26, 2016 at 10:10PM.

Eve Marie Al-Bjaly was born at 34 weeks 5 days gestation at UNC Hospital via induced vaginal delivery. She was a tiny 4 pounds 14 ounces and 17 inches long.

All during my pregnancy, I had a small worry at the back of my mind that my baby girl would be born quite suddenly, just like Kamren was. His labor was around 20 minutes or so – how long would hers be?

Then there was the concern about Thanksgiving – could we have it? What if I had the baby right around then? Because of that, we decided as a family to cancel the holiday this year.

My pregnancy had been very normal the whole time, but then at my October 5 midwife appointment, I had very high blood pressure. I was told we needed to keep an eye on it, and then October 19, I had high blood pressure again. That time, I was told that I may have gestational hypertension and that I needed to go to UNC Hospital that day to get monitored. I was surprised because I have never had that problem before. I had to call Jad and ask him to leave work and get Kamren. After a quick lunch at Harris Teeter, I drove myself to UNC Hospital for the first time. I admit I was a little worried.

I thought I would be seen right away when I got to the hospital, but there were no rooms. I had to sit in the waiting room for quite some time. I was happy to have met another pregnant woman that day who I could talk to. She was there for pre-op for a c-section the next day. She was so nice, and we had a great conversation. She put me at ease. Finally, I was taken back. I honestly don’t remember much, just that I was told I do in fact have gestational hypertension and that I would be induced three weeks early. I got really no explanation of how they figured out I had that and why I had to be induced, but I just accepted it. The only silver lining to that day was I met a really nice woman named Karen who was in charge of a study for preeclamptic pregnant women – a study trying to find a blood test to figure out if a woman has preeclampsia. I got a $25 gift card before I left that day just for giving a little blood.

The following day I had to get an ultrasound at the hospital to check on the baby. She was totally healthy, which made me happy. So, I tried to prepare myself to have a baby early. Some friends told me I should question that, and I was prepared to. But then, October 25, at my appointment to plan my care leading up to the induction, my blood pressure was crazy high again.

An OBGYN came into my room, shook my hand, and basically looked at me in the eyes and told me I needed to go to Labor and Delivery right away. She didn’t clarify, and I immediately assumed I had to have an emergency induction. I cried out, “What? But she’s too tiny!”

I immediately started to cry and get really worried. She explained I would have to be monitored at the hospital, likely for 24 hours, and then a final determination would be made. I calmed down a little, and said I would need to make some phone calls and figure all this out. She told me I had to stay in the office (a monitored location) to make those arrangements, and then I needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible.

The phone call I made to Jad wasn’t easy. I told him I needed him to leave work early and take care of the kids – that I may not be coming home that day – that I may be having a baby. My voice was quiet and weak, and Jad was worried. He talked to his boss, and then left work to take over with the kids for me.

I walked slowly to the car, shaken up. Could I even get myself there? As I sat down in the drivers’ seat, I burst into tears and sobbed. I prayed and I probably hyperventilated a little. The unknown had never been scarier.

This time when I checked myself into the hospital, they had a triage room ready for me. I got into a gown, and was hooked up to the blood pressure machine. As I was lying on the bed in a moment alone, the tears started streaming down my face again. I was scared and worried about my baby girl. Just when I felt the tears would never stop, a soft but steady movement started in my tummy. My baby had woken up, and it was as if she was telling me that everything would be okay. I immediately felt that she was trying to comfort me, and that I could stop crying. I know that her moving for that long period of time was just for me. The thought occurred to me that she was acting as if she were my mother. Mothers comfort, and she was doing that for me. At that moment, her name was confirmed to me: her name really would be Eve.

I had to get back to reality as nurses came in and out. My blood pressure was taken over and over. I was in that room for hours, and had nothing to do but flip the channels. I hadn’t eaten at all since 7:30AM, and got really hungry. Jad came to see me, and I finally got food after he left again.

My blood pressure wasn’t going down, so they decided I needed to stay in the hospital overnight. I was to start a 24-hour urine collection. I would give blood a few times, and my blood pressure would continue to be taken. I would also be given a steroid shot that day and the following day to help my baby’s lungs develop should I need to deliver her. I had to start making arrangements for my kids. Jad came to me that evening and brought me an overnight bag. After a little visit, I found company with the cast of Into the Woods on the TV.

The next day, as my pee bucket got fuller, and my blood pressure stayed high, I could feel it in my heart that I wasn’t going to be sent home. What would it help to send me home? My blood pressure would still be high, and who knows what could happen? What if I developed preeclampsia?

I finally just confronted the issue with the nurses. I was up front and said I wanted to know the truth. They said they would ask for me, and they agreed with my logic. Well, not a few minutes later, an OBGYN came to speak with me to address that very thing. She basically told me that it was time for me to have a baby. She said I did in fact have preeclampsia, even though I had no other symptoms, and that it is safer for the baby to be born than remain in the womb with a placenta not doing its job.

When she said that, I felt a little nervousness, but overall peace. I asked how much time I had to make phone calls and prepare. The doctor said they would start preparing a room for me, but that I had time. I called Jad and my mom. I wasn’t surprised that Jad wanted to finish a few things at work and make sure it was okay for him to leave. I gave him the job of packing some stuff for me at home, and reassured him we had some time. My mom wanted to come right away to be with me – that is just her personality, and I love her for it.

Well, she got there, and it turned out I had to wait a long time to move up to a room, even though I packed quickly and was told it was going to be much quicker. I called Jad and told him about the delay, and he decided he wanted to clean out the van really well before he came to prepare for our baby girl.

Finally, I got to go to a room and change into a gown. When Jad got there, he brought me lots of bags, and even rolled in the stroller. That was kind of funny to me, as I knew that Eve would not be coming home right away.

I really don’t remember a lot about the details of my labor. There was no clock in the room, oddly enough, so I don’t know when I was induced or how long the labor was. I believe I was induced sometime between 2:30 and 3:30PM, but I am not sure.

Some details of note are that I was given my second steroid shot and given continuous doses of magnesium to prevent seizures. The nurse recommended I have an epidural due to my blood pressure. I didn’t contest, though I was a little sad thinking of how my plans for a natural birth were no longer possible. I asked for the epidural before my pain got bad (around 4PM), and when the team came in, I jokingly asked if it would hurt like crap, knowing full well how much it hurts. They said it wouldn’t hurt badly, and I was surprised, though quickly realized they were lying as they pushed and fiddled around inside my back over and over trying to find the right spot. It was excruciating, but it did work, thankfully.

My sister-in-law, Laura, surprised me by coming to visit me in the hospital. I was so grateful to have her, my mom, and Jad there with me. It was pleasant just talking together.



The labor was steady and there were no issues. We were a little impatient, though, as the hours went on. Finally, my mom and Laura left to go home to their families, not long before 8PM.

By that time I was 4 CM dilated and 50% effaced. When they finally broke my water, hardly anything came out, but I knew she would come soon. I wasn’t scared, but excited instead. I could hear the stark contrast between this labor and Kamren’s. With Kamren, I was screaming bloody murder: “My baby, my baby!” With this delivery, I was excitedly exclaiming, “My baby is coming! She’s coming!” I had such joy, and no fear, even though she was going to be a premature baby.

Well, she came out after a few pushes, and after Jad cut the cord, she was put on my body for a few seconds and then taken from me to be examined. I couldn’t even see her the first time because they didn’t put her up high enough.


My first picture with Eve


Put me back in!

Once they wiped her off, I got to hold her skin to skin for a few moments. The first thing I noticed was her long, slender fingers. I loved them, and her instantly.



Our first picture as a family



I wanted to snuggle with her forever, but she had to be taken. She did start to nuzzle my neck a little, so the crew in the room said I should try to nurse her. It was so hard. She was so small, and I was afraid of hurting her. She didn’t know how to suck, but at least we tried, and I got to hold her a little longer.

And then she was gone. I couldn’t be with her for 24 hours because I would continue to have the magnesium pumped into my body. I sent Jad after her, and he got to witness her first feeding, and adore her in the NICU.





The next day for me (Oct 27) was sleeping, attempting to express (with a nurse’s help) and pump, and trying to catch up on text messages and Facebook comments from friends. It was so hard to function because of the magnesium. I would get small spurts of energy throughout the day, and then suddenly feel nearly dead with exhaustion. I looked forward all day and night to get off that magnesium so I could eat, get out of that bed, and see my baby girl.

At least Jad got to visit with her. He even did a Skype call with me so I could see Eve:  I couldn’t keep from crying tears of joy looking at her and talking to her peaceful, sleeping face. Oh, I can’t wait to snuggle her again.

Most of that day was very boring, but at least I got to see my beautiful sons. They were a little weirded out that I couldn’t cuddle them or get out of bed. I felt so bad, and was worried about Kamren especially, since until a day before, he had been my baby. They were so excited to meet their sister that night, though!



They took me off the magnesium about 9PM. All my tubes were removed, and I ordered a huge meal. I have never eaten faster – it had been 33 hours since I had last eaten. Standing up and moving around wasn’t so easy. My legs were literally like limp noodles. I had to have help going to the bathroom, and getting into my wheelchair. I didn’t let that stop me from seeing my baby, though. My nurse wheeled me to the NICU to see Eve before taking me to my new room.

She was so precious. The love I felt for her was indescribable. I watched her, and then held her, cuddled her, and tried to nurse her. She couldn’t nurse, so I just snuggled her some more. I didn’t want to leave her ever again, but I had to. Up to my new room I went to rest, and regain leg strength. Once I got my legs back, nothing could stop me from going to my baby as much as possible (every three hours to be exact).

On October 28 I wrote: I got to see my sweet baby a couple times late last night, once around 11 and the next time a little after 2. Both times we snuggled and tried latching/nursing. It wasn’t easy, and we tried different things so she could still eat and also be with me, and by the end of the second time, she was already latching on me as a pacifier. She cried unless she was with me. I see that as a great sign! I got a little sleep, am much steadier on my noodle feet than last night, and have the energy to get clean, eat, and spend as much time with Eve as possible today. Gosh, she is gorgeous and precious, and so full of personality.


Most of that day Eve was really sleepy and tube fed. I knew that she couldn’t go home until she was feeding via bottle or breast all the time, so that was a little disheartening. At least she was healthy otherwise with her temperature regulation and blood sugar.  And I got to do a kangaroo hold with her – so special!


It was so helpful to my spirit having family visit me and Eve in the hospital those first couple days – Jad’s uncle Hani, my Nana, my sister, my mom, Jad’s brother, Tawfeeq, and his wife Aundrea and their son, Landon…I really appreciated their love and gifts.

Oct 29 started out well as I got back to my girl: I took one break from sweet Eve in the middle of the night to sleep, but sleep was so hard for me. When I went down at 5, I found out she had been fussy off and on since about 12:30am. I felt bad that I had missed her and she had missed me. But, with that came a lovely session of stares, lots of kisses, and even some good nursing, once we figured it out together. Then, oh, sweet snuggles commenced. I love my girl!


Overall, that day was really hard on me. It was the day of my discharge. Let me explain with a post I wrote the next morning: I must admit that yesterday was a really hard day for me. I was supposed to be discharged, but found myself waiting in vain nearly all day into the late afternoon. I was all alone in the hospital without my family, and the only solace came when I was with my sweet baby. My family finally came to get me not long before dinner time. I got to hug them all quickly, and then Jad brought each kid down to see Eve for a few minutes, I got to take the boys to the snack room for ice cream and juice, and that was the most fun I had had all day, haha. Finally, it was time to get the car and take all of our stuff down to check out of the hospital. Imagine packing up your car with all kinds of baby stuff, and not being able to put the baby in the car with you. Imagine having spent all your time for five days in the hospital, not being able to think of anything but having and taking care of a baby, and then knowing that your future is uncertain. When I got in the car, and we headed to the Ronald McDonald House, I was so overwhelmed. I didn’t know what to expect – I just knew I wouldn’t be sleeping in the same place as anyone I loved. We got there quickly, though it felt like an eternity. I had to dry my tears. Well, after paperwork and a tour, I was check into my new “home.” The boys and Jad had been eating tacos and playing while waiting for me. I could tell they were all irritable and struggling with the unknown too. The kids just wanted some normalcy and fun, like they are used to. As we drove home for me to simply pack and come right back, I couldn’t stop the sobs from coming. I am glad we had tissues, because I used so many of them. My throat, by the time we got home, felt like a cat had clawed at it. I just couldn’t function. I was so overwhelmed and sad. I needed time with my husband and kids, but barely got to spend any time with them at all. I didn’t know how much to pack to take to the RMH – how long will I be there? What will happen with Eve? Will my kids and husband be okay without me? I know that Jad has been working so hard while I have been gone since last Tuesday, and my family and friends have also stepped up graciously. When I walked into the house for that little time, I noticed how clean the house was, and how much care Jad had put into getting it ready for Eve. I felt guilty that I hadn’t been able to help at all in days, and I could tell how much my family needed me. After I packed, my boys were so sweet to say they loved me and give me hugs and kisses. Casey and Jad carefully put my stuff in the car, and Jad even had a couple falafel sandwiches ready for me to eat, since I had missed dinner. A couple kisses later, and I was on my way back to Chapel Hill. My exhaustion was strong, but I made it. Bringing everything in, and unpacking took me quite some time, but calmed me. I felt love for my husband as I saw how much food he carefully packed for me. I was happy to see a Bojangles biscuit and boberry biscuit in there. It was comforting to eat those before I went up to my room, unpacked, read my scriptures, pumped, and got a little sleep. I got up quite early to pump again and get ready to see my baby. I can’t express how inadequate I feel, but at the same time, I feel like I am being blessed with drive and energy, and hope. I am filled with love for my baby girl, and I yearn for when we can all be together. I am so grateful my baby will be okay, and that we are a family of six now. Life will be normal before we know it – for now it is just really hard. I appreciate the continued love and prayers. I really do.

I was in tears when I wrote all that. The only real joy I had was in being with my precious Eve. She got a real crib on the night of the 29th, and just seeing her sweet face and holding her hand helped me get through the pain.


I realized later on the 30th what therapy I really needed as my husband came to visit: I cannot even tell you how therapeutic it was for Jad to come visit Eve and me today. We spent several hours together. It was our first time bonding we three. And I didn’t realize the sad fact Jad hadn’t held her since the night she was born. They are such a pair. She stayed awake for quite some time staring at her daddy.

(He would start coming to see Eve every day after that. Taking care of the kids and doing all the chores was hard on Jad, not to mention the cleaning and projects he was trying to do to prepare for our sweet girl to come home.)





Before I went to bed super late that night I wrote this:

Most cherished moments of today: spending time with Daddy

Funniest moment of the day: Eve pooping five incredibly smelly poops in about 30 minutes

Proudest moment of the day: this morning when my milk came in! It is going strong.

Warmest moment of the day (literally and figuratively): when Eve snuggled her head just under my neck, and lay content and wide awake. This was right after all her poops. She was really fussy until this time together.

October 31 was Halloween! I was feeling a little lonely that morning, when a lady came into the reference room I was sitting in, and asked if I was Eve’s mom. She then asked me if I had chosen a Halloween costume for her. I lit up and smiled broadly because I wished I had had a costume for her. This surprise made my day: Oh, how wonderful today is Halloween at the UNC NICU. I got a very special surprise for Eve this morning: the choice of a costume for her! I was so thrilled. Picking a costume and dressing her in it have been such a joy for me. She got her picture taken professionally and will be in a judging contest later today. 😀



My ballerina

But the day got even better because my mom and sister came to visit, and then Jad brought all the kids, picked me up, and we all went trick-or-treating together at Southern Village. It was a perfect neighborhood, and we all enjoyed being together as a family. You don’t fully appreciate your family unit until you can’t be together – at least that’s how I felt.



I went to being emotional again, though, as I missed a feeding with Eve by about 15 minutes. I didn’t make it back by 8PM because we had to drop by the RM House first for me to grab a few things and for us to eat a little bit of leftovers. Oh well, at least I got to snuggle with her!

November 1 was a good day. it started with Jad coming and bringing me roses!



Eve had a couple firsts today, like her first blow-out poop (super duper stinky one), and her first excellent nursing session. Progress is being made. Her nurse has no doubt she will fill out quickly, especially considering her mama’s amazing milk supply. 😉



Slender foot!


Tiny hand!

And here were the highlights of Eve’s day on November 1:

  1. She got to snuggle with Daddy (but not before pooping on him!)
  2. She got to spend time with each of her brothers (Casey held her for the first time/Rigel drew her a double-sided picture).
  3. She got her IV taken out for good
  4. She got a sponge bath and I got to help! She smells amazing.




The flower and the “awesome”


The picture was of Eve living in a house with spikes on it, surrounded by a force field so she could be safe. And I taught Rigel how to write her name.


November 2 was Eve’s one-week birthday. The morning started out wonderfully. She nursed amazingly, needing no supplemental feed. We snuggled for a long time after that.


My cousin, Lisa, came to visit me in the hospital that day, bringing me much needed newborn clothes, and we ate lunch together  (which ended up being free somehow). She took lovely pictures of Eve and me.



Then Jad came to visit after Lisa went back with the kids (we were so grateful for her).




We celebrated Eve’s one-week birthday with cupcakes. Did I mention the food at UNC hospital is awesome!


I wrote down all the things about Eve as of a week old:

She loves to:
Look you in your eyes
Get her head rubbed
Hear your singing voice
Cross her eyes and stick out her tongue
Feel warm and bundled
Be kissed

She hates to:
Get her temperature taken
Get her diaper changed
Be poked at all
Be woken up


A comparison of Eve to Rigel and Kamren…

On November 3, Eve was really sleepy all day. I would nurse her for 10-12 minutes, and then Snoozeville for her each time.


Isn’t she gorgeous in pink?


But there was some great news that day:

Eve is gaining weight. She is 5 pounds 1 ounce today

  1. We are doing less and less supplemental tube feeding, which means we are getting closer to going home.
  2. Chick-Fil-A gave me my lunch free today because I had a baby in the NICU. I felt so special.

That night was also so wonderful: Jad and the boys came to visit tonight. Rigel and Kamren held baby Eve for the first time. We also got a Rainbow Bright stuffed animal from the Ronald McDonald room at UNC. There were lots of options but I had to get that one because I loved Rainbow Bright as a little girl.




Late that night she was finally awake, something I had yearned for all day!- I was about to take the shuttle back, but then little girl decided to be wide awake for the first time today with very squeaky hiccups. Another hour at the NICU waiting for the next shuttle it is (12:50AM)! I can’t complain…

I had lots of promising news and events on November 4: Today has been the opposite of yesterday so far. Little Eve has been very alert, and very interested in nursing. We aren’t worrying about a feed schedule anymore, but just listening to her cues. She is doing great, and as long as she has no issues, she will be going home Sunday! She passed her hearing test, is all set up with a pediatrician, and now just has to pass a car seat test. I get to room in with her at the hospital tomorrow night. I am so excited!


Here is another update from that day: I love this card Jad made for Eve. It has been a good day. I have had time with my hubby, and time with my dear cousin, who has been so helpful this week. Eve has been so alert and adorable today, and she got her feeding tube out today too! I feel so blessed in every way, even in just the days going by quickly.



feeding tube gone!





Her first smile!

As great as that day was, it ended sadly for me as I left Eve before 9PM so I could pack up at the RMH: I left Eve tonight 2-3 hours earlier than I usually do. It was so hard to leave – so hard, I got teary-eyed. I mean, are the nurses going to snuggle her enough? But, I have to start packing up and try to get some decent sleep for the first time in a week and a half. Sleep and eat well, my little love.

I was overjoyed to get to Eve the next morning, the 5th. I can’t explain my excitement, and it was a great first meeting:  This is the face of a baby girl who not only drank ridiculous amounts of milk overnight by bottle, but also just nursed strong for 35 minutes! That is like three times her average nursing time.

She also passed her car seat test last night.

And she might come home today because she is doing so well!


I left her quickly, though, to go to my baby shower. I was so excited for it. Getting out of the hospital and being around women I love was so needed. It was wonderful, from the food to the décor (mostly consisting of pictures of my precious girl) to the company to the gifts to the service project. There were tons of people there, and I was there having a fabulous time for hours. As a bonus, I got a voice mail during the shower saying that Eve could definitely come home! Yay~!



Jad picked me up with the kids to go to the hospital and get our baby girl. They went up to the Ronald McDonald floor while I got her ready to go. Ironically, it only took just a few minutes for her to get checked out, and they wanted to stay where they were because it was so fun. I had to understand the boys’ perspective, though I really just wanted to get my girl home!

I am grateful that Eve was well-taken care of at UNC Hospital. I never worried about her. She was constantly watched over by nurses and doctors, and they had her best interests in mind. I was given freedom to change her, take her temperature, help with her bath, and hold her whenever I liked. The hospital also helped make me comfortable by putting me in the Ronald McDonald House, giving me one free meal a day, providing limitless water bottles, giving me a manual breast pump, and sometimes providing a meal. It was as good of an experience as it could have been. I was thrilled to go home, but would somehow miss that special time at the hospital.



We finally got out of the hospital around 2:45 or so and ran into a lot of traffic: Even though it is a little frustrating not being able to get home as quickly as we would like, we are so blessed that our baby is healthy enough to go home.

It took forever to get to the RMH. Then I had to clean and check out, and then we had to drive home. We were so so blessed that Eve stayed asleep that whole time.


Entering my house after being gone for a week and a half felt like Heaven. We enjoyed our evening together as a family of six.


In her bassinet for the first time!



Even the night wasn’t so bad: I actually got more rest last night than I ever did when Eve was in the NICU. She woke up to eat three times, and went back to sleep. Twice she stirred a little as if to wake, but I was easily able to get her back to sleep the first time by looking at her and holding her hand, and the second time by stroking her cheek. She is so affectionate.

I won’t go through the next whole month of Eve’s life detail by detail because that would take forever, but here are some highlights and my favorite pictures of her:

Nov 6 – Our first morning at home!



Mariah got this cookie cake to celebrate her homecoming.



Nov 7 – First Dr appointment: Eve had her first pediatric doctor appointment today. Dr. Boylston said she is doing great and likely in a couple months, we won’t even be able to tell she was a preemie. We are also going to try not supplementing and see how she does! She has a weight check Thursday. Today she was up to 5 pounds 6 ounces.




Just some cute Nov 8 pics:




Eve and my doll


Eve and her unicorn

Nov 10 – Weight check – Eve had her weight check today. She is up three ounces in three days, which is perfect. At 5 pounds 9 ounces, this baby is healthy and needs no supplementation. Yay!


Nov 10 – First bathtub bath – she didn’t like it other than her hair being washed.







Nov 11 – The day I was supposed to be induced!



Cute pic from Nov 12 –


Cute pic from Nov 13 –


Nov 14 – Jad went back to work – can I handle it???


Spiky hair!

Nov 16 – I had just started nursing my baby.
The dog came into the room licking her lips but I hadn’t fed her anything.
It was quiet- too quiet.
I called for my son.
No answer, but the bathroom door promptly closed and locked.
Was it as I feared?
I unlocked the door. Yes, yes it was.
It was horrible. The smell. The mess. The pleading, yet guilty look in my son’s eyes. The squished brown substance on the floor and the wall and the toilet and his legs. The torn toilet paper everywhere.
I realized at that moment my dog was the most disgusting dog on earth and that the floor is my son’s new favorite place to poop.
Will he ever be potty trained? Will I ever let my dog kiss any of us again?

You can’t make this stuff up. This is the life of a nursing mother…

Nov 17 – loves her hair being brushed (three weeks old!).

Nov 18 – Eve’s first walk


Nov 19 – She has grown!



Nov 20 – First time at Nana and Papa’s house!




Cute pic from Nov 21 –


Nov 23 – Excellent sleep  and 4 weeks old! – This beautiful girl made her parents very happy last night. She slept from just after midnight to 6:52AM without waking up at all! This was her first night sleeping through. She just drank lots of milk and went back to sleep too!



Nov 24 – Eve’s first Thanksgiving!  – My house has 21 people in it right now. I am upstairs feeding Eve, and can hear talking, playing and laughter all around. I am so grateful for snuggles with my baby, my family, good food, a cozy house, and lovely weather. I am grateful for the great land I live in, for good friends, and most of all, for a loving Father in Heaven, His beloved son, and the Holy Ghost.




Nov 25 cute pic –


Nov 26 – One month old!!! – Eve Marie Al-Bjaly was born one month ago today. She was born at 34 weeks five days gestation at 4 pounds 14 ounces and 17 inches. Today we are thrilled to say that she is 7 pounds 9.6 ounces and 19 inches. That is a whole lot of growing in a month. We are so in love with her. Her favorite thing to do is eat. She also likes her hair brushed and her feet rubbed. She loves walking around and taking in the sites. She cries like a goat, squeaks like a mouse, and purrs like a kitten. She does not like to be cold or wet. Snuggles are always appreciated. And she gets like 5000 kisses a day.




My beautiful one-month old



dancing with daddy

Nov 30 – One-month Dr appointment! – She was 7 pounds 15 ounces and 19 1/2 inches


Eve in my blessing gown and cape

Dec 2 – Her due date – today!

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If it looks like there hasn’t been much excitement since Eve came home from the hospital, that’s because there hasn’t been. Eve and I have spent most of our time at home snuggling and nursing and watching Studio C. I am not going to be taking her anywhere public (except Dr appointments) until she is 2 months old, per doctor orders. Visits from friends and family have brought us much joy, however, and we have visitors often.

I must express my sincere gratitude for everyone who has been helping with my boys during this time, whether play dates or driving them to appointments. I am also so grateful for everyone who brought us meals when I was in the hospital and when we were first home. And how could I forget the kind women who donated clothes and other baby gear to me? Eve will be well-dressed and very warm for a long time.

Life has been quite hard, honestly. Even without much excitement, it is really hard to keep up with cleaning, projects, and just day-to-day responsibilities. Thus, our home is messier than we are used to, and our meals are pretty simple. But, we wouldn’t trade having four children for the world. Hopefully this phase won’t last too long.

You may wonder how the boys like their new sister. Each of them absolutely adores her. They love holding her, and kiss her and touch her so gently. I have never seen them so sweet. Eve brings such a special spirit to our home. Even Kamren, who had been the baby for so long, adjusted immediately to being a big brother. Sometimes Kamren and Rigel still need hugs, kisses, and snuggles, and we do our best to still oblige, but they understand sometimes we just have one arm instead of two now.

Our home also looks different. For several months, Jad and I worked hard to transform Kamren’s old room into Eve’s nursery. For the first time, we have pink in our home. We love her room!

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We didn’t expect Eve to come so soon. We had some scary moments, some lonely ones, some overwhelmed ones, but also some faith-promoting ones. Would I have chosen for Eve to be born early and for her to be in the NICU for a week and a half? Maybe not, but I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us. Sometimes that plan involves adversity to make us better people, and bring us closer to Him. This experience has done just that. My prayers and yours were answered. They brought me peace, and Eve her health. Not to mention that I know that Eve and I would not have the bond we have, and will always have, without that time alone together in the hospital.

I love my baby girl more than I could ever tell you. I am honored to be her mother, and I am so excited to raise a little girl to womanhood. I hope we are best friends forever.





Thank you for sharing!


  1. Krystan Remaley

    Absolutely beautiful! I am so thrilled to see God at work in your family. ❤❤

  2.'Jeri Ann Guth

    Many tears of joy for you were shed as I read this. I love you and your family and Eve is so blessed to now be a part of all of your love.

    Thank you for a poignant, beautiful share.

    Wishing you many blessings.


  3.'Jad al-bjaly

    I can’t express how much I am happy and blessed to have you in my life, you have sacrificed so much for your family. Thank you for all the time you spent in putting this blog together, Eve is so blessed and I can see her one day reading this blog and feel the love of her mom and family
    I am also grateful of friends and family and our ward members for all services they gladly rendered to our family
    I love you Mandy

  4.'Nancy Heiss

    I just did some mega stalking of you! For some reason you were all over my FB feed today, but you haven’t been in, like, forever (good thing I have FB to remind me to check up on people). I saw pictures of your baby from October and was like, “I swear she was due in December!!!”

    So glad I got to read this! So sorry I didn’t know about this!

    My Benjamin was born at 33 w 4 d, so I was nodding my head through a lot of this (though his birth was spontaneous; I didn’t have hypertension). He was in the NICU for 5 weeks (brutal).

    I’m so happy she’s home and doing well! The current pictures of her are just fabulous! You both look great! <3


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