Elliot Simon. Small But Mighty. Built From Beans and Cheese.

Apparently my kidneys didn't get the memo that it's 2017 and high-protein diets are all the rage. They were found to be "spilling"protein, causing severe pre-eclampsia, a 17 day hospital stay, and 7-week-early delivery of our baby.

My kidneys didn't get that "spilling"protein could be dangerous. That Paleo is popular and all that protein should be used to help me flip monster truck tires—just like cavemen did.

I spent 17 days in the hospital—hell for a food lover—with lots of time to reflect on my incomplete pregnancy. I felt pretty terrible for a few weeks before going to the doctor and before then I felt less than stellar too. The one thing that got me through (besides the love of my husband and family and friends) was bean and cheese burritos. Drive thru burritos, organic frozen burritos, homemade burritos, un-organic frozen burritos, fancier Mexican restaurant burritos—we weren't picky. The only criteria was that they were meatless and full of beans and cheese.

I thought I would thoroughly enjoy food during my pregnancy. But it became about sustenance (and a little flavor). There was no deeper meaning. No family recipe. It became about what could get me through the day.

During my hospital stay I ate a lot of baked potatoes and steamed broccoli—and then a good friend smuggled in some bean and cheese burritos for me. She didn't fully understand why I needed them, but she will now. 

I've felt a lot of things about being pregnant, growing my son, then being told one day at a doctor's appointment that I wasn't going home, I was getting in an ambulance for a 90-mile ride. Being able to snap some photos of the food that got me through and write all of this down has made me feel "normal".

The doctors tried to keep me pregnant until 34 weeks (February 18), but on February 14 my liver enzymes tripled and I could no longer blink away the black spots in my vision. The doctors decided, while my husband was on his way back up to the hospital, that we could no longer wait and our baby had to come out. With 5 minutes to spare, my husband arrived and I was wheeled into the operating room for an emergency C-section. Elliot Simon was born at 2:02pm, 4 pounds 9 ounces—small, but mighty, our little Valentine. 

We've been in the NICU since that day, slowly healing and figuring out how to be parents. I'm betting diaper changes will be a heckuva lot different when our kid isn't attached to wires and beeping machines. We've learned so much about ourselves and about what we can handle.

We fully understand the "it takes a village" adage. Our village is full of friends and family who have cleaned our house, brought us clothes and food, visited us from far away, fed our cat, threw me a baby shower in the hospital, organized and decorated Elliot's room, opened up their home for us to stay in, called, sent texts, sent prayers, sent good thoughts, and sent good vibes. We know how lucky we are and we're not sure the words thank you will ever be enough. We are beyond grateful that once Elliot comes home it'll be to a village who is excited to meet him and who has loved and supported his mom and dad.

Here's to all of you, our village, and to Elliot.