BIRTHFIT Podcast Episode 95 Featuring Brittany, Blake, Vin, and Nula Hatcher

 

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Hello, BIRTHFIT community! This is Dr. Lindsey Mathews, your BIRTHFIT founder. And today, I have a special family of guests on the show with me. This is a live show and I have Brittany and Blake and Vincenzo and Nula Hatcher. We dive deep into their life and kind of the not so optimal cards they have been dealt over the last 12 to 18 months and we get into it.

 

In this episode, you will heart from Brittany the mom, Blake the dad, Vincenzo the big brother and Nula the baby girl. And for those of you that are parents or that have siblings, you know there is many subject matters going on at one time. So this is a live, fun show. Bear with us. You’ll get lots of information.

 

Before we dive in to the live interview on our coach Oprah style, a few announcements. We have BIRTHFIT professional and BIRTHFIT coach seminars happening through May of 2018. Then we take a little break for June because we have our annual BIRTHFIT summit. And then we start our seminar series back up for July in the fall.

 

So seminars, they are selling out still. So don’t hesitate, sign up. There’s not much we can do when the seminars sells out. Houston, which we will be traveling to next weekend or this coming weekend like February 10th, 11th, those dates. That is at Behemoth CrossFit and that is sold out. That is the coach seminar.

 

There is the BIRTHFIT Professional Seminar happening in Seattle. And I believe there’s a few spaces left in there. Then we get into Cleveland and Nashville. So we hope to see many of you at those seminars.

 

The BIRTHFIT Summit, so this is an awesome, super rad event. I mean all BIRTHFIT events are super rad. I’m super partial. But the annual BIRTHFIT Summit will be happening in Austin, Texas this year. And Saturday will be a day open to the public. We will be selling tickets to that day. So be on the lookout. Again, once the ticket sells out, there’s not much we can do.

 

But we will have some guest speakers from within our BIRTHFIT tribe and beyond. We hope to see you all around Austin, Texas. We will be coming in like 90 deep, 90 regional directors deep invading Austin, Texas. So sign up for our newsletter to learn more and be in the know about the annual BIRTHFIT Summit and I hope you enjoy this episode.

 

Welcome to the BIRTHFIR podcast.

 

Brittany: Thank you.

 

Lindsey: You can say whatever you want. If you say something like, “Oh, shit.” Machete can edit it. But yeah, I wanted to have you all on so you could share a glimpse into your life and how wild and wonderful and you keep it together. But I think your family unit is pretty special. So yeah, give a glimpse into your life. Yeah, so who am I sitting here with?

 

Brittany: So my name is Brittany and do you want to say who you are?

 

Vincenzo: No.

 

Brittany: This is Vincenzo and Nula.

 

Blake: I’m Blake.

 

Lindsey: Yeah. So give a little more description of —

 

Brittany: These are our children.

 

Lindsey: Yeah. How old are they?

 

Brittany: Vincenzo is about to be four this month.

 

Vincenzo: And right now, I’m three.

 

Lindsey: Three? When is your birthday?

 

Vincenzo: I don’t know.

 

Lindsey: February?

 

Brittany: Yeah, February 26.

 

Vincenzo: Well, today is my birthday month.

 

Lindsey: Ooh, got to celebrate all month.

 

Brittany: Yeah. And this is Nula and she’s six and a half months.

 

Lindsey: And she’s got a big brother.

 

Brittany: And she’s got a big brother who bounces her around.

 

Lindsey: She’s pretty chill.

 

Brittany: She is pretty chill.

 

Vincenzo: And tomorrow, we’re going to go to the [0:08:42] [Indiscernible] birthday party.

 

Brittany: Yeah. We’ve been hitting the birthday party circuit lately. Vincenzo’s been feeling good so this year he’s going to all his friends’ birthday parties.

 

Lindsey: Oh, so you got a buddy in February?

 

Brittany: A lot of them. Yeah, there are too much for Nulie.

 

Lindsey: Oh, she was starting to introduce herself. So those of you with siblings know exactly how this goes, right?

 

Brittany: Yeah.

 

Lindsey: So you all are what? Three years apart?

 

Brittany: Yeah, just under three and a half.

 

Lindsey: My brother and sister and I are two years apart.

 

Brittany: Yeah, that seems like the common age difference I feel like now with a lot of his friends. But I don’t know how people do it any sooner. I thought this was the perfect age.

 

Lindsey: Or twins.

 

Brittany: Yeah or twins.

 

Lindsey: Oh, that’s okay. We’ll see if this house is child-proof, huh? If not, we got to move. That’s not a pregnancy announcement. Cool. So we’re just going to put the screen back.

 

[0:10:03]

 

Brittany: Yeah.

 

Lindsey: It’s funny, huh? It’s okay. We’ve had grown boys in here.

 

Brittany: Oh, really? Okay.

 

Lindsey: But they cause more damage, yeah.

 

Brittany: Okay, knocking stuff off the table.

 

Lindsey: Yeah, yeah.

 

Brittany: I don’t want you jumping right here next to Nula’s head, but you ca jump over there on the ground.

 

Lindsey: Do you want to do that?

 

Vincenzo: No.

 

Lindsey: No, not as fun.

 

Brittany: I’m not going to let you jump here.

 

Vincenzo: I want something bouncy to jump on.

 

Lindsey: I wish we had a trampoline.

 

Brittany: Yeah.

 

Lindsey: Yeah, huh, not as fun as the gym.

 

Brittany: We should have dropped him off at the gym.

 

Lindsey: I know, huh. Have you been to the gym lately? Deuce Gym?

 

Brittany: Last week he was there. He was flipping tires with Logan.

 

Lindsey: Did you flip tires last time you were there?

 

Vincenzo: Yeah.

 

Lindsey: You did?

 

Vincenzo: Yes.

 

Lindsey: That’s pretty awesome.

 

Vincenzo: I could jump over there with daddy.

 

Lindsey: So what are you going to do your birthday month?

 

Vincenzo: Well, I was going to celebrate my birthday with a bouncy house.

 

Lindsey: You’re going to have a bouncy house?

 

Vincenzo: Yeah.

 

Lindsey: Are you sure?

 

Brittany: It changes all the time.

 

Lindsey: So when do you have to make this final decision?

 

Brittany: Soon, yeah.

 

Lindsey: Nula, do you want a bouncy house? She’s like anything that I can lay on.

 

Brittany: Yeah.

 

Lindsey: Yeah, cash. All right, so children, huh?

 

Brittany: Children, yeah.

 

Lindsey: So did you always know you wanted to be parents?

 

Brittany: I did. It was like absolutely. I for sure was going to be a mom definitely having kids. And then I met Blake and he was like, “Absolutely not. We’re not having kids.”

 

Blake: I don’t know if it was absolutely not, but it wasn’t something —

 

Lindsey: You weren’t sold on it right away?

 

Blake: I just wasn’t planning on doing that. I don’t remember — I mean that was a long time ago, but —

 

Lindsey: When did you all meet?

 

Blake: Ten years ago I guess.

 

Brittany: Yeah, I think it’s been 11 years.

 

Blake: 2005.

 

Lindsey: I think I was turning 19.

 

Blake: Also yes, more than ten years, yeah.

 

Lindsey: Nineteen. How old were you?

 

Blake: Twenty-four.

 

Lindsey: Did you all meet in Los Angeles?

 

Brittany: No, we met in Chico.

 

Lindsey: Whoa!

 

Brittany: Yeah. So we both went to Chico to party. He went to Chico State and I followed my friend there. I went to the community college there. And we ended up working at the same bar. Yeah, he was a bartender and I was, I don’t know, like a busser. They call them door staff.

 

Blake: She was a bouncer.

 

Brittany: But I was little. I was, yeah.

 

Lindsey: A glorious name for table busser.

 

Brittany: Yeah.

 

Lindsey: So then how did you talk him into having kids?

 

Brittany: I actually I remember the phone call we had and I was like, “This is a deal breaker.” I was not very good at communication back then and Blake, god bless him, has helped me so much. But then I remember having this phone call where I called him, and I said, “We have to have kids. Otherwise, this is not going to work out.”

 

Lindsey: I’m going to find a new man.

 

Brittany: Yeah. And he was like, “Wait a minute.” So he was open to the idea. Then we waited, we got married. And shortly after that, we got pregnant by surprise. So the timing didn’t really seem ideal. We actually had just quit our jobs and put our notice in for our house that we were leaving, and we were going to travel the world for three months.

 

Lindsey: So plan B.

 

Brittany: Yeah. But we quickly decided — we were at CrossFit gym in Culver city. And one of the girls there was telling me about midwifery because I went to the gym and I was just like, “Oh, my god. I don’t know how to be pregnant. What does this mean? What do I do?”

 

Lindsey: Yeah, what’s the first step?

 

Brittany: Yeah. And she told me about the Sanctuary. So they were like, “Well, you’re not sick. Why don’t you go?” And I was like, “Okay.” So we just went and we traveled while I was pregnant with Vincenzo.

 

Lindsey: Yeah. Where did you all go?

 

Brittany: We went to Central America and a little bit of South America. So we did Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and then we made our way to Brazil.

 

Lindsey: Oh, nice.

 

Brittany: Yeah, yeah. And then we came back.

 

Lindsey: That’s pretty rad.

 

Brittany: Yeah.

 

[0:15:00]

 

Lindsey: And then you had the baby.

 

Brittany: And then we came back and had the baby, yeah.

 

Lindsey: Did you have it at the Sanctuary or at home?

 

Brittany: No, at home.

 

Lindsey: Oh, nice.

 

Brittany: Yeah, yeah. So we had Ms. Monica and she came over and it was insane.

 

Lindsey: Yeah. What made you choose a home birth or give Blake home board or…?

 

Brittany: His mom has four boys who she all had — she had three of them at home.

 

Lindsey: Oh, wow.

 

Brittany: Yeah.

 

Vincenzo: And then Nula was born.

 

Brittany: Yeah. And then Nula joined.

 

Lindsey: But we’re telling the birth story about you. Do you know that one?

 

Vincenzo: I was telling a different story.

 

Lindsey: You’re telling a different story. What about the day you were born?

 

Vincenzo: Well, I already know that.

 

Lindsey: You know that. What do you know about that? Do you remember anything? He’s like, “I’ll tell you later.” Yeah, so choosing a home birth.

 

Brittany: So yeah, it was pretty — like it made the most sense for us. Both of our parents were really like natural — yeah, into natural childbirth. And so that was just the way we were going to — my mom intended to have me and my brother at home, but she went so late that she had us at the hospital. But yeah, it was just kind of a no-brainer I guess. And our family — they were like super impressed that our families were both on board.

 

Lindsey: Lucky the draw there.

 

Brittany: Yeah. So it wasn’t weird for any of us or we didn’t have to explain anything to our families. It was just like, “Yes, that’s what we would do.”

 

Lindsey: That’s cool. TV timeout.

 

[Conversation Out of Context]

 

Lindsey: No human head over here. So how would you describe his birth, Vin’s we’re talking about.

 

Brittany: Yeah. You know, I was totally unprepared for that. It was extremely long and I felt like a lose canon. Just like not really super connected to my body and I was kind of looking for them to help me, the midwives to help me through it. Because it was so painful, it was — I just I cries, I threw up, I definitely said the words, “I can’t do this.”

 

But they were so wonderful at helping to support me and listen and kind of keep me on the right track. And we — I think I pushed for, I don’t know, two or three hours with him. And they eventually had him out of the tub, on my back, on the bed, which is like exactly opposite how I thought. I thought he was just going to float out in the water and I was going to — Blake was going to get in the tub with me and we were all going to have a pool party.

 

Lindsey: Where was Blake?

 

Brittany: Blake was there. We were exhausted. So we would like —

 

Blake: It was like 22 hours or something.

 

Brittany: Yeah. So his mom was there and my mom was there. He was there making me liquids and smoothies and stuff.

 

Lindsey: Yeah. How were you doing during that whole time?

 

Blake: It was quite long and I just remember it was pretty mellow and then all of a sudden when she like — I don’t know if that was when you started pushing or probably within an hour of him being birthed, I remember then all of a sudden it was like, “Oh, my gosh.”

 

Lindsey: This is for real.

 

Blake: Yeah. But up until then it was just kind of like just moving to do —

 

Lindsey: Workday.

 

Blake: Yeah.

 

Brittany: And eventually his head came out and then it was like you’re relieved. But it was crazy because everyone’s in the room and his head was out. And he was a little blue and he’s looking. His eyes opened, and he starts turning like this.

 

Blake: He just looked at everybody in the room.

 

Brittany: Yeah, he looked at everybody in the room, straight face. And then I was like, “What do I do next?” And she’s like, “Just wait for the next contraction and then push. So we chilled there with his head just hanging out for what felt like a long time. Yeah. And everyone was a little concerned, but —

 

Lindsey: Then he came out.

 

Brittany: Yeah, he came out and they unwrapped his cord and he was good to go.

 

Vincenzo: When Nula came out, mommy had to get stitches, I held her hand.

 

Lindsey: Oh, so Nula, huh?

 

Brittany: Yeah. So then he got to be a part of Nula’s birth.

 

Lindsey: And that was this past summer, huh?

 

Brittany: Yeah.

 

Lindsey: So how was it different, same?

 

[0:20:00]

 

Brittany: Extremely different and I had done so much work in between the two children like on myself and connecting to my body. And so it was so different because I basically did it on myself super quick. Vincenzo and Blake actually went to sleep, and I labored by myself, which I needed. I needed to be by myself. I had started contractions that night and then once everybody went to sleep, I was able to kind of get into my zone. So I let them sleep for a while until about 1:00 and then I woke him up, called the midwives and then it was 2:45 she was born.

 

Lindsey: Dang, girl.

 

Vincenzo: Daddy woke me up.

 

Brittany: Yeah, you’re right. We let Vincenzo keep sleeping and then about 2:30 —

 

Lindsey: You got a good nap in.

 

Brittany: Yeah, we decided we would wake Vincenzo up because he said he wanted to be — you wanted to be a part of it, right?

 

Vincenzo: Yeah.

 

Brittany: Yeah.

 

Lindsey: Was it pretty awesome?

 

Vincenzo: And then daddy was — and then I was laying om daddy’s shoulder with my eye closed.

 

Lindsey: And then do you remember what you thought when you saw your baby sister?

 

Vincenzo: I don’t know.

 

Lindsey: Were you like, “Oh, my gosh?” But you held your mom’s hand, huh?

 

Vincenzo: I think when she was getting stitches.

 

Lindsey: Oh, that’s a good memory, huh?

 

Brittany: It was actually kind of nice because he — Vincenzo, you’ve had to be in the hospital a lot this year and you’ve had to do a lot of things that were really painful. And we’ve kind of been on the other side of it where I’ve been you’re holding your hand, we’ve been breathing, or daddy’s been there with you where we’re supporting you. So it was for me, it was really special because he helped me to get through it in such a beautiful way where he knew what to do to support me.

 

Lindsey: It was instinctual.

 

Brittany: He was holding my hand. Yeah, just squeeze my hand, mommy. And it was really helpful.

 

Vincenzo: Yeah. She needed a needle and thread.

 

Lindsey: That’s what stitches are, huh, the needle and thread.

 

Vincenzo: Yeah. You need a needle and thread to put a stitch in. You need to do that. Uh-hmm, stitches.

 

Lindsey: So how’s life with a new baby sister?

 

Vincenzo: Kind of stressful.

 

Lindsey: Kind of what?

 

Vincenzo: I don’t like.

 

Lindsey: You don’t like so much.

 

Vincenzo: No.

 

Lindsey: You got to share your mom.

 

Vincenzo: What?

 

Lindsey: Do you have to share more things like mom with her?

 

Vincenzo: Uh-huh, uh-hmm. Yeah.

 

Lindsey: But she’s kind of nice to be there as a buddy, right?

 

Vincenzo: Yeah.

 

Lindsey: Well, that’s good.

 

Vincenzo: But she cries a lot. That’s what makes it kind of hard.

 

Lindsey: You don’t like when she cries.

 

Vincenzo: Yeah, I don’t like when she cries.

 

Lindsey: Do you want to like protect her?

 

Vincenzo: Yeah. I don’t like when she cries. I keep trying to kiss her, so she doesn’t cry.

 

Lindsey: Well, that’s really kind of you.

 

Vincenzo: I know.

 

Lindsey: I bet she really loves having an older brother.

 

Vincenzo: She does.

 

Lindsey: If you were in her shoes, would you think that you’re a pretty cool older brother? I think she would. She would say that you’re a pretty cool older brother.

 

Vincenzo: Well, she’s not big enough to talk.

 

Lindsey: Not yet. She’s probably thinking it though. So she hasn’t been around six months, huh?

 

Brittany: Yeah, she’s about six and a half months now. So she’s, yeah, she’s pretty fresh.

 

Lindsey: Pretty fresh. So yeah, do you want to share any of the challenges that you all had this past year?

 

Brittany: Yeah.

 

Lindsey: You don’t have to go into as much detail or you can go into all the detail.

 

Brittany: Do you want to start?

 

Blake: Sure. Where do I start?

 

Brittany: I know.

 

Blake: Well, we moved out to the Philippines last year for my work. I was working on a big project. I tried to travel out there quite a bit for my job and that project required a lot of my time. So we decided to move out there just for the three months, whatnot. We had a young family.

 

[0:25:12]

 

Lindsey: Yeah, pretty mobile, huh?

 

Blake: Yeah. And within that we decided why not move to Texas as well since we’re going to be packing up.

 

Lindsey: Yeah. That was like this time last year, right?

 

Blake: Yeah. Just a little over — like right before Christmas. So we packed up all our stuff and went to the Philippines. And during that time, Vin have gotten sick, but by all accounts, it wasn’t really a big deal. It was just little standard children’s things that he was getting.

 

And when we got to the Philippines, things went south really quickly, and we spent pretty much most of our time there at hospitals or labs or seeing specialists and things like that. And eventually after —

 

Lindsey: That’s not how you want to spend your new move.

 

Blake: Yeah, no. It definitely was not a good time. It was like kind of excited to go back there afterwards actually and it was kind of like there’s — it has a very negative feeling there, yeah. And I used to love it there.

 

But yeah, so like being there for 25 days, we eventually figured out he had a solid tumor, a cancer. And we jumped on the first plane home and started chemo within like a couple days and have been dealing with that since.

 

Lindsey: So has it been a full year?

 

Blake: It was just about 11 months. It’s been a full year. It’s like a year and a week or so since he was diagnosed. And yeah, he did about 11 months of chemo that was wrapped up a couple of months ago. And he’s still going through treatment though.

 

Lindsey: But he’s still pretty damn strong, huh?

 

Blake: Yeah. He’s very energetic.

 

Lindsey: Warrior spirit, huh?

 

Brittany: You hear adults talk about them going through chemo and what it’s doing to their body. It’s incredible that he is doing this.

 

Lindsey: He’s jumping on couches.

 

Brittany: Yeah and taking screens off of your window. Like we have no idea other than like how painful and excruciating it is to watch him. We don’t have any idea what that feels like. And then when an adult describes it, it’s like unbelievable what this human has gone through, you know.

 

Lindsey: Yeah. So what the heck? As the parent, you just want to be able to take something away from your kid, right? That’s — hey. She’s like, “More milk.”

 

Brittany: Yeah. Where are you going, baby?

 

Lindsey: Yeah. Mom, you’re killing me. Yeah. So that’s got to be the hardest thing trusting that he’s got this, you know.

 

Brittany: Yeah. And it is, but I don’t know. Somehow we found this like — well, I think we both have, but I’ll speak for myself. Like found this way of looking at it that’s so much more manageable than taking it on and feeling bad for him and feeling like I should be the one that it’s happening to. But more so feeling like this is happening for him, for us and all we can — we’re here to be doing the part that we’re supposed to be doing.

 

Like the cancer wasn’t for me or Blake of Nula. It’s for — yeah. It’s for Vinnie and for his role as teacher and master and, you know, and us for the students.

 

Lindsey: Gosh, for real.

 

Brittany: Yeah. And it makes it so much more manageable and beautiful in a way. As it is so awful and nothing short of shitty, but you can’t deny that [0:29:14] [Indiscernible] has come out of it either.

 

Lindsey: Yeah, you all are pretty amazing.

 

Brittany: We don’t have it together all the time. I swear, we do not.

 

Lindsey: They got their shirts on, their shoes on, they’re matching pretty good. Looks pretty together.

 

Brittany: We just got back from the gym.

 

Lindsey: But yeah, so looking back at yourself 18 months ago, which is crazy, right, before anything. What are some of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned so far? Yeah, go to the left.

 

Brittany: That you have to surrender to control. So you don’t really have control over anything. You can do what you need to do to step in the right direction, but you can’t make things happen. You have to surrender to what is.

 

[0:30:16]

 

The end plan was June-ish for this and I’m not kidding. Every time it’s been like something happens where it gets pushed back or they add more. It’s not like been exactly what has been said. So it’s just like — yeah and we do. We’ve been holding on to these timeframes because we want it so bad to be done. And then we get devastated every time that something pops in and changes it. And so it’s just like a big lesson of surrendering and just being in the moment, being in the present.

 

Because all you have is right now. You don’t even have that next minute. You just have right now. So that’s been a big one. Another one for me has also been learning how to receive which has been a really special one.

 

Lindsey: What do you mean by this?

 

Brittany: So we could not do this alone. And in the beginning, people want to help you and they want to support — I mean the whole way through, they want to help you. But at first it was like, “No, we’re good. We’re fine. We don’t need that.”

 

My friends wanted to start a meal train and they want to start a GoFundMe page. And we were like, “We’re good. We’re good. Thank you, but we’re fine. We got it. No worries.”

 

And very quickly we found out that we were not fine. And I think I was a little bit more open to it at first than Blake even. And I allowed my friends to start a meal train and it was incredible. It felt so awkward. Like here I am — all my friends have families and small children and newborns and here they are delivering homemade meals or restaurant gift certificates or food to us.

 

And I’m like, “I feel so lame that — like we’re incapable of doing this.” And that’s not it at all. We so needed hat help and why not let your friends help you and your family help you. It was so beautiful, and it hasn’t stopped. I mean I’m borrowing my friend’s BMW right now.

 

My friends have furnished my house with things. We’ve been gifted so many things, not even just material things, but —

 

Lindsey: Yeah. Just stuff for your daily life.

 

Brittany: Yeah, yeah.

 

Lindsey: It’s wild.

 

Brittany: Yeah. Everyone — there’s just so many beautiful people. And the more that I’ve allowed myself to receive, the more we have. Like we are supplied fully in every way.

 

Lindsey: That’s pretty amazing.

 

Brittany: Yeah. It is, it’s really amazing. So yeah.

 

Lindsey: So how would you say you’ve grown or changed or evolved or any big lessons for you, Blake?

 

Blake: It’s still work in progress. Yeah. I’m honestly still working on just accepting the whole thing.

 

Vincenzo: Hi, mama.

 

Brittany: Hi, buddy.

 

Lindsey: He’s pretty cute right now. It’s pretty adorable.

 

Blake: I think it’s just, yeah, like kind of learning to live in the moment and not — for the last year, we haven’t been able to plan anything even for next week because we don’t know what this week is looking like. And whether or not we’re going to be in the hospital or not or how he’s going to be feeling.

 

And just being okay with that and having to live day-to-day and oops.

 

Vincenzo: I taped you up.

 

Blake: You taped my mouth?

 

Vincenzo: Uh-hmm.

 

Blake: And just living in the moment and being okay with that uncertainty which is not —

 

Vincenzo: I taped your mouth up. You can’t talk.

 

Blake: — which is also like the very opposite of how my personality is too. So it was a challenge.

 

Lindsey: Yeah. If you’re used to doing everything on your own, being pretty independent.

 

Blake: Yeah. And just I’m a planner and like, you know —

 

Lindsey: Structure.

 

Blake: Yeah, exactly. And just having to go with the flow with our entire lives it was, you know what I mean. You can’t live like that. Because I’m a structure kind of person, but even if you’re not like nobody lives their life without any idea of what next week is going to look like. But we did and it’s fun.

 

[0:35:03]

 

Lindsey: Yeah, wild. How do you think Vincenzo’s grown in the past year?

 

Brittany: Well, he certainly learned to set boundaries for himself and his body and seem pretty clear about telling people what doesn’t work for you.

 

Lindsey: Do you have a story or like experience? That’s a pretty big thing as an almost four-year-old.

 

Brittany: Yeah, it is.

 

Blake: When you’re in the hospital they have come in like every four hours.

 

Lindsey: At all hours of the night.

 

Blake: Yeah, they come in at every four hours and at a minimum depending on what the treatment is or what drugs he’s getting, at a very minimum they’re needing to do — check his blood pressure and his temperature. But then a lot of time it’s weigh him then they’re administering drugs or having to make him eat something orally or it’s constant.

 

Yeah, sometimes —

 

Lindsey: It’s like picking and probing and it’s —

 

Blake: Yeah.

 

Brittany: It doesn’t matter like if you’re going to the bathroom or eating your sandwich. It’s like you don’t get a free moment.

 

Blake: Yeah. And over a year of that, he is very quick to let them know when they can do things. And he runs the show while he’s there.

 

Lindsey: That’s pretty awesome. Brittany has this big smile on her face. Like I was in the hospital when I was in fourth grade in the ICU for like a week. But I remember — like you all are bringing back memories of, “Oh, my god. They’re coming in to take my blood again.” And I don’t remember anything else, but it’s just like my arm not being able to say anything.

 

Brittany: You’re just an object.

 

Lindsey: Yeah. And for him to be able to say this is on my terms is pretty awesome.

 

Brittany: Yeah, it is. It’s really special. It’s challenging because —

 

Blake: It was a challenge.

 

Brittany: Yeah. It’s probably easy, you know. It makes it more challenges. Of course, it’d be easy if he just sat there and let them do whatever. But I think it’s probably a pretty important skill for the rest of his life to set these boundaries and to make sure that his body is respected. And he’s clear with Blake and I too about what works for him and what doesn’t about handling his body.

 

Blake: Or really anything. He thinks he’s in charge or everything.

 

Lindsey: Pretty awesome. Good for you, huh.

 

Brittany: Yeah.

 

Lindsey: So does Nula get to go on these hospital adventures?

 

Brittany: You know what, we learned very quickly that Nula is not suited for the hospital doctors. There’s a lot of stimulation there, yeah.

 

Lindsey: Oh, she’s even crying when you —

 

Brittany: Yeah, yeah. You mention hospital and she goes south. Yeah. See, that’s another way that we’re fortunate. We’ve found some way that we don’t have to bring her. And we have friends that come from all over that are willing to stay with her. And I think at the age she is it works really well because she’s down to stay with anybody right now.

 

So she doesn’t go. And it’s better for her. It’s really hard on me because I’m splitting my two children, but when I have brought her, nobody’s happy. Nobody’s getting what they need including myself.

 

Lindsey: Yeah, she makes it known.

 

Brittany: Yeah. She does, Vin does, I do. And so it just makes more sense to at least give her what she needs and then him and I can work together to figure out both of our needs being met, but it is a challenge.

 

Lindsey: What’s the longest you all had to hang out in a hospital?

 

Brittany: We were there for, was it 25 days? Yeah, 25, 26 days and then we did that two times.

 

Lindsey: Two rounds of that, damn.

 

Brittany: Yeah, yeah. So by the end, we were yelling at the doctors, “We need to go home right now. Send us home with whatever medicine we need to take home.” And both times we went home with things that were hospital type things where we brought like pumps home. And we had to get up in the middle of the night. But it saved our sanity.

 

Lindsey: Yeah. Because you can only be away from your home and your environment for so long I feel like.

 

Brittany: Yeah. And it’s no sleep and it’s brutal there.

 

[0:40:03]

 

Lindsey: Yeah.

 

Brittany: Yeah.

 

Lindsey: So Vin’s new name the teacher?

 

Brittany: Yeah, we call him Vincenzo the conqueror. We call him the master.

 

Lindsey: Ooh, master’s pretty good.

 

Brittany: Yeah. You’re a good teacher, right, buddy?

 

Lindsey: So any big plans for birthday month? He keeps saying a bounce house, but…

 

Brittany: He does, but we didn’t get a bounce house. We were thinking about taking him bowling. We have a big family between our families. And there’s like a bowling alley with arcades. So we were thinking about doing that with our family.

 

Vincenzo: But now I’m thinking about a bouncy house.

 

Brittany: But now he’s thinking about doing a bouncy house. So I mean it changes on the daily.

 

Vincenzo: We should do a bouncy house instead.

 

Brittany: Yeah.

 

Lindsey: Yeah. You’re like, “Okay.”

 

Vincenzo: Mom, we’ll do a bouncy house instead.

 

Lindsey: So was it hard to be a parent?

 

Brittany: Yeah, it’s incredibly hard to be a parent. It sucks.

 

Lindsey: Because parenting when you’re not dealt this shitty card, it’s hard enough as it is.

 

Brittany: Yeah, yeah. It’s hard to —

 

Lindsey: He just socked his dad.

 

Brittany: I feel really fortunate for Blake and I’s relationship. We’re not doing date nights or going on weekend getaways. But we communicate, and we have figured out how to work together so that we can — we’re just barely trying to survive, but fortunately our focus is on our children for sure. But yeah, we make sure that we’re on the same page about everything.

 

Lindsey: Do you have any communication hacks for relationships?

 

Brittany: Yeah. So Blake just signed me up for an app that he sends me projects on. What’s it called?

 

Lindsey: What’s the app called?

 

Brittany: What’s it called?

 

Blake: It’s a corporate project management tool. It’s completely inappropriate for a relationship.

 

Brittany: But I get my tasks.

 

Lindsey: So you got to send him tasks too, right?

 

Brittany: I do. I so do. Because at first, I’m like, “Oh, god. What?” But I could see how — I checked one thing off my tasks.

 

Blake: Well and I think the reason I did it is because with the kids, when I get home or when we’re together, we’re usually dealing with them.

 

Lindsey: And you’re not thinking about that task that you thought about 20 minutes ago.

 

Blake: Yeah.

 

Brittany: And you can’t.

 

Blake: Or even like when they’re in bed and we do get some time, I don’t want to get work. We just want to connect for a minute and talk about our day. And so — what happened?

 

Lindsey: Missing a wheel.

 

Blake: Oh, you know what, I’ll help you find it. Give me a second. Did she get it?

 

Lindsey: Yeah. So making time for your relationships is tough, huh?

 

Brittany: Yeah. So yeah, I mean no. We’re not the people to be giving relationship advice, but we do have — I always thank my lucky stars for Blake because he is a communicator. So however it happens, it usually happens. And he’s taught me and so now I feel like I’m pretty good at it. And there’s no shoving anything under the rug or being passive-aggressive. It’s like it’s kind of we manage.

 

In the beginning of our relationship, we would go. I would try to go like days without talking. And now it’s like maybe 20 minutes take a breather and then we got to work it out.

 

Lindsey: Sort it out.

 

Brittany: Yeah.

 

Lindsey: It’s cool.

 

Brittany: Yeah, yeah.

 

Lindsey: Yeah. Everybody wants to know how you keep the relationship alive when you have kids. And it’s like you got to figure out what works for you in the communication department. Like whether it’s an app or notes or whatever, you got to go there.

 

Brittany: Yeah, you do. Yeah.

 

Lindsey: So I think, Brittany, you were the one that was talking about a big celebration trip. Are you all still thinking about that?

 

Brittany: Yeah. Yeah, we were. So we are definitely thinking about it. When is just the question because now we’re just like we got to wait until —

 

Lindsey: You wait on the doctors?

 

Brittany: Yeah, we do. Monday is a day for us that we were hoping to get some —

 

Lindsey: This coming Monday.

 

Brittany: This coming Monday to get a little bit more clarity about what’s going to happen in the next because we have immunotherapy next. So just about when that’s starting. He has a little bit of cancer left in his bone marrow. So what are they going to do about that?

 

[0:45:00]

 

So then that — I don’t know. Does that change things? We don’t know. So once we get a little bit more of a plan, I don’t know. I think we’ll probably wait until a little bit closer until it being like done, done to plan.

 

Lindsey: Until you’re sure, sure.

 

Brittany: Yeah. But we’ve talked about going to Nicaragua, a little corn island. It’s this beautiful island that has baby blue water and total island vibe. And yeah, I think we just have dreams of where we can go and just float and drown in the water.

 

Lindsey: Yeah. And not think about anything.

 

Brittany: Because Vincenzo’s had a central line in his chest area for this last year, so it can’t go underwater.

 

Lindsey: I was going to say because you have to limit some normal kid activities.

 

Brittany: Yeah. I mean we stay far from the beach. We can’t go to pool parties.

 

Lindsey: Yeah, which, guys, we’re in Los Angeles, right?

 

Vincenzo: No, mommy. We went to the beach in San Diego.

 

Brittany: We did. Yeah, we went to the beach in San Diego. And it makes it more challenging, but we can go. We just have to be really careful.

 

Lindsey: Mindful.

 

Brittany: Yeah. It’s annoying because he wants to splash around and have a good time in the bath and in the ocean. And it’s nerve racking. We’re like, “Ugh, it’s getting wet.” So it just sucks to do that. So we want that thing out and we want to just go and bask in the sea.

 

Lindsey: Yeah, hell, yeah. Jesus. So what type of cancer is it for those listening?

 

Brittany: It’s called neuroblastoma.

 

Lindsey: Which is really freaking rare, right?

 

Blake: It’s like less than a thousand kids a year in the U.S.

 

Lindsey: Yeah. And that’s gnarly.

 

Brittany: Yeah. So it’s a super long treatment. They go through a lot of different things.

 

Lindsey: They put you through the ringer.

 

Brittany: They put you through the ringer, yeah. And I guess sometimes it can come back. And so they really want to blast it out the first time around. So it’s intense stuff just to make sure that it’s gone, gone. Yeah. So we actually — Vincenzo and I and Blake threw it in the trash recently and we decided that we were done with it and it went into the garbage.

 

Do we throw the neuroblastoma into the trash?

 

Vincenzo: Not yet.

 

Brittany: Oh, not yet?

 

Vincenzo: Uh-hmm. We still got to do those scans and make sure it’s all gone and throw it in the trash and we throw it in the trash.

 

Brittany: Yeah, okay.

 

Lindsey: Got to put that in the trash.

 

Brittany: Yeah, burn it.

 

Lindsey: Burn it.

 

Brittany: Yeah.

 

Vincenzo: Put it on the stove.

 

Brittany: Put it on the stove.

 

Vincenzo: Turn the burner on.

 

Lindsey: I like how you said burner. That was very Texan of you. Turn the burner on and be done with it. Well, I’m really glad I got a chance to chat with you all.

 

Brittany: Yeah. Thanks for having us.

 

Lindsey: Is there anything you all want to share with parents that are listening that maybe I missed or didn’t touch on because we bounced all over the place?

 

Brittany: I don’t know. Like it’s so hard to say because our life is so different. But I don’t know. Nothing seems that serious or important anymore. And like even I was saying that the first time around I was tracking how old he was and ho much he weighed and how many inches, all of these firsts.

 

And it’s like I don’t know any of that with Nula, but I do know that she is — the fact that she’s here and she’s healthy. I don’t know. Just everything seems so trivial and the most important things are just to — it doesn’t matter what sippy cup you use or what plate you, you know. I don’t know. There’s just so many things as a parent to flesh through and navigate that seems kind of silly.

 

Lindsey: And she’s probably like the second greatest teacher, huh?

 

Brittany: Yeah, yeah, she is. And she’s doing such a good job at what she needs to be doing right now. If she was high maintenance, I don’t know how we would survive. She sleeps, and she’s really calm and chill.

 

Lindsey: Yeah. When she comes to the gym, she just lays there.

 

Brittany: Yeah, yeah. And she loves to move. They told us that she was underweight and that she was not growing. She hadn’t grown in the last couple months. So it kind of threw me for a loop and I freaked out. But I think she’s fine. She’s not hitting the charts perfectly, but we started feeding her some food.

 

Lindsey: She’s moving really good.

 

Brittany: Yeah. She’s moving and she’s bright-eye and she’s doing what she needs to be doing. She’s not sitting up at six months, but I’m okay with that. She’s crawling and she’s working on other moves and she’s getter there. She’s building her muscle.

 

[0:50:03]

 

Lindsey: She’s got an awesome functional progression too.

 

Brittany: She does. She really does. And then that’s like the beauty of it is like to not rush it and just enjoy the process. And it’s slow and it’s beautiful. And you see her on her side twisting and turning. And it’s like —

 

Lindsey: She’s so graceful.

 

Brittany: Yeah. Don’t rush her, you know. She’s good.

 

Lindsey: Yeah. Well, that’s how her birth was, huh? Like don’t rush her.

 

Brittany: Yeah, exactly, yeah.

 

Lindsey: Well, awesome.

 

Brittany: Yeah, thank you.

 

Lindsey: Thanks for coming, guys.

 

Brittany: Thank you for having us.

 

Lindsey: Blake, did I miss anything?

 

Blake: No, I’m sorry. I’m kind of was halfway paying attention to be honest.

 

Lindsey: I won’t take out too much more of your Saturday, but yeah, thanks for coming.

 

Brittany: Yeah, thank you for having us. It was wonderful.

 

Lindsey: We’ll sign off.

 

Brittany: Okay.

 

Lindsey: All right, everybody. I hoped you enjoyed listening to Brittany, Blake, Vincenzo and Nula and getting a little bit personal with them and into their daily lives. So it’s pretty wild. I knew Brittany back when she was pregnant with Vincenzo and I remember when she contacted me about Vinnie. And then when she told me she was pregnant again and all of this magic.

 

But yeah, not everybody can handle a situation like what Brittany and Blake and Vincenzo and Nula are going through with such grace. And I’m floored by their humility, their strength, their ability to be vulnerable and ask for help, but yet be courageous in the same breath of air.

 

And yeah, like I said, they’re rock stars. They are handling this thing with as much grace as anybody could. And you know, I think it’s just really fabulous to see Vinnie running and jumping on the couches and flipping tires and freaking being a kid and enjoying life when he has those moments to enjoy life. And when he’s asked to be strong, he’s stronger than the strongest out there.

 

So Brittany said it. Be present in the moment. The little things, the material things don’t matter. Love each other. Embrace each other and communicate. I hope you got something out of this episode because I know I sure did. Until next time. Ciao.

[0:53:09] End of Audio

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