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The Tiny HeartBeat: A blog from the heart of Nikki Sullivan

Updated: May 19, 2023

The First Heartbeat...

Our long awaited Grand Opening on May 15th was more successful than we could have ever imagined. We are humbly and absolutely thrilled to be booked solid this week, every appointment filled with 4D ultrasounds getting intimate behind the scenes peeks at lives yet to be born. Lucky for me, as I officially start my ultrasound tech training this week.

I’m an artist by trade; music and creative writing have always been my forte. It's a running joke that I started singing before I started talking, but my love for music is rooted in my love for language, words, and how we communicate our souls with the world. Blending those two passions, I have spent the last ten years of my life performing as a singer/songwriter in downtown York, Pa and its surrounding cities. You're probably asking yourself, why would a singer/songwriter from Pennsylvania be involved in a start up ultrasound business in Rockwall, Texas? The answer to that is simple: family.

My bonus mom and new Owner and Founder of Tiny Hearts of Rockwall, Gabriella, has been a part of my life for 30 years. I am the eldest of her seven children and wanted to help her launch this new chapter of her story, so much so that I've taken the leep to transfer my life across the country in support of her dream. Every Sullivan gal here contributing to this new venture/expansion has a common goal, regardless of our vastly different resumes. Together, we are chasing one thing and one thing only: the JOY of motherhood, to experience it, to witness it, and to wholeheartedly celebrate it. And honestly, who doesn't need an extra special pinch of that every day? So many moms on our guest list are excitedly awaiting their own sparks of joy via our ultrasound experience services this week and in the weeks that follow.

The Serenity that is Tiny Hearts of Rockwall

In our office, I’m surrounded with cozy nooks, beautiful flowers, fluffy pillows, countless stuffed animals, and the most adorable teeny tiny table and chairs in our play area for any out of the womb babes who might attend an appointment here. I can’t help but feel overwhelmingly at peace. I know this is partly due to my step-mother’s spot on interior design skills with her dream concept finally coming to life. But more-so, I know it’s because I am literally surrounded by and getting the opportunity to work alongside people I love so much.

My soon to be sister-in-law Carrie sits at the front desk with her sweet Texas twang ready to answer phones and update our busy schedule. She’s always good for a laugh and is so fun to be around, but my love for her stems more deeply from her love for my niece and spirit twin, Cadence. At eleven years old, she’s finally got a mom to come home to, the most supportive, caring, ultra loving one at that. She makes my heart happy.

Though, nothing comes close to witnessing my second mother finally stepping out of the full time mom role to chase her dream of over 15 years. It’s truly a sight to see here… After raising seven kids and dedicating over half her life to all the ups and downs of the full-time job (more like ten full time jobs) of motherhood, she’s finally taking some much deserved time for her and in the most beautiful way. Pride overflows.

My heart feels gigantic, not tiny in the slightest like the ones on the logos displayed around me, because it is so incredibly full of love and excitement at what awaits us. As I admire the grand opening banner that hangs outside of her beautiful suite, I wonder if she really knows how fitting it is that we are grandly OPEN and that my training will be officially completed by Thursday, May 18th. This has been and will forever be such a special day for our family.

The First Ultrasound

The first time I ever saw an ultrasound performed in person was when my kid sister Brie got pregnant with her first daughter. It was 2010, I was a sophomore at Temple University, and I flew from Pennsylvania to Colorado for Thanksgiving to visit the family. We took a long overdue girls day, as we’d done countless times before. With a family of nine, four of which were teenage brothers at the time, often the three of us just needed to GET AWAY and escape the testerone for a bit… This trip was special though, more special and significant than any of us could’ve imagined.

We pulled up to a little brick medical clinic with a hospital style waiting room, plastic chairs, magazines, and an older nurse in a standard cubical window who eventually directed us to our room. There, bare concrete white walls and a metal hospital twin bed awaited. The ultrasound tech was kind, but she clearly was hiding some thoughts, not well might I add, about my petite seventeen year old sister that were easy to read on her face… We smiled anyway; nothing could kill our joy that day.

She grabbed her ten inch screen on its little white roller cart and scooted it closer so the three of us could see, Brie in the bed, Mom and I standing above her. A slab of jelly on her still barely showing belly, and we were ready for the magic. No more than 25 seconds later, I heard a gasp beside me. A tear-filled, smiling, soon to be Geema whispered excitedly, “Oh my God! It’s a girl!”

How could she possibly know that quickly? I knew she loved and was fascinated by this stuff, but I mean, that was FAST… Seriously though. Endless Google searches and videos coupled with studying ultrasound tech potential schools and programs since the time the youngest Sullivan was born, my little brother Carter who was 4 at the time, led her to this moment.

She beat the ultrasound tech; she beat the heartbeat! Moments later we heard the sweet little chugga-chugs of that tiny precious heart, and reality hit me HARD in the face; my baby sister was honest to goodness pregnant with a tiny baby. This meant, I was actually going to be an auntie for the first time, for real.

That tiny heartbeat rocked my entire world, and after a few beats, the tech announced what Geema already knew and had secretly told me. “It’s a GIRL!!!” The tiny heartbeat was HER’s, and we were officially four Sullivan girls. Still drastically outnumbered, but we were moving in the right direction. We hugged, we cried, we celebrated as a chapter ended and we turned the page to start anew.

The First Sullivan Grand-baby

At 4:08pm, weighing six pounds and four ounces, Isabellah Rebecca entered the world and turned ours most magnificently upside-down on May 18th, 2011. She made me an auntie, my brothers uncles, and my parents Geema and Bumpa, as she’d later proclaim in her adorable babble/learning to talk phase. Twelve years later, Geema and Bumpa have four more grand-babies and two who will make their debut to the crew by the end of the year, each affectionately babbling these names in their own unique tiny voices.

Sometimes, life just happens. But, an optimist, I like to sit in the joyous moments like these when the stars align perfectly to make the big moments just a little sweeter, these nods of fate that just make your heart swell and grow a size or two. Our Grand Opening was exactly that: beautiful, hopeful, and an absolute celebration of this incredible endeavor we're blessed to embark on together surrounded by a village of friends, family, and expectant strangers who get to share this amazing journey of humanity with us. I'm so grateful we get to do it "family style." From our growing Sullivan family to yours, we're blessed to be moms supporting moms becoming moms.

Full Circle Family

My final day of training Thursday sure felt like one of those moments, a full circle blessing in every way. I couldn’t be happier to be here completely immersed in this experience, to sit in this joy with some of my favorite people, and be surrounded by the hope and bliss in the eyes of these beautiful families. We are so thankful to be able to support and cater to you all. Another page, another chapter, another precious moment written in the stars that just for a moment feels perfectly transcendently ours to share.

Thus, we welcome you to our new blog series: The Tiny HeartBeat, a blog for moms by moms celebrating moms. Within this heartbeat, a moment to cherish and discuss the beauty of motherhood and the many tiny hearts beating alongside of ours.

A dream come true indeed...

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