Thursday, December 31, 2015

Breaking the Silence

I have Postpartum Depression (PPD). I'm currently trying to control it with medication and therapy. One of the things my therapist suggested was blogging about my journey. Here goes.

When I went back for my postpartum checkup I knew something wasn't 'right'. I'd felt drained and frustrated for weeks, beyond the typical new mom sleep deprivation. I talked to my doctor and he offered to put me on medication or let me talk to their therapist first. I chose therapy. After talking with her, she suggested a low dose of medicine to take the edge off. Within a week of taking it I saw improvement. My moods changed, I was able to get things done around the house, and I was bonding well with Faith. We talked about coping skills, things that I could do to help take some of the pressure off. At my last meeting, I set goals to accomplish in the next few years.

Everything was going great, but in mid-December something snapped. It felt like no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't control the thoughts and emotions anymore. I think it's because Christmas is such a hard time for me anyway, and we had added stressors of my step-dad being in the hospital. I couldn't get in the Christmas spirit, and I just felt more and more alone and depressed. My go to coping skills are no longer working, so I'm trying the ones I don't use often. Today I'm blogging. Tomorrow I'm going to set aside time to paint and Bible journal. I'm praying this is truly just a side effect of the holidays, but if things don't improve by the 14th I'm going to call my counselor again.

Everyone thinks depression is just a deep sadness. Many people feel you should just 'get over it'. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. I have moments of total joy. Looking at my laughing daughters, joking with them, spending time with them or Shaun all bring about feelings of happiness and contentment. For me, depression means I don't WANT to do ANYTHING. Go to the store? Maybe tomorrow. Fold the laundry (my favorite chore)? Probably never. Play with the baby? I just don't want to. I don't want to do any of the things I love to do. I was reading 8-10 books to Faith every day. When the depression hit hard I didn't want to read one. There were weeks where we only read 4-5 books. I didn't even want to read MY books. I can't tell you how many books I've set aside because my depression was keeping me from enjoying them. Reading is one of my coping skills, so when that was no longer effective I knew something was wrong.

My word for 2015 was JOY. I knew if I got pregnant, I would have to work to remain joyful. I knew if I didn't get pregnant, I wanted to choose joy without a baby. My word for 2016 is Focus. I need to focus on whatever I'm doing at the moment. I need to put aside Facebook and focus on my relationships; my relationship with God, my relationships in my family, and my relationships with friends. I've pushed most of my friends away since Faith was born, and for that I'm truly sorry. As I write this, I'm feeling led to take a Facebook Fast. I've done it before for short times, and I think it's time to do it again. I'm going to remove the app and messenger from my phone tonight. I don't know how long I'll break from it. So, I hope you and yours have a Happy New Year. May your 2016 be filled with unexpected blessings!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Breastfeeding Resources

This is my ultimate list of breastfeeding resources. If you're struggling on your nursing journey, read on! If you missed out on a great breastfeeding journey due to lack of information, don't feel guilty! You did your best!

Breast is Best:
La Leche League USA: This site has forums, resources, a store and so much more!

KellyMom.com: Pregnancy, breastfeeding, parenting, etc. This has been our go to site with breastfeeding questions.

Alcohol and Breastfeeding: No need to pump and dump!!!

Books about breastfeeding

Breastfeeding after a C-Section

Donating/Receiving breastmilk

Find a friend on the Breast Friends Facebook page and read all the files! There are more resources than I can copy and paste in the short time I have to blog. Find the Breast Friends Off Topic page and join that group, then ask someone there to join the Breast Friends group. Both pages are excellent resources!

To Blog or Not to Blog...

That is the question. I considered quitting after Faith was born. Why continue looking for a rainbow when we found ours? Her first few days home have been difficult though, and after an hour trip to pick up 100 oz. of donated breast milk, my mom encouraged me to keep writing. Maybe another mom is struggling in the same way, and maybe she can take comfort in knowing she's not alone. So if you want to keep following, please add your email to follow my blog. I don't think I'll post on Facebook anymore, as my friends see enough of my updates about our miracle. If enough friends want to follow on Facebook, I'll keep posting it there. Now, onto the adjustments...

We came home from the hospital Wednesday night. Faith woke up frequently, but Shaun and I felt pretty good the next morning. Thursday was uneventful, until that night when I realized she hadn't had any wet diapers. She was still struggling to latch, so I met with my lactation consultant on Friday morning. We tried a nipple shield and different holds, but our struggles stemmed from Faith's lip tie. She strongly encouraged me to have her doctor clip it. When I met with her doctor that afternoon and tried to explain our struggles, he completely brushed off the lip tie and tried to push formula. I refused, and he relented on the condition that we take her to a children's hospital if she didn't have enough wet diapers in 24 hours.

Poor Shaun fought with me Friday night. I desperately didn't want to supplement, because I supplemented with Hope and wanted this time to be better. Eventually he gave her a little bit of formula Friday night so I could get some sleep. I have never felt like such a failure. My colostrum wasn't enough. My body couldn't make enough to keep my baby healthy. As the weekend progressed, I remembered having similar troubles with Hope. That's one more reason we supplemented for a while with her.

On Saturday one of my friends hooked me up with a Certified Lactation Counselor. Jo Stein (click her name to go to her site) was the best thing that happened to us this weekend. She coached me through latches, encouraged me to prop myself up with pillows and get comfy for nursing sessions, and talked with me about my doctor and her personal experiences with him, taking away much of my "mommy guilt". She also hooked me up with a donor mom who gave us 100 oz. of breast milk! We met the donor Saturday night and brought home a cooler full of liquid gold. If you're struggling with supply or latch issues, find your local Eats on Feets group on Facebook. Every state has one, and the moms on there are 100% dedicated to giving away their overstock of breast milk. Like any online meeting, take someone with you to be safe. I can understand why some might be hesitant to accept milk from a stranger, but this is something Shaun and I researched heavily while I was pregnant and agreed would be the best solution for us. We actually planned on me selling or donating through a website, because I had such a surplus with Hope.

On Wednesday morning I FINALLY woke up to the full feeling of my milk coming in. It took just over a week, but now I know Faith is getting enough milk. She's finally having enough wet and poopy diapers. There have been moments when I'm overtired and stressed and want to give up, but she holds my finger while eating and looks so happy. Even when we were struggling, she would look up at me and smile when she finished. She's worth every struggle and every tear. If you're finding breastfeeding is 'natural' but not 'easy', don't give up! find a friend, a doula, or a lactation consultant to help. Now I'm going to sit back and enjoy the nursing cuddles while the laundry waits another day.



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Story Behind Her Name

Update on blood sugar: Because low blood sugar is Faith's only symptom, the doctor isn't as worried about it now. She has to have it checked every hour, and they're hoping to get it to 50 before sending us home. Right now it's at 45. We're nursing on demand and doing skin to skin to try to pull it up.

I knew when I wrote earlier I was forgetting something, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out what. While I was resting this evening I remembered I was supposed to explain her name, and I didn't. Sorry about that. Here goes: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was always one of my favorite books growing up. I watched all three movie versions, and I read the book in fifth grade and loved it. Lucy was always my favorite character. Really, who didn't love Queen Lucy the Valiant? I considered naming Hope Lucy, but it means "light' or "spark" and that didn't feel significant to me at the time. Now I'm so glad I didn't, because Lucy's name means "Spark of Faith". How perfect is that for our Rainbow?! Shaun and I chose our children's names while we were planning our wedding. Originally we agreed to look at the baby before naming it. Shaun loved Lucy, but wanted it to be short for Lucille, after his great-grandmother. A few months ago, Shaun came home and pleaded his case for choosing a name in advance. He said since Lucy Faith means Spark of Faith, we should go with that because this pregnancy has restored our whole family's faith in God. How could I argue with that?! It didn't hurt that both girl names were names I chose. Early on I struggled a bit with Lucille, but I walked around the house all day saying it, and I thought about Lucille Ball, whom I've always referred to by her whole name. Eventually it grew on me. She's not going to be called Lucille, anyway. Hope calls her Faith, Shaun mostly calls her Lucy, and I switch back and forth. When she's older she can choose how she wants to be known. Any questions? Feel free to ask!

Meet Our Rainbow!

Lucille Faith was born at 4:27 this afternoon. 21 in. long and weighed a whopping 7 lbs 9 oz. And by the time I delivered her, the demerol wore off and I still had three minutes before I could have more! She's having a little difficulty maintaining a latch, so I'm talking with two lactation consultants tomorrow. Her blood sugar is lower than what they'd like, and the hospital pediatrician is encouraging us to supplement. I'm nursing as often as I can to avoid that, but please pray we can keep her healthy. Her birth was insanely fast. My mom ran to get Taco Bell for Shaun and completely missed it! Dr. Brown was a little slow arriving and almost missed it. One of my friends from high school worked at the hospital when Hope was born, and surprisingly she now works at the hospital where Faith was born. She came in while I was in labor and we talked briefly, and she planned on returning to help catch Faith, but she missed it too!

Faith is a heavy sleeper just like her dad, so it's going to take a while to figure out how to wake her up for feedings. With her low blood sugars I'm very worried about missing one. Sleep tonight is hit or miss. Of course Shaun is already passed out on the couch.

I was worried she wouldn't fit in all the small clothes we have, but it looks like those worries were unfounded. She feels so tiny! She's resting on my chest right now. I love listening to her breathe. Hope had the chance to hold her tonight and was dancing on air. She is absolutely in love! We all are! God has answered so many prayers this pregnancy. I'm forever grateful for my amazing friends and family who've been supportive along the way. I'm going to try to get some sleep before her next feeding. Thanks again!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Final Update Before D-Day

I don't think I'll post another blog before Baby Girl arrives. I really don't see a need to. Something may change over the weekend, but I doubt it.

For the first time I had multiple strong contractions during the NST. It's always nice to see my body doing what it's supposed to. Her heart rate was good, and she passed with flying colors (as usual). Then she decided to show off during the BPP. She did everything she was supposed to in record time. She even let us get two (semi blurry) pictures!

I'm still being induced Monday, unless she decides to come on her own before then. My doctor is using a pill to induce labor. He said it could be as long as Wednesday before she's born, because she's not ready and I'm not dilated or effaced. There's also an increased risk of C-Section. Let me pause here and say I CANNOT have a C-Section. It's not happening. I've delivered all of my babies vaginally and I'm not stopping now. I am terrified of a C-Section for two reasons. 1) I refuse to have an epidural. I know too many people who've had complications, and it's not worth the risk. 2) My cousin died during a C-Section. No one ever explained to my family why she died. They're using her story as a teaching tool at our local community college, so someone must know what happened. Until I know, I won't have an epidural or C-Section.

I've had several prayers throughout this pregnancy. One is that this labor will make Hope's look hard. I was induced at 9:00 p.m. (same this time), active labor started at 3 a.m. and she was born at 6:12 a.m. For a while they had to wake me up to push! I had Ambien and Demerol in me and was practically asleep for the first few hours after she was born. It wasn't all roses and rainbows, but it was about as good as it gets for a first time mom. With William I was induced around 7 a.m. and labor started around 12:45 a.m. and he was born around 2:15 a.m. That happened exactly as my doctor expected for a late miscarriage. I really feel once labor starts my body knows what to do and just does it. I hope I'm right and this time is quick and relatively easy. Shaun has Tuesday and Wednesday off work, so if she's born on Wednesday he won't have much time with her and probably won't stay that night in the hospital. This is a huge concern for me. He had to work the day after William was born, and it was hard on both of us. Yes, that situation was a little different, but I still want him to have as much time with Baby Girl as possible.

Please pray for a safe and healthy delivery for Baby Girl and me. Pray for Shaun and me to be well rested when active labor starts. Pray for Hope and the family she's staying with next week. Pray that Shaun's mom can come for the delivery or shortly after. Above all, pray for peace for our family during labor and delivery, as well as the transition to a family of four.

One final note. Shaun insists if she's born in the middle of the night he won't text anyone the stats. I'm not sure if he'll post it on Facebook right away, or if he'll wait until a decent hour to contact immediate family before posting it. Don't be offended if you don't receive a text right away; I've tried to keep the list to five people or less. My mom will take pictures with my phone that I'll post in a new album when I have time. Shaun will take pictures with his and keep everyone informed when he has the chance. Thanks for all your prayers and support! Next time you see us we might be a family of four!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Needs vs. Wants

I have been trying so hard to purge our household of anything we don't need. I've tried to think of the baby registries as "wants" as opposed to "needs". Because of this, when people ask what we still need, I draw a complete blank. So today I'm reviewing all three registries and narrowing them down to needs and wants. Wherever I feel necessary, I will explain an item, because I know our needs are different from yours.

Baby Girl

Needs
  1. Elastic or woven headbands to hold her beautiful bows (any and all colors)
  2. Bins/Baskets 
    1. One for diapering supplies 
    2. One for bathing supplies
    3. Two small ones to hold hats and bloomers
  3. My glider from Edwardsville to get to her nursery (pm me for details)
  4. Bassinet sheets
  5. Med/Lg sleep sacks
  6. Diaper changing pad for diaper bag
  7. Avent NATURAL bottles, small size
  8. Outlet covers
  9. Pink step stool from Target (I chose matching ones for both girls so I can paint their names on them. This is a need for Baby because I need to use it to reach in the crib when we lower it.)
  10. Under bed storage tote
  11. Humidifier (there's a pink one we registered for. It's available at the Glen Carbon Target, and it's the best one I've found.)
  12. Trash can for dirty diapers or diaper pail from Babies R Us

Wants
  1. Toy hammock
  2. Ottoman for glider
  3. Shades for car windows
  4. Mirror for back seat
  5. Car seat guard (to protect Shaun's leather seats)
  6. Car seat toys
  7. Microwave steam sterilizer for bottles
  8. GermX
  9. Thermometer for bath water
  10. Bath toy storage container
  11. Temporal thermometer
  12. WET Brush
  13. Crib mattress pad
  14. White hot spoons, bowls, etc.
  15. CD player


Hope
Needs

  1. 5 Shelf closet organizer (hangs from a bar and allows her to store daily outfits)
  2. WET brush (She's been begging for one for a while. They're supposed to be amazing at getting out tangles.)
  3. Pink step stool from Target (a need because there's still things around the house she can't reach. If both girls have their own, I'll always know who left it out).
  4. Under bed storage tote
  5. Closet organization kit 


Wants

  1. Maleficent
  2. Grace (American Girl books)
  3. I Survived book series
  4. Annie (new movie)
  5. Wreck it Ralph
  6. Big Hero 6
  7. Brave
  8. Toy Story movies
  9. The LEGO movie
  10. Muppets Most Wanted (and the first one)



Amie
Needs
  1. Breast milk storage supplies
  2. Ice pack for breast milk
  3. Washable nursing pads
  4. Company (though please text before you come over!)
  5. Babies R Us and Target gift cards to pick up anything we've forgotten
Wants

  1. Amazon gift cards for Kindle
  2. Blue Gatorade
  3. Snacks for power nursing sessions
  4. WalMart gift cards for nursing bras/tanks


Shaun
Needs
Casey's gift cards
WalMart gift cards

Wants
Diet Dr. Pepper (so he can stay awake after Baby keeps him up all night.)

That's absolutely everything I can think of. If I've told you something that's not on here, know that I specifically didn't list it because I already told you. I'm sorry if it seems like I'm constantly asking for things; I'm just trying to figure out the most efficient way to let everyone know what we still need. Above all else, we need prayer in the coming weeks. Thanks for all your support!


Monday, August 24, 2015

Induction Date

Good news: I don't have preeclampsia! I'm relieved, because multiple miscarriages and gestational diabetes are enough complications for me. Better news: If Baby Girl doesn't come on her own by Thursday, I'm scheduled to be induced next Monday night. It looks like I'm just not meant to have the natural birth I've always wanted. As long as she arrives safe and healthy and I make it through safe and healthy, that's all that matters. We're all breathing a sigh of relief tonight and incredibly thankful to finally have a plan. That's all for now. By this time next week, we'll be preparing to have a baby!

Who's Timing?

1) Miscarriage
2) Stillbirth
3) Chromosomal disorder
4) Something going wrong during labor and delivery
5) The timing of her arrival (too early, too late, too whatever)

These are the top five things I've worried about this pregnancy. There are others (many others) but these are what have kept me panicking the most. Right now the hot button topic is when will she arrive? For a while we just wanted to make sure she stayed to full term. Now that we're within a week of that, we're all a little more eager for her to arrive. I'm counting kicks almost every waking hour. Her due date is on my weekend with my daughter, so I wasn't worried about her being there. Now it doesn't look like we'll make it that long, which brings up a slew of "what ifs". What if she comes between the 31st and the 4th? Hope will have to miss her first week of dance classes because there won't be anyone available to take her. While it may seem like a little thing and something that shouldn't bother anyone, it bothers me. I want this birth and the subsequent transitions to disrupt her life as little as possible. We all know having a baby changes everything, and there's going to be enough changes in her life in the coming years. Mama bear in me wants her to go to her first week of dance. What if she comes on the 28th? Who will take Hope to her dad's? My mom (her usual ride if I'm unavailable) will be with us at the hospital. Obviously Shaun won't be able to take her.

Something about yesterday's sermon hit me. I need to seek God's will, not man's. She will come when God's ready. Not when Shaun wants (yesterday), not when Hope wants (Christmas), not when I want (this week). God is still teaching me about his timing. He's still teaching me to fully trust Him. You'd think after everything we've been through I'd be there. Unfortunately, the sin of worry quickly creeps into my life. Often it's so fast I don't even realize it's happening. This week my prayer is that God will align my will with his. As I'm preparing for this appointment later today I keep praying for God's will. I'm praying to be content in all circumstances, even if it means a scheduled induction next week. As it is I'm not having the natural birth I wanted.

One last thing; I want to say thanks again to everyone who's helped through this pregnancy. Another sweet friend dropped off a swing and bunting for her car seat on Friday. A friend from church properly installed her seat yesterday. More friends have sent cards and gifts this week. We greatly appreciate each one. And I have a generous friend who has agreed to keep Hope overnight if the baby comes when she's with me. My family has helped organize and sent supplies we've asked for. Shaun's family is still sending clothes in various sizes. We're so thankful for all the help. I'm sure I've forgotten someone, but know that whatever you've done, no matter how trivial, we appreciate it. Thanks again for all the prayers, we wouldn't be here without them.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

More News

My sweet aunt drove me to my appointment today. Everything went surprisingly well! Baby Girl cooperated for the NST and we finished the BPP in record time! She even moved her hands and feet from her face long enough for us to get multiple pictures. It looks like she's smiling in one! We can't wait to hold her and squeeze those chubby little cheeks.

Then I saw the doctor...

My blood pressure is normal. I don't have any other symptoms of preeclampsia except there was protein in my urine. So I have to do a 24 hour urine collection from Sunday to Monday. If that comes back high, I'm sure we'll induce on Monday. At this point, I don't really mind either way. It would bother me to carry another pregnancy risk, but as long as she's born healthy and I make it through, that's all that matters. If we meet her a little early, so be it. Otherwise we'll meet her sometime in the next week and a half or so. Continued prayers are appreciated.

BIG BLESSING!!!!
We had a baby sprinkle today from Shaun's work. They gave us a brand new crib and mattress! We're so thankful for friends who would come together and help us. Now Baby Girl has almost everything she needs. If you want to help at this point, Target or Babies R Us gift cards are the way to go. There's a few things we registered for we'd like to pick up, and with Babies R Us we continue to earn rewards after she's born.

Once again, thank you for all the prayers and support. We're anxious to bring home our newest princess!

Monday, August 17, 2015

New Due Date of Sorts

I finally talked with my doctor! I feel so much more comfortable with the situation. The NST and BPP went beautifully today. Of course, since she cooperated so well she covered her face with her hand, so we didn't get any new pictures. That's okay, in about two weeks she won't have a choice!

My blood pressure was back to normal, so I'm not being induced before Thursday. I say before Thursday because if it spikes at any point for the rest of the pregnancy, I'll be induced. If all continues to go well I'll be induced sometime in the 39th week. That's August 28th--September 3rd. I'm still on modified bed rest. I can go about normal activities, but I can't work or do any heavy lifting, and I have to lay on my left side for an hour each morning, afternoon and evening. Our bags are finally packed and ready to go whenever she decides to show up. My mom and Shaun would like someone to go with me to the remainder of my appointments, just in case they decide to induce. They're August 20th (10:30), 24th (10:00) and 27th (10:30), if anyone's available. I'm typically gone three hours or so. If you're interested, pm me. Thanks for all the prayers and support! A big shout out to Stacey for finishing the nursery today and Andrea for keeping my doctor in the loop with all my weekend problems. I can't say it enough, I have the best friends in the world!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Why We Raced Out of Church This Morning

My feet were swollen Friday and Saturday night. After seeing my Facebook posts about it, one of my friends (who works with my doctor) offered to take my blood pressure at church. When she finished, she looked at me and said "You're going to the hospital". She got Shaun and I took care of some last minute details in the church nursery.

At the hospital, I was admitted and they ran a series of blood tests and an NST. Baby girl was maneuvering away from the heart monitor and unhappy with the change in routine. I drank some ice water and used a small fan to try to cool down. I've felt excessively hot all day, and I'm normally cold natured. I was diagnosed with pregnancy induced hypertension and sent home on modified bed rest until Baby Girl arrives. I'm allowed to get up and cook meals, and I can sit on the couch or with my feet propped up in a recliner, but I'm not to do any work. So whatever isn't done now, isn't getting done before she's born. I'll see my doctor tomorrow, and he may order something different, but I doubt it. My plan is to continue doing what I've been doing since late last week; sleep when I feel tired and relax as much as possible. I can still drive, so I can continue taking Hope to and from school. Baby Girl will definitely be born sooner than later. With two complications I'm absolutely not going over 40 weeks. Continued prayers are definitely appreciated.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Baby Will Come By.....

Woohoo!!! This week has been AMAZING!!!! I've gotten a ton of work done around the house (just general upkeep, but still...), and I now know Baby Girl will arrive sometime between September 4th and September 10th (if she doesn't come on her own before then). My doctor said yesterday with my blood sugars the way they are he won't let me go over. YAY!!!!!!!!! My sugars are still excellent for GD, but I think it's a standard if there's any complications they won't let you go over.

Baby Girl is definitely her father's daughter. She was up and moving during the NST. She moved away from the heart rate monitor several times, but she was definitely active. By the time I went in for the BPP, she decided to take a little nap. She did everything they wanted her to do, except move. They spent about fifteen minutes poking and prodding my belly, pushing on her head, stomach, anything they could reach to wake her up. She wasn't having it. She was out COLD. Definitely Shaun's kid. With 30 seconds on the clock before we had to stop, she finally moved. I was relieved, because I don't know what my doctor would do if she slept through the whole test. Of course she was kicking away the whole way home. She took so long the nurses called down to see what was going on, because the doctor was waiting on me! How often does that happen?

She has a doctor! This has been a big issue, because Hope's doctor and the doctor I preferred both no longer take patients on the medical card. I desperately wanted to get insurance when she's born, but there's no way it's financially feasible for us. The cost would drop Shaun's take home pay to what he made as an assistant manager. There's no way we could survive. With ObamaCare I no longer feel any guilt or shame in being on state insurance, because pretty much everyone is on government healthcare. Baby Girl will see Dr. Morra with Right From the Start Pediatrics in Shiloh. It's in the same direction as Hope's dance studio, and we go there every other Friday to take her to her dad anyway. Hopefully we can work appointments around her schedule so we're not driving too much. There's only one pediatrician in our town, and no one's heard of her. There is a general practice, but no one I know who use it like it for kids. Everyone agrees to stay away from the pediatricians in Mt. Vernon.

A little update on what supplies she still needs. Please, before you buy or send anything that's not on the registry, ask Shaun or me if we need it. We've received several items from well meaning family and friends in the past few months that aren't practical for our family. Honestly if you want to buy her something the best thing right now is headbands we can attach bows to or gift cards. I know gift cards aren't fun to buy, but they're what we'll need when she's born. We do still have registries at Babies R Us and Target, so you can check there if you want to get an actual gift. There are several things there that we chose because of their functionality and ease of use. If you comparison shop and find a better deal on the same item elsewhere, go for it! We appreciate every effort, but want to make sure the things coming into our home work for our family. We are very limited on space, and we took that into consideration for every item we registered for. I don't want to sound picky or ungrateful, but I've worked so hard the past several years to declutter and downsize our 'stuff' and I don't want to be bogged down with baby items we can't use. She has the smallest room in the house, and we don't have a basement we can store things in. Thank you for all your help and support and understanding our predicament.

I think that sums it up for now. She'll be here sometime in the next three weeks. WOW! I better go pack our hospital bags...

Monday, August 10, 2015

So Close and Yet, So Far

Yesterday was an AMAZING day! My church threw a wonderful book & bow party for Baby Girl. She received dozens of each, and we can't wait to enjoy them with her. She now has enough bows to match every outfit. Too bad she doesn't have hair to go with them.

Baby Girl was measured at my BPP today. She weighs a whopping 6.3 lbs! I'm trying not to panic, since Hope only weighed 6.4 when she was born. I still have almost a month to go. To say I'm ready for her to arrive is an understatement. I'm bound and determined to have a natural birth, but if she keeps growing at this rate I may have to use demerol again. I asked the tech to check for hair, and she could only see a layer of peach fuzz. It's all around her head, but probably not enough for the bows she has. It's probably a good thing she has headbands, too. I'm looking for some more plain elastic ones I can attach bows to, so if you know where to find them, please tell me. At least this time she let us get a few pictures. She has the cutest chubby little cheeks! I absolutely love them.

Last week she misbehaved for the NST. Today she was a little better, but the tech still had to hover over her for a while. I was contracting on my way to the office, but they stopped by the time the NST started.

My sugars were good enough to keep doing what I've been doing. I was checked and I'm not dilated. I can't tell you how disappointed I am. I KNOW it's better for her to stay as long as possible; but knowing her weight just makes me so nervous. I'm afraid she'll get too big for me to deliver. I'm afraid if she's too big I won't be able to have a natural birth. More than anything, I'm afraid I'll have to be induced again. I don't want that. I want to know what it feels like to go into labor naturally. Pray for peace for me in the coming weeks, because the closer we get, the more nervous I become.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Here's the Update!

I'm sorry for any confusion my Facebook post caused. I'm NOT having the baby tonight (as far as I know!). Here's what IS happening.

Baby Girl is a healthy 5.5lbs. This makes me more than a little nervous, as her big sister only weighed 6.4, but God is in control. Her heart rate was a little low during my NST, but it wasn't with contractions and it did increase, so my doctor isn't worried. She was practicing breathing beautifully during the BPP. She's still head down, which is great! They think she has a few wisps of hair, but with the way she moves it's hard to tell. She let us get one picture before moving her hand completely in front of her face.

When I finally talked to the doctor my big concern was the low heart rate during the NST. He assured me it's nothing to be concerned about. I asked when I'll get to a point where they won't stop labor, and he said I'm already there! She could come at any time, and it's okay! This is HUGE!!!!! I'm absolutely terrified. We spent Saturday trying to clean and organize our bedroom to make room for her, and in the process made a huge mess throughout the house. I also have had severe pelvic pain since then, so my doctor put me on light duty and told me not to do any more organizing like I was. We have a VERY long way to go before the house is ready, so prayers are appreciated that Shaun will have the energy and time to finish it alone.

I don't have anything packed yet, so after dishes, laundry and basic housework that's my big goal for this week. Technically we have to pack four bags; one for me, one for Shaun, one for Baby and one for Hope, because she's going to be staying with family or friends while we're in the hospital. I have a plan and a backup plan for her. Once the house is ready and our bags are packed, Baby Girl can come. Until then, I really hope she waits. I'm absolutely terrified our house won't be ready in time. I feel like we've been so busy this summer, we just haven't had time to make it a priority.

Baby Girl absolutely loves music. We're watching the Buffy episode "Once More with Feeling" and she's dancing up a storm! I can feel her moving more frequently when we have any music playing. I absolutely love it! That's it for tonight. Hopefully there will be more good news on Thursday! I referenced this song when I confided my fears about never having another baby in a friend last fall. We're each expecting our second a week apart now! God is GOOD! I've heard it a few times this pregnancy, but thought I'd share it here tonight. Can't wait to hold our little bundle of JOY!

No, that's not her name.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Never a Dull Moment!

Today was my first day off all summer. I'm not even necessarily off on weekends, since I'm a mom and I work in my church nursery. I chose to spend the day Bible journaling, reading and watching Netflix. It was a great, quiet, refreshing time. Then Shaun asked me to go to the grocery store.

Everything was fine until I started walking toward the checkout. Suddenly I had excruciating cramps in my left side. I quickly checked out and went to my car. I sat for a few minutes to see if the change in positions would alleviate them. It didn't. I drove home and told Shaun we needed to go to the hospital. Cramping is one of the symptoms my doctor told me to come in for. I laid down on the couch for a few minutes while he asked more detailed questions about my symptoms. In the end we decided to have my mom drive me to the hospital so he could finish cooking dinner. It didn't feel like early labor, so Shaun felt okay staying home.

The beautiful thing is now we know exactly what to do when we go to the hospital. They checked me right in to labor and delivery, and my doctor was there in record time. I was thoroughly impressed, because all three times I went in with Hope I never once saw a doctor, much less mine. He checked me and determined I wasn't dilated, but assured me I did the right thing by coming in. He reminded me of the symptoms to come in for before ordering a non-stress test. They wasted no time in discharging me when the test was over. Overall it was an excellent experience. I'm relieved Baby Girl isn't ready yet and nothing was wrong. For the record, my doctor didn't say what could have caused the cramps, but I also didn't ask. I'll see him tomorrow and ask then.

When I called Shaun to update him, his first question was how the baby was. He called her by her middle name for the first time! Normally he uses her first, and even that he doesn't use often, but I could hear the anticipation and concern in his voice. It was so special.

Thanks for the continued prayers. I'll try to write a blog after my appointment tomorrow.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Two Updates (Including Baby Showers)

I had appointments on Monday and Thursday last week. Obviously I've gotten a tad behind on my updates. Sorry!

Monday was my second BPP and NST. Baby Girl was NOT cooperative for pictures, so we didn't get any. I hope this isn't a sign of what's to come. My doctor suggested a safe sleep aid, and I will try it if I ever remember to buy it. The biggest change is he decided to see me twice a week, after each BPP and NST.

Thursday I took Hope with me. I don't think she was too thrilled with having to go, but she loved seeing the ultrasound! Baby Girl put on quite a show of keeping her feet and her hands over her face, preventing pictures again. The tech managed to snap one, but you can barely make out her face under her foot. She's going to give us a run for our money, for sure! She's stubborn, stubborn, stubborn already! My doctor has switched from telling me to call and come to the office if I'm in labor to telling me to go directly to the hospital. I don't think he expects her to wait until September, either!

Baby Shower Update: My church is AMAZING!!!! If you're local and looking for a church, come check us out! I'm the nursery director, and I was told last week I can take at least 6-8 weeks off when Baby arrives. I've made arrangements beginning the last weekend in August, and I've already found a replacement director while I'm on 'leave'. The other (bigger) reason they're awesome is they celebrate EVERY baby born in the church. It doesn't matter if it's your first or your fifth, every baby gets a party. Since we're cloth diapering, Baby Girl gets a 'Book & Bow' party on August 23rd. Any friends or family who would like to come are welcome, just pm me and I'll tell you the details.

Welcome Baby: My mom is throwing a "Welcome Baby Girl' party on September 19th. I want ALL our friends and family who've prayed for us since losing William to have the chance to hold her. This is two weeks after she's due (so she'll definitely be there!) and before cold and flu season. If you went to Hope's shower, this will be at the same place.

We registered at Babies R Us and Target. Shaun did most of the registering at Babies R Us (so I apologize if anything REALLY weird is on there) and Hope registered at Target. I wanted her to pick out a few things for her room in case someone wants to buy her a 'big sister' gift. She also found some cute outfits and accessories she wants for her sister.

Thank you again for all your prayers and support on this journey. Baby is kicking hard right now and I can't wait until she's here. I keep saying i want her to wait until after the church shower, but I wouldn't mind if she didn't! I just want her to wait until Hope is in school. The two biggest prayer requests right now are that she STAYS healthy and that we're ready when she arrives. We don't have her room ready (not a huge deal since I don't expect her to use it for the first six months, but an inconvenience) and her co-sleeper isn't set up yet. I'm really starting to panic that nothing will be ready when she arrives.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Better Late Than Never....

First thing first, I'd like to apologize for the tardiness of this blog post. Hope's birthday was Thursday, I had two doctor appointments, and she had a swim meet. BUSY DAY! I'm going to try to keep updating the day of my appointments, but I can't guarantee anything. Here's a rundown of all the fun stuff that happened last week.

Tuesday: William turned three! I can't believe it's been three years since I saw his sweet face. Three years since we held him. Three years is a long, long time. I know I've just begun on this journey, but still. Looking at his 'twin' (my friend's baby girl born a month after he was due) I'm amazed again how much babies grow and change in three years. We always try to make his birthday a celebration, and this year was no exception. I planned on us baking cookies in my truck. I didn't plan on having the coldest summer on record with rain and clouds all week. We put the cookies in my truck, but in the end I pulled them out and we used the oven. The kids still loved them!

Wednesday: Typical day. Nothing noteworthy to report; other than I was becoming more agitated as Baby Girl's movements became less frequent and predictable.

Thursday: Hope's turned TEN!!! I'm still a little in denial over this one. I thought eight was tough (tween years! Yikes!) Nope, ten is worse. Way worse. I've been a mom for a decade. I don't feel that old! She handled it beautifully, of course. We had our traditional cake for breakfast. This year she chose an ice cream cake, which we shared with all the daycare kids. Initially she was irate I had to leave the festivities to go to the doctor, but when we pointed out she had VBS and a swim meet and wouldn't really miss me she calmed down.

Doctor visit: These are all supposed to be the same from here out. I had the BPP first. This is basically a specific ultrasound. Baby Girl has to make so many specific movements in 30 minutes. If she makes them faster, I move on to phase two sooner. If she doesn't make them, she loses points and my doctor will discuss it with me the next time I see him. I'm not sure yet what the plan is if she loses points, so I'm asking tomorrow. I mentioned to the nurse my frustration over not feeling her move as frequently, but when I watched her on the screen and realized how often she's moving and I just can't feel it, I relaxed tremendously. I still need to count her kicks, and if there's fewer than ten in two hours I'm supposed to lie down and drink water for half an hour. If she still doesn't reach ten, I have to call my doctor. So far a phone call hasn't been needed. Whew!

Phase two is the NST where they measure her heart rate and my contractions. She had a beautiful heart rate, as always. She passed both tests with flying colors. I'm eager for her to get here, but I'm still freaking out a bit because Shaun and I both have clutter we need to clear out before her room and our room is ready. We just haven't had time. His work schedule is changing constantly because his store is switching to 24 hours, and I'm so wiped at the end of the day I'm doing well to squeeze in family time. Not tomorrow, but the following Monday the kids all have VBS. Hopefully I can get my work done while they're gone. The absolute worst case scenario would be finishing it after school starts. That's the real reason why I want her to stay comfy and cozy right now. I'm not ready for her!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Big Things Ahead!

Well, this pregnancy has been textbook perfect so far, so I can't really complain that it's just now veering from the norm.

Problem: My after meal blood sugars are a little elevated. My doctor is not too concerned, but aware enough to put me on a pill to attempt to control them. He assured us we're doing excellent at keeping the diet and this is nothing to worry about. In addition to the pill I will have non stress tests twice a week, and here's the best part: We get to see Baby Girl TWICE a week! Two ultrasounds to add to our collection! My blood pressure is also a little elevated, another side effect of the diabetes. It's nothing to worry about, but the non stress tests are to make sure Baby Girl is healthy. I'm thankful for a doctor who is an expert in the field of gestational diabetes. I feel much more confident this time around. I understand it's not my fault, and I know we've done our best to keep her healthy. Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we go.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Praise Ye the Lord!





Hallelujah! I may have gestational diabetes, but I've learned to control it with diet! I don't need insulin!  Baby Girl is measuring about 3 lbs, exactly where she's supposed to at this time. She gave the ultrasound tech all sorts of trouble! She kept moving her face against me to prevent a good picture. Then she'd put a hand or a foot up by her face. The tech asked who she looks like, and all I could think of was my friend's daughter Savannah! No blood relation at all! I think it's a little early to tell, and I don't want to set my heart on her favoring one of us. She also has a little bit of hair! Hope had such a little bit when she was born I had to keep her in pink or in dresses, otherwise everyone thought she was a boy. Even though I want this princess to wear dresses as well, it would be nice if she had a head full of hair!

My next appointment is in just a week, mostly to review my blood sugars. Hopefully they and my blood pressure stay where my doctor wants them! So far, so good!











Monday, June 15, 2015

Depending on God

Last week Shaun thought he was going to have to leave town and miss my appointment this week. I quickly made arrangements for a friend to go with me so I wouldn't have to be alone. It turned out he doesn't have to leave town until later in the week, but he still didn't want to come with me. The last appointment he missed was the one where I was told we lost William. He knew a part of me was still linking losing William with Shaun's inability to attend the appointment. I had already cancelled with that friend, so I quickly found someone else who could go with me. Have I mentioned lately how thankful I am for my church family? They are amazing and I am so thankful for their love and support.

Though this appointment was relatively simple it required a nerve-wracking blood draw. I had my glucose test today. YUCK!!! This stuff tastes much better than the stuff I drank ten years ago, but it's still gross. I'm a little nervous about the results. Shaun keeps reminding me I don't have any of the signs or symptoms I did with Hope, so there's nothing to worry about. That doesn't help much. If i don't hear anything by Wednesday, we know it all came back normal.

We scheduled a 4D ultrasound! Two weeks from today we'll see a more detailed picture than we've ever seen. I've glanced at friends', but there's nothing like seeing your own baby. Hope has dance class that night, so I'm trying to work out the logistics of having her and my mom in three places at once. I know she *could* miss a class, but there's only six summer classes and she's already scheduled to miss one. Any advice or transportation help is always appreciated.

I finished off the night sharing a good meal with a great friend. I was thankful for her company to this appointment. I hate going to the doctor alone. I'm so grateful I have friends who are willing to go with me. Now to survive the waiting for the next two weeks....

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Midnight Musings

I've been in a bit of a funk lately. I'm torn between "Holy cow, I'm still pregnant?" and "Oh my gosh, we're actually going to bring this baby home!" Some days I'm afraid will be the last, others I'm able to embrace the changes that are coming. She's moving like crazy, so you'd think I'd be secure, but I'm not. My faith has been stretched to new limits this pregnancy; it's by the grace of God we're still here. I'm thankful for each and every day we have with her, but some days I'm still terrified I'll wake up from this dream and something will go wrong.

There's three other women in my church who are expecting (two are in my small group!) and I pray for our babies everytime I see them. I can't believe God is allowing me to be pregnant during our 'Baby Boom'. I should've had the first baby during the last one, but we didn't make it. I keep thinking of the book of Job. There were three women who lost their babies in 2012, and there are six babies due in 2015. When Job lost everything and remained faithful, God doubled everything he lost in the end.

Shaun, on the other hand, is entirely ready for the baby. We've watched a series of birth DVDs, and since we finished last week I can see a change in his attitude. Before he was excited, but almost observing from the outside. Now he's feeling her move more, watching my belly, and talking about when she arrives. The change almost feels surreal, but it's helping me believe we will bring her home. I asked him last week "You're ready for her, aren't you?" and he exclaimed "I've BEEN ready! I can't wait to hold her." If I didn't know the health problems she'd face coming now, I'd probably be ready too! I want her to stay safe and sound inside me as long as she's safe and sound.

She's moving a little bit right now. It seems like she's always moving. Occasionally her nighttime kicks cause nausea! I don't remember Hope having that effect! Hope felt her kick for the first time recently. She's seen my belly move now, too. She asked today if she'll stay with Nana (my mom) while we're in the hospital. My mom lives on the same street as us, so there's no question that's where she'll stay. I need to get my church nursery shifts covered for September, but I keep putting it off. I'm wracking my brain trying to remember how long other moms took off church duties after their babies arrived, and I can't remember at all. I don't want to take too much time and appear lazy, but I don't want to take too little and have to work before I'm ready. I need to pray about it, but for some reason I haven't thought of that.

Shaun took his last week of vacation before she arrives last week. It was nice having him here to help with the daycare kids. His vacation just switched over to a new year, so he now has two weeks he can take right after she arrives and a third week he can take sometime next spring or summer. He was never able to take vacation time as a crew member or assistant manager, so when he started taking it as a manager I was frustrated we couldn't actually GO on vacation. Now I'm just thankful to have him home for a week. I wish there was a way for the three of us to get away even for a weekend before the baby arrives, but I don't see how it would be possible. There's so much else we have to save for.

So many things are coming together; we have a bunch of furniture, she has a dresser full of clothes, and we even have a car seat! Those are the things that make me nervous. What if something happens and we're left with all that stuff? All the reminders of our hopes and dreams? There are other ways we're not close to being ready; we don't have room in our room for the co-sleeper, her room is still in transition mode (and I'm not sure how to finish it...), and I still have a truck that can't hold her for at least the first two years. When I think about all we have left to do and our crazy summer schedule, I'm afraid we'll never finish in time. The big items scare me the most. Things we still need but I'm not sure how we'll manage:

1. A queen size bed
2. A second vehicle that can safely transport her
3. A washer and dryer (I have all the cloth diapers we could possibly need, but no way to wash them! Yikes!)

Okay, I've been awake for over an hour and I only have a little over an hour left to sleep. I'm going to try to get some rest. There will be another update next Monday or Tuesday after my doctor appointment. Please say a prayer that my glucose test comes back normal. God bless!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Six Months!

I had another appointment today (well, yesterday...), and thankfully there's not much to report. I believe we waited longer than we saw the doctor, which is very unusual for this office. I ran through a list of questions I had. Mostly new symptoms that have been plaguing me. Any little thing that appears is something new to question. I don't worry about them, I just make a note and mention them when I go in. I have messaged my friend (who works at the office) about a couple of symptoms that concerned me, but so far there's nothing to worry about. I'm 'growing beautifully' (his words) and her heartbeat is still strong. Praise God!

Monday morning I had an "Aha!" moment in the shower. Maybe that's not the right term. I was suddenly overcome with shock and relief that we will actually bring this baby home. I just cried and prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for this long pregnancy and the answered prayers for a baby. I'm actually six months pregnant! How did that happen?! God is Good!

Next month I have to take another glucose test. At this stage it's a standard test. We've been eating healthy and I'm trying to exercise, so I'm hopeful I won't have diabetes again. If I do, we'll do our best to control it without insulin. I'll also have an anemia test, which I believe is standard. Please say a prayer that both tests come back negative.

Over the weekend we made a decision about the baby shower. I was struggling to choose a date before she's due, and someone suggested waiting until after she's born. We looked at the calendar and have chosen September 19th. It's a little over two weeks after she's due, so if she's a little late we should be okay. This way everyone who's prayed for us can have the chance to meet her.

I've read a couple of books about birth, and we're trying to write out a birth plan. If you have any tips, we would appreciate it. If there's a book or movie you'd suggest, we're open to it.

I think that's everything for now. Thanks for the prayers!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

God is AWESOME!

My women's Bible study group is reading the book Gripped by the Greatness of God by James Macdonald. In the second chapter, Mr. Macdonald points out our misuse of the word AWESOME. He explains it should be reserved for God and God alone. After watching God move in my life and the lives of my friends, I quite agree. I will update you on Baby Girl, but I have to share this praise first.

Awesome #1) As I was scrolling through my newsfeed this early morning I noticed a theme of answered prayers. Some were answered years ago while I was still waiting. Others were answered in the past year. A handful (mine included) were answered since January. Most of these friends prayed for years before seeing any results. YEARS. Not days, not months, but YEARS. Awesome #2) Some were asked to wait five years or more, before I even knew them. Think about where you were five years ago. How many prayers has God answered since then? Are you still praying for something? Keep waiting. God is listening. Five years ago we were planning our wedding and I was finishing college. Hope was almost done with preschool. We were praying our family would grow by the end of the year. God had a better plan. Keep waiting, and keep praying.

It may seem strange to call the waiting 'awesome', but I think all my friends would agree their waiting was God ordained. They wouldn't be the same people they are if God answered their prayers on their timeline. That doesn't mean there weren't times they wished he would, it just means they can see the growth and God's power through the hard stuff.

I was talking with my grandma tonight about some huge things we need before the baby arrives. Things we can't buy ourselves, and they're not exactly things you can register for. These are what I call my "God sized prayers." They're things that only God can provide. Years ago in my mommy and me group we were encouraged to pray outside our comfort zones. Pray for the house. Pray for the new car. Pray for the big things, not just the daily needs. Those big things are "God sized prayers." I told my grandma I've finally quit worrying about them, because I believe if God lets us bring this baby home, He'll provide the things we need to properly care for it. That doesn't mean we aren't working our tails off and looking for opportunities to earn more income. It doesn't mean we expect them to drop in our laps. It just means God will work them out in HIS time. If His time isn't our time, we'll work around it. We always have, and we always will. This is one instance though when I truly believe 'God will work all things for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose'. That verse was prayed over William as I carried him, and our sweet Pastor recited a whole passage from Romans over his grave. There's a reason for that. There are some times when all you can do is your best and trust that God will take care of the rest. For us right now, this is one of those times.

Okay, now for the baby stuff.  I never got around to taking pictures of the ultrasounds last night, and this morning my shadow keeps getting in the way. I'll post another blog of just baby pictures as soon as I can. Sorry for the inconvenience. Right away we could see Baby Girl moving around. She was flip flopping every which way except the way the tech wanted her to. We saw the perfect outline of her spine, and we watched as she continued to push her foot over her head. Her heart has four chambers and all her organs are in the right place. She doesn't have a cleft lip, and she even showed off her little girl parts! I was praying for that, because there's always a chance the NIPT is wrong. Hope and my mom were with us, and they loved every second. Shaun wanted to get another animal with her heartbeat so we have one from the beginning, one from the middle, and her at the end. We agreed to let Hope choose. Admittedly we each tried to persuade her towards one animal or another. We were both pleased she chose the lamb, though for different reasons. This heartbeat sounds different from her last one, so I'm thankful we have the mementos. Earlier this week I caught Shaun listening to the teddy bear again and he said "I haven't heard it in a while. I just love listening to it." He's going to be great with a newborn. I'm thankful we get so long to wait and watch each other grow as we wait for her to be born healthy.

That's another thing, I finally believe she will be healthy. I wasn't anxious for this ultrasound. Admittedly I was a tad nervous while we were waiting at the office, but even then it wasn't fearful. It was really more excitement than anything. That is a HUGE praise! I've been terrified to prepare too much or get too excited, because I was afraid as soon as I did God would take her home. This past month all that has changed. We've started cleaning out our bedrooms and the nursery. Hope has made space for a few things we need to move in her room. We've continued to purge the things we no longer need. Two broken televisions that I was convinced would stay in inconvenient places until the day we moved out of this house were disposed of this weekend. That's something else I've spent years praying about, and God answered in his time. One friend gave us almost all her baby girl clothes, since she is now expecting a boy. Another group of friends gave us a whole bag full of clothes and supplies. These were things we hadn't prayed about and weren't even concerned about purchasing, and God took care of it. There's another huge praise that we should have in our home by tonight, and if all goes well I'll update you on that tomorrow.

We're still working. We've planned for me to keep babysitting until school starts. I don't have anyone lined up for fall, but I believe that is God ordained. I'll need some time off before the baby comes, and I don't want too many kids around her during cold and flu season. I'm selling Jamberry wraps to give us a little cushion while I'm on leave. http://amiethomas.jamberrynails.net/ Maybe through Jamberry sales God will provide the income to answer those God sized prayers. Even if those God sized prayers aren't answered this year, God is still God. He's still keeping our Baby Girl healthy and strong. He's still protecting and providing for our family in ways we'll never know.

Now, I think I'm going to try to catch a nap before my alarm goes off. Thanks for reading! And remember, God is AWESOME!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It's A...

GIRL!!!!

Chances are if you're reading this you already know we're welcoming another little girl in our home this fall. Since we tried to keep the gender reveal party small, I thought I'd share some of what happened here.

My best friend owns the donut shop in town. Boy is it great to have friends in high places! She made us adorable cupcakes with pink and blue peeps on top and colored sprinkles in the middle. She gave Hope a special yellow peep so we would know which was hers. Another great friend made a "Big Sister" t-shirt for her. I am so thankful for the help and support of everyone!

My aunt and I made pink and blue punch (Shaun's family supplied everything we needed). We had leftover pink and blue plates and napkins from our wedding, so we used those to serve. I wasn't even thinking about babies when I chose our colors, in fact they're quite bright, but it worked out so well! Hope was bouncing off the walls with anticipation. My mom even made Shaun's sister a t-shirt that said "Aunt to Be".

After Hope did the big reveal we discussed names. I explained the names Shaun and I are considering and the significance behind each. We also explained our desire to keep the names a secret until she arrives, just in case we choose our backup instead of our first choice. There was also a great deal of controversy surrounding Hope's name and what we chose to call her, and I don't want to repeat that experience. I'm sure people will have something to say when she's born, and I'm sure I won't always be polite in my response. I was always told when I had kids I would have the chance to name them, and by golly I'll name my kids what I want.

Today I told Shaun to prepare for a ton of pink. I want pink everything; car seat, stroller, dresses, bows, pink, pink, PINK! Her closet will probably look like a page out of Pinkalicious, and that's just how I hope it is. When Hope was born I was afraid to put her in anything other than pink (unless it was a dress, but even most of those were pink) because she had such little hair everyone thought she was a boy. Two years later I still had people asking how old my 'son' was. So yes, I want everything either pink or a dress, or both. I really need to sell some more Jamberry wraps, because I am itching to buy an outfit for her! My website is here if you'd like to buy anything. Thanks for all the prayers and support!

16 Week Appointment

Monday was our 16 week appointment. I spoke with one of the PAs Sunday evening and she assured me the next few should be simple in and out appointments. That sounds fantastic, I just want to know my baby girl is healthy. We snapped a belly bump photo before racing out the door, and arrived with plenty of time to spare.

My doctor mentioned a simple blood draw they can do to check for spina bifida. Though there's no history in my family, I'm considered high risk and that gives great freedom for genetic testing. Since it only involved a blood draw, we opted for it. I've had pain in my gall bladder (that I first mistook for movement), so he ordered an ultrasound for that as well. I asked about some pain and pressure I'm feeling (which he assured me were normal) and we went on our way. It feels so good to have a doctor I can talk to about any random concerns or questions, and not feel like an idiot for asking. This is officially my longest pregnancy in ten years, so it's almost like starting over. There's so much I've forgotten, and even more that I didn't know. I'm also amazed at how much has changed in ten years!

The next morning (Tuesday) my mom took me for the ultrasound. Shaun wasn't feeling well, so he took a sick day and stayed home with the two little guys I was supposed to babysit. My mom had never been to my doctor's office before, so it was nice to show her around a bit. The ultrasound techs were really sweet. One made sure to get pictures of our sweet baby girl after she finished checking what was ordered. It turns out she's much lower than I thought, so I'm still not sure whether or not I'm feeling her move. She's also very active, and didn't want to sit still for pictures or very long to hear her heartbeat.

Today we received a phone call with the spina bifida test results. She doesn't have it! Praise God! I'm overjoyed to still be pregnant, and I'm thankful for each day we have with our little princess. Please keep the prayers coming, because God is listening!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Great News Followed by Fun Times

WOOHOOOO!!!!! Baby Thomas does NOT have the chromosome disorder William had, and all our tests for genetic diseases have returned negative. PRAISE GOD!!!! We also know the gender, and I'll post pictures and a video after we have our party on Saturday. Pray for me that I can continue to keep the secret until then!

This weekend has been one of the most refreshing I've ever experienced. One of my friends and I went to the Hearts at Home National Conference. It was AMAZING!!! She'd never been, and only recently heard of it. I heard about it ten years ago when I was pregnant with Hope, and have prayed about going every year since. This is the first time God answered my prayer with a "Yes!" and it was so worth the wait. If you're reading this and thinking there's no way you can afford it, I urge you to pray about it. God will provide a way in His time. Even if he doesn't, there are other options I'll talk about at the end of this post. For now, I want to share some of the trinkets and tidbits I brought home with me. None of the links are affiliate links.

From the If Then Move booth I bought a little bracelet to wear everyday. It's part of the Not Just Words line and has #standfirm stitched onto the front. On the back is a small pocket in which you can place your prayer request for the day. Everytime I look at the bracelet, I pray about my request. Here's the website for more info: http://www.ifthenmovement.com/

Graham Blanchard has a new line of board books with headings such as Learn, Absorb, and Praise. These cute books each carry a special message. I didn't hold any or read any, but the pictures are adorable. You can learn more at http://www.grahamblanchard.com

If you'd like to go to a Hearts at Home Conference this year, there is another one coming to Rochester, Minnesota on November 13-14, 2015. If possible, I encourage you to attend. If you can't, and I completely understand (remember, it took ten years for me to make it to one!) Check out http://www.hearts-at-home.org/ for great FREE resources. You can also order conference CDs or DVDs from http://www.catapes.com If you're tech savy you can follow HAH on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Now for the really serious stuff. HAH partners with Compassion International and encourages child sponsorship through their program. If you want to sponsor a child, this is an excellent organization to partner with. I hope to someday sponsor a child who shares William's birthday. Here is their website: http://www.compassion.com/

Compassion International is an excellent organization, but I learned of one that touches my heart even more yesterday. There are an estimated 20 million men, women and children enslaved in sex trafficking throughout the world. Destiny Rescue allows child sponsorships to PREVENT children and teens from falling prey to traffickers, and also allows you to sponsor a child who has been RESCUED from trafficking. If you know me at all, you know the child slave trade is one I am vehemently against. I fight with Facebook posts and prayer, and hopefully this year my family will fight with our money by sponsoring a child for $35 a month. I don't know if we can truly afford that right now, but I will be praying about it until we can. Until then, I am planning on hosting a jewelry party for Destiny Rescue. You can learn more about their parties and how to host your own at their website http://www.destinyrescue.org/us/get-involved/local-volunteers/jewelry-consultants/. I implore you, please, please take a peek and see how God can use your family. Please pray for these precious children.

Thanks for reading my babbling. If you have any questions or want to talk more about any of these topics, contact me anytime. Love to all!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bragging Rights

Shaun has been so much fun this pregnancy! Early on he was hesitant to test, fearing my reaction to another negative. Once I finally took a test he happily read the results. We agreed to wait a bit before telling everyone, but once we did, he couldn't contain his excitement! Just Wednesday I had two people tell me stories about him literally bouncing up and down as he shared the news.

At the appointment Thursday he grasped my hand the entire time. He laughed out loud watching our little one on the screen, and he chose the teddy bear we would use for the heartbeat. He changed his profile picture to a photo of the bear while we were waiting to be seen by the doctor. It has been so much fun watching his excitement grow. He still insists it's a boy, but I know he'll be ecstatic with a girl. He took the bear and the ultrasound pictures to work on Friday and showed them to everyone. One of his coworkers said every time she looked at him in the office he had the bear up to his ear, listening to the heartbeat. He has been the sweetest, most excited dad I've ever seen.

So if you seen him in the next few months, be sure to ask Shaun how he's liking the pregnancy. I'm sure he'll have an amusing new anecdote to share!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's NOT Twins!

We had our ultrasound today! Contrary to popular belief, I'm NOT carrying twins! Or triplets, or quads, or any other multiples you want to throw at me. This little one was rolling around, kicking and putting on a great show. We were able to get the heartbeat bear. I didn't think it was cute at first, but it's growing on me.

I don't have gestational diabetes!!! Praise God!!! I could still develop it later, so they may run another test, but for now it's one less thing to worry about.

As most of you know, our due date has changed. Baby was measuring 12 weeks 6 days, so I'm now due September 4. Our next appointment is scheduled for 16 weeks 4 days, the exact age William was at delivery. I'm nervous just thinking about it, so I'm trying not to. Fun fact (that's probably TMI; you've been warned!) this little one was conceived ON William's due date. Tell me again God doesn't have a sense of humor.

Oh! The gender and genetic test! I KNEW I was forgetting something! Somehow we didn't get the order for the NIPT last time. That turned out to be a good thing, because it would've been a lot less accurate at ten weeks than twelve. We DID have it today, and the results should be in within 2-3 weeks. The doctor said we can tell the gender with 99% accuracy from that, so as soon as I know we'll schedule a gender reveal party. Shaun and I will know for a few days before anyone else! As for the other tests (basic pregnancy related tests) everything came back normal. I'm a healthy mom carrying a healthy baby. My doctor did say just by looking at the ultrasound, he doesn't think the baby has a C13 disorder. That's not official though, so we're still praying!

Thank you again for all your prayers and kind thoughts. I feel so much better this time around. I'm glad to know it's still normal for me to be exhausted and nauseous. I'm going to cut myself a little slack in those areas. I'm relieved everything seems fine with the baby. Shaun was practically crying watching the ultrasound. I cried tears of joy when we sat down for dinner. It's going to be a long summer, but the end will be worth the wait.

Here are all three of our ultrasound pictures. I'm carrying them in my purse, so if you see me and would like to see the originals, just ask!




Today's Appointment

This is it. Today is the day of our first ultrasound!!! Things I'm hoping will happen today:
  1. We'll hear the baby's heartbeat.
  2. We'll get a plush animal with the sound of the baby's heartbeat (or at least order it).
  3. We'll find out if baby Thomas has the genetic disorder William had, and a few other disorders.
  4. We'll confirm I don't have gestational diabetes (it's going to be a LONG six months if I have to go through that again...)
  5. We'll get to learn the gender!!!!
I have no clue if the last one will happen, but if it can, here's the plan. We'll have the technician write it on a paper and put it in an envelope. Then we'll take it to my BFF who owns a bakery in town and she'll make a cake. We'll have a party to reveal it as soon as we can get our moms together. At the party we'll take a picture of Hope holding a slice of cake or something and we'll post that on Facebook and eventually here.

I can't wait to hear the heartbeat. I just want to know it's okay. This is the first office I've seen give the option of ordering the plushes, and after our experiences it's something that's very important to us. When we met with a genetic counselor after William's diagnosis she assured us the odds of it happening again were extremely slim. Neither of us are carriers, so it really was just a fluke. Still if it's happened once, who's to say it won't happen again? I'm thankful there's a blood test to assure us. 

Gestational Diabetes: I could write a book about my experiences. I didn't fit any of the risk factors with Hope, so I was sure I wouldn't have to worry about it. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed and had to take insulin. I told this doctor it's been ten years, and I've tried to forget as much of the experience as possible. Hope's doctor was in a practice of four, so at a visit with another doctor we asked about it. He asked if I had any childhood viruses, and claimed my viral encephalitis led to the diabetes. When I was carrying William my doctor (a different one, and different practice) said it was probably due to my rapid weight gain and wasn't concerned. This doctor is very concerned about all types of diabetes, and was shocked to hear I haven't had a glucose test since Hope was born. I'm thankful for his concern. 

As for the last thing, the gender reveal, I know it's a long shot. But knowing that several of my friends found out early is giving me hope. I'm also sure the blood work we had could tell the gender (unless it's twins). According to Dr. Google the doctor has to order for the gender to be read though, and I don't know if our doc requested that. Prayers are definitely appreciated that we can find out sooner than later. 

Speaking of prayers; I'm so thankful for all the prayers and kind words from my friends and family. If you'd like to know what specific things you can pray for (beyond a healthy pregnancy, delivery & baby), here are some ideas:

Shaun: Pray for peace and confidence during this pregnancy. He lost his first child and son with William, and I know it's been hard on him. He's doing an excellent job of being strong for our family. 

Me: Pray for peace and patience, and a healthy delivery. Most days I'm doing okay, but every once in a while my fear takes over. I'm anxious to hit each new stage, each new trimester, and to finish preparing our house for a baby. Right now it doesn't feel like I'll ever finish, and I'm a little worried. 

Hope: Pray for peace and that the adjustment to a new sibling will go smoothly. She lost a little brother with William, and that was harder on her than anyone realized. She doesn't talk about him often, but we're always open when she does. One of her classmates died over Christmas break, and that reopened discussions about William. 

Baby: That he/she/they is healthy and safe. Everyone is insisting it's twins (one friend suggested triplets last night!) We'll find out for sure today. One, two, three or more, I just want it here and healthy. Pray we can raise this one, and it buries us when we are old. 

For the record, twins don't run in my family to my knowledge. There is a long history of miscarriages, and those details weren't always recorded. Identical twins aren't genetic, so that is another possibility. Honestly our chances of having twins are greater than the odds of conceiving when we did, so anything is possible. 

Thanks for the prayers and well wishes, I'll update again tonight!









Monday, February 23, 2015

What's in a Name?

Shaun and I wisely chose our children's names while we were engaged. We chose two boy names and two girl names, and decided we would agree on the first boy's name when we looked at him. We had a specific order for the girl names. Then William was born, and it took another two and a half years for us to get pregnant again. Everything changed.

One boy name is incredibly significant for Shaun, the other is significant to me. Since Shaun already buried his first son, I agreed he could choose our first surviving boy's name. Something special happened this year, and I really wanted to change the girl's name, but I think we're going to keep it. Unless we look at her and she doesn't match her name. All this will make so much more sense when we reveal the name of the baby. I'm thankful we have the names chosen, because my hormones are crazy right now and I'm loving names that are really obscure. Anyone who knows me knows that's not who I am. I'm convinced that's where we get the really wild names that raise eyebrows. I don't have to specify any, some have already come to your mind. Some people really like the strange ones, and that's fine. They just aren't for us.

Working with kids has advantages in this area, too. Any teacher will tell you there are some names parents should NEVER use. Some names just always seem to be linked to the 'terrors'. There are other names attached to kids who are exceptionally bright or cute, and those are okay. There are also exceptions to every rule, but when naming a child, definitely talk with as many teachers as possible, especially if you don't plan on homeschooling. Another thing we considered: How easy is this name to spell? As a general rule, the easier it is to spell the easier it will be for your child to memorize and write it. We both have strange spellings, and it gets frustrating never finding your name on a Christmas ornament or in a gift shop. Yes, it makes personalized gifts all the more special, but it causes far more frustration than appreciation. Plus we have to spell our names every time we sign up for or discontinue any service.

Now for the dilemma: I now prefer a different middle name for our first boy. Circumstances have changed since we chose our names, and I really want to use a middle name that is more significant to me. The problem is, we both know someone else with that name as a first name, and Shaun doesn't want our child to be 'named after' him. I can't shorten the name or do anything to make it not like the other person's name. The whole reason we chose our names early was so we wouldn't run into this problem, and here I am, stirring up trouble. Boy names weren't ever that important to me; I had one first name I wanted to use, but other than that I don't really care. As long as it's easy to pronounce and will work for a little boy or an adult, I was open to just about anything. This is one reason why we're not sharing our names until the baby is born; we want the flexibility to change at any moment. We never planned on changing, but we have the freedom to do so if we wish. Which will we go with? You'll have to meet him to find out.

Friday, February 20, 2015

WOW

That's all I can say. What a difference a day makes! Today was absolutely wonderful! To begin with, someone called me "Pretty Mama" at the gas station this morning. She's a close friend of the family, but it felt good anyway. Then I came home and slept for almost an hour and a half (I was up 3-4 times last night). I made three VERY successful phone calls, washed some dishes, and my daycare kiddo was good as gold. When he went to school I took ANOTHER hour and a half nap, and was refreshed when Shaun came home. I didn't do half the things I wanted this week, but I feel so much better.

A sweet friend brought over a pair of maternity pants for me. I haven't tried them on yet, but I really appreciate the gesture. The kids I watch (and Hope) finished all  their homework in a timely manner. Oh! And I saw a sweet friend at pickup whom I haven't talked to much lately. We caught up and she promised to message me a whole list of scripture references for Joy. She said it's one of her favorite words too, so she has lots of them! She told me how years ago she started praying for joy every day, and God always provides something on the days she prays for it. Being human she misses days from time to time, and those days aren't always as easy to find joy in. I've been praying for joy occasionally, but after talking to her I think I'm going to make it part of my morning routine. Brush hair; pray for joy.

I don't feel my belly has grown much this week (maybe that's a good thing?) but I feel confident about the pregnancy. We have our ultrasound next Thursday, and I can't help but hope for twins! When Carolyn and I were little we planned on having twins when we grew up. She never had the chance, but my story is not her story. That doesn't mean I will have twins, but stranger things have happened. Shaun is hoping for twins too, so that encourages me a great deal.

It's late; I'm tired; that's all I can think of for now. Here's hoping next week is even better than this one!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Midnight Musings

Please excuse any grammatical errors or typos; I'm doing the best I can for 4 AM. I've been up almost two hours, and sleep keeps eluding me, so I thought I'd write.

All day yesterday I wanted to write this post. I kept putting it off because I had too many kids running around and I didn't want to cry in front of them. It looks like today is going to be the same way, so I may as well write now. Of course the irony is I no longer plan on writing what I wanted to earlier.

Yesterday was HARD. There's no other word for it. I nearly lost my breakfast while loading kids in the car. This nausea has been ever present and nothing seems to permanently alleviate it. All I could wrap my brain around were the similarities between this pregnancy and the two I lost. I was constantly nauseous with both those pregnancies. I was rarely nauseous with Hope, and most of that was in the second trimester. I only got sick once, and I haven't been able to eat fruit topped pancakes at Denny's since. She still hates strawberries. I try so hard to remember everything about her pregnancy so I can compare this one to it, but it's been so long I've forgotten most of it. With this incessant nausea I've been terrified of losing this one. When we were joking about the possibility of pregnancy in December I actually told Shaun "At least if I am pregnant we know we won't keep it. I don't get to keep the babies I'm nauseous with." He glared at me and told me to stop it, and I did. He's reminded me continually that I have nothing to worry about. When I talked to him about my fears in the car yesterday, he quickly squelched them. He asked "What happened to your attitude from yesterday that 'Every pregnancy is different,' and 'Lots of women are sick throughout their pregnancies and have healthy babies'?" I told him I know, by that point I was doing much better emotionally, it was just a rough morning. I really believe God is taking me to a whole new level of trusting Him. I have to trust that this pregnancy can share similarities with the two bad ones and still have a happy ending.

We're in the last week of the first trimester. By most counts, we're almost in the 'safe' zone. Our families won't breathe a sigh of relief until they hold a healthy baby, but many fears will be eased when we make it past 16 weeks. When we lost William I was going to the doctor once a month. With this one, my first two appointments are a mere two weeks apart. This is so much better for me, because for years I've suspected we lost William between 12-14 weeks. The doctor counted it based on how far along I was at the time of delivery, but if you look at him you can tell he wasn't as developed as he should've been. Needless to say I've been praying non stop for the past week or so, and will continue to for the next two weeks (or maybe for the rest of the pregnancy). I'm almost afraid to breathe a sigh of relief, because with William I did when we saw his eight week ultrasound. I was so sure we would bring him home. I'm so afraid of getting comfortable and happy during this pregnancy, and ending with another funeral.



My small group leader encouraged all of us to choose a word for 2015 instead of resolutions. After much prayer I chose the word "Joy". I figured if I was pregnant, it would come easily, and if I wasn't, it would be good for me to practice joy. I know I picked the perfect word, because I'm struggling to keep choosing joy this year. I vividly remember a friend telling me last time "Don't let Satan steal your joy". And I clung to that through William's pregnancy. This time around, my fear is crippling. I know there's a quiet song with the phrase "My fear is crippling" in it, but I can't remember it right now. What keeps coming to mind is Rebecca St. James' version of "Hold Me Jesus". I know Rich Mullins wrote it, but this is the version that got me through high school. I need Bible verses about joy to spread around my house. If you have a favorite, please share it. I've found a few, but I know there are more and better ones than what I'm coming up with. I'm trying everyday to choose joy. Thank you for your continued words of encouragement and prayer, I definitely need them. There are moments when fears creep up and someone will come to mind. I'll think, "_____ is praying for me. She has faith we'll make it through this. Borrow some of her faith", and it gets me through the fear. I see your profile pictures in my head. I memorize your comments and think of them in your voice. I know it's all gonna be okay, I just have to get through the next six months.

Don't think I'm completely hopeless and depressed! I'm finding little ways to choose joy everyday. We take a weekly pregnancy picture. I only got a couple with William, and I don't even have them anymore (camera phone problems). We have our names chosen. We've talked a little bit about nursery decor. I'm constantly walking around the house listing things that need to change before the baby arrives. I don't want to sound hopeless, it's just some days are harder than others. I want to look back on the excitement and anticipation with this pregnancy. I want to have happy memories to share with this baby. It just takes a whole lot more work for me than most people.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cravings, Aversions and Continuing Nausea

My friends and I have often joked we wish we could crave celery or lettuce instead of chocolate and cookies. It took getting pregnant, but I'm FINALLY craving lettuce! Seriously there are some days I wish I could buy a head from the grocery store and eat it in one setting. It's so strange, because I usually hate iceberg lettuce.

I've also craved apples, watermelon, pineapple, and blackberries. The strangest thing I've craved so far is a glass of wine. Don't worry, I haven't had any! I'm thankful for Welch's sparkling juice, it makes a nice substitute. Early on I craved pickles, but after a few weeks I got nauseous as soon as I finished eating one. And occasionally I'll eat a slice or two of bacon (I HATE bacon, except when I'm pregnant).

My aversions haven't been too bad. Pickles, seafood, and random pictures of food are enough to turn my stomach some days.

The nausea, on the other hand....whew! My doctor told me there's something they can give me if it's too severe, and if it hasn't abated by my next appointment I think I'll ask for it. There are some days I'm nauseous from dawn til dusk (today is one). I've tried tums and ginger ale; with moderate success. The brand of ginger ale makes a huge difference, and I didn't anticipate that. Shaun bought Vess the other day, and it's just making it worse. Some days tums make it worse. If you have any tips, I'll take them!

What was the strangest thing you craved or avoided during pregnancy?

Doesn't that look yummy?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Details I Forgot Last Night--Nothing Bad!

Things I forgot to mention last night:
The nurse gave me a pregnancy pack with tons of information about the hospital, baby development, prenatal vitamins, and getting a stuffed animal with a recording of your child's heartbeat! We love that idea, but it didn't say where or how to order it. If anyone knows, let us know! Otherwise we'll ask at the next visit (how did I forget doctors provide this?!)

No more soda!--This is REALLY bad news for Thursday nights and Friday mornings. Hope has her dance class an hour away on Thursday nights, and she isn't finished until 8:45. I'm allowed to have ginger ale, since that's what settles my stomach the best, but that's it. This is a preventative measure so I don't get diabetes. I understand and will comply, but be extra nice to me on Fridays, I'll be extra cranky. I'm pretty sure coffe would be out too, because I fill mine with sugar and fattening products. I'm trying to convince my mom to ride with us or drive each week so I don't get too tired coming home.

Classes for us & Hope--Never having delivered at this hospital, I wasn't sure how much they offered in way of sibling classes. I figured some sort of tour and childbirth preparation classes are available at every hospital, but you never know. Hope is really excited about taking a sibling class, I told her about the one I went to when Caitlin was born. I also prepared her for the fact that she'll probably be the oldest sibling there, as most parents have 2-5 years between kids, not ten. She doesn't mind.

Dinner with Shaun--We're enjoying these date nights while we can! I predict a random hotel stay before summer is over. I'm expecting the Drury Inn in Mt. Vernon, because it was one of our favorites before they demolished and rebuilt it, but I also wouldn't be surprised if he splurged for the Hilton again. Goodness knows that'll be completely out once the baby arrives.

Call from lactation consultant--I was expecting this. Even though I nursed for eighteen months, I'm glad to have someone to call or text after office hours if we have any trouble. Hope had a little bit of trouble latching on and I had a horrible pump, and it took weeks to get it all straightened out. We've chosen a better pump this time, and having a support system in place should help things go smoothly. Now I'm praying baby is healthy and I don't get any infections so we can get the most out of the nursing experience.

I think that's all for now. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Doctor Update

For baby Thomas #2 we decided to try a doctor closer to home. This decision was not made lightly, my cousin died giving birth here a few years ago. I don't know if any of my doctors were involved with her death, but I'm trusting and praying they will provide the best care for us. One of my dear friends works in the office, and she speaks very highly of everyone there. Another dear friend is seeing a different doctor in the practice for her pregnancy, and she said ours delivered her first baby. This is a new pregnancy, the hospital was rebuilt within the past two years, and God is in control.

As for the appointment; it went wonderfully. The receptionists greeted us as soon as we walked in; the waiting area has toys for toddlers, and we didn't have to wait very long to be seen. The doctor was honest about his concerns about gestational diabetes and a chromosome 13 disorder. He ordered immediate tests for each. The chromosome test was a simple blood draw, but we had to stay an extra hour for a glucose test. The drink wasn't as bad as I remembered, and they have individual bottles. With Hope it was poured into clear dixie cups. This doctor is well versed in diabetes, and promised to provide dietary help should the test be positive.

We did not get to hear the heartbeat, he said it's too soon. I'm twelve weeks and two days, and I know many of my friends will disagree with his opinion to wait to hear the heartbeat. I asked, he said no. End of discussion. If you have a doppler I can borrow over the next two weeks, I'll be glad to let you listen with me. Otherwise, we're comfortable waiting. My due date hasn't changed, so that's good.

Two weeks from tonight we hope to post the first pictures of our precious little one. We'll have our first ultrasound then. I forgot to ask about when they schedule an ultrasound to determine the gender. I'll only be fourteen weeks next time, so we won't know then.

That's all my brain can remember tonight. It's been a long day; we had to make a spontaneous shopping trip and we had a random date night after our appointment. All things we won't easily be able to do when the baby arrives. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Don't be offended if I don't answer right away, especially on Facebook. I'm running a Jamberry party right now and when I'm posting for that I don't have time to chat. I will answer you as soon as I possibly can. Thank you so much for all the prayers! Hopefully I'll get a smartphone tomorrow and you won't have to wait so long for the next update! This picture is one of my favorites, it shows a baby at twelve weeks gestation.