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


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.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pregnancy Update: Week 11

With the current due date I'm considered eleven weeks. We are all so excited!!! I haven't fit in my regular jeans in three weeks, so I'm switching between a handful of skirts. I'm hoping to pick up one or two more this weekend, along with a couple of shirts to get me through the next couple of months.

How I'm feeling: Tired and nauseous. I'm tired most days, and baby seems to have days and nights confused. I can't fall asleep even when I'm exhausted, because I napped longer than I planned during the day. No matter what time I go to bed, I wake up between 2-3 every morning and am up for an hour or two. There are worse symptoms, though! The nausea comes in waves, usually in the morning because of my sinus drainage. We're planning on replacing my pillows and getting a better humidifier soon, so hopefully that will help. If you have an awesome or horrible review for either, please let me know!

My first doctor's appointment is Thursday afternoon. I did learn I probably won't have an ultrasound that day, but I should within the next week. We haven't been to one of these appointments in almost three years, so we're brainstorming important questions to ask. If you have any, now is a great time to let us know! This song, Don't Worry by Rebecca St. James, is my mantra for this pregnancy.

Thank you so much for all your prayers and support. I'm trying hard to take it easy and not stress, but that's very difficult for me. I'm so thankful for these weeks we've had to share our pregnancy with you. Keep praying!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Symptoms & Signs

So far my symptoms include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Hunger
  • Nausea
  • Cravings (mostly sweets; though I did crave pickles in December)
  • Aversions (those pickles made me nauseous after eating them...)

And my outward signs:

  • Obvious belly bulge. If we were trying to hide it, now it would be futile.
  • Stretch marks!!!!! I've never been so excited to see stretch marks everywhere! 

The signs are like a breath of fresh air; a reminder this isn't just a dream. For the past week and a half I've felt like I'm walking on air; living a fantasy. I told a sweet friend who's prayed with me since we lost William today, and her reaction was "You're kidding? Oh my gosh you are pregnant!" Seeing her expression and reaction was just what I needed to remind me it IS real. I'm not just dreaming! I feel such relief tonight. It's sweet, because the last few days have been stressful and full of panic. I'm so thankful for everyone's continued prayers. I desperately want to say "I know this baby will be okay" but I can't believe it yet. I'm taking it one day at a time, and trusting God to protect it. I'm starting to exercise, I'm eating healthier, and I'm taking vitamins. I should see the doctor sometime this week, and we're praying to hear a heartbeat or see an ultrasound (or both!). Thank you so much for your continued prayers.