AJ’s Nursery

Disclaimer: I’ve never tried doing a photographic room tour so expect imperfection. :) 

We’re very close to complete around here with our girl’s room. AND since we’re two weeks from bringing that little one home I thought now might be a good time to show you what her home looks like. Let’s start at her door and go counter-clockwise around her space…

The bag on her door handle is ready to go to the hospital with us when the time comes. Her book shelves have filled out wonderfully thanks to our many baby shower guests. Fun fact: those two pillows on the bottom shelf were the hub’s and mine when we were little. It’s nice to pass down a few of our things. She’s got blankets from both of us as well. Also, that little tractor on the top shelf is a bank, bought after a tractor pull the year we were dating/engaged. It’s been waiting a long time to sit on that shelf!

Rocking chair inherited from Amara’s great-grandmother at the ready. Her heavy pink curtains are blackout curtains since the sun rises in her window.

Her little mobile/flower installation was created with help from my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and I hope Amara likes looking up at it as much as I do. Her changing table/dresser is stocked with diapering needs, current fitting clothes, receiving blankets and swaddles. The bottom two drawers are bigger clothes I don’t need easy access to yet. She’s got a few toys tucked in a bin under her bed, including a rabbit pillow that was her dad’s and a doll that was mine. A doll that was laid next to me to show how little I was when I was born. I think it might be fun to recreate that photo with Amara.

AJ’s crib is made up even though it’ll be a little while before she sleeps here. (She’ll sleep next to our bed at first.) I read somewhere that you should layer up your mattress liners and sheets so if you have to change the bed in the middle of the night all you do is pull off a layer. So that’s what I’ve done. Added bonus: no need to store extra sheets in a drawer they’re either on the bed or in the wash. Mini Maggie her puppy from Nana is waiting for her. We’ve also got a basket waiting for the bathroom renovation currently going on to be finished; her towels, soaps and bath toys will have a home in there. 

The next few sizes in clothes are hanging in the closet. She has an empty bin at the top for too-small-clothes to go into as she out grows them. There’s also a diapering stash bin, a quilt/blanket bin, and a bin for toys that require her to be a little older to use. The tall dresser in the closet holds her going-out knits; hats, sweaters, etc. It also holds bibs, burp cloths, more blankets…Yes, we are blanket heavy around here! But there’s a mix of receiving, muslin, knit/crochet, and quilts so she’s got a blanket, or 3, for all occasions. I also think some will migrate to grandparent’s houses over time. Then other drawers have a few baby wearing supplies and a shopping cart cover for when she’s able to sit in one. There’s room in both her dressers for more things if we need, only a few of the drawers in each are packed full.

She’s got a basket of infant toys, and her first broncos hat on top of this dresser as well. And then lastly we have her humidifier, her diaper pail, and space for the small CD player we plan to buy to play her lullaby CDs on. The art print on the wall here was a gift from my mom and what I kindof based the colors in her room around. The words at the bottom are these:

I have a premonition that soars on silver wings, it’s a dream of your accomplishment of many wondrous things. I do not know beneath which sky or where you’ll challenge fate, I only know it will be high! I only know it will be great!

thirty-seven

Hey hey hey…

Here’s a picture of our cutie pups that has nothing to do with this update… But neither did any of my other pictures so… Shrug. 

Let’s see where to start…

At my last couple of OB appointments I had high blood pressure. Not scary high, but enough that the doctors raised an eyebrow that second time. They asked me to do some blood work and a 24 hour urine test -which for the record is annoying and kinda gross. But I did the things because the doctor said my high blood pressure could be just a little hypertension or could be a sign of preeclampsia. 

So, yesterday I had another OB appointment to get test results and talk about what those results might mean for the duration of this baby growing process. I went in pretty confident it was going to be hypertension, I expected a “we’ll watch it and maybe treat with meds if it gets too high” kind of thing. I even told D to not bother to come to this appointment cause it was gonna be in and out. Sigh. Y’all know what happens when you assume, right?

The result was that I have preeclampsia. Though yesterday my blood pressure was good, the protein in my urine confirmed that diagnosis. Protein that should be at the max 300 in 24 hours was 525. ‘Moderately high’ the doctor said, and told me it’s not a panic button, they’ve seen it well over 1000 before. But it still gives me the preeclampsia label which changes how we finish this baby growing process a little bit.

If I wasn’t already seeing the specialist doctor to monitor Amara’s weight I would be for sure now. Preeclampsia can cause growth restriction. Though the last time I saw him he said she was about to hit a growth spurt and judging by how hungry I am all the time the last few days I think she’s there. If you come visit me bring food. All the food. We especially like Italian but have stopped being so picky because ravenous hunger coupled with less room for consuming said food means I need to eat every couple hours. I wake up in the middle of the night ready to knaw off my own arm. My weight went up a few pounds finally so I’m taking that as a good sign. It had been either holding steady or dropping the last few appointments.I see the specialist next week and I’m really looking forward to that appointment.

I will also see my OB every week now. In the ‘normal’ schedule I’d have still been every two weeks a little while longer but the preeclampsia schedule moves up our timeline. I will obviously have my blood pressure monitored, but also I will have Non-Stress Tests (NST) every week, probably twice a week, from here on out. After the doctor gave me the news yesterday she asked if I could stay to have one right then. Of course I said ‘sure’. So the nurse wheels in this big machine, stacks some pillows for me on the table to help me get comfortable, and straps two monitors on my belly. The first monitor goes high at the top of my uterus to see if I’m having any contractions. I’m not, it was quiet. The second one goes low to listen to Amara’s heart and track how much she moves. So I lay back and read a book for twenty minutes while the machine spits out a record for the doctor.

At first our girl was relaxed, her heart rate was in the 140s, and she was just calm in there. So they thought maybe if I ate a granola bar she’d perk up. But, before I even got the granola bar eaten Amara realized there was something on her house and let me tell you she is not a fan of having things pressing on her house! She spent the next 10-15 minutes pushing and kicking at the monitor. Now they turn up the heartbeat kindof loud so that they can hear it from the hall in case she moves and they need to reposition it. It should be that quick steady thump thump thump. But when your kiddo decides to shove the monitor over and over it’s a very loud and obnoxious swishing static. The doctor and nurse kept coming in to look at the graph because a lot of the time her heart rate couldn’t get recorded over all the pushing and shoving. It went up into the 170s as she was active and even to the 190s when I believe the frustration of not getting her way set in. She did wear herself out a little and calmed down about two minutes before they finally took the monitor off. The doctor said “This baby is wild!” And I had to apologize. I told her I’d forgot she doesn’t like things on my belly. If I rest a book there, or a cup, or my hands holding my phone and she’s not in the mood she kicks all the things off. She laughed and said that there was obviously nothing concerning on the test when Amara is that active and determined. So, I’ll see the specialist first and then her again next week and we’ll have some more information about how we move through the next several weeks.

The doctor did give me a bunch of disclaimers, like…if I get a persistent headache, or have upper abdominal pain and vomiting, if my vision changes, etc… I need to call them right away. I’m also supposed to prepare to meet this girl at 37 weeks. I asked if even if they’re monitoring me super close and all looks good still to expect 37 weeks. She said yes. I asked if I can be induced then too, she said as long as Amara is head down at that point that induction is still the optimal choice over cesarean. I do find it amusing that we will both be 37 when she arrives. Me in years, her in weeks. I also find it amusing that I’ve been saying to people all along that I’d be OK if she wanted to come before Christmas because I’m excited to meet her. 37 weeks for us will be December 10th. 

I had a moment of Whoa-I meant a little before Christmas not a whole 3 weeks early! So there’s half the struggle to get my brain around the fact that she’ll be here so soon and she’s not ready yet… She’s got growing to do in there! (Yes yes yes I know 37 is considered term, early, but term and not overly concerning to medical staff.) But when you’re told over and over 40 weeks, 40 weeks, 40 weeks, to have that change messes with your head a little. I had plans to make all of us ready for her too, and our house, and now my plans need to change because I lost time to get everything done! But, the other half of that anxiety coin is straight up excitement. She’s gonna be here, on the outside, in my arms, so soon and I’m so ready to see that sweet face I can’t hardly stand it! This stubborn girl, who wants her way, who will be the kid who kicks the nursing cover off and eventually all her blankets (like I did when I was little), who might hate socks like her Mama and be a little bit of a picky eater like her daddy… Yes. Yes to all the things. I’ll do whatever I gotta do to welcome her into the world as healthy and safely as possible. 

So, all that leaves us with the current prayer list… 

That she get her growing done quickly -Develop those lungs! Put on that weight! 

That my body maintains -No organ damage! No emergency interventions needed!

That things around here get accomplished quickly -Our bathroom renovation done before she arrives! Me to make peace with my to-do list and the really not-that-important tasks I had planned to get done before she arrived!

And, in the midst of the chaos the next couple months looks to be bringing our family- Joy. When we get worn down, when things are painful, or fear-inducing, when life doesn’t go as planned- it’s all going to be okay. We’ll be together and we’ll celebrate every little victory. We might come out of this with scars but oh my gosh we’ve learned to embrace the scars that every step of this life has given us so far and we’ll learn to embrace these, too. 

These coming holidays are going to be something exceedingly special my friends!

Oh, baby!


A little third-trimester update…

We’ve had another appointment with the perinatalogist, still trying to see all the chambers of our little girl’s heart. We got closer this time, and saw some better pictures of her brain as well. Her little nural-tube-thingy (that’s the technical term I like to use) looked great. All her little bits still look good to the doctor so that’s very encouraging. Though when I say little I’m not being cute. 

Amara is measuring nearly a week small for her gestational age. Not concerning to the doctor who shows us a graph of average babies and she’s in the thirty-fifth percentile. He said we worry when babies are below the tenth percentile or above the ninetieth. But as for her parents (or maybe just mom) we raise an eyebrow at him trying to decide if it’s a ‘don’t worry yet’ type statement doctors sometimes make or a ‘no really there’s nothing to worry about’ statement. I’m leaning into the second for now.

He did say her legs are short, not abnormally short, but just a she might not be very tall kindof thing. Which made me laugh and raise my hand. Yeah, she gets that fairly, short legs are definitely hereditary over here. We also found out she’s flipped and is now breach. Which is fine since she’s got plenty of time to move around in there. I think she had just flipped the night before our appointment. I was laying in bed on my side and suddenly she moved so hard and fast my whole body moved with her and I said OH! OOOF! And thought -what the heck?! So it wasn’t surprising that she’s turned around. 

I love when she’s super active, seriously, I could sit and stare at my bumping and rolling belly for hours. I laugh, she kicks, I laugh more. I try to tell whoever is near Look! Look! but very seldom does that work. She still mostly dances just for me and that gives me all kinds of pride. Maybe she gets her shyness from me!

All in all we had a great appointment, and the doctor said if we wanted to come back again in four weeks we could track her growth curve. She’s right on the cusp of a growth spurt. I’m all for that so we made another appointment.

Now that we’ve got the happy baby update done, let’s chat a moment about the struggles. The last couple weeks I’ve been having some pretty bad low-back pain. Firstly, that’s not surprising. I’ve had problems with my lower back as long as I can remember. I knew I’d have issues as the pregnancy progressed and added strain to that area. I had hoped I’d have more time before that started but it seems we’re in it now. The difficult thing is there’s really nothing we can do but try a lot of little things to help manage the pain to get us through.

As I look ahead I’m pretty nervous about dealing with the pain over the next few months. Not that I’m not up to the challenge, or that I won’t do everything I need to do to get this kid here happy and healthy. But, let’s be honest, knowing you’re going to be just managing pain for a long haul is daunting. The pressure on my lower back pinches nerves that radiate pain out my hips and sometimes down my legs. I have a belly band to wear and that helps, I see a chiropractor and that helps, I have a small TENS unit to wear and that helps. The doctor has given me some medication to take when I need it and has recommended physical therapy. So there’s lots of small things I can do, not to fix it but to manage it, to get me to our delivery day. I hope I can maintain a positive attitude as we go on, I know pain can wear you down. I’m so excited for her to grow baby grow even though it exacerbates the back issue. 

We’ve also had a lot of family stuff happening lately leaving our world feeling ridiculously unsettled. It’s hard when you feel like you are finally getting to a place of all good things after several years of awful only to find your good is tempered with more difficulty. It’s a strange dichotomy this celebration vs struggle we’ve got going on. Our family could certainly use your prayers for strength in the struggle and health to persevere. 

To leave on a encouraging note -we’re getting so close to welcoming this babe! There’s so much less infront of us than we have behind us and her sweet self will be here sooner than we realize. Holiday seasons always go by so fast cause we all get so busy. I hope we pause to remember that as we get ready to welcome a new year we’ll be welcoming new life right along with it!

second trimester

Ohmygoshyall.

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!

We’re one week from the third trimester. (Or less depending on when you count it starting exactly.)

Crazy. Just crazy. 

A few months ago it felt like days were crawling and we’d never get here, and suddenly here we are! Scheduling doctor’s appointments every two weeks instead of once a month, signing up for birthing classes and baptism classes, discussing parties, getting questions about contractions… Already?! The time is speeding up and I’m so excited! 

But, before I get ahead of myself let’s talk about how things have been going and have a picture or two. Okay? Okay.

Has a baby skeleton ever looked so cute?! Say no. That’s the cutest skull you’ve ever laid eyes on. Amara weighed 1lb 10oz in that photo, nearly two weeks ago. So maybe she’s getting close to two pounds now. She’s head down and turns right to left occasionally, I can tell when her wiggles change direction in my belly. 

Occasionally, I can see them ripple in different spots, though never when anyone else is around. She moves so much for me, it’s like we have a secret code, and then the second I want to share it she stops. Her dad got a good swift kick once, and then we waited and waited but she didn’t do it again. I think she knows when we’re alone, or when he falls asleep, or when everyone else is distracted. She likes to thump my bladder; empty this thing already! she says. She moves just so when I’m leaning over too much; sit back I need more room! When my stomach growls that’s another wiggle of impatience; where’s my spaghetti?! 

Her bones are getting too strong for the perinatalogist to see all that he wants to see. We tried for better/more views of her heart this last time but she didn’t want to move to make it any easier. Again. He said we’d try once more but wasn’t confident with her growing that it would be any different. Not that he has anything he’s concerned about, but just that he’s not satisfied. Which is fine by me; more pictures are always fine by me! He told me to quit eating ice cream… Ha! Sorry I cannot help you, Sir, her bones gotta grow somehow. 

Here’s the photo I think looks like a dog snout, I turned it so maybe you’d understand the orientation. It’s her nose and mouth kindof like she’s pressed them up against glass. Or -blowing us a kiss- Dr Schneider likes to say. I don’t often recognize all her bits and pieces right away during the scan, but this I knew when I saw it and asked for a copy. The doctor looks to see if she’s got a cleft palate with this photo (she doesn’t), I just think it’s so cute. Of course I think everything on the scan is cute… Her belly, her leg bones, her gal bladder, her liver… Whatever, it’s all cute. It’s all amazing. I think about how she started out as just few cells and how now she’s a little person and I can’t hardly breathe for the amazement.

I’ve had another OB appointment since then, a long appointment to see if I have gestational diabetes. I don’t have the results back yet but am praying hard that I pass. I also got the flu shot and t-dap while I was there, and a whole bunch of blood work. I asked about my weight gain, since I haven’t been paying attention. I’m doing well; still have got several pounds for her to grow before I get near the limit they like to set for plus size moms. 

Just this last week I’ve developed this fun symptom -hello, swollen feet! It’s not all the time, this photo was after two days of standing/sitting and not much resting, so it’s not usually this bad… But it is a thing now. I’d like to say I’ve stopped throwing up… But I did that this morning… About once a week now I get to do that, so it has improved, but I don’t really expect it to stop all together. Other than the occasional aches from being on my feet too much I mostly feel really good. The tiredness never really went away, but I don’t feel overly cumbersome or awkward yet. I told my nurse it’s because I had half this belly to start with so I’m used to working with it. Ha! 

We’re mostly just celebratory over every little thing around here. OK… I’m emotional over every little thing, too. Soon I think I’ll be able to share nursery photos and talk more about the ‘getting ready’ bits. I feel like there’s lots to do and maybe not enough time..but I also think that it’ll all be okay. If the timeline isn’t perfect, if things get ‘finished’ while we get this parenting business started… It’ll all be okay. We’ll figure it out. Babies have come into homes with much less perfection than ours and life just gets on with itself. Even imperfect, we are so ready. Ready for the sleeplessness, ready for the cries, ready for every new thing to marvel over… Just ready for this little life and all that it’ll do to change ours. 

Next year, y’all, is gonna be all kinds of awesome. And I say that fully amazed at this past one. He is faithful.

What’s in a name? 

I’ve always thought names are important. They can come with a history, a heritage, a wish, an expectation…they can be a first impression or a lasting one, and they can be used to build you up or tear you down.

Even before I was a Mrs, before we were on this long road to parenthood I kept lists of names I liked. I sometimes had pictures of the people those names belonged to in my head. I worked out their stories and struggles in my writing, I imagined their lives. So, you can imagine I have not taken the naming of my children lightly. I have written lists of names for them, imagined what traits their name might bring to their life, what story it tells about them. I’ve looked up meanings, thought about nicknames, and considered they way it sounds mixed with our last name. I think I’ve taken this naming business much more seriously than my sweet husband and possibly more than is really necessary, but this little birthday gift has always been high on my priority list.

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Amara Joy is the name we’ve chosen for our girl. OK, admittedly, I may have insisted.😉 I knew her first name long before she was created, I knew her first name without a doubt long before I could settle on a boys name. When I said before I might have called her from heaven by her name I truly meant it. This is that story.

I believe I’ve mentioned before the importance of my maternal grandmother in my life. The memories I have of her are some of my most precious, the summers I spent with her instilled in me a sense of love and acceptance I will never forget. I can close my eyes and stand on the front porch of her small trailer as though I was there yesterday. I can walk my way through that home touching the kitchen counter smelling the cinnamon sugar pie crust she saved for me. I can picture her in her chair, tatting away with hands swift and sure as lightning while baseball plays silently on the TV. I can move down the wood paneled hall, stopping to visit my bedroom, smiling at the bags of yarn in the closet and know the solid peaceful feeling I’d have resting my head on that pillow, listening to the train whistle in the distance. I can walk farther down the hall, visiting the mustard yellow stack-able washer and dryer in the bathroom, just my size I always thought. I can visit grandma’s bedroom with the floral bedding and curtains my mom and her sisters replaced one summer as a gift for her. My grandma went to be with the Lord when I was 14, but those memories of her linger stronger than any in my life.

During this infertility process when I sometimes found it hard to talk to God I would talk to my grandma instead. She raised six girls, persevered after her husband’s death when the youngest of which was five and the oldest sixteen. Of course I knew her as a retiree, without the pressures of providing for teenagers and young children. I knew a woman passionate about church and singing loud and proud even from her place beside me in the pew. Who was known for her making to both family and friends. She made layettes for all the babies, slippers, blankets, hats, quilts, dolls…her hands did not know how to be still. She taught me a lot, but mostly she just loved me. It’s the kind of relationship I hope my mom and her granddaughter have. So, when in this difficult journey I felt abandoned I called out to her. I can lay in my bed 20+ years later and listen for the trains in the dark and feel myself back in that little bedroom safe and comforted.

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I’ve always known it was her I wanted to name my daughter after. Her name was Martha -and though I don’t love the name Martha I set out to find a name that could both honor her and celebrate the unique girl she would’ve called great-grand-baby. I went looking for variations on her name and my first consideration was Mara. I like the name Mara a lot, but I don’t love that I remember Ruth 1:20 every time I hear it.

“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.”

I definitely don’t want to give my girl a legacy of bitterness, so I looked a little farther. I found that if you add an ‘A’, and the name becomes Amara, it changes the meaning to ‘eternal’. Now that’s a name I’m happy to bestow on my little love. So Amara it became, and since I’ve found it there has been no other name.

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Amara’s middle name was harder to settle on but has a less dramatic history. I tried out the middle names Faith and Hope first, but they left me feeling unsettled and not quite right. A few years ago I chose the One Little Word for myself of Joyful; a word to think on and bring into my life for the year. I made a banner and hung it up in our hallway, and at the end of the year I didn’t take it down. I don’t think I chose another word after that, it just lives with me all the time. When I think about what the infertility process required -Faith and Hope- are at the tippy top of the list. But when I think about what I wish for my girl it’s that when her faith and hope are called upon to be active hardcore that she find joy in whatever she’s going through. My cousin Meredith would say “Find joy in the journey.” And that is the dream. A verse that’s stuck with me through all of this is Psalm 27:13-14.

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord  In the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord;  Be strong and let your heart take courage; 

Yes, wait for the LORD.”

That is the truth. Not to say I didn’t have hard days, but the hard days did not beat me, they did not break me. Which leads me right to the verse that is my wish for our girl; Nehemiah 8:10.

“Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

That’s it. I pray the joy of the Lord is her strength; Amara Joy it is. Our daughter has a name that satisfies the part of me that puts too much weight on two little words. Added bonus -her initials are A.J.- my father’s first initial (A) and my mother’s (J). It’s also a pretty great nickname should she be a Tomboy and prefer something more neutral than Amara…or Mari…or cuddle bug…or snuggle bear…or any of the thousand other cutesie things she may be called by those that love her.

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As you can see she’s already brought so much joy to her parents.

It’s a girl! 

Here we are -HALFWAY to welcoming this little Bean into the world. Twenty Weeks feels SO good!

We went to see a perinatologist (aka a maternal-fetal medicine specialist) for our anatomy ultrasound. Something they like to do for IVF babies since there’s some concern they are more prone to heart defects. We spent a lot of time with the ultrasound tech trying to see all that there is to see of this somewhat uncooperative kiddo. There were head measurements, arm and leg bone measurements, and estimates for weight. All her measurements are right on track for her gestational age, and her weight is estimated at 13 ounces. All great news!

Here’s Baby Bean with knees to nose:

They took a picture of Bean’s belly, showing us this tiny stomach and organs. Diaphragm, liver, loops of small intestine; it is so cool all the things they can show you on that muddy black and white screen. They checked her nasal bone, if it was short or missing that would be an indicator of Downs Syndrome, we were happy to see a proud white line just where it aught to be. They looked close at the upper palate in the mouth, pointing out to us a solid white mass to show there’s not a concern for a cleft palate.

They also checked blood flow in the umbilical cord, and spent lots of time attempting to get every angle of the heart. Here’s where we found out we have a bit of a stubborn baby, with little arms tucked in close the arm bone shadows obstructed some of the heart views. We poked and prodded, rolled side to side, and tried all we could to get her move and allow clear pictures. We saw lots of kicking but those little arms didn’t move away long enough to help us. What we did see was there are four chambers and they seem to be working just the way they should. Her heart rate was 151. And, I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a little happy that they feel we didn’t get every angle, that means we get more pictures in five weeks when we go back to check again. Let’s not forget that little heart is only about the size of a nickel and will grow a lot in the next five weeks!

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We also didn’t hesitate when the tech asked us if we wanted her to tell us the gender. Oh yes! She got a great picture of a leg and tiny butt and the three little lines that tell her we’ve got a little girl growing in there. She checked twice and said she was extremely confident Bean is a girl! We are obviously thrilled! Of course we’d have been thrilled if we’d had a boy growing too, but the knowing makes it so exciting! I called my mom as soon as we left the appointment to tell someone out loud -It’s a girl!

IMG_3701The doctor came in after the ultrasound and went over the images again with us, slower, pointing out details. I got a chance to ask him if he had an opinion on my birth options, something I’d been warned he might have. There was some talk at a previous OB appointment that he may recommend I have a c-section or be induced at 39 weeks due to my advanced maternal age. (They use that term for mamas over 35.) I was beyond happy to hear him say that if I  was 40 early delivery would be standard protocol, but that I’m young (haha!) and unless I develop something in the next 20 Weeks indicating otherwise he sees no reason I can’t go the full 40 weeks! He said they wouldn’t have me go past 41, but that gives me a chance for a natural rather than induced labor (or scheduled cesarean) and that is music to my ears! So, if I could humbly ask you to add that into your prayers for this little adventure -a healthy uncomplicated pregnancy, and a body ready to do the work when the time comes- I would be so grateful. I think I’ve said before how much this process means to me, and that doing each thing is important to me. This process includes birth; the labor and pain don’t scare me, but not having the option does. I’m fully prepared going into this with an open mind that says however this birth happens is OK. In the end the healthy arrival of our Bean is what matters most. But, I’m not wishing away any part of the process, and I am passionate about having the chance to do labor and delivery au natural if my body cooperates.

I’d already made plans with a friend to take the hand print gender reveal photos that evening. There was so much laughter, so much excitement to share with our friends who feel this utter joy with us. There was also some teasing of daddy -who’s daughter with have him sucker punched right from the beginning I am sure. It was so fun to go pick out pink paint for that occasion. To pass the bows and flowers and ask my guy Do we need those, too? How girly do we need to be to share our news? We opted for just the paint, though he tried to convince me to get yellow or green and make everyone crazy building the suspense. You’re welcome from my impatient self that I didn’t agree to that!😉 He also let me get pink glittery stickers to make a sign for our girl to reveal her name. And that, my friends, you will have to wait on! Though not so long, soon we’ll talk about the story behind those choices. I just really wanted to give this moment, this story, its time. Because IT’S A GIRL is so big and awesome, and It’s a HEALTHY girl all that much more big and awesome. Let’s just celebrate that for a minute or two, OK? OK!

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Dear Baby

Dear I-can’t-wait-to-call-you-by-your-name-Baby, 

How’s it going in there? 

We’re 19 weeks into this grand adventure and that’s the question I ask over and over all the time. Hello? I say, How are you doing in there? So far you haven’t answered me, at least not in a way I can feel yet. 

Everyone tells me not to worry about that, that it’s early yet, that soon soon I’ll be feeling you lots and lots. I still search for you though. At night when I can’t sleep I hunt for you with my hand, with my heart. I wonder if every little thing might be you wiggling, waving, trying to get comfortable on the inside while I try and get comfortable out here. Sometimes that’s harder than it sounds, maybe it is for you too.

I search for you other times, too. I try and feel where your little home has reached as it moves up my belly from the inside. By this time next week you’re roof will be right in line with my belly button. When friends want to touch my belly (see everyone wants to feel you, to know you) they always reach too high yet. Down here, I say, touching where I know you’re hiding, finding the place the doctor last let us hear your heart beat. Strong and steady; I whisper encouragements to you. We can’t wait to meet you. 



In just a little while we’ll be seeing a special doctor to check in on you. We will look to see how you’re growing, and if you’re good to us we’ll find out what you’re name will be. You already have a name waiting for you to claim it. After all we have been waiting an awful long time for you to join us, there was so much anticipation and there were so many prayers -I might have called you from heaven by your name long before you made it into the cells here on earth. 

I think about who you will be, what it will be like to get to know you, watch you grow…hopefully I’ll be a good teacher. There’s this thing we say to moms when babies start to kick inside hard enough to see and feel on the outside. Maybe he/she’s a little soccer player. I think about that sometimes; who you’ll be. Will you be sporty like your dad? Will you want to play soccer or basketball? Or maybe you’ll be a dancer, and love to be on stage. Or maybe you’ll love art or music. Or a perfect combination of all of that. 

I imagine your dad and I cheering for you -embarrassing you with our enthusiasm, our encouragement, our love- no matter what you choose to pursue. You might roll your eyes at us; as we stand and clap, grinning like fools. I might cry with pride. Maybe you’ll wish we didn’t cause a scene, that I didn’t yell out quite so loud, or take so many pictures of every little thing. But, I hope you grow to secretly love it. That one day you’ll tell your friends, your kids, how silly we were and how crazy it was -our joy over you. That’s not a bad wish really -that we show our love in loud obnoxious ways. We want you to never doubt that we love you; big and loud and unabashed. 

All these dreams feel so far away right now while I search for a flutter from your tiny growing body. And I remind myself not to get so caught up in looking forward to the next phase that miss out on the miracle of the place I’m in. You’ll grow faster than I can imagine, and each step will be so fast I think before I know it I’ll wish backwards. For your life to slow down and for you to be little forever. So I bring myself back to the here and now with you. Small enough you’re keeping secrets a little longer. Small enough I can still mostly move around you, still see my feet, still put on my own shoes. It’ll be different before I know it and I want to embrace every step along the way. 

Love, 

Mama

Since April?! (1st trimester catch up)

I haven’t written here SINCE APRIL?!

That’s what I thought when I finally came to check in. Surely it hasn’t been that long.

Oh, but it has.

Oops. Sorry. Let’s catch up.

All that praying everyone was doing for our last frozen embryo transfer was worth it’s weight in gold.

We have a little bean growing!

I dunno why I’ve taken to calling the babe -the bean, but I have. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I get to call he or she by their actual name.

I’ve successfully made it into the second trimester so I can tell you all about the first!

There was a lot of nausea, and some vomiting, and all the tiredness. There were mountains of worry, and many doctor appointments. There were needle sticks and ultrasounds, and many bathroom stops. There was monitoring and marveling over size and what’s-happening-now; from an apple seed to a blueberry and then a peapod. Little lives grow so quickly! We saw a heartbeat at 6 weeks, SIX! This tiny being measured in millimeters had a beating heart. And so fast it had little arms and legs that kicked and waved at us on the ultrasound. Our bean already has fingerprints. The whole thing just blows my mind.

All during the process I kept thinking -I need to write about this- and then didn’t. I’m not sure why that is. Too tired and sick to work up the energy? Probably. Too anxious that we’d never make it to the second trimester? That too.

We’ve transitioned from seeing our fertility doctor to seeing a regular OB. The process was bittersweet.  I tried to convince Dr. B he could just run the whole show beginning to end but he didn’t take me up on it. I found a doctor’s office I really like (thanks to a nurse friend), but I don’t think we’ll have anything quite like the relationships we developed at Rocky Mountain Center For Reproductive Medicine.

My mom and I were on a trip when I got my very last shot. It was a thing to be celebrated! Just as soon as I quit throwing up. I looked forward to days without extra hormones thinking the sick would get better. Imagine my delight when it actually got worse! The occasional vomiting turned to every day. And all the things the doctor said to try really did not help. When I spent a day unable to keep anything down and not even wanting to drink water because I was so tired of throwing up I finally gave in and asked the doctor for a prescription. Thankfully, that made a big improvement. Not prefect, but so much better.

I keep getting told it’ll get better so I’m waiting for that little blessing to come upon me. I hope I won’t need the prescription for long. Right now everything feels like it’s moving so much slower. I only see the doctor once a month, and the bean isn’t big enough for me to be marveling in kicks and squirms yet. I can tell you it likes to swim and delivers swimming dreams to me a lot. Bean also likes pasta. You know how they tell you to eat the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet when you feel sick? Yeah, we’ve thrown up all the things at one time or another. Pasta though? Big fans. All the things I was eating to manage symptoms early on have eventually been rejected -yogurt, peaches, crackers, granola bars, oatmeal…finding food I want to eat, enjoy after the smell or first taste, and can keep down has been a fun experiment. Which, if you’ve met me in real life you would know, is downright hilarious.

We haven’t worked on the nursery any more yet, I’m hoping I’ll feel more inspired to do that if we learn if we are having a he or a she. We do have a fun stash of mixed gender clothes started, a few toys, and little things already collected I just couldn’t pass up. There’s time, I keep telling myself, it’ll eventually feel like it goes so fast but I need to pace myself. We also have some home improvement projects on the agenda for the summer. It feels slow going now, but oh-so-soon I think it’ll feel like we’re full steam ahead!

Read-a-thon-ing

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Hello, friends!
I’m doing something fun and different that I’ve never done before today -I’m joining nearly 2000 readers!
Dewey’s 24 hour Readathon actually began at 6am, but I had to do meds at 6 so I’m starting at 6:30. I’ll be posting updates and doing some challenges here today while I male a big ‘ol dent in my TBR pile.
Ok, let’s go!
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1) Northern Colorado, USA
2) Making a big dent in my current read Drums Of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
3) Nachos!
4) I’m a wife to my BFF, a stay-at-home pet mama to 2 dogs, a bunny, and a bird. I’m in the midst of an very long, frustrating, infertility journey-learning-experience and that’s mostly what I blog about here. I read for the escapism, and it gets me through the hard days, but have been a reader since I was young and have loved Stephen King since 5th grade. I’m a fan of stories and not really genre specific. (Stories are what I love most about people, too.)
5) This is my first readathon and I guess I’m mostly looking forward to learning how this community works and joining in…that, and the books!🙂
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Six hours in!
I’ve read nearly 4 of them, with breaks for breakfast, and joining the Twitter community (I’m team Goldfinch), doing a couple mini challenges, checking back with the readathon blog to follow along, etc. I’ve only been reading the one book so I’m thinking I’ll switch things up for a bit and perhaps actually finish a book today. Though, it’s totally fine if I don’t. We’re all here for the fun of it!
I’ll leave you with my Operation: Quotation! Challenge quote from my read this morning:
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Over half way!
I confess: I’m kindof a slow reader. I’m easily distracted. Also, my husband kidnapped me for church and dinner and a drive around town. But, you know, he’s worth it!😉 (And He’s worth it.)
I’ve read a little over six hours. I have a goal of 12 in mind so we’ll see if I can make that up tonight. My hubby also offered to stay up playing video games as moral support! It’s love y’all.
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I am about half-way with book number two: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. And, I’d like to finish it. Though I’m starting my second half with a third book, a graphic novel French Milk by Lucy Knisley. I’m excited because I loved Relish by her.
Ok, I’m off to stick my nose in a book! Here’s another mini challenge quote from today:
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THE END.
I only made it 9 hours of actual reading, but I had so much fun with the community that is all worth it! There’s another Dewey’s 24 hour Readathon in October (2!Every year!) & I’m excited to do it again. Next time I’ll have a big stack of Lucy Knisley graphic memoirs to read. I read 3 books but only finished the 1 graphic memoir, French Milk. I did get well over half way with another book I’ll finish reading today Where’d You Go, Bernadette . And got a nice chunk out of Drums of Autumn .

All in all, my first readathon was great!
Happy Sunday!🙂
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The Long Wait

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We’ve been taking a lot of naps around here.

Hello, friends.
I’d like to say -I have so much to tell you!
But, I really don’t.
So much of this process is rinse and repeat that there’s not much to report. And there’s the waiting…seemingly endless amounts of waiting.

Here’s what I can tell you:
While the Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) is different from a normal round of IVF it’s not so different you’ll need a step by step.
I’ve been taking my meds like a good girl. I stuck to the complicated schedule and all my ultrasounds and blood work over the last couple months have looked great.

I had one intense day when I switched to progesterone shots and about an hour after my first one I got nauseous and fainted in the bathroom. I was only out for a minute and I did make it back to bed on my own. (D was at work) I tried to sleep, felt pretty awful, vomited over the side of the bed into a trash can. D came home early and I was supposed to be driving him to the airport that day…it took a lot of convincing but he did make his flight thanks to his sister. I eventually called the doctor’s office to make sure it wasn’t the meds; which would’ve been unlikely since I’d done this before with a different brand but same drug. It wasn’t.  My elevated temperature was a sign to my nurse friend that I had a stomach bug. Luckily, it was mostly kicked in two days. Two very sore and uncomfortable days.

That fear though, that it might have been my meds, is great way to illustrate that this infertility stuff doesn’t get easier the longer you’re dealing with it.  For me, it feels like it gets harder. The stakes get bigger. The fear of something going wrong gets bigger. The I’m so tired of this gets much bigger.

That’s my truth -I’m so tired of this.

So, my regimen of 5 estrogen pills and 1 progesterone shot a day has been my normal for a while. And, the number of alarms in my phone has gone from a dozen to just those 6. Yay!

The day of transfer I was pretty nervous waiting for a phone call expecting our embryos not to survive the thaw. I even got a phone call that had nothing to do with the transfer but freaked me out in the moment the phone was ringing. I was so surprised and relieved and thankful when Dr Sharry came out with this photo:

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Yes, that’s D’s hand holding it, yes it looks rough, he’s in construction, that’s his normal.

The exciting news is that both embryos survived and looked really good! Hallelujah!

I never thought I’d say to a doctor “I’m really looking forward to that catheter.” But I did. And I was. Full bladder + ultrasound + speculum = thankful for the catheter. It’s amusing the things you get used to when you see doctors and nurses for so long. I remember the first transfer during IVF the catheter was my biggest concern since I’d never had one before. This time it was the second best part -after that photo above!

Everything else has been the same as last time.  The transfer went great, followed by bedrest for 3 days -I have the best family and friends who came and hung out with me on the couch, made my favorite foods and continually pray hard those embryos are making themselves at home.

So, now we wait. The longest weeks of our lives to find out if we’ve finally come to the transition part of this journey. The transition from infertility to parenthood. I’m anxious. I’m doubtful. I’m hopeful. I’m hanging on. I’m leaning in….
I’m complicated.

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