Friday, December 28, 2012

Life with two littles

They're both asleep. Phew. Conventional wisdom says "hurry, run, sleep while they sleep!" and that's very good advice at times, but right now I am relishing having both of my arms free, and being able to sit and not bounce/jiggle/sway/rock. The house is dark and quiet...Ella is a few feet away sleeping in her Rock 'n Play sleeper--making little squeaks and grunts here and there, but mostly it's quiet. I managed to Swiffer my floors while holding her and that put her to sleep, and then I got the dishes unloaded, pumped a few ounces of milk, and now I sit...ah.

We're three weeks in to life with two littles, and it's been tough. Everything about it has been harder than I expected--from the recovery, the sleeplessness, the fussy-I don't know what to do with this baby-ness, to the loneliness of not having my favorite person to share it all with. Nothing can prepare you for how tired you become when you're not just AWAKE all night and day, but you're also caring for a little person (or two), worrying over their every sound and movement, and just so tense! Experience helps a tad, but it's definitely not simpler this time around.

It's beautiful though. Do I have to remind myself of that, constantly? Yes. But, it truly is a wonderful thing to watch not just one, but two beautiful little people grow and learn and experience the world. Watching them together is so sweet, and I have so many exciting plans for when they are bigger and can play together, share things, and really be companions. For now, there's a lot of "Don't touch her, she's sleeping!" being said, but the sweet moments are definitely there.

People have asked how Ella is sleeping--well, the answer is: "like a baby". Like a newborn baby who has no idea how to sleep. She has had a few four-ish hour stretches in the three weeks she's been in the world, but mostly it's a lot less at a time. She is very restless, still needs to eat often, and poops constantly, which is a bit of a sleep disrupter. How often is she eating is another thing I get asked a lot, and honestly, I have no idea. I committed to not watching the clock for the first four weeks. I feed her when she fusses, when she grunts, when she looks at me, when she flaps her arms...all the time. She eats a lot. It's exhausting, but I am establishing a great milk supply, and more importantly, a great bond. She is growing and thriving and that's all that matters for now. Schedules and patterns and some sort of sanity will come soon enough, I suppose.

Adelyn is doing better with the transition, but still struggling some. She has more separation anxiety than before, is more wary of other people coming around, and is asking for more attention to compensate for the time that I'm busy with Ella. It doesn't help that those pesky two-year molars are still bothering her, so it's obvious at times that she hurts and needs extra comfort for that as well.
She has been really interested in "helping" with Ella, and while it requires constant alertness and a lot of redirecting on my part, ultimately it's really sweet and shows a great sign that she is a nurturer. Gentleness and quietness aren't always her forte, but she means well.

We're getting by, day by day. We have had some great friends bring meals, come to lend an extra hand or two, and encourage me that I'm really doing okay, even when I feel completely in over my head. Family was exhausting and overwhelming on the days of celebrating Christmas, but I just had to remind myself that we are so blessed to be exhausted and overwhelmed by all of their love and care and nearness. If they would just not kiss my newborn on the face, life would be peachy. Did I mention there's a major flu outbreak? And stomach bug? And RSV? And Whooping Cough? Oh my. It's everywhere, and SO many people in our lives have had these things. We are so glad to be avoiding it so far, but it makes me cringe every time a visitor coughs, or tells me they have just gotten over being sick, or feel like they might be coming down with it...ah! It's hard to say no to people who want to hold and kiss and love on my girls, but any of the three of us getting sick would totally turn our world upside down, and it's precarious enough as it is.

So, we stay home a lot. If we do go out, it's a juggling act and I'm pretty proud of myself if I get everyone out the door with all the necessary clothes on. I'm usually the one missing a jacket or socks, but I still count it a victory. Baby-wearing is a great help, and will definitely be the only way I ever get both girls out to the mall, or Target. Plus, Ella looks so darn cute peeking out of my K'Tan:

Sometimes, we just go old home. In the midst of loneliness and chaos and doubt about myself as a mother, sometimes I just need my own to help me get through the day. 

And now that I HAVE gotten through this day, I am going to go enjoy a few more minutes of quiet, with a glass of wine and a grateful heart. I'm sure someone will be awake soon.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The birth of Ella

     Thursday night, it was time to get ready for baby day. I took Adelyn to my parents' house and had dinner with them, and even though I tried to get emotional and hug my baby girl a little tighter than usual, she was ready to go and have fun and quickly wiggled out of my arms and off to play. I cried a little on my way to Small Group, where I had a few wonderful hours of encouragement, prayer over my upcoming day, and fellowship with my wonderful friends. I got home later than planned, but set in to the final nesting--finishing my batch of chili for the freezer, cleaning everything, and getting the bags unpacked and repacked just right.

     I took my sleepy medicine, and got in bed for one last sleep. I managed to sleep until 2am, then dozed off and on until 4 when I finally had to get up and moving. I decided to give myself the pedicure I'd be wanting, and it was not a simple task at 40 weeks pregnant, but I think I did okay.
I then took a long hot shower, shaved very carefully since I knew it would be the last time for a while, and prayed over the day ahead. I took some final 40 week pictures for Nathan and the rest of the world, and tried to wait patiently for it to be 7:30 and time to go.
     Mom picked me up and we headed to the hospital, arrived a little early, but got checked in and headed upstairs by 8:30. The nurse who was waiting for me was one of my classmates from nursing school, so that was fun to reunite after three years, and to know I was in good hands. She started the monitoring, asked me tons of questions, and told me what to expect from the upcoming hours. She and two other nurses battled my tricky veins before finally getting a good one, and then we waited. We were told that we were getting bumped back from our 10:30 slot because of an emergency, and that there was a good chance of being bumped again because of another. I was really hungry since I hadn't eaten after midnight, and I was contracting and uncomfortable, but Mom and I did our best to pass the time.
     Finally, we were told the it looked like we should be rolling by 1pm, and my doctor came in to let us know she was ready and waiting for the word. A cRNA came in soon after 1, and began getting my history and checking me to be ready for anesthesia, and then we were ready to go! I walked over to the OR with the cRNA and my nurse, and they got me seated on the table for my spinal to be placed. The anesthesiologist was very nice, and I was told he was the best one, so I was happy to be in good hands. He took two attempts to get in the space between my vertebrae, and it was a bit uncomfortable for a few minutes, but nothing awful. He said my scoliosis is definitely still noticeable and made his job a little tricky. But, soon enough, the cold numbness was spreading down my left leg and up through my back. Finally it hit my right side too, and I was laid back on the table to finish getting prepped. 
     I was surprised by just how long I was left completely naked from the ribcage down while people went about their business getting things ready. It helped a little that I was numb, but it was slightly awkward to just be exposed like that, even though to everyone else in the room it was probably not even noticed. Finally, they got my catheter in and my belly scrubbed, and then draped me and got warm blankets for my upper body. While this was happening, a different cRNA came in and started talking to me, and when he heard about Nathan being deployed, he asked if we had Skype. I told him yes, that we were hoping as soon as I got to recovery or my room that we could connect and let him see our baby, and then he surprised me by saying it would be totally fine if I wanted  to Skype DURING surgery and let Nathan watch everything.
My mom was still outside the OR, and she had my phone, so I was dying for her to get brought in so we could get Nathan connected. 
     My doctor had come in and gotten set up on the other side of the drape, and when I looked up, I saw that I had a great view of the surgical field in the reflection of the light above me. I was surprised to see blood already, because nobody had told me they were making the incision. My mom came in just after that (also surprised to see blood when she hadn't even gotten to her seat yet), and I quickly told her to start telling Nathan to get on Skype! She couldn't figure out how, so I ended up getting on Facebook chat and Skype and telling him to hurry and call us. Yes, while I was being operated on. Weird world we live in, isn't it?
Just then, I heard someone say "here comes her butt" and I looked up and saw my baby girl being lifted, butt and back first, out of my belly. They pulled her upright and I was amazed to see a head covered in dark hair--totally not what I had expected!

     They held her up briefly for us to see her face, and I definitely teared up with the crazy emotional flood that comes with seeing your baby for the first time. She was so different than I had pictured, and so beautiful and perfect. It was amazing. Just after that, Nathan finally connected with us, and Mom was able to take the phone over to where Ella was getting cleaned up. He got to see her as they weighed her (7lbs, 4oz) and got her swaddled and ready to be held. Mom brought the phone back to me and I spent a minute talking to Nathan and marveling over our beautiful girl, then told him I'd call him once we were out and recovered.
Mom got to bring Ella over to sit beside me, and I started to feel really uncomfortable. Right after she was pulled out, a rush of gas pain hit my shoulders, and I felt nauseous and had a lot of pressure in my head and chest. The cRNA offered me some IV medication to help me relax, but I declined so that I'd be alert and able to hold Ella as soon as I could.
     A few minutes later, they finished closing me up, and we were taken down the hall to recovery. As soon as we got there, Mom put Ella on my chest and I let her start breastfeeding--she had been rooting around and gnawing on her fists since the moment she came out! She latched right away and I was amazed by her being in my arms, mine at was breathtaking.
     I relinquished her after half an hour or so to the "stork nurse" who came to assess her and measure her length (21 inches!), but got her back as soon as I could. She looked perfect and my assessment looked good as well, so we got to head to our room pretty soon.
     My recovery was tough the first couple of days--doing it alone at the hospital is not something I'd recommend after trying it myself, but thankfully my nurses were great  and encouraged me and kept me company as much as possible. Ella was starving and very angry until my milk came in on day two, but since  then has been so content and wonderful. She lost 9% of her birth-weight those first few days, down to 6lbs 10oz, but I knew once my milk was in that she was feeding great and would gain again in no time.We were released Monday, and since then she has been a beautiful addition to our little world. She is so sweet and content as long as she's fed, and while I am exhausted and sore, I am recovering very well.

     I can't wait for the lifetime ahead of this sweet little one--Ella Kathryn Timberlake is already stealing my heart every time I look at her. I am so thankful for 40 weeks of pregnancy, and a healthy girl who is thriving and well. God has been so good to us!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Catching up and getting started

So much has happened and changed since the last already feels like a lifetime ago! I haven't had time to sit and put the birth story together, so that will come soon and in the meantime, here's just a quick catch-up of where we are and how it's going so far.

Got home from the hospital yesterday afternoon, and spent the afternoon letting Adelyn play and be around Ella (who mostly slept) while my mom kept me company and let me sit back and relax. She convinced me to let Adelyn go home for one more night with her and my dad so that I could settle in with just Ella, and they left late afternoon.

My aunt brought dinner for me and stayed a little while, and then I got ready for bed and sat with Ella and turned on an episode of Lost. I found myself dozing just a few minutes later, and so we headed to bed fairly early. Spent a long night dozing, nursing, changing, repositioning...and while I didn't get a ton of sleep, it was so much more relaxing to do in my own bed/house. Ella is nursing very often, but goes straight back to sleep after each time--so she barely fussed other than during diaper changes.

I have been bad about staying on schedule with my pain meds, either because I am asleep when I need to take them, or try to hold off on the heavy-duty stuff, but then the pain gets out of control and I find myself regretting not sticking with it. My incision is a big part of the pain, but also a lot of soreness in my pelvic bones as they are still separated and out of alignment.

Today, Mom brought Adelyn over late-morning, and took Ella and I to her doctor's appointment. The hospital pediatrician's wanted me to get her re-weighed today since she had lost 9% of her birth-weight by discharge, but today she had gained 4oz (currently 6lbs 14oz) and looked perfect. My milk came in day two post-partum, so I wasn't worried since Ella has been eating like a champ.

We spent the rest of the day around the house--Adelyn playing and being hyper and dramatic, and Ella mostly sleeping all day. Had dinner brought by my sweet step-grandma and then Mom stayed until Adelyn went to bed--so now I am alone, and both girls are asleep, and I am about ready to join them.

Overall, I feel pretty good. I am sore and pretty wiped out from lack of sleep, but I am loving getting to know Ella and enjoying these newborn moments that are so sweet and peaceful. I'm able to lift Adelyn--carefully--and doing little things around the house is enough for me to feel a little tired, but not like I'm "doing too much". I definitely am glad for the help/meals/etc...but I'm not at all overwhelmed or overdoing things at this point...just settling in and gradually taking steps towards doing this independently.

I had lots of visitors during my hospital stay, and a few since...and it has been nice, but also can be tiring. Right now there are a lot of illnesses going around this area--flu and stomach bugs in particular scare me. I am not excited about passing baby around to many pairs of hands, but I'd love short visits and will happily show off my pretty girls to my visitors.

For now, it is all going really well and I am so thankful for the normalcy of this and how much easier it is than our start to Adelyn's life. It's going to be so fun to watch Ella grow, and to watch my girls become friends, and to grow even more as I learn to mother two sweet little girls. I am so in love with these two :)

Adelyn showing off her new pearl earrings

Ella being awake and alert after her first check-up

Friday, December 7, 2012


How far along?  40 weeks!!!
Total weight gain: 37 lbs--6 in the last week! It's all in my feet right now though, guess that's the fun of the 9th month that I missed out on before.
Maternity clothes? are about to be put away for a while...I am so excited to get back to my favorite jeans, in a few weeks/months.
Stretch marks? no! I made it to the very end. 
Sleep:  I may have seen the last of that for a while...and I'm excited to spend long nights with my sweet girl!
Best moment this week: the anticipation building--the encouragement and prayers over these past few days, and finally waking up today knowing it has finally come!

Miss Anything? being comfortable. It'll take a few days to start healing and feel really great, but I'm so excited to get rid of heartburn, and for my pelvis to start to get back in place, and all of those little things.
Movement: she's still wiggling a little--probably as ready to get out of this position she's stuck in as I am ready to have her out of it.
Food cravings: everything right now--haven't been allowed to eat after midnight, and I'm hungry!
Anything making you queasy or sick: nerves!
Gender: we'll see for sure in a few hours :)

Labor Signs: my body is trying hard to go into labor, but it just can't quite do it with this girl in her position. Either way, she's getting out in four hours.
Symptoms: All of them.

Belly Button in or out?  it has continued to amaze me that it STILL had farther out to go this's ridiculous, and I like it.

Wedding rings on or off? 
I can't wait to put them back on when the swelling goes away!
Happy or Moody most of the time: this morning I am excited, and antsy, and a ball of emotions and anticipation. All good things.

Looking forward to:  Getting this girl in my arms!

I've been up for hours already--so excited and ready to get the day started. I can't believe it's finally here! I never thought I could be pregnant for 40 entire weeks, and I am amazed by every bit of it. It hasn't been easy, but it has been worth every pain along the way to get to this part. What a miracle that God uses our lowly, broken vessels to bring beautiful new life into the world. 

I gave myself the pedicure I've been wanting this morning, and while it was a bit of a struggle to reach my toes, and my eyes were a little blurry (it was 4:30am...), I managed to get them painted pink and it gave me a lot of satisfaction, somehow. Took a long, hot shower and got a few more little things done around the house. Strange to think I'll be away from here for the next 3-4 days, and come back with two babies. A baby and a big girl. Both of my girls.

Now, I'm done. I'm ready. I'm just waiting for another half hour to go by and my mom to come pick me up, and we will head to the hospital to get the ball rolling! I think she'll be here by lunchtime if all goes on schedule, and then once she's been introduced to her daddy via Skype, I'll be ready to introduce her to the world. It's going to be an exhausting weekend, probably with more visitors than I can handle and more pain than I am remembering, but it's going to be beautiful.

Stay tuned...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Still singing...

Well, today was a bit of a disappointment. I knew going into this procedure that it only has a 50-60% success rate, and that some babies are breech for a reason and might not be able to turn, but I had my hopes up. I have been trying for weeks to do everything under the sun to flip this baby...and sometimes it has seemed like she was SO close, but just couldn't quite turn the corner. I was sure a little coaxing from the hands of my doctor would be all it took, so I was really optimistic.

Last night, even though I didn't really feel nervous, I couldn't sleep. I had packed all the bags, cleaned everything (okay, I didn't sweep...sue me), and felt as ready as I could. All night, I tossed and turned and checked the clock, and finally got up before the sun (or the cute alarm clock who usually draws me out of bed with her "mama!" cries). I took a long shower, prayed, and relaxed until Adelyn woke up, and then tried to make the morning normal for her. I cheated on my "no food or drink past midnight" order and had a small bowl of cereal, and then tried to nap, but never quite could. Got a phone call from my doctor around 9 checking to see if I was sure I wanted to proceed, and she rattled my nerves a bit by telling me she didn't have high hopes for success. I told her I was in 100% and wanted to give it a shot as long as she was willing, so she said okay and that she'd see me soon.

I dropped Adelyn off to a friend around 10, met my wonderful doula Jerri-Anne back at my house, and we headed to Raleigh. Stopped in at my chiropractor's office in hopes that being well aligned and loosened up would help my chances for success, and then we headed for the hospital. Thank goodness Jerri-Anne was paying attention and noticed we were going West on 540 instead of East, or else we'd have been all kinds of late and out of the way. She's apparently as directionally challenged as I am, so we were lucky to get it all sorted out and end up in the right place with plenty of time to spare.

I checked in at patient registration, and headed up to L&D triage. Got changed into a gown and settled in right around noon, and had the monitors placed for contractions and baby's heartrate. Went through tons of questions, signed papers, and got all set with my nurse, then had a member of the anesthesiology team come to draw four vials of blood and start an IV, just in case. She was super sweet and had a great southern accent, and got my vein on the first try--yay!

My doctor came in to say hi and tell me that there was a c-section going at 12:30, and once they were done, she'd be ready to get started. Jerri-Anne and I chatted and watched the monitor for the next hour or so, and I was contracting every 10ish minutes, but not painfully. Finally, my doctor, a nurse, the CRNA, and good old Dr. M came in. He was exactly who I'd hoped to see, since he is the head of the department and has been in practice a long time--I figured he's bound to have done this procedure many times and should be a good asset.

They used the ultrasound machine to verify that baby sweet T was still head up, and checked to see where everything was positioned so they could decide which direction to go. Based on that, my doctor told Dr. M that she'd take the head if he'd take the butt, and they got set to go. I expected discomfort, but was surprised by the amount of pain that started as they pushed and pulled with a LOT of force. They were each using all of their strength it seemed, and somehow baby did not budge. After 20-30 seconds of that, they stopped to check with the ultrasound again--verified that she hadn't moved an inch and that her heartrate looked fine still, and then asked me if I was ready to go again. I said yes, and braced myself for the next attempt. I fully intended to try to breathe and relax during the procedure, but found myself holding my breath and tensing my whole body to try not to yell out from the pain. Attempt #2 didn't move her either.

I could see my doctor starting to give up, but she decided to try one time to push the other direction, and they gave it one last try. I wanted to stop so badly, but I also hated to give up and accept defeat. Finally, they stopped and we all accepted that it wasn't working and it wasn't worth trying any further. I was out of breath and hurting pretty badly, but so disappointed to stop. They put me back on the monitor to make sure baby wasn't too stressed out from all the smashing and squishing, and told me I could go once they had a good picture of that. I was contracting about every 6 minutes then, and feeling a lot of discomfort, but my stubborn girl looked perfectly fine and seemed completely unaffected by it all, so I was free to leave.

My doctor told me we needed to go ahead and schedule my c-section since there wasn't a lot of availability on the books, so I got two choices of dates and doctors, and picked the one that is on my due date--December 7th. I'm still going to hope and pray that maybe she'll decide to turn on her own, or that this accupuncture appointment will do the trick, but I am also going to work on preparing my heart and mind for the plan of a c-section in 11 days.

Dr. M asked me before we started whether his c-section had been THAT BAD that I was trying hard to avoid it again, and I told him no, not really, but didn't even try to explain just why I wanted this to work so much. I know many people, women even, dread labor and delivery and think it is horrible and yucky and painful, but it is something I have longed to experience for many years. I know it isn't pretty and it hurts way more than anything else in the world, but I also think it is beautiful and natural and the way God created birth to happen. I wanted that. I still want that. My c-section with Adelyn really wasn't THAT BAD, and I know that going into it knowing what to expect will help it be easier to do again, so I am going to try to look at the bright side to it, and pray for a really good experience and recovery. I think it will take all of these 11 days to help my heart get over the disappointment of not having the birth I wanted...but I know God is good and is still completely in control of my sweet baby girl's life and how it will begin.

I'm home now, and sore and tired, but glad to see the end of this long day. I started it by singing along to the Matt Redman song "10,000 Reasons", and the line that I like the most from that song is "whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes." So, my heart is a little heavy and I'm not quite over the disappointment, but I'm still singing and so thankful for a healthy girl, even if she is stubborn and causing me all kinds of trouble.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

One month down...

We've officially survived the first month of deployment! Just a little over ten more to go. Hopefully they'll fly by and soon we'll be counting down the days. For now, it's a small victory and we'll take it.

So far, it's been about how I expected. At first, it felt very normal because Nathan was often gone for a few weeks at a time for training anyway. It took a little while to sink in that this was different and we were just getting started, and now it's starting to feel like a long time. We have been able to talk frequently, but not as many long, undistracted conversations as I'd hoped. We have been able to video-chat a couple of times, but not on a regular basis at all due to Nathan's long days and lack of consistent internet service.

He leaves his current stateside location very soon to settle in to the overseas location where he'll be for the rest of the time. Once he gets his room assignment there, figures out his work schedule, gets internet set up, etc...we should be able to plan "dates" in advance and get a little more consistent with our communication. Adelyn LOVES seeing him on video, so I will be glad to let her talk to him more often and show off all of the new things she can do and say. We'll also be introducing baby sweet T to her daddy as often as possible so that she knows his voice and eventually his face.

This month has been full of wonderful blessings in addition to the hard parts. We have been served and encouraged so well by our family and friends, and it has really blessed my heart to feel so cared about by so many. We have received cookies on our porch, had dinners sent over, had people move to sit with me in church so I wouldn't be lonely, had our trash taken out on many occasions, even had our stubborn toilet plunged...and many more acts of kindness. Some days, being home and alone has been what I needed, but on the days that loneliness has crept in and I've started to feel uneasy, God has been so gracious in sending a call or text from the perfect person at the perfect time. It has been a beautiful month that has made me extremely thankful.

Speaking of counting down...we can do that pretty easily for baby girl's impending arrival. My due date is in 12 days, so she could be here any time, or at the VERY most, 26 days from now.

Tomorrow, I am having an external cephalic version--ECV done. I will check in to the hospital around noon, get an IV started, blood drawn, paperwork signed, and monitors hooked up. Once we are settled and have a baseline heart rate for baby, one last ultrasound will be done to make sure she hasn't tricked us and turned unexpectedly, and then my doctor will get to work. Sometimes babies turn with just a little guidance and it is quick and easy, while other times they are very hard to turn and it can be very painful and difficult. Sometimes they won't turn. Sometimes they turn back again. We'll just have to hope and pray for the easy kind. My favorite of all my doctors is the one doing the procedure, and she is super sweet and kind and reassuring, so I know that will help me relax. My wonderful doula will also be with me to help me relax and get through the discomfort, and also to be ready in case my water breaks or labor begins during the process and we end up sticking around for delivery.

I have my bag, the new diaper bag, and Adelyn's overnight bag packed and ready for action. My house is clean, bills are paid, and as much planning as can be done has been. It may be that we're back home tomorrow afternoon with no big changes, but if it happens to be THE day, we are as ready as we can get. I'll be stopping by my chiropractor on the way to the hospital tomorrow for one last adjustment to make sure I'm as ready for the procedure as I can be as well.

If this ECV doesn't work, I have an accupuncture appointment set up for Thursday. Apparently I am getting REALLY crunchy, thanks to the influence of many of my organic-minded friends. I am pretty willing to try whatever it takes, so it could be, if nothing else, an interesting experience.

For now, I'm hoping for what could be one last night of good sleep, waking up with my sweet funny girl, and trusting that God knows exactly how and when this next step in our journey begins.

How far along?  38 weeks, 2 days
Total weight gain: 30lbs
Maternity clothes? are getting too short to cover this belly!
Stretch marks? nope--thought I had found two, but they were just marks from my pants
Sleep:  I wish I could sleep for a week straight before this girl comes out!
Best moment this week: my baby shower last Sunday--getting blessed with lots of diapers, wipes, cute little outfits, and other fun things

Miss Anything? sleeping on my belly, eating spicy things without heartburn, putting on pants without a lot of pain...all things that won't last much longer
Movement: a lot less than before since there's not much space, but I still feel those little feet wiggling around here and there
Food cravings: tuna melts
Anything making you queasy or sick: eating too much--my stomach has a baby head resting right beside it, so if it gets too full it can feel pretty icky
Gender: she has a lot of pink and purple stuff to wear, so she better be a girl!

Labor Signs: contractions are getting serious at night, but never quite serious enough yet...just practicing still
heartburn all the time!
Belly Button in or out?  out out out

Wedding rings on or off? 
off...I'm just swollen enough that none of my shoes fit besides flip flops...that's fun
Happy or Moody most of the time: emotional
Looking forward to:  tomorrow--seeing what comes next

Friday, November 16, 2012

Full term!!!

Months ago, early in my pregnancy, one of the nurses at my OB office mentioned something about my chart listing me as "poor obstetric history". I kind of had to laugh, and said "yep, that's pretty much me."
Well, here I am, full-term, with a healthy baby girl growing inside of me...grinding her head against my ribs, sticking her feet into my bladder, and reminding me constantly just how blessed I am to be here now, waiting to meet her and fall in love with her a million times. Just look at these lips! 

Ultrasound today showed her looking healthy--approximately 5lbs 14oz (31st% for 37 weeks), plenty of fluid, and as breech as they come. Everything checked out perfectly, and now the specialist is going to review the ultrasound and then talk to my regular doctors on Monday to decide if I am a good candidate for an External Cephalic Version--where the doctor manually pushes and prods baby gradually into the head down position. As long as they decide to go for it, probably it will be scheduled for early next week, and I'll go in to L&D where they will look at her position one last time, monitor her heart rate, give me medicine to relax my uterus, and then try to coax her into place. There is a risk that the procedure could break my water or put me into labor (or cause distress for baby or placental separation), so they would have me come with bags packed and doula on hand in case we end up sticking around for delivery as well.

I'll be spending my weekend hanging off the couch, crawling around on hands and knees, putting ice packs on my belly where her head is, and various other silly things to try to get her to turn before Monday comes. They say playing music at the bottom of your belly can coax baby to come closer to listen, so maybe I just need to try more things to see what she likes. Adelyn prefered Yo-Yo Ma while in utero, but maybe this girl is a rocker.

Overall, I'm feeling about as close to ready as I can get. The bags are mostly packed, the house has been getting cleaner and cleaner with all my nesting, and I am feeling pretty excited and at peace with the thought of her being here very soon. This afternoon and evening I've been contracting every 15-20 minutes, so I am feeling like maybe if she just gets in the right position, real labor might not be far away. Or it could be weeks. Who knows?

Adelyn is finally off of antibiotics and presumably totally over her ear infections. She just got two of her two-year molars, so she's probably still feeling some discomfort, but the good news is after two more, that's all the teeth she'll get for a LONG time!
She's been sleeping mostly great and taking wonderful long naps (with the only trade-off being SUPER early wake-up times). She's learning tons of new words...animal sounds and numbers and letters. If I say "one", she says "two"...if I say "O", she says "P". I figure that's pretty smart and she just likes to be a step ahead :)

Nathan is working hard, doing lots of briefings and trainings and drills and other fun things to prepare for action. We get to talk most days, sometimes briefly and sometimes for a decent conversation. It's still hard not getting to really have privacy and unlimited time, and I often wish I could just call him at any point in the day when I have a question or something to tell him...but I'm thankful for technology allowing us to communicate. I can't imagine if we were just sending letters and waiting anxiously for replies!

Thanksgiving is going to be weird without him, but we have so very much to be thankful for and I am looking forward to food and family and celebration. God has been answering so many of our prayers is just the celebration of one of them. Hooray for full-term!

Friday, November 9, 2012

How far along?  36 weeks!
Total weight gain: 27lbs--half a pound from where I hoped to stop.
Maternity clothes? or Nathan's gymshorts
Stretch marks? nope
Sleep:  I can't get enough...I could sleep ALL day if I had nothing to do
Best moment this week: getting the good news that my platelets are up and my baby's head is down!

Miss Anything? feeling this girl go nuts when Nathan would talk to my belly
Movement: she likes to keep one foot pushed as far out as possible or into my ribs, but otherwise the movements are more subtle since she's running out of space
Food cravings: nothing new
Anything making you queasy or sick: eating
Gender: same same

Labor Signs: nothing could be any time, but it could also be six weeks
Symptoms: aches and pains and heartburn and all sorts of fun
Belly Button in or out? out. My midwife and I commiserated over our newfound "outies" together at my last appointment
Wedding rings on or off? off :( Had a few too many times where I could barely get them off, and decided it was best to just leave them for now
Happy or Moody most of the time: emotional
Looking forward to:  Next Friday--I'll be full term and I'll get to see her cute face on ultrasound again

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My hands are full

We've made it two weeks!

Yep, today we're celebrating small victories. Like the fact that my platelet count went up enough for me to have an epidural or spinal anesthesia if needed--yay! It will be rechecked when I get admitted to the hospital to give birth, but as long as it holds steady or goes up, things are good.

Also, there is beautiful sunshine today, and a few days of warm weather ahead of us...something my heart needs after these cold and windy days lately. Adelyn has learned to say "Brrr" every time we walk out the door, so I'm sure she will appreciate getting outside on a warm day as well.

The rest of life right now is tough. Adelyn has been battling double ear infections for weeks now that haven't responded to antibiotics. She's on her third one, and it's a high dose, so we were told to expect the tummy troubles that can come with antibiotics. They were right. Trying to figure out how to predict when a toddler will throw up is hard, and thrusting a cup in front of her face when she gags only makes her confused and distracted. I really don't know how this one works gracefully, but it's one of those things you figure out as a mommy I guess, so that's what I'll do.

The antibiotic does seem to be working this time, and she hasn't had much of a fever yesterday or today, so hopefully that means it's working and she won't have to take the next step of seeing an ENT specialist. We just have to make it through eight and a half more days of this antibiotic...yikes.

I had my 36 week appointment today, and am feeling so close to the finish line. I'm so excited to meet this baby girl and to be done with the discomforts of pregnancy, but I'm also feeling very overwhelmed by things right now. I'm at the point of being big and achy and tired where doing the littlest things seems HARD. Taking Adelyn to a store to grab a few things is so much work. Finding a comfy way to sit or stand to fold laundry is more difficult each day. Scrubbing out the tub when Adelyn has pooped in her bath AGAIN is comical. I am just so pregnant. Praise the Lord.

My midwife did schedule me today for another growth ultrasound because again my belly is measuring very behind where it should and didn't grow any from last week. I'll go back to the specialist next Friday to check and make sure that this still doesn't mean anything other than that I hide babies well somehow. Sure doesn't look like my belly is small to me!

Nathan is doing well--working hard and feeling exhausted a lot, and we aren't getting to talk much without distractions or technical difficulties preventing it from being the long and wonderful communication that I am missing. He's looking forward to finishing this training period and getting started on the real job ahead, and getting it over with so he can head back to us. We like that plan.

Mostly today I am just feeling like my hands are full. I have to remind myself that they are full of blessings that I cherish and am so grateful to be carrying...even when they are heavy and hard to hold. I have been encouraged by the help of friends and family, and just have to keep battling the feelings that I am doing this alone and can't handle it all. I can, because I'm not.

I heard this song on the radio last week, and just felt the words wash over me and provide such a sense of peace. It's been stuck in my head ever since, and while in some cases that gets old quickly, these words are exactly what I need to have running through my mind over and over:

"How quickly I forget, I'm yours. I'm not my own, I've been carried by you all my life..."

Friday, October 26, 2012

One day at a time

The dreaded day has come and gone, and here we are, still going. Finding the right words and doing the right things in those final moments wasn't possible, and with some good advice from a friend, we decided to set our expectations low.

Our last day together was rough--Adelyn seemed to know something was coming, and was being extremely clingy and fussy and throwing tantrums. I was physically feeling pretty icky with pregnancy aches and pains, contractions, and my gall bladder being mean to me. We spent the day together doing little things--early voting, cleaning, packing the last few things Nathan would take in his bag--but nothing big and spectacular. By bedtime, I knew I was going to burst from the stress and emotion of it all, so I let it all pour out on my sweet, strong husband who held me and comforted me and laughed at me when I had cried myself into a sniffly/snorty mess. We finally let the day end and gave in to sleep...for a little while.

Morning came too soon, and we both were awake and restless long before we needed to be out of bed. We  got some good time just snuggling and sharing the weight of the moment together without words, and finally got up when we couldn't stay any longer. Adelyn was surprised and amused to be gotten out of bed at a silly hour and wrapped in a blanket in her pjs for a car ride. I drove slower than the speed limit (to Nathan's dismay) all the way to the armory, dreading having to stop the car. Once I did, we all got out for a brief goodbye together, and then Nathan put Adelyn back in her seat and came back for one last hug and kiss and encouragement for me. He headed inside and Adelyn and I began our drive home, crying together the whole way back.

She and I ate breakfast and snuggled and prayed for Daddy's safe trip together, and then took a very much needed long nap. The rest of the day was filled with encouraging phone calls, facebook messages, cookies on my doorstep and brought over by sweet friends...etc. Everyone made it impossible to feel like I was beginning this road alone, and I felt a definite peace and comfort in spite of the sadness.

Yesterday was a rough day of life with a of those days when you count down the hours and minutes until Daddy comes home from work and you can pour it all out on him and let him be a second pair of hands. Knowing that wasn't coming at the end of the day made it a little harder to get through the last few hours before Adelyn's bedtime, but once she was asleep and the house was cleaned up and I could finally sit, laughing about it was all I could do. When your day contains vomit in the crib and poop in the tub and everything in between, you just have to throw up your hands and pray for the grace to start again tomorrow. Which is where we are today. 

Nathan was able to call me last night and let me know that he had arrived safely and is already getting thrown head first into busy, long days of work. It feels a little odd to talk and feel the distance and the time ahead of us, but already I just want to talk to him for hours and tell him everything. 

Overall, we are doing well. We are staying busy, feeling encouraged by many, and are carrying on with life one day at a time. Today is a big day--I am 34 weeks pregnant! That's a big milestone where most babies born have little to no trouble with breathing, are able to tolerate feedings by mouth, and can regulate their body temperature--meaning little to no NICU time. It also means if my water broke today, I would deliver--no bedrest and waiting. I definitely feel like we have reached the home stretch and very soon we will be meeting this little girl.

She is still breech, and it's at the point where she still could turn at any point on her own, but it is getting less and less likely. I am spending much of my time in ridiculous positions and crawling around on hands and knees and putting ice packs on the part of my belly where her head is...all in hopes that she'll flip. If she doesn't by two weeks from now, my doctors will give me the option of having a procedure to manually turn her from outside of my belly. Ouch.

Next week, they will also be checking my platelet level again to see if it has gone up or down. If it is lower than before, I may start a round of steroids to try to boost it. If it has gone up, probably I will be fine to have an epidural or spinal block if pray for a good increase!

While I wait for new baby girl, this big girl beside me is begging to be potty-trained lately and I am thinking it may be a now or never (not really never, but not for a while) kind of we might just be going out to find her some big girl underwear and some rewards so that we can get started soon. Yikes. Pray for that one too :)

Here are the belly shots for this week:
Still lopsided!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ready or not...

How far along?  32 weeks, 6 days--the most pregnant I've ever been!
Total weight gain: 23lbs...not bad
Maternity clothes? Sweatpants are my friend right now.
Stretch marks? still no...knock on wood
Sleep:  has become a struggle...but I cherish it when it is there.
Best moment this week: making it to this milestone of 32 weeks and 1 day, when I had Adelyn, and still going!

Miss Anything? rolling over in bed, bending over to pick up things, putting pants on...all without making a big effort and getting out of breath. At least it entertains Nathan.
Movement: sometimes I think this girl is trying to stand up inside of looks and feels so crazy, but I love to just watch my belly wiggle and feel her little body parts being busy in there.
Food cravings: Chocolate Frostys are officially my new love language!
Anything making you queasy or sick: just running out of space for my food to digest, so if I eat too much too quickly, it gets a little uncomfortable.
Gender: no new information there.

Labor Signs: contractions are still getting stronger and more frequent and my cervix is thinning, but still closed...hopefully stays that way a few more weeks.
Symptoms: My pelvis feels like it's coming apart, but other than that cold symptoms are taking center stage over the pregnancy symptoms
Belly Button in or out? out. Officially, undeniably, out. You can see it through my shirt, and it's so weird!
Wedding rings on or off? They're starting to get hard to get on and off, and my infinity ring that I wear on my right hand won't go on, so I'm thinking I may need to leave them all off soon. I don't feel swollen though, so it's strange.

Happy or Moody most of the time: I'm a mess!
Looking forward to:  The next big milestone is 34 weeks--after that if I were to go into labor or my water break, they would just let her come on out because she'd be safer out than in. We're almost to that point!

This week, we are facing a lot of big things heading our way. We are just days away from Nathan leaving for his first deployment--something that has been a long time coming but suddenly is looming large. We have been working on lists of projects and fun things to get to before he leaves, but as time runs out, there just isn't time to do it all, and we are coming to terms with that. We're both being pretty tough about the whole thing right now, but there have been a few moments when nobody's watching that I've let it spill out a little, and I think there will be many more of those to come. 

One of the hardest things that is getting to me lately is every morning when Adelyn gets up and looks for Nathan, and asks me "Dada?" with her little hands out in her question pose. Telling her he is at work each day just reminds me that I have to come up with an answer for next week, when he isn't really just at work, and he's not coming home soon, and there really aren't words that fit in the mind of a toddler to explain why not. She'll be missing his boots to clomp around in and his hat to wear around the house. He'll be missing her funny faces and surprising acts of affection, and the excitement of seeing her learn new tricks.

We won't know exactly how often and how easily we'll get to communicate. We plan on using FaceTime and e-mail and any other means of staying in touch, and hopefully it will be something we can all look forward to and really be encouraged by even though it's not quite the same as snuggling up on the couch together at night to read Adelyn's bedtime stories, or eating Moe's, or stealing each other's pillows in bed...

We've both committed to letting this be a time that our marriage grows and thrives, in spite of the circumstances making it a little trickier to do that. We are going to be working hard to encourage and love and serve each other by whatever ways we can, and plan all of the fun things we want to do as a family next fall. A family of four, that is!

We know that it will be hard, but we also know God is good and faithful to provide us with all that we need to endure. We know that we are surrounded by family and friends and a church who are more than ready to love and serve us through this next year, and we know that it will be a blessing to see that happen. I have plenty of military wives in my life who have done this more times than I can fathom, and have survived it with grace and strength that I have admired through the years. Knowing that I'm not the first, last, or only woman to walk this road makes it a little easier to tell myself to stop feeling so pitiful.

I'm still getting my heart and mind prepared for the impending birth of baby sweet T, most likely without Nathan at my side. All the planning in the world can't take away the unknowns of how it will all happen, and the inevitability of pain. I am excited to meet her, to get to know her, to see Adelyn figure out what all this talk about babies has been about, and to not be pregnant! I think it is going to be quite an adventure for our whole family that will undoubtedly be full of struggles and also joy, and we're about as ready as we're going to get...yikes!

Saturday, October 6, 2012


How far along?  31 weeks, 1 day
Total weight gain: 21lbs
Maternity clothes? outgrowing those too!
Stretch marks? nope, but this is the time when they could start showing up, so I'm still not counting out the idea.
Sleep:  It's getting hard...between big baby movements, shortness of breath when lying flat, and various aches and pains, I find myself tired from tossing and turning all night.
Best moment this week: Ultrasound last week and seeing our sweet girl looking big and healthy!

Miss Anything? Skinny jeans. Now that it's fall, I really want skinny jeans.
Movement: It hurts now!
Food cravings: Things that don't cause heartburn please.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Mostly I just need to eat smaller amounts at a time--my stomach empties more slowly, so after a big meal I feel miserably full for a long time.
Gender: Another ultrasound showed girl, so I'm feeling confident there can't be a mistake.

Labor Signs: Same stuff--contractions are getting more painful, but still not progressing, so I'm chugging along!
Symptoms: the heartburn and indigestion are the worst of it right now
Belly Button in or out? It's kind of out, but not completely...I still say in the middle
Wedding rings on or off? on, but last night for the first time they were really hard to take off! I guess the swelling has set hopefully the rings continue to come off when needed.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Definitely more emotional...easily irritated and prone to tears over little things. We'll blame the hormones, but ultimately I'm just stressed lately and trying not to be.
Looking forward to:  Not having to get anymore shots--I'm almost done!

So, I've been waiting until I got to the right point to take the same picture in the same outfit and compare the belly from Adelyn to now, and I finally got there. I think I am much more round this time, which is probably because of all the fluid cushioning around the baby, whereas Adelyn made my bump more firm. Now just to see how much bigger it can get by making it farther than I did before--only one more week until I pass that milestone!

Other updates: growth ultrasound showed that baby girl is growing right on track and isn't even a little bit small for her gestation--she's almost as big as Adelyn was at birth now! My fluid level was also totally normal, so why my belly is measuring small, we'll never know. I really think it looks pretty big now, so knowing there's a big baby in there makes me feel justified in feeling huge!

I passed my gestational diabetes test and blood work all came back great, except for my platelet count. For now, it is low enough to be a problem but not to require treatment, which is kind of frustrating. I am hoping for an unmedicated vaginal birth, but right now even if I wanted an epidural I am not a candidate, and even more upsetting is that if I have to have another c-section instead, I might have to be put under general anesthesia--meaning once again I won't get to meet my baby right away. I HATE the thought of that, but I know that ultimately it's all out of my control and I need to make peace with the  thought that anything could happen, so while I hope my platelet count will be much better when we recheck in a few weeks, if it isn't I will just have to trust that God has a plan for this baby girl's entrance into the world, and it will be a beautiful thing no matter how it happens.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Just a pregnancy post

How far along?  29 weeks, 3 days
Total weight gain: 19lbs according to the doctor's scale--right on track!
Maternity clothes? I really need more...I've even outgrown some of my smaller maternity stuff already!
Stretch marks? nope! Lotion, lotion, lotion.
Sleep:  It's getting a little harder when there's a 3lb person practicing ninja moves inside of me.
Best moment this week: Just making progress...getting father along and closer to meeting our girl.

Miss Anything? I wouldn't mind a beer or two.
Movement: You can see it from a few feet away--this girl is strong!
Food cravings: Bacon!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Not in a few days--yay!
Gender: I had one of those crazy vivid dreams where I pushed the baby out and the doctor said "It's a boy!" and really kind of freaked me out. I don't know what I'll do if that happens!

Labor Signs: contractions here and there and everywhere, but still just practicing
Symptoms: heartburn, back pain, fatigue...the usual.
Belly Button in or out? I think it's right on the line now...not quite out, but not really in, either.
Wedding rings on or off? on--no swelling anywhere so far.

Happy or Moody most of the time: :)
Looking forward to:  Is it too soon to start saying "the end"? Probably so, so I'll just look forward to seeing baby girl on ultrasound next week.

Here's a belly bump picture for those who can't get enough:

And, because I read this and thought it was funny, I'm passing it along. I don't necessarily feel strongly about all of these things, but most are pretty darn true. If you disagree, don't blame me--I didn't come up with it!

Guidelines for non-pregnant people:

1. The appropriate response to a couple telling you they are having a baby is ‘Congratulations!’ with enthusiasm. Any other response makes you a jerk.
2. Through the wonders of science, we now know that babies are made ONLY by the mother and father – not grandparents or anyone else. Unless the baby is in your uterus or you are the man that helped put it there, you may not ever use the phrase ‘my baby’.
3. On the same note, unless you made the baby as defined in 2, the pregnancy, birth, and raising of the child are not about you. You do not have input. No one wants to hear your opinion unless they ask for it.
4. The body of a pregnant woman should be treated the same as any other body. You would not touch the belly of a person who was not pregnant without asking, and you would not inquire into the condition of their uterus, cervix, or how they plan to use their breasts. Pregnancy does not remove all traces of privacy from a woman.
5. Likewise, no woman wants to hear comments on her weight…ever. A pregnant woman does not find it flattering that you think she is about to pop, must be having twins, looks swollen or has gained weight in her face. Telling her she looks too small only makes her worry that she is somehow starving her baby. Making such comments invite her to critique your physical appearance and you may not act offended. The only acceptable comment on appearance is ‘You look fabulous!’.
6. By the time we are 20-30 years old, most of us have picked up on the fact that the summer is hot. We are hot every summer when we are not pregnant. We don’t need you to point out that we will be miserably hot before the baby comes. Nor do we need to know how badly you will feel for us because we will be pregnant during the summer and how glad you are that YOU will not be pregnant this coming summer.
7. There is a reason that tickets to Labor & Delivery are not yet sold on Ticketmaster. Childbirth is actually not a public event. It may sound crazy, but some women really do not relish the idea of their mother, MIL, or a host of other family members seeing their bare butt and genitals. Also, some people simply feel like the birth of their child is a private and emotional moment to be shared only by the parents. You weren’t invited to be there when the baby was created, you probably won’t be invited to be there when it comes out either.
8. Like everything else in life, unless you receive an invitation, you are NOT invited. This includes doctor appointments, ultrasounds, labor, delivery, the hospital, and the parent’s home. You do not decide if you will be there for the birth or if you will move in with the new parents to ‘help out’. If your assistance is desired, rest assured that you will be asked for it.
9. If you are asked to help after the birth, this means you should clean up the house, help with cooking meals, and generally stay out of the way. Holding the baby more than the parents, interfering with breastfeeding and sleeping schedules, and making a woman who is still leaking fluid from multiple locations lift a finger in housework is not helping.
10. The only people entitled to time with the baby are the parents. Whether they choose to have you at the hospital for the birth or ask for you to wait three weeks to visit, appreciate that you are being given the privilege of seeing their child. Complaining or showing disappointment only encourages the parents to include you less.
All the Pregnant Women/New Parents in the World