Thursday, February 28, 2013

24 Weeks

This is a big week for us!

Anyone who has ever had a preemie knows that making it 24 weeks gestation is a big deal. The statistics for babies born after the 24th week go up tremendously concerning survival rates.  While I'm sure this isn't an issue for us this time, it still gives us relief to have conquered this milestone whereas we weren't able to last time.

We feel like we have had a lot of peace and confidence during this pregnancy but we did decide to do some things differently this time around. For instance, we didn't jump the gun like we did before. When I was pregnant with the twins, as soon as we found out their genders we started setting up their nursery.

 I will say that I do not for one second regret doing this. In fact, I'm sooo glad I did. That would be one of the only times we were able to shop for them and it was a bonding process and we cherish every one of those moments that we had. That being said, it was heartache taking it all back down and we didn't want to go through that again.

So this time, we decided that we wouldn't think about doing any shopping until after 24 weeks and that we would bond with our baby in different ways until then.  Now I am so excited to be able to start looking at all the little girl stuff without hesitation!

I don't think we're quite ready yet to start setting up a nursery but I'm excited to start looking so when the time comes we'll be prepared. This is just such a big step for me concerning my control issues. I have felt no sense of urgency in getting everything organized and put together. I feel so much more relaxed and just having the feeling that it will all work itself out in due time. Life is so much less stressful this way!

This is a comparison picture of me at 12 weeks and 24 weeks. I can't believe the difference! I also have to say that those jeans stayed on for exactly 1 minute while I took that picture and then they came right back off. They are officially retired until after the baby comes... I don't even think I was able to pull them up all the way :) LOL

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pregnancy Musings...

This pregnancy has been so much different than my others and I'm finding that I'm having different cravings/symptoms/quirks.

So to elaborate...these are a few of my favorite things...♪ ♫♪

Sonic Strawberry Limeaids

I could drink these every single day

Choco Cherry Love Blizzards

 Unfortunately, I could eat one of these every day.

  Apple Juice
I never really cared about apple juice before but now its so refreshing to have a small glass after drinking so much water all the time.

  People being nice to me
I'm not ashamed to admit this one. People are generally nicer to pregnant people and it's nice to be on the receiving end of that. Especially at my grocery store. I'm there at least a couple times a week so they are used to seeing me and ask about the baby and they always offer to help me to my car now.

Belly laughs :)
I have never laughed so hard so much in my life! Things are just so much more hilarious to me right now and I laugh so hard sometimes I can't breathe. It's a wonderful feeling to have joy like that after being in a pit for so many years.
  Feeling Baby Girl kick!
This is by far my very best favorite thing! She has just been so active lately and it has even been waking me up at night but I don't mind. I haven't gotten tired of it yet :)

Not So Favorite Things:

Tomotoes and Onions
They give me reflux that feels like I swallowed a blowtorch! (For a short time I thought chocolate did the same thing but fortunately it was a fluke and I can still eat it! Yay!)

 My Couch
I just can not get comfortable on it anymore and I often have to spend more time in my bed instead.

 Shopping for Maternity Clothes
I hate shopping for clothes in general because I'm a hard shape to fit so I thought Maternity clothes would be easier.     Not. The. Case.   Turns out I'm still a hard fit so I buy as little as I can and try to stretch my wardrobe as much as I can and I do complain every time I have to get dressed.


I'll be interested to see how the next few months play out with my cravings and symptoms. I have to take my glucose test in a few weeks so I told myself that last nights blizzard would be my last for a while. I really don't eat great because healthy food just doesn't seem to fill me up. At our appointment last Thursday, I was being weighed in by the nurse before our ultrasound and we had the following conversation:

Nurse: "How are you doing with your weight?" (she asked me this right after I got off the scale so she knew good and well how I was doing...)
Me:  "How do YOU think I'm doing?"

Nurse: "I think you should try to fill up on salads." 

The nerve! 

I told both my doctors about this and they just laughed. I have gained about 35 pounds, which is the goal for a full term pregnancy. Incidentally, I gained the same amount of weight with the twins at the same gestation but there were two of them! lol

Anyway, the doctors know that I am gaining more because I am not exercising (which they want me to be more careful than the average person) so that is attributing to my weight gain. I do however need to make better food choices so I'm really going to make an effort to do that from now on.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

23 Weeks

I have never been so excited for this week to get here and I'll be even more excited for 24 weeks!

It was a rough week last week emotionally for me to get past that 22 week mark. I anticipated that it would be hard but, truthfully, I didn't really break down until it was over and I'd realized we made it.  Then the stress of the whole week just kind of fell on me all at once.

I often think about the time 3 1/2 years ago when I delivered the twins but I think of it with joy.  Getting to hold them and kiss them and see what they look like. Getting to show them off to their grandparents. Getting to love them. Those are the memories I choose to treasure. This time though, I felt fear creeping in on me and I don't want that to be associated with the memories of my children so I prayed and prayed last week and he we are finally on the other side of the hill!

So now, at 23 weeks, this is officially the longest I've ever been pregnant.

We had a check up with our high risk doctor this week and of course everything is still looking great! It was a quick appointment this time but we got to see our girl and they always check my cervix to make sure that I'm not dilating too soon. 

She was really moving her mouth around this time like she was saying "Hi!" to us:) Or maybe she was singing a song....

Recently I've been singing to her a lot. Mostly when I'm in the car (alone) or just around the house when I feel her move. I think she likes it:)

The other day, I was watching a movie and while I was sitting there she was so rambunctious! She was moving around and kicking harder than she had before so I had to stand up and rock her back to sleep. It worked!  That same night she kept me awake almost the whole night because she was so active. I guess she's trying to break me in early...

I don't mind the activity though. It still is my favorite thing. I love knowing that she's in there safe and sound and happy.

Steve has been able to feel her more and more and I just love that too. I try to tell him everything that goes on so he feels just as close to her.  I love when he just comes up to me and rubs my belly or talks to our girl. He has just been so great to me these past 6 months and he loves our daughter so much. We're just so lucky to have him:)

*I tried to take this picture 4 times and I look sleepy in all of them! I guess that's what I'm looking like these days...*

Monday, February 18, 2013

Valentine's Day

Steve got to feel baby girl kick for the first time today......we were so excited!!!

Instead of going out on Valentine's Day every year, we stay in and Steve cooks a special dinner for us. This is one of my favorite traditions that we have!

Since Valentine's Day was on a Thursday, we decided we would do our dinner on Friday instead.  But not to worry, I had my own special treat on Thursday to commemorate the Progesterone shot :(

I have to take these shots every Thursday until the end of the pregnancy. They are just a precaution to prevent preterm labor. They have been quite an experiment for us. We wanted to do them ourselves at home instead of going to the doctor office every week but these are a little different than the shots I'm used to taking from IVF. 

They are oil based instead of water based so you have to inject the liquid very slowly (like a full minute at least to give the full dose).  And because it's an oil, it spreads slower through my system so we have to rub the injection site for at least a couple minutes after the shot to help it spread so it doesn't burn the dickens out of me.  The first couple times I had it, it burned so bad I was shaking and had to sit on a heating pad for hours. We found that if we rub it in good and then if I walk around for a little while after, I have hardly any issues at all. Hopefully through our trials and errors we've found the secret now!

I went ahead and made Steve a sweet treat for Thursday since I knew he was cooking for me the next day.

our half eaten plate of white chocolate strawberries......YUM!

I also got Steve a sweet Valentine's Day card from Elly and Baby

Steve ended up making a Honey Mustard Chicken, Potato and Carrot casserole and my favorite, Grilled Asparagus. 

 It was hard for him to find something to cook this year that didn't 
A) make me nauseous,
 B) make me have reflux or 
C) isn't on my do not eat when you're pregnant list.

  My most special surprise of the night though was my dessert! 

It's a sugar cookie fruit pizza. How cute is that!


To end this post, just for fun, I thought I'd do a photo comparison: This 20 week photo was the last one I got to take before I had the twins at 22 weeks. Obviously I was in the sun a little more in 2009. I'm not used to being so pale!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bye Bye Birdie...

A year and a half ago Steve and I decided that I needed to take a break from my job.

All of a sudden I was getting so stressed out over day to day things that I had easily managed before. There was a time after we lost Lila & Cole that I had trouble with these same things but I had worked through them and moved on. Why would these feelings come back?

The breaking point was when we were on an all expense paid trip to a tropical island and we should have been more relaxed than ever. I was a mess. I couldn't stop panicking and crying and I was just so stressed. Steve said the day we get back home, you're taking a leave of absence from your job.

I couldn't argue that was the right thing to do. And things seemed to fall into place smoothly for that transition. That being said, it wasn't easy learning my new role. I felt like I had no purpose for a very long time. Only now that I'm pregnant do I feel I have one but I think I really needed that time to "Be Still" for God to work on me. I fell down into a really deep pit during this time and had to work my way back up.  It was hard going from 100 miles an hour at work then being at home staring at walls.

That being said, not too long after I was home, I started painting this mural on our kitchen wall. It was an idea we saw  and thought it would give some character to the room. 

I decided to add three birds to the mural in honor of each of our babies that were not here with us.

Then came January 2012.

We had decided to do IVF again in the winter of 2011 to use our frozen embryos.  We had a successful transfer only to find out in January, the baby stopped growing.  That was another low blow to us but we knew the possibilities going in and were better prepared for it this time.

But then I had to come home and face this wall and realize there should be another bird on it.

Fast forward to October 2012. We had just found out we were pregnant again.  I knew before that I wanted to paint over this wall but now more than ever, I knew I had to. So finally, this past week, we now have clean slate. A new beginning for a new story. It may look plain now but we will give it new life.

We can't change the past, nor do I want to. And I know I don't have to worry because I know Who is in charge of my future.  We hold each of our "birdies" in our hearts and they have all helped us become the people and the parents who we are today.

I thank God that our lives are like a canvas. We can start with one picture but paint over that to make a different one. His mercies are new every morning. And life can begin again....

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; Great is Your Faithfulness!  Lamentations 3:22-23

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

22 Weeks

This week is bittersweet for us. This is the week when I delivered Lila & Cole.

I'm not going to try to ignore the reality of the situation. It's real and that really did happen and it's a part of our family's story. I always knew that if I were ever to be pregnant again that I would dread this week and wish it away as soon as possible.

We didn't understand then and we don't understand now why they had to leave us so soon but, we have accepted it. We are so grateful for the time we had with our babies and I wouldn't trade even a second of it. I, in fact, would do it all over again if only to get the same few moments again with them. They are our children. We saw their faces that mirrored our own and we got to hold them and love them and that is something we are so thankful for.

I hope that our story with this baby girl is so different. But I won't allow myself to sit in fear. I choose to wait in Faith and know that our God is so much bigger than death and that He is with us through life's storms.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10 

On a lighter note,

I did get two special surprises this week:

A fun card from my sweet friend Jackie!

And a very meaningful gift from my Aunt Trish: 

This was one of my grandma's angel pins that she had collected over the years. My grandma loved angels and always wore an "Angel on your shoulder" pin. I think everyone in the family has one from her and she still had some left over. My aunt came across this pin several months ago and held it aside. She said she's not even sure if she knew I was pregnant or not when she came across it but she for sure didn't know I was having a girl and, as it turns out, her birthstone will be the Pearl. 

I am so grateful to have this special keepsake for her from her great grandma. She was just the best grandma in the world and such a special, special woman and if our daughter gets even an ounce of her character, she will be all the better for it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The post in which we play catch up....

17 Weeks:

Here is my 17 week snapshot that I only took because a friend texted me and requested a picture. I hate these awkward mirror self portraits because they're, well, awkward and hope to not do anymore like this one.

18 Weeks:

This week is when baby girl decided to roll upside down for awhile. Mommy didn't like it because I couldn't feel her move as much and it made me nervous. Now we're used to it and we don't worry about it anymore:)

19 Weeks:

Not much exciting happened this week except I finally went to see Les Miserable at the movies in a sold out small theater where the woman next to me (who I politely moved my coat and purse for so she could sit with her group) sang every word to the whole 3 hour movie. What a treat.

20 Weeks:
This week I had a monthly checkup with my regular OB and caused a scene in the waiting room.

We had an early 8:30am appointment. We usually have to wait at least 30 minutes before they even call us back and another 15 minutes waiting on the doctor in the room. Well we had been in the waiting room all of 5 minutes and I suddenly got very lightheaded and sent Steve to try to find me a coke. He came back with a fruit juice and me trying diligently to get my head between my knees (not that easy at 5 months pregnant).

I told him the fruit juice wasn't gonna cut it, I needed to lay down.  Back up to the counter he went and told them to get me out of there. They called my name and told me to come on back but I told her I couldn't walk because my vision was so blurry I couldn't see and I knew I would blackout as soon as I tried.

So off they went to find me a wheelchair and I was impatient so I tried to walk to the door and couldn't make it all the way and then got so hot I started taking off my clothes. Finally, out came the wheelchair and me doubled over again trying to not pass out as they wheel me into a room. They took my blood pressure right away (it had dropped) and my doctor came in and asked if I could see again. I felt immediately fine as soon as I was laying down and Steve told her I just didn't want to wait in the waiting room.

Needless to say, we were in and out in under 30 minutes. The fastest appointment I've ever had. 

Nailed It! 

she loves those legs over her head :)

  21 Weeks:

Earlier this week we had an anatomy scan on baby girl and they measured all her bones and counted all her fingers and toes and the ultrasound tech called her "perfect" no less than 25 times. Every time we get to see our girl I am overwhelmed with the privilege of getting to be a MOM again and I just thank God over and over as I watch her for giving us this life and for letting us experience all of it.

We are just so blessed that it is hard to contain it sometimes! Thank you Lord for answered prayer!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

It's a .......Girl!

At 16 weeks, we had a regular check up with our High Risk doctor. We have been seeing her, in addition to our regular doctor, every two weeks since we were 13 weeks along. We'll continue with her until we're at least 26 weeks and then she'll determine if we get to "graduate".

 At this 16 week appointment, we anticipated if we would be able to find out the gender of the baby. I had written out a "gender reveal card" to have the doctor fill out just in case. Excitingly enough, they were able to tell so they filled out our card and put it in an envelope for us to open that weekend with our immediate families.

Gender Reveal Party: January 6, 2013

I took the card to a bakery and asked them to look at it and put whatever the appropriate colored icing would be in the middle of a cake so we could cut into it to find out what the baby is.  I put together a small party for just our parents and siblings (again, my small bubble of people) and we decided to let Steve read the card from the doctor while I cut the cake. Well he beat me to the punch and said GIRL before I could cut into the cake.

  I said "What????".

We just knew it was a Boy. No doubt about it. I dug a little faster into that cake thinking somehow I was going to see BLUE. Sure enough, baby girl pulled her first fast one on us. It was PINK. So much for mother's intuition.

I have to say that it took me all day to get used to the idea that I was wrong. Ha! But I couldn't be more excited for our little girl! We've been overrun with little boys around here lately so it will be nice to have sugar and spice and everything nice:)

Also that same week, I began to feel her movement and kicks. I was so looking forward to this as I remember the first time I felt Cole kick at 20 weeks and it was one of my most special moments of that pregnancy. This little girl surprised me again by letting me a have a whole extra month of kicks this time:) She is very active and I've felt her almost every day since then. She isn't kicking quite hard enough yet for Steve to feel but I'm sure it's just a matter of time. Actually, he calms her. Everytime he tries to feel for her, she calms down.

Already a daddy's girl:)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


“May God give you...For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer.” - Irish Blessing


It took me a while before I felt comfortable documenting our pregnancy this time around. I don't know if I just didn't want to jinx it or I was really just trying to take things day by day and not jump too far ahead. We really wanted to even wait until I was further along to let people know but next thing we knew I was only 10 weeks along, it was Thanksgiving and there was no hiding the evidence. Little girl was showing off for the whole world to see:) 


 We decided we wouldn't make a big announcement but quietly spread the word through those we would see on Thanksgiving day so they would be prepared when they saw me. We have made big announcements twice before with our past pregnancies and didn't want to do that again. My mind was telling me to just stay in this protective bubble with just our small group who knew about the baby.  I felt safe there. But in my heart I felt like God was telling me, "How can I use this if nobody knows?".   


Right before Christmas, I was getting ready to go out somewhere and as I stood facing the mirror I suddenly caught a glimpse of our small child on Christmas morning running into Grami's (aka, my mother in law, Sheri) room to wake her up. Grami pulled the small child up into her bed and snuggled with her and there was just so much love there that I could physically feel it. At that moment, I prayed "God, please let that be a promise and not just a dream". 


Several weeks later, I was driving home alone on a seemingly clear skied day. My thoughts were recalling that same Christmas morning vision again and I repeated the same prayer. As I made the left turn into my subdivision suddenly in front of me was a rainbow. I stopped the car to make sure I was seeing straight. In fact I was. There it was. My Promise. 


 I can honestly say that I have felt more of a peace with this pregnancy than I could ever imagine that I would. I know that God has given that mercy to us. I can't predict how God will be able to use this or if He even will but I do not that He has promised us that He will never leave us or forsake us and that with every step we take, He is right there beside us. Knowing these promises has helped us tremendously this time around.





Monday, February 4, 2013

The Story

"The Story" is a story within our story that I wanted to share. Every time I think about this "story" I shake my head and smile because it's just another example of how God's ways are not our ways and He is always in the details....

The day I had my dye test, I had finally gotten online to check out what Women's Bible Study options I had coming up at my church. This is something that I have wanted to do for so long but just "never got around to it". AKA, I didn't want to commit. I really felt a tug at my heart that this was something I needed to do so when I got online I found that the only one available was a study on "The Story" (a book we have been going through at church all year) and it started the very next morning. Taking that as a nudge, I went ahead and registered and showed up the next day.

All along I had really wanted to get into a group of women my own age. Since I had registered so late, they didn't even have me on the roster and asked if I knew anyone here. I looked around the room of over a hundred women and said "Nope". They directed me to a table with a girl that I had walked in with from the parking lot. At my table was a mixture of different ages of women, most of whom were much older than me. The next day, I had called someone on staff at the Women's Ministry and asked if they had groups for "30 somethings" and she said that they don't do that at our church because if  you are all the same age then you can't help each other through the struggles you're having. I didn't disagree but I felt they were missing the boat on fellowship with people your own age that you can relate to.  Cue God laughing at me right here.....:)

As the weeks went on, the attendance at my table dwindled down and I got to know the ladies better. Eventually it would just be 4 of us for the duration of the Bible study. Come to find out one of the ladies had dealt with some of my same fertility issues and she said, no matter where she goes, she always runs into someone like me who struggled as she did.

I had told them that God had really been laying on my heart to "Be Still". I had been meeting with this new doctor and I was really unsure about doing another procedure and when I prayed I just felt like God was telling me to "Be Still". As many of you who know me, the control freak nature in me does not permit me to do this so this was really a challenge for me.

Over the next several weeks, these girls fervently prayed for Steve and I and our family and for me to be obedient to what God was asking of me. You can imagine the joy I felt when I was able to finally tell the girls that our prayers were answered and we were going to have a baby! If you would had told me that just 4 weeks earlier that I would be sitting at a table with a group of "strangers" telling them  I was pregnant, I would have laughed in your face. We have been trying for 9 years to have a baby and all of a sudden there I was with 3 new friends, sharing my hearts desire.
this is a silly pic of me in a dressing room trying to buy new clothes

I remember after my first day at Bible Study calling my mom and telling her my frustration about not being able to have a 30's group. I told her what the lady said about "God bringing us together" and I said Yes I believe that but I don't always think that applies to every circumstance and I didn't necessarily believe He had anything to do with me being at that table. Ha! I even think she agreed with me at the time:)

I am so glad that I can look back now and see God's hand in this and with bringing me together with these wonderful ladies. I hope I haven't offended them with this post. Mainly I wanted to show how naive we can be sometimes to think that God isn't working behind the scenes, especially when we think He isn't fast enough for us. 

Rebecca, Mary Lou and Kate: I just want to thank you all so much for your friendship and your prayers. I've told you this before but, you will forever be a part of our family's story and I'm so grateful to have been directed to your "table".

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Once Upon a Time...

The beginning of our story has several parts and I want to remember the details as much as I can so this post is going to be longer than usual.

So, Once upon a time.........

After using the last of our frozen embryos in the winter of 2011, Steve and I were undecided on what to do next (and not too excited to jump into IVF again). We met with a new doctor that was here locally and he said he would try IUI (intrauterine insemination) with us as long as my tubes were clear. We agreed that was worth a try so we scheduled to do a dye test to check my tubes.

That test had to be one of the most painful things I have ever done (and I've had natural childbirth) and when we left the office I told Steve that I NEVER want to do that again! Turns out that one  of my tubes was clear (the other one is blocked due to my ectopic pregnancy) and the doctor said he could proceed on my next cycle. The same day as my test, my mom and my aunts had left for a trip to New York and I later found out that while there, they were able to write down a wish and then shred the paper and that was to be used as the confetti on New Years Eve. My aunt Phyllis wrote down she wished for us to have a baby:)

Well we waited and waited and my cycle never came. Turns out, for the first time in 8 years, we were able to conceive without medical intervention:) That being said, I retracted my earlier statement about never doing the dye test again because, if it helped us conceive on our own then, I might just do it again...

I decided to take an at home pregnancy test when I was home alone and getting ready to run out the door to meet Steve at the Zoo to take my nephew trick or treating. I was so shocked and excited to see that it was POSITIVE! I decided I would wait until we got home that evening to tell Steve because I knew we couldn't keep it secret from my mom, brother and sister in law if I told him there. While at the zoo, Steve made a comment to me about hating being the only people there without kids. That broke my heart but I knew in a couple hours I would be able to tell him that he in fact was not there without a child.....

Because of our history, we decided to wait until our first doctor appointment to tell our parents about the pregnancy. Our doctor (who delivered Lila and Cole and who we Love!) was so excited when she walked in the door and knew why we were there. She took us straight to ultrasound and I asked the tech to tell me as fast as she can if there was a heartbeat. It took her 2 seconds and she said "everything looks perfect"! I sobbed so hard that she lost the image of the baby on the screen and then I freaked out and pulled it back together. This is my fourth pregnancy with our fifth child and after going through that you put your guard up and try not to get too excited. I was amazed at how much I had let my guard down with this sweet baby. I was hopeless from that moment and never even knew it....
Me and Baby with our Doctor

The following weekend we invited our parents over for brunch and told them that we wanted to talk to them about something...We told them that we decided we no longer wanted to go through fertility treatments because.......We got pregnant on our own!  This was the first time that we really surprised them and I thought we were going to have to tranquilize my mother. She was so relieved as this was our prayer for so many years.  It was awesome to have that moment the way it should be and to give them the reassurance that we had already seen the heartbeat and everything was ok.

We wanted to wait until after 12 weeks to tell anyone out of our immediate family but Thanksgiving was only a few weeks away and little did I know that Baby didn't want to wait that long to make an appearance...........