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God has blessed me tremendously with an amazing husband, Doug, and two gorgeous little boys, Gavin and Joey. It has always been a dream of mine to have a large family but God may have other plans. I had a series of 6 consecutive early miscarriages when trying for baby #2. We are currently trying for baby #3 after our 7th miscarriage. I am faithful that God's plan is perfect, even when I am not happy about it. I love comments and meeting new followers so please don't be shy!

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Week 41.5: A Birth Story At Last!

Before Silas was conceived, I posted about how the most frequently occurring birthday in the United States is September 16th.  When we finally found out that we were pregnant and my EDD was also the 16th, I was pretty excited! 

September 16th came and went.  So did the 17th, 18th, 19th,... well you get the drift, right?  On the 23rd, we had a long appointment with the OB and discussed the exit strategy after learning that I was still not dilated.  At all.  He knew how important it was to me to have a natural child birth with as few interventions as possible, but we were getting down to the wire.  He agreed to have me come back in on the 26th for another appointment but that this baby was going to have to be born by the end of the month, one way or another. 

Doug and I went home and I said that I was actually feeling better about things because we had plenty of time.  This baby would come before the 30th because I was now calm and relaxed. Also, the doctor said I could use Evening Primrose Oil though he wasn't sure it would help since most people that do use it, start it at 38 weeks or so. 

That night I used my first dose (vaginally).  Tuesday morning I woke up to bloody show.  I was sure that Silas would be born soon.  I had some mild contractions but none with any real pattern or intensity.  The bleeding continued through the night.  On Wednesday morning Doug agreed that he should not go to work and we were going to walk this baby out at Walmart.  I was hoping my water would break at Walmart and I would look like I peed my pants and suddenly be featured on The People of Walmart.  It didn't happen.

We went back home and the mild contractions were petering out.  We took Gavin and Joey to soccer and I was texting my doula all the while.  I was still feeling like things were going to happen and soon.  After soccer, my parents took the boys and Doug and I contemplated our plan.  My contractions were no where near hospital worthy.  He went to bed and I decided that I was going to hang out for a while, sit on the birth ball and play on the computer.  Wouldn't you know it, contractions started to pick up.  Soon they were getting stronger.  Then more frequent.  Then both.  They were about 5 minutes apart and lasting a minute.   I decided that since the hospital was 40 minutes away, it was time to wake up Doug and have a chat about when we should leave. 

I went upstairs at about 2:00am and told Doug, "It is time for us to think about heading to the hospital."
He woke up and I headed downstairs to gather up a couple of last minute things. A couple minutes later Doug called down to me and asked me to clarify if we were going to the hospital or just going eventually.  At that precise moment, I felt a warm gush.  I didn't answer Doug for a second as I confirmed what I thought had happened when I felt a second, larger, more obvious gush. 

I called up to him, "My water just broke, so yeah.  We are going now!"  I was basing the whole "we should leave NOW!" thing on the fact that when they broke my water with Joey, I was halfway to baby.  I didn't want to have a car baby so it was time to move!

I had contractions every 5 minutes like clockwork.  They were strong but I could still talk through them.  That should have been my first sign.  When we arrived at the hospital and went to get checked in, I realized that I had missed a contraction.  We were walked to the Labor and Delivery wing and by the time we got there, I still hadn't had a contraction.  They were getting me set up and still... nothing. 

My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and nieces arrived and a short time later, the doula arrived.  I had maybe a mild contraction or two in the span of 35 minutes.  Then, they checked my cervix.  I was sure that with two days of consistent contractions (albeit mild) and lots of bloody show that I would be at about a 4 and maybe even a 5.  I was a 2.  A measly 2 centimeters.  I was a mix of annoyed with my cervix, embarrassed because of the room full of eager faces that we had roused from bed with the promises of a baby arriving soon, and wanting to turn around and go home.  Instead we watched TV and waited. 

I was having some consistent contractions again but they were short and lasting only 25-35 seconds.  I was so tired and wishing that I could just go back to bed.  The room full of people left to go get breakfast and the doula and I stayed in the room to keep things moving. It was then that the doula gave me a pep talk.  She explained that I could either rest and wait very patiently knowing that I was on the "your water broke clock" or I could get up, get moving, and take an active role in getting this labor going.  I slowly and reluctantly agreed recognizing that one way or another, this baby was coming.  It could be a long painful labor or a short painful labor.  Either way it was going to hurt so lets try to do it fast like a bandaid. 

I started walking, sitting on the birth ball, and just stayed moving for a couple of hours.  The contractions started really getting powerful and were finally back to lasting a minute and coming every 5 minutes.  Plus, now, I was actually moaning, focusing and able to tell that they were becoming productive.  I was getting increasingly uncomfortable and was sure that I was getting closer to meeting the baby.   

When the group returned from breakfast at about 9:45, they were joking that they had all made bets on when the baby would arrive.  The guesses ranged from 12:45 pm to 3:30 pm.  I went against my better judgement and asked the doula what she thought.  She reluctantly admitted that she thought I would have the baby by dinner time.  I didn't like her guess. 

Things really got moving and I was having intense contractions that I was moaning through, couldn't talk through, and was feeling a lot of pressure with every contraction.  Every movement I would make would trigger an intense contraction.  I was ready to get into the labor tub to see if it might help me finish dilating and maybe I would even be able to deliver in the tub.  The nurse came in and checked me (only the second time since my arrival 8 or 9 hours earlier).  She was quiet and pensive as she mustered a very positive voice and smiled and said, "You are now a 4 and very thin!"  I was reduced to tears.  Literally.  I cried.  I was only 4 centimeters. It was at that moment that I realized that the Doula was probably right.  I wasn't even close to having this baby. 

Everyone reassured me but all I could hear in my head was "I can't deal with this until dinner time."  They also told me that I wasn't able to get in the tub until I was a 6 or 7 centimeters.  They convinced me to get in the shower instead.  I stood under the toasty warm water and just soaked in the warmth and relaxation.  I was alone.  It was quiet.  It was so peaceful.  When I felt a contraction building up I was was so upset because I didn't want my happy place to start being a lot less happy.  When the pressure and pain built, and I realized that Ihe discomfort happen but do whatever I could to stay in my happy place.  As the pressure of the baby's head pushed on my cervix, I breathed deeply allowed myself to let myself let the baby push down.  It was strange because I felt a little like I was pushing but I wasn't.  I just wasn't not pushing.  I did that for about 5 or 6 contractions and felt pretty good!  I decided that I needed to "confess" to the doula that I was not pushing, but I wasn't not pushing.  She seemed to understand what I meant but warned me not to actively push.  

The doula then asked me to climb on the bed on all fours to help the baby move past my pelvis.  I leaned on the birth ball and a few times I actually fell asleep.  But when the contractions started to build, I would dread it.  They were so strong and powerful and I could only think that I was only 4 cm 20 minutes or so ago.  It was only noon.  I just couldn't do this until dinner time.  I hit my wall.  I looked up at Doug and asked him if he would support my decision to get an epidural.  We had talked much earlier about how I really didn't want an epidural and how when I asked for one, he should remind me that I am very very close to meeting the baby.  The only issue was, we both were worried that I wasn't that close.  Doug did a very smart thing.  He stalled.  I would labor through a contraction and ask him again about the epidural.  I was in my own head trying to talk myself out of it, but I was losing that battle with my mind as each contraction left me weak, sweaty, and exhausted. 

With the next contraction, I remembered how much better I felt when I didn't fight the pressure so I started allowing myself to push a little.  I was better able to manage the pain but I was now silently contemplating how a c-section wouldn't be so bad if it meant that I wouldn't hurt anymore.  With the next contraction I realized that I was pushing a little.  I whispered to the doula, "I think I am pushing."  With the next contraction, I again whispered to the doula, "I think I am pushing."  I don't remember any real response.  On the next contraction, I remember the nurse being in the room so I whispered to her, "I think I am pushy.  I really want to push."  I said it again with the next contraction though I was a little worried that I was only being hopeful.  Like, if I told myself I was pushy, it would make the baby come sooner. 

The nurse decided that she would check me, though I am sure she was worried that I wouldn't have progressed and that according to my last reaction to my measly 4, that I would lose my mind.  She quietly checked and I may have even held my breath as I braced for the news.  She announced proudly that I was 9 cm and she was going to get the doctor.  I couldn't have been more excited! 

I watched as they wheeled in the tool table and set up for delivery.  I was shocked and unable to believe that this was really happening.  It was while I watched people move around, set up, prepare for the big moment, that I realized that I was just moments away from meeting a new little person who would surely change my life.  It may be hard to believe but it was that exact moment that my pregnancy wasn't just a baby in my belly.  It was my son.  A real person.  A person that I was going to hold in my arms and fall in love with over a lifetime!  I could hardly wait!

The doctor walked in and smiled and checked me.  He told me to push a little while he was checking me and announced that he was going to let me push.  I said, "Good, because I was going to anyway!"  The room quietly giggled. As I got ready to make this baby enter the world, I suddenly remembered that maybe this baby was going to be huge!  What if he gets stuck?  What if there are difficulties?  Then, I simply decided that I wasn't going to let that happen.  He was going to come out easily just like Joey. 

Doug held one leg and my favorite nurse grabbed the other and they gave me the green light.  I pushed like nobody's business.  I pushed with everything I had.  I heard voices saying things like, "Good!"  "Wow!"  "Look at her go!"  "Keep going, Maria!"  I could feel the "ring of fire," but I wasn't going to let it slow me down.   I wanted to meet this baby. 

After less than a minute of pushing, Silas John was laid on my stomach at 12:41 pm.  I couldn't see his face but I was overjoyed that for the first time ever, I had a baby with hair!  It was dark, long hair!  He laid on my bare chest as the cord was cut (after it stopped pulsating) and while my repair work was done (very minimal).  The pediatrician checked him out for a few minutes and then he nursed like an old pro!

We were discharged from the hospital 24 hours after he entered the world. 

Silas John: 9 pounds 6 ounces and 22 inches long!

 (I may be adding more photos to this post but these will have to do for now until I get a chance to look through all of the pictures.)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

41 Weeks: A Baby Elephant

Never ever did I think I would be blogging on a Sunday night one week after this baby was due to arrive.  Yet, here I am. 

Ever see the movie Groundhog Day?  This last couple of weeks has been the pregnancy version of that movie.  Every night I have some mild contractions that may or may not follow some sort of pattern.  Each night I go to bed thinking that maybe... just maybe I will wake up to a real contraction and we will get to play out the scene from every movie or TV show where the wife says, "It's time!"  I drift off to sleepyland and then I wake up to pee.  No sign of labor.  I wake up to pee again.  Still nothing.  I wake up in the morning and think to myself, "Well, maybe later today." 

After a couple weeks worth of disappointments I have resigned myself to the simple fact that this baby is never coming out.  My mother shared with me that an elephant's pregnancy is 2 years long!  How is this relevant you might wonder?  Well, I am starting to suspect that the boy parts that the sonographer saw on the ultrasound must have been a trunk instead.  Looking forward to welcoming this sweet elephant baby in December 2014!!
Sunday, September 15, 2013

40 Weeks and Still Pregnant

It has been a wild couple of weeks!!  I had a couple of weekly appointments where my OB would check baby's position by palpating my uterus, and verified that baby was head down.  I got the results of my GBS swab and they were negative.  All was lining up for the dream natural childbirth.  Then at 38 weeks and a few days my OB again felt my uterus and this time he sighed.  After a ultrasound to confirm, he informed me that baby was breech. 

I cried. I was seeing all of my dreams for a natural birth fly out the window.  I knew breech babies mean c sections and while I clearly recognize that there is a time and place for them, I am completely freaked out by the idea.  I cried some more.  Then, my doctor began talking about doing a version.  I had seen one done on one of those baby shows years ago but hadn't heard anyone speak of them first hand.  Despite knowing very little, I was scheduled to give it a try the next morning. 

I showed up and making what could be a very long story very short, I was given an IV with some meds to relax my uterus.  The doctor came in and with the nurse holding the ultrasound machine he grabbed the baby through my belly and started moving him.  It hurt.  I won't lie.  It hurt a lot.  But, thankfully after only a few minutes, the doctor let go and said, "Okay."  It was over and baby was head down!!

Then, as I laid in bed for monitoring, I was uneasy about the amount of movement I was feeling from baby.  They had strapped a elastic brace around my belly to help keep him put but it clearly wasn't preventing him from squirming like crazy. 

A few days later, I was SURE that he was head up again.  I could feel his head in my right rib cage.  I was crushed.  I just had to make it until me next appointment so that he could flip him again and possibly induce labor so that he wouldn't have time to flip back again.  Thankfully a couple of days before that appointment, I felt him flip again.  Then, I was pretty sure that this baby was back to head down.  It was a crazy couple of weeks for sure!  At my appointment, the doctor did verify that he was, in fact, head down! 

So then we wait...

I thought for sure labor would have started early but today makes me exactly 40 weeks.  I am not feeling anything significant in the way of labor but I know that that doesn't really mean anything.  I am still in a bit of denial that this baby will arrive here any day.  Any hour.  Maybe even tonight!  I don't think it will hit me until I am in labor.  Probably more like transition.  Or maybe not until I hear a first cry.  Until then... we wait. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

37 Weeks: I can't complain.

So, really, 37 weeks.  I find myself looking down at my belly and recalling how I thought that this would never happen. Here I am in the final stretch of a pregnancy that, for lack of better words, has been uneventful.  Just strange really.

So, I know that as a "infertile" it is taboo to ever complain about pregnancy because after all, we spent years and dollars to get here so enjoy it, for cryin' out loud!  Whenever someone has asked me how I am feeling, I always seem to respond with, "I can't complain!" not because I can't but because the inner infertile in me won't let me.  But, since this is my safe place... here it comes.  Just a little bit of complaining...

I am ready to have this baby boy.  I never understood it before when people would be begging for their baby to arrive because they were uncomfortable.  Well, yeah.  I get it now.  I am uncomfortable.  My hips hurt.  My back has knots in it that hurt when I am not even moving.  My inner thighs hurt like I have been schooling Suzanne Somers on how to really use a thigh master.  I think I may have strained a stomach muscle merely by moving.  I hate that turning from my right side to my left at night requires a 8 point turn.  I am tired of peeing my pants when I laugh too hard, sneeze, cough, stand up, think about peeing, etc.  I am just ready.

Okay.. It is out there.  Pregnancy isn't always sunshine and roses.  But, when asked, I will continue to say, "I can't complain!"

Monday, August 12, 2013

35 Weeks and Thinking Out Loud

Really?  35 Weeks?  It shouldn't come as any big surprise but we will be welcoming a new human into our family in as few as 5 weeks... or even less.  That is crazy.  It really is.  Up until this week there was zero evidence that a baby would be coming into this house.  Not a single thing ready.  No nursery (planning on co-sleeping until baby sleeps through the night).  No baby clothes washed or ready.  Not a lick of baby gear outside of the few things stashed in the attic.  I have created a short "registry" on amazon only because I knew that there would be things that I would likely be ordering from there anyway so why not register and use the registry completion coupon that should be arriving soon. 

Then, last week I went on a fun play date.  She gave me a very thoughtful gift of clothes complete with a big box of diapers and wipes too!  I brought the stuff home and that is when it became real.  No matter how long I try to stay in denial, there will be a new baby boy keeping me up at night and spitting up all over me.  I am excited.  I really honestly am! I guess I may as well embrace my last few weeks of managing mostly independent kids. 

This past year I made a big step in my social existence.  I actually spoke to people.  I have a lot of internal dialogue almost all the time.  This past year, I actually struck up conversations with people when my former self would have smiled shyly and nodded along to give the illusion that I was participating in a conversation.  I jumped in with both feet.  There were a few reasons but the biggest one being that I knew I was planning on homeschooling and I needed to develop friendships and relationships with people outside of my teeny tiny comfort zone.  Oddly enough, the ladies that I decided to chat with are now some of the closest friends I have.  They have helped me through this pregnancy by giving me ultrasounds (under the radar... ha!  pun not intended... or was it?), supporting me through Doug's health issues, and helping me to laugh so had that my face hurt for days.  These same ladies surprised me with a baby shower.  With a little help from my mother, they went in and bought the pack and play that I had on my registry and filled it to the brim with diapers, wipes, creams, soaps, lotions, etc.  They had food.  They had drinks.  We had so much fun.  I was overwhelmed by how amazing these ladies are and how thankful I am that I decided to crawl out of my little hole to meet them.  I just feel so blessed to have them in my life now. 

Now for the thinking out loud part of this post:

I have been having a hard time finding the energy or the motivation to blog in this little space.  I can't imagine that in a few short weeks when my life is insanely hectic and I am functioning on 5 total hours of sleep (and that may be being a optimistic if this kid is anything like Joey) that I am going to be able to put together a blog post.  I don't know.  Maybe I'll be wrong and this transition from 2 to 3 kids will go smoothly and I'll be looking for something to do while I am nursing 6 hours a day. 

I guess what I am saying is that I don't know the future of this blog.  I am not officially signing off.  I am not saying a figurative goodbye as I have promised to all of the ladies in my online groups that I will NOT give up on anyone!  I will see all of you through to the other side of IF and losses (the other side may be different things to different people) so I will still be here and I will still check my blog email.  I am sure that I will share my birth story and there may be a few waiting for labor posts as I process all of the anticipation 

Again, going with the thinking out loud thing, I have considered starting a whole new blog where I can blog completely anonymously.  I still like the idea of having a little slice of the internet where I can spit out all of my thoughts, challenges, musings.  I don't regret a single thing about this blog but I find myself needing to edit myself for one reason or another  What can I say?  I am too much of a people pleaser, I guess. I value so many of the friendships I have made through this blog and I wouldn't want to lose them. 

This is far from my last post... Just wanted to stop in and say hello and that I am still here... for now. 

  (Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post.  Pet peeve of mine but, eh.  I'm tired and lazy.) 
Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Motherhood after Miscarriages

 Over the past few years of blogging, I have had the opportunity to get to know a number of wonderful ladies.  Megan stands out in the crowd because she has a wonderful way of sharing her belief and faith in Our Creator so eloquently that reading her blog posts always serves as inspiration.  She is human though, and has dealt with the difficult feelings and challenges that present when God takes a much loved and desired baby from us to soon.  In this post, she shares her very candid feelings and experiences with becoming a first time mother after miscarriages.  I also recommend that you check out her blog My Life as a Minister's Wife.  I promise, you will not be disappointed.  I am so blessed that God put her in my path and now, I put her in yours. 

There are some unique feelings that come with having a take home baby after you’ve battled miscarriage. To put it lightly, I wasn’t prepared.

It took my husband and I a little over two years to finally bring home a third Powell. In those two years we had three miscarriages, lots of tests, and a pregnancy that required pills and shots to make it. On October 19th at 1:04 am we got to meet our little guy.

The first surprise was that after delivery all I wanted to do was sleep. There was none of that dreamy-eyed staring at him for hours that I thought would happen. I didn’t experience this feeling of ecstasy that we finally had what we’d been longing for, like I expected. I knew I needed to try and get him to nurse, but I just wanted to sleep. I distinctly remember thinking, "I wish someone would just put him on the boob and make that happen while I sleep." Needless to say, nursing wasn't successful until after I napped.

The next surprise was that I wasn’t filled with joy at every moment of motherhood. I wasn’t enthusiastically leaping out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to feed. I still suffered from baby blues. I still entered a zombie-like sleep deprivation state. I still got frustrated at poop-splosions and puke-erruptions.

I was surprised that I felt a lot of guilt for not cherishing every moment and seeing it all as a gift from God. I felt guilty for wanting a break.

The biggest surprise was grief that came in waves as I held my little boy. When I first saw him, I realized there were three little ones I did not get to see. Did they look like me or hubby? Were they boys or girls? When he cried, I wondered how their cries would have sounded. When he began to laugh, I wondered what their laughs would have sounded like. As our little guy's personality began to surface, I realized each one of those babies had a personality that I did not get to know.

Basically, it all boils down to the fact that having a baby was not what I expected. It did not immediately heal our grief. A longer journey to a take-home baby did not make me immune from the same struggles that all new moms face. Yes, I was incredibly prideful to even think for a minute that I would be “above” that. Holding a baby in my arms did not immediately make everything seem right with the world.

But, what it did do and is still doing, is serving to sanctify me further - to make me more like Christ. Becoming a mom has humbled me and caused me to repent of pride I did not even know was there. It has exposed selfishness that was deep and hidden in my heart. It has also given me an attitude of grace towards new moms. And, it is the best thing in my life right behind being a believer in Christ and being married to my man. It really is great. I love it and pray The Lord would bless us with more littles!

So, I write this to encourage moms in ALL seasons. If you are a new mom with similar feelings, repent of any pride and cut yourself some slack when things don’t go as expected. If you are an expecting mom who walked a hard road to get there, recognize there may be some pride in your heart if you are tempted to look at a new mom and think, "I won't _________." If you are in the season of waiting, as hard as it can be, show grace to new moms who may be struggling more than they are willing to admit. May we be real, humble and gracious with each other. And, may we learn from each other and be sanctified in the process.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mostly Wordless Wednesday (with a short update)

Please pass the Starbucks.
Family Fun Day
I can't wait to add another boy to this loving pair!
Yeah... I'm cool.
And one of those pictures that can never quite capture the beauty that God paints in the sky. 

I am now 32 weeks pregnant.  The weeks are starting to fly by and I am starting to realize that in a matter of a couple of months, we will be meeting this new little guy.  Gavin is excited but Joey is pretty much oblivious to the reality of a baby brother.  He knows there is a brother coming but I don't think he really gets it.  Aside from being excited to meet the unnamed member of the family, we are not prepared.  Baby stuff is still packed away.  No new purchases made.  I figure in the final weeks it will give me something to do rather than wait for labor. 

Doug is doing well.  He has been diagnosed with Membranous Nephropathy. The bad news is that it is another health issue and more medications.  The good news is that there is a very good chance that once treated, it will go into remission and never come back.  That is what we are praying for.  We are still waiting to hear what the treatment protocol is going to be since the medications used to treat this new issue is very hard on the liver and the doctor clearly doesn't want to mess up Doug's liver which is doing really well.  The medication that the doc wants to use to treat him is kinda on the pricey side.  And by pricey side, I mean I could buy a brand new minivan every month for the amount that this medication costs.  We are waiting to hear if insurance will cover it.... kinda doubtful but all we can do is wait and see.  Aside from all of the health concerns, he is feeling good and so are we!
Tuesday, July 2, 2013

29 Weeks and As the Kidney Turns

With the news about Doug spinning in my head, life has been a roller coaster of emotions.  It started with climbing in the train and buckling up.  I knew that it was going to be a wild ride, but I was ready.  That is until Dr. Google climbed into the seat right next to us.  You know that rider that kind of hogs the seat and sticks his elbows right where you want to put yours?  Yeah.  That is Dr. Google.  Jerk.

Thankfully, the Nephrologist, a kidney doctor (thanks Dr. Google), was able to see Doug last week and he was a really nice guy.  He spent lots of time with us and answered all of our questions and encouraged us to ask more if we had any.  It also didn't hurt that he looked like an experienced salsa dancer.  As an additional fun fact, my mother was their real estate agent and his wife was on call at the hospital the morning after I had Joey and she checked him.  So, basically, we are best friends. 

He has been diagnosed with Nephrotic syndrome and now we are waiting to know more about how damaged his kidneys are and hopefully to learn what is causing it.  Today he had a biopsy of his kidney and is being monitored overnight due to a risk of bleeding.  He did great and the Radiologist that did the procedure was really wonderful.  Originally we thought that it was going to take 5-7 days for the results of the biopsy but we are excited to hear that his Nephrologist believes we will have results as soon as tomorrow or Friday. 

At this point I am not sure if we were clicking up the steep climb of the first hill for a plunging fall or maybe it is one of those fake out drops that ends up taking a unexpected turn.  I am not sure yet as I think we are just about to the peek.  I am ever so thankful for all of the friends and family that we have praying for us.  It is so appreciated that I get choked up whenever I think about it. 

I am in my 29th week of pregnancy and still, despite the heat and heightened emotions with Doug's health, can't complain.  I love pregnancy and even when I get a painful kick to the cervix or a repeated right hook to my ribcage I take a moment to remember what a blessing this is.  I had a moment last week where I suddenly realized that there is a little human being in my tummy. I know on a very cognitive level that I am going to have a baby in a couple of months, but the fact that there is a person who is going to have likes, dislikes, tantrums, and slobbery kisses suddenly hit me.  My son in inside of me.  No-brainer and mind blowing all at the same time. 

Please continue to pray for us.  I'll try to update again soon. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Because Nothing Goes as We Planned

Life was just sailing along there for the last 6 months.  I was feeling good.  Doug was feeling good.  Kids were healthy.  Then, out of the blue, I noticed that when Doug took off his socks that the imprint was still there and it was obvious.  I pointed it out and we shared a giggle about how funny it looked.  Then, I thought about it for a minute.  A few weeks prior, a friend in a facebook pregnancy group has posted a picture of how she was very swollen and how if she pushed on he ankles, it would stay depressed.  So out of curiosity, I pushed on Doug's ankle and my thumb print stayed... and stayed... and stayed.  It really is a creepy thing to see.  I convinced Doug (with little convincing needed- remember it is creepy) to call the doctor in the morning.  She had him come in, ran some tests, started him on a diuretic, and sent him home.  After the results of the tests came back normal and his liver enzyme numbers were still perfect, she was convinced it was just another awful side effect of his medications.  That was about 2 months ago. 

Last week Doug had a check up with the GI doctor.  Doug and I both were very hopeful that since his liver was still doing great that he might be able to eliminate at least one of the meds and thus eliminate the swelling issue that was persisting despite the water pills.  As it turns out, things aren't looking good.  We don't know what is going on just yet and we are praying that is is something simple and easy to fix.  His liver does still look great but he has low Albumin in his blood and is spilling protein in his urine which often means something is not working right in the kidney department. 

We are still in the midst of tests and trying to figure out what is causing these things.  We appreciate any prayers as we get to the bottom of this. 

In pregnancy news, I am fine.  Officially in the 3rd trimester and everything has been uneventful.  Considering what has just been set upon our plates, I couldn't be more thankful for this. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

26 Weeks: What's in a Name?

Since finding out that we are expecting another little boy, we have been asked countless times if we have picked a name.  Everyone has their own "thing" for picking names and ours hasn't been consistent.  With Gavin, we named him within moments of finding out he was a boy.  We called him by his name ever since.  To be honest, there wasn't any real reason for his name other than Doug and I both loved it. 

With Joey, it was a little more involved.  Maybe it was because we had to work so hard and deal with so many losses, that he deserved a name with a little more thought.  We talked about various names but just couldn't agree.  Doug really liked the name Garrett and while I liked it, I am not a huge fan of having two G names and that setting a precedent for any future children to be G's as well.  So, one date night we got on the topic of Doug's brother, now deceased due to a tragic accident.  He passed long before I was in the picture so I was just curious to know more about him.  As we talked and I could hear how close Doug was to his brother, it just seemed to make sense.  I liked the name Joseph and now it had meaning.  So after asking permission from my mother-in-law, he was named.  But, outside of the three of us (and maybe more if MIL spilled the beans) no one knew what his name would be.  Doug and I had slipped up a few times while I was pregnant and called him by name.  Gavin, who never misses ANYTHING, started saying the name.  For fear that he would spread the word, we started joking around and calling the baby Guido.  As a joke, he is occasionally called Joey Guido. 

This time we are going a whole new route and I am really enjoying it!  We are making a list of names that we like.  There will be probably 4-5 names that Doug and I both agree on and then, when we meet him for the first time and share those hours nursing and getting to know one another, we will pick a name.  No one ever said that a baby has to have a name in the first minutes of life.  Just another reason to be eager to meet this little fella!  In my opinion, it is very important not to share any of the names we are considering.  Frankly, I don't want anyone's opinions coloring our decision.  The names are all pretty traditional, but people still like to throw in their two cents and I don't want all of that loose change. 

It is so hard to believe that baby will be here in less than 100 days!!  Double digits now!

I do have some posts in the works about some things like teens and abstinence and another on how the media and main stream television has helped us to think of our children as little adults and somehow we are okay with this.  But... those posts require thought, energy and my attention, all of which I am still trying to locate.  Soon though!  Hopefully before baby shows up! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

24 Weeks: Viability

I know that my losses are all early losses, but I still breathe a short sigh of relief when I pass this milestone.  I no longer need to use the doppler to verify that he is still in there and doing okay.  He is kicking and poking me routinely and Gavin was even able to feel him a couple of times.

Speaking of Gavin, he couldn't be more excited about the new baby coming.  He talks about it to anyone who will listen including, cashiers, WalMart greeters, and anyone else who feigns interest.  He has been especially cuddly lately and one evening told me that he wanted to snuggle with me and the baby.  He curled up next to me on the couch and slung and arm over my tummy and life was good. Very very good. 

Joey is also looking forward to a new baby brother although I am pretty sure he doesn't really get it.  I think he knows that there is a "baby" in my belly and that that "thing" will be his brother, but I also think  he pictures it more like a stuffed animal that we can heave into the corner.  We're trying to get him ready for the shock of a lifetime. 

You probably wouldn't believe me but I really do have a lot of blog posts in my head and ready to be transcribed into works of art or at least a series of sentences that make up a really good paragraphs.  It has been so long since I really wrote.  For those of you who have been blog readers for a long time, then you know the ones I mean.  The ones that are sometimes on the "other side of the fence."  Maybe even considered controversial by some.  Yeah.  Those topics.  I don't know why I stopped writing those posts.  It might be because I was consumed with infertility and the quest for a baby.  It might also be the fact that I have grown so close to so many of you, that I worry a lot more about burning bridges that I value. 

Loyal friends and readers: Please know that it is not my goal to be offensive or start a fight.  I am not attacking anyone, just sharing my thoughts and opinions.  I am not secretly trying to pick on anyone in particular.  I am always open to friendly debates and discussions that can be handled passionately yet respectfully.

Perhaps next week I'll post something juicy!  For now... I'll leave you with some fun pictures!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Week 22: Heaven

What a wild week!! A quick recap involves what feels like panic attacks, 3 massive nose bleeds and a bad back.  Yes.  It was good times here at my house. 

The back ache was quickly resolved after some chiropractic care.  If any of you are on the fence about whether or not seeing a chiropractor during pregnancy is a good idea, mark me down for a big fat YES!!  I went from having incredibly painful back spasms to being able to sit and stand without first mapping out my plan of attack.  I feel sooo much better!!

I had an OB appointment today and mentioned my crazy panicky issues and gushing nose bleeds.  Turns out, our good pal progesterone is responsible for both and that he isn't concerned about either issue.  Since he isn't worried, neither am I.  Fair warning though, if you live locally and see me with 8 pounds of tissues crammed in my nose with an ice pack and trying to catch my breath while monitoring my pulse, don't worry.  I am just pregnant. 

The very best part of today was that I got to take a tour of the birth center at the hospital.  It was a quick tour as there wasn't much to see but I think I am in love.  The rooms (labor, delivery, postpartum, and rooming in with baby) are large and spacious.  Floors are shiny hardwood and really looks homey compared to the "regular" hospital I am familiar with.  The bathroom is also nice and big and has nice big showers with a real shower curtain and shower stall!  I know this probably isn't big news to most of you but based on my prior experience, the showers were in the bathroom with no real separation between the toilet and the shower.  There was a curtain so that the whole room didn't get wet but the floor was all just sloped toward the drain.  But wait!!!  Aside from the TV/s equipt with DVD players, each room has a mini fridge!  I know I mentioned this before but after I deliver the baby, they remove the delivery bed from the room and a queen sized Murphy bed pulls down from the wall et viola!  Comfort!

The best part is the birth tubs!  I envisioned an inflatable tub that resembled an inner tube crossed with a black trash bag.  These tubs that I saw were REAL bath tubs!  Big!  Deep!  They looked so comfy!  I originally thought that maybe I would labor in the tub, but after seeing those bad boys, I might be willing to deliver in it too!  The tubs has lights for crying out loud!  Lights! 

Then as we returned to the hallway I noticed that the halls were carpeted and far from looking hospital-ish.  They don't have a nursery but she said that if I want to sleep, they will take the baby for a while and bring the baby to me for feeding.  As I realized how quiet everything was, I had to ask her how many babies they deliver in a month.  Her answer was, "About 30." One baby a day on average.  I think that is just amazing!  Talk about getting all the attention I could possibly need!  This place just might be heaven for delivering babies. 

I can't tell you how excited I am about delivering at this place.  Four more months.  That is it! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

21 Weeks and Infertility, Loss, and Mother's Day

Officially on the downside of the hill of pregnancy and holding on tight.  I am able to feel him move pretty regularly now and it is reassuring except for when it isn't.  His kicks and jabs ore just subtle enough that unless I am sitting or laying down with the intention of paying attention to him, I don't notice.  Then, I find myself at dinner time thinking, "Uh oh.  I don't think I have felt him move today.  Or did I?  I think I did.  No.  Wait.  That was yesterday.  Or this morning?  Let me just grab the doppler to double check on him."  In fact, I did this exact thing before I started writing this post.  I honestly don't know what I would do without that little machine. 

I am going to talk about a day that is celebrated in every family except for when it isn't.  Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 12th.  It is easy to think that this is a day for all of the mothers of the world to get homemade greeting cards and breakfast in bed.  Maybe a day "off" from cooking.  Maybe even some flowers and 15 minutes of alone time in the bathroom to poop in peace.  While this is pretty common stuff, there are other women out there who dread this day. 

There are women who long to snuggle a baby of their own, to get a slobbery kiss from a kid with daddy's smile, to kiss a boo-boo with a magic healing kiss that haven't yet realized this dream. Mother's Day holds a very different meaning for these women.  Also, what about the mothers who carried babies in their wombs but find themselves with wounded hearts due to loss? 

It is easy to focus all of our attention on the "Moms" of the world this Sunday, but I ask all of you to acknowledge the women who find themselves hurting.  I won't claim to know the right words to say to them or the best thing to do for them, but I do know that they will appreciate the effort.  

This weekend, I'll be thinking of all of the women who have traveled the road of infertility or loss. 
Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cabin Fever

So far we have been very blessed with healthy kids for the last 5 years.  We get our sniffles here and there but very few actual illnesses.  Then... illness struck.  Only Gavin, thankfully!  (Knocking vigorously on wood!)  Gavin has been sick starting on Friday and today is Wednesday.  Not all days have been bad days, but we haven't been able to do much outside of the house.

I have this issue with cabin fever.  We live rurally and without getting into a vehicle and driving a mile or so, there might not be any sign of other humans existing.  To make life a little bit more stir crazy, Doug is out of town for work which means that my conversations for the last 48 hours have included:

"Joey, do not sit on your brother!  He is not a horse!!"
"Okay, Mom." 

"Gavin, you and your brother will not both fit into a diaper box!"
"Yes we will."
"Okay.  Good luck with that."

If there is still a such thing as Calgon, I insist that it take me away! 

I decided that since it is raining and ugly out and I have a kid that will have diarrhea at any given moment with no warning, that it would be a good craft day.  I got out a science kit to grow a crystal tree but the packet of crystal water stuff had gotten opened somehow and there was already crystals growing where they shouldn't have been. 

Craft idea number two was to make some sort of balloon filled with corn starch as a "stress ball" or tactile toy.  Well... yeah.  While entertaining to Gavin, this project created a smoke machine that essentially destroyed my already messy kitchen.  I tried this concept again with a different funnel and it worked a little better.  This time, I managed to get corn starch into the balloon but only enough to really look more like a visual aid of a scrotum. 

So I decided that I was done with the messy stuff and that it was time to simply use up some left over helium from Gavin's birthday and that would keep the kids entertained for a while.  I figured there was enough for 3, maybe 4 balloons.  I stopped after filling 9 helium balloons.  It kind of looks like a circus blew up in here, but the kids are having so much fun. 
I am really looking forward to everyone being healthy again!

Until then, I decided that it was time to share my very first belly pic.   
19 weeks
Sunday, April 21, 2013

19 Weeks

Yep.  I skipped 18 weeks.  I blew right past it.  It was a really busy week or so for us but busy in a very good way. 

I met my new OB and I am pretty sure that I made an excellent move.  He seems like just the doctor to be supportive of my birth choices!

I had already scheduled appointment with a genetic counselor this week so despite my lack of concern with genetic issues, I went anyway.  I haven't yet seen the bill for this but I bet I am going to end up paying a lot of money for what really turned out to be some girl chat (fun girl chat) about funny things kids say, awkward situations that happen as a result of those funny things, and how our kids are our favorite people.  She basically told me in less than 30 words that my risk was really low and the only reason I was there was because I am AMA.   Advanced Maternal Age for those of you spring chickens.  I have heard those 3 letters at least a dozen times in the last few months.  I have decided that regardless of their label of AMA I have decided that I am going to begin wearing a red cape with the letters OBA.  Old But Awesome!

The fun part of that appointment was that we got a nice long look at our little guy.  Things are looking really good!  The doctor (not my OB, but the MFM doc at the hospital that reviews the ultrasounds) wants me to come back again in 4 weeks so he can double check his heart.  He wasn't concerned but just wanted one more peek before he gave his official stamp of approval. 

So today officially makes me 19 weeks pregnant.  Kind of hard to believe, really. 

See you next week!
Friday, April 12, 2013

17 Weeks- Breaking Up Isn't So Hard After All

Now that the first trimester funk has finally eased up, I am trying to make up for everything I didn't do for the last 4 months.  That means laundry, dishes, bathing my children ... Okay.  I still did that, but it was only when I had too and no sooner.  So, overall I am feeling great which freaks me out routinely.  I felt some movement a couple of weeks ago but maybe baby shifted because I don't feel him very often.  If I didn't have a doppler, I would be a basket case. 

One of the things on my list of things I had to do was break up with my OB.  I decided that even if she somehow transformed into someone who urged moms to try an intervention free birth (ain't gonna happen), there was an even bigger reason.  If any of you have stayed overnight in a hospital before, you know how annoying it is to sleep in a hospital bed.  What is even more awful is sleeping on the hospital beds that are found in the maternity ward that are nothing more than a convertible metal frame with a glorified prison mattress set upon it.  It is evil.  My doula shared that there was another hospital nearby that not only had birth tubs available, they had QUEEN sized beds with... wait for it... wait for it... memory foam mattresses for postpartum!!!    Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, she told me that they are very natural birth friendly.  Having this place as an option made the break up so easy. 

I called the new doc, set up an appointment, and called to cancel my appointment with the old one.  I simply told the receptionist about the memory foam mattresses and she understood.  It was over.  Granted my decision to leave her wasn't just the beds, of course, but when there is a dumper and a dumpee, rarely does the dumper really mean it when they say, "It's not you, it's me."  It was totally her. 

I am excited about this new adventure!  I guess I can take the chain mail out of my amazon cart. 
 Anti C-Section Shirt
Monday, April 1, 2013

It's a ...

At Easter dinner when conversation had gotten quiet I asked Gavin, "Can you tell everyone where we went yesterday?"

"We went to the hospital!"

"And what did we do at the hospital?" I quickly added.

"We checked on the baby and... It's a BOY!!" he announced! 

On the way home from the hospital I asked Gavin if he would have been more excited to have a sister.  He told me that he was just excited that we were going to have a baby.  "No matter what we get." 

While there is a small part of me that wonders what it is like to have pink frills and little girl drama, I know that God is giving us the perfect little person for our family.  How can I be disappointed about that? 

Friday, March 29, 2013

15 Weeks

I am actually almost 16 weeks but I just haven't felt much like posting.  I have been struggling with the fact that not everyone I wish was pregnant is.  One thing that might be even harder for me this week has been that not every woman who gets pregnant gets to stay that way. 

A dear woman that I have never ever met became pregnant about a week after I did.  When I read the words that at a routine appointment she learned that her baby passed away at almost 13 weeks, I crumbled.  To say that I am heartbroken for her is an understatement.  I actually just teared up writing that.  I am just beside myself with hurt.  It just isn't fair. 

What makes it even worse is that I know that I will be her reminder.  It is hard to put into words how this is such an awful place to be.  I am happy that my pregnancy is looking healthy, but I am just crushed that I am that girl that she will likely see as the reminder of where she should be.  I just really wish I could do something... There just is nothing to do to take away her pain.  It just plain sucks.
Source: via Paula on Pinterest

My next post will likely have a gender reveal so stay tuned...
Wednesday, March 20, 2013

14 Weeks: Love/Hate Relationship

I love my OB.  She really is a fun lady and I would go as far as to say that over the years we have become friends.  Not like we go clubbing or anything, but we have a mutual like for one another.  As an example, she told me this long story about going for a walk on a golf course and finding herself a couple of miles away from her car and really really needing to poop.  This, of course, led to many a laugh about how she considered knocking on someone's door just to take a dump in their toilet but opted to frantically make it home to do her business at home.  Good laughs!  Good times!

I have to break up with her.  Well, at least we are going to have to have a heart to heart and clear the air about one of her most important roles in this pregnancy.  She explained to me that if the baby measured big at 38 weeks (remember Joey was 10 pounds 3 ounces), that she was going to force me to have an epidural and may go as far as scheduling a c-section.  THIS is not at all what I have envisioned for what may be my last birth experience.  I quickly reminded her that moments after delivering Joey she told me that if I ever have an 11 pounder, I have the pelvis to do it.  Her words!  She cautioned about how scary it would be if shoulders got stuck and the issues with big babies, but I told her repeatedly that I know I can do this. 

So yeah... I knew she wasn't the biggest fan of natural childbirth but I just really didn't think I would hear the words mandatory epidural - especially at 14 weeks. 

I went home and vented to my online pals and decided that, at the very least, I needed to find a doula to help support and advocate.  I found one that was close by the hospital I deliver at and sent her an email.  We chatted on the phone today for nearly 25 minutes and swapped stories and covered the reason why, after 2 healthy births, I was contacting her.  She was aghast that my OB would already be talking about birth interventions when I had no issues before.  She also kind of grumbled when I told her which hospital I deliver at and I asked her if the other major hospital in town was better for natural childbirth.  Turns out, they are equally "eh" when it comes to that, so I figured I was out of options.  Then, miraculously, she tells me of a hospital that is affiliated with my insurance that has a dream birth center complete with surgical staff in the event of an emergency.  They have birth tubs in all of the rooms, are very natural birth friendly, and the best part... wait for it.... Queen sized Murphy beds for postpartum use in addition to pull out beds for family!!!  My least favorite thing about birth is the 2 days I have to be in that awful hospital bed which is clearly not made for comfort.  Of course, my OB doesn't deliver there but this is going to give me an excellent reason (aside from the fact she wants to cut me already) to go elsewhere.  I am so sad that I have to consider leaving her, but there are just certain things, that if she isn't willing to have a complete change of heart, that are just deal breakers.  

Oh... and I am 14 weeks pregnant!!  Whoo hoo!  Officially in the second trimester!  I am strongly considering seeing my friend the ultrasound tech to verify that this baby is, in fact, a boy.  Maybe next week when things slow down a bit! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

13 Weeks: Graduation

Today I went to the RE's office for what will be my last appointment ever... unless we decide on a 4th baby.  I sat in an empty waiting room and as my favorite nurse and receptionist walked past the glass, the each gave me excited waves.  It was then that it hit me.  I was going to miss these people.  They have seen me in tears.  They have celebrated successes big and small with me.  Today, we celebrated a nearly 7 cm human being. 

I worte a post years and years ago about how when I was pregnant with Joey, I was 100% convinced that he was going to be a girl.  My pregnancy with Gavin was very uneventful but when Joey was on board, I was so so sick.  My symptoms were just completely opposite.  Opposite symptoms means opposite gender, right?  WRONG!  Right after my 20 week ultrasound when the tech said, "Do you see what I see?" and I responded, "Is that a penis?" with all of the enthusiasm of a sunbather seeing a storm rolling in, I had decided that this time, it would be team green for us.  I wanted the next time I learned the gender of the baby to be right after I gave birth to a wiggly, real baby. Plus, this time around I have added confidence that no matter the gender of this baby, God is sending me the perfect baby for this family.  Girl or boy, this baby was hand picked by Him.  No complaining will be done by me! 

Seeing as how I am only 13 weeks, I didn't feel it important to mention my team green desires.  As we chatted and looked over the baby, she suddenly stopped and said, "OH!  Do you want to..." and as a reflex, I immediately looked at the screen.  A look that I can never take back.  Since I couldn't unsee what I saw, I went ahead and asked, "We were going to be surprised this time, but was that a penis?"

She stammered and apologized for even calling attention before asking if we wanted to know and then went on to attempt to remove her foot from her mouth and said, "I thought I saw a penis but... (she again looked for the genitals) and said, "but you know what?  I don't see any testicles or anything so it is still 50/50."


So for a couple of hours I mourned our big surprise reveal on delivery day.  Then me and Google hung out for a while.  Turns out that boys and girls still really look the same at 13 weeks.  Some technicians can predict gender based on the "angle of the dangle" which means if the little nubbin points up it will be a boy and if it is parallel to the spine, it will be a girl.  What she and I saw was not the correct view to predict based on the angle.  After scouring the internet, I am feeling like we will still be 100% surprised.  Unless is is a boy then I am going to feel like I knew the whole time. So I am rethinking our whole team green thing.  We'll see. 

As I left the office they handed me some books and magazines as a gift and off I went.  Onward and upward to the OB's office next week. 

I also felt confident enough to make the pregnancy facebook public.  This was my "announcement."

Our Special Family Recipe:

2 cups of patience (separated into 96 tsp)
One barrel of faith
8 pounds of perseverance
400 tears (split equally between heartbreaks)
Countless prayers
Infinite support and love from friends and family
One very special angel smiling down on us from Heaven and keeping us safe.

Combine all ingredients. Bake for 40 weeks. 

We are very happy to share that after a long and sometimes heartbreaking journey, we will be welcoming baby #3 in September!

Will you or did you find out the gender of your baby before delivery day?  Why?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

12 weeks

Over the last week or so, I have been slowly but surely comin gout of the first trimester haze that I have been in.  I still need naps nearly everyday, but I haven't thrown up in a solid week!  My apatite has returned for the most part and I am only occasionally nauseated whereas it had been almost all day sickness.   Let me please clarify that none of those side effects bothered me really.  I mean, it was uncomfortable, but I loved the reassurance that baby was still cooking.  I think there is something unique about being pregnant after a loss(es).  We might be the only people that hope and pray for throwing up, and get concerned when we aren't nauseated by noon. 

Today, I had the somewhat awkward experience of seeing the RE I broke up with for my NT scan.  I think what was most awkward is that I wasn't sure how awkward it was going to be.  Turns out it wasn't a big deal but he did make a comment alluding to "If I needed to have some girl talk, I'd have to travel to the other office."  But really, not a huge deal.  I had way over prepared my potential responses if he happened to question my decision to switch doctors.

My preferred response was going to be: Well, I went to high school with P and when I first started seeing you, I don't think she was part of the practice yet.  Nothing personal! 

My second choice was: Well, Doc, you see I have been seeing you for recurrent miscarriages for over 4 years now.  After my loss last year, you told me there was no real reason for my losses and that you wouldn't do any further testing.  Then, after my chance appointments where I saw P rather than you, I mentioned my crappy lining that you performed an IUI on (which in my understanding is really almost like throwing my money into a blazing inferno) and with a simple med change she transformed my crappy lining into an ideal one.  When I asked her if having a thin lining could have *anything* to do with me having 8 early losses, she told me yes.  In a matter of 2 cycles of seeing her (only in your absence) she managed to get me pregnant and keep me pregnant.  A simple med change, Doc!  After 4 years and way to many miscarriages, you were content to just keep doing the same thing.  Then she managed to figure out what was wrong and fixed it in 6 weeks.  That, Doc, is why I switched to her. 

But again... I said neither.

He went about his business and did all of the measurements needed for the NT scan which is a tool to rule out Downs Syndrome.  The cut off after which they start to be concerned is .3 and mine was... .06 so... I am feeling pretty sure that this baby will not have DS.  I still need to get the results of the blood test component next week to be more confident in that, but today, baby looked healthy, vibrant, and measured great. 

Baby is actually measuring ahead by a couple of days.  He (or maybe she although my money is on boy) is already 6 centimeters long from the top of his head to his butt.
That is about this big (depending mostly on your screen settings):

Head                                                                      Butt

I am so glad to be so close to the end of the first trimester!

I got 3 pictures and, while none were really excellent, this was the best one.  He does have arms and legs and feet and hands.  Here he looks a bit more like a gummy bear.

Now to decide how or if I will announce on facebook.  Many of my family members and some of my friends heard the news at the funeral last week so it won't be a shock to most, but it will be an admission that we are ready to acknowledge that this itty bitty human will be joining out family in September.

If you announced a pregnancy on facebook, how did you do it? If you are dealing with infertility or loss, is there anything you think I should do/not do to avoid hurting feelings?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

11 weeks

Blew right past week 10 with no post.  Oops!  Beside saying goodbye to Grandma, nothing really remarkable happened with me last week.  I did find the baby's heartbeat with my doppler at home several times.  I found that having a full bladder was helpful.  That, and using plenty of ultrasound gel.  It seems to be around 135-155.

I am feeling better and better about this baby being a sticky one.  So many of my beloved cousins and family members shared their thoughts that Grandma was watching over this little baby and that they deeply believe that this baby is going to be in my arms in September.   It really is a wonderful image to think of Grandma as this baby's special angel. 

I am still very tired but that might have a lot to do with the fact that not only has it been a very emotional week and I have been tending to sick kids and a very sick husband.  Doug has been doing well with the AIH for a long time now.  Unfortunately, one of the issues of AIH and being on immune-suppressants is that a typical cold that you and I could shake in a few days, turns into something much different for him.  We are hopeful that with another day or two of rest that he will finally be back to his healthy self. 

So, on a more positive note, I would like to know from all of you, what pregnancy products are impossible to go 40 weeks without.  This can be first hand knowledge or things that you have on your wish list!  Just looking for some ideas as I float into the second trimester soon.

Until next week.... - Ever notice that people will rub a pregnant woman's belly and say
Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February 18th, 2013

On this day, Heaven welcomed my Grandmother. 

I think not of this day in sadness for what we have lost, but in recognition that after living on this Earth for a remarkable 100 years, surrounded by family and friends too numerous to count, she has went to be with Jesus. 

I told her long before I was married how much I wanted my children to know her.  Of course her response was that she wasn't going to be around forever.  She was 80 years old then...

I wish that baby #3 would have had the same opportunity to know her but, in her final days I sat next to her bed and I leaned in close and said, "Grandma, I have good news."  Her eyes looked up to my face and she quietly gave me a quizzical look.  I went on to say, "I'm pregnant!  We are having baby #3!"  Her eyes lit up so brightly.  She smiled ear to ear.  A full on smile that said she knew what I said and that she was so so happy for us.  I wish she would have been able to meet this baby, but I know that this baby has at least one angel up in Heaven watching over him/her. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

9 Weeks

You know what isn't fun about pregnancy after infertility and recurrent miscarriages?  The whole first trimester

My last appointment was two weeks ago.  When I scheduled today's appointment I thought, "Eh.  I can wait two weeks.  It isn't that long."  I kept that attitude until Monday night.  All of the sudden it hit me how long it had been since I had the opportunity to verify that things were still okay in there.

Monday night I was up watching some TV and when I looked at the clock and saw it was already 10:00 and my eyes were still open without toothpicks, I worried a little but decided to just go to bed.  Then as I layed in bed with the TV on, I became engrossed in the TV show on and ended up being awake until nearly 11:00pm.  Not the biggest deal in the world but to me, it led to more worry.

Then, Tuesday came.  Tuesday, about an hour before lunch, I was so hungry.  Again, shouldn't be an issue except for the fact that I really haven't been hungry in weeks now.  I usually muster up enough courage to eat something but it is only after thinking about 17 things that make my stomach turn.  Yesterday, I was so hungry and everything sounded good.  I panicked a little.  I even got out my doppler to try to listen for a heartbeat.  I know that a just over 9 weeks, the chances were pretty slim, but I was anxious for something!  I never heard a heartbeat but the digital readout kept showing me a number in the 125-130 range so it couldn't have been me.  I decided that it was enough to get me through until today. 

Before the scan, I had the unique and under discussed awkward pap and breast exam from a former classmate.  The thought had occurred to me that I would have to have her do that, but I wasn't really ready for it today.  I am not sure how one emotionally prepares for a girl I refer to by her first name to palpate my boob and give my nipple a squeeze.  She didn't seem weirded out but I am sure that there is some sort of doctor etiquette that requires them to not talk about how awkward they feel about feeling up an old friend. 

Then finally, the scan. 

All is well in the town of Uterus.  Baby was looking good and healthy!  I even saw it do a little wiggle on the screen!   Such a relief!  Now to figure out if I am done with the nausea or if I just had a 24 hour respite.  I also have to figure out how I am going to make it until 12 weeks before another scan! 

I can't begin to tell you how much all of your comments, love, prayers, and well wishes mean to me.  I am really so blessed to have you all as supporters in my life and my family's lives.  Thanks, from the bottom of my heart! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

8 Weeks

Yes.  I made it to 8 weeks!  8 weeks and 3 days to be exact!  I don't get a scan this week so I have to be patient and wait until next week to peek at the baby.  I am relishing in the fact that I am starting to be more consistently nauseated.  While many women hope to get through pregnancy without morning sickness, I long for it.  It isn't pleasant but it as a wonderful reminder that something is happening in there.

I am still really tired.  Thankfully Joey has decided that naps aren't so bad anymore and has actually made a habit of asking to take a nap after lunch!  Whoohoo for me!  Gavin is content playing a JumpStart game on the computer and I get cozy on the couch.  The last two days I have managed to nap for 2 hours!  I realize that I won't win any mother of the year awards, but I don't know how I would get through my day without some rest. 

I am starting to actually embrace the idea that this baby will most likely be joining us in the Fall.  I have let my mind drift to maternity clothes and deciding on if we want to learn the gender of this baby in 10 weeks or so. 

My heart aches for the moms who are still waiting for their baby.  I know rationally that the whole community of infertile and loss moms can't all get pregnant at the same time and travel this road together, but if there was a way to do it, I would.  I love the fact that I am finally able to blog about something that doesn't involve my frustration with my RE, another failed cycle, another frustrating month.  I hate that others are. 

I don't want to alienate readers who are still fighting for their take home baby.  I respect the fact that I might lose some of you, but please know that I am praying for all of you.  I am always going to be around for emails, venting, sharing, friendship, advice, and whatever else you need.  There is a decent chance that more of my posts will be about baby, pregnancy, and maybe some products for pregnancy.  If anyone is looking for support while they are trying to conceive, we have a growing number of ladies who are participating in the secret facebook groups for ttccommunity.  We also have a group for those who are expecting, a group for those dealing with loss(es), a group for those who are avoiding, and many many others.  Stop by to see if there is a group that fits for you. 

I am hoping to whip up a post soon about the flu shot and pregnancy so be on the look out for that!  It is shaping up to be a real eye opener!  Until that post or next week...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

7 Weeks

I got another peek at baby today as am pleased to say that everything was looking good and the heart was beating away at 158 beats per minute.  Hearing that sound and seeing things looking good completely made me feel better about the fact I had to wait 80 minutes to see the doctor. I read my Cosmo magazine and learned that I am a) too old to appreciate fashion b) that magazines are nothing but advertisements and c) that I am completely detached from mainstream media.  I mean, who ARE these people?  Why do they wear so much eye make up? 

Anyway, I have completed 7 1/2 weeks of pregnancy and feeling better about things everyday, but not completely feeling safe.  If my fertility history has taught me anything, it is that the one thing I thought I would never have to deal with could very well be my next hurdle.

When I first started I never thought I would know what a miscarriage was like.  Then I did.

I never thought I would know what having multiple miscarriages would feel like.  Then I did.

I never thought I would have a hard time conceiving.  Then I did.

So to say that I am not worried about having a late loss would be a lie.

Every single day is a blessing and I am thrilled that I am able to experience this miracle again. 
Thursday, January 24, 2013

6 Weeks

Actually I am 6 weeks and 4 days but who is counting?  Oh yeah.  I am.  Every day that I am pregnant is a blessing and one that I thank God for.

I'll just cut to the chase.  I got to hear a heartbeat!  One healthy little baby measuring just as it should had a heart beating away!  Just as the doctor showed me the baby she asked me if I had had any spotting or bleeding.  I told her no and she showed me a spot on the screen that indicated that there is some sort of bleeding happening in my uterus.  She went back to how great that there is a heartbeat and how my risk of miscarriage drops down to only 10%.  While that is good, I much prefer to say that my chance of having a successful pregnancy is now 90%.

She isn't too concerned about the bleeding and explained that it could simply be implantation.  She also felt as if we had used a different ultrasound machine, we likely wouldn't have even noticed it.  As a precautionary measure I am not allowed to have sex, lift anything over 15 pounds (Sorry Joey.  Looks like you have to climb into your own car seat now!), or exercise.

So far so good.  I kinda wish we would have been on a different ultrasound machine because not knowing about that little bleed happening in there would be kind of nice.  Baby had a heart rate of 119 beats per minute.

And now in his/her film debut I present to you The Baby...

Please keep those prayers coming!  
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Detect5 Pregnancy Tests

Let me start this post by saying what I love about the Detect5 Pregnancy Tests.  I adore what they are trying to do.  They are designed to help you have some peace of mind that your beta hCG levels are rising which often indicates that a pregnancy is progressing.  Many women who have had trouble trying to conceive or have a history of miscarriages will have blood tests performed 2-3 days apart to show that the amount of hCG is doubling every 48-72 hours.  When women don't have that offered or want to be reassured after those first couple of blood tests, these tests can help to show that you levels are rising.  In the case that they are not, you can call your doctor and let them know your concerns.

This pregnancy, my 11th pregnancy with only 2 children, my blood test results were a bit above average and rising well.  I was very reassured by that!  But when those blood draws were done, I was stuck in the waiting game.  I had had betas that started out okay before and not had things end well.  A few days after my blood draw if 349, I was needing some reassurance that all was okay in there.  I pulled out one of the Detect5 tests that I had stashed away since last year and used it thinking that I should see a line on the 500 line.   This result was what I needed to see:

Then I waited almost a whole week to use my next Detect5 that had just arrived from the wonderful people at  I was fully expecting that my levels would have passed the 2000 mark.  It is very important to note that the tests that were sent to me are a newer version of the test.  They are read differently and contrary to what every woman would expect.  The first three levels are read the exact same way as before with two lines being positive for that level of hCG.  The 2000 and 10,000 levels are read as positive if only ONE line shows up.  So, I was hoping for just one line at the 2,000 level.  This is the result I had at 5 minutes:

I was so confused.  I thought for SURE that my levels should have been positive at 2,000.  This is when the freakout began.  I saw lines.  I shared pictures with my online secret support group.  They saw them too.  Then the tests dried.  The lines started going away.  By that night, the lines at 2,000 and 10,000 were practically gone.  Both of them.  What does this mean?
That Evening
 I emailed people.  I stared at the tests.  I scoured the internet for other people's experiences with the tests and I was coming up empty.  I panicked a little and called my RE and asked for another blood test.  My result the following morning was a perfectly healthy 4,632.  Crisis averted.

I was really bothered by that test.  I was so scared that my levels weren't climbing anymore and started over-analyzing my symptoms (of which I have few) and was starting to think that things were heading South.  I had to think long and hard about using another one today.  I was mostly just wanting to see a clear positive result on the 2,000 line this time as I was SURE that at this point my levels should register on the urine test.  This time, after assuring myself that no matter the results I would NOT freak out, I got this:

Remember that no line means positive.  This picture was taken at 5 minutes and clearly is positive for both the 2,000 and 10,000 line.  But... here's my thing... If 4,632 showed as negative on the 2,000 line then even if I am just at the 10,000 level it shouldn't be positive on the urine test yet.  Ahhhhhh!  So confusing!  But I would rather be testing higher than have a questionable result on a lower level again.

So overall the Detect5 tests have the right idea.  I am just not sure that they are accurate enough to be completely reassuring to someone who doesn't have the option of requesting an additional blood draw to verify.  But if blood tests are not an option and you really want some sort of verification that your levels are rising, these tests might do that.  They might not.  If you want to experiment and use these tests, do so but please please please do not assume the worst if you don't get the expected results.  If you are concerned about losing symptoms, bleeding during early pregnancy, or cramping, a call to your doctor will leave you with more answers than any pee stick. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Freakout

I am trying to break my pee stick habit.  My First Response tests are maxed out and the test line can't possibly get any darker but I did have some of the Detect5 tests left over from last year so what is the harm in peeing on a test that helps to verify that your beta levels are rising and therefor that your pregnancy is progressing normally?

Tuesday I used a Detect 5 test thinking that my levels should have been at the 2,000 mark for sure.  That test didn't confirm that.  But, eh.  It was a test from a year ago that had some pretty consistent reviews that said they had issues at the 2,000 and 10,000 levels.  So, no big deal.  No freakouts.

I used a brand new, revamped, redesigned Detect5 where they had obviously tried to improve the accuracy because the new test is read differently.  (I plan on doing a whole post dedicated to just the Detect5 tests and my thoughts at some point.)  When I used that test, and read it when and how I was directed to, I started my freakout.  It was pretty clearly indicating that my hcg hadn't reached the 2,000 level.  For those of you who aren't familiar with hcg levels the brief explanation is that the number is supposed to double approximately every 48 hours.  That doubling time does slow down a bit after the initial weeks of pregnancy but it is a fairly good indicator of a pregnancy that is progressing.

My level should have been clearly over 2,000 at this point.  So after staring at that test, emailing some people, having little panic attacks and over analysing my behavior and symptoms over the last week, I called my doctor.  I explained what had happened and asked if I could one more blood test to determine if my pregnancy was ending or not.

I went first thing this morning and got my results back at lunch time.  They were at 4,632.  Perfectly in line with what would be considered normal.  Freakout: officially over.  So I am back to patiently waiting for my appointment on Thursday to hopefully hear a heartbeat.

Deep breaths.

Deep breaths.

Deep breaths. 

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