Friday, July 30, 2010

I'm Out! (Eek!)

After a few stops to visit one brother at work and then dinner with the other brother to meet his new girlfriend, I made it home to my parent's home late last night, safe and sound.  It's wonderful to see my parents...although the word that my mom used when she saw my stomach was "freaky" (I don't know quite what to make of that...but I'll let it slide).

Last night, I went to bed thinking that perhaps maybe it's time to share our news on facebook.  I'm 31 weeks, and the Baby Shower is tomorrow.  I'll be seeing friends and family that I haven't seen in a while, and I could just see someone saying something on facebook, and I figured that I'd rather be the one to have some sort of "control" over the delivery of the news.  So early this morning, I posted in a note what I had previously proposed. 

And then--I'm not going to lie--I freaked out a little bit.

I feel 100% totally vulnerable.  All the pain and the frustration and our joy and excitement and lingering fears are out there for all of my friends and family.  I know that I could have taken the easy way out and either a) completely avoided the whole topic altogether, or b) simply said "We're pregnant!"...but I wanted something more from it.  I wanted to be able to acknowledge our experience and our losses and our growth through the journey, but I also wanted to acknowledge that I'm not the only one to face these battles.  I wanted to be able to be sensitive and supportive of others who may be facing the same struggles we faced.  And I guess it was fitting that the first person to acknowledge the note, moments after I posted it, was my friend and former colleague who has already experienced one loss and is anxiously awaiting an ultrasound today that will likely determine the next steps that she and her husband will take in starting a family.

I really appreciate all of your feedback and encouragement in helping me decide whether or not to "come out" in that venue.  I opted not to share my blog, as I think I want to keep the two seperate (and really, I don't think I want any of my former male colleagues reading about my various bodily functions).  I just pray that God use our news and our story in a positive way, and that my note touch the hearts of those who read it.  It's scary to share, and yet, I feel like it is the right thing to do. 

Today's blessing is the chance to go shopping with my mom this afternoon.  I would like to find another pair or two of maternity pants to get me through the next two months--especially since school will be starting back up soon and I feel like I should dress up at least a little bit more than I have been this summer.  And I'm also hoping to find the "perfect" outfit in which to bring our Baby Girl home from the hospital.  Aside from the furniture and paint for the nursery, I haven't bought anything for her yet (but I would imagine that when I do...the flood gates will open wide!).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On The Road Again

Today we start our second road trip of the summer.  But rather than my husband as my travel companion (he has to work), my college friend will be driving up to Northern California with me for my first Baby Shower with my family and friends back home.  This road trip won't be nearly as long as our first to Montana, but we will still break it up over two days and spend one night with another friend in Southern California.  We're driving because a) I'm getting to the point where it's probably not so safe to fly, and b) I'll be bringing my family's cradle home with me.

My poor friend!  I put her to work all day in the nursery painting butterflies (which look fantastic, by the way--I promise pictures when everything is done), and then throw her in the car for a 16-hour road trip (well, 14-hour trip for her, as she lives about two hours south of my hometown).  But I wasn't about to attempt the drive by myself at 31-32 weeks pregnant!  And that's what friends are for, right? 

I know this must sound totally silly, but the only thing that I'm dreading about the drive is not being able to expose my belly.  On the previous trip with just my husband, I had my shirt up around my rib cage pretty much the entire trip and could rub and admire my growing belly to my heart's content, but I just don't feel quite right doing so with my friend (or my dad on the return trip, for that matter).  I'm sure I'll be rubbing my belly (I swear it's like a magnet), but I'm rather modest around other people, so I'll probably be doing so either under or over my shirt--but with my shirt still in place.

Today's blessing is simply the opportunity to take Vacation #2 of the summer.  I'm so glad to be heading home to visit my family.  Since we alternate between my family and my husband's for Christmas, I haven't seen my family since last summer (I take that back--I got to visit with my mom in the Denver Airport for about 20 minutes when we both had short layovers there back in March).  And I'm really excited to celebrate this Baby Girl with them at the Baby Shower with them on Saturday.  It really is a blessing to be able to take this time off from work (and still have plenty of time left for a substantial Maternity Leave).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"I Can't Even Tell From The Back!"

My best friend from college arrived last night for a visit.  I haven't seen her in probably close to two years (or has it been three?).  Like so many others, she was rather surprised at how small I look for 31 weeks.  At one point in the evening, I got up to get something from our bedroom, and I heard her exclaim "I can't even tell that you're pregnant from the back!".  She went on to comment about how I haven't gained any weight in my butt, thighs, etc.  And this is someone who knew me in my skinny college days, so I guess I'll take her word on it and take it as a compliment. 

I have to work today, but she's going to spend the day painting the nursery for us (And yes, I'll post pictures when it's all done).  And poor thing--I didn't give her just an easy task of rolling some paint on the walls.  No, I traced the image of four big butterflies from our bedding onto the walls, and have asked her to meticulously paint those for me.  But she's a good sport and is totally up for it, and she'll come into town for lunch with me and some of my local friends as well.

It's such a blessing to have her here with me.  In my darker times, she was great at cheering me up and helping me laugh, and it's wonderful to be able to visit with her when I'm genuinely happy at this point in life.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

He, He, He, Hooo

Yep--we went to our first Lamaze class today.  Due to our schedule with summer vacations and my husband's travel for work, it just fit better for us to do one of the long weekend classes instead of the weekly courses.

I was pleased with the amount of information that we received today.  However, I left thinking "I may want to try to do a natural birth".  What?!?!  All along, I've just been saying "I'll do whatever my doctor recommends".  And ultimately--I do think that I will do whatever my doctor recommends.  I trust her, and I appreciate her knowledge, instinct, and care.  But the instructor made some great arguments today for a natural birth, and how pain medication can inhibit various parts of the natural cycle and cause complications for the baby (granted, some complications just can't be avoided).  After our experience, bringing this Baby Girl into this world safely and in the most healthy way possible is my #1 goal.  If I suffer a little more in the process...I guess I'll just have to try to remind myself that it's all worth it for her.  But like I said--I trust my doctor, so if she recommends something for the pain and/or to make it easier for the baby, then I'll go with it (so please don't consider me a hypocrite if I come back two months telling a different story).  And who knows--tomorrow's discussion apparently revolves around the various medical interventions possible, so perhaps she'll change my mind (or should I say "help me make up my mind"?).

I think I have a pretty high tolerance for pain.  And I've heard from some women that suffering through their miscarriages was sometimes more painful (in a somewhat different way) than the contractions leading up to giving birth.  For starters, unlike a miscarriage, you have the joy and exhilaration to which to look forward in a birth, which can take away from the physical pain.  My first and third losses (at 12 and 10 weeks, respectively) were pretty rough.  If I could get through those experiences with empty arms, I'm hoping that I can tolerate the pain of a God-designed natural childbirth if it means holding a happy and healthy baby in my arms.

Today's blessing was a sweet experience during the relaxation portion of the class.  I was sitting between my husband's legs, leaning back against his chest, with his chin resting on the top of my head.  The instructor led the group through two different relaxation techniques, and halfway through the second one, I could feel my husband's chin getting heavier and heavier on the top of my head.  Sure enough, he was so relaxed that he fell asleep.  It just made me feel amazingly safe and amazingly happy to have the man that I love so relaxed behind me, and the Baby Girl that we love safely in my belly and under my hands.  I thank God for blessing me with the the two of them.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bye-Bye Pre-Pregnancy Pants

Back in April (wow...that seems so long ago now!) I shared how I was slowly but surely replacing my normal wardrobe with the bigger sizes that I had been wearing prior to meeting with the RE and reworking my diet and exercise regimen.  Immediately before getting pregnant, I was typically wearing a size six...prior to that, I had been a size twelve.  It was really cool to see the "big" pile shrink and the "small" pile grow as my belly started to expand.

Well...I think I'm pretty much out of "big" pants that fit well.  I tried to get by with the good ol' rubber-band trick yesterday, but found that I had to constantly pull down my shirt to cover up (if anyone noticed a half-open fly and bright blue rubber-band, they were kind enough to not mention anything).  And I gave up on the belly-bands in May when I was sick and feeling really "restricted".  I think I have one remaining pair of wide-leg (and apparently wide-hip) slacks that I can still fit into comfortably, and I can actually still rock my size twelve jeans if I roll the waist down to make room for our Baby Girl, but I think it's time to put away the rest of my pre-pregnancy pants.  This makes the frugal side of me a little disappointed...but ultimately, I absolutely love admiring my growing belly and am more than happy to sacrifice my wardrobe to make room for her! 

So now, I have two two piles of unwearable pants in my closet...and just a handful of day-to-day pants hanging up that still fit.  It's enough to get through a week of work...but it doesn't allow for much variety (although I do have plenty of tops from to choose).  I'm taking a long weekend next weekend to head home (more on that later), so I'm hoping to get some shopping in as well to get at least one or two more pairs of pants that will get me through September.  And then I hope that I can get back into the "small" pile by the time I head back to work in January (if not...I'm perfectly happy dipping into the "big" pile).

Today's blessing--and really, a blessing all week--has been waking up early (my husband has had to go in earlier than usual this week) and being able to just lie in bed and feel the most amazing kicks from our Baby Girl!  All the websites that I read for "30 weeks pregnant" say that we should be able to feel ten kicks per hour.  Well, she's been giving me much more than that in our early time together, and it's phenomenal.  I'm amazed at God's goodness and just how immensely He has blessed me with this pregnancy!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Stomach is My Ribcage?

Just a quick and funny little story to share today...

I had some errands to run today after work, so I didn't get to my afternoon snacks like I usually do.  Soon enough, I got hungry...really hungry!  And like so many of our bodies, I felt and heard my stomach starting to growl.  But then I realized that the sound and rumbling were coming from directly below my ribcage!  Apparently my stomach isn't where it used to be!  Physiologically, I knew that this was bound to happen.  I could comprehend that my uterus was slowly but surely pushing things upwards, but it still made me laugh a bit when I actually experienced the sound and sensation so far away than where it was just months ago.

Yesterday's blessing was the confidence of my husband to bring home a hand-me-down breast pump from his one and only female colleague.  I know that he was totally out of his comfort zone, but I totally appreciate that he was man enough to bring it home for me.  I do feel a little weird about using someone else's breast pump, but I'll be sure to sterilize everything...and it's a huge savings for us!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Worry vs. Wonder

I don't think that I'll ever be able to stop the "worry" that creeps up.  (And no, there is nothing out of the ordinary going on--this is more of a "commentary" sort of post.)  Today marks 30 weeks for us...we're now 3/4 of the way there!  But for my family, 30 weeks also marks the point at which my sister-in-law lost her son due to cord complications.  They were at lamaze class when she and my brother shared with the instructor that she hadn't felt the baby move that ultrasound that night confirmed the worst.  That was in September 2008...and the pain is still very real and very vivid for all of us.  So while I approach each day as a beautiful milestone, I also head into this week with that experience in my head and my heart.

At the same time, I think that for the most part, I'm starting to move away from a state of "worry" and into a sense of "wonder".  And I guess that this "wonder" can be defined in two mutual ways--there's the "wonder and awe" of the newness of this miracle, and then there's there "curiosity and wonder" that is more closely linked to "worry"...but feels like it's a step in the right direction of trusting that I will indeed meet this Baby Girl in September.  

Being the wise man that he is, my husband has often shared one of his pearls of wisdom with me:  "Worrying is a lot like a rocking gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere".  And he's right, though I admit that I still worry from time to time.  But whereas I feel that worrying keeps me "stuck" in the past, it feels like "wonder" allows me to not only stay in the present, but perhaps even look toward the future.  In my mind, worry is associated with "fear", but wonder relies on "trust" and makes way for "hope".

So as I move into 30 weeks, I am cognizant of the loss that my brother and sister-in-law experienced at this point in their pregnancy, but I can't let myself get wrapped up in the worry.  And so I wonder--with both "awe" and "curiosity"--about this Baby Girl growing and developing in me, and pray that God continue to protect her as He continues to work in my life.

Yesterday's blessing was the chance to hang out with our circle of friends.  There are four couples (including us) in our little group at church, and it just worked out that all three couples were able to join us for dinner at our place.  I don't think we've had all eight of us together at once since Super Bowl, so it really was a blessing to recognize the friendships and bonds that we share with these other couples.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Name Games

For the last few days, my husband and I have been playing name games.  Well, it's not so much of a "game", as it is a "what about _______?" type of ongoing conversation.  It's turning out to be more challenging than we had ever imagined!

I have a couple bits of criteria that we're trying to fulfill.  Ultimately, we want her name to:
  1. Be more "traditional" than "trendy"
  2. Be just unique enough that it is easily recognizable and prounceable, and yet not have five other girls in her class with the same name (ie, probably not a name in the top 20 of today's most popular names--turns out that Laura was #20 the year I was born, and I don't know too many other Laura's)
  3. Not remind either of us of someone "mean" who we knew with that name
  4. Have a significant meaning 
  5. Work well with the middle name that we have chosen to honor my mom, as well as our last name
  6. Sound good as she's walking across the stage at graduation
I have one name in mind that sort of just came to me before we even knew that we were having a girl, and I've just been letting it play around in my mind.  My husband was impartial to it at the time when I shared it with him, but crawled into bed late the other night and whispered that it was growing on him (he had stayed up late after doing his homework to spend time researching names--including looking up the most popular names in 1908 when the Cubs last won the World Series).  The next morning, I looked into the name a little bit more...only to find that it's the #8 most popular girl name these days.  Dang!  I guess I spend all my time with college-age students, and I'm apparently totally out of touch with today's younger kids!  I still love that the meaning of this name is "Joy of the Father", so if our Baby Girl is born on my husband's birthday (8 days before her due date), we still might think that it's "meant to be", even if it is "too popular" for my it's not off the list entirely.

Along with that name, my husband started a list with four other names--three of which I liked.  One of the names was inspired by a song (another one of his many searches), but is also the name of my dearest childhood friend.  It meets all of the criteria, so it's also on our list.  Sidenote:  That night, I then had a dream that this friend--who I've known and adored since the 3rd grade--apparently has hated me all this time!  In the dream, I even broke down to her in tears confessing that we were thinking of naming our daughter after her.  Apparently I'm more anxious about this whole picking-the-perfect-name thing than I realized if it's all coming out in my dreams!  I called her yesterday to share the dream with her, and she assured me that she has and always will love me and value our friendship, so her name is definitely still on the list.

Would you like to participate in our "name games" and throw out some "what about _____?" type of ideas?  I'm not necessarily saying that we're going to pick anything from this open call, but I'd be curious to hear what names you think meet the criteria listed above.

Yesterday's blessing was the delivery of leftover baby items from one of my amazing colleagues, who I really look up to as a mentor.  She brought in some lightly used items, and is bringing in a totally brand new extra carseat base that she just never ended up using with her son.  Our collection of baby gear is slowing but surely starting to grow!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

So That's What I'm Feeling!

Yes, that is a foot--a beautiful little foot, with five adorable toes.  And if my doctor had been a split-second faster, the picture would have captured the image of a perfect little hand grasping that little foot.  It boggles my mind that just a few months ago, we could see the entire baby in that same amount of space--and now all that fits in that same screen is a single foot.  She's getting so big, and I'm loving every moment of it.

Some other highlights from our appointment:
  • My doctor said that I passed my Glucose Screening Test "with flying colors".  I knew I had passed, but I was thrilled to hear that it wasn't just by the skin of my teeth.  It's reassuring to know that my body is responding appropriately to what I'm putting in it.
  • Based on my fundal height, I'm measuring at 30 weeks--so just a few days ahead of where I should be.  Again, it makes me feel good to know that I'm not "too small", as so many people keep saying.  Rather, since I have such a long torso, my belly is shaped like an "egg" rather than a "ball".
  • After being breech at our last appointment (four weeks ago), our Baby Girl is now "head down", and our doctor expects that she'll stay that way.
  • Perhaps this is deserving of its own post (or perhaps it's too much information), but our doctor said that it's totally normal for my colostrum and milk to be coming in (and even leaking at times) by this point in the pregnancy (I'm fascinated by this phenomena...and my husband has to remind me to stop playing with my boobs).
  • She gave me the green light to travel (diving again) to California at the end of the month for a baby shower back home, and printed out a copy of my files so that I can bring them with me--just in case (perhaps I should have thought to ask for a copy before our trip to Montana--but it's too late now, and luckily that trip was just fine).
  • Though she would typically start seeing me every two weeks at this point in the pregnancy, she'll be on vacation at that point, so I'll stick with the three-week wait.  But she assured me that she'll start seeing me every week soon enough.  I'm looking forward to it!
I truly feel great, and I absolutely love being pregnant.  I cherish every moment, as I know that it's such a huge blessing to experience this miracle.  I chatted with my little brother today, and he said that he could hear the excitement in my voice.  We joked that he can "hear the glow".  I'm still acutely aware that complications can still occur, but I'm trying to recognize that all I can do is take it one day at a time, and trust God's wonderful plan for our lives.

Today's blessing was hearing some great news from a friend and former colleague, which brings me great joy and excitement.  I'm thinking of her and praying for her as she looks toward the future.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wanted: One Good Day Care Center (Preferably Near Campus)

For the last two evenings, I've been camped in front of the tv with my feet up on the coffee table and the laptop on my lap, searching for day care centers.  The good news is that there are plenty of options--the bad news is that it's a little overwhelming to try to narrow them all down. 

My husband and I work in different towns, and live in between the two.  We could look for someone near our home, but I think I'll have the most options bringing our Baby Girl in to town with me (not to mention that my commute is shorter, and he shares rides with three other guys...which could be weird for everyone involved).  I have about four different routes that I could take to come into work--one which is clearly the most convenient (and fastest)--but again...options can be overwhelming.

So my husband came into town today for our appointment (more on that tomorrow--he's working on homework on the computer with the scanner at the moment), and then we spent the next two hours driving around town, plugging in three pages of day care options into our GPS.  Being the data-driven guy that he is, he asked if we could grade them on a scale of 1-10.  Sounds pretty normal, right?  Well, he tended to score each site as a 6...which kind of defeats the purpose of having a scale in the first place.

We got halfway through our list (based on the two easier commutes), and found one location that he scored as an 8 from our drive-by.  Apparently that was enough for him to want to return, and stop in to check out the facilities.  It was the one and only location in which we actually went inside (so far), but we were mostly pleased with the services (he--being the computer nerd that he is--was especially impressed that they have live video internet feeds so that you can watch the infant room).  We timed the drive back to my office, and it was only about a five minute drive (unfortunately, the location is beyond my work, rather than en route).  However, this five minute reference was at 6:30 pm during the summer...whereas I'll be dropping her off closer to 7:15 am and picking her up around 4:45 pm...and I'll have to battle not only the college students who live along that corridor, but the most direct route takes me past a high school as well.  So what was five minute today, could easily be fifteen minutes during the academic year.  They also give a 10% discount since I work at the University, which would be nice.

I don't know--we'll see if anything else looks to be any better.  But it's nice to not only have options--but to also feel comfortable (so far) with at least one (so far).  Any thoughts or suggestions as we look for a day care facility?  After she arrives, I don't plan to go back to work until January, so we've got plenty of time (and we can hold a space for her at this location with a $25 deposit--which seems reasonable). 

Today's blessing is one of my colleagues who is so willing to help out on various projects.  We discovered yesterday that one of our online projects just disappeared--and the IT department apologizes profusely, but they don't know what happened to it either.  So now I have to "reinvent the wheel", which will be a rather tedious process.  But we're blessed to have discovered it now when things are a bit slower in the summer, and we're blessed to have this colleague as part of our office.

Monday, July 12, 2010

First Parenting Class

First of all, thank you so much for all of your feedback in regards to what I was considering posting in a "note" on facebook.  I still don't know if I feel right in posting it--at least not yet.  But it's reassuring to hear that I'm on the right track, and nothing came across as offensive or hurtful. 

Well, I crossed into the third trimester today, and with this new step, I'm starting to realize that this really might happen for us.  We have a lot that we need to do (pick a name, find daycare, paint the nursery, etc.), but I'm just taking it one day at at time.  The first big step was signing up for the various classes offered through our hospital.  On Friday, my husband and I attended one of the "Bringing Home Baby" classes (or something along those lines).  I felt a little self-conscious that I was the smallest in the room (the other women were due in July and August), but our schedules wouldn't work with the later dates.  I felt familiar with most of the topics that the instructor shared, but it was rather nice to get a "refresher" (and as my husband pointed out--to have the ammunition to explain why they don't recommend doing things the way our moms did it in the past).

But the best thing about the class was watching my husband practice with the baby dolls.  The instructor had each couple practice giving their baby doll a bath, changing a diaper, and swaddling the baby doll.  It did feel a little bit silly to play with a doll (I haven't played with baby dolls since...well...last week with my niece), but it's good practice.  And I totally loved that the instructor suggested that the new dad be in charge of baths for the first few weeks since us moms will be recovering from giving birth and it might be too painful to lean over for baths.  I don't know how true this is--but it worked in convincing my husband to take an active role in the process (not that he's "unwilling" to do so--more so just that he wouldn't know where to start).  It was amazing to watch him be so tender and careful with the baby doll, and it makes me so excited to watch him "for real" with our Baby Girl when she arrives.  Something tells me that I'll fall more deeply in love with him, as we both fall in love with her.

Today's blessing was the chance to reconnect with one of my good friends over lunch.  In between both of our busy schedules and vacations, I haven't had any "quality time" with her all summer.  So it was really nice to catch up with her and hear that she's at a really happy point in her life.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Reconsidering...Feedback, Please?

A couple of months ago, I explained that openly sharing my pregnancy on facebook was not something I was choosing to do.  I expressed concern about inflicting any undue pain on anyone who may be struggling with in/fertility or loss through my posts.  And I've stayed true to that declaration, and the intentions behind it.   There have been a few "slip-ups" that I couldn't avoid (or more accurately--"that I chose not to delete") when my husband's friend congratulated me on a wall post, and more recently, when my husband's cousin tagged me in a picture from this weekend, thus exposing my belly.  Nothing has come of either of those posts, but I can't help but wonder if anyone else wonders...

I'm also struggling with a comment that a friend made--not in a way to hurt me, but in a way that totally rang true.  This friend was going in for surgery to have her gall bladder removed, and sent some of us closer friends an email about the upcoming procedure, in which she said something along the lines of "not telling you feels kind of like lying about it".  This wasn't directed at me by any means, and yet the element of truth stung a bit, and her comment has stayed with me.  I don't want it to seem like I'm "hiding" my pregnancy, and I most definitely don't want it to appear that I'm "lying" about it.

And so...I'm reconsidering my decision not to acknowledge my pregnancy on facebook.  But if and when I do "come out" (I still haven't decided on either the "if" or "when"), I want to do so in a way that a) is sensitive to others who may be struggling, b) acknowledges our journey, and c) expresses our sincere joy in how God has blessed us.  I still don't think I feel comfortable posting belly pictures or ultrasound images, and I doubt that I'll post any sort of "countdowns" or even a "we're headed to the hospital" type of status update, but I'm thinking of just adding a "note"--something that will give me enough space to share what's on my heart...and people can read it if they want, or just move on along.  (And yes, I totally realize that I'm probably making a bigger deal out of this than the rest of the world...but to me, it is a big deal to share my love for this Baby Girl, and our story is so much more than a simple "We're pregnant!" announcement).

So listed below is what I'm thinking of posting--if and when it feels right (or if and when I get up the nerve).  Before crossing those if and when bridges, I'd love to get your feedback (like I said from the beginning--the whole reason behind not ever saying on facebook was to avoid inflicting pain), so please feel free to share your reactions.  Here goes:

This could possibly be the most significant piece of personal information that I've ever shared in this format, and yet I recognize that it has the potential to invoke a variety of reactions.  I know--because I've been the one to read these sorts of  announcements time and time again--sometimes with joy, sometimes with a heavy heart, sometimes with mixed emotions.  But this is my first real opportunity to be the one to actually write the words "We're pregnant!", and share the news that we are expecting a Baby Girl in September.

This has been a long and challenging journey for us, and I still struggle to find the right words to share it in this venue.  And yet, I feel compelled to acknowledge our experience.  After marrying Doug in March 2007, our first three pregnancies ended in loss, thus forever changing us as individuals and as a couple.  Nothing can fill the ache of losing a child, and yet we have been blessed with friends, family, and each other to help us through those times.  And now, we are abundantly blessed as we look forward to the arrival of our Baby Girl.  

I recognize that most of you probably had no idea of the struggles that we experienced, just as I may not know of the challenges that you may be facing in your lives.  I'm accutely aware that while our announcement fills many with joy, it could also cause pain for others who face similar struggles.  If you are hurting, please know that I've been there too, and I'm here for you if you ever want to talk.  

As we approach our due date in late September, please continue to pray for us as we eagerly anticipate the adventures of parenthood and welcoming our Baby Girl to our family. 

Whew!  That was harder than I thought to come up with the "right words"...and I don't even know if they are the "right words".  Too long?  Too raw?  Too revealing?  Not revealing enough?  I find myself trying to separate my "blog-voice" from my "facebook-voice"--I need to remember that it's two entirely different communities, and I don't know if I blurred the lines too much.  Please let me know what you think.  Take your time--I'm in no immediate rush (and don't be too surprised if I chicken out).

Yesterday's blessing was feeling a sense of accomplishment at work as I got through the overwhelming majority of the emails I missed from our week of vacation.  Yes, perhaps it was silly of me to hurry back from vacation for one day of work, but I had an afternoon commitment that I wanted to be able to fulfill; and I left with a good feeling that I can approach Monday without the dread of nearly 100 emails hanging over my head.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Well That Was Easy!

After 12 hours in the car today, I'm pleased to say that we made it home, safe and sound.  Have I mentioned how wonderful my husband is?  He drove all but one hour.  I offered to drive every time we stopped, but he just kept on chugging along.

The long hours in the car gave us plenty of time to chat and reflect on our time with his family.  We ended up talking about the dinner conversation that we had with his mom on our last night at the cabin.  Over dinner with his mom and oldest sister, I sheepishly brought up our wishes and desires for when it comes to visits from our parents (soon-to-be-grandparents).  My husband and I had previously decided that we want it to just be the two of us in the room when our Baby Girl is ready to join us (and the nurses and doctors, of course).  It's nothing against either set of parents/grandparents--we just want it to be the two of us.  Once she arrives, I kind of want my own mom to be here to help out.  So her plan is to jump in the car or on a plane as soon as she gets the call from us--and then my dad would join her when he can (depending on the day of the week and his Sunday services). 

Sounds pretty normal...right?  The problem is that we only have one guest room in our house, so that would mean that my husband's parents would have to wait a couple of weeks to visit.  Hence, my apprehension in asking his mom to postpone her travels (not that she has made any arrangements yet--just that she might need to put them off a couple of weeks when she does start planning).  To my delighted surprise, she was in total agreement.  She recognized the significance in having the time to ourselves, and then was completely understanding about how comforting it would be to have my mom here.  After that, she even went so far as to say that we might want t a week or two to ourselves before she came down for a visit.  I couldn't have asked for it to go any better than that!  I guess that I should keep in mind that she's already been through the welcome-the-new-grandchild experience five times already with her daughters--but it still left me thinking "well that was easy!".

So that's the plan.  When the time is right, my husband and I will head to the hospital and call my mom on the way.  My mom will head down, followed by my dad, and they'll stay for a week or so.  When they leave, we'll take some time for ourselves, and that my husband's mom (and possibly his dad) will come down for a week or so after that.  Of course, anything can change between now and then, but it feels good to have had that conversation.

Today's blessing is finally being home in my own bed!  After 2,400 some-odd miles, it's so nice to be back home.  All in all, it was a great vacation.  And now back to work bright and early tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Update From Janet: Welcome Baby Madison!

We're at the half-way point on our travels back to Arizona, and luckily our hotel has reliable internet.  So I had the chance to check my email, and here's the latest update from Janet and Baby Madison:

"Hi Everyone,

The night before yesterday was a busy night.  On Monday evening starting at 7:30 pm I had minor cramps which increased at 9:00 pm.  I was sent to Labor and Delivery, which is standard procedure to check for monitoring of the fetal heart and contractions.  They were concerned because I started bleeding and then I was sent for an ultrasound.  Edmond was there by my side, and so were the attending doctor., amnio specialist, ultrasound tech and nurse.  I was a little nervous that day because they were running so many tests in one single day since 12:00 noon! By this time it was 10:00pm.  I thought I was leaking warm amniotic fluid since my water broke, but when my husband checked, he alerted the staff during myultra sound I was leaking a lot of blood.  So I was rushed to Labor and Delivery once again.

I started labor at 10:30 pm and was put on the contraction/fetal monitor again and IV fluids.  They started me on magnesium sulfate at 12:00 midnight, which I needed for Madison at least 4-hour dose to help mature her organs. Around 4:00 am they decided to induce me with pitocin because they feared any longer would cause infection to the baby.  I was glad that I finished the maximum dosage needed to receive magnesium because it has proven results.  At around 11:00 pm I was on the epidural and it made a world of difference. Finally I called the nurse around 4:45 am and I felt Madison slowly push down. By that time I was 4 cm dilated.  At 5:00 she was knocking at the entrance.  I was rushed to O.R. immediately and the entire room was full of the NICU doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses and more doctors!  By the time I was setup, the doctors told me to push, and within two pushes my baby was born.

Madison Kim was born at 5:30 am on Tuesday, July 6th 2010.  She is 1 lb and 11 ounces, 13" inches.

She is exactly 26 weeks and 0 days and was rushed into NICU after stabilizing her with a breathing tube. Edmond and I were able to say hello before she left.  She was making facial expressions and opened her eyes! Though she is very tiny, she  has a full set of hair!

By 8am, Edmond and I were able to see her before I was transferred to the post partum floor.  It was reassuring to see her before we situated ourselves because she was in stable condition.  However, because she is very young gestationally she is under close watch and have to pray there are no complications.  Each day is a new challenge for Madison.  She is currently intubated which echoes the womb, swaddled in a receiving blanket and humidity.  Last night at 12:00 midnight when I dropped off my first breast milk (colostrum), she was sunbathing under LED lights.  This is suppose to help her liver grow strong.  Eventually she will be off the breathing tube and they will try to let her breathe a little on her own with the CPAP. She might go back to the breathing ventilator to help train her lungs and resume on the CPAP. In a few days they will do a brain ultrasound to test for any brain bleeds. The neonatal doctor said that everyday, every hour will be an extra step towards her recovery.  Everyday will be a different story but hopefully for the good.  We have such wonderful doctors and nurses here.  Edmond and I have felt so blessed despite the early delivery, but she is stable and working very hard towards recovery.

Edmond and I are so grateful for your constant prayers and support.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for continually praying and thinking of baby Madison.  Because of your constant encouragements through email, texts, phone calls, gave me hope each day to hang in there!  God has been so amazing through all this because there has been so many "close calls" but each day I counted as a blessing and a prayer answered.  I have met so many friends and those who I've grown closer through these tough times.  I really can't express the full gratitude in my heart.

Just now I received a call at 9:30 am from my original doctor who I believed has chosen every step of the way wisely for my pregnancy plan.  I truly believe God really had full control of this situation, choosing the right doctors from the beginning to the end. Even things I needed to get by each hour, day, week to month.  

In the future, as I'm slowly picking up my strength, I will be putting a "Madison's road to recovery" update on my blog instead of emails.  She will be in the hospital at least to her due date (10/12/10) and may possibly be released from the hospital mid-September if all is progressively going well.  Please continue to pray for a stable, speedy recovery for baby Madison!  I will be visiting her everyday to deliver my milk which will help to make her immune system strong.

Thank you everyone!


Janet, Edmond and baby Madison"

I know that Janet had really hoped to make it to 28 weeks, but it sounds like things are going as well as could be hoped for!  Please continue to pray for Janet and Madison--as they are both relying on medical interventions to help Madison to continue to develop now that she is here.  Wow!  She's here!  I think that's still sinking in for me!

Today's blessing (in addition to learning of Madison's early-but-safe arrival) was an absolutely beautiful drive through South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado.  My husband drove the whole way, which gave me the chance to admire the amazing scenery around us...and take a few little naps.  Tomorrow's drive will be a bit longer, but we hope to make it home by the early evening. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"This Horsie Is Tired!"

Since my first trip out here to meet the family in 2005, I've been a human jungle gym for my five nieces and nephews (ages 3, 5, 7, 10, and 11).  But since I'm now 28 weeks pregnant, I can't quite do all of the flips and spins and twirls and piggy-back rides to which the kids have grown accustomed.  I can't pick up the 3-year old, but that's about it.

So today, we went for a walk to try to find the convenience store with three of the kids in toe.  The road through the cabins took us up and down and up and down the various hills.  We walked and walked and walked...and yet never found the convenience store.  So we headed back to the cabin, with three now very tired, grumpy, hungry, and thirsty kids.  So my husband, being the amazing uncle that he is, offered to carry the 5- and 7-year old up the hills.  He even carried the 7-year old through the trees so that he could have a "real hiking experience".  His reaction when he finally made it back to the cabin:  "This horsie is tired!".  He's now enjoying a much deserved relaxing soak in the hot tub.

It was very sweet to see him being so engaging with his nieces and nephews, and it is a nice little preview of what I can expect from him in the years to come.  His mom tells stories about how his dad only looked into the crib at his oldest daughter (my husband's oldest sister) and said "Hi Baby" when the first child initially came home from the hospital.  My husband is the youngest, and admittedly has not been around a lot of babies (he had already left for college and then active duty by the time that his nieces and nephews were born), but I'm thinking that he's going to be just fine. 

As tiring as they are, these nieces and nephews are so precious, and are such a blessing.  My 5-year old niece (the one who thinks that babies come out of the mommy's belly button) just came in from the hot tub to tell me that she doesn't want to be around the big boys in her "kini" (bikini).  She's the same one who kept announcing that we each got "han-itizer" (hand sanitizer) in our stockings at Christmas time.  My husband is especially fond of the 7-year old sweet-natured outdoor-loving nephew, who apparently was a lot like my husband as a kid.  I really am blessed to be so accepted in this family.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Moment To Myself

We made it safely to Montana on Thursday evening...and as I expected, it's been go-go-go all weekend!  But it's Monday morning now, and thanks to $200 worth of big fireworks that the other uncle brought, and $25 worth of little fireworks that my 7-year old nephew bought with is hard-earned money from pulling weeds on the ranch, it appears that everyone else is sleeping I finally have a quiet moment to myself.

We've been having a great time, albeit it a bit busy.  This little town of 500 has probably tripled in size (at least!) for their Centennial Celebration.  My husband got to reconnect with some of his old high school friends, and I think that he has really enjoyed showing off his pregnant wife.  As soon as we saw his sisters and his mom, they each rubbed my belly.  I was totally expecting his mom to do so, but I was a bit surprised at his sisters.  Other than that, I think that there was only one other belly rub from a stranger (well, "stranger" to me..."family friend" to everyone else).  But I willingly offered to let my nieces feel our Baby Girl's kicks--when my 10-year old niece felt it, her (already huge and beautiful) eyes met mine, and I could tell that she truly comprehended the significance of the sensation when she said "that's awesome!".  The 5-year old was surprised and elated, and asks me multiple times throughout the day if I've felt her kick yet, hoping to get the chance to feel it again.  And then at lunch, the topic of babies came up, and she informed us all that babies come out of the mommy's belly button--to which her mom (the doctor) quickly chimed in "yep...that's where they come from" (apparently they haven't had "the talk" yet).

Today we head to the cabin that we rented for my mother-in-law as a Christmas gift, and then my husband and I will hit the road from there for our return trip.  I felt really good (physically) on the way up, so I'm hoping to feel just as good on the way home.  We did end up stopping at some pretty nasty bathrooms, so I'm hoping that we can avoid those on the return trip.  It hasn't been quite the "relaxing vacation" that we envisioned, but it has definitely been good.

Today's blessing is the chance to go explore the ranch this morning.  They got crazy amounts of rain this spring (and even last night after the fireworks), so everything is so green and absolutely beautiful.  I absolutely love this area, and look forward to retiring here with my husband someday.