Thursday, September 30, 2010


Eleanor "Ella" Debra was born at 2:10 pm today, Thursday, September 30th.  She is beautiful and perfect in every way.  God is so good to us!

I'll update more later.  Thank you for your prayers and well-wishes.

What a blessing she is!  I'm exhausted and sore, but am so so so happy!

Getting Things Started!

Yes, two posts in one day...but it's because things are really starting to get exciting!

We stuck to the tentative plan.  But in that plan, I don't think I mentioned that my doctor had said something about getting me started with gel to soften the cervix on Wednesday evening. I guess part of me was thinking that they would insert the gel and send me home.  Well...good thing we packed our bags and brought them along in the car when we went to the appointment this afternoon.  Because at our appointment (which ended around 5:00 pm), my doctor said that we might as well just come back at 7:30 pm to get things started with the gel.

So here we the hospital...after the first round of the gel.  They had me hooked up to the monitors and an IV for the first two hours or so, but have since taken me off to let me rest.  But that's where the problem lies.  It's kind of hard to rest when I'm having contractions about four minutes apart.  It's now 1:00 am, and I wish that I could sleep, but just as I start dozing off, I'll have another contraction.  My husband (who is blissfully asleep on the little pull-out couch/bed) downloaded a contraction-tracker app for his ipod, so at least I've been able to play around with that.

I have to admit that although I was initially a tiny bit disappointed that I would be induced, it turns out that I'm actually kind of liking it this far.  Sure, it might have been nice to be laboring at home where I could eat as much as I wanted and done my own thing, but I feel like being induced has taken some of the stress and confusion out of the process.  I was able to check in calmly and chat with the nurses in normal conversation before things got started.  I'm sure that I would have been just fine had I been laboring at home and then making a quick dash to the hospital, but this is the way it worked I'll take it and I'll adjust.   

The nurse is going to come and check me again around 1:45 am, and we'll know more at that point.  I would imagine that once things really get going that I won't be able to update here anymore until after our Baby Girl arrives.  So please--if you're reading this in the middle of the night or early in the morning on the East Coast--please just keep us in your prayers.  We'll be sure to post pictures and an announcement once she arrives!

Update:  It's now just a little after 7:00 am, and the nurse is happy with my contraction cycle.  They have me on the first level of Pitocin, and we're waiting for my doctor to get here to check things out.  The over-night Resident said that I am 3 cm dilated, with a "big bulging bag of waters" that she did not want to break without my doctor's permission, but she's pretty sure that things will go fast, once my water does break.  Apparently our Baby Girl's head is really low.

Today's blessing is just all of the love and support and prayers and best wishes that we have received from so many friends and family.  Though neither my husband nor I have posted it on our facebook yet, both sets of soon-to-be-grandparents have, and it's amazing to see all of the supporting comments pouring in from everywhere.  So many people are so excited for us, and it's amazing to know that we're being held up in prayer by so many people.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


There I go again with the misleading titles.  I apologize--I'm simply referring to my belly-button...not the entire pregnancy.  (She's still kicking away inside of me, and we'll have an appointment with my doctor this afternoon to see if our tentative plan to induce tomorrow is still on).

Also, before I go any further, I wanted to thank you for all of your suggestions on what else I should be packing for the hospital.  I really appreciate your feedback!

I don't have any pictures of it--because really, who else out there would really want to see my belly button?  And to be honest, maybe it hasn't exactly "popped", but rather has flattened out like a cute little star.  I had an "innie" to start with, and the skin above the belly button now protrudes just enough to give the image that it "popped".  I know that some women complain about the contortions that their belly-buttons (and the rest of their bodies) experience in pregnancy, but I love it! 

I love it not only because it demonstrates all the growth that is happening inside of me (yes, both physically and emotionally), but moreso because it reminds me of my mom, and my connection to her.  My belly-button--whether an "innie" or "popped"--symbolizes the love and care that she showed for me when she was pregnant with me, just as I am now doing for our Baby Girl.  It physically connected me to her for 40 weeks (well, 43 weeks to be honest, since I was three weeks late), but the emotional connections are so much deeper than that.  Sure,we had some rough patches (especially in my teenage years), but as I've grown (especially through the losses), I've learned to appreciate her more and more.  In the 31 years since I've been (physically) detached from her, she has helped me to develop into who I am today.  And it all started with an umbilical cord, attached to my belly-button, linking me to her for years to come.  And now, she'll soon get to meet her granddaughter--this precious Baby Girl who is now linked to me.

Today's blessing happened early this morning, when I couldn't sleep.  My grandpa sent all of his loved ones his "autobiography" detailing his life--from his birth in the family home in 1925, through his marriage to my Grandma, and on to what he has learned as he has aged.  It was just so touching to reflect on his life, and how much he loves my Grandma, my dad, and his grandchildren.  I'm so grateful that we'll be celebrating Christmas at home in Northern California this year so that I have the chance to introduce our Baby Girl to him and my Grandma.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

All My Bags Are Packed, I'm Ready To Go

So much for yesterday's post about being a rockstar and working up until our Baby Girl comes.  Remember that little tickle in my throat that I was mentioning?  It's not so much of a tickle anymore.  I wish I could be at work, but I have to be honest with myself:  I'm sick.  I can't tell if it's allergies or a cold--I just know that I'm not enjoying it.  But I'm trying to be good to my body, so I stayed home to rest and drink gallons of orange juice.

Staying home also gives me the chance to finish packing up the bag for the hospital...which brings me to you.  What am I missing?  What are the things that you are so glad that you brought, or do wish that you had remembered to bring?  Or what have your heard from recent moms who just returned from the hospital?

I feel like I have the "essentials", including:
  • Robe
  • Slippers
  • Socks
  • Nursing bras
  • Pajamas (I'm just a shorts/t-shirt nightgowns for me)
  • Coming home outfit for me and Baby Girl
  • Change of clothes for my husband
  • Toiletries
  • Camera
  • Laptop (we'll have wifi...and I think it's a bit of a "security blanket" for my computer-nerd husband)
  • Carseat
Anything else that you're thinking of that I may have forgotten?  I'd love to hear your feedback!

Aside from the chance to stay home and relax, today's blessing is the birthday of two women who I really appreciate and admire.  The first is a colleague who has been an amazing mentor and friend to me, and the second is the wife of our Associate Pastor at church.  Both women have survived loss, and have been amazing listeners and supporters of me throughout our journey.  It would be really special if our Baby Girl shared the same birthday as these two amazing women--but it doesn't look like that is going to happen (unless I'm blessed with a really quick labor, given that it's already almost 2:30 pm).  That's okay--I'm still really blessed to have these women in my life.

Monday, September 27, 2010

For The Record

Let me just state, for the record, that today--on my official due-date--I went to work...and my wonderful husband stayed home.

It's not that I'm complaining about him.  Rather, it's more that I'm proud of myself.  I intentionally did not schedule anything at work this week, but I'll continue to work until our Baby Girl arrives.  I'll use these days to help out on projects around the office and tie up any loose ends.  When I left on Friday, I had almost everything finished up.  By the end of the day today, I was feeling even more accomplished.  I'm always going to have things to do, so I can easily find things to do on Tuesday and Wednesday...if I make it that far. 

I have a couple of reasons why I'm still working.  For starters, I'll admit that I'm a bit of a work-aholic (I get it from my dad).  I'm definitely looking forward to my time off with our Baby Girl, but I feel like it's my responsibility to help out while I still can.  I also figure that the longer I work, the more I accumulate sick and vacation time...rather than using it up now as I just wait.  And with that, time is bound to go faster when I'm staying busy at work, rather than just waiting around the house for something to happen.

I do admit that I have a little bit of a tickle in my throat today, which I'm hoping is just from allergies and doesn't mean that I'm coming down with a cold.  I brought my laptop home with me, just in case I decide to work from home instead of going in to work tomorrow.  But I'm still really hoping that our Baby Girl will decide to come before we're induced on Thursday.  If that's the case, then like I said--I'm feeling accomplished enough at work, and will gladly add an "out of office" message to my email for the rest of the semester.

Today's blessing is knowing that I made it to 40 weeks!  I can't even complain about being "late", because I'm just so blessed to have made it to this point.  God has been so good to me--not just during these 40 weeks, but in the years that led up to this point as well.  It took me a while to see His grace in the darker times, but looking back, I now know with certainty that He was there.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Last Times

This morning, I sat in church with one hand clasped in my husband's, and the other resting on my belly, feeling our Baby Girl wiggle around.  It dawned on me that this would be the last time that I was pregnant in church (at least during this pregnancy--I pray that God grant us the opportunity to do this all over again). 

This afternoon, I somehow lowered myself to a cross-legged sitting position in front of the washer and dryer and apologized to our Baby Girl for squishing her a bit as I awkwardly leaned forward and tried to reach the last few wet clothes that were crammed in the back.  Again, I realized that it would be the last time I would do do laundry while pregnant (and likewise, probably the last time that I'll be able to get by with doing laundry only once a week).

As I approach my due-date tomorrow, I oscillate between wanting to get this show on the road, and wanting to continue to cherish the last few memories of this pregnancy.  I keep thinking that I'm going to miss her kicks and wiggles...and then I have to remind myself that I soon get to feel those exact same kicks and wiggles from the outside.  So it makes me a little bit sad to experience these "last times", but ultimately, it's exciting.  It's exciting to know that the next time we go to church, we'll be bringing our Baby Girl with us.  It's exciting to know that the next time we do laundry, well, it will probably be my mom or mother-in-law doing it for us so that we can rest.  It's just exciting to know that we'll be meeting our Baby Girl here soon!

Today's blessing is to feel so good--physically and emotionally--as I head into this last week of our pregnancy.  I'm really proud of myself that I had enough energy and stamina to make it to the football game last night with my husband (which we barely won--I'm sure it wasn't good for my blood pressure levels).  To save on parking fees, we parked on the opposite side of campus near my office, walked across campus, walked all the way up the ramp to the upper-levels, sat through the game, and made the return trip to the car, finally getting home around 11:30 pm.  I was tired by the time we got home, but it was really nice to spend that "date night" with my husband (with no hip/groin/nerve pain last night).  I know that God really has been good to me in blessing me with such an amazing pregnancy experience, and I really don't want to take it for granted.  I'm due tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to meeting her, whenever she arrives.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Knew That Was Too Easy

Do you remember back in July when I was so impressed with how easy it was to talk to my mother-in-law about coming down to visit a couple of weeks after our Baby Girl arrived, rather than right away?  I was so pleased that she was so open to me wanting my mom to be here, and so appreciative that she even recommended that my husband and I have a week or so to ourselves in between my parents' visit and her visit.

Yeah...I should have know that it was too easy and too good to be true.

A week or so ago, my husband shared with me that the plans had changed.  When we were back in Montana, it didn't sound like my father-in-law would be able to make the trip, which was a bit disappointing, but since he doesn't fly, it kind of made things easier, since it meant my mother-in-law could just fly down whenever was convenient for her.  But apparently now he wants to come, which--ultimately--I think is wonderful.  But it means that they will drive...for two days from Montana.  To complicate things, he apparently had to set his vacation hours way back in January--before we even knew that we were pregnant.  He happened to take the last week of September and the first week of October, which is serendipitous since it will correspond with the arrival of our Baby Girl.  But they each have doctor's appointments on September 30th, so they plan to just leave from there and drive down.  The blessing in that is that now that we are inducing on Thursday, they won't get here too early. 

The only problem is that we only have one guest room.  I definitely want my mom here for helping out after the arrival of our Baby Girl (we've already established that it will only be my husband and me in the delivery room--and everyone is cool with that), and my dad was gracious enough to say "I've waited this long to meet this grandchild, I can wait longer if it will make things easier for you".  But I really want my parents here, so I told them to stick with their original plan to hit the road as soon as we head to the hospital. 

We could get a hotel room for either set of parents, but the nearest hotel is about 30-minutes away in town, and I figure that both sets of soon-to-be-grandparents will want to spend as much time with their grandchild (and us) as possible, that it doesn't make a lot of sense to get a hotel.  At one point, my in-laws had talked about bringing their trailer with them, but that's a long way to haul it. sounds like it's time to pull out the old air mattress. 

It will be a full house, but I'm really hoping that it's a joyous time of connecting and bonding--not only with our Baby Girl, but also with each other.  My parents and my in-laws only met once at the wedding, so I really hope that this can be a nice chance for them all to get to know each other a little bit better. 

As for me, today's blessing is that it seems like things are starting to happen!  (Warning:  the rest of this post talks about bodily fluids and such.)  I do believe that I just lost my mucus plug (or at least part of it)!  I woke up to pee at 3:00ish this morning, and tossed and turned but never really fell back to sleep.  I have to work early this morning, so I figured I'd just get up early and finish up this post.  Well, I had some "cleaning out" when I headed to the bathroom...and then some more "cleaning out" not ten minutes later.  And that's when I noticed something on the toilet paper that I've never seen before...but seems to match the description of what I should be expecting.  Perhaps we won't need the induction after all!  What a blessing to know that I get to meet our Baby Girl soon!  Please keep us in your prayers as things are (potentially) starting to get exciting!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Maternity Pictures

I mentioned a while back that I was working on a surprise for my husband for his birthday.  The weekend when he was out of town for his Army Reserve Drill, I had a friend of a friend take some maternity pictures of me for him as a birthday surprise.  Sounds like a nice gesture, right?  I hate to admit it, but it didn't get quite the reaction I was hoping from him.  I've shared before that he's a computer nerd, so he was hoping for a "techie" gift instead of my sentimental gift.  I also shared that he bought himself a brand new fancy camera so that we can take high-resolution pictures of our Baby Girl when she arrives.  So apparently he was hoping that I would buy him techie gadgets for the camera as his birthday present.  I didn't realize it, but he had apparently even left the items that he wanted in the shopping carts on various open websites on our computer.  So when he opened up the pictures I had framed and the disc of the remaining pictures, his response was "Oh...I thought I was going to take pictures of you".  So much for trying to be thoughtful, huh?  I love him dearly...but either I need to learn how to buy techie gifts, or he needs to learn how to appreciate sentimental gifts.

My parents, on the other hand, seemed to love the pictures!  Their anniversary was Monday, so I was able to get a double-use out of the gift, and I got the reaction for which I was hoping.  They are so excited to meet this grandchild, and I'm glad that I got to send them some images of me, since I haven't seen them since late-July, and I've definitely grown since then.

Here are some of my favorites:

Today's blessing was the chance to visit with one of my former student employees who was in town to help with a recruiting event.  I only got to spend about a half-hour with him, but he has so much energy and passion, and it was really nice to spend that little bit of quality time with him.  He'll be back for Homecoming later in the Fall, so it will be equally nice to see him again and introduce him to our Baby Girl.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We Have a (Tentative) Plan!

I had my 39 week appointment today, and everything still looks great!  I mentioned to her how I was having a weird hip/groin/sciatica pain for the last two nights, but now that I look back--I know she wrote it down in my chart, but we didn't exactly discuss it.  I think I left it at "perhaps Baby Girl is hitting a nerve", and I guess that my doctor just agreed with that.

Since this is the last time I'll see her before my actual due-date, we spent the majority of the appointment talking about what happens if Baby Girl is "late".  I totally realize that a due-date isn't necessarily exactly precise, so I'm not too fixated on Monday, September 27th.  My doctor said that although some clinics will allow women to go to 42 weeks, she starts losing sleep over her clients when they get close to 41 weeks.  Her main concern is the health of the baby, and fears complications with the miconium.  At this point, there isn't anything indicating that there are any complications--but we recognize that anything could change.

So our (tentative) plan--if our Baby Girl doesn't decide to make an entrance on her own--is to go to our appointment next week, check to make sure that everything is as my doctor hopes it would be, and then induce on the morning on Thursday, September 30th.  Her thought is that it's easier to book an induction a week in advance and cancel or postpone it if necessary, rather than try to schedule it at the last minute.  And for me being a planner, I like knowing that there is a plan in place--even if it's tentative. 

My hope is still that she will decide to make an entrance on her own; but in case she decides to stay camped out in my uterus, we have a plan in place to ensure that we get to meet her sooner rather than later (but still after 40 weeks, obviously).  Yet ultimately, even though we have a tentative plan in place, I want to be sure that we're following God's perfect plan for our lives.  So as we look forward to this next week, please pray that we find ways to recognize God's plan for our lives and know how to follow His will, and not just our own.

Today's blessing was the chance to share this plan with my parents and hear the excitement in their voice.  They live about 16 hours away, and their plan is to jump in the car and head to Arizona the minute they get the call from us.  I truly am excited to see them, and I'm even more excited for them to meet their granddaughter. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What a Pain in the...Hip?

Let me start by saying that I have been so extremely blessed to feel so good throughout my pregnancy.  I've had the occasional aches or pains here and there, but really--it has been such an amazing experience.

Then all of a sudden last night, I noticed a sharp and shooting pain that caused me to make the type of face that made my husband ask (excitedly) if it was a contraction.  I had to disappoint him and tell him that it was in my hip...or is it my groin?  I can't really tell exactly where it is.  Perhaps it's related to the sciatic nerve.  All I know is that it's deep and internal and I don't want to complain, but it hurts.  I had about three episodes of shooting pain last night throughout the course of the evening, but felt totally fine today at work, so thought that perhaps our Baby Girl had just hit a nerve somehow and then relocated to a more comfortable spot. 

But as soon as I got home today and started doing some yardwork, there it was again.  I have felt the pain again about a half-dozen times throughout the evening.  There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason--it happens when I'm standing at the counter, when I'm walking, when I'm sitting cross-legged, when I'm sitting with my feet elevated.  It only lasts for a fraction of a second, but wow!

Sure, it definitely hurts.  But part of me also can't help but hope that perhaps this means that "something" is happening.  Maybe our Baby Girl is starting to position herself for her grand entrance (I can only hope, right?).  I have another appointment tomorrow, so I'll be able to talk to my doctor about the pain and any other sort of update.

After waking up and feeling rather sluggish this morning, today's blessing was enough energy to make it through the work day and then even work on cleaning up the yard when I got home.  I let my husband do all of the bending over to pull weeds as I trimmed up the trees, but it really does look so much better.  It was really nice to spend some quality time with him outside, and we had a beautiful sunset while the moon was rising as our backdrop.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Version of Nesting

So I keep reading on various websites how I'm supposed to get this huge surge of energy and a desire to clean my house from top to bottom, including scrubbing the baseboards--even those behind the couches.  Um...that's not exactly happening. 

Sure, I want the house to be clean before our Baby Girl arrives...but I admit that I don't exactly want to do it myself (and I especially don't want to move the couches or scrub the baseboards).  For the most part, I'd like to think that we keep our home relatively "tidy", but have our baseboards accumulated some dirt, dust, and debris?  Well of course they have (we live in the desert--it's bound to happen).  But like I said--I don't exactly want to do is myself.  For starters, I don't want to be on my hands and knees at 39 weeks pregnant; nor do I want to be inhaling all of the various cleaning chemicals.  

So what did I do?  I convinced my husband to hire a cleaning crew to give our house one last final deep clean before our Baby Girl arrives.  When I came home, the house looked fabulous!  All of those little chores that I didn't want to do were all complete--the stainless steel appliances were polished, the ceiling fans were dusted, the calcium deposits in the showers were gone, and yes--the baseboards were clean (though I doubt they checked the baseboards behind the couch).  I'm so appreciative of my husband for being so generous and understanding, and I'm totally impressed that he even suggested getting the house cleaned once a year (though I can't help but wonder if his willingness to do so may perhaps be reflective of my housekeeping abilities).

Now that our house is thoroughly clean, I feel like we can bring our Baby Girl home.  I'm 39 weeks today, and while I am cherishing every moment with her inside of me, I do hope that she makes her appearance this month.  I can only keep our house clean for so long!

Today's blessing was a really thoughtful gift from the students on the leadership board with which I work.  They figured that our Baby Girl is getting plenty of gifts, and they wanted to get something for me.  So they got me a really sweet scrapbook and all of the fixings that I'll need to get started in capturing memories of our Baby Girl.  I know I'll be busy adjusting to being a mom, but it will also be nice to have a project on which to work...if I ever get any free time.  These students are amazing, and I know that they'll do a good job of leading our first-year students while I'm out.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Milestones vs. Countdown

I work in a very supportive office environment in which everyone tries--for the most part--to look out for everyone else.  We're not perfect (I admit that I have felt like I have been burned in the past), and we don't always know each other's deeper secrets, but for the most part, we try to take an interest in each other's lives.  So it doesn't surprise me too much that my pregnancy has been the topic of discussion in our break-room over lunch for the last few weeks (though I try to be sensitive that the constant baby-talk may make others uncomfortable--especially since we have new colleagues, and I don't know their stories yet).

On Friday, one of my colleagues asked me something along the lines of "is the countdown on yet?".  I know she was trying to be kind, and I know that I'm being sensitive, but I admit that the word "countdown" hit a nerve.  I tried to answer sweetly and generically that we're very excited to meet our Baby Girl when she arrives.  But it got me thinking about how much I look at this pregnancy as a series of milestones, rather than simply a countdown.

Before I go any further, let me again acknowledge that I know that I'm sensitive, and it's not necessarily bad to be counting down the days.  Rather, that's just not how I look at it.  For me, each and every single day that our Baby Girl is growing and developing is a milestone.  This was especially true at the beginning of our pregnancy, when I felt like I was holding my breath.  I've shared before about "praying in color", and one of my images in my prayer journal is a list of numbers, 1-40, that I have been checking off with prayers of thanksgiving, week  by week, ever since learning that we have a heartbeat.  And speaking of that beautiful, precious heartbeat--that really was our first milestone.  There have been so many other milestones that we have passed along the way--feeling her kick, the anatomy scan, the glucose screening test, Lamaze class, finishing the nursery...the list just goes on and on.  Each gave me a reason to celebrate; each reminded me to praise God for all that he has done for us.

So really, the answer to my colleague's question would really be "No--the countdown is not on!".  I am not in any sort of rush to evict our Baby Girl from my uterus.  Yes, I fully understand that this pregnancy will come to an end at some point (and I still continue to pray that it ends with a healthy and happy Baby Girl in our arms).  But even as I pass into week 39 tomorrow, I don't feel like it's necessary to say "7 more days to go" (not to even mention that a due-date is so ambiguous and flexible, so even if I did try to countdown, her birth may or may not correspond with her due-date).  Rather, I just want to cherish this time.  I love being pregnant.  I love the kicks.  I love having her with me, safely inside of me.  Don't get me wrong--I am so extremely excited to meet her!  But like I said--I'm in no rush to countdown these last few days.  I'm just cherishing and praising each milestone, and committing it all to memory the best I can.

Yesterday's blessing was a huge win for my university's football team.  I know it's silly, but I really do love college football.  I bought my husband season tickets for Christmas, so he brought his college roommate along (he's stationed here, and just got back from a year in Iraq), and they had a great time.  If our Baby Girl still hasn't arrived by Saturday, I really hope that I'm feeling good enough to go to the game next weekend (we're playing my parents' alma mater).

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Birthday!

I guess that a "Happy Birthday" title can be a little bit misleading when I'm 38+ weeks pregnant.  No, no Baby Girl yet.  Rather, today is my husband's birthday--and to be honest, I think I'm more excited about it than he is (or perhaps I'm just super-excited about the restaurant where we'll go out to dinner to celebrate).

I hate to admit it, but I didn't exactly help him ring in his new year appropriately.  I woke up at 11:50 pm last night to pee (big surprise there) and realized that he wasn't in bed beside me.  I went out to the living room, where I found him asleep on the couch.  I asked him why he was on the couch, and he kindly (albeit sleepily) informed me that I was snoring really loud and kept him up.  Oops!  I've never been a snorer (at least not as far as I know), but there are plenty of times when I've nudged him in the middle of the night to get him to roll over.  But I guess that he figured that he couldn't exactly get me to roll over at this point in the pregnancy, so he opted for the couch instead.  I feel bad, but I appreciate that he is so understanding.

Like I said, we'll go out to dinner tonight as an amazing restaurant where the menu changes twice daily, and then we'll meet up with our circle of friends for dessert.  I had tried to plan the desserts as a surprise, but that got messed up when I asked him to log into my facebook to post something on his sister's wall while I was making dinner one night, and he logged into my messages instead.  He appreciated the effort, and this way I didn't have to lie to him for two weeks about why he can't hang out with his friends on his birthday.  It's the thought that counts, right?

Speaking of dawned on me on my drive home today while talking to my mom that I hadn't thought about my first loss.  Today not only celebrates my husband's birthday, but it also marks the two-year anniversary of our first loss.  Although this date is always a part of me, I do admit that I felt a little bit "bad" for not recognizing it first thing this morning.  But at the same time, perhaps it's also a sign of growth.  Last year, it took effort to make a conscientious decision to celebrate my husband's life rather than dwell on the pain of the loss.  I know that the excitement of meeting our Baby Girl soon helps to ease the pain as well, but I think it's still important for me to continue to celebrate my husband and his life and all that I have to look forward to with him, rather than allow myself to get stuck in the past.  I'll never forget my losses--they are a part of who I am.  And so even though I feel "bad" also feels good to not have that experience be the first thing on my mind when I wake up on this day, year after year.  I love my husband, and I love that he is the first thing on my mind.

With that, he's my blessing for today.  I love him dearly, and I'm so excited for all that this year has in store for both of us.  I am so blessed that God brought someone into my life who loves me, supports me, cherishes me, and yes--at times--tolerates me.  I just pray that I can be a good wife to him, and a good mother to our children.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Goodbye Rings

It was bound to happen...right?

I don't think that--overall--my fingers look that fat, but my knuckles have definitely swelled.  I struggled to get my wedding and engagement rings on all last week.  I was fine once I got over the knuckle...but it was clearly becoming an issue as the week wore on.  My typical routine is to put them on in the morning after I do my make-up, and then to take them off at night when I wash my face.  But on Sunday, I gave up and simply put on the Sapphire ring that my parents gave me for my college graduation (the one that I intend to give to our Baby Girl--assuming that she is born in September).  I previously wore this ring on my middle finger, so it fits my wedding finger with ample space (in fact, I have to be careful that it doesn't come off).

I realize that I could just go ring-less, but I would feel so naked without something around my wedding finger.  And it's not even about the image of a pregnant woman without a wedding ring--I'm okay if someone wants to "judge" me for the perception of being an unwed mother.  Rather, I truly enjoy the symbolism and the significance of my wedding band, and it makes me sad to not be able to wear it right now.  My relationship with my husband is stronger than ever, and he totally understands that I simply can't fit his token of love and devotion over my swollen knuckle, but it's a little bit unfortunate that we'll welcome our Baby Girl into our family without my wedding rings on.

Aside from my rings, things continue to go well.  I had another appointment with my doctor yesterday, and she did another internal check.  I'm still just barely a "fingertip dilated" (which didn't surprise me), but she said that my cervix is definitely much softer, and she seemed pleased with the progress.  After not really experiencing any contractions of any type pretty much all week, I "think" I had some last night, but I really can't tell.  I'm praying for God's wisdom, peace, and patience to know how to discern between what is false, what is real, and what is just a random movement, cramp, or gas.

Today's blessing is the chance to take a walk over my lunch break over to the bookstore to pick out an anniversary card for my parents.  This morning didn't really start out so great (nothing "horrible"...but just "one of those mornings"), so I'm really looking forward to getting out into the sunshine and trying to do an "emotional re-set".  I've got a busy afternoon, so I really hope that I can come back recharged for the rest of the day. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Broken Tradition

My birthday is three days before my mom's.

Both of my brothers' birthdays are three days before my dad's.  (And no--they are not twins).

My husband's birthday is on Friday.  That's three days from now.

Unless our Baby Girl makes a really quick appearance in the next four hours, it doesn't look like we'll be sticking with the family tradition of being born three days before a parent.

Oh well.  It would have been really cute and ironic and serendipitous if she were born today, but I'd rather her come when she's good and ready--and not just to stick with tradition.  Besides, I'm just over 38 weeks, and while she is "full term" in the sense that her lungs are fully developed at this point, I know that it's best if she continue to gain weight. 

Today's blessing was the chance to do something sweet for my husband this morning.  He was supposed to carpool with some other guys from work, but found out late last night that he would need to meet up with them at someone else's house instead of ours.  But I knew that he was out of gas, so he planned to just leave early to fill up in the morning.  I think that I've shared before that my husband is definitely NOT a morning person, so I knew that he wasn't looking forward to waking up even 10 minutes earlier than he would like.  But I slept well last night, and woke up early, so I ran to the gas station to fill up his tank for him so that he could sleep in a bit longer.  I know it's such a minor little thing, but it made his day, and I'm glad that I could do something simple and sweet for him.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Nursery Pictures

My husband is up at Army Reserve Drill this weekend, and I'm still forbidden from playing around with his fancy new camera.  So I was left to use our old (but perfectly decent) point-and-shoot camera to take pictures of the nursery.  Overall, I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  I admit that the paint color is perhaps one shade too "lemony", and should perhaps be more of a "buttercup" to perfectly match the bedding, but I'm okay with it.  To me, the room (and the color) are very warm, energizing, and happy.  Let's just hope that our Baby Girl is happy with it as well!

This picture of the chest of drawers probably best captures the color of the room:

As you can see, the walls are painted yellow, with red accents.  I love how the glow of the sun through the red drapes:

We had originally discussed buying a new bookshelf to match the new furniture, but we had a completely function bookshelf that we didn't know what to do with once we rearranged the rooms all around.  We had originally talked about painting it white, but once we saw how much the red stood out with the drapes, we decided to paint it red:

The red continues through the four big butterflies in the room, but I also wanted to pull in a little bit of the light blue that also appears in the bedding (remember, I have--and probably always will be--a "blue girl"...though pink is definitely growing on me).  So here's a splash of blue on the changing table:

Which brings us to the crib and the bedding.  A while back, I shared that I had fallen in love with the bedding design and it happened to be named "Sundae", which was also the name of our family dog, so I really felt that it was meant to be.  I'm still in love with the bedding (though I admit that the lighting is pretty bad--I promise that this wall is the same yellow, and not the puke-green it looks to be in this picture):

And one last picture to capture the final two butterflies and give you an idea of the overall design:

I'm very pleased with how it all turned out.  I'd like to think that it is "feminine without being too girly".  I'm hoping that it can also be the type of decor that she can grow up with--at least for a few years.

Today's blessing was the kick-off of a new Bible Study for our circle of young married couples at church.  We've been throwing around the idea for a while now, and while I totally appreciate simply the community and friendship that my husband and I have found through the group, it's also nice to dig a bit deeper into exploring how we can continue to grow in our faith and in our relationship with each other--especially as we prepare to embark on this new adventure of parenthood.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Long Day

I left my house for work before 7:00 this morning...and returned at 10:00 tonight.  Talk about a long day!  We hosted a retreat for the freshmen leadership group that I work with, and we didn't finish up until close to 9:30 pm.  Add a half-hour commute, and I worked 15 hours today, pretty much non-stop!  (Did I mention that I'm almost 38 weeks pregnant?)

And yet, I felt great all day long.  I really enjoy working with these student and the returning student leaders, and I know that I get energy from their enthusiasm, but I have to believe that much of this stamina came directly from God.  I'm totally exhausted now, but I need to slow down a bit before I crawl into bed with my husband (the poor guy has to get up at 3:00 am to drive up to his Army Reserve Drill weekend). 

I had originally planned to go up with him, but now I'm very thankful that I decided to stay home.  I have a few final things I want to accomplish this weekend--including packing my bag and working on a birthday surprise for him (as in a gift for his birthday next week--not our Baby Girl's "birth-day" in the next couple of weeks...but I guess that the two kind of go hand in hand).  I'm really hoping that I can sleep in tomorrow morning, and I'm praying that she doesn't decide to arrive this weekend while he's away.  It's only a two hour drive, and like I said yesterday, I don't see any reason to believe that she's coming soon (though I recognize that anything can change over night).  So for those of you who are praying that our Baby Girl come in September--thank you...but perhaps can you put those prayers on hold for the next 48 hours or so until my husband returns?

Today's blessing is our "big boss lady", who so graciously opened up her amazing home to 60 freshmen students and our 10 student leaders!  She literally hosted 70 students in her own home!  She does so much for all of our students all year round, but she really went above and beyond in offering up her home to this group.  And we're not just talking about her spacious back yard!  No, she opened up her entire home--complete with pool tables, air hockey, and foosball.  She is such a gracious and hospitable hostess, and our organization really is so blessed to have her support.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Still Looks Perfect

I met with my doctor yesterday for my 37 week appointment.  She actually used the "p-word" in "perfect"!  Who would have thought that my pregnancy would ever actually be described as "perfect"?!  Well, sure, I recognize that God has had a perfect plan for my life all along, but there were some months (perhaps even years) in there when I sincerely doubted that I would ever be able to maintain a pregnancy, let alone one described as "perfect". 

I realize what a huge blessing it is to have everything going so well, and I'm acutely aware that anything can change in a heartbeat (quite literally).  For now, I'm going with trusting in God that things are in His hands, and that any "perfection" comes from Him--and not necessarily anything that I am doing.  Here's a recap of yesterday's appointment:
  • My poor doctor was running horribly behind schedule (she's wonderful and apparently that makes her extremely popular), so when the nurse asked if I wanted her to do an internal check, I declined--I knew that I was "a fingertip dilated" last week, and it doesn't feel like anything has changed, so I figured that it wasn't really necessary (given that she still had patients after me to see...and it was now after 5:00 pm by this time).
  • The nurse was able to get me into a room with an ultrasound machine, so when my doctor did eventually show up, she was able to take a look at our Baby Girl.  It could have been a mirror image of last week's ultrasound--she is still head down, back to the left, arms and legs to the right, great heartbeat, good pockets of fluid.
  • She measured my fundal height, but didn't mention what it was.  After initially measuring at 33 weeks during my 34 week appointment, and then re-measuring and attributing it to perhaps a Braxton-Hicks contraction, she hasn't mentioned my fundal height again.  I can't help but wonder if I'm measuring a little small, and she's just not saying anything to keep me from worrying.  Ultimately, I trust God and I trust my doctor.  I can feel our Baby Girl moving around plenty, so I trust that everything is okay.
  • I think that she was a little surprised (perhaps even concerned or mystified?) that I haven't really felt many contractions at this point so far.   I "think" I experience Braxton-Hicks contractions occasionally and sporadically throughout the day, but it always seems like my uterus gets hard on the bottom, but still stays relatively soft towards the top.  Neither of us really know what to make of it--but again, it doesn't seem to be anything of which to be too concerned at this point.
  • I passed the Group B Strep test, so no worries about antibiotics during labor.
I think that sufficiently captures the highlights.  Like I said, nothing makes me think that I'll be going into labor anytime soon.  The only little change is that I've noticed some slight discomfort (perhaps not even enough to call it "pain" yet) in my sacrum (near the tailbone) and an occasional cramping or pulling "twinge" in the ligaments around the pelvic area as well.  This leads me to believe that even if our Baby Girl hasn't "dropped" yet, perhaps she's at least moving in the right direction...which is very exciting to think about the possibilities.

Today's blessing was the chance to talk to my brother and sister-in-law and hear that they were both feeling "okay" with celebrating the two-year anniversary of the loss of their son at 30 weeks.  We all agreed that the passage of time has helped to heal some of the pain, and the knowledge that both of our current pregnancies are progressing nicely helps all of us in our family to continue to move forward.  But I'm still proud of them, and we all recognize how blessed we are to have a God who loves us and holds us through the challenging times.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Full Term

Today marks 37 weeks gestation, so our Baby Girl is technically considered "full term" now!  Of course, we want her to stay put for a few more weeks to maximize her development time, but it still feels really good to know that we've made it this far.

By this point, she probably weighs over 6 pounds.  Sounds big, right?  And yet, while doing more laundry today, I just had to hold up the tiny little mittens for my husband and ask him how anyone could ever be that small.  He and I are both on the taller side, and yet I feel like I'm still relatively "trim" for being this far along, so I really wonder how big (weight and length) she will be when she makes her debut. 

I still feel great--though I admit that I'm a little on the warm side, a little on the tired side, and it takes a little more effort to get up off the floor, off the couch, out of bed, out of the car--you name it.  But I know just how blessed I am that God has entrusted me with this Baby Girl, so I just want to cherish every single moment of this pregnancy.

Today's blessing is this three-day holiday.  I was fairly productive all weekend, and it felt really good to know that I had three days in which to complete my various weekend chores.  Today's project was making a lasagna for tonight, and another one to go in the freezer for after our Baby Girl arrives.  I also slept well last night, and took a nap on both Sunday and today.  Granted, I've also been working on revising our training manual for work, but at least I can do so with my feet up in front of the tv.  And now, I get to cap off the weekend with a big College Football game!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Little Laundry

My husband went for a hike yesterday with a friend (actually, the husband of my very-dear friend), and I spent the day at home preparing for the upcoming arrival of our Baby Girl.  Among other little projects, I did a couple of loads of laundry to get all of her clothes and blankets and such cleaned before her arrival.  Perhaps I'm weird (or gross), but I typically don't wash my own new clothes after I buy them--I like that the still smell like the store, and that they are perfectly pressed, and never look quite the same after going through my laundry, no matter how hard I try.  However, I didn't want to take any chances with germs or other cleaning products for our Baby Girl, so everything--from dresses to tiny socks--went into the wash.

As I was transferring everything from the wash to the dryer, I noticed two things.  First, a full load of baby laundry consists of a lot more items than a full load of adult laundry--I just kept grabbing onesies and socks and dresses and blankets and burp cloths and wash cloths, one right after the other.  And second--baby laundry is so much cuter than adult laundry!!  As I folded or hung up the items, I kept showing them to my very-dear friend (who spent the day with me while our husbands hiked) and pointing out how adorable they all were.  She's having a boy (she'll be 35 weeks on Tuesday), and I think that she would agree that the baby girl clothing is so much cuter than the baby boy clothing.  Here are some of the items:

Aside from laundry, the nursery is also coming along quite nicely.  We have just a few little finishing touches to complete, and I'll be sure to post pictures soon (probably by the end of the week).  We're getting closer and closer to being "ready"!

Today's blessing was the chance to hang out with some new friends (and some existing friends) for breakfast after church.  With the start of the new year, our little circle of friends at church is growing, as there are now two new couples who have recently joined us.  God really has blessed us with such a supportive network of friends.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Update from Janet: Prayers for Madison (Post-Surgery)

For those of you who have been following Janet's story and praying for her and baby Madison, she was able to post an update yesterday.  Since her birth in early-July, Madison has been slowly growing and and maturing and developing.  However, she recently had a setback that required surgery on Sunday night.  She is now healing, but needs all of our continued prayers.  Please check out Janet's blog and send her some love and prayers.

As for me, I'm so thankful that it's Friday, and I'm even more grateful that we have a three-day weekend.  I survived the second week of classes, including working late on two back-to-back nights.  I'm still feeling pretty good, though I admit that it was a little rough to get out of bad this morning.  I was okay once I got going, but I was sluggish enough to tell my husband that I don't think I'm going to join him next weekend for his Army Reserve Drill out of town (two hours away).  I have to work late Friday night, so I think it would be too much for me to leave early Saturday morning...especially since I would have to hang around Saturday morning before we could check into the hotel...and would then have to wait around Sunday afternoon after checking out of the hotel.  So instead, I'm going to try to work on a surprise for him for his birthday (and pray that our Baby Girl doesn't try to make her grand entrance when he's out of town).

Today's blessing is College Football!  This truly is my favorite time of the year!  The season officially started last night with at least one good current school is currently playing (and leading)...and my (ranked) alma mater plays tomorrow in a big game against a top-10 team.  I know it might be silly, but College Football really brings me so much joy (and yes, the occasional heartbreak as well). 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We're Having a Baby This Month!

I woke up this morning, and the first thing on my mind is that it's now September.  I leaned over and told my husband, "We're having a baby this month!" (he acknowledge it, and promptly fell back asleep).  We made it to September!  It seemed so far away when we found out we were pregnant back in January, and now here we are! 

And how different it is for me to cross the threshold into September this year, compared to last year.  My post from last September 1st was even entitled "Wake Me Up When September Ends"--I didn't really mean it, but I knew that it would be hard to get through some painful anniversaries at this time last year. But with the support of this community, my family and friends, and my faith that God had some sort of plan in place for me, I made it through those dates...and have since made it through the weeks and months that followed, growing each step along the way.  And now on this September 1st, I anxiously look forward to the arrival of our Baby Girl at the end of the month--this month!

And if turning the page on the calendar wasn't a big enough milestone and reminder for us for how far we've come, I also had my 36 week appointment today--the first weekly appointment!  I knew that I would be scheduled to come back next week, but it still made me smile when my doctor said "See you next week!".  This was also the first time when she gave us the "if you go into's what to do" speech.  We had heard it all previously in the lamaze class--but again, it's nice to hear it coming straight from her, and it makes it all so much more real.  To top it off, she did an internal check, and said that I'm just barely starting to dilate (not quite a fingertip--but definitely softening).  As she put it:  "You're exactly as you should be for having a baby later this month".

We're not due till the end of the month, and I'm fully aware that our Baby Girl might choose to stay put for longer than 40 weeks.  I trust that God will prompt her to make her appearance in His perfect timing, but I admit that I'm secretly hoping that she comes in September instead of October.  For starters, I'm excited to meet her.  But my husband's birthday is in September, and I think it would be special for her to have the same birth month as him (just as I have the same birth month as my mom, and my brothers have the same as my dad).  And of even less significance--I think that the September birthstone (Sapphire) is nicer than that of October (Opal).  I know that this should be the last of my priorities, but I have a beautiful Sapphire ring that I received as a gift for my undergraduate graduation from my parents, and I would love to hand it down to her with some significance.  Like I said--I trust God's perfect timing (but I'd appreciate any prayers that His timing bring her around her due date in late-September).

It's such a blessing to make it to September!  But as I look back on the last year, and the year before that, I recognize just how significantly God has changed my life through the losses, the trying, the waiting, and now the excitement.  I'm not the same person who I was when we started trying in 2007, and I really hope that I have become a better wife, daughter, and friend through the journey.