Friday, December 19, 2008
Jonathan and I have always had names we liked. We've agreed on a few in fact, before we ever were married! But somehow when we found out we were really pregnant with a little girl, all the "pretty" names we'd thought we'd use didn't seem to fit. Jonathan was deployed and we'd talk and look up names online based on their meaning, but never really come to an agreement where we felt "this is it." He finally told me one day, "We just need to pray for her name. God knows it already, He just has to reveal it to us." So, that's what we did. We prayed. For about 2 months.
One day, over chat, Jonathan told me a name had come to his mind on the flight he'd had the previous night. He said it was "Eliana". He didn't know what it meant or how to spell it. So he looked it up right then. It means, "The Lord has answered." (I knew that, as I'd had an online friend use it over a year ago.) Isn't that amazing? We just knew, this was her name! We're going to spell it Elyana. It will be Elyana Ruth. Ruth means "companion, friend". We've always loved the name Ruth, and the book. But long ago, before we were even trying for a baby, I told Jonathan (seriously joking) that I'd prefer a girl first, to have a "little buddy" to go places with, talk to all day, and have tea/coffee with. I, of course, changed my mind quickly and just prayed so long for a healthy live baby, no matter anything else. But the fact that God's given us a girl is a sweet reminder of what friendship I plan to have with my daughter (as I have with my mom!).
So that's it! Elyana Ruth. We can't wait.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Pregnancy has been amazing, it's been challenging, it's been totally not what I expected, and yet everything I dreamed.
I spent the first trimester so glad to be preganant and yet too unwilling because of my fear to really live in it and celebrate it. I did not talk about the baby a lot, nor did I indulge in much conversation about "how I felt" and all the pregnancy "symptoms" I had (or didn't). Which everyone likes to do or ask you about when it's that new/exciting. I was feeling like I was "missing out" by not being able to be blithely and innocently happy about it, because I could not reconcile with myself that pregnancy = a baby 9 months later. And looking back now? I really didn't miss out. God gives us 9 whole months to be pregnant, and there are plenty of days and hours to dream giddily about the future, and plan and prepare and talk about everything pregnancy does to your body. Missing out 13 weeks isn't a big deal at all.
Morning sickness was my favorite first trimester symptom. Let me be clear, I had it pretty easy! I only threw up 6 times, and my nausea wasn't horrible. I hated being nauseous, because it was so incapacitating, but it was the only symptom that felt real and tangible then. Whenever I did throw up, I was secretly cheering inside, so happy the baby was making me sick.
My second trimester I recall some bad weeks. I had an incredible pain in my right-upper rib that was so awful, I had to tightly wrap ace bandages around for 6-8 hours each day just to contain the pain. I got sick around week 25/26 and it was horrible! My belly ached all the time, and I could never tell if it was a problem with the baby or just an achy stomach from a bug. I worried a lot about going into preterm labor and not realizing it. While sick, sleeping became the hardest thing for me: my sides ached and ached and my belly constantly needed propping up and yet it still hurt when I slept. My sister announced her 3rd pregnancy, and I was so excited for her, but one of my first few thoughts were, "What if I lose the baby and she gives birth in June? How will I bear that?" Yes, I know those aren't profitable thoughts, but I was pretty unsure still if I would get a real live baby in the end. It took a long time for me to overcome this.
There is a very uncomfortable stage that for me was between 9 and 22 weeks. You don't really not fit your old clothes, and yet they're too tight to be comfy. You walk around knowing you're pregnant, but feeling like you just look fat since there's not an obvious baby bump. You can try on five shirts and fix pants/skirts before heading out before finding one that actually looks ok. It was weird for me, because I wanted to look pregnant, and yet I knew I'd still have months and months of looking pregnant, so I also tried to hold onto my slimmer self as long as possible. It's hard to feel you look good, when you're convinced you look chunky in the tummy.
Ah but when you finally pop out - as I so obviously have - it is wonderful. Strangers are always asking about the baby, little girls look and stare and smile. And me? I love it! I love looking different, because I know it's so short-lived. I don't know if this is the only time the Lord will grace us with a pregnancy, so I am loving it dearly.
Yet truth be told, being so big makes so many things hard that you never give a though to. It's hard for me to feel like I'm the slower and weaker one when I'm out and about. It's harder for me to not try to carry "more than my share." It's hard for me to admit how tired out smaller things make me. It's hard how much a chore things I used to enjoy can seem. I will be glad when shaving is easy and breezy again. I'll be glad when I can saddle up a tree stand quickly and without fear of falling and hurting the baby. So I try to realized these are just annoyances I have to put up with for the next few weeks, and to not obsess about them.
Sometime around 27 weeks, I read the Bradley book about childbirth/labor. I learned the processes my body should go through to (normally) deliver this baby. I had been praying a long time for a release from fear and complete trust in God over this child. Sometime around now, I got it. I finally trusted my body that it would do what it was created to, on time, correctly. I did not fear it betraying me anymore, as I felt it had betrayed me with my infertility and with my miscarriage. My body was not viewed as "the enemy" anymore to this baby's life. It was helping the baby thrive and live and God had created it to do a certain thing, and He was enabling it. So fear left me. And with it came a great release.
And the very best of the best of the best part of being pregnant, the part I wish was always there: feeling the baby move! I live for each twist and turn and kick and hiccup and sommersault that Baby Girl does. It is my delight. I could press my hand to my stomach all day, or watch it as it jumps around. It's the most wonderful thing about pregnancy, without a doubt!
I don't know how these next 5 weeks will play out, but I do pray daily for a safe delivery of our daughter, and for labor to go as I desire it to. We shall see, but in the meantime I just trust, and continue to eat healthy, work on the nursery, and do my labor practicing/exercises!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Likewise, I am so so grateful for the burden Jonathan takes on with our household. For example, our car needed fixing again, and I'd taken it in 4-5 times over the time he was deployed, each time researching and calling for price quotes, etc and having to make judgement calls I wasn't comfortable with. Now that he's home, he took it in twice and made all the decisions and it was absolutely no responsibility of mine. What a sweet burden off me, and something I normally would take for granted. We've also been putting the baby's furniture together, making quite a lot of trash. Friday morning he had a huge pile out there for pick-up. I did not have to take out one bit of it (and it was in the 30's cold!). Driving back to NC twice now, the 8 hour drives each way, he has done 100% of the driving except 2 hours I took over because I asked to. So many more things I haven't even thought of, that he just does, and I wouldn't normally give a thought because it never had been my responsibility. He serves as the husband and leader of our family so humbly, diligently, and faithfully, that I just have reason to thank God every day for him, and I hope I try to convey my thankfulness to Jonathan as well.
We had our 11-day post-deployment "honeymoon" trip to New Bern again, and actually visited our families for a few days at the end too. Those first days back together are amazing! I can't describe them but just to say, if you haven't been separated for your husband for more than a month, you wouldn't be able to relate. It's magical and perfect and a honeymoon is the best way to relate to it. You're just so happy to be together! Nothing can upset you, nothing can go "wrong", and every little thing is fun - running to Wal-Mart, cooking a meal, snuggling midday just because you can, driving, on and on and on. I glance over at Jonathan, and my heart melts to look at that face that I find more handsome than any other, butterflies are in my stomach at hearing his step come near, his voice sends happy quivers through me, and I grin all day long just to have him nearby! It is bliss!!!
Jonathan put up the chair rails for Baby Girl's room, installed the chandelier (*sheepish grin* yes, I said chandelier), we put together her dresser, and the changer will be next. Then I just need to find bedding I like (this has been horrible as I can find nothing), and we need to find a rocker/glider/whatever together. Then it's just a matter of arranging it all, and putting everything where it belongs. Then her room will be ready for her arrival!
Speaking of, we have finally now read Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way together (I read it alone first, then we read it together as we sat in a deer stand hunting!). It was good to have us read something with the basic ideas for how I'd like this birth to go. I have some serious issues with the book's agenda and really ancient "references" to studies/research, but the basic approach to labor and birth agree with me. I want to understand exactly what is or should be happening with my body and the baby, I want to keep intervention at the barest minimum, and I do not want to introduce any drugs into my bloodstream and thus (potentially) the baby's. Now anyone who knows our story will know if we were agaisnt medicine as a practice, we would not be pregnant with this baby! But obviously my initial desire was to do everything we could to conceive naturally. The same is true here. I want to do everything I can to have a natural childbirth experience. But it is not my hill to die on! My safety and the baby's are the utmost priority. So, I will blog later about my birth plan, about issues I do not want to "give" on and issues I would, etc.
I could begin another whole post now with all that, but I'll save it for my next update. I know you seasoned mommies out there will have lots of good advise and input for me, which I am Very Happy to receive (even if it's not along my lines of natural childbirth, I welcome your stories).
Monday, November 03, 2008
For what it's worth, I'm craving this fabulous concoction Susi and I made: a Black Forest Kirsch-laced Torte. We made it one of my last few days there, and even managed it for breakfast once (goes incredible with some Cutter's Point coffee laced with real cream). Can anyone tell we have decadent taste????
Friday, October 31, 2008
I have been doing my usual working on organizing and cleaning the house in preparation for his arrival! My big project this time was of course the baby's room... which I've heard requests for picture of! However, I don't want to yet, since it's incomplete! I painted the bottom 3 feet of the walls a light-sagey green and the top part a lilac/lavender purple, but the middle is still in need of a chair rail! It doesn't look good enough to picture yet! Plus, I only have a crib in there so far and the changing table/dresser are arriving this Tuesday. So once Jonathan is home, he'll cut and install the chair rails, and assemble those furniture items, and then I'll take a picture. Sure it won't be done or probably have bedding yet, but it will be more presentable! :) He is so excited to have things to do for her room.
Once I got over my sickness, the pregnancy has gone back to being in a wonderful stage. The 5th and 6th months were just incredible with how fun everything was, and now the 7th month is no exception. I love when Baby Girl moves and pokes and prods me, it's the best feeling in the world. My last appointment my iron was lower than ever (9.2), so I've got to be intentional about eating high-iron foods again. My weight gain is at about 13 lbs, and I am measuring at 26.5 cm at 28 weeks, so pretty good. I passed the glucose screening test, and my blood pressure is still nice and low. I am eager to get a 3rd trimester ultrasound, as I miss seeing the baby and wonder what she'll look like now that she's put some fat on! The great blessing is that Jonathan's never had to miss one yet!
I finally started reading Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way, as I am praying for and planning an unmedicated, natural childbirth with my midwife Jeri and Jonathan as my coaches. I refused to even order it until 24 weeks, and now it seems I have to get on the ball! I am also reading books on babies sleeping habits and such, which is also fun. Lots to learn! My idea is that failing to plan out what J & I desire is planning to fail, and that just winging it isn't our preference. He wants to read with me when he's back.
Anyway, here's my 27 week picture. What is amazing is how much my body has changed since Jonathan last saw me (go see this picture for reference). It will be fun to surprise him, even though he's seen it on webcam, but just for him to see me and Baby Girl in person like this.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
One year ago today, after a grueling 7 hours in the ER, I lost my very first baby. My very first hard worked-for child. Jonathan's and my first fruits of our love. It was a day I never ever anticipated living through. While I did not expect to have trouble conceiving, that's something that gradually dawns on you and month by month the acceptance of it comes. But to have never walked with a family member or close friend through a miscarriage basically left me blind-sided completely by the event. I'd heard of them, certainly, but they were something that happened to other people. And then there we were, having lost our own precious one and suddenly left with endlessly unfurling emotions and questions galore.
That child had been prayed for so very hard by us, by our family members, by all 3 of our small groups we'd gone through while trying to conceive, and by more church friends that I can even count. That baby was after 26 months of trying, after multiple medicated cycles, and finally by our first try at in-vitro. We hadn't even really expected it to work. So when it did, the idea of losing the baby was too unbelievable for us to even prepare for.
That day, we both grew into adults. We'd always felt somewhat like giddy teenagers with how blissful and happy our marriage and life was. Even the hard times. Ah, but now we had a precious child in heaven. We were grown-ups. And because Jonathan and I believe in absolutely being genuine in our faith, that means that the next many, many months were spent with a lot of questioning God's goodness, His part in answering our prayers, His part in conception or barrenness, His plans versus living in a fallen/evil world... We did not shy away from asking what can be faith-shaking questions. Because we did believe that if the faith we call Christianity is worth anything, then it is not intimidated or shaken by an earthly person's doubts. Christ does not shush and and tell us we "don't understand" or He doesn't scold for our frail humanity and limited perspective. Often He answers the very way He did Job: He reveals His nature and His Being, and seeing Who God is overwhelms us to the point where we realize our questioning doesn't always make sense because we don't grasp the vastness of God and the universe. Anyway....
We did walk through our most difficult trial in our lives up to this point. The most excrutiating and painful one we'd experienced. And we would reached different places emotionally on the journey, but at one point, there was such an immense emotional Oneness between Jonathan and me, I've never experienced that in our marriage. We were down at our very lowest, and most unsure, but we were there together. And then God had Jonathan deployed, and separately He started to mend my heart and give me a chance to try to trust Him again. He gave me peace with the question "Is God good?" Jonathan had to come home and work through everything on a different time-table as me then, but we both have been working together on a renewed understanding of it all.
I was so scared and doubtful going into IVF #2. That's why I didn't blog or call almost anyone about it. I had no idea what would happen. And when we did get pregnant, and the pregnancy was progressing, we just kept on holding our breath, waiting for something "bad". And it didn't come. And we realized we had to stop waiting and just had to thank God and open our hearts again and be vulnerable enough to, yes, even be hurt again. So far, the Lord has preserved this precious girl's life, and we have never stopped marveling and thanking Him.
But we still have a wound that will always be there, in our hearts, and especially ingrained on my mind, of our precious little lamb that went to be with Jesus last October 13th. I miss that child, as the knowledge of it reminds me occasionally. Like getting a card from Gerber in the mail talking about "your 4 month old". There are songs I heard right after the miscarriage, that will come on unexpectedly and reduce me to tears at the emotional recollection. And then I will touch my very-round belly and I will praise the Lord for the kindness of a child in me right now.
Do we know why we have had to walk this path? No. Are we willing to keep trusting God for the next steps in our lives? Yes. Are we perfect and fearless? No. But will we be vulnerable enough to allow the joy and the pain in? Yes.
And somewhere, I hope and pray I may use the consolation I received to be a shoulder to others and a hand reaching into their darkest days to say "I love you, I have been there, let me just be with you as you grieve."
We miss you little first child of ours. You are always our precious one. May you be worshipping Jesus and fully happy in His presence. We will meet you one day.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Then, I had 4 days where my family was out of town, that I spend visiting my in-laws, my brother & his new wife, and my sister with her husband and 2 girls. I actualy stayed with them (Seth & Karen) those 3 nights. I had eaaaarly mornings and laaaate nights. I took over my sister's Sunday school class, and I visited with my grandfather, which was so wonderful. All the visiting around was pretty perfect, getting quality time with each. Karen's girls are so cute about my being pregnant, especially Shiona is. They love my stomach, and I'll tell them things about what the baby is doing and that she can hear and respond to outside noise/stimulation (like a nudge) and they loved talking to my stomach, and Shiona would kiss it randomly all the time! It was very precious. And I guess they found out they'll have their own new little sibling come this June. :)
Anyway, what do you think all that husting and bustling and working full time got me? Yeah, sick! I get sick maybe once a year! Jonathan & I stay really healthy (Praise God). So I hated when I started coming down with it. I tired to take it easy Wednesday, but Thursday went to the NC State Fair that evening, and boy I paid for it. I could hardly enjoy it & came home early. The next day? Fever, chills, achiness, headache, bleh. I slept almost all Friday, ate only a bowl of soup, but felt like I was drinking all the time. Saturday was the day I'd planned on leaving for GA. No way I could do that. I couldn't keep the fever away without tylenol anyway. So Saturday was the same thing, sleep and soup and lots of liquids... I made it up for a few hours at a time that day, so figured if I progressed, Sunday should be ok. Dad had actually insisted my youngest brother Noah go back with me home (Dad was concerned about car trouble), and he bought Noah a one-way ticket back on Tuesday. So, Sunday morning I was better. Noah and I made the drive back, with altering drivers every 2 hours or so. Even though there was no car touble, Dad really heard God on getting that squared away, because I couldn't have done that drive alone. Just those 3-4 I took brought my fever back (it was low-grade, always, btw).
I wanted to get back for my dr's appointment today, which had already been rescheduled/pushed out by 5 days! My sickess really had me worrying about the baby, especially since I've had a LOT of pain and tightness in my absomen lately (as in, I can't walk upright at times, and grab my stomach often just to help ease the pain). So I made it in, and everything with her looked fine, although I had only gained 1 lb in almost 5 weeks (I know I lost it being sick) and was dehydrated, and some other things. Leftovers from being sick. I check back in a week so see how things look.
So that's where I've been! I'm not even unpacked yet, and barely have the energy to do anything like that yet, but slowly over the next few days I expect to return to normal and get all caught up... which will mean pictures! I also have a post from October 13th that I never finished writing, because that was exactly one year from when we lost our first child. I have SO much to say on that, and won't let it pass unnoticed. But that'll be for a little later too. I'm catching up on your blogs, so if I haven't commented in a few weeks, you know why!
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
She moves around all the time now. Pretty much every hour I feel movement, and she loves being very active midday and late at night! My brothers saw her moving the other night, all Ihad to do was hold my shirt close and it would jump out all over the place. It was really cute.
I also went from those in-the-know asking "You're really pregnant?" to complete strangers asking when I was due and if this was my first. Baby Girl is undeniably obvious now. It's everything I though it would be in the fun aspect of it. It's a ton more pain than I expected, but it's getting better. I had real sharp right-rib pains that I eventually resorted to ace bandage a few hours a day to fix, and it's been so much better. The round ligament pain that's been there since week 13 got very intense, but leveled off. So all in all, nothing big. And Baby Girl is safe and well, so that's all I care for. I will go through any pain to keep her safe and healthy.
Jonathan is still deployed, but we are now a little over halfway through with this deployment! It's been rough, I have to say, being separated. But God is carrying us through. Having vibrant relationships, renewed in committment in our hearts, has done amazing things to strengthen us and help us grasp purpose in what would be an easy situation to flounder in. But we will be sooo glad when it's the end of October, we have a coming-home date, and we're almost there.
I'm actually in Chicago on a business trip this week, but am then in NC with my family until October 12th at least. Then I hope to pass through Charlotte - anyone free that week??? :)
Here's my week 23 belly shot. I have my camera but no way to get the pictures off of today's shot. But I look just like that.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I realized I haven't said very much about my feelings in this pregnancy, just had the fun little updates. But I guess I feel like writing them now.
This pregnancy has really been amazing to us... Amazing that it happened, first off. I had no idea what to expect, and I didn't have nearly the optisim going through IVF the second time as I did the first. When we found out, and I went to show Jonathan that positive test, I was happy and scared. His first reaction (as far as I recall): let's call our parents and ask them to pray. We were scared, we'd done this once and so didn't want to lose this baby too. It's weird to call your parents to tell them you're pregnant, but not to be able to really be excited about it (or to allow them to be). But it just was. Those first few weeks were so tenuous. I worried every time I had a strange feeling, every time I went to the bathroom, and especially until I got that first ultrasound. Even getting it and seeing a heartbeat at 6wk, I wondered how long it might last. We prayed a lot, and kinda just held our breath. We told a few close people about it, but never really made any "announcement" like the first time.
For my own mental well-being, we purchased a Doppler online at ~9 weeks. It has been the best $100 we have ever spent. Every time I've lain down to listen to the baby's heartbeat, getting that reassuring sound in the 160 range always brings a smile to my face and peace to my heart. I love it!!! Now the baby moves a lot, so I don't use it nearly as often. But still, when it's 4 weeks between appointments, it was so important to have.
Jonathan and I really reached a crucible when we went to the 13 week NT scan. When we looked on the ultrasound screen, we saw the form of a baby! This child we'd been aching for, praying for, worrying over, it now had the features of a real baby, not a little bean anymore. It touched us so much and created an even deeper attachment to the baby. We were so moved and mezmorized. And we realized if losing the other baby at 6w5d when we'd never even gotten to see it on ultrasound, and this one we had with us twice as long and had seen 3 times, what kind of devastation would losing this one be? It was scary to contemplate.
We'd been in kind-of a holding pattern since IVF started, spiritually speaking. We prayed a lot, but we didn't know if God was hearing us. We were afraid there were more trials ahead, and we didn't know how we would hold up, that first one was so painful. But as the pregnancy progressed, and the baby kept growing faithfully, we had to face a reality: we could not stay in a spiritual hibernation, just waiting for the baby's birth or for something bad to happen. We spent lots of time praying, talking to one another, and asking God to restore our desire for Him. We knew we were't desiring Him in the way we should, but that's not something you can manufacture. The Holy Spirit must enliven your heart. We invited him in, with tears we plead for new hearts to trust Him and progress again spiritually. And God answered. He really, really did. It was just over a week before Jonathan left, but God did do that. And with us being apart, we are using this time to seek Him indivudually and work on putting Him first in our days, and going to Him first with our needs. I think the timing of the separation was fore-ordained by Him to solidify our reliance on Him.
So, that said, we have had to take down the guards we'd placed all around our hearts and minds. We have had to just open up, thank God for the baby, and pray with faith that come January we'll have a baby in our home. We've had to live with faith too: buying a crib, painting a nursery, buying baby clothes. After we'd lost the first baby, sometimes those things we'd done or said in expectation just cut deeper into the hurt, and so you're left really afraid to do anything you'll have to un-do later. But eventually, it's a part of the progression of hope and expectation and faith. So, we are moving forward. It still takes my breath away at times when I think of the future, when I have a fear come into my heart. But, little by little I pray to overcome those and just live with faith.
Those are just some of the myriad of thoughts and experiences we've had throughout this pregnancy. We still have quite a few weeks/months ahead of us, but for now we rejoice and praise God again and again for what He has done, and what He is doing, and we pray for the child's heath and life to be sustained all the way to birth.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
I spent my first weekend alone here by leaving and not being alone. My sister Crystal is in school outside of Chattanooga, just a little over a 4 hour drive. While the drive up was really painful on my back (my new symptom), it was SO good to be with Crystal! We did a lot of things together, and enjoyed each other's company a lot. So much so, that instead of leaving on Sunday I left on Monday. Crystal was very hospitable in her new apartment she's sharing with 3 other girls, and the body pillow she had convinced me that buying one would put an end to my back aches. And it has, so much! $8.88 at Wal-Mart, too.
Jonathan is doing well. He has been strong when I needed, and I've been strong when he's needed. The webcamming is tremendous! He starts flying every other day today, which is a good thing for his morale and schedule. He flies for 12 hours, but with all the prep and debriefing involved, it's more like 15 hours of time involved. Then he has to sleep, so it easily makes a day pass away for him (as easy as can be). I mailed my first package off to him yesterday, which I will be grateful to reach him in about a week. He got my first letter yesterday, and considering I sent it last Wednesday and the holiday weekend, that isn't so bad. I have written him personal letters every day except one so far.
And now, I have a friend to babysit for tonight, and I have my soon-to-be brother-in-law's graduation fro Army basic training to go to tomorrow. I need to get there at 8:00am, and it should be a 2 hr drive, so I have an early morning ahead of me. While I don't relish the busyness, it can help at times.
Thank you all for your love, prayers, support, and comments. It helps so much to be surrounded by friends, through calls, visits, emails, and blog comments! Here are Crystal and I enjoying the weekend.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
We had such a precious thing happen with Baby Girl before he was deployed. When I first started feelings flutters I could identify in the 15 week mark, I told Jonathan. He then replied, "I can't wait to feel them myself before I deploy." I basically let him know this was near to impossible, as at the time they were so tiny and almost unfeelable, and only by me because they were hitting organs and parts inside. We never said another word about it. Then the morning he was to leave, we were lieing down on the couch and I had my shirt up to show my belly. We were just laying together and talking, when I felt a sharp kick in my left upper-belly. I realized it as a swift kick. I pointed it out to him and Baby Girl gave two sharp visible kicks right after. It was truly amazing. It was as if she were just saying her little good-bye to her Daddy. I couldn't belive it. I have not seen a kick since then, though I have felt them at times, so that stands out as something really special for him.
We have been really surprised and our spirits so lifted at our ability to webcam where he is!!! Last time internet there was really restircted and difficult to obtain for long at all. Now? There are a few different public areas with wi-fi, so we have been able to webcam every day he's not been flying. We even got 2 hours one day, plus our daily emails!!! So that is a kindness of the Lord we never thought really possible. It has lifted our spirits more than words could express by having face-to-face unhurried conversations. Last time, we just got 15 minute calls every other day or so, and believe me, when you try to put 2 days worth of our lives into 15 minutes, you just end up putting on a brave face and keeping it rather surface because you just want to keep your spirits up. We ended up with much deeper communication though email, which was fine, but we missed that real-time conversation. What a blessing skype has been!
As we speak, I am in Tennessee, 4 hours from my house, staying in my sister Crystal's apartment/dorm here at Lee University. It's an easy drive for me, and I wanted to visit her (I did that last time too). It's been SO good being with a family member, and she always makes me feel welcome. I was going to leave today (Sunday), but she really wanted me another day, and there's no reason I can't work here while she goes to school tomorrow, if just to give us more time together.
So for now I'll close this out with a cute picture I took at 18 weeks. I haven't gotten a 19 week belly shot in, but Baby Girl has had a growth spurt, or just really moved to the front of my belly now. Days ago I could lie down and my stomach was flat so you couldn't tell I was pregnant. All of a sudden she moved and there's no losing the belly now. :)
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
We had some of the most precious moments leading up to this separation. I can't even being to describe them, as they defy even words to adequately express them. And we know this is so hard only because we have found in each other the very depths of Love and Oneness that many others only dream about. The heights of joy go hand in hand with the depths of pain at times.
So for my benefit, here are a few of our precious last times together. Here is also my 18 week belly shot. I'll include a head shot at 19 weeks. I look a lot bigger with maternity-type clothes on than the shot I took below.
Picnic last week....
The last dinner out
Before we leave the house - all too reminiscient of January...
18 wk belly
Friday, August 22, 2008
I am all done with morning sickness, and the nausea just comes and goes every now and then. I can eat whatever I want that I did not develop an aversion to. At my 16 week appointment they told me my hemoglobin had gotten worse (from a 10.4 at 11 weeks to 9.3 at 16 weeks). They told me to really try hard to research and eat iron rich foods (I'd been on an iron Rx since 11 weeks). I hadn't felt any symptoms of anemia, but then 3 days ago it just hit. Rollnig over on the couch at night seemed like too much effort. Unfortunately, decreased appetite is a side-effect of anemia, so it doesn't help when you Really need to eat and just don't have any interest. But Jonathan and I researched it out, and went to the store and he spared no expense putting things into the cart that were iron rich. Lots of red meat, lots of dark green leafy veggies, lots of o.j. and citrus to help the iron absorbtion, and lots of cereal fortified with 100% RDA of iron. While I haven't felt the affects yet, in just 10 days my iron now is at a 10.2! So I've got to keep it up, along with the liquid chlorophyll I've been drinking. I was ready to ask for the injectable iron the doctor spoke of, but it looks like I might not need it (yet). Anything to stay healthy!
I have steadily gained 2lb every 4 weeks since my initial 7wk appointment, which puts me at a 6 lb weight gain so far. I am showing, but just not a lot (picture in next post, promise!). When I mention I'm expecting, everyone looks so shocked at how "far" I am (to them). It's all new to me, but I feel healthy so I feel good! For now, I'm going to just post pictures of little girl!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I do not have any really fun trips flying out to anywhere while he's gone. No Seattle. :( But I will visit my family for 3-4 weeks in September/October. My sister-in-law is getting married October 11th and I get the honor and priviledge of making her cake (we hope that date works, her fiancee is in Army basic training and we're all praying for time off to get married - Susi, remember how fun that was to plan around?)!!! So I'll need plenty of prep time at my parents' to get the cake pans, rent the stand, buy boxes and decorating tips and clear vanilla and all that extra fun stuff. An autumn wedding should be lovely!
I do get the pleasure of working on the nursey while Jonathan is gone. Jonathan's brothers were here for a weekend (fishing and beach time at Savannah!) and they helped him move my office stuff into the 2nd guest bedroom/hunting room. The old-office is the smallest room in our home (though plenty big), it's the closest to our bedroom, and located exactly where I want the nursery to be. Now the office is in the room with the bunk beds and Jonathan's hunting stuff. Our two guest rooms are in a separate nook of the house with a bathroom over there too, so when guests stay they really have complete privacy. Making the nursery on that side of the house just didn't make sense. We shall see how it works. We have decided on a Beatrix Potter-Peter Rabbit color-themed room for the baby if it's a boy. I really don't like themes, but the colors on the wall would be blue and some yellow, and then there would be a few pictures or figurines, but the bedding and curtains would not be themed, just complimentary colors. If it's a girl, I want pink and brown colors and a brocade bedding/accessories (Jonathan doesn't love it, but doesn't mind, I let him pick the shades of pink/brown). We'll see.
The doctors said they'd be happy to do the anatomy scan on August 22nd, right before Jonathan deploys. I'll be 18weeks 2days. They said they'd do it again at 20 weeks if they can't get the anatomy measurements done if it's a bit too early, but they're giving us a chance for Jonathan to be there if the gender can be determined. I'm so grateful for the chance!
We just got back from 9 gloriously relaxing and fun days in Florida in a cabin right on the beach (a private one too practically). We went fishing on a boat one day and that was great fun (I didn't get sick, yay). We spent probably 8 hours ON the beach every day. We cooked a lot together, ate out a few times, and Jonathan surprised me with breakfast in bed one morning! We were so unhurried and blissful, it was really perfect for our purposes. *sighs dreamily*
Lots more to say, but I need to keep this short and sweet. More later....
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Jonathan and I are down to a little over 3 weeks until he deploys (won't get an exact date until right before, just a "window" of time). Hence, our pre-deloyment trip will be starting Saturday for the next 8 days.... to Florida! We've got a lovely beach cabin rented, right on the beach, supposedly on a secluded part of it. Looks terrific, I can't wait. But the whole thing is bittersweet, since the entire purpose is to be together before the 70 day separation again. Makes it hard to really look forward to as it rather signals the Beginning of the End. But we will love it! We lived off of those precious memories we made last time in the mountains.
Little baby will be 15 weeks tomorrow! What a treasure to us. We are so attached to this child already, love it and want to protect it. We praise God for every day of this little one's life. I am grateful all indications are it's growing strong and healthy inside me. It makes all the huge uncomfortableness of pregnancy worth it. The sickness has been better (I'm up to one week without hurling, and I made it home in the airplane without throwing up too). I have even made dinner and packed a lunch for Jonathan the past few days (it was really hard for me not to be "taking care of him" in ways I always have). He has been amazing, though, not minding coming home and my telling him I couldn't cook. One particular morning around 13 weeks I was lieing on the bed after a shower, and felt so bad, and the smell of the shampoo in my wet hair was gagging me. So since I couldn't, he blew my hair dry for me, brushing it out over the side of the bed. He is a rare find. But I am never surprised by his kind, caring, never complaining attitude, he's always been that way: I'm just so grateful for it.
I go in at 16 weeks, and should again at 20 for the big anatomy scan, to check that everything is developing properly with baby's organs and nothing looks amiss. That's when they usually check out the gender too. However, Jonathan will be gone by that time, so my request is to get it a little early so we can perhaps find out the gender together. Baby could thwart us of course. But I'd rather not experience a milestone like that without him. We shall see how that turns out.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
The 4th of July weekend was awesome! My family was still in Vermont so we spent the entire time in NC with Jonathan's family. We are so grateful that our families live about 12 minutes from each other - but it does make holidays rather busy since we choose to split all of them between both families (with the exception of Thanksgiving). It turned out to be really nice that we were just in one place the whole weekend. We did go over to my parents to see Seth & Karen & their girls for a cookout and swimming one evening. The flight (in the 4-seater rented aircraft) did not go over well with my morning sickness, but I survived (how come airsick bags are always missing when you need them?). However, we landed in Charlotte to pick up Jonathan's brother, and since he was still working and we had 1-2 hours to kill, we headed over to my favoritest restaurant - Quaker Steak and Lube! I pigged out on Louisana Lickers & Arizona Ranch wings, so apparently my stomach recovered nicely. J kept saying, "I don't want to see this later." :) He also purchased me my very first maternity clothing - a very touching moment for us to have. (Sorry we didn't call you CLT friends to meet up, we didn't know if we had 30 minutes or 2 hours!)
Not having to go so many places also allowed us to go visit both my grandfather and my grandmother in their respective nursing/assisted living homes. I had not seen them in a few months and was really missing them. Each visit is really, very difficult emotionally, because they change/decline a lot between each visit. My grandfather has Altzheimer's, which regresses with time. Since my last visit my gradmother has had a feeding tube put in and all her teeth removed. They were also separated, as she needed nursing home care and he did not (and insurance only allows you to be treated at a place appropriate to what you need). It was a lot to take in. Jonathan had to remind me over and over as I wept for the memories of who they "used" to be, that this life here on earth is just a shadow, that it's just a little dot in time. Their spirits are made for an eternity in heaven and that's where the only lasting true joy is! That I will meet them again where there is no age and suffering and illness, and we'll worship God together and bow to our Savior. It's hard when you've had such wonderful memories and times here on earth to not selfishly weep for "what was". It's hard to always keep true perspective. Jonathan is so good at reminding me.
And now, on Friday, we head back to NC again. My brother Stuart is finally tieing the knot!!! I am super, incredibly excited for him! This is looking to be a wonderful wedding, and I'm so grateful to see my brother marry a girl we all love so much and who loves him & loves Christ. My father is the best man, my 2 other brothers are groomsmen, and my brother-in-law is a groomsmen. You can tell we're a really tight-knit family, because none of these choices are out of obligation, it's a personal decision. :) They're headed to Prince Edward Island for a 10 day honeymoon, which sounds fabulous!
Se without further adieu, here's our little 13-week-old baby. I'll have lots of updates and pictures after this weekend!!!
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
This was our Father's Day picnic! We've done this in the past too. We get near the falls, spread out blankets, and serve up sandwiches, fruit, chips, olives, and (of course) cheese and crackers. Dad loves sitting/laying down and listening to the peaceful sound of the waterfalls. We wade around too, but it was rather chilly.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Friday, June 06, 2008
Well... we went in Wednesday for the 7 week appointment. I was scared the baby might not be alive. Afterall, I'd had two cramps the evening before, and cramps send me into panic mode.
Ah, but no.... I caught the little "flashing" on the screen. Baby measuring 7weeks 0days (exactly what it should be). Heart rate 140. Wow. Could we be this fortunate?
After the ultrasound I had to have the regular OB first timers visit. It was weird! Most of the conversation with the midwife was about the nuchal fold test & triple screen, delivery options, forming a birth plan, and how good I'd feel in the 2nd trimester. I kept sitting there, wanting to interrupt her, telling her it was too early to talk about this. That she should save her time until it's certain I get that far. I know, that's terrible. But I do not take even one day of this baby's life for granted that it'll go on. The conversation was just so unexpected. Even Jonathan agreed to how weird it was. We assumed with pregnancy #1 = baby. This time, no such assumptions. Every day a blessing, a milestone, an accomplishment, a relief.
I have to wait 4 weeks to go in again. Booooooooooo. Then they'll try to hear the heartbeat with the doppler. If they don't get it, we'll do an ultrasound. She did tell me if I started to get too worried/paniced, they'd gladly have me come in earlier to do an ultrasound. It's reassuring I have her blessing on that, because I honestly can't see waiting a month and not going crazy.
And lastly.... just a little remembrance. Without any difference than any other day, June 3rd came and went. Our first baby's due date. That thought is sad, but being pregnant right now at least gives me a new perspective and some hope for anothe child. I try to focus on the possibilities ahead of me, while remembering what we've been through to get here. I miss that child not being in our life right now, but I am grateful to have renewed hope beating away inside me. I'm grateful God has given us Life for now. So very very grateful.
Monday, June 02, 2008
Anyway, it's been so hard enjoying anything about this pregnancy as I have so worried about losing this one too. I kept thinking if I got to certain milestones, I'd stop fearing. Apparently fear is always there. It's a daily battle. Hourly at times. But I keep fighting. Praying. Asking for help.
I'm overwhelmed by all your love (not surprised, just overwhelmed). I appreciate ANY of the continued prayers - we feel so in need of them for this to keep progressing and this baby to grow. Literally. Thank you so much.
One more day until the 7 week ultrasound, where I can get the heartbeat measured, and we can determine growth accomplished since last week. Praying so hard it's good news.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Plus more prayer, fasting, weeping, seeking Biblical wisdom and counsel, heart searching, and fervor than anyone not in our situation can know......