Friday, October 31, 2008

Jonathan's Coming Home & 28 Week Baby Update!

Jonathan and I finally have a coming-home date!!! This Tuesday evening he'll be back in my arms!!!! I am so, so glad - this has been a long deployment! We have spent enough time apart in 2008, we are praying 2009 has a lot less separation for us! Sure it probably will be two Middle East deployments, but in '08 we also had an unaccompanied TDY (that we later found out would have been ok to accompany) and the IVF #2 separation time. The day after he returns, we drive 8 hrs up to my parents' condo in New Bern for a wonderful 10 day blissful reuniting! Nothing to do but just be together.

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

October 13th Entry

This post is a bit old, but I just have to post it. It's surrounding my thoughts and feelings on October 13th...

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

I'm Still Here!

This is to let you guys know I am still around! The last 3 weeks in NC have beeen soooo crazy! Starting with the 5-day prep up to my sister-in-law's wedding... Seriously, I hadn't made a wedding cake in 4 years, and a whole lot of work goes into that! I made 3 small trial-run cakes and iced them, to check out my white cake recipe. It was a good thing too, because one was moist and delicious and the other two were dry and crumbly! The icing is the same I always use, so I was of course thrilled with how that looks and tastes. But I spent Thursday evening, all of Friday (ALL), and Saturday morning on this cake! I'll post pictures in my next entry, which I'll do before the week's up!

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

Happy Viability Day Baby!!!

Believe it or not, my little Baby Girl is now viable outside the womb!!! I have waited sooo long to get to this point. I am speachless and sooooooo grateful! God has kept her growing strong and steady every day, as we faithfully have prayed for every stage in her development. He has been so kind to give us her each day. We are amazed and so happy to be parents to this little one, I can't imagine how much better it will be when we can actually hold her and see her, rather than just feel her and talk to her now.

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.