August 23, 2015

A weight


Being pregnant after so many years of waiting and longing, it is a strange sensation....one I don't know quite how to explain. You want to be excited for yourself, you want to start planning and dreaming. Yet, your heart feels guarded and reserved not wanting to be hurt again. For so many years, every mention of baby sent your heart into aches, left you broken and raw on the floor wondering when you might be put back together again. Seeing friends hurt, seeing family hurt. Reading every announcement and bump-date felt like open heart surgery.

Then you get pregnant. You want it to feel real, but at times it doesn't because for so long it was just a hope that wasn't yours to have. You want it to feel real, but are afraid that if it is real there is still the possibility that it will be taken away again. You want to celebrate, you want to post pictures and share and over share with people, but you worry continually about the deep ache it may cause others. You find yourself in this world of joy, but knowing your growing bump causes others pain.

I have been there. I know what it feels like to ache to cry out and month after month feel no answers. I know what it has meant to give up my own dreams for a child and relinquish them into God's hands not knowing if that dream would ever get to be a reality.

And for that, I know this child, my child, is not my own. It is a pure gift from God, mine on loan from Him for whatever time He gives us. This child is redeeming parts of me that were broken and completely closed off. This child has allowed joy to creep back into those darkened places. This child has given me glimpses of God, His undying love and His pure joy over someone as small and insignificant as me.

And while the struggle is gone right now, it isn't. It is still there, a weight deep in my heart knowing what it felt like to wade through infertility and loss. It still creeps in, still feels like a label I must wear. I get it. I get you! I wonder at times if it will ever truly go away, something that has been a part of your life for what felt like ages. I hope that those lessons never go away. I hope that my heart is always compassionate to other's struggle because deep down every one is going through something, be it infertility or some other ailment or loss. My heart still breaks for those in the midst of this journey. It breaks each time I post something about my pregnancy. It breaks continually. Know that I love each of you, that I pray for you, I am here for you always.

August 5, 2015

1st Trimester Recap



Hey sweet little bebe,

Growing a baby is the most amazing experience, seeing you come from just a tiny little egg to now being 3 inches long. All your body systems have already been formed and you are starting to look less like a little dinosaur with a tail or a duck with webbed feet and more like a little human. On your first ultrasound you looked like a little gummy bear, with little stumpy arms, but now you have distinct arms and fingers and they can even bend and move. They say you are kicking up a storm, but I just can’t feel it yet. 

Like through our season of infertility, God just continues to teach me daily that He is in control, that I must trust Him fully. With each ache, spot, worry, I must commit it back to Him and trust that whatever happens this pregnancy, that, “God works all things together for the good of those who love Him.” Pregnancy is a foreign landscape for me, nothing feels normal or the same day to day. That means each day is a chance for God to reign supreme. 

I never knew that the first trimester of pregnancy would be so physically hard on mommy. I truly want to feel blessed and excited because we have waited and prayed for so long for you. You are the answer to our prayers. I know I am blessed with a relatively easy first trimester because I know some women have it much harder, but growing a baby is exhausting work especially when you work 50 hours a week. 

Primary Symptoms: Exhaustion and breast sensitivity/growth starting day 1. queasy starting week 5, vomitting starting week 7, cramping through week 8/9
Total Vomit Count: 10
Weight gain: 6 lbs 
Cravings: No real cravings, but spicy and soups are good. Watermelon (temporary). Many things that are off limits, like deli meat and crazy herbal teas, sound really good. My nose is pretty sensitive to smells, but only in grocery stores and to my “grape” laundry softener. 
Total Ultrasounds/MD Appointments: 2 
Heartbeat: 160 BPM 
Crazy Dreams: Massive snake on the land and insurmountable gate, detective being framed for a mass murder at a lakeside (Gatsby style) mansion 
Total Work Trips: CA and FL, local conference 
Commons questions: How far along are you/when are you due? Are you going to find out the gender? How are you feeling? 
Funniest Moment: On our anniversary, I woke up and started eating my snack ASAP to ensure I didn’t get sick. Marc gently came over and wished me happy anniversary because I had clearly forgotten while stuffing my face with food. OR, we were walking the dog and I was cleaning up a very stinky mess. I went into a gagging coughing fit and was laughing hysterically. When I saw Marc’s face he was petrified as people were watching the scene from the greenbelt and their back porch. Pregnancy is glamorous my friends. 

Despite the symptoms, despite the worry my heart has felt throughout these last 3 months, we have seen God continue to show up and show off throughout this trimester. God is the worker of miracles and His timing and His ways are always so much sweeter. 

Ways I have seen God show up this trimester:
  1. Hearing your heartbeat twice and being given an EDD of Peyton’s loss week
  2. Hardly having to travel at all during my first trimester, only during the first few weeks (before I ever knew)
  3. Worship during bathroom breaks after spotting scares
  4. Peace that passes all understanding, low stress in a stressful time of life, finances and work
  5. His timing, not ours. Did not expect it at all, crazy point in life/debt but know this is his will 
  6. Not having to be super pregnant over the summer since we don’t have AC

We are truly blessed beyond what we can even comprehend right now. I am looking forward to gaining back some energy and less nausea in this upcoming trimester. I know that over the course of the next 3 months, you are going to make leaps and bounds of growth and development. My belly is just starting to really stick out, especially at night, and we get little glimpses of what a miracle you are. Daddy can even see you now. I am so looking forward to this next trimester when I can actually begin feeling you move. 

We love you sweetie, Mommy 


July 30, 2015

Baby No. 2 - Coming Feb 2016!


Over four years ago, Marc and I started along a journey with God, a journey that has taken us through the wilderness of infertility and loss. A journey that has brought us closer to the foot of the cross and breathing in the glory of His grace enough to help us get through each and every day. And in the midst of what has felt many times chaotic and messy, God weaves the best stories. God redeems what was once broken and paints a masterpiece that shouts “God did this! God is so good!” 

We are so blessed to announce that after 4 years, Marc and I are pregnant with a huge miracle and guys, it is all God. Little Baby {L} coming in February 2016, 3 years to the date that we lost our first baby. Gladness in the face of pain, glory in what was broken because when we are weak, then He is strong. 

Thank you to each and every one of you that has walked this journey alongside us. We did not go along this road alone. Thank you for your prayers and support each step of the way. And for my dear friends still wading through this wilderness, hold on to the promise that God isn’t finished yet. He is writing your story and His plans and purposes are so much bigger and so much better than we could ever hope and dream. We continue to pray for you and cannot wait to see God’s finished novel. Love you all! 

July 23, 2015

Pregnancy - Week 11 & Start of Nursery Ideas



Week 11, one week closer to our next little view of our growing peanut. I can count down the days until I hopefully get the chance to hear your sweet heart pitter-pattering away and maybe get a glimpse at your ever growing body. This week you are about 1 1/2 inches long and your body is almost completely formed! Even some of your bones are starting to become harder. You are being wonderfully knit inside of my womb, every little part of you is precious and loved.

As I opened my email this week, I was told by my Baby Center app that,
"If you're like most women, you're feeling a bit more energetic now and your nausea may be starting to wane. Unfortunately, you may also be suffering from constipation (caused by hormonal changes, which can slow digestion) and heartburn (hormones again, relaxing the valve between your stomach and esophagus). Just remember, all this discomfort is for a good cause." - Baby Center, Week 11
I feel like this description is almost spot on to what week 11 has brought. After almost a week and a half of relatively little symptoms, week 11 has brought back the nausea even as late as lunch time. I have started to feel winded when I go on a quick walk or run to grab something. I haven't been doing any exercise this pregnancy since I have been so exhausted and was for a few weeks really crampy. Now that my energy is starting to return, I am trying to get better about taking Roxy on daily walks to get some form of movement in. I am also feeling very constipated (TMI, sorry. Metamucil to the rescue!). However, I know that the future will soon be in sight as the 2nd trimester is rapidly approaching.

For the past few weeks, I have been posting more and more baby and nursery ideas, but I am finally starting to dream about what I want things to really look like. Since we won't be finding out if you are a little he or a beautiful she, most everything will be gender neutral to start off with. My plan is for a grey and white nursery, with lots of airy whites. I don't want a dark or dingy colored room. My thought is that the furniture will be a light grey, walls will be mostly white with one wall having grey and white stripes. I think I will bring pops of color (maybe orange or mint) in through the artwork and mobile. I mainly want the bedding staying in the grey, white, black ranges. The only struggle I am having with starting work on a nursery is that first, we are still not that far along so I know I should wait and two, we have no clue if we will still be here in February. I can almost guarantee we won't be living on the land by the time you are here, but our plans for building and moving change daily. So, for now, I will keep planning and dreaming.

Here are some of my inspirations behind my nursery dreams:
found here
On Etsy

See you at the doctor's office next week bebe! We love you peanut. 

July 16, 2015

Pregnancy - Week 9 and 10

Ninth week and especially 10th week have been pretty golden! I finally feel like I have made a little bit of progress this week. This week, most of my symptoms have stayed pretty constant, nothing surprising or horrible. I have learned that if I eat a small snack of fruit/nuts prior to moving out of bed in the morning, my nausea stays minimal for the day. It is so good to have not thrown up in over a week! I also have felt more energy, at least enough to not have to nap over the weekends. Maybe it is because it has been a busy week all factors of life aside, maybe I am just learning this new norm of how I feel. This week we celebrated our 9th anniversary, finally got the water well put in on the land, I served jury duty and Marc has been working tons of overtime.

During my time at jury duty, I got caught up on my reading about baby's progress. This week, baby is now 1 inch long. One inch! That is so incredible. And over the next couple weeks, baby will be growing 1/2 inch per week. Week 10, baby is now the size of a kumquat. By my next doctor's appointment, baby will be a full 2 inches. This week, I feel like my belly is possibly starting to "pop" more. In the morning, it feels suspicious, but by the afternoon there is no denying my bump. I feel like this is probably early to think I am popping out, but I know every woman's body is different and I have a fairly short torso. I know I will look back on these pictures and think, "you thought that was popping?" However, it makes me wonder if I can hold out another 2 weeks or so to tell people at work. I also have been having occasional sharp pains right above my hip bones. They are random, but wondering if this is the start of round ligament pain as my uterus starts to move upward to prepare for baby to go on its little growth spurt. Either way, Marc and I both can physically see that I am pregnant now which makes this all start feeling even more real.

Marc and I celebrated our 9th anniversary this week. It is incredible to think we have been married this long. I am so blessed with Marc and cannot wait to see him become a daddy over this next year. He is such a godly, hardworking man. Marc is starting to talk about this little bebe a lot more and is getting so excited to be a daddy. We can't wait!


July 2, 2015

Pregnancy - Week 8

We made it another week! Week 8 can be summarized as one of the hardest weeks so far and easiest weeks all at once. It was a fantastic week full of telling family and friends, barbecuing out for the 4th of July and time off of work! So far a handful of people know about the little bebe including our immediate families, my best girlfriends, some of our couple friends and some of Marc's coworkers. I have yet to tell work or to make it more official to the rest of the world. Something in me just keeps wanting to wait a little longer.



The start of week 8 continued with vomiting, exhaustion and cramps. I felt really uncomfortable and cramping also making me nervous. My aches also started to move into my head and back, which I believe is probably since my center of gravity is slowly changing and I am holding my body differently based on how clothes are fitting, etc. I have also started using some Burt's Bees body butter to help with those areas that are getting tighter. My acne has also been in full swing this week. My pregnancy glow looks more like a 13 year old who hasn't learned proper hygiene yet.

Week 8 ended with occasional vomiting, although I think I have found a trick. If I eat something first thing in the morning when I get up and don't wait until I am showered and dressed, then my stomach seems a lot less queasy. My nose is also getting more sensitive to smells. I had this vivid smell of grape soda in my brain all day and realized it was the new laundry softener that was in the other room (cap closed, never been opened). Grocery store isles (like cheese, prepared foods) are still pretty strong and brutal. I also have had a spurt of energy the last couple days, which has been very welcome. I can actually stay up until 9:30 pm without napping! Finally, week 8 brought my first pregnancy craving....watermelon! I cannot get enough of it. Overall, week 8 has ended well and I cannot wait to enter into week 9!



This week I started to feel "some mommy guilt" as I was really uncomfortable and generally just not feeling good. I feel so guilty thinking that way, not soaking in every symptom and thinking this is the greatest thing in the world. I don't know what I expected, but I guess different then this. Others make pregnancy look so easy and glamorous! I keep reminding myself how worth it every one of these symptoms will be in the end. I can anticipate the glory of pregnancy will only get better and worse along the way. I know what it is like to be on the other side, wanting to be pregnant and wanting a baby. This is what I have wanted and dreamed of for so long. So this week has been trying to enjoy even the gross or annoying symptoms because in the end I would take it any day. My symptoms could be much worse and I could not be carrying a child right now, and for that I am so grateful. God is so good and keeps putting my mind and stress at ease every step of the way. He has blessed us more than I can comprehend right now, for that I am so thankful.

I swear this smells like grape Kool-aid from rooms away, but not when you open the lid and wash your clothes. Then it just smells like spring flowers. Grapes, people. So good, I just wish my clothes smelled that way too! 

June 29, 2015

Heartbeats of Redemption

Four years ago this May, exactly, Marcus and I started on the long and often painful journey to become parents. Little did we know the time it would take, the patience it would develop, the closeness God was teaching us. Then 2 years ago in February 2013, we suffered a great loss as our first baby, Peyton was taken straight to heaven at about 6 weeks. For each of these four long years, we have wandered through the wilderness of pain and loss, clinging to God's promises, knowing that His timing and His ways are so much more sweet than our own plans.

Today, our story feels complete. I can see the goodness of God in each of those moments of wait, in each of those moments of doubt. Today, we saw that sweet little heartbeat of our second baby. Today, we saw redemption as only God can orchestrate. Today, at 7 weeks and a handful of days, the doctor gave us our estimated due date of early February 2016 (3 years to the date of sweet little Peyton). A time that has been painted with sadness, now is dripping in grace and beauty. It is only God who can write stories like that. His stories and His ways are so much more than we could ever plan ourselves. God writes the best stories.

Today, as Marc and I sat in that doctor's room for our first prenatal appointment, hand in hand upon my chest, we got to see our child's little heart beat fluttering around. Redemption. We got to hear what the doctor called a strong, healthy heartbeat. Redemption. And it takes everything that is within me not to just cry out in utter joy, GOD DID THIS!!!!!! I just want to sing it from the mountain tops.

We are officially half way through with week 7. Baby is about 1.1 cm big from CRL (crown rump length). Right now, our baby looks like a little gummy bear, but we could see arms and legs starting to form. The coolest though was watching the heart beat, actually seeing it move and beat. That had been a prayer for a long time.

Symptoms this week have been all over the board. I had a quick scare of spotting early last week, but it hasn't repeated so I am not sure what that was. I have also had nose bleeds the last few days. I think the biggest symptoms this week remain my extreme fatigue (I took 2 naps a day this weekend) and the nausea. This week, queazy has taken on a whole new level. Actually this morning, I had my first round of complete morning sickness. But I will take each and everyone of these symptoms knowing that it means my baby is healthy and growing, that my hormones are all sorts of wacky for the sole purpose of nourishing my little baby. It is worth it, so worth it.

Other things to note, this week baby came with me on its first work conference. Luckily, it was in town, but it is quite the experience of energy, lack of sleep and tons of fun. I even won and award and had to give a speech in front of 500 people. Also at my appointment, the doctor found a cyst on my right ovary. She believes this is where I ovulated from and it will resolve itself, but they will keep monitoring it. It could be why I was feeling some minor cramping the last few weeks.

Overall, this pregnancy has been going really well so far. We are just so thankful for each day, each moment that we get to have with this little one. Thank you Lord for answered prayers and redemption and restoration of what felt so broken and messy for so many years. We are officially pregnant!



June 19, 2015

Pregnancy - Weeks 5 and 6



We have entered into what I believe is week 6 or 7 (correction weeks 5 and 6). Slowly but surely, my heart is starting to warm up and put down it's guard. I started this period with a vivid dream of our little blonde haired baby learning to breastfeed. It was magical. It was so amazing to actually dream of us with a newborn, most my dreams have always include kids but never babies which always made me wonder if biological babies were ever going to be ours. We are slowly starting to work this new realization into our vocabulary and discussions. We are actually parents, again! As of today, we have officially known we've been pregnant twice as long as I was with Peyton. I still am in so much shock that this is reality right now. I am trying to savor each moment, soak it in and truly enjoy it because I know how quickly it can be taken away.


Part of what makes these weeks feel more real is the fact that pregnancy symptoms are continuing to get stronger as the weeks progress. In around week 5, the uncomfortable bloating and cramping seemed to diminish, but clothes are also fitting much tighter. I am up a full cup size in my bras and by the end of the day I just want to unbutton my pants. I also have noticed if I suck in the belly, it only sucks in right under my ribs but the lower abdomen stays out, like a little bump is starting to actually form. This past week, I also started to develop a head cold. The extra sinus issues added to the way your taste buds are dead when you are sick, ushered in the beginning of feeling queazy. This is a new symptom entirely for me! It is so strange, the current items that cause it to be onset are coughing, brushing my teeth or thinking about being nauseous. Yes, me just thinking about being queazy seems to make me feel it, psychological I don't know. Regardless, I have found that La Croix coconut sparkling water helps tremendously! I have already had a 12 pack in less than a week. Lucky it is calorie, sweetener and sodium free. Apart from occasional nausea, I am starving all the time and love eating right now!


Each of these little symptoms is such a blessing and a huge reminder that our baby is hopefully happy, healthy and growing strong. On 06/08/15, we finally scheduled our first ultrasound and appointment for Monday, 06/29. We only have about 1 more week until we have a better sense on how things are going. I can't wait to see our little baby! I am hoping that after our appointment we can start telling people, I know someone is going to catch on soon and I hate keeping secrets.

Oh my little baby, we love you and continue to pray God's almighty will and power of your little life. All my love, mommy

June 10, 2015

wow


I am completely in awe. This pregnancy, I feel like we are taking things much slower. Rather than the previous immediacy we felt to tell people, start scheduling appointments, reading baby books and really talking about all things baby, we are more mature this time, maybe more reserved. I tried calling my doctor's office but ended up hanging up, somehow I just don't feel the rush. My goal, to stay calm and rested during these early stages. There is too much I could let my mind worry about. And the Lord, He is giving me peace. He is so good.

Tonight as I was just searching online, I read that at 4 weeks, my baby's heart, brain and lungs have already started forming. My baby also has eyes and ears, arms, legs and bones under development. At 4 weeks! That is absolutely amazing! I had no clue these types of development happened so early on and I anticipate we are about 5 weeks or more, which means even more development is starting to happen. God is truly the maker of spectacular miracles. Life, it's a true blessing and completely blows my mind.

June 7, 2015

06.06.15 - Pregnant with Baby #2


June 6th...06.06.15... a day we have been waiting for what feels like decades. After losing Peyton, we had hoped to try and get pregnant again right afterwards, they say in some ways your body is most ready those 3 months immediately after. Then months turn back into years. Our heartache over not having children had slowly started moving into the phase of acceptance, realizing that Marc and I may never get to have biological children on our own, a realization that continued to push us back to the foot of the cross. Our journey to pregnancy and a baby always seems to push me right back to that place, realizing that this journey is far outside my control but oh so capable inside His mighty hand. And so, I enter into this next stage of early pregnancy with some hesitations, guarded because I have seen loss, but rejoicing in God's peace knowing that He already knows every day that this child will live and today, today I get some sweet moments with my baby no. 2 inside my womb, hiding out inside of me, our little secret.


I don't know which symptoms led me to take a pregnancy test that day, but more just a lingering hope. For three weeks (since 05/17), I had felt tender and enlarging breasts. This is the same symptom that tipped me off to Peyton, but since then it has also been deceiving and also indicated impending heavy periods. It wasn't a thought with the severe aversion I had to horseradish sauce when I thought I was dipping my fries in a ranch sauce. It should have been the extreme fatigue that eventually took me to the doctor to check and make sure everything was alright with me. I literally had a week of work (05/25-05/29) where I felt like I could fall asleep at the wheel on my way to work, after what felt like a restful night of sleep. I actually was scaring myself and ended up working from home a couple of days so I didn't hurt anyone. All vials of blood work came back normal, none of them indicating pregnant (although I don't think they tested for HcG). Then there is the fact that all my clothes have been fitting snugger and I broke the button on my favorite skinny jeans. Any and all of those might be indicators of a pregnancy, but when you have prayed and prayed, and hoped for so many years, you may overlook them for fear if the answers say "no".


I found myself in the bathroom that morning, Marc still soundly asleep in the bed. I pulled out a pregnancy strip and started testing. It was a dud, no movement, no colors. I pulled out a second strip and it started working its magic. I gave it what felt like minutes (ok, it was probably only about 20 seconds) and I saw a familiar sight. Only 1 purple line. It was ok, it really was. I had prayed prior to going into that room that the peace of God would guard me regardless of the results on that strip.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Phil 4:6-7
Since test number 1 was defective, I figured, why not try testing it again. So I put the test into the cup and it immediately started working. Odd, but why waste a test? As I watched both tests now side by side, I started to notice something. A faint, very faint second line started to appear. Then that line got darker and darker. About 3 minutes later, there was no denying, I might actually be pregnant.


I waited until Marc started stirring in bed and crawled in. He woke up with a million things on his mind, so I let him sit there and talk, all the while dying to break the news. Finally, I was able to tell him. We prayed, we cried a little. It was simple, but sweet. No elaborate scheme this time, just two adults who have waited so long, simply finding out we may have another chance. Thanking God for another possibility. What a beautiful testimony to His faithfulness, His timing. He is good....all the time. Whether we see the results, or we have to wait years to see them.


"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless....It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect." Psalm 18:30, 32


"Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed."  Isaiah 49:23b