Thursday, May 25, 2017

16 weeks


How far along are you?: 16 weeks, 3 days. I've started my second trimester and have a little less than 24 weeks to go!

Baby is: The size of a dill pickle, which actually sounds pretty good right now...

Movement: I think there has been some movement! I was just shy of 15 weeks the first time I felt something but assumed it was far too early. But then I continued to feel the same thing for the next few nights around the same time and I'm almost positive it's been baby!

Weight gain: So far, 6 pounds. I was surprised by the number at my 16 week appointment because I spent the first several weeks not eating anything at all, but I guess those Oreos in my cupboard have "helped" with that ;) I'm also starting from a lower weight than I did with both Ezra and Uriah, so going into my second trimester I'm now at my usual weight and my doctor is pleased with "my color" and gain - I think being at 122 pounds was too low for me (my lowest weight has been 121 when Uriah was 6 months old and I was sent to the ER for back pain because my body couldn't handle lugging around all 21 pounds of him. 128 is much more natural for me. Though I will admit, when I was 128 pounds before I was pregnant with Uriah, a significant amount of that was muscle (I could do pull ups!) and that is certainly not the case now!)

Stretch marks?: This might be the only week I leave this question up here because, YES I HAVE STRETCH MARKS! Uriah did a number on my stomach (and then some!) and Ezra only added to the mayhem. Of course I am trying desperately hard not to make my stomach any more horrendous than it already is, but at this point, I don't know that a few extra stripes would even be noticeable.

Maternity clothes?: They are slowly making their way back into my closet. At 14 weeks I lost the ability to button up my jeans... They were my least stretchiest pair with a high waist, but I still felt a little heartbreak when I couldn't quite close the gap. I have one more non-maternity pair of pants hanging in there but for the most part I've accepted the stretch panel. I'm even wearing maternity leggings! Told you - acceptance! Love, even! Leggings can still stretch over the bump pretty easily, but my stomach has been so sensitive this pregnancy that anything tight or laying right across my midline just hurts. Dresses have been a lifesaver for that reason so far, too!

Currently craving: So far this pregnancy my cravings have mirrored my cravings with Ezra, which had me thinking girl for a long time ;) I have been eating a lot of turkey sandwiches and cereal or granola. Not too many sweet things have sounded good to me - ice cream made me sick for the first several weeks and chocolate is only just now making an appearance in my diet. I have occasionally been cravings meats, which is odd for me, and salty things like Thai food and chips. For the most part, once my appetite came back, my meals looked very similar to what they were before, just in larger amounts - I have been eating a lot!

Aversions?: The smell of salsa has made me sick since I was pregnant with Uriah, now the smell of pizza sauce, too. Emptying leftovers is Stephen's job and the occasionally poopy diaper has me gagging but not too much else has made me sick. Not specifically or continually, at least. My aversions have just been showing up at random times to random things.

Sleep: I have gotten up to pee at least once a night every. single. night. since about five weeks pregnant. Other than that, I've been able to sleep pretty well. There was a week or so that I struggled getting back to sleep after coming back from the bathroom, a little bout of pregnancy insomnia, but luckily it didn't last long. I've yet to have any crazy dreams and Stephen has been around most mornings to (lovingly!) get the kids up and going as I take my time waking up. I have been so TIRED this pregnancy!

Feeling: Sore! I think this question is here for the emotional aspect, but I'm going to go ahead and take it literally - I'm feeling sore. My lower back has been hurting for the last few weeks and the thought of it continuing on (and getting worse!) over the next 24 makes me want to cry. I will lay down on the floor to play with the kids and get stuck in a position that I can't move from, tears automatically welling up in my eyes from the pain. Or when I walk or sit or stand or stretch or move just slightly one way or another... It hasn't been fun. Oh and my boobs are sore too. So sore.

Working on: Getting our house ready! We just put the kiddos in bunkbeds to make more room to play, but also because at some point, baby number three will be joining their sleeping porch and we're going to need to make room! I've also been looking into the mini crib we want to get for our room, how to rearrange some extra furniture to be able to put the rocker in our room for the first few months and the dresser I want to replace theirs with. It might seem a little premature, but I've been feeling stressed about getting some of these things done or at least decided on before Stephen leaves for Africa. I feel like I can't do them without his help or input and if I wait until he comes home, that's just two months before the baby is born and that would make everything last minute! So I've felt like I've had to cross a few things off my list before he leaves. I've got one more month! ;)

Thinking about & anticipating: Boy? Girl? Boy?! Girl?! I will be thinking about this and anticipating it and placing my guesses for the next five months! I am so excited that we've decided to wait until the birth to know the gender of this babe but man alive is waiting for that day going to kill me! For the longest time I was convinced it was a girl - I was craving the same things I craved when I was pregnant with Ezra and my sickness was of the same kind and intensity. I even found myself referring to the baby as "she" and "her" without pause or notice. With both Uriah and Ezra, though, I had a "gender revealing dream" and I kept waiting to have one again so I could place my bets off of that. Well, last week, I had it! Or, at least I think I had it ;) I was laying down with Ezra for a nap in our beach tent and I couldn't tell if it was something I had actually dreamt, or just something I day dreamed and imagined myself while trying to fall asleep, but in this "dream" I was holding the baby and I asked Stephen to hand me HIS blanket. Stephen gave me the baby blanket we've already picked out and I took it from him, wrapping it around the sweet little babe in my arms that didn't have a bow on its head. So, now I'm convinced it's a boy.

Recent baby purchase: After our emergency ultrasound at 8 weeks, we went out and bought a baby blanket to celebrate the baby's health. In terms of "stuff", we don't need a whole lot for the babe, girl or boy, but I had been eyeing baby blankets online since we found out we were pregnant. My two take theirs everywhere and I was excited to have another "blankey" in the house. We went with an incredibly soft gray and white striped one from Pottery Barn. Since, I have restrained myself on making any baby purchases. Oh! Except I found a set of organic cotton jammies at Target from the Cat and Jack brand and I just couldn't resist! ;)

What are you most looking forward to?: My answer for this question was "getting to hear the baby's heartbeat at our 16 week appointment!" But that was yesterday and now I feel like I should come up with something new to say ;) It was such a treat to heart that heart, though. At our last appointment, the doctor couldn't locate the heartbeat and I spent three agonizing minutes waiting for a sound to come from the doppler. But there it was, beating away at 152 bpm! Now I'm looking forward to next month and our anatomy ultrasound! It will be so hard to see our babe and not find out the gender! Grateful that we get to do this before Stephen leaves for Africa, though!

Favorite moment this week?: Uriah and I were sitting in the living room together and as he was talking, I felt the baby move. I told him I could feel it moving and that I think it must like the sound of his voice (because baby can hear us now!) He got so excited and sheepish at this idea so I asked if he would tell me a story and I would see if the baby moved at the sound of his voice again. He so sweetly placed his hand on my belly and started to tell me a Uriah original of one of his Uriah the Trapper stories. I felt the baby move two more times while he sat there and told me his story! He was feeling so loved! And he is so excited to be able to feel the baby move himself (just a few more weeks!) I can't wait to share that with him!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

weeks 3-14

I found out I was pregnant at exactly 3 weeks (my due date was moved up a few days several weeks later at our first appointment, but at the time, I thought I was 3 weeks along). With both Uriah and Ezra, I experienced several pregnancy symptoms very early on - with Ezra I had to wait a week to take a test once my symptoms started and that was still five days before my missed period...! So this time around, when I wasn't experiencing my usual symptoms, I wasn't really expecting to be pregnant. Hoping, yes!, but not truly expecting it. But there I was, positive pregnancy test in hand, at just three weeks along...!

I felt great until about week 5, still surprised at this point that I wasn't experiencing symptoms. They came, though, not to worry ;) Those first few weeks were pretty miserable - I was sick from morning until night and I don't think I ate anything other than toast and Saltines for two weeks. I wasn't throwing up, which some might say is a blessing, but I constantly felt like I was about to and wanted to, just to make myself feel better for even a few minutes. There was no escaping it - it would come and go suddenly, staying for various amounts of time. I was exhausted - just doing the laundry lead me to fall asleep on the couch as the kids played around me. Everything was hard. I finally gave in to buying freezer meals for Stephen and the kids because I couldn't stand to be in the kitchen - the sight and smell of food made my stomach feel awful.

We went to Alaska just as I reached 7 weeks and the morning after we arrived I started bleeding. Some spotting is normal, I knew that, but it wasn't just some spotting and it wasn't brown - I was bleeding, bright red blood with several large blood clots. We assumed the worse. It continued for the rest of the morning and I found myself taking notice of every cramp and discomfort and pain. Stephen did his research and it seemed to us both that I was having an inevitable miscarriage - I hadn't lost the baby yet, but would in the next week or so. This was just the start. We looked in to going to the hospital, but couldn't justify the risk of getting stuck with a check for an ultrasound in the ER when there would be nothing they could do, except give us answers. I spotted a little bit on and off for the next few days - every time I went to the bathroom I was expecting the worst. I started to feel better that week - I had a little more energy and a much bigger appetite - which just solidified our fears - I was losing the baby and my symptoms were going away because of it. I cried almost every night and told Stephen I didn't know if I could do it again - be that happy and that miserably sick just to become that sad and that empty. It hurt too much. We were in Alaska for ten days - we spent our entire trip worried and wondering. It was awful.

The day after we got home, on Stephen's birthday, we were able to go in for an emergent ultrasound. There was baby and there was baby's beating heart. The tears came instantly as the relief flooded over me. Stephen said that my reaction would have been the same no matter the results - I was practically convulsing in his arms, sobbing. I had been so mad at God for the week and a half prior - I had so intentionally prayed for this baby and it was so clearly what I wanted, what I had been waiting for, I felt like God was teasing me, dangling a toy in front of a baby just to pull it away as they reach for it. I know God doesn't work that way and he doesn't cause these things to happen, but I had been so scared and so angry. Part of my response to finding out baby was ok was guilt that I had treated my loving God so unfairly. I hadn't trusted.

Since returning from Alaska, I had been feeling sick again (I think all the opportunity to rest there really did my body good! I had someone taking care of me and my family and the ease of it showed in the lack of my symptoms) My sickness was slowly waning from all day to just starting in the afternoon, right around 3 when my kids wake up from their nap, of course ;) I still couldn't eat dinner but was eventually able to cook it. When I hit week 10 I felt like I could see the light at the end of the tunnel - I wasn't back to "normal" by any means, but it was coming. But then I hit 12 weeks and felt like that light was still just as far away, a mirage in the desert. Mostly in the afternoon and evening, and right when I woke up in the morning - I just didn't feel good! My stomach hurt, it was actually painful!, and nothing ever settled quite right. Plus I'd been constipated for 7 weeks, so there's that...

At my 12 weeks appointment I brought the kids, knowing it was just a quick heartbeat check. He put the doppler to my stomach and... nothing. For three agonizing minutes he moved the doppler around and around but there was no heartbeat. I started to panic. You always worry that there won't be a heartbeat but I had never actually pictured it happening. What was I going to tell the kids? What was I going to do? Why, God, why?! He pulled out the ultrasound machine and right away, there was baby. Before he had a chance to do anything I asked, "the heartbeat?" He kept it still and steady for almost a solid minute so I could just stare at it, beating away at 150 bpm. Again, that flood of relief washed over me. Thank you Lord. We wouldn't have gotten an ultrasound otherwise so it was really fun that the kids got to see the baby - it was moving all around and very distinctly waved at us, which had Uriah thrilled - he's convinced it's a boy because it was clearly a boy's hand ;)

And now, at 14 weeks, the light is (finally!) much closer. I am able to make it though the day without feeling sick until 7 or 8 pm, and I still require a nap, or at least a decent rest, around mid afternoon. At this point, I'm really looking forward to my second trimester and praying my energy stays up and my sickness stays away while Stephen is gone for the summer!

- - - -

Just days after we found out I was pregnant, my mom came to town and Stephen and I were able to escape for a date night. I tried not to talk about all things baby but I don't know how well I succeeded ;) By the end of the night we had decided not to find out the gender of this baby. We've always loved the idea of the reveal at birth - I just picture it making that moment so much more meaningful and magical! But I'm a planner, very much a planner!, and was always too impatient to wait. Having one of each already means we're prepared with "stuff", and though we doubt it will be, there's a chance this could be our last baby so really, we're in the perfect situation to not find out...! Stephen was much more on board than I was so he made me shake on it, which I did! In the car, screaming and almost crying, I shook hands that we would wait to find out the gender... Ahh! Yay!

- - - -

After we had our emergency ultrasound, and a few days later my scheduled 8 week appointment, I felt like we had been given the ok to tell the kids. We held out for a few more weeks, just in case - that wasn't a conversation I felt ready, at least emotionally, to have with the kids - but knew we had to tell them before my 12 week appointment because they had to come with me. I think we made it to week 10 before telling them, though how Uriah didn't pick up on it before I don't know. We talked about it right under his nose and all our friends and family knew. Stephen didn't want to just tell them, he wanted to make it a bigger deal than that and have a little bit of a lead up to get them excited. So we told them we had something to tell them and we'd written it out on a piece of paper with a clue, but they had to find it first. So we sent them on a scavenger hunt around the house. My parents had done this with our Christmas present and he loved it so I knew it would be a hit. At the end of the hunt they found their final note sitting on top of a baby blanket with a picture from our ultrasound. Once the note was read and we explained it all to them (Ezra at this point had given up and was off playing DinoTrux) Uriah said, in response to me saying I have a baby in my belly, "no you don't." He didn't believe us! Most likely because I wasn't showing at the time, but he was very skeptical and lost interest after a couple of minutes. Slowly, though, he started to ask more questions and after a few days, he was constantly commenting on it and boldly stating his desire for a brother! Ezra will repeat Uriah and randomly declare, "You have baby in your tummy!" but she has no idea what's coming ;)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Positive

February 23, 2017

At our little Safeway, for whatever reason, they keep the pregnancy tests locked up behind the customer service counter. I was standing in line, waiting while my groceries were being bagged, pleading with Ezra it sit down, telling Uriah every seven seconds to not touch that (whatever that was) and I could see them across the aisle staring at me, all locked up, like they wanted out and were just begging for me to come free them. But... Was it worth the extra stop? My kids were so ready to go and I already put my card away... Plus I feel so stupid having to ask permission to by a pregnancy test, I mean, what is that about? Would I be back to Safeway before Monday, the day I should actually be taking a pregnancy test because today is still far too early... Ah, but they're right there... So you know me and my lack of will power - I bought the damn test. As the lady handed it over she gave me a semi-skeptical raised eyebrow smile and said, "best of luck".

The pregnancy test was the first thing I unloaded onto the counter. And then I stared it, as my kids took off their shoes and settled into playing, I just stood there staring at it. Don't take the test, Allison. Wait until Monday. Sunday, even! Hell, even just tomorrow when Stephen is home, you promised the next time you peed on a stick he could be there! It's going to be negative. It's too early. You're going to be disappointed. Don't take the test. I had convinced myself enough to walk away and unload all the groceries. Then I opened the box and read the instructions (like I hadn't done this before, insert eye roll). Allison, don't take the test! It's going to be negative and you're going to be sad and it's going to be a waste. Just wait! So I made the kids lunch. But then I found myself there in the kitchen, kids occupied, with nothing to do and an open pregnancy test box and all of a sudden, I had to pee.

The negative line immediately started to fill in, nice and dark. I actually laughed out loud at myself. Why do I have to be so impatient?! I got myself cleaned up and took another peak. Definitely negative. Except, wait... If I tilt it just so... Could that be...? No. I set the test back down, shaking, and walked away to check on the kids. I stood in the kitchen watching the time tick by on the microwave. I'll just wait three minutes and check again. I'm sure that was just my imagination... two minutes... With one minute left (because I have no self control!) I went back in the bathroom and picked up the test.

It was there. It was faint, but it was there. Positive. I clasped my hand over my mouth, the tears freely falling and I fell to my knees, gripping the test with my head resting against the counter and found myself whispering, "thank you Lord, thank you Lord, thank you Lord!"

In June, 2016, when Ezra, Uriah and I went to the coast with my mom for a week, we were walking along the beach, splashing in puddles, when it hit me like a ton of bricks: I'm ready for number three. Uriah was running around, screaming and laughing out of pure joy, and I was walking with Ezra's hand wrapped around my finger and an empty Ergo baby carrier on my back and I felt, like the moment I saw Stephen for the first time, that there should be a baby in that carrier. I was ready. This baby was wanted.

But we had plans to travel to Hawaii in August and June was just too early to start trying. I didn't want to be sick on our honeymoon trip and a March baby meant living in our little two bedroom apartment with three kiddos for almost a year and a half. I was ready, but life wasn't.

When we got home from Hawaii I found myself wanting to talk about it all the time. When? When? When!? Poor Stephen... But a  June baby meant it would be born the month before Stephen left for Africa for six weeks and neither of us liked that scenario. That ruled out July and August, too. And since my babies have a tendency to come early, maybe even September wasn't the best option. And then there were residency interviews to think about that fall, I didn't want Stephen to be off on one of those when the baby was due. There were so many potential road blocks and "what ifs" standing in our way.

This is when it started to consume my thoughts. I was ready. I had been ready! And it just kept getting pushed back. My heart was breaking. I found myself complaining to God, like the timing and situations were His fault. I have been blessed with the fact that my timing and God's timing always seem to line up somehow. He makes me wait, but only just so. How was it that what I wanted was so clearly not right for our family at that time? How was our timing so off?

Finally, I got my IUD taken out at the end of December. I took ovulation tests for the rest of the month, trying to figure out my cycle. I hadn't had a period since before Uriah was born so I had no idea what to expect while trying to conceive this time around. I started my period in January and was so eager to figure it out and start trying, honestly expecting to get pregnant right away, as we did with Uriah and Ezra (literally, right away!) Right around the time I suspected I'd be ovulating, I started cramping. I took it as a good sign, an ovulation sign, and completely read in to every symptom following - tender breasts, nauseous, tired... I cramped for four days before calling the doctor and for over a week before they convinced me to come in. I had every pregnancy symptom in the book and would be lying if I said I wasn't hoping they'd get a positive pregnancy test back from the blood work. Ovarian cysts, it turns out, produce all the same symptoms as pregnancy, and my ovaries were full of them. There was no baby. I treated myself to lunch at Chick-fil-A and went home and cried. I had a big glass of wine with dinner that night.

I started my period five days later and felt defeated by the length of the months. I felt like I had no room to complain because some women try for years and technically, it had been one month, one measly little month, but I had been waiting for seven. I was ready.

I started cramping on the 13th of February and almost lost it with anger and sadness - surely it was the cysts acting up again, it felt the same as it did last month. But after a day and a half, it stopped. Huh. My week continued on as normal until the 21st. Up until this point I genuinely didn't think I was pregnant. I was holding out hope, yes, so much hope, but just thought it couldn't be possible. With Uriah and Ezra I showed several pregnancy symptoms and I showed them very early on. Surely, if I was pregnant, something would have tipped me off by now.

That evening, I started to feel uneasy. I was hungry, but what I ate didn't quite settle right. I wanted to sit down, but found myself so antsy when I did. My heart was racing and I just felt, off. The next morning I started to feel the same way again, sitting in bible study. I thought maybe I had low blood sugar, and that's why my hands were visibly shaking, but I ate something and it didn't go away. I stood up, but immediately wanted to sit back down. I was tired, but my mind was racing. I got in the car to leave and called Stephen who was home with the kiddos. I couldn't stop myself from crying, telling him I felt like I was having a panic attack. I settled myself down enough to drive home, eager for the chance to eat some of the bacon he said he had been cooking. I walked in the door and the smell of lunch was upsetting. I ate it, but didn't feel well after. I wanted to lay down, but I couldn't stop fidgeting. The thought of it all being pregnancy symptoms crossed my mind, and I even brought it up to Stephen, but what unusual symptoms! I had never felt this way with either prior pregnancies, so while there was still that little ray of hope, I started to convince myself that I was just so worked up about wanting to be pregnant, waiting to take a test, that the stress was starting to wear on me. I didn't sleep a wink that night.

And then we went to Safeway the next morning and my impatient, lack of self control lead me to my knees in our bathroom, crying and praising the Lord over a positive pregnancy test five days before my missed period. POSITIVE! It's actually positive! And I am sitting here typing this on my living room floor with a smile plastered to my face, laughing out loud...! It's POSITIVE!

- - - - - -

That night, I was itching with excitement to tell Stephen! I felt awful that I didn't wait until he was home to take the test - he wasn't there when I took Uriah's or Ezra's and he made me promise he could be there this time around - I just assumed it would be negative! I had somehow managed not to tell the kids, my sister, my mom or my friend Nicki throughout the day - I was bursting at the seems!

Stephen made it home just before I put the kiddos down and just after I had thought to hide the pregnancy test on the bathroom counter. I had no idea when or how I would tell him and almost just blurted it out when he walked in the door, but I thought I should come up with something a little more personal or romantic or at the very least, ask him how his day was first ;)

We put the kids to bed and as he got changed and settled in, I got everything ready for Ice Cream Thursday. We sat on the bed before turning on our show and digging in to our ice cream and talked about Stephen's day. I still had no idea when or how to tell him and at this point, felt bad he'd been home for so long and I still hadn't said anything! Just before turning on our show I said 'hold on' and left for the kitchen like I'd forgotten something. I came back with a full jar of pickles (something I had only just thought of and probably wasn't the best or most creative way of telling my husband we're going to have a baby!) and held it out to Stephen, "Want some pickles with that ice cream?!" He looked at the jar, at me, at the ice cream and I could tell he genuinely had no idea what I was getting at. "Um, no...? Do you?!" I just stood there with this giddy smile on my face, holding out the jar of pickles repeating "pickles and ice cream...!" I could see the moment it clicked show up on his face, as he set down the pint, "Wait, what..? How was your day?! Are you serious?!" It didn't take long until I was up in his arms and we were both laughing, smiling and tearing up together. A baby! Another baby! He had been so excited about being there when I actually peed on the stick and found out, that we pulled the second test out of the box so he could watch it turn positive. Sure enough! A baby! Another baby!

I promised he could be there for the next one ;)

Baby Wall, we have been praying for you! May God lead us through these next nine months with patience, grace and peace and may He protect you as you grow. We love you and cannot wait to meet you!