Thursday, January 26, 2012

No blood is always better than some blood.

...My doctor says sagely when I call to report what I'm seeing in my underware.

Yeah, you think? 

It started yesterday, and I have to say, although I've had some of this before, I was pretty alarmed at the amount of spotting I was greeted with.  Since I was at work, there wasn't much I could do about it.  I drank a ton of water, and I sat down.  It seemed to stop, and I didn't worry too much about it for the rest of the day.

But it started again when I got home, and by then I was pretty freaked out.

"We'd like you to come in for an ultrasound as soon as possible, given your history with loss."

So I scheduled an appointment for today.  And even though I could tell there was nowhere near enough blood to signify a miscarriage, it totally freaked me out.  Enough that I stayed home from work today.  The doctor says there's really nothing you can do; bedrest isn't actually a miscarriage preventer.  But it still made me feel better.

I waited all darn day for that ultrasound.  And I prayed.  I know there's nothing else to do.

When the image finally came on the screen, the first thing I saw was our wiggly little 9 week old fetus, which has now grown hands (and might have been sucking a thumb... or the arms just aren't long enough for it to look any different!).  Yes, that blob on an ultrasound has certainly changed amazingly in the last two weeks.

Heartbeat?  Strong and healthy 167 bpm.  Thank you, God. 

And so we're fine after our little scare.  I can't begin to express my relief and gratitude. 

As an added bonus, we saw Leah's birth announcement, which, almost two years later, is still posted at the patient check-in window for OB at Boulder Community.  I thought that was pretty stinkin' cool!  Though to be fair, everything looks sunnier after seeing that little healthy heartbeat... :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On contentment amidst anxiety.


Tomorrow is the day.  I said it almost two years ago: "It's baby day!" 

Back then, it was Leah's birthday.  Tomorrow, it's our first ultrasound.  Our first glimpse literally into the future.

I can't even begin to describe my anticipation.  To hear those first little beats and see that tiny figure that looks nothing like the miracle it will ultimately become.  My own level of absolute awe that, after 8 months of struggle and heartache, this day is about to be here. 

The beginning of this incredible journey.  My heart is bursting with joy.  Leah's baby brother or sister is in there, and I get to see him or her.

Yes, there is still that gnawing sensation that this could all be for nothing.  But it is outshined by my own faith and contentment.  It's not even a question; somehow, God and I are on the same page on this one.  I can feel it.  He has promised this baby to me, of this I am sure. 

At a time when my anxiety should be raging, it has faded to a whisper. 

We are delivering this baby.  And I'm even going one step further to predict that we're delivering it in September.  :)  In the mean time, I can't wait to enjoy the ride.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Today is an anxious day.

I am learning so much about faith.  And darnit, I'm not good at it.  That's probably why God keeps giving me so many opportunities to practice.

Why is it that so many awful stories come out of the woodwork when you're pregnant?  How can so many terrible things happen on this road to baby?

Even though I'm totally sick today (which tells me that we're still cookin', this little one and me), I'm also nervous.  Anxious.  I can feel that threat of whatif breathing down my neck.

I have the faith.  Truly, I do.  This tiny one growing in me is our baby.  I can just feel it deep down in the depths of my being.  I will be seeing his or her little face in August (if I'm really being honest, I'm convinced this is a September baby.  Leah was going nowhere and hadn't even dropped at week 39; she only got out by way of being breech.  I suspect I'm not an early deliver-er). 

The unknown.  It's out there, and it is so hard to keep my focus off of the dark shadow of could and might

The journey into motherhood is the scariest one I've ever taken. 

Don't get me wrong, it's also the best journey I've ever taken.  So, so beyond worth it.  But there is nothing comparable to this experience that so powerfully requires me to willingly bare my soul and open myself up to the possibility of pain and sorrow.   To invite the coulds and mights and whatifs in, in exchange for the chance to have the greatest miracle of all. 

It's a steep price.  It's one I know I'll pay again, God willing. 

Today is an anxious day.  Tomorrow will be better.

It always turns out just like God planned.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This is why I'm easily distractable.

It sure feels like it was a long time coming to get that pretty little bump into my shadow.  I don't think I could be happier to cast this reflection, even if it does distract me from vacuming. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Made it to 8. Weeks, that is.

Somewhere, there is a very pregnant woman who is missing her belly.  I know this because I seem to have stolen it. 

Baby size: Raspberry. (AWESOME!)

I am amazed by how similar this pregnancy has been so far to my first, even in its early days.  I've lost the rolling nausea I had right away.  Although it's been replaced by that gagging sensation I remember so well, it hasn't resulted in barfing.  That's a very good thing in my world.

There are the moments I am teaching - always, always in my 5th period class - and I know I have to stop talking and not open my mouth for a few minutes.  If I don't, I'll throw up.  I didn't remember that this happened to me before until it happened this time, and now I remember that I used to keep saltines in my desk drawer.  It still works.

To my knowledge, no or very minimal weight gain as a result of pregnancy; although it's hard to separate what I gained as a result of Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

The only significant craving I have to report is an odd one: Cinnamon Toast Cruch cereal, which I haven't had since I was a kid (and even then we very rarely got that special treat!). 

I'm also surprised by how much more distractable I seem to be by food.  I don't know if it's cravings exactly, but if someone suggests something that sounds good to me, I cannot get it out of my head.  I don't actually know that I want it until someone else brings it up, but once it's there... you can bet I'll be getting some by the end of the day.  That is different this time around. 

Other than that, pregnancy feels pretty much the way I remember it!  My biggest symptom is exhaustion, and unfortunately it hits me right at a time that is least convenient: between about 3-7:30.  After 7:30, I get a second wind.  The severe tired hits right when I'm home with Leah.  Let's suffice it to say, we've watched a lot of Caillou around our house in the last two weeks. 

It's usually when I'm in the car on my way to work that the waterworks hit me.  When it's just me and my tiny one, and I can fully appreciate the miracle that is happening.  I haven't started talking to the baby - yet - but it's hard to hold back the tears when I get a chance to remember just how special each one of these all-too-few pregnant days are.  And how lucky we'll be at the end of it all, to be adding this beautiful little life to our family.

Yes, these are very happy and treasured times.  :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Because pregnancy is too funny not to talk about


It's not exactly a milestone.  In fact, I'm not really sure where it has come from at all.  I certainly don't remember this happening with Leah.

I do love the constant little reminders that I'm pregnant.  It's another little indication that everybody in there is safe and sound, which means a lot to me - even if the reminders aren't exactly glamorous.

My right boob is bigger than my left boob.  Yep.  Like, noticeably bigger.

If this keeps up, I'm honestly going to have to take a page from my middle schoolers and start padding my bra.  Just the one side, though.  I've forgotten the technique; do you use a sock if you're a girl or a boy???

I once saw an app for people who are trying to get pregnant that involved a baby bottle when you were supposed to be ovulating, and flaming boobies for the first day of your menstrual cycle.

I keep thinking about those flaming boobies, because that's what I've got: disproportionately-sized boobs of fire that ache pretty much all day.  Running is out of the question, because, let's face it, I'd probably be off balance anyway what with one side of my chest weighing double the other side.  Besides that, a person just can't run with sore ta-tas.  Too much bouncing.  It's a rare form of torture seldom used in industrialized countries.   

In other, less invasive news, I'm getting really excited to go to the doctor next week.  Even though it's still early, I'm pretty sure I can't keep it under wraps much longer.  Just about the whole staff knows I'm pregnant, and the kids have already started to ask questions.  I'll feel so much better once we get the all clear from the doctor, early or not.  Besides, I only have 4 shirts that effectively hide my belly, and cycling through those over and over for the next month isn't exactly an attractive option. 

The best news, though, is that I'm past week 6.  Both times I've miscarried, I've never gotten that far.  In fact, the first time I saw Leah on an ultrasound, she was 6 weeks and 6 days, and we're darn close to that now.  My confidence grows every day that early doesn't have to be a bad thing, just a place to start. 

Plus, when I start to get worried, the flaming, uneven boobies are a pretty good reminder.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Baby, talk is cheap.

"Nana, stay here.  Couple weeks." 

This is what Leah announced over dinner a few days ago as Nana was getting ready to go home.  I'd say her request is pretty clear, no? 

I also heard: "Know what?  I love you" in the car on the way home on Friday.  She's been experimenting with everything from "YUCK!  No like it" to "Bless you, Daddy!" after a sneeze.  And, of course, the girl knows how to ask for food.  "More oranges, please" she says. 

At dinner tonight, this pearl was overheard:

Poopy comes sometimes.
(then there was a little song that goes like this...)
Poopy tiiiiime, la la la.
Fa la la la poooopy tiiiime.

My mom always told me that we'd never laugh so hard as we do when we have kids.  So, so true.
My favorite might be, "Hi baby.  What'cha doin'?"  (Obviously this is something a certain someone in our house says to her.  The phrase is now repeated to everyone and everything.)

I'll admit it.  I totally love the vocab on this girl.  It's awesome, sweet, and more often than not, hillarious.  She keeps us in stitches with the random things she says and the amazing things she knows.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's out there

Standing in front of my closet each morning might be the worst part of my day. 

When I was pregnant with Leah, my students asked me if I was pregnant in September, when I had just managed to stick my toes into the second trimester.  I felt huge, but realistically I was in that awkward phase where you wouldn't know I was pregnant unless you had a side-by-side comparison of how skinny I had been three months before.

Now, each day I face the challenge of finding attire that effectively hides the large canteloupe that is growing under my shirt from nosy, personal-space-invading kids.  Kids who thought I looked pregnant when I ate too many Christmas cookies at the beginning of December.

Yes, it's out there, this belly of mine.  And so's my secret. 

Not to the kids, thankfully.  Just a few select members of the staff who are keeping track all too closely of how often I have to pee.  Yep - that happened. 

No less than three random strangers have commented on my belly.  Asking questions like, do you know what you're having?  Have you felt the baby move yet?  I don't have the heart to tell them that, despite all evidence to the contrary, the baby is approximately the size of a pea. 

I'm starting to have some serious concerns over how many are hanging out in there, too.  Not only am I huge, but I'm feeling very, very pregnant.  All the symptoms I had last time seem to be amplified this time around.  Or maybe I'm just not as tough as I was.

Nausea?  Last time around I definitely had it.  It was more like things that I smelled or was around would make me gag, but I only once got to the point of being physically sick.  This time, my stomach literally twists and rolls and does a little dance that brings me to the brink of running to the toilet.  I haven't lost it yet and I hope to keep it that way, but I still have a ways to go on the not-hurling front.

But here's the thing: I also had some very tiny spots of blood in my underware. 

And with them came the right perspective.

Because there is nothing -  nothing - in the world as wonderful and blessed as having absolutely no clothes that fit and a stomach that feels as if I'm standing on the U.S.S. Arizona in the middle of a hurricane.  You couldn't pay me enough money to take away this imsureimgonnahurl feeling. 

The little things?  They just don't matter.  If the kids find out, so be it.  If I throw up 15 times a day for the next 5 months?  I'll take it.  What matters is this little life that is still, thankfully, growing inside me.  And with a little luck and a lotta prayer, I'll still be saying that in August. 

And the odds are good that I still won't have any clothes that fit. :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

There's a big orange dreamboat sitting in my garage


Today, we got the second-best Christmas present I've ever gotten (besides peeing on a stick, that is!):

Perhaps I should explain why this silly stroller means so much to me?

It's a story as old as America: girl sees other mommies at the zoo with this stroller; girl listens to other mommies talk about how awesome, lightweight, maneuverable and durable it is; girl begins coveting said stroller and vows to scrimp and save to get one when she's ready for a double. 

Okay, so there's absolutely nothing redeeming about this tale.  Really, it's a story of consumerism and greed.  Except that I've literally had my eye on this beautiful thing for a year.  After 8 months of trying, it has come to be the very symbol of having two in my head.  It's synonymous with those two pink lines, and to me, that means a whole lot. 

Today, thanks to Christmas money and saving, it became ours. 

It's not brand new, because, well, this exact version with all the bells and whistles would cost over $750 and that's pretty ridiculous.  Thank goodness for the miracle of Craigslist, because at less than two years old, this stroller was ready for a new family, and so we got it at a price that didn't break the bank. 

For the next 8 months, I'll be killing its spirit as it sits in my garage until our littlest one is finished baking. 

But hang in there, BOB, because in 8 months?  Oh the places we'll go! 

And to my tiniest sweetheart: grow big and strong, and know that your very first, almost-brand-new present is waiting for you when you're ready for it.  Mommy has every confidence that this stroller is just for you.

Friday, January 13, 2012

My huge is giving me away.


I'm trying to keep the secret. 

I'm pretty confident that if we can make it past week 6, we're out of the woods.  Rest assured, I'll be bringing you into the woods shortly.  I suck at keeping secrets, and I don't like being in the woods by myself. 

Besides, on the off chance that something happens, you'll definitely be coming through the woods with me.

But for  now, the people who know include me, Casey and Leah of course, and the bartender at Casey's ten year high school reunion who thought I was a recovering alcoholic because I kept drinking water all night.  Tempting as it was to try on the bad-girl persona, I couldn't leave her with that impression.

Still, my body is working hard to give it all away. 

Let's just take a little look-sy.

Okay, if you just threw up in your mouth a little after looking at this picture, you're not alone.  No one was supposed to see this... but it's the best "before" picture I have for comparison sake. 

What I really want you to see is that I don't have a huge belly that hangs over the counter.  It's actually relatively cute and small, thankyouverymuch.  This was taken on December 10th.

On the other hand...

Here's that same belly, 15 days and two pink lines later. 

This picture doesn't even do it justice, so let's move on to Exhibit B:

There we go!  That's the stuff.  You can't make this up, people. 

Maternity jeans?  You're my hero.

I have no idea if I'm retaining water, if this is just bloat, or if some of this is actual, legitimate person-growing, human-carrying material.  All I know is that it's huge.  And not exactly subtle while I'm trying to keep this secret. 

So far, people have been kind enough not to mention the pink elephant-sized-belly hanging over my pants.  Which makes me a little curious about what they're really thinking when I waddle away.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Your love makes me cry. Or maybe it's just hormones.

Just thought I'd share that I'm a weepy mess. 

To be fair, I tend to be a weepy mess on any day ending in "y" and also as a result of all commercials involving either children or dogs.  Or music. 

Thanks for the overwhelming amount of love and support.  I didn't think I could feel more gratitude or joy, and you've proven me totally wrong. 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.  Miracles?  They're all  around.

Ode to the 2%

I was so sure December was our time.  Which is why, when I wrote this post because I thought my period had started, I was disappointed.  And completely resigned.  I thought, with 98% certainty, that our shot for December was over.

I mean, let's face it: I've been through this enough times to recognize defeat when it was staring me right in the face.

But then, a funny thing happened. 

My period stopped.  I had two days of unmistakable something and then... ???

I tried really hard not to get too excited, because this also happened in November.  After starting for about 2 days, I had nothing for 36 hours, and then, ta-da!   There it was again, full blast.  (Remember how I talked about a rollercoaster?  This would be why.  Shoot me down, then give me a tiny ray of hope just long enough for me to start getting excited, then shoot me down again.  The complete tripple whammy.)

One day went by.  Nothing.  Then two.  Nothing.  On the third day, I promised myself I would test the next morning.  Of course, being me, I couldn't wait that long. 

I was convinced that if I took a test, my period would start exactly three minutes later.  I mean, that's just how it goes.  So I peed.  And waited with low expectations, but still couldn't quite bring myself to watch that one lonely, disappointing line appear. 

I folded some laundry.  I fiddled with my hair.  Finally, I sat on the side of the bathtub and counted to 60 along with the clock on the wall. 

When I finally grew the guts to look?

UMM.... WHAT?!  I made a second line appear!  I made it say pregnant!!!!!!! 

Faint or not, I know exactly what that second line means!!

When I found out I was pregnant with Leah, I was a whirlwind of trying to set up the perfect surprise.  It involved three different stores, two more pregnancy tests, approximately 12 glasses of water, setting up the video camera and ambushing Casey so I could catch the whole thing on film

Ahhh, how much changes after 8 months and a miscarriage. 

This time, I ran down the stairs and threw that soggy little stick unceremoniously in Casey's face, complete with pee still on it.  I couldn't help it.  I had this whole picture of how I would wait until Christmas and surprise him, but the moment that second line appeared, that plan went out the window.  We both danced for joy.  Neither of us washed our hands.   

It's faint, but it's there.  God is faithful and good. 

And I'm pregnant.  :) And really, really glad I didn't take that Nyquil.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The power of prayer

Guess what? 

Remember when we all stopped and said a little prayer about the month of December?  Well, just in case there was ever any doubt: God answers prayers!!!

6 weeks and 5 days.  One day earlier and .06cm smaller than our first glimpse of Leah!

More on our little Christmas miracle to come, but for now I have to say a whole world of THANK YOUs to everyone who has put up with me through this struggle, and who took time to pray for us. 

We're still not quite ready to announce this to the world, but my confidence in this pregnancy is solid.  This is our baby!!!  I've even got a due date and a doctor's note saying everything looks great. 

We'll be eagerly awaiting our much-anticipated, special little bundle on August 31st, 2012.  Grateful doesn't even begin to cover my emotions on this front. 

Best Christmas ever?  I certainly think so!  (Alright, I'll settle for second best.  You know, behind that very first one...)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A hop, skip and a year shy of a decade

I won't be winning wife of the year any time soon, seeing as I'm a week late with this post.  I didn't even acknowledge it the day it happened.  There was no card or special dinner, or other indication that I knew it was taking place.

But it's important to acknowledge just the same.

Because 9 years and a week ago, I met the man who would become the love of my life.

Although things aren't as glamorous around here as they once were - what with the handling of other people's bodily functions, the fact that I forget big anniversaries or that I tried and failed to find a recent photo of just the two of us that doesn't also involve most of Casey's arm, and the fact that until last week, it had been over a year since we'd seen a movie in a theatre - but without question I'm happier now that I would ever have imagined possible.

And I'll go ahead and admit it: part of my New Year's resolution is to make a greater effort in our marriage.  We're going to try for date night once a month; something that hasn't exactly happened regularly since Leah was born. 

Yes, I'm part of a very special love story.  The kind of love story every young girl should dream of.  It's a love story that deserves to be treasured and protected, because I'm lucky enough to know every day that that's what my husband does for me. 

Happy 9 years to my best friend and the love of my life. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Llama llama no pajamas

Today, we ventured out to the Stock Show.  This is one of my favorite annual memories from my childhood; I can't say that we actually went every year, but certainly enough that I have very fond memories of sitting in the arena for the rodeo, looking in awe at all the beautiful horses and getting to touch the fluffy sheep.

We got to see a few things: a little bit of the Quarter horse show, some of the fiddle competition, there was a lot of walking around the convention floor.  But by far, the hit of the day was the llamas. 

Especially since one of Leah's favorite books is Llama Llama Red Pajamas.  She was very excited to get to see, touch, and even feed a real life llama!

On our way back to the car, there was this really cool, slightly beat up green wall.  It was the perfect spot to take some pictures...

...but my subject wasn't really in the mood to cooperate, what with it being past her nap time and all. 

It was so much fun to get to carry on this tradition!  There was more than one moment where I had to come to terms with just how surreal it was to be walking into a place that holds so many memories from my childhood as the mommy, with a husband and child to boot. 

Life is pretty great! 

While I don't know if this is something we'll do every single year, it is definitely something I hope to make as much a part of Leah's childhood as it was my own. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The New Year brings.

One of my favorite posts has come to be this one, the one I wrote about Leah last year on her first day of 2011. 

It's so incredible to me that she's changed this much in one little year.  I can't even fathom that a year ago at this time, she was still nursing.  It seems like an eternity has passed since those days!

So, I thought I'd do a little side-by-side comparison of what I wrote last year, and add a few things that need adding for our beautiful big girl.

2011: Leah is 9 months and 3 weeks old
2012: Leah is 21 months and 3 weeks old

2011: Has no teeth
2012: Has top four and bottom four, plus several molars (five or six, I think?).  She also has a full head of very short, slightly curly and always crazy hair.

2011: Pulls herself up on furniture pretty much everywhere she can
2012: Walks, runs, jumps and wiggles.  Climbs onto the couch, up the stairs and anywhere else she can get all by herself.  Climbed up into her high chair all by herself for the first time two days ago.  Hasn't climbed out of her crib yet, but loves to jump on her bed.

2011: Says only one word: "Daddy" (although I've caught a few "Hi"s as well)
2012: Says more words than I could possibly count, and is working diligently on her sentences.  She's mastered at least two dozen simple sentences. 

2011: Beebops along to any music you put on and absolutely LOVES to dance!
2012: Yeah, this is the same.  What can I say?  The girl loves music.

2011: Favorite song: "If you're happy and you know it" (clap your hands!)
2012: Hard to say.  She's been really into Christmas music (I wonder where she got that?).  Also likes Itsy-Bitsy Spider and several others from Music Together.  She randomly breaks out into song and knows enough of the words that we know what she's getting at.

2011: Wears size 2 diapers
2012: Wears size 4 diapers

2011: Fits in most of her 6 month clothing, all of her 9 month clothing and wears 12 months, even though they're pretty big.
2012: Has outgrown absolutely everything except 2Ts.  She wears size 5 and 6 shoes, which I can't compare to last year 'cause she hadn't started wearing shoes yet.  No walking = no shoes.

2011: Has started on solid pieces of food, and eats organic puffs like they're going out of style.
2012: Nothing is off-limits at this point.  She prefers fruit to vegetables, loves cookies and candy even though she doesn't get them very often, will eat chicken on occassion and that's about it for the meats, asks for oatmeal and raisins every day for breakfast and prefers mommy's mac and cheese above all else.  Except maybe hot cocoa.

2011: Her favorite game is dumping out all of her toys and sorting through them.
2012: No doubt about it, she loves the stove Santa brought her for Christmas.  Auntie Kelsey bought her the coolest cooking stuff from IKEA, and it has gone to good use already.

Other things about Leah on the first day of 2012:
*She loves to read and will fill in any word we leave out while reading her books.  Her favorites are Curious George, The Grinch and Are You My Mother?  She's also into "reading" by herself and can tell you the most important words/simple ideas on just about any page she comes to. 
*She is fiercely independent, and likes to do everything by herself.
*She can count to five independently and can get all the way to twelve with help.
*She knows ALL the letters in the alphabet that rhyme with C, as well as quite a few random others, but only if you sing the alphabet song and let her fill in.
*She applauds herself when she does something challenging, puts her hands up in the air and exclaims, "DID IT!" to show you she's proud of herself.
*She says what she is thankful for each night when we say our prayers.

I've said it each step of the way and I'm sure I'll say it again, but this phase is my favorite.  I can't believe how much I grow in love with her each day, and how much she grows and learns and knows.  I know we'll have a totally different child on our hands in another year, and I can't wait to watch her take on her new adventures.

I changed my font at