39w4d

Lost: my ankles. Last seen about a week ago, between my feet and my calves. Pale-colored, bony, bendable. Cannot seem to locate. In distress.

The pressure is on, folks. She’s due on Friday. It will be 2016 on Friday. We’ve been praying for months for a 2015 baby. Multiple reasons, most important one being that our girl’s godparents are currently visiting us from Alabama and we would love for them to experience her birth with us before they leave on Friday. Godmama is 14 weeks pregnant with a little lady of her own as well, so it would be fantastic to be able to share this with her. I believe that God is good, His timing is holy and perfect, He answers prayers and keeps promises. But every morning I wake up without labor starting, it gets harder to keep that faith. Thank goodness for my husband, and his trusting heart.

We’ve tried spicy food, oregano & basil, red raspberry leaf tea, foot massages, hand massages, hot baths, bouncing on the exercise ball, walking, sledding, singing loudly, begging, bribing, and a healthy dose of marital bedroom relations. Nothing seems to make this girl wanna come out before her due date. I swear if my father-in-law says “Babies come when babies come” to me one more time, I’m gonna blow a gasket.

I know he’s right. At the end of the day, there’s nothing I can do to really control when our daughter chooses to join us (apart from actual induction, which we vehemently want to avoid unless absolutely necessary). But literally as I was typing this paragraph I received texts from 2 different people asking “Is she here yet?!” And I’m sent into anxious mode.

Man these last days are no joke! Emotions all over the place. Lots of last minute preparations. I have my post partum pads and granny panties. We installed the car seat. I got my nails done (for the first time since my wedding, if that is any indicator to how often I get myself pampered like this). I keep mentally repeating to myself I’m ready, we’re ready, I’m ready, we’re ready, COME OUT ALREADY!

Sweet Adelaide, I want you to come when you’re ready. I know the Lord’s timing is outside of my understanding, and I trust it. I trust that for whatever reason, you want to cook just a little longer. Just know your momma and daddy are dying to meet you, so that may make us a little impatient. Waiting for the best gift ever is not easy! We’re just ready for our lives to be changed, forever. Please come soon, dear one. I really want my ankles back.

Christmas in Snomaha

Woke up early this morning and knew we must have had snow. There’s a different kind of light from through the shades when it snows, it’s a blueish white light, and it’s brighter than mornings usually are. It’s like nature goes “Quick! Wake up and enjoy this white blanket of beauty before it gets touched!”

I smiled, checked my phone and indeed we were having snowfall last night into this morning. I rolled over, grunting and huffing with the weight of my 39-week belly, and caressed my dear husband’s face in the pale blue light. He made a sweet sound and turned his body toward me, nuzzling his head into my arm. I kept petting his hair for a while, and the thought occurred to me that these are the last few days I’ll ever have him totally to myself, without our children demanding his or my attention. I got suddenly sweetly jealous, but the feeling was quickly overwhelmed by the warm sensation of total adoration for this man I have chosen to live my life with.

Without opening his eyes, he mumbles, “You know what’s the most reassuring thing to me?” “Hmm?” I mutter. “That you look at me the same way I look at you.”

Today we’ve had a most welcome snow day. Our dogs have had the time of their lives romping around in the perfect white 6 inches outside. We took them on a long walk, which left me rather embarrassingly winded, and hubs started working on a big luge track in our backyard hill. Unfortunately due to the snow being a total surprise and the roads not being treated, we’ll have to skip the Christmas Eve service at church and our annual tradition of hibachi dinner. 

Something tells me though, that God has a very sweet, significant evening and first Christmas Day away from home & family planned for us. His plans are always better than ours anyway. While we wait not-so-patiently for the arrival of our favorite Christmas present to join us, I know He will continue to fill these moments with glorious meaning, and that this will be a time in our lives we will never forget.

  

37w

Just an update, more for myself as a personal journal entry than anything, feel free to be too bored to read 😉

Doozy of a week! Started out with the aftermath of some truly psycho emotional struggles that finally fizzled out, and thank God I’m back to being mostly sane again. 

Then my body started really feeling 9 months pregnant. Had some intense cramping, soreness, what felt like contractions (?) that all kept me up at night, struggling to be mobile. It’s like all of a sudden my body was compensating for having a ton of extra weight put on, and man it hurt. Thankfully I’ve gotten used to it or something, and I’m feeling less physically strained for now, at least.

I had a “contraction” in the middle of the video game aisle at Target which was pretty funny. I put it in quotes because I really don’t know for 100% sure what a real contraction feels like, as this is my first pregnancy, so I have to assume they’re either just the Braxton-Hicks practice contractions, or maybe even not a contraction at all. Anyway, my whole tummy got crazy hard and started feeling like it was squeezing up, and my lower back nearly gave out on me in front of the Nintendo 3DS display. Lasted about 20 seconds. Not too bad. Hubs got a little freaked out about how funny I thought it was.

The Ob still hasn’t checked my progress because she says I don’t “look like” I’ve been in enough pain to have had any labor progress yet. Ok. I mean I’m 37 weeks pregnant, most women are told by now if they have any dilation or effacement, and I just happen to have a high pain tolerance anyway, but ok.

Bad acid reflux today. It was the Chinese food, I know. But it tastes so delicious and gosh dangit I still have leftovers that I fully intend on indulging in for dinner tonight. So it will likely be another long night of heartburn and nausea. Worth it, maybe.

Had a pretty sucky thing happen in the grocery store the other day. I was struggling to lift this 50lb bag of dog food into my cart (yeah I know, I’m a feeble pregnant woman who shouldn’t be trying to lift anything heavier than a Boppy pillow, so sue me) and this guy in the aisle, obviously noticing that I’m struggling, hastily grabs his bag of dog food and books it away from me like I’m a dang time bomb. Like…really, guy? The sight of a 9 month pregnant lady made you feel so awkward that you couldn’t find it in yourself to help her, let alone be in the same vicinity as her? Add that with the multiple eyerolls and sighs of exasperation thrown at me by impatient Sheila’s and Nancy’s who couldn’t handle waiting for me to get out of their way with my too-heavy shopping cart, and it was just about the most embarrassing grocery trip I’ve ever had. It made me miss the South, with its quirky but warm hospitality and charm. People don’t act like this there. They actively show care and concern for their fellow man in public, certainly to a pregnant woman. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not one to feel entitled to special treatment just because I’m carrying a baby. Heck, I don’t even park in the designated pregnant lady spots in the parking lot. But even if I wasn’t pregnant, I would expect at least some amount of sympathy for practically falling over while trying to lift a 50lb bag of dog food into my shopping cart. Alright, alright, rant over.

Getting close to Christmas and I’m definitely missing home. This will be our first holiday season away from friends and family. Still processing it emotionally, but I’m sure it will be sweet, regardless of the homesickness. And hopefully we’ll have our special gift arrive early, in time for Christmas 🙂 (fingers crossed!)

P.S. We finished the nursery! Will write a detailed post with photos soon.

36w

Being a woman, I’ve always been at least somewhat of an emotional person. Emotions have tended to direct my actions and decisions since adolescence. Thankfully with age, some of the “crazy” has subsided a little, while other craziness has taken over (ex. the uncontrollable desire to adopt every dog I see, to the point of tears). But throughout this whole pregnancy, I hadn’t fully tapped into the insane pregnancy-related emotionality I’ve heard so much about … until this week.

I expected it sooner, to be honest. I expected to be a sopping mess from day 1. Certainly to at least feel a little out of control by half way through the pregnancy. And lord, by that 3rd trimester, I’d be a goner. But it crept up on me. Sneakily. When I had gotten to the point where I decided I was just going to finish this thing out totally well-adjusted, it hit me all at once. The feels.

Yesterday I was beebopping around on my phone before hubs and I were going to go grab some dinner. I came upon a video on Facebook titled “Dogs know their owners’ hearts.” Do not watch this video if you are easily moved. Without going into details (because if I do, I’ll likely lose my mind again) it was essentially a video about organ donation featuring an elderly gentleman and his faithful canine companion. Set aside the fact that the background music was the score from Disney/Pixar’s Up (like seriously, take me out of the oven, I’m done…), the video just pulled all the most intense heartstrings possible and by the end of it, I was actively sobbing. Not like sniff sniff sobbing. I’m talkin boo-hoo, hyperventilating, snot running from my nose, uncontrollable, irrational sobbing. 

My husband ran into the room totally freaking out, thinking something truly terrible had happened. After grasping my breath a bit, I was able to sputter out what I watched and went on a tirade about dogs and the elderly and the baby and friendship and love and everything my crazy emotional brain spat out in the moment that was making me so insanely upset. I was just so intensely sad, I couldn’t calm myself down from it. Even in the moment, I’m sure it was truly comical to see me falling apart like that, but hubs just sat down behind me and rubbed my back and took my reaction seriously. That couldn’t have been easy. Bless him.

Since that incident, my emotions have been off the charts, bouncing off the walls, every color of the rainbow. I feel so sensitive to everything, in a way I haven’t felt since I was a fragile teen. The tiniest statement or event can set me off or break me down. Like right now I’m festering over a text from a close friend who asked me, “So are they going to induce you soon or what?” I’m not totally irrational, I know she didn’t mean to hurt my feelings, but holy cow those words hit me like a train!

I’m a crazy pregnant woman. I feel large and unattractive. I feel out of control. I feel terrified. I have never felt so vulnerable, in every sense of the word, in my entire life.

I’m accepting this is just where I’m at right now, and it’s okay. My emotions are silly, and someday I’ll be able to laugh this all off. What I’m going through is not abnormal, but it’s not stupid. It’s not nothing, but it’s only temporary.

So while I stand in front of my mirror for the dozenth time today, grieving for the once-thin form that used to stand there and wondering if I’ll ever see it again, I’m determined to let myself feel whatever it is that I am going to feel. To find peace with it, not to fight it. I’ve got a month left to be pregnant, and there’s much worse things that I could be going through than having a fragile heart.

“This too shall pass…”

  

31w

I don’t have Cholestasis!

But I’m still itchy…

They’re going to prescribe me a new steroid cream to try and help. For the most part though, I’m dealing with it. Even though nothing has brought me relief from it, I’m really coping well. The only hard days are the ones following a night of a particularly bad flare-up when I end up standing in the bathroom scratching myself like crazy for hours so I don’t wake up my husband. Those nights aren’t fun. But the little Lady wakes up with me and makes me feel better with her pushing, prodding and kicking. Little nuzzles. And often some painful stretches where I’m sure she’s screaming, “I need more room in here!”

We’ve made some progress in her nursery, her crib is just about finished, just need to pick up a bed skirt. Then we’ll start decorating the walls. I found a lot of wall decor that I love at Hobby Lobby, but I’m going to wait till next week to buy them as they weren’t on sale today. I’ve got some painting and craftiness to do in the meantime.

10 more days till we get our 15% Target registry completion coupon! I know it’s lame to be so excited about a coupon but we will be getting most of our remaining big purchase items on that bad boy, so it’s rather exciting. 

We spent a whole Saturday last week moving our dining room into another room to make space for what will be the play area in our living room. In order to do that, we ended up having to clean & organize the whole garage, move our pantry shelf to a nearby closet and finally move a hutch into the house that’s been sitting unused for months. I had high hopes of refurbishing it but never got around to it. I still have 2 chairs and a kitchen table to finish sanding and painting as well, who knows when I’ll get back to that project.

I have lists hanging all over my house of things we need to buy and projects I need to finish in the month of November. I decided all my work needs to be done before December because I’ll likely be too huge and too tired to do anything by then. We have guests coming starting the first week of December and then intermittently until mid February so I want to make sure the guest room is functional and pretty. We were able to pick up a nearly new queen mattress set from someone in our neighborhood, now we just need a frame, headboard, and new sheet set. We used to only have a full set in there and that’s just not big enough for visiting couples.

Financially all of these things on my to do list are making me a little anxious. Even with a very strict savings schedule this year we didn’t meet our goal for the amount we wanted to have in savings by now. Our two vacations to Knoxville caused the biggest setbacks, as well as just extra expenses in preparing for baby. Prioritizing has been weird. For example, my car has been sitting in our driveway for 4 months now because we can’t afford to get it fixed. It’s made running errands during the day a little difficult, but it has also kept me from making my weekly bored Target runs, which were probably not too financially responsible to begin with. We also eat like college students, a habit that was probably a good one to learn over the last few years since we just can’t afford to eat fancy all the time. Going out for us involves either a drive through window or a coupon. We actually have three Chickfila calendar cards so we can maximize on the freebies each month. Chickfila is practically its own food group for pregnant me.

In other news, my newly acquired sweet tooth problem has become irrationally uncontrollable. I can’t believe some people live like this all the time, it’s insanity. Praying like crazy this goes away after she’s born. I had an Oreo McFlurry tonight and it was the best thing I’ve ever tasted.

9 weeks to go!

30w4d

Waiting for diagnoses can be agonizing. For me, it’s just been one tedious hour after another. I haven’t posted an update lately because I’ve been waiting to receive a positive diagnosis on something that’s been going on for over two weeks now, but the blood work takes a week to go through. I’m realizing now it’s probably important for me to document how it feels to be in this seemingly perpetual waiting period.

About 2 weeks ago, I started experiencing some severe itching all over my body. Now normally this wouldn’t raise any red flags for me, I have had sensitive skin my whole life. A year ago I went to the ER with a severe allergic reaction to our new laundry detergent when we moved here. I had hives all over the place, my eyes nearly swollen shut. However this itching is different – this itching isn’t causing a rash or hives at all. I get little scabs from itching too furiously, and sometimes at night I’ll develop a slight heat rash of tiny bumps, but they generally are gone by morning. The itching intensifies at night and is all over my body, excluding only my palms, soles of feet and face.

Needless to say, I’ve been losing some sleep over this.

I called my OB and they wanted to see me right away. After seeing no rash but clearly seeing I have been suffering from the itching, she told me there is a pregnancy related condition that I could have called Intraheptic Cholestasis of Pregnancy. Basically with cholestasis, in the third trimester, the flow of bile in your liver becomes obstructed, causing a buildup of bile acid in the blood, which causes the rash-less itching. The condition has been known to cause preterm and stillbirths in pregnant women, worst case scenario.

So they had me do a blood test that day, even though it usually calls for an 8 hour fast. A week later they got the results back, and my levels were just below their cutoff mark for diagnosis. Unconvinced, they had me submit a fasting blood test the next morning. I’m currently waiting for those results.

In the meantime, I’ve tried every antihistamine, cortisone and at-home itching treatment safe for pregnancy with no success. They’ve prescribed me a stronger antihistamine pill which honestly only works to knock me out for a couple of hours at night. I take one right before bed, and another the second time I wake up usually around 3 am. I wake up on average 4 times a night to go to the bathroom now that Adelaide is head-down most of the time. The itching flares up the worst at night. I have gotten so overheated from it I make the whole bed too warm to sleep in. They also prescribed me a steroid cream which has no effect at all.

It’s not like an on-site kind of itch, it’s a creeping itch. Like I could start scratching anywhere on my body, and the itch would just spread down my leg or across my belly, until I’ve got red scratch marks all over, and the stretch marks on my baby belly are fire-engine red. 

I’ve had days where I’ve worried (okay, panicked) about the baby’s health. How can something that is affecting me so severely not be hurting her? However, her heart rate is perfect and strong, and her movement has remained active and regular. Beyond that, without a diagnosis, there’s not much more we can do but keep counting kicks.

With a positive diagnosis for cholestasis, they’ll put me on a prescription to help reduce the bile acids in my blood, and hopefully help with the itching. I would be tagged “high-risk” pregnancy, and I’d probably be referred to get a level 2 ultrasound to check on the baby and make sure she’s really alright. Then we would do a weekly monitoring of her, and if anything starts to go south, they will induce me. Worst case scenario.

If.

It’s the worst feeling not knowing if something is wrong, and not being able to do anything about it. Oddly enough, as incredibly annoying this itching is, I’m more irritated by not knowing what could be affecting her than I am by the fact that I can’t alleviate my own symptoms. Cholestasis wears off by itself after the baby’s birth, but it is highly likely that I will have it with any future pregnancies as well.

I’m not accepting any bad news or diagnosis yet. I’m staying really positive, considering. I have a strange peace that whatever is happening, she’s going to be fine.

I thought waiting during the third trimester was hard enough, now adding in this diagnosis and jeez. But I suppose things could always be worse, and I am choosing to still be thankful for all these moments when Adelaide is playing xylophone in my rib cage.

27w3d

We have a name!

Introducing our first daughter, Miss Adelaide River 🌻

So relieved to have finally chosen her name, and to be able to call her by it now. I had no idea we would struggle so hard to find a girl name we could agree on. They say you never know how many people you hated in life until you have to choose a name for your baby. Hubs seems to have something negative to say for just about every name in the book except Adelaide. Thankful, because this is actually a name we have adored since we first started dating in 2009. Now that it’s chosen, it’s so perfect. Couldn’t possibly be anything else.

  
We finally decided on the name while we were on a long vacation to our hometown in Knoxville. It was actually a fantastic trip, all the time we got to spend with our friends and family was just good quality time. 

   
    
 We spent 2 days for ourselves at our honeymoon hotel in Asheville, North Carolina for a short babymoon getaway. It was so worth it to just indulge ourselves (for the last time in a LONG time…) and just enjoy each other as husband and wife. It may have put us back a little financially, but I know it was worth it. We had such a good time.

   
 
   
The rest of our time in Knoxville was jam-packed. We had a friend’s graduation from cosmetology school, another friend’s wedding to photograph, maternity photo shoot for us, and my baby shower – which was very sweet!

  
We enjoyed loving and being loved on by the people who are most important to us, for this last visit before our lives change forever. Before who we are changes forever.

Some of the realities of parenthood are starting to hit me. Like how my husband tends to be quiet and distant whenever he is deprived of sleep, and worrying how our relationship will be affected by weeks/months of living like zombies with a newborn. Or how my body will cope with the trauma of labor, how it will look afterwards, how I may never look the same after this pregnancy. And the general feelings of inadequacy are creeping in… I’ve never changed a diaper in my life, and now I’ll have to do it like 10 times a day… That’s like 70 diapers a week… How are we going to afford this?!… How can I be a good dog mom when I will have to focus all my attention on a newborn?… How can I be a good wife?… Will my friends hate who I’ve become once I’m a mom?… Will they get annoyed with me when she is literally my whole day, start to finish?… Will I like myself, the person I’m about to become?

Trying as hard as I can to not just cast these thoughts aside, as I have for the past 6 months. These are real things I have to cope with, and it’s all becoming more real every day. With every new stretch mark on my growing belly, every pound of baby weight I put on, every new baby gift we receive, every Braxton-Hicks contraction I have (which are so weird by the way!), and every time I walk into her blossoming nursery. 

  
The feels.

Not a whole lot more to report right now. I’m officially in my third trimester, had my glucose test this morning, and I’m measuring right on track. Getting antsy to meet her. It’s gonna be a long 3 months!

I say as she kicks my ribs on both sides, somehow…