Wednesday, December 8, 2010

the magnificat

I've had this version of the Magnificat on my mind lately. The text is from Luke 1 when Mary visits Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist, and sings this song.


The setting is from Marty Haugen's evening vespers, Holden Evening Prayer. I've always thought it was a beautiful setting, and I love to accompany services where it is sung. My church uses Holden for weekly Lenten services, and I look forward to it each year. Now, in this advent season of anticipation, and anticipating the arrival of my own baby, I hear it in a different way.



The text and a beautiful prayer:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.
Monday, December 6, 2010

28 weeks...and first trip to labor & delivery

It's been a baby-action packed few days and this is long. I'm exhausted, and providing a good home to a bunch of cold germs doesn't make it any easier!

First, we had our 28 week appointment on Friday! I managed to schedule labs, ultrasound and OB for the same day, so I just took the day off work. I repeated the three-hour glucose and didn't pass this time. Or rather, I was borderline, but she chose not to pass me. My fasting glucose is excellent, but my body is a bit sluggish to process that sugar after an hour. I'm waiting for the nurse to call to set me up with a nutritionist appointment.

And I'm okay with this. I more or less knew this is where we were heading, giving my strong family history and marginal passing results last time. I am much more emotionally equipped than had I needed to start the regimen at 18 weeks. And I will do ANYTHING in my power to ensure a healthy baby arriving safely. I'm down 2.5 pounds from four weeks ago which leaves me with a net loss of 5 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. At this rate, Dr. B. wants me to put on 10 pounds in the next 10-11 weeks. My weight has definitely been redistributing!

Hemoglobin was on the low side of normal but fine, and the RH antibodies test came back negative so I was able to get the Rhogam shot later that afternoon. After three hours sitting in the lab, I had a good length scarf knit!

The ultrasound was great. Baby is BIG, measuring about two weeks ahead. We're going to check growth again in four weeks, but my OB isn't concerned about the size-GD correlation at this point because babies long bones were measuring ahead, too. We saw baby's mouth opening, the most perfect leg profile (all the better to kick with), and legs crossed tightly at the knees. We don't want to know the sex, and baby made sure we couldn't accidentally find out. Baby's heart rate is consistently around 150.

The only downside to the day (other than the GD stuff) was that we had to wait to hours to see Dr. B. It was her on-call day, and I knew that. But we weren't complaining. We've never really had to wait before, and who knows what she was handling that day. I'm sure I've caused her to run behind before!

Yesterday was my SIL's baby shower about an hour drive away. After a quick breakfast with my parents and shopping with my mom - she wanted to buy me a Christmas outfit! - we were on the road. I don't normally feel baby move when I'm in the car, so I didn't think too much about a lack of movement until we were back home. After an hour, only four movements. After three hours, two big glasses of juice, one piece of bunt cake and three trips to the bathroom, only six movements. So I called the nurse line in the birth center, and they suggested I come in for some monitoring.

So off we went. I was crying because I thought that if the nurse said to come in versus telling me to do something at home, maybe there was something wrong. I was 95 percent sure everything was fine, but that last 5 percent nagged at me. Now there is a different kind of fear...knowing that baby has a good outlook if born now (though I fully intend to bake him or her longer), makes me scared that I'll miss a warning sign and the chance to get baby out safely. *sigh* Always something.

I love my hospital and the nurses. Our nurse was SO WONDERFUL and she made me feel like we did the right thing. Absolutely no indication that we overreacted. After a good 20 minutes on the monitors, with baby's steady heart rate averaging around 150 with good accels and decels, we were cleared to go home. And of course baby decided to show off once hooked up because I got all sorts of good kicks and movements. No contractions and LOTS of movement noted on the strip. Just perfect. But there was nothing better than just listening to baby and trying to pick out the movement and when my coughing changed up the heart beat.

So today we both took a sick day. After the late night and bodies coursing with adrenaline, combined with an aching back and ribs from coughing for me, we needed to relax and decompress. Baby enjoyed the day at home too; moving ALL day for mommy.


The updated milestone checklist:

see heartbeat
finish progesterone
14 weeks - scary date #1
18 weeks - scary date #2
20 weeks  - halfway!
24 weeks - viability
28 weeks - next ultrasound; start biweekly appointments
*first trip to labor and delivery - 28w
32 weeks - next ultrasound; start weekly appointments
36 weeks - start heparin
37 weeks - full term
39 weeks - baby in my arms

*added to the list, but not planned.
Friday, December 3, 2010

another anniversary

So one year ago today we learned at 14 weeks our second baby no longer had a heartbeat. By date, it's tomorrow, but by day of the week, today. I managed to mostly hold it together at my marathon day at the clinic (next post), including ultrasound. Until I told my doctor it had been one year.

The college where I work has a BIG Christmas concert each year, and I've missed very few in the last ten years. We even went last year with baby in my belly but no longer dancing. I just couldn't do it tonight. Not when I cried the whole time last year. I just need this weekend to be different.

Again, the anticipation was worse than the day. The last week has been up and down. But it's the last of the firsts I've been anticipating. I've passed miscarriage dates (on Monday, the surgery date) and due dates.

Paul reminded me tonight that there are more firsts than we can begin to anticipate...starting with the birth of this baby.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

damn grief

I think I'll always be surprised at how it catches me off-guard and takes my breath away.

And hormones don't make it any easier.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

daddy's first book

Paul read his first book to baby tonight. Before he started, he said, "I've never read a book to a baby before." It was so sweet. We were trying to get some good kicks out of baby, but silly baby was being shy. I like family time. :) The book Paul chose:

Papa, please get the moon for me by Eric Carle






The first time I read to baby:

The Sonnets of Shakespeare


Sunday, November 21, 2010

one of those days

As I sit here, my eyes are swollen and red from crying. Just because my mind starts wandering.

I had to set aside my Pregnancy After Loss book, which I normally love, because it made me sad. I hadn't yet made it to the third trimester section, and in real life, I'm almost there! But it's overwhelming. Thoughts about setting up baby's room or not, depending on what we may have done in previous pregnancies. Whatever feels right is right. We didn't do anything for baby's room before or even make many purchases. Now we are. The crib came on Friday. I have a drawer full of clothes. Wall art half purchased. And we're excited about it all. But tonight, realizing that we have these things that mean baby is coming and wondering if we'll be one of those couples who has the room all set up and doesn't get to bring a baby home, I am terrified. That almost makes me not want to do it.

Yet I say over and again that I will live in hope and not in fear.

Would guarding my heart be easier? I've definitely lived in that realm. Not necessarily. If something were to happen, it will hurt beyond anything I can imagine. More than anything, I just want to be in my excitement, but it's really hard some days.

So that started the uneasy feelings. Then I really got upset when reading about potential danger signs, one of which is not gaining a pound per week. I'm not. This whole pregnancy, I've played with five pounds lower than my starting weight. I'd go up and down within those five pounds. And I'm still down two pounds from my starting weight. My tummy is definitely growing, and baby has always measured right on track. My tummy even measured large at the last appointment. I wouldn't be worried if I felt I were eating well. But it's hard to eat when you have no appetite. At all. I don't get sick when I eat, but nothing ever sounds good. Lest you worry, I do eat (mostly) healthy food each day. For some reason it just set me off tonight. Poor Paul was opening all the cupboards trying to suggest things while I cried. I think he would have made me anything I wanted. I decided I wanted toast and chicken strips.

But that's not all. I feel like my parents aren't excited about baby, and that bothers me. I think they are, but my mom has said it's hard for her to be excited this time. She always asks how the pregnancy is going (to the point she adds my appointments to her planner), but she never talks about baby. No one in my family does. Baby only enters conversation if I bring it up.

I guess I don't know what I'm expecting. It just bothers me a bit that they gave us a "congratulations on your pregnancy" card with the first two and not this one. The second baby also got a little Winnie the Pooh blanket. Nothing for this baby. (Actually, we didn't receive any congratulations cards from anyone this time. I have to admit, it hurts a bit. Like this baby might not make it so it's not worth their time. This baby deserves to be celebrated, too.) It's not about material things, but maybe I equate that with excitement and planning. My mother-in-law can't stop buying things, even little things. A glider rocker for my Christmas gift, an ultrasound frame, layettes, a quilt, and that's just what she's given us. My friend's mom picks up stuff for her baby girl all the time, who will make her entrance the same time as my baby. Why doesn't my mom?

Paul says she's probably just being cautious, and I get that. It just feels like yet again, I'm missing out on some of those "normal" pregnancy things that others get to enjoy.

And of course my mind spins. Baby showers. Lovely friends are hosting two for us in January. One is at work, and the other is a friends couples shower. I mentioned them to my mom, since she'll be invited along with my mother-in-law, and there was no reaction. I just really want my mom at my shower, and she makes the drive for many other reasons (we live about four hours from them).

All of this just made me cry. Pregnancy hormones certainly don't help. I don't know what to expect, yet I am frustrated that things aren't "normal." This pregnancy after loss thing is hard. Really hard.
Friday, November 19, 2010

daddy got a kick

Last night Paul felt baby move for the first time! Baby has been super active in the evenings, and last night while we were lying in bed, I asked Paul to tell baby about his night. (He feels less awkward when he talks about something specific, so last night baby heard about the plans for brewing a big batch of Scottish ale with the homebrew club.) Baby started wiggling even more and gave two really big kicks. Paul was so excited! After that, he started to feel the subtle kicks, too.

It was so fun! He was so happy to feel it for himself; he's been trying for at least the last eight weeks. These bonding moments are amazing. I have a feeling I'll have a hand on my belly even more often now. :)
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

dreams, please go away

They were right when they said dreams during pregnancy can be intense. (I can't identify they; I just know I've read about this in more than one place.) Good grief. I can accept losing sleep over being uncomfortable, but these dreams are a little harder to accept.

My dreams aren't necessarily bad and definitely not scary. But they are stressful. SO stressful. Like trying to find my car in the Mall of American parking ramps late at night after someone else parked it and didn't tell me where. Or needing to pack up my boss's hotel room (and the belongings of two others staying with her, unbeknownst to me), deal with the hotel people, and then drive their stuff cross-country from Washington, D.C., by way of several metropolitan areas. Or finding an overweight beagle in my apartment building and not knowing who his owners are but wanting to take care of him for a bit despite his presence stressing out my cats. These dreams were from Monday night. And I fully woke up between each of them.

Last night I enjoyed dream-free, uninterrupted sleep thanks to Ambien, as recommended by my OB for when I need it. I'll take it when it works, but I'd rather not come to rely on it. However, I do need to make it through the day, and baby and I both feel better when adequately rested. I know sleep deprivation will come on another whole level when baby is born, but that's just not comforting at the moment.

The dreams need to settle down or I might be ordering who knows what from middle-of-the night infomercials in my sleep-deprived state.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010

24 weeks and thankful

Sunday marked 24 weeks of baking for this baby! One of the things I was excited to do was to update the checklist below. In true obsessive list-maker fashion, I had to add a couple of lines, mostly to have more things to cross off.

milestone checklist

see heartbeat
finish progesterone
14 weeks - scary date #1
18 weeks - scary date #2
20 weeks  - halfway!
24 weeks - viability
28 weeks - next ultrasound; start biweekly appointments
32 weeks - start weekly appointments
36 weeks - start heparin
37 weeks - full term
39 weeks - baby in my arms

On Monday we had our first OB appointment in four weeks. I realize that four weeks is a normal length of time between visits for most people, but I, like many of you, am not most people. But we made it! Anxiety is certainly calmed by the movement this baby shares with me all day every day, and some of those jabs are starting to take my breath away. I'm incubating a hockey-playing space heater!

Everything is perfect. I don't use perfect often or lightly, but really, this pregnancy has been perfect. I enjoy being pregnant (which is something I never imagined saying), and I'm sure it has much to do with the thankfulness I relish in each day. Every day is another day I thank God that I have been given this baby to love and to carry.

Here are a few updates from my appointment:
  • excellent blood pressure again
  • weight gain of -2 pounds
  • baby is measuring a bit ahead
  • baby still gives Dr. B a hard time finding the heartbeat, but it is very strong and steady
  • plan for 27 weeks - repeat 3-hour glucose (I've resigned myself to the fact that I'm at risk); Rhogam shot; hemoglobin workup
  • plan for 28 weeks - ultrasound and OB appointment
We are almost definitely meeting baby in a planned event, as Dr. B likes to put it. It sounds friendlier than induction. More than anything she wants to plan and control the environment given my anticoagulants, even though I'll take the last does 24-48 before the induction. She - and I - would rather have fewer interventions, which includes medication to reverse heparin effects and/or responding to potential hemorrhaging. And maybe we can schedule for a day Dr. B is on call! The more we talk about it, the more I get used to the idea. And I really do like controlling my environment to the extent I'm able. (Can one become even more type-A with age?) I am doing my best to have very few expectations surrounding labor and birth by educating myself, keeping open-minded, and remembering that nothing is more important than bringing baby here safely. My desires go out the window when I remind myself of that.

I am so very thankful and my heart is full. Most of all, I'm thankful for this little one and all of the babies who are making healthy entrances into the world.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

a new nephew to love

We are so excited that baby Gabriel is here! After a long night, he came at 8.52am yesterday...the exact same time as his sister Sophia. A meaningful time. My sister-in-law and baby are doing well. They're testing Gabe for group b strep today, and if all is good, he won't need antibiotics and they'll likely go home tomorrow!

After Sophia died at three weeks from meningitis caused by GBS - and doctors don't know how she got it - taking chances isn't worth it. Right now, they're keeping visitors to family only and being diligent about hand-washing. Other than doctor appointments, he'll be kept at home for a couple months with few visitors.

I just can't wait to snuggle him! Paul is going to his parents' for deer hunting, and I might go with...mostly because Gabe and family live only 30 minutes away. :) It will be fun to see the big brothers, too. I just love my nephews and niece, and there's another nephew on the way!

When my baby comes, there will be three new babies within three months. These cousins are going to have so much fun together!

It is interesting symmetry, though. Our family lost three babies in 2009. Sophia was the third child in her family. Three often represents the trinity of body, mind and spirit. We all felt weakness here. Three represents divine perfection. All of these babies are perfect because they are created by God. Growing a baby is divided into trimesters. And three represents the triune God. A perfect God. The Holy Spirit, which has comforted me so during this time, joins God the creator and Jesus our deliverer to complete the fullness of the Godhead. Google "symbolism of three," and you'll find all sorts of interesting things.

There is just so much to be thankful for. These babies are the hope that we've clung to. Now I pray for the safe and healthy arrival and infancy for them all.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

tempering the worry

The last two days I haven't felt baby move as much as I had been. I've still felt movement, just not too much. I did call my doctor's office though, and the nurse said to rest and occasionally eat or drink something sugary. **Baby just gave me a good kick. ** She said they don't get too concerned about decreased movement until after 28 weeks, but if I find myself worrying, I can go in to listen to that heartbeat.

I'm proud of myself. I haven't been beside myself with worry. Yesterday I did leave work early at the nurse's suggestion, but that's an easy thing I can do. I need to take care of myself and this little one. To be able to weigh my feelings (and my gut says everything is fine) shows progress. Despite the pregnancy hormones, I feel much more rational overall than about eight months ago. :)

That said, I appreciate your prayers that all continues to go well, and that this orange soda gives baby a sugar high.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

wiggling and bouncing

This little baby is big enough for me to feel lots of wiggles, bounces and somersaults everyday! I'm absolutely loving it. This daily reassurance that everything is okay are priceless.

I have to wait three more weeks until my next appointment, so it will be a full four weeks between. They couldn't fit me in with Dr. B earlier, and I really didn't want to see someone else. I'm feeling okay about it. Now. As usual, I was overwhelmed with emotions when surprised. But I will only be feeling baby move around more over the next few weeks.

Having the confidence to say when we bring baby home rather than if we will bring baby home fills me with so much joy. I haven't been able to have fun as a mother until now, and I really like it.
Friday, October 15, 2010

pregnancy and infant loss awareness day

Today is a beautiful day. So much peace and so much love. We remember our babies everyday, of course, but as Heather put it so well, today we also ask the world to remember with us. Reading everyone's blog posts today stir in me such a feeling of community. And this blogging circle is one of the friendliest, most caring communities I've encountered. Thank you all.

Today doesn't have to be a sad day - though I've had my moments. Today I choose to be joyful. Happiness can be a fleeting emotion, but joyfullness is intentional. The joyful me is tuned into God through the Spirit, and my heart sings praises all day.

Last night I changed my Facebook profile picture to the I Am the Face button and posted a link to the Web site. Today I updated my status again. I really haven't ever said anything about my losses so outright in that forum, and I was nervous. For what, I have no idea. But I will share my story with those who might ask, and I will do what I can to help assuage our society's reluctance to talk about it. I know who I am, and I know who my babies are.
Thursday, October 14, 2010

loving uneventful appointments

My 20 week OB appointment on Tuesday has been one of the best yet! She picked up baby's heartbeat immediately, and we just listened for awhile. This little one is pumping along consistently in the 150s, and is growing right on track. In a few weeks, my short-waisted body will only be able to accommodate growth by going out. And I love it.

As far as the GD discussion goes, I'm supposed to watch my simple sugar intake and cut back. We'll re-test for GD in six to eight weeks. Since I did pass the test, Dr. B thinks this is the best plan. I'm on board. We also talked about weaning off an anti-depressant at 28 weeks. It has tested safe for pregnancy, but in the last trimester has been linked to pulmonary hypertension in the baby at birth. I feel great about that plan because I'm doing better than I have been in the last year, and now, finally, the feelings of excitement are greater than the worries. And I know I'm strong enough to live through a few tough weeks, if that happens to be, to help ensure that baby is healthy.

We talked about delivery for the first time! She's going to switch me to heparin at 36 weeks, and then back to Lovenox or Coumadin for six weeks after delivery. Right now I think I'd rather do the daily injections (which have become no big deal!) than weekly blood tests.

She's also talking about inducing at 39 weeks. I had been thinking that was likely, and definitely not going longer than 40. With the FVL, we just don't need to hang out for very long in that time period when the incidence of clots rise and the placenta starts to tire of its work. Induction really isn't my preference, but if it's for good medical reasons, I'm on board. She said it would depend, too, on what signs my body is showing. So we'll see. But we have a good while to continue the conversation and for me to get used to the idea. Please share good induction experiences to help ease my mind. :)

We'll see baby again at 28 weeks for a growth check. That will have been 10 weeks since the last ultrasound and the longest we've gone without a peek! I see Dr. B again in three weeks, and hopefully growing baby will be tumbling around a lot for my reassurance.

And I'm feeling baby every day now! It's very subtle, silly anterior placenta, but there. When I'm in bed and baby's moving, Paul reaches for my belly quickly. He's just so anxious to feel baby, too. I love it.

I'm just so in love with my little family! And of course, that includes the cats. We have family snuggle time on the bed for sleeping. :)
Monday, October 11, 2010

20 weeks - halfway!!

Each day brings me closer to checking off another milestone on my list! Hitting 20 weeks yesterday has to be the funnest one yet. I'm in baby mode. On Friday, Paul and I went around town to Babies R Us and Baby Depot to play with some car seats, strollers and pack-and-plays. No purchases yet, but now we have some preferences that aren't based only on customer reviews and colors. Now it's time to start making calls to find a place for this little one to go come May.

The more I read about cloth diapering and learn the language, the more excited I am. (We'll likely use disposables right away and then keep some on hand for some outings and emergencies.) What brands/styles do you prefer? Where do you buy them? I'm thinking about a mix of perfect fits and all-in-ones, but I need advice about quantities if planning to wash every other day. Share your thoughts, ladies!

It's just so fun to talk about baby stuff and believe we'll actually get to use it soon! I just crave small hints of normalcy. :)

milestone timeline
see heartbeat
finish progesterone
14 weeks
18 weeks
20 weeks
24 weeks
28 weeks
37 weeks
baby in my arms
Thursday, October 7, 2010

lists and lists

Things I should do but don't because I'm too tired...
  • fold laundry
  • vacuum
  • dishes
  • clean the fridge
  • put clean sheets on the bed
  • organize scrapbooking stuff
  • really any household cleaning
  • organize closet in soon-to-be baby's room

Things I do instead...
  • sleep
  • read
  • ask Paul to do the dishes and clean the bathroom
  • knit
  • sleep
  • make a songs for baby playlist
  • watch GLEE and Grey's Anatomy
  • make Paul a grocery list
  • sleep
  • read blogs
  • research baby gear online
  • and my favorite....grow a baby. :)
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

settling in

I feel like I'm finally starting to settle in and enjoy this pregnancy. After passing week 17 and the anatomy scan, I have felt absolutely wonderful. I guess that's what happens when you let some stress go away... We're telling people about the pregnancy in normal conversation (like our five-year college reunion this weekend!), it's now out at work, and it all feels so good. When other people are excited, it reminds me that this is an exciting time, not just a time filled with worry. The worry is still there, no doubt, but I enjoy having fun.

That said, there were a couple stressful moments last week. My dad is diabetic, so my doctor had me do an early glucose screen at 18 weeks. I didn't pass the one-hour. :( BUT I did pass the three-hour. :) Even though all four of my draws passed easily, and my fasting glucose was outstanding, the nurse said my doctor will go ahead and treat me as gestational diabetic. I'm very frustrated. I completely understand the risks of untreated and unmonitored diabetes, and how devastating it can be when baby is born. I also have a good understanding of how to monitor carbs, sugars and diet living in close proximity to it for much of my life. I do have a high risk factor (dad), but I've passed the test. My weight gain is -5 pounds at 19 weeks, I'm eating well, and there has been no sign of sugar in my urine, which has been tested every two weeks at my regular appointments. My A1C was just tested a couple months ago (and is a better indicator of glucose levels for several reasons), and it is just where it should be.

More than anything, I just don't need to create something to worry about in this pregnancy. I don't need the extra stress about worrying something that isn't creating a problem. If all the tests were positive, I'd be the first asking for a plan. I see my doctor next week for a regular appointment, so I told the nurse I wanted to talk it over with my doctor to better understand before I go off seeing nutritionists and the endocrinologist. I'm hoping that we'll do another glucose tolerance test in 8-10 weeks, while I continue to eat well and exercise, and take it from there. (I'm doing my best not to get worked up about it until then. Some days are better than others.) If urine were to show sugar earlier, we'll address it right away. But if not, I just want a few weeks of not creating additional stress. I think that's reasonable.

I continue to be surprised at how much these bumps in the road derail me. Most days (especially lately) will  be great, but I don't realize how high my stress level is until I have no reserves to handle something unexpected. The most important thing is to bring home a healthy baby, and every day I look for the balance in how to do that.

That was a long vent...good thing I put the happier update at the top. :)
Saturday, September 25, 2010

baby mine

So I was on a thread entitled "Things emotional pregnant women should avoid" and saw "Baby Mine" from Dumbo and sung by Allison Krauss mentioned. I love Allison Krauss, so I decided to check it out on YouTube. It's beautiful. And now I'm sobbing.

Check it out...but be forewarned.



Friday, September 24, 2010

so in love

My heart is so full. I don't know how it's possible, but I love this little one more and more each day.

We saw baby again today at our ultrasound. I thought we were doing just a quick check again, but she ended up doing the full anatomy scan. Baby is measuring right on track! The head and stomach are measuring about 18w4 (I'm 17w5d), but the femur is about a week behind the head. I'm short, so that just made me laugh. Overall, everything looks GREAT. We saw two arms, two legs, two kidneys, one bladder, a four-chambered heart that's beating 150 bpm, a three-vesseled cord, an adorable spine, a perfect amount of fluid, the list goes on. We do NOT know the sex, however. The tech promised she wouldn't put it in the report, and I don't think she spent much time looking.

We had my favorite tech again today, and she tells us what she's seeing and will tell us if that measurement is normal to the extent she can. She knows our story and is sympathetic to me wanting to know as much as possible. She also just let us watch baby for a bit. Baby was tumbling all over the place! 

We were having a hard time getting a great face profile shot, but we do have a great frontal shot of baby's head, albeit bit skeletor looking, that is made cuter because we see a nice round belly and a sweet little hand waving. *I promise to put pictures up someday. First I need to get a new camera, and that is quickly becoming a priority.*

A fun surprise for the day - after she was done with the scan, she asked if they could use a new machine that a rep was showing today. Of course - it was extra time to watch baby! It was a lot of fun. The rep and two more techs joined (I always seem to have a party in my exam rooms) and looked all over. We even got to see baby in 4D! Of course, baby had already put on the show and decided to nap for this portion of the scan, so we didn't get a bunch of good pictures, but that's okay. I hope the hospital decides to purchase the new machine so we can get some good 4D pictures when baby is a little chubbier. :)

As soon as I saw baby wiggling around on the screen, I felt the biggest relief. It has been a rough week. I'd been worrying about today's scan, and Wednesday was the date when I miscarried the first baby. I've been keeping it together just enough to get through the work day, but it was definitely a marginal week as far as work completed. I'm sure that the worrying and stress is a part of what is making me so tired. This weekend is for relaxing, growing baby, and maybe playing a bit of piano for baby. I pray constantly, and only that gives me peace. 

I bought the cutest pair of faux baby Birkenstocks, and they came in the mail yesterday. Today I saw the perfect little foot that will wear them.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

second trimester energy?

Where is the second trimester boost of energy I've heard and read about?! I feel like I am as tired as ever, routinely needing 9-10 hours of sleep. My eyes start to droop at about 2pm and it's a fight to the end of the day. Oh well. it's hard work growing a baby.

Three more days until our next ultrasound!! I'm hoping for some good pictures, especially one that shows baby's sweet profile.
Monday, September 13, 2010

random things about karin

I'm home sick with a stomach bug or something today, so I thought I'd do a fun post. I have to credit Stephanie's post from last week for the inspiration.

Random facts about me


  • I have red hair. No one in my family has red hair.
  • Because of said red hair and the fairest of fair skin, I avoid the sun obsessively. However, I was a lifeguard at an outdoor pool in high school.
  • I've been playing piano since I was three.
  • I believe that lefse belongs on every holiday dinner table.
  • The only thing I have won in a contest or drawing is a case of Coke for a grocery store coloring contest when I was 10.
  • Oatmeal, rommegrot, and other mushy, watery foods make me gag.
  • As a camp cook, I had to make giant pots of oatmeal every Wednesday morning for breakfast. 
  • I grew up 15 miles from the Canadian border and spent many winter weekends in Canada for my brothers' hockey games. Canadian coins were as common at my house as U.S. coinage.
  • I golfed in a high school state tournament and took sixth place as a team.
  • M*A*S*H is one of my favorite TV shows, and I can identify most episodes within the first 30 seconds. My dad conditioned me not to talk during the show except for commercials. Now I get frustrated with Paul if he tries to talk during M*A*S*H.
  • I was a delegate at the 2008 ND state democratic convention where both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama spoke. I stood onstage behind Obama for his speech and took a photo with Clinton after hers.
  • I don't worry about my kids being smart. I worry about their sense of rhythm. 
  • My college mascot is a cob of corn named Kernel. He routinely makes lists of bizarre mascots.
  • I like to dress my cats up in cute costumes. They have matching sailor scarves.
  • In high school, I gave a humorous speech on how mechanically declined I am. 
  • I learned how to knit in January, and now I am surrounded by piles of washcloths and scarves.
  • I love grammar. 
  • The Little Mermaid is my favorite movie. She is a princess with red hair.
  • I really like artificial grape flavoring. Jello, hard candy, Dimetapp.
  • Because of camp cook experience, I can easily make tator tot hotdish for 300. I really don't like hotdish.
Friday, September 10, 2010

good report at appointment

Baby had another picture taken yesterday! I'm going to have quite the collection for the pregnancy scrapbook I need to start. My doctor didn't even bother with the doppler...we all wanted another peek at baby. All looks good! Baby is growing and growing with a heart just beating away. My placenta was easier to see this time, and it turns out that it's anterior. So maybe the taps from the other day weren't baby, but I still think they were. :) It was also fun to hear her say that she can definitely feel that my uterus is growing and is right where it should be, size-wise.

It was quite the party in my exam room yesterday. In addition to the usuals - me, Paul and Dr. B - there was a med student and a nurse. Now that I'm finally off the progesterone suppositories, Dr. B. did a pap and more thorough pelvic exam. (She made me promise that I wouldn't get upset if I saw spotting later because it would be quite likely following the test/exam.) So while that was going on, the med student was observing, the nurse was setting up the ultrasound, and Paul was texting. It was quite funny as I sat there in yards of fabric from a too-big gown and piles of glorified paper napkins. Whatever. I really don't care about all that as long as I get a peek at baby!

I go back two weeks from today for an ultrasound, and then two weeks from Monday, I see Dr. B and do an early glucose test. She asked if we're going to find out the sex. (We aren't.) It was fun to talk about "normal" pregnancy things like that! On her way out, she said she can't wait to get past 20 weeks. I know I repeat myself over and again when I talk about appointments, but I really love how my doctor feels invested in this pregnancy, too.

We're now thinking about the quad screen. We really didn't get this far with the other pregnancies to be seriously considering it. I think we're leaning towards not doing it. Though we have previous miscarriages in our history, we really don't have any of the potential risk factors that encourage doing the test. We feel it would cause unnecessary worry between waiting for the results and the potential for false positives. We want to avoid an amnio if at all possible because we're just not willing to take the risk while looking for trouble. What are your thoughts on screening tests? What have you done?

It was a crazy week at work with a big grant proposal due today. I've spent most of the last week working in USD/EUR conversions, and my head never hurts as much as when I have to do budgets in euros. I've settled in with some guilty pleasure TV, chocolate covered almonds and caffeine free diet coke in a wine glass. Everything tastes better in a wine glass, and since I won't be partaking in my grant submission day-red wine ritual for awhile, this will have to suffice.

Fun news for the day - my best friend (who is due one week before me; Paul thinks it was a conspiracy) found out she's having a girl! Big brother J will be almost two when that little girl comes. Our babies will either be best friends and college roommates like we were or betrothed to one another from birth. I'll be perfectly happy with either arrangement. :)

I am just so in love with this little one in my belly! I love that my pants are starting to be snug in the waist, that I can't stay awake past 10pm, and that I have five beautiful sets of pictures on my fridge. Even though there are two baby-sized holes in my heart, my heart grows right along with this little one.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

15 weeks and a tap tap from baby!

I'm 15 weeks and can't believe how fast the time is going! The days are ticking by, and I do my best to just live in that day and not worry. It works....for the most part. :)

This morning I think I felt baby move for the first time! I was lying in bed petting a kitty and felt a couple light taps in my lower belly. It definitely wasn't my pulse, and it sure didn't feel like gas. After a few more minutes of being still and quiet, I felt it again. So I'm saying it was baby.

These are the moments I've been waiting for. Brand new pregnancy milestones that are new to me. I didn't feel any movement with my first two babies. I can't wait until baby is bigger and stronger, and I can feel him or her move regularly.

On Thursday I go back to the doctor. I'm looking forward to hearing a heartbeat (will also be a first when it happens!) or maybe seeing baby. If we do get to see baby, I hope my OB will measure the size because she didn't last time. I just want every reassurance that baby is growing and growing.

Another good thing for today - it was sweater weather! After a very hot summer (for North Dakota), I am ready for some crisp fall days.

God is so good. God is carrying me through this all. My worries consume me less only because I give them over and my load is lightened. Every evening, I thank God for giving me this baby to love and to carry, and for another day with baby. I love every day I have with baby, and I hope the count of days on this earth goes on and on.
Thursday, September 2, 2010

just hanging in there

This week has had lots of good things! These are the moments when my heart and mind are content, and the worry stays at bay. These are the moments I hold onto during the other times.
  • A great date night at Garrison Keillor's (of the Prairie Home Companion radio show) Summer Love tour. Lawn seats were not only cheaper, they had the best views! He sang, told stories, and ambled around the audience for well over two hours. Even though it was a bit cool (we were in an outdoor ampitheater), windy and rainy, we left with smiling and singing.
  • A relatively uneventful weekend. We passed the 14 week mark with no reasons to worry. I didn't do much other than hang out and grow a baby. :)
  • Fun friends scrappin' and stamping' the night away. I love my monthly scrapbooking group at church! I was working on cards this month, but it still felt good to get my hands in that paper.
  • An indulgent evening watching the Emmys. I like awards shows and the red carpet interviews. Paul doesn't. At all. That's why it's good that we have TVs in separate rooms some days.
  • Days that are finally cooling off. I am much more comfortable in the crisp fall air than the sticky, heavy, hot air of summer. My favorite - wearing sweaters and my Birkenstocks at the same time.
Sunday night brought a bump in the week. My parents had spent the weekend here helping my brother move into his college house, and learned on their drive home that one of their cats was killed on the highway by there house. Paul and I had just gone to bed and were talking about how this day we were anticipating turned out to be just fine. Until my mom sent that text message.

I just don't know how to process sad news now. I can't separate it from my own feelings of loss. Mom's cats are the same age as mine, and they definitely aren't my pets, but I still know them well. And more than that, I know how mom loved her little Lita. Pets are members of our family, and they make their way into our hearts forever.

My heart just hurts a lot. For little Lita's brother and playmate who keeps looking for her. For my mom. For my babies. I can't even write that without the tears coming. Monday was a mental health day. I slept, recovered from the massive headache (stress headaches + pregnancy = wish I could take more than Tylenol), and snuggled my kitties. I also thought about how I need to protect my emotions, including asking that difficult news be shared with me in a certain way. I just have to be gentle with myself.
Friday, August 27, 2010

heeeeeerrrrrrrrrrre comes anxiety

Are my breasts still sore?
Do they feel a bit smaller?
Is that a stretching pain or cramping?
Is the ache going away with Tylenol?
Do I still feel pregnant?
Will I get to bring home a living baby?

I'm two days away from 14 weeks, the point at which we learned our second baby no longer had a heartbeat. In actuality, we're already ahead of that pregnancy, since our second baby stopped growing at 12w3d, and we definitely saw a heartbeat with this baby at 13w1d.

I knew this was coming, but it still takes my breath away. Sometimes I can stop the thoughts before heading too far down that path, and other times, the fear just wants to take over. It becomes not about one day at a time, but rather one hour or even one minute.
Monday, August 23, 2010

13-week appointment

As far as baby goes, today's appointment was great! Size looks good with a strong heartbeat. Baby was waving at us. :) I feel great, though I'm down one pound.

The panic set in when she couldn't find the heartbeat with the doppler. After several minutes. My placenta is forming a bit on the front side, and I have a little extra padding as it is, so I know it's tough to find still. Even though I KNOW that, my mind isn't exactly at ease. And my doctor is great; she just kept reassuring me, and then went to get the ultrasound. But it took longer than usual to pull up a good picture, so more minutes of panic. In total, it couldn't have been more than five or six minutes total, but it felt like an eternity until we saw that flicker and the movement. She actually started to turn off the machine when she realized that she forgot to print us a picture. So we have another little picture to add to our growing collection.

She said there was no need to cause me unnecessary worry, so we'll check on things again very soon. I'm going back to see her in two weeks, which will be 15 weeks and smack-dab between the points of loss with our other babies. Then at 18 weeks, I'll see her again, have an ultrasound and do an early glucose test. Since my dad is diabetic, she's not taking anything lightly! :) 

When she was filling out the slip for me to schedule appointments, she said she had to put a special sticker on it so I could get a 15-minute appointment and not a seven-minute appointment. She said I'm not a seven-minute kind of person. :) Both Paul and I feel so comfortable with her because we know she's taking care of us.

Even though I had baby's picture in hand and saw that wonderful heartbeat, I couldn't stop crying. It's all so emotional and overwhelming when I'm in her office, and I'm flooded with flashbacks and worry. After lots of hugs from Paul in the parking lot, my panic attack started to subside. I just can't wait for appointments that are so routine they border on boring.

I want nothing more than to be an easy seven-minute appointment.
Sunday, August 22, 2010

wedding good things and 13 weeks

Whew! The long wedding weekend was great - but exhausting. Conversations with family were relatively easy, and everyone was just so happy about all of the exciting things happening right now. The list of good things from this weekend is long:
  • seeing my brother- and new sister-in-law so happy!
  • lots of Shirley Temples with extra cherries
  • getting to know cousins better
  • an incredible pizza buffet for the rehearsal dinner
  • hearing people laugh at Paul's speech at the reception
  • a beautiful hotel room with a walk out patio to the lake
  • celebrating the 80th birthday of a great uncle and meeting more relatives
  • dressing an adorable nephew in his pint-sized tux
  • talking baby stuff with M, one of my pregnant sisters-in-law
  • a super comfortable dress on a very hot wedding day and being told I was just adorable
  • lots of congratulations on baby
  • dancing with my husband
  • listening to my brother-in-law sing the Ghostbusters theme at karaoke
  • quality time with M, my sister-in-law, while our husbands were busy being brothers of the groom
  • a two-hour nap this afternoon after we got home
Today I'm 13 weeks! The days of progesterone suppositories are numbered. :) We have an OB appointment tomorrow, and I will be very happy if we just get to hear the heart beat, but Paul really wants another peek at baby. I'm just one week away from the point at which we learned our second baby had no heartbeat. I can't wait to start checking off those markers as we pass them. I am feeling so good - both physically and emotionally - and I just know I'm going to be holding this little one in about six months.
Thursday, August 19, 2010

preparing for a weekend with LOTS of family

My brother-in-law's wedding is tomorrow....so I'm gearing up to see LOTS of family in the next several hours. We're going to have a lot of fun, and I'll get to know some of Paul's cousins better. And I love my sisters-in-law! Two of the three (not the bride) are also pregnant, and I haven't seen them in awhile.

Those are the things I'm looking forward to. I'm nervous about conversations or comments about my pregnancy. At least they all know, so there won't be any surprises like last weekend. So I'm planning to just soak in their excitement and well wishes and allow myself to be excited with them. And who's going to be paying attention to me with beautiful people in beautiful dresses (and tuxes) around us! :)

The words I need to remind myself of more often:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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 minds in Christ Jesus.
Phillippians 4:6-7
Monday, August 16, 2010

ultrasound update, sharing the news, and a limp

I am WAY behind with this update, and now there are lots of things on my mind...

I am now 12 weeks with this baby, and though statistic don't do much to ease my mind since I seem to defy many, I try to remind myself that in MOST cases, pregnancies progress very well after this point.

On Friday, August 6 we had another peek at our little one! We were back in for an ultrasound and had my favorite tech. I was so excited when she called us back because she will tell us what she sees. She doesn't interpret, but she gives us the facts.

Baby was measuring 11 weeks that day - three days ahead! I love to see that growth! The heart rate was great at 171. Baby was tumbling all over the place, and we saw lots of good dancing going on. Paul did his job well and asked for pictures. Even though we were feeling good after leaving the ultrasound, we still went upstairs to talk to the nurse just for extra peace of mind. And all is good. All is very good. I go back to my doctor next Monday at 13 weeks.

*****

I am at my parents' for a long weekend, and a lot of family is home. I only see my aunts and uncles once a year because they live in New York and Chicago, so it's fun to see these little cousins.

But I don't feel comfortable talking about this pregnancy. My mom caught me off guard by announcing with my aunt's family, "so did Karin tell you she's pregnant?" I HATE those surprises. I don't have the ability to go along with the flow quite so easily anymore. I need to be prepared. Everyone turned and looked at me, and said congratulations. That's great, but I don't like being the center of attention. I feel like we've already been through this before, and people will just wonder if this one is going to work. I wonder if we'll take home this baby. I don't need to assure others when I have a hard enough time assuring myself.

I told my mom later that I didn't appreciate an announcement to a group, and she thought it was fine because we're all family. It was still a big group to me. She said she'd tell my uncle's family before I came home. I don't know if she did. Or if she told them I don't want to talk about it. Maybe it's easier to pretend I'm not pregnant until I have a big belly.

Everything seems too complicated to simply be excited.

*****

Aaaaannnnnnnnd here's the current ridiculousness...I partially tore my Achilles tendon. While drinking lemonade. Sitting at a picnic table. My chiropractor thinks it started when I sprained my ankle last month (I managed to roll it twice in one day), and since then I've been walking to compensate, which has caused the muscles and tendons to shorten and tighten. It was ready to pop. And pop it did, followed by a shooting pain up my calf.

It's a good thing the chiropractor in my hometown is a family friend who was willing to see me at his office on a Saturday afternoon! He worked the muscles, and although I was in a tremendous amount of pain later, it has been much, much better. So I'm spending my vacation in a La-Z-boy with an ice pack on my elevated foot. Worst case scenario: he'll put me in a boot when I go back this afternoon.

Oh well. Hopefully it will match the dress I'm wearing to my brother-in-law's wedding on Friday. The second part of my vacation is in a lake/resort town later this week. I'll be a limping, pregnant bundle of fun! :)
Monday, August 9, 2010

a case of the mondays

I have a case of the Mondays today. I have a case of the Mondays every week.

My first miscarriage was on a Monday. I spent most of the day in the ER, and it was easily the worst day of my life. With my second miscarriage, we found out on Friday there was no heartbeat, and on Monday I had the D&C. I spent the morning waiting at home, hungry because I couldn't eat and thinking about what was to come. But the waiting area was the worst. Just sitting there waiting to become empty.

My babies left my body on Mondays.

The dates of the miscarriages don't get to me when they come around each month, and I really don't count the months. Instead, each week starts with difficulty because bed just feels like a nicer place to spend the day. Sunday nights hold sadness because Monday means re-entering the real world.

My doctor schedules OB appointments for Monday mornings and Friday afternoons. I can't help but think that just offers the possibility of more bad  Mondays. My next appointments is two weeks from today. Maybe I'll hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time. I will gladly take that on a Monday.
Thursday, August 5, 2010

memory boxes

I finally did it.

I had been wanting to gather my babies' things in one place for a long time, but the boxes had just been sitting empty for several months. For awhile, I thought Paul and I needed to do it together, so I put it off. The time just had to be right. And why it felt right between loads of laundry, I don't know.

Sorting cards that were sent to us made me cry. Because of the kind words. Because there are fewer after the second miscarriage than the first. Because there were "congratulations on your pregnancy" cards for both of them, but not this current one. I cried because there are so few things in my first baby's box. I cried because I don't have a picture of Paul and me from when I was pregnant with my second baby.

I cried because this is my life. My babies died. And that will always hurt.

When I bought the memory boxes, I found a third, smaller one that says hope inside a heart. I didn't buy it with the intention that it would become another memory box. It's a hope box. And so in it right now are the three positive HPSs showing the good news of this pregnancy. The hope box is a good place for them. At least it's better than my underwear drawer.

I restacked the boxes on the little shelf and set my Willow Tree "Promise" figurine on top. Paul gave it to me for our anniversary one year, and it had the shelf all to itself until the babies' boxes needed a place. This has been the arrangement for several months, but I had never noticed that it represents our family now. Paul and I with our three babies. All the tangible memories I have from the first two are gathered together, with a box of hope for this baby.

The boxes sit in our bedroom where we see them whenever we walk in or out. They don't need to be on display elsewhere; they are just for us to share if we choose. Their nearness is comforting.
Sunday, August 1, 2010

double digits and a purchase

I'm 10 weeks pregnant today! That means we've known for six weeks, and I can't decide if they've gone by quickly or slowly. Now I'm counting down the days 'til our next ultrasound...five more. I can't wait to see baby again and see how those little arms and legs will have grown!

Yesterday I went shopping with my sister-in-law and made my first baby purchase! We wandered into the baby section of Old Navy, and there was a sale. I decided this was absolutely necessary:



It felt good to buy something for baby, like I actually believe I'll bring her or him home in February. I feel like I have to nudge my excitement a bit, but I'll get there.
Thursday, July 29, 2010

giveaway for rainbow parents @ beyond words designs!

Stephanie over at Carried through Grief is doing a great giveaway for rainbow parents over at Beyond Words Designs. She's offering 50% off one of her Fanciful collection pieces! I am super excited to order one for baby's room with his/her name...once we know what it is after his/her birthday! I can't wait to see what she comes up with for my baby. It's fun to think about doing something concrete for this baby.

Be sure to check her offer out out. All of her pieces are beautiful, and created with such love in memory of her daughter, Amelia.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010

weekly Wednesday good things

These things make me smile, and I would rather think of them than all of the things that could frustrate me.
  • Chocolate Xtreme Blizzard for dinner after a bad day at work.
  • A husband who takes care of the dishwasher filled with dish soap instead of dishwasher detergent, and who let me hide in the bedroom so as not to have to deal with it.
  • Long phone conversations with good friends.
  • Winning three dozen homemade cookies with my department.
  • A wireless headset for my work phone. New toys are fun!
What is on your good things list?
Friday, July 23, 2010

rainbow - a sign?

I just looked out the window and saw a GORGEOUS rainbow. It is so big, so clear and arcs gently behind the building across the street. I don't think I've seen a rainbow in a very long time.

A sign? Maybe. I'll take it. It's been one heck of a good day!

a wiggle, two arms and two legs

We had an AWESOME OB appointment today!!!!

Dr. B. skipped the doppler and went straight to the ultrasound. After a few seconds of focusing, there was the flicker! The smile didn't leave my face after that, and still hasn't. Baby wiggled a bit for us, and we got to see the little arm and leg buds. Baby actually looked a little bit like a baby! Dr. B. took a good look around, and we gazed at baby for several minutes. Paul asked for pictures (that's his job at appointments - the one thing for him to remember) and we came home with three wonderful pictures of baby. That's already more than we have from our previous two pregnancies combined. I need to figure out how to get them up here.

Dr. B. was actually running ahead today, so they called me back a few minutes early - before Paul got there. My stomach had been flipping and I was just scared. I did okay until the nurse brought me into the exam room, when I sat down and promptly started crying. The last time I was in that room was my two-week follow-up appointment after my last miscarriage. It was just overwhelming. I get overwhelmed so easily right now.

The nurse is the same one who was with us the day we learned our baby boy had no heartbeat. She told me she's a crier and will start up when I cry. She let me calm down a bit while she went over my lab work and THEN she took my blood pressure. That was a good move, but my heart was still racing! After the appointment, she told me that when Dr. B. came out, she asked right away if everything was okay. And then she hugged me in the hall.

We spent a good amount of time talking with Dr. B., and she's very eager to see us through this pregnancy. I go back in two weeks for an ultrasound and in four weeks for my next appointment. She said we'll just take things from appointment to appointment, but she'll likely see me every two weeks from week 13 to week 22 - the critical weeks in my previous pregnancies. Being cared for like this alone gives me so much comfort and peace of mind.

God is so good! Every day I have with my baby is another day my heart grows a bit bigger.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

remembering the good things

The good things list. I need to be more intentional about writing these down. There have been many good things since my post in April, but I haven't taken the time to think on them. These are the good things on my mind today:

  • A new baby God has given me to love and to carry. This is my prayer of thanks each night when I go to bed.
  • A partner who is perfect for me. Not perfect. But perfect for me. He complements, supports, challenges, encourages, laughs and loves.
  • Volunteering that energizes and reminds me I do have time.
  • Grown kitties who still bathe, snuggle and play with each other. And who greet us eagerly when we come home.
  • Friends who care about me. Friends who get it. (Especially the wonderful women in blogland and the Thursday night Bible study group.)
  • The time to sleep, rest and rejuvenate my body and soul so that I may be ready to face another day.
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

questions, questions

Today was my appointment with the nurse for the "class" and to do the medical history. They do new forms for each pregnancy, so I repeated my medical history for the third time in the last 18 months, with the only additions being this is now my third pregnancy, along with the hetero FVL.

The questions I have this time are so different from the first time around. I don't ask about servings of fish or what activities should be restricted. I don't ask about the litter box or if the occasional twinges and pangs in my lower abdomen are normal.

I ask if they're testing for RH antibodies since I'm RH negative with two miscarriages and two Rhogam shots. I ask about drug interactions with Lovenox. I ask where to dispose of my sharps container. I ask if any there are any changes to the medications list in the last six months. I ask about the frequency of monitoring (for my peace of mind) AFTER the first trimester, since my problems seem to come AFTER week 12. I ask for reassurance that we're doing everything possible to bring home a healthy baby.

All I can do is trust, pray, hope and wait.
Monday, July 19, 2010

met a miracle on Saturday

I met a miracle on Saturday. She was 10 days old and has strawberry blonde hair. She slept in my arms for over an hour, and didn't like her feet to be uncovered.

This little girl has been hoped for and prayed for by many for a very long time. Her heartbeat was the first her parents saw after several miscarriages and rounds of IVF. The announcement of her arrival on Facebook received more comments that I have ever seen before. All babies are special, but she is SPECIAL.

The whole time I sat holding her and watched her mom with her, I was so hopeful. Her first picture shows eight cells, and now she's a feisty little baby. With so much that has to happen perfectly, it's a miracle babies are ever born. But it happens. This little girl is here. She is proof that all can be well after devastation.

This little one I am carrying is a miracle, too. I fully plan to hold my little one in my arms in about seven months and marvel at what a miracle she/he is.

 I love my little one so very much.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

switching pictures

So tonight I took down the ultrasound picture of my second little one. It's the only picture we have of either our first two little ones, so it's pretty special to me. But we have a new little one on the way and a brand new picture of her/him.

I had thought about taking that picture down for awhile and putting it away in my little guy's memory box, after all, it has been over seven months (how is that possible?) that we learned he had died. But I liked it there. It was really hard for me to move those two little magnets.

It hurt a lot.

A lot. I'm still surprised at the things that creep up on me.
Monday, July 12, 2010

overwhelmed

I am absolutely overwhelmed. Most of it is the good kind, but there has just been a lot of baby stuff in the last week.

On Friday, we marked one year since my baby niece Sophia died. That one still hurts a lot. I hurt for my sister-in-law, Sophia's mother, because I understand a mother's grieving heart. The only time I held that sweet little baby was about a half hour after she died, and that's what I thought about on Friday. That's something I didn't get to do with my babies. It was the first time I had felt the weight of a baby in my arms since my first miscarriage. I have a picture of me holding her, but it's one of the few things I can't look at. I think I've opened it twice in the last year. I so treasure those moments holding her, but thinking about it brings me to tears every time.

Those feelings of sadness are confused with the feelings of anticipation to learn that Sophia will have a baby brother! That same Friday, my SIL learned the sex of the baby who is due in November.

On Thursday night, some very dear friends welcomed a baby girl into the world. She has been prayed for, hoped for and loved by many since before we new she was coming. It's been a long journey for them. When I read the news, my heart just swelled and my face couldn't contain my smile. So, so happy for them. News of her safe arrival made a great day (we saw OUR baby's heartbeat!) even better.

Other babies born in the last week: two friends had baby girls, and Paul's cousin had a baby boy. Paul's mom spent all of yesterday texting labor progression updates. (Side note - we will NOT be texting such detailed updates to his mom now that we know she forwards them to extended family.)

That's a lot of baby news for one week....four new babies, learning we have a nephew on the way, and remembering a sweet little girl. This doesn't even include news from blogland mamas. Throw in my own joy of seeing my little one's heartbeat and a boatload of pregnancy hormones, and I'm overwhelmed. But happy. SO, so happy.

But I'm kinda hoping for a less eventful week this week.
Friday, July 9, 2010

cumulative trimester plan

I think there should be a cumulative trimester plan. Once you put in 40 weeks total, you bring home a baby. Wouldn't that be nice?! I figure I've done a couple first trimesters plus already, so it's about time.

Paul thinks that is irrational. I'm a pregnant woman. I don't have to be rational.
Thursday, July 8, 2010

first peek at baby!

We had a GREAT ultrasound this morning! My favorite tech was scanning me, and she took me right to the heartbeat. :) She said she had read my history, and then asked what we were doing to make sure we could bring home this baby.

Baby is measuring 6w2d, and I'm 6w4d from my last period. We're thinking baby implanted a couple days late, so this is right on track. The heart rate is excellent at 133! So far we're sticking with a due date of February 27. I have a fibroid that is still hanging out on the outside of my uterus near the top. Last fall it was 1cm, and now it is 1.5. She said I'll get some extra ultrasounds out of the deal, but it shouldn't cause any problems.

I go in for my first OB appointment in two weeks. The nurse said four, but the options were two and six weeks out, so the nurse insisted on the sooner one. LOVE her. The nurse was panicking because she thought I was scheduled for tomorrow and didn't know why I was there today. It was fun to see her as relieved and excited as I am!

I'm going to ride this adrenaline high all day!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

ultrasound tomorrow...deep breath

I've been doing my best not to think about tomorrow's ultrasound too much. At 6w4d, I know we might see the heartbeat or might not. I keep telling myself that if we don't, that just means I'll get to go back next week. We're scheduled for right away in the morning, so at least I don't have to try to make it through the work day!

Regardless of what we see, I'm asking for a picture. My greatest regret from my previous pregnancies is that I only have one picture, of the little one at 7 weeks we lost in December. That picture is still on my fridge, and is on the list of five things I'd take with me in the event of a fire. I can't wait to add a picture of this little one.

I hope I have the nice tech tomorrow who points things out to me. And I need to remember the kleenex.
Monday, July 5, 2010

baby bird

We have baby birds. Or rather the mama barn swallow who nested on our patio has baby birds. They hatched sometime last week, and all we've seen is four tiny tufts of hair and four big, yellow, open mouths peeking out from the nest.

When we got home tonight, Paul looked out on the patio and saw a baby bird sitting in the flower pot - several feet below the safe, cozy nest. I insisted that we help it. So Paul carefully rigged up a dust pan on a broom, and used our church newsletter to coax the birdie onto the dustpan. He climbed the stepladder and gently shook the bird back into the nest. It worked until the baby bird lost its balance and fell again.

I couldn't watch. The tears started flowing, and I left the room. When he came back inside, I asked through my sobbing if the baby bird had died. It was a bit stunned, but still alive, so Paul repeated the process and safely deposited baby bird back into the nest. I hope mama bird will welcome baby bird. As far as I'm concerned, the baby bird will be just fine until he can fly away on his own. I have to have hope.

This was the first pregnancy emotional hormone incident. Sometimes I realize it in the moment - when I start giggling through my tears because I'm so ridiculous. When Paul gives me a bewildered look, sometimes I take it well...other times I think he's making fun of me, which usually doesn't help. Tonight, I think he was a bit surprised about needing to comfort me over the near death of a baby bird.

The other part of it is that I can't stand to see babies - of any kind - hurting. Not when I know what it's like to be a hurting mama. Baby bird's mother was doing her barn swallow swoops while her baby shivered in the flower pot. She couldn't help her baby, and that just makes my heart hurt.

My heart hurts for some very special mamas who are in the midst of new, raw hurt and loss. I wish I could just scoop them up, too, but all I can do is surround them in prayer.
Thursday, July 1, 2010

flashbacks

The flashbacks don't go away. It had been a little while, as in maybe a week, but last night they took ahold of me again. I can't seem to pinpoint any triggers when the happen. Last night, I was just lying in bed praying before falling asleep, and they flooded my mind. "Bad" doctor from my first pregnancy. Sitting in the bathroom realizing I was miscarrying. Wondering what to do next. The hours in the ER. Enduring awful contractions on the pitocin, knowing I wasn't going to get anything from them. Leaving the hospital, empty and empty-handed. They just spiral, and the pictures in my mind are so vivid.

While I don't want to forget what happened - this is now part of my story - I don't want to relive those hours, days, weeks after either baby died. It hurt more than enough the first time. I wrote my stories, with all the details I could muster, because they are a part of me. Those words are just for me, and I am glad I have them. Part of me was hoping that if I wrote them down, so as not to forget, I wouldn't have to think about them all the time. But that only addresses the part where I willingly bring myself back to that place. I can't control the thoughts that seem to come on their own, rushing into my consciousness in such a way that I don't know what has happened until I am already well on my way down the path.

Will they ever stop? Will they always take my breath away? Flashbacks. My whole body gives with the weight of them. The physical pain of a broken heart is very real.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010

going bananas

The only time I like bananas is when I'm pregnant. When I'm not - they are soooo not my whole fruit of choice. Even banana cream pie - and pie makes just about everything good. Thinking about the correlation just makes me laugh.

No food cravings or aversions, but the loss of appetite has fully kicked in. I have to schedule myself to eat, or otherwise I forget. That's just like last two times and definitely not like not-pregnant Karin! It's hard to tell what's "normal" for me when I haven't yet had a successful pregnancy. I constantly compare, but it's not worth stressing about. Or so I tell myself today. :)

And the most exciting thing of today - even more so than a massage and buying a new bra - was finding a new injection spot on my belly that didn't hurt at all! Oh the things we pregnant ladies get excited by...
Tuesday, June 29, 2010

nurses are the best (and yay for progesterone!)

Today's progesterone level is 19.8! I think this is the highest I've been (when we've been tracking, anyway). Those darn suppositories are working. My nurse said they don't supplement anything over 20, so given that I'm at about the right place, and obviously it's working, we're not going to change anything. So, another seven weeks to go.

And how wonderful are nurses?! Seriously, I love mine. The one I've been talking with is one of the prenatal care coordinators, and I just call and leave my questions/request for blood work results on the OB nurse voicemail. She knows my history, and tends to both my physical and emotional concerns. She is encouraging and hopeful, and I trust her completely. I need to thank my nurses more often.

In an optimistic move, I ordered some maternity pants from Old Navy. They were already on sale, and then the fact that the whole purchase was an additional 30 percent off sealed the deal. How could I not?! I'm just trying to be practical...
Thursday, June 24, 2010

"good looking pregnancy"

HCG = 301. It more than doubled! (Monday = 128)

The nurse told me we have a good looking pregnancy going here! I was starting to get nervous last night because I know that yesterday's draw was an important one. But now I feel great!

The plan...check progesterone next Tuesday, after I've been on the suppositories for a week. Then, we have an ultrasound scheduled for the following week. I'll be 6w4d by my last period, but in case I ovulated late, she wants to be sure we'll see a heartbeat.

I absolutely love my doctor and the nurses. The nurse I've been talking with knows my history and totally gets that there is a certain level of anxiety that goes with pregnancy after a loss. She doesn't downplay it at all. She said she started a file for this pregnancy, and she intends to complete it. :) When we were talking about the aspirin regimen, she said if I'm not taking it constantly, I can start again during the preconception time. And this is what I love - she said planning for number two running around, but number four in my heart. She also said they're going to fold me under their wings and take care of me. LOVE IT.

We talked about how with the last pregnancy, we did all we could with the knowledge we had, and with this one, we know more and are being even more agressive. Knowing that gives me confidence. (So please remind me of that on those days I'm feeling less confident.) And she kept calling me a mom. There's little better for my heart right now than hearing that. And she called me a good mom for all that I'm doing for this little one.

I forgot how hard it is to concentrate at work while I'm pregnant...too much on my  mind!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

i'm PREGNANT!

It's been a long time since I've written, but other than in the last few days, not much has been going on. That's changed now...

I'm pregnant! I'm about 4w2d, which puts me bringing home a baby somewhere around February 27!

I really, really didn't think this would be the month. But then on Thursday (conveniently the same day Paul went out of town), my breasts started to feel heavy. That was an early symptom with my last two pregnancies also. Then Friday, when I stood up from my desk, I swear I felt round ligament pain. I've never had a twinge there other than when I was pregnant. So I decided to pick up some tests at the drugstore, and I was going to wait until my missed period on Sunday. But I couldn't wait. There was faint line, but it was definitely there! I wanted to tell Paul in person when he got home Saturday night, so I managed to not tell anyone for a WHOLE DAY (including my mother-in-law and sister-in-law at my other sister-in-law's bridal shower), even after a second test Saturday morning. Slightly darker pink line! A third test on Sunday was definitely darker. Paul didn't think it was necessary and thought HE should pee on the stick, but I wanted to see that line again. I told my best friend on Sunday, who is due February 21. It'll be a fun (long) nine months together. :)

I so excited, but feeling so cautious. Realistic but hopeful. Paul is more nervous than I am right now. We'll see how long my anxiety stays at bay...

Yesterday I called my doctor's office and went in for a draw to check hcg and progesterone. She called this morning with the results, and they're both low. Okay but low. Hcg is 128.4 at 4w1d, and progesterone is 10.59. So today I get to start the progesterone suppositories. Blech. It's higher than last time though - my first progesterone then was 4.8. I'll manage to find the positive in just about anything! This time she's starting me at 100mg twice/day right away. Last time, when she upped me to that dosage, the levels responded quickly. Let's hope the same happens this time.

Since we learned that I have Factor V Leiden, I've also started the Lovenox journey. Both the hematologist and the perinatologist recommended it, so that's what my OB prescribed after talking to them again. I'm on 40mg once/day. I picked up my stuff yesterday, and did the first injection last night. ALL BY MYSELF! On the FIRST try! I'm REALLY not a fan of needles, so this was a big deal. It wasn't too bad. It definitely stung for a few minutes afterwards, but I was very proud of myself. Then Paul took me to get ice cream. It was just a first injection celebration; as much as I would like to, I don't think it's in my best interest to reward myself with ice cream every day. The black and blue mark keeps getting bigger and darker. Oh well. I was never much for bikinis anyway. ;)

Please pray for us and that baby grows as (s)he should. I go back tomorrow to check hcg and will get the results on Thursday. Think happy doubling thoughts!
Wednesday, June 9, 2010

sad day for cobbers

I am so saddened today by the sudden death of my college president. At only 65, she died from a stroke early this morning. President J came my senior year of college, the first female president in Concordia's 120 year history. Her vision of Concordia's future is inspiring; and she did great work moving a rather conservative Lutheran school forward. I have been privileged to work at my alma mater under her leadership for the past five years, and I have great hope for our future. I pray that our next president will continue her good work.

This news hit me especially hard today, at the conclusion of a five-day VERY intense leadership conference for women. (More on that later...it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.) To lose such a progressive female leader is devastating. My heart is sad tonight.

I realize this will mean very little to anyone who reads this, but these emotions are weighing heavily on me right now. I suppose they are augmented by the fact that I'm exhausted, over-stimulated, motivated and pondering so many opportunities.

Soli Deo Gloria.
Friday, June 4, 2010

due date

So today is my due date for my second baby. It's so surreal. How has the time managed to go so quickly and slowly all at once? So much has happened since we learned we were pregnant back in September.

But it's okay. I'm actually doing okay. The anticipation of the due date for my first baby was much more intense. But I've been through it before, and I've survived. I mentioned it to Paul last night, and he said he didn't remember because it wasn't important anymore. Ouch. It's still important to me, but I understand that the best way he copes is to not dwell on what might have been.

People are waiting for me to announce a pregnancy...just yesterday, a coworker texted me and said, "You're pregnant! That's why you passed on the ceviche at lunch!" Nope. Just ran out of time to eat. I was actually quite disappointed I missed out on the ceviche. That exchange probably got to me more than living through today. It's the things that I don't prepare for (when it seems like I over-prepare for every situation I can imagine) that get to me, rather than the things I think will bother me.

I have so much love for my babies and Paul. And I have the capacity to love more babies, however and whenever they come to me.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how I was contemplating if I could choose to move forward and not live in the intense grief. I think I have; I just needed someone else to tell me that I could. I wish more than anything I was holding a baby right now. That I'd have the summer off to just be a mom. I will always long for my babies. I miss what I don't have and haven't experienced...yet...basically all the things that come with being further along in pregnancy. One day I'll be there.
Monday, May 31, 2010

knitting away

I just got back from Michael's, where I replenished my stash of yarn thanks to a 20% off coupon! I've been knitting dishcloths like crazy - first for Mother's Day gifts, and now some for my soon-to-be sister-in-law's bridal shower. Scarves are my favorite to knit (so far - still a beginner), but I only need so many. So I've been making kids' scarves and hats to donate to an elementary school when the weather grows colder. Too often, there are little ones going outside without good winter gear. There are some really fun yarns that I think kids will like. :)

Anyone else a knitter? Do you have any favorite patterns?
Wednesday, May 26, 2010

babies and more babies

Today is one of those days that just makes me sigh. Two babies of friends were born today. They both announced their pregnancies around the time I found out I was pregnant. Our babies would have been born within a couple weeks of each other. I'm no longer expecting a baby on that due date of June 5. I'm facing anticipation of a different sort. When I got home from work, my husband told me that his brother's wife is pregnant and due in January. That's a lot of baby news for one day.

It is easier for me to be excited for babyloss moms with a rainbow baby, but I guess that's because I just feel for them so muchh. I try to remind myself that I don't know what these families have faced prior to delivering these babies today, as we aren't all that close. I haven't shared all of the details of what I've been through on Facebook; maybe they've had their own tough roads. Though their new babies remind me of what might have been, I am happy for them.

And I can't wait to see pictures!
Monday, May 24, 2010

choosing

I haven't written for awhile, but this post has been rolling around in my head for awhile. Since I saw my counselor about two weeks ago.

It had been about a month since I had last met with her, and I had lots of updates. One of the biggest things on my mind was how frustrated I had been with myself. With how I was feeling, and how I didn't seem to be feeling any better. It had been a hard month, one of the hardest yet. What is it that happens about four months after a loss? I had been crashing.

She wondered if I was at a point where I could choose to move forward in my grief. That I could choose to be done with the intense stuff. And that would be okay, if that's what I wanted. That maybe the frustration was a sign that it was time to move forward. Not on, but forward. I honestly hadn't considered that I could choose, but it didn't scare me. I couldn't have even thought about it even a month ago. But I could consider it now.

So I've been thinking a lot. I've believed all along that I have to feel what I feel when I feel it. I believe that I have been working hard in my grief. To sort out my thoughts, feelings, and learn how to survive in my new world. It hurts. My babies died and that hurts. So much. That won't change.

What does being done with the hard stuff (for now, anyway...) feel like? Look like? I haven't had an idea of what that would be, though I've thought I'd know it when I am there. Maybe I'm here. Maybe I needed someone to give me permission.

I feel a little guilty for wanting to move on. A little. But I know it's okay. It's good. My babies are good, and I can be good, too. I thought I had reached acceptance when I knew my pregnancies were over. When it was physically apparent. That was an important step towards acceptance, but still, my mind and my heart don't always rarely agree. My heart is - dare I say it - happy. My heart has my babies carved into it forever and for always, but my heart has more room. Room to be happy and to love.

For the last two weeks, I've had mostly good days. I've had more energy and it doesn't take as much effort to move through the day. And it's okay. Good, even. I miss those little ones of mine and think of them every day, but it doesn't hurt every minute. And it's okay. Good, even. I'm living in my world, changed though it is, but my world isn't controlling me. It's my world.
Friday, May 14, 2010

a good day

Today is a good day. Heck, it's even been a good week! Some of it might be because my doctor is trying a different combination of meds. I'm not complaining if it makes me feel more like myself. And it also might be something that my counselor said earlier this week that has me thinking. More on that another time...

But today I am sitting at my parents' house for a long weekend of doing nothing! They're actually not here for the weekend, though we saw them a bit last night. Paul is off hunting raccoons at camp, my brother is at a high ropes course facilitator training for camp, and I'm sitting at the dining room table watching The West Wing on DVD and doing a bit of work. The agenda for the rest of the weekend: more West Wing, knitting, a couple of books, hiking, grilling and time with some dear friends. I'm mostly hiding out, enjoying the solace.

It's also been a good week because I am SO HAPPY for several friends who have announced pregnancies this week. SO HAPPY for them. These are pregnancies after loss(es), and for any woman who has the blessing of being pregnant again, I praise God. These little ones are so wanted and so loved...even by people who have never met their mamas.

One day I hope to announce a pregnancy, too. I have no idea when that might be, and that's okay. But I have so much HOPE, for my babies-to-be and for these babies who already ARE.
Saturday, May 8, 2010

formula samples = mother's day mail

So the only thing for me in the mail today was a nice big box of formula samples. I suppose the company wants me to be prepared, because for all they know, I should be bringing home a baby in about three weeks.

I'm choosing to laugh at the ridiculousness of it and go back to my knitting.
Thursday, May 6, 2010

sometimes it's just nice when others' words get it right

I haven't been doing very well lately, so I felt like I haven't had anything to share. I know I'm harder on myself than I should be. I know that this won't hurt in the same way forever. I know I will survive. But sometimes it's hard to believe that, you know?

I keep a card on my window ledge within arm's reach of my desk at work that I see every day. A colleague sent this to me after my niece died last summer, and she also knew about my first miscarriage that had happened three months prior. It reads, "Hope is a wonderful thing - more powerful than any worry and as close as a prayer." Every now and again, Hallmark gets it right. Hope and pray...hope and pray.

[I can tell I'm not myself...I'm starting every sentence with "I." Boo. Poor writing. On a day I feel more motivated, my syntax will be better.]

I just have to share the Silent Grief email that came today. Once again, the words are spot on and make so much more sense than I can attempt to at the moment.

"HOPE FOR THE DAY" from SilentGrief.com
http://www.silentgrief.com/

-----------------------------------------------------------
May 6, 2010

Mother's Day will soon be here, and while that day is an awesome day of celebration for some, it is also one of the most painful days of the year to get through for the many mothers who are living with the heartache of child loss.

I have been a mother in grief. Twenty-two years ago on Mother's Day I was carrying my son who was to be born in July. Instead, I found out that he had died inside of me, and I spent Mother's Day carrying my little boy knowing that his heart had stopped beating forever. He was delivered "still" on the Thursday following Mother's Day.

Having "been there", I can tell you that there is no right or wrong way to approach Mother's Day when grieving. Do what is best for you, and don't spend countless hours trying to please others around you. If you want to talk a walk among nature to reflect, then do it. If you want to skip family meals and all reminders of Mother's Day, then do it. And, remember that you don't owe the world an explanation. This is one time when it's necessary to be selfish in your actions. You know what is best for you, and this is a time to take care of yourself.

Remembering your child is a very personal thing, and you might find that other's will not remember, or if they do remember your child, they might not mention your child by name. Others don't like to see us cry, so they avoid the obvious. "My child isn't here, and I'm in pain." Cry. Journal. Scream. Sleep. Light a candle. Release a balloon. Write a poem in memory of your child. All of these are ways to "get through Mother's Day"when you are missing your child. Again, this is very personal. Do what is best for YOU to get through.

Lastly, remember that this day will pass. You will make it, and when you do you will have accomplished a big step in your journey we call healing. - Clara Hinton

"My child, I love you, and I always will." --Clara Hinton

"In the day of my trouble I shall call upon Thee, for Thou wilt answer me." --Psalm 86:7
Thursday, April 29, 2010

some days everything hurts

I'm really tired of this depression thing. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever feel better. Better is all relative, but it has to get better than this.

Good things...yet another doctor taking care of me, switching medications, a sleep aid that made me realize I wasn't sleeping well at all, and the usual things that are worth mentioning time and time again - a patient husband, loving friends, kitties who purr and snuggle at all the right times.

But it really bothers me that I can't find the motivation to do anything after work. I should pick up because some friends are coming to stay tomorrow. I should put clean sheets on their bed. (That WILL get done - I'm not a gross hostess.) I should do anything. Yet eating dinner and opening the computer are the only things I've done tonight. Other than curling up with a quilt on the couch.

Earlier this week, days were good. I even had energy. And then it all comes crashing down.