Saturday, December 31, 2011

Not Such a Fantasy . . . of Lights

But we loved it anyway.

Yesterday was our 10 year engagement anniversary. We got engaged at Ritzy's Fantasy of Lights at Garvin Park in Evansville, IN on December 30, 2001. Each December 30th, we return to Garvin Park to look at the lights and remember that special night. Every year that we've been there, we drive through the beautiful light display, reminisce about our previous visits, and dream about the year we might bring our little child with us. Two years ago, Gabriel was in my belly. Last year, we wished Tater Tot was, but were looking forward to the hope of the new year. This year, we finally had our sweet baby, AND SHE CRIED THE WHOLE TIME! She cried from the moment we drove into the lights to the moment we left, inconsolable crying. She never does that. If she cries, there's a reason, and she is easy to soothe. We pulled the car over twice trying to help our sweet baby girl. We barely noticed the lights that we pay our annual visit to. Still, at the end of the night, we both agreed, coming to the Fantasy of Lights with our screaming baby girl was way better than any other time before.

 Mommy, Daddy, and Cassidy
Ritzy's Fantasy of Lights 2011

 Mommy and Cassidy are soooooooo happy to be here!!!

Daddy tries to help Cassidy feel better. Maybe next year. And the year after that. And the year after that.

It's not just a fantasy anymore. Thank you, Jesus!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

If You Don't Believe in Miracles . . .

read this: Deck the Halls, and then, look at this:

Mommy's miracle in red pajamas: Cassidy Nicole, 11 weeks 3 days

I can barely even believe what I just read when I clicked the link above that took me back to a very different Christmas just one year ago. Only the God who loves us so much and felt the same pain in His heart at us spending last Christmas without our children could mark every item off our Christmas list but do it even better than we ever imagined. We did, indeed, have a sweet little baby in red pajamas under our Christmas tree this year. We took loads of pictures, baked cookies, and opened presents from Santa. We even read Twas the Night Before Christmas and tucked our little princess into bed with visions of sugarplums dancing in her head. This year, so appropriately, Christmas was on Sunday. We got to take our little girl to church for her first time celebrating Jesus's birthday. We said, "Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus! Thank you for saving us, and thank you for bringing us our very own Cassidy Nicole." Oh, how we love her.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Breastfeeding Saga, Part 2

                                             Cassidy Nicole, 6 weeks

 Six weeks and we are still going at it. That may seem like a small feat for all you mommies out there who are flowing with milk and honey, but for Cassidy and me, it is something for which to be very proud. At just five days old, I set a goal with my lactation consultant to nurse until my baby was 2 weeks old. Meeting that goal required a tremendous amount of dedication and very little sleep. It required nursing my very sleepy baby (who also had a poor latch), pumping, and supplementing with formula every three hours around the clock. (I supplemented with formula because barely anything came out when I pumped.) Yes, I know that all newborn babies are supposed to get fed every three hours, but it was the pumping and supplementing that stole the breastfeeding fantasy from me. The entire process took between 1 1/2 to 2 hours, leaving very little time to truly enjoy the Long Awaited One before it was time to start all over again.

Cassidy did not return to her birth weight until she was three weeks old. For the first two weeks of her life, I was very reluctant to give her formula because I wanted her to be hungry for Mommy. I finally came to terms with the fact that Mommy was not enough (not in that respect, anyway), and gave her the food she needed in the way I was able. She immediately began to flourish, put on weight, and had more alert time, letting me see those unbelievable eyes of her's.

At the three week mark (that's one week longer than my initial two week goal, BTW), I stopped the pumping madness. My consultant and I discussed reducing the pumpings to three times a day, which I intended to do, but I got tired of laying my baby down to cry while I sat hooked to a machine. I decided that, rather than nursing and then pumping to make sure my breasts were empty, I would just have the baby nurse twice. She was stronger then and able to do a better job than the pump, anyway. Letting her nurse both breasts twice doesn't take any longer than nursing once and then pumping, but my baby and I are both happier and are able to spend more time cuddling and enjoying each other.

Kissing the pump goodbye has not decreased my milk supply. Cassidy's latch is better than ever, and her suckling is enough to keep me producing milk. I am still supplementing with formula, and it looks like I will always have to do that. However, I appear to be producing a little more milk than before. Lately, she has been spitting up after nursing. It breaks my heart to see her spit up my precious milk, but I like seeing that I made her belly so full that she needed to make more room. Two nights ago, I pumped in place of a feeding because she was asleep on the couch with her dad, and I wanted to go to sleep. I surprised myself by pumping two ounces! I have only previously been able to pump 1 1/2 ounces, so this was pretty exciting.

I had to work last Tuesday, so Cassidy spent her first day away from me with the babysitter. At the end of the day, I found myself rushing home to nurse her. I couldn't wait to be reunited with my baby daughter in this very intimate way. It was a great feeling because I was dismayed in the beginning to find that nursing felt more like a job than the magical experience I dreamed of. Now that we both have the hang of it, I really like it. I actually look forward to it if we've been apart for any reason, even if it's just because someone else was holding her. This is the reason I never gave up. I know when I return to work in a few days and my sweet baby starts spending her entire day with someone else, I want to be the one to give her what she wants, what no one else can give her.

I want that baby to be a Mommy's girl!

Thank you, God, for enabling me where I am unable. 

A note from the author: The next time I post, I'm going to change the name of this blog. The new title will be "Bonnie's Books and Babies." BBQ is out, but I'm keeping the books part. I owe it to Gabe to try harder to get his book published. Plus, I'm pretty sure he meant for it to have one more final chapter.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I tell her a million times a day that she is beautiful. I think you'll agree; the Lord really out did Himself on this girl. He wanted her to be worth the wait. She was totally worth every bit of it.

Cassidy Nicole, 4 Weeks

We like to have little talks when I'm rocking her and she wills those gorgeous eyes to stay open and look at Mommy.

I like this story, Mom.

I tell her how Mommy and Daddy prayed and prayed and prayed and hoped and hoped and hoped for the longest time to have a little child to love. I tell her how, one day, we got a little child. And we loved him. But he had important stuff to do, so he had to fly away to Heaven. Then I tell her how Mommy and Daddy prayed and prayed and prayed and hope and hoped and hoped some more. Then, we were blessed with another little child--a selfless one who had another big job to do. So, she flew away, too. Then, I tell her how our hearts were so sad, and we cried sad tears. But, we didn't give up and we prayed and prayed and prayed and hoped and hoped and hope even more. And God said, "Yes. Yes, you can have a perfect, healthy, beautiful child." That's when He gave us our very own Cassidy Nicole. She glued our broken hearts back together. Now, Mommy and Daddy aren't sad anymore. We are so very happy.

We still cry, though. Happy tears.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Breastfeeding Saga

This is a beautiful moment, but I can't say that most of them have been this picture perfect.

I think you know what nursing this healthy baby meant to me--the dreams I had, how I thought it would save me. Just a few hours before we left the hospital, that dream came crashing down.

I can say that our first time was beautiful and wonderful--just Mommy, Daddy, and our newest sweetheart, Cassidy Nicole. I had no expectations. I didn't know the right way and the wrong way. I wasn't judging her latch or counting her swallows. I just put her to my breast and cherished the perfect gift we had just been given. She took my right breast and then my left. I was in awe of how easy that first time was. She was a champ. God had answered another prayer of mine by giving me a champion breastfeeding baby. 

Now, you all know I rarely get off that easily . . . 

To be fair, she was a champion breastfeeder; it was Mommy who wasn't. I just didn't realize it at first. 

The first 24 hours, Cassidy was a pooping machine (She'll really appreciate that I put that on here one of these days.) So, we thought her nursing was going really well based on her output. Also, a nurse told me that the intense contractions I was having while nursing was another sign that the nursing was going well and Cassidy was pulling milk from me. Plus, the first weight check showed only a 3 oz drop in weight, which is really good. 

Then, there was the second 24 hours . . . 

Wow! Nursing my daughter felt like slicing into my nipples with a razor sharp knife. After the big deal that I made about nursing her prior to her birth, a thick layer of guilt washed over me when I admitted to my husband while my baby was fussing that I didn't want to nurse her again. It was always time to nurse. She always latched on and appeared to be calmed by it, though. Plus, she rarely cried, so I thought she was content--even content enough to go four or five hours between feedings at this early age. Whoops! 

I started to realize that the breastfeeding wasn't going exactly perfectly since I was in a crazy amount of pain and my baby slept through every feeding. Still, I didn't ask for help. I thought I was doing okay and the pain and the sleepy baby was just a normal part of getting started. When the nurses asked me how breastfeeding was going, I told them the truth as I saw it: We were doing great. My baby wanted to nurse and latched on, but she wasn't quite opening her mouth big enough and I was hurting a lot. I said that every time they asked, but I assumed no one ever stopped in to help me because they thought I was doing a great job on my own.

Then, I was informed just a few hours before discharge that my baby had dropped 10 oz since her birth, from 7lbs 8 oz to 6 lbs 14 oz. All the mothers say this is normal, but it must not be, because my happy homecoming was tainted with a word I didn't want to hear: FORMULA.

That's right. Before I even left the hospital, I had to give my baby formula. We chose to give her formula because she had been an entire day without a wet or dirty diaper. As much as my pride did not want to give my baby that wretched concoction, I knew her dad and I had eaten a couple of times that day, but, despite my efforts, our sweet baby hadn't eaten at all. It broke my heart. I had to put my own needs to the side and do what was best for my child. She sucked the formula down and a dirty diaper was very soon to follow. 

Apparently, I have a "delayed supply." I know, how could this happen to me of all people? Because. It's me. I left the hospital with a very strict plan to keep my baby fed and my milk from drying up. Every three hours, I was to nurse the baby for 15 minutes on each side, then give her 10mL of formula, and then pump for 10 minutes. What this computed to was me nursing the baby for 15 minutes on each side, watching the clock, counting down every second of the "job" I had to do, doing everything to keep the baby awake, watching to make sure she swallowed, and enduring the agony of the first few latches. Then, I gave up my snuggle time to her dad who gave her the 10mL of formula from a syringe so I could immediately get up and bond with the breast pump for 10 minutes. 

As you can imagine, this is not what I imagined when I imagined nursing my dream girl. I didn't want to keep doing it. I thought about the freedom of switching to all formula--how I would get more sleep, more cuddle time with my baby, how feedings would go from an hour and a half to 15 minutes, how I could spend more time playing with her and dressing her up than stripping her down to keep her awake for yet another feeding. Oh, the guilt! How I told the Lord over and over again how sorry I was for the selfish way I felt after He had given me everything I ever wanted. How I told my daughter over and over again how sorry I was that I couldn't give her everything she deserved. I promised to make it better for her, to do everything I could to give her the best there was. So, I pressed on, like I always do.

It was only a few days into the regime before I thought for sure my milk was coming in and my baby was getting full. So, I took it upon myself to stop the supplements. You guessed it. Her weight dropped even more, down to 6lbs 10oz, and she was still having very few poops. We upped her formula intake.

At three weeks of age, (She's 3 weeks 2 days as of this posting.) I've still been nursing, pumping, and supplementing 8 times a day, everyday. I have done that around the clock for the first three weeks of her life. All I've felt is guilt and exhaustion. Guilt that I don't want to be doing that, then guilt that she doesn't weigh enough. I went from taking her off the supplement to giving her way too much. Yesterday, at 3 weeks 1 day, she finally made it back to her birth weight, BUT that was an 11 oz gain in one week! Whoops again. Now I'm going to have to back off the supplement a little, let my baby tell me what she needs instead of everyone else telling me what she should be having. 

I'm going at this week by week now. I can't continue to devote almost three hours a day to my breast pump any longer. So, I'm still going to nurse her 8 times a day (She gets 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of breast milk at a feeding.), and I'll supplement her with an ounce and a half of formula, but I'm only going to pump three times a day. Hopefully, I'll be able to maintain enough milk doing this to continue nursing her and giving her some of the benefits of breast milk. But, it is what it is, and I do have to go back to work. So, I'm going to try to let this go. If she has to go all formula, then so be it. What matters most is that we hit the baby jackpot. She is the definition of perfect. We both got to nurse. I know what the experience is like, and she is close to Mommy because of it. I look down at her on my breast and see that I am making everything right for her in that moment. And I look down at her and catch a glimpse of him (Really, they look so much alike), and I get to know what it would have been like to nurse him, too. 

I just can't ask for anymore than that.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cassidy Nicole James: A Dream Birth Story

Cassidy Nicole James
    October 5, 2011
    7 lbs 8.8 oz, 20 1/4 inches

Yes, we had the dream birth . . . and we got the dream girl.
We arrived at St. Mary's Medical Center at 7:30PM on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 to start the induction. Room #3520 was reserved for us. I've spent so much time thinking about the moments in my life that occurred in that room, about how I'd like to be in there again and re-experience the miracle, about how I'd like to feel what it was like to have him again and how that room must be the place to do it. But, when I walked in, it seemed different somehow. I studied the bed, trying to mentally put myself back in that place and time, but I couldn't get there. We weren't waiting for him. We came for someone else.

Our room, Room #3520
Our birth experience started out with Taco Tierra. 

The doctor told us to go to dinner before we arrived at the hospital. We took that to mean get your dinner before you come to the hospital. So we did. First we got our dinner, then we brought it to the hospital. Sounds simple enough, but the nurse informed us that I better hurry up and eat it because I was not allowed any food after I was officially admitted. I scarfed down my sancho and nachos before anyone could come and confiscate them. Of all nights, they put the wrong sauce on my food. I ate the spicy sauce anyway (You don't turn your back on Taco Tierra!) and spent the rest of my sleepless night finishing up my bottle of Tums.

I went into the induction 1 1/2 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced. Every time they checked me during the night and early morning, I had not changed. I really feared the induction was not going to work. A C-section was not in my dream birth plan. I was the only one that was worried about this. I don't know if you've noticed, but I've spent plenty of time worrying about this pregnancy. Why stop when there are only a few hours left?

The doctor broke my water and started me on Pitocin at around 8:30 AM. The epidural was soon to follow. As is the way things tend to go with us and my doctors, Skyler and the anesthesiologist talked about football while I was receiving the epidural. Ugh!

Mom and Dad look forward to the new addition!

 After breaking the water and starting the pitocin, things progressed quickly. For the next couple of hours, it seemed like everyone just stood around watching me, as if they didn't want to take their eyes off me and risk missing the next centimeter of dilation (not that they were exactly watching THAT, but you know what I mean). The doctor expected a 5:00 PM birth, but I was ready shortly after lunch time. Electricity filled the room when the nurse announced I had reached 10 centimeters and she would be calling the doctor. My eyes filled with tears in the knowledge that I was only minutes (I hoped!) away from a miracle years in the making. 

Just like before, my husband stood at my left and my sister stood at my right. With just a few short pushes, the room exploded with excitement as a very hairy head began to emerge. The nurse asked me if I wanted to touch my baby's head; I think I only had the guts to do it because I was so completely numb. I reached my hand down and felt my daughter's long hair. That is a miraculous thing.

Just a couple more pushes and she comes down so quickly that the doctor tells me to stop, take a breath, and get ready for the last push (this has all been only about 10 minutes I'm guessing, very much like it was with Gabe's delivery). I push one more time, as hard as I can, and a grand celebration ensues. Cassidy is here! And it is even more than I prayed for, everything I dreamed of, but so much more. More, because my mind and my heart did not know how to take it past that moment, to all the other moments, to the ones where she screamed endlessly at the top of her lungs announcing to us that she really is here and she really is healthy and I really do get to keep her. 


Daddy's Bears Girl

This, I can honestly say, was my second dream birth experience; God loves me like that. This was different, of course. I don't mean all the ways you all know it was different. I mean the atmosphere. When Gabriel was born, aside from the one tear that steamed down my cheek in the first few moments he was in my arms, I didn't cry. Partly because I refused to show weakness, and partly, mostly, because the Holy Spirit gave us such an inexplicable calmness that kept us from wasting our few precious hours. This time, when little sister Cassidy arrived in our incredible dream birth moment, I bawled my eyes out in joyous celebration and gratitude to her Creator and my Savior. It was a release--a release of the agony the last two years has brought me. 

Oh, and one more thing . . . she looks just like him. God loves me like that, too.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

38 Weeks 4 Days: A Word to Her Adoring Fans

Only three days until her birth! I can barely wrap my mind around it, even as she does her signature booty shake inside me while my fingers type this message. As the day and the hour draw so near, I can't help but think, A tiny part of him is coming back to me. 

I think those thoughts with no regret or shameful feelings. I tell you those thoughts without worrying that you'll think I don't appreciate her for who she is or that you will think I expect her to be someone she can never be. I do, however, think some will think it or have already thought it. But, since only a couple of my readers have walked in my shoes, I don't mind telling you that, as Little Sister's birth draws nearer with every moment, I dream of seeing just a glimpse of him in her and of feeling that impossible love that I felt all over again. I dream that the empty space in my arms will be perfectly filled by the one cut from the same mold.

Now, I'll let you in on a little secret--something I might not need to tell you, but it will help me explain something a little better. I literally dream of nursing--not Little Sister, but Gabriel. In the few months following his birth, I used to dream of finding a way to get him back so I could nurse him. In my dreams, though, I never got to nurse my living, breathing, beautiful baby boy. I would dig him back up, take him however I could get him, just to hold him close to me one more time. Since I've been pregnant with this little girl, I have dreamed of him again--dreamed that I would have milk again, milk I could give to him. I dreamed that I dug him up and tried to nurse him. It's because my milk came in after his funeral. Even after he was dead and buried, in another state, far away from me and out of my sight, my mind could not convince my body that he was gone. My body didn't know for a long time. 

So what I want to tell you is, for those of you who live near us, that we would absolutely love for you to come visit us and see and love the beautiful child that you so faithfully prayed into our arms over the last two years. She wouldn't be here without you. BUT, you should be prepared to wait. I'm not going to let anyone but her daddy hold her or come in to see her in the first couple of hours after her birth. It will be just Mommy, Daddy, and Baby Girl until after we nurse. I need this. I've waited for it. I feel like my life depends on it.

The great thing about this sweet girl is she'll be here the next day and the next day and the next day after that. Even next week and next month and next year. I'll try really hard not to be one of those neurotic moms who doesn't let anyone hold her baby . . . when the time is right, of course . . . and if you've scrubbed in like a doctor before you touch her. Ha!

Three days! Three days! Three days!

Monday, September 26, 2011

37 Weeks 5 Days: Just a Practice Run

I felt pretty good Sunday morning before heading off to church thanks to the oodles of rest I got on Saturday from staying at home and lying in bed most of the day. I did have to miss my brother's 50th birthday party to get that much needed rest, so here's a tribute to him:

Happy 50th birthday, Philip!

 After sitting through the church service and stopping by work for about 20 minutes, I felt like I had worked all day long. I didn't know how I could feel so bad after feeling so good just a few hours earlier, but I decided to take a shower and head to bed really early. The longer I lay there, however, the more uncomfortable I became. I told my husband that I feared my water could break at any moment. It felt like it was bulging, and I was so sore. Then, I reported that maybe I was having . . . CONTRACTIONS! (Emphasized for dramatic effect because I'm pretty sure that's how Daddy heard me say the word.) After consulting two experienced mommies and arguing back and forth about what we should do (Daddy wants to go to the hospital and Mommy wants to stay home because she sees a sleepless night ahead of her), we realized these (gulp!) contractions were suddenly coming very close together, like every three to five minutes. I tell Daddy I'm not leaving unless he showers and shaves (he doesn't argue with me remembering our close call on Gabriel's birthday). Then, I sneak in a quick load of dishes, sweep the kitchen floor, take out the trash, and clean off the dining room table (you can't give birth with a sink full of dirty dishes) while he's in the shower. Oh, and I give my toenails a quick coat of pink, then I'm ready to take off (well, after I spend about 30 minutes telling Daddy what to pack in my suitcase).

We arrived at the hospital at about 1:30AM.

 The contraction monitor quickly revealed that I was, indeed, having contractions every three to five minutes. You know, I wouldn't have known those were contractions if it had been my first pregnancy. I just wasn't in enough pain, only uncomfortable. I was only pretty sure they were because it was a pain that was continuously starting and stopping. They did not feel at all like my contractions with Gabriel, though. His was pressure bearing straight down. These were slight, quick piercing pains on my lower right--kinda weird. Of course, I got checked right away, and I was very surprised I had not changed from my previous one to two centimeters dilated. I couldn't believe it. An hour and a half later, I was still contracting, but my cervix remained the same. My doctor had me stay the night and wait to see how I was in the morning when she was able to come in. My contractions were completely subsided by then. She rechecked me, but I am still the same one to two centimeters. It was false labor. 
That's so weird, right? I never thought I'd be leaving the hospital pregnant after feeling those contractions coming so quickly and progressively stronger. Daddy, I know, was disappointed. He is ready for me to quit hogging his little girl. Mommy, on the other hand, is relieved. She needs to stay in there just a little longer. I don't want to pump because my baby is in the nursery getting help breathing; I want to nurse--skin to skin, chest to chest. I need her to heal me in that moment. Then, I'll spend the rest of my life repaying her for it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

37 Weeks 3 Days: Signs

Constantly feeling sore and swollen "down there," especially when I'm walking around all day at work.

Baby dropped even lower.

Lost mucus plug Thursday afternoon.

Light pink streaks on the toilet paper this morning.

Less movement from baby.

Can't stop cleaning, packing our bags, unpacking, repacking.

I really want her to stay in for 11 more days. I want a 39 week baby. I want the dream birth. But, the dream birth is really one that is followed up by coming home . . . with my living, breathing, real-life baby. I think what I really want is to be in control. I had no control with my other two. The pregnancies (and the babies) just disappeared suddenly, with no warning. Suddenly going into labor with Gabriel was very scary--and sad. Ever since I lost my plug on Thursday, I've been moping around like it's the end while everyone else is celebrating a new beginning for me. There's a part of me that doesn't really believe this is happening--a part of me that is still so afraid that something could make her disappear, too.

Okay, Mommies. Please tell me your experiences with mucus plugs and pink streaks. What does it mean? When does it mean?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

36 Weeks 4 Days: Just One of the Preggos

Okay. So there weren't near as many pregnant ladies at the FFF (Fall Fun Fest) this year. Last year, they were everywhere, and it was all people that I knew from high school. Last year, the FFF was only eight months after I had Gabriel and just one week after my miscarriage of Tater Tot. Last year I was a wreck--emotionally and physically. I was in so much pain in every way a person can hurt. But it didn't matter. I had a job to do. I had to be my husband's employee, which meant being bossed around in a high-pressure, high-stress situation instead of being comforted and consoled by the only person who had lost as much as I had. There wasn't time for all that. I had to be Mrs. Skinny and serve shake-ups and BBQ nachos with a smile.

But God loves me more than I deserve. As I reread last year's post (linked above), I sat and cried, remembering the never-ending pain of 2010; it's so close and so fresh that I still feel the sting, but then Little Sister moves inside of me, and I feel the cool breath of my Father blowing on my wounds to take the hurt away. Reading last year's Fairfield Fall Fun Fest post and comparing it to my experience last night humbles me. He loves me, and He answers my prayers:

ASKING WHY - Friday September 17, 2010I have told many people that I learned from my experience with Gabriel not to ask why - not to ask why bad things happen to good people, not to ask, "Why me?" But tonight I'm really tired, and I don't have the strength or self-control to prevent myself from asking such a dangerous, self-destructive question. So, I'll take the bait that has been dangling in front of me all day.......WHY??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why can't I be one of the pregnant bellies?
One year later, I'm so pregnant I could just pop!

Why can't I be a part of the joyous conversations about due dates, gender, morning sickness, baby showers, and the excitement of an upcoming miracle?
One year later, all I talked about all night with admirers of my baby bump was the upcoming due date, how much fun it is to be expecting a girl, and what a miracle she is.

Why do I have to work my butt off selling barbeque nachos and standing on my feet all day long when I should be sitting up on a pedestal right now because I am way too busy with the most important job in the world?
Much to everyone's dismay, we did not have concessions this year. Instead, we strolled the festival at a leisurely pace, ate a few snacks, and my husband asked me every 15 minutes if I was feeling okay or needed to sit down and take a break.

Why can't people look at me and ache to have something that I have instead of just gazing at me with pity in their eyes.
I don't know that anyone aches to have something that I have, but there were plenty of people who saw me, ran to give me a big hug, rub my belly, and wish us their sincerest congratulations (not their deepest sympathy anymore).

Why?! Why?! Why?! Why?! Why can't I just have my baby back?!
You know the answer to this one: I can't have my babies back. As long as I'm on this Earth, they'll always be out of reach, but God is so faithful that He blessed us with someone just as good, just as sweet, just as near and dear to my heart so the waiting won't be so hard. 

AND . . . she'll be here in 17 days!!!

1 Samuel 1:27 (KJV)

"For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

36 Weeks 3 Days: Wrapping Things Up!

We are getting so close. Her birth is only 18 days away! This week marked two big woohoos in the countdown of this successful pregnancy. Tuesday I took my last baby aspirin, and Thursday was my last progesterone injection. Now the only drug I'm on is heparin injections twice a day (only 33 more as of this posting!).

Just to review, the purpose of the baby aspirin (81mg low dose) is that it is an anti-coagulant (the same as the heparin). It keeps my blood from clotting, which is what hurt sweet Tater Tot. Aspirin takes a little while to leave the system, so I need to go off it kind of early. Plus, it does reach the baby, so it needs to be out of my system before the birth so she doesn't have any problems with bleeding.

The progesterone injections, called 17-alphahydroxyprogesterone, were to prevent me from having another preterm birth. You can read my initial post about it here. You probably remember the concerns and reservations I had about taking it. It is known to cause life-threatening blood clots in some patients. After much thinking, worrying, debating, and praying, I decided to take the injections. God showed me in a dream that I would have a little girl and that she'd be preterm. I knew He was telling me to take the medicine. Nineteen weekly injections later, I'm still pregnant, four days from being officially full term, and I did not have one single side effect from the injections, not even bruising and soreness at the site, which is super common. We'll never know if I really needed the injections. If I ever get pregnant again, I'll have to take them again. But, who cares? It has all been well worth it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

36 Weeks: Ladies and Gentlemen, She has HAIR!!!

Superficial worry, I know, especially considering my past. But, ya know, does everything have to be linked to that? Better to spend my time worrying that she'll have a bald head than losing sleep over how many chromosomes she'll have (which I've done plenty of). Nothing to worry about now, only something to dream about. The sonographer showed us that Little Sister has lots of long hair!

 The two blotches of horizontal white lines above the word "hair" is her hair flowing off the back of her neck.

Our little girl measured 6lbs 2 oz. She's gettin' squished in there! Just as I suspected, she has not changed positions at all since our last ultrasound five weeks ago. Her head is still right behind my cervix, and she's still facing my right side. Her cute little tushy is on my top left, and her feet are over on my top right. She is in a great position. All she needs to do is turn face down during labor.

In even more news, I just happen to be one centimeter dilated. I really wasn't expecting her to say that. I didn't feel like anything was happening. Although, by the end of the work day, I'm sure my colleagues could attest to seeing me barely able to waddle myself down the hallway! The doctor says this one centimeter in no ways means I will not make it to our October 5th induction date. I could be one centimeter from here on out. Who knows? I can tell you that I really hate it when people automatically say I'm going to go early or that she could come any day. If you are someone who has said that (and lots of people have) don't feel bad. Just don't do it anymore. I'm very sensitive about that (as my hubby is quick to remind me) because I've had a preterm labor. Not that this is a preterm labor situation, but ya know. I just want everyone to pray for October 5th. It's very important to me. I don't have enough sick days at work to go any earlier without having to go back before Thanksgiving break. Also, I want a 39 week baby who has no trouble breathing and can go straight into my arms and never have to leave . . . and nurse. I want to nurse. No one else is going to hold her until I nurse. 

 My arm is in front of my face. Always being bashful.

 My profile

 My beautiful face. I'm chillin' resting my cheek in my hand.

My mouth looks a little blurry because the placenta is in front of it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

35 Weeks 4 Days: More Blessings

Wednesday my awesome coworkers at East Heights Elementary blessed me with a baby shower after school. They gave me exactly what I needed (besides yummy cake!) which was a big fat gift card to Babies-R-Us that I plan to use to buy our little girl's stroller and car seat.

Today my awesome church, Henderson First Assembly of God, threw us a baby shower. We got loads of great stuff. It was a good mix of adorable and practical. And, of course, she got lots more hair accessories.

 The beautiful cake made with love by Jolene Buley.

 Pretty decorations and presents!

 Diaper rash ointment

 Having fun!

 My little helper Jaymason and me checking out a gift card.

 A bumbo. She's gonna think she's such a big girl in that!

 Snowman PJs. She's going to be too cute!

 Katie and Maddie Mitchell's bonnet. So generous.

 More fun!

 Cute clothes

 I just love this one, and it has a matching UK hat.

 Charlene Welch made this. It's a baby sack!

 Pretty ladies

 Rachel and Danielle making everything great for us.

 You gotta love this one. Kim Duncan made this, and the hat has a little butterfly!