Monday, August 29, 2011


My baby is 2 1/2 months old - she will officially hit the 11 week mark tomorrow. This precious time as a newborn has flown by faster than I ever though imaginable, and soon it will be over. My bouncing baby girl is now a hefty 13 pounds, and her tootsies hang over the edge of the bouncer that dwarfed her when I brought her home.

For the most part she is such an easy baby... excluding growth spurts and illness, she hardly ever cries unless she needs something. Despite issues with reflux, she eats well (as being in the 90th percentile for weight will doubtless prove) and is a world-champion snuggler.

I treasure those quiet moments in the early morning that I nurse her and am rewarded with a sleepy smile before she allows herself to be lulled back into dreamland.

And I dread the time that I am away from her. (Allow me to be upset for a moment...)

I keep hearing the same thing from people in regards to leaving her to go to work...

"It will get easier."

My question in return is, "When?"

It has been a month and 5 days since going back to work, and it still rips my heart out to climb in my car knowing I'm not going to see her until the end of the day, wondering what I'm going to miss while I'm gone, desperately wanting to rush back, take her into my arms and rub my cheek against her sweet downy head.

At my 6 week postpartum visit with Dr. W, she let me in on what I'm afraid is going to be my reality. It doesn't get any easier- there might just come a time where I am in a place of acceptance. She said my heart would always hurt over the time I'm going to miss with her. My question again, is "When- when will this acceptance come?"

I need something to give- there are days (usually the ones that I'm not working) that I think I'm okay with being a working mom. Then Monday morning rolls around and I find myself back in the same place - struggling - to tear myself away from her and focus on working.

Don't get me wrong- my point of objection about working has nothing to do with the care she receives when I'm away. Her daddy does a fantastic job of parenting her by himself during the weekdays and although he might not need me to be there, I want to be so much it hurts. I know it doesn't hurt Carys for me to be away- she probably doesn't even notice when I'm gone. I do love the big smiles I get when I get home. I suppose it is selfish reasoning on my part to want to stay home so much. Regardless of my reality, I find myself hoping that something will change, things will get better for us financially, or I'll find some way to make supplemental income from home - and I'll get to make my job just being wife and mommy.

I know there are plenty of women who are in a more difficult situation than I am. I know that Carys doesn't have to go to daycare, and I'm not working full-time... but does this invalidate my feelings about my situation?

I know that it isn't realistic (a word I find myself using more and more these days) for me to be a full time stay at home mom right now, but that doesn't keep me from wanting it. I guess I just need something to change. I need to adjust, accept, whatever it is that will make me feel better.

And I need to do it soon.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Back To Work I Go...

As you may have guessed by this point, Carys is with us! She was born at 3:53 PM on June 14th, was 19.5 inches long and weighed 7 lbs. 8 oz. She is the love of our lives and I can't imagine a time before she was with us.

She is also the reason I've been slacking off of writing blog updates! She occupies much of my time these days, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Priorities have a funny way of shifting with the arrival of a new baby, I've found. Housework and other things that I placed pretty high on the list during our B.C. era (Before Carys) have given way to feedings, diaper changes, and time for snuggling.

Some day I'll post my birth story- I tried to write it shortly after coming home from the hospital, but my heart wasn't in it (exhaustion, I suppose), and it was stilted and dry.

Today marks the end of my maternity leave from work - I return on a part time basis this morning in about an hour. I am struggling with this part the most, I think. This will be the longest I've ever been away from my sweet baby bird- I know I'm going to cry my eyes out as soon as I'm in my car. Don't get me wrong- I know there are a lot of mothers that have it a lot worse than I do. I know I'm not going back full time, I know I am fortunate enough to not have to place her in daycare, but knowing these things doesn't lessen the ache in my heart. I spent the last (almost) year of my life connected to this little person every moment of the day, being able to reach down, put my hand on my stomach and feel her little wiggles and kicks- even though I've spent short amounts of time away from her since delivery, this feels so much different. There is a tiny part of me that will be glad to get a break, but it is vastly overwhelmed by how much I am going to miss seeing her little face. It is, and will always be the desire of my heart to be able to stay home with her, but I am able to realize that it's not a financial possibility for us right now and I'm willing to do what it takes to help take care of our family.

My body will be at the country club today, but my heart will stay here, snuggled in our cozy nest with my little bird.

I will post again soon with a real update, this was just what is on my (heavy) heart today.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

End in sight ...

Well, we were 37 weeks on Monday!

We are closer every day to meeting Carys - now that we are out of the pre-term stage, however, she seems more than content to stay hidden away in her own little world. Although I am anxious to meet her, as everyone else is, I am feeling surprisingly relaxed about being on her timetable. Despite being hugely pregnant and all of the discomfort that entails, I'm enjoying these last few days/weeks. I am able to work on projects that will fall by the wayside if unfinished when she arrives, my house stays neat and clean for the moment and I set my own agenda. I don't think it's possible to fathom exactly how much our lives will change when she does decide to join us, but I know that much of the lifestyle we are accustomed to will change. I look forward to the busyness of being a parent, but for now am content to let things happen when they will.

At our last appointment, Carys had wiggled back up close to my ribs - because her head wasn't engaged any longer my cervix closed and lifted up. I have been doing some things to encourage her to drop (for comfort's sake as much as getting her ready for her birthday); walking, bouncing on my exercise ball, etc., and it seems to be working. She seems to have settled back down into the position she was in prior to my preterm labor. I am curious to see if it is causing any cervical changes.

Her movements did seem to slow briefly when she was in the higher position - presumably because her legs were too folded up. Now that she's dropped, there is a flurry of activity for most of the day again. She is constantly straightening her legs against the walls of my uterus - it pushes her little butt out and I can feel the vague outline of her feet on the opposite side until she relaxes again. The skin on the top of my stomach is starting to get sore (it feels like a sunburn) from being stretched, I suppose. It is painful to touch... I am surprised that I have not had any stretch marks on my stomach (yet)- it is distended to an almost comical degree. I really do look like I've swallowed a melon whole!

Our next appointment with Dr. W is on Thursday afternoon. She mentioned last week that after 39 weeks, if we'd like, she would schedule an induction. I'm not sure how I feel about this yet- I am having some physical issues with the strain of being this far along that would resolve with delivery but barring any issues with the baby's health, I don't think I'd mind letting her get to 40. I've heard both good and bad stories about induction, but until I'm a little closer to that point I'm not sure I'll be able to form an opinion.

At any rate, whenever she decides to come we'll be ready. The nursery is finished, our 'go' bags are packed, car seat is installed, so now we just wait.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

An open letter to my daughter...

My sweet Carys,

Daddy and I are only a few short weeks (at the most) from meeting you now - we could not be more excited! We have so many questions about you - will you have Daddy's big, blue eyes, my almond shaped, green ones, or will you have eyes that are all your own? Will you have corn-silk colored hair like he did when he was a baby and will it curl in the back like mine did? Are you going to be laid-back or will you be feisty and strong willed? Will you be outgoing and social or shy and reserved?

It seems like only yesterday we were finding out that we would be welcoming you into the world - my little miracle. We weren't sure we would ever be able to be parents and we are infinitely grateful that we were proven wrong. When I was 20, doctors told me that as a result of some physical problems I was dealing with it would be 'unlikely' that I would be able to conceive. This didn't bother me as much then as it did when I met your father, got married and our thoughts turned to starting a family. Hopeful excitement turned to disappointment, which eventually turned to bitter longing. We prayed, pleaded and cried together as we waited for you. After a painful year of medical intervention and futile grasping at hope, we decided to stop trying for a while, to recover and try to heal. I didn't understand at the time why God seemed to be denying the desires of our hearts, the only thing I knew was that my empty arms ached to be filled. I watched people around me starting their own families and withdrew from them- it wasn't their fault that they were able to have what I so desperately wanted but it didn't make a difference to the pain I carried with me.

I needed something to pour my energy into that would distract me from the gaping emptiness in my heart - something that would help me to move on. Your daddy and I talked for a while about me joining the Navy and some of the things that it would offer us - to be truthful, although I was genuinely interested in the opportunities it offered, I was running. I felt like I needed to get away, to immerse myself totally in a world where I was not constantly confronted by what I perceived to be my personal failure. I was prepared to throw myself as wholeheartedly into my work as I did into the training I needed to be ready to join. Over the next several months I immersed myself in cardio (losing almost 40 pounds), took the college courses I needed to qualify, and convinced myself that perhaps I was just not meant to be a mother, that maybe I was meant to dedicate my life to the service of my country. I was two weeks away from the date I was supposed to be sent for my medical examinations in order to be able to enlist...

and then there was you.

There were not any glaring signs that you were present, just a lot of little things- I was tired, moody and my eating habits changed a little, but since I wasn't watching for your arrival I took these symptoms individually and determined that it was just that I was getting burnt out. I was working 2 full time jobs and still taking college courses so there was good reason for being tired! One night on a whim I took a pregnancy test, fully expecting it to be negative. I even joked with your dad about there being no chance of it being positive, yet a few minutes later I was standing in the bathroom staring in shocked awe at a digital display that said 'pregnant'.

I don't remember the walk downstairs to where he was fiddling with a video game console, just standing in the living room trembling from head to toe and blurting out, "Jeremy..." to which he replied absently, "What?"

And then I dropped the bomb. "I'm pregnant."

He immediately dropped what he was doing, slack jawed in amazement as I had been a few moments earlier and asked incredulously, "What did you just say?!" I managed to stammer "I think I'm pregnant! Come see." I'd left the test sitting on the bathroom counter and as we climbed the stairs together to look at it doubts whirled through my mind. Were my eyes playing tricks on me? Was there some malfunction in the test itself that would've given a false positive?

When we reached the bathroom we found ourselves staring at the truth in bold, black letters - 'pregnant'. I looked up into his eyes and watched them fill with joyful tears even as I felt my own begin to well up. From that moment, our entire lives changed. Just like David proclaims in Psalm 30:11, my mourning was turned into dancing!

Despite all the worry I've had about you, the last 9 months have been the most wonderful of my life and I know it will only get better. I would go through every month we spent waiting a hundred times over if it meant that you were the end result. I didn't understand at the time why God wasn't blessing us with a baby when we trying, but all of those other months, if we had been successful it wouldn't have been you. He knew you before He formed you and His actions (or inaction, as it seemed at the time) were deliberate because you are the daughter He wanted us to have. Although I couldn't see His intentions, He knew that one day He would give us the desire of our hearts.

I am so thankful for you, my love, and I can't imagine what it would've been like if it wasn't you. We are incredibly in love with you already, and we can't wait to start our lives together. I can't promise you that we'll always know exactly what to do, but I can promise we will always try to do the right thing. I can't promise I'll be a perfect mother, but I promise I'll be the best one I know how to be. I can't promise I'll have all the answers, but I promise that I'll raise you to know the One that does. I can't tell what the future holds for us, but I can say with absolute certainty- I loved you from the moment I knew you and I will never stop loving you.

I have been anxiously waiting for you to come for the last 9 months and now that I am on the cusp of meeting you I find myself hoping that things slow down. I know some day when you are grown I'll look back on this time and your babyhood and think about how quickly it passed - I want to treasure each moment with you. Take your time growing up, sweet girl. I know you won't be old enough to understand this for a long time yet - there's no rush getting there.

I love you more than you could possibly imagine.

-- Mom

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

L & D, Act II.

So, it's been a few days since I was back in labor and delivery (5/29-it was Sunday night), but I haven't been able to scrape together the energy to relive the experience until now.

After Jeremy got home from work that night, we had supper and settled in to watch "A Game of Thrones" together. I'd been having a lot of contractions that day but didn't think much of it because I've been having them for weeks. I drank several glasses of water and tried to lie down to see if they would relent. Right before the show came on (at 9:00 pm), however, I started noticing a pattern of regular intervals. I'd already taken a Procardia (the medicine I was on to stop labor) a few hours prior and we were right on the cusp of the day Dr. W told me to stop taking it, so I called L&D to ask them what I should do. At this point my contractions were about 7 minutes apart. I called, explained the situation, and asked the nurse if she thought I should take another Procardia... (this next part will become important later) She said, "No, we want you to go ahead and come in." We got ready, put the hospital bags in the car and went.

When I was admitted, contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart and closing. The nurse assigned to me checked my cervix and it was at almost 3 cm and over 75% effaced (progression since my last appointment with Dr. W). The doctor on call, Dr. G, wasn't actually at the hospital so they had to call her to get instructions. They monitored my contractions for about an hour to determine whether or not they were going to send me home (false labor), or if it was the real deal (early labor).

The contractions got down to about 2 minutes apart and included strong lower back pain that included what felt like menstrual cramps. When the nurse reappeared, she told us that I was in fact, in early labor. I asked her at that point if they were going to try to stop my labor, or if I would be allowed to progress. She told me that they'd spoken to Dr. G and that they were not going to administer anything with the specific design of stopping labor (terbutaline) but that because Carys was technically premature they were going to give me morphine in an attempt to slow it along with pushing fluids to see if dehydration was the culprit (this neither made sense to me at the time or now looking back on it). Another nurse came in, placed an I.V., and I was given an injection of morphine in my left hip.

The only things the morphine accomplished were 1) making me feel floaty, and 2) causing my contractions to become extremely erratic in nature although they were still occurring at a regular interval. I felt the urge to walk and asked the nurses if I could- they informed me that I was on bedrest with 'bathroom privileges'. A few hours later, my contractions had stabilized and were starting to increase in intensity. The nurse checked back in with me and said that the morphine had not been successful (obviously). When she tried to check my cervix this time, however, it was so high that she wasn't able to reach it. She was trying to be gentle, but the exam was extremely painful. She had another nurse come in to see if she could reach it - the second nurse didn't try and didn't seem to notice/care that I was in the middle of a contraction. It was excruciating.

Nurse 2 mentioned that 'she couldn't really reach it', but that I was down to a fingertip and 50% effaced.

They went out to the nurses' station to confer with Dr. G by phone. Although my cervix was now high and closed for the most part, Dr. G wanted a better cervical check and so she asked for another dose of morphine to help me relax.

The second dose felt stronger than the first and made me a little nauseous. I could feel my body trying to fight the morphine again (my uterus was still making the attempt at contractions although they started to slow down), but I was so exhausted at this point after 6 or 7 hours in labor with no sleep that I was able to doze off for a few minutes at a time. By the time morning finally rolled around, I was only having 'irritability' contractions- uncomfortable but irregular, weak and unable to change my cervix. Dr. G was no longer on call, her younger counterpart Dr. G(2) was - she came in to speak with me after she arrived at the hospital for her shift. The nurses had also changed shifts. My new nurse, T, accompanied her.

Dr. G2 restated a lot of the things that I'd been told over the night - Carys is still premature, they don't want her to come this week, etc. She also informed me that although she wasn't going to ask me to continue taking Procardia because Dr. W didn't want me to after Monday, she was going to prescribe a different medication to 'stop false labor'. She assured me that if the contractions were 'real', it wouldn't have any impact on them. She also mentioned that she didn't think I was in labor the night before because the contractions didn't change my cervix. Never mind that my cervix was changing when I got to the hospital and only went to being high and closed during two rounds of narcotics, two bags of fluid and bedrest.

This frustrated me for two reasons. One, Dr. W wasn't around to be consulted for any of this. We decided together that I wasn't going to be on any medication after Monday. It's hard on my body to continue fighting labor and it seems to me that there are always tradeoffs to trying to interrupt a natural process with drugs. This brings me to point number two; this new medication has the unfortunate side effect of making me groggy/sleepy every time I take it. So, if I happen to go into labor and take this drug and it has no effect (as intended with 'real' labor), I'm going to be contracting and feeling drugged and tired.

Dr. G2 ordered my discharge and left, leaving Nurse T to give me my paperwork and explain the discharge instructions. Not before T continuously and incorrectly called my experience the night before 'false labor'. She even threw in an anecdote about how she 'thought' she was in labor prematurely when she was pregnant and then went on to carry a few days past her due date! She was also kind enough to explain the symptoms of real labor to me for future reference...

Regular contractions that increase in intensity and frequency.
May include lower back pain that radiates to the abdomen.
Do not go away after drinking water/lying down.


Don't get me wrong. I'm not upset that Carys was able to stay in for a little while longer. I'm upset because I felt like I was strung along all night. I labored for 9 hours before my contractions were stopped. I kept telling Jeremy "I wish they would just stop the labor and let me go home or let me progress." I was stuck in labor limbo all night long, with large gaps of time where I didn't know what was going on because no one would give me a straight answer. I get that it was Memorial Day weekend and people were busy and had their own plans. I felt like we got brushed off, however. If I had my rathers, I would have taken the Procardia again at home (which also serves the purpose of stopping labor) and waited it out. I saw a doctor one time while I was in the hospital, a few minutes before I was discharged. It felt like a giant waste of my time and energy. To be honest, I also wasn't thrilled about dosing (although minor amounts) my unborn child with morphine twice when they could have accomplished the same ends with a different medication that wouldn't have taken as long to work.

I am planning on having a medicated birth but this doesn't mean I want to dump narcotics into my system willy nilly at every given opportunity.

This post ended up turning into more of a vent than anything, but I was and still am frustrated at the way I was handled at the hospital. Dr. W has always been really good about explaining what's going on with my body and the baby in as much detail as I need and giving me reasons for why she is pursuing particular avenues of treatment. I feel like we're a doctor/patient team, and not like the ignorant recipient of whatever she decides is best. Not knowing what's going on, an absentee doctor calling the shots without ever speaking with me and being at the mercy of staff that are not in particularly chatty moods was really hard on me.

I am really ready for this experience to be over.

The last few days have been tough on my body and it seems like I've shifted into being irritable without reason during this phase. I'm exhausted, in pain, and eager to see what Dr. W has to say at my appointment tomorrow. I really hope I don't have four more weeks of this.

Friday, May 27, 2011

One month away...

Today is one month to the date from Carys' due date, on Monday we will reach the 36 week benchmark and I will stop taking the medication that keeps my contractions in check. I have an appointment this afternoon with Dr. W, and I'm interested to see if the contractions and cramping I have been experiencing have changed the conditions of my cervix any (at last check I was 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced).

The last couple of weeks have been kind of a roller coaster ride physically, mentally and emotionally, and I think I'm getting to the end of my rope (I'm glad the gestation period for humans isn't any longer). I can't really think of any better way to describe it than this;

I'm going through some stuff right now.

I thought things would become easier the closer I got to her due date, but this is by far the most difficult stretch I've had thus far. I'm not even sure exactly how to 'fix' anything right now. My body is exhausted, but the most trying part is the emotional strain. There is such a trying myriad of emotions that is setting in - anxiety about when she will arrive, anticipation of holding her for the first time and bringing her home, a sense of sadness that my life will irrevocably be changed, and feelings of joy and excitement for the very same reason.

I am saying goodbye to the person I was before Carys, embracing this new role as mother and trying to stay afloat in this stressful new sea of fears that came with the revelation that I am going to be a parent. It feels like growing pains, almost. Everything is changing. It's necessary, it's good, and it opens the door to an entirely new, wonderful experience, but it is also one of the scariest times of my life. My mind stays filled with worries.

Is she/will she be okay?
What if she is stillborn?
What if something happens to her during delivery?
How would I ever cope if I lost her?
Will my body be capable of birthing her?
What if I'm not ready for this?
What if my maternal instincts aren't enough?
Will people try to steamroll me when it comes to parenting, and if they try will I have the backbone to stand up for what I feel is right?
Will I be able to find my voice as her mother and protector?
What if she doesn't love me?
Will I know how to take care of her?
What if something is wrong with her?

and the big one...

What if I'm not a good mom?

I am not afforded the luxury of testing the waters with a toe and 'working my way in' to motherhood - it is a flying leap into the unknown. It's terrifying, stressful, exhilarating, and joyous, but most of all...


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

As much update as I can muster...

We are now 35 weeks, 1 day.

The major milestone this week is that if I go into labor again, I will be able to deliver at our 'home' hospital instead of having to make the hour and a half trek to a hospital that has a NICU. We had our third birth class yesterday - we have three more to go (if we make it that far)! We are starting to get into the nitty gritty of labor and delivery and focusing on getting ready mentally and physically for the baby.

Our hospital bag is packed, her room is finished (for the most part), so now we are just waiting.

Physically, I am having difficulty coping with the tail end of pregnancy. It's hard on my body, especially my hips and back, but mostly I'm just tired. It's a battle every morning to scrape together the energy to get going and I am getting less and less sleep the closer we get. The newest struggle is that I am having pelvic separation - normally the pelvis is one continuous piece, and mine has begun to come apart in the front in preparation for labor. Dr. W told me that it is a normal part of pregnancy for a small fraction of women and that although delivery is going to be a little easier on me (more room for baby to travel through), carrying the rest of the way and labor is going to be increasingly difficult. I am definitely feeling the strain. Since my preterm labor I've been experiencing what feel like strong menstrual cramps on and off and there are the ever present contractions. I am looking forward to the day when I don't have to control them with medicine and I can just let them achieve their purpose.

I love my daughter more than I can express and I want her to stay in as long as is healthy for her, but I am getting so very tired. At this point I have no energy, I am in constant discomfort, and I'm just ready. Ready for her to be here, ready to get my body back, ready to move on to another chapter in our lives...

I hope she comes close to 37. I know it's probably going to make me sound like a weenie, but after everything we've been through in this pregnancy, I am starting to wear down and I don't know how I'm going to make it another 5 weeks if she decides to come at 40. I feel like a marathon runner reaching the end of the race- the finish line is in sight but fatigue is setting in.

Just a little bit longer, now.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fighting to stay pregnant...

Week 34, and what a week it's been.

Saturday (5/14) started like any other - I worked, came home and puttered around a bit waiting for Jeremy to get home. Early in the evening, I noticed that I was having a few more Braxton-Hicks contractions than is usual for me. Later, I just so happened to glance at the clock when one hit - 9:13 pm.

When the next one came at 9:21 pm, I knew something was up. I waited for a few more to come to make sure they weren't erratic, and when they came at consistent, 8 minute intervals I decided to call Labor & Delivery (9:40 pm). My OB, Dr. W., happened to already be at the hospital delivering a baby, so the nurse was able to consult her. Their advice was to lie down, drink lots of water and to continue timing the contractions, keeping a log, for one hour and to call again if they did not subside. In one hour at exactly 10:40 pm I called again-- the length of time between the contractions had shortened to 5 minutes, despite following their directions. The nurse told us to head in, so we grabbed the hospital bag (packed a mere few hours prior to my contractions starting), hopped in the Blazer and hit the road.

The ride over was difficult - it was only about 15 minutes from our house to the hospital, but I had 3 contractions and at that point they were beginning to intensify. With each contraction my lower back began to get more and more sore, a constant dull pain that would later be identified as back labor.

I sat through a few more contractions at registration while the guy that was working admissions took down some information - I had to pause while I made it through each contraction at that point.

A nursing assistant came down with a wheelchair to get me and wheeled me up to the birthing center. She asked a few questions on the way up, how long I'd been feeling the abdominal pain, if I was dehydrated, etc. She seemed a little skeptical that there was really anything the matter - I think to her I was just another panicked first time mom. She mentioned when we got to the room that she thought I might just have a UTI, told me to change into a gown and that a nurse would be in to put monitors on me in a few minutes.

After changing, getting into the bed and being hooked up to a fetal heart monitor and monitor to track contractions, the nurses informed me that Dr. W. would be watching the reports from her station. Because I'd been busy getting settled in I wasn't exactly sure how close my contractions were together, just that they were lasting longer and getting more painful as they went.

Jeremy and I sat alone in the birthing room for about 10 minutes, watching numbers rise and fall on the monitors until two nurses rushed in.

"Your contractions are 2 minutes apart. Things are going to start happening really fast - I need your verbal permission to provide you treatment for preterm labor, we'll bring you a consent form in a little while."

I gave my assent and true to her word, things began moving really quickly. Jeremy was relegated to a spectator's spot as both nurses started working. I was hooked up to an IV and they started pushing fluids as fast as they could, they procured specimens to test for possible infections or fetal fibronectin and they checked my cervix, determining I was dilated to 1 cm. The day before, at my OB visit, it was thick and tightly closed with just a little softening. One thing that really stuck in my mind after was the bright light that they turned on right above me - the one that they turn on just before delivery so the doctors and nurses are able to see what they're doing.

I was given a dose of a medication called Procardia. It's actually a blood pressure medication,but it has the added side effect of relaxing the smooth muscle of the uterus and can be effective in stopping contractions. I had to take one every 15 minutes for an hour in the hopes that it would slow labor. Dr. W came in to speak with me a little while after the nurses finished their tasks. She explained that because the hospital did not have a NICU if their intervention failed I would transferred to a hospital about an hour and a half away to deliver. She did not feel that it would be necessary to do steroid shots if the fetal fibronectin test was negative because Carys is right on the cusp of being old enough to not need them. She said if the fFn test was positive, however, she would administer steroids and that I'd probably be taking the trip down the mountain.

Luckily, after laboring for 3 hours they were able to slow my contractions and stop active labor. The fFn test was negative but they decided to keep me overnight for observation. It was a long, sleepless night for the two of us - Carys is so active that every 15-20 minutes or so the heart monitor would 'lose' her and a nurse would have to come in and find her again. In the morning, although things had calmed down considerably, my uterus was still having some erratic contraction-like activity- the nurses described it as 'irritable'.

Dr. W made the decision to discharge me that afternoon with instructions to not return to work until at least 36 weeks, and a prescription for the Procardia. She told me that she does not expect Carys to make it to 40 weeks, but wants to shoot for at least 2 more.

After 36 I will stop taking the Procardia, and if my squirmy little girl wants to be born, we're going to let her. I've really got my heart set on Dr. W delivering Carys and if she's going to be able to do that, we've got to make it at least one more week to 35. At that point they will allow me to deliver in the local hospital instead of making the trek to the one with the NICU. Dr. W told us that although she would probably be okay if she were born right now, she could really use the next couple of weeks to put on weight and continue lung development. Birth at 34 weeks isn't ideal for the health of the baby although there are babies that are born that early and thrive.

My baby shower was Sunday afternoon, three hours after I was discharged from the hospital (Dr. W agreed to allow me to attend as long as I didn't "dance, jump, or play any crazy pregnancy games"). Neither Jeremy or myself had any sleep before then, we went home, ate lunch, he helped me paint my toenails (did a pretty good job for an amateur) and get dressed, and he dropped me off at the shower.

I really enjoyed it - it was touching to the outpouring of love for Jeremy and I and our child- Carys has a lot of people that care for her already. I was exhausted, though, and by the end I was starting to have contractions again so as soon as we finished the festivities, Jeremy's uncle gave me a ride back to the house and Jeremy came up to the fellowship hall to pick up Carys' gifts. We were so blessed - so many of our needs were met, and even some wants that I wouldn't have been able to buy yet because of having to stop working.

She got a really nice travel system, tons of clothes, beautiful handmade blankets, hats and booties, diapers and wipes, an adorable diaper bag (much, MUCH cuter than the one I had on my registry!), a precious, tiny pearl bracelet with a silver cross from her great great grandmother, the crib set that I wanted so badly that has been sold out/on back-order in every store I could find it in for months (her Granna really pulled a rabbit out of a hat- I couldn't believe my eyes), a beautiful glider for her nursery, the list goes on and on. It was nice to have the experience of so many mothers - there were many things included that I wouldn't have thought about needing that I'm glad we have now.

On the agenda for the next week -

1. Stay pregnant despite Carys' apparent wishes to be free.

2. Do nothing that isn't absolutely necessary (This doesn't seem like it would be a chore, but the nesting instinct is kicking in like crazy and it's all that I can do to not go wild cleaning and organizing her nursery).

Here's hoping for one more week.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

Okay, okay, I know I'm late on this blog, too - my apologies! The last two weeks have been pretty busy in our neck of the woods (in a good way); last week we were on our baby-moon, and this week my little brother is visiting us from New Orleans, where he's stationed in the USMC (Ooh-rah!). We are thrilled to have him with us - it's been really good to get to catch up and spend some time with him. There was a slight snafu at the airlines with his luggage (and by slight, I mean they sent his seabag to Philadelphia), but after a reasonable time investment over the phone with several lovely, well mannered airline employees (insert forced smile here), he was reunited with his things.

I think he's enjoying his time in the mountains (I hope so, anyway) so far- I know we've enjoyed having him around. It has been almost a year since the last time I saw him at his military graduation and although we have tentative plans to visit him in NOLA after the baby is here and things have settled down, with the way life is, I know how life can change plans and I'm very thankful for this time. Hopefully we will get the opportunity to see him and the rest of the family that's scattered across the United States at my youngest sister's military graduation (also USMC) this winter.

On that note,

33 weeks along as of yesterday-- the countdown is at 48 days! My little Pea-tey is long from pea-sized at this point- she's the size of a pineapple and should be over 4.5 lbs at this point. Although she doesn't have any major developmental milestones this week, she's hard at work putting on weight and her lungs are continuing to develop- her skeleton is also hardening.

We had our first childbirth class yesterday; we spent a good deal of the time with introductions and establishing a baseline of basic information (anatomy and physiology of pregnancy, etc) and then went over a relaxation technique called progressive muscle relaxation. Jeremy was disappointed at the lack of hippies in the class (he's been looking forward to making fun of them), but other than that, it went just fine. There was one other couple in the class that happened to share our due date - the others were a lot earlier in their pregnancies than we are! Jeremy joked to the other couple that he was glad we weren't the only slackers - it did feel a little like that, though! One of the other couples was only 20 weeks along. The instructor provided us with a little booklet to follow/track our progress - we only have 3 1/2 pages left... ha ha.

Oh, well! Hopefully we will make it to all of the classes - and, barring any pre-term deliveries, I won't have to watch in jealousy as couples have babies before us and I'm still hugely pregnant!

Today we're off to Tennessee with my brother- at some point I also need to try to find something to wear to my shower- I'm steadily outgrowing all of the smaller maternity clothes that have lasted me thus far. Thankfully I was given a lot of maternity clothes- the only problem I'm running into is the variance in size. The clothes seem to be in either small or large/extra large sizes- I am in a medium. The large pants fall off of me, the small ones are getting really uncomfortable. I don't intend to buy any more pants for only the next 6 weeks, I'm getting by so far in sweatpants. I'm thinking about just trying to find a regular, non-maternity dress with an empire waist that will fit over the belly and will be appropriate for the shower. Then I might get some more use out of it, too. Maternity clothes are just so expensive!

Tomorrow I go back to work and weather permitting, it will be mowing day- I'm hoping it stays sunny because I know Jeremy wants to take Joel hiking.

Things are starting to move really quickly- Although I'm getting anxious for Carys to be here, I mostly hope that things slow down a little so I can have a chance to catch my breath before embarking on this new adventure.

48 days!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

E is for Elephant...

(My father-in-law and I comparing bellies at the beach)

And, we're back (with pictures, as promised)...

The beach was wonderful. I didn't realize how much J and I needed to decompress until we were digging our toes into the sand. I think being away from 'real life' for a few days went a long way in helping us feel plugged in and connected to each other and this new experience. I spent most of my time at the beach soaking up sun (drenched in SPF 50) and shopping for (who else) Carys with my mother in law. I found a few adorable little birds to put on her dresser, a painted cross for her wall, and (although I swore off buying any more) some outfits that were on clearance and too cute to pass up. I did, however, buy them in larger sizes - mostly in between 12-18 months - because she already has some smaller things and I know she'll be getting more little bitty baby clothes before it's all said and done.

(The daddy-to-be got in lots of quality fishing time)

One thing that struck me this week -

NEXT MONTH. My baby will be here (hopefully) NEXT MONTH.

Our escape from the day to day grind didn't carry us away from the realization that our lives are changing more rapidly than we can keep up with these days. Almost every moment of our vacation was spent thinking about her, talking about her, cooing over tiny baby items in the shops, and planning for the things we have yet to take care of. I can see how someone not directly involved in the process would get tired of hearing about anything baby - she has taken over every little corner of our lives.

Speaking of baby news, the shower is just around the corner - May 15th! I am so excited to be able to get together and celebrate with our family and friends. I know the hostesses have been hustling and bustling to get everything together! I will be almost 34 weeks along on the day of, 3 weeks from being considered full-term! When I think about how close we are, my heart jumps into my throat- impending parenthood feels like the moment before you walk out on to the stage of a big performance. Thrilling, terrifying, and unfolding in front of a crowd of people that are all watching.

This week I am working to complete a few more preparations for our little girl's arrival - I still need to pack my hospital bag, wash some of her things and get them separated by size, call about our birthing classes (which are supposed to start on MONDAY, but I have yet to receive the registration packet that the coordinator told me she'd send me), etc. While we're on the subject of the hospital bag, I do have to mention a traumatizing experience I underwent this week - shopping for a nursing bra (you male readers may want to skip over this part if the subject makes you uncomfortable). I will provide helpful brackets outlining the 'sensitive' section of my blog... ha ha.


We went to Motherhood while we were in the area to pick one up because I hadn't been able to find anything at home. I was really relieved when the consultant asked if she could help because I've been petrified of picking one out myself. When I told her I was afraid of buying one because I didn't know how much bigger my boobs were going to get, she smiled and chirped, "I DOOOO!!"

Since the beginning of my pregnancy they have ballooned (yes, I am using that term) from a small C cup to a large D. I was aware that they would fill out more when my milk comes in but I wasn't prepared for the size that she pulled from the rack.


That's what I have to look forward to.

In case you, like me, think your eyes are playing tricks on you, let me help you out.


My boobs are going to be gargantuan!!! The most shocking part of the whole experience was that when I tried on the first bra in the recommended size, it already fit (Luckily, that particular designer sizes a little small so I didn't have to move to an F) Honestly, I had convinced myself that the 38D I've been wearing for the last few months was a result of 'vanity sizing' (I know) and that I had overestimated my size and she was going to say, "Oh, you're wearing the wrong size - here, try this dainty, attractive-looking bra with thin straps and frilly stuff on it." No such luck- I am in over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder territory- heavy duty, thick straps, lots of material for support, etc... I am convinced that my new bra (I bought one that's built like a sports bra) was engineered by the same folks that design tank armor.

As I stood there looking at my new additions in the full length mirror, I imagined my poor little infant struggling to feed under the weight of a breast twice as big as her head... ha ha ha. I know it's not that serious - more well-endowed women than I have nursed successfully for generations!

On the bright side - I might not actually need a baby carrier- Carys can hang out in the orbit of one of my chest-planets.


It was a good week, there is more to come (my brother is coming to visit us from the Marine Corps on Saturday and I'll be working while he's here so I'm sure I'll be busy!), and D(ue)-Day will be upon us before we know it.

As soon as I have time to take pictures of the new additions in her room when the sun is shining in I will post them so you all can get a preview of the cuteness to come.

And because I missed it on Monday while luxuriating in the sun and surf,

HAPPY 32 weeks, baby girl!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


31 weeks!

Last week, like the last several before it, zoomed by. With adjusting to my return to work, trying to stay on top of housework and dealing with a super active baby, I stayed pretty tired and had to grab naps when I could.

Speaking of squirmy-butt, I'm curious to see how her patterns of movement change in the next few weeks. Dr. W told me to expect her to slow down towards the end as she runs out of room- I think she's trying to get all of her wiggles out of her system now. She has been a little nut the last few days! This afternoon I was jolted out of a nap by her little rambunctious monkey feet beating a staccato in my side and I don't mean a few gentle nudges - she was going to town! If her personality in utero is anything like what it will be when she's here, Jeremy and I are going to have our work cut out for us.

My appointment last week with Dr. G went well, like everyone else in her practice she seemed competent and was really nice. I am still (extremely) partial to Dr. W, but if Dr. G ends up being the one to deliver I know I'll be in good hands.

Work is going well enough - I'm not working complete days yet because the club won't open until the 1st but I still find myself exhausted by the end of the shift. I have been doing a lot more bending, cleaning, organizing, etc., than will be required normally because we have to get the kitchen into shape after a winter of disuse so I'm hoping that when I have a more 'normal' workday I will be able to keep up for the whole day.

In other news, we will be going to the beach after all! We will be staying for free in a house that a friend of the family owns and bringing food from home so it will be cost effective enough for us to be able to swing it. Although we were both prepared to give up the babymoon, I think it's going to be really good for us to be able to get away and relax before she gets here. We're leaving on Saturday, coming back on Thursday and I plan to spend a good bit of the time in between laying out on the sand like a beached manatee! It is unreal that this will be our last trip together as just a twosome. The next time we leave Boone we'll be parents of a baby girl.

Our project this week is to get my hospital bag put together. With our preterm labor scare, we don't want to be caught out of town without it in case she decides to arrive ahead of schedule while we're on vacation. The biggest problem is that I'm not really sure where to begin and I'm a little trigger shy about purchasing some of the things I'll need. Buying a nursing bra scares me- I've already gone through a significant change as far as cup size is concerned and I don't want to sink the money into one to have them balloon even more when my milk comes in. I might try to get away with buying a structured nursing tank to keep in the bag at least until I'm a little bit closer and I have more of an idea what things look like.

By the way, her dresser is DONE!! Thank you to both sets of grandparents for facilitating the refurb - my parents sent a gift that covered the costs of the materials to sand/fill the gouges, paint and hardware and my mother in law did a beautiful job painting it. It took some doing, but after a little elbow grease the 34 year old dresser from Jeremy's nursery has new life. We changed the outdated hardware for some simple white porcelain pulls. I agonized over the paint choice but ended up going with a light green shade called "Lantana Lime". It looks so great, as soon as I have it home I'll post a picture of it. I feel like her nursery is finally starting to come together.

Jeremy and I had a great Easter Sunday, we went to church together (a rarity as Jeremy almost never gets off on Sundays) and had a meal with his mom's side of the family. Even though I pooped out early and retreated home for a nap, I had such a good time spending time with everyone.

Another event of the week...


Yep - I see the tell tale signs of them sprouting around my belly button - I can't wait for my belly to look like a giant target - Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, here I come! In all seriousness, though, like every other irritant I've experienced during pregnancy, it is a tiny price to pay for the most precious gift I've ever been given. 9 weeks and counting -- can't wait to meet you, baby girl.

Monday, April 18, 2011

First day back...

Happy Monday!

Carys is officially 30 weeks today - (maybe less than) 10 more to go!

As of today, her mommy is also officially a working stiff again. This morning was my first day back to work at the country club in a small kitchen that offers lunch fare for golfers and guests. We're not officially open until May, so we're basically just cleaning and organizing. A new executive chef has finally been hired along with a new food and beverage director and I had the opportunity to meet them both today. The F&B director seems to be a lot more engaged than the previous one, and is a nice enough man. There have been a lot of changes made to the chain of command to 'streamline' things in theory - only time will tell how things work in practice. I'm afraid the new chef has no idea what he's in for- the management has saddled him with a tremendous amount of responsibility- part of their plan includes him doing the jobs of two people. He will essentially be responsible for inventory, menus, staff, etc., for two restaurants. The new board of members (the club is member equity owned) are determined to pinch pennies until they bleed, too, which adds an entirely different set of difficulties and challenges in an environment where people are spending an exorbitant sum of money yearly for the benefit of membership and expect a certain level of luxury.

Physically, returning to work will be about what I expected, I think. I went in for about 4 hours today and spent most of the time wiping down shelves/refrigeration units. Outside of the obvious difficulties (balance, fitting in close spaces, getting back up after I've gotten down... ha ha) it wasn't too bad. I was pretty pooped when I got home, though - energy level might become more of an issue the closer I get to my due date. Luckily, my boss has been and is continuing to be really accommodating to me. She has a realistic expectation of the things that I can/can't do and I don't feel pressured to push myself any harder than I am comfortable with. I still plan to work as long as I can until I deliver, then will hopefully be able to return to finish out the remainder of the season. There are still some variables to my return that won't be sorted out until the time comes. If all goes as planned, though, after my six week leave I'll work until October.

One thing that I'd forgotten about that is a huge financial help to us is that since it is my third year returning as an employee to the club I will be eligible for health benefits 90 days into the season! I'm not clear on the details, but my boss tells me it is paid 100 percent by the club and is year round- it could end up being a real boon for us and if I can handle all the changes/shenanigans at the club this year things might line up for my original plan.

Carys spent most of the work day sleeping peacefully, although she did get squirmy around lunch time like she usually does. I think she is getting more cramped in there- sometimes she wiggles like she's trying to get comfortable and can't (poor little thing). I was hoping to get a nap in when I got home to recharge my batteries for the rest of the afternoon/evening, but as soon as she wasn't being lulled to sleep by my movement she was awake and ready to play. She's rolling around happily and pushing her feet against my side as I type.

My 30 week appointment is tomorrow morning, Dr. W wanted me to be seen by the only physician in the all-female practice that I haven't met yet. All of the other doctors have seen me at some point over the last 3 years- Dr. W said she wants me to be somewhat familiar with everyone (even though she's still my OB) in case something happens and one of the other doctors has to deliver. Dr. G joined from another practice a few months ago and seems to be highly esteemed. After my appointment with her tomorrow, I will see Dr. W for the remainder of my pregnancy. Two more appointments after this one and I will be moved to weekly checks!

70 days and counting...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Out of control.

Today, for the first time since Jeremy and I embarked on this journey together, I found myself genuinely afraid. Not the varying levels of anxiety I've experienced along the way- I'm talking about throat-tightening, sweaty-palm, gut-twisting FEAR. Before you worry that this is baby-related, let me put you at ease- Carys is perfectly happy, healthy, oblivious to her surroundings and is currently fast at work punching a hole in my side.

Reality kind of hit me today- Carys' due date is bearing down on us faster than I am ready for and I have to admit- I am petrified. She used to seem like an idea or a daydream, but she is real-THIS is real- and the time that she will be completely dependent on us for her every need is coming fast. My mind swirled with panic today... what if I get her home and I don't have what she needs? What if I don't know what to do? What if we can't provide for her? What if we're not enough?

I am also coming to terms with the fact that I may not be able to stay at home for part of the year- it may be necessary for me to work year round to help support our family. We're not in over our heads, financially, but without an additional income we're treading water. In order for us to move successfully towards getting out of debt, it may be necessary for me to work at least part time for the entire year.

This morning, staring at our budget, the realization that my plan may have to change started slowly sinking in. The other realization that sunk in- we cannot afford to go on our 'baby-moon' in a couple of weeks- the beach will have to wait. These two pieces of information combined with my swirling fears hit me like a sack of bricks and soon I was brewing up one doozy of a pity party.

I am ashamed to say that I spent a couple of hours wallowing in my self pity before a conversation with a close friend snapped me out of it. I felt sorry that we weren't going to get to go on vacation, sorry that I might have to work year round, sorry that Carys' nursery may not be exactly what I want it to be, sorry that the babyhood I imagined for Carys might not materialize precisely as planned, the list goes on. I was sitting in the foyer of the dining room at SP with Jeremy waiting for our lunch buddies to join us, when my friend walked by and saw me in tears. We chatted for a while (well, she chatted, I mostly blubbered for the first part) and she helped me see some truths (some she shared, and some I concluded after thinking about our conversation). I appreciate her friendship more than she knows, and the fact that she is willing to offer me sound advice in love without passing judgment. So, without further ado, what I learned today:

  1. Things are not as bad as I imagine them to be. Despite money being tight right now, we are so much better off than we were even a year ago. We may not have enough for extras, but God has provided for every one of our bills. There have occasions in the past where we didn't know how we would pay for food or utilities, and although we don't have everything we want right now, we have everything we need. I have a feeling that understanding the distinction between the two will be an important tool in the next few years.
  2. I am the one with the expectations, not Carys. She doesn't have any presumptions about her own childhood, or about my capabilities as a mother if I am not able to give her everything I think she wants or needs. The important things will be covered- food, shelter, and more love than she'll know what to do with. If I don't have the nursery of my dreams, she won't care, because she has no preference. She'll be just as happy sleeping in her crib whether it has the set I fell in love with or not. She has no such designs on her surroundings/clothes, etc. She'll eat, sleep, cry, poop, pee and spit up in a mismatched nursery just like she would in the one I've been fantasizing about.
  3. I am not the only mother that has ever had to work, nor will I be the last. It will not somehow be more difficult for me to return to the workplace than it has been for any other mother and in the grand scheme of things, Carys has it pretty good. Most of the days in the week that I'll be working she'll be able to stay home with daddy, and the days our schedules overlap, her Granna or Nanny will be there for her (which brings me to my next point). I'm sure it won't make it any easier to leave her in someone else's care, but making sure she has the things she needs is taking care of her, too. Jeremy and I are better husband and wife to each other when we're not desperately struggling to keep the lights on, and I bet we'll be better parents, too, without the added stress of constantly being behind on bills.
  4. I have an amazing support system. There are a plethora of family members/friends that have offered to watch her throughout the week and she won't ever have to be put in daycare. Staying with her grandparents or aunt/uncle (honorary and otherwise) one day a week while I work part-time will not in some way hurt her development or lessen her love for me. If anything, it might encourage her to be social and help foster a closeness with her extended family and that is something that is so very important to Jeremy and I. I was close to my grandparents and my dad's twin sister and I miss them all the time. One-on-one time with her grandparents and other trusted family members will help her form a bond with them and it's a precious gift to her, not a slight.
  5. Parenting means sacrificing my desires when it is for the good of my child. Part of the transition is understanding that our needs come second now. Would I have loved to go the beach? YES. I have been thinking about sinking my toes in the sand for months and the whiny dramatic side of me would say that a part of me died a little when I realized it wasn't going to be feasible. But would it be responsible for us to go anyway, knowing that we don't have the money to blow on the trip? No. As I've mentioned at least four million times since starting this blog, Carys is coming. We need to do everything we can to get ready and shelling out money we don't have to cater to my want to get away isn't in her best interest. There will be other opportunities for us to get away and relax, but this isn't it right now. And most importantly:
  6. God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. My life is largely out of my control. There are choices I make that will influence it, but ultimately there is one Architect of my future and He is far more capable than I could ever hope to be. He also said that the thoughts he thinks toward me are thoughts of peace and not evil. Allowing myself to be afraid will not change the fact that I am only a tiny drop in an endless sea and all my panic and worry will not change the course of our future. My saving grace is that He knows our names, and the name of our child and He loves us. It's a cliche', but the phrase 'let go and let God' keeps replaying in my mind. The best thing I can do for my baby is to let God have control in our lives and He can't take the helm while I have a death grip on it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The results are in...

I don't have gestational diabetes!!

Although I knew there was a high likelihood that I don't have it, I was starting to get nervous. So, if little Carys isn't so little, she'll get there on her own strength and not because my blood sugar is out of control. :) I'm glad, too, considering the size of the cinnamon roll I had on Monday.

Jeremy gave me a prenatal massage for Christmas and I finally used it yesterday - I've never been to a professional masseuse before but it was worth every penny. My back has really taken a beating during this pregnancy (to the point that I've had to be on muscle relaxers as needed since the beginning of my second trimester) and it felt so good to have the sore muscles worked. The masseuse, Susan, gave the most incredible foot rub, too - before getting pregnant I HATED having my feet touched but swollen, sore feet have plied my resistance. I can't remember the last time I've been in that deep a state of relaxation. Carys was unimpressed, however. I was on my side for the massage (obviously I'm not going to be lying on my stomach any time soon) and while Susan was working on my back she did this thing where she put one hand at the base of my neck and one at my lower back and kind of gently rocked me- as soon as she started Carys started flipping out and kicking me forcefully in the side. She was pretty wild throughout the whole hour. I think she thought it was bedtime, and therefore time to play.

My energy level is still pretty low despite taking an additional daily dose of iron. I'm hoping I won't have difficulty adjusting back to having a full work day- when I wake up in the mornings I'm finding that I'm still tired/lethargic for the most part. Exercising does provide little bit of a boost and I'm sticking with that (especially since the weather has warmed up of late) and hope that things improve or at the very least, don't get any worse. The added benefit is according to my pregnancy books, walking strengthens the muscles I'm going to use in labor and it might provide for more effective pushing. I have become accustomed to napping in the late afternoon, too, and I'm not sure there will be time for that with work and trying to keep up with my responsibilities at home. The blessing about living in a smaller place is that it takes so little time to clean - I deep cleaned yesterday and it took me all of 45 minutes to wipe down all the surfaces, scrub the bathroom from top to bottom, straighten up, vacuum all of the rooms and dust. I predict it will be more of an energy issue than a time issue, though. I am a little anxious about returning to work, but am looking forward to it for the most part. There have been a lot of drastic changes at the club, though, and although it's my third season I don't know exactly what to expect.

I am really looking forward to the extra money - our bills will be tapering off soon for the most part, and we're looking to be in a good place financially when she gets here. We haven't started on her nursery yet with the exception of prepping the dresser for painting and I'm anxious to start getting things pulled together. I keep seeing pictures on baby forums of nurseries that well on their way to finished before the mom is halfway through her second trimester and it reminds me that all I have for her is a bare little room! I know it won't be the end of the world if she comes home before it's completely finished, but I want to be able to relax and enjoy the space with her and not be thinking about what I still need to do. After my first couple of checks I'll be able to start buying the little things I want for her room. Hopefully I'll have the time to get everything finished on my agenda before she gets here - I can't believe we're already in the middle of April. It seems like 2011 just started and we'll be halfway through it in 1 1/2 months.

Karen and I are going to paint the dresser tomorrow, probably - we picked a light spring green and I'm going to buy white porcelain knobs- the old hardware were bronze pulls that looked a little dated/grown up for a baby's room. I had a set picked out that matched the comforter set, but I need 10 pieces and at $5.75 a pop, it's just too expensive. I like the simplicity of the porcelain, too, and they're substantially more affordable than the alternative. It'll pick up one of the accent colors I've picked for her, and I love the idea that it was in Jeremy's room when he was a baby, too.

Today is mowing day for J and baking day for me - I found a recipe for banana bread that I love and I'm going to be sending a loaf along with some other goodies to my younger brother. He's in the USMC, stationed outside of New Orleans. He's going to be getting leave soon, and we're hoping he will get a chance to come see us for a couple of days. He's not too manly to sleep in his niece's room for a bit - she won't mind.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Still waiting for the results...

(This Monday's blog will probably be a little short, as I'm exhausted! I will post a longer blog when I find out the results of my GTT)

29 weeks today!! 9 weeks until Carys is full term...

So, last Thursday I had my three hour glucose tolerance test. It was every bit as awful as I anticipated, and I was thrilled when it was over. Then began the long wait for the test results - I didn't hear anything on Friday, and it looks like I won't be hearing anything today, either. I suppose no news is good news - it seems like it would be fairly urgent if I did have gestational diabetes.

In other news, I start back to work next Monday at the country club - I'm anxious to start earning some extra money for the baby, and I'm looking forward to having something to do during the day. We are actually doing okay financially right now, so I don't have to work to keep our heads above water, but the extra money will go a long way to putting back a nest egg. It'll be nice to have that cushion after she's here. The plan is to go back 6 weeks after delivery and work until the end of the season, in October. Next year is up in the air, still, but if all goes according to plan this year I'd like to return for a fourth season.

The rest of this week I'm planning on getting the house in order (deep-cleaning) in preparation for my return to work, painting the dresser that will go in baby girl's room (will post pictures after it's done), and taking these last few days to relax before I'm back in the swing of things. I have a prenatal massage scheduled for tomorrow (thank you, Santa) that I'm pretty excited about and hopefully I'll hear back from Dr. W on the GD front.

So, just a short update today - I walked 2.5 miles with Jeremy at Greenway Park (followed by a massive sandwich and a cinnamon roll the size of a hubcap smothered in vanilla ice cream) and I'm pretty pooped. I'm off to recharge my batteries!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Two thirds are behind us...

Happy THIRD trimester!!!

As of today, the countdown is at 84 days (12 weeks).

We had an appointment today with Dr. W, and she decided that we have been doing so well that it is no longer necessary to do bi-weekly fFN tests! We briefly discussed my birth plan, and I feel as though we are on the same page. I have thought long and hard about the way I want things to go and have come to a conclusion - I trust my doctor implicitly. She made a point at our last visit to tell us about her birthing 'style', but wanted me to also know that she is willing to do whatever I want as long as it doesn't endanger the baby- her line in the sand is when the mother is insisting on a course of action that will harm the baby. She mentioned that she had a previous patient insist that she not use suction to clear the baby's airway after delivery - she said she understood that women need to feel a sense of control over their labor and delivery, but she told the patient that she needed to find another doctor. Although I am making it to be my business to be educated about the birthing process, she has done this hundreds and hundreds of times and we have a great doctor-patient relationship. I know she won't do anything to endanger me or the baby, and I know she won't insist on anything that she doesn't absolutely believe is necessary.

So essentially, my birth plan is as follows -- let Dr. W help me birth this baby in the safest, most effective way possible. She knows how I would like for things to go, but I am also trying to maintain a level of flexibility to ensure that things go smoothly.

As far as Carys is concerned, we had an ultrasound today and she looks great. Her growth is right on target (with a small exception), and she's as squirmy as ever. This week she is breech, but Dr. W assured me Carys still has plenty of room to move and that it won't be considered worrisome until around 37 weeks. We got to see her yawn (complete with sticking her little tongue out), and smack her lips despite her hands being up around her face (as always). Dr. W noted that her brain was developing symmetrically, she had a great heart rate, her kidneys look good, and the amniotic fluid was at a good level. On a personal level, she has the cutest button nose and darling little chubby cheeks.

Her exception to comparisons with fetuses of similar gestational age was her weight - Dr. W said most babies around her age weigh in a few ounces over 2 pounds... Carys is about 2 pounds, 11 ounces!! Dr. W said that she thinks Carys will be 8 to 8.5 pounds. She was really pleased with her size, and so am I. Carys is obviously getting the nutrition she needs! The facts are, bigger babies typically do better as preemies than the smaller ones do, so if I do happen to go into preterm labor and have to deliver, that extra half pounds are going to go a long way to ensure her survival.

Besides, roly-poly babies are adorable! I am glad I haven't bought too many newborn sized articles of clothing - she may not be in them for long.

I will be scheduled this week for the three hour glucose tolerance test - I was supposed to have it done week before last, but the nurse said I didn't get placed in the 'scheduling bin', so it got overlooked. I meant to call last week and check, but it was kind of a busy week (and I admit, it's easy to forget to do something you aren't excited about). Hopefully things will go smoothly and I won't have gestational diabetes.

J and I got to take a walk at the local park today, the weather was beautiful. Birds have been singing like crazy, so hopefully we'll be moving into more permanent warm weather soon- we're looking forward to getting to do some things outside this week. He's working third shift tonight again to cover for a co worker so he'll be asleep long into the afternoon tomorrow, but Wednesday we're planning to get out and do some yard work together. He won't let me mow, but I might be able to rake grass clippings or something. If all else fails, I can sit on the porch with lemonade and get some sun while keeping him hydrated. :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Ordinarily, I'd wait until tomorrow to blog because it's Monday, which means the beginning of another gestational week for Carys. As my blog title implies, however, today is somewhat of a benchmark and I feel like it deserves its own (however short it may turn out to be) recognition.

Today is the last day of my second trimester.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have mixed emotions about 2/3 of my pregnancy being over already. Part of me is getting tired of being pregnant (probably the part of me that suffered all day yesterday with cramps in my left leg because Carys found a nerve and sat on it) and wants the rest of this experience to whiz by so my baby will be here already. The other part wants this experience to go a little slower, because when it's over, there's no going back.

My life and how it relates to others has already begun to change, I can't deny it. Thoughts that used to be solely dedicated to myself and my needs have been permeated as much as my body has by this tiny little person -it is a truly unique experience. A friend once described pregnancy as a real life version of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", the one fundamental difference being that the 'pods' that show up in real life are not alien lifeforms that drain emotions, they are crazy-makers that increase them tenfold. Joy, fear, frustration, pride, etc., all are intensely magnified by the presence of a being that begins life smaller than the tip of a ballpoint pen.

In addition to what I assume are the normal anxieties of impending parenthood, through the experiences of others I am beginning to gain recognition of just how much our lives are going to change when she gets here - this simultaneously thrills and terrifies me.

The ushering in of a new trimester reminds me that;

a) Carys is coming.

b) There's not a thing I can do to slow it down.


c) We are in for a wild ride.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lighter fare...

(First of all, as an aside, just wanted to say thanks for the outpouring of support. It meant more to me than you know. I spent all day yesterday feeling uplifted and as soon as my post was published a profound sense of peace settled over me that is with me still. Thank you all for your kindness and encouragement.)

Yesterday's usual Monday blog was kind of a heavy hitter, and I still have the writing bug this week so I figured I'd follow it up with something a little easier on the eyes.

In recent news,

I still haven't been scheduled for the 3 hour GTT (that reminds me, I need to call the doctor's office today). I suppose it's just as likely that they forgot about me, but I like to imagine that it's because Dr. W. isn't concerned. Part of me is tempted to forget, too, but if I do have gestational diabeetus I want to know about it, so Wilford Brimley and the fine folks at Liberty Medical can immediately start helping me live a better life.

I'm also working this week to try and get some more things done in the nursery (anything, for starters). We have a chest of drawers that was in Jeremy's nursery when he was a baby that I'm going to be sanding to get ready to paint white (it's a brown/wood grainy finish now). It's a little banged up from use over the years, but the drawers are all in good shape and I don't feel like I have to be able to bench 250 to get them to close. I've never been opposed, per se, to white furniture, but in the beginning I wanted to do furniture with dark wood - close to an espresso color. For some reason this seemed more 'unisex' to me, and I figured if we ever get a little boy I'd like to have something I can make more masculine with a different crib set. This went out the window for a couple of reasons.

One, the crib I initially selected as the cornerstone of my room design idea (that only comes in dark finishes) is kind of expensive. Okay, it's a lot expensive. Generally, this wouldn't be the hill my nursery died on because (let's face it) I am a stubborn woman and I want what I want, but there is a very specific alcove in her room where I wanted to put the crib. Not negotiable. I've tried putting the imaginary crib in other areas in the room, and it just doesn't work. The crib I picked out is about 5 inches too long to fit (I'd selected a convertible crib with a changer on the end). And it's really expensive (did I mention that??).

Two, I realized that it's a little ridiculous to assign a gender role to the absence of color. That, and if we're ever blessed with Baby Boy Jones, I'm sure he wouldn't give any of his many, many daily craps that he's sleeping in a crib that's white and not 'espresso'. If this turns out to not be the case, I'll eat my hat and the cost of the years of therapy he will undoubtedly need. I wonder sometimes if I would have had this worry before the unfriendly amounts of pregnancy hormones flooded my system. Somehow I doubt that fathers everywhere sit amongst themselves and debate the social ramifications of letting their sons sleep in white cribs.

For any that are wondering, the theme I finally decided to go with is muted spring colors and birds. Not the scary Alfred Hitchcock kind - the fat, happy kind. The bright, cartoonish version of little sparrows and finches and such. Bananafish makes a crib set called "Love Bird" that is the basis of my idea. It is mostly pink, but a light pink, and there are a lot of different accent colors - green, blue, purple, etcetera. I didn't want my (I mean HER... it's HER nursery, of course...) nursery to look like I was running an illegal Pepto Bismol lab that exploded.

Anyway, now that I have a clear idea of what I want it to look like in there, it's easy to be excited about buying things. I'm waiting until much closer to due date (and after the shower) to finish up with everything, but I'm looking forward to being able to have everything in its place. As soon as that happens, I'll have pictures to put up.

27 weeks...

Nope. Not too much longer, now!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Kind of a heavy read...

It's Monday (you know what that means)!

We are 27 weeks along today, and officially in the last week of my second trimester. J pointed that out to me last night, and I was a little taken aback. It's not that I didn't know the transition was coming, I just don't think I was prepared for how quickly the second trimester would whiz by.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that we're getting closer to being able to hold our little girl in our arms and that said little girl is bumping along just fine despite scaring us half to death 5 weeks ago. But it's a little sad, too. Despite my many (J would probably add a few more "many"s here) complaints about the aches, pains, and general make-me-feel-bad's about pregnancy, I have enjoyed having her with me every moment of the day. When I wake up, she's with me (at this point she's usually the reason I'm awake)- when I'm waddling around the supermarket, she punctuates the mundane shopping decisions I make with little kicks and flutters and when I lie down to sleep at night (after the inevitable hour or so of indignant squirming subsides) I can feel the outline of her little body snuggled into mine. I am so excited to have her on the outside (in 13 short weeks) to share with J, our families and our friends, but a part of me is a little heartbroken, too. After I deliver her, I will never be pregnant with this baby again. My worries about her will no longer be able to be soothed with a wiggle - she will be out in this big, bad world and there's not a thing I can do about it. I treasure the time that I have her with me like this, and as much as I am looking forward to getting to know her as an individual and my daughter, I feel almost like there will be some separation anxiety when she's not quite as literally close to my heart.

Before you jump to any conclusions about my mental state (ha!), I should point out - I entertain no notions about being pregnant forever, and it's not really what I want. I can't wait to meet Carys and I know her birth will be the beginning of a new, fantastic chapter of our lives. I have daydreamed since the moment I found out she is a girl about putting her in sweet little dresses, and I can't really start being Mommy to her until she's flown my coop. I can't wait to show her off to friends and family! I, like all new mothers, already know she's going to be the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I can't wait for her to be Daddy's little girl (it's happening - I've never seen J so excited!), and I know someday she'll look up to her father the way I look up to mine. J has waited patiently (mostly) thus far, but I know he's chomping at the bit to start his new job as 'best dad ever'. I know he will be, too. I suppose the reality that two-thirds of my first pregnancy is almost over is just a little bittersweet. Everyone says that it will slow down drastically during the last few weeks while I'm waiting for her to make an appearance (and I know at that point I will probably be turning the coop upside down in my desperation to jostle the chick loose). I hope when that time comes, I remember to come back and read this entry and to be thankful for the last few moments of an experience that has been the single most life changing one I've ever had.

Am I uncomfortable a lot these days? Sure. Are there moments when all I want is for her to stop jamming her little feet into my ribs? On a nightly basis. If there was some way I could go back and have the end result without the journey and all that it entails? Not a chance.

(Warning- this next part goes into some heavy territory, and some specifics about me that you may not wish to know. It might serve as a trigger for anyone that has suffered from traumatic experiences, and it is not my intention to shock or upset anyone. I write it for my own benefit, to record yet another part of this pregnancy and to help myself work through some issues that have come up. I completely understand that sometimes people are just looking for a light read -I warn you, you won't find it past this point and I urge you to stop reading now if that notion makes you uncomfortable. I value the opinions of you, my friends and family and I'd be lying if I said I didn't worry at all about how this will affect your thoughts of me, but for my own sake, I have to get this out.).

Along that train of thought, I have been giving more thought to the fact that she will be here in a relatively short amount of time and how that will impact our daily lives. I have noticed a considerable change in the way that I think about things already. Although I didn't always apply this theory during my younger years, as an adult I try to be a forward thinker in daily life. Having a little person on the way that I will be responsible for has immeasurably (and probably irrationally) increased the level of what-if scenarios that I allow to play out in my mind. Over the last several months I have spent an inordinate amount of time comparing and contrasting my experiences and those of my husband with events that I see unfolding, and in turn imagining my daughter going through like situations and her reaction/the bearing it could have on her.
They're not all doom and gloom, I like to imagine happy things - all of her firsts, birthdays, holidays, family vacations, trips to the zoo, etcetera.

But on occasion, my mind traipses down paths that I've purposely sequestered from myself and it manifests in the form of a nightmare or long-hidden memory that pops up unbidden while I'm doing something routine. It serves to remind me of one more thing I can add to my "who am I" list...

I am a wife.
I am a friend.
I am a daughter.
I am a mother.
I am a sister.

and I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

I have debated with myself over the last week or so whether or not to touch on this topic in my blog, knowing that people can see it and it will uncover a part of myself that I have sought to hide for a long, long time. The truth is, this topic has haunted me for a great deal of time during my pregnancy and after the baby's gender was revealed, it became apparent that I have to face it in order to continue the process of moving on. I'm not going to go into specifics of what was done to me -I sincerely don't wish to make anyone feel uncomfortable, and what happened, happened. I don't need to recount every gory detail to know that it did. Throughout late childhood and into my years as a teenager/young adult, I spent a lot of time with both secular and Christian counselors, trying to work through my feelings and the lasting repercussions that the actions of the man that I now refer to only as the Offender had on my life.

I, like many others I imagine with similar backgrounds, was angry and bitter for a long time. Resentment followed me around like a lost puppy, and I allowed the Incident to 'empower' me to act out. I justified my actions with a mixture of rage (that was ultimately there to hide the pain I felt) and a feeling of fault and worthlessness. In my mind, if I allowed something so vile to happen to myself, what was the point in treating myself with respect after the fact? I remember feeling like the world had let me down. Horrible things weren't supposed to happen to little girls, and they weren't supposed to happen to me. I was supposed to be protected. I didn't really know who to assign the blame to, just that I wanted someone to pay for what happened to me.

The Offender (as far as I know) was never prosecuted because of a lack of physical evidence at the time it was reported. I ended up shouldering a lot of the guilt, and I spent the next several years punishing myself. I self-medicated, which led to a whole new slew of problems.
But, eventually, after years of struggling with what to 'do' with the backlash of the Incident, I was able to come to a few life-changing realisations.

I can't change history.
What happened was not my fault.
The responsibility for the Incident lies solely on the shoulders of the Offender.
If I put my trust in the world, it will always let me down.

and the biggest of all ...

I refuse to allow my past to dictate my future.

It took a long time to get to that point, and realizing that I wanted to feel a certain way didn't automatically make it so.

I'm not going to sit here and claim that I was not changed by happened. But my prayer was then, at age 19, tired of being angry and sitting alone in a chapel crying out to God to fix me, what it is now.

take what was ugly and make it something beautiful. Make whole what was broken, purify what was defiled and heal my wounded heart.

The upcoming birth of my first child, a beautiful, sweet, innocent little girl, has prompted me to add a few lines, however.

Help me have the strength and the knowledge to keep her safe. Give me wisdom to discern dangers that I may not see on my own. Surround her with loving, fierce protecters that will keep watchful eyes trained on her and those that would seek to harm her. I know that You have fixed what was damaged in me, but I would sooner die than to see her on the roads that I've traveled to get to this point. I beg with everything that is in me that it will not be a part of Your will that she should suffer the way I did. But if it is ... I pray that You wrap her in Your loving kindness. Help her see, as you helped me see, that although the path she walks is dark, You are light. Although human hands hurt, the hands of the Great Physician heal. And that though there are times that she will feel utterly alone, You never left her side. Thank you for never leaving my side, even when I couldn't see You walking beside me. Thank You for putting my pieces back together and for seeing me worthy of love when I didn't see it myself. You have blessed me so much over my short life, and the place I am now is worth every part of the journey I took to get here. Thank You for my sweet baby girl, thank You for my strong, fierce, protective husband, who I know would walk through fire to keep anything from happening to us, thank You for family and friends that have been a constant support over the years.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I am having a moment.

First things first...
26 weeks today! We are officially in the double digits on our countdown- 98 days to go.
I had another visit with my OB, Dr. W today that admittedly, went well for the most part. My fundal height measured at 27 cm., which is right on for Carys' gestational age. At this point in the pregnancy, my understanding is that it is supposed to be 1 cm for every week pregnant, +/- 2 cm. or so considered to be a normal margin. Dr. W said she is a great size though, not too big and not too little. My blood pressure is still hanging out at about 100/60, so she was happy with those numbers, too.
I'd heard from a few other women that the doctor should be able to feel by palpitating the abdomen how the baby is laying in my uterus at this stage, so I asked her about it today. Carys is head down (good girl!) and when Dr. W checked her, she was laying on her left side in the fetal position- her back facing my left side, her butt pointed towards my sternum, and little legs curled. She confirmed this analysis by kicking furiously at the exact spot Dr. W indicated her feet were.
The fFN test we did today to check for risk of premature labor is presumably negative - she said she would contact me if it came back showing anything and I haven't heard from her. As they say, no news is good news. My cervix is still long and closed, so chances are the baby will keep cooking at least for the next two weeks. Her chances of survival outside of the womb went from 50% last week to 85% this week. These are all good things, and I'm thankful for them.
Now, on to the not so good part.
I had my one hour glucose tolerance test today, and I failed it. Basically, they have you either fast or not eat carbs/sugary/fatty stuff before the test (my doctor subscribes to the latter), have you come into the office, drink glucose (awful, super-sweet syrup that tastes vaguely like a melted orange popsicle), wait for an hour, and then they test your blood sugar. In order to pass the test, it has to be below 140. Mine was 171.
Fortunately, this is not a conclusive indicator of gestational diabetes, and from what I understand there are plenty of women that fail the one hour test that go on to pass the later screening and can continue on in their pregnancy happy as clams, eating as they please.
Unfortunately, it does mean that I will have to take the longer version of the GTT at a diagnostic center by my doctor's office. They schedule them early and a 12 hour fast before the test is required - I will be able to eat until about 8 pm on the night prior and then will have only water until the test is completed. They will test my blood sugar before the test and then once an hour until three hours have elapsed. Because of the longer duration I will have to drink twice as much glucose, which I am not looking forward to.
I expect to be a miserable, cranky woman the day of the test until I receive the results and have a full belly.
I was upset to have failed the one hour, though; in a bizarre way, it feels like a personal failing that I didn't pass the initial screening with flying colors. I feel like it is my responsibility to take care of my body and the little one inside of it and that I have in some way let her down. It's not really a rational line of thought but being too rational isn't something I've been accused of during this pregnancy. Surprisingly enough, I found myself really embarrassed to have failed- in my mind when the results came back, Dr. W was imagining me at home wolfing down donuts, ice cream, candy bars, etc., like a piglet -one right after another without regard for my own health. I don't like being 'abnormal', especially as it relates to my pregnancy.
By all intents and purposes, I should be considered low risk for GD.

I'm white (believe it or not, race is a determination in risk factor), under 25 years old (not by much, but still...), had a normal BMI and exercised regularly before pregnancy, am gaining weight at the pace my doctor dictated, have never had high blood sugar results before, haven't had any previous pregnancies, and have a normal blood pressure. I have a fairly healthy diet (although I do love my carbs and could eat a little more protein), with lots of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and I don't drink soda, sweetened tea or sugary fruit juices.
I feel guilty now and haven't even been diagnosed yet - I can only imagine the self-flagellation that will occur if the results come back determining I have gestational diabetes.
I know I need to relax about it and that there's a fair chance I'll pass the three hour test, but I'm kind of pitching a fit right now. Maybe putting myself (and baby) down for a nap will fix my wagon and I won't be as inclined to be so cranky.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Deep breathing...

25 and 2 today, 103 days left.

It's been kind of a rough week so far - I feel like a crazy person. I find myself stuck on small things lately (tasks that I want to complete, to be specific) and I know I'm creating stress for J. It's like an unbearable itch, though. I was this way before to a certain degree (worrying about things until they're done), but pregnancy has unleashed the obsessive control freak in me! It doesn't matter what time it is, what I'm in the middle of, what it disrupts, etc., if I think of something I want to get done I have to cater to the compulsion or it feels like a mosquito bite just out of reach. I hate it. And then, as if that in itself isn't whack-a-doo enough, if for some reason I am unable to complete whatever little menial task I'm fixated on, I get so grouchy! I recognize that I am not acting rationally, but it's such a strong urge I have trouble not giving in.

I hope things get better soon. We definitely need a baby-moon before Junebug shows up, so we can both relax.

This is not to say that it's all bad - we have some very positive things happening right now. J has been able to work overtime lately (thank you, H.H.!) and although we're not in the place we want to be financially, we are making distinct headway towards our goal. Hopefully I will be able to start back to work in April (the plan as of right now is for me to work at the country club until baby girl gets here- we could really use the money right now, and I'm kind of looking forward to going back). All of our needs are being met right now, we have a little bit set back for baby things, and there are several expenses that are slated to go away in a few months. Some bills will be increasing a little after the baby is here but with the money we're saving in other areas, we should still be able to continue adding to savings and paying down debt. Although we're not following Dave Ramsey's plan exactly right now (he even says that things are a little different when you have a baby on the way), we are applying a lot of his principles to the way we manage our finances, and it's paying off.

What I'm hoping to do while I'm working is to bank most of my paycheck into savings and continue to live mostly off of J's paycheck. This will help us build up a little nest egg that will hopefully cover unexpected expenses and little things we need during the half of the year that I will not be working.

I'm hoping the compromise of working half of the year will work for our family. We are not in a position right now for me to be able to stay at home with the baby year round, but this way I will be able to stay with her during the winter, at least, and maybe do a few catering or cleaning jobs like I have in winters past to help out. I'm also currently looking for things I can do from home to add to our income. Obviously, if we end up not being able to pay bills in the winter I will return to work, but hopefully this will be a solution.

To be honest, if we lived hand to mouth we would 'technically' be able to afford for me to stay home year round, but J and I agree that we want to provide a certain standard of living for Carys and her future siblings. We want to be able to take our kids on trips to visit family, take fun vacations, be able to give them gifts (within reason) for birthdays and Christmas, and be able to be prepared for the unexpected as much as possible without any of these events financially crippling our family or pushing the rest of our budget out of balance. We want to be able to just enjoy life with our kids without the added strain on our relationship that having strapped finances brings. We've been to that town, and we don't want to live there!

It would be different if we didn't have such a wealth of trusted family and friends that are willing to help us with babysitting during the summer. With the way our work schedules are right now, it will probably only be a day or two a week that someone will need to watch her. J's weekend schedule, though inconvenient for a lot of things, means that he will be home watching baby girl during the week days that I'm working, and her greatgrandparents and grandparents will be around for any weekends that we're both working. For anything else not covered, there are other family members/family friends that have volunteered to watch her that I absolutely trust.

It just feels really good to have a plan.

The timing and circumstances surrounding the pregnancy and the time that she's due are really great in retrospection- God really knows what he was doing. I had a hard time seeing that as we were going through all of the infertility treatments and the heartache that brought, but it's clear to me now. Giving up on trying was the most productive thing we did throughout the whole process! Our timetable was created from the vantage point of two imperfect beings with no knowledge of the future, and in hindsight, we are thankful that God doesn't work on our time. We may not have planned for Carys to come along when she did, but Someone else did, and His plan is good and perfect.