Blooming… in more ways than one!

I’m choosing to set aside my pride and ability to hide behind a blog. Usually, one can type away making things seem glamorous or great when really things are less than awesome. Not that anything MAJOR has happened or that anything is wrong or that I’m some depressed human, but I’m just going to admit, being 36 week pregnant is a lot harder than I anticipated. I did NOT expect some of the feelings, both physical and emotional, and I didn’t expect to be so…. moody. I couldn’t be more thankful for a patient and understanding and supportive husband at this point. I’ve actually been avoiding blogging… Basically because I’m tired, and honestly I just don’t feel like it. In a nut shell, I’m feeling a little less than efficient, kind of overwhelmed, and seriously behind. I know there are some pretty amazing women who work full-time right up until the day they pop (and these wonder women still manage to get their to-do’s done and meals prepped, and checklists complete, I’m just realizing I’m not THAT type of wonder woman…), and that’s exactly the route we’ve chosen as well, but seriously, it’s flippin’ hard. And I don’t think that really adequately describes my personal feelings towards it.

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Due Date: August 6th, 2015

How far along: 36 weeks – Second goal MET! I failed to do an update for week 35 so, I have two lovely sets of pics for you. My midwife estimated little dude to be about 7lbs now and she said that he’s more than welcome to come anytime he wants. She is completely comfortable with how things are, but obviously we’re all cheering for as long as possible. But for this momma’s sake… I’m hoping it’s at least a tiny but early. I get increasingly crabby trying to prep myself to go to 42 weeks. I doubt that will happen, but honestly, you never.really.know.

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Next Appointment: Next Tuesday. They’re really quick appointments. I’ve already completed my GBS test and it was negative, so now we just check in once a week, talk, check the HR and FH, and say see you next week or see you soon if there’s a baby to be born. I’m at least hoping/expecting to hold out until week 38, cause our doula is on a much deserved vacation for week 37.

Gender: Boy – Crosby Dixon

Exercise: I am now released for all normal activity, obviously within reason. But no more modifications for me! Yippy! So, it’s gonna be swimming (running back and forth in the pool). I’m not sure I could manage a yoga class at this point. But maybe I’ll try it out again, even if it’s just for a giggle.

Stretch Marks & Belly Button: Nada! I’m pretty proud. Several months ago I took out the weight tracker – it was a struggle for me for a while, but I think I’ve gained so steadily and within a GREAT range (holding steady at 26/28ish lbs), that it’s allowed my body to adjust nicely. My belly button is still half in, half out. It changes every day. Sometimes it’s flat.

Sleep: It’s a surprise every night 🙂 And on weekends I’m learning the art of 2+ hour naps.

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Cravings: Nada. Food. I just want food. All the time. And like good food. I want breakfast, and loaded sandwiches, and dinners filled with yummy food. Instead we snack, and hodge podge it together cause I don’t want to cook/don’t have the energy to cook. And right this very second, a whiskey river BBQ chicken wrap from Red Robin sounds amazing. With ranch and streak fries. What’s sad is I will take 4-6 bits and be full and I’ll cry cause I just want to eat a full meal.

Symptoms: Contractions, fatigue, pretty much anything you might expect from someone who is 35+ weeks prego. The hip pains, and swelling is seriously uncomfortable. I don’t know how women survive pregnancy without a pool in the summer. It’s such a life saver.

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Movement: His movement has changed a lot. It’s not quite as frequent and its become a lot more…. defined. I know when it’s a foot, or knee, or butt. I know exactly where his head is and which way he’s facing. It’s weird. But, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I love it. I’m going to miss it.

Baby’s size/Milestones: After this week, Crosby will almost be carried to term – the rest is mostly just baby fat from here on out. His digestive system is the only major system in his body that is not fully developed yet – although Crosby has had plenty of practice swallowing, he will not be fully digesting food until he starts eating on the outside. Crosby is probably close to 19 inches, and 6 lbs. (or as my midwife is estimating – a whopping 7lbs!!!! But, he’s always measured HUGE from day one. I’m not terribly surprised if he’s an overachiever in the weight and length department), the size of a papaya, although variation between the height and weight of different babies increases as they get closer to birth, just like how you are bigger or smaller than people you know.

Labor Signs: 36 week goal – MET. On a day-to-day basis, I never know what my body is going to do. I’m honestly both consumed with wondering when it’s going to happen and simultaneously not even paying attention because some things that happen can mean something AND nothing. Like dilation and effacement… I could stay right where I am for weeks and week. Or it could change tonight. So, I trust that his birthday is secured in Gods hands and I trust he’ll make an appearance when he’s ready.

Miss Anything: I miss feeling normal. And I have a feeling I may not ever feel “normal” again. But, I will say it might be a nice break to have my insides to myself again. But really, I’ve enjoyed this process more often than not. So I can’t really say I miss a ton. Sleep, maybe I miss sleep. But I’ve long let go of the idea of a good night’s rest. And that’s ok. That’s how it should be, but I’m still a pansy sometimes and I want to whine about the lack of sleep.

What I love:  I love watching myself and my husband learn to adapt to a huge change that’s coming. I have a love/hate relationship with these changes and how I navigate them. Some days I win, some days I lose. And some days, as my sister-in-law S stated, I just need to forget where my feet are, lay down and Praise Him. Bingo. Love the journey! Love the little dude I’m gonna meet soon. Love the transition from a family of 2, to a family of 3 (well, 6 if you count my babies who aren’t here).

What I’m looking forward to: Birth, labor, delivery. Maternity leave. Seeing my mom. Meeting Crosby.

Recent Purchases: I suck at this section, mostly because I don’t take pics. But I will say here’s what’s going on the wall on each side of the window. I haven’t hung them, we probably should… Other than that, there are lots we’ve bought, but nothing I can list out.

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Best Moment this week: Same……Realizing I’ll never again be pregnant with THIS little dude (and perhaps maybe never again… only God knows) has made a lot of moments really bitter-sweet. It’s helping me remember that these aches and pains and discomforts are worth it and purposeful. It’s helping me remember that I can do this and I’ll likely miss it once he’s here. I don’t want to be so wrapped up in my head and my pain/discomforts that I completely miss the purpose and the lessons of NOW. It’s not as easy as it seems.

I realize this is lengthy, but I know if I don’t write about it now, I never will. And I’m feeling like I just need to get it out.

38 weeks. That falls on July 23rd. July 23rd happens to be a day that I will never ever forget. In fact, I still remember vividly what I was wearing, the phone calls that were made, and the struggles that compounded into one day. July 23rd was the day that we agreed to terminate a much desired pregnancy that happened to be located in a spot that would not be viable and it posed a great risk for my life if we let it continue. Maybe it wouldn’t have continued without intervention, but a tubal pregnancy isn’t really something you take chances with. My appointment was around 330p and by 7am the next morning I was in surgery. I don’t know why having THIS specific event fall so close to delivery time makes me squirm. It’s been 2 years since that day, and still, I get uneasy and sad. We’ll never know the true gender but we have always called this babe Our Little Flower. And in memory of that babe we bought an African Violet flower.

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It blooms vibrant purple flowers on occasion, but not very often. In fact, the last time it bloomed I was pregnant with Colton. It died the same day I had my D&C…. It hasn’t shown any sign of blooming since. Until this morning. Maybe it’s a bloom starting, or maybe it’s just new growth. But, it lifted my spirits a little. I’m on edge, I have a lot of feelings around each passing anniversary date that I never know how to navigate and I never know what to do with. I’m hoping that as the years pass it becomes easier.

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I think what’s made me most edgy is my husband has, from the very beginning of this pregnancy, thought that we will welcome little Crosby at 38 weeks. It was only recently that I brought up what 38 weeks was. I’m not mad, and in fact, I think it would be almost bitter-sweet if he was right. Maybe bringing to a close a sad chapter and replacing it with sweet redemption. Either way, my heart gets unsettled. I start to panic that if we happened to lose Crosby around the same date (which I don’t know why my brain even goes there, there is no reason we should lose him) July will be ruined forever. And this is where the faucet of irrational thinking and worries come flooding in. It’s tricky, and I tend to run with those fears far longer than necessary.

So this is my rant/rambling of things I don’t even know how to process, but it needed to come out. Or maybe I figured I should share. Or something….

So on that note, I’m feeling especially thankful for sweet friends and supportive family. And an extremely patient Husband.

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Trying Too Hard

I didn’t want to blog today.

I’m in a foul mood, I’ve been super discouraged, annoyed with people, and just… blah.

It’s no secret and not easily hide-able the changes that occur to a woman’s body during pregnancy. Maybe at first it is… But after a while, its all just – out there. Here’s what I have to say: If you think it’s even remotely acceptable to make any comment on a pregnant woman’s body that doesn’t resemble a compliment – keep your mouth shut. Seriously. It’s completely acceptable to ask when she’s due, if she’s having a boy or a girl and offer up some congratulations of some sort. However, it’s not acceptable to comment on the food she’s nibbling on, it’s not acceptable to remind her how big she is and make faces when you receive the answer of how much longer until she pops. It’s rude – it’s inconsiderate, and further more, you have no idea how it will impact her.

Maybe I’m just annoyed and need to grow thicker skin – but seriously. I am proud of my NORMAL – and healthy – weight gain, I am proud of the snack choices I make and I am proud of the little dude who happens to be thriving. Yes, I am feeling incredibly insecure, incredibly large, and sadly  completely unattractive. Keep your opinions to yourself 🙂 Unless you want to compliment me, then I’ll freely hear what you have to say.

Comparison has been a joy thief for me. I’ve often looked and compared pictures of myself to my twin sister and her pregnancy with my nephew. I think after today I’ve learned that even though we are twins, we clearly carry babies differently. I’ve been stuck inside my own head and I have let it beat me up minute after minute. It’s drained my mood and I’ve been battling serious inadequacy feelings all day long. It’s like I’m quickly forgetting the amazing work my body is doing and the amazing work that God is doing. It’s sad and it definitely impacted my day, and I hated every second of it.

Yeah, I’m big – but my baby is healthy and gaining the weight he needs.

Yeah, I’m tired – but my body is working really hard, and I’m not so concerned with being as done up as I used to be… Who cares if I don’t wear concealer right now… Yes, I have bags under my eyes and I don’t “poof” my hair like I used to….

Yeah, I’m a little fluffy right now – but I needed to gain weight to have a healthy baby, and to breast feed, and to grow a human – trust me, it’s not all fat.

I’m not sure why some of this wasn’t good enough reason for me to just shrug off some comments and be confident in what my body is capable of, of what God has allowed me to sustain.

I like me… I like my baby… I’m better than this, even if I’m tired, crabby, sore… I need not please anyone but God.

Due Date: August 6th, 2015

How far along: 34 weeks – First goal MET! I seem to have gotten noticeably bigger in just a short week… I’ll do you a solid and even do a side by side of last week to this week.. WEEEEEE 🙂 The Red shirt is 33 weeks, and the purple shirt is 34 weeks. Growth spurt? Dropping? Big.. Yup.. Big.

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Next Appointment: Honestly, I cannot remember – but I know that it is sometime next week. I just can’t remember the date or time. Thank you Jesus for text/call appointment reminders. I can’t keep track anymore. I got to skip this week since my last appointment went so well. We’ll start weekly appointments next week. Little man is more than welcome anytime after 36 weeks.

Gender: Boy – Crosby Dixon

Exercise: I’ve been cheating and trying to do the stairs on days that I feel good. Other than that, I’m a bump on a log. I hate it. I want to do my laps in the pool and move around. Oh well, two more weeks and then I’m released for at least a little more activity!

Stretch Marks & Belly Button: Nope 🙂 And in/out/flat combo. So weird.

Sleep: HA! I am SO looking forward to purposeful sleeplessness. For now, it’s just annoying.

Cravings: Nothing really. But I do find I want milk shakes and pastries a lot more often. Or pancakes. Ok, basically carbs.

Symptoms: Contractions, fatigue, pretty much anything you might expect from someone who is 30+ weeks prego. But, considering some have it pretty bad, I’m very lucky and have had a fairly easy/boring pregnancy.

Movement: Always rolling, twisting, kicking, punching. He loves to use my hips and ribs as a place to stretch from, it’s cute – and painful 🙂

Baby’s size/Milestones: Right now, Crosby is measuring in at somewhere around 18 inches, the size of a savoy cabbage, and weighs in the neighborhood of 5 lbs (or according to my ultrasound on Friday about 5 pounds 10 ounces…. He was measured to be as big as a 35 week baby at 33 weeks, and my FH was 34) – big enough that otherwise healthy babies born as early as this generally do just fine. His lungs, brain, and central nervous system keep rapidly developing, and all but the lungs are reaching their final stage of development in the womb. He is currently busy using my immune system to help build his own. The vernix caseosa, that slippery coating that will help Crosby move through the birth canal, is covering his body as he gets closer to delivery day. He is also peeing up to a pint a day, and preparing that tarry meconium for his first poop. Excellent work dude – grow baby grow!

Labor Signs: 34 week goal – MET. On to 36 weeks! Thankfully the contractions and BH’s have slowed way down and I’ve only needed to use my medication once. I usually try to manage them with a bath, Tylenol, and bouncing on my exercise ball.

Miss Anything: I miss being able to sing. Sounds silly – and don’t get me wrong I still squeak out a tune or two… But, this whole pressure on my lungs and baby thing taking up every inch of my torso has really put a halt on things. It’s sad for me. My voice feels out of shape. I can’t wait to get it back!

What I love: My little man, growing a belly (most of the time), preparing for his arrival, celebrating his little life already!

What I’m looking forward to: Unrelated – My hubby’s Birthday! He already spoiled 3/4 of his present, but he loves it.

Baby related – I’m looking forward to finish shopping this weekend for last-minute items, I have a breast-feeding class on Saturday, and a pool day on Sunday. I can’t wait to just float and do nothing. Seriously. Cannot.Wait. I’m looking forward to a lot. Especially his arrival.

Recent Purchases: Well, we went shopping and somehow spent a nice portion of the gift cards we’ve received – but I can’t quite make a list of things we actually got. So for now, I’ll just show you a few pics of his room so far. We have lots left to do – but it’s slowly getting there!

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(the top of the changing table is housing some possible decorations – So don’t mind that mess)

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Best Moment this week: I’m struggling with this one… But – realizing I’ll never again be pregnant with THIS little dude (and perhaps maybe never again… only God knows) has made a lot of moments really bitter-sweet. It’s helping me remember that these aches and pains and discomforts are worth it and purposeful. It’s helping me remember that I can do this and I’ll likely miss it once he’s here. I don’t want to be so wrapped up in my head and my pain/discomforts that I completely miss the purpose and the lessons of NOW. It’s not as easy as it seems.

Have a happy weekend!

A heart full of more gratitude!

Monday:

  • OB Follow-up from L&D stay
  • Cervical check deemed no new changes
  • Placed on complete pelvic rest
  • Restrictions to daily activities and instructions to go home from work as needed for rest
  • fFN (Fetal Fibronectin Test = Negative)

Today:

With a negative fFN test earlier in the week we were able to rule out actual labor happening for a span of like 7-10 days – some say 14 days. So little man seems to be staying put. We were thrilled to have a negative result. However, for 2.5 days following that appointment I continued to have very regular and increasing intensity contractions. Everyone assured me things are fine so I finally just sucked it up and used this time frame to practice for actual labor and delivery. I’ve basically been on a cocktail of Tylenol and Benadryl mixture for the last 5 days. It’s essentially done nothing but help me sleep on occasion and help with the normal aches and pains associated with pregnancy (achy limbs, ribs, feet, etc). The last few days have been “good days”. Where I haven’t really been in much discomfort, so I’ll take it as a win and be stoked about it. But, last night was a doozy. I think I got about 2 hours of sleep and the good ol’ evil (or are they good…?) contractions are back.

Thankfully today we took a peek at Mr. Crosby, measured my cervix and checked for any changes. I seem to have a very proactive midwifery team and they are providing amazing care. We did a complete OB check today as well. I’m still mentally preparing myself to go full term and beyond (42 is my max) and if he decides to come early – that’s just icing on the cake. But I would prefer him to stay put for at least another 3 weeks. Either way, they’ve assured me that if he were to come today – his survival rate is well over 90% and he would be just fine.

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So the great news, my cervix and all the insides look fantastic. Mr. Crobsy is measuring perfectly and appears to have chubby cheeks and his estimated weight is 5lbs 10oz. He was practicing breathing during his ultrasound, so we got to watch his little belly do some amazing work. She has prescribed me a medication called Vistaril to take on days where I seem to be contracting too often and need a break, the only side effect she mentioned was sleepiness. I am still on complete pelvic rest and restricted activities until 36 weeks. After that – any labor that happens can happen! If I am feeling anything new or different than what I’ve been feeling I’m to call and report it…. But, she seemed pretty confident that little C ain’t going anywhere any time soon. This was a HUGE relief to us today. We are incredibly thankful!

Check out those smoochers!!!

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On Monday we have our final meeting with our doula, Sarah. I’m getting increasingly more and more excited about delivery. It hasn’t quite made me nervous or anxious. I’ve not yet felt fear of the pain or fear of the what if’s. Perhaps me telling myself that a birth plan is simply just best-case-scenario, and anything can change at any moment has helped. The closer it gets the more I see myself embracing the process and looking forward to seeing how it unfolds. The only time I’ve felt fear was last Friday while being monitored. But my fear wasn’t of birth, but more the fear of losing another baby – or something going terribly wrong and having a complicated premie infant. I felt unprepared for his arrival and I knew that it was too early. But now, I feel like I have a better understanding of how things could, and most likely will, turn out.

So, 33 weeks looks pretty darn good from here. I’m thrilled to have had such a great appointment! I’m pretty sure my next update will include a lot of pictures of his room and all the fun stuff we’ve finished buying! Until then, you’ll likely find me floating in my pool. Dr’s orders… you know 🙂

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Happy Fathers day to all the men who have their littles in their arms, in their hearts, or in their prayers. To all the men who serve as father figures to kiddos and young teens to young adults. To all the men who teach and invest their important time into our families and to all the men who have lots their littles far too soon or have one baking and on the way!

Even When it Hurts Like Hell

Death never makes sense. Ever. Most often it doesn’t make sense when it’s unexpected, when it’s sudden. I’ve not experienced much death in my almost 28 years. I’m very lucky. The only true experiences I have are the death of the babies that wait for us in heaven. But, I can’t compare that to the loss of family. The emotions are dramatically different.

Several months ago we lost our sweet Grandma Judy. We knew it was coming, but it was hard nonetheless. It was expected, we had time to love on her and share some very sweet memories. This. This was sudden. Unexpected. Traumatic. A family member lost far too soon. He may have not been part of the “family” anymore due to divorce, but he’s still my nieces uncle by blood. There was still a relationship to be had. There were no severed ties. He’s still part of the whole picture.

Even then, I choose to sing His praise. We don’t understand. We might not ever understand. But I know that God is still good. I know that He is working and moving in ways that are yet unseen.

I’m continuously praying for comfort. Praying for direction. Praying for the little ones and his beautiful wife that are left with questions. That He’s holding their tears. That the comfort is never-ceasing from extended family and friends. That each one who is impacted by the loss feels held.

Don’t ever forget how valued your life is. No matter what you may be going through, the pain is never permanent. If you EVER need help, there is never any shame in reaching out. We’ve all needed help and support. You are valued, you are loved, your life always matters.

This week has been hard. June 2nd will hold a lot of special moments.

I’m really struggling with the idea of an update this week, so it will just cover the basics.

How far along: 31 weeks!! I am so thankful.

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Next Appointment: June 11th

Baby’s size/Milestones: Crosby is beginning his final preparations for delivery, as his senses are now intact, he continues to pile on that baby fat, and his immune system is nearly ready to fight and prevent illness all on its own. His brain and nerves continue to develop under his head, which is still very soft because the bones that make up the skull are not yet fused together so that he can pass as easily as possible through the birth canal. These soft spots, or fontanels, won’t fuse together to turn Crosby’s skull into one, solid piece, until he is about two, or a little younger. Crosby is growing more flexible in his neck and joints every day, so he is going to be making a lot of movements down there in the next two months. He might be close to 17 ½ inches tall, the size of a head of lettuce, and weighs over 3 ½ lbs.

What I love: My little man, growing a belly (most of the time), preparing for his arrival, celebrating his little life already! The hiccups I feel. The support and love that’s been shown to us!

What I’m looking forward to: I am looking forward to family and friends and church baby showers. I am looking forward to seeing the maternity pics. I am looking forward to how my body and mind start prepping for the home stretch. I am looking forward to organizing little man’s room and getting all his stuff ready for his arrival.

Best Moment this week: I had my first baby shower that my coworkers threw me. I was beyond blessed by it. I have incredibly generous coworkers. We were also UBER blessed by extended friends and family – the car seats were gifted to us. I cry every time we receive a gift. I am so blown away by people’s generosity and willingness to give. I’m usually left speechless.

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Oh – I also got a little peek at little man. Not great quality, but hopefully you can make something out of the fuzz.

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This is his profile and his hand is up at his mouth