Tag Archives: baby

Rachel is 5 Months!

Our little Rachel turned 5 months old on Sunday. Where has the time gone?

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Rachel in a dress from my childhood.

Rachel is doing great! Here’s a recap of what she’s doing these days:

Eating. Rachel nurses every 2-3.5 hours during the day and then goes to bed around 6:30-7pm. She sleeps 6-10 hours and then nurses once in the middle of the night. She’s a very efficient nurser and only takes about 5-7 minutes, which is really nice. She nurses usually about 7 times in a 24 hour period. She’s pretty fussy while nursing, depending on the day, because she’s impatient waiting for the letdown. If she’s interested in it, I plan to wait until she’s 6 months old to start solids.

Sleep. She’s a great sleeper. I put her down while still awake with her pacifier and she puts herself to sleep. I do still swaddle her. Once she hits 6 months old we’ll probably stop swaddling her and that’ll mean we’ll have to sleep train her (yay). She mostly still sleeps in the rock n play sleeper in her room, but she’s running out of room in it! And she’s sat up in that thing twice now (not while swaddled, though.) She sleeps in her crib but loses her pacifier more quickly and tends to wake up more frequently.

Naps. Rachel pretty much naps in between all feedings during the day except between the last two feedings in the evening before bed. If she’s swaddled and in her crib she’ll sleep around 2-3 hours. If she’s in the swing she sleeps around an hour, depending on how loud her older brother is at the time. (When she’s sleeping he walks around saying the loudest “SHHHH!” I’ve ever heard, ha!)

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Play. She loves her Bumbo seat and being anywhere she can see people. She loves people and is very quick to return a smile. She really enjoys being held and just sitting in your lap. She is very social, and a bit more clingy with me than Josh was. She likes the swing less and less, and prefers it only in the mornings. However, she can see the entire kitchen and living room from the swing so she likes that.

She had her first trip to the snow last weekend and did (mostly) great in the car on the way there and back. She will be headed to Disneyland sometime in the near future as well! I’m really hoping she’ll do okay with all of the loud noises there, as well as the plane ride.

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We love you Rachel Noelle!

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Simply Being Here

These days are fun yet hectic. Rachel is doing great — she’ll be 4 months old in a couple of days and she’s giggly and smiley and already popping out teeth (teething at 3 months is CRAZY, by the way). Josh is almost 23 months and is and putting words together for the first time. He can be found with his nose in a book and a train piece in one hand at almost all times. It is a delight to see them both growing and learning new tricks! But lest you think it’s all roses– our days also involve lots of screaming. So yes, it is fun and there is much laughter– but there is also much screaming too.

In light of this busy season, I have often wondered “How can I be serving others? How can I help out at church? What can I be doing to be a blessing?” The truth of the matter is that it’s a small feat just to make it to the grocery store, let alone church. With a small baby in tote who nurses often, there aren’t really any practical places for me to be able to serve at church right now (which really makes me feel like a consumer). Josh also depends heavily on routine and schedule, and not adhering to his routine for too long means a complete meltdown (which happened in an extended version on Christmas day). All this is to say is that the bulk of my ministry these days is at home– loving my kids and my husband. I know many women who have several more kids than me, who home school and serve outside of the home in multiple capacities– and they are amazing! But that is not me. I’m being stretched thin these days just by getting dinner on the table and both kids bathed before bedtime.

Blogger Melissa over at yourmomhasablog.com encouraged me today with her post about how stay at home moms can serve God. She writes that the stay at home mom has the strange occupation of simply being there. (I’ve been mulling this over as I grew up with a mom who was also “there” (even though she worked a lot from home) and the positive impact that just having her around (to keep tabs on me, or for me to ask her questions, etc) had on me.) Melissa encourages those who feel like they aren’t even very good homemakers to see that all the work they’re doing at home for their kids and husbands  are being done for the Lord– that He is their boss. She writes “We’re doing these things, yes laundry and the whole shebang, because God has given us this job, this calling of being there, and we owe Him everything. So, we serve Him with our presence in the home.” She also offers several small ways we can serve the Lord, merely by being obedient to His Word and the overflow that such obedience brings. Some examples of this that she mentioned were as obvious as being a good friend to your husband– or as small as being kind and friendly to the employee at the grocery store. Lastly, she encourages women to focus on their chief purpose: To know God and enjoy Him forever. She encourages women not to get caught up so much in what they can or can’t do, but to focus on making every day an exercise to dwell in His presence. Amen to that!

My whole life has been geared on getting good grades in school and being in such a place so that I could choose any career I wanted. And I’m glad I chose nursing — it has been a wonderful choice, full of hard work and promoting good critical thinking skills. But not much of my life has prepared me for the challenges of being a mother. I have relied heavily on my older sister (in a way, I’m really glad her kids are much older than mine so that I’ve been able to watch her parent so much) and my mother in this area, as I am oft in amazement in the jobs they have both done as mothers. Obviously, being a good nurse has always been important to me. But being a WISE mother trumps everything else, let alone my devotion to God and to my husband. And this is where the buck stops. As much as I miss not serving in more tangible ways outside of the home, for this season of life I can serve God by being in His presence and by serving my family. Showering others with the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control). Speaking kind words and encouragement to others, or being a listening ear when needed. (Or, more realistically for this week: Not complaining even though we’re all sick, responding calmly to a toddler who’s just pitched his plate of food onto the floor, and being able to smile at a baby who screams with indignation when being put down in the baby swing for a while.)

3 month old Rachel. How we love her!

3 month old Rachel. How we love her!

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Torture Before Testing

Well folks, no one said this waiting period would be easy.

It’s far from easy. In the infertility world, I’m what you’d call 3dp6dt. That’s 3-days-past a 6-day-transfer, to equal 9 dpo (which translates to 9 days past ovulation). A little early for a home pregnancy test, although some women pregnant with multiples get positives this early. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to our embryo transfer.

Our frozen embryo transfer (FET) was on Tuesday. All in all, it was a rough day. For the first time ever, I blogged in real-time about the phone call from our RE announcing the poor prognosis of one of our embryo. After that blog post, I got an email from my RE. I won’t go into detail because it’s not important. But let’s just say that he was pretty rude and unkind in this quick email. It had nothing to do with the transfer that day, it was a response to an email I had sent him the prior week regarding my thyroid. On any given day, the email would have just made me mad. But on FET day, the day I am injected full of hormones, the day Josh is for some reason out of sorts and threatening to be screaming during our (already stressful) transfer, and most of all the day I hear one of my babies might be dying — well, I burst immediately into tears.

Thankfully, my husband called his mom to babysit Josh and she came to the rescue with 3 minutes to spare! I popped my prescribed valium, guzzled the prescribed amount of water, loaded up and hit the road.

And on the drive to the clinic, I let the email go. It didn’t matter. What was important was getting those babies transferred where they belonged.

When we arrived it was clear our RE didn’t want to transfer in our embryo that was looking less than great (I never did hear what the official “grade” that the embryo was). We went back and forth as I tried to ascertain what the actual status of the embryo was. My RE said that in his opinion, the embryo was a “demise.” A demise? A demise means dead. “Is it dead?” I asked. No, he said it wasn’t dead, but it was as good as dead. “Death is pretty black or white, is it dead?” I asked again. He said it was black or white for him — it might as well be dead. So he wasn’t willing to call it dead.

Because it was not dead.

He stepped out of the room and gave my husband and I a minute to decide what we wanted to do. But we already knew we were transferring in this struggling embryo. We talked about it for about one second. My RE came back in the room and we told him we wanted both embryos transferred.

Ten minutes later, both embryos had been transferred without any complications. He handed us pictures of our embryos, then in the blastocyst (about to hatch) stage. I looked at each embryo with wonder and amazement– these were our children. One of the embryos, the struggling embryo, had some cells that had burst, indicating that things were not good. But there were still cells that were intact. It still had a chance, even if it is a very, very small chance.

As my RE was walking out the door, he said, “This is good. You only want one baby. You don’t want twins. One baby is best.” The door slammed behind him. I couldn’t help it — I gave the biggest eye roll at his comment. Never mind the prior appointments where I told him we were comfortable with the idea of twins. Never mind the fact that it was his idea to transfer two embryos last summer. How wrong he was, and how frustrated I felt with him for not rooting even a little for our struggling embryo. I’m not sure what was going through his head, but he seemed to be wrapped up in the well being of his clinic’s statistics of viable pregnancies.

Then, our lovely nurse (who I adore) asked to see the pictures of our embryos. “Hmm” she said. “They’re not what I’d call great looking embryos, but you never know.” The truth is, I had been thinking the same thing (comparing only with pictures of blastocysts I’d seen on the internet) and inquired further. Why did she think that? I appreciated her giving me her honest opinion. She popped her head around the door to speak with the embryologist. The embryologist explained that no, one of the embryos was of excellent quality (4AA) but it just hadn’t had time to re-expand after being thawed. My nurse said, “Well, the embryologist is the expert!” I breathed a sigh of relief. It was clear that the nurse just didn’t know as much about it, although I know she’s worked at the clinic for a long time.

Lastly, during the thirty minutes that I had to lay still on the bed following the transfer, my husband laid hands on me and prayed over our embryos. There was nothing sweeter that happened that day than his act of headship over our family.

We came home from the clinic and the 3 days of bed rest and waiting began. Within a few hours I felt some tugging and pulling. Could it be the beginning of implantation? It was a little sharp, but didn’t last long. I felt the same thing later on that night and then the next morning. Then more consistent cramps began and didn’t let up for a day. They started again yesterday afternoon and took another break this morning. Then more cramps this afternoon. But none now. I had cramping with Josh so I see it as a very good sign that I might be pregnant. But then when the cramps fizzle out I start to feel unsure again. And the thing is, cramps are not a guarantee of pregnancy. It could be false hope. I just don’t know the outcome, and I won’t know until next week.

So thanks for praying for me. All in all, it’s going much better than last time. I’ve only cried once. But it’s still hard.

I was in the car today, taking Josh with me to Trader Joes to pick up some ice cream and chocolate (um, what else?!) and Seeds of Faith was playing for about the billionth time. The words from Isaiah 41, “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” played over and over and the words began to sink in after a while. And I thought: I’m not alone in this. If I don’t get pregnant, He is with me! and if I don’t get pregnant, He will strengthen, help and uphold me.

There is nothing sweeter than that.

I’ll have an update for you sometime next week. I’m not trying to be vague, it’s just that my clinic ordered my beta (blood test indicating a pregnancy or not) for Monday due to the holidays and I really feel that it’s waaay too soon. I’ll only be 12 dpo on Monday. I would hate to get a false negative– it’s like signing up for pre-planned torture. So I may just call the clinic Monday morning and request a later date for the lab draw. I haven’t decided yet.

Again, thanks for your prayers! And thanks for helping to support me through this journey!

 

 

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4 Month Update

So Josh is not officially 4 months old yet — he’s still got 3 days to go. But as a rather non-punctual blogger, I figure I’m close enough! The months are passing by at an alarmingly speedy rate, and I find myself in a bittersweet mode. I look back at Josh’s newborn pictures and already miss those sweet, sleep deprived days. To see pictures of his tiny body, to remember how I fretted over how much milk he was getting and whether he was warm enough or not. Four months later there are new worries and equally new delights– all to be processed in due time. Each stage is a gift, a truly wonderful gift that I never thought I’d be able to watch unfold. There is rarely a day that goes by when I don’t look down into my son’s bright blue eyes, his big smile beaming back at me, and a few tears of overwhelming gratefulness fill my eyes. I love being Josh’s mommy.

Love this little guy!

Love this little guy!

The latest news with Josh is that he’s teething. Last night he cried loudly for what seemed like an eternity until I finally figured out what was going on. Upset tummy? Maybe, but I was guessing not. Still learning to sleep without being swaddled? That didn’t seem like it was it, either. Plus, he slept 8 hours the night before un-swaddled. Hungry? Offered him more milk but he wasn’t that interested. Hmm. So what kept waking this kid up out of a deep sleep to loud, sad, cries? Ah yes, that rough object in his mouth trying to break it’s way out of his gum! Teething! Not fun stuff. I gave the poor kid some tylenol and he fell asleep not too long after and slept for 6 hours. I’m planning on heading out to the store today to beef up my non-existent collection of teething helpers for babies. If you have advice to offer in this subject, please do share!

Just a "hunch" this kid's popping some teeth ;)

Just a “hunch” this kid’s popping some teeth 😉

This is NOT a picture of what Josh looked like from 8pm-11pm last night!

This is NOT a picture of what Josh looked like from 8pm – 11pm last night!

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Josh also rolled over recently! I was wondering if he was E-V-E-R going to roll over, to be honest. The kid still hates tummy time with a passion. I tried all the tricks of the trade to get him to like it, and it’s just not happening. But he did roll over at Grandma’s the other night for the first time while he was on his belly, and it was a real treat because Grandma and Grandpa were right there to witness it! There was a lot of happy cheering. He rolled over again the first thing the next morning but hasn’t rolled since, so we’re still trying to figure out if it was a fluke or not.

Josh still remains pretty mellow. Numerous people have commented on it! We took a day trip to the beach last week and Josh slept the entire time in the car (2.5 hours) plus the entire time in the front pack (3 hours) plus the drive home. He pretty much slept all day! And at the 4th of July party at my parent’s house, he happily got passed around from person to person and smiled and babbled most of the day except when he was napping. He’s such a great little baby!

On our adventure to the coast. About to start our 4 mile hike with Josh in the front pack. The hat lasted about 5 minutes, tops (still too big for him).

On our adventure to the coast. About to start our 4 mile hike with Josh in the front pack. The hat lasted about 5 minutes, tops (still too big for him).

Josh's first trip to the ocean! He's a little unsure about it...

Josh’s first trip to the ocean! He’s a little unsure about it…

But it's a great excuse for mommy to pull out her nice camera.

But it’s a great excuse for mommy to pull out her nice camera.

It was really bright and windy. (Did I mention that it was really windy?!) We didn't last too long on the beach. Maybe next time!

It was really bright and windy. (Did I mention that it was really windy?!) We didn’t last too long on the beach. Maybe next time!

I did finally brave an entire shift at work. 14 hours is a long time to be away from your baby. The night before I had trouble sleeping and only slept 3 hours. As I headed out the door I thought to myself, “You’re not off to a very good start!” But the day actually went okay. Grandma came and babysat and updated me with pictures and texts throughout the day, which I LOVED.  She took Josh on a walk in the stroller and gave him a bath and spent lots of time playing with our little guy. It sure did bless my heart knowing that he was in good hands while I was gone! The hardest part of the day was trying to get out to pump and still have time to eat and drink enough water. By the time I got home I could tell my milk supply had dropped off a bit and to be honest I don’t feel like it’s really recovered since then despite my attempts to get it back up.

Josh gets his 4 month vaccines next week. I’m anxious to get those vaccines in as there’s a whooping cough (pertussis) epidemic going around right now. He has some immunity from the Tdap shot I got when I was pregnant and from his 2 month vaccinations but still does not have full coverage. Having seen this destructive disease firsthand in the hospital, it is one disease I do not want my son to get.

We will be skipping out on my family’s annual camping trip this month. I confess I’m really sad about that! I love camping. Maybe next year we’ll go. I have lots of friends who brave camping with their tiny newborns and sail right through it and even have a great time. I guess we’re just not brave enough–at least not yet, even though Josh is 4 months and 13 pounds! Last year when we went camping I was just 6 weeks pregnant and filled with such hope and excitement (not to mention a little nausea)! Such fond memories for me. I hope we can create many more good memories camping as a family in the years to come when Josh is a little older!

 

 

 

 

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Exhaustion (The Good Kind)

That’s right, I’m exhausted!

But not because I’m still pregnant, and not because I’ve been up all night taking care of a newborn. Thankfully, I’m exhausted because I feel GREAT now! My postpartum body is almost all recovered and I’m loving being able to go on walks, cook meals, and clean with a vengeance (I *might* be a little of a clean freak). I’ve been a busy girl! So it is with a happy heart that I sit here and type these words, even though I’m ready to keel over and sleep soundly through the night. (Well, at least for 3-4 hours at a time, but who’s counting?)

On another front, my urine culture came back negative. I just happened to call and follow up on it, because who wants to take antibiotics unnecessarily? Not me. Pretty sure they were bothering the little one’s tummy, too. So I asked to stop them and they gave me the green light. The assumption then is that I didn’t have a UTI after all but probably a burst ovarian cyst. I wasn’t surprised to hear it.

So that’s the scoop here. Joshua will be 5 weeks old tomorrow. Time is flying by! We sure love our little dude.

Can't get enough of these little feet!

Can’t get enough of these little feet!

Getting ready for a walk with the front pack. He loves that thing. I call it the "sedative" because he falls asleep as soon as I put him in it.

Getting ready for a walk with the front pack. He loves that thing. I call it the “sedative” because he falls asleep as soon as I put him in it.

 

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Joshua’s Birth Story

Hello there! It’s taken two days with five to thirty minute writing intervals at a time, but here is Joshua’s birth story!

{But first I would like to begin by stating three things}

First, this post is not for everyone. Birth, as common (yet miraculous) as it is, happens to be filled with things like cervical changes, blood and perineal tears. Topics like these are pretty much unavoidable when discussing birth in detail. If this isn’t your cup of tea, please feel free to skip this in its entirety!

Second, my story is about an induction at 39 weeks. I read many induction birth stories before giving birth and read bad and good ones alike. This one will seem bad, trust me. If you are preparing to give birth via induction, please do not despair at reading my story. Every woman, baby and delivery is different. There are so many variables that all make a difference, so please keep that in mind when reading my story. Also, despite the horror I went through, as I look over at my sleeping newborn son I realize that not only did the Lord carry me through the experience, but that I would do it all over again to be able to have him here. I guess that’s how the earth stays populated!

Third, this will probably be the longest post you will ever read on my blog. You might want to grab a cup of coffee before reading. I congratulate you if you make it to the end!

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Joshua’s Birth Story

~March 9th, 2014~

0630: After 2.5 hours of sleep (chalk it up to nerves/pregnancy insomnia) and after hubby getting 5 hours of sleep, we arrived at Labor & Delivery as scheduled. We made our co-pay for the hospital stay and were taken back to our labor room. The nurse was nice enough, and instructed me to wipe down my abdomen with a chlorohexidine antiseptic wipe before changing into a hospital gown, which I guess is hospital policy. I changed after rubbing the wipe on my belly and immediately felt intense burning and itching on my skin where the wipe had gone. I got into the bed and soon realized that my belly felt like it was on fire! The nurse hooked me up to the tocometer and then left to go gather supplies for an IV. While she was gone I wasted no time in breaking rules (it’s the nurse in me) by asking hubby to please wet some paper towels with water so that I could wipe off the silly chlorohexidine residue left on my abdomen. I tried that but my abdominal skin was still screaming and I was ready to break the skin from the intense itchiness. When the nurse came back in the room I told her I was having a skin reaction to the chlorohexidine and requested benadryl. She was helpful and actually came back fifteen minutes later with some IV benadryl, which she gave after placing my IV (which she got on the first stick, I might add). I felt immediate relief upon receiving the Benadyl.

0730: The OB on call came in and introduced himself. I vaguely remembered him, because he used to work at the hospital I currently work for. He mentioned that he had even trained my OB when she was a resident, and spoke highly of her. He then did an exam and determined that I was 1 cm dilated and a little effaced (I can’t remember how much, all I remember was that it wasn’t much, so maybe 25%). We talked about the next steps for the induction and decided to start with Cytotec.

0830: My mom arrived to join the fun. I really had no idea how the induction would go and told family members to sort of “play it by ear” since inductions can take a really long time. So I was a little surprised to see my mom walk in the door so soon in the game but was glad to have her there. She sat down on the sofa and started knitting a sweater for my nephew who lives overseas. My nurse came in a gave me the Cytotec, which is actually a drug approved by the FDA to prevent stomach ulcers by releasing prostaglandins, but also works to dilate the cervix. I swallowed the tiny pill and felt amazed that something so small was supposed to make me have contractions. I did feel a little nervous about swallowing something to jump start contractions, because what if it made the baby distressed? I couldn’t turn it off like I could a pitocin drip. I asked the nurse about that and she mentioned that there was an antidote to the cytotec, which is turbutaline (a medicine used to stop contractions during premature labor). So that was reassuring to know.

After the cytotec, contractions started up about fifteen minutes later. I’d been having pretty regular contractions (anywhere from every 5 minutes to maybe 4 and hour) for weeks now. The contractions weren’t bad. I could talk through them. The nurse came in again and started me on Clindamycin (an antibiotic) for my GBS+ status since I’m allergic to penicillin (which is the standard treatment for GBS).

1300: The contractions at this point were mild and maybe every 4-5 minutes. I asked the nurse what I could do to “speed things up.” She suggested going for a walk. My mom had left at this point to switch with my dad so that someone would be there to watch my disabled sister. Hubby and I went for a walk. The contractions did get a bit stronger while walking, and I found myself hunching over a little with each one. We passed some nurse in the hallway twice who kept offering unsolicited advice like “You just need to relax or you’ll wear yourself out!” (Sometimes I wonder if people who say things like that have ever given birth?) Back in our labor room, the contractions picked up some more and my nurse came in the room. She noticed that I (apparently) was furrowing my brow with each contraction and said she didn’t like that and said that I needed to think about ocean waves rolling in and out with each contraction. (Again, I wondered if she too had ever gone through this?)

1400: A new OB came in and checked me. I was still 1 cm, but this time she told me that I was 75% effaced. She offered to put in a foley bulb catheter (which is basically a tube that’s inserted through your cervix and then filled with water to make a balloon– it sits at the top of the cervix and acts almost like the baby’s head would if the baby were engaged– the pressure from the bulb on the cervix releases prostoglandins and helps to dilate it). I said “yes please” as I was anxious to keep things going. The cytotec was wearing off anyhow. This procedure ended up being extremely painful because after two drawn out attempts to insert the bulb, the OB couldn’t get the catheter through my cervix. It seriously felt like if she pushed any harder, she would hit my spine. She struggled with it for what felt like an eternity. I then suggested that she try to insert it when the head of the bed was raised more (they had lowered it to be completely flat) because she had seen improved effacement of my cervix when I had been in that position before. She agreed to try that– the nurse raised the head of my bed and the OB was then able to get it in!

1600: At this point I’m at a loss as to why I was so excited to get the foley bulb put in. That sucker hurt! Every 30 minutes or so the nurse would come in, tug on it a bit, and re-tape it to my thigh. Not pleasant in the least. The contractions were pretty steady at this point and somewhat painful. More family members came in to visit– my dad stayed a while, and my hubby’s parents and sister came.

1700: By this time I was really over the foley bulb. I was told that it would “fall out” when my cervix was dilated to 3-4 cm. It was really uncomfortable and I was just wanting it out and so I ended up giving it a tug myself and pulled it out! (I know, another example of where I am a bad patient). I felt immediate relief upon pulling it out, and was happy that it meant I’d made a little progress at least. I called the nurse to let her know.

1800: The nurse came in again and started Pitocin at 2. We’d already done cytotec and the foley bulb–the next step was the real beast: Pitocin. Some women go into natural labor with just cytotec, and some with just a foley bulb. I guess I wasn’t either of those people. Pitocin would make sure I had strong, regular contractions. I was game for it because I wanted this baby out! Pitocin it was.

1830: The pitocin got started and my hubby and my mom and I went on a walk around the labor unit. Once you’re on Pitocin you have to be monitored continuously so the nurse hooked me up to a portable monitor. I didn’t mind this as I knew that pitocin could stress the baby. We walked and with each contraction I had to slow down and grip hubby’s arm. The nurse told me they would be increasing the Pitocin every hour (or maybe 30 minutes?) or so.

2100: By now the pitocin was turned up to 8. The contractions were getting pretty intense. The nurse offered me some Fentanyl and I reluctantly accepted, because I wanted to hold out on getting an epidural for as long as I could stand it. After the Fentanyl I could still feel the contractions coming every 3 minutes or so, but they weren’t as painful. The pain relief lasted for about an hour or so, and also made me very sleepy.

2130: A new OB on call came in and checked me. I was super disappointed to find out that not only was I still only dilated to 4 cm, I was now only 25% effaced, when I had been told I was 75% effaced before. Great. I knew this was due to having two different OB’s check me and their varying opinions. Still, it was not encouraging news. Again I got up and went walking, this time with a small entourage of people including my husband, mom, and my husband’s parents. I was having to stop and breathe deeply with each contraction at this point, and after a while I had walked all I could manage.

2300: A new nurse came on shift. She was very brisk when she came in and asked me if I wanted an epidural and exactly when I would be wanting it, because she needed to plan her night accordingly. I told her I was trying to go as long as possible without an epidural, especially since I wasn’t progressing very quickly and didn’t want to sabotage that any further. She curtly replied that by the time I couldn’t stand the pain anymore, I wouldn’t be able to sit still for an epidural. She then callously said “And frankly, this is what you’d expect when you try to force babies out via induction before they’re ready.” “Oh please,” I wanted to respond; “I’m 39 weeks for crying out loud!” But instead I kept my mouth shut and started to cry as soon as she left the room. She had me feel like the worst mother in the world. My abilities to graciously withstand people like her were dwindling– the contractions were getting really strong and I had gone a long time with little sleep or food (breakfast had been my last meal, although I did sneak a cookie during the day that my mom had brought in for my husband). I began to pray as I had no idea how I could get through 8 hours with a nurse who didn’t really seem like she was there to “help” me.

2305: Five minutes later, the (less than kind) nurse came in with another nurse and announced that she would be giving report to the new nurse as she had to take another assignment. I was overjoyed! Thank you Lord! My new nurse was incredibly kind and caring. My mom, husband and I just marveled at the Lord’s immediate answer to our prayers.

~March 10th, 2014~

0100: At this point, the contractions were getting to be unbearable. They were every 1.5 minutes and double peaking, meaning that they were lasting over a minute. This gave me less than thirty seconds to recover from each contraction. I was pretty besides myself with pain, and crying with each contraction. My mom was there rubbing my back and my husband was letting me grip his hand (believe it or not I still have a deep bruise in one of my hands from gripping his hand so often and so tightly during this process). Knowing that I was only at 4 cm dilated, I decided that enough was enough and called the nurse to ask for an epidural.

0130: The nurse anesthetist came in got me prepared to have the epidural. They had my mom leave the room, so she waited outside in the hallway. I was a mess at this point. In fact, I was in so much pain that they ended up turning down the pitocin. I was crying non-stop. I sat on the edge of the bed and leaned forward as much as I could with hubby helping to hold me from the front. The contractions kept coming anyhow. The nurse anesthetist told me “you’re going to feel a slight poke” and OH BOY was it more than a “poke!” It felt like he had just shoved a fire poker into my spine! I literally screamed, which is highly unusual for a gal like me that likes to watch having my IV’s put in and lab work drawn. My husband got light headed at this point upon hearing me react like this. I was seriously confused– what was the guy doing? I had been expecting the typical “lidocaine just under the epidermis” type of injection, NOT a huge needle being jabbed into my spine! Then, he told me I needed to keep still and the same thing happened– yet AGAIN!!! And again I had not been expecting it, because I had thought that my back would already be a little numb. So, yes. I literally screamed a second time. I thought he was finished at this point but alas he informed me that he still needed to insert the epidural. Are you kidding me? That wasn’t it? (As you can see, we had major communication issues, partially I think because he spoke so softly and partially because he had a really thick accent). He inserted the epidural itself which was uncomfortable but didn’t make me want to keel over like the lidocaine injections. He then bolused my epidural with pain meds. I started to feel my legs and torso feel warm and then tingly–what a strange sensation! But I could feel the horrible contractions less and less and that was what I had hoped for. My mom came back in the room (after waiting in the hallway) very concerned after hearing me scream twice. It was definitely strange because going into the procedure I actually had zero fears about having an epidural placed, but that experience was something I will never forget. (From what I’ve heard, my experience was not common, so please don’t freak out if you’re planning on getting an epidural for the first time.)

0400: After a few hours of feeling better, hubby got some sleep on the couch and my mom tried to sneak a nap in the chair. I tried to sleep but found it pretty difficult. The OB on call for the night came in and checked me. I had been feeling hopeful, but my cervix was still stuck at 4 1/2 cm.  She said I was 90% effaced, and said she wanted to break my waters. I opted to go for it, even though I knew it would mean that I would need to have our baby in the next 24 hours or risk a c-section (due to increased risk of infection). I was feeling pretty worn out by now, and frankly I was thinking that if I hadn’t had the baby in 24 more hours I would probably want a c-section anyhow! The OB broke my water and very little fluid came out. She said this was good, because it meant that baby’s head was lower and acting as a cork on my cervix. I however interpreted it to be bad though, because I felt that it meant it would do nothing to help speed up things, seeing as there was probably an entire hind bag of waters still intact.

0600: I started to become very aware of painful contractions. I rotated from side to side, thinking that maybe my epidural was not distributing correctly. It didn’t help, and before I knew it the pain was completely out of control. It was the worst pain I had felt in my entire life, except for maybe the time I had an ovarian cyst burst (which was two hours of intense pain). Again the contractions were right on top of each other, and lasting over a minute. My husband and mom were at my side, trying to help. I was sobbing. My mom was crying just watching me. At this point it was 0645 and I knew it was shift change and that the nurses were giving report, but my mom said “Who cares if they’re busy?” and ran out to tell my nurse that my epidural had stopped working. Both the night shift and oncoming day shift nurse came immediately into the room and called the nurse anesthetist. I don’t really remember much else about this time– except that it was awful and I was just trying to survive on the pitocin drip.

0700: A new nurse anesthetist came in and gave me a bolus through my epidural. I don’t know what medicine she gave me– it did work to numb the pain a little– but it left me feeling incredibly anxious and awful. I felt a sudden sense of doom, like I was never going to be able to have the baby, that the whole thing was pointless. I was ready to rip out my IV and epidural and walk out the door, that’s how bad this medicine made me feel. At the same time my oncoming nurse tried to put an oxygen mask on me (I guess I wasn’t breathing deeply enough) and I told her that I absolutely couldn’t handle anything like that on my face when I was feeling so anxious. (I’m not typically an anxious person, and this experience gave me much compassion for those who struggle with this sort of thing on a regular basis.) I requested that my husband just remind me periodically to take a deep breath and she agreed to that.

0745: The pain med bolus in my epidural wore off. It lasted a whole 45 minutes. Once again I was besides myself with pain, and crying. I just didn’t know what to do. I felt completely stuck. My new nurse (who was wonderful, by the way) suggested that I had some sort of “bad” epidural and that I should consider getting a new one. But I was completely afraid of two more extremely painful needle pokes in my spine! Besides, I thought that maybe I was just one of those people who epidurals didn’t work well for. I knew that at least was a possibility, and it was confusing that it would work only part of the time. My nurse again called anesthesia (this time it was a new person as the last person was on their way home). The new nurse anesthetist on came in a gave me another pain med bolus in my epidural, this time it was something different than what I was given before. I felt my legs and torso get warm and tingly again, meaning that the epidural seemed to be working again. The anxious feeling I had slowly waned, thankfully.

0800: My nurse decided she wanted to check me because the pain I had been having seemed to resemble transition labor pains in her opinion. But alas, I was still stuck at 4.5 cm, even though my pitocin drip was up to 10. I felt majorly discouraged and wondered if I was ever going to see my baby!

0930: The OB on call for the day shift came in and introduced herself with her entourage of a both a medical student and resident at her side. We discussed my case. My pitocin was up to 12 at this point. She then checked me and told me (YET AGAIN) that I was only at 4.5cm! I burst into tears. I was really uncomfortable, exhausted, and hungry. Oh yes– and I was throwing up too, probably from the pain meds. I heard myself ask… or rather beg, for a c-section. This shows how desperate I was, because all along I had been praying to avoid another surgery and more scar tissue forming. I didn’t even care about scar tissue at that point. My only concern was that I didn’t want a c-section with the epidural I had, because I didn’t trust it to keep working during the surgery. Either way, it was all for nothing because the OB kindly but firmly denied my request. Rather, she decided that an internal monitor needed to be placed to make sure that the contractions were actually strong enough to dilate my cervix, and she recommended going up-up-up on the pitocin. This was not the news I had been hoping for. I was besides myself with despair. Here I was, barely making it with an epidural that worked on and off, and already on a high level of pitocin, and she wanted to INCREASE it even more?! I couldn’t even look her in the eye or respond to her suggestion, I was such a mess. I couldn’t believe how hopeless I felt then. Again I kept praying and texted some close friends that I desperately needed their prayers because the induction was not going well. The OB left the room to gather supplies for the internal monitor and through tears I began to think that maybe getting induced was one of the worst decisions of my life. Sounds pretty dramatic now, and it gives some insight as to how much of a mess I was at that point!

0945: Internal monitor placed and pitocin turned up to 14.

1100: I started to spike a fever, but nothing too serious, 100.6. The OB started me on an additional antibiotic as she was afraid that the clindamicin wasn’t cutting it for the positive GBS status. They were worried that I was developing chorioamnionitis (an infection of the amniotic fluid). I was then told by the OB that my baby would have to receive at least 48 hours of antibiotics in the nursery once he was born. Additionally, baby’s heart rate became elevated (due to my fever) and was in the 180’s. I hated knowing that my baby was now stressed, and the urge to get him out was even stronger. Nothing was going like I thought it would. Thankfully I had the support of my husband, my mom, and also my mother in law, which was a blessing.

12:15: Pitocin at 16. Once again the epidural wore off and the contractions were every 1.5 minutes. I literally wanted to scream with each contraction but held back. Instead I cried. My mom cried too and my husband looked completely distressed. I got checked again and was STILL 4.5 cm. It was just unbelievable. We talked about replacing my epidural again and I agreed to it. If I couldn’t have a c-section, then there was no way I would survive on this amount of pitocin with a bad epidural.

1330: The nurse anesthetist came in I prepared for the worst. Hubby was out getting lunch (my epidural had been working when he left) so my mom stayed to help me brace for the epidural placement. The nurse anesthetist put in the epidural and I was overjoyed because I barely felt it! Additionally, it was a good epidural and worked right away! Also, he let me know that the old epidural wasn’t even intact– it was in a little bit but not very much. I let out a HUGE sigh of relief knowing that I didn’t have to deal with the bad line anymore. Thank you Lord for some pain relief!

1335: This is a side note, but during my hospital stay I was on my 8th nurse. Yes, you read that right: Eight nurses! Some would have me as their patient for 3 hours, some for ten minutes, some for five hours, etc. I had no idea what was up with their assignments that they would be moving around from patient to patient so much. It was extremely annoying. Anyhow, my excellent nurse that day had been with me since 0700 and she was the best one yet. But I knew she would be going home when her shift ended at 3 pm. I (somewhat jokingly, somewhat seriously) asked her if she could work overtime and stay with me. (Yes, I actually asked her that.) I couldn’t believe it when she replied, “Well, they’re short today so I might just do that!”  She later came in and told me that she was indeed staying until 7 pm and all of us in my labor room cheered!

1420: I was checked again by my OB. I was prepared to hear “4.5 cm” again. Instead she completely blew my socks off when she said “You’re complete! The baby’s head is RIGHT THERE!” I couldn’t even believe it. I was utterly dumbfounded. How on earth was this possible? We all cheered at that point and I thanked the Lord for delivering me from being stuck the rest of my life at 4.5 cm. The OB said we should wait an hour or so and let the additional pain med bolus the nurse anesthetist gave me wear off a little so that I wouldn’t be completely numb when it came time to push. I was really glad about this because I was pretty worried about trying to push out a baby when I couldn’t really move my legs much and had never done it before. My nurse told me try to get some sleep before pushing. I remember thinking “Yeahhhh right!” I was way too nervous and excited. That’s like going to Disneyland for the first time as a little kid and having your mom tell you to take a nap when you first arrive. It’s not going to happen!

1520: My nurse came in a decided it was time to try some trial pushes. Hubby and I kicked everyone out to the waiting room. She got my got my legs up into the stirrups (oh, joy) and told me exactly what I needed to do. She instructed me to push with my next contraction and I did. She immediately said “STOP!” and excitedly told me “His head is right there! You are going to have this baby in no time!” It was like music to my ears– after being so worn out from such a long labor I now had the hope that I wouldn’t have to be pushing for a really long time! My nurse then frantically called the OB and told her to please come ASAP and ran around getting everything set up to catch the baby.

1530: The OB came in I also allowed the medical student to watch as well (they probably could have asked me anything and I would have said yes). I began to push with each contraction and before I knew it our son’s head was out!

1543: Then my OB told me to give a tiny push and so I thought I gave what was a tiny push, but apparently the rest of the baby slid right out and my OB said “Stop! Stop pushing!” Oops. Me pushing too much meant a second degree tear. But our baby was out, and I couldn’t believe how fast it all happened! When my OB said that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck THREE times I was astounded, because he hasn’t showed many signs of distress as he descended down the birth canal. I did, however, notice that his umbilical cord was really thin and long– although I was initially bummed about it being thin (because I always associate thin cords with poor nutrition) I then realized that I should thank the Lord that it was thin, because it was so incredibly long and allowed Joshua to be delivered without too much distress.

Joshua was then placed on my chest and I just stared at him in amazement, with tears running down my face. My husband also looked completely awestruck. He was so cute! I just kept looking at him thinking, “So this is who was inside me all these many months!” It was the strangest and most amazing feeling in the entire world. He cried a bit and I kept drying him off and replacing wet blankets with warm ones. In the meantime I was being sewed up (totally thankful at this point for the epidural!) but I was able to nurse him a little during that. After snuggling with him for about 45 minutes the nurse took him over to the warmer and got measurements, gave the vitamin K injection and put the erythromycin in his eyes. He weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces and was 19 1/4 inches long!

After I was decent again, we brought in the grandparents from the waiting room and finally got to announce our baby’s name! It was so nice to finally be able to tell people after keeping it a secret all these months. I hate keeping secrets, but I’m proud to say that I never spilled the beans once! My mother in law exclaimed “I LOVE the name Joshua!” and that made me smile. Hubby was enjoying his time with Joshua, and then more friends and family came in and everyone took turns holding Joshua. My nurse brought me in a tray of food and I devoured it while watching everyone hold him. I was starving! But it was such a sweet time to see everyone meet him for the first time. We were all so excited that Joshua was finally here and I was especially thankful to the Lord for giving me grace in only having to push for 15 minutes after such a long labor ordeal.

An hour or two after that our awesome nurse transferred us to our postpartum room and gave report to the new nurse just in time before having to head home at 7 pm. I gave her a huge hug and told her how much I appreciated her sticking it our with us until the very end.

IMG_1651

We stayed in the hospital for two days and Joshua did not end up having to receive antibiotics after all. They did draw blood cultures though and wanted to give them 48 hours to grow before sending him home. My fever diminished immediately after giving birth, and Joshua never had a fever. So I seriously wonder if my mild fever was more due to having an epidural for an extended period of time and not due to bacteria. I guess we’ll never know!

Now that thirteen days have passed, I have to admit that I still felt a little traumatized while recalling the details of Joshua’s birth story. It was so incredibly hard. And yet… God was in the midst of it all, answering prayers, working miracles,  and blessing our socks off with one incredibly good little baby. When I snuggle with our little son, sometimes tears of gratitude will fall as I thank the Lord for what a precious child He gave us. So yes, it was a hard pregnancy. It was a horrible labor. But it was absolutely 100% worth it.

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Heart Sick No More

When I do the dishes, I often look out from the kitchen window and notice this heart shaped rock.

Heart Rock_E

And it makes me smile. Especially when I think about my own heart and it’s own wild transformations that have taken place during the last year.

An incredible thought struck me today. I was listening to the radio and I can’t remember what song came on, but the words prompted me to think back over the past year. All 365 days worth– back to February 2013. What was I doing this time a year ago?

And then it hit me: Ah, yes. I was sitting on Dr. L’s exam table, bawling my eyes out while discussing the idea of getting a hysterectomy. So many tears. So much pain.

It was such a dark time in my life, filled with deep despair and regret. How I wished I had gone on birth control much sooner in my life so that I wouldn’t have gotten so many endometriomas and needed so many surgeries. And when my unsettling symptoms were beginning to appear in my early twenties, how I wished I had sought out more help in getting a diagnosis in the first place. But none of the past could be changed, and there I was, with eyes barely able to see beyond the day I was living in, let alone get a glimpse what hopeful changes an entire year might bring.

On that day I poured out my sadness and grief on my blog, and accurately titled it Heart Sick. Because that’s what I was living with those days– a horrible heartache that no one but God alone could heal.

What’s really neat is that God healed much of the ache in my heart before we even started IVF, or got pregnant for that matter. That’s because the wound wasn’t formed by endometriosis, multiple surgeries, infertility, an empty nursery, or any of those things. It formed out of my own disbelief in God. And out of my own unwillingness to trust God for my future, a nasty wound started tunneling deep into my heart. The more I despaired, the deeper the wound got. The wound had nothing to do with God, and everything to do with me and my lack of faith.

If there’s anything this journey has taught me, it’s that life’s situations change constantly– they threaten to cause anxiety, to wound, to shaken. But no external factor can single handedly shaken or steal our faith and our trust in God without our permission. That’s our domain and in our control. And I hope I’ll remember that in years to come.

After three awful despairing weeks, I repented of my distrusting heart to the Lord. And suddenly a prayerful plan was formed. We put our adoption on hold and started the process for IVF. I had no idea if the Lord would allow me to get pregnant. All I knew was that regardless of the results, I had to keep trusting God through it, because that was what I had committed to do: To trust the Lord through any circumstance, through children or none.

And so, as I was listening to the radio today, tears came to my eyes when I thought of the despair I was choosing to live in a year ago and how 365 days later I am now just days away from delivering our precious baby boy. God was faithful regardless of whether He chose to give us a son, but I can’t help feeling incredibly blessed. And when I forget these things (as I am apt to do), I will look out into my back yard and see little my heart rock, and be reminded once again of God’s faithfulness and steadfast character.

Heart Rock_EE

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An Odd Day, Yet Full Of Mercy

Dear friends and readers of this blog,

I just want to thank you all for your prayers. I HAD A PAIN-FREE DAY TODAY! It’s been a really long time since this happened, and I am thanking the Lord for this reprieve! Thank you so much for praying on my behalf. I am almost giddy at the possibility of continuing to be pain free, yet preparing to not be crushed if that is not the case when I wake up tomorrow morning.

On another note, I did notice that I felt much less movement from our little guy today. Usually I don’t even bother to do kick counts, because I can feel him constantly moving–about ten times in two minutes (or less). He’s been an active guy all along with no exceptions. Until today. So this morning I followed the kick count rules–drank a large glass of water and ate something sweet– and actually counted… ten kicks in forty minutes. Okay. A big change from his usual two minute mark. But at least it was under an hour, which is the criteria for normal fetal movement. I went about my day (yes, I actually did stuff today because I felt decent!) but then later on in the afternoon I kept noticing that I wasn’t feeling him moving much. So there I went again–lying still while doing more kick counting. This time, ten kicks in 28 minutes. I could only feel him kicking with my hand on my belly, and not from the inside like I usually can. “Hmm,” I thought, “What’s up with this?”

I called my mom to tell her my big news of not hurting today. I knew she’d be thrilled to hear it. “But,” I told her, “I haven’t been feeling the baby move as much today…” We discussed various possibilities of what could be causing that (moms are good at that) and after hanging up the phone with her, I decided to pull out my stethoscope and was delighted to pick up the baby’s heart beat right away. It was 156, his norm. He had the hiccups then and so I was able to actually feel him moving quite a bit during that time. But overall it seems like he’s been much quieter today.

So it was a bit of a strange day– on one hand by feeling so much better, yet on another not being able to feel the baby move as much. I wonder if he moved positions, which alleviated my pain but hampered my ability to feel him move as much (or his ability to move as much)? Maybe there is less room for him to move now? Either way, I’ll be keeping an eye on it, and let my OB know tomorrow if it keeps up.

Meanwhile I am rejoicing in His mercies placed over me today, and for feeling better for the first time in weeks!

 

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The Myth About Endometriosis & Pregnancy

It’s 3 am. I woke up after wincing in pain too many times after trying to roll over in bed. So now I’m awake and doing further research on endometriosis and adhesions, particularly in pregnancy.

There’s a lot to be found on the subject of endometriosis when it comes to pregnancy. Everywhere you look you will read “Be free from endometriosis pain while pregnant!” and every doctor will tell you “Pregnancy is the only temporary cure for Endometriosis!” I feel completely frustrated with this. And as I’ve discovered first hand, it’s simply just not true. I know I’m not the only one out there who’s dealing with worse endometriosis and adhesion symptoms while pregnant than not. Not that knowing the correct information would have changed our decision to go through IVF– believe it or not I’d go through even a lot more to have children. But I was completely blind sided by the pain. It would have been nice to have been able to prepare mentally and physically for the challenges I am facing today.

Wednesday night I hit a low point. When I say low point, I mean too many hours and days of intense pain with no relief. It happens sometimes. I emailed my OB and just let her know that the pain had been pretty bad for about a month (my last  appointment had been with the nurse practitioner, so I figured my OB didn’t know about it). I wasn’t having any new symptoms, but I was at my wit’s end with the unrelenting pain. I sat at the table after dinner and started to cry as I typed out the email to her. So tired of sending these emails, which all basically say the same thing… “still hurting!” (If I were an OB, I’d let out a loud sigh when emails like mine came in.) I expected a response from her the next day but didn’t expect that she’d want to see me right away. I went in that day at 2 pm. She did an ultrasound to check my cervix (still fine) and did a NST (no contractions, and baby did great). Those things were a relief. I was glad to hear that all this pain doesn’t seem to be affecting the baby one bit.

Next we discussed options for this unending pain. (If I could describe the pain, I would say two things, first: Imagine (if you are a girl) you are about to start your period, but it is unusually painful with cramping. This is how most of my periods were before getting pregnant. Pretty miserable. Second: Sharp stabbing pain in various places, usually on my cervix and on my bladder.) Initially my OB suggested stronger pain meds, which I refused. I told her I’d have to be dying on the floor to take those. She then suggested Flexiril (a muscle relaxant) but I was hesitant to take that too, even though it’s a category B drug. I’m not sure how much of what I’m having is actually a muscle problem, and my OB suggested as much. She said it may or may not help. I decided to keep listening to see what else she recommended. She suggested a maternity belt and a heating pad, and I agreed to try those. Lastly, she suggested I take Protonix for the acid reflux I’d been dealing with over the past few weeks. I’d tried all kinds of different things to help with the heartburn and reflux but the fact of the matter was that I was having to stay up until 1 am every night in order to give my smallish dinner several hours to “settle” before lying down and going to sleep. Even then, my throat was becoming sore from the stomach acid not staying put where it should be.

I came home from my appointment and my sister called from overseas to see how my appointment went. I started to cry (again) as I told her I had agreed to take the Protonix and how hard I had tried to stay as ‘medicine’ free as possible while pregnant. I felt like a failure. She literally started to laugh and said, “Em, don’t listen to lies! You can’t be staying up every night until 1 am to wait for your food to settle. You needed to change something to be able to manage.” I paused to think about what she said. She was right. She prayed with me and when we hung up I felt infinitely better. Sometimes my sister really knows the right thing to say at the right time.

So, now it’s almost 4 am and I am still hurting, still wondering what exactly my insides could look like to be causing all this pain, but at least I don’t have acid reflux anymore! My OB said the pain would probably only worsen until I go into labor with this little boy. Not exactly encouraging news, but I’m glad she told me that because I don’t want to be in denial about these things. I’m praying often that I can make it to my due date without having to be induced or have a c-section because I can’t walk or function anymore from the pain. And if I can’t make it, well… I’ll have to remember that I did my best. I always thought I could tough out any level of pain to keep my baby growing a little longer but now I realize just how much pain wears you down. And it scares me. So I really need your prayers to help me make it as long as possible!

And… if you are a faithful reader of my blog, thanks so much. I admit that I feel like a broken record right now. There are so many other things in life which are far more interesting than the pain I’ve been living with these past months. It’s pretty boring if you ask me. So thanks for sticking with me.

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Ten New Pregnancy Revelations

It just happens to be one of those things you can’t really ignore or forget about. Yes, I’m talking about pregnancy (again). I would apologize for this, but the fact that I am experiencing this is still a miracle and complete mystery to me! This little human being wriggling around inside constantly reminds me of the fact that I’m pregnant, let alone the other things like the constant comments people make about my growing belly. Here’s ten new things I’ve learned in the last two months of experiencing pregnancy:

1. The Prego Brain is real. As in, freakishly, scary-real. I’ve always boasted in having a good memory. I remember my childhood like it happened yesterday. But the details of the past week are gone. I’ve waved a sad good-bye to my good memory. The other day I put some eggs in a hot frying pan and completely forgot about them. I also forgot to park my car in gear, got out and to my horror watched it roll away (luckily I was able to jump in at the last minute and step on the brakes!). I forgot that we prayed before dinner last night and asked hubby when he was going to pray (he looked at me like I had lost my mind). And so, yeah… it’s a little scary. I sure hope my memory decides to re-inhabit my body after I have the baby, so that I don’t forget him in the grocery store or at home! (No seriously, this is a real concern of mine.)

2. The laws of gravity do not apply fairly to various parts of the body during pregnancy. For instance, the pull of gravity on one’s belly has got to be at least ten times stronger than normal. It just feels like that must be the case, whether you are trying to stand up, roll over, bend over, etc. Conversely, there seems to be zero gravitational pull your your stomach, where food somehow manages to make it’s way down and then immediately decides to comes back up.

3. People always say that pregnant women have no trouble staying warm. I confess I was really looking forward to this during the winter! Sadly, I must be in the small percentage of people who stay cold while pregnant… meanwhile the lovely heat dish hubby bought me last winter remains a close companion.

4. The fear of ruining your child due to colossal parenting errors is real and heightened during pregnancy. Obviously this is due to the imminent arrival of a baby. Hubby and I have had several conversations about this. We so hope and pray that we will be good parents and do the right thing for our child. But we know we are sinners too, and that it will be a battle to choose the selfless route and raise our child wisely.

5. Pregnancy changes every little thing about your body. Everything. I cannot think of a single thing it hasn’t changed, even if it is only a minor thing. My skin is more prone to infection and acne. My hair and nails grow faster. My fingers are swollen, my face looks a little puffier, I sometimes feel out of breath when singing…. but you know what? I just thought of something that hasn’t changed, and that’s my ears. Yes, my ears are still the same. (But somehow I don’t feel that negates my point though, so it’s staying put.)

6. It’s a sad day when your wedding ring stops fitting. That day came over a week ago. I bought a cheap cubic zirconia ring to wear for $30 for the rest of the pregnancy. I was sad but I actually had fun picking one out!

7. With each passing week of pregnancy, the excitement to hold your newborn in your arms grows exponentially. Especially after passing the 24 week mark (or the age of viability for a neonate). I also believe that the fear of the delivery will grow exponentially as the due date grows closer.

8. Pregnancy makes moods very tough to predict. Some days hubby tells me I am actually “volatile” (I know– YIKES!). Other days I am just like my old self. Some days I feel irritable for no reason whatsoever. I blame the hormones (and pray for patience and kindness).

9. Bystanders and friends cannot decide if your belly is small or large for how far along you are. No joke, when I am at work, among other places, the conversations go like this: (10AM — Coworker says to me) “You aren’t even showing yet! Where’s your baby bump?” (I take off my jacket to show that I do in fact have a belly.) “Well, you do have a bump, but you’re still really small!” (11AM– Another coworker) “Wow, look at that belly of yours. You’ve really popped out! I hate to say this, but you’re going to be HUGE by the time you deliver!” So I haven’t decided yet if my belly will be sticking out all the way to the North Pole or if people will still be saying “You look small!” when the 40 weeks are up.

10. Pregnancy is so different from anything I’ve ever experienced that it’s fun. Sure, it hurts and makes me more uncomfortable than ever, but I still love it. Don’t get me wrong– I’ve been miserable enough to be in tears multiple times. But the misery is a far cry from the misery and ache I experienced when I longed to be pregnant but couldn’t be. I love that I get to be pregnant, and we thank God for our son every night.

What about you? What have you experienced? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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