Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Dear Little One-- It's a...

Dear Little One, 

From the moment I found out about you I was utterly convinced that you were a girl. I envisioned frilly tutus and hair bows. I day dreamed about an introverted, quiet little girl with wavy brown hair and glasses sitting by my side quietly playing with her dolls. 

I envisioned a room full of Minnie Mouse style polka dots, and I collected a board full of little girl ideas on Pinterest. 

I had compiled a list of names so long that I knew I would have a hard time figuring out what to call you. Lydia, Elizabeth, Hattie, Norah, Hailey, Emmaline, Naomi, Lucy...

A few weeks before we found out your gender however, we decided what your name might be if you were a boy. We had compiled a short list but none of them were "sticking"... all the more reason I was convinced you were a girl. We had so many names to choose from!

But then a boy name stuck. Suddenly I had a hard time envisioning you as a girl, because I just couldn't let go of this name. I looked Titus in the face and thought, I think I could wrap my mind around cars, trucks, trains, and wild sound effects.

After our scare a few weeks back I decided to get the blood test that gives information about the makeup of your chromosomes. If something were wrong with your development, I wanted to know. Also, I was very persuaded by recognizing that in finding out more about your chromosomes I would find out your gender.

So, late one night (at 9:30 pm!) my doctor called and said, "Baby appears to be healthy on all accounts so far. Would you like to know the gender?"

"Yes! I would love to!" I whispered, trying not to draw attention to my late night phone call.

Then she told me the news...

This whole time I had thought I would be disappointed if I didn't end up getting to dress you up in tutus and hair bows.

But I wasn't. Not even a little. I knew that instant that you were exactly what our family needed! I rubbed my belly and tried your name out in my head, then I rushed in to tell daddy, who was also surprised, but oh-so excited! Titus was the only one who thought you were a boy. The rest of us were convinced you would be a girl!

The next day we told the kids with a blue-themed lunch and they also quickly became excited to learn a little bit more about who you are. Titus is a little bit concerned about having to share his room with a little one who will try to eat his legos, but I'm sure we'll work something out over time!

Yesterday we got to see you on our 20 week ultrasound scan. From what we could see, and what we were told, you are developing just perfectly and you are definitely a boy! We saw your brain, heart, kidneys, ambilical cord, gender, spine, limbs, and your sweet, sweet face. What a relief to my still anxious soul. Sometimes this whole thing just seems unreal, and far too good to be true!

You were (once again) quite active. This is the third ultrasound tech that has commented on how active you are. I have a sneaky suspicion that you might be less like the docile little girl I pictured and more like a rough and tumble, fearless little guy who never stops moving! The good news is, I definitely have experience in this department. Your brother went straight from standing to running and still has a hard time sitting still. I'm not going to lie, I get a little exhausted just thinking about chasing you around. I'm not 24 this time!

Regardless of whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, tall or short, focused or fidgety, etc., I pray you always know how much I love you. I look forward with great anticipation to learning who God has created you to be. It is my hope, dear son, that I can be a small part of helping you reach your full God-given potential. It is a joy I look forward to with the greatest of anticipation!



p.s. My friend Eroica took the family photos. I can guarentee this won't be the last time she'll take your picture!     

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Dear Little One-- Half Way There!

Dear Little One,

You have been growing for 20 weeks, and you have 20 weeks to go (approximately). You are roughly the size of a banana weighing in at 10.1 ounces and measuring at 6.50 inches!

We got some Ben and Jerry's "Half Baked"
ice cream to celebrate your "Half Way"
Day today!
You are now yawning, hiccuping, sucking, and swallowing. You are also twisting, rolling, punching,and kicking. Daddy even gets to feel you move sometimes, without any doubt. You are quite active!

I, on the other hand, am not as active as I would prefer to be at this stage, but I do see light at the end of the tunnel and this pregnancy seems to be progressing rather quickly. I'm sure you'll be in our arms before we know it!

I try to pass time by thinking of my pregnancy with you in small increments. At first, it was counting down the days until we could see a heartbeat. Then I was counting one week to the next, praying for sweet relief from "morning" sickness (which still hasn't entirely gone away). I anxiously awaited getting past the first trimester, which held the highest risk of losing you. Then I wanted to find out your gender (which I already know, but haven't announced publicly yet). Next up is your 20 week anatomy scan, which is only 2 days away. Then I'll count down to 23 weeks which is when you begin to have a chance of living outside of my womb should something happen. Each week after that is another viability milestone, increasing your chances of being born healthy.

In late November/early December I'm going to start counting down the days until you get here instead of counting down the days of keeping you safe and tucked away in my womb. Ironic, isn't it?

In the meantime, your family is hustling and bustling with summer plans and projects. Most of my projects have been done from the couch with the help of Google, but I've also been able to fulfill a few cookie orders I already had scheduled for this summer before I knew about you. I've researched and ordered Leeann and Titus's school curriculum for next year, and I continue to schedule it out piece by piece, recognizing that I have no idea what this next year will hold. I'm hoping to more or less have the year planned out before it starts so they can keep going even if I end up in a spot where I can't help them as much as I'd like. Along with reading, writing and math, I anticipate that both your sister and your brother will always look back on this year thinking about how much they learned about pregnancy, childbirth and babies. Talk about a real world education!

I've also been doing a lot of research. On a church. In a town. In a state. That's kind of far away! We are currently walking through the process of figuring out whether or not daddy would be a good a pastor for a particular church, and whether or not the church and community would be a good fit for our family. So far, we are very excited about the possibility of this new opportunity, but it's a little weird to think you might not end up being born an Oregonian!  

This church's search committee has asked us a lot of questions, and have answered a lot of our questions. They've interviewed us and checked daddy's references. We are praying that God makes his desire for our family very clear in the weeks ahead, as we walk down the path of seeking his will together.

One thing you will learn in life, dear Little One, is that you simply never know what a day will bring. When I wrote our family update in March, I could not have dreamed what kind of excitement would be in store for us in 2016, but daddy and I were already calling it a year of hope. We still have no idea how this year will end, but there is plenty of excitement here in the middle as we watch God's will for our futures unfold!



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dear Little One-- A Little Scare

Dear Little One,

Have I told you lately that I love you?

You gave me quite a scare a little more than a week ago. I had a little bit of a reason to be concerned Sunday night and an increasing reason to be concerned Monday night, which sent me into a little bit of a tail spin.

I realized that somewhere along the lines of the last couple of weeks I've gone about talking about you in the "if we get to bring you home" context to the "when you're born" context. So the thought of losing you at 15 weeks almost sent me over the edge.

Since the moment I found out about you I made a committment to hold your life with an open hand. I was intent on seeing the beauty that is the unexpected gift of your life no matter how many days I get to know you in my womb, and regardless of whether or not I get to bring you home.

But I realized Monday night how desperately I want to bring you home. I want to hold you and kiss you and smell your sweet smell. I want to nibble your toes and comfort you when you cry. I want to meet your needs and enjoy every aspect of your presence. I want a chance to meet you outside of my womb. I will love you and treasure you and celebrate your life regardless of the outcome, but I really, really, really want to know you.

I fretted all night about whether or not to go to the E.R., but I had an appointment already scheduled for Tuesday morning so after talking to the on-call doctor I decided to just take it easy and wait until the morning. At this stage, there wouldn't be anything they could do if my body began the process of miscarriage.

So I wondered and I worried and I waited all of Monday night, and I spent the evening texting my friend Marnie who happens to be due the same day and is very knowledgeable on all things prenancy related. She did her best to help me make sense of what might be going on, but most importantly she was a listening ear. Daddy spent the evening comforting me and praying for you and I eventually managed to drift off to sleep while gripping a handful of tear soaked tissues.

I'm not entirely sure how to add a sound bite to my blog,
but here is a picture of the sound waves of your
sweet little heart beating! Ignore the date, that
was the date I recorded it to my phone from a
video your daddy took.  
I woke up super early Tuesday morning and was preparing for the worst, while praying for God to preserve your life. Daddy and I went to the doctor and right away the nurse found your heartbeat. 156 beautiful beats per minute! Have I ever told you how much I love that sound?

It's such a sweet, sweet sound.

I will never get tired of hearing it!

The doctor examined me and did an in office ultrasound and as far as she can tell everything looked good. We got to see you (it was daddy's first time!) and you were once again very active. You waved at us and danced around. A few hours after that appointment the symptoms I was experiencing began to die down and I started feeling you move around again. The doctor isn't sure the reasons behind the scare, but she was very reassuring about what she saw. I am amazed that I live in a time where technology can give us such a clear peak into your world inside my womb.

I am grateful, as it put my mind greatly at ease.

I treasure these moments and even the scares, as they are a constant reminder of what a gift you are and how precious life is. I am so very grateful for you. I forgot how intense a mother's love can be for a child she's never laid eyes on. I hope someday you get an opportunity to write letters to a little one of your own.



Monday, June 6, 2016

Dear Little One-- One Trimester Down, Two To Go!

Dear Little One,

We have made it to the 2nd trimester. You are officially 1/3 of the way through the baking process,
My first picture of you at
6 weeks, 6 days. You were only
the size of a blueberry.  I had no idea
how far along I was or if I would
get to see your heart beat. My big
puffy eyes are a result of my sobbing
at the sight you. I've cried every time I've
seen or heard your over the past few
months. I may or may not be a little on
the emotional side these days!

I sent this picture to

daddy to share the good news!  
and approximately the size of a peach!

The chances of us getting to bring you home once you've passed the 1st trimester are very promising, especially since we've heard your heart beat and gotten a chance to see you.

If you're reading this someday, clearly, you finished baking with success!

Guess what? Last night I even got to feel you move! I've thought I may have been feeling you move from time to time for the past two weeks but I wasn't positive, and that would definitely be on the early side. Last night though, I felt something funny just to the right of my tummy below my belly button. A few minutes later I felt it again. It must be you dancing and rolling and playing around! I went out to tell your daddy and he put his hand on my tummy and swore he felt you too. I told him it was too early for him to be able to feel it from the outside, but he insists that he did, so I won't argue!


Let me tell you a little bit about the last few months. It's been a doozy, but oh-so worth it.

About a week after I found out I was expecting you I got the 'pleasure' of getting sick and throwing up often. I say 'pleasure' because it was a constant reminder that you were doing well and getting what you needed to be healthy. I put quotes around it because throwing up is not the least bit pleasurable.

But at this point I haven't thrown up much in the past week and I feel increasingly human by the day. I am celebrating that both you and I made it through these past few months!

So yes, I've had the customary nausea and vomiting, but I've also had some other symptoms that you might find hilarious someday. I didn't find them hilarious a few weeks ago, but even now I can find some humor in some of them.

Here are some of the things that have given me a really hard time:

  • The smell of bread toasting
  • The smell of red onions
  • The smell of the drapes in my house
  • The smell of bathrooms
  • The smell of breath
  • The smell of my hair after I've flat ironed it (even 12 hours later!)
  • The smell of my closet
  • The smell of hot foods
  • The sight of various foods for any number of reasons
  • The taste of my own mouth (yeah, that was fun!)
  • The feeling of a toothbrush in my mouth (which is not good considering the point above)
  • The feeling of being touched (I am always HOT, and touch only makes it worse)
  • The sun (see above)
  • Getting into a hot car (see above)
  • Taking a warm shower (see above)
  • Waking up and opening my eyes before eating something
  • Loud noises
  • Flickering lights
As a bonus, I pretty much spent two whole months asleep. I wish I were joking. Most days, if given the opportunity, I would wake up and eat then go back to bed. Then wake up and eat and take a nap, or lay down and watch Call the Midwife on Netflix. Then I'd eat and then sleep for a few hours in the afternoon. Then I would wake up and eat and try to stay awake a few hours. Then I would fall asleep again somewhere in the 8-9 o'clock range, usually while watching another episode. I can literally think of only a few tangible things I've accomplished over the past couple of months, unless you count watching an entire t.v. series.  

However, what I have been accomplishing is pretty remarkable. I'm growing a human! 

And for that, I continue to be oh-so grateful. In the moment these last two months have almost felt unbearable at some points. However, I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel, and day by day I'm getting more and more excited about your impending arrival. I am fully aware of the blessing that you are, and I am tickled that I'm getting a chance to know you more and more each day!

I love you Little One!



Friday, May 20, 2016

Dear Little One-- 12 weeks!

My first "baby bump" picture. I can't
believe how quickly I've started to
show with you!

 Dear Little One,

I know I still have a lot to write about your life leading up to this point, but those letters will have to wait. Because today, my heart is bursting!

You are right on the verge of being 12 weeks old. TWELVE WEEKS! Sometimes I still can't believe that we are here. You are  growing in my womb. I am pregnant!

I knew I was pregnant from the moment I saw two pink lines on my first pregnancy test, but the reality has only sunk in little by little over the past few months.

It first started to sink in when I started feeling sick, then when I saw   your heartbeat at my first ultrasound when you were nearly 7 weeks old, then as my belly started grow, and again when I got to hear your hearbeat at the beginning of this week.

But today, today takes the cake. I got to SEE you.

Facing the camera
You were moving and dancing and flailing your arms about. You sucked your thumb and kicked your legs. You twisted and you turned. I got to see your little feet and the flicker of your heart. I even got to see all four chambers of your heart! You were so active!

You have a head, and two arms and two legs. Your eyes have moved to the front of your head. I saw your spine and I even got to see your brain forming.

Partial Profile
I don't know what I was expecting to see. This whole pregnancy I've been super excited about you, but also bracing myself for the possible news that something is wrong. And while I realize there is still that possibility, I also know that there is an increasing likelihood that I will get to hold you in my arms and hear your first cries. I long for that day!

5 little fingers!
As soon as the nurse put the ultrasound wand on my tummy you started dancing for me. It's almost like you just wanted me to know that you are alive and well in there. Leeann and Titus and Mrs. Monica got to come in at that point and you put on a show for them as well. It was fun to watch your siblings stare in awe at your movements and wonder at the amazement of your presence in my womb.

Full profile
Soon enough I will start to feel those movements. That's another thing I'm really looking forward to. I am truly enjoying every moment of this journey with you. I love you sweet child and I'm so very grateful for you!

p.s. Thank you so much for the dancing and the enthusiastic waving. Seeing you active and growing does my heart wonders!