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.

Love,

Mommy

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!

Love, 

Mommy 

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!    

Monday, May 16, 2016

Dear Little One-- Our Journey to You

Dear Little One,

If you are anything like your big sister and brother, when you get older you are going to LOVE hearing stories about yourself. You will ask us to repeat the same stories you've heard over and over and you will beg to finish your schoolwork early so you can read my blog and look at pictures and read stories from when you were young.

So, here is the first story in your journey to life, but it starts long before you began to grow in my tummy. Your presence, sweet little one, is nothing short of a blessed miracle.

Our journey to parenthood began with your sister. We had known her and loved her from the day she was born, but she didn't become our daughter until she was 16 months old. I first became a mommy in 2004 through the blessing of adoption! Your daddy and I had decided that we wanted to start a family. Because of how my body works, I always suspected that I might have a hard time getting pregnant, but I didn't know that for sure. Regardless, we were ready and wanting to become parents when an opportunity came about to bring Leeann into our family. We jumped at the chance to become parents. And parents we became--literally over night. One night it was the two of us and the next day we had a toddler!

Your brother came around in 2005, about a year and a half after we had decided to start a family, and a year after Leeann had made us parents for the first time. My pregnancy with him was a doozy, but I loved him from the moment I found out that life was growing in my womb!

When your siblings were 2 and 4 your daddy came home one day and said, "I think it's time to have a third kid." This news was much to my surprise and delight because daddy had previously said he was pretty sure that two was the perfect number of children. I not-so-secretly wanted more kids.

To make a long story short, we decided to pursue the adoption of a teenage girl, who ended up being placed with another family. Shortly thereafter though, we ended up becoming foster parents. Over the next 6 years we would foster 19 children. I thought that maybe child #3 would come from one of our fostering situations. But alas, it never did.

Somewhere during that time we decided to try for another biological child. We spent years learning about infertility. Our dreams of another child were being crushed month after month after month.

Finally, in September of 2011, I learned I was pregnant! I sent my baby off to kindergarten knowing that there was finally a new baby growing in my tummy! Our joy grew into heartache over the next two months, however, as we learned that the baby in my tummy wasn't growing. Eventually, we came to accept the fact that this little one was not meant to join our family here on Earth.

On that baby's due date, I found out I was expecting again! But my joy once again turned to grief when we had to let go of those dreams just 5 days later--on Mother's Day no less.

After losing these two little ones, mommy's heart couldn't take it anymore. We decided to put aside our dream of having child #3. The grief and sorrow was simply too much to bear. I knew I needed to be healthy and present for your big sister and big brother, and I was having a hard time doing that while hanging onto the dream that I was powerless to fulfill.

So I let go of my dream, though the desire never disappeared. I always felt in my heart like God had more in store for our family, but clearly, he was not opening any doors by which to make that happen. In 2014 we let our foster care certification lapse, since we didn't know what the future would hold for our family. Another potential avenue closed.

Now, here we are today. It's 2016. Your sister is 12 and your brother is 10. I had long given up on having a third child, until early April when much to my surprise I learned that were growing in my tummy. Miracle of all miracles, I marvel that God is growing life within my womb after so many years of wishing and wanting and waiting!

I don't know if God will allow you to join our family here on Earth, or if you are meant to join your siblings in Heaven until we get to meet you face to face one day. But, what I do know, is that our whole family is choosing to celebrate every day of your life. We are grateful for the joy that you have already brought to our hearts and we anxiously await seeing what God has in store for you and for the future of our family!

Dear little one, I love you more than you could ever imagine. I look forward to writing more stories about how you are growing and changing in the weeks and months to come. I'm so excited to meet you one day!  

Friday, April 29, 2016

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Icing

I pulled into my driveway last night after an event at church and suddenly remembered two things:

1.) I had to drop my car of at the mechanic before morning.

2.) I promised my favorite client (my husband) that I would make him some carrot cake cupcakes for a retirement potluck at work along with a couple of individual cupcake boxes for the retirees.

Mind you, this was at 9 o'clock at night.

My husband, being oh-so understanding, drove with me to the shop and then we put the kids to bed and I got started on yet another late night baking adventure.

Honestly though, despite my best intentions, it's just kind of what I do.

Luckily, I'm also in the middle of a delightful show about horses on Netflix and Rob got me some wireless headphones for my Birthday this year, so it's not so rough spending my evenings in the kitchen.

And despite the mess, I enjoy when something beautiful and yummy comes out of my kitchen that ends up being a blessing to others!