Redeeming July

Many of you are probably already aware of what took place in our lives last July. I wrote a post called “Goodbye July” because it was a pretty sucky month for us and I was glad it was over. To catch you up if you didn’t know, my husband was in a very bad bicycle accident (broken bones, neck brace, nerve damage, etc.) and we suffered our 2nd miscarriage… on the very same day.

So now let me tell you a much happier story!

As terrifying as it was to try again for another baby after suffering 2 miscarriages, we did it anyway. We knew our family felt incomplete and we both desired to have one more baby. It took just a few months before it happened.

It was the day before Thanksgiving. My period was late. I was in a sort of “funk” emotionally and thought something might be up. So I “instacarted” a pregnancy test (because I can) and it showed up within an hour. I peed on that stick as I’ve done so many times in the past. And I swear, this one took the longest time for the results to appear. It says something like 3 minutes on the box, and I think it took every last second of those 3 minutes before it appeared. It felt more like 10 minutes at the time, but there it was:

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As expected, I was overwhelmed with a lot of different emotions. Mostly fear and joy. Fear that it would end in a miscarriage again. Joy that a new life is growing inside me again. Then I did the math and realized when the baby would be due. Late July.  Then came even more tears (mostly of joy).

We’ll be in the hospital again this July, but for a much happier reason 🙂 The accident and miscarriage happened on July 21. Our baby is due on July 23.

But that’s just the beginning of the story!

Because of my “history of miscarriage” my doctor wanted to me to have a blood test to check hcg levels before even coming in for an appointment. In a normal, healthy pregnancy your levels should double every 2 days (in early pregnancy). So this was just to check that everything was developing normally so far. Well, of course, my numbers didn’t *quite* double. They were good and my doctor said it was normal for how far along I was, but she still wanted to do an early ultrasound just to be sure.

So I went in a few days later for the ultrasound. There was a gestational sac, a well-formed yolk sac….and nothing else. There was no visible fetal pole. The sac was measuring about a week earlier than they expected based on my dates. Based on the date of my last menstrual cycle, I should’ve been about 6.5 weeks along at that ultrasound (early enough to see something usually) But I was only measuring 5.5 weeks. So they scheduled me for yet ANOTHER ultrasound a week later.

Well, you can imagine at this point I’m convinced that I’m having another miscarriage. Between my levels not doubling and not seeing a baby on the ultrasound, I was sure this pregnancy was doomed. The next morning I woke up and didn’t even want to get out of bed. My husband and I were supposed to go out to breakfast, but I just laid there, depressed, sad and pissed that this could happen to us AGAIN.

Eventually, I got myself up out of bed, got dressed and was about to go drop Ivor off somewhere when all of a sudden, I ran to the bathroom and puked. And now I was confused. Morning sickness? That’s usually a good sign. Yesterday there was no baby on the ultrasound screen, and today I have morning sickness? But I brushed it off because I know that morning sickness isn’t always a guarantee that all will be well and I was sure that if I Googled “morning sickness and miscarriage” I’d find stories of it happening. So I quickly went back to my “woe is me” attitude.

We went back for the 2nd ultrasound a week later. The room is set up so that the ultrasound screen isn’t visible to the patient, just the ultrasound tech. She was in a hurry because they were running super late. She seemed friendly and talked to us and asked questions. But it wasn’t until she was done, at the very end, that she finally turned the screen so that I could see. There was a baby! And a heartbeat!

::Cue the tears::

For the first time since I found out I was pregnant, I felt calm. Mind you, all of this took place BEFORE I even had my regularly scheduled “first OB appointment”. Had it not been for my “history” I would’ve never had those early tests/scans. I would’ve just showed up for my first appointment on December 17, when I was 8 weeks along, and saw this little bean:

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Checking up on things too early in pregnancy just causes unnecessary worry/anxiety I think. And worry and anxiety took over A LOT in those first few weeks. I couldn’t just enjoy being pregnant. I was constantly afraid that every time I went to the bathroom, I’d see blood. And that we’d have that ultrasound and hear those words from the doctor again, “there’s no heartbeat”.

Even now that I’m almost 13 weeks along and everything has gone well so far, fear still creeps in occasionally and reminds me of all the things that could STILL go wrong. Late miscarriage. Genetic disorders. Stillbirth. What a miserable way to live though, constantly worrying about all that could go wrong. God did not give me a spirit of fear. That comes straight from Satan himself and he feeds off it it. No matter what happens, God is still in control and He will not abandon us. I will not let fear steal my joy!

Finding Nemo is my son’s favorite movie and we watch it A LOT. But there’s one scene in particular that hit home when we watched it recently. If you’ve lived under a rock and haven’t seen it, let me set the scene for you. Marlin and Dori are on their journey to find Nemo. They’re almost to Sydney (where they know Nemo is, somewhere), when all of a sudden they get swallowed by a giant whale.

And that’s about where I am right now 🙂 Letting go and trusting God, even though I don’t know exactly what will happen.

Aside from the fear/anxiety issue, this pregnancy has been rough in other ways too. I’ve had horrible nausea. The “all-day sickness” has stuck around since the first morning it arrived. I’ve lived with near-constant wooziness for about 5 weeks straight. There has been A LOT of vomiting and overall I’ve felt the worst I’ve ever felt with any pregnancy. My doctor said that I’d experience all the discomforts of pregnancy much earlier this time around and man was she right! In addition to nausea/vomiting, there’s the fun mood swings and irritability (pray for my husband and kids please), back pain, boob pain, heartburn, headaches, gas/bloating, etc. Pregnancy is soooo glamorous isn’t it?? 🙂

As miserable as those things are, they’re all a reminder of the little life growing inside me. So it’s hard to complain (though I still do….).

We’ll find out the gender at the end of February, so get your guesses in now 🙂 And stay tuned for more pregnancy updates and……STITCH FIX MATERNITY!!  It’s 99% likely that this will be our last baby so it might be weird to buy all new, nice maternity clothes now, but I’ve decided that since I’ve felt so miserable, I’m going out in style with this one (and then I’ll sell it all) lol.

Anyway, we’d appreciate your prayers throughout this pregnancy. That BG3 would be strong and healthy and that I’d be able to experience the peace of God and really enjoy the rest of this pregnancy (to the extent possible). Thanks!

 

 

 

 

It Sneaks Up on You

By now we probably would’ve made the announcement. Not just that we were expecting our 3rd baby, but our 3rd AND 4th. Twins! I’d be into my 2nd trimester now, passed the “risky” stage  and ready to go public, letting the world know that the Griffiths twins were due to arrive mid-March 2016 and our life was about to get a whole lot crazier. They were due just before Gwen’s birthday, so for a very brief period of time, we would’ve had “4 under 3”. Can you even imagine?! It would be utter chaos. But I’d give anything for that chaos.

Grief over a miscarriage really does come in waves. You go several days in a row feeling pretty good emotionally, and then one little thing reminds you. “Oh yeah, my babies died…my womb is empty….well, this sucks.”

It’s nobody’s fault. Pregnancy is a wonderful thing to be celebrated, so of course we make fun facebook announcements and spend the next few days receiving a million facebook notifications with “likes” and comments. Then again once when the big day arrives and you post that first photo w/the stats. As I’ve been seeing those “due in March” announcements recently, I’ve been reminded. I wonder how we would’ve made the announcement…

I’ve also seen this image shared a few times recently and found it incredibly moving.

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This sculpture is called “The Child Who Was Never Born” by Martin Hudáčeka. Some things I’ve read on the Internet say it’s supposed to depict the grief and sorrow of a mother who aborted her child, and the unborn child comforting her/offering forgiveness. I don’t know if that’s the case or not- but it doesn’t matter. Any parent who has lost a child (whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, or a regretful abortion) can relate to this image. That’s the beauty of art, right? You interpret it through the lens of your own life and circumstances. When I look at this I see 3 little ones. The first one we lost in April 2012- the one touching my head, and our twins lost in July 2015- I see them crawling around at my knees, looking up at me).

I grieve over having never met them. Never knowing who they would’ve resembled more- mommy or daddy. That they’ll never get to play or fight with their crazy siblings. I’m sad for Gwen and Ivor baby too, that they just lost 2 siblings. Right around the same time I was miscarrying, Gwen suddenly took an interest in her babydoll. Rocking her and feeding her in the rocking chair, “I feeding the baby mommy”. And Ivor Baby who one day randomly gave the babydoll the sweetest, most gentle kiss, right on the lips. It was out of nowhere. And it stabbed me in the heart. They would’ve taken such great care of their baby brothers/sisters/or brother and sister. In my mind, it was a boy and a girl. I’ll know for sure one day…

I am thankful for the 2 kids playing around me right now. Gwen is sitting at the table coloring and doodling, Ivor Baby is being his usual curious self, getting into things. They make the grieving process a little easier. They both distract me, and bring a lot of joy and laughter, which is incredibly healing. When we had our first miscarriage we didn’t have any kids yet. So that was wrapped up in the emotions of uncertainty “will we ever be able to have kids?” But we knew miscarriage was pretty common, and not “likely” to repeat itself, so we immediately tried again and then there was Gwen, less than a year later. And then Ivor baby, another year later! I didn’t think it would happen again, but it did. And so the odds increase.

Coming home from the most recent heartbreaking ultrasound, I told Ivor, “I’m not sure I can do this again”. Because in my head I knew that the solution to never having to go through this again, is to just be done having kids for good. But my heart still very much desires another one, and so I was relieved when Ivor said that he wanted another one too and that he wanted to try again as soon as possible. But it’s scary. I’m terrified to get pregnant again because we have no control over what happens. It could happen again, even though my doctor says it’s still “not likely to repeat itself”.

So, we’re being courageous and not calling it quits just yet. What happens happens. It’s in God’s control. For now, we still mourn the loss of our babies, love on the ones we do have, and just live life!

 

 

 

 

Goodbye, July

July 2015 proved to be one of the most eventful months of our lives. Good events, and very bad events. We started off the month with a fantastic day trip to Paso Robles for wine tasting (just my husband and I), as part of an early anniversary celebration. Then we spent a few days in Tahoe for a family vacation. Overall, our Tahoe trip was awesome. We loved it there and can’t wait to go back again (I have an entire post in my drafts folder all about it). However, bad event #1 happened there. On our 3rd day, Ivor Baby had a pretty serious allergic reaction to something and we had to take him to the ER. It was a “moderate” reaction. Eye swelling and hives all over his body. But no respiratory distress, thank God. We didn’t figure out what caused it until recently after taking him to an allergist. Food allergies tend to be the most common occurrence in babies, but we didn’t introduce anything new while we were in Tahoe. We DID, however, expose him to something for about the 3rd time ever, eggs. Little Dude is allergic to eggs (and milk as it turns out, but eggs are likely what caused the bad reaction in Tahoe). Now we know what caused it, and what to avoid in the future. We even have an epi-pen just in case. But we’re hopeful that he’ll outgrow the allergy eventually.

Moving on to later in the month….

We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. Yay marriage! Yay us! Good times.

But then,

July 21, 2015- my husband was in a serious bicycle accident on his way home from work. While riding downhill at 20+mph, his front tire failed, blew out completely, sending him flying into a chain link fence, breaking his collar bone, fracturing 2 bones in his back and bruising the spinal cord in his neck (injuries that were confirmed much later at the hospital). A random stranger who stopped to help him called me with the news. Well, he called and then handed the phone to Ivor, who then told me what happened. Fortunately, my mother-in-law was visiting at the time so I left immediately to go get him. The plan was for me to take him to the hospital. But when I got there and we realized he couldn’t get in the car because of how much pain he was in, I called 911 and an ambulance showed up a few mins later. When the paramedics arrived and started poking and prodding him, cutting off his bike shirt because he was in too much pain to move his arms, I started to get sick to my stomach. Sure he was awake and talking, but he looked so pale and in so much pain. And so I started assuming the worst (serious internal bleeding that we don’t know about yet, etc. etc. etc.) I had to sit on the back bumper of the ambulance with my head between my knees to keep myself from passing out or vomiting. I kept telling myself “pull it together, Krystal…they don’t need 2 patients right now. Pull yourself together”. After what seemed like way too long, they told me to meet them in Trauma at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. So I got in  car, prepared to follow them. But then they sat there for what also seemed like FOR-EV-ER, before they finally pulled away and started driving. I was *this* close to laying on my horn, beeping at them to get their lazy as*es moving. Again, “pull yourself together woman”.

Once we arrived at the hospital, he had a ton of x-rays done and a CT scan, and was given morphine to help with the pain. We waited around for quite a bit, wondering if he’d be able to go home that night or if he’d need to stay for awhile. While waiting out in the hallway in the trauma area, I decided to finally take a bathroom break. While in the bathroom, I discovered that I was bleeding.

What I failed to mention earlier was that shortly after our Tahoe vacation, we found out we were expecting our 3rd baby.

And now we’re in the trauma center of Santa Clara Valley Medical, my husband is laying on a gurney out in the hallway in a neck brace, with broken bones, in excruciating amounts of pain, …and now in typical, “when it rains it pours” fashion, it appeared that we were losing our baby too. All on the same day. I walked back out to Ivor and told him what was happening. He held my hand, which was all he could do.

“Worst. Day. Ever.”

They kept him in the hospital overnight and I stayed with him, in the most horrible uncomfortable chair ever, not being able to sleep for obvious reasons. 1. the chair 2. I was freezing 3. I was bleeding 4. I kept checking on Ivor making sure he was breathing…watching the rise and fall of his chest, much like you do when you first bring home a baby. Because I’m paranoid like that. When the doctors made their rounds first thing in the morning they discovered that Ivor had quite a bit of neck pain, so they ordered an MRI for later in the day (the MRI is what eventually showed his spinal cord injury). While he was getting his MRI, I was on my way to the OB for an ultrasound to try to figure out what was going on with my pregnancy, expecting the worst of course.

It was in the OB’s office, sitting there by myself, while my husband was in the hospital, that I finally could NOT hold myself together anymore. The nurse asked me “So, what’s going on, when did the bleeding start?” And the floodgates opened. I was one hot mess in that office. And then came the ultrasound. We discovered 2 things. 1. There were 2 visible sacs on the screen. Twins. I was pregnant with twins. But one of them didn’t appear to be growing well, and starting to disintegrate, which was probably the cause of the bleeding. 2. The other one appeared to be in better shape, with a little baby inside. But I wasn’t far enough along for them to be able to tell for sure if everything was okay or not. So they sent me away to get a blood test (to check  hCG levels) and another ultrasound the following week. So there was a small sliver of hope. While it was pretty clear that we were losing one of the twins (one I didn’t even know we were expecting until we were losing him/her), there was still hope for the 2nd one. The hCG test showed that my levels were rising, which was a good sign, but since I was having twins my levels were “unpredictable”, according to the doctor. So ultimately, it would  be the 2nd ultrasound that would hopefully give us a clear answer one way or the other.

Fast forward to that ultrasound a week later (after we’ve been home from the hospital for a few days). Ivor was (barely) able to be there with me for this one. He was in a lot of pain, but he was there. The 2 sacs were still there but the one was significantly smaller than it was the week before, confirming again that we lost one. But then as the ultrasound tech began measuring the 2nd sac with the 2nd baby in it, I knew. I’ve been pregnant enough in the past few years and I’ve seen my fair share of ultrasounds to know what a beating heart looks like, even in the early stages, and there wasn’t one. The tech didn’t say much and asked again if I was still bleeding at the time. I wasn’t. She said to sit down and wait for the doctor to come in to talk to us about the results (again, we know what’s coming at this point). Still though, even with a week to prepare myself for it, and seeing it on the screen with my own eyes, it still hurt like hell to hear the actual words come out of my doctor’s mouth. “No heartbeat”.

That makes 2 miscarriages, and 3 total babies lost. Still as devastating as the first time, even with 2 beautiful, healthy kids at home.

I was considering passing the babies naturally at home, but decided against it given our current circumstances. I was taking care of my husband and our 2 kids and the last thing our family needed was for me to be in pain, cramping and bleeding and not being able to take care of them. So we opted for another D&C procedure.

That was yesterday. And now it’s over.

And it’s a new month.

There’s a lot more I want to write about this whole experience, with Ivor’s accident, and miscarrying for the 2nd time…and the twins. And I know Ivor wants to write about it from his perspective too. But for now, all I can say is that God is still good. And we have never before in our lives been more surrounded by the love and kindness of others. And have never experienced comfort quite like this before.

“Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4). 

 

 

Boy, That Escalated Quickly- a birth story :)

The much anticipated birth story of our 2nd blessing- Ivor Alan Griffiths.

It began on Sunday, June 1st, when I woke up and started getting ready for church. Super mild braxton hicks contractions started happening. It wasn’t anything different than what I had been feeling for the past 2 months or so. Noticeable “practice contractions” as they’re described. Not the least bit painful, just noticeable. The only difference this time was the frequency. Up until then I had only felt about 2-3 each day. But now they were coming about 2-3 every hour. So I just began keeping track of them to see how long they lasted and how frequently they were coming. About 10-15 mins apart, lasting about 1 min each. But they weren’t getting any stronger or lasting longer so I just went about my day as usual. We went to the grocery store after church, ate lunch, watched some TV, took Gwen for a walk, cooked dinner, etc.

And right around dinner time is when I noticed a difference in the strength of these “practice” contractions. They were definitely stronger than before. They got my attention and made me have to close my eyes and breathe through most of them. Still easily managed, but just required some focus. From about 6pm-10pm I kept track of them. They were coming a little more frequently now, about 7-10 mins apart. Still lasting about 1-1:30 mins each. Since this had been going on all day, and there was a noticeable change in strength, we decided it was probably time to call my doctor. The call was made around 10pm I believe. She said to give it another hour and if the contractions remained the same, or started coming more frequently, to go ahead and get to the hospital. She knew that I wanted to do as much of the laboring on my own as possible, without any meds, so she was comfortable having me wait a bit longer and labor more at home. If I definitely planned on getting an epidural, she would’ve had me come in right then.

So we double-checked the hospital bag, threw in some last minute things. Ivor decided to shave, only to have his razor die about 10 seconds in, so he looked fantastic 😉 We were both kind of giddy at this point, realizing this was probably it. Part of me still didn’t want to get my hopes up though because I didn’t want to get sent home for “false labor”. Not sure why it takes me awhile to believe I’m actually in labor. Even with Gwen, when my WATER BROKE to start labor, I wasn’t convinced until we got to the hospital and they told me “yes, you’re in real labor”. Anyway, Ivor charged his razor and was able to finish his shave. Meanwhile I kept track of the contractions. They started out great- the same frequency and strength as before (which would mean we were going to the hospital). But then toward the end of that hour window we were given, they started to vary, getting farther apart. Sigh. It was almost midnight at this point and I was sleepy. Ivor had already started drifting off. I figured if I was to get any rest at all, I should try then. See if I could sleep through these contractions. And I did sleep…for about 2 hours. Until the contractions woke me up. Another increase in strength. Definitely could not ignore these! I woke Ivor up and told him we needed to leave right away. And off we went.

We checked in at the hospital at 3:20am on 6/2. I got set up for “labor evaluation” and my nurse checked me. I was 5-6cm dilated and completely effaced. She felt the “bulging water bag” and predicted it would break soon. Labor evaluation complete: this was the real thing. That’s when Ivor sent out the initial messages to family and close friends that the little man was on his way!

I was still managing contractions well on my own and the baby was doing great. So we did some walking around the halls, which definitely helped move things along…as the contractions came way more frequently whenever I did so. My OB arrived to check on me around 6:30am. She asked if I wanted her to break my water bag, since it hadn’t yet broken on its own, to help speed things up…but she warned me that contractions would get more intense and there might not be time for an epidural (or I’d have very little time to make a decision on that). I decided to just let her do it.  “The sooner this is all over, the better. I want this little guy out,” I thought. So she checked me and I was now 7-8cm dilated. I was so happy! We were almost there. She said she’d check back in with me in an hour and that there would be a good chance I’d be ready to push then.

In the meantime, they wanted to monitor the baby so I was sitting in bed and didn’t really notice the contractions getting “way more intense” like I was told they would. So when my doctor came back in and I said things still kinda felt the same, she told me to get up and move around, which I apparently could’ve been doing anyway because the cords I was hooked up to for monitoring stretch pretty far. Wish I would’ve noticed that.

So, here’s where Ron Burgundy comes in.

When I got out of bed and started moving around the room, things got out of hand quickly. The contractions quadrupled in intensity and I started to feel nauseated, and overheated, like I might pass out. Transition. After about 4-5 of them I made Ivor get the nurse back in the room. She tried talking to me to see how I wanted to get through this final stage, not knowing how quickly this stage was going to go. Do you want to go in the shower and sit on the birthing ball, take Fentanyl (the pain med that “takes the edge off”), etc? But the epidural was for sure out of the question at this point. No time. And as she was trying to talk to me, we kept getting interrupted by contractions coming one right after the other. At some point I said “get me the fentanyl now”. 

And probably a minute later, “I need to push”. So much for the fentanyl idea. No time for that either.

Then everyone was suddenly in the room rushing for delivery, getting me into a better pushing position.

And I’m screaming in agony, feeling as though death were imminent.

I remember them telling me to grab my legs, tuck my chin and push with the next contraction. But in that moment, that was a ridiculous request and I couldn’t imagine being able to do such a thing. Doing anything other than lying there screaming in pain was impossible.

But then the impossible happened. I listened and did what they said. And in about 2 pushes, in 2 mins, he was out and in my arms at 7:55am.

The total time from “I need to push” to “look at your baby!”….5 mins tops?

That’s basically how everyone in the room felt lol. We all just looked around at each other like “well that just happened!”. By the way, my poor nurse had just started her shift when I was transitioning. Our introduction was basically “I’ll take that fentanyl now—wait, I need to push”, aaaaand “here’s your baby!”

I couldn’t believe that happened. I still can’t. Giving birth without any pain meds was something I always wished I could do, but never thought possible.  I always knew I’d give in at some point. I’m a pansy. And I did give in…remember when I asked for the Fentanyl about 1 min before saying I need to push? Yeah. And I certainly didn’t expect to push him out so quickly either. Birth is a crazy thing. So unpredictable. But I am so thankful for such a positive experience with a great support team- my doctor and the nurses were amazing, as was my husband. He’s just as vocal, if not more-so, than the nurses lol. Hearing his voice the whole time and his encouragement meant so much to me and helped me get through that. When I said “I can’t”, he said “yes you can”. And I believed him. He’s an amazing husband.

And the result of this crazy, beautiful, whirlwind of a story…our baby boy:

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He is so precious and we are so in love with him already. He’s soft and warm and cuddly. I had missed having a little newborn 🙂 I didn’t miss the being up all night thing. No, not so much. But I know how quickly time passes and before I know it, he’ll be a toddler causing trouble with his big sister.

I can’t believe we’re a family of 4. We are so blessed. Thanks to everyone who has prayed for us and wished us well and encouraged us. Please don’t stop doing that! We’ll need it now more than ever as life with “2 under 2” begins. I’m sure it will make for very entertaining blog posts, so stay tuned 🙂

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Waiting…

I WAS convinced that little Ivor would show up early…but now I’m not so sure. Maybe he’ll be more like me after all lol. Gwen is very much like her daddy…and she showed up a week early. I’ve been predicting that little Ivor would be more like me, so I shouldn’t really be surprised that he’s taking his time 🙂 That’s not to say he’ll be late, he may just come right on time (I was born on my due date). OR he may be waiting for daddy’s birthday this Saturday. We shall find out soon!

Despite my own efforts to move things along, I haven’t progressed at all since last week. I went for a walk every single day (except 1) since my appt. Thursday and…nothing. Everything’s the same. Sigh. He did give us a bit of a scare this morning when my doctor couldn’t find his heartbeat at first. She quickly ran out to bring in the ultrasound machine so we could check on him and thankfully everything was fine and we found the heartbeat right away. Nice and strong. He had just shifted positions, moving over to the other side of my belly. He had been on the left side for awhile. Now he’s on the right. Stinker. Still head down though, so that’s good! He did have me worried though because yesterday he wasn’t as active as he usually is. Even though I felt him last night, and this morning in the car, not hearing his heartbeat at first freaked me out. I’m pretty good at assuming the worst. And as I type right now he’s moving all around in there reassuring me…”Relax mom, I’m fine…I was just napping. Until you poked and prodded me, that is. Thanks for that.”

Sorry little man. It’s in my nature to worry and have anxieties. Especially as labor and delivery draws nearer! There’s always something that could go wrong. But it’s not in my control anyway.

The 2 verses I’m repeating to myself lately:

cast your cares

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And so, we wait. Casting all my cares, concerns and worries on the One who has the control. Remembering that fear and timidity does not come from Him. I shall go into that delivery room with power, love and a sound mind. And do what my body was made to do, bringing forth life into this world in the miraculous way only God could have designed. I was built for this. I am woman. Hear me roar!

Sorry, I was giving myself a pep talk. I’m done now.

🙂

 

 

 

High of 99

That was the temperature in San Jose today at 3:05pm. Ew. After almost 3 years of living in the Bay Area I’ve gotten pretty spoiled with mild, ideal weather most of the year. So 2 heat waves in the same month is just unacceptable. I’d say it reminds me of Philly, but there’s no humidity so it’s not quite the same, heh. Sorry PA friends.

In other news, I’ve been spending my time getting all my ducks in a row before little Ivor comes. Made some more purchases, did some more laundry. Got his pack-n-play/bassinet set up in our bedroom. Packed the hospital bag. Typed up Gwen’s “typical day” schedule with instructions for my MIL while we’re in the hospital, and for my husband too since he’ll likely be on Gwen duty for awhile, while I’m attached to the little nursing monster 🙂 Overall, feeling pretty prepared at this point. I mentioned it in my last post, but at my doctor’s appt. last week I was already 2 cms dilated. And I’ve been feeling rather sore lately. So I think he may be coming earlier than expected. I’ll be 37 weeks this Friday, “full term”. So being prepared NOW is necessary.

In the meantime, I’m also soaking in my 1-on-1 time with Gwen. Her days of being an only child are numbered! While I have every intention of making time to spend alone with each of my kids throughout their childhood, I know it’s going to be hard to do for awhile in the beginning. It’ll be an adjustment for both of us for sure. Even just thinking about spending the night away from her for the first time while I’m in the hospital makes me sad 🙁 I pray for her little heart as she adjusts to seeing mama with another baby and that she’ll grow to love her baby brother and quickly become his best friend.

Here’s a brief clip of a typical morning with Gwen. She asks me to read a book then asks to be picked up (she likes to sit on your lap as you read to her).

 

 

Snapshots of Recent Days

Just a few photos on my phone that I like. Thought I’d share. Cause my family is cute.

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And in case you’re wondering how I spend my evenings:

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Every day I tell myself I’ll be productive after Gwen goes to bed. Get stuff done that I wasn’t able to get done throughout the day. But then, this happens instead. I have zero energy. My whole body hurts. I’m sleepy. So to the recliner I go. This is definitely the home stretch of pregnancy. Only 1 month left until my due date! Woooo! We just had a doctor’s appt. today and I’m already 2cms dilated, 50% effaced. Which is totally normal for 2nd pregnancies. It doesn’t mean I’m about to go into labor any day, but once I do start labor, things should move along fairly quickly. For me it also means that progress has been made- only 8 cms to go. And that knowledge helps me psychologically 🙂 2 cms down without laboring….I like that. Must keep up my walking routine (er, waddling rather). The doctor is predicting that he’ll be about 6-6.5 lbs based on her measurements today..which is kinda surprising. That’s smaller than Gwen was…and I predicted he’d be bigger. But who knows…it all depends on how long he decides to stay inside. We’ll find out soon enough!

 

Pregnancy Update- 34 Weeks!

How far along? 34 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: almost 30 lbs
Maternity Clothes? of course
Stretch marks? Nope
Sleep: constantly interrupted by the need to pee
Best moment this week:  I ate entire pint of ice cream in one sitting, cookies-n-cream, but it was organic so that makes it okay, right?
Miss Anything? being comfortable
Movement? oh yes, he is quite the active little bugger like his sister was….he’s also positioned with his feet ready to kick me in the ribs whenever he feels like it (which is often)…and like his sister, it’s always on the right side…
Food Cravings? ALL THE SWEET THINGS. (nothing changed here)
Anything making you queasy or sick? meh, not really anymore
Have you started to show? Only getting bigger at this point
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Labor Signs? Braxton hicks  (practice contractions)…especially on days when I’m really active and not drinking enough water
Belly button in or out? Oh it’s out there now
Wedding rings off or on?  Still on!
Happy or Moody most of the time? I think I’m happy most of the time lately, but it wouldn’t take much to set me off
Wisdom: Seeing your husband as a daddy is extremely attractive. I learned this when Gwen was first born but it only gets better, the other night he tucked in a stuffed bunny and I tell you that man has never been more sexy (maybe those are the pregnancy hormones talking….moving on!)
Looking forward to:  Having the little man on the outside of my body. Pregnancy is beautiful and amazing, but there comes a point when you’re just ready to have your normal body back and be holding him in your arms instead…and I’m pretty close to that point.

 

Helping or Hurting?

Dear Girl who bagged my groceries at Whole Foods yesterday,

Upon seeing my 1-year old daughter in the cart and my 8-month preggo belly protruding from my midsection, you decided to comment on how difficult it’s going to be to have kids so close together, because yours were 16 1/2 months apart and it was a complete nightmare. Now let me ask you, was that really the best choice of conversation? Of all the things you could’ve said (or, ya know, NOT said at all), how is that even remotely helpful or encouraging to a mom about ready to pop? I’m sure you meant no harm nor did you have evil intentions. But just think next time before you speak, “am I helping or hurting?” “encouraging or discouraging?”…I suggest you choose the former whenever possible. In case you forgot, pregnant women can be hormonal, emotional, sensitive and…well, slightly crazy (or maybe that’s just me). So be sensitive. And even if I WAS living in ignorant bliss thinking that having 2 kids 14 months apart was going to be a slice of pie, is it really your place to burst my bubble, having just met me, while you bag my groceries for 30 seconds? No, no it’s not.

You tried to recover I think when you saw the annoyed look on my face, “unless your first is a good sleeper, you might be fine”, you said. Before I could respond in a snarky mom-brag tone “yes, actually she is a FANTASTIC sleeper. She sleeps 7pm to 7am. BOOM,” my husband chimed in and responded for me….sounding much less snarky than I would have. Thank you, husband.

Please know I am well aware of the challenges that lie ahead (well, I have an idea anyway). I had quite the emotional breakdown when I first found out I was pregnant. I know it’s going to be hard. But ya know what’s harder? Miscarriage. Loss. Infertility. Having gone through a miscarriage and being close to others who struggle with infertility, my perspective has changed. Yes, having kids 14 months apart will be tough. But I know people who would give anything to have the challenge of 2 kids close together, when they struggle to conceive even 1. Or others who have lost babies. So I view my children as blessings, not burdens, no matter the difficulties their age gap may bring.

So when you see me in the store, or any other mom, perhaps with 4+ kids in tow, here are some other more helpful and encouraging things you could say:

1. Congratulations!

2. Hey, I’ve been there/gone through that, it’s tough but you’ll survive (with a reassuring smile for good measure)

3. How great! Children are a blessing.

4. Good for you!

5. Rock on, mama!

Any of the above will suffice.

I’m sorry you had such a hard time with your kids. My experience might be similar, or it might not be. But you don’t know that yet (I haven’t even given birth to my 2nd, hence the huge belly). And even so, as fellow moms, let’s encourage one another instead of using the 30 second window of grocery bagging time to vent about how difficult it is.

That’s all I’m saying.

Sincerely,

The pregnant mom you bagged groceries for yesterday, not knowing you’d be the inspiration for her next blog post.

🙂

Accomplishments

If you happen to read my facebook statuses, you’ll probably already know that the stomach bug hit our home a few days ago. The day I posted “Vomit“, I vomited, several hours later. Then the next morning, my brother-in-law (who lives with us right now) also vomited. My husband is the only one who somehow managed to escape the vomit. He felt pretty miserable though so we can still say it hit him.

So that sparked in me a desire to go on a mad cleaning spree and also get some things on our to-do list accomplished this weekend. We have an actual Google “to-do” list I made, as well as a “things-we-need-to-buy-for-Ivor-Alan” list. I’m happy to say that we can now cross a few of those things off! I was never much of a list person…until I became a mom. Now I have lists. Kids change things.

Anyway- we got the crib and the double stroller this weekend. I also got some curtains for the baby’s room. Mostly because their room is the only room in house that gets a ton of sun and it really gets hot in there late in the day. So I got some “blackout” energy efficient curtains. Let’s hope they work! But if not, curtains make a room look more home-y and cozy so it’s still nice to have. And they were cheap. Walmart ftw! Also from Walmart, a crib for under $200…convertible…with great reviews…and it’s Graco…name-brand 😉 Ain’t no shame in shopping at Walmart, especially when you can do it online and not have to be in the actual store lol.

About the double-stroller. Cause who would’ve ever thought I’d be purchasing a double-stroller?! Crazy. After talking to other moms and researching a bunch, we decided on the Contours Options LT Tandem Stroller:

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In that wonderful gender neutral (but leaning more towards masculine) color. Really it was the only color Buy Buy Baby had in stock…and that’s where I had a coupon. So we weren’t complaining! I’ll write a review after actually using it in a few months. But here’s what we were looking for a DS (double stroller): 1. compact when folded so it can fit in the back of our Prius. 2. Compatible with our infant carseat.  3. Not insanely expensive. Those were the 3 must haves. This stroller meets all those requirements. Though I have to say, when open, this thing is a beast…NOT compact while open. Just when folded up for storage, which is the most important thing for us. Reviews say that it’s surprisingly easy to maneuver though. I’m sure it just takes a bit of getting used to the length. Like when you’ve been driving a car for several years and then get an SUV or (gasp) a Mini-van. It takes a bit of time to get used to the longer vehicle. Anyway… other features that we like about this stroller: massive storage basket, stands up on it’s own when folded, lightweight, and there are 6 different seating positions for the babies (6!). The parent cup-holder is apparently flimsy but I’ll just get one of those universal cup-holders to attach.  No big deal.

Next things to buy: bigger diaper bag, a few more cloth diapers, a crib mattress, and some other little things. But I feel better now that the big purchases are out of the way.

8 weeks left, here we go!