Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You Are My Sunshine

Wow! Look at how much Sonnie has grown! I wish I'd taken a picture of her by this lion right when we got home from the hospital for another comparison. 

One Month Old

Two Months Old
Here are some other favorite shots of my gorgeous little girl. I'm so (so, so, so, soooooooooo) sad to have to head back to work next week. I've got nothing planned for this last week of freedom except for loving on and holding my little girl all day, everyday!

Captured some of her very first real smiles

The "Ours" shot of our "Yours, Mine & Ours" family

I love this kid

On her playmat - this is a definite favorite of hers!

I love the dainty things she does with her hands

Kicking up a storm on the changing table!

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Greater Understanding

Well, it's been a while since I've been on here. It's been a pretty busy month. Sonnie is getting more active (fun!) and her colic has definitely been in full force (NOT so fun). My oldest also came back mid-August from a summer full of camps & time up north with his adoptive dad. Now we're officially back into the swing of the school routine & almost to "normal" life with me returning to work next Monday (boooooo!!!).

I'm not gonna lie....these last few weeks have been STRESSFUL. I'm learning that with a trauma-related adoption, each developmental stage means that many things that were learned before emotionally have to be re-learned or processed at the new developmental stage. Let me just say: we've hit a new developmental stage. Add that to my growing belief that we've made less attachment progress than I would have hoped to by this point and you've got one stressed out mama.

I find it so hard to talk to people about this b/c most don't understand it. They see a kid that can talk easily with them, "seems to be a happy kid" in school (direct teacher quote every year), etc. When I try to express our difficulty at home, in moments when I just need to talk, I'm often seen as only seeing the negative or getting down on him. My least favorite quote: "all kids his age do that". I know it's all well-meaning. I don't doubt those who mean to help. I love them for it (well, there's a few that just offer "advice" to hear themselves speak and put me down to make themselves feel better; those folks can take a flying leap. The rest of you I love your heart & intention.). But sometimes, all I'm really looking for is to be understood.

Well, tonight in my worry-induced insomnia, I found it. An article that describes in many cases EXACTLY how I feel about parenting a child that struggles to attach. One that acknowledges the love and uncertainty that can uniquely be found in this situation. Every day I feel like I've given him every piece of me; and every day I feel like I've failed him. I imagine many people would say that all parents feel the same way but trust me, they don't. Not like this. Every day I feel like I have nothing left to give; and every day I feel like I've not come close to giving enough.

So here's the article written by Marleen Kasbee. One that I'm certain I will reference often as I continue to seek out the best helps for my son and our journey to attachment. Hopefully it helps explain the times that I seem a little less than myself.

Taken from http://www.attachmentdisorder.net/You%27re_Not_Alone.htm 
SELF-BLAME: Many moms have the misconception that they should be able to solve their child’s problems (super-mom syndrome). The worst of all feelings! We are angels, not gods.
          GUILT (on many levels) ........:
1) Without knowing any better; most of us have lost our tempers (or worse) with our RAD child
2) about how we often feel toward our child: (let’s face it -------- their disorder makes them hard to "like" let alone "love" sometimes)
3) that "we" let our family fall apart (the God thing again)
4) that we don’t spend enough quality time with our other children, our spouse, and, in taking care of ourselves
5) that we are having trouble forgiving our child for past behaviors ………….. BIG ONE!
6) that we are angry with God for this tremendous challenge
ANGER (or betrayal or feeling frustrated......)
1) at our HUSBANDS: for not believing us or noticing the child’s strange manipulations, for not understanding, for not supporting us emotionally, for countermining our new parenting techniques (usually by loosing their temper), for not being as committed in using the new parenting techniques or reading the materials, for "saving" the child when he/she didn’t need saved, for not helping us when we needed helped, for leaving it all to us
2) at the system or adoption agency: Cries for help went out for years - bad advise and blame were given in return
3) at our Attachment Disordered child: for doing this "to us" - we took it personally (saw the child "as" the disorder, instead of a child "with" an emotional disorder)
4) at family and friends: for saying things like, "All kids do that!" ….and not understanding what our life was like
5) at ourselves: for not being our "old self" or fun anymore
6) at God: Why me?
7) at everyone you have had to explain the disorder to and that you have had to explain it to so many.
           DISTRUST of:
1) ourselves - our abilities (feeling un-empowered)
2) the system
3) helping professionals (We have been given so much "bad" advice; we question even "good" advice)
4) other supports
DESPAIR - LOSS OF HOPE: "Will it ever get better?" "Why read another book; nothing helps." "I’m tired."
ISOLATED & ALONE: no one understands and we "believe" we can’t get respite from our problem child
OVERWHELMED: Many moms suffer from Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and secondary Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

DISCLAIMER: I struggled with whether or not I should post this in the interest of our family's privacy but really feel it's something I need people to understand. It's part of who we are, it's something we truly struggle with and I think it's important for people to have a greater understanding of what this is like. Too often we hide things in an effort to protect ourselves when really, it's more detrimental to hold it in. This is one of those times.

Monday, August 1, 2011

New Toy

Happy early birthday to me!!! My sweetheart of a husband bought me a digital slr camera - so fun! I've really only learned about one setting to play with so far but that's my goal...one thing at a time so I might actually remember what it all means. :)

And since I'm only in a position to type one-handed right now, I'll let the rest of this be a picture post of what I've played around with so far - the aperture settings... I think. ;)

So THAT'S how you get the background blurry and the subject in focus...

This one has nothing to do with the settings...she's just plain cute ;)

Monday, July 25, 2011

A New Kind of Church

So first I have to share that I'm typing this blog entry while utilizing Mommy Skill #437 that I've learned in my rapid on-the-job training: typing WHILE holding the sleeping baby. She's on my chest/shoulder which has freed up both hands - wahoo! I should just put her down but it's our evening "storm" time, as I've coined it where she typically screams & cries without a whole lot that can be done until she decides to stop...fortunately tonight's episode only lasted about 10 minutes before she crashed and I'm not taking any chances. Well...except the chance I took when I went to grab the laptop and she kinda rolled into the crevice between the recliner and my leg but it was a quick recovery and aside from making a little face, she seemed none the wiser.

Actually, I'm on here because I had some thoughts while in church Sunday that I wanted to get down. We currently don't have a home church. I went to a bible college and was once a youth pastor's wife so this not-going-to-church thing is kinda big for me. But it's where I need to be right now. I've had such an overhaul of the way that I think about religion and church that I need some time to sort out what I believe before diving into a congregation. Because of my experiences in various churches, I know that in many ways they are all the same: there are some really amazing, God-loving people that will help you sort these things out and there are some really hurtful, self-righteous people that will do everything they can to get in the way of that. Unfortunately, sometimes you get burnt in the process of figuring out which one is which and I don't need to try to sort that out on top of everything else.

I know what God is stirring in my heart but I also know that it doesn't jive with a lot of the current conservative evangelical way of thinking. I have finally figured out that I am a post-modern thinker...no wonder I really gravitated toward reaching out to "those" people when I was in the church - I WAS one of those people!! Conservative evangelicals see postmoderns as people who see a lot of gray area...too much gray area. They enjoy their black & white rules where "God said this. Jesus said that. End of story." But I found that in being in that type of an environment for years left me feeling trapped, empty and without real relationship with God. It was all just a bunch of rule-following...you follow the rules, you're a great person. The end. Not to say that we shouldn't follow God's teachings or that I wasn't authentic in my attempts...it's just that it became rote. Predictable. It left me thinking, "is this really all God had to offer?! Emptiness? Sadness? Predictability?!? How big of a God could he be if he could be predictable like these black & white rules suggest?!"

No. I knew there had to be more and so I sought it out. In leaving the black & white theology behind, I have found the "freedom in Christ" that I'd heard people talk of a million times before but never really understood it. Yet this whole going to church issue is still obviously a somewhat black & white thought in my mind because I question it every time I walk into a church. Am I doing the right thing? Should I be seeking out a church now? Should I wait? I'm still working some stuff out. Should I find an alternative like a small group? Actually, I really like that idea but where? So many questions...and then, there's an infant in the mix which brings me to the thoughts of Sunday.

We're sitting there with my family. My dad was singing that morning and we showed up to surprise him. I tried to listen to the various pieces of the service...I truly did. But this amazing little bundle took much of my attention. In an effort to keep her from distrupting everyone else, I was completely preoccupied with her. Finally at one point I just caved and stared and smiled and made eye contact with her, thanking God for the millionth time for putting her in my life. And then it hit me...

I'd been in church a lot recently. Every day, in fact.

It's not what many would classify as "church" but I sure do. Every time I look at that beautiful little angel, I replay the miracle that she is to me. The joy of a promise that God kept even though I'd given up on it. The healing the last several years have brought to my soul. She is the culmination of stepping out to do what I felt I needed to and what I felt that God needed me to do. God and I commune every time I gaze at her and ask him yet again, "is she really mine?! Thank. YOU."

So while I'm still trying to figure out just what church will look like for me and my family on the other side of sorting through my post-modern thoughts, I know that in the meantime, I'll be okay. It's not as important that all of the "rules" are followed as it is that you commune with God in your journey to please him. If I'm taking time to figure things out, that's just fine. All that matters is that I'm looking for him in the process. Seeking him out. Showing his love. Talking to him and about him to my kids. And most importantly, that I'm finding him. Even in... no... especially in the smile of a beautiful baby girl.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Instagram app - way too much fun!

So....I found this fun app for my phone called Instagram. It makes it look like I take these amazing pictures when really, it's all about the filters that they have to put over the pics. Here's some of my creations :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

I Am the Strongest Woman I Know

I don't say that title to take away from all the other strong women in this world or more specifically, those amazingly strong women in my life. There are millions out there who are as strong or stronger than me for sure but at this moment in my life, I've experienced something so amazing that to sell short the fact that I feel nothing less than that would take away from all of it. So right now, I'm owning it: I am the strongest woman I know. Why? Because I was blessed to bring my daughter into this world naturally.

It's more than that though. It was the culmination of this life transformation that I've been undergoing for several years now. An embracing of my ability to do something that I had no clue if I could, but not being afraid to be determined to give it 110% to find out. A few short years ago, I would not have believed that I could endure the physical pain & mental concentration it would take to bring a baby into this world naturally. I wouldn't have believed in myself at all. But today, not only do I believe it but I did it!! That's where this title stems from - the emotional strength that I now know and truly own. Here's a brief synopsis of Addison's birth story, the most amazing day of my life.

I've put a lot of detail into this blog entry more as a journal entry for myself. I don't want to forget what happened and how I felt. If you want the "reader's digest" version, skip down to the bottom. ;)

If you've followed this blog, you know that I was not too thrilled about being induced but being 10 days overdue, the doctor let us go as long as she felt she could safely, especially considering that I had gestational diabetes so there are concerns with the baby being too big. So we headed to the hospital to be induced on Wednesday for our 8:30am appointment; we got there slightly early but they were ready for us. On the way to the room I asked the registration specialist if we could have one of the labor rooms with a birthing tub and was told they don't do that for inductions. When I then asked our nurse, she explained it was because I had to be hooked up to the monitoring system. I was bummed on both accounts because 1) I was counting on the water to help with some of the pain and 2) I hated the idea that I had to be tethered to a machine. Then when she started explaining the different induction meds, she mentioned "cytotec" (sp?). This is a medicine that's actually intended to treat ulcers and some women have died during birth as a result of it being used as a method for induction. Thank God we'd done our homework and knew to refuse it but this was a 3rd strike in my mind and I had to work to push that out and not become disheartened that things were looking kind of tricky to maintain our plan to go completely natural.

I was only dilated to "maybe 2 cm" so they had to force my cervix to open to 4 cm with a foley catheter. It's basically a little balloon that they insert and once my cervix would open to that point, it would pop out and then they could break my water. It was explained that this could take anywhere from 1 hour to 8 hours but the norm was about 4 hours. When it popped out after an hour AND my water broke naturally during that, Eric and I were both so pleased! This really helped us mentally and we were ready to take the increased dosages in pitocin and wait on the contractions to come. During this time, we had the sweetest nurse, Kristen, who was exactly the type of person I needed for that part. She was bubbly, funny and listened to our concerns without making us feel like we didn't have options (even when we really didn't). She helped convince me that the internal monitoring would help me be able to actually move more freely because Sonnie kept moving and the only way I could keep her on the external monitor was to lay in bed: the exact opposite of how I wanted to manage this. It did help - I was able to sit in a couple different seats including the birthing ball all of which seemed to help.

During this beginning part of the day, Eric and I really found a rhythm for dealing with the contractions. He was so amazing...a perfect mix of emotional support, physical support and just coaching to keep me focused on the moment at hand and not getting too far ahead of myself. More on that part of the experience later, though. I hit about 5-6 cm mid-afternoon (I think) and around the same time got a new nurse, Sue. Sue reminded me of Cloris Leachman. Great for comedic value...not the most reassuring as your L & D nurse. She was very nice but she had a hard time with the pain I was in and kept offering me different meds. I kept politely turning her down and eventually the questioning stopped. I found out later that was because my hubby had a quick I've-got-about-2-minutes-before-the-next-contraction-comes-so-listen-closely talk with her to let her know that if I want meds, I'll ask for them; otherwise, stop asking.

Around 5pm-ish, I reached 8 cm and they were calling my doctor. Sue would be off work at 7pm and she was crossing her fingers that I'd have the baby by the time she left. Unfortunately, those were the 2 longest hours of my life as I was at the exact same 8 cm at 7pm as I was at 5pm. I could tell that the level of pain I was dealing with was making everyone uncomfortable b/c even knowing how committed I was to doing this without pain meds, Eric was checking in with me at this point to ask if I was having a change of heart. It was exactly what I needed to hear because I was becoming quite discouraged that I wasn't progressing. I could handle it if I kept moving forward but the idea that I could be stuck at 8 cm for who knew how long was really starting to wear on me. I said I wasn't ready for an epidural yet but if I stayed at an 8 much longer, I might consider it.

At this point we got another nurse, Jennifer, and she was the perfect compliment to Eric's coaching. Eric took care of my emotional side. You hear these stories of how you'll be ordering your husband to get out of your face during delivery but that just wasn't the case for us. Even in preparation for this day, I couldn't imagine myself shouting at him and wanting him away from me... He didn't leave my side for a moment and I never wanted him to. The side rails on the bed made him feel too far away at times even though he leaned over them most of the day to hold my hands and tell me what a great job I was doing. Eric was exactly what I needed throughout the entire process. He was supportive and loving and was all the encouragement I needed to get through each contraction. Going through this with him was so intense and so intimate...there aren't words to say how powerful of an experience it was to share it with him. We truly were one with each other - it was definitive of how much we count on, support and love one another in our marriage. 

As I stated, he took care of what I needed emotionally through the process. Jennifer, our 3rd nurse, took care of the more detailed side of birth-coaching to get me out of the 8cm hell I was stuck in. We could tell she had a positive viewpoint on natural birthing which gave me a renewed energy that Cloris wasn't feeding me. Jennifer had me switch positions many times which was incredibly painful but I knew that the intensified pain was what I needed to get this baby out of me. Every time I started to reach a level of tolerance with the contractions (amazing what my definition of pain "tolerance" became at that point!), she had me move. In the meantime, my doctor had arrived and she was in the room with us for nearly the last 2 hours as well. I was impressed that she was so present and not just off in a doctor's lounge somewhere waiting for me to push.

When it came time, my doctor let me stay right as I was on the bed rather than dealing with the stirrups and moving the bottom part of the bed out to catch all the fun stuff afterwards. Again I was impressed that she was just letting me do what I needed to and not being so rigid in "her" way of doing things. I pushed for probably 30-45 minutes. At one point they put the mirror down so that I could be "encouraged" by seeing her head. Gotta admit...it wasn't encouraging. I mean, the fact that her head was there was exciting; it was how little I could see of it, how much it already hurt, and trying to calculate how much more it was going to hurt as I could see more of her head! What I fortunately didn't understand was that the pain was already there...that it didn't actually get worse at that point. (There's something the books don't tell you...) I'm so glad we had the mirror down. No offense to those in the opposite camp but I do not understand why anyone would not want to watch that. It was so amazing to see this life that once never was being born! It was such a beautiful, spiritual experience.

At 9:04pm, Sonnie arrived very healthy at 7 lbs 1 oz, 19 in long, 14 in head circumference, apgar scores of 8 (1 min) & 9 (5 min), and she had all positive test results from the sugar/diabetes testing they did. Her color and level of alertness was ideal. I was able to breastfeed her immediately (though we later found out that my milk supply would be insufficient; at least she got those initial feedings). All the pain I'd just endured was so worth it to see her so alert, responsive and healthy. My in-laws and my parents were able to each take turns coming in right after she was born - it was so special to share that with them. This little life that was only an hour old got to meet her Grandma, Grandpa, Memaw and Papap.

I only had to have one stitch and have truly been amazed at the recovery process. Yes, there have been aches and pains but nothing to the extent I was anticipating. I can't imagine how I would have dealt with her hospital stay at Children's (at 5-7 days old - see "rough week" post) had it been more intense. Overall I feel fantastic and am especially proud to say that at 2 weeks post-partum, I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight! {Now, to just drop the pre-pregnancy fluff I had ;)} I did have some "baby blues" there for a couple days; a lot of that was right after her being in the hospital/right before Eric went back to work. I've got a super support system though and am feeling a lot better this week. Everyone just let me cry, talk it out, sleep...whatever I needed. I'm not convinced that it's gone for good but I do feel confident that if they creep up again that it's okay as long as I share it with those around me.

Well, that's her story. :) For those scrolling down for the READER'S DIGEST VERSION: Went in at 8:30am. Induced with pitocin and foley catheter around 9:15am - was only 2cm "maybe" at this point. Catheter came out around 10:15am (BIG deal - avg time takes 4 hours, longest could've been 8 hours) which meant I was around 3-4 cm dilated. Got to about 5-6 cm midday. By 5pm hit 8cm, the doctor was called and then I stalled for 2 hours - for those who are unaware, at 8 cm you are in INTENSE pain when you're having contractions!! At 7pm, got a new nurse who had me change positions a lot which got things moving. By some point in the 8 o'clock hour I was pushing and at 9:04pm, Addison "Sonnie" Elaine was born. :) Eric was an amazing coach - I couldn't have done it how I wanted to, naturally, without his love and encouragement. He'd say I'm making too big a deal of his part in it but it's true; nothing embodied the oneness we have with one another like that day did. I fell in love with him all over again.

So if you're still here, thanks for reading about the most amazing experience of my life. Here are some pictures to wrap up what I feel like I'm still coming up short in saying...

Weighing in

Cuddled with Daddy

Mommy and baby shortly after giving birth

Daddy's thumb for a little perspective

A smitten Mommy

Beautiful Sonnie

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Rough First Week

Well, I had intentions of posting all about Sonnie's birth story. I also had intentions of posting oodles of pictures of her in cute outfits and making adorable faces. Telling about how she had her first visit to the doctor and was not crazy about yet another heel stick for a "just in case" check for her jaundice levels.

That all came to a halt when the doctor called Monday night at 5 and said she was arranging the details for us to head to Children's hospital.

Originally it was because of her billirubin (sp?) levels which are the indicators for jaundice, coupled with her weight loss since birth. We got to the hospital and while they told me to go directly to be admitted, I didn't actually think they meant for an extended period of time. I thought they'd just admit us for a few hours, pop her under the lights and we'd get out sometime late that night. I broke down when nurses started talking about a 2 day stay. Was this really that serious? I especially questioned it when her levels weren't high enough to even warrant being placed under the lights (though not low enough to be discharged) and we were basically just monitoring her feeding schedule. Something I asked the nurse if it could be done at home; they explained a concern to monitor for dehydration which I certainly didn't want to mess with.

It wasn't too long into being there however that the doctor's concerns with potential dehydration came to fruition and my baby took quite a turn. Our first indicator was when I pumped and was only able to get 5 ml of breast milk from each breast. I called the nurse to let her know that I believe we found the culprit. It was shortly after this that her skin got drastically dry, her lips were so chapped, she became lethargic...I went from questioning the need to be under this much observation to being grateful for it. The next several hours were quite stressful for Sonnie (and Mommy).

She needed an IV but because of the dehydration, it was incredibly difficult even for the very skilled and patient nurses to get it placed. Altogether it took 4 different nurses and it was on the 7th stick that they finally placed the IV. In the breaks in between she was also given a feeding tube as her energy levels had dropped to a point that she couldn't stay awake long enough to take a bottle. Plus in the midst of this, every 4 hours they were doing heel sticks to check her billirubin levels. I've never wanted to trade places with someone so much in my life. I mean, that was my heart laying there on that bed, getting poked and prodded and crying with what little energy she had left because it hurt so badly.

Sonnie's IV and all the stuff it took to keep it in place on a newborn.

My poor baby and all of her gear. I don't know how NICU moms do it...

Right after the placement of her feeding tube.

Once she was receiving fluids on a regular basis, she began to make progress. We had fantastic nursing staff overall who were very patient and accommodating. My only hospital experience has been in this first week - first in the maternity ward and now at Children's. I was so impressed that everytime they left the room, the nurses always asked "is there anything I can get for you? Do you need anything?" We only had one bad experience with a nurse that decided to impatiently feed her 10 ml of formula through the tube "hydrolically" as my dad put it since he was there to witness it (other nurses fed her by gravity - a very slow method but easy on a 6-day old baby's tummy; this nurse plunged it through the tube at about 5 times the speed that gravity would have). Sonnie heaved every bit of fluid we'd worked so dilligently to get down her through a bottle (a big necessary step in her recovery) all because this nurse wanted to rush things. All of the stuff holding her IV in place had to be re-taped which meant more for her to be in unnecessary pain over. I could've caused some major physical harm to this nurse but I instead opted to take her in the hall & professionally tell her that if either of us was going to have a decent evening, she needed to work on finding us a different nurse. It added an amazing amount of undue stress but the nurse I got in her place was amazing and made me feel so comfortable. My mom also stayed the night with us which gave me a chance to at least get a few hours of sleep. I'd been going on close to 48 hours without any by this point.

Fortunately, by morning rounds on Wednesday morning, Sonnie had made such strides that they arranged for us to be discharged. We determined that I could no longer breastfeed (aside from pumping what little I had available) but that was a small price to pay to have a healthy baby to take home. She's looking 100% better now and we're getting her feeding routine down. She's sleeping better, her color is good and when we went for a follow up appointment on Friday, her weight went up 1 lb 2 oz since Monday!

Now we've been able to settle in as a family and we are loving getting to know our little one. She's beautiful, alert, healthy and sweet as can be. We can't wait for everyone to meet her!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Introducing: Addison "Sonnie" Elaine!!

Miss Addison "Sonnie" Elaine has arrived!!

Born June 22, 2011 at 9:04pm

7lbs 1oz, 19 inches long

Perfect in EVERY way!

Mommy & Daddy had the natural birth they were hoping for despite the induction. Mommy will be blogging all about this amazing experience in another post. More pictures to come later!  For now though, snuggles & feedings & kisses & diapers & the happiest tears are taking precedence. ;) 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Elite Club

Well, I've officially crossed into my 42nd week of pregnancy which in my extensive 5-10 minute search on google means that I've joined an elite club of which only 5-10% of pregnancies go into.

Lucky me.

Don't get me wrong. I'm happy for her to bake in there and to be healthy. And I'm still holding out hope that she'll decide to make her entrance before the induction on Wednesday so I'm happy for 2 more days to give that a shot.

It just hurts. To walk. To sit. To stand. To lay down. I swear she's gained 5lbs in the last 2 days. And now she's doing this new thing where she's laying off to my left side and it just feels funky. Plus, since it's something new I can't help but wonder if it means something and wonder if she's okay in there. Fortunately her movements are keeping up so I think she's fine and I'm just being paranoid. She's pushed so far on my side,
 I can actually feel her little rump...at least, it better be that and not her head. She was head down on Thursday and I don't recall feeling a big flip! ;)

Well, since this will be one of my last posts, if not THE last post as a pregnant lady, I thought I'd finally get some belly pics up to show how I've grown through the last 9 months. I find it funny that the one I just took today actually looks smaller than some of the other ones. Maybe she dropped again! Maybe it's just the camera angle. ;)

Here I was pregnant and didn't know it yet. This was taken on a Saturday and I found out just 3 days later on Tuesday. I was about 6 weeks along at that point. Things were "late" so it was suspect in the back of our minds but I didn't want to let myself believe it. However, when Eric & I both came down with horrible head colds, he insisted I check before taking the cough medicine with codiene. I cried just knowing I was going to read another stupid negative but much to my surprise, God blessed us with a POSITIVE test result! 

21 weeks with the side view...ignore the jungle theme in the background of most of these. Roma's room is the only one with a full-length mirror! 
Here I am at 21 weeks shortly after getting a ton of maternity clothes from my dear cousin. She said this outfit would make me feel like a model - she was right. Be prepared to see it again in a couple more pics. ;)

This is me at 22 weeks. Boy, the iphone takes a fuzzy picture.

On our honeymoon at 26 weeks. I totally popped while we were gone! I went from no one saying anything to me about being pregnant to 4 strangers in one day asking when I was due.

At 27 weeks

At 32.5 weeks; I'm making a goofy I-look-like-I'm-trying-to-do-the-online-kissy-face-look-but-really-it's-my-I'm-concentrating-and-biting-my-lip-face but my hair looks great so I'm going with it ;)

At 33 weeks 5 days

35 weeks

If you read this blog regularly, you've already seen this one. This was taken at our shower with my family at 36 weeks.

At 37 weeks; a little disappointed that the pictures makes my cute shoes look like slippers. They're really an adorable pair of sandals.

And finally at 41 weeks and officially 1 day into my 42nd week. Notice the change of attire...yoga pants are my best friend these days. Helps I'm not headed into work either. ;)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

You want me to come out of where?!

Seriously, Mom...I'm pretty comfy in here. Living space is getting a little cramped but it's nothing we can't handle. Just move an organ or two out of the way and I'll be fine...

I'm convinced this is what she's in there thinking because she seems as cozy as ever.

Tuesday I had all kinds of symptoms that had me thinking a completely natural labor was at least on its way and today I'm convinced of the opposite: that the doctor will yet again tell me that I'm 1cm dilated - just like last week and just like the week before and we'll be scheduling an induction to get her out before it's not healthy for her to be in there anymore.

I'm going to assume it means that you really love being close to Mama, Sonnie. Now if I can just convince you that I promise to hold you all you want and that you will enjoy the leg room on the outside. ♥   

UPDATE: So, exactly as predicted. Well, not exactly. I am still only 1cm dilated however she actually worked her way back up after she had dropped so low last week. Huh?!? Not sure exactly what that's all about but the induction has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 22nd at 8:30am.

I really, really want a natural labor so I'm a bit bummed that my body just isn't cooperating. The good news is that she still shows every sign of being super healthy, as do I. They did another ultrasound to measure her growth and it's on par with a healthy, reasonable weight gain based on her last scan; exactly the 1/2 lb a week they say they gain in the last month. I wouldn't mind a few extra prayers that my body at least preps more on it's own for the induction, even if I don't actually go into labor on my own. Doc said at this point, she wouldn't even be able to break my water easily. And of course, there's always the hope that I'll be the story of the person that goes from no symptoms to all of them in no time. Not really banking on it but you never know...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Oh the hormones...

Well, today is the day...the due date anyway. I've still got about half of June 12th left for her to make her arrival before I officially can be termed "overdue". I've come to accept that since I got so emotional after my appointment on Thursday. I've even pretty much assumed that I'll head to my next doctor's appointment this Thursday to find out the exact same info regarding my dilation & effacement and we'll be talking induction. Yes, yes...she could come any day but mentally, it's just easier to think that I'll be pregnant for another 2 weeks than to keep waking up thinking that today could be the day.

If I sound a little down, it's because I am. It all started in the wee hours of Saturday morning. I had been awake and at one point just started crying. Not tears trickling from my eyes, I'm talking CRYing. The kind you try to keep quiet but you can't. Eric calmed me down before I reached full-on sob but I'm still not sure what made it start and I'm not sure exactly what he did to make it end. All I know is that in no time I went from being a very sane, pleasant pregnant person to feeling irrational and it hasn't quite stopped. I managed not to cry yesterday during the day but felt like I was shortchanging everyone no matter what I did. No one acted like I was but I just felt like I was either harping on the kids too much or not keeping them enough under control, or that every moment I gave one of them attention, all I could think of was who I wasn't giving attention. I even felt guilty when I came home and the poor dog had been alone all day b/c we were at my parents. This morning, I cried over just about everything with ease; and after Eric returned from taking the kids back to their mom, he came in to find me googling "extreme emotions prior to labor" and doing nothing short of, you guessed it, crying.

So I don't know if this ball of emotions means anything as far as Lil Miss' timing of her arrival or if it's yet just one more thing to make me so done with pregnancy that I'll welcome the impending work of laboring this baby out, but I'm really hoping for the former.  In the meantime, the kiddos are all out of the house and while I adore having them around, I think Eric and I will take advantage of the free time and find some things to do to take my mind off this. It's a gorgeous day (as I sit outside to type this) and I'm excited to find something to do that the 90 degree heat that we've been having would otherwise kill for a 40-week preggers like myself. And I will attempt to do it without crying. ;)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Week 40 Update - A balance

My little tracker on my phone app reminds me that as of today, I have 3 days until Sonnie's due date. I've been watching that ticker since it said I had 20-something weeks left. Now we're down to days. I can't believe it's here! She's going to be here any day now.

I know that not all babies come before their due dates. Or ON their due dates. Or even close to their due dates. There's a lot of them that go well past their due dates. Yet, last Thursday when I met with the doctor and she said that if I hadn't gone by this Thursday we'd be "making a plan," I took her seriously. Especially since she told me that if I were farther along, she'd just induce me then. With the potential gestational diabetes complications, I thought that meant this is what would happen and that today I'd walk out knowing the latest I'd be having my baby (and that it would fall into next week at the latest).

I don't know why I held onto that so much. I want a natural labor. I do NOT want to be induced. But, even though it's been well controlled, I am concerned about the risks of GD and what complications could arise in delivery and it gave me a positive behind the induction. I'd be okay. I would do my best to go natural even with the induction. I've dealt with a lot of "womanly" pain thru the years; this would just be the whopper and I'd get thru it.

Then today, what does she say? The EXACT same thing as last week: wait until your next appointment and then we'll set a date. I wanted to cry right there on the spot. And on the way home. And when I called my parents. And when I texted my brother. And when I emailed my cousin. And at dinner. And right now. It's ridiculous. I know that after discussing the fact that my GD has been in check all along, it's like the baby didn't experience it. She's not measuring big in any way and there's no indicator at this point that she is too big for a natural delivery. This is what I DO want - a chance to wait her out for a natural delivery. A baby that's so healthy we have the luxury to wait. It's just another week and she said we'd schedule it for early the next week so we're talking about 10 days, tops. NOT that big of a deal. So why am I so freaking emotional about it?

I'm reminded of an email a friend at work sent to me earlier this week. She just had her first little one last spring and she reminded me to cherish this time right now. It's special getting to be the one that carries her, feels her every move, knows when she's awake and when she's just hanging out. When she comes out, I'll be the only one that will know "so that's what you were doing in there!" I've been waiting for this feeling for over 8 years and it is more amazing than I ever could have given it credit for.

And this is where the balance needs to come in. Am I bummed that I don't have a more concrete date? Sure. But on the flip side, I will also cherish that I may have 10 more days (or who knows, maybe more!) to feel her flips and kicks and rolls and jabs and it just be the two of us. I get to have her with me anywhere that I go; I will enjoy it because I also know time will fly and it won't be long til I'll be crying because it'll be the first time I have to leave her.

So even though I'm going to let my emotions do their thing today and cry when I feel like it (hey, I am in my 40th week of pregnancy...I've earned the right to be irrational!), it'll be coupled with a joy of knowing her this close for a few more days and knowing that it won't be long at all until she's in my arms.

Friday, June 3, 2011

It feels good to grow...

I was just reading through one of my old journals this morning. It was from the hardest time in my life and while it's been on the shelf in the same spot for months, something about it caught my eye today. I picked it up and looked through it cover to cover - some reading in full detail, some just skimming it.

I just can't get over the differences between now and then. I mean, I could acknowledge the concrete differences which is pretty much everything in my life but that's not really even the part that stuck out to me. It was the differences in how I feel and who I am. Much of that time I felt so very torn - doomed to feel one way but to act another. An incredible amount of worry was directed to what everyone else thought of me - of making sure i's were dotted and t's were crossed. God forbid I do something that people didn't think was perfect. That journal was the beginning of letting that go and I was scared to death. And now, just a few years later, it's hard not to shake my head at myself then and say to the me of that journal: "if you only knew then what was waiting for you on the other side, you never would've let fear reign in your heart so heavily..."

It was a rocky time. I lost friends & respect through it. I believe though (and am grateful that) with some who took the time to look and that I let in, I gained a deeper respect and deeper friendship as a result. But what's made the deepest impact on me has been the ability to feel like my head & my heart match up - no more trying to believe one thing in my head while my heart is screaming something else. I think people will try to read more specifically into that statement than what I mean...it encompasses everything: my relationships, my beliefs, my day-to-day interactions. It's the letting go of over-analyzing everything to death, trying to figure out if it's the "right" thing or not without acknowledging that God speaks to us much more clearly than we're giving him credit to. Learning not to give everyone else's opinions more credit than I give myself.

It almost feels daunting to try to describe the difference in what peace and calm overrides my life now vs. then. I'm not saying this to vent about the past - I'm so far beyond that. But when I read the emotions I penned on those journal pages and knowing exactly what it all felt like, it's hard to not acknowledge the vast differences between then and now. It seems the only way to give the full credit to where I am now is to recognize how far I had been from it. I do recognize a conflicted heart vs. a peaceful one because I've lived it. I could tell in those pages that I was getting a taste of what it meant to live without the stress & conflict in my heart, and that I wanted it; but that I also seemed to have an inherent belief that life was just doomed to be so. My ability to believe in it needed a lot of work. And work I did. The evidence was so bold as I was able to read through the journal and recognize how far I'd come. Not only did I now believe that life wasn't doomed for hopelessness but I also believe in the peace & calm that comes with letting go of so much of the garbage that I finally evicted from my mind.

And I couldn't help but to be proud.

It felt good to see first-hand what I'd accomplished through a lot of hard work & prayer (and I have to give credit to Eric for a lot of hard work too...he listened to and worked through so much that I had questions and doubts about). It's made me a better person. I'm more confident and with that confidence comes less fear. With less fear comes stronger decisions that aren't based in insecurity. What a gift to pass on to my children. I cherish parenting without the veil of insecurity clouding my every move. Not to say I'll be secure in everything I do, but I see a hopeful difference.

So while most blog entries lately have been more light-hearted, I felt the need to reflect on all of this today. While I don't necessarily want to put out all the nitty-gritty details of my life for all to read, it does sometimes feel cathartic to get some big stuff out there. To acknowledge where I've been and where I feel like I'm headed. It feels like someone else may need to hear it. Why go through all this growth and change without sharing the amazing impact it's had? Well, today I was overwhelmed by it and had to share.

Here's to growth. Here's to change. Here's to the wisdom that comes with it. May it never stop.
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