Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Breezing through life, counting blessings...

I really really wish we were independently wealthy so that Hubs never had to go to work and we could always just hang out together. Its terrible as far as routine and schedule go, but its been amazing just BEING together. We've both had birthdays, some great times with the kids, and God never ceases to amaze us with His goodness and faithfulness.

On the job front... There weren't all that many jobs out there that are along the lines of what he's been doing (and despite the schedule and always being outside, he really enjoys the work) but in the last week or so, the listings have been exploding. Our goal was for him to find something by the end of December, and we're still trusting God for that. Financially, we have been blessed bigger than we could have ever hoped for. Thanks to the extreme kindness and generosity of others (which they informed us was 100% God led), we are not hurting. I'm 97% done with our Christmas shopping and the kids will be having a super awesome Christmas. Being able to get them new jammies and tick off the items on their lists is important to me. Its worldly and a privilege so many people don't get, so we are extremely grateful to be able to do it. Jesus is the reason for the season, but at the same time, I am determined to keep the magic and traditions alive with them. When they grow up, I don't ever want them to look back and have anything but amazing warm memories of Christmas. Every other year, I do everything I possibly can to exceed their expectations on December 25th.

On the baby/birthday/Thanksgiving front... Since I last posted, Eli has turned 6 and then 7 months old. He blows me away every day. Since Daddy started being home all the time, it's a total free for all on sleeping, but I can't be sure that he wouldn't be doing that anyway. From what I hear, so many babies are inconsistent sleepers. He's healthy, and that's more important to me. When we took him for his 6 month check up and shots, we were so relieved when that scale said he was still under 20 pounds. Sure, it was only 2 ounces under, but we were scared! His carrier is only rated for up to 22 pounds, and we're just not ready to move him to a car seat and give up his grocery store/Walmart naps...

For Halloween, we took him to Boo at the Zoo. He could not have cared less about the entire thing. I'm hoping next time he's more interested in checking out the animals. Maybe if it's a little warmer he'll be more interested... We did, however, get him the greatest costume ever and so a lot of the other zoo patrons were EXTREMELY interested in HIM!

On November 7th, Hubs turned 32. I am a birthday person, and I had desperately wanted to make a bigger deal about it and make it more special for him. I am so blessed to have a husband who values my intentions and desires as much if not more than my actions.

The week of Thanksgiving was pretty big time for our little family. On November 20th, Eli turned 7 months old. On November 19th, he busted out his first word! We're pretty sure he's been saying "Hi" for a while, but since that's a very breathy sound, it can go either way. But he does it in response to someone saying it to him, so... Anyway, that's not what we're calling his first word. He was in his exersaucer, and I was packing up his diaper bag. He looked up, saw the bottle in my hand, and started jumping and yelling, "Ba ba ba ba ba ba!" Since we've been calling it his "baba" (to encourage him to say it, too), it was OBVIOUS what he was saying. Love my little nugget learning food words first! We also think he's trying to say "Mama", which makes my heart just about explode. On the 23rd, he got his 1st tooth! We were out running errands and when I went to give him his bottle, I noticed a little white spot on his gum. Stuck my finger in his mouth for confirmation, and yup! A tooth had FINALLY broken through!! For his first Thanksgiving, we introduced meats (turkey, obviously.) and he did just fine with them (the only thing he hasn't liked is green beans). He had a sleepover with Aunt Katy and Uncle Bernie that night so Mommy and Daddy could hit the sales (Toys R Us was the big winner this year.) He slept like a champ for them! Saturday night, he went and spent some time with some sweet friends from church so we could go bowling to celebrate my big Dirty Thirty birthday. He is seriously the greatest baby EVER. When we picked him up, his little eye was gooey and swollen. Was he cranky and crying? Nope! He was smiling and babbling and his happy self. (Our friends felt absolutely AWFUL, but we know it was nothing they did, and kids get sick so why would we be mad?) He'd been that way (happy and babbling) all week, despite a runny nose (which we blamed on the weather change. We both had it, too, but found out we were actually sick. I had a sinus infection and Hubs had bronchitis.) Sunday morning his eye was literally crusted shut and he still woke up smiling! His pediatrician called in some antibiotic eye drops and by Sunday night, his eyes were almost all the way back to normal. Monday he had another little surprise for us in the form of a 2nd tooth (over achiever!). He's just growing up so fast, which I hate but less than I thought I would. He's so fun, and we're having a blast interacting with him, so it's kind of hard to be that upset about him "growing up". He's still my snuggly little baby, so it's okay. Hubs was gone so much when he was working, it's been the biggest blessing for all of us that he was here for all of these firsts with Eli. Watching our son grow TOGETHER is beyond words. Just God blessing us over and over through a seemingly terrible situation!

So, I'm 30 now. For a long time (we're talking YEARS.), I've looked forward to my 30's. I went through so much in my 20's. Some of it was so wonderful (it's when I met my best friends), but so much of it was horrible, and I'm ready to leave it all behind me. I truly believe that God has mind blowingly wonderful things planned for me in my 30's. These are going to be the best years of my life, my "glory days" for reasons that no one thinks of when they're young and imagining their glory days. I'm looking forward to growing in my faith, and seeing how that makes me a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend. Ooo warm fuzzies just thinking about it!
Happy Thanksgiving!

So yea, life is far from perfect, but we are perfectly blessed.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

the good, the bad, and the ugly

The Good

Groupon came through again for family fun. We got half price admission to Dewberry Farm. I love watching the kids run around and play in barns.

Let's be real here. We all know that everything else in this category is going to be about the baby.

Eli is a really good eater and hasn't had any reactions! He's had bananas (currently his favorite), sweet potatoes, green beans, sweet peas, and apples. He didn't care for green beans until I mixed some of his bananas in, then he was all about it. When he eats them, he ends up looking like a big grass stain, which cracks me up. He LOVES the peas, and was kind of "meh" about apples. I know, what a weirdo! Who loves peas and is "meh" about apples? Oh, right. His mommy. Overcoming the tongue thrust has been amazing. I love when he makes this adorable serious face while swallowing then immediately opens his mouth for more. We'll be trying carrots and squash soon. I'm learning a lot about making baby food. Some people thing that if you just puree anything its instant baby food. Not so much. When I make his bananas, its a blend of fresh banana, formula, and rice cereal. Same for his sweet potatoes. I cheated and bought the peas and green beans (although I have fresh green beans and will be making them into baby food tonight!) and the apples I just baked an apple and ran the meat through the food processor until it was nice and smooth. My amazing friend Christina is sending me a cook book of baby food recipes because her baby has moved on to finger foods, and I'm a lot more excited about it than I probably should be. Its a lot easier to buy baby food, obviously, but I love the idea of making it myself. Maybe part of that is me trying to reconcile some of the lingering guilt of him not being exclusively breast fed, or really breast fed at all. I don't know. But even if it has nothing to do with the breast milk issue, its cheaper and since my job is to take care of him, it makes sense. If I worked outside the home, I seriously doubt I'd be making his food.

Last weekend, we had him dedicated at church. Dedication is a form of Christening, basically. Sheldon and I don't believe in infant baptism, although it is offered at our church, because Jesus was baptized as an adult in the Bible. Instead, we chose the dedication route. This means that we stand at the front of the church, before our family, friends, and other members of our church, and commit to raising him to follow Jesus. Our pastor leads us in prayers of thanksgiving for being blessed with our child, prayers for Him to equip us as parents, and prayers for God's blessings on his life, all with the hope that he will make the decision to accept Jesus as his savior and be baptized. Its a really special experience, and we're extra glad the big kids could participate with us. Oh, and apparently Eli now has the distinction of being the 1st baby our pastor has dedicated while taking a bottle. The kid loves to eat.

I can't believe he's almost 6 months old! He's so big and busy and changing every day! And seriously, people, stop encouraging him to crawl and telling me how much he wants to walk. My Christmas tree says he doesn't want to walk until 2012, thankyouverymuch.

The Bad

My dad's health has had us pretty worried for a few weeks. He started seeing a nephrologist because his rhematologist ran some blood work and noticed his kidney numbers were bad. Several more tests later, they found that his kidney function was at around 35% and they didn't know why. Thankfully, they ruled out cancer, but its still terrifying! A week or so after that bomb was dropped, my dad went to the ER. He was in horrible pain and had started to vomit. They found 7 (yes, SEVEN) kidney stones, the largest of which was 7mm large. He stayed in the hospital for a few days and left with a stent. He had it in for a week, and the day they removed it, they also pulverized the stones. Our prayer is that all the stones were impairing his kidney function and that he should be recovering nicely.
My dad's health scare was not the worst, unfortunately. The worst is that Sheldon lost his job last week. I don't work. Do the math. It's a very scary thing, but we're choosing to do everything we can to stay positive. The obvious immediate perk is that Eli and I have been enjoying having him home with us the past few days. There was a decided lack of integrity at the company he was working for, and the constant lies, shortcuts, and general crap he had been enduring for several months now was really wearing on him. Eliminating that is amazing. Our obvious hope is for him to find a new job (quickly) that pays as well if not better and has a more consistent schedule. It'll make things easier with visitation with the big kids, plus it'll help Eli and I with our routine. So yes, we're obviously worried about making ends meet until he gets a new job (and health insurance... insulin is expensive!), but God has never let us down, He has always provided for us, and we have to believe that this is going to be an opportunity for us to move forward and for God to put better things in our lives. We've canceled our big birthday trip to Missouri next month, and Christmas is going to be very tight, but we'll get by and someday, it'll just be another memory of something we made it through.

The Ugly

The same day Sheldon lost his job, we discovered a leak in our apartment. On Monday, I noticed the carpet where the foyer and living room meet was wet. I figured someone had just spilled something and let it go. I didn't really pay much attention to it again until Wednesday, when I saw that the carpet was SOAKED. Then I looked over and saw that the wall was wet. The maintenance staff arrived and the ugly began. They started cutting out drywall (there was mold in the coat closet) and pulling up carpet. So we have holes in the walls, missing carpet, and generally a huge mess. Its YUCKY and I will be very happy next week when everything is put back together (and all the mold is gone.).

All in all, I'd say we're blessed. And I love so much that when adversity comes our way, it honestly makes our marriage stronger. We've been through stuff that would cripple relationships much older and more established than ours. But they always make us stronger, and we truly feel that it's a testament to the fact that we were made for each other.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Its the most wonderful time of the year!

I. Love. Autumn. It is hands down my favorite season. I love that its okay for everything to be brown and orange outside because "winter" is coming (and not just because its 110 degrees for the 25th day in a row, and it hasn't rained since March.) Its finally starting to rain again (keep it coming!!) which is fun. Eli is 5 months old, and it's literally rained like 4 times since he was born. If you don't live in Texas, really take a minute to think about that information. Its not pretty. Anyway. I love just about anything pumpkin scented or flavored (proof: I celebrated the 1st day of Fall with pumpkin pound cake for breakfast. It was AWESOME.). The weather is finally not surface of the sun hot anymore (you know its been bad when 92 feels like a really nice day.). On some magic days, and most evenings, there's this delicious crispness in the air that is my faaaaaaaaavorite. Football is back. Big time back for my fellow Longhorns. We were so terrible last year. And this year we are SO NOT. YES!! HOOK 'EM!! Oh yea, and Christmas stuff is starting to be in the stores for me to ooh and ahh over and plan and dream!

So, I'm pretty overwhelmed by all the newness of the Little Big Man. He's returned to sleeping through the night, which is amazing in and of itself, but he's going to sleep earlier. Most nights he's down for the count between 11 and 12. He usually sleeps until between 7 and 8. The other night, Hubs and I got 8 consecutive hours of sleep, together, in our bed. I can't lie. That hasn't happened since before I was pregnant. MIND-BLOWING. He likes to take a looooong nap in the morning (2-4 hours) and then cat naps until dark, when he'll usually sleep for about an hour or 2, want a bottle, then go down for the night. He's sleeping in his crib most of the time (except that long nap in the morning... Mommy learned that when she wants him to go back to sleep, if she puts him in his swing, he'll take the longer nap. I'm not ashamed.) The other morning, I woke up to him crying on the baby monitor (because he's a big guy and needs to eat a lot to stay that way...) so I stumbled into his room and saw 2 fat legs sticking out of the side of the crib. I put him in the crib longways, so he had scooted around to the short side. The kid is a wiggler. When he's on the floor in his baby gym, he never stays even remotely close to where I put him. This is adorable, obviously, but it makes me very nervous about how insane its going to be when he's legitimately mobile in a few months. Pray for me!! I've noticed that he appears to have nightmares. Twice now I've heard him crying on the baby monitor, after he'd been asleep for an hour or 2, and when I go to check on him, he's still asleep and the crying stops. The other day, he was napping in the swing, and I heard him whimpering. When I looked over, his forehead was furrowed and his bottom lip was sticking out like he was upset about something. Anyone else have a baby with bad dreams? Anything you can do to prevent them? Will they go away on their own?

We had planned to wait until 6 months to start him on cereal (we also planned on him having breast milk until 6 months... we all know how well that went.) but the closer he got to 5 months, the hungrier he was. He was taking a 5-6oz bottle every 2 hours from 4pm until he went to bed at night. That's just insane! Plus he would scream like he was dying until he got that bottle every 2 hours. So a few days before he hit 5 months, we started it. He likes it, but he's still fighting with his tongue thrust and so he likes to 1. not allow the spoon into his mouth and/or 2. blow bubbles in the food on the spoon. He's getting better. More food is starting to make it into the baby than ON the baby.
People kept telling us that feeding him cereal would help his sleep. We experimented with feeding him the cereal at different times of day to test that. We quickly discovered that when we fed him cereal, then did bath, then did last bottle, he slept TERRIBLE. He woke up in the middle of the night for another bottle. So we make sure he eats it before 7pm and then he sleeps just fine at night. I'm thinking we're going to start him on veggies October 1st or so. I'm stoked to FINALLY start using the Magic Bullet Express that my mom got us for Christmas 2 years ago to make most of his food myself. I will buy some prepackaged stuff, because there are some foods that I don't even want to try and will be good for him. Feel free to share recipes and tips with me!!

Physically, he's growing so fast! In the span of a week, he started rolling front to back (back to front is close behind... I keep seeing him practicing) and sitting up. He's not a completely unsupported sitter just yet, but close enough. I had him in his bouncy seat while I was in the kitchen last week. I walk out and he's completely upright with his head against the toy arch. Crazy! He's super strong and constantly trying to do new things. I'm not ready for him to pull up or crawl, so I'm not encouraging it. Not for a little longer anyway. He's just becoming such a big boy and I miss my little baby (who was never all that little it seems).
5 months

My back had been bothering me pretty much since he was born. I knew it was normal for the first month or 2. After 4 months of painful cramps so bad that I frequently couldn't stand up straight, I asked my doctor about it. She was like, "Oh, yea, that happens all the time when you have a baby. Your back and hips get all crazy." So I started seeing a chiropractor. Turns out my hips are out of alignment and the muscles in my back are doing crazy stuff to compensate. So I get electrodes on my back with ice or heat (I've had both.), massage, and then alignment. OH. MY. GOSH. It hurts. It HURTS. The first time he was adjusting my right shoulder, I almost started to cry. It literally hurt worse than hard labor. Granted, I apparently had a pretty easy labor, but it still hurt. Anyway, he didn't believe me when I told him it hurt worse than labor. Well, Cool Guy, you've never been in labor so you don't really know, now do you? So, the adjustments HUUUUUUUUUURT. But they're working! My back pops a lot lately, when I move or take a deep breath, but that's apparently a good sign. And I'm not in agonizing pain anymore (well, except when he's adjusting my shoulders...) So, yay for chiropractic care!

Happy Fall Y'all!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

So we had summer...

I keep meaning to blog and then Eli always has other plans. I can't say I mind, because, well, he's seriously cute. There's a whole lot that I'm going to shove into this blog, so just know that the flow is going to suffer. And there is gratuitous use of the word "love".

July wasn't at all what I expected. Cherie obsessively loves Eli. Owen has a lot of jealousy. He's not jealous of the attention Eli gets, like you'd expect. He's more jealous of the fact that Cherie can do more stuff for him. He loves being a big brother, but he forgets he's still a little brother, too. She's 3 and a half years older than he is, and subsequently can handle more stuff (a lot of it being just because she's taller and stronger). His behavior wasn't great, but I don't know how much of that stems from his jealousy and how much of it is just ongoing behavior issues (and a desperate desire for attention). He acts up in a lot of the same ways at his mom's house, so I know its not all baby related. Anyway, we got a good routine going for the big kids, which saved me because Eli has no desire whatsoever to be on a schedule, and he started teething at 10 weeks (those teeth are taking their sweet time coming in, though. In the mean time, I have a super drooler who chews on EVERYTHING and gets otherwise inexplicably cranky.) Cherie was a huge help, helping us make bottles, unloading the dishwasher, and holding Cranky Baby so Mama could take a shower. Don't think I don't shower when they aren't here. Its just harder to find time to wash your hair when you have 3 kids to take care of instead of just 1 cranky baby. I love having them, though. Our family feels whole when they're here. Good days and bad days, I love them and love them in my life.

I really enjoy serving in children's ministry at our church, so I was thrilled when they announced last spring that we'd finally be having a VBS. Our church has something like 2000 members and regular attenders. Maybe more. I don't know. Anyway, its a HUGE church. VBS needed to happen. I signed up to teach Owen's class. I will not be signing up for the younger kids again next year. I had about 12 kids every day and 10 were boys. 10 6 year old boys in a room was draining to say the least. VBS also brought a new milestone for Eli and me - separation anxiety. No, not for Eli. He was an angel for the sweet ladies in the nursery. It was all Mommy. I had never been away from him for more than an hour (not counting when he was in the NICU at the hospital...) and it was HARD. Its still hard. I just miss him. But he does great in the nursery at church (he went again during a meeting and has been a few Sunday mornings since Sunday school started back up in August.) Overall, though, the kids and I really enjoyed the experience.

The week after VBS brought torture to our house in the form of lice. Cherie has battled lice for the past 2 years, through no fault of her own. The weekend after VBS, they spent a weekend at their mom's house. She came back with lice. It took me 5 days of pure misery to finally end their reign of terror on sweet girl's head. I wanted to shave her head so bad, no joke.

The last Friday of the month, we were given a gignormous blessing. An amazing photographer wanted to use the talent God blessed her with to bless a family, and she offered to let us be that family. So we had a wonderful session with JME Portraits The resulting pictures literally made me cry they're so beautiful. She's just really fantastically talented, and we have been and continue to be overwhelmingly blessed by her gift.

I love being a stay at home mom. I never ever thought I would. I always wanted a job, and I felt like if I didn't work, I would be one of those women who have nothing to talk about but their kids which is kind of annoying. I needed to work to have something to define myself, as if "I'm a wife and mom" was insufficient. God has shown me that this is what He planned for me. I never got a career. I never found a job that I could grow in and was proud of and felt like that was my calling, until now. I love watching Eli grow and change. I love making sure Hubs has clean underwear and work clothes. I don't really love cooking, but I love making sure everyone's eaten. I never got a career because I was meant to be a Mommy. What an overwhelming blessing. Financially, it is HARD. I wasn't making much before, but we're for sure missing that little bit. Fortunately, we're prayerful and God is getting us through (through the kindness and assistance of others.) But man. To spend every day with this face?


He's so fun these days. He laughs and smiles and babbles. He wants to be sitting up all the time, looking around and taking it all in. He's so curious! He loves to play, usually with his feet. He's perfectly healthy, and for the most part, an incredibly good baby. Now if only he would sleep through the night again... He was doing a good job on that for a while. He'd take his last bottle between midnight at 1 am and be down for the count by 1:30. He'd sleep until sometime between 7:30 and 8:30. It was fantastic! He decided he's over that now. Mommy would like to see that return. I've been good about taking his monthly pictures. Sure, they're not always right on the 20th every month, but I get 'em within a few days. Here they are!

2 months

3 months

4 months

My little baby is 4 months old, weighs about 17 pounds, and is about 26 inches long. So really, he's not so little of a baby. He never did get the hang of (or maybe inclination to? I'll never know which.) nursing so I pumped. For 4 months, I pumped. The week before he hit 4 months, the factory was barely even limping along. It took me 3 days to pump the 3 ounces he drank as his last breast milk bottle, on his 4 month birthday. Its been a very emotional journey, breast milk. I've mostly made my peace with never getting that amazing bonding time of nursing and mourned my desire for him to be exclusively breast fed. At the end of the day, I did my best and he had breast milk for 4 months. He got as much benefit as I could give him, and I'm proud of myself for that. I don't miss pumping, and making formula bottles is a ton easier than making breast milk bottles, so at least there's something positive about losing my milk. Plus it means the saga is over.

Every single day, I thank God that I get to be his mommy. Seriously. Being a mom is nothing like I expected, and the greatest thing ever. I mean, people talk about trusting your instincts, "he's your baby, you'll know what's best" and until you're in it, you kind of think they're full of it. But then the strangest thing happens... you have a child and you just KNOW him. I never ever feel like I'm a great mom (thankfully, my amazing husband tells me almost daily that 1. He loves me. 2. I am an awesome wife and mother. and 3. He is grateful for me. I'm so blessed to be his wife.) and yet I feel like I can care for Eli better than anybody else (including Hubs, but in his defense, its because he doesn't spend nearly as much time with Eli so he doesn't know his quirks as well.) I've learned the way he acts when he's hungry, when he's sleepy, when he's uncomfortable, when he's happy, when his tummy hurts, etc. I know that when he cries in the car its not because he needs anything, its just because he hates when we stop (the boy can't stand red lights or the drive thru at Sonic.). I can predict how he'll react to just about anything. Its amazing! I'm sure this is normal for moms, but its all still new to me, so every day brings a mind-blowing realization about motherhood.

There's a million other things I want to write about, but I'm tired and Eli's been asleep for a while (maybe he'll sleep on through until morning... he did get pretty tired out taking his 1st bath in his big boy duckie tub tonight...) so I'm gonna follow his lead.

So. Stinking. Blessed.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

trucking along

I'm starting to get more settled into the mommy lifestyle. My laundry doesn't get backed up like it did when I was pregnant. The dishes are almost always done. The boxes are finally getting unpacked and we actually have pictures hanging on the walls. We've lived here for 6 months.

Eli is growing so fast. We had him weighed on his 5 week birthday and he's up to 11 pounds 6 ounces. He also grew about an inch in 3 weeks. My brother in law is on the sports medicine faculty at a university in West Texas and he was incredibly impressed with his muscle tone and reflexes this weekend. He holds his head up and has a really strong back. Sometimes when he's hanging out with Daddy, he tries to roll. Slow down, baby! Slow down!! We're going to take pictures of him every month next to a stuffed giraffe to show how much he's growing. I don't particularly like the idea of making onesies for every month with the number and a friend did the stuffed animal gauge with both of her kids so I took the idea.

We took him on his 1st trip this weekend. Sheldon's cousin Karen got married down in Galveston. He was so good and was a big hit. He was lookin' pretty fancy afterall...

One of the groom's relatives fell head over heels in love with him. Seriously. He was walking around all night asking people if they'd met Eli yet. Incredibly flattering and yet if it wasn't a family wedding, I'd be creeped out.

One more month to get used to having 1 full time child before I have 3... I don't know if I'm scared or not. I think it'll depend on how much we're all sleeping...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

4 weeks?!

I don't ever want Eli to grow up. I don't ever want a toddler, or an elementary school kid, or (ugh) a teenager. I want to keep my snuggly ball of chubs forever.

He's an amazing baby. He cries when he's hungry and occasionally when he just feels lonely, but mostly just when he's hungry. Thank GOD. He's a good sleeper, almost always sleeping 2-4 hours in a stretch (this is great for naps!) As he gets older, though, he has 2 or 3 times in a 24 hour period where he stays awake for the 2-3 hours between feedings. I'm learning to cherish these times (except when they fall in the midnight to 3am window.) and spend time talking to him, snuggling him, and just watching him wiggle and look at stuff. I'm still in awe that this person grew inside of me, that God chose me to be his mother, and that I'm not the baby sitter. I've struggled with that a lot. There are a lot of kids in my life that I have and currently love so deeply. But they're always someone else's kids. And then there's the stepmom struggle. In so many ways, they're my children. But we are a part time family, because we share them. So now I keep somehow expecting Eli to be someone else's, too. He's developing the Mommy attachment, and it makes it even more real. When the sound of my voice or my touch are all he needs to calm down... there aren't words. Those are the moments that people are talking about when they say that motherhood is the most amazing experience ever.

The biggest struggle we've had has been with breast feeding. I was mentally prepared for him to be a bottle baby in case (for one of a number of reasons) my milk didn't come in. I never imagined the problem would be that he doesn't want to latch. He's capable of doing it, and he nurses every so often, but more often than not, he refuses. So I spend a lot of time with my best friend, the pump. Its so important to me that he has breast milk (although it only makes up about half of his diet... I can only do so much...) so I'm doing what I have to do to give him that benefit. Its kind of heartbreaking because that was the only thing I really desperately wanted for him. Oh what a blessing that special time with him would've been... It's not too late, and we're still trying (like I said, he nurses when he's in the mood...) but I know he won't ever be an exclusively breastfed baby. At least he's healthy!

I hate that these 4 weeks have gone by so fast. I have no concept of what day it is, really. My life right now is a timeless cycle of naps, feedings, and laundry. Eli doesn't have days and nights so we don't really have them either. I know that will change in the next few weeks as he starts to sleep longer (like the other night when he slept for 4 hours during the night between feedings!!) and we will work hard to make sure those longer sleeps are when it's dark outside. But in the mean time, the days all run together and it has just whooshed by. He's already getting so big, and changed so much from the little baby I brought home from the hospital. I just want to freeze him!!

As I've entered this new role of mommy, I have really come to appreciate my friends, especially the other mommies. I have these women in my life who have encouraged me, prayed for me, given me advice, and helped me feel normal and totally not crazy when I felt like I was losing my mind and failing at everything. It can get extremely lonely when you're tired, in pain, and alone with a new baby and not really sure what you're doing. Its REALLY easy to lose it. I am blessed beyond belief to have these women in my life to help me through it. It is getting better, it is getting easier, and I'm a bit more with it. I wouldn't be if I didn't have them (and an amazing husband who is very willing to be the more sleep deprived of the 2 so that I can take some pain medicine and a longer nap.). When we were kids, my brother HATED the idea of us having mutual friends. There was a family with a son and daughter our ages that we were friends with. I can remember him pitching a fit when I'd be over there playing with the daughter if he was already there to play with the son. Oh how the times have changed! His wife is one of my best friends, and most of my friends here were her friends first. She has graciously shared them with me, and my life is infinitely better for it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Introducing... Eli!

(I started this yesterday... you'll get the point)

Today is April 25th. For months we have been planning on today being Eli's birthday. On Monday the 18th, we were still planning on today being his birthday. God laughed at us. He laughed right in our silly human faces.

*This is the story of my labor and Eli's birth. It gets a little TMI, so be prepared.*

At 2pm on the 18th, we went for our 36 week check up at the high risk OB. My cervix was totally closed, and I wasn't having contractions. We left content that we were still on pace to have check ups with my regular OB on Wednesday and Friday, then be admitted on Easter to induce. Monday the 18th was a full moon. And I'm now a believer. Shortly after midnight, my hips started killing me. It felt like charley horses in my hip flexors. No contractions, so I just wrote it off as my hips spreading and resigned myself to the pain. The pain got worse throughout the day on Tuesday. I could barely walk it was hurting so much. I was determined to not have to be back in the hospital on bed rest, so I wouldn't let Sheldon call the doctor. My blood pressures were still great, and I didn't have any of the other symptoms my doctor told me I had to come in with. In the late afternoon, I started having a few random contractions. The closest they got was about 30 minute apart in the 6 o clock hour. I noticed a little bit of a pink tint to the mucus I had. Mucus in general I wasn't concerned about, because I know your mucus plug regenerates and can be shedding/regenerating for weeks and have nothing to do with labor. The pain was getting worse, so around 6:45 I laid down to take a nap. At 7:15, I got up to use the restroom and saw blood in the toilet. We decided it was time to go to the hospital. I got in the tub for a warm soak while Sheldon got our bags together. And the contractions started to come every 10-15 minutes. I was pretty sure that Thundercats were, in fact, GOOOOOOOOOOOO! at that point.

We got to the hospital at about 8:30 and headed up to L&D. At 8:45 the nurse checked me and to our complete and utter shock said, "You're gonna be a mama soon! You're at about 4 and a half!" WHAT!! *Cue excitement* "Let's get you checked in and get anesthesia up here for your epidural!" (best news EVER.) My sister in law arrived around 9:30, also excited out of her mind. The doctor (who was not my regular doctor, but the chief of obstetrics for the hospital and we had already decided we didn't absolutely need my doctor to be the one who delivered the baby) came in to rupture my sac. Well, it had already ruptured, and after he informed us of that, he also said, "Hey, your baby has hair!" It puts you at ease when you have a casual yet professional doctor. I like it. (In hindsight, knowing that my water was already broken makes us believe that the afore mentioned blood was in fact, my bloody show.) A little after 10, I was checked again (and I was already at 8!!) and got my epidural. Katy is in awe of me for all of this. I did not scream when during contractions (which hurt REALLY EFFING BAD, in case you were wondering.). I just closed my eyes and tried to breath through them, crying with the ones that were really bad. I'm shocked I didn't use a single profane word. That's just not like me. I loves me some F bombs and "holy shits" when something hurts. I don't know why I was so calm throughout it all. I think I was still sort of in shock that I was actually having a baby. So epidural. AMAZING. I could still feel my legs, I just couldn't feel any pain. I felt a little pressure when I was having contractions, and so I was in a great mood! I started to stall, so they gave me some pitocin to try and get me the last cm or so. It worked! Some time between 12:30 and 1, it was time to push! It was impossible to be scared at that point. I had Sheldon on 1 side, Katy on the other, and probably the greatest L&D nurse ever, all of them encouraging me and keeping me calm. Best labor experience ever, probably. I pushed for an hour and his head just was not moving past the pubic bone. The doctor came back in and said it was time to throw in the towel and do a C-section. The plan since the 1st trimester had been to let me try to delivery vaginally but knowing that I'd most likely have a C. I've been prepared to have a C since I was 19 and was totally cool with it. Basically, because I'm diabetic, doctors won't let me (or any diabetic mommy for that matter) push as long as a non-diabetic mommy because it stresses the baby. So Sheldon suited up and anesthesia started getting me ready for the big show.

The only thing that sucked about this part was that I was COLD. I was so cold I was shaking. It was AWFUL. The anesthesiologist was amazing and trying so hard to warm me up. Bless him! Sheldon was by my side while they did the surgery (which is surreal... you're awake, and you just feel like someone is pressing on you, but that's all you can feel.) The first thing the doctor said when he pulled Eli out (at 2:46am) was, "Look at those big cheeks!" And Sheldon and I both started to cry. I'm totally tearing up again thinking about it. Then you wait for what feels like minutes (but is really just like 30 seconds max) to hear that cry. And then there it was. I looked at Sheldon and said, "He sounds like Tilly!" Weird the things you think about when you hear your child's 1st cry... I asked how big he was (because the ultrasound on Monday had estimated him at 7 and a half pounds) and someone replied, "HUGE! He's 8 pounds 9 ounces! 21 inches long." Sheldon and I both said, "HOLY CRAP!!!" They wrapped him up and handed him to Sheldon, instructed him to show me and let me kiss him. Oh my God he was so beautiful!

Then Sheldon took Eli with the nurses to the nursery to get cleaned up and set up for success, I got stapled up, and headed to recovery. When I got there, the only things I could feel were my head and my left arm. I felt like I was in the video for "One" by Metallica. Not a cool feeling AT ALL. While I was in recovery, I got the amazing surprise of Bunny and Fox! They had driven down from Dallas when I told them I was in labor. Love them. I finally made it back to my room between some time around 6. I was DESPERATE to get my baby. I kept asking for him, but they were bathing him and making sure he was warm. I finally got him around 7 and oh my heart just stopped. This beautiful little boy came out of me?! He's mine?! Its the craziest awesome feeling ever. My doctor came by for rounds a little after 8. He was like, "You have a baby!! And he's HUGE!!" Seriously, no one saw me going into labor, and we didn't expect him to be so big. But he's amazing and we're so blessed.

Elijah Ross Green April 20, 2011 2:46am

We were in the hospital until Saturday, and there's a lot that went on during that time, but that'll have to wait for another post. I need to go snuggle my son now.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Oh the uterus.

My life is run by the uterus. Seriously. Usually its mine, but apparently, other uterus also have a huge impact on my life. Oh, and I was wrong. Apparently, I can handle another lemon. I mean, I bawled like a crazy person all day, but we got through and it's okay.

Now, you may or may not be aware that I am OBSESSED with my cats. Seriously. They have been my children for almost 6 years now. I love them like my children and yea. Well, Matilda has been acting funny for a few days, like she didn't feel good. This morning, she started leaking clear fluid and I knew something was seriously wrong. We do not have any extra money right now, so I was double upset: my heart was breaking watching my baby suffer and feeling very helpless because I couldn't really do anything about it. Thankfully, a call to the vet and a very understanding office manager ended with my mom bringing us to the vet at 2.

She was purring and demanding petting from everyone who came near her, regardless of the grumpy look on her face. Turns out she was dehydrated and had pyometra, which is a severe uterine infection. She had emergency surgery this evening, and should be just fine! We caught it super early and thank God for that! From what I've read, this condition is life-threatening. My poor baby!

In happier news, I'm 35 weeks along and Eli's huge. They estimated him at 6lbs 15oz on Monday. My ribcage could've told you that! He continues to get all A's on his tests at the OB's office. He's a big, healthy nugget! He was moving around like crazy while I was hooked up to the fetal monitors, and my doctor goes, "Wow! what a happy baby!" We see the high risk OB on Monday and then my regular OB on Wednesday. They both agree that they want him induced before he hits 9 pounds, so we're on pace to be admitted on Easter Sunday and he'll be born the following morning.

Here's some of our amazing family pictures we had done on the 2nd. Love them and can't wait for the 5th face to be in the next set!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Year 2.

Saturday was kind of a big deal for Team Green. We had the kids with us for the first time since new year's, Saturday morning was my last shift ever at my job, and it was also our 1st wedding anniversary. Let's break this down.

Loved having the kids. Friday night they had Daddy Date Night because I was at bunco. (I love my bunco group soooo much. Its something I look forward to every month. These women are so much fun and have really been rays of sunshine in the dark times of the past year.) Whenever Daddy's in charge, the kids are always up soooo late. This is more of an issue for Owen than Cherie, but we kinda saw it coming. Saturday am, we were up at 6:45. Owen got a hair cut and Cherie got braids. They were fed, sunscreened, and lookin' snappy in their uniforms (Cherie plays softball and Owen plays t-ball) and off they went with Daddy for their games. O missed pictures because Mama can only move so fast lately, and Daddy decided to shower and shave instead of help get them dressed. Live and learn. They picked me up from work, we had some lunch, and then had some down time. O took a 3+ hour nap.

Cherie had a luxurious bath. I'm serious. She asked for a mud mask (I created a monster with that one!) and was in there for a good hour. (Don't worry. I made her change the water after she washed the mask off.) Sheldon and I were cracking up in the living room listening to her singing and chatting to herself in there. When she got out of the bath, Daddy decided to take a nap so the girls ran some errands. We went to Target for an anniversary gift and to my parents' house to pick up the top of our wedding cake. When we got home, we woke the guys up, everyone got changed, and we headed to Old Katy to have family pictures taken! I can't wait to see them. I really think they're going to be so beautiful. We continued our whirlwind of a day with dinner at Chuy's. Oh Boom Boom Sauce... how we love thee! Owen started to melt down when we got home because Little Guy was so tired! Sunday morning was church as usual, then we had lunch and some playtime at my brother's house. We wrapped up the weekend with the totally un-fun task of having the kids try on their clothes to purge the stuff they've outgrown. I really wanted it done before Eli's here in the event they needed a lot of new things. I wanted that done before I'm on house arrest or just too tired to go shopping. I was pleasantly surprised that most things still fit. Tax free weekend, however, we'll be doing some replacing.

The downer of the weekend: Owen's behavior. I understand that he's almost 6 and am fully aware that when his behavior was at its worst he was usually pretty tired. That does not make it acceptable for him to keep doing the same things over and over again. We had some problems with him lying, but he's improving there. The biggest problem was him following instructions and being disrespectful. It is NEVER acceptable for a child to yell back at an adult. Our waiter accidentally tried to give him Cherie's drink at dinner Saturday and Owen immediately YELLED at him that he was wrong. I was so embarrassed. When he was trying on his clothes, Sheldon said something to him and he yelled his disagreement in Sheldon's face. NOT ACCEPTABLE. He also just had a really hard time following instructions. It wasn't a great decision on Sheldon's part to decide that he wants to have Owen trying on clothes in the living room so that he can watch a movie while Owen's changing. That's a Daddy Fail. But the distraction was just too great for a 5 year old to handle, and he could not stay focused on what he was doing to save his life, no matter how many times he was told. He also just doesn't pay attention to what he's doing. I've put my shirts on backwards and/or inside out before. It happens. But after the 2nd time he put something on backwards and/or inside out and I told him to pay attention and check for the tags or a picture when getting dressed, that should've sufficed for the day. By the (I'm not exaggerating) 8th time he did it, my patience was gone and time out happened so he could focus on something. He dresses himself every day and has been dressing himself for as long as I've been around. This is not usually a problem. It frustrated the crap out of me that I told him 4 or 5 times to pay attention to what he's doing and then the next thing he'd put on, he'd do backwards because he just wasn't paying attention to what he was doing (yes, we were still in the living room. No the tv wasn't on.) He had some other incidents with being told to do or not do something more than once and then doing it anyway. He's not misbehaving to the extent he was before, but when its the same thing over and over... I'm trying so hard to expect less from them, because they're kids and its okay. But there are still things that will just get me every time. Lying, for instance. CAN'T STAND IT. Cherie got busted in a lie (she told me Saturday morning, "Daddy said I could...". I told him about it that night, after they were in bed - obviously it was such a big deal! - and he said he never said it. So Sunday morning, he mentioned it to her. She goes, "Oh, no, what I said was..." and I cut her off because no way was I letting her start another lie and basically call me a liar. We weren't even mad! Sheldon was like, "Baby, you need to remember that Mama and I tell each other everything. You can't tell one of us that the other said something when we didn't. We always find out. Now eat your cereal." It wasn't a big deal at all, but she was so upset about being busted she started to cry. She got in trouble 3 times while she was here and cried every time. I asked her if she cries every time she gets in trouble, and she said no, just at our house. I don't have a clue why.) Anyway, I'm trying to be more flexible with them, to be more patient (which is a big deal for me, because I am tired and cranky these days and very few people get patience from me!), to encourage them, and give more hugs and snuggles. We're getting there. Even with the discipline issues, they were happy to be here. It broke my heart when I was snuggling with Owen on the couch before we left to take them back to her house and he just kept telling me he didn't want to leave. I can't wait until we have primary custody...

I'm done working. DONE. I haven't officially turned in my notice. I'm currently technically on maternity leave. Its so sad that I couldn't just quit before I left because I knew there would be some bad treatment. I fully believe that working there made my pregnancy harder. I think the needless excessive stress they placed on my position exacerbated all the negative symptoms I've been dealing with. They weren't super understanding about things when I was in the hospital (all 3 times while I was working), and I'm having a bit of trouble with the transition. My doctor mentioned last week that he thinks there's a good chance Eli's going to come early on his own (and by early, I mean before his induction date of April 25th). We were talking about it today and Sheldon said (and I think he's totally right) that if I was still working there, I'd be in labor by the beginning of next week (which puts me at 35 weeks and that's really not great.) I've been working there for a year and a half, and I've invested a lot into the job, making it more efficient and developing my own procedures. Because of that, I'm having a hard time transitioning and not feeling responsible for it. I keep feeling like I'm supposed to be there! I really hope I get over that soon...

And then the big one: our anniversary. I can't believe we've only been married for a year. We haven't even been together for 2 years, and yet I feel like he's always been there. Sheldon was awesome. He was bouncing around like an excited little kid Friday night because he wanted to give me presents so bad. At midnight I got a dozen roses and a card that was so perfect and obviously made me cry. At around 2am, he took amazing care of me while I puked up everything I'd eaten Friday night (yea, not going to miss that in a few weeks when I'm not pregnant anymore) and then ended up with low blood sugar. When we got the kids up, he sent them in with balloons and candy for me. He's so sweet. Seriously. Being with him is the best thing. We've been through so much this year, lows like the early summer miscarriage and the custody battle to highs like getting ready for Eli. Everything feels better with him. Hard times don't hurt as much and good times feel even better. He can make me so mad and so happy. And no matter what, I always feel so loved and cherished. Every day, we love each other more, flaws and all, and I feel so secure. I'm looking forward to growing old with him.

Eli continues to thrive. I continue to be in pain and have less and less energy. I've started to have random contractions. My father in law told me last night, "That bread's just about baked!" I'm 34 weeks now, so 2 or 3 more weeks, tops. We were blessed beyond belief at our showers so we have just about everything we need. This weekend, Sheldon's off so we'll do the last of the organizing and setting up of stuff. We'll take the gift cards we got and go get the last things we need (nipples, burp rags, a breast pump, and a crib mattress. Not much!) Then it's just waiting for him to be cooked enough! I can't wait. I'm already so in love, and I think I'm going to explode when I finally get to hold and kiss him.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

If I see one more lemon...

I'm not sure what's been worse about this pregnancy, the feeling sick all the time or the lemons that life has been incessantly pelting us with. I get that there's always going to be trials in life, but its just overwhelming when you aren't quite done with one battle and another one starts. Its basically a never ending list of bad days that have really tainted my pregnancy with a ton of terrible memories. I turn 30 this fall, and honestly? I'm pretty ready to say "good riddance!" to my 20's.

The custody battle with the kids hasn't ended quietly (she tried to disregard the orders again the 1st night we got a visit and our amazing lawyer had to put the fear of God into her.). I would be SHOCKED if she didn't keep pulling her crazy antics, since she's been pulling them with increasing malice and crazy as long as Sheldon and I have been together, but at least we've seen their beautiful faces again, and that was so great for our souls.

The most recent lemons we've been pelted with have been materialistic and financial. We currently don't have any cars. We've been getting by with just one for over a month since Sheldon's died, but then mine died, too, when we were 15 minutes away from the kids' school. We were going to surprise them with lunch and see them for the 1st time in 2 months. Needless to say, that sucked. My parents have been extremely graciously letting Sheldon drive my mom's Explorer and giving me rides to work. Then yesterday, my mom's Explorer crapped out, too. Tonight, he took his mom's car to work and hopefully, my mom's car will be fixed tomorrow and my dad can get back to work fixing Sheldon's. On top of that, we're waiting on tax money (which will be decreased thanks to my stupid student loans) to purchase a mini van. With about 5 weeks left, we're getting down to the wire and I'm getting pretty nervous about the situation. But God has never let us down before, so we have no reason NOT to trust His provision at this point.

Speaking of 5 weeks to go... I have a big baby growin' in my ever expanding belly! At30 weeks exactly, he was estimated at 3lbs 9oz in his ultrasound. They didn't estimate it on Wednesday (31w2d) at our weekly scan because they only do it every other week. But my doctor is pleased as punch with the way everything's going. I've gained 4 pounds total now (which I'm amazed at, especially considering how huge I'm feeling), my blood pressure is on the high side of normal, but he wasn't concerned (which I was also pretty amazed about), and everyone keeps gushing about how perfect Eli is. I mean everyone. The ultrasound tech, the nurse, my OB, etc. Its the best feeling ever. Thursday (31w3d), I went to see the high risk OB. I was a little bit nervous about it (and Sheldon went in with his feathers already ruffled) because we'd heard horror stories about how mean they get, how they were going to lecture me about my blood sugars (which aren't glorious these days...), tell me I wasn't doing things right, etc. It was a pleasant surprise. Yes, he told me my a1c and blood sugars are too high, but he just said it once and moved on, content that I'm seeing my endocrinologist and that we're working on it. He did an extensive ultrasound and did estimate the weight. We were expecting somewhere around 4 and a half pounds. Imagine our surprise when he said, "5lbs 2oz." BIG BOY!!! Thankfully, that's not excessively large, just puts him in the 80th percentile. He also used the word perfect to describe Eli, which keeps this mommy calm. He wants to check me again at 36 weeks (especially since my OB is planning on a 37 week induction) so he can consult on the healthiest delivery options for the baby. He said that if it looks like Eli's going to be 9lbs or more, he's advising for a c-section. He told us that babies over 9lbs run a higher risk of shoulder dislocation, so C's are easiest on big babies. Honestly? I don't care either way. I never have. When I was 19 and first diagnosed with diabetes, I started having doctors tell me I'd be delivering via C-section if I was able to have children (so really, be pregnant much less having a perfect baby is apparently miraculous). My mom had C's with my brother and me, and that also put me at a higher likelihood for having one. I don't have, and never have had, a romantic vision of vaginal delivery. I've never wanted a natural, pain-med-free delivery, so that didn't give me some evil idea about c-sections being the easy way out, against the way God intended babies to be born. I thank God for medical developments! I want to give birth the way that's going to put the least amount of stress on me and my baby. So my birth plan is to go in, have the OB's tell me which way they think is best and why (my doctor is AMAZING at giving us his reasons for stuff, which we have very much appreciated) and go from there. No stubborn clinging to a romanticized vision that I've turned into my birth plan. Nope. I'm gonna cry and bleed and end up with a beautiful baby with massive cheeks in my arms either way.

My last day at work will be April 1st, and I will spend the 3 weeks between then and Eli's arrival nesting like a fiend. Lately, every time I've woken up with the nesting urge, I have to work and come home just drained. I'm there for 3 hours and feel wasted afterwards. Its a combination of not having a tremendous amount of energy as it is and the raging stupidity and ridiculousness I deal with there just draining me. I can't WAIT.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

sweet relief

Ahhhh... it feels really good.

My blood pressure has been on the rise a bit here lately. Not high enough to be pre-eclampsia, but high enough to raise eyebrows and make me afraid of bed rest. We've very obviously attributed these spikes to the stress we've been plagued with. But as of today, life is calming down and becoming so much more beautiful. Today, our custody battle ended. And it ended very much in our favor. The best part is that we get the kids back. We get to get things back to normal just in time to make them all crazy. But I'm over the moon elated and can't wait to hug and kiss their sweet faces.

I'm also about to eliminate the other needless stress in my life: quitting my job. I'm going to spend the last month of my pregnancy spending all my energy (and there's really not that much of it...) nesting and getting ready for my little bundle of cheeks. Oh, based on his ultrasounds yesterday, he has HUGE cheeks. I love it. I have chipmunk cheeks, my niece had 'em, he's one of us.

I'm really eager to settle into my new life, where my job is to care for my baby, care for the big kids when we're fortunate enough to be a family of 5, cook dinner, and wash clothes. I'm even getting a minivan to fully secure this role. I'm not sure how long I'll be able to stay in this role, but I'm blessed to get it as long as I will.

God is good.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

T-minus 8 weeks

I have officially hit 29 weeks. That means I have been aware that I'm pregnant (and, yunno, throwing up) for 26 weeks. When you say it in weeks, it doesn't seem that long. When you say "for 6 months", it sounds longer. When you live it, it feels like infinity.

I'm excited. I'm starting to get nervous about a few things, mostly nursing and the changes it will bring to our time with the big kids (who we are still desperately missing, but hopeful that after court next week, will be getting back to some semblance of normalcy with.) Emotionally, I'm so ready. I don't really sleep more than 2 or 3 hours at a time now, so the sleep deprivation isn't that scary. One of the perks of being a [step]mommy and not just a new-mommy-in-waiting is that I have been able to reflect on my experiences with them, which helps me prepare for the challenges ahead. I am sad when I think about all the things I wish I'd done differently so far, and grateful that God gives us opportunities every day to be better, to love better. The way that those 2 kids have changed my heart has shown me so fully that God called me to motherhood, and I'm humbled. Whenever I get frustrated with them, He inevitably reminds me (not instantly, but eventually... when I'm ready to hear) what a huge privilege He's given me, trusting me with these people that ultimately belong to Him. That should be terrifying, but somehow it's not. It gives me perspective to see how I need to shape and change my own walk, how I can live my life more completely for Him, by His standards and teachings, to better model it for them. We are so deliberate about modelling marriage for them, showing them how a couple is meant to love. They see us argue, and they always see us make up. We strive to show them our imperfections and are intentional about telling them that parents aren't perfect, that we make mistakes, but that we try our best and that the only perfect person is Jesus. This is true for every type of relationship they will have in life. Relationships are not the only thing we are commanded to model for our children, so I have lots of opportunities for growth! As much as I'm excited to cuddle and kiss Eli, I'm also excited to teach him to pray, to apologize when he's wrong, and to have a heart that longs for Jesus. The day Cherie was baptized, I was crying. To watch this little person that I love so much declare her love for our Lord and her desire to live for His glory was huge! I can't wait for the day I see my sons do the same, and I know I will be just as teary and joyful.

That really wasn't where I was planning on going with this entry. I was planning on gushing about how we're pre-registered at the hospital, that Eli's healthy and great, and how the plan right now is to be admitted on Easter Sunday to get things started and give birth on Monday, April 25th. I want to nest, and thankfully my heartburn has been obliging and letting me do tons of laundry and organize things to start situating Eli's stuff. But I got distracted with by the most important and rewarding aspect of motherhood. I mean, the simplest moments of joy are when they smile at you, when they hug and/or kiss you, hearing them laugh, etc. But the eternal joy is being a part of showing your children the most important thing in life: God. That's the mission field God has called me to, and I am a very willing worker.

So, yea. We'll celebrate the resurrection of our King, and then we'll celebrate the birth of our precious gift from Him. Sounds like a pretty great way to end the month of April, doesn't it?

Monday, February 21, 2011

3rd trimester - bazinga!

Things are still not great with the situation with the big kids. We still haven't seen or spoken to them since the 1st week of January. When we got custody back, his ex-wife hid them from us. She went so far as to claim they had an appointment and pull them out of school to keep us from having lunch with them. God will prevail, but in the mean time, continued prayers are appreciated.

Now for the extreme joy in our lives... our new little miracle. Last week, I started having bio-physical fetal surveillance. This is conducted primarily through ultrasound. There's 8 things they're checking, including to estimate his weight (2lbs. 4oz.!!), check his heart rate (148 bpm), his movements, my fluid level, etc. He scored a perfect 8/8 last week. Unfortunately, my blood sugars have been a little wonky and my blood pressure was slightly elevated, so he scheduled me to come back this week for another round. My blood pressure was perfect today (which I told him it would be. Last week, the nurse was talking to me and arguing about my due date while she was taking it. Obviously that's going to make it rise.), I actually have gained weight (3 whole pounds... whoa.), and Baby Boy scored another perfect 8/8 on his BPFP. His weight is now up to 2 lbs 10 oz, his heart rate was 143, and he officially loves the ultrasounds as much as we do now. Up until 20 weeks, he was not the most cooperative baby. But now... oh what a change! The tech was doing his scan today and she got really excited because the images were so clear. She asked us if we were planning to have the 3D/4D scan done. We told her we weren't(mostly because I think they tend to look really creepy, and plus they're expensive.), and she goes, "Oh I just can't resist!" and flipped to the 4D view. OMG. He's beautiful. He was making squishy faces, but it's still very obvious that he looks like his daddy.

That's his elbow next to his cheek, by the way. He was lounging with his arm like that last week, too. I don't blame him... I lay like that, too. In 9 weeks, I will be able to kiss that squishy face. I'm PUMPED. In the mean time, I'm seeing the ob weekly. We changed everything on my insulin pump at my endocrinologist's office today. "You're in the 3rd trimester. Insulin use doubles or triples during this. We just have to be aggressive."

I feel like I've been pregnant forever. I wonder if it'll be weird when it's finally over, when I can lift things again, when my belly doesn't shake because the occupant is moving, when I'm not having a preggo party anymore. Is that part of why some women get post partum depression so severely? Is it like women who get really depressed after their wedding because they'd been so obsessed and engrossed with the planning and in defining themselves as "brides-to-be". I hope not. I'll find out in 2months. It's gonna flyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy by, I just know it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Seriously, 2011?

I'm pinning my hopes on the 2nd half of 2011 as being great for Team Green.

So, it took me about 2 and a half weeks to stop being sick. That SUCKED. In the mean time, we've had a tremendous amount of Baby Mama Drama that's landed us in court with more court in the future. The worst part is far and away that she has kept the kids from us since January 2nd, and we will not see them again until maybe dinner on February 10th. Its excruciating to not see them or even be able to talk to them. We feel very confident that God has a plan in all this, and our hopes are that 1. the kids will not be scarred by her actions (we already know she's hurting them, but the extent is what we worry about.) 2. that her actions will backfire on her and 3. hope of hopes, that we would be granted primary custody of them. We absolutely want them to have time with her, to always have a relationship with her, because it is obviously in their best interest to have that with both of their parents, contrary to her belief. We trust God that the truth will prevail, and her lies will be exposed. This is not a battle we would've chosen to get into 3 months before I'm supposed to give birth, but it's not about our time or our plans, now is it? Plus we both know that the best blessings and God's most perfect growth come from the times of suffering. So we're enduring, praying, and appreciative of the prayers and support of our loved ones.

In happy news, Eli is perfect. He kicks ALL. THE. TIME. We talk to him and he acknowledges us with kicks. He kicks so hard Sheldon can easily feel it by just laying his hand on my belly. Sometimes he kicks so hard that my body sways a bit. Its amazing to me how strong he is! My most favorite is the battle between Lucie and Eli. She's one of those cats who loves to snuggle and REALLY loves her mommy. I've known from Day 1 there would be competition between the baby and her for my attention. I didn't realize Eli would be getting in on the action from the womb... When Lucie is laying in my lap, especially up against him, he kicks her. Last night, he was kicking her so hard I know she could feel it. They aren't hard enough for her to be phased yet, though, so I just laughed and laughed. My little guy is spunky! I had my 24 week check up yesterday, and while we frankly discussed a lot of very scary potential realities, I couldn't be happier. From what I understand, he's around 2/3 of his birth length, so his big focus now is for his lungs to form and for him to gain weight. He's getting close to a pound and a half in there, and should gain about 1/4 a pound every week from here on out. His heart rate was a solid 164, he kicked me 3 times while we were in the exam room (a great sign!), and my blood pressure is "beautiful". In my first trimester, there was some concern about my blood pressure, and I kept trying to tell them that it was totally because I was rushing out the door at work to make it to my appointments and that things were stressful at work. Now that things have calmed down at work (and the end of my time there is closer and closer... praise Jesus!) and I have more of a cushion between leaving the store and arriving at their office, my blood pressure is great. It was so great yesterday that my nurse said, "Perfect! You're taking your meds, aren't you?" Nope! That's just how I roll! My hemoglobin A1c is a little higher than I'd like, but still substatially lower than where it was back in August. My endocrinologist agreed that the week long spike in November when I was on steroids for my migraine combined with being sick for almost 3 weeks in January caused it to rise. It's still only a few tenths of a point above ideal, so no one is worried. Our big milestone this week is that if something crazy happened and he was born now (which there's really pretty much no chance of), he would (with intense medical care) probably survive. His premature birth survival rate goes up exponentially every week from now on. Its something I just haven't let myself think about the entire time. I've chosen to focus on the positive, believing that he would make it to 36 weeks and be born perfect and with tons of hair (that last part is because every boy dream I've had, he had a ton of dark hair like mine. We'll see!!). My next check up will be at 27 weeks, and I have some milestone labs scheduled. It also signals the beginning of "bio-physical fetal surveillance." That means ultrasounds every visit, "measuring" his weight on ultrasounds (that got quotes because its such an estimate.), listening to his heart beat for longer times, and potentially non-stress tests for me. They want to monitor my fluid level and make sure there are no signs of fetal distress. I have such a peace about the whole thing. I'm just like, "Yay! I get to watch my son move and grow all the time!" and not "OMG what if something's wrong?!" We also went over again why and when I'll be induced. The answer is sometime between April 18th and May 2nd, or between 36 and 38 weeks. Diabetes puts a whole new set of risks on a pregnancy, and so far we've dodged all of them, but I'm on the eve of my 3rd trimester, and there's a lot that we have yet to face. The reason he will definitely be born no later than 38 weeks is because there are a large number of risks that arise after that point, the biggest one being intrauterine demise. There are some risks with being a preemie, but they're much lower than the risks of leaving him in after 38 weeks. I mean, babies are technically considered term at 36 weeks anyway, so I'm not concerned. Even when he said, "intrauterine demise", I was unphased. I was too excited about getting to hold my baby earlier and being able to see the end of my puking (yea, I did it 5 times this morning and subsequently did not go to work.). Plus, as far as Eli is concerned, this pregnancy has been awesome, so it seems silly to start getting worried now. Another bit of awesome news? There's still a good chance I'll be able to have a vaginal birth. I mean, I've been mentally prepared for c-sections since I was 19. But I've had abdominal surgery and it SUCKS. If Eli can be born without surgery, I'm all for it.

We're so excited about the hospital I'll be delivering at. Before we were even pregnant, Sheldon and I both really wanted to have him at the new Methodist West Houston. They aren't even delivering there until valentine's day, so the timing is great for us. We went to take a peek last week and were so happy with the decision. We couldn't take a full tour of the L&D floor yet (which is fine) because it's still under construction, but we met with the director, and its great. We're going to have to take our classes at a different hospital, but that's not a big deal. Its just exciting!

So, yea. Our lives are pretty solidly kid-centered. And we love it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I'm not joining the 2011 fan club yet...

I made a huge, huge, huge mistake. I made a comment on a friend's blog that my #1 resolution for 2011 was to puke less. God did not think that was funny. At 11:45, right before 2011 started, the puking came like a tidal wave. I was too sick to fully count, but I'm estimating that I ended up puking around 30 times by 3am, when we were already in the emergency room. I am beyond grateful that God knew this near-death feeling was coming and Hubs was able to be home. He was out on a job but there was an engine problem on the barge so he got to come home. He arrive about 20 minutes after the mess was flying. It was generally an awful way to start the new year. I regret letting Cherie stay up to have midnight with me... instead of that special moment, she watched me get incredibly sick which terrified her. Owen thankfully slept through it. At the ER, I had 3 bags of IV and 2 hefty doses of nausea medication. We got home around 8:30 Saturday morning. The kids very sweetly let us sleep until 1:30.

We're not exactly sure what brought on that bought of stunning gastrointestinal pyrotechnics, but it paved the way for what is known as The Crud. I missed Monday and Tuesday at work, have had a Z Pack, and will start Tamiflu tomorrow. I hope to be able to stop coughing and "breathing" glue soon.

Thankfully, Eli has apparently been oblivious to it all. Cherie was really worried about him during all my toilet hugging, but I told her that he likes all the bouncing. His heart rate has been consistently in the upper 150's (when they checked it in the ER and then again today at my doctor's office.) He's about a foot long now, and quite the wiggler. I love the little thumps of him moving around! I was propped up on a bunch of pillows in bed the other day and Lucie came and laid across my belly. Eli was trying to kick her, which cracked me up (and then made me cough for 5 minutes). My doctor was beyond pleased by his last ultrasound images, going on and on about how great he looks. He's growing at the right pace, anatomy is proportional and looks as it should, etc. He's a healthy baby! When they weighed me today, I'd lost 3 pounds since my 18 week check up (I'm 21w4d now, was 18w2d then), which puts me back at 4 pounds under prepregnancy weight. My doctor isn't worried, because I was overweight to begin with. They want me to gain a max of 15 pounds during the entire pregnancy. Plus I'm sick and have thrown up a substantial amount lately. It stands to reason. And since Eli's growing on pace and is totally healthy, there's nothing to be worried about. Yay! (other preggos who gained a lot of weight, I am not bragging. I promise.)

I don't like to have my belly touched. Ever. Which is going to probably become an issue by my 3rd trimester. Basically, I've always been self conscious about the fleshiness of my belly, and then when I started doing insulin injections there which caused lots of bruising, and now I have my pump site there... its just not an area I'm comfortable being touched. There are now 2 exceptions, and they surprised me! I like it when Sheldon rubs my belly. Today at my check up, my doctor said, "Let's touch your belly." and started poking at it, measuring my uterus, etc. When he said, "the top of your uterus is right here *poke poke, grabs my hand to poke* which is exactly where it should be right now," I LIKED IT. So maybe it won't be as big of an issue in my 3rd trimester...

Speaking of my belly... I only really look pregnant in 1 sweater. Otherwise, I just look like the donuts call to me. I expected to feel a bit rounder by now. Subsequently, I'm not thinking I'm going to end up super huge. That's okay, but at the same time, it's a little disappointing because that's part of the fun of being pregnant.

I'm so in love with this kid... 15 or so weeks to go!!