18 weeks cravings and a peek

Well, I’ve made it to 18 weeks. I am ever so thankful for each passing day and each week that this baby lives. We pray daily for this little one and his or her health and birth. We thank God for giving us one more day.
We’ve had a rough week at our house this week. We were fighting two different bugs. The boys seemed to deal with the stomach bug and my husband had terrible headaches and fever. I can just tell you that stomach bugs in general aren’t something I handle well, but especially when I’m pregnant. Oh my goodness it was tough. I was thankful most of the time they got sick on a fairly empty stomach and my darling son, knowing how hard it was for me, tried really hard to not get sick around me. He kept apologizing to me for being sick and kept saying “I know it’s hard for you and I don’t want you to get sick.” Leave it to Otto. My heart just went out to him, I reassured him repeatedly that it was okay. Thankfully it appears everyone is on the mend.
Cravings have hit me big time this week. Breakfast is still hard though, nothing ever sounds good first thing in the morning. I hate to admit how many times my breakfast consists of either orange juice or chocolate milk. I just can’t seem to stomach anything else. I generally crave pretty savory kinds of things, like verenika (recipe coming this week). Spicy has been big on my list lately. I was really grateful when someone from church brought over a scalloped potato and ham dish for our family this week. It was really yummy and great with some hot sauce on top. ūüôā The boys are sure that this baby is a boy now because I want spicy food and that’s what I’ve wanted with each of them. I do have to say that I did make some brownies this week. I ate one. Actually I ate a spoonful of dough and then one brownie when they were done. So yeah, sweets aren’t big on my list.
We have a sono this week on Thursday. We are praying that we will see a happy healthy baby. It is hard for me not to be anxious every step of the way with this pregnancy. I pray regularly to give up my fears and that this baby will be healthy. This sono, in a way, seems like a big hurdle for us (for me). The last two sonograms I had were the ones that showed Knox and Lily had died. When I think about the sonogram, I remember what it was like to see those sonograms and the babies that we lost. It’s hard for me not to dwell on the images of empty chests, still babies and the sinking feeling I had each time. It is a daily struggle, sometimes moment by moment. I am thankful for a God who is walking this path with me.
I am still on the fence about whether I want to know if this baby is a boy or girl. We’ve found out with the others, but I’m just not sure I want to know this time. I can’t say why, but I’m just not sure. Kerry definitely wants to know and the boys want to know, in fact they’ve asked several times this week if we will tell them, so we’ll probably find out. I really just want to see a baby with all of his/her parts where they’re supposed to be, growing like he/she is supposed to.
We are thankful for another week. I’m thankful to be feeling bits of movement this week and I am looking forward to our sonogram on Thursday.

McKenzie Book One By Penny Zeller

One of my favorite things to do is read. I generally stick to non-fiction books, but the opportunity came to review the first book in a Christian Historical Romance Series. I really like history, but usually steer away from romance type books because they don’t support marriage and are usually a bit to graphic for me.
Written by a Christian author I was open to the possibility of this book, especially because I used to really enjoy reading Janette Oak’s books with similar themes.
The story drew me in fairly quickly. I like historical fiction, this book is set in 1881, and it sets the stage well. The characters were believable and likable. The premise of the book is that the main character becomes a mail-order bride so that she can be closer to her sister. She sacrifices a lot of freedom to be with her sister, who very much needs her. In classic romance style, you can see the relationship with her husband grow from one of awkwardness to one of respect and love. The fun part about this book for me was to watch the relationship really blossom. It was a story that I enjoyed reading and I would like to see where the rest of the story goes.
Overall it was a good read and I enjoyed it. It was a great distraction from my usual genre.

 
 
McKenzie Book Review
About The Author
Penny Zeller began writing after a serious injury in a car accident.  She was stuck at home for months in pain and not able to do very much and so she turned to prayer.  It is from this she believes that the characters and the world just started to form.
 

17 weeks

This week went quickly. I was surprised how fast the week went from 16 to week 17 and I am thankful. I have been feeling good although food aversions have been pretty intense. I don’t want to eat anything, or I do and then when I get it…it doesn’t sound good anymore. I’m eating though.
I *think* I’ve been feeling baby move here and there which is encouraging. I’ve noticed this little baby’s heartbeat is lower than the boys were at this point. The boys always had heartbeats in the 140s-150s throughout my pregnancy. This baby is content to just sit around 120-130. I don’t put a lot of stock in the whole wives tales that say the heartbeat is higher or lower depending on the gender of the baby. So beats me, I’m hoping that means this little one is laid back.
I’m trying a new chiropractor on Wednesday this week. Hopefully I’ll find someone I am comfortable with and who I feel confident in.
We are praising God for another week with this baby. We are taking each week as it comes. Praying daily for this little one and his/her safety and arrival.

Stories

In our small group at church we were talking about our “stories” tonight. How we came to be followers of Christ and how we’ve seen God move in our lives. We were talking a bit about how some people have “big” stories. They have these big life changing moments when they clearly remember not following Christ, then being “saved” and now their new life after. Those stories are great, they make for great press and are catchy when telling them to others. But when you don’t have a “flashy” story sometimes you feel like your story isn’t worth telling. It isn’t something that is going to move someone else or it somehow doesn’t have the “street cred” that someone else’s does.
I’m one of those people. I don’t have a big flashy story. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe God and know that His word was true and I trusted it. My faith story is a long process, I took a long time to grow, there are big events where God grew me more, when I learned a big lesson (I call them my knock on the head moments). I don’t have a neat little package to share, my life certainly wasn’t and hasn’t been perfect but God has used the events in my life to shape who I am. It was a long messy process. I am still growing and learning what God is about and always will be.
We watched a video this morning in church about one woman’s journey to Christ. She shared the lifestyle she engaged in and how she was rescued by God from that lifestyle. It was moving, but as I thought about it…the truth is… before I found Christ my sin was just as ugly as hers. My rescue was just as miraculous as hers because I didn’t do it. One person’s sin isn’t worse than someone else’s. A murderer, in the sight of God, is just as bad as someone who lies or steals or cheats or whatever. A person who is a drug addict is the same as a person who sits in the pew on Sunday but hates in his heart. Without Christ, we are all the same…sinners…no one is worse than another. The redemption of a prostitute is just a beautiful and amazing as the redemption of a small child who puts her faith in Christ.
Sure it makes for good drama and a good story, but the “quiet” stories are just as amazing. Jesus died for her sins, my sins and yours. Through our faith and trust in Him, as our savior, we are redeemed. Ordinary stories are ones of beauty, ones of forgiveness and ones that deserves to be told, just like the flashy ones.
 

16 weeks — Scary

I’m not going to lie…this last week was scary for me. I haven’t made it to 16 weeks with a live baby the last 2 times I’ve been pregnant. As of this week I have spent 45 of the last 60 weeks pregnant and I don’t have a baby here to show for it. I spent three trimesters in the 1st trimester.
This week was, in a way, a milestone for me. I know realistically that there is no magical “safe” point in my pregnancy. I know that every week, every day, every moment is precious. While I *know* that realistically, there is still part of me that hopes that if this week is successful…next week will be do. We have prayed every day for this little baby, our children have prayed every day for this little baby…this child is always on our minds.
This week was scary.
I had a horrible cold. I felt miserable. There is no correlation whatsoever with having a cold and losing a baby, but it’s the thought that popped in to my mind. I hated to take any medication because of the effect it could have on our growing baby…even though I have a list of “safe” medications on my fridge. Every cough, every sneeze and every stuffed up breath I took, though I was worried if my cold was having an effect. There were so many times this week that I had to give up my fears to God…only to pick them back up again and start to fret.
This week was scary.
Then came today. The 16 week mark. The day we listen for the heartbeat. We listened after lunch this afternoon. Kerry was still home and we like to hear the heartbeat together. As the baby gets bigger, it should be easier to hear each week. But today I couldn’t find it. I searched and searched. I tried the other doppler (yes I have two). No matter what angle I held the probe, I couldn’t pick up the baby. My heart sank and I tried not to panic. I didn’t have a lot of time to spend searching because the boys had an art lesson. So I had to put the doppler away, put the little ones to bed for nap and carry on with my day. Kerry left for work and our afternoon and evening carried on. He told me to call an make see if I could make an appointment with an OB doc an hour away (the closest we have). I tried not to worry.
This week was scary.
All afternoon and evening, it was there niggling in the back of my mind. “What if” God makes you go through this again. “What if” you’ve lost this baby? “What if…What if…what if?” I was short tempered with the boys. I was grumpy, worried and starting to get angry. I didn’t want to try listening again with the boys around so I was going to try one more time after they went to sleep, but before Kerry got home. When I was alone and could grieve alone a bit.
I laid down with the boys to help them fall asleep like usual. There in the dark, I held my belly, cried and prayed. I was thankful for the blanket of dark and the fan to drown out the sniffles. Part of me was already grieving, part of me was angry and I begged, I questioned and I planned. I started to think about “what if”. I started in my mind to go through the steps, which doctor I would call for the induction, what would happen and how it would all go again.
I was scared.
The boys were restless tonight. I think they sensed something was up, but no one asked. They finally fell asleep and I stole away to the living room. Found my doppler and prayed. I closed my eyes (like that helps anything) and I listened.
The quick woosh, woosh, woosh of a heartbeat too quick to be my own. I checked my pulse to be sure. 70. I was hearing clearly, loudly 150s. I thanked God.
I breathed for the first time all evening.

Isaiah 41:10
“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Eraselet Review and an Update!

This is my original review but I have an update at the bottom!
When I had the opportunity to review the Eraselet from http://www.eraselet.com/, I had 2 thoughts. My first was “Is this thing going to work?” and second “Are my kids going to like them?” The answer to both is absolutely yes!
It seems like we’re always losing erasers on school days with the boys. Either they get pulled out of the mechanical pencils, broken off or chewed away and they’re constantly scratching out their mistakes. It makes their papers hard to read. And when we do find erasers…a fight often breaks out about who it belongs to.
Eraselets solve both of these problems. They are worn on the wrist so they don’t get lost and better yet, I gave each of my boys a different color, so it was easy to tell which boy it belonged. to.

The Eraselets came packaged like this. I have 4 boys ages 9, 7, 3, and almost 2, they each picked one and were set for the day. The two youngest really just liked wearing them and thought it was fun to stretch them and make the animals look funny. The cool thing about Eraselets is that they really can take a lot of stretching, in fact, my boys have yet to break one and they really worked them over! I was surprised because they’re actually quite thin and I was worried they would snap and break before the day was over.

Eraselets come in a variety of colors and styles. You can even customize them to use for a school fundraiser, boost school spirit or advertising campaign for your business.

The two oldest boys thought the Eraselet was the coolest thing they’ve used for school. My oldest son said “Mom! Do we get to keep these? These are going to be great for school!” And my second son said “Now I don’t have to hide my erasers from my brothers.”

They’re fairly easy to use for my two older guys. You just pull the Eraselet and hold it between your thumb and index finger and erase. They proved to be a bit more difficult for the 3 year old to use, but it seemed to work better if he took the Eraselet off first.

One of the other things I really like about this company is that the product is made in the USA. Our family loves to support companies who are providing jobs to Americans when they need it most. So I was super pleased to find out that Eraselet is committed to keeping jobs here.

Another cool thing about this company is that they give a portion of their profits to help “erase” hunger around the world and has partnered with several organizations such as Beautiful Feet Global Outreach. You can also visit http://www.eraseworldhunger.org to find out more about how they’re working to erase world hunger.

Overall, our family has been delighted with the Eraselet. It was so neat to see how quickly the boys embraced them and how well they worked. They didn’t smear or smudge the pencil marks. To top it off they are reasonably priced at less than a dollar a bracelet. They’re definitely going on our “homeschool supply” list this fall.

***Update*** We’re still using these at our house and the boys still think they’re just as cool as when we first got them. I’ll often see them just wearing them for fun even on “non-school” days. These are really reasonably priced and would make great stocking stuffers for Christmas or even to put in an Operation Christmas Child box.


I received the above products through Sublime Media Connection in exchange for an honest review. In no way was I asked to give a positive review.

15 weeks and flashbacks

I am 15 weeks today. Another milestone. Another week of giving my fears to God. And a week that brought the unexpected too.
I started having flashbacks this week of the days Knox and Lily were born. While the days they were born were horrible emotionally for me, their actual births weren’t really that bad. But this week I found myself not sleeping well because I would wake, dreaming that I was back in my hospital bed giving birth to Lily or Knox. I would wake up crying feeling that same deep sadness, that same desperation and emptiness. It would take me forever to go back to sleep and I laid there holding my now growing belly praying for this little one. Begging God to spare the life of this baby, asking Him to not make me go through this again.
But then it started happening when I was awake. Most of the time when I was alone but sometime while I was sitting at the table with my family. I would be right there. Back in bed. Reliving it all again.
I wondered often if I was going crazy. If these flashbacks meant something was wrong. Or if it was just me worrying because of where I am in my pregnancy. They have slowed down a bit now though,with lots of prayer and support from those around me. 
I was surprised. Caught off guard. I grieve the loss of my children but I thought I had made more peace with their births than this. Another facet to the grieving process I suppose.
The boys could hardly wait for today to come. They knew I was 15 weeks today and that meant that we could listen forbthe baby. (We only listen once a week).
I debated internally about listening with all of them. What would happen if we didn’t hear it? How would they take it?¬† How would I? But I didn’t want them to know my worry.¬† I wanted them to know my hope. My trust in our God. So we listened together as a family.
And praise the Lord we heard the heartbeat again today. We are thankful. And hopeful that once again God will see fit to grant us another week of healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. We pray daily, for this little one.
It is still a moment by moment struggle against fear and doubt. I am thankful for the support of my husband and my boys. I am thankful for prayers from friends and those following our  journey. I am thankful for the blessing of a new life and the ability to carry this baby for another day.

14 weeks

Today was a big day. Today I turned 14 weeks pregnant. Most people would say “Yay! You’re at the *safe* point, you’re in the second trimester now!”. But that is far from the truth I know.
I have learned in the last year that no point in a pregnancy is *safe*. Sure, risk goes down, but you’re never *safe*. I have experienced 2 early losses (before 6 weeks), but until last December, bought into the myth that the second trimester was the safe part.
But…
Our daughter Lily was born on May 19, we found out she had died on May 18…the day I was 14 weeks pregnant. Our son Knox died when I was 15 weeks in December. With those losses, I felt like my innocence with pregnancy was lost. I knew after they died that no point is “safe”.

Lily at our 13 week sonogram

 

And today I turned 14 weeks with my current pregnancy, I am 6 months from my due date.¬†¬†We are living in a new community and I don’t have a healthcare provider yet. I haven’t been able to find a midwife who will be willing to travel to where we live for a home birth and I don’t have a doctor who will let me VBAC here yet. God has always provided the right person to care for us when we needed them and we trust He’s going to do it again. So for now, I am doing my own prenatal care and monitoring my weight, blood pressure, heart rate and baby’s heart beat every week. ¬†It’s been going well. I have easily found the heart beat every week for the last month. And I have been peaceful for the most part.
Then today came.

Daddy and Lily's finger just after she was born

14 weeks, it seemed like I was giving my anxiety over to God every moment of the day. I tried hard not to think about what today meant to me and why it was significant. The boys remembered what today was, they prayed specifically for the baby this morning, they asked when we would listen for the heart beat.
I debated for a long time today. I was trying to decided if I wanted to listen alone or with Kerry and the boys here. I thought about sneaking off to my bedroom while the boys were playing and Kerry was gone to a visitation. But that’s how I learned Knox and Lily had died. I was just listening at home and couldn’t find their heartbeats, I was alone both times.
So tonight, just before bed Kerry suggested we try together to hear our little one’s heartbeat. It is always such a highlight for Zeke to hear the baby. He gets so excited to hear “his baby”, but I didn’t want him to not hear it…I was scared. I pulled the doppler from the closet and laid down on the living room floor. I prayed.
I prayed, as I have every day, that God would protect this little one, that we would be able to hold this little one in our arms…alive…and that he/she would be able to be born at home. I have been able to tell my uterus is growing, which means the baby must be growing. And then we listened. Daddy and I held our breath and we listened.
Lily's foot at 14 weeks

We heard my heartbeat and the blood vessels feeding ¬†my uterus and the placenta. The slow woosh, woosh beating in time with my heart. And just below, in the background we hear the light sound of baby. The faint gallop of hoof-beats. Slight relief, but I want louder…I want more…I want to listen until this baby is born…I want it to be the soundtrack of the next 6 months.
We wait and move the doppler…slow woosh, woosh…then galloping. Strong, loud, steady…my baby’s heart is still beating. I am thankful. I close my eyes in prayer. A prayer of¬†gratitude¬†and thankfulness. Thank you God, for the life of my baby. That this life is still here and we can hear the heart beat. Thank you God!
We listen for a few more minutes and are thankful for each beat we hear. Eventually the baby kicks and moves away. Then in a moment…my mind immediately goes to fear again. Knox had a heartbeat at 14 weeks. My baby is alive…for now.
Ugh! Where does that come from? Why do I let it in to steal the joy and blessing of a heart beating within me? I start to quote in my mind the scripture verse we’re memorizing as a family. “ Finally, brethren,¬†whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is¬†lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise,¬†dwell on these things.” Philipians 4:8. Fear is not true, honorable, right, pure or any of the things mentioned in this verse. Fear is the language Satan speaks and uses to control.
There are many times I have to remind myself to be thankful for the blessings I have been given, to be thankful here in the moment for the blessing I have now. To remember, not to get caught up in the fear of what might happen or what has happened in the past. I know that today my baby is alive. I am joyful, hopeful and so very grateful.
Lily's hand

2 Timothy 1:7

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.