Week 19 — It's a…

Healthy baby! We had our sonogram this last week and everything looked good. For that, we are so very thankful for a good report.
I have been feeling the baby move a bit more which is reassuring. I felt the baby move a little later in my pregnancy than my others and it doesn’t happen as often, which had me a bit concerned a couple weeks ago. I found out at my sonogram that I have an anterior placenta, which means it’s on the front side of my uterus, so that serves as a cushion for feeling movement from the baby. I had an anterior placenta with Titus too. One of the big concerns with a placenta on the front and my history of c-sections is that the placenta can grow into the c-section scar, which can be a big problem after the baby is born. Thankfully, the placenta seems well out of the way of the scar and since it will be moving up as my uterus grows, it won’t grow down towards the scar. Whew! Good thing.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what we were having this time, I kind of wanted it to be a surprise. There was no hiding it though when we were watching the sono. This baby is definitely another boy and we are thrilled! When this baby is born we will have 5 boys in our home (and one waiting for us in eternity). I told Kerry that surely the comments we’ll get when we have 5 boys with us won’t be any worse than the ones we get now with 4 boys. One of our sons was a bit disappointed when he found out he was having a brother. He said “But mom! I prayed for a sister!” Once he was assured that a baby brother would want him to hold him as much as a sister would he seemed to be okay. The bigger brothers were both delighted! So now comes the big “name debate” at our house. It is completely likely that this little guy won’t have a name until after he is born. We like to lay eyes on them before we make it official.
I’ve been feeling okay this week, eating is still a challenge. Nothing ever sounds good and I have a really hard time making myself eat. I get hungry, but have a difficult time finding anything appetizing. This is all pretty typical for me. Spicy things generally go down easier, but still it takes a bit of convincing to make me feel like eating.
Here are a few pictures from our sonogram this past week.

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. 🙂 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.

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.

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.”

Defiance of fear

Today I won a small victory against fear. I will be 11 weeks pregnant this week, rapidly approaching the mark in my pregnancy where I lost Knox and Lily. I try not to dwell on it, I try not to let the fear seep it’s way into my daily thoughts. There are fleeting moments where I think…”what if it happens again?” I can usually push it out and keep going.
Every morning I am greeted with three tubs. They hold my maternity clothes. And I struggle.

The week before Knox was born, I had just unpacked all of my maternity clothes and hung them in my closet. I had finally told work I was expecting because my regular clothes were looking suspiciously tight and not in the “she ate too many chili fries” kind of way. Co-workers who knew me well had already guessed. So before we came back for our Thanksgiving visit, I unpacked, hung up and folded maternity clothes.
Then Knox died.
The night before I went to the hospital I stood in front of my closet and pulled all of those clothes out. I put them back in their tubs…I wouldn’t be needing them after all and I knew I wouldn’t want to pack them when I came home. I cried and I mourned and I was angry. I could hardly see through the tears I was crying as I folded my favorite black sweater I wore with Zeke.
So when I got pregnant with Lily, I decided not to get maternity clothes out until I had passed 15 weeks. I didn’t want to have to pack them away. But I had to pull a few things out because regular clothes were just too uncomfortable. I kept them in their tubs though. Nothing maternity went in my closet. And then she died too.
So now, here I am. Almost 11 weeks pregnant, starting to struggle to button my jeans and not look “frumpy” in anything else. There is a little bulge where this baby is growing and while most of the time it just looks like I ate too many donuts, I could use some clothes that are a little more forgiving. In addition to that, we moved 2 weeks ago and I really hate unpacking clothes. I’m sitting there thinking “if this baby makes it, I’m going to be putting these all away in a month anyway” (I hate thinking that “if” but it is a reality I know now).
But I haven’t been quite daring enough to take the lids off the bins that hold those clothes that signify the “thick around the middle” isn’t fat…it’s baby. I pass those bins sitting at the foot of my bed every morning when I wake up. They remind me of my fear, of my hurt and of the hope that just might be this time. Every day they have psyched me out and dared me to open them. And until this morning I have left the right where the guys who unloaded them put them.
Until today.
In a moment of defiance, of sheer “screw you fear”, I decided to unpack them. “It’s going to be a time waster to unpack my “regular” clothes now and put them away in a month”, I told myself. “They’re just clothes” I reminded myself as I pulled shirt after shirt, paneled pant after paneled pant out of the bin and put them in my closet. “This isn’t going to determine the outcome. God does.” Every so often I would pause and wonder if I’m doing the right thing…if I should wait until…
But I know that God has numbered this baby’s days before he or she was ever created. God knows. He has a plan. Psalm 139:13-16 says…

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

So I unpacked. And I prayed. I prayed for the health and safety of this baby. I prayed that I would find someone who would care for me, who would support me in my quest for another home birth or at the very least another VBAC.

They hang together in my closet, clumped to one end…but they are there. The empty tubs sit now in the storage room in our basement. If I have to put them away too soon, so be it, but today I defied the fear and the reminder of “what if” that has greeted me every morning.