Monday, February 28, 2011

Bump at 14

This little baby of mine is growing! Here I am at Week 14 ---


now officially: hellooooooooo second trimester!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pregnancy Week by Week: 13

Baby size: A peachHow I feel about being pregnant: About the same as last week - still glad that things are going well and that the baby seems to be growing according to plan!
Symptoms: Minus my random throw-up day, I've had a few days of headaches. All in all, nothing to really complain about!
Food Cravings: I have wanted meat more this week - which I know is a good thing. I've been able to eat grilled chicken a couple times, along with a bite of Chad's hamburger one night. Other than that - I'm still eating really healthy... lots of fruits and veggies. With my appetite still not up to par, I've unfortunately eaten Raisin Bran as my dinner more nights this week than I'd like to admit. The biggest thing to me is eating something little every couple of hours - small bowl of cereal, granola bar, yogurt, almonds, etc.
What I'm most excited about: Hopefully any week now to start feeling the baby move. I know this little peanut is growing, but I'm ready to be able to feel it myself!
Something I've done to prepare for baby: Nothing of note... sorry baby!
Funny moment: Does projectile vomit over the bathroom floor count as funny? No? Thought not. Well is it funny that right after it happened and I was attempting to clean-up said floor, Chad decides to debate me whether or not wet Swiffer clothes are disinfecting? Still not funny? Yeah, I didn't think so either. Sorry Chad: sympathy FAIL.
Special moment: We cooked out with Mike and Molly one night - maybe the last night together before baby James Henry arrives! Despite being a couple weeks away from her due date, all indications show that ANY day now a little baby could be coming. Maybe next week's special moment will be HOLDING James for the first time!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pregnancy FAQs

I figured I'd put together a recap of the most frequently asked (to me) pregnancy questions. More than you ever wanted to know! ;)

So you mentioned you had an IUI to get pregnant. What is that?
Yes, after about a year of different medications and methods, what ended up being successful for us was injectable hormones (yes... needles. shots that Chad had to give me every night right in the stomach) followed by a "trigger shot" and then the IUI. Instead of trying to explain it to you - click here (http://www.fertilityplus.org/faq/iui.html) for all you wanted to know and more. PS: You'll see how in the article it says it doesn't hurt... that's a LIE! For me, during the actual procedure it was about 4 minutes of constant and horrible "worst period cramps you ever had" cramps. Then I proceeded to cramp on and off during the rest of the day. Not that I'm complaining - it was worth every bit of it!

Do you feel weird talking about your struggles to get pregnant, and being open about how the baby was conceived?

For me, not at all. I'm a pretty open and honest person. And if I withheld information, that would make it look 1) it's something to be embarrassed about and 2) prevent me from sharing my story with others who are struggling with infertility. For the first part, I think I've let you all know that there was never a "problem" they could pinpoint for us. Like nearly one-third of all couples, our infertility had no known cause. However, it's sad that the millions of women that experience infertility (from whatever cause) often feel like they are the only one who has gone through it. So many people hide their difficulties (which is absolutely their right), but since I am more comfortable with sharing, I felt it only fair to put my story out there in hopes that it helps someone else.

So we saw the Grey's Anatomy last week where Derek and Meredith are in the elevator and it looks like they're about to have sex (because they're trying to get pregnant), and he whips out a needle and gives her a shot. Is that what it's like?
Oh this part of the show made me laugh so hard because it DOES bring back memories. Yes, Chad had to give me lots of shots over the months as we were trying to get pregnant... mine were in my stomach, not my butt, but still. The thing you don't think about with these hormone shots are that you are very much tied to a schedule. You have to time your shots to the minute... you can't just get 'em whenever you feel like it.

The story I'll probably remember most is Chad and I were at one of his best friend's wedding rehearsals (on a night I was supposed to get my shot at 7 p.m. sharp.) We had to pack up my syringe and vial in a small cooler (since it needs to stay refrigerated), along with rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs (to clean the injection site.) The rehearsal was supposed to be done by 6:30ish, and then the rehearsal dinner didn't start until 7:30 or so... so we figured it would give us time to go to the car in-between so Chad could give me the shot. Of course, the rehearsal was running VERY late and Chad, a groomsman, couldn't exactly run out of the chapel in the middle of rehearsing. So I was PANICKING in the pew trying to figure out what to do. Two of the other groomsmens' wives were sitting behind me talking about how long it was taking... and I leaned back and said, "YES! And I realllllyyyy need to get out of here because Chad is supposed to give me a shot right now." Thank goodness one of the girls was a registered nurse, and without hesitating she was like "bring it in here, I'll give it to you!" So we went into the coat closet of the chapel (while the other girl stood guard), I hiked up my dress, and she gave me the quick shot.

That, in a nutshell, is fertility treatments for you. Inconvenient, a little bit painful, a smidge embarrassing and of course - all modesty out the window.

Are you going to find out the sex of the baby?

Yes! I think I'd consider waiting and letting it be a surprise, but Chad wouldn't be able to stand it. He wants to know as soon as humanly possible. I should find out the sex at my next ultrasound on March 28. And of course, I'll share that info with you guys shortly after. For now, you can vote what you think on poll on the right-hand side of the blog.

Do you have names picked out?

I think we are 99.9% sure on the boy's name. I have several girls names I love (most of which Chad loves too), but one is at the top of the list... for now. The girl's name is more likely to change than the boy's.

Will you share the names?
This is always the hard part - because people like to give you their two cents on whatever name you choose. We'll likely tell our family and closest friends, but not sure if we'll make it public pre-birth.

Will MPLT turn into a baby blog?
Well from the beginning, this blog has been a place for me to put whatever pretty little thought comes out of my mind. Obviously, with a baby around, I'll have many posts about pregnancy, the baby, motherhood, parenting, etc. But that doesn't mean I'll stop blogging about recipes, random stories, soapbox-ing, etc. And I really am sorry about the lack of recipe posts --- but the lack of appetite + nausea = no cooking for me. Hopefully I'll ramp up sooner than later.

Have you figured out your birth plan?
Yep: to have a healthy baby. I feel like everyone I know who was super type-A about their birthing plans, usually had a wrench thrown into the mix. Of course I think it's a good idea to have general guidelines about what I'd like to do while I'm in there... but when push comes to shove, I'll do whatever feels right at the time. But for me, I don't need/want a doula (I want the birth to be about me, Chad and our baby... no one else). If anyone is going to be soothing/coaching me, I want it to be my husband. I'm going to try to have a natural childbirth, but if I'm feeling miserable, heck yeah I'll take an epidural. That being said, I know every person will make decisions on what they feel is best for their family. My goal is to deal with situations as they arise, and not to get too caught up in "plans." I 100% trust my OBGYNs and that their only motivation is to keep me and my baby safe and healthy.

Are you going to keep working after the baby comes?
Man, this has been a loaded question for us. Everyone has their two cents about what they think is best... but you have to remember that everyone's situation is different. We're all trying to do what is best for our family. At this point in time, the plan is for me to go back to work after our Baby Bean comes (and after the FULL 12 weeks maternity leave, of course) - perhaps at reduced hours. The reason for this being: 1) I love the work I do and the place I work at. 2) I get paid well for what I do and my insurance is 100% covered... I don't pay a penny for it. 3) My schedule (and boss) give me lots of flexibility to be able to work from home when needed, leave at a moment's notice, etc. and 4) We are BLESSED that my darling mother-in-law has agreed (well more like requested... orrrr more like insisted) that she will keep the baby for us during days when we're at work. Chad has off every Friday already (so he'll be doing full-time daddy duty on Fridays), and hopefully we'll work it out that I'll have one other day off during the week.

For us, daycare wouldn't be worth it. Not to say that they're aren't tons of wonderful daycares out there... because I hear about them all the time. But for us, if it were a matter of putting the baby in daycare or me staying home, we agreed I would stay home. Since we are lucky enough to not have to do that - and we know our baby will get one-on-one attention from a family member that will absolutely raise our child the way we want him/her to be raised, it just didn't make sense for me to not at least TRY to go back to work. In addition to me actually having a career I enjoy, my extra income will afford for us to provide additional opportunities for our baby - now and down the road.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Veggie Chili

Continuing my (thankfully) healthy cravings of fresh veggies and fruit - and recognizing the need to add some more protein in my diet - I decided this weekend to make vegetarian chili.

I started with this:

Red onion, white onion, yellow squash, zucchini, jalepenos, green and red bell pepper. I love cooking with fresh veggies - of bright and assorted colors.

Took about 30 minutes to dice everything up into bite-sized pieces, and threw them in the pot to soften.

Added some canned diced tomatoes, kidney beans and black beans. Along with plenty of chili powder, cayenne and cumin.

And let it cook baby cook for about 5 hours.

But... then I got sick. And didn't get to eat any. But luckily I made such a huge pot that I froze 3/4 of it to enjoy at a later date.

But Chad liked it. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

I think I jinxed myself...

(Forewarning: I will mention vomit in this post. All you with emetophobia (i.e. Molly), can stop reading now.)

I finally thought I was out of the woods in terms of getting sick. After about 7 weeks of at least once-a-week vomiting, I figured last Friday was the last of it. After all, I'm 13 weeks now! I should be turning the corner.

This weekend I felt good! I kept asking Chad if I looked like I was back to my old self.

I ran errands.

I didn't take naps.

I was out and about.

And I actually COOKED something... and took pictures... and planned to share it with you on my bloggy blog today. But unfortunately, I wasn't even able to a eat any of it.

Because yesterday evening happened. And baby decided for me that (s)he wanted me to have an empty stomach. And, well, that was that. What baby wants, baby gets.

So after a fun time at one special little girl's 1st birthday party, I get home. I'm sitting upstairs talking to Chad and all of a sudden (and out of nowhere) - WHAM... vomit time! I go downstairs to take a nap hopefully to quell what's left of the nausea. I wake up, ask Chad to pour me some iced tea (since I know I need to stay hydrated). I drink some. I feel fine. I start to ask Chad "what I should make myself to eat..." - and no sooner did the word "eat" come out of my mouth, when again WHAM... let's puke out whatever bit of liquid is in my stomach. Because, you know, baby hates food AND liquid apparently.

So yeah... that was real fun. Yesterday: Baby - 1, Caroline - 0.

Here's to hoping today goes better...

... and to this pretty diaper bag.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy Weekending!

Don't know about your part of the world, but the 60-70 degree days for the next several days has me as happy as can be.

I just love living in my sweet Carolina.

While there are lots of places I'd love to visit, I can't imagine resting my head for too long in any place other than ol' N.C. And I'm so excited to raise our little family here.

Hope you all have gorgeous weekends... wherever you are!

Pregnancy Week by Week: 12

Week 12
Baby size:
A plum
How I feel about being pregnant: This is getting more fun! I'm starting to feel better, I have a cute little tummy, and I got to see my baby this week!
Symptoms: Unfortunately my pregnancy symptoms have been overtaken with sinus infection symptoms. Yuck. And on Thursday, I felt like someone slapped me with a sleepy sick.
Food Cravings: I'm not over my fruit thing, but one day this week I was DYING to have a hamburger for lunch. Since I haven't eaten much meat in the last few weeks, I'm not surprised.
What I'm most excited about: Our 12-week ultrasound appointment. It was AMAZING to see the baby looking, well, like a baby!
Something sweet your daddy did for me: I received a very special gift this week - a Valentine's and early baby present: a three-row band to represent me, Chad and the baby, that I wear between our wedding band and my engagement ring. It is absolutely beautiful and so very special. We had a long road to go through to start our family, and it is nice to have a token of that journey.
Something I've done to prepare for baby: I've been talking to the baby more this week. I think since it looked SO much more like a little person at my ultrasound, it feels more natural to talk to it. Seeing that sweet baby face this week definitely did a lot to make me feel more bonded to the baby already... it was a big moment. Even Chad agreed, after seeing our little bean jumping around in there, the whole thing just felt so much more real.
Funny moment: So this week, we got to meet the other doctor in the practice that could potentially deliver our baby. I've had my one guy since i started seeing him as my GYN 10 years ago. This was my first time with the other doctor. He came into the room, asked me if I had any questions about the baby... which I had a few. Then about 5 minutes later, he noticed the work badge Chad was wearing. And once Chad told him he worked on the nuclear-side of the business, I KNEW that the rest of the conversation would be dominated with that. I don't know WHY people are so interested in the nuclear industry, but people always have a billion questions to ask. So there I am, sitting on the examination table in the doctor's office, listening to our OB playing 20 questions with Chad about clean energy. Kill me. If I was an uptight person it would have driven me crazy, but I just had to laugh at it. I'm glad the doctor didn't just rush in and rush out after he answered my questions... he spent time getting to know us a little bit. And to all you wanting to know the answer to the #1 question that Chad ALWAYS gets: "HECK NO WE DON'T GET A DISCOUNT ON OUR POWER BILL!"
Special moment: I got to see my grandparents for the first time since being pregnant. I'm very close with my grandparents - especially my gma. She was SO excited to rub my stomach and talk about the baby. It just meant a lot to me that I could see them, even if it was only for a few hours (they stopped in Raleigh on their way from Annapolis, MD, to Florida.) It was also funny listening to my gma talking about weight gain during her pregnancies. Let me preface this with the fact my gma was a VERY slender young woman... like we remember laughing that her waist in her wedding dress looked like it was 4 inches wide. She told us the most she ever gained in any of her pregnancies was... get this... TEN POUNDS. She said that the doctors used to be very strict on how much you gained. So whenever my gma would deliver the baby, she would have actually LOST weight. Seems like quite the backward diet. ;)

Note: Not bad but disappointing news. Common misconception - 12 weeks = start of second trimester. Unfortunately, I learned from my doctor this week that lots of doctors calculate it differently. Some do 12 weeks, some do 13, some do 13.5, but they (and most, he said) - of course - count 14 weeks as the end of the first trimester. By the end of 14 weeks, your placenta is done forming... which is a huge milestone. So I'm only about a week away from that. But at the same time, my biggest reason for wanting my first trimester to be over is that the risk of miscarriage reduces dramatically. However, at my appointment this week, the doctor said that between my ultrasound, activity of the baby, and all the other stuff they look at - I am in great shape. He's only had two patients he can remember in the years he's been doing this that have experienced a miscarriage past this point where I am... so that was a huge relief!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And like a ton o' bricks...

It finally hit me today.

I have been slapped by the exhaustion fairy.

I have been "tired" other days during the pregnancy. Wanting to go to bed early, wish I could take naps, etc. But nothing like this.

I woke up exhausted. I got in the shower, hoping it would wake me up... but still, exhausted.

So exhausted that I had to lay down between getting-ready steps like make-up and blowdrying.

So exhausted that I'm sitting at my desk at 8:30 in the morning, and literally trying everything I can to NOT fall asleep. (Which is completely not like me --- I'm a morning person.)

And I have a phone call to interview a researcher on a story I'm writing. And it is complex. And I just don't know how this is going to work out.

I've never even CONSIDERED leaving work early with sleepiness as an excuse. But if this doesn't improve, there is no way I'll be making it until 5 p.m.

Wow. This is somethin' else.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The written word...

The "Today" show today (my favorite), had a really sweet segment on old fashioned love letters, and featured one of America's most prominent families... the Bush family.

In this clip (around the 4 minute mark), former president H.W. Bush got emotional reading a letter he wrote to Barbara on their 49th wedding anniversary. SO sweet.



Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


I love watching old people who are still in love. I think it is the sweetest thing.

The romantic in me is so sad that our kids one day will probably forgo old fashioned letter writing to the e-mail, Facebook post, text message (or whatever crazy equivalent will exist years from now.) It just isn't the same.

Even though this blog has been a great way for me to chronicle neat moments in our married life, I never want it to be a replacement for a hard copy.

For our first wedding anniversary, I bought a gorgeous leather-bound journal in which I chronicle different times in our lives. I write in it at every anniversary, and also other exciting occasions - when we moved into our new house, when we were struggling to have a baby, the day we found out we were having the baby, etc. I'll also randomly write in it whenever I'm having a particularly tender moment toward Chad.

One day, years from now, I'll give the first volume to Chad to read through whenever the mood strikes him. And I hope one day we'll pass it to our children and grandchildren. It will be the history of our own love story... and one I love adding to year after year!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A (very) happy Valentine's

I'll never understand the cynics out there... what is not to love about a day of love (even if it was manufactured by the greeting card company.)

I got into the early Valentine's spirit this weekend by making my love some homemade sugar cookies with royal icing... just as he requested. They were delicious ... and cute!


But the REAL present was today. We had a doctor's appointment + ultrasound today and got to see and hear our little wiggle worm moving all over the place.

The moment the ultrasound tech put that wand on my tummy... WAM, you could see the lil' hoppa hoppin' all over the place. It was putting on a little Valentine's performance just for us.

Unfortunately the ultrasound tech had a job to do... not just enjoy the show... so she was having to jab and shake my stomach to get the little one to move in the right position for measurements. My baby succeeded in only allowing her to take two instead of three... which the tech said was justtttt fine. I think it wore her out!

But we got lots of pictures and got to see the baby's sweet head, tummy, arms, legs
, jaw, cheekbones and both hemispheres of the brain. The ultrasound tech and doctor said everything looks great. Baby is measuring 12 weeks, 3 days today (which is consistent with my IUI date.)

{Baby Barnhill smiling at everyone. Happy Valentine's!}


Friday, February 11, 2011

Pregnancy Week by Week: 11

Well readers, I figured I might as well finish 'em up! Depending on how it's being counted, today (if it's by my IUI date... which is more accurate) or Sunday (if it's done by my last period date... which is what is standard for OB's to use) marks me down as 12 weeks pregnant... and through my first trimester!

Waaaahoooooo!

I know that's kinda confusing to some who haven't been pregnant yet, but that is how they calculate the due date. My RE uses the IUI date, because we know exactly when I conceived, which would put me at 12-weeks pregnant today and a due date of Aug. 26th. But OBGYN's always prefer to use your last menstrual period, which seems funny to me since not everyone has the same cycle length. If they use that date, I won't be considered 12 weeks until Sunday, and my due date they are calculating as Aug. 28th (and will readjust if the baby is measuring a few days ahead of their prediction.)

But heck, at the beginning of your pregnancy, you are aching to be officially done with your first trimester, so dangit, I'm counting it as today. So with that said, I'll finish up with my pre-dated week-by-weeks, and from here on out, every Friday I'll post what's happening that week.

Sound like a plan? So here we are, glad to finish with...

Week 11
Baby size: A lime
How I feel about being pregnant: I think after 10 weeks of "sick" I'm becoming less enthralled with this whole pregnancy thing. I just want the baby! ;) But in honesty, I know that once I'm out of my first trimester, I'm going to start feeling better and will get to actually start enjoying the pregnancy. I've been forewarned that these next few weeks (were you actually feel good) are the ones that fly by. Of course at the very beginning and end (when you feel miserable) seems to drags on.
Symptoms: Dare I say it? I think I'm turning the corner. My nausea has really died down this week - I've had a couple bad days at the beginning of the week but it's starting to subside.
Food Cravings: You guessed it... still fruit. Three cheers for Harris Teeter running specials on strawberries for two weeks in a row. Me, Chad, Baby B and our wallet thank you.
What I'm most excited about: Officially announcing the pregnancy. Most friends have learned the news by now, so we're not keeping it a secret any more.
Something sweet your daddy did for me: More flowers, cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. He is definitely winning husband-of-the-year award in my eyes. He is doing everything he can to make my life easy. And I don't thank him nearly enough. You're sweet, Chaddy.
Something I've done to prepare for baby: Not sure if this is more for me or the baby...but I bought my first pair of maternity jeans! I still fit in all my normal pants... but they are getting less and less comfortable every passing day. The moment I put on those maternity jeans, I swear I cried in pure bliss. Those have to be the greatest invention known to woman.
Funny moment: I read on US Weekly that Pete Wenz and Ashley Simpson are getting divorced... and I started crying. I DON'T CARE ONE LITTLE IOTA about either one of them. Hormones are just something else!
Special moment: Kissing the first trimester goodbye. Second trimester: I've never been so excited to meet something in my life!

Pregnancy Week by Week: 10

Week 10 Baby size: A prune
How I feel about being pregnant: Excited to be at the double-digit number of 10 weeks. That itself seems like an accomplishment. I'm a quarter of the way there!
Symptoms: My best buddy nausea has not left my side! With it and the heartburn, I've also noticed from my neck to my lower back is frequently achy and tingling almost. Not sure if that is pregnancy related or not... but a funny symptom nonetheless!
Food Cravings: I ate a pound of strawberries in one sitting. So yeah, baby loves fruits still. What I'm most excited about: 10 weeks, 10 weeks, 10 weeks! Two more weeks and hopefully I'll be out of the "danger-zone" of miscarriage.
Something sweet your daddy did for me: Not really sweet for me necessarily, but this is the first week Chad started really expressing excitement over having a little baby around. I think he was nervous at the beginning, but is now starting to sink in that this is really happening!
Something I've done to prepare for baby: Started looking at nursery ideas! This could obviously change when we know the sex for sure, but for now I think I want to do grey and yellow (with rose accents for girl or blue accents for boy)
Funny moment: Nausea was a pain in my butt this week... I couldn't find much to laugh about.
Special moment: Celebrating the birthday of a dear friend - and laughing because the room was full of pregnant women or recent mothers. Even though I felt sick and uncomfortable, it was good to be around a bunch of girls that knew exactly how you were feeling. Girl power!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pregnancy Week by Week: 9

Week 9Baby size: Green olive
How I feel about being pregnant: Starting to think more about the actual baby than the pregnancy!
Symptoms: Off and on nausea, my sleepiness has returned ... along with heartburn. Oh yeah... it's reallllll fun to be around me at the house.
Food Cravings: I'm still loving my fruit. No real "cravings" other than that.
What I'm most excited about: I can't wait until I start feeling the baby move! I swear just once I felt a little flutter in there, but it hasn't happened since. I know it's WAY early, but it was reassuring for me to think about that little wiggle worm moving around.
Something sweet your daddy did for me: Ummm not left me? I've been a pain in the you know what lately. Several weeks of not feeling good is building up... and I know I'm a grouch to be around.
Boy or girl? Gosh, I don't know anymore. I'm still thinking girl though.
Something I've done to prepare for baby: Sent of my registration to the hospital where we'll be delivering little Baby B! It's amazing you have to do that so early, but they ask you to get it in before Week 14. I figured to just go ahead and get it done so I don't forget about it later. The little folder my OBGYN's office gave me about our birth place (which is awesome), had tons of pictures of sweet little babies in it... and of course I burst out crying the moment I opened it. Ohhhhh the hormones!
Funny moment: Chad is a snuggler - and when we're laying together on the couch or in bed, he likes to rest his head on my chest or stomach (likely so he's in a better position for me to scratch his head.) Well lately, for obvious reasons, that has NOT been so comfortable and I shriek whenever he rests his head on my tender midsection. Well the other day, Chad snuggled up into my side (which wasn't particularly comfortable... not because of the baby... but because he was pressing on my ribs). I told him that he'd have to move because it was uncomfortable. He loudly expressed his contempt and told me: "You've taken away all my other special places to lay, so you're going to have to deal with this one." I let him have it. ;)
Special moment: Going to your Aunt Molly's baby shower. She's about 6 weeks out delivering my first nephew, James, and I'm just enjoying savoring every minute I have of us being pregnant together.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pregnancy Week by Week: 8

Week 8Baby size: Raspberry
How I feel about being pregnant: Very excited yet nervous. I'm definitely ready to get through my first trimester so I can enjoy the pregnancy without being so scared of another miscarriage. Also, dealing with complicated emotions about losing one of our babies.
Symptoms: Still battling some nausea. Lots of sporadic headaches and overall achy feeling.
Food Cravings: Fresh fruit! Mango, red grapes, strawberries, bananas... you name it, I want it. And now that my Zofran has really helped curb my nausea, I'm actually able to eat somewhat normal foods again. I'm still eating pretty bland stuff, but branching out to bagels with cream cheese, english muffin with peanut butter, etc.
What I'm most excited about: As my pants get tighter and tighter every week, I'm getting excited about seeing this belly of mine grow.
Something sweet your daddy did for me: Brought me the most beautiful bouquet of long-stemmed lilies... just because.
Boy or girl? For some reason, I've been picturing a little baby girl in my head...
Something I've done to prepare for baby: Began looking (casually) at cribs, nursery's, etc.
Funny moment: During our first OB ultrasound, the doctor started pointing out the baby's hands and arms and feet. Chad - being the jokester that he is - said "So no puppy ears in there right? Just want to make sure it's a baby. I need someone to help take out the trash."
Special moment: Chad talked to me a bit about he's kinda worried about how much our lives are going to change once Baby Bee comes into our lives. I think all expecting parents have this little freak-out moment. But it made us both think about how lucky we are that we'll have a good three years or marriage behind us once our little one joins the family. I'm so thankful for that time we've been able to grow stronger together and establish ourselves as husband and wife before we get to work at being mom and dad. The other obvious special moment was hearing the baby's heartbeat for the first time... amazing!

Almost 12-week bump

Okay, okay, a break in the seriousness of my posts! Y'all know me. Generally, I light to keep things lighthearted. But I know some of the last few posts were emotional (for me to write and for you to read.) So here's to trying to go a few days without making anyone cry. How's that?!

So for your reward, I'm doing what I thought I'd NEVER do and took a little picture this morning of my almost 12-week bump.

And okay, truth time: it obviously is going to look more like a bump because I'm wearing maternity jeans and a maternity top my mama gave me. In normal clothes, I don't really look THAT different. Seriously, it's only been in the past couple of days that it's starting to poke out just a teeny bit. But I couldn't resist... today is the first day I feel like I'm not pretending to look pregnant (you early pregnancy girls can relate) --- I think I actually look it! Granted to those not "in the know," I probably just look like I ate too many waffles for breakfast... but y'all know better. We got a little baby bean growing fast in there!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The story of our twins

Seeing those two tiny heartbeats for the first time changed my life. Despite Chad and I both knowing that having twins was a real possibility, I think part of us were thinking it was just going to be one little baby in there. But sure enough, there were two.

{our two tiny little babies at six weeks}

Baby A was measuring right where it was supposed to, and we could see it's strong heartbeat at 6 weeks. Baby B was a teeny bit smaller and the heartbeat was much harder to find. Our doctor prepared us that it really could go either way. The smaller baby could catch right on up with its brother or sister.... or else we might not see a heartbeat the following week. We prayed so much during the week between appointments... as did so many of our loved ones. I remember singing (and praying) lyrics from one of my favorite songs: "I hear the Savior say, 'Thy strength indeed is small. Child of weakness watch and pray, find in me thine all in all." I just pictured my two little babies - so tiny and weak - and reminded myself that once more, God was in control... not me. There was nothing I could do.

I was miserably sick during that week, and was sure it was because my body was working extra hard to get Baby B growing. I just knew that when we went in for our next ultrasound, we'd have two perfect little peanuts in there. During the wait, Chad was cautiously optimistic, but I think did a better job preparing himself that we could lose one. I wasn't ready to give up hope - and daydreamed about our twins frequently. I even started doing research on co-sleeping the two little ones, how likely I would be put on bedrest, etc. I was a google maniac. I could almost picture their little faces.... and the little one making fun of their "bigger" sibling for hogging all the nutrients in the womb.

The day came for our follow-up appointment. I was pretty calm... all things considered. The doctor started the ultrasound, and right away I could tell the news wasn't going to be what I wanted to hear. Baby A stood out nice and strong and measuring right on track, but we could tell a noticeable difference in the sizes between Baby A and B. While Baby A tripled in size since our last appointment, you couldn't tell that Baby B grew at all. At first, the doctor didn't even think there was a heartbeat on Baby B. But he eventually found it, slowly but steadily pounding away. My eyes well up with tears just thinking about it. I think that was the hardest part to me. I feel like if at that point Baby B had no heartbeat, I would have been better able to move on. But I was just heartbroken over its sweet little heart trying to hold on.

The doctor walked out of the room and gave Chad and I some time to ourselves. To my honest, I think I was in shock. We hugged each other for awhile. Told each other this was for the best. Said how thankful we were that Baby A was nice and strong. I couldn't even really let myself think about Baby B too much.

Immediately after the appointment, I was able to mentally accept what was bound to happen. I tried to tell myself that it was for the best. There is always a higher risk of premature birth among multiples... possible lengthy NICU stays... an increased chance of me having to go on bedrest.... etc. I told myself what I could to make me "okay" with what was going on. The doctor told me that at my next appointment, Baby B would probably have vanished. However, at the next appointment - once more, we could still spot little Baby B in the womb. I'm thankful, however, that my OBGYN didn't bring the ultrasound wand toward him/her... I couldn't bear to see (or not see) that tiny heartbeat again. My doctor warned me that since the little one hadn't disappeared yet, there was a good chance that I was see a gush of blood one day to indicate I had miscarried... and (hah!) to "not panic." How can you not!?

While mentally I had accepted the news, emotionally, it was a very different story. For weeks afterward, I would randomly be overcome with grief. I felt so selfish for not being able to solely celebrate the one healthy life we created. I felt like I didn't have a right to truly grieve my miscarriage. My mom was such a huge support to me during this time, letting me know I had every right to be upset --- that it would be unnatural not to. I created two little lives. I saw them both. I watched two little heartbeats flicker.

And then there was just one.

I originally didn't even want to write this post. Even today, it is still a raw place in my heart. I thought leaving the general explanation that this started as a twin pregnancy that naturally reduced to one would be enough. But I wanted other women who might be going through a similar position to know that they aren't alone in the mix of emotions you feel when having one baby while losing another.

But I also felt I owed it to Baby B to put this out there. They were not an afterthought or a preface to the "real" baby. But to let my sweet, precious angel know that they were deeply, deeply loved. And I am so thankful for every second I carried you as your mama.

I can't wait for the day I'll get to hold you in my arms and tell you that in person.

"And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears. And love will not break your heart but dismiss your fears. Get over your hill and see what you find there with grace in your heart and flowers in your hair." -M&S

Pregnancy Week by Week: 6 & 7

Preface:You will learn in this post that our pregnancy started out as a twin pregnancy. We learned a week after our initial ultrasound that our twin #2 likely wasn't going to make it. We were of course upset, but we know that it is for the best... and that the little one would have obviously had a hard time making it to full-term. I didn't want to delete the parts I wrote about the twins after the fact because I didn't want to forget that excitement we had over both little lives in the beginning. I have a longer post that I'll put up later today about the twins, and what I learned from that experience.

Weeks 6-7Baby size: Week six - sweet pea; Week seven - blueberry
How I feel about being pregnant: More excited every day! It definitely seems more real to me now that a baby is on its way... and nausea to remind me daily.
Symptoms: Cramps have gone but in its place, nausea that hit like a ton of bricks the moment week six started. Some days I was sick the moment I woke up until the moment I went to bed. Not.fun.at.all. I can't open the refrigerator without gagging. Also still pretty sleepy, but not as bad as weeks 4-5. Another weird symptom: nose bleeds... which I learned are quite common in early pregnancy.
Food cravings: I rarely feel like eating anything, but when I do, mild-flavored carbs sound good to me. Baked potatoes, french fries, plain pasta, crackers, etc.
What I'm most excited about: The idea of having twins!!!!! Super exciting and scary at the same time. I think having two babies that will be instant and lifelong best friends is amazing. I was super close with one of my brothers growing up (people would think we were twins), and even though we didn't share a womb, we definitely have that "twin connection." It's exciting to think my kids will have that with one another.
Something sweet your daddy did for me: Ummm everything?! I've been absolutely worthless these couple of weeks. Unless I was at work, I was laying down - whether in our bed or on the couch. Chad has done all the cooking (when I can eat), cleaning and keeping of the house in general. He lays with me at night and lets me watch trashy TV shows just because it makes me feel better. Since I feel so sick, finding something I'm willing to eat has been a challenge... but Chad would literally drive across state lines if it meant getting me something I could stomach. He also comes in from work every day (to find me in bed usually), and will kiss my face and then kiss my belly. Your daddy loves you so much already.
Boy or girl? Well since I'm positive that one is a boy... now it's just a matter of guessing the other. I have an inkling that we have a little boy and little girl in there!
Something I've done to prepare for baby: Drank tons of water - even when the idea of putting one drop of anything in my stomach would make me even more sick.
Funny moment: The look on Chad's face when the doctor showed us the two gestational sacs. But even funnier might be the look on Chad's face when I showed him what the baby looks like at 6 weeks --- even our gorgeous babies aren't the prettiest at this age.
Special moment: Calling our family and friends and telling them about the twins! Especially my Gma, who the moment I told her I was pregnant made the declarative statement that "I know it's twins." She even said that when her girlfriend told her the week before that her granddaughter was pregnant with twins, she was tempted to say "I'm about to tell you the same thing!" Mind you, this was the week BEFORE we even knew we were pregnant in the first place! I also love that Chad said when he called to tell his mom, she screamed in the phone for like 5 minutes! And she's a soft spoken woman.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I'm not the only one with news to share...

Since my news last week wasn't exciting enough for all you - I have another surprise for you. This one about another one of my favorite friends... and fellow bloggers... Amy at Little Fish.Big Pond. Amy and I have been close girlfriends since college. I used to tell her, long before I ever started dating Chad, that when I got married, she would have to sing at my wedding. Luckily, years later at my wedding, sure enough Amy was there to sing "In Christ Alone" - one of my favorite hymns. It was so special to have her there with me that day, and I'll always remember standing up there on the altar, holding Chad's hands, and looking at my sweet Amy Shell singing just like she promised all those years ago.

During my struggles with infertility, I leaned on Amy a lot. I'd give her an update every few weeks on what was going on with me, and she was so constant with her support and prayers. It meant so much to me that even though we live 2 hours away now and don't get to see each other often, I had another sister to lean on during this hard time. I told Amy on a Wednesday afternoon (when I was about 6 and a half weeks pregnant) that I was pregnant! She was so excited she said she burst out crying at her desk. It was so exciting to celebrate with her. She told me that her and her new husband Ray (who got married last May), were planning on starting their own family in the spring.

Then the very next morning, Amy gets on gchat and asks me about my early pregnancy symptoms. I describe them to her, but tell her that it's so easy for people to convince themselves they are pregnant when they are not. Only because I got the positive pregnancy test at the end, was I sure my symptoms that round were real. She tells me that she's a few days late... and is having a few mild symptoms (I laugh because I remember her saying that she was craving greek yogurt and potatoes with hot sauce.) I told her since she's a few days late, a home pregnancy test would be very reliable at that point and she might as well go ahead and take one so she can be sure either way.

I wait about 30 minutes, and Amy gets back on gchat with just a "Carrie....." - and at that minute I knew. Sure enough, it was positive!!!! And the best part of all, because I had a shorter cycle and she had a longer one, our due dates are one-and-a-half weeks apart! It was my turn to burst out crying at my desk! How amazing that I get to journey through pregnancy with one of my closest girlfriends within a week of each other. God absolutely makes me giggle sometimes with these blessings he gives to me.

So now that Amy has officially announced her pregnancy to her LFBP followers, I'm happy to announce it to mine! Congrats to my sweet Amy, her husband Ray and their little peanut as well. And if you don't get sick about reading all about my pregnancy stuff, please follow Amy's journey as well.

Ain't life something else?

Pregnancy Week by Week: 4 & 5

Like I promised, I did a good job about writing posts ahead of time so that when it came time to officially announce the pregnancy I: 1) would have have lots of posts pre-written and 2) I wouldn't have to look back and remember what I was thinking/feeling weeks back.

During weeks where my symptoms didn't change much, I combined posts. So here's my first week-by-week:

Weeks 4-5
Baby size: Week four - poppy seed; Week five - apple seed
How I feel about being pregnant: It still hasn't sunk in. I have a hard time believing I actually have a baby growing inside me. But beyond excited.
Symptoms: Lots of cramps and twinges (painful at time) that come and go quickly. Usually about 30 minutes of nausea in the late afternoons, that goes away after I eat something or lay down for a bit. Oh yeah, and sleeeeeepy. I can take 3 hour naps and still want to be in bed by 8 p.m. Luckily, my weeks 4-5 coincided with holiday vacations (Christmas and New Years), so I was able to indulge in many-a-nap!
Food cravings: Nothing. But I'm either not hungry at all or ravenous.
What I'm most excited about: Seeing the baby's heartbeat for the first time.
Something sweet your daddy did for me: Making sure I'm getting plenty of rest - encouraging lots of naps and early bedtime.
Boy or girl?: I'm convinced already it's a little boy in there.
Something I've done to prepare for baby: Been on top of taking my prenatal vitamins and progesterone (didn't miss a day!) I also read the entire "Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy" in like three days.
Funny moment: I asked Chad if he has ever changed a diaper before and he remarked that of course he hasn't. And I asked if he knew how, and he said: "Easy. Hold it's legs up like a turkey and wipe." That mental image will stay with me forever... and got quite a few belly laughs since.
Special moment: Picturing having a little 4-month old with us next Christmas!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The beginnings

Written Dec 17, 2010

I have to write this post now - even though I won't share it for another few weeks - but I didn't want to forget the excitement of this day.

I had an inkling throughout this cycle that I was going to be pregnant. I had symptoms that I had never had before.... lots of pulls, sharp cramps, and the like. I kept them all to myself (and Chad, of course.) I didn't want to get anyone excited about it in case it was a negative.

I was told by my doctor to wait until 14 days after our IUI before taking the test. Now, you readers know me by now... and I'm NO patient person. I wanted to test earlier, but Chad made me promise to wait. Besides, God had me wait for nearly two years... what's a few days?

So I could barely fall asleep the night before in anticipation. I remember waking up a few times and peeking at the clock hoping it was close enough to morning to rouse Chad from his slumber. Finally at 5:45 on the nose I couldn't wait a second longer. I woke Chad up and told him I had to take the test that very minute. So we both get up, I get the pregnancy test ready and pee in my little cup (since I was for sure that I was going to use more than one test either way just to be sure.) I stick my test (regular one first since they are more sensitive to low levels of the pregnancy hormone) in there for five seconds and then we cover it up and wait the two minutes for the results to register.

After seemingly the longest two minutes EVER, together, we peel it back and for the very first time, I see a clear +!!!!! I lost it. I just remember us hugging each other close and me crying my eyes out thanking Jesus. My whole body was shaking. It was overcome with emotion. Something we had prayed for so long, with so much heart, was coming true. I am going to be a Mom! And my Chaddy is going to be a Dad! I could barely believe it.

I had to take another test just to be sure -- this one, a digital. I warned Chad that these are less sensitive and have a harder time detecting early pregnancy. I was prepared that we probably wouldn't see a positive result on it so soon... but sure enough, two minutes later I see a "YES+".... more crying and hugging. My heart was so full. Because I knew that this moment, no matter what happens from here on out, at this point in time - I am a mother. We made a child.

It wasn't how we planned it. In my wildest dreams I never would have thought this is how we'd have our baby.

But you know what? It taught me so much.

Like the fact that my faith in God is not contingent on the fact that He gives me what I want. I have been a blessed person my whole life - great family, amazing husband, wonderful friends... you get the point. This is the first thing I've ever desperately wanted and was NOT able to do on my own. I had no choice but to wait for God. And I had to accept that even if God's plan was not for us to have a child, then I knew that He had a greater purpose for us. You see, I learned I don't love God because of what He does for me or gives me. I love God because I love God. He's incredible, and amazing and faithful. Even during the times I questioned what in the world He was doing with me, I NEVER questioned that He was my God and that He loved me so much. I learned to "Be strong, take heart, and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14 (something I repeated to myself so many times over the past several months) God gave me strength that I never knew I had. I can't tell you enough that going through infertility is by far the hardest thing Chad or I have ever experienced in our life. There is nothing like it. But I know it was purposed. And I learned so much about myself, my husband and my God throughout the process. So for that, I'm thankful.

And speaking of being thankful for my husband... Oh Chad: I can't even give words to tell you how much more in love I am with you today than I was before this whole process. You demonstrated such strength, courage, love and sensitivity. There is NO ONE else who I could have gone through this with. You, my dear, are the only one for me. And though I know I'll love our child with all my heart, I vow that behind the Lord, that you will always be my number one love. And I hope our baby will be better loved and cared for knowing they have a mom and dad that not only love them so deeply, but also love each other deeper still.


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So that's that! I can't believe it's been seven weeks since I wrote that for the first time. I have about a million more posts to share with you --- including a week-by-week recap of all those weeks leading up until now. I'll share one a day with you starting on Monday. I'm so grateful to my blog readers who have been SO sweet during this time... I can't thank you for the emails and comments. It's wonderful to have some people that I've never even met in person just as excited for us as some of our close friends! What a blessing.

The real reason I hadn't been posting much lately...


... it's a little hard to pretend to be interested in writing about random things when the only thing you can possibly think about is the precious little baby growing inside you...

... and making you throw up your insides...

... and completely turning you off from all food/cooking (just ask Chad)...

... and because I'd much rather have stockpiled MPLT posts to update you all now that we're finally able to announce:

I AM PREGNANT!


Oh yes, God is so faithful to us.

...more to come...