Tuesday, May 31, 2016

38 weeks down.... 10 days to go...

Apparently I have been on an unplanned hiatus from keeping up with this blog!  From 34 weeks-37 weeks, I felt absolutely miserable.  Every part of me hurt or ached, and I couldn't imagine carrying this baby any longer.  I am not sure what made me feel so exhausted and terrible.  Maybe it was the fact that this is pregnancy number 7, or baby number nine, or that I was working full-time as a teacher to demanding and difficult teenagers.  Whatever it was, there came a moment when my frustration and exhaustion hit a peak, and ended.
At 34 weeks, we received a beautiful and gigantic crocheted blanket from my aunt.  She picked the colors using color cards for the baby's room.  And she put so much love into the blanket, that it grew until it was big enough to hold me and the baby both!  These gifts make my heart full- to know that this baby is coming into a world full of people who love her enough to give of their time and their resources and themselves to welcome her.  For Mother's Day, my family gave me a necklace of a delicate pea pod, filled with 4 little peas.  I am about to have four little peas; t is a full pea pod over here, y'all!

At 37 weeks, I woke up with contractions and lots of fluid leaking out.  I, of course, figured it was amniotic fluid.  After taking a shower and having more come out, I decided we needed to go to the hospital to see what was going on.  I was filled with that adrenaline rush of realizing you are in labor, and Katie and Jason got ready (we will leave out the part where Jason went to work to prepare things for a sub while leaving me at home while I was "in labor").  As soon as we got to the hospital, contractions stopped, but we were already there, so we decided to go ahead and get checked.  The hospital was hopping that day, so while they quickly prepared a room, we sat in a supply closet- fun times!
It turned out that it was, in fact, not amniotic fluid, just my body being disgusting.  I was having a few contractions, but they were mild and irregular.  In even more depressing news, the nurse said I wasn't dilated at all, and not even effaced.  Baby is locked up tight.  Sheesh.  After a few hours, we went home.  It was a big letdown to have gotten so worked up and excited about the baby coming and then to go home like every other crazy pregnant woman who thinks she is in labor but really isn't.
Later that day, we went for our regular doctor's appointment, got our GBS test, and my doctor put a date on the "start maternity leave" paperwork.  This was a Thursday, and I only had to work through the next Wednesday!  <insert happy dance here>.
After our hospital episode, or maybe it was getting an end of work date, I felt calm and at peace with baby staying until she is ready.  After all, I didn't really want her born at 37 weeks.  I want her born when she is ready to be born.  Since then, I am feeling much better about these last few weeks of pregnancy.
As we entered week 38, I felt happy and excited at work because I was in my final countdown.  3 days... 2 days... 1 day... and I am done!  At week 38 exactly, all of my brothers and sisters and much extended family arrived through torrential rains and floods to town to celebrate my baby sister's wedding.  Baby has stayed in through the entire wedding weekend, and I am so grateful we did not have a surprise wedding guest!
During the wedding reception, we did have a dance party, and baby dropped that night. I can feel my ribs now!
There I am in the middle, as we embarrass ourselves!
The night after the wedding, as I tried to go to sleep, I started to have contractions- and not the Braxton Hicks I have been having for months.  These were the start-in-the-back-come-around-the-belly contractions of real labor.  They were 5 minutes apart, 4 minutes apart, 9 minutes apart... and done.  Huh?  I have no idea what happened, as that has never happened before, but I hope that means my body is getting ready for labor and it will go fast!
As I write this today, we are 38.4 weeks along, with only 10 days left until my due date.  We have spent the last two days with my brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins playing and visiting.  We haven't all been together in at least 8 years, so we are storing up these precious memories of each other and our children.   My heart is full (as well as everything else!), and I am content, sitting here feeling this baby girl wiggle and kick and test out the limbs she will soon be wiggling for all to see.
I have never gone past my due date before, and I am hoping I don't start now.  I simply cannot wait to hold my baby girl in my arms, and feel her little warmth against me as she sleeps on my heart.  In the meantime, I cherish each kick, bump, hiccup, and movement I feel of her inside my belly.  I memorize what it looks like to see my belly rise and fall with her movements.  I know I will never have this again, and while I am so glad for it, I will miss the moving of life inside me.
All is prepared.  The nursery is done.  The bags are packed.  Hospital paperwork is complete.  Her name is chosen.  We are ready to meet this baby girl as soon as she is ready for this world.

Cousin picture day- baby Ray didn't quite make it in time.  My brother pointed out that I made bookends for the family.  The first baby and the last!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Visible Progress

We are 34 weeks pregnant as I write this.  All of our plans and dreams are finally beginning to come together and I am so happy with the results.
We had our doctor's appointment today, and as always, daddy came along with us.  While we waited for doctor to come check us, daddy talked to baby to make sure she was awake and wiggly!  Her heartbeat is strong (in the 140s) and she kicked and wiggled the entire time the doctor was trying to feel her to see which position she is in.  It looks like baby is head down, butt up, and twisted somehow because her little kickers are far on the right side of my belly.  She is filling up all the space in there now, and I don't know how I ever managed to carry twins because I feel so very full already.  In good mommy news, I only gained about 1.5 pounds and my blood pressure is good.  The aching back, swollen bits, hurting feet, twitching legs, and all my other complaints are normal.  For all my wishing it could be June already, for all my wishing that I didn't have to work anymore, I am so grateful that baby girl is snug and cozy in my uterus, where she can continue to grow safe and strong until she is ready to survive this outside world.
The nursery is coming along fabulously well.  We (meaning daddy) hung the ribbons above the pictures, put the hook in the ceiling so we could hang the little Japanese babies (a gift I bought in Japan last May when I knew we were going to try for a baby- the very first gift I ever bought her), and we attempted to hang up some floating corner shelves.  It was an epic failure.  So, we patched the eight holes in the wall and the new- with much better reviews- shelves will be here tomorrow.
So, aside from the shelves and the curtains that grandma is making, the nursery is ready to go.  The clothes are washed and folded in the drawers (given they are size N and I will probably have to pack them up before she is even born), the towels and blankets are folded and in the closet, and everything is in its place.
Mommy's favorite spot

Our changing table with the beautiful Pooh quote

Pretty purple ribbons on our Pooh prints and the Japanese babies
hanging in the corner.


Two Saturdays ago, when we were 33 weeks, we took some family pictures.  Maternity pictures weren't really a "thing" back when I was having the other children, but I have seen so many families doing them recently that I decided it would be fun.  I love the results!
Within the next two weeks we will get our tdap shots (apparently this is a new thing too), pack a hospital bag, and buy all the little things we have forgotten about so far.  And then, hopefully, we will be able to relax and wait for baby to arrive.  Haha, we know that won't happen, but we will at least be prepared.
I had my first three kids when I was young and poor.  I would not take away those memories, those lessons, or a single moment of the beautiful life that I enjoyed with them.  I do, however, find great joy in being able to plan and to dream and to bring to fruition my dream for this baby girl.  When I sit in her nursery, I feel such a calm and peace.  I can't believe that something I dreamed up came out.  I can't believe that after all these years, Jason is going to get to be a daddy.  I think that makes me happiest of all.
Made with love

We are here waiting for you baby...

Helping hands

Love this beautiful family!

Daddy is so in love with you already

You have stolen my heart (and my body)

Into arms that will never let you go

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

32 Weeks and counting...

I failed my 3-hour glucose test.  I wasn't surprised by this, but I am not excited either.  I had a meeting with a dietitian (this word looks very wrong to me?), bought a glucose monitor, lancets, and testing strips.  I now have to eat a diet with low sugar and complex carbohydrates.  Basically, this translates to: no desserts, no "white" food (pasta, rice, potatoes, all those delicious things I love), lots of fruit, no caffeine or sweets.  It also translates to: complex carbs (whole grains- gag!), nuts, seeds, vegetables, some fruits (citrus and berries- thank goodness), and meat.  Oh, and eggs and cheese.  Yup, I am already sick and tired of this diet after only 3 weeks.  The only upside to this diagnosis is that I haven't gained any weight this month!  I was 150 two visits ago (4 weeks ago and I had gained 5 pounds in a month!), last visit I was 148 (one week on the diet), and this visit I was 150, so I am right back to where I was four weeks ago.  I realize that I am still much smaller than many pregnant women, but I have never weighed this much before and it is disconcerting to me.

In fabulous news, baby girl is growing right on track, is very wiggly and will always move when I want her to, and will kick her daddy back now.  Braden loves to come push on my belly so she will push back, and she does.  She will definitely be able to handle big brother!  Baby is strong enough now that when she moves, so does my entire belly.  I watched a knee (I think) trace across the entire top of my belly last night!  Doctor says she is head down, and feet are over on my right side, so that is where all the action begins :)

The nursery is nearing completion.  Everything is hung up on the walls, the closet carpet has been replaced, tubs have been placed on top of them, and everything is as I imagined it would be.  We still need to hang the 3 lavender bows above the picture frames, and Grandma is still making the curtains for the closet, but we are almost there!  It is exciting for me to see the room I dreamed in my mind becoming a reality, and even more exciting to see that it looks beautiful.

I painted a window frame for a faux window.
We bought some tubs for the toys.

Thanks to my sister and some friends, baby girl has more clothes than she will ever need, and we are so grateful.  We did not have a baby shower, so the hand me down, barely used clothes are so much appreciated!  On that note, I have ordered my last item for the nursery that I absolutely must have.  We have a car seat, blanket, diaper bag, and an outfit to come home in, so we can at least get through delivery and coming home!
Before:  In the early days.
After:  Now, while I try to find a home for all the things!

I am, for some reason, feeling pretty good.  I can't bend at all, picking things up off the floor is hilarious, and I walk like a waddly hippo.  However, my belly support band is mostly working and my swelling doesn't hurt like it did for so many months.   I am trying my best to enjoy these last few months of pregnancy.  We have just less than 8 weeks left, and I am grateful for every minute my daughter is growing strong and safe inside me.  I do enjoy feeling her move and play.  Although it hurts so much more this time, and I am more forgetful and emotional than I have ever been in my life, I know that once this pregnancy is over, I will never feel a baby move inside of me again, and that will be sad for me.  This last pregnancy adventure is definitely not what I thought I would be doing as my oldest girl is about to graduate from high school, but it is where I am meant to be.
32 weeks.  They say she is about 17 inches and 4 pounds.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

29 weeks and a bit of excitement

This was an interesting week.  Everything started out well.  We had our monthly visit with the OB and were able to take a peek at baby girl.  She has a perfectly sized head that is measuring exactly the correct weeks and days!  This alleviates our fears of Zika-caused Microcephaly.  She has plenty of fluid, is still a girl, and was flopping all over the place during the whole process.  She was opening and closing her mouth, putting her hands all over her face, and even stuck her tongue out a few times- priceless!  The ultrasound tech even switched to 3D mode, and we were able to see her little face.  It was kinda creepy, but kinda awesome at the same time.  I took a picture of the picture:

I also took the 1-hour glucose test, which wasn't bad at all... until I received the results on Thursday... and I had to go take the 3-hour glucose test on Friday.  I felt pretty sick during the test, which is not a good sign. The only time I ever had gestational diabetes, I became violently ill during the 3-hour.  This time I was just tired and felt "yucky," so we will see in a day or two how the results came out.  

TMI- do not read if you are sensitive or don't want to know about this stuff.  
And then the excitement came.  I started leaking clear, smell-free fluid.  I thought it was just from the course of the day, but after I cleaned up and rested for a few minutes, there was even more.  I told Jason so he could calm me down, but he said we should call the doctor.  I called the doctor so she could calm me down, but she said the we should go to L and D.  Sigh.
So, Katie and I went to the hospital (Jason had to take Triston somewhere).  All I needed was for them to hand me the little nitrazine paper so I could hold it in the fluid to see if it was amniotic fluid or not.  As you can imagine, that is not what happened.  They made me register, ride in a freaking wheelchair up to L and D, weigh in, put on a gown, and pee in a cup.  Oh, and before I could go up, they had to put on a hospital band.  Once there, they hooked me up to all the monitors (for contractions and fetal heart rate).  Then, after going through an entire pregnancy history- which is very challenging when you have had (let me think...) 8 pregnancies and 5 babies which are not yours and you don't remember their birth weights or birthdays very well.  I am pretty sure the nurse thought I was insane!  
After all of that mess, the nurse finally did the nitrazine test.  Three times.  And it was negative each time.  So now they tell me the fluid is just what is happening now.  Fun times.

Today is Easter Sunday.  I have been thinking about how different this pregnancy is from a surrogate pregnancy.  With my first surrogate pregnancy, I was afraid I would feel some kind of attachment to the babies and my heart would break when they went home with their family.  It didn't.  
After three surrogate pregnancies, I was afraid I would not feel the connection to this baby that I had felt with mine.  I loved my surrogate babies and would have done anything for them, but I was not in love with them like I was with my first three.  A surrogate friend who had another baby of her own after surrogacy said that she fell in love with her baby the moment she was born. Today, as I was talking to this little girl in my belly, I realized that my fears of not loving her like I loved my other three are gone.  After the scare I had of her coming early, I realized how desperately in love with her I already am.  I can wait for her to get here.  I want to wait for her to get here.  I just want it to be June so I don't have to wait anymore.    

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Week 28- Hello 3rd trimester!

It has been a long month.  All is well, and baby is growing like a little dandelion in there.  She is dancing and thumping, and having a grand old time.  Right now, her feet seem to be on the left side of my belly and her head on the right.  So I think.  Last week, it was just the opposite.  I am glad she is enjoying her time of flips and somersaults, as her space is about to dwindle rapidly.

Mommy status:  So much has happened since last I blogged.  Two weeks ago, I became very ill with some kind of cough and congestion that turned into an infection.  I spent an entire week going to work, coming home and sleeping.  Baby did not seem to notice that I was sick; in fact, I think she enjoyed my laying around the house so much because she wiggled and played more than she ever had before.  Luckily, I am well now (thanks for the antibiotics, doc!) and running at full pregnant lady speed- which, as you may guess, is about a snail's crawl.  My back hurts enough now that I have to wear the belly support band every day.  The stabbing abdominal pains of my round ligaments is a daily challenge, and I can't do grocery shopping or walking for any length of time before they start to hurt.  Once they get going, it is hard to stop.  Everything else is pretty normal, and anything else is too gross to share :)  We just came home from the Houston Livestock Show where Triston showed his pig, Bandit II.  I have zero stamina in me, and actually fell asleep in a camp chair in the middle of the noise, commotion, and stench of the pig section.  I can tell the third trimester has begun because of this crazy exhaustion, the constant need to drink and pee, and the fact that it takes three separate sets of movements to get in or out of the car.  Oh, and my husband is constantly teasing me about being so slow and waddly.
             At the pig show                                                                                       27 weeks, 2 days

Nursery Status:  Since the last update, we have increased the offerings of our nursery to include many baby outfits (thank you Cindy for donating the beautiful baby girl clothes!), an amazing rug, a rocking chair (thank you Grandma and Grandpa Goodfellow), and a bedding set (which took my probably 12+ hours of searching the internet to find because I am insane and refused to spend $200 or more for baby bedding, and I did it- the whole set was ony $50.00!).
Nursery at 28 weeks- furniture in, decorations to go!
Mom enjoying the rocking chair

Baby status:  We go to the doctor on Tuesday.  So far, she has been measuring just perfect, and her heart rate and movements are all good.  At our last visit, I did mention again to my doctor about the possibility that I was exposed to the Zika virus.  We were only slightly worried, since I didn't seem to have any mosquito bites after our trip.  Then, after finding out it was transmittable person to person, and knowing that Jason did have mosquito bites, we became slightly more worried.  The upside to my worry is that we get to have an ultrasound at this 28 week visit.  I can't wait to see my girl again!  The downside to the 28 week visit is that I have to drink the vile orange drink and take the 1-hour glucose test.  Boo!  Hoping I don't have to do the 3-hour.  I have done it two or three times, and it is poopy.  Especially the time it turned into gestational diabetes.  Here's hoping for low sugar!
Braden loves to sit and feel the baby kick.  She loves to play with him, and is always very active when he sits down to push and play and chat with her.  Katie can't wait for her to get here; she has already picked out the one outfit we have bought for her- complete with a pink bow and hearts.  Triston, my patient child, is waiting calmly for her arrival.  He is the only one who made a that-is-so-disgusting face when I asked him if he wanted to see her delivery.  Katie wants desperately to be there, and Braden has not yet decided if he thinks it is a very good idea, or a very bad idea.  Regardless, this baby girl is coming to the three best siblings any kid could ask for.  

Name status:  At this point, I am telling people we are sticking with Jimmy.  This is what Braden called her before she was a "she," and it is funny.  I am fairly certain we have found our winner, and I am also fairly certain we are not sharing yet.  Mary Elizabeth and Brooklyn both seem to have been tabled in favor of this new name.  We shall see...

Daddy status:  I think Daddy is going nuts with my incessant planning.  With my three surrogate pregnancies, there was no planning.  With my first three, I was too poor to plan, so we just kinda bought stuff as we needed it.  I am far too caught up in planning everything for this one (as is evidenced by the baby bedding fiasco), but I am also enjoying it too much to stop.  Daddy has been able to feel baby playing now that she is strong.  He seems to have a soothing effect on her though, and every time he places a hand on my belly, she calms right down.  We are hoping this continues after birth.  He talks to her every morning and every night.  Sometimes he puts his mouth almost against my belly and talks to her.  Sometimes about me, sometimes about what they are going to do, and sometimes I just try not to listen so he can tell her secrets.  He is going to be so good with our little Ray of sunshine.
Mom's favorite picture to date.  Dad loving with his girl as she kicks him in the head.

I think that is all the updates for now.  I am so looking forward to meeting this child.  In June.  June 4.  Just throwing that out there.

Week 24- and an important milestone

I love week 24 of pregnancy.  Week 24 is the week that allows my daughter the hope of living if she is born.  Week 24 means that with all of our modern science and technology, my daughter will live if she is born.  With all my fears about her coming too soon, this eases my worries and gladdens my heart.
I have started to have stabbing pains in my abdomen, or maybe they are just coming more frequently. The worst was after going grocery shopping, when I came home and the pain was so bad on the left side I had to sit down for 40 minutes before it stopped.  Thank goodness for my Katie May who put all the groceries away for me!  My back has started hurting, but that is manageable.  Baby is playing and active, and that is all I need to be okay.
We are making progress on the nursery.   It now boasts a crib and a dresser ordered by mom and assembled by daddy and big brother B.  I stand in the room and I can see it all coming together.  Every time someone walks in there with me, they get my list of what is going where and what color it will be and yada yada.  I think maybe this is why nobody ever goes in there unless I ask them to!  I am enjoying decorating my first nursery.
I have cancelled my order for our last baby name, and we are searching for new names even as we have two on the drawing board.
Jason has felt baby moving now, and likes to wake up each morning pushing on my belly to try to wake his little darling up.
I have been calling her my "little Ray of sunshine" the last few days.  She needs a nickname since we are slow on finding an actual name.  When people ask, I just tell them we are sticking with "Jimmy."  When they get that puzzled look, I reply, "this is what her brother named her before we knew she was a girl."  Whatever people, we will name her when we are ready!  And, maybe, just maybe, we will share her name with you before she arrives.  I have found that the best way to NOT get input on baby names is to wait until baby is already here and named.  Really, what can you say when it's already a done deal?
And maybe this will help other moms-to-be, maybe not.  After trying baby registries at Target and Buy Buy Baby, I have found that Amazon baby registry not only has everything that we need, free shipping, and equal or lesser than prices, they also walk you through the whole process!  It makes it so much easier to go through the virtual store section by section :)

Here are some pics of the nursery thus far:
The crib that daddy built.

The little table mom found at the "antique" shop, with the flowers in the vase given as a baby gift from our friend Jeanette.

Daddy and big brother B assembling the dresser.  They are pumped!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Week 20- Halfway there!

We reached that beautiful milestone just yesterday.  20 weeks down, 20 weeks to go.
I would imagine a mountain and imagine that I am now on the downhill side, sliding down into the conclusion of this story, but I am not a dummy.  I have been on this trek 6 times before, and I know I am nowhere near the top of this mountain.
Baby is in there playing and growing.  I feel her bumping here and there regularly this week.  Daddy still hasn't been able to feel her yet, but I keep trying.  He has made me promise that I won't let anyone else feel her first.  I felt her kick this morning and I know  he would have felt it had his hand been there in that moment.  We will get there soon!
Everyone keeps asking if we have a name yet, and we keep saying, "No, we are working on it."  One benefit to this being a girl is that I don't have to worry about names now.  We like many girls names, but never had a boy's name we liked very well.
We had it narrowed down to two girls names before we found out she was a she.  Now, we think we have picked her name.  We are just sitting on it, pondering on it, and making sure we know for sure before we share.  We do not really care what anybody else thinks, so we don't really need any help.
I will admit that I have shared with one person, but it is the only person that I felt compelled to share with.
I am spending my evenings looking up baby accouterments, from  bedding to toys to baby carriers.  I looked up reviews on car seats and we picked the safest one.  We picked out a crib and dresser (one of those fancy cribs that changes to a toddler bed and full size bed later.  I have never actually seen anyone convert the crib, but maybe we will be the first!).  I am currently reading up on baby carriers and my mind boggles before I can ever pick which one we want.  Jason sits beside me while I search the baby stores online trying to find the perfect things for our girl and nods his head when I ask his opinion.  Haha!  I made an account at a baby registry so that I can keep up with all the things we want.  I love to look at it and imagine how it will all go together.
My new excitement is now that we have the gender, I added lavender as a new nursery color and am finding beautiful things to add to spruce things up in there.
Jason climbs into bed each night, rubs on my belly and says, "goodnight baby" and wakes up every morning by putting his hand on my belly and saying, "good morning daughter!"  He is ridiculous and beautiful all at once.
Baby is growing.  I only gained one pound last month.  My husband is over the moon with excitement.  My children are healthy and (secretly) excited for baby.  It has been a long road to get to this new adventure, and I am enjoying every moment of this happiness we have been blessed with.