Week 36: An early conclusion to our tale…

Well my dear, I am beginning to see you are a girl who likes to call her own shots. I was pretty darn shocked when my water broke unexpectedly on the evening of 9/26/11 – one day shy of you being 36 weeks along. However, after calling the hospital and being told to come in and be checked out I felt an amazing sense of calm. I didn’t know what was about to happen, but God gave me an overwhelming sense of peace. We got to the hospital and they quickly confirmed that my water broke and informed me that I would not be leaving until you were out. Because you were 4 weeks early, I instantly became “high risk” and was informed that NICU staff would be present at your birth in order to ensure you got immediate attention.

After a long, sleepless, and contractionless night at the hospital my labor was induced at 5:30am. It was far from the “natural” childbirth that I had been rooting for, but thankfully I had a great team to keep me encouraged and help me deal with my back labor: Papa and Nana kept me entertained with conversation until the more intense stuff started, once my labor became something I needed to focus all of my energy on your Daddy and Grandma stayed busy for hours applying pressure to my back, pulling on my legs, and doing anything else they could think of to increase my comfort. On top of my fantastic family support I had an AMAZING nurse, Emmy, who respected my wishes for a epidural free labor, allowed me to be off those annoying monitors as much as possible so that I was free to move around as I need to, and encouraged me when I thought I couldn’t go on any longer.

Then, at 4:17pm on 9/27/11 you made your grand debut into the world to a room full of hospital staff (Daddy and I are still uncertain how many people were in there, we think there were at least 6, but our attentions were focused elsewhere at the time so we aren’t completely certain). You weighed in at exactly 5 pounds and were 16.75 inches long. You were quickly passed from the doctor’s hands to the NICU staff who cleaned you off, took your stats, and assessed your breathing. They gave me two precious minutes with you wrapped up on my chest before they stole you away to the NICU, with Daddy following closely behind in order to get you hooked up to so many machines and make sure you were ok.

That next hour as I got put back together and did all the things I needed to do before I could get into a wheel chair were some of the oddest feeling moments of my life. I knew I had had a baby, but you weren’t with me, it almost seemed like it wasn’t real. But eventually I was able to be wheeled to the NICU where you and I got to be reunited. Daddy and I took a great deal of time looking you over and taking turns holding you. Then we held you up to the window so that all your grandparents, your Uncle Ron, Aunt Harmony, Uncle Chuck, and Cousins Charity and Ronnie could get a look at you. After that you were able to meet your grandparents as only Mommys, Daddys, and Grandparents were allowed into the NICU.

You spent the first 7 days of your life in the NICU. It was by far the hardest week in your Momma and Daddy’s life. On top of the stress of having you away from us and being unsure what was coming next, most days we got around 3 hours of sleep a night in order to pump and go visit you for feedings. But my dear girl, you are so totally worth it.

We had 3 days when your billiruben levels got too high (and you looked orange like you’d had a bad spray tan) that you had to go onto a light bed for the majority of the day, making it so that we could only hold you for 30-45 minutes every couple of hours. I think I cried every time we left you those few days.

Because of your preemie status we learned there were a LOT of things different about you than a term baby with one of the biggest things being eating. At first, you were completely disinterested in eating, and then you were frustrated because you wanted to but didn’t have the muscles needed in order to get your mouth latched, and even after that you were so tired that after a couple minutes of work you would completely fall asleep. Mommy lost all sense of modesty during that NICU week as we met with multiple lactation consultants and nurses until we found the right tricks to make it possible for you to breastfeed.

After a week of growth we were able to take you home. It was by far one of the happiest days of your Mommy and Daddy’s life.

In the carseat and on our way home

We are so blessed to have you, Peanut. We praise God for this gift! The fact that you are so healthy and strong just goes to show that this was part of His plan for you from the start.  It is amazing to be able to spend my whole days with you now that you are home and to see some of the behaviors I felt while you were growing in my tummy. I love your hiccups and how wild you are with those little strong feet and arms of yours.  You have your mother’s temper when things don’t go the way you wanted, but you also have your father’s calm when things are finally put to right. You are a noisy sleeper that even as I type this you are grunting and growling along beside me.

I love you Peanut. Thanks for being mine,

Mom

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

As I have entered the “waddling” stage of my pregnancy I now get asked many more questions about my pregnancy. Things like, “how are you feeling??” “how is the baby?” and “have you enjoyed being pregnant?” are posed to me multiple times a day. I always attempt to answer them as honestly as I can (1 – good, but tired 2 – I think she’s doing fine or at least she hasn’t told me otherwise and 3 – I have enjoyed parts of it). These questions as of late, have really put me in the mood to reminisce about these past 8 months. Honestly, I can’t say that I love being pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s an AMAZING miracle that God is able to grow up a little person from the size of a pin prick to a living breathing baby all within you. But still, there are parts that have been fun, and parts that really haven’t.

The Good:

  • Movement. This is probably one of my most favorite things of all. From those first tiny flutters in my tummy to your now tummy shaking moves and constant hiccups it is probably my most favorite thing about being pregnant. (And, even more awesome? Somehow I can sleep through your tossing and turning – SCORE)
  • I some how have made it through so far with zero stretchmarks. Thanks grandma for the good genes!
  • Naps. I’ve always loved them, and now I get to take them all the time.
  • My new super-power: Smell. Sure this one can bite you in the bootie too, but I’ve got to tell you, the smell of rain, fresh baked bread, pine trees, and daddy’s cologne has NEVER been as awesome as it is now.
  • Seeing a new side and growing even closer to my husband of 6 years. Yes, I already knew I had the cream of the crop, but this pregnancy has shown me so much more of this man I was certain I knew so well. It has drawn us closer to each other and to God than we have ever been in our 11 year relationship.

The Bad:

  • Nausea/Vomiting. I had morning sickness that didn’t quit until almost half-way through my pregnancy and even still occasionally get to have some up-close and personal time with my toilet. For some reason, pregnancy and my guts do not wish to co-exist.
  • Exhaustion. It has been present the entire pregnancy in varying degrees, the second trimester was by far the easiest to get through, but I think the third trimester has been the worst.
  • Various aches and pains. Back aches, stomach pains, pains in places I didn’t know it was possible to have pain…
  • Being emotional. Pre-pregnant Ginger was typically NOT a crier and had pretty much emotions of steal – not so much anymore. Lately, I am so weepy I just want to hide out in my room. You show me that Google commercial where the dad is writing letters and sending pictures to his daughter as she grows up and you will need to get me a box of tissues STAT. Oh, and let’s not talk about my insane reaction to the September 11th video they showed at church: crying hysterically in my seat.

The Ugly:

  • What the heck is with all these veins all over? I was looking at my ankle last night and I swear it looked like it was covered in blue spider webs! I can honestly say, I’d never heard about this weird pregnancy phenomenon before.
  • Swelling. Although it doesn’t happen too often – I have had Fred Flinstone feet several times now. It’s not a very cute look for me.
  • Weight gain. This was probably extra hard for me because I had lost so much weight about 3 years ago and being pregnant (although I understand it is a necessity) I have watched that scale slowly creep back up. I don’t look forward to the fight to get it back off after you are here.

But even with all these pros and cons, I wouldn’t go back and wish this experience away. I know it is absolutely, without a doubt, totally worth it.

Week 35: Apologies

Hi Baby Girl,

I feel as though I owe you an apology. See, I keep forgetting how far you are sticking out there lately and as such have rammed you in to quite a few things this past week. Mommy has always had difficulties with depth perception, but usually it isn’t quite this bad. However, this past week I have 1) looked down to discover my belly completely covered in food, flour and other cooking related items (note to self: aprons are your friend), 2) put a hole in a new shirt while at work because I believed I could squeeze this belly of mine between a volleyball net poll and the wall (I had three options to get from my office to the bathroom: squeeze between a poll and a wall, bend my sore back over to duck under the net, or not be lazy and walk an extra 30 feet to go around. Sure, sure, the third option seems like the obvious correct choice – but where is the challenge in that??) and 3) knocked multiple items off of counter tops by smacking them with my belly. It’s a good thing God gave you a nice cushy water bag to surround you or else I’d be afraid you may have sustained injuries.

Per my reading, it sounds like although you are going to continue to pack on the pounds for the next couple weeks, you wont get much longer between now and your delivery. So now we just work on finishing off that all-important lung development and getting you chubbed up. Starting next week on Monday, we will have doctors appointments every week until you decide to come out and play – I know I’ve said this a million times, but I can’t believe how fast time is flying.

I can’t wait to see your face, my love, and see your little personality begin to shine out. I pray for you every day, not only for your health and growth but that God will grow your daddy and me to be the parents you need in your life. I can’t promise we’re going to do everything right (actually I can pretty much guarantee we won’t) but know we love you and will be trying our best.

Love you, My Ameila Joy,

Mommy

Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.
1 Peter 4:8

Week 34

Hello Amelia Dear,

What to say about Month 8? Well, I can still see most of my toes. The other day I attempted to weigh myself on my scale at home and I did have to shift around a bit to be able to see those ever-growing-larger-numbers illuminated on the screen (perhaps I should just take that as a sign to stop looking at this point). According to thebump.com you have reached the size of a honeydew melon. It says that you can recognize songs that I sing so I should be picking out your lullaby to get you used to it now. We considered the one from Dumbo, but then decided it was too sad. Daddy and I have been liking Pure Imagination from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but I have a hard time keeping the lyrics straight. I know you like the music at church though, this week as I was singing along it seemed like you were bouncing in time.  So maybe I will just start singing you one of those songs.

As Mommy’s pregnancy brain continues to influence her ability to speak and act in a coherent manner, the wonderfulness that is your father continues to become more and more apparent. The other morning I noticed it was looking like it was going to rain so I asked Daddy to remove the “sheets” that we currently have up as a sun shade on our back patio (after trying 3 different patio shade options we ended up with bed sheets tied together LOL – it sounds weird but it is actually very cute and effective). When I asked “Love, can you get the sheets from the back yard?” I did get a somewhat quizzical look from him and he even clarified “you want the sheets in the back yard?” to which I gave an affirmative. He wordlessly walked to our bedroom and began removing the sheets from our bed. When I asked what he was doing, he said, “taking the sheets to the backyard.” I had to burst out laughing and clarified that I wanted the SUN SHADES taken down – which seemed to cause him a great deal of relief. I just have to smile though at his willingness to follow along with the odd requests of his very pregnant wife rather than tell her how crazy she is becoming.

Here is a picture of Daddy and I at the 34 week mark. I see these pictures lately and am always in shock at my size! It’s amazing how you can have a mental image of how you look and how that can be completely rocked by the power of a photo!

We attempted to take a “family” picture with Snow. But as you can see, your dog was not willing to cooperate.

Keep growing bigger and stronger baby girl. In no time at all we will be meeting in person.

Love,

Mom

Momma’s Bouncing Baby Girl

Dear Amelia,

We got to see you again yesterday – 4 lbs 11 oz of wiggling baby girl. You are just perfect, your weight falls at the 43rd percentile and your due date is still looking accurate for around 10/25. Doctor says that based on your current weight he was guessing you’d be a 7ish pounder at birth. Also, on a positive somewhat TMI note, the placenta has officially lifted off my cervix so you are no longer a c-section risk in that regard (yeah!) and you are head down and ready to go. I can tell you are still not very fond of ultrasounds – this time you not only smacked at the tech lady (who thought it was hilarious) but you hit the wand thingie so hard that you almost knocked it out of the lady’s hand and off my belly completely (which the lady thought was also quite impressive). But don’t worry Dear Peanut, you shouldn’t have to be poked and prodded by anymore ultrasounds, well unless you decide to stay in their for some time past your due date, but you don’t want to do that, do you?

Love you,

Mom

Week 33: Pregnancy Brain

For the last several days, Momma has had what can only be termed as: Pregnancy Brain. I can’t seem to recall things, I’m amazingly clumsy, and occasionally I do the same thing more than once because I can’t remember already doing it. So today’s letter may be a bit all over the place. Bear with me.

Yesterday you almost kicked Daddy off the bed with those strong kicks of yours (Sure, I helped by having him shoved to the very edge of the bed with my tower of pillows – but it was your very powerful blow that almost sent him over the edge). I can tell all that protein I have been forcing myself to eat is growing you up right!

I can’t wait for Friday when we get to see you again and find out how big you are and your position. I think you are head down now and that it is your booty that is sitting smack dab below my rib cage, but we will see if I am right.

Less than 50 days to go until our due date little one! And with all the BH contractions we’ve been having lately, I know this body o’ mine is really getting prepared for the big show! I’ve only had one that was actually painful, and that was when I was walking with Daddy at the mall at a pace that almost required me to jog beside him. Daddy forgets that I (to steal a phrase from a fellow preggo friend) can only waddle so fast 🙂

You should see your room, Peanut. It is overflowing with fabulous stuff that you got at your baby shower this past weekend. It was a great party that your Momma and Daddy really enjoyed.

Ok, that’s all this brain of mine is able to get out somewhat coherently.  Love you, Amelia Joy. Can’t wait to meet you next month.

Here are some shots of your tired looking mommy at Week 33:

Week 33

Week 33

Famished

How is it that I am hungry, again? What are you doing in there, baby girl, that is making your momma so ravenous? Daddy used to tease me that since becoming pregnant I had become part hobbit due to my need for second breakfast and second dinner, but I think I have gone beyond hobbit status. Is there another overly hungry fictional character I can relate to?

Oddly enough I can still be rather picky about what I have to eat. All of the aversions are gone now (oh Pizza how I had missed you!), but still sometimes things just aren’t what you want them to be. I was grocery shopping this morning I was surrounded by Halloween candy – it was everywhere. I decided that I NEEDED a Snickers bar (an odd craving for me since I don’t eat a lot of candy as of late – now ice cream? that is an entirely different story). I grabbed the candy bar before checking out and tore it open as I was strolling back to the car. I ate a bite and decided it wasn’t actually what I wanted and tossed the remaining 3/4ths in a nearby trashcan without much thought. I don’t think I have ever thrown away a candy bar in my life! Pregnancy definitely changes you! I kind of wish I could keep this one change post pregnancy!