PS For the life of me, I cannot figure out how to take decent pictures at night. These will just have to do!
There were so many firsts with this pregnancy. Firsts that caught me completely off-guard, firsts that I experienced much heartache over, firsts that I rejoiced, just so many firsts. You’d think that this being my fourth pregnancy, I’d have experienced it all. But truth be told, none of the other pregnancies could have prepared me for the physical and emotional toll this pregnancy has taken me on.
I’d experienced morning sickness up to 22 weeks with Hudson, so I wasn’t completely surprised when the morning sickness when beyond that time with Ashlynn. Did it suck? Oh yeah, but I was prepare for it. The heartburn, however, was a new experience and one I’m not too fond of. Like another friend quoted from the movie Juno, its the kind of heartburn that “is radiating in my knee caps” and nothing, NOTHING, makes it go away. I’ve never had it with the other three, at least not to this extent.
Ashlynn has started jumping on my bladder, and while I’d heard other women complain about this sensation before, I hadn’t yet experienced this joy for myself. Until this time. And every time she uses my bladder as a trampoline, I physically jump in pain. There’s no way to explain the jolt that runs through your body when this happens, or how you silently negotiate with the child within to please. stop. jumping. on. my. bladder. Mommy will buy you a pony, if you do!
And I’ve had active babies before, but none of the three can compare to the activity level of Ashlynn. It is a steady stream of moving, and the kicking, oh the kicking! There are times I wonder that she hasn’t broken her own bag of waters herself, her kicks are that strong. Another expectant mother and I were commiserating on the fact that it truly feels like these little ones are trying to break our ribs. Its crazy!
These are just the physical differences between this pregnancy and the others, I haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the emotional differences this pregnancy has had on me. Stay tuned…
Courtney: Devyn, who are your best friends right now?
Devyn: Emma… Addy… Shyann… Oh, and of course God!
Courtney and I exchanged looks of wonderment and affection as we reflected on our growing-up little girl. Devyn mistook the looks for teasing.
Devyn [in an indignant voice]: What?! I like God a lot!
Grammie [swatting at the flies]: Oh, I hate these things! Why haven’t they died off yet?!
Hudson: Grammie, don’t hate the flies.
Grammie: Why not?
Hudson: Cause Jesus made them!
Nana: I heard we get to watch you at ballet class.
Devyn: Yes, and I’m going to invite my friends to come too.
Nana: That will be fun!
Devyn: I’m going to invite God too.
Nana: That will be very special.
Devyn: Yeah, I know.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
- Last Tuesday was spent in the hospital monitoring Miss Ashlynn Rose. Nights are usually when she is most active and will usually wake me 6-8 times a night with her movements. When I woke at midnight with Hudson, I noticed a very distinct lack of movement. I fell back asleep and woke again at 6:00am, again very aware there was little to no movement from our baby girl. I drank a Pepsi, laid on my left side, and waited to count kicks. Nothing. At this point, you can imagine how scared I was and when I called the on-call doctor, I was immediately referred to the hospital for a non-stress test. Long story short… one biophysical ultrasound (which Ashlynn aced in 5 minutes) and beautiful non-stress test strip later, we were finally released. Her movements have definitely decreased in general, but I’m chalking it up to cramped quarters.
- Our Wednesdays are going to be busy from the moment we wake to the moment we lay their sweet little heads down to sleep. Mama apparently did not think this busy schedule through very well, but alas, it is what it is. And I know that once Ashlynn arrives we’ll be homebound for a few months, which will more than make up for these busy days. Wednesday mornings start when Devyn and Hudson go to bible study with my mom, they just love learning about the same things Nana is learning. I then pick them up and rush Devyn off to school. Once school is out, its a mad dash home to put on Devyn’s dancing clothes and then she’s off to ballet. Ballet is out at 5:30 and Awanas starts at 6:00, so a quick change in the van and eating a sack dinner is the plan to get to Awanas in time. Sigh. My days of being a taxi cab driver have just begun, I’m afraid…
- Jon’s mom is currently staying with us and gifted us with freshly painted walls. We have lived with the white walls for over three years and I’m still awed at how homey our master bedroom finally feels. Seriously, I could spend hours in there now, and truthfully, its where I prefer to do blog designs at night. We also got a few prints made from our maternity photo shoot and now they have the honored place above our headboard.
- Last Thursday night was spent carving pumpkins with the kids. Correction. Mom and Dad did all the carving while the peanut gallery offered plenty of criticism and “helpful” hints. Once we lit all the pumpkins on our porch, Reagan declared them, “Scary!” and ran back inside.
- Saturday included a play date with three of Devyn’s school friends. Isabelle, Chloe, Shyann, and Devyn were all in the same preschool class last year and they’re all in the same kindergarten class this year. Its so fun to see their friendship develop. Our play date consisted of dress-up time, craft time, and we even made cookies together. It. Was. Exhausting! However, since I grew up in a family of four girls, I knew what to expect from the chatty, giggly girls. Whereas Jon and his mom were wide-eyed in wonder at how much noise four girls could create.
- Mom, my grandmother, my sisters, and I attended the Taste of Home Cooking Expo on Saturday night together. It was a great time of getting new recipes, watching cooking demonstrations, and just some giggly girl time of my own. However, when Mom and Alli arrived home that night, they found a yard full of plastic pink flamingos. The accompanying sign read that it was in support of Breast Cancer Awareness and that the birds would eventually “migrate” on their own. It was such a cool idea! And I loved watching Hudson trying to sneak up on the birds to pet them.
- We’re currently doing Just For Women and Just For Men in our couples group and its been an excellent break of pace as we divide into the two groups for discussion of the various chapters. Jon and I mused on the way home that even after 8 years of marriage, we still are learning new things about each other. That’s a really good thing, right? Last night ended with a video clip from YouTube about the differences between the male and female brains. Needless, to say we were all laughing good-naturedly.
- Friday night Jon and I went out on the town for one of our last date-nights before Ashlynn’s arrival. We had a coupon for our local Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse. (Its one of those places where they cook the food right in front of you.) Jon tortured me by ordering an appetizer of Spicy Tuna Rolls (sushi) and ate them knowing full well I can’t partake at the moment. Grrrr! However it wasn’t until after dinner that we realized it was also the 13-year anniversary of when we started dating. 13 years of being with him, and still liking him, and still enjoying our date nights. I consider myself a lucky girl!
Today I am officially 34 weeks pregnant, and went in for another check-up. I’ve gained another two pounds in two weeks, which seems par for the course in my pregnancies. (These last weeks I tend to gain a pound a week until baby’s arrival.) They also did a Strep B test, which I fully anticipate to come back positive since it did with both Hudson and Reagan. Its not a big deal, I’ll just need some antibiotics during the labor and delivery process.
Since we were already, well, ahem, dressed for the occasion, I asked Dr. Susie if she’d be willing to do an internal check. I’d been having some majorly painful contractions, there’s no pattern to them, and they’re not getting progressively worse. They just hurt like the dickens! And there’s very little that relieves or stops them. I was purely curious to see if they were even doing anything and I was surprised to learn that I’m already 1cm dilated and 20% effaced. That coupled with the fact that she’s measuring a week ahead and head down, I can’t help but think that perhaps Miss Ashlynn will be joining us earlier, rather than later. But like Dr. Susie asked, I won’t count my chickens before they hatched.
However, we are moving some plans up. There’s a birthday party that happening two weeks early, just in case, and some new baby items are en route to replace worn and overused items. Such as…
And little by little, things are being checked off our “to-do” list before Ashlynn’s arrival, thanks to Jon and a very organized mother-in-law. Next on the list is a date night, just the hubby and I, which we’re intending to do Friday night.
Now just watch, Ashlynn will actually wait until December to make her arrival…
It started out as an experiment. A few of my friends had taken Facebook breaks, some even chose to stop altogether, and I really didn’t know what to expect from my own trial run. I can tell you what I didn’t expect…
- I didn’t expect to go through Facebook withdrawals. I can’t tell you how many times my blackberry automatically selected the Facebook bookmark without a thought. And the sudden surprise when nothing came up.
- I didn’t expect to wonder what I was missing out on, nor that I’d text my sisters to see if anything interesting was happening.
- I didn’t expect to “forget” about Facebook altogether a few days later. Or that I was surprised that life still existed outside of Facebook.
- I didn’t expect friends to start reaching out more often via texts, emails, and phone calls.
- And I didn’t expect that a week later I found myself not missing Facebook at all.
For me, Facebook had become a validation of sorts. I wanted my parenting decisions to be validated, I wanted validation that I was a good wife, mother, sister, and friend. For every positive comment left, I was left feeling euphoric and happy. For every Facebook status that was the opposite of my parenting/life/political style, I felt judged and ridiculed. Never mind that it was probably the least of that person’s intention, never mind that it had absolutely nothing to do with me. In return, I became shallow, judgmental, self-righteous. I’d cast my own opinions about others, daring to believe that I had that right.
I was looking for and receiving validation in all the wrong places. And it was an ugly revelation.
And so, for now, I must be off the popular social network. I need to get my head back in the game, in the right game, seeking validation from the One whose opinion is the only one that matters. I need to become secure again, in who I am, in who God has made me to be, I need to find my identity in Him and only Him. Its been a long dry spell for God and I, months without regular quiet time. And during that time, I’ve allowed something else (twisted words, hidden meanings, complete lies) to take precedence over the truth. I crave His approval, His validation, His unconditional love, and His grace and mercy when I’ve strayed this far, for this long. This “break” is about me and Him, whose opinion is the only opinion that I should give any real value or weight.
There are times I miss it, I miss my friends and the friendly banter, the easy way to stay in touch. But this is how it must be.
…story picks up where I left off here…
A few years passed. The pain continued to come and go, sometimes lasting for weeks at a time. Then there were other times when I’d go months without any pain at all. At times the pain would still cause me to stumble or fall to the ground, but a new pain appeared. This new pain included an intense, dull ache that seemed to seep into my bones and muscles. I wasn’t sure which was worse, the sudden imbalance or the dull ache. Truth be told, I didn’t appreciate either.
Dr. Deborah still had no answers or ideas, often just throwing prescriptions at me and hoping those would cure me. All the pain medications or anti-inflammatory medications never touched it. My frustration mounted to the point that I stopped talking to her about it at all. I made do with the hot baths, hot compresses, or leg massages to ease the pain. It never took the pain away altogether, but at least it made it bearable.
My mom continued to update the family on the status of our pursuit for answers, and I knew my family was rallying behind me with prayers and hope for a solution. It was during this time frame that aunts on each side of my family (one maternal aunt and one paternal aunt) were diagnosed with a very new, unknown disease called Fibromyalgia. I thought nothing to of it, until I started talking to each aunt more in-depth about their new disease.
As I sat down with each aunt, we started sharing stories and symptoms. As I described my symptoms, or as they shared their own, both of us would start smiling wider and wider as we realized that we were describing the very same disease. It was a tangible hope, something to research and wonder if I might get some answers after all.
I went home, did some research on my own, and made a new appointment with Dr. Deborah. Armed with this new information, I broached the idea that perhaps my “phantom” illness might really be Fibromyalgia. She listened as I listed off the reasons why I thought this might be the answer, and slowly she started nodding her head in agreement. When I mentioned the piece de resistance, that I had two aunts with the disease and that it appeared to be a hereditary disease, she fairly jumped off her seat. Within ten minutes, I had a referral to a Rheumatologist and you can bet, I made my appointment within an hour or two later.
I went into the appointment with the Rheumatologist with both anticipation and fear; anticipation that I might soon have answers and fear that I might have a new reality. The Rheumatologist explained how they diagnosed Fibromyalgia, simply because there was no blood test, no scan, no other way to test and receive a concrete answer. He pulled out a diagram that showed 18 tender spots on the human body, a person with Fibromyalgia must have at least 11 of the 18 tender spots and have had widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for at least three months. The second was already a given, seeing as how I’d been dealing with pain for almost four years. But as the doctor began to push on those tender spots, I just knew the answer I’d been seeking was finally here. I had extreme pain at all 18 spots.
I hurt for days after that exam, but I finally had the answer I wanted. I was officially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.
…to be continued…
And now, prepare yourself to be inundated with pictures galore. My apologies ahead of time.
Photos courtesy of Becky Young Photography.
The first thing they came upon was some wood pellets in the parking lot. Hudson laid down his matchbox car next to the display and when Daddy informed him that, no, it wasn't dog food, they proceeded to walk into the store. Devyn picked up the forgotten matchbox car and followed behind.
Upon noticing the car in her hands, Hudson asked for it back and Devyn gave it to him.
At the next store display, Hudson soon became too engrossed to notice that once again he laid down his car and forgot it when Jon told them to hurry up. And once again, Devyn picked up the car and held it until Hudson asked for it back.
This continued five more times throughout the store. Hudson would lay down the car, forget he'd left it there, and leave the display without it. Every time Devyn would pick it up after he left the car behind. And normally she'd give it back to him when he asked for it.
Until the last time.
"Hudson," she said as she tapped Hudson on the shoulder. He turned around and started to ask for the toy car that was in her hand. "Why don't I just hold on to the car for you until we get back in the van?" she offered. He thought for a moment, then shrugged his shoulders. "Ok."
And all was right with the world again.
How Far Along:
32 Weeks and 1 Day
Size of Baby:
Approximately 16.7 inches long and weighs about 3.7 pounds.
Total Weight Gain/Loss:
Oh geez, I gained another 5 pounds in 4 weeks, bringing my grand total up to 21 pounds so far. Its all for a good cause though, right?
|Same as before, some maternity shirts are too short and I much prefer the longer shirts. Love that we’re coming into cooler weather, I have some great maternity sweaters to wear.|
Our third girl, Miss Ashlynn Rose.
Absolutely a mover and a shaker! Even during our maternity shoot yesterday, she wanted in on the action.
What I Miss:
Being heartburn free!
Still waking for a 2-hour stretch every night. But I’m more than making up for that lack of sleep with my (almost) daily naps.
Again, its the heartburn. I swear this child had better come out with a full head of hair to make all this heartburn worth it. (Gotta love old wives tales.)
Best Moment This Week:
Oh my goodness! Hands down, it had to be the maternity shoot with my friend, Becky. She is so talented, it was such a great afternoon, and I cannot wait to get the rest of the proofs back this weekend.
What I’m Looking Forward To:
Getting to meet, hold, kiss, squish, and cuddle with Miss Ashlynn Rose. It has taken some time to get to this point in my pregnancy (I’ll explain in another post) but I am so thankful to be at a point where I’m truly excited to meet her!
Oh.my.goodness! Did Becky not do a fabulous job on these maternity pictures?! She sent me a few teaser photos last night after our session and will receive the rest this weekend, so I’m sure I’ll share more later. But seriously, Jon and I just could not get over her creativity and amazing talent. I can’t begin to explain how much these pictures mean to me, and how grateful I am that Becky was the one to be able to capture this time in our lives. Thank you, Becky! You were amazing!
I recently deactivated my Facebook account. I had a few ask if I had to go to that extreme, and the answer is yes. I just didn’t want to receive any emails that so-and-so had written on my wall, therefore, I had to hop on and see what was said. It started out as an experiment, and truth be told, I haven’t missed it. I may write a longer post about why I’m staying off, but for now, everyone can still catch me here at the blog and actually, yes, I’m still on Twitter.
I mentioned here that we were doing a maternity photo shoot that week, but alas, we had to reschedule as the rain refused to let up. And like Becky said, I’m sure a few shots would have been on wet, muddy ground. So the big photo shoot is this afternoon and I.can’t.wait! I’ve even been talked into doing a few bare belly shots, which I may or may not share on here. We’ll see…
Have I mentioned how much I adore my friends and my blog readers?! Seriously, within the past week I have had friends texting me where they found canned pumpkin in our city and you can bet I added some pumpkin to our pantry! A blog reader also wrote me and mentioned the horde of canned pumpkin her husband had and would I be interested in some? Um, yes, please!! So Katherine was kind enough to pack up some canned pumpkin and send it to me. Seriously, sweetest thing ever! Devyn and I made some pumpkin bread over the weekend and I posted the recipe to our What’s For Dinner site. Reagan ate three muffins within 20 minutes.
Within the past two weeks, braxton-hicks contractions have woken me up with their pain and intensity. As Dr. Susie said, everything come earlier and harder with each pregnancy. And she wasn’t kidding! Owie! One night I decided to take a bath at 3:00am, because they just weren’t stopping, and for whatever reason, Devyn decided to wake up and keep me company during the bath. While I had woken Jon to let him know what was going on, it was Devyn that talked to me and made sure I was ok during the bath. Jon may have been replaced as the birthing coach.
We finished Devyn’s headboard and are quite please with how it turned out. Devyn is fairly skipping to her room now and loves to show it off to anyone who is willing to come in our house. This was quite simple using wood, quilting batting, some material, and flower appliqués from Joann’s Fabric.
Munchkin Land Designs has kept me quite busy and I’ve added quite a few new designs over the past few months. Please feel free to stop by and check them out. I just added five new designs last night...
Devyn and Hudson have one more session of swimming lessons this fall and it has been so much fun to watch their confidence grow in the water. Devyn is already learning some swim strokes, but we’re still working on a back float. Hudson, however, just exudes confidence in whatever his teacher asks him to do, in spite of the fact that he is the tiniest person in the class. Don’t tell him that though, he truly has no concept of size at this point.
Once swimming classes are done, Hudson has a three-week sports camp coming up and Devyn is participating in an eight week dance class that will end with a recital. Yes, in looking at my calendar, I have packed it full of activities and I realize that it might not have been the smartest move to make during my 3rd trimester. However, on the other hand, once Ashlynn arrives, there are no activities planned or even on the horizon. I intend for our family to become like hermits and nest away at home with our new baby during the winter months.
I kid about becoming hermits… kind of…
It started when I was 16 years old; I was a sophomore in high school. In between classes, my friends and I met in the common area of our school to visit, talk about boys, and make our lunch plans. It was the second or third time that my leg gave way as I walked to our spot that I realized this wasn’t normal and something might be wrong. Every time after my leg gave away, it would shake from the exertion and my hip would ache for hours afterwards.
I finally mentioned it to Mom and away we went to the doctor. Dr. Deborah asked the appropriate questions, decided to run some blood work, and told me to start tracking when it happened, how often, and other details I thought might be important to share. I was both surprised and disappointed when all my blood work came back normal. I was simply hoping for an easy answer and an easy fix. Since nothing showed up, the doctor could do nothing.
A few months went by without another fall and I completely forgot about it all. Then suddenly, right there in the hallway, I had to grab onto the wall to hold myself after my leg gave away. I remember heading home and tearily told Mom that it had happened again. This time Dr. Deborah ordered a number of different scans and x-rays. There was one word that stuck out in my mind and both the doctor and Mom affirmed that they feared cancer.
The day of the bone scan dawned early and an IV was to be started to insert the needed dye into my veins. The first nurse attempting the IV took six tries, all were unsuccessful, thus my intense fear of needles began that day. The second nurse got it on her first try and I remember weeping with gratitude. My grandpa had flown in from Arizona to sit with my mom during the scan, further proof in my 16-year-old mind that this was serious. We sat in the waiting room together and waited for my name to be called.
I don’t remember what how long the scan actually took; I only remember how nerve racking it was to lay still as the silver tube scanned my lower body. The places my mind went… the various scenarios that played out during that time… all led to a very intense experience. (Those are the times my overactive imagination can be a very bad thing.) You can also imagine our frustration when the radiologist refused to share the results, saying only that he had to talk to my doctor first.
And again, there was disappointment and discouragement when everything came back normal. It wasn’t so much that I wanted something to be wrong or that I was looking for attention; I simply wanted answers for my pain. I hated feeling like others thought I was making it up. I just wanted to point to something, anything, and say, “See, I’m not crazy.” But since nothing was showing up in the sea of tests, I resigned myself to living with the pain and having no answers.
…to be continued…