Illness: 33 Week Pregnancy Update

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Last Sunday Abby was sick with a cold. Dan bundled up Lydia and took her off to church while I stayed home and comforted our stuffy little one. Sure enough, she passed it along to me. Tuesday I came down with the cold. Wednesday Lydia started showing symptoms. Friday Dan caught it too. It lasts about a week, so even though it feels like we’ve been stuck and home for a long time, Dan is only halfway through his bout.

I was so concerned that I was going to have Baby while we were all sick, tired, and grumpy. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, since Abby and I are recovered by now. Now if we can just make it until Dan is fully well…

Friday we had another prenatal appointment. Every time we have an appointment and schedule the next one for two weeks out, Dan and I walk away shaking our heads thinking, “We’re never going to make it to the next appointment”. But, so far, we have every time.

Things looked great. Now Baby is measuring exactly average for his/her due date. In the ultrasound we heard a happy heartbeat and saw more of Baby’s spiky hair. Once again, there are no signs of impending labor, I haven’t been having any contractions, and everything looks slow and steady, just the way it should be.

Now that we are just past the 33 week mark, it looks like this may be the first time I won’t have to be on magnesium and antibiotics during labor! Because things have been looking so good, Dan and I have been talking more and more about making it all the way to 37 weeks. Wouldn’t that be crazy? It’s so fun to wait and see how and when Baby will come, now that we are past the scary weeks. March 30 would be 37 weeks, full term, so that is an exciting goal. April 2 is my birthday, so, for all we know, Baby could come on Mommy’s birthday. That would be fun too.

Here are my never ending countdowns:

6 days to 34 weeks (because every week is a milestone)
13 days to 35 weeks, a “take home baby”
27 days to 37 weeks, full term
and just for fun…
30 days until my birthday!

10 Things I’m Looking Forward to When Baby Comes

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Yesterday Baby reached the 28-week milestone we weren’t sure we would get to celebrate. Because I think it’s interesting, I’ve included the picture of me when Abby was 28 weeks (on the left) and the picture of me at 28 weeks with Baby 3 (on the right). We are still:

3 days from when Abby was born
19 days from when Lydia was born
27 days from our goal

A little while ago I shared some of the reasons I love being pregnant, but I’m also excited for when Baby is born, whenever that may be. So today I’m sharing some of the things I am most looking forward to (in no particular order). But, we’d be happy to wait another month before enjoying these!

1. Meeting Baby

I am so excited watch the story of Baby’s birth unfold, to find out his/her length and weight. Will s/he have hair? Will it be curly? Will Baby look like me or Dan (or neither)? When will Baby come? So many questions will finally be answered when we get to meet our little bundle.

2. Being able to breath again

I always have trouble breathing from pretty early on in my pregnancies. Maybe it’s Baby’s position or maybe I have little lungs, but without doing any physical activity I’ll struggle to breath. During church I’m constantly changing positions, leaning forward, backward, to the side, getting up to go the the bathroom, anything to get a little more air. After Baby is born, it is always nice to breath freely again.

3. Doing my job again

Dan has been doing a fantastic job with the housework and taking care of the girls, but I’m ready to have my job back. I’m partly afraid I’m going to get so used to his doing everything that it becomes a habit I have to break. Someday I’ll be the one to wash the dishes, give the kiddos baths, and change the sheets again. And while I’m sure I’ll be overwhelmed with work when that time comes, at least I’ll be able to give Dan back some freedom in the evenings!

4. Choosing a name

We have two boy names and two girl names and we probably won’t narrow it down any more than that until we actually get to meet him/her. I used to think it was strange if people didn’t have the name picked out earlier in the pregnancy, but when Lydia surprised us and we hadn’t finalized our name, my perspective changed. Now it feels strange to pick out a name before seeing Baby.

5. Exercise

As much as I like taking it easy, I’m eager to move again. I love going for walks. After Baby is born, Dan usually becomes my coach and helps me figure out what sort of exercising I can do to get some strength back and feel fit again. As a nice perk, I will fit in to more than two pairs of my pants.

6. Bringing Baby home

Whether Baby stays in the hospital for months, weeks, or days (I vote for the latter), bringing Baby home is always super exciting and super special.

7. The first time holding him/her

Oh how I hope this will be the same day s/he is born, but even if it’s not, it’s always special that first time we get to hold him/her.

8. Meals from church!

I have to be honest here. When Lydia came home from the hospital, we got two weeks of delicious dinners delivered right to our home by families from our church. When the meals were over, I thought to myself, “I can’t wait until the next baby comes home!”. We eat better during those two weeks than any other time.

9. Having Dan around

My favorite part of being married is that I get to see Dan every day. Most of our relationship before we were married was long-distance, or we were both too swamped with heavy college work loads to see each other. I’ve never fully recovered, so anytime Dan is around is a happy time for me. Dan also has a gift of being the most amazing support person during labor and delivery, and in the days that follow. He just knows how to be sweet and helpful, and what to do and say to make me feel loved. I’m not sure what kind of time Dan will take off when Baby is born or when Baby comes home, but I’m looking forward to having him around on those days.

10. Finding out if it’s a boy or girl

This is the first time we’re going to be surprised, and I’m pretty excited for the moment labor ends and I get to hear our doctor announce if it’s a boy or girl.

Changes: 27 Week Pregnancy Update

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Anyone like me enjoys seeing the numbers, so here are the latest countdowns.

6 days until I reach the 28 week milestone.
10 days until I reach the gestation when Abby was born.
26 days until I reach the gestation when Lydia was born.
34 days until I reach my 32 week goal.

Every day counts.

Friday I had another prenatal appointment, and it was the one we have been expecting and sort of dreading.

First of all, the resident who started my appointment measured my belly at 32 centimeters, which would put me at 32 weeks. As much as I would love to be at 32 weeks, I was only 26 and 4, so she decided to let our doctor remeasure me and she went on with the ultrasound.

While I lay on my back for the ultrasound I started to feel sick, really sick and really fast. I tried to just wait it out, but the resident was having trouble finding what she needed and I eventually had to ask to sit up for fear that I might faint if I waited any longer. (This is a normal part of pregnancy and occurs in about 20% of pregnant women. This is also why pregnant women are told to sleep on their sides, not their backs)

A few minutes later our doctor came in and remeasured the belly, but still measured me at 31 cm. It must have been the way Baby was positioned so he decided to double check with the ultrasound machine and measure Baby’s belly. This time he propped me up on a pillow on my side, which helped a little. He worked quickly and took a rough measurement of Baby’s belly measuring at a whopping 28 weeks. So it looks like Baby is bigger than Lydia and Abigail were (they were both very average). Some more ultrasound images showed that my body is indeed preparing for labor. We observed the same changes with Abigail and she was born five days later. This time, we’ve taken extra precautions, so we just have to wait and see if Baby 3 follows in Abby’s footsteps or gives us a little more time.

Since the appointment, I have been trying to stay off my feet as much as possible. No one really knows if this will make any difference, but it’s all we can do at this point. Dan has taken over washing dishes, putting away laundry, giving baths, cleaning, getting the girls up in the morning and ready for bed at night, and cooking on weekends. He’s considering asking to work from home more so he can help when it’s time to carry Abby upstairs or cook dinner. In fact, we’ve optimized our routine to such an extent that I’m only walking up the stairs once or twice a day.

Every night I go to bed half expecting to wake up at midnight in labor. Every little ache and pain puts us on the alert, paying careful attention to decide, could this be it? Baby could come today. Baby could come in a month. All we can do is wait and pray.

A lot of people have been asking the question: Is it safe yet? My honest answer to that question is this: 37 weeks is considered full term. Even a term baby is born with risks, but anything earlier than 37 weeks is indeed preterm and that’s just not great. Of course, we aren’t expecting to get that far, so maybe these numbers are more helpful: about 90% of babies born at 27 weeks survive the first year. Twenty eight weeks is a significant milestone when babies do remarkably better, spend less time in the NICU, and have a decreased risk for preemie-related problems. About every two weeks mark another similar milestone.

We’d love to make it another week. We’d love to make it past Abigail’s gestation or Lydia’s. And I would be thrilled to make it to 32 weeks. Right now we are just doing the best we can with the knowledge we have, hoping, praying, and trusting that God’s plan and timing are best.

My 10 Favorite Things About Being Pregnant

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I realize not everyone gets to experience the miracle of pregnancy. And for those of us that do, it’s far too easy to list all of the hardships that come along with these months of waiting. Since I don’t know how long I’ll get to enjoy having Baby safe inside of me, I wanted to list a few of my favorite things about being pregnant.

1. Baby is safe.

I know bad things can still happen before or after Baby is born, but I am enjoying this time when Baby is where s/he should be. Every morning I wake up and thank God for another day before Baby is born. Every time I have trouble sleeping because Baby is kicking, my joints hurt, or I just can’t catch my breath, I remember how much better this is than watching Baby hooked up to all sorts of tubes and wires in the hospital. Stay in there Baby!

2. Snacks. All the time.

Right now I eat sort of like a cow and no one really gives me a hard time about it. Breakfast, morning snack, lunch, snack before naps, snack after naps, dinner, bedtime snack. And, if I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep, sometimes I get a snack then too.

3. Sleeping through the night.

My kids have a pretty bad track record as far as sleeping through the night. Although, God really answered my desperate prayers when we found out we were pregnant, and Abby was still getting up twice a night. She was weaned and sleeping through the night by the time I hit 17 weeks. Lydia, on the other hand, didn’t sleep through the night until she was almost two, so I am savoring these sleep-filled nights before Baby comes.

4. Quiet.

Our kids aren’t really quiet, but there are certainly moments of quiet throughout the day and during the night. I’m fully aware that our babies usually come with a nice long fussy time in the evenings, something we don’t have to deal with right now. Our girls enjoy eating dinner and playing before bedtime, then go down pretty easy so Dan and I get some time to ourselves. As much as I’m looking forward to having Baby here and even hearing that little cry, I’m enjoying the quiet for now.

5. High hopes.

As long as Baby is in my belly I can imagine anything I want for his/her birth. Maybe I’ll make it to 32…34…36 weeks. Maybe I’ll get to have an all-natural delivery where we don’t have to rush to the hospital in a state of emergency because my water broke at 28 weeks. Maybe we will, but for now I get to hope for the best.

6. Our routine.

We’ve settled into such a lovely routine around here. I look forward to starting each new day, the moments with the girls, moments to myself, everything running more or less like clockwork. I know once baby comes that routine is going to be out the window, NICU or not, and my main focus will be keeping everyone alive and getting enough sleep.

7. Always having something to talk about.

I don’t get out much. Sundays are church and Wednesdays are Hope Group. Since I’m supposed to be “taking it easy” I try to stay off my feet in the minutes or hours following the service/study, and during that time different people usually stop by to chat. Small talk isn’t always easy for me but with Baby on the way I always have plenty to talk about. 🙂

8. Taking it easy.

Lately I’ve been taking a long nap almost every day. In the afternoons I sometimes take a moment to decide what to do next. Then I remind myself that I’m supposed to be “taking it easy” so I’ll curl up and read to the girls or listen to Adventures in Odyssey with them. No guilt. I’m taking care of baby. And I’m fully aware that when Baby comes, especially if s/he comes early, I won’t be nearly as able to take it easy.

9. Time with our girls

When Abby was born, Dan and I were suddenly torn away from Lydia for long periods every day. Even when we were with her we were busy with NICU things, necessary chores, and napping. Mentally we were distracted and stressed and it affected her too. So I am enjoying this season to enjoy my girls, snuggle them, love on them, and give them my time while I have time to spare.

10. The anticipation.

It hit me just the other week that we’re going to have another little person in our family! It may seem strange, but with all the focus on prenatal visits, extra ultrasounds, steroid shots, and preparing for a potential NICU stay, there hasn’t been a lot of time left to think about actually having another baby. So the other day I pulled out the Newborn clothes and separated everything that was gender neutral. Soon we’ll have a little one to snuggle, feed, and play with. Soon the girls will get to enjoy another little baby in the house and Abby will get to be a big sister for the very first time. And soon we’ll have to actually decide on a name! (We’re pretty much down to four names, two girl and two boy.) We’re enjoying these moments of quiet and routine, lying low and hoping for the best, but we’re also excited to meet our new little family member, whenever the time comes for him/her to arrive.

Three Little Pumpkins

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The very weekend we moved into our new house, Dan bought Lydia a little pumpkin. As soon as fall hit and all of the stores had started putting out pumpkins, gourds, corn, and hay stalks, Lydia was fascinated. We thought it would be a fun treat to get her a little pumpkin of her own. We brought it home and put it on our fireplace mantle.

The Saturday when we moved all of our boxes into the garage, some sweet friends from church (who now live just around the corner from us) invited us over for dinner. As an extra treat, they gave us two pumpkins, one for each of the girls. Now we had three pumpkins. But do you know what? That’s ok.

Because…

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We’re having a baby!

No, we are not having multiple babies. Due to the nature of my pregnancies, we just get lots and lots of pictures of Baby 3.

Baby’s official due date is April 20.

(More details soon to come.)