Monday, September 27, 2010

April 26th

Dearest Baby,

Today was the second day we got to hear your beautiful, beautiful heartbeat.

Our appointment was awesome. The doctor was really helpful, and we got to figure out a lot of stuff about where we want to deliver and such.

But by far the best part was that we got to hear your heartbeat again.

It was strong and steady.

It was perfect.

You are perfect.

And it turns out that I am a few days farther along than my cycle would suggest, so they moved my due date up a few days.

You are officially due to enter this world on April 26th.

That sounds like a perfect day to welcome a baby into our family :)

That makes me 9 weeks, six days along. Ten weeks tomorrow.

And four weeks after that, we enter the second trimester.

I can't wait for that milestone.

Oh, and by the way, you are really starting to make my tummy expand; the doctor even said that I definitely have a baby bump in the making.

And I love it.

I love every minute of having you in my tummy.

I love you, Baby; keep growing strong!



Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Rainbow, My Hope

Dear Baby,

You may not realize it, but you are my rainbow.

You are my hope.

I found out not long ago that women who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss will often refer to their next pregnancy - their next baby - as a rainbow baby. That baby is the rainbow after the storm that is pregnancy- and infant-loss.

You are certainly my rainbow in that sense.

But, honestly, you are my rainbow in a much deeper, more personal sense, too.

Last year was pretty rough.

There was a lot of stuff that happened that wasn't good.

And your daddy and I had a really hard time adjusting to our new stomping grounds in Boston.

We really missed home.

Well, actually, we still miss home, but we are adjusting better this year, I think.

Anyway, last year, and even the early part of this summer, brought a lot of distress, hopelessness, sadness.

I remember at one point when I was remarkably distraught, praying to God about it.

Your daddy and I had been trying to get pregnant for about 8 months, and nothing had happened.

That was making me lose hope, too.

So one night, when I felt like my world was crumbling around me, I asked God for a sign. I told him that I needed him to show me - to prove to me - that everything would be okay. I told him that we had been trying to get pregnant for 8 months, and we hadn't had any luck. And then I told him that I wanted - I needed - to get pregnant during my next cycle. If I did get pregnant, I would take it as a sign from him that everything would be okay. That your daddy and I would be fine living in Boston, that we would start a family together, that we would grow old together, and that nothing would ever be able to tear us apart. I remember saying, "God, if this is going to work out, if everything is going to be okay, allow me to get pregnant during my next cycle. If I get pregnant, I will take that as a sign, as a promise, that this too shall pass."

And, precious Baby, I did get pregnant during my next cycle - with you.

You, Little One, are that sign from God.

You are God's promise to me that everything is going to be okay.

You are my hope.

Now, with you growing in my tummy, I know that everything is going to be okay.

It won't always be easy, but it will be okay.

It will be better than okay.

So you are my rainbow, Baby - you are my rainbow in more ways than one.

I love you, love you, love you and can't wait to hear your heartbeat again in a few days at our next appointment!



Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sweet Relief

Hi Baby,

You're probably amazed that I didn't write you a note the second I got back from our ultrasound on Thursday, huh?

Well, I wanted to wait to be able to include this with my note - our very first pictures of you, our precious baby, and our scanner gave me a bit of trouble the past couple of days. But your daddy figured it out this morning, so here you are, sweet Baby:

I was SO nervous (terrified, really) when we went in for the ultrasound.

After all, you little trickster, all of my morning sickness disappeared a few days beforehand, and that just seemed too early for the nausea to go away.

Quite frankly, I liked having the nausea. It was physical proof that my body was doing what it was supposed to and that you were growing inside of me.

The ultrasound technician was...well...less than
chatty. So, praise God that ultrasounds aren't too difficult to decipher.

Almost as soon as she began the ultrasound, I saw the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed in my entire life - the subtle flutter of your heartbeat.

I immediately grabbed your daddy's hand and started crying.

I cannot even express in words how deeply relieved I was.

She took all sorts of measurements of you, all
without saying a word. But at that point I couldn't care less if she explained anything to me, because I saw you, alive and well, and I saw that beautiful flickering of your heartbeat.

Eventually, she let us listen to your heartbeat (for approximately two seconds) and then explained that the flickering we saw on the screen was your heart beating.

Honestly, if I hadn't known what to look for in the ultrasound, I would have been a nervous wreck...and completely furious at the technician for explaining everything after the fact!

I truly do not understand how someone can be an ultrasound technician and be so...stoic.

But in the end, my sweet baby, it doesn't even matter, because I could tell immediately that you were safe and sound inside of me.

And I must say, I have never experienced anything quite as beautiful, exciting, exhilarating, and overwhelming as seeing you for the very first time.

The second I saw your sweet little body, I fell even more deeply in love with you than I was before...and I didn't even think that was possible.

I've been carrying your pictures around with me all over the place. When I go from one room into the next, I take your pictures with me. I even bring them to bed with me and leave them on my bedside table, just so I can look at you anytime I want, like when I wake up for the fourth time during the night to go to the bathroom. I can just look over at your picture and know that the discomfort and not-so-fun side affects will all be worth it when I get to hold you in my arms, nurse you, rock you to sleep, snuggle you, and even change your diaper.

Seeing you made this pregnancy even more real to me than it was before.

Now that I've known about you for over five weeks, being pregnant, being careful what (and how much) I eat and drink, thinking about you all the time, and planning for your arrival are just second nature.

I can't even fathom what it would be like NOT to be thinking about and planning for you.

I can't remember what it was like before you became a reality for us.

But seeing your beautiful baby body on that ultrasound screen made me realize that everything about you - even the things I don't know yet - are already decided, already exist.

I may not know your gender yet, but you have one.

I may not know what color your eyes will be, but your eye color is already determined.

I may not know how tall you will be when you're all grown up, or, for that matter, how long you will be and how much you will weigh when you are born, but all of those things are already settled.

It just hit me that I am carrying inside of me my precious baby boy or girl - our precious baby boy or girl. I literally have a little boy or a little girl within my womb. And all those other things about you are already true, too.

And Baby, I can't wait to find out more and more about you in the coming months and years.

I can't wait to find out if you are a little boy or a little girl.

I can't wait to look into your precious eyes and cut your beautiful hair.

I can't wait to stand you against our kitchen wall every year to measure your growth with a pencil. Such a tiny thing, really, that little yearly pencil mark, but it will be a way of celebrating your life, your growth, and eventually, your maturing. And, when you are all grown up and on your own, it will be a way to remember your childhood.

I can't wait to welcome you into the world, little one.

You are already an incredible blessing to your dad and I - we both love you so, so much.

My heart feels so very full right now, Baby, and you are a huge part of that.

With All My Love,


Monday, September 13, 2010

Just kidding...

Hi Baby,

So it looks like I'm taking back a good amount of what I said in my last note to you.

Turns out you ARE the reason for my clothes being tight!

Now I realize that no one else in the entire world would notice it at this point, because it's still too small, but today, for the first time, I saw it - a tiny baby-bump.

I'm a rather thin lass, so I knew that I would start showing a bit earlier than some, but I didn't think that it would start QUITE this early.

But, at the same time, at our appointment last week, the doctor made it sound like she thought I was even farther along than I thought I was (I thought 9 weeks), which would make me 10 weeks or so, possibly more, this week. So I guess the timing is about right.

My lower stomach has been feeling harder the past few days, which I guess is you growing and starting to take up pretty much all of the room available inside of me before expanding into new territory, but today, for the first time, I saw the beginnings of your expansion.

I can tell exactly where you're going to be making your first appearance.

I do understand that I know my body way better than anyone else, so I also notice these changes first, but I really don't think it's going to be much longer before those who know me well are going to be able to see your expansion, too.

I love that.

I love the fact that I can see the very beginning phases of your growth.

It's very comforting to me, too.

Especially since today was really hard for me.

Today, for the first time in a couple weeks, I started thinking about how I would break the news to my friends and family if I have a miscarriage.

Today, for the first time in a couple weeks, I started wondering how much harder a miscarriage this time around would be, now that I've had a full month to get used to the idea that I'm pregnant, to get excited about being a mommy, to fall in love with you.

I can't imagine what it would be like to feel more sadness than I felt when I had my miscarriage last time I was pregnant...but at the same time, I can't imagine what it would be like to NOT feel more sadness if I miscarried this time around.

Plus, the past two days, my worst two symptoms (the nausea and the bloating) have all but disappeared.

I still have the aversions/cravings thing.

My clothes are still tight.

I'm hoping that the lessening of my nausea is due to the B6 vitamins that my doctor put me on after my appointment and my body getting used to the increase in hormones.

But I'm actually really worried.

"What to Expect" pretty much says if your symptoms disappear, you should worry.

So, I'm worried.

What if you have stopped growing, but my progesterone supplement has not allowed my body to miscarry?

What if we go to our ultrasound appointment on Thursday and there's no heartbeat?

I'm actually more terrified for our ultrasound this Thursday than I have been during almost my entire pregnancy...even than I was before our first prenatal appointment.

I think it's because the ultrasound is so official.

If they had tried to find your heartbeat at our first appointment and couldn't, we could easily avert our fears by saying that I wasn't far enough along to hear your heartbeat.

But if, at the ultrasound, you don't measure as large as you should or if your heart isn't beating, there's no way to spin that to make it positive news.

I'm both incredibly excited and incredibly nervous for Thursday.

I have a feeling the next couple of days are going to go REALLY slowly.

I can't wait to see you for the first time, but I'm so afraid that what we see will be bad news.

In general, I've been really proud of myself for how good I've been at staying positive and confident, but today?

Well, today has been hard.

I haven't even been able to enjoy seeing the beginning of the physical proof of your existence as much as I wish I would let myself.

I love you, Baby Birk.

Please, please, please keep growing.

I don't know what I'll do if you don't.

Love Always,


Saturday, September 11, 2010

And so it begins...

Oh, Baby,

You are making me feel so giant!

Today, for the first time, I literally had trouble buttoning and zippering my jeans.

Now, I realize that this new expansion isn't because you are big enough to make my tummy big yet; I realize that it's because of bloating and fluid retention and such.

But it doesn't make it any less uncomfortable to have a hard time fitting into my jeans.

I have NEVER had to work so hard to button my jeans as I did today.

And I know it's only going to get worse...but technically better, not worse, because it'll be better when my expansion is because you're getting bigger instead of because of bloating.

I am really looking forward to seeing my tummy grow along with you :)

The weird thing, too, is that my clothes are all getting really tight, so when I went to my prenatal appointment, I assumed that that would mean that I have gained at least a few pounds.


I actually lost about five pounds.

I have absolutely NO idea how that is possible.

You daddy is constantly shoving food down my throat (lovingly, of course).

I feel like I'm eating non-stop.

I know the whole "not gaining weight" thing won't last for long, though...and honestly, I can't wait for my weight to go the opposite way.

Yet another tangible sign that you, Baby, are growing and thriving inside of me.

So don't worry about that fact that you are the reason my jeans are so tight.

I don't mind at all :)

I love you with all of my heart, Baby!



Thursday, September 9, 2010

First Appointment

Hi Baby,

So today was it. Today was our very first prenatal appointment. I can no longer say that I have never made it to a prenatal appointment.

It was wonderful...lot's of information, but a great experience.

I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't get to have the appointment with my normal doctor; I guess the clinic I go to has one nurse-midwife who does all of the first prenatal appointments.

Don't get me wrong, she was very nice and did a great job...but it would have been nice to have my regular doctor.

But I will have my regular doctor for the rest of my appointments, though I may also meet with a midwife for some appointments (since we're hoping to go the midwife route with this pregnancy if possible).

I'm also a bit disappointed because she didn't even try to hear your heartbeat...and I was too much of a push-over to ask her to.

But I think she decided to wait on the heartbeat thing because she ended up making an appointment for me to get an ultrasound next week (yay!).

When we first were talking through family history, pregnancy symptoms, etc, I told her that I think that I'm farther along than my last cycle would suggest. She pretty much just blew me off and said that she didn't think so. She was sure that I was exactly as far along as my last cycle would suggest (exactly 7 weeks, 2 days, to be exact).

But when she did the physical exam, she said that my uterus is definitely larger than it should be at 7 she changed her tune a bit and said I probably am a bit farther along than my cycle would suggest.

So, she scheduled an ultrasound for next week so that they can take a look and try to get a better idea of how far along I am.

I knew I had to be farther than 7 weeks, and it looks like I'm I just can't wait until next week to meet you, Baby, and find out more specifically how far along I am!

If she hadn't scheduled me to have an ultrasound so soon, I'd probably be really disappointed that we didn't even get to try to find your heartbeat, but since it turned out this way, I think I can make it one more week to meet you.

So, all in all, everything's looking good!

You've been making me feel pretty nauseous lately, so she also gave me some ideas of some medicines to help with that, and hopefully that will also allow me to sleep better.

Anyway, Baby, I'm so excited to meet you next week - keep growing strong until then!



Monday, September 6, 2010

Hats and Cravings and Doctors, Oh My!

Dear Baby,

I'm sorry I haven't written to you in so long. When I had a shingles scare a few days ago, I honestly didn't know how to write to you. How could I write to you when I may have inadvertently exposed you to extreme danger? What could I possibly say to you?

And worse yet, what if being exposed to shingles had harmed you? What if being exposed to shingles had stopped you from growing? Had killed you? What if you were just lying lifeless in my womb, and my body simply had not realized yet that I had miscarried or the hormones they have me on were preventing me from miscarrying?

How could I write to you when you may not even be alive still?

How could I face that possibility?

I was afraid to even write to you. To even allow myself to think of you as a living being inside of me; I was so afraid of finding out that I was wrong.

But after googling for many hours, talking to a couple medical professionals, and talking with my best friend's mom about when she first starting experiencing symptoms of shingles, I'm feeling much more calm about the whole thing.

In fact, my best friend's mom told me that when she found out she had shingles, she asked her doctor if I could be in any danger from having stayed in her house for a whole week so recently (since she already knew at that point that I was pregnant), and he said not to worry. It was highly unlikely that she had had shingles when I was staying there, so I should be in the clear.

Plus, it helps that I haven't been sick at all (besides pregnancy-stomachie stuff), so that has made me feel a lot better.

All in all, Baby, I'm feeling much more confident. At the moment, at least, I have no doubts that you are healthy and growing strong.

And in just over two days from now, your dad and I will finally get to experience the joy and excitement of a first prenatal appointment.

We never got to have that experience with Leila; I'm so excited to have that experience with you.

And, hopefully, we'll get to hear your heartbeat for the very first time!

I really hope we get to have an ultrasound; I know it's probably unlikely, but I can't help it. I just want to see your beautiful little baby body.

Maybe I can convince them to give me an ultrasound so that we can determine for sure the due date, since I'm 98% convinced that I'm at least one or two weeks farther along than my doctors think I am. I know two weeks doesn't seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things (and don't worry, Baby, I fully understand and acknowledge the fact that you are going to come when you are good and ready to come regardless of what day you are "scheduled" to arrive), but if I'm two weeks farther along than they think, then that's two weeks closer to the 14 week mark.

I've never made it to that mark before.

And the three-to-five weeks until we hit that 14 week mark can't go by fast enough.

The point, my precious Baby Birk, is that I cannot wait to get to "meet" you for the first time in just a couple days - even if we don't get to see you on an ultrasound.

I have to admit, though, I will be quite disappointed if we don't get to hear your heartbeat.

But, if I'm right, I'll be 9 weeks on Thursday at my appointment, and since I'm a rather svelte lass, I think there's a good chance that we should be able to hear it.

At least, I'm hoping so!

But moving on.

Today, Baby, I finished crocheting your very first baby hat. (One thing you'll learn about your momma is that I'm an avid crocheter).

Well, it may not ultimately end up being your hat.

You see, I found this great website with dozens and dozens of baby hat crochet patterns.

But quite a few of the hats are fairly gender specific.

So, at this point, I'm just going to start crocheting all of the hats that I think are cute, and, depending on what gender you end up being, we'll just save the rest of the hats that I've made for the siblings of the opposite gender that your dad and I hope to provide you with some day.

The hat I just finished making is pretty girly.

Your dad thought I should start with a girl's hat, because he's convinced you're a girl.

I'm not completely convinced of your gender either way, but I am leaning towards girl...if only because literally every couple we know who has had a baby in the past year has had a boy.

That being the case, we figure that the universe is due for a few girls to enter the scene.

The hat is adorable, though.

It's this beautiful ocean blue with a cute yellow flower on it.

The past few days have also led to some cravings.

My food desires have really changed quite a bit since you've started growing inside of me!

I normally have a very intense sweet tooth, but since you've been inside my tummy, I practically have no desire for anything sweet and un-nutritious.

Which I suppose is a good thing.

My cravings, unfortunately, are not consistent, though.

My first intense craving was for crackers, cheese, and pickles.

I deeply enjoyed two wonderful evenings with those crackers and cheese slices and pickles.

But now, just the thought of pickles and sharp cheddar cheese makes me want to gag.


Then, I started craving Kraft macaroni and cheese and french fries (which ended up being your dad's first food run to satisfy my cravings).

But your daddy, trying to get you the nutrients you need, got the whole wheat version of mac and cheese instead of the regular version, and it's just not the same.

Now, right this second, I really, really, really want some potato skins.

Since it's 10:39 pm EPT, it is quite unlikely that I will get any potato skins anytime soon.

On a completely unrelated note, our pregnancy with you is pretty much out there in the world.

We tried to keep it fairly quiet at first, only telling close family and friends, but that didn't really end up working out so well.

Somehow, the news seemed to leak out (even though we did try to tell people that we hadn't made our pregnancy "facebook official" quite yet).

At this point, pretty much everyone knows.

At first, I was nervous about this, and, quite frankly, if anything happens to you, there is a good chance that I will be kicking myself for being so cavalier in telling so many people.

But, ultimately, I feel like being open, honest, and up-front about this pregnancy is a tangible way for me to trust God with you and with this pregnancy.

I'm not in any way saying that to suggest that those who do not choose to tell people about their pregnancies right away are inferior or wrong or untrusting or anything else like that.

But this was the right decision for us.

This was the right decision for me.

This was the right decision for you and for this pregnancy.

It was my way of showing God that I trust him with you, with your life, with our family, with this pregnancy.

We still haven't made it "facebook official" yet.

Though I see no reason to hide you from those people who are close to me and who I come into contact with on a regular basis, I did not see any reason to tell random, distant friends from middle school about you. Just for the sake of boundaries, I suppose.

But we will probably make it "facebook official" on Thursday after our prenatal appointment, if only because people have begun to write congratulations and baby notes on our facebook pages, so it won't be long before it's completely out in the open, anyhow.

So, that's pretty much the updates on this side of my tummy, Baby. I'm sorry for so much information, but I just don't want to miss telling you a thing...and there have been quite a few "things" to tell you since the last time I wrote.

I promise I won't wait so long to write to you again...even on those days when I'm not feeling quite as confident.

I love you so very much, Baby, and so does your daddy.

We can't wait to get to know you a little more on Thursday!!!

Love Always,