Thursday, July 7, 2011

2 Month Update

Dear Isaiah,

I know this is a little late, but I want to tell you all about your second month of life!

I can't believe how much you're growing. I can't believe that over 2 months ago, you entered my life. I can't believe how fast everything is going.

You are an AMAZING little boy, Isaiah, and the love of my life, the apple of my eye, my pride and joy.

We took you in for your 2 month check-up on June 16th, and you are just as healthy as can be! You weighed 11 pounds, 12 ounces (50%) and were 24.5" long (90%). Your head was 15.75" in circumference (25%).

Your doctor was very impressed by how strong you are! We told him that you were a strong one, but I think he's so used to hearing parents brag on their kids that he thought we were exaggerating. Sure enough, though, when he held you on your stomach, he was surprised by how high you could lift your head. He said that you have the neck/head control of a 4-month-old, and based on your strength, he thinks you'll be rolling pretty soon!

You also got your first immunizations at your 2 month appointment. You handled the shots VERY well; I was so proud of you! You cried initially, but you calmed right down when we held you and I nursed you afterwards. Those shots sure did make you sleepy, though! That night, you went to bed right away at 7:30 and didn't wake up to eat until 4:30 am! You slept most of the next day and still slept well the next night, too. Beyond that, soreness in your legs was your only other symptom from the vaccinations. I'm so proud of you!

You got much better at sleeping during your second month of life. By the time you hit two months, you pretty much figured out that bedtime starts at 7:30 pm, and were almost always asleep by 8 or 8:30 at the latest. I'm very grateful for that (and for the medicine you are on for your silent reflux, since that's a huge reason bedtime is going so much better now)! You definitely got into a groove of having a fussy time about an hour or so before bedtime, but I don't mind it so much when I know that you're going to go down well. Plus, you know your routine now, so as soon as I put you down on the changing table to change your diaper at 7:15 or so, you start calming down, and if there's any fuss that's hanging on after that, it immediately disappears once you're swaddled.

Speaking of, when you go to sleep, you LOVE to be swaddled! We used to use the Swaddle Me, but you were REALLY good at getting your hands free, so during your second month of life, I bought a couple Miracle Blankets and started using those. Those swaddlers are aptly named, because they really do work miracles! You still have figured out how to get your arms free, but it's a lot more work for you to do so and usually you aren't able to accomplish it until morning, anyway.

You also learned to self-soothe a bit more during your second month, which means that you are sometimes able to get yourself back to sleep by yourself if you happen to wake up a bit when I put you down.

By the time you hit two months, your daytime feedings came every 3-4 hours, and you got yourself on a pretty consistent nighttime schedule, waking up every night at 1:30 and 4:30 am to eat, and then almost always waking up for the day between 7-8 am.

Near the beginning of your second month, I discovered that I could get you to take a nap without me holding you if I put you in your carseat after rocking you into a deep sleep. This came in handy, because I was finally, finally, FINALLY able to take a shower during the day instead of having to wait until your dad gets home from work at night. We used the rest of your second month of life to try to encourage this habit; it still isn't consistent, but we're working on it!

On the same day that I discovered that you would take a nap in your carseat, you also smiled in response to me for the very first time! It was AMAZING! After I showered, you woke up from your nap, and I put you down on the bed to "play" with you. I started tickling your thighs, and you just gave me this big, beautiful smile! You were very, very smiley for the next few minutes, but every time I tried to take a picture of your smile, you would get distracted by the camera and your smile would disappear...but it really doesn't matter. All that matters is that I got to experience your very first real smile!!! That happened on May 26, 2011, when you were 1 month, 1 week old, and your smiling has only increased ever since! You really are a very happy baby boy :)

By the end of your second month, you also learned that diaper changes really aren't too bad - you even smile during or after most of them now!

By the end of your second month, you also learned that baths don't have to be as awful as you were making them before this time. Instead of crying (or screaming!) through them, you now just kind of sit there and stare at me or the tub with a sulky look on your face. You still don't love baths, but at least you don't hate them anymore!

All in all, Isaiah, you are just a pleasure to have as my son. You are beautiful, strong, healthy, and happy. I love, love, love you with all of my heart, little boy! Thank you for being my son :)

All My Heart,


Thursday, May 26, 2011

1 Month Already!

Dear Sweet Isaiah,

It feels so good to finally be able to write a letter to you and call you by name! We had your name picked out at 14 weeks but wanted to keep it a secret, so for the next 25 weeks, that's what we did. All of my letters to you remained nameless. I love being able to call you by name now.

You are already one month old. I can hardly believe how fast this time has gone. Yes, there have been very slow moments. Like when you were only a week and a half old, and I was up with you almost the entire night, trying fruitlessly to rock you to sleep. But mostly, it's gone by at lightning speed. And I know that the time is going to continue to speed past me. I'm going to blink, and you'll be graduating from high school, then college (if you so choose), then getting married (maybe not necessarily in that order, if you follow in the footsteps of your dad and me), then having babies of your own. I'm already looking forward with both excitement and dread for those events to come. I'm excited to see where you will go and what you will do and who you will become. I'm excited to learn more and more about you as the days go by - your talents, your interests, your spiritual gifts, your passions, your dislikes, your adult height, your final hair and eye colors. But I dread the knowledge that these moments with you are so, so fleeting.

Right now, you are sleeping soundly on my chest, as is your morning ritual. You always take a nap about this time of morning, and you never let me put you down for it. You are only interested in your morning nap if it takes place on my chest. Sometimes I wish you would let me put you down so I could eat breakfast before 11 am. But most days, I truly just savor hearing your steady breathing and your sleep noises, feeling your warmth against me, seeing you smile in your sleep, and knowing that there is nowhere that you feel safer taking your morning nap than in your Momma's arms. I love this. And so, on those mornings when my stomach is telling me that I need to get you to learn how to go down for your morning nap so I can eat breakfast, my heart reminds me that the days when you will want to lay on my chest for a morning nap are limited - so very limited. And with that knowledge, I quiet my stomach and follow my heart. I don't want to miss a single moment of this.

At a month old, you have stolen my heart. Not that you didn't have it before. But every day, my heart swells with more and more love for you, and every day, you steal those new, swollen parts and imbed yourself further and further into my heart until there's no part of me that you haven't touched.

At a month old, you are my pride and joy. You are sweet-tempered almost all the time, except when that nasty gas (which visits you more than either of us would like) makes you fussy.

At a month old, you are finding your voice more and more. You make these sweet little coo noises during the day (and sometimes now even in your sleep), and it melts my heart every time.

At a month old, you are becoming more and more interested in the world around you. You have a lot more open-eye awake time than you did even just a week ago, and I love looking at your beautiful blue eyes as you explore your environment.

At a month old, you are growing like crazy! At your one-month appointment, you weighed 10 pounds 15 ounces (75%) and were 23 1/8 inches long (95%). And your doctor did notice that your hands are pretty big, too!

At a month old, you are continuing to develop your sleeping skills (they're not quite up to par with dad's yet!). We try to put you to bed around 8. Some nights you are fast asleep by 8:30 and sleep until 12:30 or so before you wake up to eat. Other nights, like last night, you fight sleep with all of your might and are up and down several times between 8 and 11, when you finally lose your battle and give in to sleep...after a little snack, that is. Normally, you will go about 3 hours on the dot in between feedings at night, so we usually only get up 2-3 times between bedtime and morning. You're starting to have one 4-hour stretch in between meals almost every night now, too, and I'm very grateful for that. You've even gone 5 hours a couple of times, but that's pretty rare.

When you do go to sleep, you are the loudest sleeper I've ever known! You grunt and groan and whine and squeak and sometimes even give one long, loud cry in your REM sleep. On more than one occasion, I have gotten up to respond to that one long, loud cry, only to find you fast asleep.

At one month old, you are a great eater! You eat every 2-3 hours during the day. When you're really hungry, you attack me like a shark with this wild, overexcited look in your eyes and squeak (loudly!) while you eat when you finally latch on. Those crazy shark eyes almost always turn to sleepy eyes, though, and you are usually almost asleep by the time you're ready to be done eating. Now that you're a little older, you usually are able to keep your eyes open after one or two feedings during the day, but all of the rest lead nicely into a nap.

And speaking of naps, at one month old, you are quite the snugglebunny! You love, love, love being held and cuddled. Which means you do NOT like being put down for naps. You'd rather take your naps in someone's arms, thank you very much. Whenever you're crying, you will calm down instantly as soon as I pick you up (except during your pre-bedtime fuss-fest that is becoming a regular installment in our evenings between 6-8pm). I like to think that you calm down so quickly because you know your Momma is holding you and loves you, but probably you'd calm down no matter who picked you up. Someday soon I know you'll recognize me, though, and I'm very much looking forward to that day!

At one month old, I love you more than I can say. You bring such joy into my life, and I love getting to spend my days with you. You are amazing, sweet little boy! Happy 1-month!



Sunday, May 8, 2011

Isaiah Michael's Birth Story

When we went to bed on April 18th, I was having difficulty falling asleep, which wasn't uncommon for me - pregnancy is really uncomfortable near the end! I finally fell asleep around 11, but woke up around midnight with cramps - I honestly thought I had the stomach flu or something. I went back to sleep, but around 1:30 am, I woke up again - the cramps were worse, too bad to sleep through. I started to wonder if it might be labor, because I had had some other labor-esque symptoms the couple days beforehand, too, but it was nothing like I expected. I spent the next hour doing research online to find out if I could be in labor. By 2:30, the contractions were consistent enough to time, so I started that process. They were 3-5 minutes apart. I called my midwife, and she said to stay home until they were consistently 3 minutes apart and then to call her. A couple hours later, we hit that mark (they were 2-3 minutes apart and getting too painful to talk through). I called my midwife, and she said to come on in, so a little after 7 am, we left for the hospital. We got there around 8, and they monitored Isaiah's heartbeat, which was nice and steady. They also checked me, and I was 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced. Things were definitely moving forward! Brady and I got some breakfast and started playing cribbage to pass the time.

My midwife arrived a few hours later, and when she checked me, I was 5-6 cm dilated and 95% effaced - pretty good progress for a first time mom! One of my friends, Becki, also arrived (we had enlisted her to be our photographer for the day). We spent the next couple of hours walking the halls, and I also labored in the tub for a while (which helped a lot!).

Time actually went really fast for me until we hit about 2:30 pm or so...then the contractions started getting more intense. Plus, I was getting pretty exhausted - it had already been a long day (after all, I had been up since 1:30 am), and I was running on only about an hour of sleep! After about 2:30 pm, time felt like it stood still - and it's also pretty blurred together, so I might have the chronology of the rest of the story off a bit.

At that point, my midwife checked me again, and I was 7-8 cm dilated and fully effaced. I remember being discouraged that I had only progressed 2 cm in over 3 hours (which actually isn't bad for a first-timer, but it was so painful getting those 2 cm that I wondered how I would ever make it to 10!).

I labored in the tub again for a while (Brady was in the tub with me, supporting me through contractions, and I was so tired that I started falling asleep on his shoulder between contractions!). This is also about when I started questioning my ability to do the whole giving-birth thing without medication. I was so overwhelmed, though, that I simply couldn't make such a big decision in the moment as to accepting medication when I hadn't wanted to going into labor, so I ended up continuing on without medication (my midwife told me that I was in transition at that point, so the contractions weren't going to get worse, just different). I felt nauseous every time a contraction came, and I'm honestly surprised I didn't throw up from the pain. Both Brady and my midwife were incredible, though - very supportive and encouraging. At one particularly difficult point, I remember saying that I didn't think I could do this, and my midwife (whom I had never met before, by the way - she's the one midwife of the four in my practice that I didn't get to meet when we moved to Minnesota) sat next to me and said, "Erin, you're a woman of faith, right?" (she must have seen the Bible verses I had printed out for encouragement during labor). I said, "Yes," and she said, "Well, so am I, and that means that we both know and believe that God designed your body to do this. You can do it, because God designed you to be able to do it." She didn't know it, but that was what I had been telling myself of all day when things got tough, so having her remind me of that was such a blessing! Praise God for providing a woman of faith to be my midwife!

Unfortunately, that midwife was only on-call until 5 pm, so unless I had the baby by then, she would not be delivering. At first, we thought that I was progressing quickly enough that she would be able to do the delivery, but it became clear around 4 pm that that wasn't going to be the case.

The new midwife arrived at 5 pm. I was really having a hard time by the time she came around. I started feeling a very slight urge to push around that point, but I wasn't fully dilated yet. The midwives told me to do a couple light pushes to see if I could break my water, because that would speed things up (my contractions had slowed down a bit). It didn't work, and the new midwife suggested that she break my water for me. I really wasn't convinced that that was a good idea, to be honest, but in the end, I decided to let her do it. I slightly regret that decision, but hey, if it did speed things up (which we unfortunately can't know for sure), then I'm grateful for it!

Around 6 pm, the urge to push was impossible to ignore, so we started that process. I was surprised by how different my contractions felt once I began pushing - they definitely weren't more intense than during transition (praise God!), but they were very, very different than before. After about a half-hour of pushing in the tub, Isaiah was crowning (which is really fast progress for a first-timer! They say first-time moms push for 1-3 hours on average, and it sure looked like I was going to be near the lower end of that statistic!). I could see him crowning and remember being so relieved, knowing that it should only take a few more pushes for him to come out! Brady was encouraging me and told me, "Okay, let's get through 5 more pushes - you can do 5 more pushes." Five pushes came and went, and Isaiah barely moved at all. I started asking why he wasn't coming out and saying that I thought he was stuck. There was no way that he shouldn't have moved with how hard I pushed for those 5 contractions!

And then the midwife called a couple back-up nurses and started whispering to them - not exactly a comforting thing. Both Brady and I knew something wasn't right, but no one told us what was going on. They would just whisper and then tell me to do something differently. It was very unnerving for both Brady and I.

They had me switch positions in the tub to try to coax Isaiah out, but it wasn't working. Finally, my midwife told me that we had to abandon ship on the waterbirth thing, and I had to finish pushing in bed. Looking back, I'm disappointed that we couldn't have the waterbirth we had hoped for, but in the moment, my only thought was, "How the heck am I supposed to move to the bed with a person's head sticking out of me?!?" Let me tell you, it was not a comfortable move!

So, they helped me to the bed (while my midwife had her hands between my legs in case Isaiah came out during the move, which was a very real possibility). At that point, I heard my midwife ask someone to get an NNP. Now, I was pretty confused and overwhelmed during that time, but I had enough wits about me to realize that NNP meant Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. That's when I really started losing it emotionally. I knew something wasn't right, but I didn't know what was happening. I just felt so overwhelmed and confused and even a bit scared.

They kept telling me to push harder and longer and finally told us that the reason Isaiah wasn't moving was because he was occiput posterior (OP) or "sunny-side up" - for those of you who haven't taken a birthing class recently, that means that he was coming out facing up instead of facing down. That position made it so that his skull could not mold to the birth canal like it should have and was causing him to get a bit stuck where he was. No matter how much or how hard I pushed, he moved very little.

The midwife started trying to turn him manually. That was definitely the most painful part of the entire day. I mean, I was already stretched to the limits, so to speak, and now she's shoving her hand around his head, as well! I kept pushing and she kept trying to turn him. I'm honestly not sure how long that whole process took, but she eventually got him to turn about 30%, and as soon as he did, he popped right out (quite literally! Brady and I just watched the birth video last night, and he really did pop out once he turned slightly).

It was the weirdest feeling ever, and I honestly didn't realize he was even born until they put him on my chest. Once he came out, they kept trying to tell me to grab my baby, but I literally could not process what they were saying, so they had to bring him to me and put him on my chest. I have never felt so relieved in my life as I did in that instant...until they got around to sewing me up, that is (I had a 2nd degree tear - which isn't bad considering, and I think I probably wouldn't have torn at all if he was facing the proper way). And, by the way, no one ever tells you that after you give birth, it will look like a murder scene. Seeing so much blood was really disconcerting. I also was bleeding more than I should have been, so they had to give me a shot of pitocin (encourages the uterus to contract) to try to stop the bleeding.

Luckily, the NNP didn't end up being necessary at all. Often times, when babies are born the wrong way like Isaiah was, they go into distress, but his heartbeat was nice and steady the entire time. He is one strong, healthy baby! Praise God for that! Even the hospital staff was amazed at how strong our little guy is :)

Isaiah was born on April 19, 2011, 8lbs 10oz (55th percentile) and 21.5 inches long (95th percentile). His head was 13 1/2 inches around (10th percentile). The first thing I noticed when they handed him to me was how big his hands and feet were! They are not newborn-sized at all! The second thing I noticed was that he did indeed have 10 fingers and 10 toes. I never thought that that would be something I would check for right after my baby was born, but immediately when he was handed to me, I wanted to make sure that all appendages were accounted for (they are, by the way)! He was born at 7:49 pm, meaning that I pushed for about 1 hour and 45 minutes - again, really not bad at all considering it was my first time and he wasn't facing the right way (which they say usually adds an hour or so to your pushing time).

Afterwards, I was feeling a bit disappointed in myself that I didn't handle his birth as well as I would have hoped (though I did make it through an unmedicated, natural birth, which I was glad about). When I mentioned that to one of the nurses who was there, she told me that I shouldn't feel disappointed in myself at all, because Isaiah's birth was more challenging than most. She told me, word for word, "I don't normally pity first time moms, because a harder labor is just part of the package deal, but I was really starting to pity you!" My midwife also echoed that sentiment and told me that if Isaiah had been facing the right way, he would definitely have been born within two or three pushes of when he started crowning (so Brady should have been right that I only needed 5 more pushes). Unfortunately, because he was faced the wrong way, it ended up taking a little over an hour longer to deliver him than it should have. Plus, I was informed that delivering a baby who is facing the wrong way is akin to delivering a baby who is one pound larger than your baby actually is - so, in some ways, my experience was closer to what it would have been like to deliver a 9lb 10oz baby than to deliver an 8lb 10oz baby who was facing the right way - all in all, I guess I didn't do so bad!

As much as the process of bringing him into the world wasn't fun, now that Isaiah is here, it is all worth it - he is the most beautiful, precious, amazing little person I have ever seen! Having a baby really puts a whole new perspective on the Bible verse, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH." It is amazing to think that this new little life is half-me, and half-Brady - so cool!

Isaiah had his first doctor appointment six days after he was born, and he is doing great! He has already surpassed his birth weight (which means I must be doing something right in the whole nursing realm - yay!) and other than a couple of blocked tear ducts (very common in newborns, apparently), he is the picture of health!

I'm doing much better now, too. The first couple of days were very difficult - I was in a lot of pain and didn't get much sleep the night he was born (who knew that once you have the baby, the staff doesn't just leave you alone, but wakes you up EVERY 2 HOURS to check your vitals and tell you it's time to nurse (which your baby doesn't want to do anyway, because he's too tired, so you end up using up an entire hour of the two hour window you get in between checks just trying wake up your sleepy and not-hungry baby to try to feed him per the hospital staff's request). So, yeah, not much sleep was had that night)?

My first pain-free day came only a week after he was born, which is pretty good considering everything, so I'm really pleased with how quickly and how well I've healed.

Brady and I are so in love with little Isaiah. He is absolutely amazing! And it has been such a joy and a blessing to see Brady interact with Isaiah. He is an incredible dad already! He was so supportive during all of labor and delivery, and after the fact, he took AMAZING care of me and Isaiah - doing everything possible for me so that I could rest. I didn't even change a diaper until Isaiah was 5 days old - and I had to convince Brady that I was up to doing it myself even then! Plus, he has been so, so helpful during the night - bringing Isaiah to me for feedings and changing diapers and rocking him to sleep. Isaiah's had a bit of a hard time sleeping, because he's had lots of uncomfortable gas, so I know for a fact that I would have already lost my mind if I had to do this whole raising-an-infant thing by myself. Brady's been so good with him. All in all, I'm very blessed by the two men in my life :)

Brady was able to take off of work through the Monday after Isaiah was born, and it was so nice to have him home with us. We got lots of good family bonding time, and timing wise, it also worked out perfectly that he was able to be home until I was physically capable of taking care of Isaiah by myself during the day.

We are so blessed!

If you would like to see some pictures of our beautiful son, check out this link:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I can't believe it's been almost a month since I've posted on here!!! So much has happened!

Of course, the main event in that time was my little boy's birth - finally!

I will share the story of his birth soon, but until then, the basics:

Isaiah Michael was born April 19, 2011 at 7:49 pm - 8 pounds 10 ounces, 21.5" long, and healthy as can be, praise the Lord!

We are so blessed by him - he is beautiful and strong and healthy and an absolute joy!

He only cries when there's a reason for it, so we've probably been able to get more sleep than most parents of newborns (well, this week, at least - the first week, not so much)...though we do obviously have lots of feedings at night that keep Mom up :)

He is starting to open his eyes more and more everyday, and they are this beautiful, deep blue - very much like his Dad's, and I LOVE that!

At his 1-week check-up, he had already surpassed his birthweight, so breastfeeding is apparently going well!

We just love, love, love our little miracle and are SO grateful for a healthy, strong baby.

Probably within the next several weeks, I'll be creating a new blog with updates on Isaiah so that all of our long-distance friends and family can keep up on his adventures - when it's up and running, I'll pass that info along here, as well.

More to come...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Forgot to Mention

Hi Again, Baby,

I forgot to mention that I also got quite the haircut yesterday.

I've been growing my hair out since before I met your dad - so for almost four years now!

Once I had grown it out for about two years, I decided I might as well keep going and just donate it to Locks of Love when it got long enough. Not long after I made that decision, my cousin Renee was diagnosed with cancer, so that only deepened my resolve. I figured it could be a way to honor her (she just celebrated one year of being cancer free, by the way - so amazing!).

I was going to wait until after you arrived to cut it, but it has been driving me nuts lately (plus, I'm going through shampoo like no one's business. Plus, I probably won't have time to go out and get a haircut for quite a while after you're born.), and your dad convinced me to make an appointment for before you arrived. So, Tuesday night, I made the call and scheduled an appointment for Wednesday.

I normally am not attached to my hair that much, but I've been growing it for so long that I actually had a minor panic attack after making the appointment and made your dad measure my hair to see how much I would have left over after donating!

So, yesterday, I donated 10 inches to Locks for Love, and then, in styling my new, much shorter 'do, the stylist cut off another 1-2 inches. I lost about a foot of hair yesterday. So insane!

It feels great, though, and I'm so glad that I was able to donate my hair to such a worthy cause!

What I didn't realize going in was that my salon actually gives quite the discount for donating your hair - who would have thought? I figured they'd just cut it off, give it back to me, and then style it.

No, sir.

They cut it off and then styled it, alright, but they took care of sending it in and handling that portion of the process (which I was glad about, because only after they cut off my ponytails did I realize how creeped out I would be by having to take locks of my own hair home with me!).

Plus, they gave me $45 off of my haircut and spent almost 1 1/2 hours with me!

What a blessing!

Here I was worrying about spending so much on a haircut (normally I go to training stylists, so I don't usually pay more than $10-15 for my haircuts, but this time, since it was such a huge change and I knew that I'd be in lots of pictures after having my haircut, what with you arriving so soon and all, I figured it was worth it to pay full price [$50! Outrageous]), and then in the end, not only did I get more time and attention spent on my hair than usual, but it only cost me $5!

So, if anyone out there is reading this, lives in MN, and is hoping to donate to Locks of Love, check out Juut Salon Spa - definitely the perfect place to do so!

I just feel like a million bucks with my new, freshly-cut, spring-y hairstyle - now I feel officially ready to have some family photos taken when you get here!



Awkward Prenatal Appointments & Contractions

Hi Baby,

I know I only wrote to you a few days ago, but we had an awkward and funny experience at our prenatal appointment yesterday that I just had to share with you.

Last week at my 36 week prenatal appointment, my midwife did a cervical check to see if we were making any progress. While there, I asked her if I should expect to have a check done every week, or if that would be it for a while. She told me that we definitely wouldn't do one at the next appointment, but that we might do another one once I reach 38 or 39 weeks, depending on how things are going.

So, yesterday, at my 37 week prenatal appointment, I didn't expect to have a cervical check done. I figured it would be a quick appointment like the rest are, with just having my blood pressure, weight, and fundal height checked, and getting a chance, as always, to listen to your heartbeat for a second.

So, we get to the appointment and the nurse takes my blood pressure and weighs me. Then she tells me, "You're going to go waist-down today so that they can check you." And I said, "Oh, really? Are you sure? At my last appointment, they said that we wouldn't be doing that this week."

"Yes, I'm sure. Once you hit 36 weeks, we have you go waist-down so we can check you every week."


I mean, I wasn't going to argue with her. This is the nurse, for pete's sake. She's much more likely to know what's going on than I am!

So, I head into the exam room, strip down, sit on the table, and wait for the midwife.

Your dad and I chat for a few minutes about how funny it would be if the nurse was wrong, and I really wasn't supposed to be half-naked for the exam today. It would certainly be a story to tell!

In walks the midwife, and sure enough, she looks at me and says something to the effect of, "You just wanted to go waist-down today?"

Oh boy.

Or, as your great-grandpa would say, "Oi vey."

Holy awkward, Batman.

I explained to her that I didn't think I was supposed to, but the nurse insisted. The midwife just kind of chuckled and said, "No, we're not going to check you again this week. It can be kind of disheartening to moms if we check them every week and there isn't much progress. We'll check you again next week."

So, that made for an interesting appointment!

Then, when I laid back for the midwife to measure my stomach and listen to your heartbeat, my stomach was shaped really, really funny. It was all egg-shaped on one side. I figured you just were moving into a silly position, but the midwife said, "Nope - that's a contraction."

Who would've known?

I couldn't feel it AT ALL.

But, now that I know what to look for, I've noticed that I am having tons and tons and tons of braxton hicks contractions (at least, I'm pretty sure they're braxton hicks!).

Sometimes I'll get four or five in a matter of 20 minutes or a half-hour! It's crazy!

Now I'm realizing why it may be difficult to discern real labor from false labor, so I'm hoping for a definite sign when labor actually arrives - like my water breaking, or something along those lines.

Anyway, it looks like my body is doing what it needs to to prepare for your arrival, and I am seriously counting down the days until I get to meet you!

19 days until our EDD!

Love you lots,


Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Hi Baby Boy,

Well, we are officially full-term today!


I'm so excited, I can hardly stand it!

Now that we're full-term, anytime you decide to come into the world is fine by me. We just had to wait until we hit 37 weeks, or the hospital wouldn't let me attempt a waterbirth, and since I've been really excited about trying a waterbirth, that would've been a bummer.

So, you are in the clear to arrive anytime you want from here on out!

Personally, I'd like to wait until after this Thursday, because then we will be done with all of our prenatal classes. Oh, and your dad is requesting that you start the labor process on a Friday, so he can have as much time with us as possible while taking as few PTO days as possible.

Ultimately, though, we don't care when you come. We're just excited to meet you, whenever you decide you've cooked long enough in there :)

But please don't make us wait until May!

I love, love, love you - congratulations to us both on making it to full-term!



Friday, April 1, 2011

Emotional Much?

Hi Baby,

For the first time in this pregnancy, I've felt really, really hormonal the past couple of days.

Seriously, I will just start crying at the oddest times (like when reading something completely unemotional, for example), and I can actually physically feel that it is my pregnancy hormones getting the best of me.

It's a very, very weird feeling to know that I'm going to cry and that there is no reason for it and that there is nothing I can do about it.

It makes me wonder what postpartum will look like! Hopefully the "baby blues" won't get the best of me!

So maybe it's my pregnancy hormones that are making me feel all nostalgic and gushy inside and leading me to write you this letter.

Or maybe not.

Maybe I'd be feeling this way and writing this to you no matter what, with or without hormones.

Either way, I just want you to know how excited I am to meet you. I honestly cannot even express in words how deep my love for you runs. It actually overwhelms me sometimes, to love so very deeply this little, tiny person inside of me whom I've never met face-to-face. It's so true what they say - you can't understand a mother's love unless you experience it firsthand. I'm starting to realize that now. And I really feel ready to be your mother. I know I won't be perfect, but I will be the best mother I can for you.

It's amazing how connected I feel to you, even though I've never truly met you.

Even though I've never seen your face, I feel like I know you.

I feel like I know your personality, I know your characteristics, I know your disposition.

At least, I feel like I know you so much more intimately than anyone else does. After all, you've been inside of me for over 8 months now. And while for at least half of that time, I couldn't feel you move or see how you were changing my body, the 3-4ish months that I have been able to do so have affected me so deeply.

My body is so different now than it was before you. And it will never, ever be the same as it was before you entered my life. Ever. And while a very tiny part of me is a bit sad that my stomach will never, ever be without stretch marks again, most of me is so grateful for that fact.

I actually have physical evidence that you are inside of me. And even after you come out, I will continue to have this physical evidence of the 9 months that we were intimately connected for the rest of my life.

I love that.

I love that I will never, ever be the same as I was before you entered my world.

I love that there will always be a physical reminder of what it was like to have you inside of me, long after you have come out and entered the big, scary, wonderful, terrible "real world."

I don't think I've ever actually mentioned it to anyone before, but I have a physical reminder of your sister on my body, too.

When I was in the hospital miscarrying your sister, they gave me an IV. I had never had an IV before. I honestly have no concept of how long it was in - maybe an hour or so? Maybe longer?

Eventually they took the IV out for obvious reasons, and I didn't think too much of it.

But as my body began to heal physically after losing our first child, that area where they had placed my IV developed a very tiny, round scar - almost too small to notice, definitely too small to even show up in a photo. A reminder of the IV. A reminder of our first child. A reminder of my baby girl and the very short time she was with us.

It's actually comforting for me to have that scar. It reminds me of that experience. Sometimes I feel crazy for missing the little baby that was inside of me for such a short time and that I really, to be honest, didn't feel ready for in the first place. Sometimes I almost start to question if that really happened to me. But when I start to wonder that, I can always look down at my arm and be reminded that it did happen. We did have another baby. We do have another baby.

I actually won't let anyone draw blood from my left arm anymore, because I'm so afraid that they will mess up that scar or make another scar, and then I won't be able to know which scar is which. I'm lucky that both of my arms have good veins, because I only let doctors draw blood from my right arm, now.

It may seem silly, but it's my way of protecting the memory of your sister. I couldn't save her. I couldn't protect her physically. But I can protect her memory.

So, even though my stomach will never look the same again - it will never be quite as flat and shapely and unscathed as it was before - even though it will never be quite as beautiful (at least by society's standards) as it was before, I love my stretch marks. They remind me of you. They will always remind me of you. And, personally, I think that makes my stomach more beautiful than it's ever been before. Just like that little, tiny scar from the IV makes my left arm more beautiful than it ever was before your sister entered our world. I love that my body carries scars from both of my children. We will never be a complete family here on earth. We will never all be together in this lifetime. But, in a way, we will always be together because my body carries the memory of your sister, though she cannot be physically present with us. And even when you someday go off to school or move out of our home to get married, you will still be with your dad and I, too - present in the memories that my scars carry with them.

I mean it when I say that I can't wait to see your face for the first time. I can't wait to see the face of this little child who has stolen my heart and has made me fall completely in love with him. I can hardly stand the fact that I have another 3 weeks before you're due to enter the world. I can hardly stand the wait.

I love you so much more than I can say.

With All My Heart,


Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Good Morning

Hi Little Man,

I had a really good morning this morning. I didn't expect to, because I barely got any sleep last night. But, surprisingly, it was a really good morning.

Your dad and I got to have some quality time together this morning, so that was a pretty nice start to the day.

Then, we had our 36 week appointment. Everything's looking great! According to my midwife, you have dropped, which is AWESOME! I think you dropped about a week or so ago, so here's hoping that it is true that for first time moms, babies drop about 2-4 weeks before labor begins. That would mean that we only have a few weeks left - which means we're right on time and everything is going exactly as it should!

The midwife did the GBS test, so hopefully that will be negative.

She also did a cervical check and said that I'm about 50% effaced and you are between -2 and -1 position. No dilation so far. But I'm still pleased with the progress :)

After that, I went to Walmart to return something and grab a few last-minute hospital bag things. When I was checking out, the cashier was so sweet! She kept asking me all sorts of questions about when I'm due, if I'm excited, what I'm looking forward to, etc. She didn't try to offer advice. She didn't judge. She didn't overstep her bounds and ask any inappropriate questions. She was just nice, and as I left, she wished me the best of luck. And I couldn't help but smile as I walked out of the store.

Smile, because I know that you are safely tucked inside of me.

Smile, because I know that soon - very soon - I will finally get to meet you. Hold you. Kiss you. Give you a bath. Change your diaper. Rock you to sleep. Snuggle you.

Smile, because you have made my world such a beautiful place.

Smile, because I have a son.

I can hardly believe that in just a few short weeks, you will be in my arms. It's incredible.

I can't wait to meet you.

Just last night, we took the tour of the maternity care center at St. Joseph's, where you are going to enter this world. On our last hospital tour, I was by far the least pregnant woman there. This time, I was the most pregnant woman. So weird.

As we were touring the facility, I could hardly keep myself from tearing up, realizing that I will be in that place in only a few weeks to welcome you into the world, into our family, and into my life.

I can't wait until the next time I get to visit St. Joseph's, because the next time I'm there, it will be to meet you.

I love you, Baby Boy.



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

34 weeks

Hi Little One,

In exactly 3 minutes it will be Tuesday. And this Tuesday marks 34 weeks of pregnancy - wow!

That means that we are now officially at the point where my midwife will no longer try to stop the contractions if I go into labor.

That's insane.

It's insane to think that we've reached that milestone.

At this point, whenever I go into labor, you're coming - there's no trying to stop it now.

I certainly don't want you to come yet.

You still need to keep on baking for at least another three weeks. Preferably longer. But at least three more, okay?

Now don't take this the wrong way. I definitely don't want you to come later than six weeks from now! On time or a week or two early would be great in my book.

Just thought you should know what I think, in case you want to pander to my requests.

I'm definitely counting down the days until you arrive, though.

Partially because I can hardly wait to meet this little wiggly character inside of me who has already stolen my heart.

And partially because my back HURTS!

I really don't mean to complain, because I wouldn't trade you for anything.

But I won't lie - I'm looking forward to actually being able to crack my back again once you're born.

Right now, my innards are too crushed with you inside me for me to be able to crack my back. I can barely turn to either side without feeling like my ribs are about to pop out of socket, so I certainly can't turn enough to crack my back.

And my back is really starting to bother me...a lot.

Our bed doesn't help - it's a bit too soft for me, and I usually am sore and stiff by the time I wake up these days.

I honestly am terrified of chiropractors, but I'm so stiff and sore all the time nowadays that I actually have considered facing my fears and making an appointment with one.

Probably the only reason it hasn't happened is because money's very tight right now, and I'm spending any "extra" money we have on preparing for you to arrive!

Speaking of which, I'll be doing LOTS of shopping this week to get all the last minute little things that we need to have before you enter the world (like diaper wipes, for example).

In other news, tomorrow also marks our second birthing class, and I can't wait! I feel like I've just been waiting with bated breath for an entire week for our second class to arrive, so I'm very much looking forward to tomorrow evening.

Your dad is, too.

Every night, he and I read the Bible over you, and the entire time, he rubs my stomach and plays with you and talks to you. Your dad loves you so, so much. He loves to feel you move. He loves to pray over you. He loves to sing to you and talk to you and kiss you and tell you how much he loves you.

He's going to be a great dad. I just know it.

And I love watching him "interact" with you while you're inside me - it makes me all the more excited to see him meet you for the first time!

And it's so nice that he can finally experience a little bit of what I've been experiencing for so long, now that your movements are so strong.

In fact, there are a couple of spots on either side of my ribcage where you like to scrape your foot or knee or some other part of your body across my side, and it really, really, really doesn't feel good. Your dad knows where that spot is, and every time he feels you move there, he looks up at me with an expression that says, "I felt that one! Are you okay? Did it hurt?" It's really a very cute mixed expression - it's partially excited and happy that he felt you move, and partially concerned because he knows that that's a tender spot for me.

Well, Baby, that's about it on this end. Nothing too exciting. Just wanted to update you on our new milestone.

Only a few more milestones to go before you enter this world, and I finally get to meet you!



ps...It might sound silly, but every time I hear Adele's "Crazy for You," I think of you and sing along, serenading you as I think excitedly about the upcoming days where I will get to sing you to sleep. I think that just might be "our" song :) I might be crazy, Baby, but "if I am, I'm crazy for you." I love you so much.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Birthing Class

Hi Little Man,

On Tuesday night of this week, your dad and I went to our first birthing class! It seems like a huge milestone to me, because it's a five-week course and I was exactly 33 weeks on the first night of class...which means on the last night of class, I'll be exactly 37 weeks - full term! I can't believe how fast the full-term mark is's insane!

Technically, if I look back, it seems like it's been a lot longer than 3 weeks since I turned 30 weeks, but still, that full-term mark is fast approaching, and I love, love, love, love, love it!

I was definitely one of the two most-pregnant women in the class. They don't let you take a class that ends when you are more than 37 weeks pregnant, so we really pretty much cut it as close as possible.

As far as I could tell, there was only one other woman in the class due in April - the rest are due in May or June. So weird!

It feels especially funny, because the last time we did anything like this was when we took a tour of the maternity wing of the hospital in Boston (long before we decided to move). At that tour, I was by far the LEAST-pregnant woman. I was about 14 weeks, I think, and everyone else was in the late-20s to 30s. It's weird to be on the opposite end of the spectrum this time around.

I'll admit, it bothers me a little bit that I'm one of the most pregnant women, because (not that it should matter what anyone else thinks), I hate the idea that the other class members (and there are a lot of them!) will think that we just don't care and procrastinated or something. Anyone who knows anything about me would know that I would never procrastinate something like this. In fact, I probably would have been one of the first in line to sign up for this class, had I known about it sooner! But alas, because of the nature of our move being so late in my pregnancy and so last-minute, it caused us to sign up later than I would have hoped for the class. I guess it ultimately doesn't matter, because I should just be grateful that they had an opening in the class and we're able to take it at all, but I feel like I should explain myself to the other mothers so they don't think I'm a slacker!

The class itself was I said, larger than I expected. So far, we haven't really learned anything that I didn't already know from the hours of research and the three books that I've been reading concerning labor and delivery. BUT, the second half of the class was all about practicing relaxation and breathing techniques, and that was AWESOME! Again, not a ton of new information there (in theatre classes, like I've taken in the past, you often use relaxation and breathing techniques similar to those used in birthing classes as a way to calm yourself and focus), but life has been so stressful recently that it was really nice to actually have an hour set aside to actually use some of those techniques. It really did help me to feel more relaxed. Seriously, if they offered a birthing class that ONLY did that sort of stuff, I'd be all about it!

Your dad definitely enjoyed it, too. I'm glad that the class will be addressing the role of support people in labor and delivery, because both your dad and I want him to be actively involved in your birth, but I'm sure, without having been involved in a birth before, it's hard to know how to be as helpful as possible. This class will help him figure out how he can be as helpful and as active as possible.

The only thing about the class that really surprised me had to do with some of the expectations that women have concerning labor. When we first got to the class, the instructor had women share some of the words, images, and thoughts that come to mind when they hear the word "labor." To be honest, the words that come to mind for me are "peace," "calm," "assurance," "trust," "joy," "excitement," etc. When I think of labor, I think of a soothing, dimly-lit environment with calming music on in the background. I think of trusting my body to know what to do and simply allowing it to work in the way that it was designed by God to work. I think of trusting the process of labor, with the assurance that it was designed by a good, loving God who only wants the best for me. And I think of the end result - namely, you, sweet boy - and the joy and excitement that will come with holding you and seeing your face for the first time. This is what I think of.

Well, maybe I'm nuts (or just really lucky, actually), because there were very few positive images and words that were tossed out there by the other women. Most of them were things like "terrified," "nervous," "pain," and "freaked out." Only a couple of positive words made it onto the board, like "adventure," and only one of the positive words ("life") came from a mom. The rest of the positive words came from the dads and other support people in the room.

The words were so different from mine that I was almost embarrassed to even participate, so I didn't. I could just picture saying my word, "calm" or "peace," and having the heads of 30 people whip around to see who the crazy person in the back of the room is and to assess whether she poses any threat of going psycho at some point during the evening. So, I just kept my words to myself, delighted to know that my picture of labor is not one of being terrified and doubled-over in pain and angry and freaked out. No, not at all.

Of course, there's no way to know how I will react when I do actually go into labor, but at least for now, the idea of labor doesn't cause me any stress or fear. Right now, it just causes me excitement and anticipation. And it doesn't get much better than that! I'm so glad that I can look forward to your birth without any negative emotions, fears, or feelings holding me back from experiencing the complete and total anticipation and joy that I want to feel, that I should feel, when thinking about meeting my son for the very first time.

What a blessing!

I thank God with every fiber of my being that he has given me this assurance. I wouldn't have it without him.

I love you, Baby Boy - keep on growing strong!



Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Random Act of Kindness

Hi Baby,

I got to go out to dinner tonight with a dear friend of mine.

When it was time to get our bill, the waitress came up and told us, "The older couple who was sitting across from you has already paid your bill for you, so you're good to go."

And my friend and I just looked at each other. "Really?" we both asked incredulously.

"Yeah," said the waitress, "Do you know them?"



I have never had something like that happen to me before in my life.

It is such a small thing, really. It wasn't like we were at a four star restaurant and our bill was $80. But still. A random couple decided to pay for us.

I have no idea why they would choose to do such a kind thing to us.

Maybe it was because they saw us pray before the meal and, as my friend suggested, it inspired them to do the KTIS Friday challenge - which is apparently where KTIS (a local radio station) challenges its listeners to pay for a strangers bill when they are out to eat or to pay the bill for the person behind them in the drive-thru at a fast food or coffee joint.

Or maybe I was talking way too loudly about some of the trials that are facing me right now, and they felt bad for the obviously pregnant woman who is clearly down on her luck recently.

Or maybe it was for a completely unrelated reason.

But the reason doesn't really matter.

All that matters is that their small act of kindness seriously made my day.

It might sound silly, but I've been feeling like a zombie a lot recently - both from lack of sleep and from general emotional and physical weariness.

But their kindness made me feel like a human being again for once.

And it reminded me that there are kind people out there who are willing to help someone out when they can - even someone they've never met before.

I wish we could've thanked them, but they had already left by the time we found out they paid for our meal. They probably wanted it that way. They probably wanted to remain anonymous. But I sure wish I could hug them and tell them how much their kindness meant to me.

It may seem like I'm taking it way overboard, but I can hardly keep from tearing up as I write this. They made me feel loved, and important, and special, and human again for the first time in quite a while. And I think it made such an impact on me because of the very fact that they were - that they are - complete strangers. Yes, of course, my friends make me feel human and make me feel loved all the time. But sometimes their love and kindness doesn't always get through to my heart because of all of the other difficulties that are going on around me right now. It's easy to not let that love and kindness sink in because they're my friends, so of course they love me and are kind to me!

But when someone I don't even know chooses to go out of their way to show me kindness and love, to make me feel like a human being - well, that's something very, very special. And it is impossible for that not to touch my heart.

It's so easy for us to get caught up in our busy lives, Baby. You won't really understand that for several years, because when you're young, all that matters is your toys and friends and having time to play and explore the world. It's all so wonderful when you're young. But as you get older, you, just like all of the rest of us, will get caught up in the busyness of the world - doing homework, being involved in extracurriculars like sports and playing instruments, spending time with friends, doing chores around the house. And that's normal. It's normal to get caught up in the busyness.

But I hope that in those times, you will not forget that it doesn't take much to make someone else's day a little brighter. It can be as simple as a smile. It can be as easy as helping someone pick up some papers that they dropped. It can be as basic as giving a compliment to someone. It can be as rudimentary as paying for someone else's bill at a drive-thru or restaurant. I hope that I don't forget that either.

Because as basic as these little acts of kindness can be for you, they can be life-altering for the person you do them for.

To the couple who paid for our dinner this evening: Thank you. You have absolutely no idea how much that act of kindness meant to me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I love you, sweet Boy,


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Good Job!

Hi Baby,

Just wanted to tell you how proud I am of you - I had another prenatal appointment today, and it looks like you decided to start making some moves, because it seems that you are no longer breech. Keep up the good work!

You're not quite in position yet, but you have time, and I'm just glad that you're on the move :)

Keep up the good work!

Also, I have a confession to make.

I have gone a bit nuts contacting craigslist people for baby stuff.

I'm really shocked to admit this.

I never thought it would happen to me.

Because I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE craigslist - for very good reasons, too.

But, as it turns out, craigslist is a great place to get some of the more expensive baby items that we absolutely must have when you arrive (an infant car seat, for example...which, by the way, is being picked up by your dad's dad today on his way home from work!) without having to spend an arm and a leg.

And since I am currently more broke than I have ever been in my life (college included), this is a big deal.

A very big deal.

I am buying a Baby K'Tan on Friday from a craigslist person.

The car seat (NEVER BEEN USED, the EXACT type I registered for, and $80 cheaper than purchasing it in store!!!) is coming today - again, a craigslist find.

I am currently working on setting up a meeting time/place to purchase a breast pump from another craigslist ad.

I'm in the process of purchasing a nursing cover from someone else on craigslist - though we're in a bit of a waiting game, because she also has lots of gently used 3-6 month summer baby boy clothes (which should be the perfect fit for you!), and once she sends me pictures, I'll decide which items of clothing, if any, I want to invest in as well before going to pick up the nursing cover.

And I'm still waiting to hear back from the Snap & Go people I emailed about their ads.

The only thing that has fallen through so far is that I contacted someone about a barely used playard (again, the exact one I wanted to get for you in lieu of a bassinet) one day too late, and they had already sold it :(

But, overall, I'm doing pretty well. After all of these purchases (not including the clothing/nursing cover and snap & go, because I'm still waiting on hearing about those options), I will have spent about $300 (which includes the cost of replacing the parts on the breast pump that I need to replace for sanitary reasons) on stuff that would have cost me a total of $550 (not including tax). WOW! Basically half price!

It's not like I'm getting over my aversion to craigslist.

I still hate it.

But even the devil has a role to play in this world, so why shouldn't craigslist :)

Love you lots,


Saturday, February 26, 2011


Hi Little Man,

I have a lot of difficult decisions to make these days. And for someone who's already indecisive to begin with (even in small decisions, like which restaurant to go to for dinner), these big, life-altering, world-changing decisions are almost impossible.

In some ways, I'm far too cognitive for my own good.

I go over all of the options again and again and again.

I go over all of the possible outcomes again and again and again.

I think through every single possibility and all of its ramifications again and again and again.

And then I start all over again.

Even if I can narrow it down to two or three options, I will waffle between those options for days or weeks or even months.

Because I am so very aware of all of the possible negative outcomes of my decisions.

Because of my aforementioned cognitive nature.

In some ways, I must think that I can control the world, and if I only make the right decision, everything will be fine. I guess maybe I forget that there are other people out there who have just as much free will as me, and just as much ability to affect the outcome of my decision as I do.

But that doesn't change the fact that I take my decisions so, so seriously.

I really come to the point with big decisions like the ones I'm facing right now where I am literally consumed by the options. I just obsess over every minute detail for hours and hours and hours every single day, until I make my final decision.

And now, with you in the picture, these decisions are even more crucial to me. I have even more of a desire to make the right choice. Because my decisions these days not only affect me, but they affect you. I could not only really mess up my life, but I could mess up yours. And that knowledge is more terrifying and sobering than I can possibly explain.

All this to say that I just want you to know that I will never take any decision that affects you lightly.

I need you to know, Baby, that everything I do is for you. Everything.

Even when it may seem like I made the wrong choice, - even when you aren't happy with the decisions I make - you need to know that I made that choice because in my heart of hearts I thought it was best for you. And I want nothing but the very best for you. I want to make your life as perfect as I can. I want you to have everything. I would give you the world if I could. I truly mean that, Baby, from the very depths of my soul.

So please forgive me, Son, if sometimes I don't make the right decision. Please forgive me if someday many years down the road, you look back and realize that you wish I would have done it differently. Please forgive me if, when you look back over your life, you come to the conclusion that some of my choices weren't the best. And please give me the benefit of the doubt, knowing that even when the outcome doesn't turn out as well as I'd hoped or expected, even when it seems like I didn't take you or your feelings into consideration, even when you think I should have gone about things differently, every single decision I made was made with the belief that my choice was in your best interest. Every single decision was made with the intention of doing right by you. Every single decision was made with the intention of making your life the best it could possibly be.

Please, please forgive me, Sweet Boy, if I don't do everything right...when I don't do everything right. And please know that I have only your very best interest at heart.

I'm so sorry that I can't make your life perfect. I'm so sorry that I can't protect you from the hard, hurtful things that happen in this world. I'm so sorry that I can't be perfect for you. I'm so, so sorry.

Please forgive me.

And please know, Baby, that I do love you more than I can say, that I do want the very best for you, and that for the rest of my life, I will fight for you. I will fight for you to have the very best that the world has to offer. I will fight for you to have the very best childhood that you can. I will fight for you to have a life full of opportunity. I will fight for you to grow up in the safest, most secure, stablest, happiest, healthiest environment possible.

I will fight for you.

I am fighting for you.

I love you so, so much.

With Love,


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Trust & Hope

Hi Baby,

Sometimes it is really hard to trust God, Baby. Sometimes you're at such a difficult place that, no matter what your moral standards about language usage may be, you honestly cannot stop yourself from letting out a, "What the f*** is going on?!?" or "How the f*** did this happen?!?" I sincerely hope that you never find yourself in a situation that makes it impossible for you to stop yourself from using such strong language. But, since we do live in a very fallen world, unfortunately, I think you will probably understand what I mean and where I'm coming from someday when you're much older. And those times, - the ones that absolutely require you to drop the f-bomb throughout the day...and where you don't even feel guilty about using that kind of language afterwards because that's how messed up everything is - those are the times when it is really hard to trust God and to have any hope that things could ever be better.

Believe me.

I know.

From experience.

But you know what else I know from experience?

I know that even in the worst possible circumstances, God is still faithful. Now I'm not always able to accept that to be true quite that easily when my world is crashing down around me. But that doesn't change the fact that I know it to be true. We may never understand why God allows bad things to happen to us this side of heaven. But I can guarantee you that if we remain faithful here on earth, once we make it to those pearly gates, it will all make sense. We will be able to see the good that came out of our suffering. And sometimes, if we're truly lucky, God will even reveal some of that good to us right here while we're on earth. I've actually been blessed enough to be able to see good come out of almost all of the really sad circumstances I've faced in my life. And maybe God revealed some of those things to me on purpose, knowing that I would need to have that physical proof to look back on to continue to trust him in my current circumstances.

Nonetheless, even though I know that God is still faithful, it doesn't make things any easier.

Or maybe it does.

I honestly can't say for sure, because I've never had to be in very difficult circumstances without the knowledge that God would remain faithful to me. I've never not had that hope to cling to.

And yet, like I said, even with this knowledge, it doesn't always make me feel better. Sometimes I just want God to make it all stop. I just want him to save me from my circumstances. And I get incredibly, raging angry that he doesn't.

And then, when I've told people that, as I put it, "God and I aren't on speaking terms right now," so many people scold me. "Don't take it out on God. Don't be angry at him. He didn't make this happen. He isn't to blame. You need to trust him." And honestly, hearing those things only makes me feel worse. Like I'm failing somehow by being honest about my feelings. But you know what? I'd rather be honest about being angry at God than pretend that God and I are skipping through a field of roses together because what God wants most is my heart. He doesn't want my masks or my fake smiles or my Christianese. He wants my heart. So when, in my heart, I am furious at God, I'd rather show him that than a bunch of smiles and positive attitudes that are total bologna. And in the end, God can handle my anger. He's not going to throw in the towel. He's not going to be angry with me. He's not going to take off and run away. Hence, God is FAITHFUL, no matter what the circumstances.

All this to say, Baby, that I'm mad at God right now. And that's okay. And you will have days in your life...or maybe even weeks or months...where you are mad at God. And it will be okay then, too.

Because your anger does not negate his faithfulness. Praise God for that! Otherwise, we'd all be screwed (pardon my French).

You may ask where all of this talk of God's faithfulness is coming from, since I haven't really been talking much about God lately (due to the aforementioned anger). Well, the other night, on my way to my friends' house (thanks for having me over!), I was listening to Kristene Mueller, and two of her songs just jumped out at me. The lyrics were so beautiful, so simple, so true, and so exactly what I needed to hear exactly when I needed to hear it. And those lyrics gave me hope and renewed in me a sense of God's faithfulness, because those songs reminded me that even in the darkest circumstances, God is still faithful (as he has proven to me time and again) and that no situation is too far gone for him to redeem.

For both of the songs, I would highly recommend looking them up and listening to them beyond just reading the lyrics, but nonetheless, here they are. I have italicized the lyrics that are most meaningful to me right now. Both songs are from the "Those Who Dream," and they happen to be the first two songs on the cd.

The first song is called Trust:

"It's the sweetest thing
To trust You
Just to know
You've got everything
Under control

It's the sweetest thing
To trust You
Just to know
You've got everything

And You are making me a mountain
Making me a mountain
That cannot be shaken
Oh You are making me a mountain
Making me a mountain
That cannot be moved

High up
On the rock
Looking out at the horizon
Watching as the storm rolls in
Wondering if my heart will survive it
As the waves crash all around me
And I can't remember what it feels like to be free

I know you're making me a mountain
Making me a mountain
That cannot be shaken
Oh You are making me a mountain
Making me a mountain
That cannot be moved

You say, "I've got you, My Baby.
Oh, I've got you.
It's quite the mess you're in
But it's nothing love can't fix
So sit here upon my shoulders
And watch as it all unwinds."

You are making me a mountain
Making me a mountain
That cannot be shaken
I know You're making me a mountain
Making me a mountain
That cannot be moved

I know You're making me a mountain
Making me a mountain
That cannot be shaken
You are making me a mountain
Making me a mountain
That cannot be moved."

So, Baby, just remember that God's always got your back. He can fix even the worst of circumstances, and through those circumstances, he can make you a mountain that cannot be maybe when the next storm rolls in, it won't look quite so intimidating after all.

The other song is called Redemption:

"The darker the night, the brighter the day
The fiercer the fight, the stronger the faith
So I place my hope in You

The deeper the sin, the stronger the blood
The more to forgive, the more reason to love
So I place my trust in You

In Your ways, oh God,
Redemption is so much better than perfection
In your ways, oh God

Over and over
You prove Yourself faithful
Over and over
You prove Yourself a Redeemer

The darker the night, the brighter the day
The fiercer the fight, the stronger the faith
So I place my hope in You

In Your ways, oh God,
Redemption is so much better than perfection
In Your ways, oh God,
Redemption is so much better than perfection
In Your ways, oh God

Over and over, You prove Yourself faithful
Over and over, You prove Yourself a Redeemer

In Your ways I have
Redemption so much better than perfection
So I place all my hope in You

Over and over
Over and over
Over and over, You prove yourself faithful
Over and over
Over and over
Over and over, You prove yourself a redeemer

The darker the night, the brighter the day
The fiercer the fight, the stronger the faith
The deeper the sin, the stronger the blood
The more to forgive, the more reason to love"

All this to say, Baby, that I truly hope that you will come to know and believe that God is faithful always, that he will always redeem your circumstances, and that he will never, ever leave you or forget about you. Even when it doesn't feel like he is there or like he cares, he is there and he loves you more than anyone ever could. And that says a lot coming from me, because I can't imagine anyone loving you more than I do, but God's love for you is deeper than mine could ever be. It's incredible, really.

All My Love,


Saturday, February 19, 2011

One more request

Hi Sweet Boy,

Just one more quick request...could you please stop kicking my ribs?

I mean, I LOVE feeling you move, but every time you kick my ribs, it feels like you're going to knock one of them out of socket - you're really getting strong!

Anyway, if you feel your movements must involve kicking my ribcage, then so be it. Just thought I'd mention it, just in case. Especially since you've got another 10ish weeks left in there, and I have a feeling that your kicks could get a lot stronger before your make your grand entrance into the world.

Think about it.

The Owner of the Ribcage You Like to Kick,


Friday, February 18, 2011

Test Results & Other Updates

Hi Baby,

I finally had my first actual check-up at the new clinic - yay! I really like it and think it will be a good fit for us.

They checked my iron levels and tested me for gestational diabetes, and both tests came back perfect - yay again!

We are also at the point now where I'm going to be going in for check-ups every two weeks, instead of every four weeks - triple yay! I love that it's only been a couple of days since my last check-up, and already I only have another week and a half to wait until I get to go in for a check-up again! I don't think I'll ever get tired of getting to go to my prenatal appointments :)

The only complaint I have, little one, is that they tell me that you are still head-up. That's not good! My midwife said that most babies will turn by 32 weeks, so that only gives you a week and a half to turn your little self around before I start getting worried. After all, if you wait too much longer, you'll be too big to turn!

And I really don't want to have them tell me I can't give birth naturally because you're in the wrong position, so can you please do me a tiny little favor and flip yourself around? I'd be very, very appreciative. Your kicks and punches are starting to get a little strong sometimes - I've even let out a little "ouch!" here and there - so I know you have the muscle power to do it!

Anyway, just thought I'd make you aware of my little request.

I love you so very much, Baby!

All My Love,


Monday, February 14, 2011

30 Weeks & So Excited!

Dear Baby Boy,

30 weeks already! Well, technically it will be 30 weeks come tomorrow, but close enough...

I just can't believe that we've made it to 30 weeks. I can't believe that we're 3/4 of the way through this pregnancy. It has gone SO fast. I'm totally amazed.

I have to say, Little One, that I am so incredibly excited to meet you...I can't even express how impatient I am to have you in my arms.

I've been excited to meet you this whole time, of course...but for some reason, in the past couple of weeks, my excitement has made it to a whole new level.

There's absolutely no way to put into words my complete and utter anticipation for your arrival.

Now don't take that the wrong way - you still need to keep cooking for another 8-10 weeks (though I'd rather it that you don't keep cooking any longer than that...). But those 8-10 weeks CANNOT GO FAST ENOUGH!!!

Now, I know that these past 30 weeks have already gone super fast, so I'm sure that the next 8-10 weeks will also go very fast...but right now, it seems like an ETERNITY until you arrive.

At the same time, I still can't believe we're already at 30 weeks! I can't believe I only have to wait another 10ish weeks to meet you. I can't believe that I will be a mom in less than 3 months. I can't believe that in less than 3 months...closer to 2 months, really...I will get to hold you, rock you to sleep, bathe you, even change your diaper.

I can't believe how crazy blessed I am to be able to have you in my life, to be able to call you my son, to be able to take care of you and love you and raise you.

You are such a blessing to me.

I love you so very much.

And I'm just praying that the next 8-10 weeks go by at lightning speed!

Love Always,


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Something Beautiful

Hi Baby Boy,

It's been a very difficult week...again.

There were lots of very sad things that happened this week.

This Wednesday was a horrible, horrible day. The worst of my life. It was bad for a lot of reasons, but then, on top of everything else, I had a scare with you.

On Wednesday afternoon, after one of those "very sad things" happened, I was crying...sobbing, really. I have never, ever cried that hard in my life. I literally lost control of my body and was unable to stop myself. I was hyperventilating and letting out these deep, wracking sobs that started at the core of my being and rocked my entire body. I've never experienced anything like it. And I couldn't stop myself for about an hour.

I was trying so hard to stop myself, Little One, because I know that it's not good for you when I get stressed or upset, but like I said, I literally had no control of my body or emotions.

Luckily, a former L&D nurse was nearby, and she took care of me. While I cried, she rubbed my stomach and talked softly to you, and after a while, she was finally able to get me to calm down.

But when I did, my stomach felt...different.

I don't know how to describe it.

It was just an ominous way.

My entire abdomen felt really tight, and I started getting some sharp, shooting pains between my belly button and pelvis.

And it took every fiber of my being to not panic...especially since you were hardly moving.

Your movements are normally quite forceful, quite strong. But your movements that afternoon after I stopped crying were so weak and slow. I was absolutely sure that I had hurt you.

The L&D nurse had my lay down, and she examined my stomach. She was able to determine that I wasn't having contractions, and the pain was just from my muscles beginning to loosen as I calmed down, as they had tensed up quite a bit when I was crying.

She made me feel a little better, but I really didn't fully find comfort until I felt you move with your normal force later that evening.

And I can't tell you how very, very relieved I was. I was so afraid I had injured you, or worse. For a moment, I honestly thought that I may have killed you. Praise God that you're still okay! In fact, as I type this, you're beginning to perform your normal nightly acrobatics. Something I look forward to every single day, as it assures me that all is well in uterus-land.

Anyway, the point of all of this is to tell you how very, very blessed I feel to have you in my life.
Right now, the future seems so bleak, so unsure, so scary. Yet in the midst of all of the tragedy and pain and sadness, you are the one thing in the future that I am looking forward to.

I cannot express to you how unbelievably excited I am to meet you in less than three months. I can't wait to hold you. I can't wait to kiss your hands, your nose, your forehead. I can't wait to caress your head...and I wonder if there'll be any hair up there to play with. I can't wait to look into your face. I can't wait to rock you to sleep. I just can't wait.

And so, as I hold on to the hope that your nearing arrival brings me, I can't help but think of Great Big Sea's song "Something Beautiful" - it so perfectly explains how I'm feeling about life right now:

"Hey you, you lost your only friend
You can't believe your broken heart will ever mend
But every mountain has its faces
That'd make you want to stop
On this so unwelcome journey
From the bottom to the top

You've got to
Move along
I believe there's something beautiful to see
Move along
I believe there's something beautiful
Move along
I believe there's something beautiful
Just waiting for you and me

I know
You'll never count the tears you've cried
Though you've asked a million questions
No one could tell you why
A single soul is chosen to be the one put to the test
But there will be some consolation for a heart that never rests

You've got to
Move along
I believe there's something beautiful to see
Move along
I believe there's something beautiful
Move along
I believe there's something beautiful

The years will make us older
The winters make us colder
And there's one more thing I've come to know for sure
There's no bitterness that smolders, no chip on any shoulder
That a random act of kindness couldn't cure

Hey you, you lost your only friend
You can't believe your broken heart will ever mend
But every mountain has its faces
That'd make you want to stop
On this never-ending journey
From the bottom to the top

You've got to
Move along

Move along
I believe there's something beautiful to see
Move along
I believe there's something beautiful
Move along
I believe there's something beautiful
I believe there's something beautiful
Just waiting for you and me"

I especially love the second verse:

"I know
You'll never count the tears you've cried
Though you've asked a million questions
No one could tell you why
A single soul is chosen to be the one put to the test
But there will be some consolation for a heart that never rests"

That's how I feel right now. Right now, Little Boy, I have reached one of those faces on this mountain of life that makes me want to stop. I've cried countless tears, and I have so many "why" questions that no one can answer for me this side of heaven. I don't know why I'm one of those "single souls" that has been chosen to be tested so many times in so many ways. But I'm holding on to the hope that "there will be some consolation for the heart that never rests."

So I'm not going to rest, Baby. I'm not going to give up. I'm going to continue to move along.

Because if there's one thing I've learned throughout my life, it's the really difficult times in life that make the beautiful, joyous times all the sweeter. And it's those times in life when you are able to lean back, relax, and realize that everything in your life is absolutely perfect, if only for a moment, that make the struggles worthwhile. It is worth going through valleys to make it to the mountain peaks. And I say that from experience.

So, even in this very, very difficult time in my life, I am holding my head up and moving along. Because I do believe that there will be "something beautiful" to see. In fact, I know that there will be "something beautiful" to And if there are any other additional "something beautiful"s to see, well, then that's just icing on the cake. But you, sweet little boy, - just being your mom, getting to carry you, and looking forward to meeting you in three months - are enough of a "something beautiful" for me to know that this journey will be worth it in the end.

I love you more than I can say.

Thank you for being my "something beautiful" to look forward to in the midst of the storm and for showing up just when I needed you most.

All My Love,


Saturday, January 22, 2011

A New Milestone

Hi Little Boy,

Well, we've reached a new milestone in this pregnancy...stretch marks.

I noticed two possible stretch marks about a week and a half ago, but they were in a very difficult to see spot, so I wasn't sure that I was right.

Well, they've developed in that time frame, and now I'm sure of it. Plus, they've been joined by two friends.

They aren't anything like I expected. I figured that my first pregnancy-related stretch marks would show up kind of on my side and would be horizontal.

No dice.

These ones, in case you're interested, are between my belly button and my pelvis, right at the bottom of my baby bump, and are vertical.

Not at all what I expected.

They're my first vertical stretch marks on my stomach. I had plenty already from growth spurts when I was a teen (I've always been thin, but I've still got curves), and I guess I just expected that my pregnancy stretch marks would be similar to my growth spurt stretch marks.

I really don't mind it at all. (1) I know that many women get stretch marks a lot sooner than this (and get a lot more than I've gotten). And (2) getting a baby out of the deal makes the whole thing way more than worth it. So I've got no complaints.

In other news, the other night, you were moving around like CRAZY. Seriously, more than ever before. You weren't only kicking and punching, but I could feel you rolling and twisting and moving from one side of my stomach to the other (and dragging your sweet little hands and feet from one side of my stomach to the other).

There was this one moment where you must have been pressing against my stomach with not only a hand or foot, but also with your entire arm or leg. I could actually feel the outline of it through my stomach. And as I outlined your arm or leg (it's a bit hard to tell which!), you stayed in that position for a minute, and then started moving it - it was like I was tickling you or something...

It was probably the coolest thing I've experienced so far in pregnancy...actually, in life. It felt like I was interacting with you or playing with you for the first time. It felt like our first real connection.

It was absolutely amazing.

I can't even describe the joy that I felt in outlining your perfect little arm or leg.

And I just had to sit there and thank God for this little miracle inside of me and for the honor of being your mother.

I just wish with all my heart that your dad could have been there to experience it.

Next time you want to get all worked up, wait until your dad is around - he would love to experience something like that...almost as much as he loves you :)

And I love you, too, Baby.

Sweet Dreams,


Tuesday, January 18, 2011


My sweet little Boy,

I can't believe how long it has been since I wrote to you last...about five weeks. I'm 26 weeks today, and my last note to you was when I was 20 weeks, 4 days. It's incredible how much has happened since then.

It's been a very difficult season of time. The holidays were really hard - lots of not fun stuff going on. They were emotional and stressful and tiring and depressing. Not at all how I had hoped this Christmas would be.

But you, dear Little One, are the bright spot in all of the darkness. You are the joy in the midst of the pain. You are the hope and faith the size of a mustard seed when everything else seems to be falling apart and I'm surrounded by hopelessness and despair. Never, ever doubt that I love you. Never, ever doubt how very glad, proud, and blessed I am to be your momma.

Because of all of the not good stuff that has been going on, your dad and I decided over Christmas break that we needed to move back home to Minnesota from Boston. The decision was made very quickly, and I know it seemed rushed and unexpected to so many of our family members and friends. But, in the end, every single person we talked to about our move back, with one notable exception, was incredibly supportive and, even without knowing all of the reasoning behind our move, knew that we were making the right decision.

So, we got back from Christmas at home on January 3rd and spent the next week and a half canceling student loans for the next semester, withdrawing as students from school, getting out of our lease, getting medical records from the birth center we've been going to, packing all of our stuff, quitting our jobs, etc.

Not to mention that I got very sick the day after we got back (It's actually kind of a funny and embarrassing story. We got back from Christmas break knowing that we had absolutely zero food in the house [we had eaten pretty much everything before we left so nothing would go bad]. So, we decided to get up in the morning, go to McDonald's for breakfast [I love egg mcmuffins!], go grocery shopping, and then start working through the menagerie of tasks that needed to be completed for us to move. But we failed to remember that Boston got a lot of snow while we were gone and that our cars would be completely snowed [and plowed] in. And we don't have a shovel. So I stood at a distance while your dad manually [with his hands and feet] attempted to unbury my car for about 20 minutes. He was getting frustrated and the car was still stuck. And I was starting to feel weak from not eating and from standing in the snow for 20 minutes. So I decided to walk up the hill [a short distance, really] to one of our school's buildings, drop off my library books, and stop by the cafeteria so I could at least eat a muffin or something. By the time I made it to the end of the parking lot, I knew it was a terrible idea, but I felt too stupid to turn back. I made it only another 30 or 40 feet, maybe, when I started blacking out and got really weak, nauseous, and dizzy. I threw my school books and my purse on the ground and fell over. And then, when I was able to see clearly again and such, I had to decide what to do next. Should I call your dad and say, "Without a car, there's not much you can do to help me, but just so you know, I just blacked out on the hill and am now sitting on the ground surrounded by my library books and the contents of my purse?" Should I wait for him to get the car out of the parking lot and find me? Should I sit here for a few minutes and then try to get up and continue my journey? In the course of this mental dilemma, about 4 cars passed me by. Then, just as I was about to call your dad, a plow truck with three gentlemen pulled up. They rolled down a window and tentatively asked, "Are you okay?" To which I replied, "-ish." They jumped out of the plow truck, helped me into it, and gave me a ride up to the buildings...which really wasn't that far away. On the way, I told them what had happened and that I am pregnant. I also mentioned that about 4 cars had already passed me by. To which they replied, "When we first saw you, we thought you were praying. We probably would have passed you by, too, if it had been spring, but we figured it might be a bit too cold to be praying outside, so we should stop and make sure you were okay." Haha! I wish the reason I was horizontal on the side of the road was because I was praying! When we got to the buildings, one of the guys returned my library books for me while another escorted me into the cafeteria so I could get something to eat. Then, all of them went down to the parking lot where your dad was still working at the car to tell him what had happened. Luckily, by the time they got down there, he had gotten the car out of the parking lot, so he was able to come up and get me right away. I felt so silly and embarrassed. I really should have been able to walk farther than that. When people try to give me special treatment because I'm pregnant, I normally tell them, "Don't worry, I'm okay. I'm not fragile yet!" But I guess I'm more fragile than I thought. Anyway, I never really recovered from feeling like I was going to pass out that day...for the next 4 or 5 hours, the feeling that if I moved, I would either black out, throw up, or do some sort of combination of the two lingered on. It was a bummer, but your dad got a lot that we needed to done while I stayed home and laid on the couch.)

In the midst of all this craziness, we also, of course, were trying to see all of our friends in the area one last time, too, so I really barely had a moment where I felt like I could breathe.

Your dad flew out on the 10th, and his mom flew in a few hours later. She helped me finish packing and cleaning for the next few days. Your dad's dad was supposed to come in on the 13th, but his flight got cancelled due to a massive snow storm...really, truly the biggest storm I had ever seen in Boston. (I finally got to witness a Nor'easter!) So, he flew in on the 14th, instead. Then, on the way back from the airport, we picked up the U-Haul. When we got to the apartment, we loaded everything up (thanks to help from a few friends), finished cleaning, and started the drive back.

We made it in to MN on the 15th, unloaded the U-Haul on the 16th, and have gotten a bit more settled yesterday and today.

It's just been a the midst of lots of crazy.

But, thank God, we made it home safely, and now it's on to the search for a new church, a new birthing center and/or ob-gyn clinic, an apartment, jobs, etc. As well as finishing up a couple of online courses from the fall that are still lingering around (luckily, I have until mid-March to finish them).

I don't foresee things slowing down for about a month.

And, quite frankly, I don't foresee things slowing down even then, since I'll be about 7 months pregnant at that point and probably frantically trying to prepare for your arrival, Dear One, and for all that that entails.

And then, only a couple months later, you'll be joining us, and life will never be the same again.

I feel like I just need a moment to breathe.

On a different (and more joyful) note, you are continuing to grow and develop exactly as you should. And all of those muscle spasms and twitches I was feeling were without a doubt you! So, I guess I started feeling you move around 15 weeks and didn't even know it! It honestly doesn't feel any different now. Your kicks and punches still feel like muscle twitches. Except that now they sometimes attack my organs. You really are a squirmy little guy!

You pretty much are ALWAYS moving in the morning, trying to hurry your likes-to-linger-in-bed-in-the-morning-momma to get you some food. You usually move quite a bit at night, too. Sometimes it's while I watch tv or read before bed; sometimes it's as I'm trying to fall asleep. And, of course, throughout the day, you usually have one or two active times.

I just love, love, love feeling you move!

I've also gotten to the point where I can not only feel kicks and punches, but I've been able to feel you turn over a couple of times, and I've even felt you move an arm or leg from one side of my stomach all the way across to the other side. It's such a funny feeling!

Thank you, sweet Baby, for bringing me so much joy in the midst of so much pain. Thank you for being my silver lining.

I can't wait to meet you in about 3 months, Baby; I love you so, so very much.



ps...I FINALLY updated the stomach pictures under the "Baby Bump!" section. I'm pretty sure the last picture I posted was from 17ish weeks, so there's a HUGE difference in how I look now as compared to then. Plus, I finally got your ultrasound pictures up, too!