4 months has come so fast!

This weekend sweet Eden Rose will be 4 months.  It has been 4 months of near perfect bliss.  Truly, I could not feel more fortunate, more blessed.  I have cherished each and every moment with our girl and am trying to not DREAD going back to work next week.  This maternity leave has been a busy one.  My mom stayed with us for about 3 of the 4 months.  We sold our old home, bought a new one and moved.  My brother moved in with us and is between careers and is here for an indefinite amount of time. We traveled to Washington a few times…one time I drove the 8 hours all by myself.  That was CRAZY!  I would pump as a drive.  (Thanks to FABULOUS pumping bras)  Then we would stop at Starbucks and each get the refreshment we needed from the long drive.  Her some milk, me a little chai!  It was a LOT of work by myself at 2 months.  The weather was HOT, spit up and constipation in full swing…the smells of sour milk and sweat drove me home early.  But nonetheless, I have no regrets for how these past 4 months have gone.  I feel so blessed.  The word CHERISH has been my mantra.  Lately, each morning, we just snug and snuggle as long as possible.  She is an awesome sleeper, sleeping from 8:30p – 7…then I wake her up (or daddy wakes her up…we often sneak her up a bit earlier, just aching to see our little girl), feed her and then she and I will snuggle in bed for another 2 hours before feeding her in bed and determining that I really should probably get up!  I just love those moments together.  Her turned towards me.  She will just stare into my eyes and do her sweet blinking thing, making cooing noises and smile at me.  MELTS my heart! How precious these mornings are to me!   I realize that we it won’t always be this easy, that we will probably have some regression once I go back to work or she begins teething or something…but for now, I am CHERISHING! : ) 

Our new house is a blessing out of my wildest dreams.  God just blessed us so much and things just all fell into place so perfectly.  It is truly my dream home and could be our forever home…with so much potential to grow with the ever changing needs of our family.  For now its perfect, we have our space and my brother also has plenty of space to make his own.  

I am getting back into wood working and am LOVING it!  We have boughten quite a few power tools and I am just getting so excited about the long list of projects I want to build.  Currently, I am working on a dining room table.  A modified version of THIS table:  Image

Thank you http://www.shanty-2-chic.com.  It has been SO fun to get back into the swing of things.  I am making a 2 base, shorter version of this table and have all the pieces for the bases done.  Yesterday, I began to assemble it.  It has been an awesome creative outlet for me.  I have not had any sort of a hobby for years and I am so excited to furnish our home with handmade creations at an affordable price!

Also, I can HARDLY wait to get started on our next baby and would already be pursuing it had our RE not recommended that year long wait.  I just LOVE it so much and really hope God blesses us with a houseful.  I know it would be completely chaotic, but I just LOVE loving on these little persons of our own making.  We have quite a few embryos, so I am just excited and hopeful about what is in store for us.  

Anyway, over these past 4 months, I have started at least 10 -11 posts and have not finished a single one.  Today, I am just going to post this.  This weekend I will be taking her 4 month photos so I am going to try my best to post one of those.  

Blessings to all! 

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A letter to a high school graduate…

Since I can’t seem to get a post together for the life of me about this busy summer of ours or Miss Eden, I will share a letter I wrote today for a dear friend of mine whom I have known since she was 3.  Pretty crazy that she has now graduated from high school, her life before her.  I love her dearly. 

These are things I can’t wait to teach Eden.  I feel so blessed to have a daughter to love, to guide, and to pray for.  

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Dear friend,

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.”  Prov 3:5-6

 

We have heard this verse a thousand times before.  I imagine it might have even been one of the first verses you memorized as a little girl.  Countless times you have prayed through it, heard others lean on it and even many more times you have sought to trust this good word.

 

You are embarking on one of the greatest adventures of your life.  You have completed high school and the world stands at your feet.  So many directions, so many paths, so many opportunities lay before you.  In your heart you hold dreams for your future, hopes for a family, love and fulfillment. 

 

Life will in time fulfill many of these dreams, but there will also be many other dreams yet dreamt, hopes yet to be had.  You will plan and pursue and God will sometimes redirect and reroute.  Don’t be afraid to follow him into new areas.  You may have seasons of drought, seasons spent in the desert of this life.  Just remember, God led Moses into the desert for 40 years.  It took him 40 years to become the man God would need to lead his people out of the Egypt.  God sometimes moves us into areas of detour…where his sole purpose is character development and preparation.  Never underestimate the beauty that these heart-wrenching seasons can produce. 

 

There will be many joys.  Treasure them, hold onto them, and capture them.  There will be friends that you hold near and friends with whom, over time, you will drift away from.  Bottom line, keep the ones who build you up, who make you shine from the inside out, and who encourage you and allow you to be yourself. 

 

Don’t fall captive to the image this world has created for you, for all women.  We cannot and will not ever live up to it.  Instead, remember that you have unique gifting and that your true beauty is measured in the love that you show others. 

 

Smile – there is no greater way to impact someone’s day…It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s yours to offer freely.  It will bless people in ways you will only learn of in heaven.  Make it a habit to smile…even when you’re grumpy.  Eventually, you will find that even in moments of grumpiness, you are able to go beyond yourself and allow God to use you to bless others. 

 

Don’t ever settle.  Trust in the Lord…if the path leaves you heavy, your stomach in knots, your heart unsettled, it probably is not meant to be.  Listen to these signs. God has given you a discerning, wise spirit.  Oftentimes we know the answers to our questions though we are afraid to admit it, though we are afraid to walk away or walk through the doors he is opening.  Be still, listen…the next step will sometimes-mean waiting; sometimes it will be to keep walking.  Ask God to help you to discern between the two.  He promises that He will make our paths straight…and he will do that.  One day you will look back on your choices, having trusted and sought Him and you will be able to say that he has fulfilled your dreams in ways far “beyond anything you could have asked for or imagined.” 

 

Lastly, a woman told me when I was turning 19 to pray for a man who would Honor, Cherish, and Adore me.  In time I added 2 more things to this list…that he would Desire me and Appreciate me.  That last part came from your mama.  There are very few people in this life who will truly appreciate you…ALL of you (the good, the bad, the ugly and the glorious) and show you such admiration.  Make sure you marry that man!

 

I could go on and on….

One day at a time.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Cherish the moments.

Pray without ceasing.

His mercies are new every morning. 

 

Oh, I do have one more thought for you.  A family I met in college lived by these words and sent their kids off to school every day with this line.

RECEIVE GOD’S LOVE. 

It sounds easy, but oftentimes we struggle to allow God to truly love us.  Receive His LOVE for you and you will find unending joy. 

 

Best,

Danielle

What about the Men?

I read this article out load to my husband last night. We could identify with it in it’s entirety. So glad this is being written about and I pray it brings awareness to this often lonely and heartbreaking struggle.

Recipe for a Family

There are a few good articles out this week, before Father’s Day that addresses the toll that Infertility takes on men.  Here is a good one:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/for-men-infertility-often-becomes-a-private-heartache/2013/06/05/049e33ca-ba6b-11e2-b94c-b684dda07add_story.html?hpid=z1

-Cindy

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No greater JOY! 4 weeks old.

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Miss Eden Rose is 4 weeks old today.  It is so hard to believe.  I have gotten so caught up in this new season of life and feel like I have had little time to write.  I want to be more intentional about it…for her.  To document these early days of her precious life.  But for now, I am just going to post a few pictures.

My husband and I took these pictures of her during her first week of life.  We opted not to go to a newborn photographer and decided to attempt to take pictures of our own.  We spent about $100 on props and invested in a special lens for our camera, figuring it would pay off over the long haul.  I am extremely pleased with how they turned out and am so happy we saved hundreds of dollars in the process.

P.S. I watermarked them as I have read stories of other bloggers pictures being stolen.   The first picture was taken at 1 week and the second was taken at 5 days old.  I’m really looking forward to her 1 month photos coming up in a few days.

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Our baby girl has arrived!!!

Just a quick update…

I went into labor on Tuesday while at work. Tuesday I was exactly 39 weeks. I will share more later but everything went very well and our baby girl was born Wednesday morning at 8:03. She weighed 7lbs 4oz and was 19 3/4 inches long. We are sooo in love! Best, best gift in the world! We are currently awaiting her bilirubin results and then will be discharged home!

We named her Eden Rose!!! She is one precious little jewel!

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Our sweet girl’s nursery!!!!

I am soooo excited to post a few pictures of our nursery. It has been a labor of love and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. We made most of the decorations apart from the two framed pictures I ordered off of Etsy (one of which still sits on the dresser and needs to be hung). It is my favorite room in the house and I just can’t wait to create so many memories in here.

Once she is born we are going to move the fabric wheels into some sort of a circle that will enclose her name. I bought wooden letters and painted them off white. Honestly, we have had her name picked out since about a week after our gender reveal party. I can hardly wait for everyone to call her by name!!!

Other then that, we are pretty much done in here. I have a chair in the corner. It’s not a rocker so we’ll see if we need to do something else. We have also adopted a wait and see mentality on all things changing pad/table for now and plan to change her diaper on the pack and play changing area or on the floor or bed or couch or wherever we happen to be. Time will tell how this plan will hold up.

Also, I had another OB appointment today and we are making good progress. I am now dilated 1.5cm and 60-70% effaced and she is at a -2 station. Very, very low!!! We are 11 days out from our due date and anxious to see how things play out!

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Almost 38 weeks…BEYOND excited!

I think we are officially BABY READY!  I never thought I would say that…but here we are, as ready as I think a couple could possibly be.  This reminds me that I need to post some nursery pix (maybe later today)!  I still find myself sitting away endless amounts of time just soaking up our sweet little girl’s room.  I LOVE it!

It has been a VERY busy past week.  My friends threw a shower for me last Sunday which turned out just absolutely beautiful and WAS so incredibly special.  It was pretty emotional for me.  So many faces filled the room, faces who had endured with us and walked through so many months and years of our pain.  It was surreal to see all our hopes and dreams come to fruition in this sweet moment of us all celebrating this God-given BLESSING of a daughter to us.

I am continuing to work 30 hours a week.  I’m not sure how I would make it without my maternity cradle support band and ted hose, though often I feel like one big compression stocking.  It definitely has been wearing me out these past few weeks but has been a GREAT distraction and I hope to work through the end of next week.  I am trying to walk as much as possible too and keep climbing hills around our house.  I figure they maximize the bang for my buck.  I don’t have a whole lot of energy for LONG walks, so I crank it up those hills a few times and it sure feels GOOD!

Friday was my husband’s BIRTHday!  The Big 3-0.  We had a lovely little shindig for him at his parent’s house.  He has some southern roots on both sides of his family so we cooked up a southern feast, played some human sized jenga, and had a camp fire.  It was a so much fun to celebrate him.  I LOVE that guy!

Friday was also the day I got my upper braces put on…and let me tell you…I am feeling HOT!  Teen mom here I come.  I have patients all the time ask me if I am old enough to give anesthesia…well, now with these braces I am afraid it will be even harder to convince them that I am almost twice the age of most teenagers.  Between the braces and my rings not really fitting anymore, I feel like I am fitting the stereotype quite well.  : )  I say that all in jest and fun.

In pregnancy related things, the Braxton Hicks have come on STRONG this week.  I had not experienced them in this pregnancy until last Sunday after my shower.  A few times this week we wondered if I might be going into labor especially since we know we are already dilated and effaced a bit.  But laying down always seems to calm them down.  So, we keep marching on.  I don’t have another OB appointment until this coming Friday.  It will have been almost 2.5 weeks since my last one.  I though I would have weekly appointments at this point, but my clinic seems to be pretty laid back about things.  I can hardly wait to see if we have made any progress.

Have a GREAT Sunday!  I am off to church…gotta get my walk in while the weather is holding up.

Oh and HAPPY St. Patrick’s DAY!

Countdown to baby…36+ weeks

For these last few weeks of pregnancy, I am going to do my best to be super intentional about posting how things are going…more for my own sake so that I have some documentation to look back on.

***

The countdown is officially on!

THE OB APPOINTMENT:    We had a GREAT OB appointment this morning.  We were able to confirm that the gender REALLY is a girl as we got a nice little picture of her lady parts.  We have been a tad nervous about this as we have heard many stories over the past few months about a couple being told one thing and then birthing something else.  The picture pretty much sealed the deal for us though.  Even better, we also found out I am dilated 1cm and 40% effaced!!!  I know this means NOTHING in terms of predicting labor or timing of everything, but I am just thankful that my body is getting ready. She also guesstimated the weight to be about 5.5lbs at this point and said that our baby will probably be in the 7lb range.  Sounds pretty perfect to me! : )   Lastly, we have been thinking about doing some perineal massage to help prevent tearing during delivery.  Today, our OB showed us the proper technique and boy did it HURT!!!!!   WOW, right then and there I understood the need for an epidural.  She did it for about 5 seconds to me…and told us we should aim for 4-5 x/day for 1 min.  OH MY HURTNESS!  I told my husband we would have to work up to that.  Tearing is one of my biggest fears with delivery and so we are willing to try anything that could help.  Who knows if it’ll really help, but my OB said it certainly couldn’t hurt things.

I also picked up my breast pump today.  Thankfully, since my insurance is going to cover most if not all of it, I was able to splurge and get the breast pump I really want.  The Medela Freestyle, which is a hands free, battery operated pump.  Key for a mom like me who will be pumping in the shower stalls at work on my breaks.  Not much access to power near the showers.  Before they came out with the battery operated pump, my colleagues who pumped had to bring in 15 foot power cords to plug in their pumps.  NO FUN!  Anyway, it’s just nice to check another thing off the list.

Overall, I am feeling great.  The hemorrhoids are in check and once again tolerable and it is nice to be able to walk and work in relative comfort. : )   I am hoping to work right up to a few days before I deliver as I find it a great distraction and a good opportunity to get some good exercise during the day.  So 3 weeks more weeks as of tomorrow!

Like I said, the countdown is officially on.  I am SOOO beyond excited I can hardly stand it!

35+ weeks

Can’t believe we are officially on the countdown.  Less then 5 weeks to go!!!  I am so excited and get more anxious to meet this little girl of ours with each passing day.

We recently arrived home from our BABYMOON!  It was wonderful and went as smoothly and perfectly as it could have gone.  We were mostly on the big island of Hawaii where we enjoyed lots of snorkeling, hiking, volcano exploring, whale watching and of course, there was a lot of eating involved.  For some reason, I had some crazy surge of energy and was able to do some pretty long hikes.  We definitely got some stares and and questions about me traveling so deep into our pregnancy.  But our OB was 100% on board and our hospital system has a hospital in the islands, so she was comfortable sending us on our way.  It was really special to share that time with my husband and just bask in the glory of our relationship and reflect on how far God has brought us over the past few years.  We are so thankful that are family is growing and looking forward to creating many more memories with her in the mix!

(CAUTION:  Some gross TMI ahead.) Arriving home from Hawaii, I developed one of the worst possible cases of hemorrhoids EVER!  I’m really not sure what brought them on.  If it was the long flight home or just a multitude of factors, but they pretty much STOPPED me dead in my tracks.  I had first developed them about a month earlier.  They were about the size of pea and although uncomfortable, were completely manageable with a little TLC.  But these little guys grew to the size of grapes and were red, angry, inflamed little beasts that made it difficult to walk, sit or stand.  Work was beyond uncomfortable and it took all the strength in me to not break down in tears throughout the day.  I have a new found sympathy and respect for people who have endured this horrible complication of pregnancy.  I have been on 4 medications, two of which are prescriptions, doing sitz baths, and icing them since last Tuesday.  Prior to the weekend, I talked to one of the colorectal surgeons about possibly lancing them.  He was worried they might be thrombosed.  Yet over the weekend, I finally began to get a little relief.  Last night I was able to go for a walk for the first time in a week.  Though they haven’t shrunken down a whole lot, they are no longer angry and wreaking havoc on me.  I had to add a whole new level of fiber into my daily routine.  This regimen now includes 1 tbsp of chia seeds every day, doubling my colace intake, and Metamucil 2x daily.  These things have really helped!  Although, yesterday I had a new problem with this whole deal and that was that my hemorrhoid suppository (yes, suppository – I think it is the only thing that has truly helped…so, so fun too to stick something up there, but I got over it quickly), slowly oozed out over the course of the day and left its mark on my underwear and eventually my scrubs.  I had no idea I had a huge glycerin, oily looking stain on my back side until late in the day when I noticed I had left a mark on a chair while giving a colleague a break!  It was humiliating and I just couldn’t deal with any more work for the day…I let my boss know I was leaking a little something (because you gotta tell them the truth – without the details of course) and went home feeling embarrassed and defeated in all of this.  You finally get over the pain, and now you are leaking goodies from your anus!  Because it was oily, it didn’t feel wet and I never even noticed. : (  Who knows how long I had been walking around like that.

Anyway, I’m sure you are OVER that and do not want to hear another word, but it has been weighing on me and has been my life for a week…so I just have to get it OUT!

I had my work shower on Sunday evening and it was truly a special time.  My dear friend went all out and spoiled me rotten.  She could be a professional party planner/caterer.  It was so beautiful and humbling to see all the effort she put into it!  The food was simply divine and was a Spanish tapas theme.  I could hardly believe I was attending my own shower, a day I could only dream about a year ago.  While deep into our infertility battle, I used to dig up all sorts of excuses why I couldn’t attend a friend’s showers.  They were so difficult for me.  It was such a blessing to attend my own.  I can hardly believe I have a sweet human of our own creation growing in my womb – what a reason to celebrate!

Oh and I have been meaning to mention that I found the GREATEST pregnancy lifesaver if you have struggled with any amount of back pain or just do not want to walk that road.  It is called the maternity cradle.  I have been faithfully wearing it for the past month and it has made this heavier portion of the pregnancy quite bearable and I feel really good about not straining the muscles or ligaments in my back.  You can always tell I am wearing it with it’s v-neck looking straps, some may not like that, but I am over it and have embraced it for all the health benefits and the fact that I can be so much more active with it on.  Here is a stock photo of the device:

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Those are the major updates for now.  Wish me luck with these hemorrhoids! : )  I will leave you with a few maternity pictures my husband took of me while in Hawaii.  So, so FUN! (These were taken at 33 weeks.)

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9+ weeks to go…

Time is flying now.  A little over 9 weeks to go and I can hardly believe it.  In a little less then 2 weeks, we are heading to Hawaii for some continuing education, a little R&R, some sunshine and our final vacation as just the two of us.  I am really looking forward to it, though we will be traveling at 33/34 weeks.  Thankfully, our hospital system has a hospital over here.  Our OB printed our chart and wished us well on our adventure as we won’t be seeing her again until after our trip.  After we arrive home, I feel like the countdown will really be on with 6 weeks left to go before the arrival of our sweet little girl.  I can hardly believe how fast this trimester is going.  I remember our first trimester felt so long and each day a milestone as we waited to get into the safer zone of the 2nd trimester.  Timed moved a little more quickly in that semester as I finally embraced our pregnancy and began to enjoy planning for our sweet baby.  Of course, with that semester brought the discovery of her gender which has only further endeared our hearts to her.  By the way, we are pretty settled on a name though we are keeping it to ourselves until her birth.  I thought about maybe sharing it at my shower in early March, but I think I am just going to wait.  Early on, we shared a few of our names with people and I was surprised at some individuals blunt and not always pleasant response to some of the names we had been considering.  When we found out it was going to be a girl, our previous girl names no longer seemed fitting and soon we came upon the one we now love! 

The nursery is coming along.  Today, our dresser is being delivered.  I don’t think we will have much furniture in the nursery…just a crib, dresser, and a bookshelf.  I have opted not to get a chair and am using the dresser as a changing table.  I have handmade most of the decor, ideas captured through hours of scouring pinterest and other baby websites.  We even took the plunge this week and painted stripes on one entire wall.  I LOVE it!  It looks so elegant and feminine…just a beautiful space for our beautiful daughter. I love to just sit on the floor and dream of my next move, the next decoration, the best ways to organize.  Anyway, I will post a few pix very soon!

I have had no significant bouts of back pain or any real discomforts as of late.  I can definitely tell when I have overdone it in the nursery.  I am noticing increasing amounts of shortness of breath when I read out loud.  It’s interesting that it usually only happens when reading and not talking…but anyway…I can deal with that.  Of course, some more tiredness is settling in though this too has been manageable.

I have been really enjoying reading everyone’s updates and blog posts.  I feel invested in so many lives and its been so exciting to see many of these women now pregnant.  It has been such a joy to follow their journeys through updates and pictures. 

Have a GREAT weekend!!!