2nd TRIMESTER!!! Woweeee! 14w1d

October 1st marked the first official day of my second trimester according to babycenter.com!!!  I am so excited to reach this point.  I have been feeling great.  I couldn’t have asked for a healthier, more feel good pregnancy thus far.  So, I decided to celebrate and post my first bump pic.  This was taken at 5:30am, before breakfast.  I get so bloated by the end of the day, so I wanted my bump pic to be tried and true – not the late evening bloat belly.

I feel that I have really settled into my pregnancy and don’t find myself anxiously anticipating my next change day as much as I used to.  It’s a real joy carrying our little “half pint” as my husband so affectionately refers to them as.

I look forward to writing more.  It has been a busy fall thus far.  Tomorrow we are headed to the mountains for our annual FALL get together with our dear friends.  It’s always a wonderful time for some R&R and a WHOLE lot of the great outdoors.  Last year they were pregnant during our trip.  How I remember dreaming that we would be on similar journey of our own this year and HERE WE ARE!  Such a blessing.

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12 weeks and LOVING it!

We have made it to 12 weeks!  It is a BLESSED, HAPPY, SOLID number!!!  It felt so good to get that pregnancy update from baby center today!

Over the past few weeks we have really begun to embrace our pregnancy and my ever so slightly growing bump.  Last week, I even splurged and bought some maternity shirts.  Not that I need them, what I really need are some pants, though rubber bands are doing me wonders.  But, I have to tell you that I kinda hit the jackpot at ROSS of all places.  I bought 9 new maternity shirts for $76 total (The really nice kind with rouched sides!)  It felt great!  Ross, is the one place that I essentially have a free ticket to shop all I want!  My husband loves to save money and Ross fits nicely into the budget.  Typically little money is spent there though as I have never really enjoyed shopping and especially not at stores like Ross that require massive amounts of patience to sift through all the clothing.  But the maternity section was small and quite easy to maneuver.  Anyway, all the shirts are are super cute.  I should post a few pix.  The experience certainly beat the $24 I paid at Target for one shirt.  Anyway, there is always a compromise though.  I am going to splurge on one pair of fantastic maternity jeans.  I live in my jeans and have yet to find anything I like, so I am going to go for it, though I hope to purchase them through consignment…but if not…then I am just going to take the plunge.

Anyway, enough ramblings about clothes.  On to some God talk.

For some time, I have felt that I need to do more for women battling with infertility.  My heart is soooo heavy for women yet in the trenches and I want to help them find hope.  It was SO hard for me to cling to hope and not give up on my faith entirely at times during our long road to conceiving.  I have felt in my heart a real desire to write some sort of devotional or bible study to help encourage women through this season in their lives.  We’ll see what becomes of it, but I can’t seem to shake the idea.  Honestly, it seems so daunting to me. I am not a good writer and to put together some sort of booklet sounds like a huge undertaking, but at the same time, I want to be a voice of compassion and encouragement to women going through this.  Fortunately, for so many of us, we have found community and a voice through our blogs, but I know there are so many more out there that are feeling humiliated, isolated, and without support during one of the greatest challenges that life can bring.

Anyway, so that is a bit on that….

We have begun to tell family and friends about our pregnancy and it is just wonderful to hear their responses.  It is like a long awaited Christmas gift that we are just now beginning to unwrap. My husband and I cherish these moments together with our family and friends and find such joy in their responses.  I think we will wait to post it on facebook for some time just because I kinda like keeping it to our inner circle for now.  Maybe when I bust into those maternity clothes I will post a little pic or something, but for now, it has been so delightful just letting people know as we run into them or call them or however the connection may occur.

Praying for so many of you ladies and so thankful to be able to share in your stories!  This community is a tremendous blessing and source of encouragement for me!

Battle scars. When will I settle in? 9w4d pregnant.

I wish I was able to let go and get excited about this pregnancy.  I wish I could experience the resounding JOY of a first time mom.  I wish I could DREAM about nurseries and bonding with my baby and dwell on our sweet future together.  I think about these things, but do I DREAM?

Instead, I feel cautious.  I am SO happy to be pregnant, so blessed to finally be in this place, but it is NOT the bliss I would have always thought it would be.  Leading up to my first ultrasound, I was nervous, my mind fraught with anxiety.  When could I OWN this pregnancy?  When would I settle into it?  When would I just ENJOY being pregnant everyday?  The ultrasound came and went and though I worry so much less now about whether or not it is real, I have to admit that I have yet to settle into it.  Yet, to wake up in the morning, overcome with feelings of joy and elation that we are PREGNANT.  In my heart I am so thankful and praise God each and every day for this little miracle.  I have been researching baby gear and look forward to putting together a nursery, but I still find myself…well, numb.

This numbness of mine has resulted from so many months of battling with infertility.  Unmet expectations, broken dreams, waiting, enduring, hoping, and so much failing.  A relentless cycle that has left my soul forever changed, my heart hardened.  As the months turned into a year + many months, more and more I began to protect myself.  I worked hard to keep the pieces of my life together.  I went into full on self-protection mode and was able to give very little to those in my life and in my community.  Month after month, I continued to reach out, clinging to any hope I could find in God, Google, or some new treatment plan.  Time and time again, failure.  After a while, I grew calloused, I had to find a way to cope with infertility and no longer allow it to own me.  I had to find a way to rid it of the power it had over me and find myself again.

Well, new life has begun in me and with it, I am trying to restore my heart.  As I learn more about myself and how I respond to pregnancy, I realize just how much work there is yet to be done.  This journey is far from over.  I want to feel again, to LIVE in the moment again.  I want to enjoy each and every moment of this pregnancy and this beautiful baby that is growing in side of me.  I don’t want my past to determine my future. I realize that infertility has shaped me in countless ways for the better of my future family.  I want my children to have a mom who feels their pain and disappointments, who laughs at their sweet jokes, and whom can cry when necessary.

I will regain my soft heart…one day I may even wear it on my sleeve again.  In the meantime, I just thank God for this amazing privilege of finally working towards becoming a mom.  A dream I had all but given up just a few short months ago.  I hope I can find myself settling in soon and I hope that this baby in my belly is in our life to stay.

 

***

I had written this post last night and then thought I should sleep on it before posting it.  Part of me feels guilty for the feeling the way I do, for not being OVER the MOON excited.  But then, as I logged in to my Word Press account this morning, one of my dear blogging friends, Chanel, just found out yesterday that her baby had no heartbeat. This was her second U/S.  She had had a fabulous one just a few weeks ago.  Chanel and I received our BFP within days of eachother and so I have felt a special connection towards her and this baby.  I am heartbroken and so very sad for her and it just serves as another reminder of just how hard this journey really is.  There are no guarantees once receiving that long awaited BFP.  Please send her some LOVE!

Ultrasound # 1 at 6 weeks 6 days!!!!!

Our ultrasound couldn’t have gone any better.  Our baby…yep, just one…is growing beautifully and perfectly measuring right on schedule!  It was a HUGE relief.  We are so excited and it made it all so much more real!!!  We have been curious leading up to this ultrasound if we would be having 1 or 2.  When I initially received my first beta result a few weeks ago and it was 98, our RE told us at that time it would probably be just 1, but then when my beta quadrupled in 2 days, we thought maybe they had both made it.  I was really rooting for both of them…but having found out the news today, honestly, I felt a HUGE sense of relief wash over me.  Twins would have been fun, but there also would have been a lot more risk involved to both them and me.  A single pregnancy is the best for baby and mom and I really am so thankful that though we put in 2 what was meant for us was one.  There is a small part of me that wonders about that other embryo…was it a chromosomal thing, did it just not find a good spot on my uterus, did my body just only allow one…who will ever know and I won’t dwell on it, but I am just so thankful to have 1 healthy, strong growing baby!  Thank you, God!!!  This is the greatest gift I could ever possibly dream of!

And…I get to officially graduate to my regular OB!  Yeah!  We are SOOO excited to have appointments closer to home and no more paying out of pocket for everything!  It’s the small things, right? : ) But, of course, we would do it all over again in a heartbeat!

Thanks for all your support!  It means the world to me!

Beta # 2 Results!

I just want to thank everyone for all the love and support over the last 2 days.  We are still in shock but little by little things are starting to sink in a bit more.  I know this news isn’t always easy to read or receive in this community.  That said, I just want you to know that my heart and prayers are with everyone wherever they may be in their own journey to have a child.   I don’t know how to express that well, but that’s where we are at.  We are so humbled by this most recent turn of events in our world and give all the glory to our God.

Our Beta was 427 today.  The number went from 98.4 to 427 in just 2 days. Our first ultrasound will be on August 13th.  We are really looking forward to it!!!!

TWW – Little Joys – Day 3

Today as I was reflecting on the little joys in my life, thinking about my next blog post, my husband just happened to chime in…via text. He was sharing just how thankful he is for his job. Despite a sometimes grueling day with a “Mr. No Personality” intern who he has to mentor through his clinical rotation, he feels BLESSED to have such a great job. Blessed that he finds his job satisfying and fulfilling – at least the majority of the time.

His own reflections have further stirred up my own. It has been so much harder than I can even imagine to really dig deep and allow yourself to experience the little joys of your day sometimes. Of course, its pretty easy when life is going good, when life is smooth and things seem to be going in your way. But when you have been waiting for a LONG time to achieve what others seem to make look like child’s play, you can’t help but to see the world in clouded, gray images at time.

We went to Coldplay last night (Wonderful!), but for the first half of their concert, I was consumed with an interaction I had had with one of the Anesthesiologists at the end of my work day. I am a perfectionist. Always have been and unfortunately, will probably always battle this. I am also a people pleaser, which I think, can often go hand in hand. As I am finishing up my day and just about to roll out of there, he stopped me in the hall and questioned a decision I had made the previous day when we were working together. His comments caught me off guard and tried incessantly to ruin my evening. Once I explained to him what was REALLY going on in the operating room and WHY I made the decision I did, he softened and said it made more sense to him. Despite his concession, I was shaken and frustrated.

And yet…this is life. There will always be people, situations, sometimes even our own mind and hearts who will be against us or shall we say, question our efforts. What role will we allow these comments to have in our life. How seriously will we take them? Will we allow them to disrupt the entirety of our inner peace and throw us into a dreadful bought of anxiety? I have so much to learn. I really wish I was one of those who could just brush off these moments and conversations. But I am not. Just another lesson in overcoming the bad and the ugly and learning to focus on the little joys.

Little Joys – This is SOOOOOOOO my lesson right now.

Oh…and it really was an amazing concert! : )

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These fantastic little wrist bands lit up and were responsible for the beautiful twinkles of light you see out in the audience. So fun!

Remember. Give Thanks.

Somehow despite the groaning protests my body huffed at me as I contemplated rising early to head the gym, I was able to stifle these strong desires to stay in bed and I over came.  Another small victory for team “best” for me.  You see, there are two teams.  The “lazy, indulgence” team and the “best” for me team.  They wage war for my physical well-being constantly. *smile*  Today the BEST team won and it was off to the gym by 7a.

Now, I sit at our kitchen counter, strength renewed – a whole day ahead of me and a world full of possibilities.  The sunlight streams in upon me and I am just overall feeling thankful.  My heart is full.

I’m feeling thankful for the roses that sit beside me.  Soft yellow roses with pink tipped petals, still so full of life from LOVE Day.

Next to that, I have a little bit of Red Velvet Cake leftover from an evening with friends.  Homemade and absolutely delicious.  I’m actually calling it pink velvet cake as it is more fitting.  The recipe called for 3 Tablespoons of red food coloring.  I just couldn’t bring myself to put so much “carcinogen” (as my friend put it last night) into such a divine and delectable cake.

But even deeper than those things that find themselves on my kitchen counters is the words of encouragement I received from a dear friend late last night in an email:

So here is a beautiful quote for you (from a book called “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp, which I highly recommend):  “I shake my head at the blinding wonder of it: Trust is the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow, built with planks of thanks.  Remembering frames up gratitude.  Gratitude lays out the planks of trust.  I can walk the planks — from known to unknown — and know:  He holds.”  Thinking of where He has brought us both, from singleness, loneliness, infertility … He can be trusted.  Praying!

Do I not have one of the most dear friends?  She too has walked the road of infertility.  She too has waited, has longed for the joy of children.  She was blessed with twins just over a year ago after doing IVF and having had a trying and difficult pregnancy.  Now she speaks life, love and peace into my own infertile pilgrimage.  I am grateful for her.

I am blessed too by books so perfectly written with words that capture the essence of living and simple gratitude.  Blessed to be reminded that remembering can be soul renewing.  Today, I remember.  I remember where I have been.  The broken roads I have walked down, the unsettling journeys I have completed.  Will He, my God, forsake me now?  Of course not.  I trust.  I wait.  I hope.  The desires of my heart will be fulfilled, beyond what I can now ask for or imagine.  He will lead me into my tomorrows and there I will find more of Him.  Will my life ever be perfect?  Of course not.  Will I ever have his perfect peace and most complete of joys?  Probably not while walking this earth.  But one thing is sure, He is with me and will work ALL things together for GOOD in MY life.

For now, I am grateful.  For now, I trust.  Today, I remember.

Thankful Thursday – I like it!

I’ve been noticing others have been blogging their thanksgivings on these Thursdays.  I like it.

I think overall a heart full of gratitude is a heart that moves towards the right things.  I don’t want to be one who dwells in self-pity, insecurity or jealously.  Rather, I want my life to be marked by a tendency towards reflection, thankfulness, and simply relishing life’s special moments.

So here are a few thankfuls on my list today:

I did it.  After all my moaning and complaining, I shook myself free of procrastination and  wrote my OB/GYN.  I have to say that I am really proud of myself for FINALLY doing it.  I might have also felt a tad bit guilty for venting my frustrations to you all too last night!!!  It definitely spurred me on to take care of it.

I ran today!!!!!  WOW!  I am thankful for that.  I haven’t run a block in almost 3 years…but today, I was sooo stressed after work.  Tension had seized my body and I just knew I needed to do something about it.  Something BIG…so, I told my husband that dinner was on hold and that a family run with our furbaby was in order!  Success.  I ran the whole way.  Over a mile!  Go with me here…I know, for all you super in shape ladies out there…that is nothing, a joke.  For me, it was a milestone.  I am so intimidated by those that regularly hit the pavement.  I don’t understand how they do it.  But today, I needed it.  Needed its vigor to calm my frayed nerves. I am so very proud of myself and thankful I endured.  Sometimes its the small victories in life that count.

And how about this picture.  I am so thankful for cameras that allow us to capture the beauty and essence of a moment in time.  So grateful to share such wondrous places with my husband.  This was a beach we went to this past weekend on a little surprise getaway he had planned. Beyond perfect, beyond blessed.

Now for some wine, a roast, some creamed spinach and a little of our favorite programming.