Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Week 40: The Birth Story!!!

I know many of you are just itching to know how things "went down" so here's my best recap of the birth of Daniel Brian Santos.

On Thursday, December 13th, I went to the office for my appointment, NST, and ultrasound.  Well, long story short, I was scheduled for the appointment but somehow was never scheduled for the rest.  I was actually somewhat okay with that because I figured if I didn't have the tests, we couldn't find anything wrong.  I could wait a few more days and hope I went into labor on my own before having to do them. After trying to figure out why I was never scheduled, the receptionist accidentally put my paper in the wrong pile and then they forgot about me.  Fortunately, I had not even noticed by the time they came out to apologize.  So after a funny and delayed start, I was called back for my appointment.

After weighing in (at a grand total of 34 1/2lbs - my highest!), checking BP and so forth, I was taken back to the room to wait for the midwife.  She came in, asking if I was tired of everyone asking when the baby was going to arrive.  I laughed and said I was tired of wondering that myself.  Before she checked for dilation, she asked, "Do you want me to be easy on you today or no?"  I looked at her, slightly confused but just said, "I don't know what I want at this point."  Ha.  Well, by the end of our appointment, my membranes had been swept and I was told I was 2cm dilated.  She said the baby's head was down but turned slightly and that was probably the hold-up.  She explained possible symptoms to expect over the next 24 hours and said she expected the baby to be here by the weekend.  Keep in mind, at this point, I was officially five days past my due date with baby number four.  Crazy.

Following the appointment, James and I went to Panera for lunch.  This is actually pertinent to the story because every one of my labors have involved Panera in some form or fashion.  I started having some mild cramping that lasted until about nine that night and then subsided.  But otherwise, nothing exciting was happening.  I made sure I had all of my bags packed, "just in case" and then went to bed.

Fast forward to 3 a.m.  I was startled awake feeling suddenly wet.  I got out of bed to go to the restroom, thinking my water may have broken but there was nothing else leaking.  However, I almost immediately started having extremely strong contractions, very close together.  I quickly woke up James and told him we needed to prepare to leave.  When I was up and moving around, the contractions continued but as soon as I sat or laid down, they started slowing.  So then I began doubting myself and wondering whether I was having false labor again.  I texted my doula and asked for her thoughts.  She suggested that I sit for about thirty minutes and time my contractions.  If they were real, they'd continue.  Well, they continued but slowed significantly - to only one every fifteen minutes or so.  Frustrated and tired, at around 4:30 or 5 a.m., I decided to sit in my recliner and try to sleep a tad.  I dozed off but awoke consistently every twelve minutes or so with a contraction.  Then I'd doze off again and the cycle continued.  Finally, at about 6 a.m., my water very obviously broke.  There was no longer any doubt in my mind, it was time to have a baby!

We made the necessary phone calls, got our belongings and headed to the hospital.  Considering it was soon to be rush hour and I was Group B Strep positive, we did not want to waste any time.  We arrived in a very easy going fashion.  My contractions were slowing down, so getting ready and in a room were pretty uneventful.  My doula arrived and the nurse got me started on the antibiotics.  The next several hours were pretty funny - quite literally.  My contractions were almost nil.  Seriously, we were walking the halls, rocking on a ball, swaying by my bedside and NOTHING exciting was happening!  The contractions were between 5-10 minutes apart but were not very strong at all.  My photographer friend arrived about 9 a.m. and she's one of the funniest people I know.  So we basically spent the entire morning cracking jokes, telling stories, putting updates on Facebook, and almost twiddling our thumbs.  My second dose of antibiotics had been administered and we were waiting for the excitement to begin.

Around noon, the nurse came in and said she'd spoken to the midwife.  The midwife had asked if I'd be opposed to a "whiff" of pitocin, all things considering and that I was still only 4cm dilated.  I must have given a nonapproving facial expression because she quickly said we could wait if I wanted.  It was still my choice.  Considering my midwife is usually not quick to suggest such a route, we knew we needed to get something going somehow.  At this point, it was still the general consensus that the baby's head was not yet properly positioned for significant dilation to occur.  My doula suggested I lay on each side for 15 minutes and try to get him moving.  And then the fun began!  I instantly noticed my contractions were much more painful and harder to tolerate.

After I had laid on each side for 15 minutes, it was 2 p.m.  I got up off my side and began to labor by  "hugging" the back of my bed, sitting on my knees.  Things were finally happening!  About 30-45 minutes later, I began feeling a great deal of pressure.  My doula quickly called the nurse in and I was 7cm dilated.  It was about time!  But I wasn't convinced there was much time left.  I kept telling them, "this kid is coming!"  The nurse rushed the necessary staff into the room and began prepping for delivery.  Forgetting it was Friday and my midwife's office closes at noon, there was a miscommunication between nurse and the midwife was not able to get there in time.  The nurse prepped to deliver the baby herself (and just about did).  After hearing what was going on, a random OBGYN in the hallway said she could come in if my midwife didn't make it.

Another contraction later, she asked me to turn around in my bed.  I kept telling them the baby was coming but after checking me again, she said I was still not complete and only 7-8cm dilated.  Maybe two or three contractions later, that quickly changed.  Not even intentionally "pushing", his head came out during a contraction.  At that point, they told me to go ahead and push on the next and I'd have him.  Sure enough, one push later, he made his entrance at 3:06 p.m. (do that math!).

A very different story from my other births for sure.  This was the first time my water has ever broken prior to being in the middle of labor.  I'm sure the membrane sweeping could be the reason for that.  Though I was technically in labor for about 12 hours, only the last hour or so was even that unpleasant.  Of course it makes sense when I went from 4-10cm in just a tad over an hour!  THAT hour was certainly difficult.  My midwife did show up about five minutes after delivery and was totally apologetic about the miscommunication.  Of course by the time I delivered, I didn't care who delivered the baby, as long as he came out!  I didn't have to have any stitches - another blessing of small babies.  We enjoyed "kangaroo care" for an hour and then found out he weighed a whopping 6lbs, 11.5oz and 19 1/2in - my biggest baby to date!

What an amazing miracle childbirth is.  As I write this, Daniel is 12 days old.  We've been able to reflect on God's goodness and the sweetness of adding another child to our family.  Our hearts are overflowing and we're adjusting well.  Thank you for all of the prayers and help over the past 10 months.  Check out a ton of pictures here.  We are grateful for our amazing friends and family!

Take care,
Terra

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Week 39: Hanging in There

As I'm writing this journal, I'm 40 weeks and one day.  So I thought it may be wise to go ahead and write as this baby surely has to come sooner or later - right?

This week's midwife appointment went super fast and smooth.  I did not have my dilation checked because I figured it was pointless when I hadn't had any significant contractions prior.  I gained no more weight as I've mostly stayed at 34lbs for the last several weeks.  I did share with her my concerns about being over due and what the next steps would be.  She tried to encourage me and remind me I didn't have to make any decisions just yet.  I scheduled my appointment one week out (which will put me 40wks and 5days).  At that point, I'll have a non-stress test and an ultrasound to check my fluid levels. Pending the results of all that will determine our next step.  So right now, my big prayer is that I'll go into labor myself before then and not have to worry about it!  Actually, with Sophia, that's exactly what happened.  I went into labor about 1am the morning I was scheduled to go in for those tests.

Last night, I started having a great deal of indigestion and then contractions about 5:30pm.  They continued until about 7:30 or so but then they dissipated significantly. I thought for a bit I was headed towards labor but alas, it was not to be.  Those are probably the most I've had for any continued amount of time this pregnancy.  That's encouraging at least.

Honestly, I'm not really miserable or anything at this point....  I'm just impatient and excited.  I want to meet this little man!  I go to bed every night wondering if it's the "night."  I have certainly had my share of heartburn here at the end and the last several weeks have also included a great deal of evening nausea (outside of the stomach bug issue).  Fortunately the nausea has been much better these last few days.  I'll take every little blessing!

The kids are finally getting over their colds/coughs. Sophia's was croupy to begin with but got better.  Then Hannah and Benjamin got it and lastly, Hannah's turned into walking pneumonia.  By God's great grace, the day after she got on antibiotics for it, she started feeling SO much better.  Truly a blessing.  So unless we catch something else between now and then, we should hopefully be done with illness by the time Daniel arrives.

So there's my update.  Hopefully my next post will be the birth story...  But only time will tell! ;)

Until next time...

Take care,
Terra

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Weeks 37 & 38: Sickness Central

Whew boy!  Has it been crazy around here these last few weeks. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Benjamin started vomiting.  He would be the first of four in the family to get a nasty stomach bug.  There was always about a day of no one vomiting before the next began. About 13-14 days later, it seems to have finally left the home!  It couldn't leave without a gift though and now we all have coughs.  Fun times!  BUT, I'd rather have a house full of coughs than tummy troubles!

Thanksgiving was really a great day.  We had lots of yummy food, rest throughout the day (before Hannah began getting sick that evening), and fun times with my family.  I LOVED having them all in my home and fortunately none of them took the stomach bug with them.  Check out pictures here.

So specifically for pregnancy updates.  My week 37 visit was pretty smooth with one big exception.  Everything looked great and I was actually "tape measuring" 36 weeks with 1/2lb weight gain.  However, my Strep B test came back positive - NOT cool!  I've never tested positive and so it was actually a bit of a shock to me.  With Strep B, they hope to have an IV antibiotic administered twice during labor: once and then again four hours later, if time permits before delivery.  This reduces the chances of the baby contracting the bacteria.  My midwife knows my last few labors have been pretty short ones.  So she told me that as soon as I was convinced I was in labor, to head on to the hospital to get it started. I guess every pregnancy needs it's story.

My week 38 visit was also fairly laid back.  No weight gain thanks to my own contraction of that stomach bug and I was back to measuring barely 34 weeks.  The visit was actually on the last day of my 38th week.  I went ahead and had her check for dilation since there've been a few body things going on that've made me wonder if labor was approaching.  She said my cervix was completely closed.  That would normally have been disappointing at this stage but considering we still had that stomach bug in the house, it was actually a bit of a relief.

There are the big updates for weeks 38 and 39.  If I don't go into labor early, I'll try to get week 39 up a little faster!  By God's grace, I've had no false alarms yet!

Until next time...
Take care,
Terra

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Weeks 35 & 36: Good News

Week 35 and most of 36 continued in a similar fashion as I detailed week 34.  I've been VERY nauseous in the afternoons/evenings particularly.  I even woke up the other night feeling like I needed to vomit.  Fortunately, I never did.  However, things have been looking up the last few days.  Yesterday I felt better than I have in weeks.  I actually had some energy, was not hurting ALL over and didn't have many tummy troubles. 

So here are some fun details about my midwife visit today (at 36wks, 5days gestation).  I had another ultrasound to check on the size of the baby.  As of today, my tape measure measurements were only 32 weeks.  However, my weight gain is good (33 1/2lbs) and the baby is measuring great.  Most of his body was in about the 37th percentile while his little noggin was pretty big.  Of course of my three other beautiful babies, two of them have had heads in the 90+ percentile so that didn't surprise me at all.  The tech told me his head was way down in my pelvis and asked if I usually had early babies.  Nope.  I'm all over the board there.  It was so much fun as we got to watch him yawn, suck, move around and even see that he has enough hair to be spotted!  My BP was 100/60ish.

Overall, a great checkup.  My midwife also asked if I typically had early babies which made me wonder what they were thinking.  I'm going to try not to get my hopes up there though.  Been there, done that.  There was a nursing student in the room during my visit.  She heard me mention having been pregnant before.  So she says, "Is this your second?"  When I replied, "My fourth," her eyes popped open in shock.  It was funny.

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and my family is supposed to come visit us for dinner this year.  I'm looking forward to seeing everyone.  My doula will be out of town over that weekend though so Daniel has to be sure not to come till afterwards. ;)  She's helped me deliver my last two babies so I wouldn't want her to miss it or for my plans to spoil hers!  She's always such a super help I'm not sure how I'd do it without her.

I'm at weekly visits now so I'll keep everyone posted on progress.

Until next time...
Take care,
Terra

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Week 34: Struggling and Impatient

I've officially reached the point of pregnancy where I just feel "done."  I seem to have a tendency to forget how uncomfortable the tail end can be.  I'm very grateful for this pregnancy and wouldn't want it any other way.  With that said, I'm ready for Daniel to be on the outside. :)  Well, I'm mostly ready.  I don't really want a premie and I certainly don't want to be induced if not necessary.  It would make the most sense if he came closer to due day because we'd wrap up our fall semester of homeschool and I wouldn't miss all the holiday fun either.  It's just that the hip/back/rib pain and increase in nausea/indigestion/heartburn really don't help my patience level.  So, I'm just reminding myself that five (to seven) weeks will likely come faster than not.  God is good and when I'm weak, He is strong.

As some of you already know from Facebook, my last midwife appointment left me a tad anxious.  I've gained two more pounds, had normal blood pressure and vitals BUT I'm measuring small.  This is very typical of me and my pregnancies.  Actually, it's happened in every single one.  With Hannah, they concluded my placenta was giving out and I was induced the very next day.  With Benjamin and Sophia, they were just positioned very low and curled up so I physically measured small.  So part of me is not worried as I know I just have small babies.  Then part of me is worried because I really don't want to have to be induced early.  In the end, my goal is a healthy mama and a healthy baby so I'm truly okay with the Lord's will.  It just may take a little soaking in.

The last two weekends, the kids took turns spending the night with my mom.  Hannah enjoyed receiving her first "real" manicure, eating out, watching a movie, a new coloring book and pumpkin decorating.  Benjamin enjoyed most of the same things as Hannah except he played pirates and knights with the fire-breathing (blow dryer toting) dragon of my mom.  They both had fun times.  Then this past week, my inlaws were here and as usual, they went over the top in blessing us with gifts and helping around the house.  It's also fantastic to not have to cook the entire time. We also managed a field trip to the Louisville Science Center in which the kids loved. 

Halloween was interesting.  We decided to go to the mall for trick or treating since it was cold but by the time we got there, everyone was out of candy!  So the next day, my mother-in-law bought enough chocolate and candy to feed a small army. :) Now we know to hit the mall earlier or stick to our own neighborhood.  Will try to post pictures soon.

Until next time....
Take care,
Terra

Monday, October 29, 2012

Weeks 32 & 33: Lost in time

Honestly, I didn't realize I'd gone so long without posting again.  Life just keeps running out from under me before I know it!  I'll do my best with updates.

Babywise... At my last checkup, I actually lost a pound.  Not surprising after my 5 pound gain over that weekend away!  I was told everything sounded/looked good and I measured fine.  Pelvic pain has been minimal - praise God.  I'm having a decent amount of energy.  There's some minor back pain that's to be expected at this point of the pregnancy.  I've started getting quite a bit of indigestion/heartburn here lately.  Doesn't matter what or even if I eat.  I wonder if the old saying is true and Daniel will have lots of hair when he's born. ;)  I've also reached the stage of regular Braxton Hicks contractions. Fun times!

I have several friends expecting any day now.  Many of them have been struggling with false labor and sleepless nights.  I'm reminded of the same struggles with my last two pregnancies and wonder if that will soon be my issue as well.  From what I read in my old journals, those issues started around 36-37 weeks.  In sadness, a fellow church member lost their newborn during labor and delivery.  Though I'm not close friends with them, it's been very hard for me to process their loss.

I know it's been a while but I'm going to have to cut this short.  I'm tired and there is still much to do before bed.  Hopefully my next post will be a little more thorough. ;)

Until then...

Take care,
Terra

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Weeks 29-31: Our trip and other updates

During week 29, James and I were able to get out of town - just the two of us (and baby en route, of course) for 3 1/2 days!  We very much enjoyed the Act the Miracle conference by Desiring God ministries.  It was good for our souls and good for our enjoyment as a couple as well.  We ate LOTS of good food, enjoyed gorgeous 75 degree sunny weather every day and actually got some sleep in an amazing hotel.  It's the only time we've ever been gone that long and James was already ready to plan another trip for next year! ;)

I failed my first glucose test.  Yep.  I blame it on the donuts and coffee I had the day before.  So I had to go back in the following week and do the long three hour one.  Though I brought books, I was so distracted by everything I couldn't concentrate on my reading material.  Fortunately, my sister called and we spent 1 1/2 hours of that time talking.  That helped a ton! By God's great grace, I passed this time!  Whoo hoo!  Super excited about that.  At my 30 week checkup, I found out I'd gained 5lbs in two weeks!  Whoa.  I totally give credit to all the yummy food I had up in MN.

My hip/pelvic pain has been a little less intense since week 30.  It's still there but not as often so that's a blessing.  My energy level has been back up a tad which is nice.  I swear I'm nesting way early as I'm trying to get the entire house in tip-top shape for some reason.  You could guess how far that's gone.  I've also been getting nauseous again in the evenings.  Not incredibly so, just enough to notice.  I think it's just everything sitting in my cramped tummy space. ;)  Third trimester at it's best.

Lastly, I've convinced myself that this baby will be at least one week overdue.  As I've thought about all the different pregnancy changes, I feel everything has happened at least one week later than with my previous pregnancies.  I'm 100% sure of my "dates" but even my pregnancy test didn't show a positive until 5 days later than it usually does.  So I'm thinking my cycle just wasn't regulated yet and may have been longer than usual.  Then my measurements are always behind at the midwife (although that's pretty typical of me with any pregnancy).  All that to say, I'm thinking it'll be closer to Dec. 15th-ish or later than my actual due date of Dec. 8.  Only time will tell!  Babies certainly have minds of their own and the Lord has His plans!

Until next time...

Take care,
Terra

Monday, September 24, 2012

Week 28: Pelvic Pain and Failed Glucose Test

Not a fun week!  Literally, the afternoon I wrote the last blog, my pelvic/hip pain kicked in.  It's the exact same type of pain I've had with all of my pregnancies, though I must thankfully say, it waited about 11 weeks later to begin.  So that's certainly a plus.  It's basically a sharp pain right around either side of my pelvis (very, very low back) and happens only when I put pressure on it, like when walking.  It hurts quite a bit, about every 4th or 5th step I take, so I've slowed down quite a bit.  When I'm sitting, it's fine.  But imagine how much of that I do in a given day. ;)

Then Wednesday I got a call from my midwife's office.  Considering I'd just had my glucose test, I knew it couldn't be a good thing.  Yep.  Totally failed it.  I think they said I scored a 156 and it needed to be below 130.  If I'm going to fail it, go all out, right?  That's what the nurse suggested.  Just the day before I had two glazed donuts and two cups of coffee.  So I'm blaming it all on that.  Ha.  I failed my first test with Benjamin too and passed the second with flying colors.  I have no other risk factors so I'm not really worried.  I'm just annoyed that I have to take the time and effort out of my day to do the three hour test.  We'll have to do school in the afternoon/evening as a result.

So.... the not so fun pregnancy issues - though I'm very thankful to be where I am.  Seriously.  There are so many bigger, more worrisome things that could be happening.  I choose gratitude. 

On the upside, James and I are having a first this weekend.  We'll be gone Thursday through Sunday - ALONE - to Minnesota for a conference and late anniversary weekend away.  Thanks to amazing friends (and my mom), the kids should be well taken care of while we're away.  Looking forward to some fun time together as a couple before this next little one arrives.

Until next time...
Terra

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weeks 24-27: A bit behind!

Though no one has commented about it, as you can see, I'm pretty behind in my postings!  Four weeks went by with no update!  So, here it is...

We're in our 5th week of homeschooling.  Overall, it's going great.  It certainly means a bit of planning and preparation on my part.  The first few days were extremely tiring as we all adjusted to the new schedule.  I'm teaching 4th grade to a live-in friend's daughter, Kindergarten with Hannah and some loose Preschool with Benjamin.  Sophia just hangs out with us all.  I very much enjoy getting to see those "light-bulb" moments and their desire for certain subjects grow.  Hannah particularly enjoys math and science - which I love as well.  It's not uncommon for her to ask to do more in one of these areas.  We've had two bigger field trips: one to a local cave and one to a local ice cream facility.  Those were fun.  I'll try to get photos up on FB soon.

Pregnancy is going well for the most part.  Though I have the occasional back/neck pain from being on my feet too long or trying to do too much, for the most part, I haven't hurt as much during this pregnancy as my past few.  Specifically, I normally have a great deal of pelvic pain I'm dealing with by now.  By God's grace, it hasn't happened this go around.  Maybe I can thank my weekly chiropractic visits for that.  I get occasional heartburn but not continually so.  The family had a little stomach bug of sorts last week so that wasn't fun, but we came through.  Still getting over mild colds.

I've gained 27lbs (as of 28wks, 2d) and otherwise good vitals as well.  Had my glucose testing today so hopefully I won't hear anything negative about that.

So yes, life has been busy as usual - but in good ways.  We have been so blessed and encouraged by God's many graces and the wonderful friends and family He's placed in our lives.  It's meant my not blogging as much but living more life instead.  And I'm okay with that. ;)

Until next time...
Terra

Monday, August 20, 2012

Weeks 22 & 23: A growing baby!

I know I keep you all anxiously awaiting my posts some times.  It's just that I don't feel there is that much exciting stuff to write about so I hold off.  But here's a shot at it. :)

The last few weeks there have been many final preparations for school to begin.  Hannah and Brianna (the nine year old that lives with us), will start school on August 21st.  They will both be homeschooled using the same core curriculum (The Weaver Curriculum) and then will do reading and math separately, as their skills vary.  Then Benjamin will be doing a loose preschool alongside of them.  So, between preschool, kindergarten and 4th grade, there has been much preparation!  But I will say - we're excited!  The kids can't wait for school to begin and I'm excited too.  I'll post first day of school pictures and stats next time, if I remember.

Daniel is moving much more these days.  It's so much fun to feel him wiggle around.  I'll update about my most recent midwife visit in the next post as it was during week 24.  I'm really starting to feel full and pregnant.  The belly is pretty noticeable these days.  I feel quite a bit larger than in past pregnancies at this point.  I think I'll check out my old pregnancy journals and see if I'm just imagining things or not. 

I'm getting to an odd stage of the pregnancy.  Overall, I'm feeling pretty good physically, though I have the occasional back/pelvic pain if I've been on my feet too long.  It's odd because parts of me feel that I've been pregnant forever and can't believe I still have so much further to go.  Then other parts of me feel it's gone fast and can't believe I'm getting ready to have four children five and under!  I'm sure that once school begins, it'll go even faster and I'll be glad I have so much longer.

That's it for now...

Until next time,
Take care,
Terra

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Week 21: Houseboat Time!

What do tubing, middle and high schoolers, interesting sleep situations and a crazy storm all have in common?  Our recent trip with our church's Boat Float, that's what!  During week 21, we were able to attend our youth's annual houseboat adventure.  And what a trip it was!  James was our boat captain (he literally moved the boat wherever we went).  We were with a ton of students as well as several other ministry leaders and their families.

The first night was a tad bit crazy.  None of us were aware a big storm was brewing.  Though there were seven boats in all, initially ours and one other were docked to the shore separately since we all had younger children.  Around 10:30 pm, very strong winds slammed one of our speed boats directly into our houseboat, jolting me awake.  I'd laid down early to be with the kids and thought maybe others were doing some late night jumps off our roof again.  When I came out, I was told what happened and the wind just about knocked me over with its strength.  I decided to try and go back to sleep anyway though the weather was incredibly frightening.  About five minutes later, another leader on our boat rushed in to find James.  Our boat and the one next to us had come mostly detached from the land and was threatening to float out into the open!

The next few minutes were like scenes from a movie.  Everyone ran around trying to figure out what the next best step was.  Do we go back to the dock (which was not particularly close)?  Do we try to tie ourselves back up?  If so, where?  There weren't many options.  Then several of the pastors and other leaders jumped off the boats, grabbed the ropes and went military style up the giant hill/small mountain towards the only solid trees in the area.  It was such a sight!  By God's grace, the rain hadn't started yet and they were able to resecure the boats.  Maybe ten minutes later the downpour came.  The craziest part?  The kids slept through the ENTIRE thing!  Even I was terrified and they never noticed.  The irony! :)

After that first, incredibly entertaining evening, the rest of the weekend went pretty smooth and we enjoyed beautiful weather.  The kids loved the water, especially Hannah, who never wanted to leave it.  We got to spend time getting to know many of the families much better.  It was good to have some extra downtime before the summer wrapped up.  I was feeling good overall regarding the pregancy so that was nice as well.

For loads of pictures, check out my album on FB. :)
 
Until next time...
 
Take care,
Terra

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Weeks 19 & 20: Ultrasound time!

I'm continuing to feel better and better regarding the pregnancy nausea so that's fantastic!  It also helps that I've had no recent vertigo issues - praise God!  And slowly but surely, I'm starting to feel this little guy move around more. 

During week 20, we had our first "official" ultrasound.  It's always a joy to see the baby in the womb!  It was quite entertaining to see Daniel give us two thumbs up, open and close his mouth, cross his ankles, put his arms both behind his head as well as hiding his face another moment.  In just about 20 minutes, he went from being horizontal to totally breech to flopping around all over the place.  He was certainly and very clearly reconfirmed a male.  As much as they can tell, he seems to be totally healthy.  Another praise for sure.

However, there was one not so encouraging part of the ultrasound.  He was measuring about one and one half weeks behind our estimated due date of December 8.  My cycles are very regular so I know those details for sure.  Most of me thinks nothing of it as our babies are always small (my largest was only 6lbs and 8oz).  The midwife told me that we won't adjust the due date right now, all things consdering.  But she did say that if 42 weeks came with no progress, we'd reconsider before inducing.  Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

This entire time I've been prepared for being up to 42 weeks considering my last baby was 10 days late.   That would mean, no matter what, I'll be holding our baby before Christmas.  However, if my date does get adjusted, it could technically be the beginning of the new year if Daniel decides to be stubborn.  NOT COOL on many fronts (including health insurance deductibles, taxes and just a longer wait in general).  Sooooooooooooo, here's to praying Daniel is not a stinker and doesn't like the womb better than the real world. :)

Until next time...
Terra

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Week 18: No news is good news

I've delayed my week 18 post simply because I don't feel I have much to write about.  Now that's certainly not always a bad thing.  I'm VERY thankful I'm not writing about continued nausea and vertigo issues.  By God's grace, those have tremendously improved!  Some times, no news is good news.  And I'm okay with that. :)

It's been a more relaxed few weeks here lately.  And since I've been feeling better, I've been getting much more accomplished around the house.  That's certainly a plus.  And the kids and I have been doing more fun stuff together during the day than I was able to when feeling so sick.

I've been attempting to try a few new recipes lately.  Those who know me well know this is one of my greatest struggles as homemaker.  I do not enjoy cooking, I don't cook well, I hate to menu plan, shop and wash dishes.  There, I said it. :)  BUT, considering there are seven people living under this roof (our 5 plus our friend and daughter), I NEED to grow in this area.  I'm actually attending a cooking class tonight to try and improve my skills.  We'll see how that turns out. 

Nothing new and exciting on the baby front.  But again, no news is good news right now.  We have our official gender ultrasound next week so it'll be fun to see him again.

Guess that's it for now.  Maybe there will be more fun next time! :)

Until then...
Take care,
Terra

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Week 17: Vacation Fun

Week 17 was nice.  We were one vacation in Crestview, Florida (a small, mostly military town near Destin).  It's where James grew up and his parents still live.  We try to make it down there once a year, so it's nice to look forward to.  James' mom was in the Philippines this year so we missed her and her usual cooking.  However, she had us more than taken of with the help of another Filipina and we certainly ate well regardless.

I think most of us can agree that we usually feel we need a vacation from our vacation because we tend to stay so busy doing things during that time.  This year, I felt it was a really nice blend of doing and resting.  We made it to the beach twice, visited the Armament Museum, did a small bit of shopping, kids watched a movie at the theater, ate out a few times, enjoyed some fireworks but mostly just hung out and enjoyed one another at the house.  We watched some Olympic trials where the kids became fascinated with the gymnasts and started tumbling around the house.  The swim meets had Hannah temporarily adding "swimmer" to her long list of things she'll be when she grows up.  Her favorite part of the entire trip, hands down, was the pool at my in-laws.  I think she would've been content there the entire time!  Going to look into getting the older kids into swim lessons I think.  Of course everyone else came back with nice tans and I came back with more freckles. :)

The biggest downside for me during the trip was that I had a headache every, single day.  That was not fun at all.  I think it was my regular watching of the giant TV there.  I typically watch very, very little TV.  I've been fine since being home, praise God.

We drove there and back - overnight, as opposed to our usual flying.  By God's grace, it was mostly smooth and to my surprise, the kids did very well with it.  We came back to our AC not working on the second floor of our home, thanks to the week of temps over 100.  We're hoping to get it fixed soon.  In the meantime, the kids have been sleeping on the first floor with us and we're grateful the weather has gotten a tad cooler.

I've been noticing the baby moving around more.  Still small movements but becoming more noticeable.  Always fun.

Until next time, check out our vacation pictures here.

Take care,
Terra

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Weeks 15 & 16: It's a DANIEL!

Somewhere along the way, I managed to miss the fact that I forgot to post my weekly update. :)  Sorry about that!  I'm sure you sit anxiously awaiting our new post each week anyway, right?  Totally joking.

As I mentioned in the title of this post, we got a nice, early surprise announcement!  We went to our friend's clinic (the retired OB) two weeks earlier than planned.  Though we knew there were no guarantees, at 16 1/2 weeks we knew there was a possibility we could learn the gender so decided to try anyway.  After all, we're scheduled for our official ultrasound at 20 weeks so it wouldn't be a great loss if we didn't learn anything new.

I always have a little bit of anxiety when it comes to pregnancy before I'm able to physically feel the baby move much.  Not that movement means everything is okay but it is reassuring none-the-less.  So there was a part of me that was anxious going in to the ultrasound.  After experiencing our own miscarriage in 2008 and then knowing many, many friends to lose babies at various stages of pregnancy, I secretly feared seeing a lifeless body on the screen.  To my sheer delight, there was one active, super energetic little baby in there!  The doctor commented several times on how bouncy he was.  Could be interesting as the pregnancy moves along and I can actually feel all that movement.  :)

So there we were, admiring all the beautiful body parts - a nice round head, good looking heart, legs and feet, arms and hands. Then I noticed a little "something" down south.  I uttered a "whoa."  The doctor looked at me and said, "Yep.  I saw that too.  Actually, seen it a few times."  He later went on to say that while we did not have one still, clear shot, based on all those "few times" he'd say with 95% certainty that we were having another boy.  YAY!  Though we obviously would've been grateful and happy with any gender, we're SUPER excited that Benjamin will have a brother!  Right now, between the two girls, we have far more pink and princess than not.  Benjamin is ALL boy and I think he will really love the fun of another.

In other pregnancy news, my nausea is slowly tapering.  Praise the Lord!  During the day I find myself nauseous off and on but I can usually help it by getting food on my stomach.  It's still the worst in the evenings but is more manageable than it was a month ago for sure.  So very excited about that.  I've started having some of the usual pregnancy tenderness and pressure.  Haven't really had any big breakouts on my face (like with past pregnancies) but some on my neck which is not fun of course.  Not too many crazy dreams lately.  Vivid but not as crazy as they were earlier on.  And finally having small bursts of energy here and there.  All this to say, I still feel some of the discomforts of pregnancy but mostly, in a much more bearable, encouraging way!

Until next time...

Take care,
Terra

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Week 14: Midwife Visit

By God's great grace, the vertigo has tapered off tremendously in the last week or so.  It's not gone but it's WAY more manageable.  Thank you ALL who've prayed for me and the family in those regards. 

Midwife visit was short and sweet.  Gained a couple of pounds.  Everything else looked normal too.  Got to hear the heartbeat again which is now in the 150s.  We have a friend and previous professor that is a retired OB.  He still volunteers time at two local clinics and he said he'd be happy to give us a gender peek when we return from our vacation (2nd wk of July).  We're scheduled for the official one on July 24.  Not that a two week wait would kill us but it's kind of neat that this same doc was also the first to tell us the gender of all three of our other kids.  So there's some upcoming excitement!

Looking forward to our July vacation to Florida.  Sadly, my mother-in-law will still be in the Philippines (after the recent loss of her brother).  Fortunately, we'll still be able to visit with the rest of the family, including those from Hawaii - who we only see once a year.  Everyone is very excited about that.  We're looking forward to some much needed rest and relaxation and are thankful to have a live-in home sitter while we're gone. :)  Thanks Filicia!

Been getting some of the final pieces for homeschool this fall.  One really great buy was from a local homeschool fair.  I got some parts of a curriculum package I was specifically looking for 85% off the retail price of $200.  Yes, you read that right - and it was exactly what I was looking for.  Praise the Lord for sweet graces!  And then I got the math program I wanted for 47% off.  Not a bad deal either in my opinion as I haven't seen it sold much lower.

So, there's life in a nutshell.  Until next time...

Take care,
Terra

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Weeks 12 & 13: Vertigo Updates and a Moving Baby

Anyone that's known me or my family for any length of time knows that we tend to have the most random, out-there, 1 in 1,000,000 type odds when it comes to our physical health.  By God's grace, none of them have been life threatening, though there are some life-altering ones.  Seriously, in my short 30yrs of life, I've had spinal meningitis, 2 ruptured ear drums, shingles (as a child), P(itiriasys Rosea) - TWICE, and a 1/300 wisdom teeth post-op problem.  Then there are recurring neck/shoulder issues, funny red splotchy spots that appeared on my face when pregnant with my first (told they'd go away - never did), and my continued struggle with Benign Paroxsymal Positional Vertigo.  During week 12, I managed to get a pinched nerve in my shoulder. As soon as I recovered from that, one of my toes started throbbing for no apparent reason.  Come to find out, it appears I have cellulitis and now I'm on antibiotics for it.  Are you laughing yet?!  Ha!  I have to laugh - otherwise I cry.

I had a treatment for the vertigo on Monday of week 13.  While there, I learned I could hear through my ankle bone!  NO joke!  Long story - too long to write - but my doc said it's extremely uncommon (surprise?!) and likely caused by a bone in my ear that's shifted either up or sideways.  I can basically hear through my bones.  It's very likely the cause of my recurring vertigo struggle.  Need a CT scan to confirm it but have to wait until I'm no longer pregnant.  May need surgery or meds, may not. 

Again, I'm super grateful that none of these random issues have been life-threatening - truly.  I do often wonder why I have to continue to deal with one thing after another that it seems no one else has.  But God is so good to remind me (mostly through friends and His word), that He IS in control and none of this escapes His care.  He's allowed them to happen for whatever purpose and while I may not understand the reasons, I can trust He's in control.

Outside of the random health stuff - I'm quite certain I'm feeling the baby move now.  Just little thumps here and there but definitely starting to notice.  Feeling the baby move is probably my favorite part of the entire pregnancy experience.  I never cease to be amazed by the miracle of it all!

And lastly, I think we've finally settled on a girl's name: Lily Grace.  Our boy's name is Daniel Brian. :)  We should find out the sex sometime in July!

Until next time...
Terra

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Week 11: Hope

Week eleven was not much more different than the past several on the pregnancy front.  Still nauseous, still dizzy from vertigo.  Tired.  I don't want to complain so I'm going to leave it at that - now you know.  Sad news this week when a friend who was due around the same time as me found out her baby had stopped growing weeks ago. Another reminder that each day - each moment even - is a gift with no guarantees.

In other news, the birthday party went well.  Hannah was turning five and celebrated with a friend who turned 9.  We had a rainbow theme complete with tons of multi-colored foods, treats, crafts and fun.  Check out the pictures here.  It was a good time.  I can't believe Hannah is now five and getting ready for kindergarten.  So surreal at times.  I know I'm going to think the same thing when she's graduating high school!

We got some updates from my sister-in-law on their adoption.  They've been working towards an Ethiopian adoption for well over a year now and things are at a stand still.  In the meantime, they were presented with an opportunity to adopt a two year old Chinese girl with some special needs.  They still plan to continue on with their Ethiopian adoption but are also moving forward in the process to bring home this little girl.  We're super excited for them and praying for lots of grace and patience in the long, arduous, paperwork process.

So there's an update on week eleven.  Until next time....

Take care,
Terra

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weeks 9-10: Still Yucky but a Beautiful Heartbeat

I didn't write anything about week nine because there wasn't anything new or excting to write... unless you wanted to hear more about my increase in nausea and general overall nasty feeling. There has been some relief with the vertigo though I tested positive again when I went back for my follow-up visit. So now I have four weeks of nightly exercises at home until I go in for another follow-up. It's difficult especially because the exercises make you feel more dizzy to begin with so you're supposed to do them right before bed so you can rest afterwards. BUT, I feel most nauseous from the pregnancy right before bed so that doesn't make it easy by any stretch of the imagination.
Anyway, week 10 included some fun. We had our first visit with the midwife. I'm going to the same office that I did with my last pregnancy though they've added a new midwife. My husband got a new job last September and it is literally about half of a mile up the street so it'll make it easier for him to come with me to appointments. Did the usual bloodwork, family history questions, etc. All of my vitals were good. I've gained 6lbs so far which is about average for me at this point. Our favorite part was definitely listening to the heartbeat. There is something so amazing about hearing that little heartbeat for the first time. Not only is it reassuring to know things are going well, it's such an amazing reminder of the miracle of pregnancy. To have a child knit in the womb, from the tiniest cells to a full blown newborn is simply amazing. And though I don't like all the "side-effects" of pregnancy, I do not take one tiny bit of it for granted. I'm so very grateful.
We're prepping for our last spring birthday party the Saturday (as all of our kids have birthdays Feb-May). My daughter loves rainbows and colors of all types so we're doing a theme around that. It should be fun. Then no more birthdays in this house until December! We'll see if it's mine or the new baby's (who is due to arrive on my bday).
Until next time...
Take Care,
Terra

Monday, May 7, 2012

Week 8: Yucky

After my last post, I was able to get scheduled at the office that diagnoses and treats my vertigo.  As I suspected, I had relapsed, and in two canals (there are three, I usually have issues in one at a time).  So all of my dizziness has certainly been real and thanks to the vertigo.  I was treated in office and have had slight issues since, but not over the top.  I go back again next week for a re-evaluation to see if there's been any progression in how I'm feeling.

I was also wondering if the nausea was vertigo or baby related and I've decided it's definitely baby (if not both).  It's turned into the all day nausea, worse if I haven't eaten within 2hrs or so.  That's pretty typical of my pregnancies though so it was more or less expected.  I'm trying to remind myself of the bright side.  Sophia's pregnancy had the longest lasting sickness and it was over around 20 weeks so theoretically, I should only have another 11 weeks or so.  I can handle that, right?!

Other than that, things have been going fairly well around here.  Honestly, the nausea/vertigo combo has been pretty tough but with James to help and our live in friend and her daughter helping as well, it's been much more manageable.  And I'm super grateful for that.  God's timing is so perfect.

My first prenatal appointment is next week.  I'm really looking forward to it as I'm hoping to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time.  That's always one of my favorite things.  I'm also curious about the weigh in.  I typically gain the most weight in my first trimester (weird, I know), so I'm curious to see if that's true this time as well.

Until next time...
Terra

Monday, April 30, 2012

Week 7: Vertigo or Baby Nausea, Who Knows?

It's been an interesting week.  Last Monday, I started feeling some issues with my vertigo.  It seemed to dissipate later and Tuesday I just felt a little tired.  Then Thursday afternoon, it returned to rock my world.  Ever since then, it's been really messing with me.  I keep trying to wait it out because some times, it'll come and go on it's own.  This weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a women's retreat with my church.  The entire time, it was on and off, really causing me fatigue and frustration.  Needless to say, I'm going to call the clinic where I've been treated in the past and try to see if I need retreatment or not.

I keep debating whether or not I'm starting to have some pregancy related nausea.  You're probably wondering how that's debatable. :)  Well, the vertigo can cause similar effects and I'm not 100% sure which it is.  Part of me feels it's the pregnancy, but then at the same time, my head feels all out of whack from the vertigo.  It's super hard to explain.  If you're familir with sinus problems, you know some of the feelings you can have when you feel pressure in your head.  Or when you drink one glass of wine: that slightly loopy, unbalanced feeling but yet you still have control for the most part.  It's weird.  Anyway, I don't want this entire post to sound negative, just to let you know where I'm at, as people often ask. 

Benjamin turned three this weekend.  Pretty hard to believe.  All the kids have unique birth stories so it's fun to think back on them.  You can read here if you're interested in his.  Such a big boy!  He thoroughly enjoyed his super hero themed birthday.  Next on the list is Hannah.  She'll be five this coming month.  She's wanting a rainbow themed party so it should be fun too.  Sophia is on the move like crazy, practically running now that she's got traction. 

This week, two friends joined our home.  We'll call them F and B until I get permission to include their names on here. :)  F is a single mom attending the seminary James and I graduated from and B is her almost 9yr old daughter.  It's been fun having them here and the kids love the extra playmates and attention.  An added blessing during my pregnancy/vertigo issues as well.

Until next time...
Take care,
Terra

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Week 6: Feeling Great

Many of you know I like to chronicle our pregnancies on a weekly basis. It gives me the opportunity to reflect, give thanks and then recall the details years later. So once again, our pregnancy posts begin. I'll start this round of them with week six reflections.

I can't believe I'm saying this as it's so not typical for me. But yes, I got through the entire sixth week of pregnancy feeling really good overall. Historically, I'm typically pretty sick as soon as the sixth week hits. Needless to say, I'm praising God and giving thanks e.v.e.r.y. s.i.n.g.l.e. day. What a tremendous blessing! It's still early and much can happen over the next several months but in the meantime, I'm super grateful.

So what symptoms have I had so far? I'm tired. That's been apparent. Not over the top so but definitely noticeable. Whenever I go for any length of time without eating (even just two hours), my stomach gets super crampy. But then within 10 minutes or so of eating, it's back to normal. Better than nauseous in my opinion. I just have to be sure to keep a few snacks available. I've also already noticed some other small, non-bloggable changes. :)
 
We've started the gender guessing game. It's been funny already, especially with the kids. Hannah, our organized, logically minded child says it's a boy. When asked why, she reasons that there are already 3 girls and only 2 boys in our family. So naturally, it has to be a boy. Benjamin says a girl. When asked why, he said, "Just cause." Sophia had the opportunity to guess by high-fiving the hand of her choice. I gave her three tries to guess boy hand or girl hand, even switching it up once to see what she'd do. All three times, she hit the girl hand regardless of which one it was.
 
James and I have interesting thoughts behind it. Though we'd both like a brother for Benjamin, we know God may always have different plans and we're okay with that. I think it's a girl just because I haven't gotten sick yet. Hannah's has been the only pregnancy I wasn't sick at this point and she was a girl. Ha. Sophia's pregnancy mirrored Benjamin's in most ways and yet she was a girl. And need I mention I've been wrong 2 of the 3 times I've guessed. :) James says it's a boy, just because he has a "hunch." He also says he's never been wrong on his guess. I'm pretty sure we both thought Hannah was a boy but he denies it.
 
So... that's the fun so far. We're thinking through boy and girl's names. I like to have the name settled on by the gender ultrasound so I can go ahead and give the baby a name and stop saying "it." We're sticking with the boy's name we had last time, Daniel Brian. We're not 100% on a girl's name yet, though we probably have a first name. I'll keep you posted there.
 
Enough for now! Thanks for journeying with us!
 
Until next time...
Terra

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I used to think being in bed by 10 meant I had no life, especially on the weekends. Last night I realized it's quite the opposite. Being in bed early means I have a great life, and by the end of the day, I sleep it off joyfully. :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Great Big Disclaimer

I never understood why disclaimers were such a big deal.  After my "Pregnant? Again?!" post and a few links shared on Facebook, I get it.  So here is our "Great Big Disclaimer" post.  PLEASE read thoroughly. :)
  • It is not our intention to say we believe the one right and only way to do things biblically (whether that is in regards to marriage, parenting, schooling, family size and so on).  There are many things in the Bible that may be arguable even among Christians but are not related to our salvation in Christ.  Where there is this room, we call it gospel freedom.
  • We also understand that different families have different convictions regarding different aspects of the Christian life.  One family may have strong convictions regarding eating only local, organic foods while another does not think twice about it's regular use of mostly processed foods.  One family may be convicted that homeschooling is the best option for them whereas another family thinks being a light in the public school system is more mission-oriented. 
    • If our family believes the Lord has given us certain convictions, it would be sinful for us to go against those.  However, it would also be sinful if we tried to push our convictions on issues where Scripture is arguable on those who are convicted otherwise.  Clear as mud?
  • We've chosen to write about particular issues on this blog simply for the fact that they are personal to us and allow us the opportunity to explain why we do things the way we do or believe what we believe.  They are not meant to condemn or discourage those who may have differing opinions or beliefs.  If you take nothing else from this post, please take that. 
  • Lastly, these thoughts are expressly the views of our family and do not necessarily reflect the stances of our church, places of employment or otherwise.  Our church has a core set of beliefs that we fully agree with.  Certain issues are considered "open-handed" and non-essential to our core beliefs.  The many leaders and members may have differing views and still be a part of the same body, growing in love and santification in Christ.
I hope these points help clarify a few things about our blogging.  There will certainly be posts where we'll all have to lovingly agree to disagree, and we're okay with that.  We'll do our best to share openly, kindly, respectfully and thoughtfully on any topic we pursue.  We hope our readers will do the same with comments and encouragment.

"Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Hebrews 13:20-21, NIV.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pregnant? Again?!

I feel like I owe everyone an explanation.  Many of you may remember this comment from one of my posts after delivering Sophia:  "Though we're not 100% sure, this will likely be our last biological baby." 
Our current pregnancy is:
  • Not an accident or "oopsie moment", it was simply a blessing we chose to receive.
  • Just as exciting as our first was.
  • Due on my birthday... how cool is that?
  • Rather confirms the first part of that Feb. 22nd post, "Though we're not 100% sure..."
  • A blessing but has no guarantees.  The Lord gives and the Lord takes away as we learned in 2008.
I spent a great deal of the last pregnancy trying to convince James to let this "be our last one."  We always have adoption on our hearts so I thought that was next.  It was a particularly difficult pregnancy and even had the scare of heart problems for myself.  In the end, the cardiologist said there was nothing to worry about and everything else eventually ceased as well.

After Sophia was about three months old, my heart slowly started to change.  Could that really have been the last time I experienced the joys of new life in the womb?  Yes, yes... no... no?  It was hard... remember that part Terra? 

When James and I first married, we said we were letting the Lord choose the hows, whens and how manys of our family size.  But then four pregnancies (one loss), hard physical struggles, and a short 3 1/2 years later, I wasn't so sure God knew what was best for us.  Maybe we could do a better job with this whole planning thing?

Those close to us continued to struggle with infertility or loss after loss while we were determined to make our own choices.  One recent evening, I listened yet again to one of those stories of heartache.  Suddenly, with great conviction, I decided it was time to let go.  As well as I can calculate, it was that same time we conceived.

I know there are many other questions and thoughts out there.  I know some people think we're a little crazy.  And I have much, much more to write on the topic.  But I think this blog has gotten long enough for now.  Stay tuned for more.  And rejoice with us now for the Lord has chosen to bless us once more!

Until next time...

Terra

Sunday, April 1, 2012

May Your Power Rest on Me

There is a song that a few of our church members wrote a few years back called "May Your Power Rest on Me" by Joel Gerdis and Neil Robins.  It is hands down, the most powerfully convicting and encouraging song I know - and I LOVE music.  The lyrics are great but the music takes it completely over the top.  Match that up with real life circumstances and it doesn't get much better.

This morning, we sang the song at church.  There is one line that chokes me up every single time I here it.  It says,
"The harder I tried to climb The closer I was to find how great is my weakness"
How true is that?  I try and try to climb up the faulty ladders I've built myself.  I struggle with desperation to be the perfect mom or wife.  I pick up speed and think if I just get on the right path, this time, surely THIS time, I'll get it right.  If I just discipline the one RIGHT way, it'll finally work.  Then my ladder starts to get unsteady.  The rung that I super-glued begins to come apart.  I realize the wood I chose to work with is hollow.  As I fall, God, in His great mercy, catches me.  And I remember, how great is my weakness.  But how much greater is our God in His sovereign powerful strength.

As the song says, though the trial still goes on, HIS grace will be my song.  I can bear all things because He sustains me.  Oh how I praise God for his goodness and pray His power will rest on me.

~Terra

Monday, March 26, 2012

Progress

So most of the winter we've been sick. Well, on the positive side of things, we've had several weeks of relatively good health when it comes to viruses and such. That's a plus! James and I did get some mild food poisoning which wasn't fun. Fortunately, the kids weren't a part of that. James' RA has actually been doing MUCH better. He's been on a gluten-free diet as well as juicing once or twice each day. He says he's felt great improvement with his energy level and general well-being. Though his pain has not vanished, it's been very manageable. I praise God for that!
My physical downside has been another vertigo relapse. For those who have known me for the last three years, you know I've struggled off and on with sometimes severe positional vertigo. Last week, I fell into a relapse. I believe it's likely from the allergy season and the number it's doing on my sinuses. Because the vertigo is inner ear related, it can easily be affected that way. It's been a not so fun week or so on that end. Some days are way worse than others though and I'm grateful for the breaks. It's sad that I'm scared to go outside and enjoy the gorgeous weather for fear that it'll make things worse. Trying to find a happy balance and using Sudafed and Zyrtec to try and help.

I finally posted pictures of the owl-themed birthday party. You can view them here. Next month, Benjamin will celebrate his third birthday with a super hero theme. Then in May, Hannah wants a rainbow themed fifth birthday. Fun times!
I've been evaluating my curriculum choices, homeschooling philosophy and methods for Hannah's upcoming Kindergarten year. I really like a variety of things from the Charlotte Mason approach as well as unit study type learning. I'm pretty sure I'm going to use Interlock, from the Weaver Curriculum for Kindergarten. I'll intermingle some of my own things with help from Ruth Beechick and also Sonlight Curriculum's amazing book offerings. I'm excited to get started.
Life has been busy as always but we've been enjoying one another. On the days that aren't so enjoyable, we pray for grace, learn from the circumstances and look forward to another morning. :)
Until next time...
Take care,
Terra

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Birthdays, Sickness and Homeschooling

Birthdays, birthdays, birthdays... our family has many during February! Sophia just turned the big ONE and then three days later, Daddy turned 34. In the same week are Valentine's Day, Uncle T.'s birthday and great grandfather's birthday! All of my owl-themed plans turned out pretty good I think. If I ever make the time, I'll try to get some pictures up.
We're continuing our winter sickness trend. Sick for about 2 weeks, healthy for a few days, sick again now. Blah. I'm SO looking forward to spring!
Hannah has nearly wrapped up preschool. At first, I was going to wait to begin teaching kindergarten this fall as most kids her age. But if I do, she'll basically have nothing to learn between now and August/September. That would be boring for all of us. So I think we're going to get started in the next month and then if anything comes up, it'll be easy to take a break. We can go even more at a relaxed pace. That's one of the beauties of homeschooling.
My Benjamin has been sooooo cuddly. When he's not feeling well, he basically walks around saying "hold me" all day. It's kind of tough because Sophia expects to be held the most, since she's the baby. And I couldn't physically be a big "baby-wearer" anyway because I tend to have back issues. Up, down, up, down, all day during sickness. But even with that, though I may need a break here and there, I wouldn't change it for anything...
James has begun a mild prescription for what they've diagnosed as RA. We're also getting ready to make some dietary changes to try and help that as well. By God's grace, we'll make some ground. And where we don't, we'll trust in the Lord for strength and perseverance.
Until next time....
 
Take care,
Terra

Friday, January 27, 2012

Health Issues and a 1st Birthday

Every December I look forward to January thinking things will slow down. Then every January I remember how busy January can get. Ha.
Soooo... we were actually healthy for about 3 weeks or so. That was nice. Today Sophia ended up on steroids for her second round of croup this winter. Two weeks ago, she had her first ear infection. Both have been kind of strange. The only symptoms she had with the ear infection were crankiness and sleeplessness. No snot, fever or anything else. We caught the croup early so hopefully it'll run it's course smoothly.
James has really been struggling with his hands/wrists. Right now, the doc and rheumatologist are thinking he has rheumatoid arthritis. That's a hard pill to swallow. We're hoping for some answers and looking for the best means of treatment.  James has found much comfort in Psalm 73:2: "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
We have a few fun things coming up soon. Sophia's 1st birthday is just weeks away. I can't believe she's already so old! We're going to celebrate with an owl themed party. Since James' birthday is just 3 days after, we'll have a joint party. James' parents will be here to celebrate with us and considering his mom is an amazing cook, we'll all eat well for sure. We haven't seen them since we went to Disney last summer so it should be a great time.
The other two kiddos are doing well. Hannah is growing old so fast. She's such a little mommy, in every way. Benjamin is every bit of two. Each day bounces between the extremes of sweet cuddles and situations requiring discipline. But so far, he's my only son and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Until next time...
Take care,
Terra