Thursday, October 16, 2014

Weeks 40 & 41: The Wait and the Birth Story!

Week 40 came and went with no labor story to speak of.  Each day I was certainly getting more and more impatient.  Part of the reason was because I was so anxious to meet Abigail.  The other part was that I was getting more and more physically uncomfortable day by day.  The pain and pressure on my pubic bone was becoming more debilitating and was making it hard to even walk without hurting.  I was having off and on bouts of nausea that I could not pinpoint to anything else but the pregnancy.  And the wait was kind of liking expecting Christmas, and then the day coming and being told it was not time yet.  Maybe in one more day.... or NINE!

At my 40 week checkup, I was measuring around 35 weeks physically and up 30 lbs total.  My blood pressure was just a tiny bit high for me (119/? I think, it's usually under 100).  I was dilated between 2-3cm.  I had 2 more nights of false contractions but nothing exciting otherwise.  My next checkup was at 41 weeks and 2 days.  I had a non-stress test performed and Abigail was doing just fine.  My blood pressure was back to normal and I reached 31 lbs of gained baby weight.  My usual midwife was out of town on vacation so I saw another one of the midwives in the office.  I expressed my fears and worries to her about being so overdue, being Group B Strep positive and it being my fifth baby, wondering how quickly I needed to get to the hospital.  She calmed my fears, checked my dilation (which was then between 3-4cm) and we decided she'd "stretch" me a bit to see if we could get things going.  Otherwise, I was scheduled for an induction three days later if nothing happened beforehand.

Fast forward about 5 hours (approximately 4pm).  I was having really strong contractions but they were not at all regular and they were really far apart (think 20+ minutes).  I kept telling myself that they were probably more painful because of the procedure she'd done that day and I was being very active around the house, likely just increasing my Braxton-Hicks contractions.  Yet as the time went on, I began to think maybe this was really it.  They were still not consistent but were becoming very painful - enough so that I'd excuse myself to another room so I didn't frighten the kids.  My husband got home from work and got dinner prepared for us (I was not feeling up to it).  By the end of the meal, I told him I was going to sit down and start timing these contractions and see if they'd stop when I rested.  Well, they were still all over the board time-wise but they certainly didn't stop.  My doula suggested I head on in to the hospital as soon as they were less than 10 minutes apart because of my quick labor history and the Group B Strep.  By 7:45pm, we were headed out the door with bags packed ready to have a baby!

We arrived at the hospital without much excitement.  We parked in the regular parking lot as I had plenty of time between contractions to walk to the ER.  I checked in, feeling completely silly as it didn't "look" like I was really in labor from outside appearances.  My contractions were still pretty far apart and I know the staff probably thought I was crazy.  I made it a point to tell them this was my fifth labor and my midwife told me to come on it.  I was taken to my room and after about twenty minutes, the antibiotics were started to treat the Strep.

Now here we were.  James, my doula Betsy and myself, hanging out in the L&D room, commenting on the beautiful Louisville skyline from my window, and waiting.  Just waiting.  As is typical of my labors, things were going pretty slowly at this point.  My contractions continued to come hard when they came but there was much time in between.  Betsy kept telling me we needed to get them to pick up and I kept arguing with her.  I told her I wanted this baby but I didn't want the contractions.  hahaha... She reminded me that it was a package deal.  I paced around the room a bit, rocked a little on the birth ball, listened to my YouTube Labor and Delivery playlist, played around on Facebook and texted friends and family.  My babysitter laughed that I was texting her about details while in labor.  Well, I'm just weird like that.

About 10pm, our friend and photographer Kara showed up.  We were planning to text her when we knew how far I had progressed but when I hadn't responded, she decided to just go ahead and join us.  And it was a good thing she did.  Around 10:30, things really started to pick up.  My contractions had finally zoned in and were coming approximately every three minutes and hard.  The nurse came in and told us that we'd have to do a full strip on the baby monitor at 11 and if I wanted, she could check my dilation then.  So that was our plan.  My body started shaking and I couldn't control it.  Historically, that means I'm in transition.  About fifteen to twenty minutes later, I was crying.  Again, historically, that means the baby is coming ASAP.  When the nurse came in at 11, she checked me and I was 8.5cm dilated.  My doula and I explained to her that whatever my dilation, this baby was coming VERY soon.  On the next contraction, I told her I could feel her head and she quickly ran out and grabbed the midwife (who was prepping to deliver another baby elsewhere).

Nurses crowded around and I lay on my side to push.  As of this point, my water had still not broken and there was talk of Abigail maybe even being born IN it.  That would've been cool.  However, as her head pushed through, the water broke and out she came.  There may have been 2 pushes?  I was actually asked to slow down because her hand was up by her shoulder and they wanted to be careful that I did not get any tears.  If you've ever been asked to slow down or not push at this point, you know how ridiculously absurd it sounds.  HOW do I do that?!  I was silently a little freaked out at this point because I did not hear any crying.  But everyone else seemed calm so I tried not to let my imagination get me.  Just moments later, she was placed on my chest and was indeed crying and healthy!

So Abigail Grace was born at 11:16pm on Monday, October 6.  She was my biggest baby at 6lbs, 15.5oz and 20in long!  We can't figure out which of the other kids she looks the most like but she was the first to get her Daddy's lips (and not my thin ones).  So from the first set of contractions to delivery was about 6-7 hours.  However, the hardest part of labor was really only 2-3 hours long at most.  We were not able to get the full round of antibiotics in during the preferred time range.  However, my pediatrician pointed out that my bag of waters remaining in tact would have protected her through the birth canal and was even a blessing in disguise really.  She was my first baby without ANY jaundice and we even got to check out sooner than 48hrs as long as we brought her back the next day for her final hospital checkup.

I can't believe it finally happened after being 9 days "late."  We're so excited to have her on the outside and the kids are totally smitten with her.  Thank you for all the help and prayers along the journey.  It was a joy!

*If you're interested in seeing pictures from labor and delivery, click here.
**For newborn/family pics, click here.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Week 39: The Waiting Game

I type this on my last day of week 39.  It's funny.  No matter how much I think I can figure this pregnancy thing out, I'm rarely right. ;)  For various reasons, I've been pretty convinced that Abigail would come before her due date.  Well, unless it happens in the next 10 hours (which is possible but unlikely), I will be incorrect yet again.  Part of me finds it humorous, part of me finds it annoying.  So here I am, waiting - trying to be patient.  Each day of the wait is inevitably one day closer to meeting her, right?

It's been a really laid back week this week overall.  That's a plus.  I had about two days of nausea and not feeling well.  I'm not sure what was going on but it went away quickly.  For that, I'm very grateful as I feared I may be getting a stomach virus or something.  I didn't plan much this week in case I went in to labor so it's made things seem a little slower as well.  I guess I got to get some rest ahead of time - no complaints there.

My midwife checkup was much simpler this time.  I gained about 1/2 lb and my measurements went back up to about 34/35 weeks (at 39w, 2d).  Otherwise, there was really nothing new and exciting to announce.  I was in and out in about 15 minutes.  After my last appointment, that was a true gift!

I don't really have much else to update.  It's been pretty uneventful.  Just pray for my patience as we wait.  Considering my last two babies were both a week past due date, I may need some grace!

Until next time...

Take care,

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 38: More Confusion and a Wedding

Fortunately the dust has settled a bit after our week of chaos.  My last midwife checkup was about as interesting as the one before.  The good thing was that I'd gained back 2 of those 3 pounds I lost.  The not-so-good thing was that my physical measurements dropped from 36.5 weeks to 31 weeks in just one week.  To make sure everything was okay fluid level-wise, I was scheduled for an immediate check with the ultrasound.  After a bit of a scare on my part (afraid of being induced again), my levels were plenty high and I was told the baby had just dropped even lower in my pelvis.  I didn't think that was possible, as low as she already was.  So it was good news in the end.  We'll see what the next appointment brings!

Then over the weekend (technically the first day of week 39), we travelled back about 2.5 hours west for my cousin's wedding.  I was very anxious about possibly going into labor while we were out of town.  There is a decent hospital about 30 minutes or so from where we were staying so it wouldn't have been the end of the world.  However, I'd much rather be at the hospital I'm familiar with, with my midwives and doula available.  By God's grace, Abigail held out and the trip was great.  I got to see several aunts and uncles I haven't seen in years.  Most of them haven't even had the chance to meet our youngest two kids in person (they've only seen them on Facebook) until then.  It was a joy!

The current grandkids all together. ;)
Otherwise, there hasn't been much of anything new and exciting to announce.  Certain physical things have been happening body-wise that make me think Abi will be joining us sooner than later, but my babies like to confuse and surprise me.  So we'll see how/when she decides to come!

Until next time...

Take care,

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Week 37: Chaos

I'm going to attempt to do a weekly post now that baby time is drawing nearer, though I can't make any promises.  Life has been chaotic this last week - pure and simple.  We knew it was going to be busy as we had several meetings during the evenings scheduled.  Wednesday night, we got a ridiculous amount of rain where we live.  We were awoken around 5am Thursday morning to a strange noise in our finished basement.  Yes.  There was a waterfall (no exaggeration), pouring through what was still standing of our ceiling down there.  The pipe that connects the sump pump to the exterior of the building had disconnected.  While the sump pump itself was still working like a charm, all of the water was being dumped onto the ceiling (instead of outside) and flooded that entire room and half of another.

During the event.
After removing everything damaged.
The larger room that was also damaged.
All of the furniture, the flooring and part of the walls in that specific room were ruined.  Our carpeting and favorite giant bean bag beds in the other room were also ruined.  Our insurance company is trying to get out of paying for any of it with a loophole of sorts so we've got a battle on our hands.  The same evening, we also had some water spots and a large puddle appear in our garage.  After inspection, it seems we also have a roof leakage that we're following up on.  It has been a long, draining, emotional week.  We've had many friends offer help and encouragement, which has been a blessing and testimony to their love for us (and God's!) for sure.

Much of the summer, things have been going very well.  Overall, life has truly been enjoyable.  These home disasters all came after a few weeks of other stressors however.  A few weeks ago, my cell phone was either lost or stolen and never found.  I'm supposed to get an upgrade in October, so in the meantime, I'm using a loaner phone some friends gave me.  Then a few days later, I found out I'm Group B Strep positive again (as with my last pregnancy).  That is a real bummer.  Now the catch is making sure I'm in true labor and can get to the hospital with enough time to get the antibiotic treatment before Abigail is born.  I believe it takes 3-4 hours to receive the full dosage.  My labors have varied from 7.5-18hrs long.  I've often struggled with false labor so this is not as easy as it may seem.  Just last weekend, James and I were in Cincinnati celebrating our anniversary.  We almost drove back in the middle of the night because I was about 95% convinced I was in labor.  I had very painful contractions for nearly 2 1/2 hours but they never got regular.  Eventually they stopped.  So even with baby #5, it's still not crystal clear.  Praying for knowledge and surety when the actual event happens!

My midwife checkup was interesting.  Outside of finding out I was GBS positive, I actually lost three pounds - in one week!  However, my physical measurements increased and I was only measuring one week behind (I usually measure multiple weeks behind at this point).  We're chalking it up to some tummy troubles I had over the weekend and all the walking in Cinci.  Otherwise, baby seems to be doing well, heartbeat sounded good, and I'm still moving on towards that day!

Thanks for hanging in there with me and this super long post!  Hopefully the next one will bring a little more sunshine!

Until next time...

Take care,

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Weeks 35 & 36: Getting ready!

The weeks are quickly passing by!  Week 35 was full of random appointments, doctor's visits and meetings.  In addition, there are many things I'm trying to wrap up around the house before Abigail (or Abi, as we plan to call her occasionally for short) arrives.

Shortly after my last midwife appointment, I was doing some of those things around the house and suddenly felt the oddest sensation.  I literally felt as though my pelvis was expanding and the baby dropping down.  The feeling lasted about 15 minutes and then it was over.  However, ever since then, I've felt different.  My constant rib pain has reduced to occasional.  Instead, I have a great deal of pressure and discomfort in my pelvis and often my sacrum as well.  At my next midwife appointment (at 36 weeks and 3 days), I was measuring around 34 weeks.  Surprisingly, that's about 2 weeks further than I normally am at this point.  My midwife said that it was almost certainly because the baby was "way down in there" and that was the cause of the pelvis issues as well.  No ultrasound scheduled!  I had my Strep B swab done and I'm hoping for a negative result at my next appointment.  Otherwise, the appointment was smooth and everything seems to be coming along just fine.

Also during my 36th week, some dear friends threw me a baby shower.  I was so blessed by the amount of friends that showed up as well as their generosity.  People can often be weird about baby showers for those with many kids.  To me, it's a joy to be able to celebrate every baby, regardless of whether they are the first or the tenth.  And as any mom of many knows, your baby stuff eventually wears out.  My sister and her family also came up for the shower and spent the weekend with us.

Everyone at my shower (except my sis who had to leave before this picture was taken).
Overall, things are going well.  I've been pretty darn tired these last few weeks but what else would I expect?  With my current four kids, homeschooling and life's every day demands, that makes sense.  I've been very blessed by friends who've loved on me by caring for my other kids during some of these appointments and going over and above helping in whatever way they can.  I'm very blessed!

Until next time...

Take care,

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Weeks 33 & 34: And so it begins...

Weeks 33 and 34 came and went as quickly as the last several have.  During week 33, Daniel (the youngest) came down with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.  That's never fun.  A few of the other kids seemed a little under the weather but never ended up with a rash or anything.  There were several unexpected doctor's visits and such which made things a bit hectic and exhausting.  School has continued full on and we begin our 6th week this week.  It feels good to be continuing on so that we can take some time off when the baby comes.

During week 34, it hit me how soon Abigail will really be joining us.  We're definitely excited to meet her, it just seems SO soon!  The weeks are literally passing so quickly.  In my past pregnancies, I feel the last few weeks just drug on and on but I don't feel that now, at least not yet. ;)  It's very likely that it just hasn't hit me yet I guess.  I have several friends due around the same time as me.  One of them is literally at the hospital (as I write) in labor!  It makes it all that much more exciting.

My last midwife checkup was smooth over all.  Weight gain is still good though my physical measurements have started decreasing.  This has happened with every single one of my full term pregnancies.  According to my previous pregnancy blogs, during my:
  • 4th pregnancy, at 36wks, 5days,  I measured only 32wks;
  • with my 3rd, I commented on measuring "a few weeks behind" at 37wks;
  • with my 2nd, at 36wks, I measured 32;
  • and with my first, at 37wks, I commented on how the "OB said my measurements seem to have gotten smaller over the last few weeks."

The last three have been positional (baby way down in my pelvis) but the first was believed to have been a placenta giving out and I was induced the very next day after the ultrasound.

So we'll see what the culprit is this go around (I'm guessing positional based on history).  I'm trying not to be super concerned at this point.  I will also have my Strep B test at my next appointment.  That does make me a little anxious as I was positive during my last pregnancy.  There's the worry over not getting all the antibiotics before delivery as well as the fact that I'd rather not have them at all if it could be avoided.  I totally realize the concern/reason if need be though.

My body is definitely getting more achey.  I practically live with Braxton-Hicks these days.  During these two weeks, I had a great deal of rib/back pain. Every. Single. Day.  Most of the day.  Fortunately, it's tapered these last few.  I hope it stays that way.

That's about it for now!

Until next time...

Take care,

Monday, August 18, 2014

This is not middle school ladies

A few days ago, my friend Kennisha Fisher posted this on a popular local mom's Facebook support page.  I wanted to be able to share it with others and got her permission to repost it as a blog.  I removed a few names and details from the post to make it easier to understand for those that don't know the situation that brought this conversation about.  

This is for all the Mamas that think they have it all figured out - as well as those of us who realize we don't (on our good days).  Let's do ourselves a favor and stop the crazy Mommy Wars.



I'm about to be extremely honest. 

I need everyone to take a moment and re-evaluate why you are here. 

Ladies, I know that we are all passionate, headstrong, loving women. Or maybe shy, timid, quiet women. Either way, I know that we care about our children beyond what anyone could ever believe or see. As a parent of almost eleven years let me tell you a secret. 

The first year to two years of your child's life is the most roller coaster, inconsistent, challenging, self-doubt ridden, sleep-deprived coma of your life. EV. Er. Y. single thing you do, you question, especially with your first baby. Some people have numerous outlets of support, some people are literally pulling at straws to find anyone to help them on their journey. Some people from both of those groups land here. 

This is not middle school ladies. However one thing about this group is very similar to middle school. Most of the things that cause the most stir WILL NOT MATTER IN THREE YEARS. As soon as you finish one chapter in your child rearing, something else seems like an unattainable achievement. YOU. WILL. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. have doubts. 

My plea is this. Evaluate your reason for being here. Figure out what you bring into this space. Let me give you an example. Real talk.

Yesterday I went with my almost 11 year old to deliver his birthday invitations. He sends them to the same 7 boys every year. Sweet kids. Great parents. They speak to me while at school and seem to be raising amazing young men. Now they are all at different middle schools. So here I am, driving around in a nicer neighborhood than where I live, where they ALL live, and I start getting a little mad. I then realize that I don't think my son has ever been invited to their birthday parties. Here I am wasting my gas, delivering invites to a bunch of people who think they are better than us! I was really starting to get pissed. 

So one of the moms comes out to my car to thank me for thinking of her boy. She says, and I quote: 

"You always have to coolest birthday parties! We are always so impressed with the invitations and ideas you come up with. I hate to even say it out loud, but I feel bad because I NEVER throw my kids a party. I just don't have time. I let them get pizza and invite the neighborhood kids over. Then I think of you with your five boys and wonder how in the world does she do it?"

She went on to say how all of them work five days a week, so do their husbands, and no one really gets a chance to do anything as elaborate as I do. She said she feels bad for just buying him the top three things off his list every year without figuring out what HE might actually want to do. My work from home self-employment status allows me to be here when my babies get home and take days off to plan really cool birthday parties. 

Boom. Shut down. Here I was judging her and she is feeling inadequate in what she does in my sad limelight. It's a vicious circle. It will keep happening. It doesn't end with formula/breast, cloth/disposable, vac/non-vac, circa/non-circ, public/private/homeschool, CIO/co-sleep, spank/timeout, etc.

It NEVER ends. 

So make a decision. Whichever you want to make. Stick to it. Write it on a board if you have to. There is a difference between looking for help and validation. There is a difference between a point and soapbox. There is a huge difference between my kid and your kid. Let's take a moment and respect the hell out of that. 

When you log off from this forum, you should feel filled. Occasionally, you should fill someone up. STOP TEARING AT EACH OTHER. 

Because in three years, your babies won't be babies and they don't need mama's stressed out because some other mama told her how to do her job. 

Either you are in the village, or you can kindly step out. 

Know that I love each and every one of you and will help you in any way that I can. Mincing words is not my strong suit.


Love me some Kennisha Fisher.  Thanks for saying what needed to be said girl!

Take care all!  I hope you appreciated her thoughts.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Weeks 31 & 32: Varicose Veins & No Gestational Diabetes!

The very next evening after I wrote my last post, as I walked past my bathroom mirror, I caught a glimpse of something interesting.  What in the world was wrong with my right leg?  Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the back of it was covered with veins.  Some small and spidery, some larger and kind of creepy looking.  To my memory, I hadn't done anything to create physical trauma so I was very confused - it was just one leg!  Where did this come from?  I quickly snapped a picture and contacted my midwife to ask her about it.  Fortunately she's awesome and quick with reassurance.  She told me from the picture that it looked like varicose veins but if more worrisome symptoms came with it, to come in because of the possibility of blot clots.  I went in a day or two later just to make sure but yes, the back of one of my legs is covered in both ugly varicose and spider veins.  They are mostly from my knee up but they are still unsightly.  I've always been excited to make it through 4 full term pregnancies with no stretch marks and now I have these ugly things to look at.  Boo.  Welcome body image issues.  I'm glad they are nothing to really be worried about but that doesn't make it any more fun for sure.

In better news, after 3 weeks of monitoring my glucose levels, my midwife gave me permission to stop.  She said my numbers looked good and were not of concern.  She did encourage me to watch the sugars, just as a general encouragement, which I know I need to anyway.

My weight gain is at 24lbs.  Blood pressure and all that jazz has been good.  I'm still measuring on target and Abigail is head down (yay!).  All in all, minus the vein issue, things are looking good.

With that said, I'm still achey.  My back is hurting a chunk of the day.  Fortunately, I'm still sleeping fairly well minus the middle of the night potty breaks or children that get up for one reason or another.  My legs still have that tired/fatigued feeling they started having about 8 weeks or so ago.  The Braxton-Hicks are still pretty regular, increasing with my increase in activity of course.

I've gotten many of my "to-dos" accomplished in the last week or two though.  That's been awesome. I feel I'm in an early nesting phase or something.  I've been trying to knock out this list of things before the baby comes.  I don't want to mess with it afterwards.  We're getting ready to start our fourth week of homeschooling already and that makes the days go by so much faster.  I really feel like seven weeks will be here in no time!

Until next time...

Take care,

Monday, July 28, 2014

Weeks 29 and 30: Let the pains begin!

Ha.  I thought I'd give this post an entertaining title to describe my last two weeks.  So the end of pregnancy pains have decided to partner with me.  Fortunately, the rib pain I mentioned in the last post has been almost nil.  I had it one other time but otherwise, I've been fine there.  Praise God.  I've definitely reached the point of almost constant low back pain.  I'm thinking I can blame that on the 24 extra pounds I've gained and the 22-30lbs of whichever kid I'm carrying off and on throughout the day.  I'm definitely feeling more exhausted by the end of each day.  My Braxton-Hicks contractions have kicked into full gear.  That's always entertaining.... or something... I've have more swelling in my feet this time then I ever remember having in previous pregnancies.  It's not a worrisome amount of swelling but there none-the-less.  Oh, and the best part, I failed my glucose test.  Yep.  Instead of taking the 3 hour in office test, I decided to monitor my glucose levels at home with a glucometer instead.  It should be more accurate in letting me know how my body is processing these sugars after real meals.  So far, my numbers have been pretty low, averaging in the 80s during the day but around 100 after dinners.  My midwife said if they stay on this same trajectory by my next visit, I can stop the hassle of monitoring them.

There's a little about the pains of my pregnancy.  On to the more encouraging things...  Abigail continues to move around constantly!  It's not obnoxious or painful yet so it's still fun to feel her move all over the place.  As far as I know, the pregnancy continues to be a healthy one.  I'm still physically measuring right on target for my gestation.  I usually start to dip at this point I believe,   though maybe it's further along in the pregnancy.  My midwife commented on how it would make sense for me to measure small considering I have a very long torso and the babies just tend to hang out very low.  All of my babies have been small as well (with my largest at 6lbs, 11oz).

In non-pregnancy related news, life has been more enjoyable lately.  James and I are both learning a great deal about ourselves and how those things affect our lives, marriage, parenting, work, friendships, etc.  We've been taking some measures to really step back from some outside responsibilities and focus on our souls and our family.  It's been very encouraging.  Life is still busy of course, but in a more controlled and orderly way.

We started school back at the beginning of week 30.  Since I have the joy of homeschooling, I can choose our schedule.  This year, I have a 2nd grader, a Kindergartener, a Preschooler and then the toddler and baby on the way.  I want to be able to take several weeks off school when Abigail comes so we got a jump start.  So far, it's going very well.  Zero complaints.

Until next time...

Take care,

Sunday, July 13, 2014

My First Whole 30 Experience

During the month of June, I decided to embark on my first Whole 30.  For those who are unfamiliar with the plan, you can read more here.  It was not for weight loss (after all, I was six months pregnant), but for overall health and to see how my body responded to specific dietary changes.  My husband and a few other friends were on board and followed the plan with me, which I’m certain increased my ability to successfully complete it.  This is a recap of my overall experience.

One of my main reasons for starting this was to get control of my sugar habit.  I love all things sweet and sugary.  I’m certain it’s become somewhat of an addiction.  The Whole 30 claims to help with the cravings.  I will say that I was somewhat disappointed that I continued to still have great desires for my sweets throughout the 30 days.  With that said, the authors of the plan mention that some people may truly have to have a longer time frame without the sugars before their body adjusts.  After all, correcting a lifetime of bad habits in just 30 days probably isn’t going to happen.  Two days after my Whole 30 was completed, I totally binged on a ton of sugary sweets and paid the price with stomach upset and headaches.  Not cool.  Then several days later, I apparently forgot what that earned me and did it again.  This time, it was followed with stomach issues, heartburn and an inability to fall asleep until nearly midnight (which is INSANELY uncommon for me).  I’m hoping I learned my lesson after that last episode.  This is a very tough issue for me.  Overall, I’m hoping to curb my sweet tooth with healthier options (fruits and such) and then indulge only occasionally on the other goodies.

Two or three days into my Whole 30, I noticed that a continual pain I have in my thighs completely disappeared.  No joke.  There are two spots on the outsides of both of my thighs that generally just feel tender to the touch, non-stop.  Well, I’m happy to report that pain stopped and has NOT come back.  I don’t know what it was… the sugars, grains, etc but something triggered that pain.  This was the only big “miracle” change the diet gave me but one worth noting.

About two weeks into my 30 days, I started feeling extremely fatigued physically.  It was kind of odd because most people that go through the program feel fatigue and issues at the beginning of their Whole 30, when I didn’t.  It wasn’t a sleepy fatigue but a physical one: as if I’d ran several miles and my legs were really tired.  I tried adding calories/fat/approved carbs to help.  I felt like I noticed a difference for about two days and then it started again.  All that said, now that I’m not doing the Whole 30, my fatigue hasn’t changed greatly.  I’m pretty sure that it was more so caused by the fact that I’m towards the end of my pregnancy and not a result of my diet after all.

One thing that was lovely about the Whole 30 is that I experienced zero stomach issues. There were a few days of adjustment like pains as I think my body transitioned to much more fat. Since then, I felt no uncomfortable bloating, rumbling, gas, etc. When I came off the plan and added back dairy, my stomach almost instantly showed it’s disapproval.  Now I’m trying to figure out if I’m lactose-intolerant or what exactly my issue with dairy is and what I can and can’t have.

I've discovered SO many veggies and healthy meals (mostly from and Well Fed 2). The family (almost everyone) has fallen in love with many of these recipes. I generally consider myself a terrible cook so I feel this is HUGE.  My husband has even told me that my cooking has improved dramatically and he’s not one to complain.  Score!

I check the ingredients on everything and realize how much crud we have gotten used to eating without even thinking about it.  We’ve just grown up in a culture that typically doesn’t pay attention to these things (I was right there too) and mindlessly eat whatever is in front of us.  This has been eye opening to me!

Overall, it was a difficult but great experience for me.  I’m a very “black and white” type person and having a specific list of do’s and don’ts versus eat a percentage of this or that was very helpful.  Now I’m learning how to incorporate some of those other foods in my diet in a healthy way.  I’m having to truly learn self-control in the area of sweets but it’s easier to pass on some of the other things.  I’m still figuring out how some of the no-no foods affect me personally.  But for now, this is my story!

Take care,

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Weeks 27 & 28: Vacation and Refreshing Moments

Ahhhhhh.... after months of craziness, I feel like I've finally had a little downtime.  For the most part, our Florida vacation was fairly restful.  We enjoyed multiple days just lounging around my in-laws home, reading, sleeping and resting at a pace we mostly controlled.  Daniel (18 mo old) really struggled while we were there.  I think being out of his usual routines and such was trying for him.  Otherwise, the kids enjoyed multiple days playing in a medium sized pool (the in-ground one needs some repairs).  We went to the beach one day and a water park on another day.  Unfortunately there was a great deal of algae at the beach and it was not nearly as beautiful as it normally is this time of the year.  Daniel absolutely LOVED the water and the sand!  He would rub his face in the sand even. It was so funny to watch him splash around and take it all in.  Sophia (3) was a bit anxious about the water at both places and the older kids enjoyed it overall.  Restful as we needed!

A few random health things happened because of the pregnancy.  First, I experienced edema for the first time.  After our 9 1/2 hour drive to Florida (overnight), my feet were SO swollen I could barely walk on them.  They hurt for hours afterwards and they were so fat!  They did the same on our trip back, though not as badly as they had been the first time.  Then the day before we left, I started getting the not-so-fun rib pain that comes with an expanding uterus.  Fortunately, it only lasted for about two days and I haven't had issues with it since.  I'm hoping that won't creep back up too quickly.

During week 28, I had my glucose testing.  It's been 2 business days and 1 weekend day so far with no call.  I'm really hoping that means I passed!  If Monday comes and goes with no call, I'm going to assume I did.  I've passed it twice and failed in twice in the past.

I can't believe the day is drawing nearer!  I feel it will come before I know it.  I'm so excited to meet this little girl and see what she looks like.  And weirdly enough, I'm even excited about the labor and delivery.  Each one is so different and unique, I can't help but wonder how this one will be.  Only time will tell.  Maybe I'm just a little odd. ;)

Until next time...

Take care,

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Weeks 25 & 26: Physically Tougher

The last two weeks have been relatively manageable on the busy front, at least with out-of-the-home commitments.  I've stayed busy around the house deep cleaning bedrooms and catching up on months worth of home projects.  I've been preparing for the new school year (we start mid-July) by purchasing my last few needs, coming up with a detailed schedule for each child and preparing myself mentally.  I've been enjoying a few good books lately on random topics including parenting, large family living, some particular psychiatric disorders, and silence and solitude.  As you can tell, I mostly enjoy non-fiction reads.

Pregnancy-wise, things have been interesting.  As much as I'm aware, Abigail is doing well.  She moves around all day and it's always fun to feel her so active.  I've been physically pretty exhausted though: not sleepy, just worn.  It's possible that my body is still getting used to my new way of eating (see last post).  Yet according to an OB friend, it's equally as possible that it's just the pregnancy.  It could also be a combination of both.  My low back/upper hips have started hurting more often (which is common in my pregnancies by this point).  My feet are hurting more.  So I'm definitely starting to feel more of those late pregnancies discomforts.  Overall, I'll try not to complain much though.  I've been truly blessed.

We're getting ready to leave for vacation and I'm so excited for a break!  We have a dog sitter and a house sitter lined up.  Time to relax!  Looking forward to the Florida sunshine and salty air.

Until next time...

Take care,

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Weeks 23 & 24: Summer Time!

School's out!  Whew!  It was a great year but we're all ready for a little break.

At the beginning of week 23, I began a new eating plan, along with my husband and a few friends.  It's called the Whole 30 and is basically a strict paleo diet for 30 days while your body resets.  After that, you are allowed to add certain foods back in, one at a time, and see how they individually and personally affect your body.  As I write this, I've been on it for 15 days.  It's been SO hard to not have my sweets but otherwise, it's been bearable.  I'm missing simple things like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as well.  However, I feel it's the best way to feed my body and this baby right now and the meals have been mostly awesome.  I found a website that has weekly meal plans and shopping lists and the recipes are so very delicious.  It's been encouraging to be eating so well, even though it's not easy.

Now that school's out, I've been trying to get more done around the house.  Either that or my new diet has me pretty drained.  Apparently that's typical when you first make this diet switch so I'm unsure.  I don't really feel sleepy but just physically wiped out.  This weekend, I've tried to rest as much as I can to not tire myself out.

My midwife checkup was short and sweet but good.  I'm measuring right on target with the tape measure, gained just over 20lbs (typical for me), healthy heartbeat, and all vitals are good.  My next visit will include the dreaded glucose test.  I've passed two and failed two with my previous four babies.  With the two I failed (both my boys), I still passed the three hour.  I'm hoping my dietary changes will impact this testing.  We shall see!

Until next time...

Take care,

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Week 22: Very busy and very tiring

As my title clearly states, week 22 was exhausting (but praise God it's over)!  We celebrated Hannah's 7th birthday on Sunday.  Then through the week we had school and piano.  And Wednesday through Sunday, James and Filicia were both gone participating in a program with our church.  There was a lot of single parenting going on and it wore. me. out.  I don't know how single and military parents do it long term.  I seriously went to bed by 9p or earlier almost every one of those nights!

That said, it wasn't without a few good moments.  Some good friends kept us company, brought us dinner and helped me with some more home decor projects on Thursday night.  This particular project was seriously about a year in the making and it's FINALLY created!  Whew!  It's basically a random collage of mostly empty picture frames painted white, black or yellow to complement our gray walls.  It looks super cute!

On Saturday, a neighbor friend volunteered to keep the kids for me so I could have a little free time.  I spent about two hours of that at Starbucks with a few good books and catching up in my journal.  Afterwards, I went to a local kid's consignment sale and spent WAY too long waiting in line to check out (1hr 45min to be exact).  If I hadn't won a $20 gift card there, I would've just left.

Abigail has been a bouncing little bundle in there.  I always love it once I can start feeling the baby move.  Of course it's not so uncomfortable yet as she's still got plenty of room to move around.  Also, I forgot to note in my last post that my nausea finally dissipated around week 18 or so.  Praise the Lord!

Still playing catch up around the house.  When school ends in a week, I plan to start tackling some of these never-seem-to-end projects.

Until next time...

Take care,

Monday, May 26, 2014

Weeks 19, 20 and 21: And the Pattern Continues!

Confession.  A few days ago, it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn't written a pregnancy post in quite some time.  I couldn't even remember what the last post was that I'd written!  Wow.  I won't lie, I feel I've been trying to get my head out from under water since the end of March.  Honestly, most of the things that have pulled me under are simple, random, everyday life things (e.g. phone calls to insurance companies, housework, bill discriminations, and a few birthday parties in the midst).  It just seems it's been almost nonstop for about two months now, with few signs of letting up.  We have two more weeks of homeschooling before we take about a month or so break.  Lord-willing, we'll be going to Florida in the beginning of July so that'll be a welcome vacation.  We just celebrated our last family birthday (until baby is due in the fall).  Our kids are now 7, 5, 3, and 17mo.

For those of you that are not close friends of mine, you may have missed the big gender reveal!  As reminder, our current children are a girl, boy, girl and boy (in that order).  The entire family (minus the five year old boy) were pulling for another girl to continue the gender pattern.  And to my great surprise - the baby IS a girl!!!  I couldn't believe it when the ultrasound tech pointed it out.  I figured there was just no way the pattern would continue.  So we're eagerly looking forward to meeting little Miss Abigail Grace this fall!

My midwife visit and checkups have gone well.  I've gained nearly 20 lbs already.  That would freak me out but I tend to gain most of my weight in the beginning of all of my pregnancies.  So I'm honestly not very concerned about it.

Last weekend we went to Western Kentucky for a family reunion of sorts.  We got to see many of my aunts and uncles that I haven't seen in at least six years (some of them more!).  It was busy and there was not much sleep to be had but I enjoyed the trip overall.

Until next time...

Take care,

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Weeks 17 & 18: A Marathon, Easter & a Retreat

We've had some pretty big events over the last two weeks.  On the first day of week 17, James ran his first race - a marathon!  Yes.  My husband decided to start his racing career with a 26.2 mile trek in the Kentucky Derby Marathon.  It was an experience for us all!  The kids and I, as well as our friends Filicia and Brianna were trying to watch him at the start, at the four mile mark, the 21 miles mark and the finish.  Well, on our way to the four mile, my six year old daughter tripped and fell and busted her face up pretty badly.  Needless to say, we missed that marker.  After we had cared for her, we continued on our way to the 21 miles mark.  It was a WAY longer walk than it looked on the map!  We finally made it and were there for about two hours of the race.  It was SO much colder than expected and the kids tried to stay warm by playing and running around.  Sophia (3) got a tummy ache and we had to find a bathroom.  A random cop offered us nearly a dozen donuts that his coworkers weren't interested in that morning.  That gave us all a giggle.  Eventually we did get to cheer him on - and it couldn't have been better timed as his muscles were giving out on him about this point.  He said his body was doing all kinds of things he couldn't control and wasn't prepared for.  After he passed us, we continued our way back to the finish line.  We were able to cheer him on down the finish line and enjoy the victory of his first race!  Some of our other friends also cheered for him at various mile markers and we celebrated at a friend's house after all was said and done.

Easter was the next day.  It was fairly low key as my husband went to all three of our church's morning services (he's one of the pastors).  We had friends over for dinner since most of our family is out of town.  We enjoyed ourselves regardless.

At the beginning of week 18, I finally concluded that I was indeed feeling the baby move.  Yay!  Since then, it's become much more noticeable.  This is one of my favorite parts of pregnancy.  James and I went away for an overnight retreat while Filicia cared for the kids.  Hannah had a ballet recital and later that day, we also had a wedding reception.  Needless to say, it was very busy.

During much of week 18, I struggled with feeling pretty emotional about many things.  It was a tough week for many reasons.  Some of the things were smaller issues than others.  I think I cried a few times during the week, just because I felt the need to get it out.  Wednesday I had an amazingly productive day around the house and that was a big mood lifter.  Then Thursday brought a few other irritating life circumstances that I once again struggled with.  As a friend of mine encouraged me, it's okay to "respond to tough circumstances, just not react to them." A point well taken.

So it has been an up and down two weeks.  Joyful and exciting things have happened but there have also been some difficult situations as well.  Tis life as I see it.

Until next time...

Take care,

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 16: Coming Up for Air

After the busyness of the previous two weeks, I spent most of week sixteen trying to come up for air. I'm continuing to feel better physically.  I'm still nauseous but minimally so and mostly controllable with food.  When all of our family left, I spent the first few days catching up on laundry, house cleaning, organization, and so on.  I still have an insanely long to-do list in my head.  I'm trying to write all those things out now and take care of them as I have time.  There are not many big things, mostly smaller, petty things that need to be accomplished.  Overall, our time with family was quite enjoyable and now we're all settled back into our usual routines (including school again). 

This week was the first where I started debating whether or not I was feeling the baby move.  I'm still uncertain as I feel it could be gas bubbles or tummy rumbling but there have been a few days where I'm caught off guard by a small amount of movements (mostly when I'm still and in bed).  I know I'll be feeling the baby for sure before too long so hopefully it's sooner than later!

Friday night we enjoyed our church's Good Friday service.  We are part of a large church with four campuses so it's always a joy to join with others from the other campuses.  Our campus pastor gave the message and it was encouraging and thought-provoking as always.

There are only a few more weeks until our gender ultrasound!  I'm getting very excited about that.  We just can't wait to see if our girl/boy pattern continues or not.  I think I'm going to ask the ultrasound tech if I can try to label the gender before she does.  I've seen so many ultrasounds, I think I may be able to get it.  Who knows... I'm certainly not trained! ;)

Until next time...

Take care,

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Weeks 14 and 15: A Whirlwind of Activity!

Wow.  That's about what I have to say about weeks fourteen and fifteen!  I would say we tend to be somewhat busy around here but these last two weeks have made those weeks look like cake walks.  During week fourteen, my sister, her husband and their three kids came and stayed with us for five days.  We spent time enjoying each other's company, taking a trip to the zoo and mostly (for me) painting.  My sister taught me the basics of painting and then got really sick for about a day or so and couldn't help.  I pressed on knowing that my spring break time was limited and continued taping and painting the four rooms I was tackling.  About one week later, it was all finally completed!  By God's grace, around this same time, my nausea started to lessen.  I was able to get much done in the evenings when I'd normally be ready to hit the bed.  Though the nausea is still present, it has decreased significantly and I'm beginning to feel somewhat better in that area now.

Then towards the beginning of week fifteen, my sister-in-law, her husband and their four year old daughter came to visit us from Hawaii.  That was a joy as well since we only see them about once per year.  Also, it was the first time we got to meet our niece as she was adopted from China this past November.  That Friday, my mother-in-law and father-in-law drove up from Florida and spent the weekend with us also.  Needless to say, we've had a packed house! ;)  But the time was good and we got to enjoy much time together, great food and making new memories with the kids (Easter egg hunting, slumber party in one room, etc).

My midwife checkup during week 15 was also good.  I've been a little anxious having not felt the baby move yet.  And having known several people recently lose their babies, I feared going in and there being no heartbeat.  But to my joyful ear, there was still a strong, beautiful heartbeat and I'm measuring right on target.  My gender ultrasound is the second week of May.  We're super excited to see if our gender pattern will continue (girl, boy, girl, boy, girl?) or if this baby will be a boy and rock the boat. ;)

Until next time...
Take care,

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Weeks 12 and 13: Keep on Keeping On

I was tempted to write a blog for week twelve but there was so little to write about, I thought surely there'd be more with week thirteen.  Well, not too much more. ;)  Here's a little about the last two weeks.

Week twelve was busy with usual life things: homeschooling, ballet, piano and piano tuning, and living life nauseous one moment at a time.  I did manage to go consignment shopping one day to finish up some spring clothing purchases for the kids.  And I had the dog groomed for the first time (she's five months old).  Our friends F and B (as I'll call them) came back from Texas to live with us again for a time.  They stayed with us for a year until last May.  That was an exciting homecoming.  Pregnancy-wise, nothing new but grateful for a continued pregnancy and health as much as we're aware.

Week thirteen was busier still.  I had the opportunity to teach a class at my church's Women's School on Monday night.  I very much enjoyed that though I had insane indigestion after eating a giant burrito just prior.  I'm not sure if it was my nerves or what but it did not settle well at all until the next evening!  Then, a good friend of mine came over and helped me tape off several rooms in my house.  We're getting ready to do a decent amount of painting and she volunteered to help get things prepped.  That was surprisingly enjoyable since we kept each other company.

Friday night, my sister and her family arrived.  They will be staying several days during their spring break and she'll be helping with the home improvement.  We're looking forward to time with them (we haven't been together since Thanksgiving), and it'll be the first of two weeks of Spring Break for us.

So, there it is.  I don't really have any exciting new news to share about pregnancy.  I'm still pretty nauseous and getting some hormonal skin breakouts.  Otherwise, things are pretty much the same, and steady.  Thankful for that.

Until next time.

Take care,


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Weeks 9-11: Surprise announcement!

I know what you're thinking.  It's only been two weeks since she's written, so how is this a post about weeks 9-11?  Well, read on.

Not much of anything new during week nine really.  I was still nauseous though controllably so during the day.  The evenings are still pretty much shot.  I'm regularly in bed by nine or so to try to pretend I'm not sick to my stomach. ;)

Week ten brought much more fun.  Though the nausea did not let up, we got to hear the beautiful sound of the baby's heartbeat.   There are few sounds sweeter to my ears!  And then, because we were uncertain of the baby's due date (as I'd miscarried just prior), we got to have an ultrasound to better date the baby.  I just love ultrasounds!  Seeing those sweet baby movements is such a joy!  Here was the surprise.... week ten was not week ten at all!  It was week eleven!  Yep!  I was off a week in my dating and my due date actually go moved UP one week.  So now, we're due September 27 instead of October 3.  That was super exciting news.

On the downside, week eleven brought an increase in nausea.  It is becoming more and more difficult to control.  Here's the thing though.  Since becoming pregnant, I've had three different friends and acquaintances lose their babies at 7, 12, and 16 weeks.  As much as I'm truly not enjoying this nausea, I'm trying my hardest to be grateful for the reason.

I've gained five pounds in the first trimester.  That's actually quite a low number for me.  I typically gain 10 or more, though I have no idea how with all the nausea.  Looking forward to moving into the second trimester and Lord-willing, a decrease in the nausea.

Oh!  And a side-note and non-pregnancy related, Daniel finally cut his first tooth - just shy of 15mo old!

Until next time...
Take care,

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Don't You Know What Causes That?

Loved this post by Jen Wilken on big families.  My favorite quote was this, "So I suggest that we stop saying these things to the woman whose arms are full of children for the sake of the woman whose arms are not. Because the answer to “Don’t you know what causes that?” is not a what, but a Who. I don’t know why God gave me children effortlessly and withholds them from others who would make fantastic parents, but I know this: Fertility is not a curse, it is a gift. It is a scandalous miracle."  Beautifully stated.

Take care,

Week 8: Improving but Still Nauseous

By God's grace, week eight finally brought improvement on the illness front.  I was convinced I just had a run of the mill respiratory virus but after further conversation with some friends, I think it may have actually been the flu.  This was the first time in years I haven't gotten the shot.  However, all the kid's did have the mist this fall.  That would also explain why they weren't all hit as hard as I was.  Either way, praise God it's over and done with.  I'm still fighting a tad bit of a drippy nose but I'll take that over all the other mess.

One thing that unfortunately did not let up was the nausea.  Yep.  It's here.  Yep.  It's definitely the pregnancy.  Fun times.  On the positive side, it's somewhat controllable by keeping my stomach full.  As soon as I start to get an empty stomach, I eat.  It's doesn't remove the nausea but it makes it more manageable.  As with my previous pregnancies, the night time seems to be the worst.  I've been hitting the bed by 9p each night just to escape the funk.  If I remember correctly, the nausea lasted until nearly 20 weeks with my last pregnancy.  I hope and pray that's not the case this time.  But if it is, by God's great grace, He'll see me through.

This weekend I had the privilege to attend my church's women's retreat.  The guest speaker was Jen Wilken .  It was a great time, with great women, learning to love and draw nearer to our great God.  I decided to stay the night at the hotel it was at with three other lovely ladies from my church.  Our first surprise was two double beds when we thought they were supposed to be queen size beds.  That was funny.  Considering our event did not end until 10:30 Friday night, I figured we'd all be tired and hit the bed pretty quickly.  However, as ladies tend to do, we were up chatting till around 1:00a and I was up at 6:15 to get ready for the day.  It was less sleep than I've gotten in quite some time but God has sustained me!

Lastly, I weighed myself this week.  I don't keep a scale at home so I'm not tempted to be constantly on it.  I gained FOUR pounds in two weeks!  Yep... And I wonder why my belly is getting big so fast!  I guess it's all that eating as soon as I feel nauseous.

Until next time...
Take care,

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Week 7: One Day at a Time

After week six brought on a nasty upper respiratory virus, I hoped week seven would be better.  Unfortunately, it was not much so.  Though the fever, body aches and extreme fatigue let up, the fluid in my head has remained.  I can literally feel fluid in my ears, I'm blowing my nose all day and there is constant drainage in my throat.  It's about to drive me insane.  My ears feel like they have cotton balls in them and I can't hear well.  I'm sure my volume is even louder than usual as well. 

On top of the fluid, I was hit pretty heavy with an all over nausea/vertigo/gross feeling.  I'm still not certain if it's pregnancy-induced or fluid-induced.  Any time I have fluid in my ears, it gives me problems with my vertigo.  So.... I'll be curious to see if it goes away after this has cleared up or if it's here to stay for a few months.

Regardless of the cause, it's been tough.  I'm usually a very active, "do-er," and I currently have about zero motivation to "do" anything.  The smells of food are grossing me out.  Nothing sounds yummy even though I'm hungry almost around the clock.  The vertigo/nausea keeps me more tired than usual and it's hard tp get motivated to clean, school, or just about anything.  That's SO unlike my personality, I don't even know how to process it.  I did manage to shampoo the carpets this weekend while my husband took the kids outside for an hour in the beautiful weather.  We've been housebreaking our puppy since December and they needed a good deep cleaning.

People ask me how I "do it" quite often.  My constant refrain is "by God's grace, one day at a time."  So for now, that's it... one day at a time. ;)

Until next time...
Take care,

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Week 6: Sick, but not that kind of sick.

Last week I wrote about starting to feel very nauseous and reported my vertigo had set in again.  Well, that only ended up be slightly accurate.  While I thought it was pregnancy induced, it only lasted two days.  So instead, I'm thinking that it may have actually been food-induced.  That's good news in many regards.  Fortunately, the vertigo and extreme nausea quickly dissipated.  I do still wake up pretty nauseous each morning.  However, if I'm quick to eat a good protein-filled breakfast (usually scrambled eggs with some fruit), I quickly overcome that hurdle.  That's been a tremendous blessing.  With all that said, now I'm really hoping that my usual extreme 6-14 weeks of nausea/vertigo may be lessened with our semi-recent diet changes.  Only time will tell.

On the downside, week six brought a terrible virus.  Benjamin and I were hit with it first.  Then Sophia and seemingly Daniel.  For some reason, it hit me the hardest.  Though the kids still have runny noses and slight coughs, they seem to have bounced back relatively quickly.  I, on the other hand, have been totally wiped out, continued drainage, cough, fever for three days, and just an overall feeling of "blah."  As I write this, I'm on day four of the virus and it has not been pretty.  I'm thankful for a husband who was willing to step up, take a day off of work and tirelessly take care of me and the kids for the entire time.  It put a big damper on the weekend plans (including Sophia's 3rd birthday) but we have been blessed by friends and cared for by the Lord in many ways.

Otherwise, nothing new or exciting to report about the pregnancy.  Things seem to be going well, as best as I know.  We're tossing around baby names, as I always try to have a boy name and a girl name by the time we learn the sex of the baby.  Everyone in the house says they think it's going to be a girl.  Hannah thinks so because we have girl, boy, girl, boy so far - naturally it must be a girl.  I'm not really convinced either way and honestly have zero preference.  I already have two of each.  I can't say I'm hard set either direction.  I've only guessed the right answer 1 of 4 times anyway so clearly I'm not great at "instincts."  Looking forward to finding out though.  It's always a fun time!

That's it for now!

Until next time...
Take care,

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Week 5: Vertigo/Nausea/Sleepiness Begins

For those who aren't used to reading my pregnancy blogs, I write them about the week that has just finished.  So, the best I can guesstimate, week five ended last Thursday.  So it's time for another round of pregnancy blogs!  The great thing about blogging my pregnancies is that I actually take the time to record life in writing.  I only blogged FOUR times in 2013!  That's just not acceptable. ;)

Here are some thoughts for my newbie readers.  If you pay any attention to the labels to my posts, you'll notice this series will have "Pregnancy #7."  Yes, I currently have four kids and yes I can do math.  We've lost two pregnancies in which I blogged about here and here.  So there you have it.

I tend to write about the good, the bad and the monotonous areas of pregnancy.  I realize how extremely blessed we are in the first place to even have been blessed so many times and in so many ways.  I try very hard to never take for granted every moment with each precious life we've been gifted.  I have good friends who have struggled painful years through primary infertility, heartbreaking losses,  struggles at birth or secondary infertility.  I have friends who've fought through the process of adoption, some of whom have been blessed with children to call their own, some of whom still fight the fight.  We fully believe that "children are a blessing" and gratefully accept the responsibility we've been given.

With all that said, I try to be real with my posts.  I'm not going to hide or ignore the "hard things" in a way that creates the illusion of my being a perfect person, Christian, mom, friend or so forth that has no struggles.  Pregnancy is hard for me.  It's no walk in the park for sure.  All you have to do is read my archives for proof of that.  I pray my "real-ness" or authenticity is appreciated for that and not viewed as ungratefulness or discontent.  Does that make sense?  And as hard as it can be, I'm still so grateful time after time.

Now on for the update itself. ;)  A little over a month ago, we started making some pretty big dietary changes and I've been feeling really good over all.  I've had great amounts of energy and it's been exciting.  However, most of this past week I noticed I really struggled with fatigue.  I'm getting about eight hours of sleep a night so I think I'm okay there.  I've taken a few afternoon naps when I've had the chance (which isn't often).  The very last day of week five, I woke up struggling with crazy vertigo and some nausea.  That clued me off that my dating must be pretty accurate as I always get hit with nausea and vertigo at week six of my pregnancies. 

There it is... some updates and some thoughts in general.  I hope you enjoy another series of pregnancy posts!

Until next time...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

What I'm Learning about Headaches and Vertigo: Part 3

(If you've missed my other posts on this topic, please start HERE).

After the excitement of weeks with no headaches or vertigo, I then started reintroducing the foods that had been restricted during that time. The first one I chose to add back was for convenience: onions. Onions are in SO many things that I found it one of the most challenging to omit. However, I quickly learned that I do not respond negatively to them, which was very exciting! The first food I did react to negatively was very obvious and sad: avocados. For three days, I ate avocados round the clock. I love them so it was pretty easy to accomplish. What accompanied my trial was three days of headaches, vertigo and a light-headedness. Wow. That was crazy.

I'm still in the process of reintroducing foods to my diet. Unfortunately, I've learned some of my favorites foods/treats in the world are now off limits. Unless I want to deal with a headache/vertigo, I've learned so far that coffee (any kind), wine, avocados, and quite likely bananas, raspberries and blackberries are off limits. While it's extremely sad and I REALLY love my coffee and these other foods, I really DON'T love headaches, neck pain and feeling like I'm spinning around in circles all day. I've been able to add back many other delicious foods like chocolate, cheeses, nuts and nitrate-free bacon. All, in all, it's been so worth it already.

Headaches, vertigo, constant pain and other chronic physical conditions can be truly life altering. Finding relief from something as “simple” as dietary changes has been such an awakening and joyous journey! After realizing just how much the foods I eat have affected my health in this one particular area, it caused me to ask the question, “what else are the foods I'm eating doing to my body?” It has sent me headlong into a process of learning more about health and wellness, particularly in the area of diet. I'm so excited about what I'm learning and the dietary changes we've begun to instill have already been encouraging. But that journey is a newer one so I'll come back and write about that one when I have more under my belt.

To all those that have hung in and read this far, thank you. Thank you for loving me well and praying for me over the years of my difficulties. Thank you for not thinking I was going crazy or that it was all in my head (which I guess it was literally, haha). Thank you for serving me with your time, childcare and talents. I love you all! Most importantly, I'm thankful the good Lord saw fit to give me an answer to my years of struggle. He didn't have to. He could've let me continue to learn and grow in my trust in Him through my weakness. And maybe that's why He allowed it for nearly five years in the first place. I may never know. Now that I'm pregnant again, I've hit a hormonal place where the vertigo/nausea has reappeared in a way I can't fully control. However, I'm hoping that with the new knowledge I have, I can keep it as minimal as possible by reducing my other non-hormonal triggers.

If you know anyone that struggles in the area of headaches, neck pain, sinus problems, vertigo or other “shoulder-up” pains, please pass along this series of posts. It could truly lead them down a path to life change. Looking back to my friend who first asked if there was any connection between my vertigo and migraines, she was a prophet of sorts, and didn't even realize it at the time.

*Disclaimer: I get zero benefit for the advertisement of this book. I simply write about it because the information within has truly changed my life and I want to pass that along to others.  If you want to hear what others have to say, simply read the reviews on Amazon and I think you'll see I'm not the only one who's been changed.

**I've added a fourth part to this series after learning a bit more and applying it to my life.  Check it out here.
Take care,

Friday, February 7, 2014

What I'm Learning about Headaches and Vertigo: Part 2

(See Yesterday's Post for the beginning of this series)

I'm glad you're still interested in reading more. This had made such an impact on my life that I'm more than thrilled to share what has helped me and explain my journey.

The description for David Buchholz' book, “Heal Your Headache”, reads as follows:

Based on the breakthrough understanding that virtually all headaches are forms of migraine--because migraine is not a specific type of headache, but the built-in mechanism that causes headaches of all kinds, along with neck stiffness, sinus congestion, dizziness, and other problems--Dr. Buchholz's Heal Your Headache puts headache sufferers back in control of their lives with a simple, transforming program.

Honestly, the book cover wasn't appealing to me. The description of the 1-2-3 Program did not grab my attention either. But the content I read would change me from the inside out. I cried through half of what I read as it completely described my life! The headaches, vertigo, neck pain, occasional sinus issues, scent sensitivity, and more. And though the term migraine is spoken of often, one could be having symptoms (such as vertigo or sinus troubles) without ever experiencing the pain of the headache! He explains his theory on how everyone has a certain migraine threshold. We all have triggers that can leave us below or push us over that threshold (think barometric pressure, strong scents, stress, hormones, food, etc). Some people only rarely get headaches because either their threshold is really high or their triggers are comparatively low. The rest of us have low thresholds, a high quantity of triggers or both.

His first step involves removing medications that cause rebound headaches and other issues. Fortunately, I did not take many of these medications from the start of this process. My best friend (maybe not to my stomach) has always been ibuprofen. The third step involves specific types of medications to consider if the second step hasn't fully relieved you of the issues. The second step is where everything changed. He begins to explain common food triggers. I've seen these lists before but have never been able to confidently identify any triggers. He explains the reason most people can't identify these triggers is because they are never isolated. For example, one day, I have coffee at breakfast and carry on throughout my day with no issues. The next morning, after a night of little sleep and a change in weather patterns, I have coffee and have a headache within 30 minutes. I could assume that coffee is not a trigger because it didn't give me a headache yesterday. But I would be relying on faulty information. The coffee didn't give me a headache yesterday because my triggers were much lower and I never crossed the migraine threshold. Today, combined with the little sleep and a barometric pressure change, my triggers were higher and they landed me a headache.

This step has already transformed my life! He provides a rather extensive list of foods/drinks that must be avoided in the beginning of this process. He suggests cutting them as completely as possible for four months (I only did one month for various reasons). After that time, you may add one food back at a time, eating a great deal of it during a 3 days period and waiting to see if you have any symptoms reappear after it's reintroduction. This was extremely hard at first as the list was very, very difficult for me to adjust to. Eventually, I began to learn more of what I could and couldn't have and lived it out. I went WEEKS without a single headache or any vertigo issues! You have to understand that I normally have at least 5 or 6 headaches per week. This was definite progress!

But what happened next.......?

Come back tomorrow for my final post on this topic.

Until then...

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What I'm Learning about Headaches and Vertigo: Part 1

If you've known me for long, you know that I've struggled with various health issues for years. I seem to be one big mess of all the random issues no one else seems to get. At least that's how I've always felt. Nearly five years ago, I began struggling with severe spells of dizziness, nausea, fatigue, bad headaches, and more. My second child was a newborn when they started creeping up on me and when he was about eight or nine months old, they hit me full swing. My life was totally altered as I fought day by day against these struggles. Remember when you were a small kid and you would spin around in circles just to lose your balance? Then you'd fall over laughing and giggling as your world spun around you? Imagine that as a mom of two, day in and day out with little to no relief. I was trying to live life, care for my growing family and figuring out why I felt so terrible every day. I went to about a dozen doctors and specialists, had MRIs, CAT scans, specialized ear exams, bloodwork, neurological assessments and more. Most every visit ended with a guess (MS, anxiety, brain cancer, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, and the list went on and on). The few that didn't make a guess simply said they did not know what was wrong (at least they were honest!).

In January of 2010, I was finally diagnosed with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). Though I received a diagnosis, they could not explain what caused it in the first place. I began treatment with positional techniques in office and at home. Sometimes, they seemed to work, other times they didn't. I've continued to battle with the onset of this vertigo off and on over the years. It's been worse during certain times of pregnancy or shortly after childbirth. Keep in mind I've had seven pregnancies (with two losses) in seven years, so I'm often either pregnant or nursing.

Fast forward to October 2013. A friend made a passing comment and asked me if I'd ever noticed a connection between my vertigo and migraines/hormones. I told her “not really” and didn't think much more about it at that moment. However, when I got home that evening, I started thinking about it in relation to my pregnancies and that made me start to wonder. I began doing more research on the topic and was floored with some of the new information I was reading. I struggled with classic migraines back in college but now I only get one or two per year. Yet, I've struggled with headaches and neck pain since puberty and just accepted them as a fact of my life. I've spent years in both chiropractic and physical therapy and sadly, neither provided me lasting comfort.

Fast forward another week or two. I was strolling around the recipe book section of our local Half-Price Bookstore. I glanced up at a book titled “Heal Your Headache.” I thought, “that sounds interesting” and picked it up a tad curious. I opened the book and did a careless flip through the pages. My fingers stopped (by God's amazing grace) on a page that said, “Is it BPPV or is it migraine?” I almost had to pick my jaw up off of the floor. I immediately purchased the book and devoured it in two and a half days. What I read, would change my life...
Until then...

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

I finally picked up "Say Goodbye to Survival Mode" by Crystal Paine.  Her website, Money Saving Mom has been one of my favorite blogs to follow for years. 
Looking forward to another great book by her!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Week 4/5ish: Surprise Blessings

Surprise blessings have a tendency to bring sweet emotions.  If I'm assuming I will receive a gift from someone, I'm usually excited.  However, if I receive a sudden, unexpected gift, not only is it exciting, but it also brings a sweet joy.  After all, I wasn't expecting anything and now I'm a little taken away but the giver's thoughtfulness.  Funny how I often even tend to be more grateful (internally and externally) for those surprises.
This morning*, I received one of those surprise gifts.  As I write this, I'm still incredibly shocked (in a good way).  After our recent miscarriage, I was unsure of where I was in my monthly cycle.  The last few nights, I'd noticed that I looked quite bloated by the evenings and thought that was odd.  But considering we've recently made some dietary adjustments, I didn't think too much.  Friday night, I noticed I haphazardly placed my hand on my stomach the way I do when I'm pregnant (which I never do otherwise).  I thought, maybe I should take a test, just considering I don't know where I'm at in my cycle and to rule that option out.  To my incredible surprise, it was almost instantaneously positive!
Having so recently lost a pregnancy always brings some anxiety to a new one.  However, I'm laying it all at the feet of Jesus knowing that my life and this little life are in His hands.  He knows what's best for me, this baby and our family.  For whatever reason, He decided to give us this surprise gift this morning and we celebrate with expectation and pray you will celebrate with us as well!**
Until next time...
*This post was written 1/26/14 and posted at a later date.
**Because of the situation, I'm not entirely sure of my EDD.  My best guess is that I'm due around the 1st of October.  As of this post, that'd put me between 5-6wks currently.