Week 18.

Dear Blueberry,

My immune system died. So puny.

BUT I just don’t care.

I’ve come to accept it and I’ve become a pro at nursing my illnesses.

I took 4 whole days off of work because of my viral infection and stayed in bed the entire time.

I don’t know the last time I’ve ever done that.

[Major strugglefest]

But I’m on the mend.

During my bed ridden times I researched all natural remedies and I think I’m becoming more and more hippyish by the second.

I’m learning a lot about the dangers of modern medicine and how we have a lot of healthy, natural medicines at our finger tips.

So, Im drinking Elderberry syrup like it’s going out of style to help build my immune system and curb the chance of another bug/viral infection.

DETERMINED.

On Saturday, I drug myself out of bed to attend a mandatory training class for a world church conference I am a voting delegate for. I was miserable and there was no way of hiding it. During the midst of training a very dear church family member (he married your Dad & I) came up to me and whispered something in my ear. He said he could see I was feeling awful and wanted to remind me that if I wanted to be anointed with oil and prayed for I could. This is one of our church’s sacraments and it’s something a lot of churches don’t do and I’m so glad our church upholds this holy act found in scripture. I have only ever been anointed once when I was in third grade and struggling with major health issues. I was passing out a lot in the middle of class and went through a lot of different specialists and tests to basically come back with no answers. When I look back, I think I had anxiety attacks mixed with a vitamin overdose. I took a bottle of Flinstone vitamins and ate all of them and didn’t tell anyone until years later after I saw a documentary about how a kid had done the same and suffered the same type of symptoms I did. (In my defense they tasted like candy and were shaped like Flinstone characters- yum!) ANYWAYS, I remember there being something very special about being anointed with oil and prayed for. That’s all I really remember…and the fact that I wasn’t fond of how the oil made my hair look. This time, I realized how special and holy it was to me. I don’t think it is a magical wave of a wand that is meant to make me all better. Instead, it reminded me of the deep love and care my Maker has for little ole me. It reminded me that in our weakest moments, God forces us to ask for help from others. It reminded me how good community is. It reminded me that to see God, I had to become my most vulnerable. Did that prayer heal me of my illnesses? No. It did something much bigger. It soaked my soul in holiness, hope, community, dependence, humility and restoration.

And, in a way it did make me feel “better”. I’m now strong enough to move on, even in my physical state, to love others deeper, wider and stronger. It forced me to get over it and look at a much wider perspective.

and then there’s you. you have given me the greatest joy this week. the type of joy all the moms that have gone before me have told me as I was head over toilet, throwing up and asking “what have i gotten myself into?!” “but it’s so worth it” they would smugly say. “you’ll forget about all of this when the baby is here” i would weakly nod my head and subconsciously roll my eyes because those words only tease me in the here and now of the struggle. but you, blueberry show me a glimpse that speaks much louder than their good hearted comforts. you have been busily dancing away in my tummy- wild enough that i can feel you through out the day. in odd places where i just cant wrap my mind around what’s going on inside of me while i order coffee or get a root canal. its a bizarre and wonderful sensation. like a special secret that i only know about. the kind you really want to loudly proclaim but can’t because your best friend swore you to secrecy. you twirl and twist and oddly im much more at home with the feeling than i previously thought i would be. you surprise me daily. you’re moving as i type this, connecting me to my thoughts and screen scribbles in a new way. your dad is overly jealous and anxious to feel you more than ever. so impatient, that dad of yours. bless him. as he was trying to find your heartbeat on the doppler, you surprised the both of us with your 1st big kick. with a loud “POP!” to the doppler, your dad’s eyes almost popped out of his head. he spent the better part of the night trying to recreate the moment, pressing on my belly, trying desperately to entice you to strike back. you played hard to get and he sulked back to his side of the bed, defeated. already working him. totally whipped. warms my heart so much. 

18 weeks

we then proceeded to watch unreasonable amounts of YouTube videos of babies moving around inside mama bellies. we were equally traumatized and in awe by the experience.

The music is so dramatic.

 

Love you.

Mom

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17 Weeks

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Dear Blueberry,
This week we celebrate 17 weeks together and it has flown by! This week you are the size of a sweet potato- that’s bizarre! I still remember being thrilled when you were no longer a ball of cells but a size of a poppyseed!

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I tried to find a picture of a sweet potato that was cute but I just realized how awkward and ugly sweet potatoes really are! You are much cuter. This is a estimated guess of what you look like:

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You can hear my voice and heartbeat and hopefully this soothes you. I haven’t been feeling your flutters lately but I should be feeling bigger movements soon and I just can’t wait for that! We listened to your heart beat last night and it still is in the 140-150 range. You kept moving away from the doppler and Dad had to go hunting for you again! There was a time where we could find you and you would stay in that same spot for weeks. You keep moving higher into my belly causing me to show a little!

I am sick again with a bad cold- lots of head and chest congestion and I’ve been miserable. I spent the whole day in bed yesterday and I’m doing the same today so that I will feel better for work. I am getting frustrated with how I seem to catch everything and it doesn’t help that we have a lot of sick babies in our classroom! It makes me so very nervous and I just want you to be safe. My midwife really wants me to take a break from work but I can’t! If this cold doesn’t get better than I will have to stay home tomorrow but I am determined to get better. I have researched like crazy trying to find natural, safe remedies for cold and flu while being pregnant.

Lots of dark leafy greens- check!
Lots of vitamin C- check!
Vitamin D- check!
Humidifier- check!
Wash hands until they fall off- check!
Lots of liquid- check!
Probiotics- check!
Apple cider vinegar tea- check!
Lemon chicken soup- check! (Taziki’s has the best and it helped my chest stop hurting for a little bit)
Rest- check!

I have also read that getting adjusted at the chiropractor really helps and I think that will be my next step! I am desperate to feel better and STAY better. Being pregnant during a horrible cold/flu season is awful and next time I will think about that (as if I can wave a wand and determine when we get pregnant next time).

I am so thankful for the midwives and their team at Vanderbilt. I messaged my midwife in tears yesterday asking for advice on how to build my immune system and one of the administrative ladies read it and called me this morning just to tell me how sorry she was that I was sick again and gave me a few more options of safe medication I could take. She knew my midwife wouldn’t be in until tomorrow so she wanted to give me a little bit of encouragement until my midwife could get back to me. I could have kissed her!

Usually when I’m sick, I just have me to worry about and I could just grin and bare it it. Now that I’m caring for you, being sick makes me a nervous and paranoid wreck! Your safety is what matters most and I don’t want your sweet potato of a body going through any unneeded stress! I know you will get sick one day when your out here in this world but at least I can see and hold you and check your temperature. I have no way of knowing how this is affecting you now so I must rely on pure faith. This pregnancy has definitely been a test and journey of pure faith like no other I have experienced. I’m learning the hard lessons about trust and dependence on others and God which doesn’t come naturally to miss independent me. You are my greatest teacher. In my weakest, I learn to love deeper and rely on the One who gives us both life. May I draw on Gods strength when I feel like I’ve hit rock bottom physically, emotionally and spiritually. May I drink from Gods cup that gives renewal of the Spirit and healing to the sick. May you be protected and safe and feel loved, truly loved.

I love you with every particle with in me!
Mom

Your Daddy

Dear blueberry,

I want to dedicate this post to helping you know your Daddy’s love for you before you were set in motion. You hear a lot from my perspective so I hope I can give you a glimpse of your Daddy’s heart.

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I think he is beginning to feel a little left out of the process. When I exclaimed over feeling your flutters for the first time, he wanted to know when it was going to be his turn to feel you kick. I don’t think he liked that it would be quite some time until that happened. He longs to feel your movement and can’t wait to hold you. As I was collecting photos for inspiration for your newborn photo shoot he oo’ed and awe’d over daddy/baby pictures and picked out the ones he wanted to mimmic. He talks about what kind of parent he wants to be and thinks that I will be the softy and he will be the disciplinary figure. I laughed, because I know the opposite will probably be true. You will totally have him whipped. I watch him love and play with your older cousins and my heart melts because I get a glimpse of the joy he will have over you. One of the many reasons I fell in love with your Dad was seeing how wonderful he is with children. Children and animals are drawn to him, and that is always a terrific sign of a good soul. (watch for that as you fall in love with someone) He rubs and lays his head on my belly in hopes of being close to you- it makes this mama swoon. When ever I have a craving he is ready to go and retrieve it for me (and you) and when I’m not feeling good he is quick to try to mend me. He is eager to learn all about pregnancy and labor and checks his daily pregnancy tips on his iPhone apps every day. He always does the dishes. He stops me in public (aka the aisles of Target) and kisses me far too passionately for public and I always say “enough!” and he never listens. I’m glad he doesn’t. (I’m sure you think thats way gross, but deal with it and be glad you have parents who love each other). He’s goofy and says things like, “I love you, baby” and I will respond “Love you too” and he will sarcastically say “I wasn’t talking to you babe, geeze!”. He also dances inappropriately wearing only his underwear in the kitchen. I hope you never have to witness such foolishness. And just this past visit to the midwife your Dad was so gross and passed gas in the elevator and when we stopped on a floor to let a lady in, he turned to me and said “Babe! Gross!” I could knock him out sometimes. Be prepared to being subjected to similar experiences (aka the car- he will lock those windows on you). If you are a boy- Lord, help me!

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I say all of this to make sure you know that your Daddy is over the hills obsessed with you and your Mama. You are oh so blessed and so am I. He will be the one who kisses your boo-boos and then makes you laugh hysterically over something silly. I am so excited for you to meet him and call him your Daddy. I know my heart will be fulfilled watching him grow into his new role.

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My cup runneth over!

Love,

Mom

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On Climbing the Mountain Top and Falling Back Down (16 Weeks)

Dear blueberry, 

After the dental horror, I had a few days of pure pregnancy bliss. No morning sickness, no pain and to top it all we had a glimpse of Spring weather. I wore a blouse that was comfortable and flattering and I felt good for the first time in a while. 

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I felt so good that when my dance family invited me for dinner and a cozy night in, I said “HECK YES!”. Oh, it was so good for my soul and I hope you heard our laughter and their voices. I hope you get to know and love these ladies as I do. We talked about the nature of God and questioned the real stuff of life and in the same wind we laughed about vaginas and all things inappropriate. We cursed ex-boyfriends and cried over heart break together. We rejoiced healing and restoration of health. We ate a ridiculous amount of steamed broccoli and linguini. We loved on each other and tried to soak in our togetherness. May you find a community that makes your soul dance just as these ladies have mine. I hope you get to know them as your Dance Aunts; they are so excited and curious about you! 

These past days have been mountain top experiences- some of the best I’ve felt since you came down from the heavens. I relished in them and praised God. 

The past two days, however, have been rough and I felt as if I had fallen into the valley again. I got really sick again which really felt frustrating. I thought my “morning” sickness was back and I wasn’t ready to welcome it again. 

This morning your Dad and I went to my 2nd pre-natal visit for our 16 week appointment. We got to hear your heart beat again and she said you sounded great! Going in, I was so worried that she was going to tell me that I had gained too much weight too fast. I have felt so insecure about my growing bump. When I asked her how much I gained, she told me that I had actually lost one pound since my first pre-natal visit. I was completely shocked- I still am! It’s hard to believe because it really does look as if I have gained at least 5 pounds! She said that was because you have moved higher and closer to the front of my tummy and that my uterus is the size of a melon! Crazytown. She said that losing wasn’t all that bad and probably due to me being so sick. She said that we just needed to try to focus on gaining a pound a week for a while. Hopefully, I can keep some food down so that you are getting all the nutrients you need. I have been putting down some kale smoothies and lots of veggies and fruit. I’m not backing down, either! We also scheduled our first ultrasound for 19 weeks (just 3 weeks away!) to determine your gender. Miss London June or Mr. Finley Monroe? We will know and celebrate who you are with family and close friends by hosting a gender reveal party. Because, everyone knows this mama likes to host a good party! You are worth celebrating. 

I am so blessed by you whether I’m standing mountain top in this journey or deep in the valley, because with you, I’m never alone. You reside right inside of me, reminding me of how important this new calling to be a mother is. Residing in both of us, is the the Spirit that whispers “You are enough” which gives my heart rest and deep comfort. Every time I hear your heart beat or feel your flutter, my heart soars to new places and gives me hope for new life. I value both my times on the mountain and in the valley because it’s shaping me into the mother you need. I’m very aware that I’m creating with God and it’s at times intimidating. Most of all, it is glorious and dance-worthy.  

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You are truly my biggest adventure. 

Love, Mom 

I Hope You Get Your Dad’s Teeth & 15 Weeks

Dear baby,

I haven’t been as active on the blog lately because of some major tooth drama. While I was hanging out with your Mum Mum (we were on a hunt to find a few clothing pieces to hold me during this awkward size time) I began to feel some tooth pain but with all my dental issues I wasn’t alarmed. Nothing out of the norm! We ate dinner and then I was off on my way home to Nashville. Gradually, my tooth pain became worse…and then worse…and then unbearable. I found myself speaking out loud a few mantras, trying to calm myself while I drove. I repeated “This too shall pass”, “You are okay”, “You can get through this”. The pain began to radiate up into my whole left side of my face and my sinuses. I could no longer speak out loud and I tried to decide whether I should pull off the side of the interstate. I decided that was a bad idea as it was dark and rainy and I just wanted to be home. I tried focusing on my breathing and I held my face and cried. I called my Mom. I didn’t know what else to do. She’s been through all my other horror dental experiences and has shared the same kind of pain. I just needed to hear her voice and have her talk me through the rest of my drive.

I hope I can be the person you call when you’re at the end of your rope. 


I was managing but staying in front of the worst pain I’ve ever experienced  but then I hit a wall and I knew the pain was winning and radiating more fierce than ever. That’s when I lost it. I couldn’t breathe through it anymore and I burst into uncontrollable sobs…while driving. I knew this wasn’t good and Mom tried her best to get me to focus on driving. I got home, gave Lucas the phone, went directly to the medicine cabinet to find Tylenol. I then applied an ice pack directly to my face. My Mom directed Lucas to make warm salt mixture and I gargled with it, all whilst sobbing. I was terrified that the pain wasn’t going away. Eventually, after the ice pack practically froze burnt my face off, I got some relief. I took some Phenergan to knock me out and settle my nausea (the pain made me want to throw up). I slept through most of the night, occasionally having to apply the ice pack and then I would dose off.

I’ve known pain like this before. Because I have a genetic disease called Amelio Genesis Imperfecta that is dental, I have spent a lot of time in the dentist chair. The pain I was feeling was like an abscess times 1,000. I went to the dentist the next day and sobbed the entire way there because the pain came back. Thankfully, this time your Daddy was driving. Once they saw me crying in the dentist office, they rushed me to an open chair, identified where the pain was and then stuck a giant needle with heaven inside (a numbing agent). Then the gods sang as my lips seemingly grew ten x’s larger and my entire left side of my face felt like it was melting off. Total relief. And I soooo didn’t care if I couldn’t feel the drool rolling down my chin; the pain was gone!

After lots of X-rays (and me slightly freaking out and telling them a thousand times that I’m pregnant) they immediately found two huge abscesses next to each other. One of these teeth were so long that it went up into my sinuses which was what was causing me the pain to radiate into my sinuses. He said that this infection had been brewing for about 1-2 years and it doesn’t hurt until it gets big and then BOOM it hits you like a ton of bricks. I was shocked! He also said that because I’m pregnant my gums were very agitated and swollen which might have contributed to the massive amount of pressure I felt.

Within 15 minutes of being there, they started root canal number one out of two. He focused on the bigger abscess and drilled a hole in my crown and pulled out the nerve. He said the nerve should have been stiff like a splinter but it was completely limp (and sooo gross) and dead. He couldn’t believe it! Then he exclaimed about how much infection was draining out and even laughed. At this point, it didn’t bother me. I was just so relieved that I was getting this horrible stuff out of me that caused so much trauma.

I was however, constantly aware and worried about how this was affecting you. I had my arm around you the entire time as if I could shield you from what was going on. I was glad that they put two lead aprons around you during the X-RAYs and called my midwife a couple of times to get the “OK” on some of the medication they would be using during the procedures. Still, I was worried for you. Also, I was operating on fumes. The adrenaline rush I had the night before and the during the trip to the dentist exhausted me mentally and physically and it was difficult to think straight. I had nothing left and I just wanted to kiss the dentists and their staff for fixing me up so well and treating me with calm voices, reassurance and communication.

I talked to my Mom after the whole ordeal and we both agreed that if I could get through that much pain with just a dose of Tylenol, I probably can get through birth. At least with labor pains, their is a glorious gift after it all unlike the unrelenting tooth pain I felt. Sometimes, I really think all these trials (the big & small) that I have gone through while carrying you is just preparing me more and more and making me strong enough to be your Mama. I know bringing you into the world will make our lives more difficult and our pockets smaller but the reward will much outweigh all the discomforts. You will make our trials seem like ant hills because you are our greatest treasure!

I hope you get your Daddy’s teeth. 

Baby Blueberry Update:

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Also, in the past few days I am almost absolutely sure I’m feeling you! During one of my many bathroom trips during the middle of the night, I laid awake for some time and felt you nudge me. It wasn’t a kick or anything that powerful. Instead, it was if you were leaning against my abdomen where we find your heart beat! I also felt several stirrings or tuggings. It’s hard to express what I felt but it was definitely new and exciting! I was shocked and continue to be shocked when I feel these new sensations. I find I usually feel them when I’ve been very still or laying down- usually in the middle of the night or when I take a bath! I think your Daddy is getting jealous because he wants to feel you kick so badly. That won’t be for several more weeks probably.

Loving you always,

Mom

14 Weeks

Dear Blueberry,

We’re 14 weeks! You have grown to the size of a large navel orange- its crazy to imagine! I can feel a small part of my stomach is more dense and tighter and it freaks me out when I feel it. You are busy working out and have turned my uterus into a Baby YMCA. Your still practicing kicking, curling toes and working your arms. You are also practicing breathing, sucking and swallowing. 14 wks

 

I’ve had one of the best weeks yet of being pregnant. Nausea hasn’t been hanging around as often and I’ve got a little bit more pep in my step. However, my emotions have taken over. I cry nearly every day and I am so sensitive. Your Daddy has been so comforting and making sure he gives me extra love and comfort. My cup overflows because of his love. You will be so blessed by him.

My face has totally broken out and it’s out of control. I will take the crazy, over-emotional and 13 year old break outs over nausea and throwing up ANY day!

I’ve not been craving anything lately but now that my nausea is at bay, I’ve been trying to load up on major super foods like fruit, leafy greens and whole grain. I sometimes have enough courage to eat chicken (the only animal protein I eat) now and again but it’s a rare occasion that I do. I will have my next appointment at 16 weeks and then another one at 20 weeks to see you on the ultrasound and find out if you will be a London June or a Finley Monroe!

Everyone asks what I think you will be and I have to say that I’m feeling a girl vibe. I have tried so hard not to because I didn’t want to be one sided but I simply can’t help it. Your Dad has said this from day one but we will shall see in 6 weeks. I can hardly wait! I have been busy creating Pinterest nursery decor boards. One for a girl and one for a boy. London June’s Nursery Inspiration and Finley Monroe’s Nursery Inspiration. I’ve also been pinning a lot of advice, tips and articles about breastfeeding, labor, sleeping schedules and etc. Mommy in the Making Board . If you can’t tell, I’m already head over heels, obsessed with you! I think of you all the time!

Love you,

Mom