Monday, December 21, 2015

bump #104: stretch marks

Thank you so much for prayers, love, and support following our disappointing ultrasound last week. After talking with my doctor a few more times we are feeling much better. She said that she sees Choroid Plexus cysts a lot in her practice. I've never heard of them but they are fairly common with 1 in 100 babies having them. But still, you hear "your child has a cyst on his brain" and it's quite unsettling. She went on to say that there are no other indicators or "markers" for any chromosomal abnormalities for our little Everett so we should monitor the cyst at each appointment to be sure it resolves, but the chance of him having Trisomy 18 is 1 in 9,000 so we shouldn't worry. I of course want that risk to be zero, but am reminded once again of God's overwhelming grace and mercy that I even get to carry this precious baby boy, so out with the fearful thoughts and anxiety and on with enjoying this incredible miracle and blessing!

Now onto more superficial topics. Literally. Don't worry, I used that term correctly. I'm speaking of stretch marks. They've arrived and they're here to stay. I wrongfully assumed that after avoiding them entirely while pregnant with Oliver that I was just one of those lucky ladies whose skin blubber stretches and semi shrinks back with nary a scar. Wrong! And bless those little memes that say moms with stretch marks are like tigers who earned their stripes. They would say that my C-section scar is just a beautiful rainbow :) Anyway, while the admittedly vain part of me winces at the wrinkly lines on my belly, a bigger part of me Haha. Like I could be any bigger! remembers a time not so long ago that I would have given anything to have the chance to get these stretch marks. For real. So hooray for stretchies! Hooray for reminders of blessings no matter what form they take!
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

bump #103: another disheartening anatomy scan

It was only a little over a year ago that we had an anatomy scan and received the terrible news that there were indications of Vasa Previa. This was a serious condition that would have put mine and Oliver's life at risk throughout the pregnancy and delivery. Thankfully, a thorough ultrasound showed that while there were complications (a succenturiate lobe and low lying placenta) that would require a cesarean delivery, there were no longer life threatening issues. Phew!

Even so, we didn't breathe easy until we held our baby in our arms.

We thought that was the worst news we could ever receive about our baby and our pregnancy.

Until today.

Today our doctor informed us that our anatomy scan from last week shows a choroid plexus cyst on baby Everett's brain. I have never heard of this before, but apparently it is somewhat common occurring in 1-2% of all pregnancies and it usually resolves itself by 32 weeks causing no complications. Not great news, but we can handle this.

Unfortunately, a choroid plexus cyst can also be an indicator of serious chromosomal abnormalities, specifically Trisomy-18. Nearly 40% of babies born with Trisomy-18 have a choroid plexus cyst. This is not comforting. Our doctor does not seem too concerned and doesn't even feel a level II scan is necessary, and certainly not an amniocentesis. She explained that we don't have any of the other serious risk factors so we'll just "wait and see". But we are very concerned and want to be prepared for a best and worst case scenario, so we are pushing for a level II scan, even if we have to pay out of pocket without her referral, but remember the nightmare it was to even get an appointment at Specialty Obstetrics last time. I'll let Andrew handle the logistics of this one.

We know that God is in control, he works miracles everyday, and this pregnancy has been nothing short of a miracle. So we are praying for healing, for a healthy baby, and wise doctors to help us.

Thank you for joining us in prayer.

We'll update when we know more.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

bump #102: oh boy

I will be 15 weeks along tomorrow and am so happy we can call our sweet baby boy by name now.
Everett Michael
We are so grateful for two boys!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

bump #101: less than 1 percent

Less than 1%.

That is what we were told were the chances of ever conceiving a child on our own.

In some ways knowing that the odds were never in our favor made those fifty some odd negative pregnancy tests and childless months less shocking. I mean, less than one percent is really low. If I thought we had some shot at it, I might have got my hopes up. Hooray for pessimism at its finest!

But now, knowing that we are somehow, some miraculous way, part of that less than 1 percent, it feels even more unbelievable, if that's possible.

We did IVF and got our Oliver... a miracle we thank God for everyday. We are so grateful that IVF worked and we even made plans to implant our one remaining frozen embryo sometime after Oliver's first birthday, hoping that we would have one more child, but knowing the odds are stacked against us.

In my most reserved, polite voice, I say **** the odds!
Right now we are amazed, perplexed, and so, so grateful that God works miracles because this...
THIS is a miracle!



Wednesday, September 23, 2015

bump #100: THE BUMP IS BACK

BIG news for our little family... we're having a baby!
We are so excited, surprised, and grateful for this miracle!
Baby #2 is due April 2016!!!
Friday, September 18, 2015

bump #99: 6 months and reflecting on grace

Oliver is 6 months old. I know that's still itty bitty, but it's actually quite monumental.

In such a short time, everything has changed.

I look back to 6 months ago and I didn't have a clue. I read all the books you're supposed to read and did as much prep work as I could, but nothing really prepares you for what happens when you see your baby for the first time. Your heart stops. It leaps out of your body and it is raw, exposed, open, like never before.

Before Oliver I kept my heart close, closed off even, and protected. Infertility and fear had cut it deep and made it hard. So hardened, that even as I was asking God for grace to get through the tough times, I was turning my heart away from Him because it seemed like He wasn't there. I knew He was, but that still didn't make it any easier.

"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me."
 Psalm 23:4

Replace the phrase "darkest valley" with whatever trench you are in. We all have a valley to walk through and I wish I could say I walk through my valleys with grace.

But that would be a steaming pile of BS.

It is more accurate to say I trudge awkwardly, with a mouth full of complaints.
That doesn't make for a very pretty Psalm though.

All that to say I'm learning.

I'm learning that God's grace is bigger than my mess.
Bigger than my hurt, bigger than my failures, bigger than my valley.

And I have so, so much to be grateful for. Obviously it is infinitely easier to say that on this side of the valley, but it's true.

I'm learning that God's grace is far reaching; it knows no bounds.
And my heart wanes, but He remains.

I'm learning what it means to be a parent beyond what I read in books.

I'm learning that I will fail.
A lot.

But His grace is enough.
Friday, September 11, 2015

bump #98: teething, scooting, and sitting up

Oliver is almost 6 months old and teething something fierce. Plastic animal PETA would be all up in his grill for what he's done to Sophie Le Giraffe alone. He has an arsenal of teething toys and mesh feeders that are all proving pretty useful these days, but do any of you mommas out their have any teething go-to favorite remedies or suggestions?

While we're on the topic of teething, I have a confession to make. Add this one to our list of parenting fails, but don't judge too harshly, remember we're new at this. I came home from Back to School Night late last night and noticed something about little Ollie Bear. Lately he's been doing this adorable thing where he sticks his tongue out as far as he can and smiles so big I think my heart is going to explode from sheer adorableness. It's like he's so happy he can't contain it! Anyway, he sticks his tongue out and it is blue. Bright blue. So I lovingly ask my husband, "why is Oliver's tongue fluorescent blue?" And he tells me about how the only thing that could sooth Ollie Bear's aching gums was a blueberry otter pop...and he only had a little. Sure he did! I know how serious that boy is about eating (same as me!) and we do not do dessert in moderation.

You might think I would flip out at the thought of my 5 month old baby noshing on pure sugar water plus blue dye #5 and who knows what. I mean I have been dutifully nursing Ollie since birth, supplementing formula only when necessary, cautiously starting him on first foods and veggie purees only recently, and generally trying to do things "by the book." But all of that goes out the window when he's in so much pain, it's 100 degrees out, and baby wants a popsicle. In the future, I will prep frozen fruit in his mesh teething ring and try to provide more wholesome treats for him. But for now, his tongue is blue and he's happy; so what if I'm not mother of the year! At least I haven't given him ice cream yet, so he's not completely ruined. Please tell me I haven't ruined him!

Moving on.
Another recent milestone... scooting and sitting up almost on his own.

This boy is ready to go places. I ordered him a walker online yesterday and fingers crossed, it is going to be his new favorite toy. He currently loves his bumper jumper and bumbo chair. He's generally very content and smiley, but he lets you know real quick if he's over it and ready for something new. Homeboy is getting LOUD lately!

He is so expressive and entertaining right now. I need to remember to film him more because the pictures don't do him justice. He's adapting well to daycare a couple days a week, but came down with a cold from all the new germs. Sidenote: Nose Frida to the rescue. He hates that thing, but it sure is helpful for runny noses and baby boogies. Nothing worse than seeing your little baby sick and struggling to breathe. Hoping his immune system beefs up and we keep the sickies away, but I have a feeling this is only the beginning.

My parents came to visit for Labor Day weekend and my mom did a photo shoot of Ollie in his new suit and hat. This little guy makes our lives so happy and fun! 

I can't believe that next week he will be 6 months old. That's half a year already! It's 4am as I type this stream of conscious blog post, after a diaper change and feeding, and I am reminded that I haven't had a full night's sleep in over 6 months.

And to that I say TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!
The bags under my eyes have never been bigger, but my heart has never been fuller.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

bump #97: travelling with a baby

Welcome back! Hope your Summer has been some combination of relaxing, exciting, eventful, etc.! We spent much of the Summer travelling with Oliver... long road trips to visit family, camping in the mountains, driving up to Monterey Bay Aquarium, a few fun beach and pool days, and walks around the lake. Overall, this little guy is a trooper! He loves being outside and is generally pretty content. Unless he has to be in his car seat for longer than 30 seconds. Then all bets are off! I see limited road trips in our future, but we had a good run while it lasted.

What are your tips and tricks for travelling with little ones? We take turns sitting in the backseat with him and I try to postpone nap time so he will sleep in the car, but that often backfires and results in much weeping and gnashing of teeth. This time it worked out alright...

I can't believe our little guy is 5 months old already! Between work, moving, and travels, this lil blog has been quite neglected so here are a few pics from the last couple months to catch up...


Bobby and Oliver best buds!
Daily walks around the lake with dad.
Swimming in the pool.
 Beach days with Grandma and Grandpa
Ollie's first camping trip

Oliver's dedication at Mountainbrook Church
 Monterey Bay Aquarium with Great Grandma and Grandpa

 And lots of beach days with mom and dad

For reals though, how do you all successfully travel with littles?
Sunday, May 31, 2015

bump #96: working mom

My first Mother's Day! 
May 10, 2015
If you hadn't guessed it by my absence from the blogosphere, I am officially back at work. Oliver is 11 weeks old so I've been working the last 3 weeks and have 3 more to go until Summer Break. YES!!! (insert victorious fist pump) It was SUPER hard to leave my baby boy at home but thankfully Andrew's semester of teaching college classes ended the week before my maternity leave ended. Daddy daycare is officially underway and going great. Sometimes my boys come visit me at work during my lunch break and it is the best!

Here's the play "Three Piggy Opera" my first graders put on Friday morning...
Trying to get 97 seven year olds to all sing and do hand motions at the same time was a special kind of cuckoo crazy. Glad that's over!

The last month has been a little crazy. Ok, a lot crazy.
Working everyday is totally overwhelming. How do you other moms do it?
I feel like I'm missing so much and it's only been a couple weeks!
If I didn't have to pay for a sub out of my own pocket, I would call in sick tomorrow.
I still might :)

Oliver has been super busy growing.

 He is busting out of his size 1 diapers. Thank God Costco is good about returns because I had to exchange a boatload of them today!
 He still hates tummy time, but is generally a very happy, chill little dude.
 This is just 2 weeks difference.

 Andrew can barely hold him with one arm!

Friends at work are still giving us tons of fun gifts. Ollie is super happy about it.


Oliver went to his first baseball game.

My first Mother's Day was super special, but it was also the week that my grandma had a massive heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery. Praise God she is alright and recovering, but that was pretty scary.
We went home and introduced Ollie to friends and family.

Andrew applied to lots of tenure track professor jobs the last few months and even though he got a few interviews (one was in Houston- shout out to the Joiners!) unfortunately he didn't receive any offers. So we are staying another year in California at our current jobs in San Diego. I always thought that once I finally became a mom I would be able to take a year or two off work to stay home and be with my baby. I know that sounds a little ridiculous, but it was the dream. When we realized we'd have to stay in California, that meant no being a stay at home mom for me. Bye bye dream.

We prayed about what we should do, knowing that my employer covers mine and Oliver's insurance, daycare costs are crazy, and we both need to work to live. Last week I had a conversation with the wonderful gal who was my long term substitute teacher while I was out about sharing a teaching contract next year. Essentially it means that we will both teach the same first grade class, but half time each. I still have insurance and a part time job, but I also get to spend at least 4 days a week with Oliver. The principal approved it and I am just waiting to officially sign a contract. Really hoping this works out! It's half the pay, but double the special time with Ollie so I call it a win.

Ready for plenty of sweet Summer days with this little snuggle bug!