Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Field Trip to Baker's Farm

Wednesday, April 17
A few weeks ago, Jake's class had their field trip to Baker's Farm. I love getting to see Jake interact with his school friends. They are such a sweet class!
Sweet friends! Carson, Jake & Ava
As we were walking from our cars to the farm, the kids were just walking along. They all began to hold hands. No one told them to, they were just walking & holding hands. Jake has been so blessed with the classes he has been in his 2 years at Westwood. I wish he would always have such sweet friends!

The guys

Getting ready for the hayride to start

Ava & Jake were so cute. Ava wanted to sit by Jake everywhere we went.
I adore Ava, so that was fine with me!

Seeing the baby chicks
Learning how they turn corn cobs into feed
Feeding the goats
Mrs. Christy's 3K Class
(minus Miller, Shiloh & Lola)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Trying for Baby #2

I’ve thought long & hard over actually posting the entry. I don’t want to mistake a public blog for a diary. But, this blog is a reflection & memory book of our lives. The good, the bad, the funny, the hard. Plus, I think it is important to acknowledge the hard times in our lives, because it makes the happy times so much more special. Also, these are just my honest opinions, feeling, & thoughts. Every person & situation is different. I don’t think there is a right or wrong, just trying to figure out what works best for your family. So here goes (warning – extremely long because I cannot tell a short story!).

We get asked all the time “so when are you giving Jake a little brother or sister?” or “how much age difference do you want between your children?” or “are you only going to have 1 child?”. Honestly, the questions do not bother me. I understand why people are asking, and before we were in this situation, I know I’ve asked similar questions. We have 1 child, so surely having a 2nd one is just completely up to us & our timing. Right? I thought so! But wrong. The questions are easy to answer; I just respond that we are trying. People get it pretty quickly and I’ve not had anyone be intrusive. In fact, most times, they share troubles they have had themselves or people they know. It is comforting to know you are not alone. And it gives me hope. So really, I don’t mind. The hardest part is letting go of “my baby plan” and realizing that it is in God’s timing, not mine.

Our pregnancy troubles actually started when I was pregnant with Jake. We got pregnant very easily (& surprisingly) with Jake. The first 28 weeks went by amazingly. I had no sickness, was gaining weight moderately and felt pretty good. This pregnancy stuff was so easy! I look back now at how naive & over-confident I was. I skipped all of the scary parts of Your Pregnancy Week-by-Week. I mean, that hardly happens to anyone, certainly not us. I thought I’d gotten past the hard parts – getting pregnant & making it to 13 weeks. It was going to all be smooth sailing until we welcomed our baby! Oh, to be that naive again.

At 28 weeks, there were some things that the doctors were concerned about on our ultrasound. I learned with ultrasounds (which I previously loved up until then!) is that they cannot tell you anything for certain. It could be nothing. Just the way the baby is turned or something they just can’t get a good view of. But it tells you enough that there may be something to worry about. We had to have an amniocentesis. We were scared, we were confused, we were worried. (I tend to get very nervous about things that I cannot pronounce correctly.) Thankfully, chromosome wise, things were fine, but that also meant that the doctor was more uncertain about to what extent something could be wrong. We only told our immediate family & close friends. It was so hard & I didn’t want people to ask questions. I didn’t know everything that was happening, so I knew there was no way I could explain it to someone anyway. The remaining weeks of the pregnancy were so hard. There was just so much uncertainly and unanswered questions. The best they could tell us was to not look on the internet and once the baby came, we would know better what we were dealing with. I dreaded ultrasounds after that, because each time we had one, it was a reminder of there was something wrong, but they couldn’t give us a complete diagnoses. This continued until I was 36½ weeks along, until Christmas Eve night.

Christmas was on Thursday that year. I was scheduled to have another ultrasound on Monday. I was dreading that ultrasound like the plague. Then around 10:00 Wednesday night, I thought my water broke, so I went to the bathroom. After a few minutes, it looked like a murder scene in our tiny ½ bath. Crazy enough, at this point, I really was not concerned. I was more worried that they were going to put me on bed rest and I still had a good 8 weeks left of work I needed to finish before having this baby. (At this point, I don’t know if it was a blessing or curse that I skipped all of the bad parts of the pregnancy book.) We got to the hospital and they said they said that they would have to do an emergency cesarean. Again, I was not worried about that at all. I was just so excited that we were going to go ahead & have the baby & I wouldn’t have to worry about another ultrasound with Jake again. While doing the c-section, they confirmed that it was what they expected, placental abruption. (The placenta separates from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery. It can deprive the baby of oxygen & nutrients, which I know now, but didn’t realize then.) I had never heard of this, and it thankfully wasn’t until later that I learned either myself of Jake could have died from it. But that seems very dramatic, so I try not to think about it. I was just quite pleased that I had been able to eat a whole plate of chili cheese fries just a few hours earlier and was still able to have a successful c-section. (Again, can we say naive??)

Once Jake was born, the doctors were able to fully examine him and give us more insight into what was so concerning on those ultrasounds. Thankfully, it was not a worst case scenario. Jake has a wonderful pediatric surgeon out of Vanderbilt’s Children’s Hospital who has performed 2 surgeries on him & will perform 1 more in the next few years. Jake is a healthy growing boy and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for that blessing.

So were Jake’s problem & the placental abruption connected? No. They 2 are completely unrelated (or so the doctor’s say! I have no idea!). They both are things that randomly can happen to anyone and are not genetic. We just had them both happen to us.

All of this behind us, I can honestly say, I was not scared in the least bit to try again. Robbie & I both knew that we wanted at least 2 children. Ideally, according to my baby plan, I would have loved to start trying when Jake turned 2. But, considering at that point, Robbie & I were not even living in the same state (he had already moved to AL to start work at his new job & I was still in TN finishing up mine), baby #2 was going to have to hold off. It was held off more because for several months we lived in temporary housing and then we were living with my in-laws. There was no room to bring in a 2nd child. Hindsight is always 20/20. I look back now & wonder if we should have just started trying anyway? Who cares if the baby would have to sleep in a drawer? But we wanted to wait until we were in our own house with plenty of room.

So we moved into the new house in September 2011, got settled, and I was pleasantly surprised, to find out just a few months after moving in that we had gotten pregnant. By this point, I’ve realized that we were very blessed to be able to get pregnant twice so easily & quickly. Oh if I had only known what was in store for us.

Pretty shortly after finding out we were pregnant, we knew something was wrong. Of course things started happening over the weekend, so I didn’t call my doctor. I thought I was miscarrying. I knew that miscarrying this early, there was nothing they could do to stop it, so I just struggled through it over the weekend. It was horrible pain. On Monday, I made an appointment to see my doctor on Tuesday. I was still in a lot of pain, but figured that is just what happens. The first thing they did was an ultrasound. The lab tech kept moving the wand around everywhere. I knew something was wrong, but figured it was just related to the miscarriage I thought I had. Then she gave me the good ole “I’ll let the doctor talk to you”. That is when my doctor told me that he doesn’t think I’ve miscarried, but that it is an ectopic pregnancy (the fertilized egg implants somewhere outside the uterus. In my case, it was in my fallopian tube [most common]. Also called a tubal pregnancy.) That blockage in my fallopian tube was causing the bleeding and near rupturing. So once again, we get to have surgery immediately, but this time the next day. The pregnancy was in my left tube and they were able to remove it. The surgery went well and we were able to go home that day.

The ectopic pregnancy was extremely painful. I like to feel like I have a pretty high tolerance of pain. I felt nothing during the placental abruption and after the c-section. But this little seed stuck in my tube hurt. Horribly. It is the only time in my life, I can remember actually crying because I was in pain. Even once we got home it was painful. I feel like that was increased due to emotions though. It was sad. They had to cut over my previous scar to remove the pregnancy. Why did this one hurt so bad when removing a 5 pound baby did not? I feel like it was due to emotions, the sadness of not bringing home a baby or never getting to meet them, but who knows.

We were very saddened by the loss of the pregnancy, but felt at ease and peace. We would give it a few months, and then try again. We had gotten pregnant easily & quickly twice before, so I felt confident that it would only be a matter of months before we were expecting again.

3 months go by. Then 6 months. Then 9 months. By this point, I was getting frustrated. I know that 9 months isn’t really considered a long time to try, but we had gotten pregnant in 1-2 months of trying (or not even trying) previously. Why was it suddenly so hard? Because of all of the prior complications, I was worried, so my doctor went ahead & started doing different tests. Everything appears to be in working order. All levels are high and good & right where they need to be to get pregnant. For whatever reason, it is just not happening. My doctor has run tests on my tubes and as we figured, my left tube is basically useless due to the damage. But my right tube is perfect & you only need 1!

**DISCLAIMER!!** I know this is the part where people love to say “just stop trying & it will happen”. Please do not ever say that to someone who is trying anything. They know that. And if only it was that easy. I know people tend to get pregnant when they don’t try or just give up trying. (HELLO! That’s how we got pregnant with Jake!) But unfortunately, my heart just doesn’t listen when I tell it not to want a baby. Even when trying to not think about it, I do. In the back of my head I’m counting days, wondering if this will be the time, what month would the baby be born in. Believe me, I wish I could just not care, go have fun & see what happens. But once you want something so badly, it is hard to just let it go. If I could, I would have done it long ago.

Back to our story (if you are still awake). By the end of 2012, I was at the doctor’s office weekly, just doing different tests & different blood work. I will admit, sometimes it is hard sitting in there with all of the pregnant people, wondering why that can’t be you. But I’m sure women trying for just one baby could say that of me since we already have Jake. So whenever I’m sad, I just start counting all of the blessings I do have. And that is a reminder about all things in life. There is always going to be someone who has more than you and what you want. But there are also people that would do anything to have what you have. Family, job, house, friends, food, security, etc… That has been one of the biggest lessons for me through all of this. Letting go of the “but I want that” and praising God for the “blessing I do have”. Which in my case, is much more than I deserve.

Finally, on the eve of Christmas Eve, 2012, we got the result that we had been hoping for, for almost a year. A pregnancy test that said pregnant. The month of December (especially the days leading up to Christmas) would defiantly be my most favorite month. The joy of Christmas, I had our firstborn that month and now, after a year of trying, we found out we were pregnant that month. I LOVE YOU DECEMBER!!

For as excited as we were, we were also extremely cautious. I was terrified this would be another ectopic pregnancy. I went to the bathroom probably every hour. My doctor wanted me to go ahead & come in at 6 weeks. By this point, I actually could feel the pregnancy symptoms. I felt like if it was another ectopic, I would have known by now. So we go in for the ultrasound. Everything looks right for a pregnancy, but they just cannot find it. They wondered if maybe I just miscalculated my dates & it is just too early, but in my heart, I know it is not a good sign. They take blood work & then I have to go in 2 days later for more blood work. They can compare the 2 and know what is going on. So we head home.

Details are TMI, so I won’t list them. But basically the following days, we had a miscarriage. Thankfully blood work showed that it was a miscarriage, not another ectopic, so everything was able to happen naturally. We are now 1 for 3.

And that is where we sit today. I leave you with these very short (ha!) points….
• Words cannot begin to describe how thankful I am for my amazing doctor. He is the perfect combination of sensitive, funny, optimistic, sympathetic, and most of all, a man of God. He & his wife have had an easy pregnancy & a struggle pregnancy, so I feel like he relates, he understands. He has been the perfect doctor for me. It is random how I found him, so I know that it was God working, because he knew Dr. Simmons was going to be exactly who I needed.

• What we have gone through the last year, does not even begin to compare with what so many women & families out there have faced. They have struggled more years, more heartbreak, more financially than I could ever imagine. I will not even act like I know the pain and disappointment they have faced. I know how bad the little bit I’ve suffered has hurt, so I know theirs is a thousand times harder. I cry for them. I hurt for them. I hope for them. I pray for them.

• I am not bitter. It doesn’t upset me when someone announces they are pregnant. If fact, we have several friends who are pregnant right now. And I can honestly say that I am so happy for them. Now, I know it is easier for me to say, because I already have 1 child, but how could you not be happy for a friend that is pregnant? Rather you’ve been trying or it just happened, pregnancy is a miracle and something to celebrate. (Now, I’m not going to say that I celebrate Kim Kardashian being pregnant, but my friends, I do.) I know that when we unexpectedly got pregnant with Jake, I’m sure there were people trying who felt like we didn’t “deserve” to be pregnant. I probably would have agreed with them! But I thank God now that we were, because had it not happened, we could be sitting here without a child at all. You never know what the future holds, and just because someone has something you want at that moment, doesn’t mean that they took your gift. It just means your gift is coming at a different time. A more perfect time for you. So I celebrate these new babies, I pray for their health, for their families and I am so happy for them. And I hope someone would feel the same for me.

• If you have children, hug them & make sure they know how much you love them & wanted them. Shamefully, when we got pregnant so easily with Jake, I just took it for granted. I thought we could just have as many babies as we wanted whenever we wanted them. This has taught me the miracle that is a pregnancy and being grateful, because you are not promised that it will happen again. Each day with a child is a precious gift. Even the hard days when you want to just walk away. I will never take for granted that we have Jake and I will go in his room every single night (until he is probably a teenager & learns to lock his door) & kiss him & thank God that he blessed me with such a precious little boy. I will never again take for granted the gift of a child.

So here we are, April 2013. Still not pregnant. The day of the month that you get confirmation that you are not pregnant, for me, is the hardest day. It’s disappointing. It hurts my heart. It makes me frustrated. It’s like studying a whole month for a huge test, and then finding out you got an F. I feel like I failed. It is so disappointing, I want to cry. But I will never stop trying. My doctor & I have a plan and a timeline, and we'll see where it goes. There will do more tests, more shots, more fun. I know this is not the end of our story.

So I pray. I hope. I have faith. I’m trying my best to let go of my plans and have complete faith in God’s plans. It is just so much harder to do sometimes. But even on the hard days, I can honestly say that I feel His peace, I feel His love and I know that He has blessed me far more than what I deserve. So the chapter of my life “Having Baby #2” isn’t exactly happening as I wrote it in my book. But thankfully my editor is a much smarter man with a much better plan. And no matter how that chapter unfolds, no matter how much heartbreak it contains, not matter how many tears I cry during that chapter, He will never leave my side. No matter how that chapter is written, I pray that He will give me peace about it and faith. And He is a much better writer than me anyway.

"Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." Psalm 139:16

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Weekend in Chicago

This month is mine & Robbie's 5th wedding anniversary. So we took a 3-day weekend & flew up to Chicago. Robbie has been twice before on guy's baseball trips & I've never been, so it was a fun weekend getaway, just the 2 of us.
We stayed at the Dana Hotel & Spa. Completely amazing! Robbie & I don't take a lot of trips just the 2 of us, so when we do, we love to stay at smaller, boutique type hotels. I love their charm & uniqueness! We flew out of Birmingham Thursday evening & thankfully had a direct flight right into Chicago.
View from our hotel balcony. The weather was overcast that day, which is why that picture looks gloomy.
Friday, we spent the day shopping around the Magnificent Mile. I loved it! Of course when you are shopping to actually buy something, is the one time you can find nothing that just really works. I ended up purchasing nothing on Friday. (Oh but don't worry. There was no way I was going home empty handed. On Sunday we swung by Tory Burch for some much needed new shoes!) But we still had a great time just walking around the city and shopping.
Friday night, we had dinner reservations & then went to  a comedy show at Second City
Friday night before dinner
 Second City was awesome! Our show reservation was at 8:00, but due to dinner running a little over, we got there a little closer to starting time than planned. Seating is first come first serve where they sit you, so we figured we'd be in the back. To our surprise (and not planned by Robbie), they sat us in the very front row. For the first time, I got to watch a live performance of something without having to peer around someone tall in front of me!
My knees were literally touching the stage

Our view
 The show was great & now I just need one of the performers to become famous, so I can say I saw them before they made it big!
There was a table behind us with 3 girls, who were actually eating at the show.
Everything in there is very tight & close together.
Poor things, I'm pretty sure my hair was in their pizza the whole night!
 Saturday we went to Wrigleyville. It was cold & I really didn't care anything about seeing the baseball game (and Robbie will be back up in a few months on a guys trip, in which they actually go into the stadium, so he didn't care either). We just walked around and took everything in.
Chicago lunch food. Other than pizza, it is not really a plain eaters place delight. I swear they just pile on everything they can think of, and then a few more things and its this wonderful sandwich that everyone goes crazy about. I'm sure it is good, but it grosses me out just looking at it, so I'll just take Robbie's word that overstuffed sandwiches and Italian beef sandwiches are some of the most delicious sandwiches on earth. Example - here is Robbie's sandwich at lunch on Saturday from Lucky's. Look how high it is & how much food is piled on it.  

They even put the french fries on the actual sandwich as a topping
 And here is mine. A plain grilled Cajun chicken breast. It looks so sad. It was actually really good, I just felt so silly getting mine so plain when everyone else around seemed perfectly contempt with putting their fries on their sandwich. To each their own.
But the food in Chicago really was good. Even my plain sandwich on lunch Saturday and my plain hotdog on lunch Sunday (I got a wild hair & let them put chili & cheese on it!). Our dinners were amazing and Robbie did a great job picking out the restaurants. Plus, our lunch meals were probably pay back for all the times I drag him to CFA for lunch! 

Saturday night before dinner
 On Sunday afternoon, we headed back to Birmingham. It was a wonderful & relaxing weekend and a perfect way to celebrate our upcoming 5 year anniversary.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Blading, Soccer & Cousins Come

For Easter, my brother & SIL gave Jake these 2 spinning discs with a long stick that you pull out to make them spin on their own. Jake has been absolutely OBSESSED with these things. He calls them his "bladers". He challenges us all to "battle". I'd love to say that he just has a great imagination, but he has gotten the idea from this ridiculous cartoon BeyBlade. BeyBlade was his obsession for a few weeks, so this gift just fueled the fire. Mommy, Daddy, Granddad, Mimi, we've all had to battle with the bladers (which is not very interesting). If ours spins longer then his, he'll say "awesome move!". The cartoon is horrible, but Jake was pretty cute on how excited & into it he was. That was until I realized that the "bladers" metal spinning tip has completely scratched up our dining room table & coffee table. Somehow, the 2 sticks have mysteriously disappeared. (No, I did not hide the sticks (even though it did cross my mind). The green stick went missing first (which was so tragic to Jake you would have thought someone passed away) and now the purple one has gone missing. I have no idea where they went, we've looked everywhere. I just thank the person who broke into our house to only steal a purple & green stick at different times. Must have been some of those rival bladers.)
He had to watch the cartoon and play with the spinners

Acting everything out

That's my son. Champion BeyBlader

Showing his awesome moves
April 1
Santa Claus in the Bath

I'm just glad he is finally shaving his face.
A year ago, he would only want to shave his legs.
Like mommy
April 2
Our neighborhood park has a little walking trail that has a small creek with a bridge. Jake loves to throw sticks from the bridge and watch them come out the other side.
Gathering his collection of sticks

Throw in on one side

Watching it go underneath

Now on the other side

Blading outside. By this point, we'd lost one of the sticks.

April 3
Cousin Jackson comes to visit! Jackson had spent his spring break week with Granddad & Granddad Jake, so before the Bush's took Jackson back home, he spent a few days at our house. Jake was so excited! 
Playing trains

Poor Mimi & Granddad. Now another grandson taking up room in their bed.
April 4
I took the boys to the park to play

Watching a movie

April 5
Jackson got to see Jake play soccer on Saturday & Jake also had some other fans come visit - cousins Maddox & Marrell! Everyone there to cheer Jake on.

After the game, the Bush's had to take Jackson back to Chattanooga, but my family came over to the house for a little while. And of course the kids did what they love to do - fight Gran the Evil Monster.
Jake chasing Gran around the house

They do all of this while screaming in high pitch voices.
I'm surprised we didn't get a noise complaint.
Gran holds one grandchild hostage while the others have to free them.
Fun times

 After my poor dad being completely worn out by fighting with 3 grandkids for over an hour, my family packed up & headed back home. So it was just Robbie, Jake & me for the rest of the evening.
Best seat in the house
Just hanging out after everyone had left

It had been a long, fun, exciting day for Jake. Around 5:00, he came into the living room, had his leg draped across my legs and was talking to me when he feel asleep mid-sentence. Poor thing. He was exhausted.
April 6
 Jake loves to talk about picnics. Sunday after church, it was such a beautiful day and Jake wanted a snack, so I put his snack in an Easter basket that has still not been put away a picnic basket for him to eat outside. You would have thought I'd given that child a million dollars (or found his blading sticks). He was so excited and just kept talking on & on about it.
So proud of his picnic basket
April 7
 I completely failed at taking any pictures the rest of the week. In my defense, it was a busy week with work and we were leaving Thursday evening for a trip to Chicago. Needless to say, the blog didn't get updated, no pictures taken  and I'm pretty sure someone destroyed my house.