August 17, 2017

thea's second birthday

Oh hey insomnia.  Guess I might as well blog right?

Celebrating Thea's birthday was simply just so much fun.  To begin with, Ryann and Elsie really understand birthday's and celebrating someone so they were so excited to shower Thea with love and really pumped her up.  And beyond that, Thea had quite possibly the best reaction to everything.  She spent the whole day squealing with delight about presents and treats and people and just everything.  It definitely made everything worth it.

Naturally the little stinker was up with the sun.  Christopher, Ryann and I went in her room, that we had filled with balloons the night before, and sang her happy birthday.  She was a bit stunned at first, but quickly came around just shrieking and throwing balloons in the air.  We had a giant Olaf balloon waiting downstairs for her as well and she loved it just as much.  Then her and I took off for a doughnut shop to pick out breakfast for everyone.

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After breakfast we played a bit, then got ready for the day.  Ryann headed off to art camp (so lucky to have a neighbor who had kiddos in the same camp who generously took Ryann for me!) and the littles watched a show while I finished getting myself together.  We took photos for Thea's twenty-four month post and then it was off to the Discovery Center!  The girls absolutely love that place.  We don't go as often as we'd like, because despite sanitizer and hand washing, someone always winds up with at minimum a cold roughly two days later (this time it was Thea, boogers galore the day after her birthday party!).  Elsie and Thea had a lot of fun.  The spent a ton of time in the painting area, and also went about 20 minutes just loading and unloading a couple bags with fake vegetables.

We picked up Ryann from camp at noon and headed to Chili's for lunch.  It has become the one restaurant we can go to and I know that everyone will eat something.  This particular day I'm pretty sure Thea only ate chips and salsa (one of her favorites!) and french fries.  She also enjoys mac and cheese and pizza from there (typical) but she had her own little bowl of salsa and just couldn't stop with the chips.  I guess you do what you want on your birthday.

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We went home for nap time, and I was apparently just as worn out as Thea was, because I passed out too.  Chris only works half days on Thursdays, so once Thea was up we gathered her presents and headed to my parents to open them.  Her favorite gift was probably a bunch of little plastic Disney princesses that I got from the check out lines at Walmart.  Figures!  We followed gifts up with swimming, dinner and cupcakes.  Thea pretty much smiled and giggled all day long.  It was great.

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probably should have taken the family picture before she was covered in cupcake

Thea I'm sure you won't remember this birthday, but I won't forget it.  Your excitement over every little thing was just the best.  I can't wait to experience the holiday season with you this year!

August 7, 2017

News to Share

Our family is very much looking forward to hopefully starting 2018 on a much more positive note than we did 2017...

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We've got another baby on the way.  And it's another baby girl at that!  The girls are so very excited, and talk about their baby sister everyday.  I have zero personal space as they are all constantly trying to 'hug and kiss' baby sister.  I plan to do a separate post about how this pregnancy has been in regards to the miscarriage, but for a now I'll answer a few of the regular questions I get...

When are you due?  January 21st!  My OB's office claims the 19th, but I'm pretty certain I didn't ovulate quite that early.  We'll see how early this baby gets herself kicked out, but it is pretty likely that she'll be a 2018 baby.

How did you find out the sex so early?  Early genetic testing, aka free cell DNA testing.  It isn't always covered by insurance for women under 35, and I couldn't get a clear answer on what our cost will be, but we haven't seen a bill yet.  Hoping it isn't more than $100-$200.

We're you trying for a boy?  Four kids has kind of always been my number.  After Thea was another girl we were hesitant to have a fourth, simply because four girls sounded slightly terrifying, but when it really came down to it we were happy to bring home a baby of either sex.  We won't keep having kids.  Four was our max.

Do you already have a name picked out?  Nope, feel free to leave suggestions.  :o)  Preferably not in the social security top 100 list, and nothing that starts with a B.

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I have written a handful of pregnancy updates.  They are now posted, but back dated.  If you'd like to easily read through them, click pregnancy #5 in the sidebar.

Four kids, four girls, it is going to be quite the crazy ride.  But we're very much looking forward to bringing home another baby and praying for her safe arrival.  And I mean seriously, how much crazier could it get?

August 6, 2017

sixteen weeks | baby five

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written August 6th
 
how far along:  16 weeks (compare to 16 weeks with Ryann, Elsie, and Thea)

size of baby:  Perhaps a dill pickle, but I feel like those can vary in size quite a bit.  I don't think the app has actual measurements on it which drives me nuts, because the older girls always want to know "but like really, how big is she mama?" 

weight gain: Last time I checked, which was earlier this week, it was +5 pounds.  But I also had a craving for bread and butter the last two days so.....  

maternity clothes:  I found my maternity shorts!  So yes.  Not fighting it anymore and enjoying letting my waist breathe again.

symptoms: Some headaches and tiredness, but overall not too much going on.  I do get some round ligament pain here and there.

exercise:  I've tried to do two videos a week, plus a daily walk or run.  Still nothing extensive, but moving none the less.  It has been hard when I wake up with headaches because bending over just makes my head throb.

cravings/aversions:  Fruit and bread with butter.

movement:  Not yet.  Last night I might have maybe possibly felt a tiny twinge, but I think I imagined it.  Or it was gas.  Who knows.  I'm hoping in the next two weeks I'll be able to really feel something!

sleep:  I've been falling asleep on the couch or in one of the kids beds and then waking up in the middle of the night.  Overall my sleep is ok, I just need to actually sleep in my bed.  And naps feel so good.  

gender:  Girl

looking forward to:  Our ultrasound, which is still like five or six weeks away.  Even though that doesn't guarantee this pregnancy will go to term, I think if we have a healthy report at the ultrasound I'll feel like I can really move forward with what we need to do to prepare for this little girl in our life.  It's going to be a bedroom shuffle around here.

worries:  Last night that I dreamed I was in the hospital to have a D&C.  I haven't really had any dreams about miscarriage or anything this pregnancy, so it caught me off guard and scared the hell out of me.  Thankfully I was able to find her heartbeat right away with the doppler, but it still just left me feeling a little vulnerable.

best moment this week:  On Friday I posted this picture on social media...

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Honestly I had intended to share our news in my 14th week, because the belly was starting to take shape, but, it just felt scary to actually put it out there.  Despite several people already knowing.  I'm not ashamed or scared to talk about the pregnancy, or my miscarriage, but that doesn't mean it is easy to start either conversation either.  I've had a difficult time connecting to this pregnancy, despite truly wanting to embrace it.  I'm sure that is completely normal.  But I still feel so detached.  Putting it out there, it just makes the whole thing so real, and now I have to face it a little more head on.  I'm excited to be expecting, there is no doubt about that.  But I don't think I'll really truly relax until I'm holding my girl.

All that being said, the loving and warm responses I received definitely filled my cup, and I appreciate it so much.  So thank you, everyone, for showing myself and my family so much love.  The internet and social media can be a dark and evil place, where people feel as though they can say anything to anyone.  But it is also a community filled with loving and caring people.  Thank you thank you.

I did want to mention that I was also apprehensive about 'announcing' on social media, because I know it can be a trigger for people who have also dealt with miscarriage, or infertility, and many other things.  But for myself, personally, I would much rather come across an announcement on my social media channels than find out from someone in person.  I appreciated having the time to process and feel in my own way before having to have a conversation about someone's pregnancy face to face, whether it be with that person directly or in conversation with a friend.  I also wouldn't want anyone to cover up their joy and happiness, simply to protect my feelings.  Though it may be hard for some, every new life deserves to be celebrated.  If it is too tough to handle, look away.  Unfollow.  I absolutely don't blame you.

Again, thank you to everyone for your support.  It is very much felt and appreciated.

August 5, 2017

thea - twenty four months

Two.  She's TWO!  I can't believe you're already two Miss Thea.  Of course I can't remember life without you, and I certainly wouldn't want to go back to life without you.  You bring the family so much joy.  But man, how can you already be two-years-old?

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I just... this kid is so damn cute.  I'm sure her older sisters were equally adorable, but Thea just gets to me in the best ways.  She is still my best cuddler, kisses my booboos, lovingly plays with my hair, and is just all around awesome.  Yes, she has her moments.  Often trying to get clothes on her is like trying to wrestle an alligator.  And her favorite past time is running into the pantry to steal food.  Should you come between her and her quest, watch out.  Definitely need to come up with a better pantry locking mechanism.  She has just plain ripped the knob cover straight off the door.

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Despite Thea's absurdly picky eating habits, the girl is still growing like crazy.  She measured in at 35.5 inches (93rd percentile) and weighed 29lbs5oz (81st percentile).  Seriously, her doctor asked if she loved eating (well yes) because she is growing so well.  How she continues to get taller without getting wider is beyond me, the carb and chocolate fanatic.  Last night she hurled herself at my feet and cried "I just want choc-wit!" I fell ya girl, I really do.  This morning she was playing in her closet and wanted to try on all the shoes in one of the bins.  They are fall shoes, size six, which I was expecting her to wear in the next two months, but not a single freaking pair would squeeze on her chubby little feet.  She hasn't worn ANY of them! I know she is in opposite seasons as Ryann and Elsie, but I can't believe she just missed all of those. I need to pull out the 7's to see if we're going to have to invest in some new ones.  Which sounds ridiculous when you're on your third child of the same sex.  She is solidly in size 2 clothing, but size 3 pajamas certainly don't seem big.  I have a feeling we'll bust out of the 2's before I'm ready.

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Thea has absolutely ZERO interest in potty training.  She still freaks out any time we attempt to sit her on the toilet. (Ok I swear I just have to start typing the crap in a post and then she has to prove me wrong before I post. I thought I'd finish this post last night, but didn't. Today she has willing sat on the toilet twice, even though she hasn't done anything.)  I ask her regularly if she wants to be a big girl and wear undies like her sisters and she pretty much just says nope.  One day she looked at me and said "I not a baby IN-eee MOWRE!" So I responded, "Not a baby? So you're going to be a big girl and wear underwear and sit on the potty seat?!?!?"  She pondered for a moment, "Ee-uh a baby.  I wear diapers."  Alrighty then.  She also excitedly took a nap on a toddler bed at my Aunt and Uncle's house over the 4th of July.  Went right to sleep and napped something like three hours.  I asked her if she wanted a bed like that at home.  "No, I sweep in my cwib."

In the sleep department things haven't changed much.  Thea is incredibly easy to put to bed which is great, and something I never could have imagined a year ago when I was still nursing her to sleep.  We read two books, since three very short songs, and into her crib she goes.  She almost never wakes up in the middle of the night.  There was one night last week that she was crying (in her sleep I'm pretty sure), and Chris and I just looked at each other like what on Earth do we do with that?  I haven't had to tend to her in the middle of the night since I don't even know when.  And she is still content to just play in her crib for an undetermined amount of time when she wakes up in the morning or from nap.  There was one day when she was singing and babbling to herself, and after about 15 minutes I finally realized she was standing up yelling "Mommy I need you!"  Whoops.  She had a super saggy wet diaper and wanted it off.  Lol.  She generally sleeps from 8pm until 5:45-6:15am, and naps from 1-4pm ish.  I've tried cutting her nap a bit shorter, but it hasn't seemed to make a huge difference in when she wakes up in the morning.  Sometimes she'll sleep until 7:30am and there is no correlation.  So we'll just roll with it.

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Though her speech can still be incredibly hard to understand, she is stringing together pretty mature sentences.  I've counted 7-8 words in a row, and really she can hold a conversation, you just have to be patient.  The words do not come out in a fluid manner, her phrases are very staccato in delivery.  And really sometimes I just don't have a freaking clue what she is saying.  For the most part she doesn't get upset about it though.  If it is something she can show me, she will tell me such, and direct me to whatever it is she is wanting, or trying to tell me about.  Or if it wasn't important, eventually she just gives up and moves on.  Sorry kid!  Some of my favorite phrases as of late are, "Come on, let's do it!"  and "I no want to do dat!", mostly because I can appreciate the fact that she can verbalize her likes and dislikes.  She still throws incredible fits but she CAN use her words, especially if she is reminded to do so.  And I still have a soft spot for her "Why you do dat?"  I tend to use it with everyone in the family now, if they do something they shouldn't have.  And a cute little conversation we had the other day...

Thea:  "Where Dada go?"
Me:  "Daddy had to go to work."
Thea:  "I wuv Daddy."
Me:  "Daddy loves you too girlie."
Thea:  "Daddy wuv mama too!"

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She occasionally tries to sing the alphabet, but just repeats a few letters over and over again.  She can count to 13, but almost always skips 5 and 10.  I think part of it is out of spite now, we correct her so often that I'm pretty sure she does it on purpose just to get a reaction.  Her listening ears at dance class have improved.  She is still often the ring leader of the not following directions club, but I can tell she gets enjoyment out of the songs and movements we do every week, and mostly just loses focus when we have to stand in a line and do things one at at time.  Then she is hanging off the ballet bars like a monkey.  I'm not sure we'll go every week throughout the school year, but thankfully her class would be during the same time that Elsie is in class, so it is something we can easily do frequently.

Yellow and purple are still her preferred colors.  She is obsessed with the Disney princesses.  We got her several little figurines that we found in the check-out aisles at Walmart for her birthday, and she carries around a ziploc bag with them on the regular.  Actually one day she woke up from nap in tears and when I asked her why she was crying she said "I want my pwincesses!"  Haha.  Elsa and Anna remain the favorites, and we are now the proud owners of several Elsa dolls.  Thanks friends, she is loving it.  The day after Thea's birthday, my parents took the girls to the Toy Store because there were going to be some princess actresses there.  My mom said Thea absolutely lost her mind freaking out when she spotted Anna.  Her excitement over things is just the best.  Ariel is her next favorite, and then Belle.  Everyone else is just icing on the cake.

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She says Elsie is her best buddy, but she really loves both her sisters and always wants to know what they are doing.  Of course she is learning to fight back more and more when they take her toys, and has ripped out several chunks of Elsie's hair (karma).  But she loves to hug tackle them to the ground and wrestle them and just play with them all the time.  She gets sad when they go places and we're home by ourselves.  "Where Ryann and El-ee go? I want dem come home and pway wit me."

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Thea girl, despite our rough start and what seemed like months of endless screaming, I wouldn't change these last two years for anything.  I love you so much and I'm so grateful that God chose me to be your mommy.  I LOVE YOU.

July 25, 2017

fourteen weeks | baby five

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written July 25th

The cat is officially out of the bag as far as friends and family go.  We told the girls about the pregnancy and let them do a little gender reveal while we were in Georgia.  They were all so excited it made me happy.  And no one complained a bit about it being another girl.  One of the first things Elsie said to me was "The baby is going to drink milk out of your BODY." Yes, yes child, that is the plan.  I just thought it was cute that her mind went there right away.

I know that Thea doesn't really understand what is going on.  But even the night after we told them, when I was putting her to bed, she looked up at me completely unprompted and said "I gonna have a baby sister!"  And she has continued to say it at random times since.  At first she thought the baby was in her belly, but she has since stopped saying that.  She still gets so excited when she sees babies out in public, and wants to hold them all, so I can't wait to see her as a big sister.  But imaging her not being the baby is really hard as well.  Actually one of Elsie's friends looked at me and said "You're going to have TWO babies!" Initially I told her no no no, just one.  But then I realized she still counts Thea as a baby.  So yes, I'll have two babies.  :o)

I had a basic OB appointment on July 17th.  We could hear a strong heart beat and there aren't any other issues at the moment, so my next appointment is mid August at just shy of 18 weeks.
 
how far along:  14 weeks 2 days (compare to 14 weeks with Ryann, Elsie, and Thea)

size of baby:  A brilliant beat?  Ok Ovia app, whatever you say. 

weight gain:  I don't want to talk about it.  I don't even know today.  Probably something like +6 pounds.  Looking at those posts above I was clearly in MUCH better shape when I was pregnant with Elsie and Thea.  I'm trying not to dwell though, and keep moving, and know that after this baby (and when I'm done nursing) my body will belong to me and I have the rest of my life to be fit.  Not that I'm going to sit on the couch for the next six months or anything, but I'm not stressing. 

maternity clothes:  Still have no idea where my maternity shorts are.  My regular ones are uncomfortable, even my workout pants are kind of uncomfortable around my waist.  Loose elastic shorts or yoga pants are the only things I want to wear.  I'm ready for fall weather simply so I can bust out all my maternity jeans.

symptoms: Overall the symptoms are much much better.   I had a crappy couple days over the weekend (including a bout of dry heaving), but if I stay on top of Tylenol my headaches don't get too bad.

exercise:  I've gotten myself to do two videos on Beachbody on Demand, and gone running a few times thrown in there as well.  But mostly just walking.

cravings/aversions:  My preference is fruit, salads, and peanut M&Ms.  Heavy stuff just usually ends up making me feel sick, but I wind up eating it anyway.  Because I'm a glutton for punishment?  I don't know.

movement:  No, but we can hear her wiggling around like crazy on the doppler.

sleep:  If I fall asleep in my bed then I usually stay asleep, waking up once to pee.  But for the most part I haven't been awake in the middle of the night which is nice.  I have woken up with a headache several times, annoying.  

gender:  Girl

looking forward to: An ultrasound.  Trying to convince Christopher to bring a portable machine home because my ultrasound won't be until 22 weeks.  And movement.  Very ready to feel movement.

worries:  Too many to list, but they aren't making my anxiety flare too much so whatever.

best moment this week: We let the girls listen to the heartbeat on the doppler and the way their little faces lit up the moment they heard it nearly made me cry.  They were both in awe (Thea didn't really care).  And of course then we had to listen to all of their hearts with the doppler to hear the difference.  That was kind of fun.

July 9, 2017

thea - twenty three months

 Here we are.  Less than a month from two.  And Thea's current personality definitely shows it.  HA!

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Miss Thea can definitely be a sour patch kid sometimes.  She is THE absolute sweetest little girl.  I get so many hugs and kisses and I love yous, and she can still be a great cuddler.  But my word if that child doesn't get her way be prepared to feel her wrath.  She is stubborn and headstrong and knows what she wants.  And can throw a tantrum like the best of them!

She is fully in size 2T clothing, which the exception of a few 18-24 month items that I still liked and couldn't quite convince myself to put away yet.  She is wearing size 5 diapers and between a 5-6 shoe.  Still no 2 year molars, though her hands are shoved in her mouth all the time.  I'm sure there really is no connection there but I'll just keep pretending.  Thea is great at going to sleep for nap and bed, and I can't remember the last time she has woken up in the night, but her definition of morning and my definition of morning are sometimes not the same.  She has regularly been up in her crib around 5:30am (just like her early bird sisters, weird), but she rarely ever gets up set/calls out to us or anything.  She just plays with her baby dolls and stuffed animals until someone comes in to get her.  I'm sure the early morning wake ups have nothing to do with the fact that she can easily nap three hours a day.  I have to wake her up at least 3 times a week, if not more.

It is funny that Thea stays in her crib so happily, because that girl can definitely climb out.  I'm not sure what to do with that.  The other day I put her in her crib for a time out as a last ditch effort to try and get her to cooperate with something, and she just immediately swung her legs over the top and climbed down like it was no big deal and she does it all the time.  She is such a dang good little climber.  We have some book ledges in the playroom, and she climbed to the top one, and then without her feet touching the shelves, came back down cliff hanger style, just walking her hands to the next shelf.  I was baffled.  I tried to hide some stuff she wasn't supposed to have on top of the 8 cube ikea shelf, and she just scaled the damn thing.

Thea also believes she can jump off of anything.  It still baffles me, as Ryann seemed basically incapable of jumping until after she was three years old.  Whereas Thea has been getting air for who knows how long, and has no fear when it comes to taking a flying leap off a random piece of furniture.  I want to try and curb the habit, but I also get tired of pulling her off of stuff nine million times a day.  So I guess we're going the natural life lessons route, and hoping that if she totally bites it that maybe she'll reconsider the next time.  But she probably won't.

Thea's vocabulary is HUGE (enunciation can still be rough) and sometimes her conversations and phrases are just so damn funny.

Discussing going out on the boat for fireworks...
Me (to Christopher):  "Maybe you should just stay here and put Thea to bed and I'll go out on the boat with the big girls."
Chris:  "Yeah, not a bad plan."
Thea:  "I want go on da boat.  BYE! I weaving you!"

Thea:  upset at lunch time "Want squeeze pouch!"
Me:  "You want a squeeze pouch?"
Thea:  sobbing "Yeah!"
Me:  "I'm putting one on your plate for lunch, ok?"
Thea:  still sniffling "Otay."
Me:  "And some apple AND some chicken nuggets!  Deal?"
Thea:  sobbing again "No deal!"

Meal times with her pretty much suck.  She likes squeeze pouches and blueberries reliably.  And sweets.  Definitely sweets.  Everything else, well your guess is as good as mine.  I mean I can almost guarantee she won't eat grilled meat or any vegetable.  For some reason she also dislikes mango (what is wrong with you child?!?!?!)  But these days even mac 'n cheese is hit or miss.  I truly, truly thought I couldn't get a child pickier than Ryann.  I was wrong.  So I guess we'll just feed her a steady diet of squeeze pouches and hope for the best.

I pulled little miss I only do what I want from gymnastics after three classes.  Stubborn Sally did not want to do anything that was requested of her, and I couldn't deal.  One of the coaches tried to give me the 'eventually they get better at following directions' speech, but yeah, no thanks.  We'll try again in a few months.  Dance is also kind of an absolute disaster, but slightly less so, and I preferred it over gymnastics, so we'll keep that up for now.  It's only mildly (horribly) embarrassing chasing her all over the room trying to convince her to participate when pretty much everyone else is sitting and doing what they're supposed to and managing to wait in line and take turns, etc.  Come on Thea, give your mama a break!  She's lucky that she is dang cute in a leotard and I enjoy seeing my friends.  :)

Yellow still seems to be Thea's favorite color, followed by purple, I think.  She is in love with all the Disney princesses, and thinks Belle's yellow dress is so pretty.  She recently told me she wanted to have an 'Elsa, Anna, No-man' birthday party, unfortunately I've already been planning an ice cream one!  Mermaids also rank high on her love list, my little girly girl.  And babies, real and fake, still make her little heart happy.  She hugs and kisses all the babies she sees on instagram with me.

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Love you sweet girl!!

twelve weeks | baby five

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I haven't been taking pictures mostly because I didn't have a plan or a cute/easy spot to do it in.  But that is lame so bathroom selfie it is. Apparently 5th pregnancy = BELLY

written July 9th

It's been a few weeks, and quite a bit has happened.  Let's see if I can remember every thing I wanted to write down...

I found out one of my best friends who experienced a miscarriage shorty before I did is also pregnant, due just a few days after I am.  I am thrilled for her, and hope that we both have uneventful pregnancies and kiddos who are born around the same time.

I had another appointment with my OB on June 26th.  She was able to easily find the heart beat, and said it sounded wonderful.  In her opinion the pregnancy seems to be progressing without issue, but I still know that doesn't really mean a lot.  But for now, I'll continue to try and take comfort in her confidence.  I've been able to hear the heart beat on my own doppler almost daily since finding it at nine weeks.  I feel slightly neurotic, needing to hear it so often, but at the same time I know it is keeping my overall anxiety at bay.  So until I can feel movement I think I'll continue to listen every other day at minimum.

At about the 10.5 week mark I was standing in the kitchen looking at something on my phone.  Ryann asked me, "Mom, are you standing funny?"  Realizing that I was not sucking in my slightly protruding belly at all I said, "Oh, um, probably," and straightened up.  She notably paused with a slightly defeated look on her face, then said "maybe by Christmas time there will be another baby in your belly."  I hate 'lying' to her, omitting the truth, but I am so scared to hurt her again.  Kids are tough, but I know she still thinks about the loss and her baby sister she didn't get to meet from time to time, and I don't want to put her through that again.

Our early genetic testing came back.  Baby is low risk for genetic abnormalities, and with no surprise to anyone at all, is female.  Another sweet baby girl is growing in my belly.  Part of my heart aches for the son we will never have, and the other part is overflowing with love for our all girl tribe.  Half of me is sad to not have a good excuse to do some baby clothes shopping, and the other half is grateful that my hair bow obsession can continue on with another baby girl.  :)  We haven't really told anyone the sex of the baby.  We plan to share the news with my parents and the girls at the end of the week, and I'm sure my mom will go crazy when she finds out we've known for almost two weeks at that point!

Lastly, as of today I have passed my loss milestone.  Only by a day.  And by no means do I feel confident that we will have a positive outcome, but I think every day will add more hope.  At least I really hope it will.  I yearn to be blissfully pregnant, and not mentally correcting anyone who says something about when this baby is born to if this baby is born.
 
how far along:  12 weeks (compare to 12 weeks with Elsie, 12 weeks with Thea)

size of baby:  A ripe apricot, about 2 inches long. She has started developing reflexes and is practicing breathing.  Her kidneys have also begun to function.

weight gain:  +3 pounds.  I'm guessing any way.  Last I checked it was almost two, and my appetite has been a whole lot better over the last week or so.  Yikes. 

maternity clothes:  No, but some bottoms are really starting to get uncomfortable around my waist.  I can't find my maternity shorts, so I'm just wearing pajamas as much as possible.  Which I'd probably do anyway.  Lol.

symptoms: Much less queasy than I have been, but it is still there from time to time.  Most often I'm dealing with fatigue and headaches.  I'm trying to take tylenol somewhat regularly to try and keep them at bay.  Overall I still feel much less sick than I did with the miscarriage.

exercise:  I've been horrible with exercise and I feel pretty guilty about it.  I still average just over 10,000 steps a day, but I've barely been running and all strength training has pretty much gone out the window.  I've had little humans awake with me bright and early most mornings, so the easiest thing to do is fill up a snack cup and stick them in the stroller.  If Thea were a little more trustworthy I feel like I could do a video with her around, butttt I'm not in to stopping over and over and over again to pull her off of stuff.

cravings/aversions:  While my appetite is back, I still mostly just want fruit.  Water is hard to choke down and anything too heavy leaves me with a nasty taste in my mouth.  If someone could make me fancy delicious salads all the time I'd very much appreciate it.

movement:  nope.

sleep:  I've been awake in the middle of the night more often, but I think that has more to do with the fact that I'm falling asleep at 8pm, and have gotten several hours of sleep by 2am.  Occasionally I'll take half a unisom so I can sleep straight thru, but for the most part I'm just dealing with it.  

gender:  Per the usual I have no sixth sense on this stuff.  It's a girl!

looking forward to:  Feeling movement.  I'm still struggling to connect with the pregnancy, no matter how much I want to.  I think actually feeling the life inside me will help.

worries:  That we'll share the pregnancy with the girls and suffer a loss shortly after.

best moment this week: Finding out that we're having another girl!  And that the risk of genetic abnormalities are low.

June 18, 2017

thea - twenty two months

Going to try and keep this pretty short and sweet since the kid is just about 23 months old anyway!  Also Miss Thea was not at all into pictures the day I took them.  So whatever.  Can't believe I'm so close to being done with her monthly updates!

Thea_22months1

Thea is starting to seem so much older.  She understands almost everything we say or ask of her, she still refuses help most of the time ("Ee-uh do it! No help!"), and she finally has some legit hair going on!  She tries to count to eleven, but usually skips a couple of numbers in there.  She does pretty good with colors (yellow is still her favorite), and can recognize a circle and a triangle.  A lot of people have been saying she speaks really well for her age, and while I'll argue that it is still tough to understand her, her vocabulary is huge and she isn't afraid to use it.  A recent exchange between the two of us:

Thea:  "What is dat noise mommy?"
Me:  "It's the washing machine."
Thea:  "Oh.  O-tay.  I go check it out.  What's happening.  Tum on Mommy!"

And recently when she is ticked at me, or unhappy with something I won't let her do, she says "Why you do dat Mommy?"  I can't help but laugh.

She is quite the spit fire, rather determined, and a girl who knows what she wants.  But when she wants to be a lover, oh man, her cuddles can't be beat.  She has wonderful manners (for the most part), almost always using please and thank you.  She says excuse me, an tells me bless you when I sneeze.  And throws out a sorry and a little kiss if she bumps into someone.  Thea also kisses any scratches or bruises she notices on me.  It is adorable (except when she was trying to kiss this blisters on my feet, lol).  She has better listening ears when I call her puppy or Moana.  She wants to be like the big kids, unless I tell her something is for babies.  Then she says "Ee-uh da baby!"

We started gymnastics and dance this month.  Both are parent tot classes, and in both she doesn't really give a damn want she is supposed to be doing.  She is just there to be crazy and have a good time.  Ha.  I definitely get in my workout trying to get her to stay on task.  But at the end of class she is so proud of her stamp and can't want to show it to her sisters.

She is no longer the sleep champion in our house.  She had a good run for a month, sleeping until 7 or 7:30am every day.  Now we're lucky if she sleeps until 6am.  In her defense the so called black out shades in her room don't really block the light.  But often she is up before the sun.  With no rhyme or reason that I can figure out.  She still takes a 2-3 hour nap daily, so it's possible that she is napping too much?  Maybe?  I have no idea.  She's a picky eater 100%.  She loves Moana, and Frozen.  She seems to have a thing for mermaids, and still loves baby dolls.  And real babies too.

Thea_22months3
Thea_22months4
Thea_22months2

Thea girl, I love you so much.  You make me smile every day, and I can't get enough of just watching you play.  You're growing up way too fast, but it sure is a treasure to witness.

nine weeks | baby five

written June 18th
 
how far along:  9 weeks (compare to 9 weeks with Elsie, 9 weeks with Thea)

size of baby:  A southern pecan.  Baby has graduated from an embryo to a fetus, and all his or her body parts are intact, they just need time to grow!

weight gain:  -1 pound. 

maternity clothes:  nope

symptoms:  I've just got a constant underlying queasy feeling.  More manageable than the last pregnancy, but still, just kind of yuck.  I'm also tired a lot.  I'm pretty much useless by 4pm, and I've been going to bed between 8:30 and 9pm.  There is so much I want to be getting done but I just can't hang.  I'm definitely feeling my best about 30 minutes after I wake up, until about noon.  I've been struggling with whether I work out or get something done in that time!

exercise:  Pretty much just walking right now.  The littles have been very early risers so I often just take one or two on a walk with me.  Hoping when some second trimester energy hits, that I'll be able to set my alarm early enough to get in a video a few times a week before they are up.

cravings/aversions:  As far as cravings go, there isn't really anything, except maybe watermelon and lemonade.  Aversions, well, honestly everything sounds bad until I actually start eating it, then some things taste good, but shortly after I feel queasy again.  Fried foods definitely don't sit well.  Sugar and dairy also are rough.  And after about 1pm I just really don't want to eat at all.

movement:  nope.

sleep:  For the most part it isn't too bad.  Occasionally I'll roll over and get some round ligament pain (already?!?!) but I've been getting a fair amount of sleep.  

gender:  I really am leaning towards boy (as I was the last four pregnancies, except maybe with Elsie, I think I knew she was a girl but didn't admit it).  I've been looking at boy clothes, and a couple people I follow on social media have recently had boys after being girl moms.  I could figure it out, right?

looking forward to:  I scheduled an ultrasound and my first appointment for next Friday (June 9th).  I'm anxious to see if there really is a little baby with a heartbeat in there.  And to talk to my doctor and find out if there will be any sort of a different plan for this pregnancy.

worries:  Really I think until this baby comes home, I'll be worried that I won't be bringing a baby home.  Overall though, my anxiety has been pretty good the last couple of weeks, and I'm still just a little removed from the whole pregnancy.

best moment this week:  I'll roll with 'in recent weeks' since it has been a few since I've written a post.  I had my dating ultrasound on June 9th.  I was such a ball of nerves.  I had to hold back some tears in the waiting room because I was just so dang nervous.  The tech was so sweet when she called me back, could tell I was on the verge of crying, immediately got me tissues an got straight to it.  When the baby (blob, it was totally still a blob) popped up on the screen and I could see the little flickering heart a lump caught in my throat and I realized I'd been holding my breath.  This was really happening.  There was a baby in there, with a heartbeat!  She measured the baby a few times and got dates ranging from 7W4D and 8 weeks.  The last measurement she took was the most zoomed in, and that is when she got 8 weeks, so I believe the office has my due date as January 19th.  I can't decide if I want to roll with that, or just stick with what I believe the due date should be, January 21st.  Two days definitely doesn't make a huge difference, but it drives me a little crazy.  Haha.

BabyJ5_Ultrasound

I met with my OB after the ultrasound and she said everything really was looking great.  She was very happy with the ultrasound.  She said after 10 weeks I could come back as often as I liked to hear the heartbeat on the doppler, so I went ahead and scheduled an appointment for June 26th.  If she can't find it we'll get another ultrasound.  But I tried with my home doppler this morning and was able to faintly hear that tiny little beating heart.  Music to my ears.  I'm also going to have my blood drawn for the early genetic screening on the 26th.  I'm really hoping I can get the results back before we head to Georgia in July!

what's different this time:  The doc said she'd definitely recommend baby asprin this time around for me.  That it really doesn't pose any harm, and hopefully will help baby get the blood flow they need.  I still kind of hate myself for not just taking it with the miscarriage, but trying not to dwell.

May 30, 2017

six weeks | baby five

written May 30th
 
how far along:  6 weeks + 2 days (compare to 6 weeks with Elsie, 6 weeks with Thea)

size of baby: A Maine blueberry.  Baby is forming tiny little buds that will turn into arms, and his/her eyes are beginning to form.

weight gain:  +1 pound.  So down 1.5 from last week.  And I'm sure a few more pounds will follow, since almost NOTHING sounds good anymore.

maternity clothes:  nope

symptoms:  Nausea.  So much nausea.  No actual vomiting, but I really wish I could sometimes.  I'm tired too, and I can tell my ligaments are uncomfortable, I sometimes get sharp pains when I try to roll over in bed.

exercise:  Started off the week great with MMA Speed on Monday, by Tuesday during Upper Fix I kind of wanted to nap between exercises.  Wednesday I went for a short run, and honestly considered stopping to lay down on a bench.  By Thursday I felt like everything was going to make me throw up.  So I've been walking.  Well, with an easy short run on Saturday.  Meh.

cravings/aversions:  The Italian Night Club sandwich from Jimmy Johns.  I can't stop thinking about it.  Everything else sounds awful.

movement:  nope.

sleep:  Not bad.  

gender:  My gut says boy, but my brain says girl.  I think that is the result of being pregnant with a girl four times.  I've also thought it was a boy three out of the four, and clearly I've been wrong.  So who knows.

looking forward to:  I scheduled an ultrasound and my first appointment for next Friday (June 9th).  I'm anxious to see if there really is a little baby with a heartbeat in there.  And to talk to my doctor and find out if there will be any sort of a different plan for this pregnancy.

worries:  That something will go wrong and we'll have to put the girls through a loss again.  Overall they've done ok, but I know the loss is still on Ryann's mind a lot.  On Sunday at church their group I guess drew what they thought heaven would look like.  She drew a picture of her 'meeting the baby sister who's heart didn't work.'  I don't know how I managed not to lose it.

best moment this week:  I got my second HCG levels back.  They went from 378 to 9925 in a week, which is roughly a 36 hour doubling time.  Good news!

May 22, 2017

five weeks | baby five

written May 22nd
 
how far along:  5 weeks + 1 day

size of baby: Roughly the size of a black peppercorn.  Still tiny but when you think of the amount of growth that happens between a poppy seed and a peppercorn in just a week, it is pretty insane.  And by next week baby should be the size of a blueberry with a beating heart.  Is that not mind boggling?  You can talk science to me all day but I will never understand how it is possible for a spec to turn into a living breathing baby.  It truly is a miracle.

weight gain:  2.5 pounds.  Whoops.  All though Saturday was pretty bad in terms of food choices so I'm sure a chunk of it is just water weight.  However we currently have brownies in the house. Those aren't going to help.

maternity clothes:  nope

symptoms:  Really nothing this week.  My anxiety has subsided a bit which I'm thankful for.  But I don't feel pregnant in the least except for maybe some gas and bloating.  Those could be attributed to poor food choices too though.

exercise:  Mostly walking, a little bit of running, and actually Saturday morning I was feeling pretty good and finished five miles.  Going to try getting back to my videos/strength training this week, at least in modified forms in regards to my knee.  I'm still a little scared to attempt squats or lunges, or anything that puts a lot of pressure on my knees.

cravings/aversions:  Currently I could eat Mexican or southwestern food for every meal.  Also the southwest egg rolls from Chilis.  I've had them probably 3 times in the last month?  Which leads me to believe this is just a me craving and not a pregnancy craving.  Lol.

movement:  nope.

sleep:  Not bad.  

gender:  I don't have a clue.

looking forward to:  an ultrasound.  And being out of the first trimester.

worries:  Before I found out I was pregnant, I told myself if I was lucky enough to become pregnant again I was going to really embrace it.  With my loss I didn't write a single thing down until after she was already gone.  I didn't take any photos of my barely growing belly.  Nothing.  Now that I actually am pregnant, I'm excited, but knowing how quickly things can turn in the other direction, it is hard to get attached.  Not that I don't want to or I'm not trying, I truly want to try and enjoy this pregnancy no matter how long it lasts.  But I just feel, a lot of nothing.  And I honestly have to remind myself that I'm pregnant.  I'm really hoping seeing an ultrasound, even though I know a good one doesn't mean anything, will help me be able to 'feel' a little more.

best moment this week:  I've taken an absurd amount of pregnancy tests.  I just have.  This morning the test line was significantly darker than the control line.  I'm fairly confident I can rule out a chemical pregnancy, and I think I'm at a point where I can stop taking tests and I won't have anxiety about it.  But seriously, if you saw my bathroom drawer you'd think I am insane.

May 20, 2017

finding out | baby five

written May 20th

Since my miscarriage in January, I had been using ovulation predictor strips to try and keep up with where I was at in my cycle.  Prior to my pregnancy with Thea my cycles had ranged from 35 days to 50 days in length.  The ovulation strips help keep me from wasting nine million pregnancy tests.  I only had one period after Thea was born before getting pregnant again, so I was surprised that my cycles since the loss had stayed within 33-35 days.

During my fourth cycle since our loss, Elsie started talking A LOT about when we were having another baby.  I told her we couldn't know for sure that there would be another baby.  She would just reply "I know there will be another baby mom.  I just know."  It was kind of odd.  Also, Thea started randomly pulling the "I'm a Big Sister" book off the shelf in the playroom all the time.  It isn't easy for her to reach, I was always putting it back.  Yet every time I'd come in the playroom I'd find it on the floor.  Bizarre.

Soooo... I took a test at 10 days past ovulation (May 10th).  I had a little bit of hope, but really, was expecting a stark white test again.  Much to my surprise, after about two minutes there was the absolute lightest squinter of a line that I have ever seen.  Part of me thought it was all in my head, so I dipped another test.  Same result.  The line was so light, I really couldn't believe it.  And I felt, nothing.  A little bit of fear, a little bit of excitement, but mostly just nothing.  I debated saying something to Christopher, but I just wasn't ready.  All I could think about was whether or not the line would be darker in the morning, maybe it wouldn't be, maybe I caught another chemical pregnancy.  I went about my day, occasionally peeking at the tests again, just to make sure I was really still seeing something.  That evening I couldn't take it anymore, I said to Christopher, "so I might be pregnant."  "Oh yeah?"  "Yeah, maybe.  The test is so light."  I made him look at them, and he didn't give me a whole lot of confidence.  He said something along the lines of, "so where am I supposed to be seeing something?" Oy.  But he did said he could see what I was seeing.

The next morning I took another test.  It was still very very faint, but ever so slightly darker than the line the day before.  On Friday (May 12th) the test was definitely darker.  No longer something that I thought I was imagining.  So I dipped a digital test.  What seemed like a lifetime later, 'pregnant' popped up on the screen.  And a smile on my face.  I finally felt like I could breathe a little bit.  Like maybe this was really happening.

That evening we had plans to go to Top Golf with friends.  Chris said "you know they're going to figure you out."  I assured him I regularly don't drink, it wouldn't be a problem.  But then someone said in a group text, "you better be drinking with us!"  I made up some lame excuse about headaches and taking meds (which, in my defense, I had been having lots of headaches and was swallowing lots of tylenol).  And maybe two minutes after I walked through the door of her house they asked me if I was pregnant.  I don't have a good poker face and I can't keep a secret if directly asked, so bam.  Nine people now know that I'm approximately two seconds pregnant.  HA.  Really it doesn't phase me too much if people know.  I hate secrets.  But at that point (and now), I wasn't ready to openly talk about it.  When other people get excited the little voice in my head wants to say don't be.  You don't know how this will turn out.  I'm working on tuning that out.  And trusting that everything will work out however it is supposed to.

After making it through the weekend, I decided it was time to call an OB and figure out what kind of monitoring we'd be doing during the first trimester.  I couldn't make myself go back to the doctor in town.  The doctor I saw was nice enough, for sure, but I've heard nothing but bad things about another doctor in the practice and I was terrified I'd end up with her at some point, and I already had a negative association with the office, I just couldn't go back.  So I called up my OB's office in Kansas City.  The put in a request for blood work, and on Tuesday (May 16th) I had that drawn.  My HCG came back at 378 and progesterone was 21.  Both perfectly decent numbers for how far along I anticipated I was.  They asked me to repeat the blood work the following week, and from there we could schedule an ultrasound.  I'm hoping along with the ultrasound I'll be able to at least talk to a doctor and figure out if I should be taking baby aspirin or something, or if there is anything else precautionary I should be doing.

Something else to note from the first 10 days of this pregnancy, the girls have been talking about when we have a new baby ALL THE TIME.  It seems to be coming up at least once a day without any obvious reason.  Elsie was playing with Thea and said, "maybe if I'm really nice to Thea, God will let us have another sister."  Extremely cute, but also I desperately hope they don't think their behavior has any affect on whether or not we get to bring home another child.  And then for some reason Ryann and Elsie got into a big discussion about how rooms would work out if we had another baby, and who would help with what, things of that nature.  And both of them just sort of wonder out loud if they'll have another sibling.  Part of me just wants to tell them, because I think they'll find out if something goes wrong.  I don't know that I could hide my emotions.  But the other part of me wants to be able to protect them for as long as possible.  I don't know what to do in that regard.

For now though, I am pregnant.  And praying that this is our rainbow.

May 19, 2017

baby number four {part two}

This is the second post detailing the story of our fourth baby.  You can read the first part here.  I am sharing the details and the emotions from my miscarriage and D&C.  I am being rather blunt and open.  If that sort of thing bothers you please do not read.

When I woke up the morning after we found out our baby girl was gone, the sadness hit me like a truck.  Reality was setting in, all the emotions were flooding over me.  My body didn't know the difference.  I still felt sick.  But the perfect little baby inside me, it wasn't alive anymore.  I managed to pull it together long enough to get Ryann ready and get her on the bus.  Then I called my OBs office.  I told them that I was struggling to find the heartbeat with a doppler and wanted to be seen.  I left out the part that we had already used an ultrasound, because Chris wasn't necessarily supposed to take it home.  My OB wasn't available but they said a nurse could see me at 9:30.  I could tell they weren't putting much merit into my concerns, I'm sure just assuming I was an overly anxious pregnant woman.  I dropped Elsie off at school, then headed to the doctor with Thea in tow.  It was a snowy morning, and as I turned a corner my car slid out and hit the curb.  It was just a little bump, but I lost it.  I was bawling.  I hated everything about that moment.  Somehow we made it to the office in one piece.

Tears streamed down my face while sitting in the waiting room.  I tried to hide it, but I'm sure everyone could see it.  I didn't have to sit long though before we were called back.  The nurse had me lie down on the exam table and she put the doppler on my stomach.  After a few seconds you could hear a heartbeat.  She said "there it is."  Nope, not so much.  "I think that is my heartbeat."  "Really?  It is beating a little fast, are you sure that's you?"  Of course my heart is beating fast, I'm here so you all can officially tell me my baby is dead.  "I'm pretty sure."  She grabbed another nurse, she agreed that yes, it was my own heartbeat, and after having no luck finding the baby they went and got my OB (who I had never met).  When she walked in she said "So I hear this little baby is being stubborn and hiding!"  "I don't really think that is the case."  She seemed a little taken back, by my lack of hope.  She asked why I was so sure something was wrong and I told her that I was generally pretty efficient with the doppler.  She spent a little time searching for the heartbeat, obviously with no luck.

I felt bad, letting them all search for the heartbeat knowing full well they weren't going to find it.  But at the same time, maybe I was holding on to a tiny bit of hope that Chris and I were wrong.  My doctor stepped out to find out if they could get me in for an ultrasound.  About five minutes later they were able to squeeze me in.  I had Thea sitting on the exam table with me.  It didn't take the tech long, she said "I'm so sorry, I'm not finding a heartbeat."  "I know."  I tried not to cry, I tried to hold it together, but that couldn't stop a few tears from burning down my cheeks.  I hugged Thea so hard.  My doctor came back in and told me she was sorry.  We discussed my options.  She told me the chance that my body would completely miscarry on it's own was only about 40%.  I decided to talk it all over with Chris.  When I made it to my car I didn't hold it in anymore.  I cried hard.  I desperately wished there was something I could do to change things.

Eventually I pulled it together and made the drive home.  But it felt like the hardest part was yet to come.  How did I tell my family?  My parents were in Georgia.  But I knew I couldn't wait until they got home.  I couldn't do it face to face.  I decided I couldn't even say it out loud yet.  My poor mom, I ended up texting her the news.  Of course she wanted to call me.  We chatted a bit, but ultimately I didn't want to talk to anyone too much.  I was so confused, so lost, so heart broken.  I felt so helpless.  I spent the rest of Thursday in a fog, but again, Chris works half days on Thursdays so he was able to come home and be with me and the girls.  We talked and decided a D&C was the best route to go.  I wasn't sure how I'd handle a natural miscarriage, and taking care of three kids while going through a natural miscarriage sounded like it's own version of hell.  Not to mention the fact that my doctor said there was basically a 60% chance I'd wind up needing a D&C anyway.

I called the office and after a little shuffling they were able to get me in first thing in the morning with my OB for the procedure.  I was grateful for that.  I wanted to start the healing process as soon as possible.  Chris's mom stayed at the house Thursday night so we could easily leave bright and early for my 6am check-in time.  Per the instructions from pre-op, I wasn't to take any medications Thursday evening on.  Naturally I threw up before going to bed.  That was a stab in the heart.  My body, just carrying on like nothing was wrong.

Baby4Belly
my only 'bump pic', 12 weeks, the morning of my D&C

My alarm went off a little before 5am Friday morning.  My eyes could barely open, they were so puffy from crying so much.  I showered and got ready to go.  I hoped the girls wouldn't be too concerned that Chris and I weren't there in the morning.  We hadn't told them anything yet.  (spoiler alert, they were unphased, Grandma 'Nita, woot!)  I tried so hard not to cry the whole drive to the hospital.  It sucked so much.  I knew crying couldn't change a thing, I didn't want to, but man it was hard.  And I felt like such crap.  Between all the crying, not taking any meds, the stress of it all, my head was pounding, I was having hot flashes and I just wanted to puke.  I ended up having to sit down while we were waiting in line to check-in, because I was feeling so sick.  Eventually we got all squared away and Chris came back to my pre-op room with me.

The nurse asked me what procedure I was there for and I had to swallow hard before saying it.  Then she handed me a gown and asked me to change in the bathroom.  I didn't expect that to be so emotional, but standing in the bathroom, putting on that hospital gown.  Ugh.  I've only put on a hospital gown three times.  And each time I came home with a baby.  This time there would be no baby... It was just under two hours from the time we checked in until when I was taken back.  While we were waiting Chris and I tried to chat about anything but the current situation.  But it was hard.  At one point we got on the subject of Jurassic Park.  Why, I can't remember, but we'll come back to that.

Overall I did a pretty good job holding it together while waiting for my procedure, but when the nurse came in to wheel me to the operating room I couldn't handle it anymore.  Chris and I hugged.  I didn't want to let go.  I didn't want this to be real.  Tears poured down my face the whole way.  I swear we had to go to the furthest possible room.  At some point I just closed my eyes, and barely opened them again until after the procedure.  I didn't want to look at anyone.  I did mentally note that operating rooms are absurdly bright.  I helped move myself onto the table, but I didn't have to put my legs in the stirrups or anything.  Then my doctor came in.  She and the nurse just held my hands and let me cry until I was asleep.  It couldn't have been more than a few minutes from the time they wheeled me in until I was out.

As I started to come out of the anesthesia I was immediately crying again, but thought I was being chased by dinosaurs.  No joke.  I was in the middle of Jurassic Park running from a TRex.  Of all things to be thinking when you wake up.  HA.  I came to pretty quickly though.  They wheeled me into recovery and asked if I needed any pain meds.  I wasn't in any pain.  Actually what I immediately noticed was that I didn't feel sick in the least and my headache was gone.  I know they put some zofran in my IV, but truly I felt surprisingly good.  A silver lining, I guess.  After a bit my doctor came in to talk to me.  Apparently I lost a fair amount of blood during the procedure so they wanted to push a few bags of fluid before I could go home.  Lame.  I felt like I was in recovery forever.  All I wanted was to be back with Chris.  But they were waiting to take me to my room until I got rhogam.  Dang RH- status.  The guy in the bed next to me was in a lot of pain, and I guess on a lot of morphine.  They kept yelling at him, "Grant! Grant. You have to remember to breathe.  Wake up Grant!"  Funny and not funny.  Whatever.

After about an hour I was moved from recovery back to the room I started in.  Still just struggling on and off to keep it together.  Once all the fluids were pushed and they were pretty confident I wasn't going to pass out, I was able to get dressed to head home.  As I was tying my shoes, a lullaby jingle played over the speakers.  I froze.  "What was that?"  Chris paused a moment, "a baby was born."  Cue more tears.  There was no lullaby for my baby.  My baby didn't get to come home with me.  I didn't even get to see my baby.  I wanted out of there.  After a bit we were officially discharged, the nurse walked me to the front and we were on our way.

I had a prescription for a medication to help my uterus contract that I was supposed to take at 2pm, I think it was 11:30am at this point?  We stopped at Hyvee to pick it up where it had been called in, and they said they actually didn't have that medication in stock, but I could get some on Monday.  Well that wasn't going to work.  We moved on down the street to Walgreens.  They didn't have it either.  I called my OB's office and asked what to do.  They said they'd start calling pharmacies.  We went home to check on Elsie and Thea, made them some lunch, and Chris called a couple of pharmacies himself... Dillons, Walmart, the hospital pharmacy.  No one had the damn medicine in stock.  Around 12:15 the OB's office called and said they had found the medicine at the Walgreens by the hospital.  Alright fine, we'll go there.  I put Thea down for a nap and got back in the car with Christopher.  When we arrived at Walgreens, they said actually, they didn't have the generic that had been prescribed, and my insurance wouldn't cover the brand name.  The 8 pill prescription was going to be $550.  !#@^%^!#@$ You have got to be kidding me.

Of course I lost it again.  I already hated everything going on, who knows how much the D&C was going to cost us, and now we were supposed to spend another $550, when the generic would have been $15?  Chris just wanted to pay for it and call it good, but I couldn't handle that.  I called the doctor's office yet again.  She said if I took it easy and watched my bleeding I could probably get by without the medication, but we decided to call a few CVS pharmacies.  Thankfully one of them did actually have the generic, so we headed in the that direction.  I think it was after 1:00pm by this point.  I was so drained.  As we were waiting in line at CVS, Christopher realized one of his patients was talking with the pharmacist.  Initially he turned his back so the woman wouldn't see him, but we could overhear the conversation.  She was explaining that whatever she picked up wasn't what she needed, but the pharmacist responded with "unfortunately that is what your doctor prescribed and I can't give you something different."  I told Chris he better get his butt over there and fix the situation.  :o)  When he walked up to the window the little old lady was initially confused, but once she realized who it was she was exclaiming that he was her guardian angel and was just so happy.  It was adorable.

While Chris was dealing with all of that, it was my turn at the window.  I handed the woman my prescription, and she started to go through her little series of questions.  While looking at the paper she asked, "Are you pregnant?" I choked on my words, completely blindsided by the inquiry.  "Uh, um, no.  No."  And then again, I lost it.  She began to apologize, she said she wasn't even thinking when she asked.  I understood.  But hell, that was the first time someone had straight asked me 'are you pregnant' and I had to respond with no.  It hurt so damn bad.  So I hid in the aisles of CVS and cried while waiting for my prescription to be ready.  I was so freaking over it all.

We got the prescription, made our way home, and I took the stupid pill on time.  I spent a little time hanging out in the basement by myself resting, but being alone wasn't really working for me.  It wasn't too much longer and Ryann was home from school.  She questioned Christopher, "Why are you home? You're usually only home on Thursdays, but I had gymnastics last night so today is Friday and why are you here early?"  He told her he'd explain later, and that was good enough for her.  We wanted to wait a little closer to bedtime before breaking the news to the girls, hoping they could just sleep off a lot of their feelings.  We hung out on the couch watching shows for a bit, and had some dinner.  Then we decided it was time to tell them.

It was tough.  I didn't want to just say she was dead.  That didn't feel right.  So we told them that baby sister's heart had stopped working, and that she couldn't come home to live with us because her heart didn't work.  I think Ryann asked why the doctors couldn't just fix her heart, and we told her it just wasn't an option.  We said that we had gone to the hospital that morning and that a doctor helped take the baby out of my belly.  But that I didn't have any cuts or anything.  Ryann cried.  Elsie cried because Ryann was crying.  Thea had no clue of course.  Overall they took it better than I expected, but it still broke my heart even more.  We gave the girls a bath, and then we all snuggled in the basement and watched a movie before putting them to bed.

Rocking Thea before putting her in the crib was so damn hard.  I cried, and she was so confused.  I just kept thinking what if she really was the last baby I would ever rock?  Babies are so incredibly exhausting, but man I love them.  Once I got her in bed Chris and I settled in the basement with Pitch Perfect 2 to try and keep the mood light.  I also drowned my sorrows in a bowl of ice cream and chocolate muffins.  The movie was hilarious and definitely put a smile on my face, but once it was over all the sadness was back.  I ended up taking some tylenol pm so I could get some sleep.  And kept taking it for like a week or more, before I thought I could handle going to bed and staying asleep on my own.

On Saturday our amazing neighbors kept Ryann and Elsie at their house for pretty much the entire day.  Fed them lunch and dinner.  Ryann ended up spending the night even.  I couldn't be more grateful for them.  It was nice to just be.  To not have to take care of anyone but Thea (who napped for a good portion of the day anyway).  Megan even brought me flowers as well as some Ben & Jerry's.  Honestly I am so grateful that I decided to be open with the miscarriage.  Having to tell people sucked/sucks, but having people to walk me through a difficult time was so incredibly helpful.  Other friends sent cards, a giftcard for coffee, and just all the kind words.  They were so very much appreciated.  I felt so lost, but having other people acknowledge the loss made me feel like I wasn't a crazy person.

I spent the next several days in and out of tears.  I just couldn't help it, I'd break down out of nowhere.  Especially taking care of Thea.  She brings me so much joy, I'm so thankful for all my girls, but the harsh reality that she may very well be our last baby was gut wrenching.  I cried every time I rocked her for nearly a week.

That first week was also hard emotionally, because I just had no idea where to go from there.  Do we try again and risk another loss?  Do we embrace our three miracles that we do have and move on?  I wanted someone to be able to tell me what I was supposed to do.  I wanted all the answers right then and there.  I wanted to know what happened.  Why couldn't that little girl have been the final piece to our family puzzle?  What went wrong?  WHY?  It was so hard.  So so hard.  And on the flip side, I had so much guilt about being upset.  I am so blessed to have a loving husband, supporting parents, three amazing children.  We have a wonderful life.  One loss doesn't even compare to some of the hardships people out there are facing.  Why couldn't I just get over it?  Just move on?

And with that, I think there will need to be a part three to these posts.  I didn't intend to have so much to share, but honestly after the loss I searched for other people's stories to read.  Something to help me sort through some of my feelings.  So I will continue to share, hoping that someone, somewhere, finds some comfort in knowing they aren't alone.

May 17, 2017

four weeks | baby five

written May 17th
 
how far along:  4 weeks + 3 days (compare to 4 weeks with Elsie, 4 weeks with Thea)

size of baby:  Trying out the Ovia Pregnancy app this time around.  Still goes with the pretty standard poppy seed comparison for four weeks.

weight gain:  0 pounds.  This week will be my starting point.  6 pounds heavier than I started with Thea, but with all the emotional eating I did over the last few months really it could have been a lot more.

maternity clothes:  nope

symptoms:  I've been shaky on and off for the last week, and I was a bit nauseous yesterday, but honestly I could probably attribute a lot of that to anxiety.

exercise:  Unfortunate timing, but my knee really started bothering me about four days before I got the positive pregnancy test.  So I toned everything way down.  At minimum I'm getting in a 30 minute walk daily.  Trying to do some upper body exercises at least 3 times a week.  Hoping in another week I can get back to running.  In February I had started doing Beach Body videos and was really enjoying them.  Mostly 21 Day Fix and Core de Force.

cravings/aversions:  Mexcian food, though I don't think that is really related to pregnancy.  That's just me.  My need for sweets seems to be slowing down a bit.

movement:  nope.

sleep:  I've had a few days where I've woken up at 3:30 or 4am and couldn't go back to sleep, but overall not too bad.  Over the weekend I definitely needed some cat naps. 

gender:  I don't have a clue.

looking forward to:  an ultrasound.  And being out of the first trimester.

worries:  Honestly I'm just waiting to miscarry.  But still trying to stay positive.  Trying to embrace this pregnancy while it lasts.  Praying I'll make it to term and get to bring home one more baby.  One last piece to our family puzzle.

what's different this time:  The beginning of my pregnancy with Thea was a little rough following a chemical pregnancy.  But it doesn't even compare to being pregnant after a later loss.  I had more time to heal emotionally this time around, I thought I'd have some excitement when I saw a positive test.  But I just felt like the air was sucked out of me.

milestones:  I'm pregnant!

best moment this week:  Christopher being happy.  I'm struggling so much to really be excited because I am scared, but hearing him say that he is happy makes me happy.

May 15, 2017

losing teeth

I swear when Ryann gets a loose tooth, it is loose FOREVER.  She had lost her bottom two baby teeth in the fall, but then nothing.  And this top tooth took it's sweet time coming out.  Ryann definitely isn't shy about wiggling them or pulling on them, she'll let Chris and I try, but it just didn't want to budge.  Finally on May 3rd she got it to come out!

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RyannFirstLostTopTooth

I just can't get over how much older she looks with that tooth missing.  It still catches me off guard a little bit when she smiles at me.  But I love it.  :o)

May 10, 2017

elsie says

Elsie:  "Oh man, there is a stain on my pillow case!"
Me:  "It's ok, I can throw it in the wash, it'll be fine."
Elsie:  "Mom!  You know what you need?!?!"
Me:  "No, what?"
Elsie:  "Oxi Clean!  It can get ALL the stains out."
clearly my child has seen too many commercials

I know I had another one I wanted to share, but I can't remember what it was.  So I'll throw in this little Elsie story for good measure.

The other day I had taken off my wedding rings and put them on the counter.  While I was cleaning up from lunch I saw Elsie pick them up and put them on.  "Elsie, please don't play with Mommy's rings, put them back for me ok?"  "Ok Mama."  But, I didn't watch to make sure she did.  A little while later I went to put them back on, but they weren't there.  I asked Elsie and she said very confidently, "I was wearing them upstairs.  I put them on the toy shelf in the playroom by the little bucket."  So I went up there, and nope.  No rings.  Elsie swore up and down that is where she put them.  We picked up all the toys, looked under the toy shelf and quickly checked her room, but no rings.  I had to take the girls to dance so I just left it at that.

When we were back from dance we started searching the house.  Chris and the girls went back over the playroom again.  He dumped out every toy bin in there.  I looked all over downstairs, in cabinets and drawers, everyone's backpacks, in my purse, in the pantry, all over the study, everywhere that I could think of, but no rings.  When it was time for bed we gave up for the night.  The next morning my mom joined me and we went through the playroom yet again.  I moved every piece of furniture, every bin of toys, checked the pockets of the pretend aprons, looked through some of the bins in the closet, everything.  My mom moved on to Elsie's room, emptying most of her bins (anything that was within reasonable reach), took the sheets and stuffed animals off her bed, moved all her doll furniture, everything.  Still no rings to be found.  I debated moving to Ryann's room, but figured Thea's was smaller and easier to look through in the time I had left.  I looked in the bins on the floor of her closet, under her crib, behind the rocker, through her drawers.  Nadda.

Just before I decided I was done in Thea's room, I decided to pull out the glider for good measure.  And there they were, underneath the back portion of the glider.  Oh Elsie.  She runs up there to hide sometimes if she beats me upstairs.  When I picked her up from school I told her to guess where I found them.  She had no clue.  I told her under the glider in Thea's room.  Her response?  "I wonder why Thea would put your rings under there!"  Really Elsie?  Really.  She still claims she had nothing to do with it.  Silly girl.

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May 7, 2017

thea - twenty one months

In three short months this girl will be two.  I really can't believe it.  The still somewhat minimal amounts of hair really keep her looking like a baby.  But that hair is definitely growing, doesn't look like she is too far behind where Ryann was...


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bow from here | bracelets from here

Thea is definitely growing, and I think she is decently tall, but I could be making that up.  I just noticed that she could really reach the railings without any trouble while we were walking down the stairs.  Which is good since she has ZERO interest in letting me help her.  I get a lot of "Put me down!" and "No help mama!"  Such a sweetheart! Ha.  Really she is a huge sweetheart.  We went to a (pointless) follow up from the surgery on her head on April 14th, and she weighed in at 27 pounds.  I've still got her in mostly 18-24 month clothes because I haven't wanted to deal with switching them out.  But the pants are getting a little short and her belly hangs out of some of her shirts.  So 2T probably isn't a bad idea.  Size 5 diapers and size 6 shoes.  All her teeth are in except the two year molars, and despite the fact that she screamed through her entire dentist appointment, they said all the teeth were looking great.

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This girl is a climbing machine.  I was pretty sure a year ago that she was going to be my climber, and I was 100% right.  If left alone she can figure out how to climb ANYTHING.  The only things she hasn't done that I am expecting her to, is to climb on the kitchen counters, and climb out of her crib.  Really I am absolutely surprised that neither has happened.  Scratch that, she climbed on the counter the day after I typed that out!  The other day I forgot the ladder to the bunk beds was down (we usually keep it on the top bunk BECAUSE THEA), I ran to my room to grab something.  As I came back past Elsie's room, there is Thea, sitting on the top bunk, goofy little wave "Oh hi Mommy! I climb Ryann bed!"  Heart attack.  Sheesh.  I really don't know how she hasn't fallen off of something high or gotten seriously injured.  Knocking on all the wood over here.  It's bound to happen though.

To go along with her climbing skills, Thea is excellent at jumping.  Gross motor skills are definitely her thing.  She can get a decent amount of air when jumping on the ground, is great in the bounce house, and is certainly not afraid to jump off of things as well.

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Thea still remains our absolute pickiest eater.  It is going to drive me mad.  The only things she consistently eats are peanut butter & jelly and mac 'n cheese, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapes, cheese, crackers, and sweets.  And waffles, pancakes, muffins and cereal.  Can't forget those.  And cheese quesadillas.  When I start typing it out, it seems like more than I expected, HOWEVER, no vegetables at all will go down.  She doesn't like pineapple and protein is pretty much a no go too.  She'll occasionally eat chicken nuggets.  And she is obsessed with squeeze pouches still.  Donuts might be her absolute favorite food.  Pretty sure.

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She is starting to pick up more and more phrases.  I mean, I still can't understand her probably a third of the time, but she talks A LOT.  Current favorite phrases are "Mama what is dat?", "Mama where going?", "Thea do it!", "Get off me!", and "STOP IT."  The last two most often said when I'm trying to help her down the stairs, or really help her do anything.  She wants to do everything herself.  The best though, are her "Ohhhhh tank you!"  She is great at using her manners, please and thank you, and naturally that wins the heart of everyone out in public. 

Thea has also gotten pretty good at tattling on her sisters.  "El-ee hit me!  Hit Thea arm!"  Of course that is driving Elsie nuts because now she can't just play dumb and act like she didn't do anything.  Not that Thea is one to get pushed around.  No way.  She mimics Ryann and Elsie all the time, often following their every move.  But if they try to get her to do something she isn't interested in, she tells them off or ignores them.  And when given the choice between fight or flight, that girl is going to fight.  When I start coming towards her like I'm going to tickle her, she just charges me instead of running away.  It is so funny.

Thea_21months8

Her color recognition has gotten quite a bit better, yellow and purple are the ones she identifies correctly almost every time.  She seems to really like the color yellow, and if given a choice of items will pick out a yellow one if there is one.  She is also obsessed with some yellow rainboots, but all the girls have loved those.  Blue and green get confused and red and orange, can't say I blame her.  She can also apparently count to eleven, but she doesn't do it on her own.  If I ask her to count something she just repeats  '1 2 3 1 2 3' over and over again.  But if I get her past 4 or 5 she will say the next numbers up to 11.  She tries to sing the ABCs, but really gets maybe a few letters correct here and there, just sort of hums the tune instead.

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Thea's personality tends to range from the absolute most adorable sweetest baby in the world, to something akin to a feral cat.  Pretty predictable.  Not.  She gets nuts when you try to tell her she can't do something she wants to do, like climbing on things or playing on stuff outside.  Also if you take away an electronic or turn off a TV.  But really, for the most part, she is just so freaking sweet and cute and I can't get enough of her.  I absolutely love watching her play.  She gives me all sorts of hugs and kisses and sings to her baby dolls and has to hug the baby dolls in Target and hugs all the pictures of babies she sees.  She got to hold my friend's baby when they came over and now she'd prefer to hold all the babies.  She is just so much fun.

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Thea girl, I love your crazy little self so much.  Can't believe you're so close to two!