Welcome to a piece of our sweet journey of life. This blog is about our family life-- my husband, my type 1 diabetic pre-schooler, my spunky toddler, and myself! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Avery: One Month

Yesterday, Avery turned one month old!

She won't have her one-month appointment until Monday, so I'll update after that with her current weight, height, etc. and how she compares to other one-month olds!

Clothing: Avery is just now transitioning into 0-3 month clothing.  She wore newborn clothes (mainly footed pajamas) for her entire first month.  She is tall, so the main reason she is in 0-3 month clothing now is so that her legs can stretch out straight instead of being bent in the newborn footed jammies.  We call her a "frog baby" because her little belly is so round but her legs are so short and most of the time are scrunched up in the frog position.  The 0-3 month clothing is so big on her tummy and waist, but it's just the right length for her.  We'll see how this goes.  She might end up progressing out of 0-3 month clothing before she's actually 3 months old, simply due to her length!

Diapers: She's wearing size 1 diapers.  She could still fit into newborn size if I made her since her waist is so tiny (although I only have 4 newborn diapers left).  However, I am totally fine with her wearing size 1 diapers because it gives a bit more room for blowouts (which have happened about 3 times).  

Sleeping: Avery sleeps great.  She takes good naps during the day and she sleeps for one long stretch at night before waking once or twice afterwards.  My problem (and I do this to myself, so I can only blame myself) is that I really should give her a "dream feed" around 10:30 or 11:00pm, but I'm so tired that I end up just going to bed and then waking up in pain from over-fullness.  Last night, for example, Avery took a 2oz bottle at 7:15.  She really should have eaten more than that, but she was content.  So I pumped at 8:00 and went to bed at 9:30.  I woke up Avery at 12:45 to feed her because I was so full and uncomfortable.  So, she went from 7:15 to 12:45!!!  If I was smart, I would have given her a dream feed at 11, so that she could extend throughout the night and so I could have gotten a bit more sleep without waking so uncomfortably.  I paid for it, too, because she ate a little bit at 12:45, and then woke at 3:45 on the dot and also was fed this morning at 6:45.  So she has one long stretch and then has two stretches of 3 hours or less between feeds (the night before was only 2 hours between stretches after midnight).   I think part of it is that I'm still on maternity leave and can get by with interrupted sleep patterns, but I really need to start getting myself on a schedule so that I can actually function in 2 weeks when I return to work full-time. 

Feeding: Pretty much covered that above, but anyways... Avery can go 3-4 hours during the daytime between feeds.  She's an efficient feeder, but not all the time.  She quickly falls asleep while nursing and I have to work to wake her back up so she can finish eating.  Sometimes, this fails and I have to finish the feeding by pumping so that I'm not messing up the supply-and-demand of breastfeeding.  I try to pump once or twice a day at least but it ends up being about 3 times a day at least, which is fine since I'll pump 3 times a day when I go back to work anyhow.  I'm building up a good stockpile of expressed milk which I'm super excited about! It's a confidence booster to be sure. Avery can take a bottle and she does it without a fuss.  I had to work a bit to get both of my boys to take bottles, but Avery took one no problem.  I usually put 2 to 2.5 ounces in a bottle for her and she'll drink it quickly and be content.  It's annoying to wash pump and bottle parts (especially since I explicitly use the Dr. Brown's bottles which have 5 parts per bottle!) but I enjoy building up that stockpile and I also enjoy not being engorged, so that makes it worth it.  

Tummy Time:  We're creative about this.  I don't necessarily put her face down on a blanket on the floor like I did with my two boys.  We accomplish tummy time through holding her upright on us, and through letting her nap on her tummy while she lies on us.  She's got pretty good head control so I'm happy about that.  

Fussiness:  This week has been a fussy week by her standards.  Avery is a super good baby.  Probably the most mild out of my three.  She hardly hardly cries (and I've paid my dues in the crying department with both boys but particularly Noah, who still is the loudest child today).  But this week for Avery has been a tough one.  She's been super gassy and actually hasn't pooped for 24 hours (sorry for TMI).  So, since she's a baby and can't just pass gas when she needs to, she's gotta wait for it to come out on its own, which causes tummy pain.  So she likes to be held and likes for the one holding her to stand up while holding.  On Monday this week, I held her for the duration of my 4-mile Walking DVD workout.  She just could tell when I put her in her rock-and-play, and she'd let me know! Most of this week has been spent giving baby cuddles and I'm okay with that.  I've given her some Mylicon this week to help with the gassiness and I've paid attention to my food intake in order to avoid foods that are known to make babies gassy.  Also, I know around the 5th week, that babies go through a mental growth spurt of sorts and they can be super fussy that whole week.  That's right about where Avery is, so I'm keeping that in mind as well. 

Habit:  Avery has quite the head of hair as you can see.  However, she has pulled her own hair on quite a few occasions.  Mainly while she's on her back during a diaper change, her hand will flail up by her head and she'll graze her hair with her open hand.  Sometimes, that graze will clamp onto a fistful of her own hair and she'll pull.  So, she'll scream/cry and her hand grasp will tighten.  It's extremely hard to get her hand open, console her, and also make sure she doesn't yank out a fistful of hair!  Therefore, we put her in a baby hat during diaper changes to make sure she doesn't get a hold of her hair.  Poor girl!

Pink:  You guys, I've had a house full of blue and green for five years now.  Five. Years.  When we found out we were having a girl, I knew I was going to dress her in pink and in hairbows until she's old enough to choose her outfits and accessories for herself.  I read all the time about moms of girls who purposely dress their girls in blue and yellow and green and don't want their daughters in dresses or in shades of pink.  I'm not a part of that crusade.  I'm not saying they are wrong-- they have their reasons and that's fine.  But I'm going to dress my little girl in all the pink I can find.  As noted below: lots of pink blankies, pink onesie, pink burp cloths, etc.

Avery, you complete our family in a multitude of ways.  We are so thankful for you and the gift that you are!

Michael's 1 Month Post
Noah's 1 Month Post

Until Next Time, 
Much love, Reba

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Michael's Fifth Birthday Party

Michael decided he wanted a Mario party... again.

And let's just clear the air-- it is not nearly as cute as it was last year!

In July, I started planning what weekend we'd have his party.  After all, his baby sister was due two days after his birthday (ironically on the same due date Michael had when I was pregnant with him!).  So, I knew that I wanted to have his party after his actual birth date just in case the baby came early (to which, she did).  I also wanted to pick a weekend when my sister-in-law could come with my four-year-old nephew.  So, we chose Labor Day weekend and it worked out well!

Although Michael is in school now, I don't really know the classmates or parents yet.  (Such is life when your birthday is in the same month school starts.)  I'm sure this was probably the last least-child-attended birthday party Michael will have in his life because I'm sure that there will be school friends in attendance at his party next year.

So, early in the spring, Michael tells us he wants another Mario party.  Hey, who am I to say no?  It's his birthday.  And I'm all for letting my kids pick the themes of their own parties.  Since we did Mario party last year, I wanted to find some different decorations for this year's party, though.  Amazon and Publix to the rescue!  I found slightly different invitations, plates, and tablecloth from amazon, and I got a huge cube-shaped balloon from Publix (which is STILL inflated and bopping around my kitchen-- tethered down, of course).  The balloon was a favorite of Michael's. Noah actually went to the store with me to pick out party food, and therefore, Noah got a free balloon at the checkout.  So when we got inside, I said "Here's Noah with his balloon!" and Michael turned around to look and smile at the "Luigi green" balloon.  Then I pulled the mondo balloon out from behind my back, said "And here's MICHAEL'S BALLOON!" and Michael's face lit up, you guys.  It was the sweetest.  I love doing that kind of stuff for my kiddos.  I want them to feel so loved and appreciated all the time.  I love seeing their faces light up in joy.  There's hardly anything better in life.

Michael had told us that he wanted pizza at this party since Mario eats pizza.  So, Noah and I grabbed some Totino's party pizzas.  We also grabbed some Capri Sun Roaring Waters (lower carb choice than the regular ones), some Lay's potato chips (which we called "Golden Coins"), and some cheddar cheese puffs (which we called "fire balls"-- sans label of course, because it was low key).  Michael chose to have a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting this year.  I whipped up the cake while the boys "helped."  We made two 9-inch rounds.  That night, Aaron frosted the cake with chocolate buttercream frosting.  Holy smokes that was good!  In the morning, Aaron decorated the cake with some characters from our Mario chess set-- the perfect cake decorating size.  I totally forgot about a candle, though, so my parents came to the rescue on that one and brought over a "5" candle.

We had family over, and my friend from work whose son is 4 and has been attending Michael's birthday parties since he was one.  We scheduled the party for lunchtime so that my parents could attend Auburn's season opener later that day.  We knew the food was more geared towards the kids (hello, my three year old picked out the chip selection) :) and I told myself it was okay if the adults didn't choose to eat.  My mom brought over a veggie tray, and a meat/cheese/cracker tray, which was a big help.

Everyone had a good time.  It was low-key which was perfect.  My sister-in-law and my coworker both got to meet Avery for the first time, and each grandparent got to hold her (which was the first time holding her for some of them).

After the party, we all took good naps (which I was in DIRE need of), and later that evening, my sister in law and nephew came back over for dinner since my parents were at the game.  We had pizza for dinner (plus one of my freezer meals that I wasn't sure would thaw in time, but it did) and watched Zootopia. It really was a great day.

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Picture Post

A round up of pictures from Avery's birthday and forward.

Proud daddy.

Proud Gigi.

Tired and extremely happy mommy.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Avery Kate's Birth Story

On Friday August 18th, my mom came with me to my 38 week OB appointment.  I had a final ultrasound to determine Avery's estimated weight, and a final NST, along with my first pelvic exam of this pregnancy.

During the ultrasound, Avery kept her hands by her face the whole time-- even with the ultrasound tech trying to get her to move around.  So, we only got a picture of her foot. :)  The ultrasound tech estimated her weight to be 7lbs 1oz.  I was very surprised that she'd be that little at 38 weeks!

The NST went well.  Avery moved when she should and her heartrate rose when she moved-- which is all appropriate.  The nurses typically look for 3 sets of movements with increased heartrates in 20 minutes.  However, the doctor was in process of a delivery, so everything was backed up, and we ended up having to have a 40 minute NST while we waited for nurses to be able to help get me hooked up/ unhooked/ labs done/ and to a room.  They told me once the doctor returned that I'd be first priority.

The doctor arrived and did a pelvic exam.  I was 1 centimeter.  He said to head into his office to discuss options-- which is always what happens when it's the last appointment.  In his office, he offered to let me come back in one week for another appointment-- which I promptly said "no" to.  He offered to have me induced on Thursday the 24th.  I asked if Wednesday the 23rd was possible (since my mom and husband took that day off of work because the doctor and I had been discussing the 23rd for weeks).  He said technically I had to be 39 weeks and 1 day before they could induce-- so he wouldn't legally be able to induce me until August 24th.  So we made plans to arrive at the hospital at 8pm on the 23rd, spend the night, and be induced on the 24th.  He remembered how fast labor had gone with Noah (2nd pregnancy), and he scratched out part of the hospital orders where it said to administer a second dose of cytotec.  He wrote to only give me one dose because he knew how fast I could progress.  He handed me the orders and said to present them on Wednesday night to the Labor and Delivery desk.  He said he'd see me Thursday morning, and off we went.

I was bummed about having to wait til Thursday.  I had my eyes set on Wednesday the 23rd and was already taking off on Monday and Tuesday of the next week (since the doctor didn't think it was wise for me to work on those days).  I debated changing my work schedule and working on those days anyway since I just knew I'd be so bored waiting for Thursday to roll around.

On Saturday, I helped out at Upwards Evaluations at our church.  And by helped, I mean I came and sat and chatted while feeding my boys PBJs for lunch and letting them watch a movie in the church nursery.

On Saturday night, Aaron played computer games and I headed to bed early because I just didn't feel right.

On Sunday morning, August 20th, Aaron headed to praise team practice at 7:45.  He usually comes back home around 9:00am, and during the time that he's gone, I try to give the boys a bath and get us all ready for church.  So, I feed the boys breakfast and sit down with my own breakfast right as they are finishing theirs.  When I'm one bite from finishing my toast, I experience a horrific pain in my abdomen.  It came out of nowhere, immediately made my hands grasp the edge of the table and scoot myself backwards and look up at the ceiling.  The pain lasted for about 20 seconds and I could have sworn I was about to pass out.  It was barely 8:15am.  I stood up-- leaving my toast-- and headed to the couch.  The boys were watching a show and playing with toys and handing me books.  I told myself that if I had another pain, I'd call my mom because I surely didn't want to pass out while home alone with the boys.

I tried reading a book to the boys when another pain hit.  I rocked back and forth on the couch but eventually had to stand up.  The pain stayed with me.  I grabbed my phone and called my mom.

"I'm in pain."

She told me she was quickly getting ready and would bring over her makeup and brush to finish getting ready at my house.  She reminded me that Braxton Hicks contractions would go away if I changed positions.  I told her how I had sat, stood, and walked through a pain and it didn't go away-- but I didn't want to believe it was a contraction.

While I waited for her to arrive, I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and I moved clothes to the dryer.  I experienced another pain while doing that.  I kept touching my belly because contractions were supposed to make your belly tighten, but I didn't feel any tightening.  It just felt like horrible horrible period cramps.

My mom arrived, grabbed a pen and paper, and turned her phone to a stopwatch.  Then she sat on the couch and we waited.  I didn't have another pain for 20 minutes.  I felt foolish.  She told me it wasn't foolish at all.  She read a book to the boys and then a pain hit. Hard.  I had to stand and pace.  She watched my face and reminded me to relax the muscles in it.  She coached me on breathing out my air and breathing in slowly.  I sat back down when it was done.  I told her I didn't think it was contractions.  I told her I'd probably ask Aaron to stay home from that afternoon's Upwards Evaluations because I didn't want to be alone with the boys if these pains didn't go away.  I had another pain right then and she placed her hand on my belly.  She said "I don't think any of us will be at evaluations today." She thought they were real contractions.

I had probably seven of these pains before Aaron came home.  He made breakfast for me and my mom.  Michael got into trouble for being disobedient.  My mom and I both finished getting ready for church.  I packed snacks for the boys to eat during their Children's Church in the nursery.  Michael rode with my mom to church.  Noah threw a fit about putting on shoes and I had the worst pain thus far at that moment.  Aaron, Noah, and I headed out to church.  On the 15 minute drive, I had another pain.  When we arrived at church, my father-in-law met us in the parking lot and helped get Noah inside so I could squeeze the daylights out of Aaron's hand because I was having another pain.  I hobbled into church-- bent into the shape of a C.  People would later tell me that my face was pale.  I decided not to sit out in the worship center for songs because I was so uncomfortable.  Instead, I headed into the Children's Church room for older kids so I could work on the lesson during song time-- yes, it was my and Aaron's week to do older kid Children's Church.  The older kids room is connected to the nursery by a small bathroom.  Anytime I had a pain, I'd hobble into the nursery and my mom would start her timer.  During Children's Church, I made it through one or two pains while remaining seated.  My mom would poke her head in from time to time to check on me.  When I couldn't remain seated, I'd stand up and pace.  Sometimes I'd look at Aaron and he would take over the teaching so I could hobble next door and sit in the rocking chair or pace in the nursery.  My pain was written on my face.  Sweet Noah looks up at me and says "Are you happy?" I said "yes, bud.  Mommy just doesn't feel good."

We let Michael and Noah go into the older kids room and draw on the whiteboard since the older kids lesson was over.  The pains kept coming, and my mom said we should go to the hospital to be checked.  I didn't want to be one of those people who goes to the hospital and gets turned away.  So I was planning on just going home.  I had another pain and cried out because it was so bad.  My mom hops up and says "ok, ok, Aaron!" She runs into the older kids room and says "we can't ignore these.  We have to go to the hospital."  She corrals the kids, brings them into the nursery, opens the nursery door and sends the kids to their parents and my boys to Aaron's mom (who they'd be staying with whenever we did go to the hospital).  My dad was almost done with announcements.  I still didn't really know what the plan was, but my mom walks into the worship center and loudly says "Bye" to get my dad's attention.  She then says "we're going.  We're going to the hospital."  I wanted to cry.  One because everyone was looking at me.  Two because I wasn't prepared.  My hospital bag was packed...but it was at home.  The extra things I wanted to bring on the day I'd go to the hospital were still at home.  Aaron helped me get into our car.  My mom followed us in hers.  On the way to the interstate, my dad called and offered to bring my bag.  I told him I was pretty sure I'd be sent home, so I'd wait until they admitted me before I'd ask for my bag.  On the interstate, Aaron booked it.  I had several pains on the way to the hospital and was glad that I wasn't at home enduring these.  But I was still certain they'd send me home.

Fortunately, on Sunday mornings, the hospital parking lot isn't crowded.  Both cars found spots and Aaron helped me get out of the car.  The parking lot is catty-corner to the hospital and the front door is around the corner from that.  It's quite a walk and I had a pain as soon as we started walking.  Apparently, I make jokes when I'm in pain.  I can't remember what they are, but I had mom and Aaron laughing as they helped me hobble through the lot.  It was 11:45am.

Once inside, we went straight to the L&D floor.  Once the L&D clerk saw me coming, she said "step right in here" and she opened up a side door to a little desk area.  A nurse immediately came over and began asking me the questions they have to ask.  During some of the pains, I couldn't even think straight and looked at my mom to answer the questions.  Once most of the paperwork was filled out, they sent mom and Aaron to a private waiting room right off of the desk area and said they'd be back to get them once I was in triage.  I stood up to get weighed and had to wait out a pain.  It hit me that these really were contractions.  I weighed 14 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight.  I had done it!  I had met the 15 pound goal my OB had set.

The nurse led me down the hallway to Triage which had three beds set up, all separated by curtains.  I had to dress in a gown and leave a urine sample.  Then she strapped the contraction monitor and heart rate monitor to me and had me lay in a bed.  She said she'd do a pelvic check and then they'd leave me hooked up to the monitors for an hour and then they'd decide whether to admit me.  She did her check and I asked if I was dilated at all.  She nodded and said "yeahhh, you're probably going to be staying with us."  She told me the doctor on call, and he was one of the doctors from the practice I go to, so I was pleased about that.  She returned with Aaron and I heard her tell him "She's 4 centimeters, so we're going to talk to the doctor and she'll be admitted."  Aaron sat beside me and I motioned for his hand when I felt more contractions coming.  Soon, a charge nurse appeared and started unplugging monitors.  She helped me stand up and said "We're moving you to a room."  I hadn't even been in Triage for 20 minutes.

We walked down a hall to Room 469.  She had more paperwork and Aaron was able to stay while the nurse began my IV.  I asked if I could get it in my arm instead of my hand.  She said sure, and found a vein on my wrist.  As soon as she started inserting the needle, the vein blew.  I've never had a blown vein before.  I'm not sure if it was the blood loss from that or from my nerves at being told that a vein blew, but I began to feel faint.  I asked Aaron to fan my face.  I told the nurse I couldn't hear.  She thought I meant that I could't hear the baby monitor.  She smiled and said "I'll turn it up."  I said "No, I can't hear in my head." She grabbed a washcloth and placed it around my neck as she finished up the IV further up my arm.  Soon I felt better.  I had to get a full bag of fluids in before I could get an epidural.  Aaron started watching the bag.  He said they put it on Max dispense and it was quickly dripping into the tubes.  It was 12:45pm when I was officially admitted.

At 1:00pm, the doctor came in and broke my water.  He also received a punch from Avery as he was doing a pelvic exam.  I was 6cm.

At 1:30, they pulled the IV bag down and the anesthesiologist came in.  Aaron knew I didn't want him in the room for that part, so he left to go eat lunch that my dad had brought.  The anesthesiologist stayed in the room until we were sure the epidural would work.  A little while after she left, the nurse knew I was still feeling pain.  My mom and Aaron were back in the room at this point.  My whole right side was still very much feeling the pain of contractions.  The nurse rolled me onto my right side.  Eventually, all I could feel was a hand-size spot on the right side of my belly, and my entire right thigh.  The contractions were so bad, even though they were only in that hand-shaped shot and in my thigh.  The nurse said I had a "hot spot"-- where the epidural works everywhere except for one place.  I couldn't imagine what it would feel like it if I hadn't gotten the epidural at all.  I'm not sure I could have made it.  The contractions were enough to make me cry out. The nurse said they'd call the anesthesiologist to see if I could get a different medicine put in. The one shining factor was that Avery was handling it all like a champ.  My mom was intensely watching Avery's heart rate and said she was staying strong through it all.  That made me feel so wonderful.

At 3:00pm, the nurse did another pelvic check.  I was 8.5cm.  The anesthesiologist came back in.  They said usually the anesthesiologists wouldn't come back in once someone was that far along, but they knew it wasn't my first pregnancy and they knew I was in pain.  She inserted the strongest medicine she had (after I made sure it would have no affect on Avery) and I asked if I would still be able to push.  The nurse said by the third baby, they really didn't even need to mom to push-- the baby would just come out. The anesthesiologist stayed until I was fully numb and I thanked her so much. The doctor had told the nurse to let me push at 3:30pm.

At 3:35pm, the nurse comes in and sets up the room to let me push (ie, took the bottom half off the bed, raised my legs in stirrups, etc). The nurse told me to push.  I pushed.  She waited for the next contraction and told me to push again.  I pushed and she said "good, good, good. You got this."  The doctor came in, got his scrubs on, sat down, and told me to push.  I pushed.  He had Avery's head.  The cord was wrapped once around her neck.  He got it off and said "push."  I pushed, and out she came.  He held her up, I was crying, and he said "You want her?"  I nodded, and they put a sweet crying little girl on my chest.  She had a head full of blonde hair!  She was born at 3:49pm.  She weighed 7lbs 2oz and was 20.5 inches long.

We got to hold her for an hour at least until they came to get her for her bath.  My boys came around the same time, and while Avery was getting bathed, there was an emergency in the nursery and she was stuck there. The boys had to go home without seeing her and it crushed them.  They came back the next day as soon as Michael was out of school.  He absolutely LOVES her! Noah is coming around. :)

Our family is complete.

More posts to come.  And of course more pictures.

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Radio Silence

Sorry for the HUGE blog delay!

I promise I'm still here and still religiously reading all my favorite blogs. I even have my timeline written for Avery's surprise arrival. I just haven't made it to my desktop to type it all out.

My post partum hormones aren't nearly what they were with Michael or even Noah.  But this tiredness is no joke. So I'm totally taking advantage of the whole "sleep when the baby sleeps." Michael goes to school during the day and Noah goes to his grandma's house, so it's just me & Avery during the day. I am so thankful for my mom for taking Michael to school, and for my mother in law taking Noah to her house during the day!  I am hoping my energy returns in the next couple weeks!

So I promise I will write soon about Avery's arrival and about Michael's birthday too!

Until Next Time,
Much Love, Reba

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

37 Week Update

I'm trying to do these pregnancy updates just once a month.  From Week 29 to Week 33 felt SO LONG, but today I was like "Oh my gosh, it's Week 37 today and I think I'm supposed to do an update.  Can it really have been 4 weeks already since my last update?"

And, sure enough, it has been.

We are 37 weeks today, which means we are scheduled to deliver in two weeks!  It seems crazy that it's this close, but still seems far away.

I'm really happy to be this far along, though, because seriously, I don't think I could hang on for another three weeks.  I'm so glad, too, that my stamina winds down in proportion to the weeks I have left remaining.  At 20 weeks, it's no big deal to say "yeah! 20 weeks left to go!" But now it's like "oh my goodness.  I have just enough strength for two weeks and that's it." :)

So, here are my Week 37 stats:

How far along? 37 weeks today

Total weight gain/loss: +17lbs  (Based on a weight check of last Thursday.  I've chosen not to weigh myself at home anymore during this pregnancy).  Last week when I went to the OB, the nurse let me go to the bathroom first and then she weighed me afterwards.  I had lost a pound from the previous week.  She noticed and commented and I said "that's what happens when I get to go to the bathroom first!" And I really believe that.  These frequent bathroom trips in the third trimester are no joke!

Maternity clothes? Yes.  My soon-to-be-five-year-old reminds me daily "You've almost grown out of that shirt! Avery's getting big!"  So, I'm at the point where maternity clothes aren't really fitting very well anymore.  That means the end is near!  My maternity shorts are still fine, but I'm having trouble making sure dresses are still an appropriate length in the front since most of the dress is used up by covering over my big tummy.  And my shirts don't always cover over my whole tummy anymore, but fortunately my shorts have the over-belly band on them that adds coverage. 

Stretch marks?  Yes, but I do feel like I haven’t gotten any additional ones since I’ve started lotioning my belly post-showers.  Of course, I can only see what the mirror shows me, so I have no idea if I have additional stretch marks on the underside of my belly.

Sleep: It's relatively okay.  We've had a lot of things going on recently (my summer term ending, Michael's meetings for kindergarten, etc), so I dream a whole lot at nighttime about all the things we have going on, but I have been able to sleep which is nice. 

Best moment this week: Michael felt Avery move for the first time!  Noah had caught a movement a few weeks ago and his face lit up and it was just the sweetest thing.  Aaron has caught lots of movements and is always amazed by them.  But little Michael hadn't actually felt Avery kick yet.  So the other evening, we were on the couch watching a movie and he could see my belly rolling.  I put his hand right on the center of my belly where I was feeling her the most and he felt her kick!  His face lit up like the sun and I happened to catch a picture.  It was so precious!

Have you told family and friends: Most definitely, and I don't think I can even go anywhere now without random strangers asking me how long I have left, or trying to guess the gender (only one person has been right), or telling me I'm about to pop.  The joy of the American culture. 

Miss Anything? Sweets.  I've had such a huge sweet tooth this week and it's really hard to bypass the cravings, but I'm doing it.  I also miss not worrying about my own blood sugar.  I've been blindsided with some serious low blood sugars this week and that's been no fun.

Movement:  She's a wiggle worm, that's for sure!  I still feel her multiple times a day and that's so wonderful.

Food cravings: Oreos and cold milk.  Walnut brownies from a box-- so weird!

Anything making you queasy or sick: The smell of running water, and the smell of the air conditioner-- just like in first trimester.   

Have you started to show yet: Oh yes, I'm carrying quite the watermelon. 

Gender: GIRL! 

Labor Signs: Not yet. I’ve had some Braxton Hicks contractions that were pretty intense and painful, but they eventually go away, so I know it's not the real thing. 

Belly Button in or out? Out but kind of flattened now.

Wedding rings on or off? Off. :(  Still so super sad about this.  

Happy or Moody most of the time: My fasting blood sugar was 68 this morning (it should be in the 80s or 90s) and that definitely made me moody because I couldn't think right and kept dropping things as I made Aaron's lunch (after having some chocolate milk to start bringing up the low).  Most of the time I think I'm happy because we're almost done and she's almost here!  I didn't cry today when I dropped Michael off at kindergarten for his first day, so I think that's a major indication that I'm not totally moody. :)

Looking forward to: My OB appointment tomorrow.  I'll have another NST and probably a pelvic exam (but I won't be surprised if I don't have a pelvic exam).  I was supposed to have an ultrasound tomorrow to estimate Avery's weight, but the doctor wants to wait one more week to do so.  He said that there was a study done for women who were within one day of delivery (either scheduled c-sections, or scheduled inductions), and they asked all the mothers to write down the weight that they thought they're babies would be at birth, then they had the doctors write down their guesses, and then each mom got an ultrasound where the babies weights were estimated.  Once the babies were born, it turned out that the ultrasounds were the least accurate, then the doctors' guesses, and the mothers were pretty accurate.  So, my doctor says he wants to wait as long as possible to do the ultrasound-- which will be next week on Thursday.  He doesn't want to overestimate or underestimate her weight when we're still two weeks away from delivery.  He says as soon as it's safe to get her out, he's getting her out-- and that will be the 23rd.  He asked me if I thought she was bigger than my other babies, and I said I did.  He agrees.  So, we'll see.  I was looking forward to an ultrasound tomorrow, but I supposed I can wait one more week.  Next Friday (the 18th) is my last day of work before maternity leave, so I'm trying to hang in there and make myself work until then. :)

Until Next Time, 
Much love, Reba

Friday, August 4, 2017

Extra Things to Do

We're winding down our time before baby Avery arrives.  In these last few weeks remaining, I'm trying to make good use of my time.  Easier said than done when all I'd really like to do is take a nap every single evening.

Since my mom is a nurse, and has worked as a Labor & Delivery nurse, a Postpartum nurse, a Nursery nurse, etc, she suggested to me right before we delivered Michael that I prepare little baggies of candy for nurses who take care of us in the hospital.  We did the same thing for Noah's nurses as well.  We prepared more baggies at that time and I felt better in knowing that I really did have enough for everyone who specifically cared for us.  People remember candy.  Weeks after you've delivered, nurses will still say "Oh yeah!  They're the ones who gave us candy!"

Yes, it's the nurse's job to care for us in the hospital.  But nursing is sometimes a thankless job, and a bag of candy might be the bright spot in someone's shift!  Also, just like in tipping well at a restaurant, kindness comes back to be a benefit to the one performing the action.

We tend to wait until our first full day in the hospital (after the baby is born) for us to start handing out bags.  We try to take note of who has helped us.  Usually, you'll have a daytime labor and delivery nurse, and a nighttime one.  You might have a Tech who helps get you to your post partum room.  You'll have a daytime and a nighttime Post Partum nurse, and the baby will have a daytime and a nighttime Nursery nurse.  That's roughly at least seven bags of candy to have prepared.  Of course, sometimes, you'll have a nurse one night and not the next because it'll be that nurse's night off.  Preparing a few extra bags (or bringing baggies and extra candy in your hospital bag) isn't a bad idea. 

Last weekend, I bought some candy at the grocery store.  I chose things that I like.  I picked out a bag of assorted Snickers, 3 Musketeers, Twix, Milky Way, and Midnight Milky Way.  I picked out a bag of assorted Kisses, Rolos, and Reese's, and then I picked up a bag of only Reese's (mainly so I'd be sure to have some leftover for myself! No shame).  I used sandwich Ziploc baggies, and just put in an assortment of each candy.  I think I put 4 Reese's cups, and then a few Kisses and Rolos, and then 1 of each of the Snickers, 3 Musketeers, Twix, Milky Way and Midnight Milky Way.  My sons saw me assembling the bags and when I told them that they were for the nurses in the hospital, the boys instantly began referring to the candy as "hossa pills."

So, last night after their bath, they both requested some "hossa pills" for their evening snack.  I did end up having leftover candy from assembling the bags, and I had put it in my hospital bag for safekeeping ;)   I pulled out a couple pieces for both boys and still have plenty leftover for any extra bags I have to prepare, or for snacking items for Aaron & myself. 

I asked my mom if there were any other things that nurses would appreciate.  I offered K-cups, but she's not sure if each nurses station has a Keurig, so we decided not to go that route.  She did say that a fun coffee creamer is a treat, and each nurses station usually has a fridge of some sort, so I plan to pick up a bottle of creamer on our way to hospital (or realistically, the day before).  Now this is refrigerated, so it makes it a bit awkward to hand a big coffee creamer bottle to the intake nurse on the Labor and Delivery floor right when you get in a room, but it won't go unappreciated.

These are just some simple things to take up some time, and end up being a blessing to other people. 

Until Next Time,
Much Love, Reba

Little Mirror Images

As kiddos grow up, I think it's so fun to watch their personalities form and change and develop into whom they're really going to be.

As soon as we found out that our first baby was a boy, I was so excited to think about how much he might be like Aaron!  Aaron and I didn't meet until we were 20-- so it's not like we grew up together and knew each other from elementary age.  Although I've seen pictures of him as a boy, I didn't get to know him at that age and stage.  He sure was a little cutie though!  So I was super super pumped to see how much our little boy might be like him. 

When we found out we were expecting another boy, we semi-hoped he'd have more of my personality since we were sure we wouldn't be having any more biological children.

When we found out we were expecting a girl this time around, we were both over the moon because our two little boys have definitely turned out to favor their dad in more ways than one, and we're excited to (hopefully) have a little girl who exhibits more of my genes. :)

Now that our boys are age 4 (nearly 5), and 3, their personalities are pretty much set and I've been thinking more recently about how they are essentially mini versions of their dad. 

Michael is an image of Aaron in these ways:
  • LOVES video games.  Uses them as a way to relax.  Aaron started playing video games around 3 years old, and Michael pretty much did too (although it was closer to 4 years old, really).  These two love to play games together in the evenings.
  • Loves pasta dishes
  • Has an imaginary friend named “Steve” and unbeknownst to him, Aaron also had an imaginary friend named “Steve” when he was about Michael’s age (4 to 5 years old)
  • If you tell Michael to stay off the tile floor, he will hold his foot over the tile and look you in the eye.  Aaron did this exact thing when he was Michael's age. 
  • Could sleep late on most days.  Michael might not admit it (just like Aaron) but he does love his sleep.  He might fight sleep (just like Aaron) but once he gets into his own bed, he's basically immediately asleep and could keep sleeping long after his little brother (or alarm clock, in Aaron's case) wakes him up. 

Noah mimics Aaron in the following ways:

  • Tip toes on tile floor.  Aaron did this as a child, and still does it now.  So we both thought it was incredibly funny and cute when Noah began doing this.  I don't even think he's trying to do so... it just comes naturally to him.
  • Doesn’t care what people think of him.  He definitely has the personality of Aaron where it takes a LOT to embarrass him.  I'm SO THANKFUL for this, and I hope it continues into adulthood just like it has for his dad.
  • Loves spicy dishes
  • Could easily pass up sweet food for savory food.  Aaron and Noah would rather have chips and salsa over a brownie any given day of the week.  Michael and I wouldn't think twice about inhaling the brownie and wanting another one. :)
  • Dance moves that come naturally.  Noah can definitely come up with silly dance moves and makes them work.  This is so Aaron. 
  • Skin tone (able to tan and keep it—must be the Native American in him).  He was the tannest little baby, and has basically kept that same golden skin tone since birth.  Aaron has a year-round tan even though he now works in an office setting rather than construction work outside.

Aaron is such a fantastic dad.  When he was a boy and people would ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up, his response was "a dad."  How sweet is that?!?  God totally put that desire in his heart and he's a champ at it!  When Michael was born, my Nana asked Aaron how he felt.  Aaron said "Complete."  That has stuck with my Nana since that day.  He's able to explain things to the boys (like how to zip pants, or why we can't tear pages out of books) in a gentle patient way and really get his point across.  I tell him frequently that I'm always amazed to listen to him explain things to them.  He gets down on the floor and wrestles with them nearly every night before bed.  He dances with them and makes up funny moves.  He sits on the floor and throws toy basketballs or soccer balls or footballs with them and they make up rules for what counts as points, etc.  He's super fantastic as his dad role and I LOVE watching him in his element.

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

God, why?

Dear God,

Today, as You know, Michael and I went to his school at morning snack time for the main nurse to learn how to use Michael's Omnipod to administer insulin for his morning snack.  Michael and I arrived at school and waited in the school office for about 10 minutes or so (it turns out the nurse was helping to bandage up a teacher who had cut him/herself).  Michael was getting restless, but was also relatively chatty with me.

The nurse arrived and Michael froze up, as I thought he might.  I had to basically peel him off of the chair he was sitting on.  He crossed his arms and only offered a grumbly "Hmpfh!" to any question that was asked of him (like "Hey! I see Mario on your shirt!  Who's your favorite character?").  Again, I wasn't surprised by this, and neither were You, Lord.

When we got into the nurse's office, she pulled up a couple of chairs by her desk.  Lord, as You saw, when my sweet boy went to sit on his chair, it rolled backwards and he fell to the floor.  He was embarrassed, and that was his ending point.  He clammed up and wouldn't cooperate fully the whole rest of the meeting.  The nurse, bless her, apologized so much for not thinking about the chair being a rolling chair, and not thinking of holding onto it as it rolled.  God, I knew in my heart today that one embarrassing moment would ruin the experience for Michael and it happened.  I saw the whole thing in slow motion.  That chair started rolling, and I reached for my child rather than the chair.  I wasn't fast enough, and as soon as his bottom hit the floor, I knew he was done.  I knew he was embarrassed-- because I'm the same way, Lord.  I held him close and told him it was okay to be embarrassed and even to be mad.  His eyes were filled with tears and it hurt my Mommy heart, God.  I coached Michael that although it's okay to be embarrassed or mad, it's not okay to be rude. 

But, probably so much like what Your children do, it went in one ear and out the other.  Michael refused to stand by me.  He went to the door and stood by the door until it was time to go.  I walked the nurse through the basic steps of administering insulin, and Michael stood beside me only briefly enough to get his insulin and then he was back at the door.  I had to convince him to eat his snack about 20 minutes after he received insulin for it.  He barely would eat it at first.  I told the nurse that this is typical behavior if he is embarrassed about something.  I told her to expect this behavior if Michael has to really carry his lunch tray across the hall from the cafeteria to the nurse's station and then back to the cafeteria.  How is a five-year-old supposed to do that, Lord?  I told her if he spills or drops his tray, this behavior is what they can expect to see.  This is why I'm asking that a nurse (there's 3 in the school) come to the cafeteria to give him insulin rather than him walking to the nurses.  At our big meeting on Monday (with the nurses, the assistant principal, and the teacher) we'll discuss this at length, amongst other things.  Aaron will come with me, but we know that if he does, Lord, it's a day of unpaid leave. 

God, the biggest struggle I'm facing today is why?  Why him, God?  Why us? 

If Michael didn't have Type One Diabetes, we wouldn't have had to go to school today, Lord.  We could have waited until next week when school actually starts.  I wouldn't have to be trusting strangers to keep my kid alive during the day, God.  Michael wouldn't have fallen on the floor and created that first impression of the nurse's station.  Why, God?  Why?

Why did You choose Him?  I know there's a bigger purpose, but some days are harder than others.  Some days, the tears cloud my eyes so heavily, that I can't see the sunlight peeking through. Today is one of those days, God.

Michael is already struggling with understanding the concept of going to school.  He is adamant that he's not going.  Aaron and I are firmly but kindly reminding him that it is not his choice and that he must go to school.  It's already a struggle, Lord, as it is in probably every house of a new-kindergartener.  There's already emotions, Lord, because this is our first child to send to school.  We would already be nervous based on that reason alone.  But to throw Type One Diabetes in the mix.... just, why?

Sometimes, I wear the badge proudly.  I think "God chose me for this.  He must know that I can make it through.  He's got an awesome plan for my kid.  All I  have to do is trust."  I see the Rosie the Riveter t-shirts that say "T1D Mom.  It's not for the weak."  And I hit the "Like" button on Facebook and think "yeah, not for the weak.  That's the truth." 

But days like this, God.  Oh, why are we here?  Why do we have to endure the pain that comes with this relentless disease?  Why does my nearly-five-year old little boy have to have such evident scars on his little legs and arms from the diabetes supplies that aid in keeping him alive? 

Why must I devise a plan for my child to receive two additional snacks during the school day to accommodate for wacky lunch times and exercise schedules?  Why must we delve out extra dollars to furnish "Low Supply" kits for the nurse's station, the classroom, the gym, and the bus?  Why must he wear a Medical Alert bracelet that we switch around on his wrists every so many weeks so that his other wrist can get a break?  Why him, God?  Can you just tell me why?

If I could see the purpose, the plan, the Promised Land, God, for my son, would I feel better?  If I could peek into the Promised Land from a distance like Moses and see Your goodness, would I my strength be renewed to forge through this earthly battle of disease?

God, we've gotten so little sleep these past two weeks.  Minimal.  A hardly functioning amount.  You know this, God, because You do not sleep.  When we're awake, You're awake too.  You see our tired eyes and the way our heads nod ever so slightly when we're trying to focus on something but we just can't.  You see it, God.  And You know.  You see us stumbling through the house when it's completely dark and we're trying to open a carton of chocolate milk to bring up a low, or we're grabbing the Omnipod bag to input a blood sugar so we can calculate how much insulin to give him to bring down a high blood sugar (and make a judgment call in the process of whether we're going to give him more or less insulin than the technology suggests).  You see us flail our arms when our alarm clocks go off in the morning.  You see us squint our eyes as we try to figure out what day it is and how many more days we  have to get up that early until it's the weekend again.

It's rough, God.

But I know it can be worse. 

I know we're not guaranteed ease of living down here.  Too much pain, too much corruption, and we're followers of You, God, which means we have a target on our back from the enemy.  We know we'll be attacked and experience sadness, trial, and devastation.

The only thing that keeps me going, God, is to know the ultimate end.  I know the ending of the earthly story.  Michael will be healed.  In Heaven, there is no Type One Diabetes.  This, I understand.  But, wow, sometimes I dream of what life could be like here on earth if Type One Diabetes wasn't around down here either. 

I know in my heart that I will not see the purpose for Michael ahead of Your timing.  I understand.  I really do.  But on days like today, it makes my heart sad.  I hurt for my child.  I hurt in knowing there's nothing I can do to fix him or repair his pancreas.  There's nothing I can do to eliminate the questions of why he has to have insulin, or why does someone have to learn how to operate his Omnipod.  I hurt when I can't fix the tears, the scars, the worn out areas.  I hurt when I think about what life might be like in several months when our soon-to-be-newborn might be sleeping through the night-- it means that Aaron & I still have reason to wake up multiple times a night and it won't have anything to do with a baby and everything to do with Diabetes. I hurt when I see people with "stuff" and I can't afford it because I have to allocate spending towards diabetes supplies. I hurt and get a lump in my throat when I have to call the diabetes supply numbers (we have two separate suppliers for different items) and reorder items.  I hurt when we have to take Michael to his twice yearly visits at the endocrinologist because it means we have to rely on a medical team to aid us in keeping our son alive.  There's so much hurt here, God.

But I know You're bigger. 

And I know You really do have a plan. Although I might not see it, or at least might not see it until it's unfolding at the right time, I do know a plan is in place.  You're a good Father who loves His children and are not going to hand them a snake when they ask for a fish, or a stone when they ask for bread.  I know this, Lord, but I'm asking you today to keep this at the forefront of my mind.  Please please please continually remind me that You are here.  We're not left alone.  Please remind me that You are awake.  You do not sleep through the lows or the highs.  Please remind me that You are rest and that we can come to You with our burdens.  Here I am, God.  I have a burden.  Please take it upon You and give rest to my soul. 

Thank You for being the reason we are here.  For without You, there's no hope and that would be just an overwhelming devastation to families walking this road we're currently on.  Without You, God, how do those families even make it through?

Thank You for letting me be Michael's mommy.  I adore the little boy so much.  Thank You for entrusting me with a child who has a broken body.  He's Your child first, and I'm just a caretaker here on earth.  Thank You for saying "Here, You can watch this one.  He's going to have Type One Diabetes, but remember, I'm here too." 

Please, Lord, let me always count my blessings.  Please let me do better at considering trials a blessing as well. 

In You I pray,