Thursday, August 27, 2015

Baby Kono IV: 28 Weeks

28 weeks! We are officially in the third trimester and it is officially hitting me just how soon this little girl is likely going to make her arrival.  Even if we make it to my own personal goal date of October 9th that's still only six weeks away.  Six weeks!

I just had to go back and read where we were at the last time I updated here so here's a brief recap:

24 weeks - cervical length was 1.9 cm; cervix closed
25 weeks - cervical length was 1.7 cm; cervix closed
26 weeks - cervical length was 1.4 cm; cervix closed

Because at this point I was under 1.5 cm I got the first of a two-set injection of steroids to help develop her lungs. These injections are awful, awful, awful! The nurses all apologized before sending me to a room to wait for the pharmacy to send the meds up.  I forgot just how bad these were and the burn, OMG the buuuuuurn. 

I didn't post an update here last week, but if you are on Facebook then you probably already saw that at my 27 week appointment I got some not so great news.  My cervical length was down to 1.2 cm, which is about what I expected, but we also discovered that I was now dilated to 1 cm.

I know it is only 1 cm and I know women walk around for weeks at 1 cm but I still spent the last week pretty worried about what it all means.  I'm still under no restrictions and there is no plan in place but when I mentioned being worried about having a baby in the car my doctor did say that if I were to get to 2-3 cm dilated (I assume he means this early) then I would likely be admitted to the hospital.  So it hasn't even been so much worried about actually having her as much as worried about having be be away from home for an extended period of time before I have her.  I just know that would be so hard on the boys.  

The good news, no Great News!, is that this week, at 28-weeks, I am still only dilated to 1 cm and my cervical length has actually stabilized a bit.  This week it was 1.6 cm, longer than it has been the last two weeks!! 

This is the best news we could have gotten this week and I am so grateful.  

In other updates, the acid reflux has been terrible again lately and I've also been battling some pregnancy insomnia again.  The weekly progesterone injections are starting to bother me, my hips are just shot from being poked so much and have started bruising and bleeding and itching and knotting. But! while contractions are starting to get a bit stronger they are still not regular and generally I'm feeling pretty good. Little Stella is moving around a ton lately and its fun to watch my belly move. The other day Nolan got real up real close and said "Hi, I'm No-win. I yuv you." and she kicked him in the cheek.  

She's still being pretty stubborn for the doctor but we have been getting glimpses of her taking respirations and practicing swallowing. This week she cooperated much better than normal, but was not at all photogenic, so unfortunately I don't have an ultrasound pic to share.  She is currently estimated at 2 1/2 lbs. 

Oh, the only other thing is my fluid levels have been high the past several weeks.  I learned this week that it could be due to her urinating a lot or it could be due to her intestines narrowing, although they aren't high enough to be really concerned of the latter, he did say it will be something she will be checked for after birth.  

Oh! Oh! and I passed my 1-hr glucose test.  I failed this with the first two boys and had to take the 3-hour test and oh my gosh, not. fun. So I was so happy to hear I passed!

I think that's about it. One day, one week at at time, that's my motto right now and I'm so hopeful I still have several weeks to go. #stayputstella

Monday, August 24, 2015

the things I will miss

This was last year's August nature table, but it looks pretty much exactly the same right now and every time I sit down on the couch and look at it I think, should I just go ahead and switch it to fall? I mean, it's coming so soon.  But I don't, because the truth is, I'm just not ready yet

I'm a lover of all things fall, but I'm not ready for summer to be over, not quite yet. To be honest with you, I'm having a love/hate relationship with the calendar at the moment.  A week from tomorrow is September 1st.  A week from tomorrow the boys head back to school.  I'm not ready for that.  And yet, I will be thankful when the month flips to September because it will mean I made it into a new month with this pregnancy.  My goal is still October, as far fetched as that feels some days, but I'm not in any hurry for October to actually get here.

We planted a raised bed garden this year (we had hoped to plant at least two, but only one got done) and in it are tomatoes, green peppers, eggplant, and green beans.  The plants are actually doing quite well and giving off lots of produce, which is pretty amazing considering I'm not the world's best water-er.  I have nursed my hanging baskets back to life more times than I can count this summer, only to let them shrivel in the sun once more.  One of these days I will get a green of these days.  So the fact that this little garden has kept chugging on, even though some of the plants themselves are looking a bit rough, has made me pretty happy.

This little tomato and green pepper were our very first harvest. I also bought a basil plant this year that is sitting in my kitchen window and I begged Collin for the rights to this first tomato - caprese salad has been my snack of choice this summer - he let me have it, though I was afraid for a minute I was going to have to fight him for it.  The tomatoes are rolling in now, a whole window sill full at the moment, so we no longer have to battle for tomato rights. 

We've also been gifted cucumbers by the refrigerator full, which is fine because everyone in this house also loves cucumbers (well, everyone but Nolan, who hands his off every night. Me no like these, he says.)

The simplicity of summer dinners is something I will miss dearly when fall makes her arrival.  It's been weeks since I've done a full grocery shopping run. With all the fresh produce we can usually whip something together pretty quickly....and it tastes so good.

The other thing I am really going to miss as the weather turns chillier is my clothes line.  After months (years!) of envying my neighbors clothes line we finally got our own and oh my gosh, you guys, I think it was the highlight of my summer!  I still can  not help but steal a glance if I walk past a window and know there are clothes hanging out there.  And Collin is just as smitten as I am.  It's made my laundry life immeasurably easier and I have loved stepping outside for just a few minutes during the day to feel the heat of the sun.  One of the real downfalls of working from home is that I am terrible at getting outside on a daily basis.

I still plan on using this well into the fall, if possible, but with the change of seasons I know my clothes line days will be numbered.

I know so many of us love fall, but what will you miss most of all with the passing of summer?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Baby Kono IV: 26 Weeks

In lieu of posting a formal 26-week update here, I'm over at The Sunlit Path today talking about this pregnancy thus far, including an update from my most recent appointment.  I hope you'll join me there.

I mentioned in this post that Baby Stella is stubborn.  As soon as my doctor walked in this week he asked, "Did you have a talk with your baby about cooperating this week?" While she is moving around fine when I'm at home she refuses to wake up for our matter what time of day it is.

Proof that she can not be bothered by any of this:

26 weeks

Oh you guys, we're in trouble aren't we?

It took awhile but we did finally see her take some respirations, which was good.

Eight more weeks (at least!) we can do this!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

10 years

Ten years ago today Collin and I stood before God and in front of our family and friends and committed our lives to each other.

It was easy for me to fall in love with Collin....quickly fall in love with most of you know we got engaged just six weeks after we met.  What I loved most about him is that he let me be myself, which at times can be a little loud and obnoxious. But, I also have a very serious and analytical side to me while he is naturally much more laid back then I am; we seem to balance each other out and yet, at the same time, have a tremendous amount fun together. In those early days I really believed finding a partner that you had fun with was the key to a successful relationship.  I still do believe that is important, but ten years has taught me a lot about love and our relationship in particular. 

I know we all say it but truly our wedding day was one of the best days of our lives.  At 25 what we desired most was a huge party.  Not just for the drinking (although there was a lot of that too) but for the celebration.  If I were getting married today I would probably desire a little different ambiance but at that time all we cared about were people having fun.  And I think it is safe to say we had fun.

Maybe a little too much! Ha!

Of course, not everything went perfectly right.  We forgot to cut our cake, we never got around to all the tables like we had hoped, and there are some pictures I wish we would have captured, but overall the day was exactly what I had imagined.

Oh, we were so blissfully unaware at the trials life would throw at us.

These past ten years have been an amazing journey; one in which we have been blessed over and over with children, houses, jobs, new friends, and travel.  Ten years later there is still no one in the world I would rather experience these joys with than Collin.

But life isn't only full of wonderful, beautiful things.  With those things come trials, tragedies, and numerous struggles.  A few weeks ago I spontaneously broke out into tears in the car while listening to a love song; I turned to Collin and blurted out: did you have any idea it was going to be this hard? I'll be honest, I didn't.  On our wedding day I had no idea the things our marriage would be forced to endure. 

Ten years later I realize that while yes, finding someone you can have fun with and enjoy the company of is important, finding someone who you can make it through life's struggles with is even more crucial, because with life, and marriage, comes suffering. I know that our life is bound to throw us more trials, of that I am certain, but I am not worried. Some of the most beautiful lessons have come from our struggles and because of them I have faith that together, no matter what comes our way, we've got this. 

10 years is really just the beginning....

Friday, July 31, 2015

Baby Kono IV: 24 Weeks

24 weeks
The other night Collin and I had a rare moment of just the two of us, no kids, watching television.

Okay, fine, it was the Bachelorette finale, if you must know. Hey, don't look at me with those judgey eyes and while we're on the topic, let's just talk about that finale real quick.  Am I just being completely naive to think Kaitlyn and Shawn might actually make it?   It's been several years since I've been into watching the Bachelor/Bachelorette but in the last few months I've (we've, he probably doesn't want me admitting it on here, but usually Collin is watching with me) watched TWO seasons. Trashy tv, welcome back to our home! Anyway, what do you think?  Do they have a shot??

While we were enjoying our viewing Collin felt the baby kick for the very first time.  I was trying to explain to him just what it feels like to have a child inside of you and the best I could come up with is that it feels like some sort of alien life form that is trying to take over your body. I mean, a beautiful alien life form but let's be honest, it also feels a bit weird.  The kicks alone are awesome and cute and wonderful but the body rolls?  Those are just bizarre feeling. And wonderful, but bizarre. Anyway, on with our update....
  • I can tell she is getting bigger because I've been feeling a lot more movement in the past two weeks.  
  • Like Nolan, most of the time she is sitting low, low, low.  See where my hand is in that picture up there?  That's where I feel her the majority of the time.  In fact, in order to really feel her from the outside I have to pull an Al Bundy. You're welcome for that little tid bit!
  • I've been feeling generally pretty good these last couple of weeks, with the exception of a couple of acid reflux flare-ups, a few days of bad dreams, and two days this week when it hurt to sit and walk (more on that later.)
  • I had one fairly strong contraction last Saturday. While I've been having Braxton Hicks for several weeks this was the first one that I had to stop and concentrate on/breathe through. It was more in my mid region though, rather than moving from the top down so my doctor wasn't too concerned. I haven't had any more of those since then. 
And that brings me to this week's doctor appointment.... Last week (23 week apt) I got really good news at my ultrasound; my cervical length hadn't changed at all from the prior week. Just as a refresher, at 22 and 23 weeks I was measuring at 3.0 cm and 2.5-2.6 cm when applying pressure. He had said then that he didn't want it any shorter than 2.5 cm.  So when he measured me and said I was now at 1.9 cm (with pressure, her head was right. there.) it took me a second to even process what he was saying.

"Wait." I told him, "That's not good."

The nurse graciously gave me her hand to squeeze as he did a cervical check.  She knew I was scared.

The good news is, my cervix is still closed; it has not started to dilate.  But it is still a bit concerning.  

Both he and my regular OB told me again that a short cervix doesn't mean labor is imminent, it just means I'm at higher risk for a pre-term delivery (which we already knew.) I have not been put on bed rest, although my OB was ready to write the script if I wanted it, and just need to continue to stay well hydrated and rest as much as I can.  The short-term plan is that if my cervix gets down to 1.5 cm or lower then they will give me the steroid shot to develop her lungs quicker.

The perinatologist said we need to make it another month.  My regular OB said, we know you are going to go early, but lets get you to 34 weeks.

As I mentioned earlier, these past few days I have been so sore/stiff.  I thought it was just from sitting in a chair all day but after seeing her on the ultrasound and realizing how low she was sitting I think it was actually from her positioning and the pressure she was putting on my cervix.  Last night sitting on the couch was too uncomfortable so I headed to bed and within a few minutes felt her turn and start to kick me in the sides.  This morning I woke up feeling like a new person.  I'm hopeful that without all that pressure my cervix might actually be longer than it was measuring yesterday.  I'm also constantly reminding myself that I may be perfectly on track to follow the boys births, we'll just never know because they weren't checking me this far into the pregnancy last time.

So, that's where we are at. She still looks great. Fluid levels are good. Placenta looks fine. We're still just  taking it week-by-week and hoping my cervix will slow its roll.  

Let's finish this update with some fun news, shall we???  We have officially decided on a name!!!!

While I have never announced a name publicly before a birth in the past, it feels right this time. Besides, most of you will not be surprised anyway. Let me formally introduce you to:

- middle name to be announced after birth -

24 weeks
Est. weight 1 lb 7 oz

I know, anticlimactic, right?? As most of you know, Stella has been our girls name, well, forever. Each one of the boys would have been Stella had they been a girl.  BUT the one thing Collin and I both knew immediately when we found out we were expecting again is what we would use for a middle name if it was a girl (and a boy too, middle names were easy).....and it wasn't the middle name we had originally chosen for Stella. So then we started wavering on her first name and started seriously considering a different name. But a few weeks ago I was reading the prayer Ave Maris Stella and started crying; I just knew in that moment, without a doubt, her name was Stella. We've been referring to her by name ever since. 

So, listen up Baby Stella, while we are so, so excited to meet you, stay put for awhile longer, okay?

Haha, I feel like I should hashtag that, #stayputstella

More updates to come....

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

To the Beach!



A couple of weeks ago I was on Facebook commenting on a friend's SUP picture when she responded "What are you doing tomorrow?" At exactly that same moment my phoned dinged and in came a message from another friend asking "Want to go to the beach tomorrow?" I knew these two friends went to the beach together and I had to laugh at their timing.  And say YES! of course.

The next morning I got up early to run to the store before Collin headed out the door to work to get some supplies for lunch and snacks.  I came home, packed us up and thrust my fist into the air as I said to the boys: To the Beach! (which, of course, was answered by cheers and hoots and hollers.)

I've been so stressed out lately with this pregnancy and the thought of having to be on bed rest and not getting all the things done.  You know all those things, right?  Because I'm afraid I'm already in nesting mode and I want all of these rooms cleaned and decorated before October (October 9th is my own personal goal date. Ideally, obviously, I'd like to go longer.)

A day in the sun and sand was exactly what we all needed.  The boys had a ball jumping off of the dock. Climb, run, jump, swim. Climb, run, jump, swim. Climb, run, jump, swim.  They did this for, literally, hours.  

While I'm not a big swimmer, I even got in the water to help Nolan jump off the dock and ENJOYED IT.  My worries and stressers seemed to drift away with each lapping wave and I'm so grateful for the invite.  Thank you, Becky & Meg, this was one of my favorite days this summer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Big Camping Trip

At the beginning of the summer we asked each one of the boys to tell us one thing they'd like to do this summer.  Keaton picked going on a picnic and Hutt picked camping. To be honest, I don't remember what Nolan picked - sorry 3rd child!!

Two weekends ago we fulfilled Hutton's summer wish. In the week leading up to our Big Camping Trip the boys were crazy excited! It's all they talked about all week and each day they'd come home from Busha's with a list of items they needed to pack or ideas of activities they were going to entertain themselves with or treats (popcorn and licorice, supplied by Papa).  

When the big day finally arrived Keaton was up early getting all of his things ready.  And if you know Keaton then you know when I say all of his things I mean ALL OF HIS THINGS. This child is a....pack rat might be a nice term.  He has things, is what I'm saying.  Lots of things.

"Mom, I'm ready to go." He told me bright and early. 

"I'm going to drive my tractor." And sure enough there was his tractor sitting in the garage with a purple winter sled attached and packed, all ready to go.  

"I've got my headlamp and a water bottle, a soccer ball - in case we want to play soccer -, a baseball and all of our gloves and bats, because we might want to play baseball while we are there. And Jingle. Jingle is coming too. Oh, and I brought a tarp to cover my tractor in case it rains. And some paving blocks to hold the tarp down."

He was ready alright, and by the sounds of it we were headed to a neighboring state.

In actuality.....we were headed to the backyard:

They had a blast though.  We cooked hamburgers over the fire for dinner on Saturday night then had a bonfire at the neighbors before retiring to bed. On Sunday morning we got up to have breakfast over the fire before church.  Keaton insisted on NOT coming in the house for the weekend. We were CAMPING.

For Collin and I it was most definitely a test run. We lost all of our camping gear in the fire and while we've repurchased some of it we needed to see what else was a necessity before we ventured out for a weekend of real camping.  The boys didn't care, they were just excited to be sleeping outside in a tent. 

I'm not sure that "real" trip will happen this summer, pregnancy sleeping is already uncomfortable enough without the added bonus of sleeping on a blow-up mattress. I should point out that by "we" what I really mean is Collin and the two big boys slept outside in the tent.  Nolan was planning to but when it came time to shut off the flashlights and zip up for the night he came scurrying back to me: "Me sleep with you, Mom." But soon, soon enough that trip will happen, and to be perfectly honest I think I'm just as excited about it as they are.