May 6, 2016

This Mother's Day I'll stand, but I'll still think of you.

This year I'll stand, but still I'll think of you.

Sunday morning will come and I'll wake with excitement, but still I'll think of you.
I'll receive a card and gift with joy, but still I'll think of you.
I'll hear Happy Mother's Day with so much glow, but still I'll think of you.
When they call for Moms I'll stand with pride, but still I'll think of you.
I'll hold my flower or bookmark with a smile, but still I'll think of you.
I'll go to lunch with my family with full arms and a full heart, but still I'll think of you.
I'll praise God for my son with thanksgiving, but still I'll think of you.
I'll laugh and I'll cry and cherish that day, but still I'll think of you.

I'll think of you, the woman still longing to hold a baby in your womb.
I'll think of you, the woman who's lost her child far far too soon.
I'll think of you, the woman who's standing but still holds hurts just the same.
I'll think of you, who's missing your own dear mom more than ever on this day.
I'll think of you, who's taken in the children of others but still longs for one with your eyes.
I'll think of you, who's sitting and longs to be standing or stayed home to hide your cries.

After two Mother's Days of longing to stand with all  those Momma's, this year I will stand. I will enjoy this day and be so very grateful. Being a mom is one of my greatest joys in life and I want to soak in every bit of being a Momma on this beautiful day.... But I want you to know that you're not forgotten. You are remembered. You are loved. And you are prayed for. 

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You can read my letter to Mommas-in-waiting from last Mother's Day here.

April 27, 2016

Our Little Levi | Four Months

Four whole months... Time just keeps flying by.

Levi is growing and changing so much. He hasn't been weighed in a couple of weeks but my guess is that he's between 11 and 12 lbs. He's still in 0/3 month clothing but as moved to size 2 diapers. He still eats quite a bit and pretty often throughout the day but will usually sleep a 4-6 hour stretch at night.

He loves to smile and chuckle and coo (or quarrel as my grams calls it). He's taken a new interest in animal toys and loves his swing time where he watches the birds twirl. He often coos at them as we play the bird sounds on it. He loves when Daddy makes him a "super baby" as he flies through the air like a plane and he finds Nana's Cookie Monster voice hilarious. He's getting stronger and stronger and surprised us all on Saturday night. When I laid him down for tummy time, he just flopped over on his back! He's not rolling from back to belly yet but he sure is trying.

Most days we stay home and nurse and snuggle minus a nap in the swing here and there but we are starting to venture out more as he seems to enjoy it now. Breastfeeding has also got a little easier as I'm learning to nurse in my carriers and that simplifies getting out and about too. 

This past weekend we went on our 2nd date night out as a family. Levi sat patiently in Daddy's arms through dinner and was totally fascinated by The Jungle Book until the sleepies overtook him.

This boy continues to steal my heart over and over again.... when he smiles at me in the mornings,  chuckles as I talk to him, or wants to hold my finger as he falls asleep. Motherhood is even better than I ever dreamed it would be and I had dreamed pretty big. I feel so blessed to be this little man's momma. 

Sunday we will be dedicating Levi at our home church as a public commitment to always point him to Jesus and raise him in the truth of the Gospel. I pray that never knows a time where he doesn't love the Lord and recognize his need for Him. We thank God for Levi every single day. 

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April 14, 2016

Our Birth Story Part 1 | Leading Up to Labor

(last baby bump shot... 33wks 3 days)

I'm excited to write our birth story and I hate I've waited this long to do it!
As I look back, many of the details are already starting to fade. This is the first post of 3 and it tells of the events leading up to my induction.


(photo credit to Stephanie Leight of Luminosity Photography)

I had just hit the 31 week mark when I was diagnosed with Superimposed Preeclampsia. I had high blood pressure before I got pregnant and my numbers had been up and down all pregnancy so this didn't come as much surprise.

I was just past 32 weeks when I woke up at 3am with a headache (the kind I knew came from my blood pressure) and visual weirdness (something I'd never experienced). I took the medicine I had been prescribed for my headaches in pregnancy and it still didn't go away. It wasn't excruciating and my numbers were only slightly elevated so I tried to go back to sleep... no success. We went on to church but the combination of summer making an appearance in mid December and the loud praise music landed me in the car with the A/C on during service. I had talked with my midwife at church and she'd suggested I try another pain relief dose with my afternoon bp med and let her know. By 7pm, the headache wasn't gone and we knew our umpteenth trip to Maternity Triage was near. For those of you who may not know much about preeclampsia, these were not great signs.

That night led to an MRI and an overnight stay in triage for a neuro consult. Neither of which really determined much. Slight swelling around my optic nerve (which could be something or nothing) and a neurologist who thought I was having a migraine. My pressures weren't high as that 900mg of labetalol a day was doing it's job but something was definitely off. On Monday morning I was sent home with instructions to follow up with my midwife the next day and come back if it got worse.

I'll spare you the up and down details of the next 10 days but 1 pain med that made Levi stop moving, another triage visit, 3 midwife visits, and 1 Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) visit later...... I still had the headache, my vision issues were making me nauseous, driving and lights were my worst enemies, the tub was my best friend, and I couldn't remember what it felt like to be rested. I was frustrated and scared and so confused. My bp readings and labs didn't seem serious but my symptoms were not letting up. 

So December 23rd (33wks 5 days) I spent my day going back in forth between the bed and the bath and trying to keep the house as dark as possible. Joel had gotten off work early and I was trying to get myself together enough to go with him to buy a few last minute gifts. That's when I started having sharp pains in my upper stomach. Off to triage we went.

The nurses hadn't even gotten my vital signs when I started puking everywhere. It took a couple hours to get that to stop. I wasn't crazy about the doctor on call as she kept dismissing my stomach issues as unrelated to the pregnancy. They started fluids and a doctor I recognized and really respected came on for night shift. When they started my second round of fluids Joel went to the truck to sleep and I tried to get some rest. The kind doctor came again and she remembered me from being in the week before. She had been the doctor on call when Levi had stopped moving. 

One question led to another and she came to the conclusion that we couldn't really blame my symptoms on a migraine at that point. I agreed. (I was on day 12 of this funky headache.) She explained that she thought the bp medicine was holding back my numbers but not the symptoms of preeclampsia. Her suggestion was to try one round of Imitrex knowing that if it didn't work, I would be admitted for induction. 

I wasn't surprised when the Imitrex didn't work. So a 3am on Christmas Eve I sent a text to Joel to let him know that it was looking like they would admit me. When he got this and came in around 6, he was kind of surprised but relieved. The triage doctor waited until about 7 to call my midwife and make sure she was on board with the plan and she ordered a consult to MFM. 

While I awaited my consult and admission, Joel went home to take care of a few tasks and get his overnight stuff. The MFM consult went as expected... with them explaining all the issues I was at risk for with Preeclampsia and this type of headache and, of course, concluding that an induction was necessary at this point. The original plan of waiting until midnight (34 weeks) to start induction was tossed and he put in orders for a foley bulb right away. 

Transport came to take me to the Labor & Delivery floor and it all started to sink in. My admitting nurse came and talked through my wishes and prepared me for the pieces that weren't exactly part of my birth plan. She explained that once the order came through for Magnesium (used for seizure prevention in preeclampsia), I would be hooked up to it until at least 12hrs after delivery. She went on to share that during that time I would not be allowed to eat anything or get out of bed. She also warned me to brace myself for a long process. While Mag is used in preeclampsia it is also used to stop preterm labor. Pretty much this meant that it would fight everything that the Pitocin would be trying to do and this would be 2-3 process that "hopefully" allowed me a vaginal delivery. Whew. As I began processing all of that, she encouraged me to take a shower, walk around, and eat.... because it might be awhile. 

I called my Mom to fill her in and let her know that instead of a normal Christmas Day, she should likely get on the road early the next morning. This was the first Christmas we were to ever spend apart and my sister shared that she had been praying that this would happen so they'd get to come see me. (No offense Kate, but we I wouldn't have minded a few more weeks ha.) As they made travel plans and Joel called to see about any last minute needs from home, I began to pray and try to process. 

I'm thankful for that window of time where it was just me and little man inside me hanging in the room where our lives would change forever. I had loved being pregnant and loved every kick and turn from him. It was scary not knowing what the next hours could hold.... pain, fear, an epidural, a c-section, a preemie baby, a NICU stay? There were a lot of unknowns and it definitely didn't fit the 10 day past due all natural birth I'd been hoping for. But that's what it was and I couldn't change it. Peace and grace began to rush over me in a way that I know could only come from my sweet Jesus. Peace that in the midst of scary, He would be sovereign. I knew in that moment, that I could give into the panic or give into the Peace. Over and over again through the whole process, I had to ask Him to help me give into Peace. 

My motto for delivery that I had read and planned was "one contraction at a time." As my hopes for delivery flew out the window, the new motto became "one moment at a time." One moment at a time that each got me closer to seeing his sweet face.  It was in those quiet moments before it all began that God set the stage for all that was to come because ready or not... our sweet boy was making a Christmas arrival.
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March 31, 2016

Our Little Levi | 3 Months

It's late and once again our little buddy is asleep on Daddy's chest. The dishes are done, laundry changed, and I've had a shower (my usual nightly routine while he sleeps on Dad). They're both still out so I'm taking a few minutes to share a bit about our boy. Sure I should probably be unpacking from the trip, finishing up my baby clothe reorganization, or maybe even sleeping ha. But the truth is I miss this space. I feel like the days are just zipping by and I miss documenting life as it goes. As we fall into more normalcy, this is a space I hope to return to more often.

So how is our little man doing?

He turned 3 months old on Sunday and that's incredibly hard to believe. He's growing so well! We had a dip in his growth around 2 months. This was most likely due to him fighting off a virus that landed us in the children's hospital for a few days. But this last month he's picked up so much. I'm not sure of his current weight but I'm guessing it's between 9 and 10 pounds. He's moved to 0-3 month clothing (minus a few newborn onesies) and is in size 1 diapers.

He's a super alert and expressive guy during his awake periods. He loves to coo and smile and be talked to. He will push up during tummy time and has great head control at this point. He loves to stand and take steps. We are loving watching him grow and get stronger.

He still eats quite a bit and most of our days are spent on the couch nursing while I binge watch SVU.... yeah thanks to my sister for getting me hooked. At night he'll sometimes go a 5 hours stretch but most nights it's still only 3-4 hours at a time. I think my body is getting used to my new sleep schedule and other than the night here and there where he wants to nurse every 2 hours, I'm feeling pretty rested. 

We're coming off of his first big road trip as we traveled to my hometown for the week last week. Our usual 9 hour trip was 13 hours on the way and 11 on the way back. After the trip down, I was thinking that it might be many months before we did it again but the trip back was much better and has me a little more hopeful for future trips. Saturday we had a small sip and see for friends and family to come by and meet Levi. The whole week was an adventure of him meeting and being loved on by so many. Watching my Grams with him was so precious. He may never know how truly loved he is. 

Sometimes I still can't believe he's mine. He's such a gift that I thank God for. This time last year I was heartbroken thinking that my hope for a December baby had been shattered. Little did I know two months later I would conceive this sweet child who'd be born 6 weeks early on the day after Christmas. It's hard to wrap my head around. These days are some of the most favorite of my life. 
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February 1, 2016

Our Little Levi | One Month

Wow. How much has changed since I last pulled up this little space of mine. Currently our little guy is sleeping on Daddy's chest and I'm racing against the clock knowing he'll wake to eat at anytime. My hands are rarely empty but my heart is so so full. 
Hopefully within this month I'll backtrack and share details about the birth, NICU stay, and thoughts on the newness of motherhood. For now, though I wanted to pop in and give a little current update.
Tuesday made one month since Little Man exited my cozy womb and breathed his first breath in this great big world. We are so thankful for how well he is doing. I will admit I miss being pregnant and hate I missed out on those last 6 weeks but we are loving every day with our precious boy and know this all worked out exactly as it should have.
Current age: 1 Month (as of the 26th)
Current Weight: 5lbs 6.8oz
Current Length: 19.5 inches
Levi is growing right on track for his early entry. He's actually pretty long for his age and weight is pretty average. He's wearing preemie onsies and pants but his limbs have been too long for the preemie sleepers since he was 1.5 weeks old. He wears newborn sleepers and one piece outfits and newborn diapers as well. He also has quite the hat selection thanks to Nana's crochet hobby.
He is eating really well all things considered. He started out on a feeding tube in the NICU (due to the CPAP) and has fluctuated between bottles and breastfeeding since he was 1 week old. He was nursing like a champ when we first came home. However we were doing weight checks 2x/week and one of those he dropped 2oz instead of gaining so just to be on the safe side we incorporated bottles of breastmilk to our routine. He's had 4 gaining checks now and we are in the process of switching over to primarily breast feeding. He's gained from 4lbs 10.6oz (birth weight) to 5lbs 6.8oz!
He smiles a ton, although it's mostly random. They expect that will become more intentional and responsive in the next month. He's already tracking and making great eye contact. We look for all these social developments to continue to improve on track with a full term newborn even though he might be a little behind physically for the first bit.
His biggest issue/challenge currently is acid reflux which is pretty common in preemies. Our pediatrician made a few suggestions/changes today that we are hopefully will help make that less painful and frequent for him. 
He loves to snuggle and enjoys his regular late evening nap on Daddy's chest. He loves being wrapped in the Moby wrap or stuffed in my tank top. that's where he spends most of his day.
Favorite moment from the month: Our first night home from the hospital. We laid on the couch snuggled up as I cried. Life just seemed way too good to be real.

Funny moment from the month: Also our first night home. Levi had an explosive poop while we were changing him. He literally sprayed poop on the wall and Joel had to move the furniture to wash the wall. HA! "Welcome to parenthood Mom & Dad." 
We are incredibly in love and soaking up every bit of this beautiful season.
Thank you all for all the love, prayers, and kind messages over the last month. I hope to be back with lots more info soon but for now I will leave you with more cute pictures.

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