Mar 2, 2015

Happy Birthday Baby

Today we celebrate the most incredible man EVER.

A guy who is more caring and considerate than I deserve, who can always find a common ground with new people, who loves with his whole heart, and can make me laugh in any situation.

You're my favorite person. Happy Birthday babe - I love you!

Feb 26, 2015

One Morning, One Mile, One Community

Last year was the first year I participated in Resolve's DC Walk of Hope. Ben and I were still very much mourning the loss of Cece, and didn't really know what to expect.

It was incredible.

To be surrounded by people who were going through the same thing we were, or had been there, or were simply there supporting their loved ones with infertility - I truly felt hopeful.

I saw people with shirts saying "I kicked infertility's ass," as they pushed a baby in a stroller. I saw women wearing shirts saying "I'm walking for him," with an arrow pointing to their pregnant belly. I saw couples smiling, and a few crying, and the sense of community was beyond what I could have ever imagined.

The DC Walk of Hope is Saturday, June 6th this year and I cannot wait. 

This year I'm not just volunteering and participating, I'm co-chairing it, and my fabulous co-chair Ashley and I wrote letters about Why We Walk. (Check that out here).

This year is going to be so much different than last for Ben and me. Lemon will be with us, and while I know Cece will be on our minds and hearts that morning, I also cannot wait to introduce Lemon to "his people." This community is how Lemon is here because this community is what gave me hope. Last year at the Walk I remember thinking, "maybe that will be us someday," when I'd see a couple with a child.
Without Resolve I wouldn't have found support groups, and Advocacy Day, and made connections with some of the sweetest women I know. They get it. They've been there; the shots, the exams, the losses, and even pregnancy after infertility which can be wonderful but anxiety-filled.

Last year, we were Team Cece. This year we are Team Rainbow Baby. A rainbow baby is a term used for a child after a miscarriage - and it makes my heart soar to think of strapping Lemon to mine or Ben's chest and walking the mile course with him this year.

Last year we set our goal to raise $500 and we surpassed it and raised $750! This year I'm upping the ante - our goal is to raise $1,000. After all the work and love and support Resolve has given us, I feel like it's the least we can do for them - I'm determined to get there!

Will you be around on June 6th? We would love for you to come walk with us! It's only a mile and it's free to register! Also, if you can, we would be so grateful for a donation. Every little bit helps, and while we are 100 days out it's going to be here in a flash!

The DC Walk of Hope is one morning, one mile, one community. Join us, won't you?

(You can donate to Team Rainbow baby here!)

Feb 23, 2015

32 weeks

How far along: 32 weeks!

How big is baby: Lemon is now the size of a large jicama (um, weird), but he probably weighs about 3 and 3/4 pounds and is over 16 inches long.

Anxious about: This and that here and there; my anxiety has slowly been getting better! For Lent instead of giving something up, every time I start to get anxious about this pregnancy I say a prayer for Lemon, and for someone else - a lot of times someone I know, but sometimes not - I figure this is a comfort for me and a good way to get out of my head during this season.

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: So far so good on the aversions - sometimes there are things I'll have that give me some acid reflux in my throat, but (knocks wood), nothing that's made me sick as of late! Definitely still on the fruits and veggies kick - usually I've had at least three servings of fruits and vegetables by mid-morning!

Movement: Oh my gosh it's simply the best! There was a night this week where Lemon was especially active right as I was falling asleep - he was moving and kicking so hard it woke me up and I instinctively said, "buddy, what are you doing in there?" I later told Ben I think he took a page out of Madonna's book and was vogue-ing because seriously he was all over the place!

The belly: Woah belly! Let's do a little comparison shall we? I'm wearing the same outfit in both of these but the left is 22 weeks and the right is 32 weeks! (Also, no idea why the left picture is blurry. Ah, cell phones).

Miscellaneous: We've taken a birth class which was pretty useful and helped clear a few things up for us. However, there was a part during the class when we were watching a video (it was someone talking, nothing traumatic), and Ben looked over at me and whispered, "are you okay?" I must have had a deer-in-the-headlights look because I whispered back, "I don't like any of my options. He's just going to have to come out a different way." Ha!

Also, I have two more bi-weekly doctors' appointments and then I start going weekly - talk about really being in the home stretch! At my appointment this morning the doctor kept telling me how my weight gain was great, and that I looked fantastic - definitely a great way to start out my week!

Things that made me laugh/cry: The baby shower that was thrown for me last Sunday was simply wonderful, and yesterday some of my nearest and dearest blogging turned in-real-life friends had a virtual baby shower for me as well! People got on and off a big Google hangout as they could, there was lots of laughter and lots of baby talk! (By that I mean talk about babies, not actual baby talk). It just warms my heart to see how much Lemon is already loved!
This = awesome.
Best moment of the week: I think all the crazy movement takes the cake. The other night Ben and I were in bed and I was laughing because it felt like Lemon was pushing on the front of my stomach; Ben pushed back and for a few minutes he and Lemon went back and forth - it was bizarre but so sweet! (Um, that is until I told Ben to stop because it was making me have to pee!)

Feb 17, 2015

Tidbits for Tuesday

Because my brain seriously does not function at the level it used to - how about a few bullets for your Tuesday morning?

*I had a baby shower on Sunday. I'm sorry, let me clarify. There was a baby shower thrown for me this past Sunday. Celebrating Ben, and me, and Lemon and holy wow I never thought we'd get here.
The shower date was still written in pencil in my planner; when the date was originally chosen I remember thinking "well, if something happens I can just erase it." Talk about being grateful for where you are. I'm seriously blown away by all the love and support, and it makes me even more eager to meet this little boy in about nine weeks!
*Weather, weather, weather. We have our first substantial snowfall of the season (and year) here, and it's gorgeous. I don't really get snow days (I still work from home those days), but it's so pretty to see the snow so I'll take it! Also? I've reached my limit with people complaining (mostly on social media) about how it's cold and they want snow, and then complaining when they get snow, and then complaining when they get a snow day. What?? Zip it, people. (With the exception of the poor residents of Boston - feel free to complain all you want, guys).

*We are more than halfway through February and I couldn't be happier about it. Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against this month, but I'd like it to be a lot closer to April (aka my due date),!

*Speaking of April, Ben and I are having a good time laughing at my belly every few days. It's growing and it's a little out of control but every time we marvel at the size I say, "it's just going to get bigger!" This week Lemon is the size of a coconut, but by the end he's going to be the size of a watermelon! Um...

How was your weekend? Are you enjoying a snow day today?

Happy Tuesday!

Feb 9, 2015

30 weeks

How far along: 30 weeks - getting into the home stretch!

How big is baby: In the past two weeks Lemon has gone from the size of a large eggplant, to a butternut squash, and is now the size of a large cabbage.

Anxious about: This isn't so much anxiety, but I am having some serious baby envy. Don't get me wrong, I want Lemon to be full-term and completely healthy but oh my gosh I'm so ready for it to be time for us to have him! The logical part of my brain knows not to wish this time away (because um, money and sleep deprivation, and enjoy the last few weeks of just the two of you), but my heart is like "let's go, let's go, let's go!" It's taken us almost five years to get here and I'm afraid these last two months are going to draaaag.

I'm trying to revel in the little moments until then: knowing I have a doctor's appointment every two weeks (and then weekly, closer to the end), which means we can hear his heartbeat way more often, our birth class, and a few showers that are coming up. I'm just trying to take it one day at a time because I know it will go faster than I think.

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: Not too much that I have to avoid, and still on the craving fruits and veggie train. Oh, and we've had french toast as breakfast for dinner a few times lately and mmm, so good!

Movement: By far my favorite part of pregnancy. He's getting more active throughout the day, and usually there's at least once or twice a day where the movement makes me laugh and say, "what are you doing in there buddy?" I'm interested to see if I can recognize any movements he does when he's here to see if they match any of the craziness I feel now.

The belly: Growing! I am definitely moving slower than I used to, and when I get out of bed or up off a low chair there is usually some grunting involved!

Miscellaneous: Honestly, it's been a rough couple of weeks. Thinking back there have been more hard moments than not, (with a quick trip to the hospital thrown in for good measure), and I think the back and forth is what exhausts me so easily; one night I'll feel incredibly rested and the next it's like I didn't sleep at all, or one day I'll have a lot of energy and the next it's hard getting out of bed. But I'm in the "30s" now and there is light at the end of the tunnel. I can do this!

Things that made me cry/laugh: I am constantly amazed at how incredible my husband is - this pregnancy has definitely brought us closer, and as much as I feel like I'm already making sacrifices for our son, Ben has matched me step for step. Every time I wake up during the night to go to the bathroom he'll say "you okay babe?" or "do you need help?" (A lot of times he will give me a supportive hand to help get me out of bed!) I'll wake him up because one of my hips hurts and he'll massage it until it feels better - even if it's 3 AM and he's only been asleep for a couple of hours.

When I call Ben in tears saying, "oh my gosh I can't be pregnant for another 10 weeks, I'm exhausted how can I do this," he talks me down, and reminds me of how far I've come and how proud he is of me.

We had a dusting of snow one morning and Ben left before I did; when I went outside to my car he'd already cleaned it off for me (and put gas in it the night before). It was so considerate I almost cried. I'm so so grateful for this man.

Best moment of the week: Surprisingly, I think it was our visit to labor and delivery. I'm sure I wouldn't be saying this if it had been more of a scare, but I'm grateful we got to see what it would be like when we deliver - from the nurses (amazing), to what kinds of procedures to expect (blood pressure monitoring, blood draws, etc.) and especially to what I'm now referring to as "the kick seen 'round the world," it ended up being a really reassuring visit and I'll take it!

Feb 5, 2015

That time I went to the hospital and it all turned out okay

Dear Lemon,

I'm going to say something that surprises even me, yet is absolutely and completely true.

Pregnancy is the hardest thing I've ever done.

Are you already wanted and loved fiercely? Absolutely. Do you already make your Dad and me laugh about small silly things? Completely. But I'll tell you, I'm surprised at how physically hard it's been - it took us so long to get pregnant with you, I assumed this pregnancy wouldn't be that difficult, and for the most part it hasn't been, but wow, is your Mom exhausted.

Yesterday found us heading to labor and delivery at the hospital where you'll be born. I felt okay, but there were some symptoms our doctor wanted to monitor, so off we went. Something...unusual happened while we were there.

I wasn't panicked, or anxious, or even freaked out.

You had been moving around all day, so I was confident you would be fine. For the first time in this pregnancy, I wasn't worried about you - it was like you'd anticipated this visit so had given me extra signals that all was okay.

The nurses were incredible - they took my blood pressure, drew some blood, and then strapped a monitor to my stomach so we could hear your heartbeat for awhile.
Oh, sweet boy, I could listen to that sound all day.

As I sat in the bed listening to you, I thought "we'll get to do this again in several weeks, only for a way cooler reason." We heard a baby crying and your Dad and I just smiled at each other. I told him I wanted you fully cooked but man am I excited to meet you!

You'd been moving around a lot (we kept laughing how the sound got louder as you re-positioned yourself each time), and right after I said I was excited to meet you, you kicked right where the monitor was on my stomach, as if you agreed. I couldn't stop laughing!

It's been a hard few days, but I'll make you a deal. I'll take the sleepless nights and the achey hips, and the congestion that just won't end, if you keep growing big and strong, deal?

When we came home last night it was after hearing the nurse tell me all my labs looked great, and that your heart rate was gorgeous. (Coming from a labor and delivery nurse that's a mighty fine compliment my friend).

We love you Lemonhead. Keep growing, keep kicking, and know we've got nothing but love for you.


Jan 29, 2015

Five on Friday (almost)'s not quite Friday, but I thought it might be fun to do a tidbits/blurbs kind of post so it's not just all pregnancy all the time around here!

1. Registration for Advocacy Day is open! It's Thursday, May 14th and oh my gosh, watching the video on the site made me tear up and feel empowered all over again! I'm not sure if I'll be able to attend this year - depending on when Lemon arrives I may only have a one or two-week old, so I haven't registered yet but regardless I'm so excited the date has been chosen! Also, if you think you can't do it - you really can.

2. Speaking of advocating, the DC Walk of Hope is Saturday, June 6th - the site for it should be up and running soon and I can't wait! We had a site visit to National Harbor a few weeks ago and it was so great to meet some of the volunteers who will be helping. I can't wait for this year's walk - more to come on this!
Ashley and me - co-chairs for this year's DC Walk of Hope!
3. I've been a knitting fool lately. I've been busting out projects like it's my job! The only downside is when I knit a lot I tend to not read a lot because I can't do both at once. I have however been binge watching Criminal Minds on Netflix. (Fun fact: if you watch multiple episodes of a show about serial killers before you go to bed you will have weird dreams).

4. I passed my glucose test! I wasn't overly worried about it, but when it was confirmed I'd passed, I felt ridiculously proud. For so long I've felt betrayed by my body because of infertility and I'm really proud that it's finally doing everything it should be doing!

5. Um, how is it February this weekend? I will be watching the Superbowl (and probably knitting at the same time) on Sunday - despite my tiredness I will stay up to watch Tom Brady lose. Sorry I'm not sorry Patriots fans.

What are your five for (almost) Friday? Will you be watching the Superbowl? (Watching just the commercials and halftime show totally counts!)

Jan 26, 2015

28 weeks

How far along: 28 weeks - officially in the third trimester! Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, there were so many times when I wouldn't even let myself imagine getting to this point and now it's here!

How big is baby: Lemon went from the size of a scallion, to a head of cauliflower, and is now the size of a large eggplant. Next week he'll be the size of a butternut squash - woah!

Anxious about: My anxiety is definitely getting better, and at this point I'm now going to the doctor every other week, and we get to hear his heartbeat each time which I love love love!

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: Mmm, all the fruit and veggies. I'm really enjoying eating well lately, and hopefully that reflects in my glucose test. (For the record, drinking glucose wasn't nearly as bad as I anticipated, but it did have a gross after taste).

Movement: Oh my gosh how I love movement! I've definitely noticed him moving around more during the day, but there was one night last week when I was tired and anxious and I asked Lemon to give me a few reassuring kicks. I felt some movement a few minutes later and whispered, "thanks bud." Fast forward to a few minutes later when I actually went to bed, and I felt the strongest kicks and punches yet! I ended up giggling myself to sleep because I swear it felt like he was doing somersaults!

The belly: Definitely growing! When I've been sitting for awhile I'm a little stiff when I get up and there are awkward moments because sometimes I forget I can't move quite as gracefully as I once did.

Miscellaneous: I'm not sleeping well because I'm up a lot to go to the bathroom or my hips are sore and I wake up to shift around, which I think contributes to my frustration levels. I get super impatient about inconsequential things now; for instance, the other day I dropped something twice in a row and actually screamed out loud because I was so irritated! It's funny talking about it but oh my gosh is it frustrating in the moment!

We're also moving into "getting things done," mode. We have a meet and greet with a pediatrician scheduled later this week, we've done a virtual hospital tour (they cancelled the actual tours because the flu has been so rampant), and we're signed up for a birth class next month.

Things that made me cry/laugh: I started working on a digital photo album to document this pregnancy. It's going to be as much writing as there are pictures (I'm hoping to include my blog posts as well), and the other night I just kept thinking how grateful I am to be doing this.

Also, every night I sing Lemon a lullaby, and I swear he knows that's when it's time for bed. If he's been active he settles down (for the most part), and sometimes he'll even kick while I'm singing. I love that we're already establishing traditions with him!

Best moment of the week:  I visited my best friend this past weekend and she sent me home with all sorts of goodies for Lemon - prints to put up, clothes, lamps, and even a little wooden robot who is now hanging on the wall. We've had furniture (crib, dresser/changing table, bookshelf) in his room for awhile, but finishing more of the "homey" touches really hit me and made it start to feel like a room.
So far so good!
At one point Ben and I just stood in there, his hand on my stomach, and I said, "just think, in a few months there's going to be a little boy sleeping in here," and we both just grinned like fools!

Jan 18, 2015

Granting Grace

This post could also be called "how week 26 kicked my ass."

Getting pregnant was hell. Staying pregnant was hell. Losing our daughter was heart-wrenching.

I knew pregnancy would be hard, but I think on some level I thought/hoped/wished maybe it wouldn't be quite so rough for me since it had taken us so long to get here.

I'm ready to be a mom. Yes there are going to be sleepless nights, and tears, and doubts and worries that are probably going to make the ones in this pregnancy look like child's play (pun definitely intended) - I don't expect it to be a walk in the park. Bring it.

But for some reason, I can't wrap my mind around that for pregnancy.

There are moments when  I have to take a breath because the amount of things I summon to worry about overwhelm me. I'm active in the infertility community, and because of that I know incredible stories of hope, and horrifying stories of loss. I know someone who has lost a child at every stage of pregnancy and beyond, so the "out of the woods" feeling has yet to sink in.

Of course I'm grateful to be pregnant, and I love this little boy so fiercely that it sometimes takes my breath away; yet there are times when I am so miserable I don't know how I'm going to do this for another three months. Then I immediately think, I'm sorry, I can do this, please don't take that as a sign that he should come early or anything bad should happen. Some days everything I say is with a caveat - I don't want to seem ungrateful.

However, there are days when I think oh my gosh, this is why I was never successfully pregnant - I'm simply not cut out for it.

For all intents and purposes, I've so far had a pretty textbook pregnancy, which is fantastic! But the fear is there. It's there and it's real, and it's not me simply thinking, "oh I hope nothing bad happens." It's me thinking of friends and family and knowing their stories of loss. It's me thinking if I don't honor their loss in my mind, it will happen to us too.

I start to get excited about my baby shower and then check my ankles for swelling because I'm paranoid about preeclampsia.

I feel happy and excited, and then temper it with "well, so far so good. Let's hope it stays that way."

I sleep with a humidifier every night, yet my nose alternates between being runny and so dry it's bloody and painful. I get leg cramps at night and I stretch and drink more water, yet that only makes me wake up more times to go to the bathroom, which then makes me aware of how sore my hips really are every time I turn over.

The other day a friend of mine said, "Becky, give yourself a break - you're building a human!" I laughed, but it's true. There are changes that are happening I can't see, and there are things that will happen I have no control over - and at some point I need to believe everything is going to be okay.

I want to be clear - this is not my outlook all the time, or even half the time. Yes, it's going to be another three months of frequent bathroom breaks, and uncomfortable aches and pains. But I also recognize it's another three months of feeling more and more movement, finalizing his room, and making preparations so when our son is here all we have to do is focus on him.

I tell myself, It's okay that it's hard. It's okay that you're not happy all the time. It's okay to have a slurpee two three days in a row.

Tomorrow is a new day. I'll be 27 weeks, and I have a prenatal massage scheduled that I hope is going to alleviate some tension I've been carrying. So today I will rest and relax, and pat my stomach each time this little man moves around.

The worry is there, but so is the joy.

Early on I realized just because I wanted something, doesn't meant it wouldn't be hard. I promised to be honest even if it wasn't pretty - thanks for granting me grace to do so.

Jan 12, 2015

26 weeks

How far along: 26 weeks - this means only 14 weeks to go, which means I am almost at the third trimester! Woah!

How big is baby: Lemon went from an ear of corn, to a rutabaga, and now is the size of a scallion. I imagine he's the length of a scallion but with the weight of a rutabaga - you know, that whole "plumping up" thing!

Anxious about: The past couple of days were rough - I think with Cece's anniversary, and some lack of sleep on my part, I had a few nights of being very worried and anxious. (I just kept thinking about how I couldn't go through that again, and so many things can still go wrong). Ben was so sweet and patient - he just sat and talked with me, and then when Lemon gave me a few gentle kicks said, "See? He's letting you know he's okay!" I know how wonderful Ben is and how happy I am to have married him, but in that instance it gave me such a great glimpse of the kind of father he's going to be, and I can't wait to see that.

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: So far so good on this front. There are a few things that give me a little acid reflux (sadly, pumpkin is one of those), but I am no longer puking so oh my gosh I don't even care!

Gender: Baby boy!

Movement: Loving it! I'm starting to learn his patterns of when he's the most active, and every time he kicks I laugh, and stop what I'm doing to talk to him.

The belly: Growing! The other day I walked into the bathroom and as I glanced in the mirror I started laughing - my belly definitely leads the way now!

Miscellaneous: I'm usually up a couple times a night to go to the bathroom but because my hips have started to get a little sore (I'm trying to sleep with my pregnancy pillow under my stomach and between my knees which helps), sometimes it's nice to get up and walk for a minute so I'm not so stiff in the morning. It's winter and everything is dry, but I think pregnancy is definitely exacerbating this for me; my hands are soaking up lotion like it's their job and my nose is so dry it's often times bloody. I drink lots of water and we've started using a humidifier which helps, but on mornings when I'm really miserable, I simply remind myself it's better than throwing up!

Also, because I talk about how Ben makes me laugh all the time, I thought I'd show a little proof - here's an outtake from when he was taking pictures of me for this week's post.
Things that made me cry: I definitely think my emotions are stronger now (I'm sure due to all the hormones), so when I do have happy or sad moments I tend to get drained a lot faster - I forget how much energy feelings can take out of you!

Best moment of the week:  Last night before I went to sleep Ben was talking to my stomach, telling Lemon good night, and right where his mouth was he felt a little push back! I love seeing when Ben can really distinguish movement so we were both happy about it - I told him maybe Lemon was giving him a kiss goodnight and he said, "Yeah, or maybe that was his butt!" I laughed so hard!

As I was going to sleep I was exhausted but happy, and it was the first time in awhile I remember feeling a sense of peace. Here's hoping that lasts!