Monday, October 31, 2011

Helmholdt Happenings

Ahhhh last week was a B-U-S-Y week. Every day felt like it was jammed packed. And by Saturday I was too tired to even leave the house (or barely shower for that matter...). Praying that this week is a little slower paced but that the week itself (again) flies by!!!

After my appointment on Tuesday I thought I better pick up the pace on my "Baby To Do List"...now that the little stinker might be making his/her appearance a little earlier than previously thought/planned. Some of the things I accomplished this week included...cleaning out the fridge, getting my prescription sunglasses and my prescription (every day) glasses tightened, getting my ring cleaned, buying Christmas presents for all my nieces and nephews and my mother-in-law...(only ones left to buy for are my parents and my father-in-law). Brian and I decided to omit everyone else this year (including buying for each other) with Buggy's arrival being right around Christmas. I also ordered some cute "boy and girl things" off Etsy and from Jan's Unique Creations for Bug's newborn photo shoot. Plus (not pictured) is a boy hat that my sister had bought while pregnant with Brinley...obviously Brinley was a girl so she said that she would give me the hat if I had a boy.

If Bug's a boy...he's gonna be a lil stud in this hat (from Jan's Unique Creations).
Too cute!!!
I only bought the white headband...not all 3 :)

I bought myself some nursing bras, nursing tanks, a cute sweater for my 1st shower (which was this past Friday), a cute new PJ set for the hospital stay, some baby essentials that I hadn't registered for like Dreft baby detergent, Tylenol and gas drops. I of course attended my very first baby shower and on Saturday washed everything that needed to be washed and put away all my awesome gifts as well. And my week was also made busy by things NOT on my to do list as well. I had to work my 3 four hour shifts, do my Bible Study lessons plus make a dessert for my Bible Study plus attend Bible Study, I got a prenatal massage, had a doctor appointment, and I went to another "31 Party" hosted by my sis-in-law Kristi. I order this collapsible cube bag in Black Parisian Pop with "TOYS" written on it in yellow for the nursery!!! And I of course ordered some other super cute bags too.


Well I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween today/tonight...I will be living mine up by working the 3-7:30pm shift at work. However, I cannot wait to dress my little pumpkin up next year!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Journey: Week 31

October 30
How Far Along: 31 weeks.

Size of Baby: Our little bug-a-boo is on average 16 inches long (head to heel) and weighs 3.3 pounds (and is heading into a growth spurt). Actually as of my appointment this past Tuesday Bug was already a hefty 3lbs and 13ozs...what an over-achiever!!! But for comparisons sake...my babe is about the size of four navel oranges.

Picture of Baby: I am not a huge fan of face shots and that's what I got this week so sorry no picture of Buggy (again) this week.


31 weeks: Bug can turn his/her head from side to side, and his/her arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his/her skin. He/she is probably moving a lot, too, so I may have trouble sleeping because Bug’s kicks and somersaults will keep me up. I can take comfort though because all this moving is a sign that my baby is active and healthy. (Information taken from babycenter.com)

Weight Gain: Well I didn't break the big 3-0 this week. Holding steady at a total weight gain of 29.5lbs...which only puts me up one pound this week.


Belly:


Stretch Marks: None.


Sleep: I often will lay in bed for an hour or so after getting up to pee unable to fall back asleep...it stinks the big one. But I've noticed that if I move to the couch I am able to fall back asleep again. So more nights than not at some point during the night I end up on the couch. 


Best Moment of the Week: Seeing Buggy via ultrasound again this week...he/she is getting so big! I loved hearing that he/she is in the 68th percentile (growing strong!!!) and that the kidneys are looking good (still mild hydronephrosis) and that I have plenty of fluid for Buggy to move around in. Praise the Lord for a healthy growing baby.


Movement: Pretty sure the less stressed I am...the more Buggy moves. And my stress level has been down which means Buggy has been on the move...ALL THE TIME!!! So praying that I continue to stay calm. I took my blood pressure a few days after starting on my blood pressure med and it was actually normal at 116/72. On a different note I'm pretty sure that Buggy is still transverse...but we will find out for sure on November 22...3 weeks (plus 2 days) away.  

Food Cravings: Grilled cheese sandwiches.


Gender: Most people say BOY...although there are a few that say GIRL. I think BOY (because hydronephrosis is more common in boys...although if you remember from week 23 I mentioned that my daughter Ella had it too). Old Wives-Tales all point to GIRL. Long story short...who really knows...guess we'll be finding out in 9 weeks (or less)!!!


What I Miss: A normal nights sleep. Peeing 3-4 times a night and (pregnancy induced) sleep insomnia are getting a little old. Can't wait until my sleep is instead disrupted by my beautiful baby wanting to eat.


What I'm Looking Forward to: My ultrasound on November 22. I am a planner and would like to know if a C-Section is in the books for me. And I am looking forward to finishing my antibiotics. I have to take one pill tomorrow (to finish this weeks 5 day course) and then my last round of antibiotics is November 10-14. I've been on/off this antibiotic since July 7...meaning every other Thursday I have started a 5 day course. It will be a wonderful feeling to just be done with them...that is until I get pregnant (Lord-willing) again.


Milestones: Only one week from hitting the 32 week mark...which happens to be my next big goal. At 32 weeks babies can typically get the suck and swallow pattern down much quicker than a babe born before 32 weeks. Also babies born at 32 weeks have an excellent chance of survival, without any major complications, though they might not have full lung maturity (which generally occurs between 33 and 37 weeks).


Emotions: Starting to get really excited to meet this little one!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My 1st Baby Shower!!!

A few weeks ago I received my first baby shower invitation in the mail. And last night was finally the big event!!! My sister hosted it at her house with lots of help from my best friend Karie and my sis-in-law Kristi.


Everything was perfect down to the last detail. Yummy food. Perfect decorations. Wonderful gifts. And great friends to share in my joy!!! It was so surreal to finally be celebrating the arrival of my "Little Miracle" (as the banner appropriately stated). Earlier in the day I had met my mom and some of my nieces/nephew for lunch and after I strapped them in to their car seats I turned right into a tearful hug from my mom. She was just so happy that it was finally my turn. And you know what I was too.

Me by the yummy (all desserts) food (and perfect decorations)!!!
Me by the wonderful gifts!!!


Me and the friends/sisters that made this evening so special!!!

Front: Sis-in-law Jana and baby V, Kami, Laura, Sis-in-law Kristi. Andrea (with my niece Brinley), and Jen
Back: My sister Courtney, Erika and baby S, Me and Baby H, Karie, Gretchen, Rachel and baby S, Melissa and her son Cohen, and Lisa

I received so many wonderful gifts. And I cannot wait to use every single one of them when my sweet baby arrives. When I opened my first gift I was surprised and very excited to receive my Jumperoo. I will admit here that I enjoy peaking at my registry every now and then day...and my Jumperoo was NOT marked as purchased. Oh but it was (the store just hadn't marked it as purchased)!!! And my sister's best friends gave me the cutest themed present(s). It took me awhile to get the theme and that was only after a few hints but I did get it before I opened the fourth gift :) The first box had a cute snuggle teddy head blanket that said "Babies Are A Gift From God." The second box had 2 gowns and a swaddle me wrap. The third box had a ducky blanket and the book "Good Morning, Good Night." And it was at this point that my sister asked if I had caught the theme. I hadn't yet and then my sis-in-law said to read the title of the book. I read the title and immediately saw the theme...bed time!!! And the fourth box had my Rainforest Waterfall Peek-a-Boo Soother in it!!!

All my wonderful gifts...my pack-n-play, my jumperoo, bottles, pacifiers, blankets, toys, diapers, wipes, grooming kit, gowns, books, car seat cover, swaddle me wrap, infant night time soother, 1st 4th of July bib, and a bottle drying rack!!!

We played two games. The first was "The Price is Right" baby style. There were 8 items and we had to guess how much each cost. The person closest to the total (before tax) who did NOT go over the total was the winner. (I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was only $2 under the grand total...although there was someone that came even closer). But being the guest of honor I got to take home all the items. The second game was guessing how many candies were in a bottle. My prize for this game was the super duper cute diaper cake pictured below. You did an EXCELLENT job Kare and the colors (yellow,black, and white) are my nursery colors which made me love it even more!!!


I must say...it was the perfect first shower...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Beautiful Article

Yesterday I stopped by my parent's house to quick say "hi" (quick ended up being a 2 hour stay that included dinner) but when I was there my mom handed me an article from the May 2011 Banner that she said I had to read. However, three of my favorite little people were at my parent's house so no reading was done...until this morning that is. When I read the article this morning it brought tears to my eyes. And so I just wanted to share it with all the moms (and dads) out there who have lost a child. The article is entitled...The Hardest Death of All: The death of a child stands alone on the scale of heartbreak. You can read the whole article by clicking here but I have included some snip-its below...

Death is an inevitable part of life. Every death hurts. Seldom does one occur without pain and unhappiness, without changing our lives. It is not wise to compare one death to another or to rank losses on a scale of which is more difficult. For one thing, each loss is different. No one knows how a death will affect the survivors. The death of a brother may be more devastating to one person than the death of a mother is to another. Grief is hard. We should avoid comparisons. There is one exception to that rule: the death of one's child is in a league by itself.

...I regret that I didn't realize years earlier the enormity of the death of someone’s child. I saw so much more clearly that those deaths were much more tragic than I had previously realized. I am deeply apologetic for my lack of sympathy and empathy.


The death of a child is so wrong. Children are not supposed to predecease their parents. They are supposed to grow up, enjoy life, laugh, learn, love—live. Someday they are supposed to “lay their parents to rest,” not the other way around. Every father and mother carries that timetable deep in their heart, and when a child dies there is no capacity to fit in such a reversal. It is not the way life is supposed to be. It is wrong. Hopes, dreams, plans, and joys lie shattered with no hope of revival. They are ended.


Faith Crisis

But when Christians experience such tragedies, they are in a different place than others. On the one hand there is usually the strong assurance of their young one’s being safe in the arms of Jesus. But that is not where they want their child. They want their child in their own arms. Still, there is profound comfort in Jesus’ promise. This comfort is more of a valued belief than a true anesthesia for parents’ broken hearts. The pain is not lessened. It will never be gone...


Leaving Healing to God
...My observations are limited, but the truth seems to be that most who lose a child survive, regain their strength and spirit, and live again as productive and even life-enjoying people. The pain never goes away. The loss is always felt, but a meaningful life can go onThat, I believe is the healing of God. God does restore the crushed, but the pain endures forever.


I AM a survivor. Yes my life has gone on but I WILL NEVER forget the children that I have lost. The pain is still there. Their loss is always felt. But God is SO good because He has brought healing into my life through Buggy!!! Buggy has given me a reason to push forward. Everything I do is for Buggy (and my hubby too). YES God is SO good!!! 


"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If its Not One Thing...Then its Another

So as I already stated in my title...if its not one thing...then its another. As my usual though first things first. Blood pressure was/is still high so my doctor is putting me on a blood pressure med...(a very small dose of a drug called labetalol). At this point I still have NO signs of preeclampsia (praise the Lord) but since the blood pressure is still high he feels like it would be in my best interest to as he says "put a cap on it." Meaning he doesn't want it to get any higher. He said that its a positive sign that in the last 3-4 weeks it hasn't increased week by week. If it had then preeclampsia would be on the horizon. But for now (praying it stays that way) IT'S NOT!!!

In other "first things first" news...baby's heartbeat was 148 and he/she is a whopping 3lbs and 13oz...putting him/her in the 68th percentile. (This is up a pound and 4 oz in just 3 weeks)!!! So as you can see Buggy is growing healthy and strong and that makes this mama H-A-P-P-Y!!! Bug still has mild hydronephrosis (thankfully its still mild) and since he/she still has it...he/she bought him/herself an ultrasound a few days after birth. Still not worried about this though because my doctor is still not concerned. And lastly, Bug has plenty of amniotic fluid surrounding him/her.

Basically everything looks good except for one lil issue. Unfortunately though, this issue happens to be a big issue. What is the issue? Bug is transverse. What a little stinker. For those of you who don't know what this means here I go. Baby being transverse poses a huge risk to me and baby at delivery. So in 4 weeks I will have another ultrasound to see what baby's position is. Chances are he/she will still be in the transverse position according to Dr. J. because babies in the transverse position have a hard time righting themselves...they basically get stuck in the side-ways position. As Dr. J put it the majority of babies in the transverse position at 30 weeks will not right themselves...just lovely. So if Bug stays in the transverse position I would have to have a planned C-section because it would be very dangerous for me to go into labor on my own.

So the tentative plan is to see what the ultrasound shows in 4 weeks and if baby is in fact still in the transverse position I will have to have an amniocentesis at 36 or 37 weeks. If baby's lungs are ready...a C-section will be scheduled and Bug will be arriving a touch early. If the amniocentesis shows that Bug's lungs need a little more time a second amnio will be scheduled about a week later and hopefully this amnio would show that Bug is ready to enter the world.

This is all so crazy to me...NOTHING has been normal this whole pregnancy from start to (possible) finish. If its not one thing...then its another...placenta previa, cervical checks, on/off antibiotics for possible infection, hydronephrosis, blood pressure issues, and now Bug being transverse. I know lots of peeps who have C-sections but I do not personally know of anyone who has needed one because their baby was transverse...leave that to me.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Anxiety: Let GO and Let GOD

I read the below devotional a few days ago when I was feeling extremely anxious about my high blood pressure and all the ramifications it (my blood pressure) could have on both me and the baby. It was a good reminder that I need to Let GO and Let GOD. He is in control...not little ole me. But boy oh boy is it ever hard to just let go.


ANXIETY IS A RESULT OF envisioning the future without Me. So the best defense against worry is staying in communication with Me. When you turn your thoughts toward Me, you can think much more positively. Remember to listen, as well as to speak, making your thoughts a dialogue with Me.

If you must consider upcoming events, follow these rules: 1) Do not linger in the future, because anxieties sprout up like mushrooms when you wander there. 2) Remember the promise of My continual Presence; include Me in any imagery that comes to mind. This mental discipline does not come easily, because you are accustomed to being god of your fantasies. However, the reality of My Presence with you, now and forevermore, outshines any fantasy you could ever imagine. (Jesus Calling)

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

A few days ago someone asked me how I was feeling. I said something about being my typical worried self only this time because of my high blood pressure and this person responded by telling me to just not worry. And to just give it all up to Him. Now I know this person meant well but telling someone to "just not worry" and to "just give it all up to Him"  is not a helpful statement...especially if you have not walked in my shoes. It's very easy to tell someone to just not worry if you've had no issues getting or staying pregnant but after all I have been through...pregnancy is NOT a joyride. I have never had a good (pregnancy) outcome so as my counselor tells me...I am just waiting for something bad to happen in this pregnancy as well. And my counselor has also told me that many moms who have lost babies think that if they worry about bad things happening then maybe those bad things won't happen. I think this sounds a tad bit like me...don't ya think.

I know that this person was basically saying the same thing as my devotional (from above)...meaning Let GO and Let GOD. But reading it and hearing it are two different things. I know its wrong to worry but I am after all only human. And what human doesn't worry every now and then. And what woman doesn't worry when she is carrying a precious life. Now imagine that you have lost 3 precious lives...wouldn't you be worrying about losing a fourth precious life?  The answer is YES...YES you would be worrying. I do not know a single woman who has lost a baby that doesn't worry about losing another child in a subsequent pregnancy. So moral of the story...do not tell someone to just not worry. Tell them instead that you will be praying for them to give it all up to God. Because I do pray every day for these fears, worries, and anxieties to go away. But its just not that easy which is why almost daily I say to myself..."Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34)

And another favorite verses (Philippians 4:6-7) says it perfectly..."do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Journey: Week 30

October 23
How Far Along: 30 weeks!!!

Size of Baby: Our little bug-a-boo is on average 15.7 (or 17) inches long...(just depends on where you are doing your research)...and weighs three pounds. Or for comparisons sake...like a head cabbage.

30 weeks:  A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds my baby, but that volume will decrease as he/she gets bigger and takes up more room in my uterus. His/her eyesight continues to develop, though it's not very keen; even after he/she is born, he/she will keep his/her eyes closed for a good part of the day. When he/she does open them, he/she will respond to changes in light but will have 20/400 vision--which means he/she can only make out objects a few inches from his/her face. (Normal adult vision is 20/20.) (Information taken from babycenter.com)


Maternity Clothes: Mostly maternity but still fitting into some non-maternity.


Weight Gain: Up another pound and a half. Drum rolls please...which makes my grand total a whopping 28.5lbs. I might hit the big 3-0 mark next week :)


Belly: Two for the price of one this week!!!


Saturday afternoon...
and a Sunday morning full frontal shot!

Stretch Marks: Zip...Zero...Zilch

Sleep: I have my good nights...my okay nights...and my it just plain stinks nights.


Best Moment of the Week: After 45 minutes of relaxing...a blood pressure of 126/72 (and at the doctor's office to boot)!!! Oh and an excellent report on my NST (non-stress test).


Movement: Sometimes its more and sometimes its less (which is what sent me to an improntu doctor appointment on Friday) but trying to remain calm knowing that Buggy is growing and has less room to move around. But the movements have definitely changed from jabs to a whole (little) body shifting positions. 

Food Cravings: Sunday lunch at my parents. And still loving trident gum.


Gender: Everyone is telling me its a boy. Guess we'll find out in 10 weeks or less...I do not plan on being overdue...hopefully Dr. J agrees with this!!!


What I Miss: Me NOT being so anxious. I know life will be full of different worries once the babe arrives but I will take those worries ANY DAY over this anxiety-ridden pregnancy. In the car today Brian said he is most looking forward to being "normal" for awhile. He said he is done with this horrible pregnancy. Que Bug's kick. I told Bug that mommy loves him/her and Brian said...its not the baby I don't love its his/her neurotic mother who I can't handle much more of...isn't he sweet?!? 


What I'm Looking Forward to: My first shower this coming Friday hosted by my lovely sister with help from my bestie and one of my sis-in-laws!!!


Milestones: I am the big 3-0 (weeks) today!!! See ya later 20's...


Emotions: Thankful for all the prayers of love being poured out on behalf of Bug's healthy arrival...in December (or January).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

How Time Flies

Oh my goodness. I was just looking through some old pictures and came across this one of my 3 oldest nieces...crazy how fast they have grown. Makes me excited to watch my own baby(s) GROW!!!

Cambrey (8 mons), Kylynn (a month shy of 2 years), and Addisyn (3 mons)
Kylyyn (5 yrs), Cambrey (3 weeks from 4yrs), and Addisyn (3yrs)

Keeping Things Interesting

So yesterday was another interesting day in the life of pregnant ole me. After two days of feeling less noticeable movement I started to worry...big time. On Wednesday night (let me clarify by saying sometime in the middle of the night) Buggy did a complete flip and this flip scared me because it was nothing like I've ever felt before. But it only got worse when I felt less movement the following day (this being Thursday).

I basically spent all day Thursday staring at my belly...that is until I had to go into work. And once I got to work I checked my blood pressure and lets just say it was high. I rechecked it a few more times throughout my 4 hour shift and it was all over the place. By this time I was consumed with wanting to feel Buggy move. One of my coworkers told me to drink some orange juice which helped some but when I got home I once again wasn't feeling a whole lotta movement. So I drank some more orange juice and was happy when Buggy started moving again. But Bug's movements were so subtle that I really had to focus to feel and see them.

Normally I feel Buggy move throughout the night but Thursday into Friday I once again was not feeling Bug move a whole lot. So yesterday I was once again consumed with staring at my belly. Bug moved here and there but it was so subtle that I again had to really focus. As you can all imagine I could feel my blood pressure and anxiety rising so I finally called my OB's office.

My doctor is not in the office on Wednesdays or Fridays but a nurse is always there to answer any questions. I was put through to a nurse that I was not familiar with (but whom I now adore). I told her that I was still definitely feeling my baby move but that it wasn't as often or as pronounced as it had been. She didn't sound too alarmed but said that she would page Dr. Jelsema and ask him his opinion. I waited and waited and no call came. The nurse had said that she would only call if he wanted me to come in. Well the clock struck 2:15 and I had not heard anything yet so I decided to head to Walmart to check my blood pressure before going into work. (You may wonder why I didn't just check it at work but since it seems to run high at work I wanted something to compare it to...hence my trip to Walmart). At Walmart it was upper 140/90's...yikes. So I start thinking that my blood pressure was causing a lack of blood flow to the baby's placenta and maybe that was why I was feeling less movement. (Sometimes I hate that I am a nurse).

Well I was just getting on the on ramp when my phone rang and it was the nurse calling me back. She apologized for taking so long in calling me back but that she had just gotten a hold of Dr. Jelsema...let me remind you that he is not on-call but keeps his pager with him at all times just in case. She said that he was not too alarmed since I was still feeling my babe move (and because like I had already discussed with the nurse...as babies grow their movements can become less frequent for periods of time because there is less room for them to move plus they start having sleep/awake cycles)...but because of my history and because of how anxious I am he wanted me to come in for a NST (non-stress test). At this point it was only 20 minutes before I was suppose to be at work. I quickly called worked and profusely apologized for the late phone call (we're suppose to call no later than 1:30 if we're calling in) but that I would not be coming in today because my doctor wanted me to come in for a non-stress test since my baby's movements haven't been as strong or as often. Then I called the hubby. I didn't want to alarm him if  it wasn't necessary but this warranted a phone call.

I made my way to the office and as I was waiting I could feel Buggy start moving a little bit more and it was more pronounced. I saw one of my regular nurses and she asked what I was doing there. I explained and she immediately put me more at ease and said that she was glad that I had called if I was so nervous. Better to be safe than sorry...YOU GOT THAT RIGHT! The nurse that I talked to on the phone came to get me just a few minutes later and hooked me up to the monitor. I heard my baby's heartbeat right away and it was music to my ears. The nurse and I talked for awhile and as we were talking she reassured me that what she was seeing so far looked really good. Then she dimmed the lights and let me relax for a little bit. One of my regular nurses came in to see me and we chatted for a little bit too and reminded me that I can call at any time because that is what they are here for. I know its silly but I don't want to be an alarmist.

The nurse came back in to take my blood pressure after taking me off the monitor. Blood pressure was 142/82...still high but not as bad as it was at Walmart. So she had me lay on my side to relax some more and when she rechecked my blood pressure it was down to 126/72...BOO-YAH!!! We then checked my weight...that looked good. And we had already checked my urine...which by the way was protein FREE. She laughed at me because as I walked out of the bathroom I said well at least the stick looks good. I pay way too much attention to everything :) And then I just had to wait for the on-call doctor to see me. She was great and told me that my Non-Stress Test looked perfect. It showed baby moving with good deceleration's and acceleration's of the heartbeat and my uterus was nice and calm. So I left feeling SO MUCH better than when I had arrived. And the on-call doctor happened to be the doctor that a friend of mine nanny's for. I didn't mention anything at first but I could tell she didn't know my full story so I said that I was Gretchen's friend and she instantly knew why I was so nervous. She told me to come in every single day if I needed to...not that I will (and not that they truly want me to) but it's so nice to know that I can if I really wanted to.

And yes Buggy has started moving more. My body was pry stressing Bug out so much that he/she just didn't want to move. Now that my body is less stressed Buggy is on the move once again!!! Praise the Lord!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Benefit Celebration

On Monday night Brian and I went to a benefit concert in honor of baby Zander. (Baby Zander was a little guy who left this world too soon this past April). All I can say is that his mommy did an AMAZING job putting this benefit together. The purpose of this benefit concert was to raise funds for Care Packages (aka...super cute bags) that will be filled with books, blogs, encouraging songs, poems, and other materials to help baby-lost mommies (and daddies) move forward. When you give birth to a (take-home) baby you get a diaper bag filled with goodies for your new baby. So Jen (Zander's mom) wanted baby-lost mommies leaving with a special bag too...because leaving the hospital without your baby(ies) is one of the worst feelings in the world.

Since Brian and I were unable to partake in this years Walk To Remember...(check out last years walk by clicking here)...in remembrance of the girls I was excited when Jen emailed asking if I would like to have a picture of the girls in the slideshow and to also light a candle in their honor. (Jen and I have a mutual friend that cyber introduced us back in April and it was wonderful to finally meet her face to face).  Anyways the concert was filled with beautiful songs sung by talented local artists, amazing slide shows, prayers, and Jen's encouraging and heartfelt words. And at the end all the mommies who have lost a baby (or babies) lit a candle in their honor. And then Jen sent every mom (and dad) home with sky lanterns and a CD of the slideshow.

It was a wonderful evening made even better by the people that we got to talk with after the concert!!! And if you're up for a few prayer requests...please be in prayer for Heather at A Little Hope in My Pocket and Julie at Dykstra Family. I got to meet Heather officially for the first time. We have also met via the internet via the same friend that cyber introduced me to Jen. Please be praying that their dreams of becoming Earthly parents will come true oh so very soon. And Julie is the mother of a sweet angel named Mikayla who passed away just over a month ago. Please be praying for continued healing and direction in the days and weeks ahead.

Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. Lamentations 3:32

Monday, October 17, 2011

Anxiety is the Name of the Game

Ahhh another interesting appointment today if I might say so. First things first baby and mom are doing excellent...despite my blood pressure reaching 160/90 today (holy cowser beans...can I get an AMEN). So as you can imagine I once again had to lay on my left side and after 5 minutes of rest it was already down to 148/72.

I am going to stop here a minute and say that once again my urine was clear of any protein (yea!!!). My weight stayed stable. Still no swelling, no headaches, no double or blurry vision, or right sided pain. Another sign of preeclampsia is decreased urine output and lets just say that Brian tells me that I pee too much...so we all know that my kidneys are working just fine. Baby is moving like crazy which is a huge relief to me. And baby is also definitely growing because he/she is now jabbing me in the ribs. So all of this makes me feel much better that preeclampsia is NOT on the horizon. Oh and it doesn't hurt that my labs from last week were completely normal. And I passed my gestational diabetes test too (on a side note)!!!

So after my nurse rechecked my blood pressure Dr. Jelsema came in and then we had a little chat. He first reassured Brian and I that because of the sudden drop in my blood pressure that he was not at all concerned about preeclampsia (along with the fact that I have no other signs/symptoms of preeclampsia). And since the blood pressures that I have taken over the last week have all been normal he said that these spikes in blood pressure are not harming the baby in any way. Basically I just have some serious anxiety issues. It was at this point that I told Dr. Jelsema that during infertility treatments that my blood pressure reached 200/100 (so yes I definitely have serious anxiety issues). He told me he was glad that I shared this bit of information with him because he was not aware of my past blood pressure "issues". I also told (kinda asked) him that I believe that my blood pressure is high I because I do not exercise, because I am carrying an extra 27lbs, and because this pregnancy has been extremely stressful on me...both mind and body. He completely agreed that this was also causing my blood pressure to be high.

So where do we go from here. Well as of this week I am only going to be working 3 four hour shifts. Then I have an appointment next week Tuesday to recheck baby's kidneys, see how he/she is growing, and of course to check all the regular prenatal stuff. He told me to tell the nurse next week that I need to lay on my left side for at least 5 minutes before she checks my blood pressure. If my blood pressure is still high he is recommending that I start on a low dose blood pressure medication. So that's the game plan for now. Last two things to share is that Bug's heartbeat was 148 and that my belly is measuring 2 weeks ahead!!! Grow Buggy grow!!!

Thanks for your continued prayers...11 weeks and counting!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Journey: Week 29

October 16 
How Far Along: 29 weeks.

Size of Baby: Our little bug-a-boo is on average a tad over 15 inches long (head to heel) and weighs about two and a half pounds. Or for comparisons sake...the size of a butternut squash. ***However, my What To Expect When You're Expecting book says that our babe is about 17 inches long and nearly 3lbs***


29 weeks: Bug's muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and his/her head is growing bigger to make room for his/her developing brain. To meet his/her increasing nutritional demands, I'll need plenty of protein, vitamin C, folic acid, and iron. And because his/her bones are soaking up lots of calcium, I need to be sure to drink my milk (or find another good source of calcium, such as cheese, yogurt, or enriched orange juice). This trimester, about 250 milligrams of calcium are deposited in Bug's hardening skeleton each day. (Information taken from babycenter.com)


Maternity Clothes: Yes!!!


Weight Gain: Up another pound and a half. Which makes the total weight gain a whopping 27lbs. Thinking that at least half a pound is from the chocolate shake that I had last night :)


Belly:


Stretch Marks: NONE.

Sleep: Wished it was a little more enjoyable but taking what I can get.

Best Moment of the Week: Whenever my blood pressure was at or below 130's/80's.


Movement: Loving it to pieces!!!


Food Cravings: Trident cinnamon gum has become an every day MUST!


Gender: 11 weeks (or slightly less) until we get to find out!


What I Miss: I miss the feeling of NOT being nervous every.single.day. I know that there will be new things to worry about once this babe comes but as of now December CANNOT come soon enough. Praying my blood pressure starts cooperating so I can stop worrying about preeclampsia...


What I'm Looking Forward to: My baby showers!!! First one is October 28...then I have 3 more in November!!!


Milestones: One week from the big 3-0!!! And praying that week 32 is here before I know it.


Emotions: All over the place. And I mean...all over the place. I don't even know where to begin. This blood pressure thing is scaring me to no end. Praying that my appointment tomorrow brings only good news...I no longer care if I am done working...I just want my baby to stay put for at least 8 more weeks. Praying for NO protein in my urine. Praying that my blood pressure is no higher than 130's/80's at tomorrow's appointment. Just praying...praying...praying for my body to cooperate.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 15th

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. So this makes today a very special day. It is a day set aside to remember all the little lives that were lost too soon. Please join us in lighting a candle (or two or three) at 7pm (in your respective time zones) to honor all these little lives. If everyone lights a candle at 7pm and keeps it burning for at least one hour, there will be a continuous WAVE OF LIGHT over the entire world today!!!

Remembering Alayna Joy, Ella Adrianna, and Luke Helmholdt
(as well as all their little friends)...

Layna and Mommy
Ella and Daddy
Luke at 7 weeks

Love begins before a baby is born...and that love will live forever in our hearts. When you lose a baby, you lose not only the promise of a very special human being, but you lose many beautiful hopes and dreams as well.


I said I was going to focus on the game (Michigan vs Michigan St) in my earlier post from today but I just had to get this post posted first. So now...now I can truly focus...on the second half!!!

BP Update and Our Rocker Arrived!!!

Blood pressure update...so I checked my blood pressure at work Thursday and Friday and it was all over the place. Yes it reached the 140's/(upper) 80's which makes me think that my working days are over (that is until I return from maternity leave). But I also checked it a few times while laying on my side (still at work) and it was only 120's/50-60's...which tells me even more that I am done working. Brian and I ran some errands this morning so I checked it at Meijer and the first measurement was 144/88 but when I rechecked it 20 minutes later it was down to 131/83...an acceptable number. 

Aghhhh can't wait to hear what Dr. Jelsema has to say. I did call my nurse on Thursday after work to see if I could switch my appointment from Tuesday to Monday. Primarily because I do NOT work on Monday and my appointment on Tuesday was scheduled for 3:15 (and I am scheduled to work until 3:30)...which means I would be rushing to get to get to my appointment on time and I know without a doubt that my blood pressure would be high. I told my nurse I wanted to give myself the best chance possible of a good blood pressure. And so she found an opening for me on Monday...yea!!! Why didn't I just schedule it on Monday in the first place you may be asking. Well Dr. J typically sees his patients on Tuesday and Thursday and does procedures on Mondays so the schedulers can be sticklers about scheduling a prenatal check on a Monday. I have told them that Dr. J WILL see me...and sometimes it has worked...obv this last week they wouldn't budge. So praying that Monday brings me only good news and NO protein in the urine!!! Otherwise still no swelling, excessive weight gain, extreme nausea, headaches, vision changes, or right-sided pain.

Our rocker and ottoman arrived on Wednesday (a week and a half early)!!! And Brian put it together on Thursday...

LOVE IT!!!

Brian ordered our mattress yesterday and it is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. And then we are only waiting for the babe's bedding which should arrive anytime between this coming Wednesday and November 2. 

Now I am going to focus on the Michigan/Michigan State game and enjoy me some Costco pizza...

GO BLUE!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Loving Me Some Fall

It's been an abnormally warm fall for Michigan (upper 70's and even some 80 degree days). But to be honest I really hope it cools down...and soon! However, on the flip side I have gotten some more wear out of my short-sleeved maternity shirts. Most of these short-sleeved shirts were bought for the girl's pregnancy (they were due in early November) so I am just now starting to fit into them. On Sunday I had Brian snap a few pictures of me in my "I Love My Bump shirt" that my mom gave to me when I was pregnant with the girls...loved my bump then and love it now too!!!

Me and the babe in front of the girl's rose bushes!!!

Feeling Buggy move!!!
This past week we bought us some mums and pumpkins for the front of our house. Notice we bought 2 big pumpkins and 3 LITTLE ones. Next year we will have to buy 4 little pumpkins...Buggy didn't make the cut this year :) Anyways on Sunday I made Brian smile for our annual fall picture in front of the house. All I can say is I cannot wait for Buggy to join us next year!!!

Happy Fall
and a touch closer...

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!!!

My blood pressure today was on average 130/81 (just like yesterday I took it 3 times). This number is good enough for me since preeclampsia is normally a concern when your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. And basically my blood pressure this pregnancy has been running 130's/70-80's...but here's to praying that Dr. Jelsema likes it too!!! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Appointment Update

Well I had my 28 week (and 2 day!!!) prenatal appointment today and it brought mostly good news except for the fact that my stinking blood pressure was up...again.

But let me get to the GOOD stuff first. Baby's heartbeat was between 150 and 152. (Last week baby's heartbeat was 155...I only mention this because I forgot to mention it last week). My tummy is measuring right on. No protein in the urine. And my doctor is happy with my weight gain. However...(like I mentioned above)...my blood pressure once again did NOT cooperate. Today it was 150/88...yikes-a-roonies is all that I can say. Let me stop right here a minute and say that I could feel that it was going to be high today...because I could feel the blood pulsating through my veins. I felt this same way last week before my blood pressure was about to be taken. Last week I was nervous about the ECHO. And this week (for some reason) I was nervous about the glucose screening. Basically because of my losses I worry about everything. EVERY.LITTLE.THING.

So after my nurse took my blood pressure she had me lay on my left side which ended up only lasting for less than 5 minutes because then Dr. Jelsema came in to measure my belly and listen to babe's heartbeat. Then it was time to get my blood drawn for the glucose screening. So as I was waiting to get my blood drawn Mary (my nurse) rechecked my blood pressure and it went down a wee bit to 142/84...and that was with very little laying on my side time.

For the few minutes that I was laying on my side Dr. Jelsema and I had a little chat. And this is what he said to me. My high blood pressure could be caused by two things. First maybe I have "white coat syndrome." Meaning that every time I step into the office my blood pressure goes up. I completely agree with this scenario. To test this theory I have to take my blood pressure a few times in between now and my next appointment which is a week from today. Praying that when I am NOT at the office that its back to normal. I actually went to Walmart after my appointment to take it quick a minute and on average (I took it 3 times) it was 130/76...still high but NOT preeclampsia high. And let me also note here that after losing the girls and after my September (2010) IVF cycle was canceled...as we were preparing for the October cycle my blood pressure reached 200/100...now that is CRAZY high.

The second cause of my blood pressure being high could be the beginning stages of preeclampsia. Praying that this is NOT the case. On the plus side...I have no protein in my urine, I have not gained an excessive amount of weight nor do I have swelling of any kind, I have not had any headaches, excessive nausea, or any issues with my eyes. So the only symptom that I have is the high blood pressure. Today when I got my blood drawn for the glucose test...Dr. Jelsema also had them draw some blood to check my liver enzyme levels. These levels can indicate whether I am at risk for preeclampsia. My nurse said that they would call if any of my labs were off. I did NOT receive a call today (praying I don't receive one tomorrow either) so I am praying that means I do NOT have gestational diabetes and that my liver enzyme levels were normal. They did not say "when" they would call but since they know I am an anxious person...I think that they would have called me today.

Dr. Jelsema said that if its "white coat syndrome" that they will just continue to monitor me very closely. But if my random checks are high and if its high in the office next week that he will have no choice but to take me off from work until I deliver. And if things get too serious that I would have to be induced earlier rather than later. Praying with all my heart that I can keep working (it passes time) and that my baby will not be born until on or after December 11...at which point I will be 37 weeks pregnant.

So that wraps up another appointment. As you can see...I like to keep things interesting!!! Stay tuned for random blood pressure updates and next weeks update as well...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Loving Buggy but Missing Them

The funny thing about this pregnancy is this...the farther along I become the more love I feel for Buggy BUT somehow at the same time it makes me miss the girl's more than ever. I often wonder how this is possible. How can I love this child so so so much and still miss my girls so so so much. To be honest most days I wish with everything inside of me that all 3 of my babies could be here with me and their daddy. (Now I am not forgetting about Luke here...its just that losing Alayna and Ella hit me much harder than losing Luke. After all, I birthed and buried the girls and saw their BEAUTIFUL faces and held them in my arms. I know some may feel differently but we are each entitled to our own opinions and this is mine). 

Anyways I still think about my girls every.single.day. I said to my mom the other day that I can be doing something that is completely occupying my mind and suddenly all I can do is think about Alayna and Ella and how much I miss them. I know time will continue to heal but my heart still aches so deeply for them. Maybe I am just hormonal or maybe its because their first birthday would be this coming Friday or Saturday. Either way its so hard for me to believe that my twins should be turning 1 years old already. But God doesn't make mistakes and I know that they are with Him and that they are with Him for a reason. A reason this mama desperately wants to know but at the same time I know that I am not entitled to knowing (at this time anyways). So instead I choose to trust in His perfect plan. A plan beyond my simple understanding. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Journey: Week 28

October 9
How Far Along: 28 weeks.

Size of Baby: 
Our little bug-a-boo is on average 14.8 inches long (head to heel) and weighs two and a quarter pounds. Or for comparisons sake...the size of a Chinese cabbage.

A picture of a Chinese cabbage!


28 weeks: By this week, my baby can blink his/her eyes, which now sport lashes. With his/her eyesight developing, he/she may be able to see the light that filters in through my womb. He/she is also developing billions of neurons in his/her brain and adding more body fat in preparation for life in the outside world. (Information taken from babycenter.com)

Maternity Clothes: Mostly maternity but I have a few items that work pregnant or not...like these wonderful pants!!!




Weight Gain: Up another 2.5lbs...for a total gainage of 25.5lbs. I guess you can say that Buggy and I are BOTH growing healthy and strong!!!


Belly:

Stretch Marks: None.

Sleep: Needing a lot of it these past few days!!! Maybe because I have officially entered the third trimester and sleep becomes an absolute must again. Glad to say that I have been sleeping quite well (yet).

Best Moment of the Week: Hearing that my baby has a perfect heart. And that he/she is a whopping 2lbs 9oz...my baby girls were only 14oz and 14.7oz so a 2 and a half pounder sounds HUGE!!!

Movement: Every week it has become stronger and stronger. Definitely feeling rolls and a few jabs instead of just jabs. But I've been told the jabs will be back when the babe has limited room to move in the uterus and that this time the jabs will be knees and elbows :)

 
Symptoms: I was nauseous a few times this week. And I even threw up one day. 

Food Cravings: Nothing in particular. But I have been eating EGGO waffles quite regularly. Oh and I guess I am still enjoying me some hot chocolate (even though its been in the upper 70's all week).

Gender: Boy or girl I just don't know.


What I'm Looking Forward to: Meeting this baby but I guess for now I will settle for hitting the 3-0 mark...only 2 more weeks!!!

Milestones: Ain't no doubt about it...I HAVE DEFINITELY ENTERED THE THIRD TRIMESTER!!! And today I met my own personal milestone of 28 weeks. And believe me it feels so so so good! Now my next milestone is hitting the 32 week mark.

Emotions: Much more intact since I know Buggy has a 94% survival rate (as of today) if I were to go into labor...which I will not be. But I can definitely feel that the anxiety has lessened since 26 weeks and hitting the 28 week mark has helped to decrease it even more. God is certainly carrying me through this pregnancy!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Appointment Update!!!

Ahhhh another excellent report...with only one minor blip in the road (which I will get to).

But first things first...the ultrasound tech called us back and we started with the growth scan and the recheck of the kidneys. After she was done the cardiologist came in for the ECHO. I am so so so very happy to say that our baby's heart is perfect!!! Dr. S said the scan was beautiful and they even saw vessels they don't normally see because of my size and how cooperative Buggy was...already behaving!!! He said that if something is detected after delivery that it would be something minor like a murmur. Ahhh deep sigh of relief.

The tech then said someone would come and get me to take my blood pressure and to get my weight. Being that it was a Wednesday I was not going to be seeing Dr. J since he wasn't in the office. Well a tech came to get me and as she was about to take my blood pressure I told her that I normally run on the high side...(I told her this because I have never seen her before since one of Dr. J's nurses normally checks my blood pressure). Anyways she did it twice and afterwards I asked her what it was and she said 148/78 (yikes). And then proceeded to say that she could not send me home with a blood pressure that high. Again since Dr. J was not there she talked to the on-call doctor who said to check my urine and then make me lie on my left side for 20 minutes before rechecking my blood pressure. Well after only 10-15 minutes the on-call doctor came in and rechecked me and it was down to 130/62...personally I think that the tech just didn't know what she was doing. The doctor asked if I had been experiencing any vision problems or headaches which I have not. And since my urine looked good and I was actually down a pound from last week she said to call with any concerns.

She then said that everything with the ultrasound looked good. Baby has plenty of fluid. Baby weighed in at 2lb 9oz...so up a pound from last month...which puts him/her in the 60th percentile. And that the hydronephrosis looks about the same as it did 4 weeks ago. It did go up from a 5 to a 7...although I could have sworn that Dr. J told me it was at a 6 last month. So she said that it might be classified more as mild to moderate but that it is still nothing to be concerned about. She (the doctor) did not seem to be as relaxed as Dr. J so hopefully Dr. J will call tomorrow and we will hear what he has to say...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Journey: Week 27

October 2
How Far Along: 27 weeks.

Size of Baby: 
Our little bug-a-boo is on average 14.5 inches long (head to heel) and weighs almost 2 pounds. Or for comparisons sake...the size of a head of cauliflower. 

Picture of Baby: Hopefully we'll get picture (or two) at our US on Wednesday!


27 weeks: This week my baby is sleeping and waking at regular intervals, opening and closing his/her eyes, and perhaps even sucking his/her fingers. With more brain tissue developing, my baby's brain is very active now. While his/her lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning--with a lot of medical help-- if he/she were to be born now (BUT this isn't going to be happening). Anyways I will chalk up any tiny rhythmic movements I may be feeling to a case of baby hiccups, which may be common from now on. Each episode usually lasts only a few moments, and they don't bother him/her, so I will just relax and enjoy the tickle. (Information taken from babycenter.com)

Maternity Clothes: Bought a super cute dress yesterday for our upcoming photo shoot!!! I can still wear a lot of my comfy non-maternity stuff...and with colder weather slowly approaching I will be able to wear a lot of my open sweaters too. But for the most part its maternity gear.

Weight Gain: Thank goodness the scale says that I only gained half a pound this week...which puts my total at 23lbs. (Much better than the 4.5lb weight gain from last week).



Belly:


Stretch Marks: Not yet...and hopefully not gonna but just in case I've been putting some cocoa butter cream on the belly. And the belly button is trying to become an outie :)

Sleep: I have been sleeping really good the last few nights. Longer stretches and just more comfortable in general. I'm thinking since my belly is growing that it rests much nicer on a pillow. Whatever it is I am NOT complaining cause in a few weeks I know my sleep will be going downhill again when the belly gets even bigger...and downhill again once my beautiful babe arrives!

Best Moment of the Week: Finally registering for this sweet babe!!!

Movement: Bug has been moving more and more. And you could say that he/she LOVES to move during the night. His/her movements are becoming stronger every day. I feel feet and arms and who knows what else rolling in my belly along with the kicks and punches. Ahhhh and this mama loves each and every movement that this sweet babe makes!!!

 
Symptoms: Antibiotics make me feel a little off at times. But no vomiting or diarrhea...thank goodness!

Food Cravings: Mashed potatoes and a good roast or chicken dinner...basically my parents typically Sunday meal. And believe me I filled up today...mmmmm YUM!!!

Gender: Is this babe a he or a she...ya know this mama just does NOT care!!!

What I'm Looking Forward to: My appointment on Wednesday. It will include the typical prenatal stuff plus an ECHO on the baby's heart (a standard thing for my office when a babe is IVF) and we're going to recheck the kidneys and I'm also hoping to get another estimate on how big baby Hemy is!!! The only downside is that since this appointment is on a Wednesday I will not get to see Dr. Jelsema. At my appointment last week I mentioned that I would be coming in on Tuesday to see him for the kidney ultrasound and then Wednesday to see the cardiologist for the ECHO and he asked if I would prefer to get it all done in one day to which I responded YES! But Dr. J will call me on Thursday to let me know what is happening with the kidneys and how big Buggy is. I am not too concerned with the kidneys since at 25 weeks I saw the US tech measuring them and Dr. J didn't say anything so I am assuming all was the same. But prayers NEVER hurt!!! 

Milestones: This week officially marks my last week in the second trimester!!! Although some say that this week officially marks the beginning of the third trimester. Either way I am almost to third trimester or I have entered the beloved third trimester. And I am only one week from my next (big) personal milestone of 28 weeks!!!

Emotions: The anxiety has definitely lessened these past couple of weeks but sometimes my mind starts worrying since the cervix hasn't been checked since 25 weeks. And I just really hope the cervix is still cooperating. No signs of preterm labor which is (obv) always a good thing. I guess you can say that I am just trying to simply trust in my Lord and Savior that all is well. 



And here is a picture of me and the babe visiting Layna and Ella on this beautiful fall day...


Mommy with 3 of her Little Loves