Thursday, August 26, 2010

32 Weeks... and a "Daddy" Post

Here we are... 32 weeks down.. whoop whoop! I just want to start out by thanking you all for taking the time to read this blog. This is our journal, our thoughts, and our hearts during this pregnancy. Sometimes it's hard for Jordan and I to put down exactly what we're feeling, because sometimes... we can't even put it into words to one another. But, we just write (type) out our hearts and we know that one day, when we look back on these blog posts... we'll be so glad we took the time to write all this down. Now... for the "Daddy" post... :)

Okay, so here it is, "The Daddy Blog". I am not sure how good this blog will be. I am not always good at sharing what I think and feel, but I am going to try. It is weird to think that I am about to be a Daddy, but with every kick I am able to feel, it is becoming more real. It has seemed like it would be so long before she would get here, but now it is only 8 weeks away, and time is moving fast. As Anna Lee told you last week, I was able to find a teaching job at Constantine Elementary in Anniston. I was so excited to get this position and it has lifted a huge burden off my shoulders. It is also exciting because now I won’t have to work multiple jobs and I will have more time to spend with my baby girl, and of course... I am going to spoil her. Sometimes I talk a big game around Anna Lee about how I am not going to spoil her and I am going to be hard on her, to which her reply is to laugh at me and say that she is going to be such a daddy’s girl and I am going to be wrapped around her finger. Of course I say that it won’t be like that, but deep down I know it will be true.

Since we found out we were going to have a baby it has been hard to believe. I didn’t believe it at first when Anna Lee brought me the pregnancy test with a little bitty faint blue line that I didn’t think was there. Even after my sister-in-law convinced me it was there, Anna Lee still had to go get a digital test that said “pregnant” to convince me. Once I believed we were pregnant, I couldn’t wait to feel her move. Once Anna Lee started feeling her I started trying to feel her kick and I convinced myself I did. When I finally felt her kick I was so excited. Now she does it all the time. I love watching Anna Lee’s stomach move and feel Ada’s little kicks. It is reassuring to know that she is growing and developing even though I can’t see her and so much is out of my control. I can’t wait until I am able to hold her and see what she looks like.  It is weird to feel so excited and nervous at the same time. Excited to hold my little girl and nervous about all the responsibility that will come with being a father. It is also exciting to see my wife progress in her pregnancy. And I have to say that I think she is a beautiful pregnant woman. And even though she has been uncomfortable she was still able to help me decorate my classroom. She stayed all day on Monday, and was there for several hours on Tuesday. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful wife who is willing to help me even though I know she is tired.

As we get closer to Ada’s due date, Anna Lee and I have begun to talk about what she will look like. Anna Lee thinks she will look like me and I think she is going to look more like Anna Lee with dark hair and skin. I guess we will find out, but not soon enough. I can’t wait to see and hold my little girl and watch her grow.

Gosh I love that man... :) Now on to Ada's developments... this week, Ada should have started to settle in the head-down position, although she isn't yet. She's working on it, I guess she's just waiting until she has NO room to lay side to side :) Ada is mainly just working on gaining weight these days... and so am I :) She'll likely double her weight over the next eight weeks. These days, Ada is busy in there. She's blinking, looking around, grabbing at things, making faces... she's even practicing breathing, peeing, and listening to everything around her.. This excites me, because this is what my sweet baby girl will be doing OUTSIDE of my womb in just 6-8 short weeks! If Ada has a full head of hair, she has it by now.. and right now, she's probably weighing in at about 4 pounds and measuring over 17 inches long.

A few more quick updates and that will be it... I am now going to the doctor every two weeks (I think I said that last week). My appointment was on Tuesday of this week. My total weight gain is now 9 pounds. My blood pressure was elevated a little bit (123/74).. I know that's "normal" for most people, but mine has always been lower. Usually, my top number never gets above 95.. so for me, it was a little high. I told him about my swelling (although he noticed it in my ankles and feet).. he told me not to worry about anything serious.. but he is keeping a close check on it, and so am I. I'm getting in the habit of letting Jordan check my blood pressure once a day, just so I can keep record of it. Ada's heart rate was 142, and I am measuring right on schedule.. however, you'd be surprised how many people ask me A) when I'm due... and when they realize it's not for 8 more weeks, then B) is it twins? I've learned to just laugh it off. So I finally got the nerve up at this doctor's appointment to talk to Dr. Daniel about how "convenient" it would be for her to come around 38 weeks... of course he just gave me this "yeah right" look, but this is why I love him... instead of immediately shooting me down, he listened intently at all my reasons.. smiled... and then told me some things I could do that would help get my body ready for her to come. I know many people think I'm crazy to think my first baby will come early, but I know the chances are slim. I just don't see anything wrong with praying for it, as well as, doing what I can do prepare my body for delivery... Well that's enough for this week... 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

31 Weeks... and Counting

I know, I know... for the past couple of weeks you've probably been looking for a "Daddy" post. Unfortunately you're stuck again with me this week :) However, it isn't from a lack of motivation on Jordan's part. Bless his heart... I have to brag... he's been really busy for the past couple of weeks. I'll just go ahead and tell you... most of the time these posts are light-hearted and fun and centered around Ada and her developments, but this week.. my heart has been bursting to share what the Lord is teaching me through this pregnancy and other circumstances in my life. So bear with me as I share my heart with you... Some of you may know, others may not, that Jordan is an amazing special education teacher. He graduated from JSU in December of last year, and was blessed with a job at Tenth Street Elementary school in JANUARY! Unfortunately, at the end of the year, like most first-year teachers, Jordan was pink-slipped. This entire summer was one big job hunt for us and again... the Lord was faithful to provide (just not in the way we'd planned :) Jordan took an instructional aide's job at Jacksonville High School just a couple of weeks before school started (talk about waiting until the last minute :) However, due to the pay-cut, he had to get a second side job to make up for the salary difference... so for the past couple of weeks... my sweet husband has been working so hard... he leaves one job and heads straight to the second one. If the story ended here... it would be fine.. but my God is so faithful... even when I am not. Just this week, Jordan got a call from Anniston City Schools asking him to take a full-salary teaching position at Constantine Elementary School... and to top it off, his principal at Jacksonville was so gracious to let him resign from the aide's job and take the teaching job... he starts Monday.

Throughout this entire pregnancy, I've had to fight off the "what if's"... anywhere from "what if something's wrong", "what if we're not ready", to "what if we can't provide for our baby".... all of these thoughts are natural, but they are totally of my flesh. Deep down, the Holy Spirit has always given me a peace that we would be taken care of. It may not always be the way we'd plan for ourselves, and it won't always be easy. It won't always be comfortable, and there will be suffering and struggles. But thankfully, the Lord is confirming in my heart that my security is not in my circumstances (my husband's job, my baby's health, the house I live in, the car I drive... etc).. my security is in my Redeemer and Him alone. Yesterday, I spent the day cleaning my house.. I had music playing on my computer and a song I haven't heard in a long time came on.. "In The Valley" by Sovereign Grace Music... I was so encouraged by its words and wanted to share them.. (if you click on the link above, you can listen to the song)

When You lead me to the valley of vision
I can see You in the heights
And though my humbling wouldn’t be my decision
It’s here Your glory shines so bright
So let me learn that the cross precedes the crown
To be low is to be high
That the valley’s where You make me more like Christ

Let me find Your grace in the valley
Let me find Your life in my death
Let me find Your joy in my sorrow
Your wealth in my need
That You’re near with every breath
In the valley

In the daytime there are stars in the heavens
But they only shine at night
And the deeper that I go into darkness
The more I see their radiant light
So let me learn that my losses are my gain
To be broken is to heal
That the valley’s where Your power is revealed

Thanks so much for letting me share my heart... now on to my sweet Ada Laine. I go back to the doctor on Tuesday of next week (is it weird that I'm excited about going to the doctor every two weeks now?) I think I'm excited and I look forward to it because A) I get to hear her sweet heart beat, B) I truly love Dr. Daniel, and it always makes my day to see and talk to him, and C) Going every two weeks helps the time pass a little quickly until I finally lay eyes on my beautiful baby girl... 

Ada's developments this week: From this week on, Ada will continue to put on about 1/2 pound a week, and I feel that I'll gain at least that :) Because Ada's getting bigger and she has less and less room, her legs are now drawn up close, along with her arms, in the "fetal" position. These days, I'm getting a lot more "pushes" opposed to kicks and punches :) Right now, Ada's lungs are the only system that isn't fully mature... she's weighing in at approximately 3.5 pounds and measures a little over 16 inches from head to toe. 

I have one more request to ask of you sweet blog friends... as the day approaches, I can feel the anxiousness rising up in me. Pray that I would enjoy these last weeks of pregnancy... that I would soak up every kick, punch, and push, because never again will I carry my sweet Ada in my womb. Of course I hope to carry other children... but I won't ever carry her again. Pray that I would grow confident and not worry about delivery, but that I would trust God has prepared me and equipped me to deliver a healthy baby girl... until next week (which I'm 99.9% sure will be a "Daddy" post :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

30 Week Update...

Boy oh boy... I'm getting excited. My sweet baby girl will be here in just 8 to 10 weeks! (You like how I throw in the 8-10? I'm convinced I'll be an exception to the rule and have her early... I know I'm naive, but don't spoil if for me :) For some, that may seem like a long time, but for this momma-to-be... I'm ecstatic! I looked at my calendar and started thinking of what I was doing 8-10 weeks ago... it was the first few weeks in June and summer had started... my sister left for Honduras... Jordan was out of school and had already started working a side summer job.. those are just a few things I thought of. And now, summer is quickly fading, school is back in session, and football season is just around the corner! My sweet baby will be here before I know it!

I've tried to stay on top of things this pregnancy so that everything wouldn't sneak up on me in the end. There are a few more touches to Ada's nursery that need to be done (I will post pictures once the nursery is TOTALLY finished!).. I still have to get together the "necessities" to take to the hospital when we go (I'm not too worried about getting that done anytime soon though).. other than that, until I have my showers, I guess we'll just have to get together what we didn't get at our showers and then we should be ready to bring her home!!

Up until the past few weeks, I've been so blessed to have energy and to still be able to do a lot of what I did before I was pregnant. The last week in July, we went on a small vacation with my family to the mountains in Tennessee. While we were there, we decided we wanted to hike some trails that we'd never hiked before. The first day of hiking was GREAT! It was cool and shady and we hiked right along a creek. Jordan and my sisters Elizabeth and Sarah (Caitlin was in Honduras and Will was at Alpine Camp for Boys) got in the creek and hiked all the way back up the creek instead of on the trail. I knew I would tire more easily being pregnant, so we packed plenty of water and snacks for me, and I took breaks often. Overall, we had a blast! Then, the second day, we chose another trail we had never hiked before..... it was bad, very bad. The trail was extremely narrow, and you could tell not a lot of people hike this trail often. For about an hour and half, we were hiking downhill trying to get to a creek we could hear. It wasn't too bad until I realized that if the whole way in was downhill... the whole way out was going to be UPHILL! The whole way back out, Jordan practically had to pull me. I was having to stop every couple of minutes, and I was having what I called "back spasms".

Ever since that trail, I noticed that I was having several of those "back spasms" a day. Well... I went to the doctor on Tuesday, and needless to say, they weren't back spasms... they were contractions. So now, I'm really trying to take it easy. I usually have anywhere from 8 to 12 contractions a day. At first I was really worried, but Dr. Daniel was quick to reassure me that unless I'm having 12 in a 2 hour period... that I am fine. I'm still battling the swelling, but my blood pressure is still really good. I've gained a total of 7 pounds so far and Ada's heart rate was 148... healthy and strong!

Ada's developments this week: Her brain is developing! It's starting to wrinkle and fold due to the rapid growth of her brain cells. Her fingernails and toenails are finished growing right now. Her bone marrow is now completely in charge of producing her red-blood cells. She is starting to shed her lanugo (the hair that covered her skin)... she's now able to regulate her body temperature now, so she doesn't need the extra insulation :) When Ada is awake, her eyes are wide open, and she can now see the inside of my womb. She hasn't gained much height or weight this week, because most of her energy has been channeled to her brain development. She's still probably weighing in at around 3 pounds and is about 15.5 inches long.

I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of our hike.. no, I'm not in them because I was the photographer :)

Some of the falls at Bald River Falls (we have hiked this trail often... we went there after we left "Grassy Gap"... the trail that almost killed me :)

Jordan, Elizabeth, Sarah, and my Dad hiking up the creek. Dad was determined to stay dry... can you tell by the intensity on his face?

This is Sarah after she climbed up a small waterfall... it took her a minute, but she finally got it :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Whoa There Swelly... You're Only at Week 29!"

Ahhhh... week 29. Almost to the 30 week mark. I don't know why I've been looking so forward to getting to 30 weeks... maybe because I'll be officially as pregnant as I feel. I knew I would more than likely look farther along then I was... and I was right. I've already had several people come up to me... pat my belly and say "Well you're about ready to pop aren't you?" Oh boy... I just smile and say "Not yet. I still have to make it to October."... you should see the look on some of their faces when they do the math in their heads and realize just how far along I am... hehe.

Well I guess I should explain the blog title in case some of you didn't get it... I'm battling swelling in my feet, ankles, and hands.. pretty bad. I swell pretty much every day, thankfully, I've been able to get it to go down, I just have to stop what I'm doing and prop my feet up. It's only in my hands, feet, and ankles, and my blood pressure is still normal. I'm trying all the tricks... walking, drinking lots of water, eating a little to no sodium diet, and propping my feet up at least 20 minutes every day. But... it's still happens. Sometimes I tend to be a worrier and freak out over things like this (yes, I've googled "preeclampsia").. honestly, I'm not really concerned about it, especially since my blood pressure is still great. My next doctor's appointment is this upcoming Tuesday. I do plan on asking Dr. Daniel about it.. just to make sure. Speaking of Dr. Daniel, I have to take a moment to reflect on how thankful I am for him. I couldn't imagine having anyone else taking care of me and my sweet baby during this time. From the first day Jordan and I walked in his office, he was A-MAZING! I feel so comfortable sharing my concerns and my fears with him. He doesn't make me feel silly or ignorant... he usually grabs my hand, looks me right in the eye, and answers every question I have. Every time I go in for an appointment, he makes me feel like I am his only, and most important patient... even though by far... I am not :) You can tell that he loves what he does and finds great joy in taking care of and delivering these precious babies.... every one of them. Of course I have anxieties about delivery (what first-time mom.... or any mom for that matter doesn't), but I can truly say that I trust Dr. Daniel with not only my life, but the life of my sweet Ada... and that is an amazing peace to have. Thank you Lord, for Dr. Daniel. May You continue to bless him and his practice as he continues to bring Your precious children into this world.

Here are Ada's developments for this week: Due to technological advancements in medicine, would you believe that Ada has a 9 out of 10 chance of survival if she was born this week? Of course we want her to stay in there... I just think it's amazing how far medicine has come. Ada's brain now regulates her breathing and body temperature. Her sucking abilities are also perfected now (Speaking of sucking, I plan on breast-feeding Ada, and I am so excited about it. However, I know that it can be difficult and doesn't work for everyone. Please pray that Ada and I would have no trouble breast-feeding when she comes.) Her skin is looking less and less wrinkled as she is packing on the pounds. She's putting on the insulating and energizing white fat that she'll be born with. Ada's energy levels are high these days... trust me! I feel kicks, punches, and elbows... all the time! I've started "counting her kicks"... basically once in the morning before I get out of bed and once when I lay down at night, I count her movements until I get to ten. Supposedly, ten movements within two hours is sufficient movement for her gestational age. Right now, Ada is probably around 15 inches long from head to toe and weighing in around 3 pounds.

Jordan and I are getting so excited. With our niece Hope's birth last week, we are really looking forward to welcoming our gift into the world. I've been talking to Jordan about doing a post on here... I thought it might be interesting for you guys to get his perspective of all this. Jordan is more ready for her to get here than I am... I think. He's constantly talking to her, singing and reading to her, looking at the calendar, rubbing my belly... it truly is precious. I can already tell Jordan is going to be a HUGE help to me when she gets here. He's starting to cook meals with me, so that he can cook supper for us when she gets here. He's a huge help around the house, as far as, cleaning, laundry, etc... I'm so thankful for a husband who serves and leads. Well, that's about it for this week. Maybe next week you'll get a Daddy post :)