"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Making it work

I'm pleased to report that my contractions have been much, much less. Yes, I still have them every day, and yes, some of them still make me go whoaaaa, but overall, there is an improvement. Praise God. I'm not sure what to attribute that to, because I've made a few changes - increased Procardia, taking JuicePlus, laying down more often. Plus we have all of you awesome folks praying. So, let's just say it's a combination of all of the above.

Although I will never ever ever get over the fact that I can't do nearly as much as I would like to while pregnant, I'm trying my best to be okay with that. And I've gotten a little creative in the process.

Exhibit A:
My parents had the fridge sitting unused in their garage, so now it's in our living room! Until this here baby boy is born. As much as I'm trying to lie down more, just getting up to use the bathroom every hour (at least!) and going to the kitchen to fulfill our nutrition needs is a lot. So, the fewer the trips to the kitchen, the better. Landon and I each have our own turquoise organizer full of snacks (which is silly, really, because he has to eat everything I eat), and the zipper pouch in the middle has napkins and plastic utensils (which I hate using, but um, survival mode).

Aren't you proud? No? Then don't tell me. I'm on an optimistic roll.

Unless you want me to explain how I should have reduced purgatory time because, um, staring at the dirtiest floors ever all day knowing you can't do anything about them? Torture. Just saying.


I have been feeling more pressure the last couple of days, so let's all say a prayer that it's not my cerclage pulling apart. We'll find out soon enough - I see Dr. C tomorrow.

"God never sends us a thorn in our lives that he doesn't send a rose to bloom." -St. Catherine of Siena

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Yay for new saints!

I wish I had some amazing story about how JPII impacted my life, but I don't. Of course he totally did impact my life, I just don't have a specific story about it. It's okay though!

JPII died a few weeks before I graduated high school, so my memories of him are mainly when his health was declining. But I still remember being inspired at everything he did in his last few years of life…talk about living life to the fullest. And it was so clear to me how much he was doing for the Church.

This is in our bedroom. Love love love.

I'm a big fan of quotes, especially by saints and Catholic writers, so I guess you could say I have a collection, because I totally write them down if I find them inspiring (is that nerdy? Oh well). Been doing that since high school…so I kind of have 2 notebooks of quotes. And I often end my blog posts with a quote (if you haven't noticed!).

I know I have several quotes from Saint John Paul II, and as I was looking for them, I found one by Saint John XXIII that I had written down! So neat. These two men obviously deserve to be saints - their words have inspired me for years.

The fact that it's Divine Mercy Sunday just makes everything better. The Divine Mercy chaplet is one of my favorite devotions, and St. Faustina is one of my favorite saints…if you haven't read her diary, you should. It's long, but I love it.

Pope Saint John XXIII, Pope Saint John Paul II, and Saint Faustina... pray for us!

"Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do." – Saint John XXIII
"There is no place for selfishness – and no place for fear! Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice." – Saint John Paul II
"Faithful submission to the will of God, always and everywhere, in all events and circumstances of life, gives great glory to God." - Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Photo Friday: Easter octave, baby

Don't mind my seven dwarfs pajama pants ;) Landon loves his baby brother already!
Easter fun

Oh you know, just hanging out with one of his best friends

That moment when you find your toddler asleep in the recliner…with urine-soaked shorts.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Five Favorites (vol. 4) - High-risk pregnancy edition

Loyal readers of this here blog (all 10 of you ;)) know that my pregnancies aren't a walk in the park. And I'm trying really really really hard not to dwell on that. Two of the best gifts have come out of my last 2 pregnancies - a saint in Heaven (Levi) and a super entertaining toddler (Landon) - so I know it will soooo be worth it once Chase is here.

That being said, today I'm going to focus on the positives (it's soooo hard sometimes) and share some of my favorite things about having a high-risk pregnancy. Linking up with Hallie!

1. Frequent doctor visits

Okay, so this is technically also a negative to a high-risk pregnancy, because seriously, I would loooove to just visit the doctor once a month. But since that's not going to happen, I have to say it's pretty cool to check on our baby boy so often. I have an ultrasound every time I see Dr. C, and Dr. H always checks Chase's heartbeat with the doppler. It makes my heart happy.

2. Hobbies

Since I can't do as much cleaning, cooking, and housework, exercise is totally off-limits, and I try to limit our car rides/errands as much as possible (read: we stay home A LOT), I have more time to spend on hobbies. So I've been able to read, write/blog, and crochet more than I normally would when not pregnant.

3. Friendships

I feel like I've gotten a lot closer to my friends lately, as well as become friends with people who I used to consider just acquaintances. And I'm sure a lot of that has to do with the fact that I have more time to text and talk to people on the phone. I also think the fact that so many people are praying for us and baby Chase has helped foster friendships as well - we always have people checking in on us, asking how everything is going and reassuring us of their prayers. We truly, truly are blessed by the wonderful people in our life.

4. Volunteer

This one might not make much sense at first glance….really, Jen, you volunteer right now? Are you crazy, girlfriend?

Let me just say I'm not cleaning our church or running a 5K to raise money. No. I am still teaching CCD at my church, although we're almost done for the year, and I have been able to plan my lessons better the past few months.

Logan and I also just agreed to be in charge of a silent auction for a fundraising dinner in October, which means we will be busy from now until then. Okay, so maybe I am crazy…

Seriously, though, running an auction can be a lot of work, but I fully plan to delegate a lot. And although we just started helping this past month, I've already been able to focus a good deal on it because I just sit in my recliner and work on auction stuff. (If anybody wants to donate something to it, let me know!) I have many friends with 2-4 kids who homeschool at least one of them, and obviously, they have their hands full. All I'm doing right now for the most part is trying to rest as much as possible and entertain a toddler. The least I can do is bug people for donations and keep all the paperwork for the auction organized. Right? Right.

5. Cuddle time

One of the best things about not being able to do much during pregnancy is that I'm able to enjoy Landon more, cuddling him as much as possible (he is such an affectionate little boy and I love it). Yes, I still have my moments where I'm trying to pay bills and he's trying to "color" some important papers and I'm all like WOULD YOU PLEASE STOP? But for the most part, I've spent more time cuddling, watching movies, and doing things with Landon than I have since he was weaned. Makes me realize how important it is to take advantage of this time because it won't last!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Easter!

Our little professional Easter egg hunter…who was cheesing it up the entire afternoon

Even though Logan worked all weekend, we still managed to have a pretty holy and blessed Easter Triduum. Landon was a BIG fan of Easter egg hunts on Sunday. We're not doing the whole Easter bunny thing (Logan and I both find it a little creepy), but since eggs are a great example of new life, we're all about the egg hunts!
 Okay, I feel like I need to explain this picture. We went to Easter vigil and wanted to bring Landon in his pajamas since it was his bedtime. But I also wanted a decent Easter picture (dressed up and all) so I set out a shirt and tie for Landon to take a quick picture before mass. Welllll Logan decided to throw on his pajama pants with the shirt and tie, and we were running late as it is, so we just took a picture. Tacky pj pants and all. Self timer style.

 I may or may not have used leftover Christmas candy to put in his Easter eggs. Landon didn't mind ;)
 We spent a total of $4 on Landon this year, for the basket and eggs (clearance at Michael's, baby!). I guess I'm open to a practical gift or two if our budget allows in the future, but seriously, Landon doesn't know any better right now. 

Self timer again. Because that's how we roll.
 Once Logan got home from work, we went to Logan's parents' house after our quick Easter egg hunt at our house. And their neighbors had another Easter egg hunt.
 I told you he was a pro!
Happy Easter! Christ is risen!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 26 (+4 days): maybe I'm crazier this time around

I saw Dr. H today, and it's always a pleasure because he's awesome and makes me feel better. He reminds me of my parish priest - old, wise, and sympathetic. Which is what every pregnant woman needs in her life.

He checked my cervix manually (most women are checked only towards the end but I'm one of the lucky ones who gets checked all.throughout.pregnancy.), and thankfully, there is plenty left. My uterus is measuring 28 weeks, which actually isn't as bad as I was expecting. Dr. H said the same thing as Dr. C - sometimes the fluid issue doesn't have a cause. So, hopefully I will fall into that category.

My contractions seem to be getting stronger these days, and I realized over the weekend that most (although not all) of them happen when I'm standing up. Lovely. So I've kind of been wondering - and stressing - about when I need to call the doctor, and what's going to happen if my contractions get too strong and regular and end up pulling my cerclage and ohmygosh why can't the contractions just stop?

So. Dr. H said I need to call if my contractions are 5-10 minutes apart for an hour. They've definitely been that close together, but I don't think they've lasted for a full hour and let's hope they don't anytime soon. He did say I could take Ibuprofen to knock them out if they get really bad, but that's only safe for another month or so. I just hate taking medicine period, especially during pregnancy, but the Procardia has proved to work since my contractions tend to pick up close to when I need to take it again. You better believe I'll pop an Ibuprofen if I have contractions 5 minutes apart because I really really really don't want a premature baby.

Dr. H wants us to get to 34 weeks, and if I'm having too many contractions at that point, he'd probably take the cerclage out. It's nerve-wracking enough to be at risk for preterm labor but to think that my cervix is stitched up makes it just a little more nerve-wracking. Because um, I don't want to dilate with a cerclage…ouch.

Anyway. I'm sure I seem slightly crazy at times because I can't help but be nervous. Dr. H called me "a bundle of nerves" and gave me a hug because maybe I was asking too many questions? I don't know why I feel crazier this time around, because my cervix was much stupider last time. But I feel like I've had more scares this time as far as contractions and all. I don't know.

Well. I didn't mean to sound crazy while writing this post so let me just assure you that I'm sane. Most of the time. I'm just frustrated at all the contractions and super nervous that Chase is going to come early. So, prayers for peace would be appreciated. :)

Aaaaand just for those of you wondering, I have not been put on bed rest - I'm assuming because my cervix is still okay - but I have definitely been making more of an effort to lie down most of the day. Logan and I have been thinking of ways to minimize my standing when he's not home, so he has a nice little "to do" list of things before he leaves for work…like making sure my water bottle is filled up, I have snacks within reach, etc. Every little bit helps!

"Cast yourself into the arms of God and be very sure that if He wants anything of you, He will fit you for the work and give you strength." - St. Philip Neri

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Photo Sunday: because it's finally Easter!

I didn't want to post a bunch of pictures on Good Friday, so here they are now. Happy Resurrection Day!
This boy looooves outside. Logan has been bringing him outside in the afternoon if he's not working.
These two...

I'm so thankful we have a dog that's great with kids…makes me excited to see Landon with a brother soon!

Mmmm, smoothies. One of his favorite things!

Landon is officially facing the front in his carseat! He was thrilled.
Someone didn't want to wear a shirt. Gotta pick my battles, ya know?
I've been trying to lie down even more now that my cervix is being stupid, and they just have to join me.
Marley has been doing her part by lying on my legs so I can't get up. Makes me wonder if she can sense what's going on!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Week 26: we're staying positive

We'll start with this adorable face….
Clearly, Chase does not have cleft lip. And Dr. C is 90% sure he doesn't have cleft palate - he was moving a lot (again) and sometimes the tongue blocks the view of the hole. So yeah, his mouth looked good from what she could tell. Whew.

This is Chase giving Dr. C the finger after she repeatedly called him a troublemaker for moving so much. ;) But she did say he was "so damn cute." Ha. I have to agree.

My fluid level is still high, but I guess the good news about it is that it didn't get any higher. Dr. C said half of women with too much amniotic fluid never find out what was the cause. It's still possible there's an issue with his stomach, but again, we wouldn't know until he's born and starts throwing up after he eats. But that would be a problem that can be fixed, thankfully.

Now, about my cervix….it has been a champ this entire pregnancy - unlike last time with Landon. I guess the little episode on Tuesday wasn't completely harmless, because now my cervix is a little open. My cerclage is still intact, thankfully, and is basically keeping my cervix from opening any more. With Landon one of the stitches had popped so I'm glad that's not the case this time (yet).

I told Dr. C how I was having Braxton-Hicks contractions all the time, and she looked at me like I was crazy and said I wasn't having Braxton-Hicks….that I was actually in mild preterm labor. Sounds bad but surprisingly she didn't say anything about bed rest. She did tell me to start taking Procardia every 8 hours and that it would help. I sure hope so! 

I see Dr. H on Monday so it'll be interesting to see what he thinks about everything.

All things considering, we're happy with today's outcome. Yes, my stupid cervix is stupid and I wish I would stop having so many dang contractions, but we've hit the 26-week mark and Chase is growing - 2 lbs, 2 oz, by the way - and so far all of the defects have been ruled out.

Which reminds me…Dr. C did not seemed convinced that Chase doesn't have a VSD. The cardiologist didn't see one last week, but Dr. C still thinks he needs to be checked after birth. So yeah. I'm still not worried too much about that because even if it is there, it will likely resolve on its own. Gotta think positive, baby.

Thank you all so much for the prayers for our sweet little [troublemaker] Chase Michael. :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It's never too early to pack a hospital bag

The further along this pregnancy gets, the more contractions I have and sometimes it really is nerve-wracking. I haven't been too concerned, though, because I had contractions allll the time with Landon and things were fine. Plus, I haven't cramped in quite some time. I like to think the Procardia I take twice a day is helping with that.

Until last night. It was getting close to the time I normally take Procardia, so I took it a little early, hoping it'd knock out the cramping. But it didn't. So Logan left to take my chapel hour for me and I tried to relax at home.

I'd like to think I've been pretty calm throughout most of my pregnancy shenanigans, all things considering, but last night I flat out freaked out. Seriously. The cramping continued (I tried timing it but it just felt like it never let up) and then I started having frequent Braxton Hicks.

Y'all. I panicked because Landon was sleeping, Logan wasn't home (although he could have left chapel assuming the lady who usually goes with me was there), and I started wondering what we would do if I ended up needing to go to the hospital. As much as I've thought that it was a possibility, we haven't actually planned what we would do in that situation - who would come watch Landon if he was sleeping, what I would do if Logan was at work, etc. I started packing my hospital bag last week but the thought never occurred to me to figure out all of the other details. Things are a tad bit more complicated this time around now that we have a kid and Logan's schedule is crazy.

So, long story short…after I laid down and ate a PB&J (and prayed! prayed so hard!), the contractions slowed down. I was still crampy by the time Logan got home, but I decided that going to sleep was the best thing. And thankfully, it was.

However, you can expect my hospital bag to be fully packed today, thankyouverymuch. Just in case.

"Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer." -St. Padre Pio

Sunday, April 13, 2014

…..Holy Week

This has to be the quickest Lent ever. Right?

It will definitely be one to remember, with all the ups and downs with this pregnancy. But I have to say, this past week, I've been pretty good. As far as emotional well-being and all goes. And I guess you could say I've had a good week with the pregnancy, other than my cerclage stitch occasionally feeling like it's ripping out (it sounds bad, I know, but I don't know how else to explain it). I've been having more Braxton-Hicks contractions, but no cramping. Whew. So I'm not too worried yet. [Seriously, if I called my doctor for what most normal pregnant women are supposed to call for, I'd be calling him wayyyy too much.]

So. I came across a blog a few days ago and basically started stalking the last few months of this woman's life because her pregnancy seemed eerily similar to mine - excess amniotic fluid, uncertainty about the baby's GI tract, etc. Her baby was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, which we fortunately had ruled out with that blood test in January, but it's still been really nice to read about someone else dealing with a rough pregnancy. Her peace of mind about everything was inspiring.

And then as I was reading through my list of regularly read blogs, one of them had a post about an organization that does surgeries for kids with cleft lip and palate.

I also recently starting talking more to a childhood friend, and after she heard about our doctor's appointment last week, she asked if my doctors mentioned cleft - turns out her husband had it when he was a baby. 

God really does put the right people in your life at the right time, which is pretty cool. I'm just a bit nervous about all these "signs" I've been getting lately. I'm not freaking out just yet, because Chase might be fine…but seriously. I wish I could just KNOW if anything is wrong with Chase and what exactly will be the problem. Because honestly, I'm sick of the back and forth…

"Your baby has a thick neck. That means he could have a chromosomal abnormality."

"Blood test came back negative. No Trisomy 13, 18, or 21 (Downs)"

"Your baby looks good. There's still a 50% chance he could have a chromosomal disorder though."

"Your placenta looks old. And there's a tiny hole in your baby's heart."

"You have way too much amniotic fluid. Something could be wrong your baby's mouth or stomach. Or you could be diabetic. Oh, and your placenta still looks old."

"You're not diabetic! But that means something could be wrong with your baby."

"There isn't anything wrong with your baby's heart!"

Yeah. Paraphrasing and all but you get the idea. My pregnancies are hard enough with having to get a cerclage, having a million contractions, and not being able to do much. So all of this other nonsense is enough to make a girl CRAZY.

I feel like I need to be prepared for my appointment on Thursday because I'm afraid I'm going to get "the news." You know, the news that something definitely is wrong with Chase.

And then part of me thinks that it'll be another one of those "Oh, your baby looks good, no worries" appointments. Which would be great, of course, but seriously, can we stop with the false alarms?

So yeah. It's Holy Week. No better time for it, I suppose! Jesus went through hell (literally) for us so everything we're going through now is pretty minuscule in the big picture.

"Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he who created you has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be you, my God, for having created me." - St. Clare of Assisi

Friday, April 11, 2014

Photo Friday: best friends forever

Most of these are of Landon and Marley. I feel like I should apologize in advance. (But seriously, they're so cute together!)

They've been napping together quite often these days. So funny.
I love my babies so much!

I think I could create a book now with pictures of the two of them

I changed his diaper and he just stayed there. Fine with me, a momma's gotta eat breakfast in peace sometimes!
And this one WOULD NOT STOP BARKING at the men working on our street. So I put her in "jail" (aka the stairs)
My friend (Hi C!) and I went to this lovely closed-in park that was completely shaded and the weather was beautiful and Landon had a blast and we need to go there more often!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

We'll take it!

I had a fetal echo done this morning to check Chase's heart. Dr. C had actually referred me because of my 12-week ultrasound, even though she couldn't see his heart well until my 20-week one. And the cardiologist today didn't see anything! Yay! The doctor did say it's hard to see a tiny VSD (which Dr. C thought she saw), and even if Chase ends up having one, it's pretty likely that it will close on its own. So he doesn't think I need to do another fetal echo - our pediatrician would hear a VSD (if it's there) once Chase is born.
I think obstetricians should have toys in their waiting rooms. Just saying. (And they played a movie for Landon in the exam room!)
We're very grateful for the good news! Honestly, I wasn't too concerned about the heart thing, but it's still a relief to rule it out. Now, if only we can figure out what's causing this dang fluid problem. I see Dr. C again next week so hopefully she can get a good look at Chase's mouth.

In other news, there have been moments where the Braxton-Hicks contractions are relentless and I had a freak out moment yesterday where my stitch was pulling more than it has before and I could not move for a full minute. Um, yeah. Not cool. I was even sitting down at the time! Thankfully, I haven't been cramping or anything, and Chase is still swimming away (the tech doing the fetal echo called him a fish). Sooo let's hope it's just my fluid-filled uterus pressing on my cervix and not my body getting ready to have a baby wayyyy too early.
Eating lunch after our appointment!
"Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear; rather look to them with full hope that, as they arise, God, where you are, will deliver you out of them." - Saint Francis de Sales

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ohhhh you saw the crazy talk coming

So. My glucose test results came back normal. I'd like to share the response of my sister when I told her: "Good! Wait…maybe?"

Yep. Pretty much.

At first I was like yay, I'm not diabetic. And then I was like oh….when it dawned on me that it means something could be wrong with Chase. So I'm not sure if I should be happy or what. I guess I should take good news for now. I don't know.

It's gotten to the point where I just don't know what to do or think or say anymore, because I'm just so frustrated at the fact that I can't have a normal pregnancy. And then I feel bad because I know some women would give anything to just have a pregnancy. Period. Heck, I was there once.

I feel so blessed to have Chase bouncing around in my belly. More than I can express. But this pregnancy is just taking so much out of me - physically, emotionally, spiritually, you name it. I hate not knowing if Chase is going to be okay, if we'll make it to term, or if the delivery will be okay. There's too many issues that have come up that it scares the heck out of me to think what the rest of the year will bring. I can't help but imagine endless days in the NICU, either from prematurity, a defect, or both. And I know it's certainly possible that I'll carry him to term and that he'll be 100% healthy, because I do believe in miracles….but to be honest, I'm not so sure that's going to happen. Is that bad?

Maybe it's the devil pestering me and maybe it's my intuition. Because seriously, I knew this pregnancy was going to be hard before it even happened. Felt it in my gut. It's been hard for different reasons than I was expecting, but still…hard.

I've been trying to lie down as much as possible, since I am feeling more pressure down there. Every day since Wednesday, I've felt a sharp burning pain, like my cerclage was stretching or something, and it totally freaks me out, even though it only lasts a second or two. I mentioned it to Dr. C on Thursday and she said it's because I'm trying to do too much. Which makes me laugh/cry/want to puke because I'm trying to do as little as possible. I mean, heck, I have a toddler. And my husband works 6 days a week. I HAVE A LIFE. I've come to accept the fact that my house will be a disaster zone for a few more months, but I still need to take care of Landon, let the dog out, and fix us food.

And I'm going to stop venting because I know it doesn't help. Sorry.

The good news is that I haven't been having as many contractions as I did with Landon. Just a lot of pressure. And Chase is still kicking away. Sometimes I need to just focus on the good things we have going for us because dwelling on the bad and the unknown just makes me cry. And I'm not one to cry much usually.

I have to say I've been so humbled by all of the prayers, words of encouragement, and babysitting offers. I truly do have some wonderful people in my life.

I think we've only taken 3 pictures of my pregnant self this time around, which makes me feel bad because we took belly pics weekly with Landon. And I tried not to look so tired in the above photo, but that didn't work out so well. My bad.

Keep the prayers coming. We need them.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Photo Friday: fun fun and more fun

I love these babies! My nieces and my cousin's little boy. Born a day apart!
Logan and Landon did a 5K for a fundraiser. Meanwhile, I parked myself in a chair. And ate yummy food.
And this was Landon when they got back
Birthday party fun

I don't know if he was reading to Marley, but she doesn't seem too interested...
This kid was sitting at a table at our weekly playgroup just coloring away quietly by himself. And I just don't understand why he doesn't do this at home!
Landon fell asleep on the futon and woke up at one point...he fell on Marley and went back to sleep. Marley looked at me like uhhhhh help?
So she got up but Landon stayed asleep. Whew. 


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