Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Spiritual Bouquet

This is for all our sisters in Christ who are in the midst of their journey with infertility, loss, and adoption. Know that you have our continued support, love, and prayers.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Picture post

Since I have placenta brain (thanks, Katie.. I like that!), I thought I'd do a picture post...

This was a major accomplishment, because it's nearly impossible lately to get Clara to smile when we want to take her picture, even though she smiles all day when there's no camera around!


At 25 weeks. I seriously think my bump would appear a lot bigger if "other things" weren't growing at an even quicker rate, which by the way, should be the subject of another post :)


What a big girl!


Our little explorer.


Clara likes Baby #2's new quilt!





Sunday, August 29, 2010

My brain is mush

I have access to a laptop (i.e. REAL keyboard!) so I'm taking this opportunity to post, despite the fact that I don't have much in mind to write.

Speaking of which, I think my brain has turned to mush. I couldn't even imagine writing a thoughtful post right now. And it's not just that I don't have the drive or motivation to write one, but I don't have any thoughts! Seriously, I am living moment to moment and I'm not exactly introspective these days.

When I go back and re-read some of my old posts from time to time, I can't even believe I wrote them. Not that they're so great or anything, but just because I actually had coherent thoughts.

All I can seem to manage at the moment are update posts. Which don't make for a very exciting blog.

I guess, for me, depression bred creativity. Now, joy seems to be breeding mush. Along with, of course, a whole lot of other wonderful things. Just not thoughtful blog posts.

Clara's playing in her "pen" at the moment. I love watching her happily playing all by herself, talking away, moving from toy to toy. She seems so methodical about it all. For example, the other day we noticed all her toys were on the left side of her little play area. Today, though, they were all on the right. When, why and how did she do this?

We are so in love with her. We just can't get enough. We could eat her up all day long.

So I returned the quilt I bought for Baby #2's nursery. And the rug, valances crib sheet and crib skirt. Ryan was so right when he said it was good we had no warning when we adopted Clara or else I would've done her nursery over five times. I've already ordered another quilt (despite the fact that babies don't actually use quilts for quite some time) and I'm going to design the nursery around it. Or so I say.

In pregnancy news, I am currently 26 weeks. I've gained just about a pound for every week, too, actually. Speaking of which, I'm feeling rather large these days. I don't think I look overly pregnant at this point, just liked I've gained weight.

Other new developments - the gnawing hunger is back, so is nausea (when in the car), the fatigue never left, my ears feel full of fluid nearly all the time, back pain, trouble sleeping, and my right side pain is astonishingly painful roughly twice a day.

I guess I never thought about pregnancy being so uncomfortable. Then again, I guess I didn't think much about being pregnant in general! It wasn't exactly something I thought was in my future.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I'm seriously thrilled to be experiencing every single part of pregnancy; so thankful to have made it this far. I just find all the new developments, both good and bad, very interesting. It's just interesting when you are experiencing new things all the time, and I feel the need to share everything with Ryan. Not complain, of course, just share. Some days I share all day long.

I'm totally kidding. Feeling our baby boy kick makes up for any aches and pains I may experience. Like I've said before, I can handle physical pain much better than emotional. And to think I am almost in the third trimester. This still feels like a dream!

Well Ryan's working on clearing out the guestroom/soon-to-be nursery so I'm going to go help. Suddenly we have outgrown our little house and the new baby's not even here yet!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Answered prayers

I am so happy to announce that Clara's baptism is one month from today!

We are incredibly excited. There has been a lot of drama surrounding her baptism and for some reason I haven't posted a lot about it. It's safe to say it upset me. A lot. 

In the weeks after we brought Clara home, I knew there was absolutely nothing about having a biological child that could trump our experience. I couldn't love her more, there was nothing we were missing out on, nothing I envied about biological families. Well, nothing except one thing - if I had given birth to her, she could be baptized in the Catholic Church.

It just didn't seem right or fair. If we waited until the adoption was final (which we heard our diocese required), she'd be a year-and-a-half. Baby #2 would be baptized before her. 

I tried not to let it anger me and I tried to respect the decision of those in our diocese. Yes, I had quite a different interpretation of Canon Law, but I'm no Canon lawyer. Yes, all of my friends who had adopted and lived in other dioceses were given permission to baptize their babies, but our priest had to follow the rules of his diocese.

It broke my heart for Clara. I wanted her to have everything, to not be left out of anything, let alone a sacrament, due to something she had no choice in. I wanted her to become a member of a church I prayed she would grow to love more and more every day of her life.

I wanted her to be safe, God forbid anything happened to her. 

We made one mistake - despite our passion about this, for some reason we put off making the actual call to our diocese (which our priest had instructed us to do). We knew the stance our diocese had taken in the very recent past and we figured it was a foregone conclusion that they'd rule against us as well. In the meantime, we prayed about whether we should take her to another diocese for her baptism (my parents' diocese), asked our priest for tentative permission and my mom asked the priest in her parish if we could do it there. We could. Ryan, who originally wasn't on board with it, agreed it was best. 

The next step was getting the inevitable "no" from our diocese. So Ryan called, explained our situation to the deacon our priest had told us to contact, and he said he'd get back to us. The next day he did and, just like we expected, we were denied permission (it has to do with us not having her birth certificate until the adoption is finalized, and the lack of names of "legal" parents on the baptismal certificate).

At the end of the call, the deacon asked, seemingly out of his own curiosity, why we wanted to get her baptized before it was finalized. Ryan answered, simply, because we saw the importance of infant baptism and wanted our baby to receive the sacrament. After he hung up we just couldn't get over that rather odd question.

To our surprise, the deacon called back. He said that it wasn't over, that he was still asking around, and he'd see what he could do. Had that one little question sparked something in him? After all, it was that simple - we were parents (maybe not yet legal, but we're all she had) who wanted our baby baptized in the Church. Why wouldn't we? The Church herself had taught us of its importance.

We got the good news the next day. They had changed their minds. 

I find it hard to believe that this issue hadn't been resolved before now. How many other Catholic adoptive parents had previously plead their case? I know of one for sure, and there just had to be others. 

I have to believe that, by the grace of God, something clicked with that deacon this time. The Holy Spirit must have whispered in his ear because, with all due respect to my husband's powers of persuasion, we definitely didn't fight very hard whatsoever.

So the baptism up north is off, and Clara will be baptized in her parish next month. I ran out and bought her a gown (which baby boy will wear too, despite the nine-month size), and our family and her godparents are graciously traveling here for it.

I am so humbled by God's goodness in this situation. It didn't look likely, but He answered our many, many prayers that our baby would be baptized. Thank you, Lord!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Great weekend

First off, can I just say how much I hate titling posts? It might be (I'm sure it is) hormones, but I seriously almost had a meltdown trying to come up with one! So I went with the obvious...

Anyways, about that weekend... I met Amber's baby, and she is just GORGEOUS! Amber looked and sounded great (although the poor thing was about to fall asleep when GIMH and I got to her hospital room!) and I am just so happy for her and her husband (and Aunt C!). After so many years of trying to conceive and knowing all that she has gone through, to see her in her hospital bed with her baby swaddled nearby, it was just so amazing. What an incredible miracle. And I got to hold the beautiful baby girl, which suddenly made it even more real that I'll, God willing, soon be in Amber's place!

Today we bought nursery bedding, a rug and valances for our baby boy's room, which also makes it very real! We got this quilt, and some other pieces that I mixed and matched with it. We got a really great deal on it all (I love floor model rugs [the hanging ones, not the dirty ones that have been trampled on] that get you an extra 20% off!) and now we just have to clear out the guestroom, buy a crib and set everything up. And I'll be doing some artwork for the room like I did for Clara. Hopefully that'll all happen by December.

One not too fun thing that's happening lately is the pain I've been having on my right side is getting worse. Honestly, it feels like trapped gas I've had in the past after surgery. It happens a couple times a day, usually real bad at least once, and if I move around it sometimes gets better. But lately it's taking much longer to ease the pain.

For some reason it doesn't make me nervous (which says a lot for me). I really do think it's gas and after watching this, I'm even more sure of it. Wow, the uterus really smushes the intestines!

I might call my doctor tomorrow just to see if there's anything I can do to ease the pain. And I'm going to try to eat foods that are not gas producing (ya, I eat basically ONLY foods on this list) and see if that helps.

We also tackled some baby-proofing this weekend. Fun! By they way, thank you all so much for your comments on my last post. Your input really helped. So far, we've bought a fireplace guard for the brick (basically just foam pieces that fit over the edges), and we set up the "pen" that will serve as her new play area in our living room (the word pen makes me think of a dog, so I'm calling it her playland. Sounds so much more exciting!). So far she loves it. And I'm so happy and relieved! It's been really nice not having to worry about her getting into something she shouldn't, and I can even run to the bathroom if I have to (which is necessary A LOT).

I will leave you with a video of Clara playing with her best bud, E, yesterday in her new play area (and, as you'll see, I think E is on to the fact that they're fenced in.. hopefully it's a while before Clara realizes this!). I never get tired of watching them interact. I really think they know each other and Clara definitely loves being around other kids. Oh, and watch for E hamming it up for the camera. He flashes the most gorgeous smile every time I aim it at him! I think he's destined to be a movie star, model, or maybe another TV news anchor!

video

Friday, August 20, 2010

Clara-proofing


How exactly does one baby-proof a room, much less an entire house?

And I mean really baby proof. Not just plug the outlets (oh, how naive I used to be).

Clara is a wonderfully explorative little girl. I love that she wants to be everywhere and see everything. She's not content with her toys, on the safe confines of our living room rug, and while that can be cute, it also makes me extremely nervous.

It's fine for now. It simply requires me watching her, grabbing her, and putting her back safely where she should be. But in a few months we'll be adding a newborn to the mix, and I just have this mental image of me, alone with the two babes, breastfeeding one while the other "explores."

I'd love to not constantly worry whether I've thought of every possible way she could get hurt. I'd love to not have to pull her away from the brick near our fireplace (which she tries to suck on) or every cord in the room all day long.

We plan to tackle those problems this weekend, but it's the bigger ones I'm clueless about. Like, how do I prevent her from pulling herself up on our TV stand and the TV falling over on her (besides the obvious of sitting on the floor with her and physically stopping her from doing it)? Or what about the storage unit in our kitchen where I put all the baking pans and casserole dishes that don't fit in my cupboards (it's just metal shelving so the items are exposed at a little one's level and the unit itself could fall over if she really yanked on it)?

Do people get rid of actual furniture that could be dangerous (which I'm not opposed to) or am I missing something?

We're going to try making an enclosed area in our living room using this thing with linked-sides we used to keep Sophie in (sorry, I can't think of a better way to describe it at the moment, but it's not only for a dog and it's not covered, just sides that link together), but I'm not sure how that'll go over. She already, for the most part, hates being in her pack-n-play to "play." She definitely likes her freedom. And she prefers bricks, cords, shoes and the TV stand to her toys. Go figure.

Anyway, I'd appreciate any advice anyone has on this. I just know there must be something we can do... right??? Other than living in a padded room?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blogger in labor! *Update*

*Update* Okay, I really don't want to steal Amber's thunder and announce this for her without her knowing, but since you're all waiting and wondering, and I don't want you to worry... I'll just say that the baby is here and it's a girl! So happy for you, Amber! Can't wait to see pictures!!

Please pray for Amber at Fertile Thoughts as she gets ready to meet her baby very soon!

We (me, GIMH, and Amber's sister C) were actually supposed to be having lunch with her right now, but C called this morning to say Amber's water broke overnight. She was initially sent back home to wait for stronger contractions, but the latest news I heard was that she's headed back to the hospital shortly.

I'm so excited to hear the good news and to find out if her little one is a boy or a girl!! I'll keep you updated if I hear anything. And, in the meantime, please offer your prayers for a safe delivery and a healthy baby!

A Prayer to St. Gerard for Safe Delivery

O great Saint Gerard, beloved servant of Jesus Christ, perfect imitator of your meek and humble Savior, and devoted child of Mother of God, enkindle within my heart one spark of that heavenly fire of charity which glowed in your heart and made you an angel of love.

O glorious Saint Gerard, because when falsely accused of crime, you did bear, like your Divine Master, without murmur or complaint, the calumnies of wicked men, you have been raised up by God as the patron and protector of expectant mothers.

Preserve Amber from danger and from the excessive pains accompanying childbirth, and shield the child which she now carries, that it may see the light of day and receive the purifying and life-giving waters of baptism through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Prayer Buddy

Throughout the last several weeks I have been honored to pray for C at Patiently Waiting!

This is the first time I've been matched with a pregnant blogger (and darn, I can't take credit since she conceived before prayer buddies started! Haha..) and it was nice to pray for someone who is going through the same excitement/nervousness/hopefulness/joy that I am currently experiencing. And I was thrilled to see her post about her first ultrasound!

I prayed for her, her family and her intentions, including (of course) a healthy pregnancy. I always prayed that her baby (who, incidentally, I pictured being a boy when I prayed.. although that could possibly have been for personal reasons) would be safe, healthy and happy in her womb, just as I do for my own.

I said two novenas for her - to St. Anne and St. Maximilian Kolbe. I also offered up pain I had for her and prayed for her at Mass.

C, please know of my continued prayers for you, your husband and your little one. I can't wait to keep following your pregnancy as it progresses!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Good news

Well I'm officially done with progesterone shots and blood draws! Praise God!!

I'm a little nervous about letting my body completely do its own thing. But, on the other hand, maybe ignorance is bliss. I won't know every single number, every rise and fall. Progesterone will no longer be on my radar. That actually is pretty freeing!

Dr. S's nurse called today with the result of my blood draw after being off PIO shots for two weeks, and my level stayed the same. I know, according to the infamous PPVI graph, that it's supposed to rise from week to week, but since I was warned it might actually fall when stopping the shots, staying the same seems pretty darn good. And that means I no longer have to check my level (I'm actually going to miss the woman at the lab and will definitely be stopping in with Clara just to visit!).

So the nurse told me it was in zone three, although without even having the graph in front of me, I knew it was high zone two. When I asked about this and reminded her that I was a day away from 23 weeks when it was drawn, she reiterated that it was zone three and could even drop a but and still be safely in that zone.

Yet when I hung up and checked the graph, I saw I was right. For her to be right, I would have had to be twenty weeks. And I also realized this has been going on the entire time. Their definitions of what's in what zone is always off by two weeks from mine.

Has anyone who sees Dr. S run into this as well? Is it possible he doesn't use PPVI's exact chart, and his is different by a couple weeks?

There I go, worrying about it already! It's not a big deal, right? The last time I was nervous about it, you all so kindly convinced me it's really all fine at this point and that helped me a lot. And because of that, I basically already decided I'm going to give it up to God and not call back and get picky about weeks and levels. I'm going to let it go. At least I'll try.

In other news, I have pain on and off exclusively on my right side. It happens when I sleep on that side at night and also when I sit, at times, during the day. I'm assuming it's round ligament pain. I also wonder if it's just my post-three-surgeries abdomen reacting to a huge, growing uterus. I could have adhesions of some sort that are being forced to stretch or it could just be a squished intestine. Nice thought!

Something I love, though, is how much our little boy is moving around! Holy cow, when he's awake, he sure is active! Today as I was feeding Clara, with my right arm resting on my stomach as I held the bottle to her mouth, he kept making my arm move up and down! I'm like, oops, sorry Clara! Sibling interaction already :)

While I'm discussing pregnancy symptoms, I'm not sure I've adequately explained my fatigue as of late. It's bad. Can-hardly-get-up-to-pick-up-my-baby bad. I feel like an absolute zombie. I've never been so tired in my whole life. And it's only gotten worse since my new endocrinologist adjusted my thyroid meds.

I see her on Wednesday and I can't wait to hear what she has to say.

I'm going to mention my adrenals to her but I have no reason to believe she buys into that. I'm not even convinced it's my adrenals, though, because I don't have the dizziness that I to used to have with it.

I really think it's just really bad pregnancy fatigue combined with having an eight-month-old and being hypothyroid and not yet on the proper dose of my thyroid meds. But if I'm this out of it now, what's the third trimester going to be like? Oh well, I'm hoping I'll just be so excited to be that far along that I won't care!

Wow, is this a boring post or what? Sorry! I really do have more thoughtful thoughts swirling in my brain but they're not posts that I want to type on my phone with one finger.

To salvage this post, I will leave you with video of Clara laughing (because can't a laughing baby save anything?). We're in the hallway here because there was a tornado warning (you can hear the weather guy from my husband's t.v. station in the background). Everything was, of course, fine, and for some reason Clara was very easily amused while we waited...


video

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My weirdest symptom

So I knew going into this that pregnancy would make my emotions run wild. And it has. As was expected, I've done my share of crying over sappy and/or sad stuff on t.v. (although, honestly, this is not much different than before).

But something else is happening that I didn't expect. Something on the other end of the spectrum. I find things very, very funny.

Perhaps even funnier than they actually are (or so I've been told).

The first time it happened was with this viral video:


I laughed so hard I was crying hysterically. Hysterically. I was practically gasping for air. When Ryan walked in the room I had to immediately tell him nothing terrible had happened because I'm sure it looked like it had. And yet every time I forced someone to watch they seemed a little concerned with my level of enthusiasm. I could just tell they were laughing more at me than with me. I was shocked! Seriously, how were they not seeing that this was the funniest thing ever in the history of the universe?!

And, in my defense, millions of people have watched it too and must have thought it was pretty humorous, right? I mean, it's viral after all. And the guy was interviewed on late night television for goodness sake.

Then came this, which I first came across when it was posted by another blogger on her blog. I clicked over to it and immediately fell in love. Now this was officially the funniest thing I'd ever seen. I laughed so hard I, again, cried. I both laughed and cried so hard that I couldn't even get the words out as I tried to read the captions aloud to Ryan. I'm sure it looked more like I was having convulsions than laughing. And eventually I had to stop reading because all the laughing was giving me round ligament pain. I was hurting really bad.

Ryan laughed, but also looked at me a bit sympathetically, and when I texted it to everyone in my family I only heard back from my mom who sounded confused. "Now what is this again? Who are these people?"

Again, I'm obviously not the only one who finds the site funny, but I guess I can admit I might be overreacting just a tad.

I mean, I can't really recall laughing this hard that many times in quick succession. These are like once-a-year hysterical laughing/crying episodes (the last time I remember doing it was while watching this last year. Yes, I apparently have a thing for youtube videos).

And this is one pregnancy side effect I welcome with open arms. What's wrong with thinking things are too funny? Well, maybe nothing except for the funny looks and having no one to laugh with you, at least not with the same vigor.

It's actually been a few days since I had a good laugh (or, should I say, cry), so if you have anything you think I might like, let me know!