Thursday, January 31, 2013

Linea Nigra, Balancing Tummy, and Awkward Belly Pictures

Be warned, there are many pictures of my pregnant stomach in this post.  Please know that everything I write here is to provide hope to other women who have struggled with infertility AND to have everything possible documented about my pregnancy.  Who knows if we'll ever be able to have another child, and I want to remember every moment of it.

I noticed Tuesday evening that I've developed the Linea Nigra line on my tummy.  It's not very noticeable but  it's definitely there.

Do you like what I've done with my belly button?  Haha!  It is either an innie or an outie during the day depending on where Ellie's laying.
Excuse my messy bathroom mirror.
I've been cleaning house when I have time, but I use Windex so much at work that I have to force myself to use it when I'm at home!
In other tummy related news, I can now balance items on my bump while sitting.  This is quite an accomplishment!
That's my Caffeine Free Dr. Pepper resting on Ellie's bump yesterday.  I was one proud lady to have my drink set there without moving!  Of course, my Mom said that Ellie will soon kicking items off  the bump.
I post bump pictures each week, but I haven't shown a close-up of my tattoo.  I think it still looks great, even though so many people told me it would look terrible.  They obviously had no idea why I have the word "Hope" stamped above my infertility surgery scars.
As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise You more and more
The size of the tattoo (and scars) have grown but it still looks nice.  I can always have it touched up after I'm healed from pregnancy and no longer breast feeding.  This tattoo is so symbolic of me and I will never regret having it permanently sealed on my body.

I cannot believe that I just posted so many pictures of my tummy.  I hope that Ellie looks back at this one day and knows how much hope and joy she brought to our lives before she was even born.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

LIFE-Big Picture-Seasons

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, as I also remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:1-5 (NIV)

We all go through different seasons in our life.  In my own life, I have experienced seasons of love, engagement, marriage, and infertility.  I will always identify with the label of infertility, but I feel that we have conquered that season.  As May approaches, Brandon and I are entering the season of parenthood.

When my brother-in-law and sister-in-law were trying to conceive, I did not understand a lot of what they were going through.  I knew that my sister-in-law was hurting inside, but I could not even begin to imagine how she felt.  When they began their third IVF cycle, they were so immersed in God's word.  Their church was praying (and even fasting) for them daily.  Their third IVF cycle conceived their son.  In that cycle, I could see a change in her and the peace that radiated from her.

I can remember reading the above scripture shortly after they were pregnant.  "Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."  I had not read that scripture in a long time, and it was one verse that we read during LIFE on Sunday.  God pruned me while we were in the midst of our infertility journey.  I still have flaws, but he took away the bitterness and (most of) the jealousy I felt towards those who conceived easily.

I truly believe that God has a plan for everyone.  In this, I do not think that God picks and chooses people to be fertile and infertile.  When you're trying to conceive, you hear so often from other Christian's to wait for God's timing.  As much as it's one of the hardest pieces of advice to hear- it's true.  I know that Sheri hurt terribly when she was trying to get pregnant.  All women do.  But, Sheri's journey helped me when we started trying to conceive.  And our journey prompted me to blog.  From my blog I have reached so many other women facing infertility.  Because of infertility, my husband and I have a stronger relationship with one another, and a stronger faith in God that He will provide.

I did get a glimpse of the "big picture" before we were pregnant.  I know that not so many others are as lucky.  Brandon and I always had hope that we would become pregnant with a child of our own.  We were either so hopeful or stubborn that we knew we wouldn't give up until we were parents.  When I look in the mirror and see my reflection, I'm still amazed that I'm pregnant.  There are many other women who are not as lucky, and I am thankful each day that Ellie continues to grow within me.  My prayer is not for other infertile women to just become pregnant, but to grow within their season, strengthen their relationships, seek help, love themselves, love God, and see "the big picture."  

Monday, January 28, 2013


We started LIFE groups at my church this week.  LIFE means Living in Freedom Everyday.  I'm so excited that both Brandon and I are going through this 12-week study.  My class (of women) meets on Sunday evenings, and his (of men) meets on Wednesdays.

It was so easy to focus on God and have full reliance on Him while we were trying to conceive Ellie.  It's been my experience that it's easy to rely on Him and trust Him when He's all you've got.  During the first trimester we had one scare when I spotted bright red blood for an evening.  I prayed and cried so hard to God to protect my little one.  For the past 18 weeks, our pregnancy has been mostly uneventful.  Because of this, I have not worried about Ellie.  Yes, I have the normal pregnant concerns, but not those of a woman who has also battled infertility.  So many of my fellow sisters who have faced IF and are now pregnant are still filled with concerns and fear (many throughout their pregnancies).  I still label myself as an infertile, but I have not had the same fears while being pregnant with Ellie.  I remember everything I went through to get to where I am now.  Ellie is my miracle and a product of modern medicine.

My hope is that in the next 12 weeks I will redirect my focus on God.  Right now, life is good and I have no true complaints.  I know that can all change in the blink of an eye, but God is in control.  He has provided so much for Brandon and me, and I pray that I will rely on Him for everything when times are good and when times are bad.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

23 Weeks and Bumpdate

How many weeks:
23 Weeks
*Entering the Sixth Month!*
Only 4 more months to go until we meet "Ellie the Sneak."

How big is Ellie:
The size of a grapefruit
This fruit size seems much more appropriate for the way I feel!
It looks like I'm smuggling a bowling ball under my shirt now.

Maternity Clothes:
I'm wearing the Maternity Support Band daily.  It has helped tremendously with the RLP and also does wonders for back support.  I can't keep it on all day, because the material gets itchy, so I take an hour break from it and reapply lotion mid-afternoon.

Weight Gain Alert!
146 lbs
Gained This Week:  2 lbs
Total Weight Gain:  23 lbs

When she kicks low on my stomach, I can see my belly move.  It's the coolest thing ever.  Of course, she never does this when Brandon's watching.  He gets a little discouraged, but I'm just sure that she'll start making more visible movements as she grows.
She still is extremely active after I eat and when I come home from work and sit in the recliner.  

Food Cravings:
I'm not really craving anything this week.  I'm a creature of habit and eat the same things on the same days.  I don't think that really counts as a craving.

Food Aversions:
Still no fast food other than Milo's and Zaxby's.  I only eat fast food from those places after church on Sundays.
I haven't been wanting any red meat, but that's not out of the ordinary for me.

My Current Eating Pattern:
I've cut back on sweets this week since our appointment with Dr. Radbill.  I eat 3 waffles for breakfast along with my juice, and I've been not eating as many snacks.  (I haven't been eating as many snacks at work because I've been keeping myself busy).  I still guzzle water like it's going out of style, and my throat feels dry if I go even 30 minutes without drinking.  I'm also pleased to report that I've been back in the kitchen cooking dinner for the past few weeks and it feels great.  I forgot how much I enjoyed my cooking!

backache, round ligament pain, frequent urination, mild menstrual-like cramps, tight skin on tummy, fatigue, mood swings, grumpiness, weepiness, clumsiness, pregnancy brain, swolen and tender breasts, indigestion, heartburn, increased appetite, oily hair, weird looking belly button, more changes to surgery scar, strange dreams about breast feeding and babies

Sleep has been much better this week.  I alternate nights between wearing the maternity support band.  I usually wake up early in the morning to go to the potty, and then Ellie wakes up and starts kicking.

What do I miss:
Easily bending over and underwear that fits.  My boy-cut underwear now look like regular underwear (sorry for that visual).  

Best moment(s) of the week:
-Hearing Ellie's heartbeat again.
-Nesia saying Ellie's name when she points to my tummy.
-Buying new living room furniture and lounging in my recliner!  Also the people who own the store said I looked no where big enough to be as far along as I am.  =) 
-Scheduling our 3d/4d ultrasound for March.

Worst moment of the week:
Being told to limit my dessert intake.  I miss devouring an entire sleeve of Oreos in one sitting.

What am I looking forward to:
Continuing to work on Ellie's room- we need to find a crib to get more completed!  Also, I'm excited that Liz is hosting a baby shower for me in April.  

Entering the 6th Month of Pregnancy!

"By the end of the month, Ellie will weigh double what she does now!  She's fattening up (and so am I).  Her skin will become less transparent as fat deposits settle in."
from What to Expect When You're Expecting

Right now Brandon is helping with the pancake breakfast at the middle school.  I will update with better bump pictures tonight.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Glimpse of Ellie

Our 3d/4d ultrasound is scheduled for March 8!  We cannot wait to get a glimpse of what our little Ellie looks like.  I'm so excited that our OB office offers this service so we don't have to go elsewhere.

Only 43 days!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January 22 Appointment

Everything went well at our appointment yesterday.  They documented Elliana's name under my information in the computer.  =)  My blood pressure must have been good because they didn't mention anything about that.  BUT when I stepped on the scales, the nurse had to push the nob all the way over to the "150" block.  (That's never happened to me before.)  I think she seemed surprised by my weight, but accounted a few pounds for my cowgirl boots and layered sweater.

When the nurse came in to listen to Ellie's heartbeat she kept laughing.  She said that Ellie was very active and she was chasing her all over my tummy.  Then Ellie started kicking the doppler.  It was hard to find her heartbeat then because I couldn't stop laughing.  Once I quieted myself, she slowed down for us to hear her precious heart beating at 147 bpm.

Dr. Radbill came in and measured my tummy and said that I'm right on track.  I showed him where my stomach hurts (RPL) and he said that it's very common in pregnancy.  All I can do is rest when it hurts.  I told him that my job required me to be on my feet a lot and he didn't seem as concerned when I mentioned that I would only be working through the end of March.  He told me to rest when it hurts.  He said that wearing the maternity support band was a great idea to help with the pain as well.
It still hurts during the day, even with the support band.  I'm wearing the band at night and it helps my back as well.  Once I'm standing and moving I'm alright, but if I have to bend over or sit down again...the pain starts all over.  It makes for a long day when you frequent the restroom countless times and must sit down and get up from the potty.  As long as I move slowly the pain isn't too terrible.  
We talked about my weight gain and he said that I was doing great to be tall and skinny.  I've never thought of myself as tall, and it was nice to still be referred to as skinny.  He did tell me to think about my food choices as I eat dessert.  For now-no more sweets except for after dinner.  Last night I cut my Oreo intake in half from what I would usually eat.  =( (Ellie and I love Oreos)

Overall it was a great appointment and the doctor thinks that we're doing great.

Our next appointment is scheduled for February 21, and I will complete the 1-hour sugar test.  Also, I'm planning to schedule our 3d/4d ultrasound today-somewhere between weeks 28-30.  Brandon is so excited to see Ellie again!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

RLP and Appointment Today

Round Ligament Pain (RLP) was still yucky yesterday.  I had extra help at work so I was able to rest as much as possible when not helping customers.  The maternity support band is amazing.  I urge all pregnant women, especially those pregnant with multiples to purchase one.  By 4pm I had to take it off because my tummy was itchy, but I wore it most of the day.

This is not one of my most flattering belly pictures, but this is what the maternity support band looks like.  I took this picture Sunday evening when I was feeling my worst.  

We have a routine appointment with Dr. Radbill today, and I plan on talking about the RLP more.  Also, I want to discuss weight gain.  I started gaining weight around 9 weeks, but it was slow and steady.  That cannot be said now.  I'm gaining anywhere from 2-5 lbs per week and my skin feels it.
Stretch marks are not something I'm worried about, but I do use Palmer's Cocoa Butter on my belly every morning before getting dressed.  When I had OHSS and gained 20 lbs in 5 days I had NO stretch marks.  Now my skin feels extremely tight and itches by the end of the day (most likely when I need to reapply lotion).  If Ellie gives me stretch marks I will wear them as badges of honor because I was blessed to carry her.
For today's appointment I am also hoping to plan the sugar test and 3d/4d ultrasound. Brandon and I both want to see what Ellie looks like before she's born.  Plus we miss seeing her on the screen!

Sorry for the boring posts lately.  I have so many things I want to write about, but the RLP has been taking over!

Monday, January 21, 2013


I woke up this morning around 2:30 am. After a trip to the potty, I was unable to go back to sleep. Instead of tossing and turning I decided to get up am move around in hopes of feeling sleepy again. For two hours I organized the cabinets in the guest bathroom making room for Ellie's bath stuff, as well as eating a snack and straightening up the living room.

Brandon's alarm went off at 4am to go to the gym, but he chose to go back to sleep on the couch. Now I'm back in bed trying to sleep again. : / I haven't had trouble sleeping in a month, and I hope this doesn't become a pattern. I know I'm going to be tired at work tomorrow!

In news about my ligament pain (RLP)... I took it easy all day yesterday. I called Dr. Radbill on Saturday evening and he told me to stay off my feet for the duration of the weekend. I couldn't bare missing church yesterday, but I sat through worship and didn't pick up any if the babies during nursery. I laid around all afternoon making bows for Ellie, but my belly still tears and aches when I get up.

Someone had donated more maternity items to me, and in that was a maternity support band. I tried it on last night and it felt great! I fell asleep with it in last night and my back felt amazing. I plan on wearing it more often so help with the RLP and back pain.

Well, I should try to get some rest now so I'm not dragging anymore than usual at work today.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Crying and Ligament Pain

Today has not been one of the best days of my pregnancy. 

My hormones are ridiculous.  After taking my bump pictures, my computer acted crazy and I thought that I had deleted the pictures permanently.  I was so upset.  Of course, after having Brandon drive home (he had just left) and a quick restart to the computer everything was fine.  I cried.  It's like I have no control over my tears lately.

Then I was upset because I was out of syrup for waffles. 

After all of my insanely crazy crying, I got up from sitting down and couldn't stand up straight.  The pain in my side is awful.  I was able to make it through a few hours at work and then it started again after lunch.  I had no idea that ligament pain was so terrible.  At least it is for me.

So today's been a rough day.  Thankfully I only have three more hours of work and I can then try to relax and keep my belly from hurting.

22 Weeks and Bumpdate

How many weeks:
22 Weeks
*Wrapping up the Fifth Month!*

How big is Ellie:
The size of a papaya
Again, the fruit sizes often make no sense but I just know that she's getting bigger in there!

Maternity Clothes:
Mom gave me 3 new maternity dresses for my birthday, and another friend donated two large bags of maternity items as well.  I now have more pants to wear and some cute tops for Spring.

Weight Gain Alert!
144 lbs
Gained This Week: 4 lbs
Total Weight Gain:  21 lbs

Ellie is extremely active and seems to be following a schedule.  She's the most active after meals kicks around the same time each day.  
She's still shy and doesn't kick on command or when someone puts their hand on my tummy.  She must think it's a game with Daddy when he tries to feel her.  I'm sure that her movement will be much more apparent to others in the coming weeks.

My Current Eating Pattern:
7:45am- 16oz Juice
8:30am- breakfast (either fruit or waffles right now)
9:00am- 16oz Water
11am- 16 oz Water
11:30am- snack time (usually Gardettos's Snack Mix)
12:30-1:30- Lunch
2:30pm- 16oz Water
2:30-3:00pm- Snack (usually a Little Debbie Cosmic Brownie)
3:30-4:30pm- Caffeiene Free Dr. Pepper
6:30-7:30pm- Dinner and Water
8:30pm- Oreos and Milk

Food Cravings:
Oreos and Milk after dinner
Fruit Juice
Caffeine Free Dr. Pepper

Food Aversions:
Fast Food is gross!  
I'm all about cooking dinner at home, and eating soups and dining at sit-down places for lunch while I'm at work.

round ligament pain, frequent urination, increased hunger, increased appetite, weepiness, pregnancy brain, clumsiness, big belly, swolen and tender breasts, acid refulx, heartburn, indigestion, breathlessness, fatigue, belly button changes, changes in surgery scar (it's bigger and deeper feeling), food cravings, realization that we're going to have a baby in 4 short months!

I'm back to waking up at least once during the night to visit the potty.  My back still aches during the night and it's difficult to get comfortable.  Brandon rubs my back before bed most nights, and I'm still sleeping with my body pillow and Batman pillow.

What do I miss:
In all seriousness, underwear that completely covers my big booty.  I've always had a little junk in my trunk, but pregnancy has definitely increased the size of my hiney!

Best moment of the week:
Creating and adding items to our Target baby registry and planning dates for baby showers!  It's again added to the realization that Ellie will be here before we know it.  AND that our house will be covered with her stuff!

Worst moment of the week:
Didn't really have one this week, but the growing pains and round ligament pain aren't much fun.  Thankfully, no one made any dumb comments about my size this week. 

What am I looking forward to:
Our next appointment is on January 22.  I'm excited to see how I'm growing and hear Ellie's precious heartbeat again.  Also, I'm planning to ask about having a 3D/4D ultrasound scheduled in the near future.

Wrapping up the fifth month of pregnancy.  It is amazing how quickly time flies!  

"Ellie now has eyebrows, eyelashes, and even some hair on her head."  She perceives light and darkness as well.  She hears my heart beating, tummy gurgling, and whooshing of my blood throughout my body.  Her brain and nerve endings are developing, and she is experimenting with her sense of touch."
from What to Expect When You're Expecting


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ellie's Room (the first post of many)

Have I ever mentioned that my husband LOVES superheroes?  When I first met him, he told me about his hobby.  When I first visited the house, nothing could prepare me for the "superhero room."  It was crazy-awesome with all of the items that he had collected through the years.  Now being the awesome wife that I am, the superhero room stayed a part of the house until we found out that we were having a girl.

 I feel it necessary to share the last pictures taken of Brandon's prided room.

Don't worry!  All of the items have been safely packed away.  (We hand picked a few superheroes that will be a part of Ellie's room too.)  When we purchase another home, I definitely want to have a basement so we can display all of Brandon's superheroes again.  He was so proud of his room, but I know he will be even more proud of his daughter.


Once we found out we were having a girl, it didn't take long for us to start thinking about what we thought her room should look like.  We both agreed that there would be little pink used in her room!  Brandon picked out a pretty green color that can be best described as the grass in Easter baskets.  We started off by taking our time, patching up and trimming the walls.

Much to my surprise, Brandon had completed the room last Saturday (Jan 5) while I was at work.  It's absolutely beautiful and I cannot wait to start decorating! 

We're planning on decorating her room with black furniture.  We kept one of the black shelves used from the "superhero room" to display her superheroes, pictures, and other keepsakes.  I am on the lookout for black and white polka dotted curtains, but will find the fabric if none exist.  I'm against picking out overpriced bedding that she'll never use.  Plus I want to make sure that whatever I choose is breathable.

Here are some of the superheroes that will be a part of Ellie's room.  

The Justice League to keep Ellie safe

The lunchbox contains the original thermos!  Both of these items came from my Gran's house.

This is the first superhero item I ever purchased for Brandon.  You don't even want to know how much I spent on it!


I went to the dentist yesterday for the first time in over a year.  When you get so caught up with your fertility doctor, you gradually forget about all other important appointments.

My gums had been starting to look puffy and bled often so I made a call.  From reading different books I was terrified that problems with your teeth could lead to preterm labor.  In general, I have been pretty stress-free about our pregnancy, but this issue worried me since I had noticed some changes with my gums.

The cleaning wasn't too bad, but there was so much blood.  Nothing was uncomfortable, but my gums were very irritated.  The general consensus was that I need to floss more.  Pregnancy hormones along with my complete lack of flossing has made my gums super sensitive!  My new routine: brush teeth, floss, and brush teeth again.

Since cutting caffeine out of my routine again, my teeth look great.  I've even started using baking soda and they appear whiter.  I guess they'll look even better if I keep flossing.  =/

Sorry this was a random and boring post about my teeth.  But to all of my pregnant readers:  Remember to Floss!  And this goes to all of the IF Ladies too; taking all of the added hormones.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Great Birthday!

My 27th was fabulous!

Brandon and I went shopping Saturday evening after I left work.  We got some precious stuff for Ellie!
These were all part of a set. 

This onesie was included in the set pictured above all for $9.99.  
This set was too cute to pass up
I couldn't resist since working in a jewelry store helped us afford IF treatment for Ellie!
Just a plain 5-set of onesies.  I'm sure we'll go through many of these in the beginning.

The inside of my card from Sneakers
My birthday card was awesome!

From Sneakers

From Sneakers
Beautiful flowers from Sneakers

Brighton earrings and necklace pendant from Dad

Sterling Silver Pendant with Elliana engraved on the front (it reads Joy on the other side)

Sterling Silver charm bracelet with an "E" charm for Ellie from Randal
Sav-a-Life Calendar featuring Nesia from Joy
Not pictured are three dresses that Mom purchased for me.  One is tan, one is purple and white, and the other is black with a skinny blue belt.  I'm so in love with my maternity clothes that I may miss them when it's time to return to my regular-sized wardrobe!

Overall I had a great birthday.  We went to church, had lunch with Dad, took a nap, headed back to church for a meeting, and then went to dinner with my Mom and family.  I can't wait to spend my next birthday with Ellie.