Saturday, March 30, 2013

32 Weeks and Bumpdate

How many weeks:
32 Weeks
Beginning of the 8th Month

How big is Ellie:
The size of a squash

Maternity Clothes:
Sheri (my SIL) loaned me some of her nursing pajamas and bras to use for once Elliana is here.  I was so excited at how cute the pajamas were.  At least I'll look pretty in the hospital!  Some of my maternity jeans aren't fitting as well as they used to, but it's warming up here in the South and I hope to start wearing shorts soon!

Weight Gain Alert!
156 lbs
Gained this week:  1 lb (finally after a while of no weight gain!)
Total weight gain:  33 lbs

I can feel her moving around and stretching often.  She gets the hiccups about once a day too!  Elliana loves to hear her Daddy's voice, and she moves around a LOT once he starts talking to her.

Food Cravings:
If a food is mentioned that sounds good I MUST have it!  I'm still on the hunt for some good fried pickles (I've been craving them for about a week now).

Food Aversions:
Brandon's no-carb diet during the week has him cooking meat all of the time.  I love the smell of ground beef cooking, but I feel deathly sick when he cooks eggs in the morning.
There's nothing really that I despise right now.

My Current Eating Pattern:
My appetite never fully returned.  I'm making sure to eat enough to take care of baby girl, but there's just not a lot of room to eat as much as I used to.

FATIGUE, cravings, emotional, anxious, weepiness, no control of my emotions, back pain, super big belly, breast tenderness, leaking colostrum, hip pain, swollen feet and fingers, forgetfulness, clumsiness, acid reflux, loss of appetite, excitement about becoming a mother soon, crazy and intense pregnancy and delivery dreams about forgetting to feed Elliana!

Stretch Mark Alert!
My tummy and boobs look great, but I now have stretch marks on my butt!

I'm very tired when it's bedtime, but I wake up numerous times throughout the night.  I'm making at least two trips to the potty over the course of the night, but I'm able to fall back asleep as long as it's after 4 am.  Sometimes I can't tell if I really have to pee or if it's baby girl laying on my bladder.  Most of the time I don't chance it and just get up and go.  My back is also causing me some trouble getting comfortable, but it's nothing that is too terrible.

What do I miss:
Not getting worn out from the little things.  I feel like it takes me twice the time to accomplish anything because I have to take so many rest breaks.

Best moment of the week:
Painting Elliana's letters (for her monogram) and dresser to put the final touches on her room.

Worst moment of the week:
I started feeling light headed and nauseated Wednesday night at church after dinner.  Maybe I had too much pasta?  That and the back pain I've started having during the day have been no fun at all.

What am I looking forward to:
Our baby showers are quickly approaching!  I did hold off and make sure that they were scheduled later on in the pregnancy.  I myself have not attended a baby shower in a LONG time.  I'm positive that the last one I attended was for my friend, Liz, and that was before we began TTC.  I know that my emotions will be everywhere that day.
It still seems surreal to be this close to the end of our pregnancy.  It's truly flown by, and I'm glad that I've written about so much.  In the event that we're not successful in another pregnancy attempt, I want to remember everything for my precious daughter.

If I sit down in the floor I can NOT get up.  Bending over has also become very diffucult

We've reached the 8th MONTH!  It's amazing to think that our little girl will be arriving shortly.  My Dad still swears up and down that Elliana will be born before her due date, and Brandon agrees!

"Elliana should weigh almost four pounds by now!  She's swallowing, breathing, kicking, and sucking all to prepare for life outside of the womb.  She could even be sucking her little thumb right now!  Thankfully I have lots of cute little mittens to break her of that habit once she's here (and to keep people from touching her hands!).  More fat is also accumulating under her skin and she's becoming less transparent and more opaque."
from What to Expect When You're Expecting


Friday, March 29, 2013

Intense Dreams

Everyone told me that pregnant women had some crazy dreams.  I'm still dreaming about forgetting to feed Elliana.  How is that even possible?  In my dreams, I go for days after her birth forgetting to breastfeed her.  The nurses give her pacifiers and formula bottles without my consent, and everyone else is feeding her but me.  Maybe I've got some anxiety about breastfeeding?

As we continue to approach Elliana's due date, I am in full blown nesting mode.  I wake up every morning, get cleaned up and dressed, make the bed, separate laundry or put up laundry, pick up the living room, attempt to clean in the kitchen, etc.  Our vacuum cleaner died over a week ago or I would be doing that too.  When I look around all I see is clutter!  It's beginning to drive me crazy.  I've been worried about making more and more room for baby girl's stuff.  Since my siblings will be here this weekend, I'm hoping that Beth will be able to help me go through my kitchen cabinets and make room for baby stuff in there.  I'm also planning to have Brandon and Nate hang all of Elliana's letters and pictures on the wall to see how it looks.  Our baby showers are coming up in about a month and I know that I'll have so much stuff to sort through, wash, and put away so I need as much done now as possible.

Since April is just days away, I don't think I've shared (on my blog) that I'm keeping Joy's kids while she goes on a mission trip.  She leaves on April 8 and returns on April 21.  Paul, Luke, and Silas will be with their dad each weekend, and Nesia will be with her grandfather one of the weekends.  One of the girls at church, Berta, will also be helping me with all of them.  April will be one tiring month, but it will help me pass the time before baby girl is here.  If I didn't love Joy's kids so much I wouldn't have even offered to help.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Grocery Shopping & Siblings

Call me crazy, but I used to enjoy grocery shopping.  I like making my little list and strolling though the aisles looking at all of the food just waiting to be cooked.

That was before I entered the third trimester...

Today's trip  My Dad has asked me to begin helping him grocery shop each Monday and I don't think he could have asked any sooner.  Walking through the store feels great!  It's the bending over and reaching for items that wears me down.  I can barely get to my pots and pans in the kitchen now.  Elliana stays so low on my tummy, and it makes it difficult for me to be able to bend over and breathe at the same time.  But grocery shopping was crucial today to get ready for my siblings coming over this weekend and preparing for Easter.


On Friday, I'm driving to Northport to pick up my brother and sister.  Nate is 15 and Beth is about to be 13 this summer.  I've always been a little bit jealous of their names.  See, my brother is Nathanael Howard and my sister is Mary Elizabeth.  Nathanael is from the Bible and Howard is a family name passed to the first born male of each generation in David's family.  Mary is my Gran's first name, and Elizabeth is Beth's other grandmother's name.  Mom named me Courtney after one of her MALE high school friends and everyone else in the 80s has the middle name Nicole.  It's silly, but I've NEVER really liked my first name.  I mostly go by Court to all that know me.  I'm only called Courtney when it's something serious!  But I digress...My Mom remarried when I was in first grade.  She and my step-dad waited for what seemed like forever to have children!  In reality, it was only five years, but I wanted siblings so badly.  There's about a 12 year age gap between Nate and me, and a 15 year age gap between Beth and myself.
This has always been one of my favorite pictures of them.  It's always stayed in the drawer with my make up and hair brushes since I've lived away from them.  It's amazing how easy it is to keep up with something when it means so much.


I vividly remember the day that my little brother was born.  It was nearly two weeks before Mom's due date and I just knew she was about to have the baby.  I had a school field trip, but there was a note in the office for me once we returned to school.  She had my little brother that day.  I promise you that I carried around a sack of potatoes for months in preparation for his arrival.  My Mom still says that I would have breastfed him if I could have.  He is still the most beautiful baby boy that I've ever seen.  He followed me around everywhere when he was little.  He would say such silly things, but he always told me that I was pretty.  I don't know if he knew what he was truly saying, but he said it without being prompted.  He also did his fair share of getting on my nerves too.  There was an incident that Mom and David still talk about to this day where he got mad at me (when he was about three) and he took off with my bra and panties and flushed them down the potty.  When Brandon and I first began trying to have a baby, I always said that I wanted a son because of Nate.


When Beth was born, I was living with Dad.  I knew that Mom was due soon, but when she picked me up for my summer visit I had no idea that she was being induced the very next day.  Much to my surprise, Mom asked me if I wanted to be present in the delivery room.  She saw this as birth control-and it worked!  Mom made childbirth look so easy.  They induced her and it seemed like no time passed before she was ready to start pushing.  I was amazed that I had a little sister born in no time at all.  Of course, Beth held her breath after she was born and was carried away to the NICU.  She was the biggest and healthiest baby in there.  They told my Mom that she couldn't see her baby until her epidural had worn off, but she was having none of that-she worked at the hospital where Beth was born.  Beth ended up being perfectly healthy, and her holding her breath was just the beginning of her "being the baby" and center of attention.  I wasn't around as much when Beth was little, but I always thought that she favored my MawMaw (great-grandmother).  There's a picture somewhere of the two of them at Beth's first birthday and the resemblance is remarkable.  Beth has always favored Mom and the Anthony side of the family, but I see little bits of me in her as she's gotten older.  That little girl still hasn't hit her awkward  phase yet and I don't think she'll ever have one.  She's been beautiful since the day she was born.

I'm excited to spend a little bit of time with my brother and sister this weekend.  I'm probably not that much fun to be around these days, but I want to see them and spend some time with them before Elliana is here.  I know that everything will be different from now on, and I may not be as cool to them once I'm a Mom.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


To say that I've been tired is an understatement.

Saturday:  Brandon and I went to Northport in hopes of watching Bryson's first t-ball game.  Sadly, it got rained out but we all got together and had lunch at Brian and Sheri's.  She cleaned out some of Bryson's baby toys and I came home with a LOT for Elliana.  Bryson was so sweet and seemed excited to be giving his baby toys to his little cousin since (in his words) "he's a big boy now."

Sheri also gave me some nursing bras and pajamas to have for the hospital and afterward.  I don't know what I would do without her!  She's stood by my side since we started trying to have a baby and has provided me with so much support.  I'm so happy that she'll be by my side when Elliana is born.

After spending time with the family, we stopped by Target and bought a crib mattress.  I couldn't find the exact one that I'd looked at online, but Brandon found one that was a bit cheaper!  He had a time making it fit in the back seat (along with all of the stuff Sheri sent us home with), but we managed.

On the way home, we stopped at Buy Buy Baby to register for our upcoming baby showers.  I created my registry at Target months earlier online, but had waited to begin this one.  We have already purchased or been given most of the larger items, so we didn't think that we really needed that much.  Two hours and 22 pages later we were shocked at some of the things that we DO NOT have.  It's not like we need every single item on that list to be successful parents to a newborn, but some of the stuff would make life easier.  Thankfully, they have people walk through the store with you and help you complete your registry. We would have been lost without the consultant!

Once we were home I felt awful.  My rings were stuck on my fingers and I had lines on my legs from my socks and jeans.  To say that I was a bit swollen was an understatement.

Sunday:  We woke up and went to church.  I get to visit with my friend who's also pregnant during the Sunday School hour.  Once the second service started, we left church and Brandon wanted fried chicken from Publix.  This is NOT what I wanted to eat.  I've been so consumed with spending less money that the thought of going to buy food when I had stuff at home made me very upset.  AND to top it off, the Publix Deli had no potato wedges.  I could have let my money issues go if there had been potato wedges, but no.  I actually began crying in the parking lot on the way to the car.  Thankfully Brandon knew it was just my crazy irrational pregnancy hormones talking.  Once we got home I was no longer hungry, put on my pajamas, and slept for about 3-4 hours.  He checked on me at least three different times and said that I was out like a light for hours.  I woke up hungry, but had a craving for fried pickles.  Of course we couldn't find any, but I ate my first meal for the day at about 6:30 on Sunday evening.  Not healthy at all!  I let my emotions get the best of me and there was no way that I could eat without getting sick.

Monday:  I still get up at the same time each morning, because I can get so much more done early in the day.  I washed Elliana's crib sheet, painted the letters to go above her bed, and painted part of frame that's going in her room.
Brandon wants to hang the letters with pink ribbon above her bed.  I absolutely LOVE the color "Tiffany Blue" and had wanted the walls this color, but Brandon liked the green better.  At least I get to use this color in her room now!!
This picture was a Christmas gift from Sheri. 
Dad stopped by around 11:30 and we set out in search of a small dresser.  Her closet is already full and we're still getting gifts.  I was afraid of running out of room.  We went to the Fred's in Montevallo and Columbiana, and found an inexpensive dresser that will work perfectly.
Here's the dresser
I also found these little guys!  Aren't they just adorable?!?  Unless you know about my husband's obsession with all things superhero, you won't get it.
We also walked around downtown and went into some of the shops.  All of the walking exhausted me.  We had a quick lunch and he brought me home.  It took all of my energy, but I unpacked the dresser pieces from the box and took them outside to paint black.  I couldn't do anything else after that.  I was completely out of breath and tired.  Brandon and I were both in bed before 9 pm last night.

Today:  So far today I've been doing laundry (I've never been so caught up on laundry in my life!) and organizing Elliana's socks, mittens, and pajamas into the dresser drawers.  We let the dresser itself dry overnight and Brandon plans on putting it together this evening.

I'm already tired from the little bit I've done today.  I cannot bend over at all without my back hurting or losing my balance.  Please don't see this as me complaining.  I'm just amazed at how differently I feel and how much bigger my tummy is growing each day.  I do hope that my Dad's right and Elliana makes her grand entrance a week or two before my due date.  This Mommy is tired and worn out already.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

31 Weeks and Bumpdate

How many weeks:
31 Weeks
*End of the 7th Month*

How big is Ellie:
The size of a pineapple

Maternity Clothes:
Couldn't live without them!  I've also been wearing nursing bras for over a week now and they're fabulous.  It's much more comfortable than my regular bras that I've outgrown!!

Weight Gain Alert!
155 lbs
Gained this week:  0 lbs
Total weight gain:  32 lbs

I can see my entire stomach move when Elliana decides to move.  Sometimes I think my skin will stretch open because she makes such big movements.

Food Cravings:
Oreos.  I actually made a special trip to the grocery store for Oreos on Wednesday afternoon.
Peanut Butter Sandwiches on Wheat Bread- I have on each day right now

Food Aversions:
There's not anything in particular that has made me sick.  I don't like pasta and red sauce at home, but I crave my Italian Nanny's homemade meatballs and "sooka" (red sauce).

My Current Eating Pattern:
My appetite is still nothing like it used to be.  I just eat when I'm hungry and try to snack a lot.

fatigue in the evenings, frequent urination, indigestion, bloated feeling, acid reflux, heartburn, swollen feet and hands, tender breasts, breast changes, JOY, hip pain- are they widening, sore ab muscles and ribs, forgetful, not emotional-but aggravated easily

Brandon traveled Wednesday night this week and I didn't sleep well with him gone.  Other than that, I wake up at least once to go to the potty and drink some water.  My back is still hurting, but we don't have much longer!

What do I miss:
As awful as this sounds, I miss having a glass of wine.  I know that I still have a while because I just can't really see myself drinking and then having to pump and dump my precious breastmilk!

Best moment of the week:
Hearing baby girl's heartbeat

Worst moment of the week:
Feeling like my Bronchitis was back!

What am I looking forward to:
Making it to the 8th month of pregnancy next week!

Becoming a full-time stay at home wife and mom.

"Elliana is close to measuring her birth length.  Baby girl is now processing information, tracking light, and perceiving signals from all five senses."
from What to Expect When You're Expecting


Going for the nautical look today!  Why yes, that's NOT a maternity sweater and I could make it button, but it would probably fly open and poke someone's eye out!  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

March 21st Appointment

We had a awesome appointment today.  According to the scales at the doctor's office I've lost weight.  By my scales at home I've stayed at 155 lbs for quite some time now.  My blood pressure was on target and Elliana's heart beat was nice and strong.  My nurse prayed with me after going over my vitals.  It was awesome.  I've heard that the nurses often pray with their patients, but this was my first experience.

Dr. Radbill said that I'm measuring perfectly and I look great.  Elliana is no longer in the breached position, but her head has dropped into my pelvis, her booty is under my right rib, and her legs are under my left rib.  The likelihood of her moving again is high, but we'll just hope and pray that she's back into the right position around week 36.  It was really a quick appointment!

Our next appointment is scheduled for April 3rd at 8am.  Brandon should able to go to this appointment with me.  (He traveled to Mobile and Mississippi yesterday and is on his way home now).  He doesn't like missing appointments because he likes to her baby girl's heart beating.  Thanks to technology, I'm always able to record Elliana's heartbeat for him and then we can listen whenever we want!

I stopped by The Baby Station in Vestavia on my way home, but the store is very pricey!  They had a big sale going on but I could not see spending so much money on outfits that baby girl will only wear a few times before they're outgrown.  From looking around I did come up with some ideas for monogramming, but I wasn't really impressed by dresses priced at $69- even if they were marked down to 50% off.

After visiting the baby store, I also stopped by the jewelry store to see the girls.  My last day at work was Monday, and it was bittersweet.  While I was in the store I got the chance to change a watch battery while everyone else was busy.  I told everyone that I'd probably continue to stop by weekly, especially after doctor's appointments.

This was the highlight of my day

I've waited so long to park in this space!  Those spots used to make me angry.  I've waited until I was pretty big to take one of these parking spots, but I feel that I have worked for it.  God is good.
30 weeks 5 days

Countdown:  9 Weeks 2 Days 

(but who's counting?!? heehee)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Birth Plan

Call me crazy, but I have already written our birth plan.  If Brandon and I had not encountered trouble conceiving, I highly doubt that I would have constructed a birth plan.  I have full intentions of laboring and having an epidural, but there are so many particulars about us that I felt it necessary to write them down on paper.  It's hard enough now for me to collect my thoughts and relay them to others, so I am positive that I will be glad to have my wishes written out on paper on delivery day!

When I sat down to start writing, I pulled a few examples from the internet.  I printed out the fill-in birth plan from The Bump and wrote down my thoughts from there.  I also took some liberties and added more information, such as our phone numbers, emergency contacts other than Brandon and myself, our pediatrician, and my current medications and allergies.

Some important issues for me to list were:  pain medicine, labor augmentation, c-section, and family and friend visitors.

  • Unless there is something wrong, I do NOT want to be induced!  I do believe that Brandon and I deserve one "normal" thing in this pregnancy.  The thrill of my contractions becoming closer together (and worsening) or my water breaking in the middle of the night is something that we want.  
  • I do NOT want a c-section unless it is absolutely necessary.  My pelvic pain had me terrified of a vaginal birth, but I want the experience of delivering Elliana unless the doctors see reason for a c-section.
  • There are many different ways to deliver a baby, and some Moms choose to deliver with or without pain medication.  I WANT an epidural.  Again, with my pelvic pain there is NO way that I can push baby girl out of my hoo-ha without it!
  • As far as visitors are concerned, Brandon and I know that we do NOT want any family or friend visitors for the first hour after Elliana is born.  The idea of trying to bond with our daughter and me breastfeed with a room full of people staring at me doesn't sound appealing at all.  Thankfully, Brookwood does NOT allow family in the room after delivery unless it's cleared with the Mom.  Elliana and I will be able to bond over breast feeding, and Brandon wants to engage her in "skin-to-skin" shortly after her birth as well.  I don't think we're asking too much, and I hope that our families will understand.  We did wait 26 months to be blessed with a healthy pregnancy, and it's been one LONG pregnancy!

At the end of the plan, I wrote a simple note thanking the nurses and doctors for reading our wishes.  Brandon and I have dreamed of this day for so long and I will do anything that I can now to plan and prepare myself for delivery day.  We both know that plans do change, and I have no idea what Elliana's birth day will hold for us, but sure like feeling prepared!  I plan on giving the birth plan to our nurse as soon as we enter the hospital (maybe along with some candy or other goodies!)

Once all of the finishing touches are in place I will post our birth plan here for y'all to take a peek (and see truly how OCD I am)!

Countdown:  9 weeks 4 days

Saturday, March 16, 2013

30 Weeks and Bumpdate

How many weeks:
30 Weeks
10 more weeks to go!

How big is Ellie:
The size of a cucumber

Maternity Clothes:
A sweet friend at church donated her maternity clothes to me.  There were some cute spring/summer tops and even a dress!  I must say that I've been very blessed to receive so many maternity clothes.  I've only spent $130 out of my own pocket on maternity items during this pregnancy.

Weight Gain Alert!
155 lbs
Gained this week:  0 lbs
Total weight gain:  32 lbs

There's less kicking now and more punching and jabbing.  I'm able to feel her head pressed up against my tummy often.

Food Cravings:
Still not craving much.  I'm back on drinking chocolate milk and I've been happy that my reflux is allowing me small amounts of Orange Juice!
I have to admit that I miss Oreos, but there's no way that I could sit down and not eat 15 at once.

Food Aversions:
Smells bother me mostly.  I'm still weary of eating anything too spicy or acidic because of the acid reflux issues.  We ate Bojangles on Sunday and it tasted great but made me super sick the next day because I've limited my fried food so much.  I've never been so healthy!

My Current Eating Pattern:
I snack mostly throughout the day.  I've been drinking water, hot tea, chocolate milk, and orange juice.  I have to remind myself to eat lunch most days.  My tummy is just running out of room so I'm still trying to make my meals count.

FATIGUE, thirsty, swollen feet!, acid reflux (but not as bad this week), indigestion, excitement, emotional, weepiness, lethargic feeling when trying to do housework,

I'm sleeping much better these days.  Acid reflux discomfort no longer wakes me up.  My cough from the Bronchitis is slowly going away, but we're still sleeping with the humidifier on at night.  It doesn't matter how much I limit my fluids before bed, I still have to make potty trips.  I do find myself waking up having to reposition because of bad back pain, but I'm handling it well.

What do I miss:
Being able to shave my legs and paint my toes easily! =)

Best moment of the week:
Finding out that I passed my GTT and receiving Ellie's quilt from Toni!

Worst moment of the week:
I didn't really have one, but I'm sad that Nanny is still in the hospital.

What am I looking forward to:
Putting Ellie's crib together and finishing up decorating her room.

30 Weeks!  We're so close to the finish line now.  And I am also relieved to have passed the GTT!!

"My belly's increasing size is a definite clue that Elliana is getting bigger and bigger every day, weighing in at over 3 lbs now.  Growing daily is her brain, which is starting to look like the real thing with grooves and wrinkles.  Elliana can now also regulate her own body temperature, so she'll start shedding the lanugo."
from What to Expect When You're Expecting


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Hope found in a Quilt

Tonisha Marie Rapp...

Where do I start?  She and I found each others' blogs over a year ago.  She first commented on my blog in February 2012.  Since that day, she and I made a connection.  She lives in Oklahoma and I'm in Alabama.  We've never met, but I hope that we will someday.

Toni always commented and left positive words on my blog.  Within the infertility blogosphere, it's rare to find someone who does try to remain positive at ALL times.  I always found encouragement in her.  At some point we exchanged phone numbers and began texting each other.  It's amazing how you can feel so close to someone and never have met them.  That's what infertility does to people.  Most of the time you read about the stress and heartache that infertility brings, but this is a story of hope and friendship.

Brandon and I knew that we were on the road to IVF in March 2012.  We were getting all of our ducks in a row to apply for "compassionate care" through EMD Serono.  I was devastated to learn that we were mostly likely within $1000 of receiving FREE medication for our IVF cycle.  Of course, I turned to my blog to write out my words of anger, despair, and frustration.  Toni commented on my blog offering to donate her 900 IU of Follistim to us.  Do you know how much money that stuff is?!?

Needless to say, Brandon and I would not have been able to pursue IVF as quickly as we did without the help of Toni and one other benefactor (I'll talk about that at a later date).  Toni's contribution to our cycle helped us tremendously.  That donated medicine helped me grow the eggs that formed the embryos that gave us this miracle pregnancy.

Toni has experienced her own un-fair amount of struggles throughout her journey to conceive another child.  She has miscarried twice during my pregnancy with Elliana.  And do you know what-- Toni never ceased contact with me through all of her trials.  I know how hard it was for her to check in on me in my pregnancy when she was losing hers.  She is one of the most self-less women that I've ever met.

This all brings me to the package that I received yesterday.  Toni recently began quilting and she has been constructing quilts for other women who have become pregnant after infertility.  Elliana's quilt was the first one that she made.  Call me selfish, but I am proud to own Toni's first quilt.  It will always hold a special place in my heart.

Within the package Toni packed a note to Brandon, myself, and Ellie.  I plan on placing the note in Ellie's scrapbook that I've been working on.  I thought about sharing the note, but then it wouldn't be as special.  I look forward to the day when Ellie flips through her scrapbook, knowing that she truly is a miracle.  Without her Aunt Toni, I cannot say for certain that we would be approaching our due date.

Without facing infertility, I would never have found Toni.  I believe that God sends us people to help us through trials.  I know for certain that He sent me Tonisha Marie Rapp.

I Passed the 3-hour GTT!

After failing the 1-hour sugar test, I passed the 3-hour GTT!  The nurses at the Alabaster office had told me that they believed I would pass the longer test and they were right.  To say that I'm thankful is an understatement!  I indulged yesterday and had a Dr. Pepper to celebrate and had some chocolate cake at church. Even though I passed the test I still plan on watching what I eat.  After grocery shopping today, I came home with NO sweets, but did buy some yummy fruit yogurt with granola.  My craving for sweets has been minimal lately, and I've been focused on making all of my food choices count (especially since we're in the home stretch now).

Here are my results from the GTT
Fasting          78
1-hour          176
2-hour          166 *
3-hour          126
*The nurse said that the 2-hour number was one point higher than they liked, but overall felt very pleased with my results.

My weight gain is still at a stand still.  My appetite has yet to completely return, but I am eating.  Right now I'm relying on staying hydrated mostly.  I don't want to force myself to eat multiple times throughout the day. Breakfast is my most important meal of the day.  No more waffles for this Momma, but I've been eating a bowl of Cheerios each morning.  If I feel like it's a good acid reflux day, I drink 8 oz of Orange Juice.  As long as I'm not going to church, I eat a small spoon full of peanut butter for snack(one of our kids at church has a SEVERE allergy).  At lunchtime I eat whatever is easy.  If I'm at work it's fast food, but if I'm at home I cook something healthy.  At dinner I'm not that hungry.  I'm not even eating an afternoon snack.  My belly looks and feels like it's grown, and I'm sure that my stomach doesn't have as much room for food now.  But I promise that I'm eating when I'm hungry.  Whoever came up with the concept of "eating for two" is crazy.  People tell me that all the time, but I read that a pregnant woman (singleton pregnancy) only needs an additional 300 calories a day.  I had Chick-fil-A yesterday and there's about 300 calories in one packet of their Chick-fil-A sauce!

My appetite was crazy during the first and second trimester, and I guess I needed the extra calories because I was working so much and Ellie was growing so quickly.  For now I'm just going to listen to my body and try to make wise food choices.  I knew that my appetite would begin to taper off and maybe I just started a little early.

Countdown to Elliana's Due Date:  10 Weeks and 2 Days!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Prepared Childbirth Classes

On Saturday we attended childbirth class.  Instead of stretching the class out, we decided to take it all at once. It was a LONG day!  The class was mostly full with a few moms about to deliver this month, but most of us were due in May.

There were many videos including live birth, active labor, and what happens with baby during delivery.  The class focused much on having a vaginal delivery and what to expect.  Each couple was given a book and folder that contained all of the material.  The instructor talked about guided imagery and Lamaze during child birth and even had us practice.  I expected more time on the floor practicing, but we only spent 15 minutes doing that.  (I almost fell asleep because I was so relaxed.)  She also passed around a baby doll and let us practice swaddling.  Brandon was quick and successful at swaddling the baby doll, but I'm sure it's different with a live, moving newborn!

The funniest part of the day was when they asked if any of the men wanted to wear "the belly."  It weighs 35 lbs and simulates for a man what it's like to carry a child.  Of course my husband volunteered and I got pictures!

Once the class itself was over, we traveled to Brookwood for a tour.  The rooms at Brookwood are fabulous.  Everyone labors and delivers on the 3rd Floor.  After baby is born, within a few hours you are moved to another floor where you stay until you are discharged home.  The size of rooms shocked me.  I had no idea that they would be so spacious.  I'll have to admit, the size of the rooms is a little intimidating to me, because I don't want people hanging around all day long once Elliana is here.  We have so much family and faith family that will be visiting, so it's great to have a large room.  BUT my hope is that people will visit for a short time and then leave.  I may feel entirely different when the day arrives though, but I'm not one that likes many people in one small space.  Anywho, we'll fight that battle when it's here.

I think it's safe to say that I'm super happy that we chose to deliver at Brookwood.  In retrospect, I should have taken pictures of the rooms, but it was crowded with everyone on the tour.  I'm excited that in a little under 10 weeks we'll be welcoming our Elliana to the world!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tough Decisions

When dealing with infertility, some issues never truly go away. Brandon and I are pregnant and we are still faced with difficult decisions...

When I began writing about our fertility journey, I knew that I wanted to share EVERYTHING.  It's not often that you find a blogger as candid as myself who discloses their identity.  I hope that in the bearing of my soul on this space, someone else will find answers, comfort, and information to help them along their own pathway to parenthood.

Last week we received a letter in the mail from ART regarding our frozen sperm (11 vials).  The likelihood of us using them is slim to none.  Yes, we attempted one IUI in October 2011, but it did not end well for us.  Both the doctors at UAB and ART agreed that IVF is the best way for us to conceive.  In an IUI attempt, we would need to use both fresh and frozen samples (from Brandon) combined to get an adequate amount of swimmers for success.  All the while having four frozen embryos, neither of us want to go down the IUI road again.

Brandon and I had to think hard about this situation.  Obviously there is a cost to keep them preserved.  The cost for keeping our little swimmers on ice is $600 per year.  We also have to pay the same fee for our little frozen embies.  It's only money, but it felt like a wasted expense when we will most likely never need the frozen sperm.  In the likelihood that our attempts at another pregnancy fail with the remaining four embryos (through FET)... I can't even imagine.  The thought of another pregnancy and child is not so far out of our minds at the moment.  BUT we will cross that bridge when we get there.  In the event that two FETs fail, Brandon and I would then have to decide if we wanted to attempt IVF again.  In the event of pursuing the process again starting with IVF, I am positive that we would be able to retrieve enough sperm for ICSI.  That was truly the only worry that Brandon and I had.

Being pregnant with Elliana now and having to make these decisions brought up so many feelings that I've not experienced in quite some time.  Whether Brandon and I attempt to become pregnant again seems selfish at the moment.  I am forever thankful to God for the gift of Elliana.  At the moment I cannot wrap my head around the idea of fertility treatment again with a child.  I know that's because I don't need to worry about that yet.  Brandon and I will both know when it's time to get back on the infertility roller coaster again.

I delivered the paperwork to destroy and discard our frozen sperm on Friday while I was at Brookwood.  I highly doubt that anyone would benefit from using our little frozen guys or Brandon and I would have discussed donation.

Thank you for staying with me through this post.  I know that I've not talked as much about my fears and anxiety through this pregnancy because I haven't had any.  I'm not like most of the women who still have apprehension through their pregnancy after overcoming infertility.  I lost that feeling weeks ago and I pray that my other infertility sisters can feel the same peace.  BUT having to watch Brandon sign the paperwork and then deliver it brought me back to that dark place.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Friday's Appointment, 3-hr GTT, and 3D

Friday was a busy day!  Because I had been sick, we rescheduled my glucose tolerance test for Friday along with my appointment and 3D ultrasound.

Traffic was backed up from an accident on I65N (what's new there?) so I was running late to start the test.  Once I was there they called me back and drew my blood (8:32 am) before giving me the drink.  At that point I was so thirsty that the sugary drink was a welcome sight.  I don't think the nurse had ever seen a pregnant woman so excited to drink the orange stuff!  She then got all of my vitals and went ahead and set me up in a room to see the doctor.  Dr. Mac had two Mommies pushing so he was seeing his patients as early as possible so there wouldn't be too many patients waiting throughout the day.  I hadn't seen him since my first OB appointment at 12 weeks.  He said that I looked great!  He was very satisfied with my blood pressure and weight gain.  My fundal height was right on track.  He said that I did have some mild swelling but it's nothing to worry about right now.

Dr. Mac told me that we would start doing internal exams around 35 weeks to assess my ability to have a vaginal birth.  The thought of delivery has caused me much anxiety.  Pelvic pain has caused me MUCH discomfort in the past few years.  If intercourse, pelvic exams, and vaginal ultrasounds leave me sore and torn, I cannot imagine how I will feel after birthing a baby!  BUT with all that said, I would much rather deliver Ellie than have a c-section.

After my appointment, I only had to wait a few minutes before my second blood draw (9:32 am).  Our Nanny has been in the hospital for almost two weeks now at Brookwood, so I visited with her while waiting for my third stick.  While there I was also able to visit with Brandon's mother (Mia) and our Aunt Anita (Aunt NeeNee).  I barely made it back on time for the third stick after fighting with all of the elevators.  After that stick I decided to stay in the waiting room.  All of the walking had worn me out!  By this time Brandon was on his way to meet me for the 3D ultrasound.  He swung by Nanny's room and picked up Mia to let her go to the ultrasound with us.  I thought it would be fun for her, especially because she had to cancel her weekend vacation and has been spending many days at the hospital with her mother.  The ultrasound tech called me back early but allowed me to wait on Brandon and Mia before taking me.

The ultrasound was amazing.  Tears flooded my eyes once I saw the first 3D image of  Elliana.  Seeing her face made her feel even more real.  She was very active from the sugary drink.  She opened and closed her mouth, yawned, smiled, frowned, and brushed her hands across her face.  The lab tech came in and did my final blood draw (11:32 am) during the ultrasound itself.  Once I was allowed to eat or drink I didn't even care because I was so focused on the screen watching Ellie.

As of now, Ellie is in a breached position.  I'm wondering if this is why my back pain has returned.  I often feel her little toes along my lower belly or up in my ribs.  It's extremely easy to find her head now, and it stays either up under my left or right rib.

I am so happy that we did the 3D ultrasound.  It was such an amazing experience, and has me even more excited for her arrival in May!

I hope to hear back from the doctor's office about my results from the GTT this week!  Let's hope that I passed it!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Videos from 3D Ultrasound

Here are a few short videos from the ultrasound on Friday.  
Watch for Elliana's smile at the end of this one!
Baby girl was tired and yawned BIG at the end of this video!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

29 Weeks and Bumpdate

How many weeks:
29 Weeks
11 Weeks to go!

How big is Ellie:
The size of an acorn squash

Maternity Clothes:
Every day and always.  I've only got two t-shirts that I can wear comfortably.  I've always been one to dress for comfort but I've tried to stay dressed up whenever possible.  I'm so proud of my bump and I don't want someone to ever mistake me for being overweight!  (I know, I'm so vain!)

Weight Gain Alert!
155 lbs
Gained this week: 0 lbs (actually lost 1 lb)
Total weight gain:  32 lbs
My appetite is still sluggish.  I'm not eating near as much as I had in the past weeks.

Our little girl responds to our voices well.  Brandon can talk to her and she will kick back at him.  Her movements are extremely pronounced and my tummy moves when she's dancing in there.  Sometimes I think I can feel either her head or booty.

Food Cravings:
Everything that I cannot have.  I've never had to follow a diet or anything.  Before pregnancy I ate what I wanted.  I've always avoided dairy because of lactose issues but I also don't like cheese or milk so it was pretty easy.  Having to watch out for reflux triggers is proving to be very difficult.  I can get acid reflux from anything now.  But again, it's all worth it to be carrying my little girl.  And I will enjoy the mess out of some fried food once she's born!

Food Aversions:
Anything that aggravates my acid reflux

My Current Eating Pattern:
My appetite is slowly returning.  I've been snacking more throughout the day than eating meals.  I'm still so afraid to eat meals because of the acid reflux terror that follows.  We eat dinner much earlier than usual now and I don't recline at all for a few hours. Right now I'm relying on drinking water and staying hydrated.

Bronchitis, fatigue, increased sense of smell, frequent urination, hemorrhoids, back pain (but nothing as awful as I experienced before), thirsty all of the time, excitement about Ellie arriving soon, overwhelmed feeling, pregnancy brain, premature nesting when I'm not too exhausted to clean

What's that?  I long for the night when I sleep without waking up.  It doesn't bother me to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the potty.  BUT it does become nagging to wake up multiple times during the night so I can breathe, blow my nose, cough, administer eye drops, etc.  The lack of good rest is wearing on this Mommy.  At least I'm very prepared for waking up in the middle of the night to take care of baby girl.

What do I miss:
Being well.  Any kind of sickness during pregnancy is terrible.  Medicines don't seem to be as effective and I feel worse than a normal non-pregnant person would.

Best moment of the week:
Brandon talking to Ellie in my Belly and feeling and seeing her kick like crazy responding to her Daddy.

Worst moment of the week:
Having to fast for the GTT!  It was hard to sleep during the night knowing I couldn't have anything to drink.  Thankfully I kept myself very busy during the test itself.

What am I looking forward to:
Getting over Bronchitis!  I'm sure Ellie is ready for me to stop coughing as well.

Having our 3D ultrasound was an amazing experience.  I am so thankful for each week that we reach as we make it closer and closer to full term!

"Ellie is getting closer to her birth weight, but will double or even triple her current weight before birth.  As she continues to grow my womb will become tighter and I will no longer feel kicks, but jabs!"
from What to Expect When You're Expecting

 I'm feeling and LOOKING MUCH BETTER this week!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Miss Elliana Joy Boyington

Here are pictures of our precious Elliana.  She was squished against my placenta in most of the pictures and we couldn't get her to move.  It's obvious that she has Brandon's nose and my lips.  We cannot wait to meet our daughter in the next 11 weeks.  God is so good!

We also have a video of her, but I have no way of uploading it to my blog at this time.  We caught her yawning many times, moving, rubbing her face, and even saw her smile.
 I promise she doesn't have a lumpy looking head.  It's the placenta!

 She was ready for Mommy to have a real snack other than fasting for the GTT.
 Look at that little foot!
 She's sticking her tongue out.

Yawning.  She's just so cute!