Monday, December 28, 2009

Waiting

Yep, that's our baby boy! Taken at our appointment last Wednesday (34 wks., 5 days). He's doing great and when we go for our appointment in two days, we get to schedule my induction!!!!

I'm thrilled to soon know when he will be in my arms. We're hoping that will happen in less than two weeks.

We had a really good Christmas - busy as always, but so much fun (and very tiring for me!) Since Paul's been off all last week, we had plenty of preparation time and my parents joined us on Christmas eve and stayed for a few days. They only live about 40 minutes away, but it's nice to have them here for days versus hours. It started snowing heavily on Christmas eve and in about two days we had approximately 12-15 inches on the ground. The boys had fun sledding with Papa and Daddy and building a partial snowman which quickly became something to jump off of rather than a snowman. Here they are in their matching vests from my dad (Papa) on Christmas morning.

My brother Richard joined us for Christmas Day and Elijah had fun dominating "Rish-urd's" attention. Paul got me a few special gifts, even though the landscaping was supposed to cover all gifts for the year. His theme for my gifts was "ministering to my heart." I received a new PINK vacuum (something I've been wanting for a long time and the pink part made it all the more special!) and a gift certificate to a local "spa." It's enough for three-1 hour massages or whatever I want to use it for. I was floored and excited! I've never had a professional massage before and this place even does a prenatal massage! I'm hoping to have one done before Caleb arrives.

We were going to light an ice candle on Felicity's grave on Christmas eve, but due to the already fallen and falling snow, it was too hard for all of us to get into the cemetery and I knew the candle wouldn't stay lit for long. But being the great daddy that he is, Paul got through the snow and placed it on her grave and cleaned her headstone off. Hopefully we'll get a chance to light it soon. I'm stunned to think that this is our second Christmas without her. I look forward to kissing Caleb's chubby cheeks as they look so much like hers. While I haven't been so worried this past week, I'm feeling a lot more emotional than I have for quite awhile because of missing Felicity.

I'm exhausted already, from just typing this out and I want to try out my new vacuum a little more, so this is it. I'll be sure to let you all know when the induction is scheduled for.

Blessings,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Update

My apologies for not posting sooner. I forget that many of you who read this, aren't on Facebook and are probably wondering what's going on with Caleb.

Friday we had our 34 week appointment. Caleb continues to look good, no anemia and no hydrops. They're saying Caleb is already close to 6 lbs. (They admit to 10-15% error either way.) So our perinatologist said that after two more good appointments, he'll let us schedule our induction. We (me especially) are hoping that means anytime after 36 weeks, but I know the hospital has rules about how early they'll induce.

I admit I've been worried a lot lately about a repeat cord accident. I feel confident that the perinatologists at Maternal Fetal Medicine are capable of catching the anemia issue, but I worry about the cord. They check blood flow through the cord every week, which is reassuring, but in between appointments I worry. I know hiccups are common towards the end, but they are also a cause for concern as the doctor who studies UCA (umbilical cord accidents) in Louisiana believes that "too many hiccups and/or hyperactivity of baby" is a cause for concern that baby might be in distress due to a cord issue. So whenever Caleb has hiccups, I worry. I am so thankful when I wake in the middle of the night to use the restroom and feel Caleb move. (This doctor also believes that the majority of stillbirths occur at night when mom's heartrate lowers while she is sleeping.)

Please pray for me (for peace) and for Caleb to not have a cord issue. I think when he comes out, the first question out of my mouth will be, "Do you see any cord issues?" I'm trying to maintain a positive attitude as we wait, but I'll admit it's getting harder every day. I just want my baby safe in my arms. Please pray extra hard for us in the days and weeks ahead. I didn't fully realize how difficult this part would be until I got here.

Here's a photo I've been meaning to post (as much as I didn't want to). Remember that I've been pregnant 19 of the last 23 months and as such, my body is pretty much a mess!

Blessings,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Priceless

video

This is who snuggles with me every morning. I'm so blessed!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Promises

Lately when I open my Bible, I find myself flipping all around, reading a little here and a little there. Honestly, my main goal is looking for comfort and promises that Caleb will be alright.

Worry is a constant part of my day. I've learned to "turn the volume down" so to speak most of the time, but until he's in my arms, I'm worrying about him. Thus many of my personal prayers are for peace and trust.

I told Paul yesterday that I want to pick out 3-5 verses for both of us to memorize (though also have in print) for labor. I want those to be my focal points as I can only imagine labor is going to be tough: physically, emotionally, and mentally. I want the Holy Spirit to be completely present with us.

Here are some of the verses that I'm clinging to. Please comment if you have others you like. We haven't decided on our verses yet, so I'm still looking for suggestions.

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty, he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

Isaiah 51:3 For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord: joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

Isaiah 51:11 Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Psalm 5:11-12 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love they name be joyful in thee. For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.

Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Psalm 18:6 In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even unto his ears.

Psalm 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Psalm 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;


Have a blessed week,

Friday, December 11, 2009

Remembering

I'm doing quite a bit this weekend to get ready for Caleb's arrival. We had his 33 week MCA scan yesterday and he's still doing well! It was a longer appointment than usual though, as his head was in a difficult position for the tech to get a good reading.

So now that we've passed week 33, I feel the need to really get things ready. We have been told that if Caleb gets sick after 34 weeks, they would induce labor (or do a c-section, depending on how sick they think he is) and then do a blood transfusion with him out. This is apparently safer than attempting an intrauterine transfusion in late pregnancy.

We're praying this won't happen, but we need to at least be somewhat prepared for that scenario. Considering our distance from the hospital, we all need to have bags packed and ready as of this next week. As well as the car seat installed and diaper bag packed.

I finally got the tub of baby stuff up out of the basement (Thanks, Paul!). I opened it this morning. It's hard to explain the feelings I had as I was both excited and nervous about looking at the contents of the container.

You see, this tub holds the clothes and such that were hastily packed away after Felicity died. In it are the only girl clothes I have that were all intended for Felicity if she turned out to be a girl (remember we didn't know what we were having). Despite not seeing them for over a year, I remembered these pink and purple articles of clothing in detail. I had painstakingly purchased them before her birth, knowing I'd want her in pink immediately if she was a girl. The only piece missing is the pink cotton gown she was buried in.

As I unpacked them today and laid them out on the bed, I was caught up in sadness for a little while. Regardless of where I am or what I'm doing, Felicity's never far from my thoughts, especially during the holidays. I'm always wishing she was here and picturing what she'd look like and what she'd be doing. I imagine how excited she'd get over the Christmas lights and how we'd all be delighting in her excitement.

Needless to say, I didn't get much else unpacked. Those outfits are still lying on the bed. Once I get everything unpacked, I'll probably put them in my cedar chest rather than packing them away again in a tub. I think I'd like to have easier access to them if I want to look at them.

We took our family Christmas picture on Sunday. Paul and I debated about how to include Felicity. Last year we took a picture of all of us with me holding a framed of her. This year we decided to do something else. Here's the photo:


It turned out okay, I think. I'm sure everyone can relate to how difficult it is to get a good family photo. Usually somebody's eyes are shut, somone has a goofy smile, or someone else is out of focus. Despite the frigid temps here these days, I am usually boiling hot, which means I let my perfectionist tendencies go this year and settled on having it done versus pursuing the perfect photo. FYI - some of you will be the lucky recipients of this exact photo is just a day or two!

It's hard to believe that Christmas is only two weeks away! So much to do! We are blessed that Paul is able to take two full weeks off at Christmas every year. We so enjoy this time together as a family and this year won't be any different. The time always goes so fast!

Blessings,

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Kleenex Snob

I have this thing about kleenexes, well more specifically a thing about kleenex boxes.


I don't have an unique decorating sense, but I do like things to be color-coordinated in rooms in my home. And I've become a little OCD about my kleenex boxes matching the color scheme for the room they're in.


I'm weird, I know.


For example, our living room is in tans, reds, and white so hence the kleenex boxes have to be tan or red, but I will waiver a little and use pink on occasion. We don't have large living room, but I sneeze often so there are three in that room alone. My kitchen is green so the kleenex box in there is green also. Do you get the picture?


Does this say something about my personality? If so, don't tell me what it is. I prefer to live in my matching kleenex box oblivion.


--------------------------------------------------------


CALEB UPDATE:


Yesterday was Caleb's 32 week MCA scan. He continues to look good, but they do want to start seeing us again on a weekly basis. I wasn't surprised at this, though Paul was. I figured this would happen eventually in the third trimester and I'm only surprised they didn't start doing it sooner.


Here's a glimpse of Caleb from yesterday. It's just a picture of a picture, I'm too lazy this a.m. to go downstairs and scan it. He's sure getting chubby!

Blessings,

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Every Move You Make

Dearest Caleb,

Every move you make brings me such happiness. Each kick and turn causes me to offer up a silent prayer of thanks to God, for you and the hope you are bringing into our family. I also pray for your continued safety in the coming weeks. I ask God to allow you to come home with us. I plead with God to keep us from feeling more pain and I ask that He would protect your brothers especially.

We are so excited for you to be here! I feel you moving around as I type this on the laptop, though I'm running out of lap with which to hold the computer. Whenever Daddy and your brothers are playing or wrestling, I envision your participation and wonder what life will be like with three active boys.

No matter what happens we are very blessed. And I will continue to memorize your movements and enjoy each day with you. I look forward to holding you in my arms soon!

Love,
Mama

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Caleb Update and Life on the Range

I'm a bad blogger.

I'm getting so caught up in all that needs to be done this time of year, that writing blog posts has been put on the back burner.

Last weekend my parents took the boys so that Paul and I could have a little alone time and time to get some projects done around the house. On Saturday we drove into WI to pick up the 1/2 beef, 1/2 pig, and chickens we ordered from a small farm that does 100% grass-fed beef and pastured hogs and chickens. That took up the majority of the day, but it was fun to talk with Paul and not be interrupted by little ones. Sometimes it feels like all we ever talk about when we're alone is the boys, but it certainly didn't feel that way last weekend. Plus, we now have two (yes, two) standing freezers full of meat for the coming year. If you've never purchased meat this way, we highly recommend it. Especially if you can get it grass-fed. It's a hit on the bank account, but then we don't have to buy much other meat so your monthly grocery budget decreases greatly.

I'd also like to say that my cooking skills have improved as I have tons of different cuts of meat that I wouldn't normally buy at the grocery store. This is our second year doing it, and last year, I had to learn how to cook certain cuts that I had never done before.

We also got the top bunk put together for Ethan. Both boys were sleeping together on the bottom, which is a double, but that stopped working this past fall and we had to have Ethan sleep in the spare room. Ethan is thrilled to be sleeping on the top and it has become his favorite place to read as well. And I'm thrilled to have them back in the same room and have our spare room back. I'm all for keeping them together as long as possible.

I did a bunch of cleaning in preparation for Caleb while the boys were gone too. Got out the changing table to some of the clothes. I ordered wipes. Next month I'll buy some disposables. I do cloth diapers at home mainly, but in the beginning, it's nice to have disposables on hand too. I buy wipes and disposables on Amazon.com, because it's much cheaper. Especially if you do the 'subscribe and save' option. Not to mention the free shipping and delivery to your door.

Once the boys' came home it was craziness again as usual, with school and AWANA and getting Ethan ready to spend a week with his dad for Thanksgiving. They left very early this morning to fly to Alabama where the majority of Ethan's paternal family lives. (His dad and new stepmom live in OH.) I miss him like crazy already. We've had some issues with him lately, but things have been improving greatly and I really felt the changes we had made are drawing us closer to him. It's hard not to have him with us and he wasn't too keen on going, knowing what he'd be missing out on at home. He's still adjusting to being with his dad once or twice a year and reconciling that wiht the rest of his life here. Definitely hits home to me that God hates divorce. I can see now how much better our lives are, but there's still many ramifications, the majority of them being for Ethan who is the innocent one in it all.

It will be weird parenting Elijah as a single child this week. But it will give us an opportunity to focus on him, especially before Caleb arrives. Plus Paul is on vacation the entire week - WOOHOO!

Yesterday was Caleb's 30 week MCA scan. He did well again. I read into everything the doctor says, of course, while Paul's able to remain completely objective. I got the feeling that Caleb's numbers were "okay" as opposed to "great" like in past scans. We don't have to go back for two weeks and by then, we'll be nearing the home stretch. We still have a birth plan to write and decisions to make about delivery. Our closest hospital does not have a NICU, so we're debating about delivering in the cities, so if something does happen after birth, he won't be separated from us. Please pray for wisdom in making these decisions.

Have a great weekend and a blessed Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dealing with Chickens

I don't often write about "a city girl's perspective on living in the country" which was the original slant on my blog when I started it before Felicity died. Well, some of you have made comments about the chickens and so I thought I'd do an in depth look at owning chickens. And by in-depth I mean, sharing the little I know about chickens. If you're friends with me on Facebook, you know that our chicken ownership has not been trouble-free.

We got our chickens in early May of this year. They were full-grown, hand-me-downs from my brother-in-law who had too many to feed keep track of. We originally were given one rooster and three hens, if my pregnant memory serves me correctly. Our goal was that they would be "free-range," eating bugs and such during the day and then roosting in the coop my hubby and BIL constructed at night. We, I mean Paul, would lock them up every night to keep them from being eaten by coyotes, foxes, etc. Because we wanted to have the healthiest eggs possible, we bought them organic feed. (They need their free-range diet supplemented with feed to ensure their health, and thus their egg laying ability.)

To accomplish their returning to the coop each night, we had to start out by keeping them
in the coop for a few days so their little chicken brains would associate the coop with home sweet home.

This worked for awhile until one night Paul reported that our rooster, Peter Drumstick, was not in the coop when he locked them in. We made the safe assumption that he had been eaten though we couldn't find any evidence of this. Then the following night, guess who was back in the coop? This continued for awhile, with Peter home for a night, then gone for two, then home again. We didn't know what to make of it, until we noticed him at our neighbor's place. They also have chickens. Finally Peter chose to defect to the neighbors permanently. We figure their hens must be cuter or nag less.

After a few weeks of owning the chickens, we had quickly learn their quirks and by quirks, I mean all the annoying things they do. First of all, they poop EVERYWHERE! We could no longer leave the garage doors open for any period of time because sure enough, every time we did, they'd leave a messy surprise for us. And let me tell you, chicken poop is not little! It's like owning multiple cats that never make it to the litter box and who've eaten something that didn't agree with their digestive system. Is that too descriptive? They even poop on our front step!!!

Secondly, they dig EVERYWHERE!!! We have 10 acres, but they like to dig in our new landscaping the most! I can't tell you how many times I've waddled down the steps and out the front door because I've spotted them digging up the mulch all around the edges of the landscaping. When we first found them doing this, Paul moved their coop into the garden as our veggies had since froze been harvested. We thought the chicken wire fencing around the garden (originally meant to keep them out) would keep them in. But no! We soon learned that the rooster (our replacement rooster) can fly out and then crows at the hens until they fly over too. So Paul electrified the landscaped area with some 6 inch tall fencing and they still get in there and dig it up. Nothing like having your front entryway covered with ankle high electric fencing (and chicken poo). Sure makes for a humorous blog post though!

I'll even admit to chasing them with a hoe one time and throwing tomatoes at them after they'd pecked holes in ones I'd just picked. And no, it wasn't pretty. Originally we told the boys "not to chase the chickens." Now they have free reign to terrorize the chickens. In fact when the boys and I harvested all the pumpkins and acorn squash left in the garden after a night of freezing temps, one boy helped carry them to the garage, while the other chased the chickens so they couldn't peck the squash we had just picked.

Thirdly, we learned immediately that roosters crow ALL THE TIME! While Peter Drumstick only graced us with his presence for a short time, we have since received another rooster from my BIL. (We didn't bother to give him a nice name, he's known only as "Stupid," "Dumb Chicken" or "Gimpy" because he walks funny.) The hens can be pretty noisy too. They go under our deck and made bizarre noises like they're being strangled.

On the 4th of July, I actually saw a couple of coyotes take one of our hens. My BIL brought us more and then we lost another to the elements. We currently have 1 rooster and 4 hens.

Originally our hens were each laying an egg a day. This production rate was pleasing to us and Paul was even able to take some of our extra "organic/free-range eggs" to work and sell them for $3/dozen. This helped cover the cost of some of the organic feed. (A 50lb. bag costs about $17 which last maybe 6 weeks.) Now we're only getting 1-2 eggs per day. Paul even rigged up a heat lamp and extra lights for them, as light and heat determine their egg production. But we're not seeing much improvement. We don't know what's going to happen next but Paul's thinking, "Off with their heads!" I'm okay with that, as long as I don't have to help in any way. Sorry Babe!

We would love to have chickens again next year, but have no clue what our plan of action will be. As you've noticed, I've done very little to no work when it comes to the chickens and I don't think I'm going to have much free time next year to dedicate to raising chicks. So we'll see. It's nice to start off with ones that are already laying. We had three cows in '08 and while I didn't do any of the work there either, it was WAY less work (for Paul) and money than the chickens have been. You just don't get the daily benefit of eggs from beef cows.

I'll keep you all posted on the developing chicken saga. And Paul, thanks for all you do around here. I don't thank you often enough for how hard you work, at work and at home! I'm dedicating this post to you, Babe!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

28 Week MCA Scan

Thanks for your prayers! Caleb looked great again on Friday's MCA scan. They also did the Bio Physical Profile which he passed with flying colors and a growth scan (that wasn't scheduled). We found out he's gaining well, at just over two pounds. It'll be interesting to see how accurate they are with actual weight when he's born.

We are so thankful to be going another two weeks without having to go down for another appointment. I'm also finally off my progesterone injections as of a couple of weeks ago.

I finally mailed out the dishrags to those of you who won them. All except one and she'll understand why when she actually gets hers.

We've finally had some beautiful fall weather here and yesterday we went down to Taylors Falls for a little hike (and pizza and ice cream!). It's always fun to get out with the whole family.

And finally, I'll be the first to admit I'm the most boring blogger in the world and push 'publish post' now and put you out of your misery.

Blessings,

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Going Backwards?

It's starting to hit me that Caleb could be here in 6 weeks.

I don't think I've explained this before. Because of the risk of anemia, if Caleb stays healthy until 34 weeks and then develops anemia, they would take him out (method to be determined) and do a blood transfusion afterwards, rather than doing an intrauterine one which involves more risk.

I don't particularly want him to be born that early.

My biggest concerns about when he is born are his health and how long he would have to be in the hospital, though I will admit, the idea of waiting until the end of January is not appealing.

I feel like my thoughts have gone backwards in terms of birth. I am still an active supporter of homebirth (having had two) and an advocate of natural childbirth (no drugs/medical interventions), but have found myself in a position where neither is an option. Homebirth is COMPLETELY out of the question due to the risks involved with Hemolytic Disease of the Fetus or Newborn, though I haven't ruled it out for a future baby who does not carry the little c antigen. And as for natural childbirth, at this point I am planning an induction around 38 weeks.

After losing Felicity at 41 weeks, the thought of waiting for labor to happen naturally (should Caleb remain healthy, with no sign of anemia) is terrifying. I know I would constantly be worried him being stillborn. Even now at almost 28 weeks (tomorrow), I worry A LOT! I am so thankful whenever I feel him moving inside. Those movements or the movements of future babies will never be taken for granted. Those movements tell me my baby is alive!

So this birth will be an interesting journey. We won't even know up until the point of induction/c-section where Caleb will be born or what the days/weeks after his birth will hold.

I am NOT ready for Caleb to be born in six weeks. There is so much to be done around here to prepare for him: meals to make and freeze, changing table to be brought out and stocked, clothes to wash, bassinet to be purchased, car seat to install. I'm ready to do all these things and yet, I'm not. While I pray daily for a healthy baby and truly believe he will be born okay, the thought of having to pack all the stuff away should something go wrong is so unbearable.

Tomorrow is Caleb's 28 week MCA scan and Bio Physical Profile. Pray for us tomorrow and in the coming weeks. Pray for good communication between Paul and me. Pray for Caleb to stay healthy. Pray for peace for the boys as this is hard for them too. I want to tell them their brother will be fine, but I can't, not after what happened with Felicity. We are very appreciative of your faithfulness in prayer!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

And the winners are.....

1. Julie at The Antics of the Three 22nds


2. Heidi at Work and Play, Day by Day


3. Rachael at The Adventures of My Two Peanuts


4. Molly at Ecclesia Domestica


5. Bethany at Now and Not Yet

You're probably wondering if I can count. Yes, I realize there were only 13 comments, but when Ethan picked the first two winners and they were both people I know in real life, Paul declared the contest rigged! So Ethan picked another (since he did all the work of writing the #s out on paper and finding a hat) and then Elijah picked the 4th winner and Paul picked the 5th, to make it "official." Paul really wanted me to send everyone a dishrag for participating. Don't worry - I'm sure I'll have another contest involving dishrags in the future, since they're the only thing I have to give away!

Thanks for playing! I enjoyed reading your comments and laughed at many of them as well as meeting you lurkers and checking out your blogs. Those of you that won need to send me an email with your address at rschwendinger at hotmail dot com. Also, I can pick colors for you based on a kitchen theme/color, or if you request in the email, I'll send you a list of the colors I have. Most of them are multi-colored and yes, I did make them. It's one of the very few crafty things I can do. My grandmother taught me a couple of years ago and now I'm addicted.

The snow is flying again here in MN - unbelievable! Oh, and don't forget to set your clocks back tonight. If you're like me, with children who do not sleep in, you're dreading the consequence of daylight savings. I guess we won't have any excuse tomorrow if we're late for Sunday School.


Blessings,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's My Party!

Well, I guess the party's over since the cake is gone, but yep, it's my birthday! If you're near my age or older you understand the feeling that birthdays aren't that great anymore. It's pretty much another day. Hopefully one that won't include finding any white hairs on my head - ha!

I tried to get Elijah to agree to a whine-free day for my birthday, but we're still in negotiations. He did sleep until 7 am which was a nice way to start the day considering that I also slept until 7.

And then there was this beautiful pink sunrise right outside my window.

It's hard to believe that this is already my second birthday without my girl. Last year's birthday was spent in an emotional fog. After taking a picture of the sunrise, I found a note/clue on my cell phone from Paul, leading me on a short treasure hunt for some hidden chocolate.

The real reason I'm posting today is to tell you about a GIVEAWAY. I'd like to meet all of you who are reading this. I have a feeling there is many lurkers on this blog who have not commented. Since I added a sitemeter, I'm amazed at where some of you live. I even had a reader from Prince Edward Island - home to one of my favorite authors and favorite fictional heroines. (Lucy Maud Montgomery who also had a stillborn child, a son, and Anne Shirley)
So here's how this works. In order to be entered into this random giveaway, you need to comment. Tell me who you are, where you're from, and why you read this blog. This is obviously open to those of you I have already met as well, just leave a comment. If I have fewer than twenty comments, there will be three winners. If there's twenty or more, I will pick 5 winners. (Winners will be chosen based on the order of their comment by a random drawing from a hat - my boys will love helping with this part!)

And what do you win?

Four of these homemade dishrags - colors to be chosen by you!

Oh, and here's the kind of weather we've had lately in MN. If it's not raining, it's snowing. We've had three days of snow so far this month which is pretty unusual, even for MN. Yesterday was the nicest day we've had almost all month, with sun shining and temps in the low 50s.

Looking forward to meeting you all! Oh, and this contest runs until Friday, since I don't think I'll be blogging again before that.


Blessings,


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Caleb's Photos

Caleb had his 26 week MCA and growth scan yesterday. (They check his growth every 4 weeks.) He continues to do great! We are thrilled! He did measure smaller than 26 weeks, which ordinarily wouldn't be a concern for me considering how big my babies have been at birth (Ethan was 8.4, Elijah was 9.3, and Felicity was 9.15), but I am going to be praying that he gains weight. If he is born early, he will do better if he's not too small.


Here are some photos from yesterday's ultrasound.




Yes, that's his big toe practically in his nose!

We don't have to go back for two more weeks, but I have the feeling that as we get closer to the end, we will end up going every week again. That's just my impression of the perinatologist's m.o. Next time they will do a Bio Physical Profile and another test that I can't remember along with the MCA scan.

Thanks for all your prayers! I know I say that every time, but I am exceedingly thankful as there have been many times I know the only thing keeping me from despair was the prayers of so many saints. STAY TUNED FOR A GIVEAWAY NEXT WEEK in appreciation for your kindness!


Blessings,


Thursday, October 22, 2009

UGH!

Yesterday was one of those days.

You know, the kind that leaves you questioning your actions, your role in life, your purpose.

Lately we've been dealing with a lot of defiant behavior from one of our children. It hasn't been easy to deal with and in fact, I'm left physically and emotionally exhausted, not to mention guilt-ridden, wondering what I'm doing or not doing to cause these behaviors.

This behavior is not typical.

Paul and I have talked about it extensively and last night I asked a couple of my wise friends who have children older than mine what they think.

I used to be the type of person who couldn't handle any criticism and I admit it's still difficult to hear. But I'm really thankful I sought out their counsel.

Here's what I'm learning:

  • A good tree cannot bear bad fruit (Matthew 7) - this is a self-directed thought as there are many things I personally need to work on. I've known about these things, but always find myself making excuses. Pregnancy has been my biggest excuse lately especially considering I've been pregnant the last 17 of 21 months.

  • My children, because they are homeschooled, are around me 24/7 for the most part and are very aware of my behaviors and relationships. Anything amiss is open fodder for their little minds and hearts. I need to make sure my relationship with Paul is on the right track, meaning I need to be fulfilling my role as wife, first and foremost.

  • I need to be careful with my words and deeds. Am I walking the talk?

  • I need to be considerate of the differences between myself and my children, especially since they are boys, and teach and train them accordingly.

  • I need to be reading my Bible and spending more time praying for my children.

Parenting is hard, the hardest job in the world!

On a different note, tomorrow is Caleb's 26 week MCA and growth scan. Please pray for him to still be doing well and for peace of mind for me. The farther along we get, the more I find myself worrying about the uncertainty of the next few few months (or less). Not even knowing when or where he'll arrive is not easy on my type A personality.


Blessings,

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dreamin'

I had a dream last night that Caleb had been born.


All 7lbs. 14oz and two weeks early. He was tiny compared to my other babies. But oh so sweet and perfectly healthy.


In the dream I changed him a few times and nursed him a couple times and it was LOVELY!


The dream also involved moving to a older house which had double pane windows (I wish!)and little minnows with legs that crawled all around my feet like mice (eww!)


But hey, I'll take what I can get!

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I'm still trying to work on that vacation post, but Blogger is not liking me uploading pictures these days, so we'll see if it ever gets posted!


Have a great week!


Blessings,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Been Busy

I've been busy lately....

homeschooling,

cooking and baking,

wiping Elijah's nose,

getting mad at the chickens for repeatedly digging up our new landscaping,

lamenting the falling snow and lack of fall weather,

running errands and going to doctor's appointments,

praying for friends who are newly expecting babies after losing a baby,

praying for friends who are due to have babies soon, after having lost a baby,

praying for friends who are anticipating the anniversary of their babies' death,

watching movies late into the night with my hubby,

reading blogs but not commenting because I don't have time,

and going through clothes and packing away summer stuff.

Hopefully I'll come up with something witty or interesting to write about soon.


Blessings,

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Caleb's 24 Week MCA Scan

Just a quick post to let you know that Caleb's scan yesterday went great! He had no sign of fluid building up in his body (hydrops), which can be a concern with HDFN (Hemolytic Disease of the Fetus or Newborn and the blood flow in his Middle Cerebral Artery was normal, far below the point where anemia would suspected.

We will continue on a two week schedule seeing as how he is doing so well. He was also head down yesterday, which is a first for these scans. They give us tons of pictures every scan, but I've been bad about posting them. I'll try to get some up soon.

We're all stuffed up here in MN. Elijah's been struggling with a cold all week. Anyone have any good ideas for teaching a three year old how to effectively blow his nose? I'm seriously considering one of those bulb syringes they use on babies, if I thought we could hold him down to do it without hurting him.

And to top it all off, we just had our first snow last night (yep, snow in Oct. in MN!) and poor kid thinks he's going to be going outside today to play in it. But it's only 26 degrees right now and he was outside all afternoon yesterday with my dad.

I'm off to spend the day winterizing our beds and stuff, while Paul is hopefully able to winterize the lawn mower, four-wheeler, tractor and chickens. I'm also hoping to do a bunch of cooking to get a head start on the week. Should be a busy day.

Thanks to you all who took the time to watch the video of Felicity's first birthday. I am very glad with how it turned out and that it brought many of you joy versus sadness. While earthly life without her is sad, eternal life with her will be beyond anything I can imagine.

Blessings,

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One Year of Missing Felicity

Thanks to those of you who remembered today was Felicity's one year Heavenly birthday. Your thoughts, cards, prayers, and flowers (Thanks Molly and family!) are a blessing to us. Like many of you have said, the anticipation of today was harder than the actual day.

I did have some very weepy days/moments last week and on Sunday when we celebrated Felicity's short life, but today was good. The boys and I went down to the cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul for those of you who don't know MN) and went out to lunch and to the Minnesota History Museum for a field trip. I knew it would be important for me to be out of the house today, especially since it's been overcast and rainy here for the past 5 days, which has impacted my mood.

On Sunday, we visited Felicity's grave after church. For those of you who don't know, we attend a small country church and Felicity is buried in the church cemetery right next to the church. My parents came up on Saturday and my aunt joined us on Sunday. They were the only ones who got to see and hold Felicity besides Paul, the boys, and me. After visiting Felicity's grave and taking some photos, we went out for lunch. I was hoping to go hiking after that, but the weather was too rainy, so we headed back to our house.

While waiting for the rain to clear, we sang "Happy Birthday" to Felicity and enjoyed some cupcakes made in her honor. Normally for birthdays around here I make cakes, so I thought cupcakes would be something different and special. There were many tears on my part during this time and it was incredibly sad to see Ethan break down too. He hasn't cried over Felicity since the day before her memorial service when we watched the photo montage our NILMDTS photographer made for us. It breaks my heart all over again to see him missing her so much. All I could do was hold him and tell him that it was okay to cry.

After waiting for the rain to clear up, we were finally able to release balloons in honor of Felicity and Jeremiah. I was stressed out because I didn't think the weather was going to clear up enough to do so, but God provided some beautiful blue sky for us at just the right time.

I haven't yet gone through all of Felicity's things, though I plan to soon. The thought of doing so doesn't bear so much pain as it did a week ago. I'm sure there will still be tears, but I'm not afraid of them.

I'm working on a montage of photos taken over the past year that have to do with Felicity. I hope to have it up in a day or two.

We miss her so much but I am continually reminded that "in His presence is fullness of joy." She is complete in every way as she worships her maker in Heaven. What a joy it will be to be there with her someday!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Lot of Rambling

It's been a busy week since returning home from Copper Harbor, MI where we vacationed.

My emotions have been busy, as has life.

We've got so many things to get done around the house before winter sets in. Here in MN, that could happen anytime from October on. When I woke up this morning, Paul had turned the heat on before leaving for work since it was a balmy 27 degrees outside. I'm wondering what survived in the garden since I didn't know it was going to frost and nothing was covered.

Anyway, we decided last week to finally go ahead and start redoing our front entry landscaping. It's been a big frustration for me what with weeds and other plants that have taken over. It did not look inviting. So with coupon in hand, we've been hanging out at the local landscaping nursery, planning our "new look." I tease Paul that last Christmas he gave me "cabinet jewelry" and this year I'm getting "lawn jewelry." I wonder if this counts as an anniversary, birthday, or early Christmas gift. Hopefully on Saturday we'll be putting our new look in.

Speaking (or writing) of new looks, the other day in a fit of personal frustration with my own current look or lack thereof, I spent too much time trying to find a new blog template. It wasn't fun, but I like this new one and it was free, unlike a brand new wardrobe and hairdo.

Now as for emotions, I'm doing okay. I spent some extra time on Saturday crying in the shower. I just felt overwhelmed with missing Felicity and struggling to find sense in the past year. We've had many positive changes in our family since losing Felicity, but it's often hard to see the big picture impact. I realize I may never see a big picture impact, but I don't want the pain we've gone through in the last year to be meaningless either.

Since Saturday, I've been doing okay emotionally. Today though the tears are back and I'm just at a loss to describe how I feel. I don't feel hopeless or depressed or angry, just sad, I guess. I'm so thankful we have Caleb to look forward to and my heart aches for my grieving mommy friends who are facing anniversaries of their babies' deaths without the hope that a new baby brings. But there's still sadness. There probably always will be, I guess.

I'm struggling with the idea of going through Felicity's pictures, video, cards, and clothing. I had always planned on doing it on her birthday, but the thought of it now is overwhelming. And yet, it's something I really need to do. I think I need to go through it all and have a really good cry and then maybe I'll actually feel better. It's been awhile since I've relived that day in my thoughts. I remember when there were days, it was all I could think of, especially while trying to fall asleep at night.

I'm sure you'd love to read more of my ramblings, but there's so much to do today. I need to try to bring in all our pumpkins and acorn squash, if they survived. We have school to do which has been taking more and more time each day and I need to get out the boys' warmer clothes now that the weather has officially turned. Plus I have to go pay for our new landscaping plants and we have AWANA tonight, which makes the afternoon quite crazy.

As always, thank you for your prayers. May God bless you all!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Almost Here

Only 10 days until Felicity's one year Heaven Day.

Just like the fog outside this morning, I've been feeling the sadness building. There were many times during our trip that I missed her and realized we probably wouldn't be vacationing had she lived.

In fact so many things about our lives would be different.

It's hard not to think about those things.

Biggest thing on my mind lately is imaging what she'd be like as a one year old. Would she be walking yet? Would she be sweet and gentle or rough and tumble in order to survive two older brothers? What color would her eyes be? Would her hair be curly like Elijah's?

Oh, how I miss her!

I've been thinking for months now how we would celebrate her birthday and as it gets closer, I find it hard to plan. I want to honor her memory, but honestly, sometimes it hurts too much to think about trying to have a party for someone who's not here. Add to that the fact that Jeremiah's due date is only three days after Felicity's birthday and I'm not sure how I'm going to handle the next two weeks or so.

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UPDATE ON CALEB:

We had our 22 week MCA scan and growth scan yesterday. We're happy to report that Caleb's scans have been going so well and his numbers are so good, that we don't have to go back for two weeks!

Blessings,

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Project in the Works

We just got back from vacationing in Copper Harbor, MI and while I'm planning a post on our trip, I don't have the time today. But I wanted to share something I've been working on.

I'm a very novice knitter, but I love doing it. Unfortunately up until this recent project, I've stuck mostly to scarves and dishcloths. But I was inspired when I visited a specialty yarn store a few weeks ago.

This is the result:

It's a hat and blanket for Caleb. I had to adapt the pattern for the hat as it was for a very small preemie. Even so, this one turned out smaller than I thought. I plan on trying another before he's born and making it even bigger.

My thoughts behind doing these for Caleb were that I wanted him to have something made by me that smells like me (haven't decided how to accomplish this yet) to have with him, if for some reason we have to be separated for any period of time after his birth.

It's not something I like to think about but I want to be prepared if it happens. Tomorrow is our 22 week MCA scan and also a growth scan which they do every 3-4 weeks. The perinatologist gave us the thumbs us to go on vacation after an early scan last Wednesday so it's been 8 days since he was last looked at.

Thanks for lifting Caleb up in prayer these past weeks!




Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy 4th Anniversary, Paul!

Friday is our 4th wedding anniversary. I'm writing this a little early, because I won't be able to do it that day and because the boys are with Gramma and Papa and it's so much easier to blog when they are not here. And by easier, I mean that I don't feel guilty blogging when they're not here. That and I can think clearly. (I miss them like crazy!)

Four years ago, we said our "I do's" (or were they "I will's"?) atop a scenic overlook in southeastern MN. We called it our "planned elopement," since it's pretty hard to elope when you have a three year old. So it was planned - in seven weeks!

He asked me to marry him at Outback Steakhouse, not a terribly romantic place, but I was just glad he was asking. You see we had recently almost broken up over a silly issue of where we would live if we got married. (He came to see my point of view pretty quickly on that one!)

We picked out rings together after he asked. I shopped for our wedding attire. We began premarital counseling which we didn't finish until after we were married. Then we struggled to find a pastor who would marry us in such a remote location (a long story!), but finally found the perfect one. We had never met him before, but the way he wrote his sermon and our vows, it was like he'd known us for years.

We each had one witness. I asked my aunt Cathy to be mine and Paul's friend Bill was his. My parents had left with Ethan the day before to travel to their yearly vacation spot. We struggled with whether or not to have Ethan and them there, but in order to have a honeymoon, we needed to do it while they were gone.

Neither of us regrets not having a big wedding! It was a perfect day - a Sunday. We went together to church in the morning and then afterwards left to travel down to the location.

The pictures aren't professional and the wedding video still isn't edited, but it was a wonderful day. We shared our first kiss that day.

We've been through a lot in four years! Adapting to life as a blended family, moving, 4 pregnancies, and the deaths of two babies. Only God knows what the future holds, but I pray the next four years will be filled with joy!

I'm so blessed to be married to you, Paul! I know we've had our struggles and will probably encounter more before this life is through. Thank you for being loving and patient with me! You are an amazing husband and father, far better than I ever imagined. I pray God gives us many more years together! I love you!


A badly scanned photograph of the scenic overlook where we were married (at the top of the rock outcropping).

Ethan and "Daddy Paul" though the Paul part was soon dropped. Ethan was thrilled to have a consistent father in his life and it's apparent by their relationship today.

Our first Christmas photo as a new family!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Week 20 MCA Scan and a Field Trip

Caleb had a great scan again today, praise God! We are so thankful as we learned today that the longer he goes without developing anemia, the less likely it will be that he develops it at all. We also learned that the earlier a baby develops Hemolytic Disease, the more severe it tends to be. This really is a week to week learning experience.

Before the boys and I headed down to the cities for my appointment, we were able to take a field trip to a town about 15 miles away to see the traveling Vietnam memorial. It is a half scale version of the real monument in Washington, D.C. While I have seen the real one myself, I don't know if the boys will ever get to, so this was a neat experience. It is a very solemn one, especially considering that 8 years ago America faced its worst terrorist attack ever.

I found myself in tears as I read a letter a woman had left at the memorial. It was wrapped in plastic with a flower and two pictures, a wedding one and a photo of a man in uniform. The letter began:

Dear Mike,
Today would've been our 40th wedding anniversary. We didn't even get to celebrate our first anniversary.

So sad! The rest was folded so I couldn't read it, but it was never meant for my eyes anyway.

The boys were able to explore some old army vehicles, even climbing inside a convoy truck. It was neat to talk with some of the veterans there who were volunteering.

I am so thankful for all those who were willing to make such sacrifices for our country.


Blessings,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Boring Blogger

I know I've been a boring blogger lately -sorry! Life is busy and I just haven't had any inspiring blog post ideas nor the time and energy to write one if I did. But I wanted to write something before tomorrow so that my posts don't all become Caleb's MCA scan updates.

We had a fairly successful garage sale on Saturday. Ethan had fun camping with his dad, though he was bummed not to be here for the sale. He opened his own "business" this past spring called "Ethan's Eats" with the intention to sell water and various snacks whenever we hosted paintball events on our property. (If you didn't know, my husband loves paintball!) Ethan used some of his birthday money to purchase bottles of water and snack foods. Unfortunately all of the paintball events have been cancelled due to not enough people signing up, so Ethan's business has been surviving solely on purchases made by family members. He was hoping to sell stuff to people at the sale. Since we didn't get rid of as much as we wanted, we're going to have the sale again this Saturday, so hopefully he'll sell some stuff this weekend.

Elijah had a blast at the garage sale. He spent pretty much all day cutting, glueing, and drawing on construction paper and handing them out to customers, who weren't quite sure what to do with them. Sometimes he'd hold the paper out and just say, "Here" in a deep voice and then walk away. (He frequently likes to talk in a deeper voice than normal.) Other times he'd launch into a detailed exchange in his deep voice, which unless you know him, can be difficult to understand. I found myself often interpreting for him, but it was cute nonetheless.

My homemade dishcloths did not sell liked I'd hope they would, so I'm hoping this Saturday will be different. Otherwise, I'll have to come up with some sort of contest to give some of them away.

Tomorrow we have another MCA scan since it's Friday. Keep praying for Caleb to stay healthy! It would be great not to have him have any blood transfusions, but I'd at least like to wait until he's a little bigger. I'll be sure to post a report tomorrow evening on how things went.


Blessings,

Friday, September 4, 2009

Week 19 MCA Scan

Thanks for your prayers this week! I don't think I was too unbearable, so you all must have been praying hard.

We're ready for our garage sale tomorrow, our homeschool co-op "opener" went well, and Ethan is camping with his dad and stepmom. (I hate the words stepmom/stepdad. We don't try to use those terms. I prefer "chosen mom/dad" because that person entered into a relationship knowing the role they would have to fill and choosing to do so. End tangent.)

Caleb's MCA scan today went well. The blood flow is well below the limit. They want it to be <34 cm/second and he was in the 27-28 cm/s range. Praise God!

I'm tired and lacking in much else in terms of "fun blogging material." Have a great Labor Day weekend!


Blessings,

Monday, August 31, 2009

Blogiversary and Almost 11 Months

Last Monday was my blogiversary - one year of blogging. I can hardly begin to sum up what blogging has done for me the past year. The most important part by far has been the friendships I've developed through blogging with other baby loss moms. Knowing I wasn't alone in my grief when Felicity died was what I needed most.

I think the initial feeling for most moms after they lose a child is the feeling that no one else knows what it feels like. And while my husband was a constant during my grief, my emotions differed greatly from his, in that I'm female, Felicity's mom, and she died inside of me. I needed to talk to other moms who understood what that felt like.

Sunday will mark 11 months since Felicity died. I know I've said this before, but in many ways it feels like an eternity since she was inside me. But as I feel Caleb moving around inside me even more each day, it seems like only yesterday that I was feeling Felicity. And then I think of Jeremiah and the fact that I never got to feel his movement. Had he lived, he'd be due to be born in about 5 weeks.

It's hard to really grasp how I feel some days. Some days feel completely normal again, but then when I think of it that way, grief pops its head back up and I miss my babies terribly. I'm finding great hope in anticipating Caleb's arrival and the thought of having MY warm, cuddly baby in my arms. I dreamt he was born last night and when I woke, I could hardly stand the thought of having to wait 5 months more. I have never dreamt about Felicity or Jeremiah, so I found great comfort in this dream.

I still find myself afraid to hope at times too. I told my mom the other day that I'm really trying to treasure this pregnancy, as hard as it is at time, because I don't know if I'll ever have another baby. With my other pregnancies, I just figured it was another uncomfortable time to get through and this time, I'm trying to memorize everything, because I don't know what the future holds.

I've been sick the last 4 days and finally starting to feel better, thank goodness. But being down physically hasn't helped my emotions. Not to mention Ethan's dad and stepmom are taking him this w/e (he hasn't seen them since Feb.) and we're hoping to have a garage sale on Saturday. Throw in my doctor's appointment on Friday afternoon and homeschool co-op starting Friday a.m. and I'm pretty stressed. And for me stress usually equates to crazy emotions so it should be an interesting week. (Pray for my husband!)

Blessings,

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday Elijah!

My baby is three today - where did the time go?

He was born in a wonderfully peaceful (other than the loud vocalization on my part) homebirth/waterbirth at Gramma and Papa's house (the house I grew up in). We didn't have room for the birth tub to be set up in our apartment for however long it took for labor to start.

He arrived 5 days early, which I predicted and my labor lasted a mere 4 hours and 19 minutes compared to the 21 hour back labor I had with Ethan in the hospital. Two of those four hours, I wasn't even sure I was in active labor. I was an amazing experience. My first natural birth. I could feel his big (9lbs., 3 oz.) body moving down with each contraction.
We were surrounded by people we loved and cared about. Paul was in the birth tub with me (at my insistence) and my mom was watching nearby. My dad was also home when Elijah entered the world. We were also supported by our midwife, her assistant, and our Bradley Childbirth instructor, whom we had invited to the event. Ethan was happily upstairs playing with Aunt Cathy, but came downstairs to inspect his new brother, whom he was convinced was going to be a sister. We'll never forget what he said after being told repeatedly that he had a brother, not a sister. "Well, I wanna see how big his penis is!"
When Elijah entered the world and was placed on my chest, Paul was the one to announce, "It's a boy!" Noth long after his birth, I was nestled in a comfortable bed, nursing my precious boy, while everyone else happily consumed pizza.
It was a day (evening) we will never forget.


An hour or two old!






5 days old


2.5 weeks old




4 months old

6 months old




8-9 months old


Happy birthday sweet boy! Thanks for all the laughs and cuddles - you will always be my baby!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Quick Update


This afternoon we had Caleb's first MCA scan (MCA stands for Middle Cerebral Artery). All looks good this week and they checked pretty much everything else too. Thanks for your prayers! Caleb's waving to all you faithful prayers warriors out there! I've got a miserable cold so I'm not much in the mood for blogging tonight. Have a great weekend!
Blessings,

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Firstborn

I finally found those pictures I scannned for Ethan's 7th bday and thought I'd post them.
6 days old

Almost 5 weeks old

4 months old


6 months old



1 year old


2 years old


2.5 years old, I think.


3 years old


5 years old (yes, I have pictures of his 4th year of life but somehow forgot to scan any.)


6 years old


7 years old