7/01/2015

Final Update: 40 Weeks

This day has finally arrived! I made it. I got my exams done. I started my second semester of my third year of law school. I finished the art projects for the props my son needed for his Mary Poppins play. The nursery is ready, all the baby clothes are washed, my Mom arrived last night, and my bags are packed. Trying to tell myself that I could have weeks yet to go, but with how much false labor I've had in the past two weeks, I'd like to think I'll have her by July 8th. 

40 WEEKS:

MORNING SICKNESS: With all this false labor, it seems to have stirred up my stomach and I feel pretty nauseated just about every day now. Nothing to complain about, but something to note.

CRAVINGS: None.

BABY'S MOVEMENT: All the time and her every movement causes more Braxton Hicks. 



HEARTBURN: Every night. I find Tums can help, but then it makes the nausea worse. I prefer heartburn usually, so I just tough it out.

PAINS AND ACHES: Two weeks ago the contractions were four minutes apart and lasted for a good three hours. I've had several nights of that since, but each day they get stronger and deeper and lower. Each day walking or moving gets harder and harder. How did I forget this part of pregnancy? Oh you ladies out there who run miles and miles up until they birth their baby, I am in AWE of you.

EXERCISE: Just getting up off the couch has felt like exercise to me these past two weeks. It is so painful sometimes! However, I've been trying to do certain pregnancy stretches to get the baby in the right position for labor. I get out for a very slow walk a few times a week, but oh do I pay for it later!


WEIGHT GAIN: I caught a stomach bug right in time for my two days of final exams. That brought on more contractions, but less of an appetite, so I lost a few pounds. I'll probably gain those pounds back this week, but in the meantime, I'm at the same weight as I was when I delivered my last two. 

FATIGUE/SLEEP: I can't catch enough sleep these days. I don't sleep well at night, so naps are a necessity and I take them whenever I can. 

MOOD: I've had a couple of mood swings, but I feel more in control than I did during my second trimester. I feel like I'm finally mentally prepared to have this baby even though I'm still scared as anything about labor. I plan to get an epidural, but even with an epidural labor is still one of my top fears. 


There are so many parallels and things that God teaches me through pregnancy and labor, and even with these amazing teaching moments and wonderful times of experiencing God's mercy and grace, I still fear the unknown of what this next labor might be like. I think one of the blessings of having prodromal labor for weeks is that I have been in so much pain and am so exhausted already that I'm finally ready to face my fear and just get this over with so I can have a normal day!

I know everything is in God's hands and this is going to be a great experience - but in the meantime, I am pretty nervous about what the next couple of weeks holds for me. Praying for strength, determination, and patience. 

My next post will have news of the baby. Thanks for following along on this little journey of Cecily's and mine. These 40 weeks may have passed by quickly for you, but it has been a long road for us and we are pretty excited to say that we've finally made it!

6/14/2015

Just a Few Family Photos

I'm posting a few extra photos today because today has been an especially good day. I'm not sure how I got one of these days since two days ago I would have written something else. But there you have it. I feel amazing today and this goodness has to be documented. 

And here's some more goodness . . .

Photos of my family all dressed up for a wedding and in the last couple of photos, just for church. Since it's rare that we all look so nice, a photo is definitely necessary. And I mean, look at those precious ones--how crazy cute are they?  






For some reason I've felt the urge to get more photos in here and there of all of us since you never know if this is our last photo of just the five of us. So here we are. Just the five of us. Soon to be six! I can't believe meeting Cecily is right around the corner!

6/07/2015

36 Week Update

I have only three and a half weeks till my due date, but so much to do yet. I just finished my last writing assignment for my Legal Writing class (woohoo!), and now I have two and a half weeks to review for my finals exams in my other two classes (Criminal Procedure and Evidence). CJ still has play practice three nights a week for three hours each, plus all day Saturdays. In addition, he has two afternoon karate classes, and baseball games. We've been working hard on memorizing all of his lines, songs, and dances. On top of that, I have three art projects I'm doing for the Mary Poppins play that CJ is in (carving the parrot head for Mary Poppins umbrella handle, getting a shadow box painting done, and painting 10 vases!). This baby better stay put so I can get everything done! Thankfully my track record shows that I still  have about 5 weeks left, so we're good.

36 WEEKS:

MORNING SICKNESS: Just about none left. I get waves here and there, especially after eating dessert (so it's my fault), but it's subtle.

CRAVINGS: None. Nothing really tastes good anyway. I don't know why I eat so much.

BABY'S MOVEMENT: Consistent and very uncomfortable.


HEARTBURN: Here and there. When I do get it, it is pretty severe, but it is gone by the next morning, so I can handle that.

PAINS AND ACHES: This is the worst part. Lots of Braxton Hicks, lots of lower back pain and plenty pelvis pain. The Braxton Hicks aren't always painful, but they take my breath away and I have a hard time dealing with them when they're rhythmic for longer than a couple of hours.

EXERCISE: I've been doing a lot better with walking. I get about 2.5 miles in at least three times a week. It's not as much as I like, but it's something. I find that it helps calm my nerves and also helps with the lower back pain.

WEIGHT GAIN: I'm right on track with the last two pregnancies as far as weight gain. Swelling is the same as my last pregnancy which has been pretty normal. I do not have "cankles"and my shoes still fit - I'm just puffy all over and I finally took my wedding rings off a couple of weeks ago.

FATIGUE/SLEEP: I've had a cold since the end of April that over Memorial Day weekend turned into a nasty sinus infection. I had migraine type headaches for four days that made one side of my face down my neck and the back of my head feel like it was being hammered with nails. I started amoxicillin right away and the headache turned into a regular sinus headache and now I'm just congested even though I'm done with the antibiotics. The antibiotics have made my stomach a lot more sensitive than normal, too. Trying to pump myself with probiotics now, but I'm still sleeping restlessly from the congestion (not to mention the discomfort of my size).

MOOD: My emotions are definitely better! I haven't been depressed, and my tears are only sentimental or happy tears. Nevertheless, I'm very irritable with the heat (we still haven't put in our window units) and irritable with the stress of all I need to get done.
Thanks for following along! I look forward to blogging about regular life here soon. I always have plenty I want to say, as my husband would fondly attest to.

5/15/2015

Nesting for Baby #4

As soon as I found out I was having a girl my first thought was how cute it would be if my three girls all wore matching dresses - yes, I know - very shallow. I went shopping shortly after my ultrasound to find said matching dresses, only to find that if I wanted the same dress in size 0-3 month through 4t, I would have to order them online special.

I'm not a fan of sewing (I have no patience for it), but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Out came my Mom's old pleater so I could make little smocked bishop dresses for all three of my girls and their little cousin who lives near us. I used this pattern.



(Here is a close-up of my very uneven haphazard stitches (I should have used a pattern for the smocking instead of eyeballing it!).





One dress done...three to go!

In addition to sewing dresses, I've also been trying to get the girls' rooms ready. I moved Capri into Cassi's room and had to do some rearranging. Cassi has a new gallery wall over her bed and some baskets for her bedtime books. As soon as I get Capri's pallet bookshelves done for over her bed, I'll post a picture of that...because they're going to look so so good!


And today I had some time to do some finger painting in Cecily's room. She needs to have a few additional touches in her room that are just for her. She'll be wearing hand-me-downs for most of her life, so the least I could do was paint her a few hearts.


Seven more weeks till my due date, so it's time to start crossing stuff off my "before baby" list!

5/06/2015

32 Week Update

I can't believe it has been four weeks already! Baby Cecily is growing so fast it seems and I'm starting to see the end in sight and thinking that it's too soon - I'm not sure I'm ready for this!

32 WEEKS:

MORNING SICKNESS:
Almost nonexistent. I thought it was getting worse for a little bit there, but the last three weeks or more I've only gotten slightly queasy in the evenings. Wow. Never thought I'd have a pregnancy like this!

CRAVINGS:
None. Although my comfort food is a large bowl of Cheerios with unsweetened almond milk.

BABY'S MOVEMENT:
She seems to have plenty of room because she continues to kick and flip.

HEARTBURN:
Rarely!

PAINS AND ACHES:
Ummm...I feel guilty complaining since I have it so easy everywhere else, but man, the cramping! Ugh! Every night I get leg cramps and I spend most of my afternoons feeling like I'm on my period again with lower back cramping. No worries, though - this is normal for me. I've been doing a lot of stretches to try to get the kinks out, but I'm sure I'm not doing enough because they don't seem to be helping. The Braxton Hicks have been long, intense, and making me realize that I am not yet mentally prepared for labor. I'm such a wimp about labor pains and I really hate even these Braxton Hicks. Yesterday I had them without breaks for three hours. They were not painful, but extremely uncomfortable and made it difficult to walk.


EXERCISE: 
This is embarrassing. The good news is that the few walks I do get in, I'll get a good three miles out of. The bad news is that I have had a really hard time finding the time to squeeze exercise in and am definitely reaping the consequences. 

WEIGHT GAIN:
Let's just say I'm gaining at the same rate as I've gained with the past two pregnancies. Nothing to brag about, but at least it's not any worse. 

FATIGUE/SLEEP:
The third trimester is really kicking me in the butt in this category. I'm barely getting 5 or 6 hours in a night and rarely a nap. The lack of sleep is taking it's toll and I'm exhausted and sick with yet another virus again. Argh. 


MOOD:
During the past four weeks I can only say that this past week and a half my mood has been back to normal. Fought a lot of low days that I'm sure were hormonal since there was nothing going wrong in my life - just stress. Grateful that I got through that and hopeful that I won't succumb to those low moments any time soon!

4/14/2015

Cassandra Rose Turned 4 Today

My very first girl turned 4 today. How can this be? Wasn't it just yesterday that I wrote this


As a baby and toddler, little Cassi Rose was spunky, vocal, expressive, and strong-willed. But now as a 4-year old, she still knows her own mind, still expresses herself very well, still has a lot of spunk and no fear, but is showing a much softer side. As a baby she hated to cuddle. But now she loves for me to rock her while I sing a lullaby to her. She used to scream for attention, now she asks me sweetly for it and will often times forego attention if it means she can help her little sister or follow her big brother's leading. 


Besides playing dress-up, her favorite things to play are "doctor" and building "forts" with blankets in our family room. Playing doctor gives her so much joy because she gets to help people who are sick. Building a fort is exciting to her because she can create her own little space. And, of course, dress-up is special because what little girl doesn't want to look like a princess? 


Over the past few weeks I've been realizing that Cassi really loves school and that I should cultivate her enthusiasm for it more. We've incorporated more aspects of her schooling and also had CJ help her when he can since she looks up to him and responds to him so well. Her mind is like a sponge - she is absorbing everything so fast!


Chris took her out to breakfast this morning as part of her Birthday treats--during which time he asked her if she knew how to spell her name. She replied, "Yes. It is C-Q-S-S-I." Chris questioned her about the 'Q' to which she explained to him that "Mommy's A's look like Q's!" I guess she has been learning more than I even realized--I better write neater for her!


In addition to learning so much recently, she has also become a more nurturing big sister to Capri. If Capri falls, she tries to console Capri. If Capri is hungry or thirsty, she will get Capri's sippy cup or a snack. And with big brother's good influence, she is getting better at picking up after not only herself, but also after her little sister. I know she is going to make little Cecily an amazing big sister!


When I found out I was having my first little girl, I imagined what she would look like. What she would be like. And what relationship she and I would have. Of course we will be best friends. My Mom and I are. I hoped she would look like me - not because I think I'm beautiful, but because I want her to look like she belongs to me and is a part of me. I hoped she would be like me, because I like who I am and hope she has my strong personality that I admire in myself.


As she has changed in these four years and I don't see a strong resemblance between her and myself, I've realized that I don't need her to look anything like me. All that matters is how much I love her, how responsible I feel for her, and how privileged I am to be able to care for her. She doesn't really belong to me anyway - she is God's child that I am blessed to help care for for a short time.


And as she has changed in the past 4 years I have noticed that her personality isn't like mine as I had originally hoped. She is softer, sweeter, and a little more sensitive. I am so glad she still has a lot of strength in her personality, but I am loving how she is becoming her own person. How despite of me, she is learning how to be kind and gracious and gentle. 


But the best part is that I don't ever worry that we won't be best friends. I know we will be best friends. We might argue. We might struggle through some misunderstandings. She might be disobedient. But I will always love her and I will always be her friend. I will stand by her no matter what. If she makes a mistake, I will not leave her. If she rejects me, I will still love her. If she falls, I will forgive her. There is so much peace in unconditional love and I trust that it will win out through whatever canyons and hills we have to cross and climb over the years. 


The whole family (all of our extended family as well) made Cassi's day super special. She was old enough to appreciate every little detail and she went to sleep tonight a very happy little girl.


As I was cleaning up after the party washing some dishes, she came up to me, threw her arms around my legs and looked adoringly up at me. I stopped for a moment, struck by her sweet face. She said, "Mommy, thank you SO MUCH for everything! I loved it all!" Her gratefulness meant more to me than she will ever know. I wish I could have given her more. I wanted to lasso the moon for her in that moment. 


I know she won't always be sweet. She isn't always so grateful. She has to pout to get her way sometimes. She manipulates her brother and tries to get him in trouble to get what she wants at times. Other times she doesn't do anything wrong, but she won't stop asking me for something or won't stop trying to climb up into my lap even though there isn't much room for her anymore...and I get annoyed with her.


Nothing is always perfect. But today was pretty perfect.


My little sweetheart is growing up and will have two younger siblings to care for very soon now. She has so much to learn and she will change so much yet. But how exciting to see how far we've come together - and how exciting to embrace what lies ahead.


Happy Birthday sweet little Cassandra! May you always shine with radiance and love for those around you. May you grow to be a Godly young woman. May you seek wisdom over riches, love over beauty, and kindness over happiness. May you always be grateful and find joy during sadness. May you learn to pick yourself up when you fall and keep your eyes focused on eternal riches for the rest of your life.


I love you. Happy Birthday.

4/13/2015

28 Week Update

I finally made it to the third trimester, but feel like the last 12 weeks will last forever. Usually I feel like the time flies in those last three months, but July looks so far away to me right now.

28 WEEKS:


MORNING SICKNESS:
I am noticing that on days where I eat too much sugar (i.e., Easter weekend) I definitely get more severe morning sickness. But on days where I eat a more balanced or normal diet, the sickness stays the way it was before, which is very manageable and some mornings even non-existent (although it always comes back by evening time).

CRAVINGS:
None. My appetite is as big as ever, but I no longer need dark chocolate every day or anything else, for that matter. Does craving my old body so I can wear this dress count?

BABY'S MOVEMENT:
Wow - this one moves a lot!

HEARTBURN:
I only have heartburn on nights when I eat high fatty foods, which due to my lack of chocolate cravings, has been a lot less.

PAINS AND ACHES:
I've been experiencing a lot more ligament pain and light cramping. Braxton hicks occur whenever I am active and just about every evening.

EXERCISE:
I've been getting out to walk more and the exercise helps not only my energy levels, but also my mood and my water intake (I generally never get thirsty otherwise).

WEIGHT GAIN:
After gaining quite a bit of weight during my last update, I am so grateful to report that outside of an extra few pounds right at Easter weekend that have already come back off, I have not gained any weight in the past month.

FATIGUE/SLEEP:
I purchased new pillows a few weeks ago and they made a huge positive difference in my nights of sleep! Nevertheless, due to extra studying and a full calendar, I am not getting the full 7 hours of sleep I need, so during the day I am extra fatigued. Caffeine and catnaps are necessities these days.



MOOD:
I am embarrassingly emotional, and am still struggling with some super low mood swings. I am blaming it on my extra workload with school and my crazy schedule. Stress can exacerbate depression, no?

Here's to a strong and healthy third trimester! Looking forward to when I can start the countdown to when I meet my baby!