Thursday, January 23, 2014

Unshakable Faith

Found this.  Love it. Had to share.

Um...better get ready

Tuesday we got a bit of a wake-up call.   I'd had some heavy cramping for 5-6 days and even some contractions.  Baby was moving like normal so I didn't worry much.  But since it hadn't stopped by the morning - and after a quick chat with a friend at school drop-off -  I decided to call my OB and see what they said.  I thought for sure they'd tell me "it's nothing - just first time mom worries - go about your day" but instead they wanted me to come in and be checked, just to be safe. 

As I gathered my things to leave the house panic crept into my mind.  I suddenly felt TOTALLY unprepared for this sweet baby girl to arrive.  My mind flooded with all that was still left to be done, and everything that would need to happen in the next few hours should she decide she was coming early (not to mention the fear that it was too early and I'd be sent to an Italian hospital).  Her room wasn't ready, her bedding not sewn, sheets that were ordered were stuck in customs, car seat needed to be washed, Miles was at school, Nathan was at work, hospital bag wasn't packed, I hadn't typed my birth plan or finished my hospital admission paperwork.  We would need our passports, birth certificates, and wedding license for her paperwork and I couldn't tell you where it was at the moment.  My side of the bed was so messy I'd never be able to fit a pack and play there, and her crib wasn't ready.  We had lightly discussed plans for Miles but had never asked anyone or set anything up officially.  Her coming home outfit hadn't come in the mail yet - and it would probably be too big anyway.  As I shoved my iPad, hospital paperwork, and a few snacks in my purse I rubbed my belly and told her she needed to stay put a bit longer.  I called Nathan and he left work to meet me at the hospital. 

Upon arrival at Labor & Delivery (which was so surreal on it's own) they took my vitals (BP was high) and hooked me up to a machine to monitor contractions and baby's heart rate.  They also discussed with me some tests that they wanted to run to check some things out.  Of course once I was hooked up the contractions stopped...I felt like a crazy woman who cried wolf.   My OB came up to see me - he threw in a few more fat baby jokes, of course - and they ran the tests.  Everything came back clean.  They did an FFN, which tests the likelihood of you having a baby within the next two weeks, and it came back negative.  They did an AmnioTest to see if I was leaking amniotic fluid...and it came back clean.  They tested my pee for a UTI or other infection...clean.  And last but not least a cervical check (ouch, seriously...) and I'm still all sealed up.

They think the contractions and cramps could have been from dehydration (I had a wicked sore throat last week for a few days...didn't drink as much as I need to), stress, and/or overexertion.  I was told to take it easy - but not too easy.  No bedrest or anything, normal activities just be sure I'm taking a little bit of time each day to put my feet up and relax.

I was super relieved that everything went well and she is staying put a wee bit longer.  Living here brings complications that you don't have stateside.  If I go into labor before 36 weeks I cannot deliver at the Navy hospital. They will send me out to an Italian hospital.  The reason?  We don't have a NICU.  Our ER is also bare minimum...if you have a true trauma emergency you will also not be seen.  It's a small hospital without the capabilities to take care of large scale traumas.   Now an Italian hospital won't be like delivering in the dirt...but it is definitely a different experience than an American hospital.  Hubbies aren't allowed in delivery rooms.  They do not provide ANYTHING for you - no hand soap in the bathroom, no towels to dry your hands, no shower towels, no blankets for the bed...literally nothing but the bed and a sheet.  They do provide some things for the baby...but you - the mommy - are on your own.  Also - pain management is totally different.  No epidurals (unless you have spoken with the anesthesiologist before...which wouldn't have happened if I were unexpectedly going into labor early), no pain meds...unless you have a C-section.  So if I were to go into labor early not only would I have to pack a normal hospital bag I'd also need to run around the house grabbing towels, soap, shampoo, tissues, blankets, pillows, pads, pain meds, etc.  NOT something I want to have to do.  Plus she needs to cook more...I want her to be healthy.

You better believe that my nesting instinct kicked into high gear yesterday.  According to the tests I have at least two weeks...but I've got a lot to do.  I made a giant to-do list and got going.  I filled out my intake paperwork (finally), cleaned through Miles' clothes, scheduled us for a couple of birthing classes, talked with Nathan about a plan for Miles, and much more.  I've got even more on my list for today...I am determined to be ready for her, whenever she decides to come.  But I'm hoping she makes it to Valentine's Day (37 weeks). 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Baby Bump Shoot

A dear friend of ours did my maternity pictures for us.  (You can see her photo website HERE) We took them amongst some ancient Roman ruins on a cliff overlooking the sea (seriously, how cool is Italy?!)  She captured the true essence of our crazy little family.  Here are some of my favorites.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Baby girl update

We had another ultrasound yesterday.  It was a follow-up to check on an irregularity in her brain...and to also check her position.  We didn't mention it when we first found out because we didn't want to cause worry when we didn't know for sure that there was something to worry about.  She had choroid cysts in her brain at 20 weeks...and so they wanted to check again at 32 and see if they were gone.  They were!  And she had flipped...she's on her side, but at least she's now head down.

They also checked her measurements and growth.  This is where it get's funny...and confusing.  Back when I first discovered I was pregnant I figured a due date of February 24th.  This was based on when I *thought* my last period was...I couldn't remember exactly, but I had a 3 day window and I picked the first day.  When I saw the doc for the first time and they did a dating ultrasound they disagreed with the date...they did another a week later and pushed my due date back ten days to March 6th.  I didn't agree with them - the timing for the making of said baby didn't line up - but they're the doctors so whatever.   
At my 20 week anatomy scan the sonographer measured and measured and said the baby was measuring with a due date of Feb 26th (which fit right into my three day window)...she was measuring big, but that was the date she was sticking with.  I hadn't told the sonographer about the due date discrepancy until she mentioned a different date than the doctors had been saying.  I let it be and figured it didn't matter much.   

Fast forward to this scan at 32 weeks.  We were again told that she was big.  Based on a due date of Feb 26th, our healthy baby girl was measuring in the 96%tile for an already estimated FIVE POUNDS!  The sonographer (same as the first one) was quick to tell me that it is just an ESTIMATE and they can be off by up to a pound.  Baby was measuring right on target with height...but her head and belly were big.  (Poor thing got my head instead of daddy's)  My brain quickly remembered something I'd read that said that a baby gains a half to a full pound for their last 4-6 weeks in utero...and I did the math and my lady bits shuttered in fear.  I asked what date she was measuring on target for...February 14th.  That's when I'd be 37 weeks according to the doctors, and a couple days shy of 39 weeks according to me.   

So today when we met with my doctor I planned to ask him if he was going to move up the due date.  He walked into the room and said "so did they tell you about your ultrasound results?"  I responded with "yep, the cysts are gone"...and he said "No, that you're growing a heifer."  WORD. FOR. WORD.  Then he quickly apologized and said he shouldn't have said that...he grew up in the midwest around cows.  It was fine with us - aside from the initial shock of having your doctor call your baby a large bovine animal.  I quickly said "I prefer to think of her as my little linebacker" and we all had a good laugh.  Have I mentioned before how much I love this OB?!  He's from Chicago, he has a terribly dry sense of humor, and is brutally honest.  He's perfect for us.  Speaking of weight...  I ask him about moving the due date and he checks back at the 8 & 9 weeks scans.  Nope, it's staying.  And then he tells me we shouldn't buy Newborn sized clothes...and laughs again. (in the most kind way possible...I promise)  He does say that they will do another growth scan at 37-38 weeks to check her size.  If she's measuring at or above 5000 grams (a little over 11lbs) they will schedule a c-section.  If she's under they'll let me go.  His big worry is having the baby get stuck in the birth canal...since the hospital here isn't equipped to deal with such an emergent situation.  But he is very supportive and told me that my body was made for this and I'll be amazed at what it's capable of doing.  He really is great.  

Everything else is going along swimmingly.  I still have almost constant sciatica pain, and my hips feel like they want to separate from my body...both contribute to poor or little sleep; but I'm healthy and am genuinely enjoying being pregnant.  I love having our time together...just her and I.  Feeling her kick and roll and get hiccups is amazing.

Last but not least - here's a pic of our little linebacker.  It's a side profile shot or her with her fist in her mouth...where it has been EVERY time we've gotten a look at her.  You can see her squinted eye, chubby button nose, chubby fingers, and those deliciously chubby cheeks.    

Can't wait to meet her!!

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Resolutions: 2013 graded & 2014 resolved

Alrighty...I found my post from last year about my resolutions, as a reminder, this is what I resolved:
- Be able to sing Oh Holy Night in church for Italian - Have my photography studio up and running - Keep going with Isagenix and get to my goal weight - Be able to carry on a conversation with someone in Italian - without Google Translate - Mail my Christmas cards by December 1st - De-clutter every room in our house - Catch up Nathan's Navy scrapbook - 20 pages in Nathan's Navy scrapbook -  20 pages in Miles' scrapbook - Read the entire Book of Mormon  - Read one book a month - of my choice. - Keep up with the Sunday School lessons 

And how I fared at year end:

- Be able to sing Oh Holy Night in church for Italian - A
Done.  I almost peed myself from fear, and being 7 months pregnant with a rib-dweller definitely made the long, high notes a bit tougher...but this one felt awesome to accomplish! 

- Have my photography studio up and running - A
My photography business here in Italy took on a life of it's own this year.  Fueled by mini-sessions, it grew rapidly.  Our babymoon to Paris (pictures coming, I swear) was almost completely paid for by holiday photo sessions!  I got a new logo custom designed and I'm also working on a new, more professional webpage.  I can't wait to see where 2014 takes it!

- Keep going with Isagenix and get to my goal weight - A
I started the year out hard, got to a grand total of 50lbs lost and was losing more...then got the surprise of a lifetime finding out that (shocker!) my uterus & ovaries actually decided to work.   Even though I was about 20lbs from my goal weight I'm giving myself an A.  I busted by butt this year and I am so proud of the work I did.  

- Be able to carry on a conversation with someone in Italian - without Google Translate - B
This one depends on the topic...but I'm definitely more equipped to handle random conversations than I was at the end of 2012.  My language base grows every week, and I think I'm going to add a few lessons this year and see how far I can really go.  (since we'll be here another two years, why not?)

- Mail my Christmas cards by December 1st - F
Fail.  Total fail.  I never even got cards printed, let alone mailed.  I was SO busy with my holiday photo studio it was the furthest thing from my mind.  

- De-clutter every room in our house - C
We got a lot of the house de-cluttered...out of necessity for finding a spot for baby girl to fit.  But I didn't get to everything like I'd wanted.  I'll just keep on trucking with this one. 

- 20 pages in Nathan's Navy scrapbook - F
I didn't even do ONE page in any scrapbook this year.  Not one.  I need to try and fix that. 

-  20 pages in Miles' scrapbook - F
See above

- Read the entire Book of Mormon - D
Ok, so I read scriptures over the course of the year...but it was mostly according to topic or research for a lesson, etc.  I didn't sit down and read the BOM (or bible for that matter) from cover to cover. 
  - Read one book a month - of my choice. - C
I sat and thought about this one today...wondering if I actually did it.  And some months I can remember exactly what I might have read and others?  Not so much.  
- Keep up with the Sunday School lessons - F
This one just completely fell by the wayside.  Keeping up with the Sharing Time lessons each week in addition to the lessons for the primary classes (we have teachers no-show almost every week...we need to be prepared) kept me busy. 

Well it seems to me that the ones I did - I did fantastically.  And the ones I didn't - well, they just didn't even make it off the ground.  But you know what?  I'm not going to focus on those that I failed.  I had an amazing year.  I pushed myself to limits I thought I'd never reach.  I started running again, I even managed to get in four official races before I had to stop in July (puking 24/7 really takes the steam out of ya...and by the time the puking stopped I was SO jiggly from my growing appendages it hurt to run).  I poured my heart into getting healthy...and it blessed me back 100 fold.  Knees felt better, I slept better, I felt comfortable in my own skin...and my stupid reproductive system fixed itself and I got pregnant.   I have loved seeing my photo studio really get off the ground.  It makes me feel so good when strangers tell me they were referred to me by a former client.  I love it when clients make the photos I took their profile pics on FB or their Christmas card picture.  I love capturing sweet little faces...because they grow so quickly.  My language skills have made our time here easier.  I like finally being able to chit chat with people after church or at the market.   

And as I mentioned 2014 resolutions are simple: spin only the important plates.  So here it goes:

1- Lead a healthy life, for myself and also as an example to my family
2- Try to be a better example of a follower of Christ
3- Spend more time doing things to make me & my family happy and spend less time worrying about making others happy

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Good news!

Back in July we decided we were going to submit an official request to stay in Italy an extra year beyond our three.  Usually you hear back within a week or so, but not us.  As the weeks turned into months we wondered if maybe we should pull the request and just leave in a year as planned.   Well today we heard the good news - our request was approved!  We will now be in Italy until January 2016.  

It was a tough decision - it is hard being so far away from family, and life in a foreign tree can be very frustrating.  But there is a lot we love about living here...and the timing is perfect.  Miles can stay in pre-school here and we'll move back before he starts kindergarten.  

So you've been given an extra year to come see us - get saving and plan a trip to Italy!!  We also now have an additional year to work more on our travel bucket list.