Emma's on her way to 3!

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Monday, December 28, 2009

To my beautiful one month old

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My dear Emma,
It literally feels like yesterday that we were at the hospital meeting you for the first time. The past month has gone by faster than I ever thought it could and I knew it would go by fast. The days have just evaporated and sometimes I sit and hold you and stare at you while you sleep thinking how amazing it is that you're actually here.

We're still getting to know you, but everybody who meets you tells us how beautiful you are (we, of course, already know this). When you were first born we could barely tell the color of your eyes because they were closed so much, but over the past couple weeks you've been opening your eyes wider and staying awake longer. You're practicing lifting your head and turning it from side to side, a developmental milestone that you'll take for granted in a few months. And, you and I make a great team in getting you all the food you need. You just started smiling in the past week or so and even though it's probably because you're so gassy we love that smile (but we're sorry that you're so gassy). You follow us with your eyes and you squeak like a little mouse quite often. Your dad and I are working on getting you set up on a routine so that you can start sleeping longer through the night. It's not that I mind getting up a couple times a night to feed you, but I am looking forward to the day that I can get more than 4 hours of sleep in one chunk. Now that your dad is back at work during the day you and I have some quality time together and I love that I have the opportunity to be with you for the next couple of months before I go back to work.

You have a sweet temperment and are an amazingly happy baby unless you need something. I can't wait to see you continue to grow, but I know that will come in its own time and faster than I'd like so I will treasure these days with you. Your dad adores you and is amazingly sensitive to what you need. He loves taking care of you and protecting you. I walked into our room tonight where you were going to sleep (although you have been particularly fussy today) and he was seranading you.



video


We pray for you every night that God will guide you and protect you as you grow. Our love for you is unfathomable to us, and God loves you even more. You change every day and I'm so thankful that God chose us to be your parents. You are a true blessing to our lives.

All my love my sweet girl,

Mommy

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Baby's first Christmas

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Christmas came and went this year, and Emma made out like a bandit. Not only did she get completely spoiled, but she got the full Christmas experience by going to her great-grandma Vi's on Christmas Eve, grandpa and grandma Ellis's with grandpa and grandma Sumner on Christmas morning, great-grandpa and grandma Hunt's house Christmas afternoon, and great-great Uncle Chuck and Aunt Ruby's house a couple days after Christmas. Not to mention we had our own Christmas celebration (which Emma conveniently slept through) on Christmas morning at our house.

We haven't started too many traditions yet, but one thing that Dan and I have done every year since our first Christmas together and continued this year with Emma is read the Christmas story out of our Thomas Kinkade family Bible. I know that as the years go on traditions will develop and grow just as our family will continue to grow.

It was great celebrating Emma's first Christmas with all of her grandparents together. I realized sitting there that it was just last Easter that we told all of them together that Emma would be joining us, and there we all were sitting at Christmas with Emma in our arms. She was by far (and forever will be) the best gift we've ever received.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fourteen days

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So much has changed in the past fourteen days. Little did we know a few weeks ago when we got our maternity pictures taken that it was only six days before little Emma Reese would make her arrival. Thanks again to our friends Matt and Jenna we have these pictures of our two week old Emma.





Saturday, December 5, 2009

Introducing Emma Reese Sumner

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After our daughter was born, the biggest decision we had left to make was deciding on a name. We had come to the hospital with three or four finalists, but decided to hold off on making a final decision until I had time to recover a little and we had time to get to know her a little more. Understandably, our family and friends were very curious to know her name (as were we), but we wanted to make the right decision and not make it hastily so we took our time.

Ultimately, we decided that she looked like an Emma Reese, and even though we went back and forth several times before finally deciding we're glad we took our time. For a few days afterwards I actually second guessed our decision and thought that maybe we should have gone with one of the other names we were considering, but after those days passed I knew that we made the right decision.

Emma means "whole, complete, universal" and another meaning is "healer of the universe," and Reese means "enthusiastic, or fiery." We'll leave the universe healing to God, but we pray that Emma will be an enthusiastic servant of God as he brings that healing.



Friday, December 4, 2009

Honey, It's Time

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We had a relatively uneventful Black Friday with some shopping, lunch, and fun time together after Dan got off work around 1ish. We bought the formerly mentioned digital camera with plenty of time to learn how to use it before delivering our baby a week or two from then, so we left the camera in the box on our counter so Dan could play with it over the weekend. We worked for a while on organizing our office (one more thing to get the house baby ready), and then decided to call it a day. Dan went to bed and I was watching tv for a bit before heading to bed myself.
It was 10:30pm and I felt a small pain in my lower left abdomen (almost like a pop or strong kick from the baby, but it hurt). Within the next minute or two I felt something that felt like how they describe contractions. It wasn't too strong, so I figured I would go to sleep and see how I felt in the morning. I fell asleep, but woke up 30-45 minutes later with the same feeling. I fell back asleep, and woke up another 30 minutes later with the same, but slightly more intense feeling. I was starting to get suspicious that this could all be leading to something, but I was so tired that I went back to sleep. Well, after a few more cycles of this the feeling was getting so intense that I was starting to use my special breathing that I learned for dealing with CONTRACTIONS. That breathing stirred Dan out of his slumber and he asked if everything was okay. I told him that I was having real contractions and he said, "Are you messing with me?" We had always talked about doing a practice run but this was the real thing. I told him that we needed to start timing them and that definitely woke him up.

He found the stopwatch (next time we'll have it a little more handy) and started writing down how long each contraction was lasting and how far apart they were. He was getting some last minute hospital items together since our bags were already packed and in the car along with the carseat, and then I had a contraction that was so intense that I puked...a common thread throughout my pregnancy so why stop with labor. I told him that we should call the doctor even though it was 2am so he called and Dr. Christina Lee was on call for Dr. Kroll that night. She said that normally with a first baby she would wait to tell us to go to the hospital until the contractions were a little closer together, but because they were so intense that I was getting sick she said to go now.

It was "go time." I got dressed, Dan was unpacking the camera he had gotten the day before from the boxes, so apparently he would be learning how to use it in the delivery room, and at first I thought about taking a shower before we left but I had another contraction and decided that I just needed to get to the hospital so I could get the epidural as quickly as possible. I continued having contractions as Dan drove and it got to the point where he would tell me when a contraction was coming because they were so consistently close together.

We got to the hospital around 3am, so he dropped me off at the lobby while he parked the car. I had another contraction in the lobby while he parked, then he came in and I had another contraction as we were getting off the elevator onto the fifth floor. I had to get on my hands and knees because there wasn't anywhere to sit, and when that one subsided we proceeded to the admitting desk where I had another one. I signed a few papers, probably signed my life away (I'm not really sure), stood up and my water broke right there. Talk about timing!! I walked, with my broken water to the nurses station where they got a wheelchair and took me to the room where I was going to deliver our daughter while Dan followed with all of our bags.

I got changed into the hospital gown and at about 3:30am I was already 5-6 cm dilated, so the contractions had obviously been doing their work. But, they were PAINFUL, so I wanted an epidural and I wanted it FAST (like yesterday). Here's a picture of a few of my contractions...Apparently it was a popular delivery night because there were six other people who wanted an epidural at exactly the same moment I did. Fortunately, my nurse bumped me ahead of a couple others because I was so far along, but she still had to put a little pain medicine in my IV to hold me over until the epidural doctor became available. Finally, around 4:30am I got relief when the epidural went in. I think Dan's hand appreciated that I got an epidural just as much because during the contractions I squeezed harder than his hand had ever felt before. Right after the epidural kicked in I was already up to 9 cm so it was a good thing I got it when I did, otherwise I would have been past the point of no return. I would have delivered her much sooner, but with a lot more pain.

After I got the epidural the nurse told me to try to relax and she would be back in about an hour and a half to see how things were coming. I was actually able to sleep for a little bit while Dan charged the new camera he had just gotten the day before. Yes, we were charging our brand new camera IN the delivery room at 3:00 in the morning. Dan had called our parents to let them know what was happening and at first my mom didn't believe him. He had joked at Thanksgiving that he would call her at 3:00am as practice, so when he called shortly after 3:00am my mom had to talk to me to be convinced that it was the real deal.

The nurse came in around 6:00am and I was 10cm and the baby was at the +1 station so things had progressed. She said she'd be back at 6:30am to start pushing, and in the meantime my dad came in and brought Dan breakfast. When the nurse came back I rolled from my side to my back, but it made me nauseous and I puked again so she gave me some anti-nausea medicine and let that kick in before she came back at 6:45 to start pushing.

I pushed with the contractions and was making significant progress but during one contraction the baby's heartrate started to drop so they gave me some oxygen and rolled me to my side for a few minutes so her heartrate could come back up. It did, and at 7:00am there was a shift change so a new nurse came in to continue helping with the delivery and I continued pushing with each contraction that were now between 1-4 minutes apart. After 40 minutes I had gotten to the point where she was ready to come out, but the doctor wasn't there yet. My doctor wasn't on call that night, so we were waiting for Dr. Lisa Diaz to arrive and she was about 15 minutes away. So, because of the epidural I was able to just wait for her, and when she arrived I pushed with another contraction and out popped our baby's head (CRAZY!!!). Then, the doctor pulled out our daughter and we heard the most beautiful sound of our newborn baby's cry, and it was loud. The doctor cut the cord, then Dan trimmed it down to where it was clamped. Then they brought her over to me and I met our baby for the first time.

She was 6 lbs 10 oz, and 19 inches long, born at 7:46am on November 28, 2009. I had been planning this whole time on a December baby and hoping that she'd come a little early to avoid her birthday being too close to Christmas but I hadn't expected a November baby.

I was surprisingly unemotional (I didn't break into tears or have an overwhelming emotional response like you see on t.v). I had definitely not expected to have a baby that morning so I think I was still in shock over what just happened. I was, of course, so happy and thankful that she was healthy (9.9 on the APGAR scale and they don't give 10's, so she was as close to perfect as they get), but she was crying, I was tired, and I couldn't believe that she came three weeks early. I had no idea what was in store regardless of how many books I'd read or classes I'd been to. I was a mom, Dan was a dad, and our baby was counting on us 100%.

Now all we needed to figure out was her name.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So much to be thankful for

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As Thanksgiving day drew to a close and we had celebrated with my family and Dan's parents all at my parents' house I was so thankful for the people that surround us as we head into a new part of our journey together (which wasn't supposed to start for another week or two). We all had a great day full of wonderful food and talking about all that was in our future with a new addition on the way. I have a whole list of things that I'm thankful for, but my family and friends top the list.

We headed home looking forward to the rest of our weekend with a little Black Friday shopping, and some rest and relaxation on Saturday and Sunday. Well, our lives were on the verge of a massive paradigm shift and we had no idea. We woke up Friday morning and Dan headed to work for a half day while I lounged around at home. He got home and we headed out to check on a couple sales and get a digital SLR camera that we wanted to have in time for labor-day with plenty of time to learn how to use it before the big day. So, we got the camera and a computer desk and planned to go out the next day to get all the last minute stuff we needed before the baby came. That night Dan said that he would figure out how to use the camera over the weekend and I said that we definitely wouldn't want to be learning how to use a new camera in the delivery room (ironic considering what happened that night).

He went to bed with the best intention of being an expert on the camera by our little girl's birth day. At 10:30 that night he was asleep, but I felt a little something different. That little something different resulted in us having our baby the next morning. But, you can imagine that there's a whole story of how the rest of the night progressed. To be continued...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

4,000 words

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Often times I wonder how we've ended up with such dear friends who are so amazingly talented and share those talents with us. Today, a friend of ours blessed us by taking some amazing pictures that we will treasure forever. Here's a small selection, so if a picture is worth a thousand words then you're getting a bargain...4,000 words worth of pictures in one post. Thank you so much Matt for capturing these memories for us.



My GQ centerfold

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blissfully Unprepared

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Anyone who tells you that they're ready to have a baby is either lying or delusional. At my doctor's appointment on Wednesday she said to make sure the hospital bag is packed and the carseat is installed because she anticipates that I'll deliver earlier than my due date (what I always thought anyways). We've known since April that we were going to have a baby, and even still I asked Dan last night what he would feel if I told him that it was time to go to the hospital and he said that he would probably freak out a little. I appreciate the honesty because I feel the same way. We're a bit crazy and are getting a minor kitchen renovation and new vinyl windows and glass doors, hopefully before the little one arrives, which is contributing to the overall feeling of being unprepared. But, even if everything in our house were perfect, I've seen friends go topsy turvy when they think they know what to expect with a baby and the baby has other plans.

So, we're living in the land of the blissfully unprepared. It's like waiting for Christmas when you don't know when Christmas is going to get here (that's not her name, by the way). In the meantime, while I've been home I have had plenty of time to notice all of the little projects I'd like to get done before she's born so my label maker is getting a workout. I may be blissfully unprepared, but at least I can be organized. I think they call it nesting :-)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A girl after my own heart

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We're continually making progress on getting our house baby-ready, and last weekend we got a closet organizer for the nursery and Dan installed it. After he finished putting it in, he called me into the nursery to take a look. Well, be still my heart, when I walked in and saw this arrangement in one of the closet cubes I knew that he is SO ready to be our little girl's daddy.

He might make fun of my shoe fetish, but he's certainly encouraging it in our daughter. Now we just need her little feet so all those awesome shoes can really go on display.

(If you can't read the plaque, it says "I stimulate the economy one shoe store at a time"...so patriotic)

The best laid plans

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I'm continually amazed at how much my little girl is really the one in charge around here (I'll be holding on for dear life once she actually arrives). At my most recent doctor's appointment last Tuesday she said that she had some concerns about the swelling and contractions I'd been experiencing, and when I told her I was planning to work until December 4 she said, "No way. I'm tempted to put you out of work as of today, but I can let you go through the end of the week if you have some things you need to wrap up."

Excuse me??? Of course I have some things I need to wrap up...like everything I was planning to do in the next four weeks. After the shock wore off I realized that my only job right now is to make sure I deliver a healthy baby, so if that means going out of work early then that's what it means. Fortunately, my manager was understanding and worked with me to make sure that I got everything taken care of before I left work last night, but the last three days have been a true whirlwind. And, my coworkers threw me a surprise baby shower yesterday before I left. I honestly work with the best people, so while being off work for so long will be relaxing I'm thankful that when the time comes to go back to work I get to go back there.

So, while I had a certain idea of how things would proceed until my maternity leave, my plans changed and now I have the gift of time that I wasn't expecting. I'll be catching up on my scrapbooking, knitting, and cooking, and if anybody has a free day my door is always open and I'd love the company.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Holy Cow...We're Having a Baby!!

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Not like it's news at this point, but there is a strange reality that is quickly setting in that our baby is due in 6 1/2 weeks (approximately 46 days if anybody is counting). We took the tour yesterday of the Labor and Delivery unit at Hoag where I'll be delivering and after that Dan and I both looked at each other as if we both suddenly realized that in a month and a half we'll be there welcoming our little girl into the world. We also both held a darling little three month old baby girl at church yesterday, and after we gave her back to her parents there was another realization that we'll be those parents taking our daughter with us when we leave (if anybody sees us leaving without her, please remind us to get her from the nursery).

Suddenly, things are in serious overdrive. We got the closet organizer for the nursery yesterday afternoon, the crib will be here this week, and we're actively planning our minor kitchen renovation because life would be too boring if we just relaxed.

I've had the joy of experiencing some Braxton Hicks contractions over the past week, so my body is actively preparing for what I've heard can be a long day in labor. I have no problem heeding the doctor's advice to put my feet up and stay hydrated. My maternity leave starts in 5 weeks, so while things aren't necessarily winding down yet I'm definitely trying to keep things organized in case plans change and I have to go out early.

It has been quite the journey to this point, and the next 6ish weeks will be no different. Away we go...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Walk (more like a waddle) Down Memory Lane

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Oh, memories. As I'm bombarded by the fact that I'm having a baby in 10 weeks (if she comes on her due date), I have become a bit nostalgic. And, since it's been a while since my most recent post, I figured I would do a recap and an update.

How I remember my initial reaction the morning of April 3 when I found out that I was having a baby and got to tell my husband that he was going to be a dad! I was overwhelmed with joy and a burden of responsibility for the little life we were being entrusted with. Then, when we got to tell our families on Easter (April 12) with a little note, "Just like a flower that blossoms with time, we're due to bloom December '09," I knew that our little one would be surrounded by an unbelievable amount of love. We heard the heartbeat for the first time on April 24, and there was nothing like seeing our baby in the earliest stages (we were only about 6 weeks along at that point) and seeing the look in Dan's eyes when we knew that the little cluster of cells growing inside of me already had a much bigger spot in both of our hearts.

At around 12 weeks we got to share the news with our extended family and friends. After you've been married for 8 years without kids people start to wonder a bit if they'll ever come, so sharing the joy with everyone was priceless. I felt the first little "quickening" on the Friday of week 17 which was such a strange feeling. It was so faint, but I knew that it was our baby making her presence known. Then, on July 20, we had our long awaited appointment to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. To see Dan's eyes tear up when the ultrasound technician told us it was a girl gave me goosebumps. Of course, we would have had the same reaction if it was a boy, but I always pictured Dan with a little girl so it was very special moment. And, while I'd be just as happy to forget, I seriously remember being sick for a LOOOONG time (if you've read any of my other posts, you probably caught on to that), but we'll just waddle on past that part to the 48th and final puke. I was on a plane traveling back to California from a work trip to Vermont on the Friday of my 21st week and had to high-tail it to the lavatory at 30,000 feet. On that trip, however, my co-workers threw me a surprise baby shower and I was taken aback by their thoughtfulness and generosity. I work with amazing people who are also my friends and I'm just grateful that I got to see them all before I go out on maternity leave.

Since then, we've had a couple more doctor's appointments where we consistently get good news of a healthy baby who will apparently love to be swaddled (she nuzzles her way into every little corner to tuck in nice and tight). Of course, there's the ligament pain that wakes me up in the middle of the night every time I move, and the cataract (not pregnancy related) that showed up about a month or so ago which means I'll have to get lense replacement surgery once she's born, and I'm still nauseous from time to time, and TUMS and I have grown very close thanks to my bouts of indigestion, but here's the thing...I'm carrying around the little life of the most precious baby girl ever. And when I think about how bad I'll be as a mom it makes me more grateful for the grace of God who makes up for all of my mistakes. It gives me hope that even through all of our faults, we might turn out a daughter who will be okay in the end.

As I round the corner on this waddle down memory lane, I just have one final question...has anybody seen my ankles? I seem to remember having them at some point, but they've disappeared, so if you happen to find them just send them back my way.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Perfect Day

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I know it's saying a lot, but Dan and I had a perfect day on Monday. Because I was sick last month on our anniversary, we postponed our celebration to this month and it was absolutely awesome. Dan booked a day at Glen Ivy Day Spa, so we got there first thing in the morning and started the day with a couple's massage (mom-to-be massage for me, swedish massage for him), then proceeded to relax in the "lounge pool" for a bit where we floated around on blue pool floats and I actually got to lay on my stomach which I haven't done in a while (the floating device adjusted to my belly). From there, we headed to the red clay pool and covered ourselves in detoxifying mud (trying to avoid getting it all over our swimsuits) and baked for about 10 minutes in the sun. It was funny seeing everybody's reaction when he wrote "BABY" on my belly. After that, we rinsed off and headed to "The Grotto" for a moisturizing treatment where they basically painted us with this aloe moisture stuff and then we hung out in a warm misting room with everybody else while the moisturizer did its thing. Then, we rinsed off and stayed for a bit in the cool mist room where they have hot tea, water, and apples...fabulous. My skin felt amazingly hydrated after that.

At that point it was pretty much time to head out, and what better way to end a day at the spa than with lunch at In 'n Out. Of course, this was the third time in four days that I had eaten at In 'n Out, but when something sounds good it just sounds good and nothing else will do. After lunch we went home, took a long nap, and cleaned out our garage (we still wanted to be productive). We ended the day with a wonderful dinner at Elephant Bar and then Dan continued working on the garage while I fell asleep on the couch watching HGTV. It really doesn't get much better than that if you ask me.

So, if anyone ever wanted to know what my perfect day looks like, this is it...a long relaxing day spent with my husband and no where specific to be except with each other.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Final tally

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The final vote in our boy/girl/wait poll was "Boy: 10, Girl: 13, Wait: 5." And the winner is...

GIRL!!! That's right, Dan and I are having a baby girl and we are so excited (of course we would be just as excited if we were having a boy). It's so nice to know so that we can plan and share the news with family and friends. There are so many unknowns with your first baby that, at least for us, the more we can find out the better. Our hats go off to the people who can actually wait until birth day to find out...we didn't have the patience this time around but we'll see if we can stick it out when it's time for number two. We both teared up when the ultrasound tech told us, and last night Dan started recording some of his songs so that I can play them for our baby when I'm at work. I'm feeling her move from time to time and am just waiting for the day when Dan can feel her too.


The past month has been pretty standard for us, but I did hit a milestone. I've made it just over a week without puking so I'm hoping I can keep it up. The nausea isn't completely gone, but as of now the final count is 45 barfs and I'm hoping that's where it stays. We've made a lot of progress on our house and have finished projects that we started four years ago. Our master bedroom and nursery are painted, as well as the ceiling over our staircase that has been unpainted since we got the ceilings scraped right after we bought the place. Progress, not perfection. There are still a variety of things that we want to finish before our daughter arrives, but we're moving forward and that's all I can ask.

Last month we also celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary (June 23), but our celebration consisted of me sitting on the couch all night being sick. Fortunately, I have a wonderful husband who got us a day at the spa to be used when I'm feeling better so we're heading out to Glen Ivy this coming Monday. He got me a pregnancy massage, and boy do I need it, along with entrance to the Grotto for us both to enjoy. I can't wait.


Now the real work starts with figuring out what we'll need for the little one, not to mention trying to find a name (which we won't be telling anyone until she's born, just so you all know). It feels like there's so much to do, but the further along I get the more satisfied I am with the little things. I still have two pairs of jeans that I can button, I'm sleeping through the night thanks to my body pillow, and I'm eating just about whatever I want. My favorites so far are smoothies from Jamba Juice, Rubio's nachos, In 'n Out, yogurt, fruit, and I'm still going strong with the cereal. I'm sure all of those will change as time goes on, but for now I guess it's the closest to cravings that I've really had.

Well, this little girl has me plum-tuckered out, but hopefully I'll do a better job of keeping everybody updated now that I'm starting to feel better.

The adventure continues...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Baby bump

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It's been a couple weeks, but I was hoping for my next post to be announcing the victory over all things nausea related. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for that day to come (as I'm sure everybody else is, and I know Dan is), but that's no reason to keep people in suspense over what's been going on in the Sumner home for the past couple of weeks.

We had my 12 week check up a couple weeks ago and everything is going along just fine. We saw the little one again and this time we saw it turn around, look straight at us, and start sucking its thumb all on the ultrasound. It's crazy that the baby was only a couple of inches long, so its fingers were only millimeters long and it was already getting its thumb into its mouth. Since then, the most exciting things have been the various places I've puked other than my house...Don Jose's, Del Taco, my office at work...and the list goes on. The count is up to 37 and I'm hoping that everything they say about feeling better after the first trimester is true. Depending on the day I take 1/2 of a Zofran when I start feeling super bad and that normally gets me through the worst part of the day. I'm still eating a lot of cereal and today I fell in love with the Tomato Basil soup at the Nordstrom cafe. I bought a jar of it because it was so good and I'm just hoping that the soup doesn't turn into something that I can't stand like my previously mentioned Del Taco bean and cheese burritos. How I loved those burritos until a week or two ago when after one bite I was reliving that burrito in the Del Taco bathroom. I haven't been able to even think of them since then.

Now that I'm 14 weeks along I'm definitely starting to notice how things aren't quite fitting the way they used to. So, I realized that this was the excuse I'd been waiting for to go shopping for some maternity clothes. Dan and I headed out last night to see what we could find (he even let me think that he was excited to go with me...what a guy) and I did a little more shopping today. All together I got five things. It's nothing to build a wardrobe, but I think of maternity clothes kind of like a wedding dress. You only wear them for a short amount of time in the whole scheme of things so why break the bank. Yes, I want to look good, and yes, I have been a big frump for the past couple months, but a change is in the air. Now that I'm at least feeling a little better I want to be one of those cute mommies-to-be that's stylish and shows the world that I haven't completely given up on myself now that I'm pregnant. Hmm...that might be a little ambitious for the time being. I think I'll just start with trying to load the dishwasher and see how that works out.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Blessed beyond measure, pressed down, and overflowing

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This week was, by far, the most fun I've had yet being pregnant. We let the word spread and it spread FAST!! We are overwhelmed by the kind words, well wishes, and congratulations that have come our way since announcing our big news, and I'm so grateful for the people that are surrounding us and our baby with love and prayer during such an exciting time. There have been several people over the past year that I've shared with about our struggles, and I had no idea that even more people than that have been praying for us to be blessed with a bundle of joy.
Last night Dan helped me bring up some boxes to the elder meeting at church and when we got up there and shared the news, they all gathered around us and prayed for us. On Tuesday, after telling everybody in the youth group, one of the other leaders told me that she had shared our struggles with her mom a while ago when we first asked for prayer. Her mom has been praying for us since then and has a baby blanket for us because she trusted that God would answer her prayers.

I really can't put in to words the peace that I feel when I think about the rest of the pregnancy, and even parenthood. I haven't felt anxious or worried or stressed because I know that we are covered and carried by God. Yes, the nausea has been uncomfortable (if you didn't pick it up from my other posts) and with the barf count up to 28 as of tonight I can't say that I will miss this particular part of being pregnant, but mostly because it means we're that much closer to meeting our baby. And, now that the news is out and we can talk about it openly we're just appreciating all of the love that people have already sent our way.

Thank you to everybody who is celebrating with us. There's always enough joy to go around!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Daddy Dan

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I don't think it has really truly hit me yet. To think that I am going to be a dad is a crazy, exciting, and heart pounding thought. I am super happy. I have always had a special place in my heart for kids and I think that God really was just preparing me for all that is about to come. I look forward to meeting the little one and building a family with the love of my life. 

Stay tuned for more to come. 

This is posted by Dan if you didn't figure it out. 

Surprise Announcement

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Jenny and I wanted to trick the youth group and make them think that we were showing a video of Brianhead 2009 (the ski/snowboard trip) but really... well you'll see. 

video

Dan

Friday, May 29, 2009

One step closer

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That's right...today is 11 weeks down, and I'm one step closer to the land of the living. This week has had its ups and downs with my first A.M. barfs (up to 25 for those keeping track...oh wait, that's just me), but there was also a day or two that I started to see a light at the end of the toilet bowl. I'm not drinking nearly enough water because all that fluid doesn't really settle well, but I've had my fair share of Del Taco bean and cheese burritos with red sauce (yum-o) and I can't even start on the boxes of cereal and gallons of milk I've consumed, not to mention the pizzas, oyster crackers, granola bars, and fruit. It's certainly enough to feed a small army, but I guess that's what a baby with a 170 heart rate needs for now (or at least what its mom needs). I'm really just waiting for the day that I don't feel hungry thirty minutes after eating a pizza. Currently, hunger=nausea so it's just food, food, food all the time. It's funny, at one point I would have LOVED to have had a free ticket to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it, and now that I kind of have it I just don't want to be hungry anymore.

Next week is going to be super fun. We're going to tell the youth group on Tuesday night and I'll tell the elder board on Thursday night. After that it's basically common knowledge. Right now we're working on the video that we're going to use to tell the youth group and all the leaders...it's going to be awesome. There's still so much to do before Little One's arrival, but we're not stressing and are just taking one day at a time. I'm just waiting for that burst of energy the doctor told me I'd get around week 14. With all that we have to do around here my house doesn't stand a chance.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

10 weeks down

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Well, tomorrow is 10 weeks pregnant and the barf count is up to 17. I'm not really sure why I'm compelled to keep track (or to share it), but someday I'll want our little one to know that he/she was worth all of it. We had another doctor's appointment on Monday and I was just expecting to meet with the doctor but because we had to wait a little longer she gave us a free ultrasound. It was so awesome because I was still expecting a little round, unidentifiable thing, but me-oh-my was I amazed when I actually saw a head, two legs, and two arms, and heard a heart beat of 170 beats per minute (that's pretty fast).

Here's what we saw on April 24 at our first appointment. The baby was 4 millimeters long and had a heart rate of 120 beats per minute.

On Monday, May 18, this is what we saw. It's like the little one is just chillin' (I guess there's not much else for him/her to do. But, you can clearly see the head and two little legs (we saw the arms in another picture). So, baby is about 1 1/2 inches long with that fast 170 bpm heart rate AND we even got to see it move during the ultrasound. Super cool.

So, we'll keep everybody posted and once I start showing I'll do my best to post those obnoxious belly shots so you can all guess which part is baby and which part is all the food I've been eating to help the nausea.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How time flies!

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Well, I can tell already that this baby will be here in no time because I can't believe that I'm already more than 8 weeks pregnant. Some days it feels like it's been longer, and other days it seems like it might never end (being sick all the time), but I know that December will be here before we know it and a new little Sumner will enter the world.

We had our first doctor's appointment on April 24 and as of that date the little one was four millimeters long, had a heartbeat of 121 beats per minute (they say it will get faster once it gets a little older), and the estimated due date is December 18, 2009. So, not only will we get the tax credit for this year, but I've already met my deductible so the pre-natal care and birth will practically be free. This baby is already following in my frugal footsteps...way to go kid.

We also got our first pictures which I'll post shortly even though it just looks like a little blob. How amazing that a whole person comes out of that?!?!?

I've been feeling nauseous all the time and so far the barf count is up to 12 or so, but I have a new best friend whose name is Zofran. It's actually medicine that keeps me from throwing up all the time (because it would be ALL the time) and helps a little bit with the nausea, although I still definitely feel icky all day and have to eat something small consistently because food basically evaporates as soon as it goes in my mouth. Seriously, I never thought I'd be feeling so sick and eating so much all at the same time. The worst is waking up at 2:30 in the morning because you need to eat some crackers so you can fall back asleep. I'm getting a sense for what a baby feels like when it wakes up for a nightly feeding. Your body doesn't give you any choice...you have to eat to go back to sleep.

Dan is already Super Dad because he's essentially been a bachelor for the past couple weeks. He's been making all his own dinners, helping me all the time even if it's less convenient for him, doing laundry and dishes, he even organized MY side of the closet (an astounding feat if you've ever seen my closet). He is banking some serious points for when I'm feeling better even though he says that he wishes he could even do more. Dan, if you're reading this, I couldn't be pregnant without you (and not just in the obvious way). I feel so loved and cared for by you and I can't even tell you how much I appreciate all the little things you do for me to show me, especially when I'm puking in the bathroom (or in the car, or on the couch, or at my desk, or in bed at 1:22am...yes it's that bad). You're a one of a kind Super Husband and you'll be a Super Dad, which overall makes you Super Man!


My next appointment is May 18, so I'll meet with the doctor and make sure things are on track. I'll be about 9 1/2 weeks at that point, so still relatively early. We'll probably wait a little longer to tell EVERYBODY, but so far the people we have told have been so happy for us. It reminds me how blessed we are to have people who love us and support us because I know that not everybody is so lucky.

At this point I'm just looking forward to waking up one day and not feeling sick, but I know it's all for a noble cause. Don't worry Baby, I know you're worth it!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

All-day sickness

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Wow!! For as much as I want to be pregnant, it sure doesn't feel all that great right now. For the past few days from when I wake up in the morning to when I go to sleep at night I find myself wanting to puke. I haven't (yet) and hopefully I won't because I want to keep all the nutrients inside of me so the little one can grow big and strong, but, my goodness, growing a person really takes it out of you. I know that the sickness means that hormones are working right and that the baby is growing (they say that the start of sickness coincides with the start of the heart beating), so I am thankful. I also know that it's all for a good cause and that it won't last forever. In the meantime, though, it's like I'm walking around with a constant lump in my throat and chewing my crackers way longer than necessary until my reflexes cooperate and allow me to swallow.

A couple things that seem to help are eating cereal first thing in the morning to get something in this roiling tummy of mine. Also, I keep crackers by my bed so when I wake up in the middle of the night or early morning I can pop a few to help take the edge off so I can go back to sleep. I've still been going to the gym because the moving and deeper breathing actually helps a lot, and I've been eating like a picky pig...peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, crackers, bananas, oatmeal, cheese, ginger ale, but the thought of just about anything else makes me pukey (last night's chicken parmagiana from Pomodoro sounded like a good idea until it came to the table). Always having something in my stomach is a big help, but even then the relief just lasts for a few minutes before I try to find another way to soothe this pukey beast. Now I just hope and pray that what I put in actually stays down. I've heard that B6 helps a lot with the sickness and some people have said that the motion sickness bracelets take a bit of the edge off. Our first appointment is this Friday so you can bet I'll be asking questions about what I can do to feel better.

I know I don't have it as bad as some other people in prego-land, but if it could just subside for part of the day I would be so happy. It's hard to not tell anybody that you're pregnant when you feel like a pile of icky. You want to keep up the same energy level so nobody knows that anything is going on, but when all you want to do is lay on the couch and go to sleep it's hard. Dan and I have been going to sleep before 10pm every night for the past week or so and it's so nice getting a lot of sleep, but it's even nicer because when I'm sleeping I don't feel sick.

Lord, do what you need to do so we have a healthy baby, but if any part of that includes settling my stomach I'm definitely up for it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter surprise

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This whole week has been so fun. I've been feeling great and actually went to the gym every day (well, at least Mon-Fri...even I take the weekends off). It's amazing what you're motivated to do when you realize that a whole other person is 110% dependent on you. I made my first doctor's appointment for April 24 and signed up for all sorts of baby related web sites. It was so fun knowing that for the time being Dan and I were the only ones who knew I was pregnant. It was like this fun little secret that we were keeping from EVERYBODY and it was so fun. There were a couple times that it was super hard, like when we were talking to Matt and Jenna Gruber at church about a possible summer vacation to Hawaii and Matt said jokingly that we better not get pregnant before then because it would ruin the whole trip (totally joking). Dan and I just had to laugh because it's going to be even funnier when the time comes that we actually tell them. There were a couple other funny moments, but today was the day we decided to share our secret with a few other special people. We went to my parents' house for Easter lunch and asked them ahead of time if Dan's parents could join us as well. We had a great lunch and an even greater Easter egg hunt.




After lunch and the hunt we took a few family pics and then the moment came. We had decided ahead of time that we wanted to keep the distribution of info very limited to avoid any issues down the road if there are any problems with the pregnancy. So, it was just my parents, Dan's parents, Becky, John, Pamela, and Sara (practically an adopted sister). We had gotten a couple Easter lilies yesterday and I wrote out two identical cards that said, "Just like a flower that blossoms with time, we're due to bloom December '09." Both pairs of parents were sitting in the same place and I knew if we didn't act fast we would lose the moment. The guys were going to get fitted for tux's for John's wedding and I knew that Larry and Carolyn wouldn't stick around until they got back. So, Dan got the cards out of his jacket (we didn't want anybody unintentionally opening one early), and gave one to each mom along with a flower.


Well, this is what happened...

video


It was totally AWESOME!! Both sets of parents were so surprised, as was everybody else. We filled them in on why we are being so specific on who we're telling and that it's still super early to be spreading the news outside of our immediate family. They all totally understand where we are coming from, but it was so fun to be able to share the news with them. I know it's hard to not tell anybody and I told them that we certainly know that it's hard having kept it from them for over a week. It's almost like a burden of information because you so want to share the good news, but you know that it's not time yet. Still, we were so happy to share the news with all of our parents at once and especially have such an awesome response on such a great day.



To our moms and dads, and our baby's grandmas and grandpas, thank you so much for your love and support and all of your prayers. Our little one is SO lucky to have grandparents like you and we can't wait for him or her to meet you all. I think that we'll probably have the harder time being patient, but time will definitely fly.

What an AWESOME day!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Can't believe I forgot!!

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In all of my excitement, I realized that I never actually said HOW I told Dan that I was pregnant. I had ordered a photo book in December that had pictures of us dating, getting engaged, married, and through recently. The book's captions followed the rhyme: "Dan and Jenny sittin' in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage." I also wrapped up the positive test so he could see the line for himself. Needless to say he was so happy. Now we get to plan how we're going to tell everybody else!!
Things are about to change with this little package...

Here's Dan looking through the book...

This is when he sees the good news...
And here's the proud papa to be...


I think he's happy :-)

I love you too honey!!!

Catch up

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Obviously, there was a pretty big gap between my post in February when I thought I might have been pregnant (and wasn't) and when I found out that I actually was on April 3. Here's a rundown of what happened in March.

I was pretty bummed that I wasn't pregnant in February (and that's putting it lightly), but I ended up making snowboarding plans with some friends towards the beginning of March so I didn't really let it get me down. I continued thinking, wishing, praying, and even broke down in tears in the March church elder meeting because our pastor said that he felt a strong sense that we needed to wait (not just me, but he said it towards everyone and it really hit me). After a good 20 minutes I finally got it together and honestly felt like a lot of healing took place in the quietness of those moments. God has such an ironic way of using moments of brokeness for ultimate healing.

So, I felt like God was telling me to just wait and that things will happen when they're supposed too. I already knew this to be true, but hearing it in such a direct way really hit home. I carried on, continuing to hope and pray, but ultimately feeling like it might still be a while considering the "wait" message. Come mid-March it was time for my annual check up so I shared with my doctor that we'd been trying to conceive (ttc) for a year, so she ordered some tests for me and Dan just to make sure everything was working right. She spent a good 45 minutes with me explaining various options and sharing about her own history (best doctor visit ever...thanks Dr. Kroll). As she was walking out she said that she had a strong feeling that she'd be taking care of my pregnancy very soon and that she sprinkled her pixie dust on me for good luck. It sounds silly, but just her saying that gave me so much hope.

I know that a year of ttc is not long in the whole scheme of things, and a friend who was in the middle of the adoption process when she got pregnant said that now that her son is here she would have waited 10 more years knowing the joy he would bring. Regardless, there is so much unknown when you've been trying for a while with nothing happening. The fact that my doctor had enough faith for both of us was so reassuring. It turns out that her pixie dust (and all the prayers) did the trick because that night, or the next ;-) the stars aligned and little baby Sumner started to grow.

Of course, at the time I didn't even know it, but this is how funny God is...last year when the sign ups started for a snowboard trip to Brianhead, UT with the youth group from our church I decided not to go because I was convinced that I'd be pregnant by then. Well, March 17 or 18 was the magic moment, and Brianhead was March 19-22. So, even though I didn't know it, I actually WAS pregnant before Brianhead!! I ended up spending that weekend with some college friends who were in town (shout out to Laurie and Anna) so it was a great weekend no less, but I sure didn't think I was pregnant.

Fast forward to March 26, Dan had gone in for his test a few days prior (awkward for him...sorry honey) and he had been a little snippy for a couple days. So, that night I asked him what was wrong. After sharing a few things that had been bothering him he put his head in his hands and started tearing up. I asked what was wrong not really knowing what to think and he said that he was sad that we hadn't had a baby yet. Well, from that point the floodgates opened for both of us. We spent the next two hours on the couch crying together and sharing everything we'd been thinking for the previous year.

Now, you might ask why it took a year for us to get to that point (after almost 8 years of marriage), and that would be a very valid question. The short answer is that we were both trying to protect the other person. The long answer is that when I would start talking about baby stuff, Dan said that I was stressing too much about it and said that I shouldn't think about it because he thought the stress might be keeping me from getting pregnant. I knew that he wanted a baby but thought that he just didn't want to talk about it, so I wouldn't. Well, what was really stressing me out was NOT being able to talk about it, and the reason that he WASN'T talking about it was to try to protect me. We sat on the couch and talked about ALL of it. I shared how badly I wanted to be a mom and how scared I had been to go to the doctor because I didn't want to find out that something was wrong that might prevent me from being able to get pregnant. He said that he was worried that something might be wrong with him and said how guilty he would feel if he was the "reason" that we couldn't get pregnant. It was like a deep breath for our marriage. You know how there are those conversations that take place in a relationship or marriage that you never forget? The ones that reshape the way that you talk with each other, act towards each other, and just think of each other? Yeah, it was like that.

After we talked, we went to dinner and just carried on (what else would we do?). It seemed like that was what we were waiting for and our marriage will be stronger and better because we were able to have that conversation. And again, little did we know that at the same time we were crying on the couch, baby Sumner had already started to grow. But, God knew what we needed and I am so thankful that we were brought to the place where we could be so open and broken with each other.

We got Dan's test results the next day and they were a little questionable. Dan was very discouraged even though he was still within a healthy range for the test, so Friday 3/27 was a rough day for him but I think that it was actually easier due to the conversation we had on Thursday. So, we carried on just trusting that God knows what he's doing and that when it's his time and his way that our family would grow.

Then, April 3 came and everything suddenly changed. (Refer to April 3 posts).

Friday, April 3, 2009

To my baby

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Hey there little one,
I am so amazed that even as I write this you are growing in my tummy. I've always dreamt of being the only person in the world who knows that there's a whole other life coming in to the world and here we are, you and me. Just last week your dad and I were sitting on the couch crying because we wanted so badly to be parents, and little did we know that you were already getting started inside of me. We love you so much, no matter what, and we always will, no matter what. Even though we had to wait a little longer than we wanted, I know that you will be born at God's perfect moment. While we've been waiting for you, I've learned so much about God and his plan for my life, and for your life. In every situation there's something to learn about God and about ourselves and I learned that I couldn't always just wait for things to go my way. There are some things that really are just out of my control and God is the one who knows why things happen the way they do.

Oh little one, you are a blessing from God and my heart is overflowing with joy just knowing that you're on your way. What a plan God has!

See you soon.

Love,
Mommy

Speechless

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I can't believe it. I took another test this afternoon and it also came out positive (an electronic one that actually says "Pregnant" on the screen) so I wasn't imagining the little blue line I saw this morning.


My heart is beating so fast because I get to go home and tell my wonderful husband that our dream is coming true and we're going to have a baby. I'm overwhelmed with joy and responsibility and so many things.

So much has happened in the past month, so I'll have to write a recap post at some point, but right now I get to grab the little book that I made in December that tells Dan that I'm pregnant and I get to give it to him tonight. You only get to tell your husband one time that you're pregnant with your first child, so I'm actually a little nervous. I have dreamt of this day for years and here it is. Inside of me is a little bundle of cells that's going to grow up into a real person, and I get to tell Dan tonight that he's going to be a daddy. Thank you Lord!!!

So much to say

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I can't believe it. I just this very moment found out that I'm pregnant!! I had a feeling that I might be but I didn't want to be disappointed, so I waited a little while to take the test but I just did and there two blue lines. There is so much to say that I don't have time for right now, but my heart just started beating a whole lot faster. At this very moment, I'm the only person in the whole world who knows that there is a little life on the way that for the next 9 months (and longer) is totally dependent on me. I can't wait to tell Dan. This blog is about to get a whole lot more interesting.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Microscopic

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There is a teeny-tiny, itty-bitty, miniscule, as-close-as-you-can-get-to-zero-without-being-zero kind of chance that I might be a little teensy bit pregnant. I'm totally not getting my hopes up, but here's the deal. I got this microscope a few weeks ago so that I could start doing at home saliva fern tests to see when I might be the most likely to conceive. They sell kits that you can get for $30 but thanks to Craigslist I got a $10 all inclusive microscope that does the job. Every morning, you're supposed to put a little bit of your saliva on the slide and once it dries you look at it through the microscope. If it looks like a bunch of little ferns then it's a good thing. Most days it just looks like blobs, but on February 2 it was definitely ferns. So, here we are eleven days later and I've psyched myself into the possibility that maybe it really worked. I actually took a pregnancy test this morning, but it was so old that nothing registered on it (not even the control part) so that was useless. I'm feeling different today than normal and it's either because I'm coming down with something, or because there's a little teeny-tiny, itty-bitty, miniscule person already growing inside of me. Yeah right, not getting my hopes up? C'mon. I guess we'll find out tomorrow. What a great Valentine's Day present for Dan to find out on a day that we celebrate love that in a few short months we'll have someone else in our lives to love. Still dreaming.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mental block

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There are a few different people at work who have had trouble getting pregnant and over the past couple weeks they've shared the info for their doctors who are currently helping them. It's so weird, because as much as I want to have a baby, I haven't gotten to the place where I want to talk to a doctor about it. I don't know if I just want it to happen when it happens and let God be in total control of the timing, or if I'm totally freaked out about going to a doctor who specializes in INFERTILITY. It's such a strange word. It makes me feel like, for some reason, I'm less of a woman, or a bad wife if I can't just get pregnant without the help of a doctor, even though those thoughts don't even cross my mind when hearing about other people's experiences. Maybe if I think of the doctor as a conception specialist or pregnancy facilitator I might be able to get over it. Even still, it's a big hill to climb. Maybe I'm really scared of finding out something that I don't want to know. That's why a lot of people don't go to the doctor even when they know something's wrong. Maybe I don't want to find out that we really do have a problem, or that we can't have babies at all.


Honestly, it doesn't feel fair or right or real to me that we can't just wham, bam, pop out a baby. We have so much love to give so why does it have to be so hard. It seems like no one can get pregnant on their own these days, and I just always envisioned it being so easy (at least that's what they make you think when you're in high school). Psychologically, I can't even say the word out loud when referring to myself (I definitely do not consider myself infertile). Mentally, I can't move myself to pick up the phone and make an appointment even though both people said that they love their doctors and one is even four months pregnant! I'm crazy. I want something, but won't take active steps to make it happen. I can't figure out if it's part of the surrender or part of the control. Either, I'm surrendering and just letting God take this situation and do with it what he will in his time, or I'm forcing His hand by not taking steps that could ultimately answer our prayers. It's so confusing and frustrating and disappointing all wrapped into one big question.


I think it's going to take me a little longer to process through the emotions and be able to talk about it. Dan and I don't even talk about it other than dreaming about when it actually happens. Honestly, it's scary and I feel like a disappointment every month when we find out, yet again, that I'm not pregnant. It's not that Dan makes me feel that way, but I just don't understand why it's not happening. I can only dream in terms of someday's, and maybe's, and when the time is right. I want to be saying twelve weeks along, two months to go, due in October. I want to talk about names and baby showers and car seats. I want to be decorating a nursery and hearing heartbeats and feeling little kicks.


For now, I just rely on hope.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Affirmations

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Last July when I really started to get discouraged, I came up with a list of short affirmations that help me re-focus and remember all the things I already know about God and His faithfulness. Whenever I start to question things or stress out I just read through these, take a few deep breaths, and it totally helps calm me down. God is so good.

God has infinite power over my life
His timing is always perfect
He will always do what’s best for me and those around me
Out of this experience only good will come
God is orchestrating the world in my favor
Everything is working out for my highest good
I am safe
All is well
Now be still

At work right now there are six people who are currently pregnant (or whose wives are), and one whose wife had a baby a month ago. You'd think that with so many people who are pregnant it would be inevitable for us to get pregnant too. Something must be in the air or the water. Oh well...all in God's time.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Another month, come and gone

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I must say, my heart longs to be a mom. People can say we haven't been trying for very long, and realistically ten months isn't that long, but I see people walking around with their babies and as much as I smile on the outside it makes me sad on the inside. The other day I asked Dan if he would totally freak out if I told him I was pregnant, and he said that he would just be excited (not scared at all). He said that he really wants a baby and is completely looking forward to it. He mentions it sometimes and I know how badly he wants to be a dad. Our little one will come at the right time, but sometimes I just feel like crying that it hasn't happened yet. I have friends in the same boat and I know that God uses all of our experiences to accomplish his will in all of our lives. I just get my hopes up sometimes that I might be pregnant and when I find out that I'm not it feels like another step back. I just have to keep trusting God.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

This control thing

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I've come to a big realization lately that has hit me square in the face. I am a control freak. Little did I know it until now when things aren't quite working out the way I thought (although I'm sure Dan would tell you that he's had my control-freakness pegged from the beginning). If it were up to me, I would be in the hospital right now giving birth to a beautiful baby. What I have learned is that it's not up to me. It's about allowing God to teach me something about myself and ultimately growing more like Him through what I learn.

I have never seen myself in a position to control anything, but at the same time when there is something I want I try to find a way to get it. I'd never considered that being controlling, just focused and determined. Through this experience of not getting pregnant on my timeline, and having absolutely no control over it (no one to convince of something, no calls to anybody to make it happen faster) I thought initially that God was teaching me patience. What I learned is that I'm already a fairly patient person with a pretty long fuse, but what I've been waiting for is ultimately what I WANT. It's like, "if I just sit here and wait long enough I'll get pregnant and I'll have what I want...it's just a matter of time." I can wait as long as it takes for people to come around to my way. What God is teaching me is that ultimately it's not about getting what I want, regardless of how long I can wait. It's truly about surrendering to what He wants. Not just His timing for my desires, but His perfect will for my life.

The patience thing is easy, but the control thing gets me. I start wondering when we're going to get pregnant and I start thinking about how we'll tell people, and decorating the nursery, and names. But, the most painful memories are of things that haven't happened yet (or never did, or never will), so I circle back to the place of wondering when it will happen, why it hasn't happened yet, is something wrong, etc. Truly surrendering means focusing on God entirely and learning what He has to teach me about Himself. God is actually the least control-freakish even though He has the whole world in His hands. He leaves us to do whatever we want. He might not be happy with our decisions (and sometimes neither are we), but He never stops loving us. Some people might ask why He continues loving us when we constantly turn our backs on Him, but it's actually the ultimate example of relinquishing control to someone who can love you more if you give them the choice rather than if you force it on them. True spiritual growth happens by letting go of things so that something new can be born.

Through this experience, I continue to grow more towards the person of surrender that I desire to be, but it is a growth process. It's like someone telling God, "I want patience NOW." Growing from control to surrender is like telling God "I need you to make me less controlling." It doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't happen without going through the experiences that challenge us into those places God is leading. While there have been some ups and downs along the way of my life, I have always had everything I need and quite a few "wants." We have food on the table, often with leftovers going bad in the fridge. We have closets overflowing with more clothes than we even want to wear, and we have a house (granted, still with blue carpet in the bedrooms) that we come home to every night complaining of not enough storage space. What I wrote a few days ago was that I don't want to let my focus on the one thing that's not going the way I want distract me from appreciating all the things that are going well. Thinking about it even more now, what I really don't want is to let the thing that's not going my way distract me from God. It's not about the fact that I have everything that I need (although I'm so grateful for God's provision), and it's not about my focus on not having a baby yet making me any less thankful for what I do have. It's about it not being about what I do or don't have at all. It's about God and His character revealing Himself to me and through me during this particular experience.

What an honor that God gives me the opportunity to grow more like him in the area of surrender. Some people are never faced with such a clear opportunity to grow more like Christ, and here I have it. I'm in the midst of it and I'm so grateful. Not just to learn more about me, but honestly to learn more about God and His character. The clearest lessons are often learned during the most vulnerable times in our lives and the desire to give life to another human being is certainly one of those times. It is not easy to give way to my desire to have a child and fully surrender to God's will, but everything happens to grow me more towards the person I was created to be. My nature is to try to control the situation with deadlines, calendars, and ovulation tests. My desire is to say, "God, my life is yours. Do with it what you will, when you will, and how you will so I can become more like you." So, that is what I say, and if I say it enough then one day I will say it and will realize that he HAS been doing those things, and then I'll be in the midst of another lesson that's teaching me something new and wonderful about the awesome God we serve.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

For our baby-to-be

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Hi there little one,
We have been waiting for you for a while (and still are) and we are so excited for the day when we find out that we're going to be blessed with you in our lives. Back in April of last year when you were a little glimmer in our eyes, I wrote a couple thoughts in a journal about what we're excited about, what we hope for you, and our prayer for your life. Here are those thoughts:

~April 20, 2008
In August, 2007, your dad and I went on an awesome cruise around Europe (Italy, Croatia, France, Spain...incredible). Back then, we were only thinking about when we might start having kids. We would talk about it in "some days" or "when the time comes." You were just a glimmer of a thought, but we were already praying for you. Even now, you still haven't even started growing inside of me, but I think about you all the time and pray for the awesome man or woman you'll become. Your dad and I just decided on April 16 (2008) that we were going to start trying to make a baby and already we can't wait to meet you...to see what features look more like your dad or more like me, or will you look more like your aunt or grandpa? No matter what, we already love you...no matter what.

I look at your dad every day and I can't wait to see the way he plays with you, smiles at you, sleeps with you, protects you, and teaches you. He is an amazing man of God and you are so lucky that he's your dad. He's so excited for you to come too! Just this morning he asked if I thought you were growing in my tummy yet, even though he knew you weren't. He just can't wait. We've been married for almost seven years, and I fall more and more in love with your dad every day. I've seen him grow in love and patience and understanding, and I know that you will learn how to live a Godly life by watching him.

People ask us all the time about you. Your Grandpa and Grandma Ellis are already talking about how special you are and Aunt Pam already has clothes picked out. Since your daddy and I have been talking about you, I decided to go to the doctor to make sure that I'm healthy and she said that I am. I've been taking my vitamins and trying to eat right so you'll be healthy and happy.

More than anything, we pray that God will protect you while you're growing inside of me and that he will continue to guide you after you're born. We love you more than words can say.~

~April 28, 2008
Well, there's a small chance that you're growing inside of me right now. I won't know for a week or two, so we'll just have to wait and see.

Last Friday was a lock-in with the high school youth group at church (your dad and I have been leaders there for a long time), and as I was watching the students play dodgeball I started thinking about what you'll be like 14 or 15 years from now. What kind of things will you like? Will you have any brothers or sisters? Will you be in band, or play a sport, or be on student council? What will you think of your dad and me? Will we have been good parents for you and your siblings?

Of all the questions, I know we will always love you no matter what. That's the answer to every question...it doesn't matter because we love you.~

~July 1, 2008
Well, we're still waiting for you to come along, but your dad and I both know that things happen for a reason. Sometimes I get sad because I want you to be here already, but God's timing is perfect so we're willing to wait until he says it's the right time.

In the meantime, I'm still having fun dreaming about you and how fun it will be to have you in our lives. We don't want to wait, but we're trusting God. ~


(Back to today)
As you can see, you are way more than a glimmer or twinkle in our eyes. We are totally preparing for you to come into the world, but while we wait we are appreciating the time together that we're building our relationship and falling more in love with each other so that we can share all of that love with you.

Oh little one, we miss you so much only because we dream about you all the time and can't wait for our dream to come true.

Resolution

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Last night I suggested to Dan that we come up with five goals for 2009. His response..."baby, baby, baby, baby, baby." While five babies isn't quite what I had in mind (nor do I want having a child to seem as trite as a new year's resolution), we are certainly resolute in our desire to add to our little family. We spent a large part of today with my parents and before leaving our home, but after helping us tremendously with some of our projects, they prayed for us that God will guide our steps and that things will happen in his timing instead of our own.

That is all that we want, and more than having a baby our resolution for 2009 (and always) is to fully abandon ourselves to God's will and sink into his love.