Saturday, December 31, 2016

Birth Story of Baby #4

Friday, December 23, 2016

10:30pm - I went to bed having 45-60 second long contractions about every 10-12 minutes. Sometimes they were uncomfortable enough that I timed them for a while when they would wake me up to see if they were getting closer together but they stayed at about 10-12 minutes all night.

Saturday, December 24, 2016
12-24-16 Due Date
Happy Due Date, Baby #4! And Merry Christmas Eve!

7:30am - I got up thinking that Baby would be arriving right on the due date. Surely, after contracting all night, things would pick up as I got out of bed and moving about in my day. I got dressed, fixed my hair, put on some make-up, etc, all with the assumption we would need to be heading to the hospital in the next few hours.

10:30am - We had eaten breakfast, gotten the kids ready for the day, put our hospital bags in the car, and my contractions were maybe a little more uncomfortable when they'd come, but not really getting closer together.

12:00pm - We decided to go for a family walk around the neighborhood to burn some energy from the kids and see if we could get some contractions coming on longer and stronger. They came a little closer together, like every 8ish minutes, but still nothing super noteworthy. It started to rain so we cut our walk short, but I planned to keep moving at home. We ate some lunch and hung around a bit and I got moving again. I actually got out my exercise step and did some up and down stepping in the living room.
On our family walk
At my last midwife appointment, Amanda told me about the Miles Circuit to help with optimal positioning of Baby. Based on the back labor I was having and all of Baby's movement on the front of my belly, I could tell Baby was not in the optimal position (head down but kind of sunny-side up) so I went through this circuit while the kids watched a movie. Example pics of going through the Miles Circuit:
Stay in this position for 30 minutes.
Move to this position for 30 minutes.
It had stopped raining so I went out to do the "get moving" part of the Miles Circuit and walked again on my own. I did some lunging and "curb walking," which felt kind of strange but helped keep me focused on something to do.
Curb walking = walking with one foot on the curb and the other on the street.
The point being to be upright and putting the pelvis in open, asymmetrical positions to help Baby move.
4:30pm - While actively moving I was able to work the contractions closer together, like every 5-8 minutes, but when I got home and relaxed they spaced back out a bit. I was starting to feel like things were stalling so I took about an hour nap.

When I got up from my nap I got right back to moving. I crawled around the room on my hands and knees, I cleaned the bathrooms, I vacuumed the whole house. Each time a contraction would come I would stop and either get in a hands and knees position with my butt in the air, sit on the exercise ball leaning forward, or stand leaning the small of my back against the kitchen counter for counter-pressure. Over the next couple hours the contractions continued about every 5-7 minutes, definitely increasing in level of discomfort, but I felt like they still weren't building so well on their own and that if I wasn't working in attempt to bring them on they weren't consistent.

8:30pm - Richard started getting the kids ready for bed and I got in the bathtub to try relaxing further and see what/if anything would happen with my contraction pattern. I added a few drops of clary sage essential oil to the bath and just soaked for a while. The contractions I had in the tub were strong and deep and I really had to focus on my breathing and relaxing head to toe through each of them but, again, they weren't really getting closer together.

Once I got out of the tub I felt like I just couldn't get warm and kind of had the shakes. I was feeling pretty tired after this day of labor so I was thinking about trying to sleep again for a while, even if only every few minutes between contractions. By the time we got the kids settled and in bed I decided that there was no point in trying to sleep because my contractions were really strong and I knew it would just make me feel angry to be awakened every few minutes by such pain. I finally asked Richard to start doing some counter pressure on my back for me and we talked back and forth about when/if we should head to the hospital. I really thought Baby's position had me stalled and that I wasn't ramping up to the 3-5 minutes because of it. However, the contractions were STRONG and they really were every 5 minutes at least on their own, so I texted my neighbor to come hang out at the house so we could make our way to the hospital.

10:45pm - We started driving to the hospital and I quickly decided that I did NOT want to be sitting up straight in the front seat for the whole ride. Richard pulled over and I got in the back seat where I could move around as I needed. We seriously hit almost every red light on the 10 mile drive between our house and hospital and I started really hating being in the car. I couldn't wait to get out when we pulled in the parking lot at the hospital.

11:15pm - The women's pavilion entrance was closed at this late hour so we had to go in the ER entrance. I checked in there, and they wheeled me up to labor and delivery. (I asked to walk but they said they couldn't let me.)

I got weighed and changed into a gown at labor and delivery triage and got hooked up to a monitor to listen to Baby. The nurse said she needed to check me and I asked her to wait until the next contraction passed and then to hurry so I could sit back up. Taking a contraction lying down is the WORST.

11:30pm - Contraction passed and I layed back for a check. It only took the nurse a second and she sat me back up saying 9cm. "What!?" I asked. "9cm," she confirmed. She quickly called down the hall to another nurse telling them to summon my on call midwife who was not yet at the hospital at that point. I had been mentally prepared for a 5-6cm report and was SO relieved to hear that all that work I'd been doing at home was productive and making great progress after all. And some things started making sense; like contractions were stronger and more painful and I was having the shakes because I was in transition!
Just arrived in our labor and delivery room. They wanted me on the monitor for a few more minutes since I had just gotten there but I didn't want to sit or lie down so this was my position of choice where Richard could jump in and do some counter pressure on my back for me.
My midwife, Yvonne, must not live far away because she was there in no time. I had originally planned on not having artificial rupture of membranes, but when Yvonne came in she said "I think we should break your water and have this baby. Then you'll feel much better!" Agreed. So she broke my water and then had me get into an almost stomach lying position with my left leg way up on a "peanut ball," which looks and feels like an exercise ball but is smaller and in the shape of a peanut. Baby's head was turned and not quite coming down, just as I suspected, so this position was good for opening up my pelvis and letting Baby's head turn and move down the rest of the way. After just a few (horrendous in that position) contractions I started involuntarily pushing a bit. Yvonne told me just to do what my body was telling me so I breathed low and deep through the beginning of a contraction and was quickly pushing by the end. She told me I was pushing enough now without intent that it was time to put some effort into it on the next contraction. I popped up to my hands and knees and pushed, grunted, and hollered through another contraction. "The baby is seriously right there about to come out, right!? It's almost over, right!?" I definitely said that.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

12:14am - Baby was OUT! I was still on hands and knees and could hear the crying and could kind of see but couldn't tell what it was yet. Yvonne passed the baby up between my legs into my hands and I pulled HER up to see. "It's a girl! Oh my gosh, she looks like Ava!" And then upon second look, "Holy cow, she looks just like Cade! All the way down to the red mark between her eyes."

Some volunteers at the hospital had made this beautiful blanket and hat to be given to the first baby born on Christmas day. Vera Renee was the proud recipient of this special gift. :)

Anyway, the whole experience with labor and delivery and then recovery at this hospital was FANTASTIC. They pretty much left us alone completely aside from the legitimately necessary checks. We had tons of skin to skin, bonding, breastfeeding, snuggling, family time when Rich brought the kids in to see us, etc. After all the talk and worry about this baby arriving too early, I think God was just showing off His perfect timing by having her born not just ALL the way full term, but even a few minutes after her due date and ON CHRISTMAS DAY! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Midwife Appointment - 12/22/16

I had an appointment with midwife Amanda this morning at 8:45. While I am not yet "overdue," I definitely did not want to do anything too invasive in attempts to get labor going, but she did check me (3cm, 50% effaced) and strip my membranes. She said if the membrane strip is going to help with anything it usually starts within the next 24 hours or so. So we'll see…

We also talked options for what happens when/if I go even beyond 41 weeks pregnant, but she said she doesn't expect me to still be pregnant that long and I'm thinking birth day will be before then too. Again, we'll see…

I know God has the perfect birthday planned for this sweet baby. <3 p="">

Monday, December 5, 2016

December 5, 2016 - 37 weeks, 2 days

I am a complete 37 weeks, 2 days now. I had a couple bathroom sightings yesterday evening that lead me to believe some changes are happening… I've definitely been having more Braxton Hicks contractions the last few days, and I felt a little crampy this morning but no legit contractions. Suddenly I have this nervous energy and drive to complete a million undone tasks. Getting all the laundry done, wrapping a few Christmas presents (that were sent here by other people), cleaning the bathrooms, making sure the kids have packed what they'll need whenever we have to drop them off wherever, etc.

I haven't really done any Christmas shopping of my own yet, so that needs to happen at some point too. These last few days, though, my focus has been on preparing the house and kids in short spurts and making sure that Richard and I are getting good sleep at night and naps as we can. He has been working so hard that I feel like if I went into labor at the end of a long day he would be pretty well down for the count, which would obviously not be ideal for either one of us.

37 weeks, 1 day

Thursday, December 1, 2016

It's December!!!

Today I went for the second of my now weekly appointments. My blood pressure was 106/68, Baby's heart rate was 145-150bpm, and his or her head is down but slightly off center so it's not super low yet. I declined a vaginal exam/cervical check today so as to not "stir things up." Hoping to stay pregnant another couple weeks! Midwife Amanda guestimates Baby's size at about 7 lbs now. It's getting so real!
36 weeks - 11/26/16
36 week side by side with my pregnancy with Ava

Saturday, November 19, 2016

35 Weeks - Hallelujah!

I am officially a full 35 weeks now, so I ran a couple errands on my own. Nothing too extensive but I made a quick return at the mall and a got a couple baby things at Walmart. I'm feeling so relieved at reaching this milestone of time and am excited about the fact that we are really coming down the homestretch and not too prematurely.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

34 Week Side by Sides

I was due with Ava 12/21/08 and am due with this baby 12/24/16. Facebook shows me these time hop pictures that take me back 8 YEARS but to almost the exact same stage of pregnancy from then to now. Crazy to see these side by sides!
34 weeks - 11/12/16

34 weeks with Ava and 34 weeks with Baby #4

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Another Kind of Appointment Scheduled

I have been going to a chiropractor weekly for the last year or so. Regular adjustments have been awesome both before and during pregnancy. Now with labor and child birth just around the corner AND the possibility that Baby is currently breech, I sought out a chiropractor in the area who specializes in pregnancy care and is well experienced in the Webster technique. The Webster technique is a specific sacral adjustment that helps facilitate the mother's pelvic alignment and nerve system function. This in turn balances pelvic muscles and ligaments and reduces torsion to the uterus which offers a greater potential for optimal fetal positioning. Plus, regardless of Baby's position, proper alignment for my body will hopefully equate to a short, smooth labor and delivery.

So I have my first appointment with this doctor on Friday morning. I'm looking forward to it! She would like to see me a couple times before my next OB appointment so we can see how/if Baby is positioned after a couple adjustments.

Friday, October 28, 2016

10/27/16 - Ultrasound Re-Check

Good report at the doctor yesterday. I had an ultrasound which showed my cervix is still long and closed (3.6-4cm), and showed no signs of trying to thin or open currently. Baby is looking good and measuring a little over 4 lbs. Amniotic fluid level is looking good too.

After the ultrasound I saw Dr. Newman and he decided against the midwife's original idea of repeating the fetal fibronectin test. He said for practical purposes they'll just treat me like once positive always positive anyway. Bed rest is the only thing we have right now to be proactively on the side of caution so he said to continue the greatly reduced activity; whatever I've been doing, keep it up because it seems to be working.

The doctor also said that once I reach 35 weeks I can do pretty much whatever I want. He of course doesn't recommend trying to have the baby then, but they wouldn't intervene to stop things at that point if I went into labor. We will be 32 weeks complete tomorrow, so we have just 3 weeks to reach that next milestone (although I'm looking for longer).

Also, I've felt more pressure and discomfort in the lower belly but not in a downward way or contraction way. A little of that I attribute to the huge amount of water I've been drinking; sometimes my bladder feels uncomfortably full before I really feel the urge to pee. In addition to that though, Baby has gone from frank breech to footling breech since my last ultrasound. So I've been feeling knees and feet all down there. It's nice to see the explanation for what I've been feeling, but now we're praying that Baby will turn head down. Dr. Newman is not the slightest bit concerned about that still and said it's hardly worth even mentioning at this point. He said he fully expects Baby to get him/herself in the right position when it's time. Rodney, the ultrasound tech, also said that since it's still relatively early and there's plenty of amniotic fluid for Baby to move around in, there's plenty of time and good conditions for Baby to turn.

I trust that with all their experience they are truly not worried about a breech presentation at this stage, but I sure would feel better to know that Baby is in the optimal position, especially since we're still mindful of the possibility of things happening early. It's definitely something I'm praying about; that the Lord will ease my mind and that I will let go of the notion that it's something I can try to control.

Next appointment is 2 weeks out: November 10th.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

10/23/16 - Stethoscope

This is not earth-shattering news but I was messing around tonight and was able to find Baby's heart beat with a stethoscope for the first time! It was about 144 beats per minute and like music to my ears. :) 

Dad and Karen have been super helpful while they're here. They went with Richard and the kids to the commissary and got all the ingredients necessary to do some great meal prep to get us ahead to freeze for now or later, wherever the need arises. Hallelujah!

Also, since we have kept all this baby business off social media this time around, I have had to be rather strategic in my picture posts. Ava is often my go-to belly blocker. :)

This is the most recent picture of myself I posted on Facebook. Just shy of 32 weeks pregnant.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Belly Pic - 10/22/16

My friend, Cat, tagged me on a post on Facebook that said "Tag someone who should enter our spokesmodel contest and athlete search!" It was for Muscle Club Apparel, basically an athletic wear thing. Well, since we've been totally quiet about this pregnancy on Facebook she had no idea of course (she's in VA and we're in AZ). So I messaged her something along the lines of "Just saw what you tagged me in. Don't think I would make the best spokesmodel right now…" and added this pic:
10/22/16 - 31 weeks
She was surprised and congratulatory of course. It's going to be so fun to post the birth announcement one day and surprise a whole lot more people! :)

Friday, October 21, 2016

10/21/16 - Another appointment

I had an OB appt this morning… My midwife didn't do much in the way of a physical exam but she was happy with what I've been doing/not doing activity wise. She said I can increase my activity around the house a little and really listen to my body, but basically to keep up what I've been doing for another week and then I'll go in for another ultrasound check of cervical length and repeat of the fetal fibronectin test next Thursday. Apparently the results of the fFN don't mean much after 2 weeks and can change with a new swab. I definitely feel encouraged! Baby is still breech, though, so I'm praying for a flip. (The doctor and midwives are not concerned about the breech position at this stage, I just would feel better if that were one less thing to think about right now.)

Also, Dad and Karen are flying in tonight. Their trip has been scheduled for a couple months, but now I'm sure the timing of this visit is NOT a coincidence (thank you, Lord!). 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

10/20/16 - Bed Rest

Another day on at home "bed rest." I've been pretty darn good about keeping slow and calm and have spent the better part of the day literally lying down. Richard has been hugely helpful, especially in the mornings before he leaves for work. The kids are dressed, fed, and ready for the day before he leaves, so then we're able to focus on school and whatever else when he's gone. I pulled up Raina's little desk next to the love seat in our school room so I have been teaching school lying down and it's working out great. Ava and Raina have been making their lunches half the time anyway lately, as they are big time into anything in the kitchen, so that has just become their daily job now to include a plate for Cade.

I have another appointment with midwife tomorrow morning, so I'm anxious to see what she does and hear what she thinks.

Friday, October 14, 2016

10/14/16 - Second shot

So I rose to find the tiniest bit of blood on the toilet paper after using the bathroom this morning. It was seriously barely visible but with this other stuff going on I made a note of it and emailed a picture to myself. I went in to L&D for the second steroid shot around 3:30pm. My bp was 109/60. Baby's heart rate was in the 140s. I had had a chance to read and process and come up with a bunch of questions between yesterday and today and was able to get some more solid guidelines for my "limited activity" from the labor and delivery nurse. She said if we had stairs (which we don't) she would limit using them to down in the morning, up at night. Complete "pelvic rest" -aka no sexual activity of any kind. Take a shower, rest. Make a sandwich, rest. Whip up a quick, easy dinner, rest. Leave the dishes, chores, etc to everyone else in the house. Lying down is better than even just sitting for the common sense idea that you want to keep pressure off the cervix. So basically 80% bed rest at home. 
Here's a picture of the monitor from when I was waiting a while to get the second steroid shot. Top number is Baby's heart rate. Very bottom line is contractions (not having any).

I will be 30 weeks complete tomorrow. The short term goal is to reach 32 weeks, at which time my go-to hospital is fully equipped to handle babies at that early gestation without the need to transfer out for a higher stage NICU. The longer term goal is to reach at least 36 weeks. The ideal goal is reach 37+weeks, which would be considered truly full term.

So, this weekend will entail preparing the kids, pantry, fridge, and furniture arrangement to accommodate me living and directing daily operations from the couch. Thankfully, though surely not coincidentally, Richard has a four-day weekend this weekend, so he is off work today and Monday. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

10/13/16 - Results of Test

Well I received a call from midwife Janelle Drogowski at 8:30am. My fFN test came back positive. That result plus the bleeding upon check of my cervix on Monday had her concerned and called for further action. She scheduled me for an ultrasound at 12:45pm to further examine the cervix, not just for dilation but also for length. 

So the kids and I headed out for our last Thursday morning Bible study of the semester. My awesome study group of ladies prayed over me and I know they will continue to. I was also able to arrange coverage for the kids so I would not have to take them with me for my afternoon appointments (thank you, Shanna!).

I went for the 12:45 ultrasound and thankfully, the cervix showed long and closed, amniotic fluid levels were good, and Baby was measuring great (about 7 days ahead, actually) at about 3lbs. Baby also showed us he or she is frank breech currently. I saw Dr. Newman (for the first time) after the ultrasound and he was both encouraging and unclear about what exactly is going on and what I need to do.  He said that while a negative test would have been reassuring that I will likely not be going into labor within the next two weeks, a positive test is really not a clear indication that I will. There's just an increased chance.  He said I needed to limit my activity but would not give me very specific guidelines as to what that means. He said that technically, on paper, he should tell me bedrest, but didn't think that was practical for my life and didn't know that it is really even necessary. He did say no exercise or rigorous activity and lifting, but otherwise was about as specific as "Whatever you have been doing or would like to do that you don't HAVE to do, don't do it." He also agreed with Janelle that I should go to labor and delivery triage and get a steroid shot (today and tomorrow) to help accelerate Baby's lung development in case he or she does end up coming early. So I went to the hospital and got the first shot at about 3:15pm. My bp was 109/61. Baby's heart rate 150s. I also registered at the hospital and got a brief labor and delivery tour while I was there, which was great as it's something I needed to do anyway. 

Here's a picture of the monitor for when I was hooked up for a while waiting to get the first steroid shot. Top number is Baby's heart rate, second number is my heart rate, very bottom line is contractions (not having any).

Monday, October 10, 2016

10/10/16 - Went in for extra appointment

I called and got an appointment to see my midwife this morning because I've been feeling low back ache, some mild cramping, and a slight change in vaginal discharge. Nothing that would read as textbook signs of preterm labor but enough to have me raising an eyebrow. Just feeling things that I would expect to feel at 35-36 weeks when coming down the home stretch, but not so much at 29 weeks. I was so thankful they were able to get me in right away. Midwife Janelle took a swab for a fetal fibronectin test, which I had never heard of before having never been down this possibly preterm road before. 

Basically, fetal fibronectin (also known as fFN) is a “glue-like” protein that bonds a developing baby to the uterus. Fetal fibronectin is detectable in vaginal secretions in the very beginning of pregnancy, when this bond is first forming, and then again at the end of pregnancy, when your body is getting ready to deliver your baby. fFN is a special protein that literally holds your baby in place in the womb. After the 35th week of pregnancy, it begins to break down naturally, and is detectable. If your body is getting ready to give birth prematurely, fFN may be detected before week 35. If your test result was negative, you can be 99.2% assured that you won't deliver in the next two weeks. A positive test result means your body is leaking fetal fibronectin, a sign that your body may be getting ready to deliver. There is an increased chance that your baby is going to arrive early — but not everyone with a positive test result delivers early. The test can be repeated as often as every two weeks to monitor your ongoing risk.

So, she took the swab to send off for the fFN, and she checked my cervix which she said is "dimpled" (probably from having previous babies) but closed. I had a good bit of bleeding in the couple hours following the cervical check but no cramping or discomfort. 

Baby's heart rate was 140bpm. My blood pressure and weight was good. So now to wait for the fFN test results...

(Info on fFN test taken from

Monday, October 3, 2016

Ava's Baptism

Ava accepted Christ last summer but it wasn't until more recently that she felt ready to follow through with baptism. Well today was the day. October 2, 2016 at The Church at Arrowhead.
So proud of and happy for her!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Birthday Present

My awesome, fun, "little" brother Shane sent me a couple things for my birthday. Honorable mention to the mint Oreos, but here's the funny gift…  :)  :)  :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Just a Belly Pic - 9/21/16

September 21, 2016 - 26 weeks, 4 days 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Raina's Dance Performace 8/27/16

Raina has been taking a little Dance Variety class once a week at the YMCA and they just put on a little performance yesterday evening. She had a great time and seemed to learn a lot in class and, while this performance was not an indication of how well classes went, it was still cute...

Friday, August 12, 2016

Drumroll please....

This morning I had my main (20ish week) ultrasound appointment. I was excited/anxious to see this little baby and to hear that all is looking good. Thankfully that's exactly what we heard. Baby is measuring on track size wise for gestation and all measurements look normal. We also decided to take a page from last pregnancy's playbook and Richard found out the baby's gender while I have opted to be surprised on delivery day.

Here's a sneak peek at him or her. 💙💗😊

Stay tuned until December to find out BOY or GIRL!?!?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Starting to Show

JULY 17, 2016 - 17 weeks

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Telling the Kids

This was such a fun little reveal to the kids. Ava was surprised and excited. Raina was beyond excited. And Cade has no idea what's going on.

Monday, May 23, 2016

BBQ Chicken

So I made some BBQ chicken in the crock pot today because I had some for lunch after church yesterday and it sounded great again. I enjoyed a nice bowl of it while I hung out with the girls playing in the play room. And then, boom, the tinge of nausea I had been feeling all day felt majorly magnified. I threw up all that great chicken within 10 minutes of eating it! @#$^&!




On a better note, though, I actually haven't been TOO terribly sick lately. I feel mostly normal in the morning (thanks to the Unisom I've been taking before bed?), a little queasy in the afternoon, and then definitely nauseated (sometimes vomiting) from the early evening until I fall asleep finally at night. This "schedule" of "morning" sickness actually works quite well for our family as I'm able to function during the day with the kids and Richard is able to take over anything related to food/feeding the kids in the evenings. He has been such a champ to get home from a long day of work and make dinner, give baths, etc while I'm down every night. As much as I am of course looking forward to being past the sickness for myself, I'm also looking forward to taking that load back off his shoulders and get back to better home life maintenance.

I have my first real see the midwife or doctor appointment tomorrow morning and I am definitely looking forward to it. We still haven't told the kids about this baby on the way and I'm really hoping I will get an early ultrasound so I'll have a picture to show them when we share the news. I can't wait to see their reactions!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Waiting to Tell the Kids

We want to wait a little while to tell the kids about this baby, but the girls are definitely noticing that something's up with me. I mean, I try to be discreet about the throwing up but sometimes they know. Because they follow me. Everywhere. And as I have so many food aversions lately I have been eating "weird" things that are raising questions. Chips and salsa sounded tolerable the other day so I picked up some tortilla chips while we were at the commissary. "Mom, why are you wasting your money on chips!?" Ava asked in dismay. We never buy chips and she knows there is no nutritional value so she totally called me out. "Umm, well, it just sounds really good today. It will be like a special treat!"

The next day I was eating said tortilla chips dipped in a greek yogurt + salsa + cheese mixture (come on, I tried to get some protein in). For lunch. And that was all. This was obviously not like the healthy lunches I had prepared for the kids at the table with me or anything like what I usually eat so again I got the questions "Why are you eating just chips for lunch?" I tried to explain that I just hadn't been feeling so good for a while so I needed to just eat things that sounded good for my tummy.

So they knew I had been throwing up here and there. They knew I was eating strangely. And then Ava said so matter-of-factly "I know what's wrong with you. You have cancer."

!?!?!?!? WHAT !?!?!?!?

Oh. My. Goodness. Girlfriend wasn't even freaking out. Just "You have cancer" with a hint of sadness. So I quickly went into reassuring mode. "Okay, I don't have cancer. I am totally fine. Remember I went to the doctor the other day? I got all checked out and I am totally good. My tummy's just gonna be feeling kind of yucky for a little bit. But I promise, you don't need to worry about me. I'm not going to feel yucky forever, just trust me that I'm fine and I'll feel better soon, and you'll know soon enough why all this is going on."

Thankfully Ava (and Raina) was satisfied with that explanation and let it go without worry. Then it hit me how incredibly thankful I am and should continue to be that that ISN'T the kind of news we're waiting to share with our kids, family, and friends. There really is a mom right now who's having to tell her brave kids that she actually does have cancer. Or that one of them has cancer. Or any number of other unpleasant things. Praise God for the good health we enjoy every day. Praise God for the safety he provides our family every day.

All that being said, there is something really special about our sweet Lil A. She has such deep, perceptive thoughts and such a strength about her. I can't wait to see how God will use her as she continues to learn and grow in Him.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

First Visit to the Clinic

The clinic on base here provides only basic doctor's office type care, so for pregnancy related things they just confirm pregnancy at the lab and then put in a referral for you to get off base care. Tuesday morning I did a walk-in to get a "pregnancy screening" where I filled out a couple papers and went to the lab for a blood test. I was not able to stay for hour it would take to process the test and get called back again to start the referral paperwork, but I did get a call in the afternoon to confirm that the blood test showed POSITIVE. I went in yesterday to do the referral part but the computer systems were down so they couldn't do anything. So, this morning I went in again and finally got the necessary stuff done to set up care. Based on reviews from a local Air Force wives Facebook page I chose a provider that has 3 midwives and 1 doctor, so hopefully it will go well there. I also learned today that TriCare covers breast pumps now, so I may actually get a good one and have the option to pump and store.

So far I am feeling great. A little more tired and more hungry, but overall good. I am drinking water as much as possible and am eating often. As sick as I was in the first trimester of my other pregnancies I am trying to "stay ahead of it" as much as is possible. I have also been specifically praying to remain morning sickness free and feel good this pregnancy. I mean, why wouldn't I ask the almighty powerful God of the universe for something so simple? My skin is also improving and I had an acquaintance tell me Sunday night that I looked "radiant," so hopefully the "pregnancy glow"will apply this pregnancy.

At the clinic my temp was 98.1, my blood pressure was 108/66, and my resting heart rate was 75bpm.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Visit from Mom/Mimi

My mom flew in from GA this afternoon, arriving around 12:45pm. We pretty much went straight home from the airport to let Cade recharge with a quick nap before heading to the zoo for the late afternoon/early evening. I was dying to tell her our pregnancy news but wanted to wait until we were with Richard too. So when we got home in the evening…

Richard and I were talking in the desk area and called Mom over to have a "scheduling meeting" for the next day. I told her "Tomorrow morning we need to leave for Bible study at 9am. Richard may have to leave early so do you think you could watch the kids while I run over to the clinic on base? I need to get a referral because they don't handle any kind of obstetrics, prenatal care, or labor and delivery on base." She just stared at me for a second and said "What are you telling me?" Then it kind of dawned on her and she held up 4 fingers and mouthed "Four?" with a question mark in her face. (The kids were definitely within earshot.) **Yes, four!**

Man, it was hard to keep that secret for about 6 hours of her being here!

We haven't told the kids yet as it's still really early, but I'm already thinking of how we might tell them. :)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Cheer Camp

Raina and I woke up early to go to Market on the Move. We got a big box full of produce for just $10. Grapefruit, zucchini, cucumber, roma tomatoes, tomatillos. Good stuff that will last us a while. Then the girls had a little (free) cheerleading camp on base this morning.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Second Test

Richard's company has been doing so well that they earned an extra day off work. (Today.) He was out of town Sunday through Thursday so it was especially nice to have him home today.

We spent an hour plus at the library this morning. The kids LOVE hanging out at the library; choosing books to bring home, reading books while we're there, etc. And I'm working on teaching Ava how to use the online catalogue to look things up and then find them around the library.

Next we went to the exchange for me to get some new tennis shoes. I take great care of my shoes so they all look nice but aren't feeling so nice on the inside anymore. It's hard for me to let them go when they still look like they're in good shape, but my feet had been bothering me a little so it was time.

Then we all went through the commissary. We needed a few staple groceries AND we wanted to pick up another pregnancy test. Once we got home I got the kids situated with lunch and then went to do the test. I set a timer for Richard and told him to go read the results when it was time. I stood back a ways behind him and watched his face in the mirror as he read the results. He looked at me in the mirror and shook his head with a smile and said "Welp, it's negative." I could tell he was kidding and he quickly confirmed that it was indeed positive. We laid down on the bed together for moment and talked through the "holy cow" and "we totally got this" feelings.

We're really pregnant! Baby number FOUR is on the way!

Oh my. What if it's twins… ?????

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Here We Go Again !?!?

I was driving to Bible study this morning and suddenly I thought, "I think I might be pregnant!" I was not yet late but I just had this feeling. As I drove I decided I wouldn't take a test or anything until I was late. Bible study was awesome and when we got home a few hours later the first thing I did was run do a test (so much for waiting). Those 3 minutes waiting to read the results felt like an eternity but I thought I would just confirm that I was not pregnant and be about my day. Well after those 3 grueling minutes I took a quick glance at the test. It was definitely positive. Not like a faint line, maybe an evap line positive. Straight positive.

This was not planned BUT it also wasn't totally unexpected. But still, it felt like a shock. I started feeling anxious and sick like maybe it was a bad test, etc. I started reading about home pregnancy tests and quickly discovered that a false positive, especially before a missed period, is pretty rare. So I quickly moved into the acceptance phase… Richard was on an airplane somewhere between Oklahoma and Arizona so I couldn't talk to him and just sat with this frustrated feeling of "Oh. My. Goodness." -and- "Woohoo!" for a couple hours.

It was time for Cade to take a nap and I was feeling like I could use one too so we snuggled up together. As he held my hand and I watched him fall asleep I felt so peaceful and excited about the opportunity to be a mom to yet another precious soul. I know God has prepared and equipped us to handle big family life so I have nothing to fear!

Once Richard was on the ground I asked him to call me on his drive home from the airport. I could've waited a little longer to tell him in person but I wanted him to have that drive time alone to process the news. He was not totally against more children but he also didn't think we would really have more. He called me and I got right to the point. He was surprised/not surprised and was pretty quiet on the phone. (He's not a talker when he's thinking.)

I plan on testing again tomorrow or sometime in the next couple days (need to get another test).

Ava's Robot Presentation

In her homeschool group at our weekly morning Bible study, Ava has been working hard to build and write about a robot invention. Today she gave a presentation to a group of ladies and her peers. Proud of her!

Answering questions from the audience
Presentation complete
Posing in front of "John"
Ava's brainstorming map