Womb in Bloom: 14 Weeks

We’re back!! I’m sad it took me so long to start this series, but last week felt great, and I’m happy to get another shot at a blog series depicting a pregnancy! I know not everyone is able to carry a pregnancy, and no one is entitled to have a baby. Trust me, I know this. And I am SO grateful to be able to carry this baby, for every day I am able. I saw someone ask a question the other day online that really motivated me to put my best foot forward in this situation. She asked the mothers who were currently pregnant after a loss how they felt about the next year. Did they feel anxious, or hopeful? Obviously, I feel both. I would be lying if I said I didn’t. BUT, I want to focus on HOPE, because I want my Bambino to be born to a family who has celebrated them all along the way, and has been excitedly anticipating their arrival, rather than living in fear and dread and expecting the worst end result. I want my heart open. You’ve heard me wonder many times whether one can protect their heart while leaving it open, and for me at least, I just don’t think I can. Maybe, in this case, it has to be all or nothing. I am not ignorant to what could happen. No siree. I am far too aware of what losing a baby would feel like. But I want to celebrate with no inhibitions. I want my baby born into hands that have been itching to hold them, not hands that are fearful and shaky and weary. I don’t know, guys. Goals. Lots rolling around in my mind these days. Let’s dive in.

Size comparison: I struggled (not seriously) with this weeks size comparison last time around, too, because the app I like to follow for this particular information says the baby is the size of a house mouse 🤮 I am NOT a fan of mice. It also suggests a beet, but I feel like beets vary in size, and I also don’t like them. And I REALLY like this baby ❤️ So I did a quick google search and was told the baby was approximately the size of a lemons. And I really like lemons! So I’ll take it. Roughly 3.5”, apparently. I have an ultrasound later this week so maybe I’ll be able to tell you the size more accurately in a few days. But this is the best I know for now! Lemon baby.

Appointments: I saw Dr. Guselle last week Thursday, on the 4th. As I said last time around, I’ll be seeing her every other week, and on the alternating weeks, I’ll go for ultrasounds. Its all just surviving the upcoming weeks until I can start feeling movement, and then some of this will slow down. As long as I can hack it, which I really hope I can.

How am I feeling emotionally: On one level, I feel really good. I hesitate to mention it because I know its controversial, but I have home doppler for listening for baby’s heartbeat. Now I KNOW it could get sketchy if one day I can’t find it, and then I panic and insist on seeing a doctor, and all of that. Trust me, I KNOW this. Thats why I’ve been so hesitant to bring it out. That being said, I bit the bullet and tried it out the other day, and was able to find baby’s heartbeat right away!! I followed the baby as it floated across my abdomen, and just breathed it in. It was a huge relief, and my emotions could lift a little. But, real talk. These coming weeks are big and scary in my heart. I was 16.5 weeks along when I found out Jamin had passed away, but he measured 14.5 weeks. Now, without getting too “icky,” that doesn’t mean thats exactly when he passed. Its entirely likely he died a bit later than 14.5 weeks, but got a bit smaller over time. Ugh. I hate thinking about this kind of thing so logically, but thats just where I am. All of this being said, I’m not sure I’ll breathe much easier until we are fully past the point where we lost him, found out he was gone, etc. I want to see/hear him at 14.5 weeks, and very much at 16. 5 weeks too. I know there are never any guarantees, but passing that milestone feels big. Frankly, all the weeks feel like milestones that we’re trying to prevail through. These ones just feel particularly heavy.

How am I feeling physically: My nausea is well on its way out!! For at least a week, I’ve been forgetting to take my afternoon diclectin, with no real backlash!! If I don’t eat well in the day, I do feel sick by the end of it, but its well within my control. I think I’ll go another week or so without afternoon meds and then start weening off the rest. Woot! Besides my nausea, my pelvic pain and reflux still mean business, but I’ve been stubborn about not calling my physiotherapist, almost like its admitting defeat. My doctor asked me last week if I had been in touch with her yet, and I said I hadn’t, and that I was just too angsty. She laughed at me and said “Well, that’ll show ‘em…” and she’s totally right. I have it written down to make that call today. And to possibly see my chiro in the meantime, because my lower back is piiiiissed.

Wish List/Purchases: I was online shopping a bit with baby in mind over the last couple of days. But that’ll be more fun when we find out the gender, so I’m holding off 🙂 The things that are actually more necessary to purchase are a bit bigger, and I’m pretty gun shy on them :/ So they’re on hold for now.

Pictures: I’ve been doing this picture thing all wrong, haha! I posted a belly picture a few days ago. I’ll get better at it, I promise! I just haven’t felt totally confident with how things are looking just yet. I’m looking forward to my belly being tighter/harder with baby, and less soft and squishy, lol!

How are the kids feeling: If you remember, we’ve watched “Storks” with the kids a couple of times recently. Dekker verbalized his feelings so clearly to me by pointing out why he said he loved the movie. “I love that everyone that wants a baby gets one. They just…get one! I hope we get one too. Except storks don’t actually bring them…” The thoughts went on from there, but I love how his heart wants our family to grow, too. As an aside, my doctor asked how the kids were feeling about me being pregnant again, and she complimented us on talking to them about our losses, and how healthy it is to let them learn to grieve with us, and then get excited with us, too. That was so encouraging to me and my mama heart. I like that my doctor cares about more than just the general physical health of the baby in my womb, but the emotional health and stability of my entire family. She wins every prize.

Get to know the new baby: Our baby is not a fan of being poked with the doppler 🙂 Not in an angry way, but they always swim away from it. Any time we’ve found it (whether myself or Dr. Guselle) baby is actively trying to get away from it. Maybe baby isn’t put off by being poked, but is rather just super duper busy in there! Bambino has never been sleeping or still during an ultrasound either. Since they were old enough to move, they have been! When the baby was basically a stump with legs, those legs were bouncing. I like to think the baby is really active and excited. I cannot wait to feel those kicks and bounces myself. Remind me of these things when I’m aching from being kicked in the ribs day in and day out 😉

Best part of being pregnant: Easily, the most exciting part of being pregnant this week was finding the heartbeat on my home doppler! We took a video of it to remember it, and I wanted so badly to post it on Facebook and Instagram, but I didn’t want to deal with the inevitable nay-sayers, haha! Maybe I’ll finally put it on YouTube and put it on here another time, so only you guys would know it was there 😉 We’ll see. But that was the BEST part of being pregnant this week, hands down.

Baby item recommendation/favorite thing: I could talk about a lot of things that are favourites of mine recently! I’m STOKED about our new diaper pail, but I already kind of gushed about that the other day. Seriously though, Ubbi diaper pail ALL the way! But I think my favourite for today is obvious. Its my doppler! This is NOT me saying everyone should get one of these, because it might not be smart for everyone to have one. Do your research, and make sure you wouldn’t become a crazy person with it 😉 My advice, anyway. I bought mine back to celebrate our fifth pregnancy the first time I got pregnant with our fifth, meaning I bought it right towards the end of 2016, before I lost anyone. Probably, if I didn’t already have it, I wouldn’t buy one now. Because, anxiety. But, I have it, and used it like the day after an appointment, so I was confident in the heartbeat being there, and it was. I think I will only use it at times like that, like the day before or after an ultrasound or appointment, just to keep my heart safe. But the details are, I got this thing for dirt cheap off of AliExpress, and it works really really well!! Like it doesn’t feel like junk. If you were to hypothetically get one for yourself, the resale value is there 🙂 Just saying. Lots of people are on the hunt for these things, and they’re hard to find locally.

When you’ve gone through nervous times, what have you done to curb your anxiety? Care to share any solid coping mechanisms with this nervous Nancy over here? I try to be as self aware as possible, which helps me a lot. That way, I don’t bottle anything too long, and therefore I don’t usually explode in panic. Besides that, writing blogs is therapeutic for me 🙂 And to take control of my awful biting/picking/finger destroying habits, I’ve started to get my nails done, and that has been amazing!! Not only do I not bite and rip at my fingers anymore, but its way harder to pick at other places on my body, like scratches, zits, or ingrown hairs. I am in far less physical pain, and that has been a huge relief! What do you guys do to keep yourself in control when you find yourself easily falling out of control?

Its Coming. Tomorrow.

School is about to start back up! I can’t believe it! Its been a beautiful stretch of sleeping late, eating special food, snuggling with the kids a lot, and taking it easier in general. I have thoroughly enjoyed the two week stretch of fewer responsibilities and less deadlines, it will be good to get back into the swing of real life.

As my nausea lifts, I’m less of a zombie and therefore, haven’t been sleeping as deeply. With my schedule so backwards with being on holidays, I anticipate I’ll be pretty wiped in the beginning, getting the kids up shortly after 7:00 each day, but I hope that will help me sleep better at night! Thinking of the kids, I think they’ll be excited to get back into their usual routine of school, preschool, and kids club. Routine is a beautiful thing, even though we have loved the freedom to do what we want, whether its fun outings, morning movies, etc. I won’t complain about either option.

Tomorrow, Dekker will go off to school and I’ll take the other kids with me to spend the day at my moms. Brady will be home, spending another day framing our basement, hopefully coming to the end of finishing that up!! There’s not too terribly much left to do, and all the material is there, so we’ll see how it ends up. I’m so excited to have another framing day over here! One day closer to a finished basement 🙂 Our timeline for the basement has been pushed back so many times, for lots of reasons, but I would LOVE to have it finished in 2018. Eventually, we’re going to need the extra bedrooms, haha! But likely not for a while 😉 Its just getting a touch tight upstairs here…

We were going to try and duck out to the walking tour of the Enchanted Forest Christmas Lights Tour tonight, but I just know it would end up being a late night, and I don’t want to do that to Dekker’s teacher the night before he goes back to school! I imagine thats a pretty crazy day for everyone regardless!! A low key evening it is 🙂 Reality starts tomorrow.

Putting Christmas Away

Its a strange day around here. We’re putting away the Christmas tree, for one thing. We’re probably considered late to that game, but we love having our tree up, as do the kids. Its festive and happy. But, its January, so its time.

That being said, we can’t fathom taking down all of Christmas yet, so we’re leaving the trees above our cabinets up, and ALL the lights! We’re just suckers for Christmas, and twinkly lights, and pretty things. And its not even just me! Brady is more determined to keep the trees up for a while longer because “they’re wintery, not necessarily Christmasy.” I’m on board with that. And an apology to our neighbours, but our outdoor lights stay up year round, and will probably still be on in the evenings. Old habits die hard. We LOVE our outdoor lights.

As we were making plans to take the tree down, we realized we still have gifts under it!! With picking names between our kids and their nieces and nephews, and then amongst ourselves and siblings, we have a few gifts left to give! Its just been a crazy season and we haven’t connected with everyone yet! Whoops! So it might be a day to drive some gifts to their rightful owners, or at least very soon! It feels a little bit backwards to put Christmas stuff away while there are still presents to hand out.

We spent the morning being productive as well, finally moving the clothes that are too small for Rowan into Solly’s closet, putting Solly’s little clothes away, and getting the 3T tub out for Rowan. The little boys finally fit their clothes!! And can I say that I LOVE that Ro and Solly are just one size apart? Its SO easy, and cute. Ro is chunkier than Solly, but Solly is so stinking tall, it kind of evens out. So, that got taken care of, to the background music of “The Greatest Showman.” Oh. My. Goodness. What a powerful movie!! If you’re pro-musical, I highly recommend it! I’ll leave you with a little live “practice,” since I can’t get any real song clips off of YouTube. I’ve been listening to it all morning, and that will likely continue throughout the day.

Crazy, crazy stuff. Good music adds SO MUCH to the day!

Wish us luck taking down Christmas!

Hailey’s Pregnant Movie List

I mentioned it briefly the other day, but in case you missed it, I have a list of movies that I watch it every pregnancy! Perhaps I’m the only person who has one of these. Just me? Cool. I have a very loving, tolerant husband who will watch chick flicks with me if I ask, but being pregnant is my excuse to watch all of the sappy, baby-having movies that I want, and he endures them with me 🙂

I have happy memories of staying at our little rental cabin. Brady and I spent a lot of time in the basement, assembling the cabinets for our new house, watching through my pregnant movies. We were actually going through a bit of a rocky stretch of our marriage at that time, with a decent amount of silence and apologies. Yet I still remember it as a somewhat happy time, because we had our lighthearted movies playing, we were working together, and getting excited about our new house and our baby together. There was definitely love there, still.

However, I believe that was the last time we watched pregnant movies. I’m excited to crack them out again when I’m feeling a little bit more ballsy. I thought it would be fun to share the list though, in case anyone wanted to get excited about babies with me!

In no particular order…

Storks

In case you had missed it, I am SO smitten with this movie right now, and kids movie or not, it was quickly added to my list of pregnant movies. Not that anyone is pregnant in it, but its about uniting children with their families, and its just so heartwarming. And let’s be real. I LOVE that the babies have multicolored hair. I wish they actually came that way, because I’m pretty sure it would be frowned upon if I colored my infants hair…

Juno

So some people really boycotted this movie when it came out, saying it encouraged teenaged pregnancy. It is centred around a teenaged pregnancy, yes, but I personally wouldn’t say it glamourizes it at all. Its not a super deep movie, and I probably like it more for the music and Michael Cera. Its not perfect, but definitely a movie that can play in the background and I enjoy it anytime I pay attention to it.

Baby Mama

I feel like this movie happened and just got passed over by most as another comedy added to the pile, but I have always found this movie hilarious. It stars Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, so already, you have that going for you. I find it super quotable and hilarious. Quite lighthearted, too, and when conflict does arise, its always rectified pretty quickly and easily. Its definitely not a serious movie, but its an easy watch, which seems to be kind of a prerequisite for me when it comes to baby movies.

Three Men and a Baby/Three Men and a Little Lady

These ones will take you back, haha! The first is about three men who share a huge apartment and lead busy lives who suddenly have a baby left on their doorstep. Its pretty charming to watch them struggle through the motions of figuring out a baby for the first time ever, only to have her mother show up suddenly and want to take her back. The sequel goes on with the story, with the little girl being a bit older. Its less of a “baby” movie, obviously, but if you’re watching one, you can’t not watch the other!

What to Expect when You’re Expecting

This movie is worlds apart better than the book, so if you hated the book and haven’t seen the movie, I strongly encourage it!! This is probably my favorite of all the pregnant movies on my list. It follows a handful of stories of people building their families in all different ways. Its actually very well done, in my opinion, with a hilarious cast and a lot of relatable content for those of us who already have kids. The very best part is probably the group of dads that get together weekly and just talk family. I LOVE a movie that jokes about the stereotypical trials of having kids, but will still confidently say that they wouldn’t have their lives any other way. “I love my kid so much, I’m afraid I’m going to eat him.” Thats how I feel, too 🙂 It is SUCH a heartwarming movie, with lots of humor and emotion in it, too.

Away We Go

This is the  movie I almost forget about, but then am SO relieved when I remember it, because it is just so beautiful. The lead characters are John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph, both of whom I really enjoy watching! Its a bit of a quieter movie, where the couple struggles to root somewhere, and figure out where to build their life with the baby they’re carrying. Some of this movie is sad and hard, but no one said trying to have kids was easy. I really love the beauty in this movie, as its less “Hollywood” than the others on the list. Be a little bit warned, though, the first scene isn’t kid-friendly at all, and does not depict the tone of the rest of the movie!

***

Ok guys, I believe thats it for my list!! I always found time to watch the movie “Babies” on Netflix, too, but its no longer on there :/ Too bad. Lucky for me, I love the list I still have 🙂 Do you have any to add? I’d love to know what I’ve forgotten! We all know pregnancy brain cannot be trusted…

I Got Curlformers for Christmas

I’m not sure if I added what I got for Christmas to our present report, but I got Curlformers! They’re these cool curlers that are already in a spiral, and you pull your hair through it and sleep/wait/whatever you want to do until you pull them out and you have these beautiful curls without damaging your hair with heat! I’ve been eyeing them for a couple of years already, and I finally got them for Christmas!!

I put them in last night with my hair damp from a shower, as directed. I know. I looked great.

Sooooo stylish. I threw a shower cap on in hopes of keeping them all contained and being able to sleep.

Lesson one. That was a mistake.

Sleeping was tricky. Because I wanted the loosest curls possible, the curlers were wider, and remained fairly structured, to maintain the round curl. It all makes sense, but they weren’t soft, and didn’t compress well when I lay down. It was a weird, crunchy sleep, and I could NOT have handled it if not for the shaved side of my head! At least I could sleep on that! But with my sore pelvis and legs, I roll over a LOT, and couldn’t really sleep on my right side worth anything. So it was tricky.

Upon waking up for the day, I took out my curlformers and my hair was actually looking beautiful! Until I reached the few that were at the very crown of my head. They were the most covered and contained by the shower cap, and as I’m sure you could guess (but I didn’t have the foresight to see) they were still quite wet. And WOW were they not kidding that they HAVE to be completely dry to work. The dry curls were gorgeous and bouncy, but the slightly damp ones were just nothing. Not curled whatsoever. Just hangy hunks of wet hair. It couldn’t be saved, as I had somewhere to be, so we ended with a messy bun. Which is fine, really. It works, too. And it got me to take a belly picture, so that finally happened.

Not the result I hope for from future use of these curlformers, BUT I have two solutions I’m thinking I’ll try again soon!

Solution one: I’ll find some kind of cotton, breathable cap to wear over them while I sleep. That way there would be a better chance of my hair still drying, or the cap maybe even absorbing some of the water away. Might be softer to sleep on too than a crunchy plastic cap.

Solution two: I might fare better putting them in after a morning shower and having pretty curls for the evening. I’m happy to have them loose and soft, so even second day (or let’s be real, third day) waves would be more than enough for me!

I’m sure one (or both) of these solutions will be helpful soon 🙂 Because the ones that worked REALLY worked, and were so so pretty! But I felt decently pretty and put together when I was out and about this afternoon, doing a quick grocery shop and meeting with my doctor. As a side note, the baby is alive and well 🙂 The heartbeat was easy to find, had a really good speed to it, and my measurements showed my uterus continuing to grow! Win for today, for sure.

I’m heading out again soon to go on a date with Jerilee, which I’m super looking forward to. So far the day has been pretty great, and it appears it will continue to be that way! I hope you’re all enjoying the day, too. The last few days of Christmas break!! Crazy that school is about to start up again!

Five Things I’m Enjoying

I’ve had a super happy morning! Brady and I had breakfast in bed before the kids got up this morning, for one thing, and we had another cozy movie morning where we watched “Storks” again, because it is just so so cute. I’m a big cheeseball, and the premise of the movie just gets me. Getting babies where they belong, putting families together, whether conventional or unconventional. Its possible I like this movie even more than my kids do 🤔

In the midst of my happy morning, the devil is trying to take my joy away and make me nervous. I have a doctors appointment tomorrow, just for the purpose of listening for the baby’s heartbeat. Thats really what most of my appointments will be for a while, and I’m ok with that. But its the day before, and that itching feeling is surfacing. The feeling that my baby will be gone tomorrow. I’m approaching the point in time that we lost Jamin, and when I’m FINALLY feeling some rest and joy and peace, my anxiety is creeping up. I refuse to let that happen and ruin my day into, working me up until tomorrows appointment. Because tomorrow, regardless of the outcome, will worry about itself. If the baby is going to be gone, then thats just what it will be. It is 100% out of my hands. Giving this to God day after day is tough, but its also the absolute ONLY way to peace. So! Instead of spending my day fearful of tomorrow, let’s focus on happy stuff! I easily came up with five things that I’ve been enjoying recently, and thought I’d share them with you guys!! Let’s lift up this post a bit, and the day, too.

Truth be told, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed blogging over the last few days. The breakdown of 2017 post took me about three hours to assemble and post, but I am very happy with the outcome. It felt cleansing to look at every part of the year, and see that fun times were had in between the hard times. I started my series a couple of days ago as well, which feels like a milestone that I’m happy to have reached! And yesterday, I posted about my intentions for the upcoming year. And guys, your feedback has been SO encouraging!!! Whether in comments on here, on Facebook, private Facebook messages, or texts, many of you have reached out to me in the last few days and have responded to the posts in a positive way. Thank you SO MUCH for contacting me and encouraging me this way! You don’t know how special it is, and I’m not going to be able to express it fully on here. But I love it. Its been a GREAT few days of blogging for me!

Something I’m probably a bit too excited about today is an order we received from Amazon today. This is a lame parent thing, so bear with me. We got a new diaper pail!! Our diaper genie was fine, but it was SO stinky and the plastic just absorbed the stench and was virtually unfixable. Trust me, we bleached the heck out of that thing to no avail. It just stunk. Finally, the pedal that opened it broke. We fashioned a very fashionable handle out of masking tape, but just with the way the thing operated, as soon as it was event remotely full, the lid would just snap and get stuck open, which made it stink even worst. Whatever. Its over now. Our new diaper pail is powder coated steel, so it shouldn’t absorb the smell the way the plastic one did. It also opens with a quick sliding door on the top, so less air can sneak out when you drop a diaper in. Aaaaand it even has a child lock, so if our kids get too interested in it, we can lock it up! Best of all, we can use the same kitchen catcher garbage buys that we buy for everything out of Costco! No more expensive diaper genie refills for us! I’m far too stoked about this diaper pail…

 

Ok, thing number three!! I am LOVING that my kids are practicing school stuff without me making them!!! Dekker regularly tries to write out a sentence, or everyone’s names, or something similar to that, and then he brings it to us to show it off and see if he made any mistakes. Most of the time now, the pictures he draws are accompanied by a sentence or two. He claims that steps it up to an “art project,” not just a picture 😉 Its SO cute. And because he’s on this kick of learning and practicing, so is Laela!! Today, I saw her trying to write out her alphabet. Don’t mind the H in the beginning, it seemed like she was looping back around. But she did pretty good for just working on it all by herself, with NO outside help!!

I love the letters that are backwards and upside down! 💜 I wish that kind of thing never ended! Or that it stuck around juuust long enough that its still cute but not a problem… You get my drift. I know you do.

Another thing I’m really enjoying is my new hair! ☺️ Its a bit weird to say I don’t actually have a good picture of it, but its the truth, and I’m too greasy to just snap one now, so you’re going to have to trust me! Its pink and orange, with purple at the roots, and a few tiny little strands of yellow throughout. Its amaaazing!! You might think it sounds a bit mismatched, and like pink and orange wouldn’t look good together, but it really does! All together, it almost looks coppery, but at close range, the colors are definitely separate and vibrant and awesome! Its probably the craziest I’ve ever gone with my hair, but I super love it!

The last thing I’ll talk about on here today is that I started saving blog posts again today! Lots of you guys know I started saving these a while back and printed them off in book form, just the one copy for myself, so I can have them for years and generations to come. I had begun saving 2017, but getting through the posts about losing Theo in January had been difficult for me, and had kind of halted progress. Well today, I broke back into it. I didn’t do a ton, but I went through and saved every single picture until the end of June, which will finish off a book. (The books go from Jan-Jun, and Jul-Dec.) It seems that, when I got my iPhone 6s in late 2016, it sized all the pictures up, and they’re too big for the books now. So its a hassle when I do save posts, to have to resize every single picture first. But this way, I have months of photos saved, and I can resize them ALL in way fewer steps. One at a time was awful, but resizing ALL portrait style, and then ALL landscape style is SO much better! So I’ve saved future Hailey a lot of time. Going through all of the pictures from those months was so nice 🙂 Seeing our first trip to Waskesiu, starting my first ever series, “Expecting the Best,” Solly’s birthday, etc. It was uplifting to look through it all. It makes me thankful for the life I have, and also thankful that I’ve been able to save all of these posts!! Honestly, even if no one else ever reads them, I feel happy to have made them up to this point. It feels like an accomplishment, somehow, even if its just for me.

There you have it! Five things that have been making me happy and uplifted! Care to share a couple of your own? I’d love to know what you’ve been enjoying recently!

Let’s Call Them “Intentions”

Its a popular topic of conversation these days, yet I feel like a solid 85% of people hate the conversation and roll their eyes over it. New Years resolutions. I’m also an eye-roller in this case, because I think you can set a goal anytime, and who cares what day in what month it is? But, its not unnatural for people to be thinking “fresh start” in the beginning of a new year. So let’s talk about it.

I looked back on my resolutions last year, and let’s be real. I tanked it hard in 2017. I declared a few small resolutions on January 10th, and six days later, I found out our baby had died. It was a rough start, and the year really never got easier. Not to say you can’t strive for greatness in the midst of trials, because you can. But its stinking HARD!! So not that it cannot be done, but I did not succeed with my goals.

I watched a new years video on YouTube, and the couple kept referring to their New Years “intentions.” I like that SO much better!! Its just a different word, but its much more my speed. “Hopes” might be that much more accurate, but I’m going with intentions for now, because I think a BIG chunk of being successful is being intentional! These are all things I naturally want to do this year, nothing that I’m really forcing, but still. My intentions.

My first intention is very practical. We have not done a weekly savings plan the last two years. For those that don’t know, for a while, I saved a certain amount of money in a jar each week with the goal to have between $1000-$1500 by November 1. I paid for ALL of Christmas out of that money. December tends to be a month where many feel extra broke, and it was always such a relief to just have Christmas paid for in advance! This year, we intend to implement this plan again! We’re going to change it from the traditional online “weekly savings plan” and instead, put aside a flat $30 per week. There are 44 weeks from now to the first days of November, and we’ll have over $1300. That will take care of Christmas gifts for ourselves, our widespread family, and friends, special food, any new decor, family activities, etc. I’m stoked to get back on this plan 🙂

Another thing I intend to do is improve my blog game. Sometimes I dream bigger for this whole thing. Not too big, but a bit bigger. Its a lot to hash out, and I won’t do it here now. But I want to be more intentional (see??) about my posts. I already have some help with this for the first half of the year, because I have my series that I hope very much to continue writing into July, so there’s some structure there beyond just what we did that day. Not that there’s anything wrong with that either! But sometimes its good to have a specific topic to talk about that isn’t mundane. I’m thinking, if I keep a series going, and maybe have another weekday planned more specifically, even that alone would help! Just some planning, and putting a bit more thought into what I have to say that day. I’m feeling like Mondays and Fridays would be great days to post planned, most intentional posts. And hopefully, that just gets more natural the more I do it, and they will all start to improve a little! I hope so!

Lastly, I hope to stay a tad bit more organized and less frantic with busyness. This one branches out in a lot of different directions. I think part of what makes busyness difficult for me is my anxiety and the fact that my brain is ALWAYS rushing. A totally regular home day over here is still busy. I love our busyness. Thats just how our life is, but sometimes, with that, I find extras overwhelming. I don’t in any way plan to overdo it, or push myself too far the other way, but I need to be able to roll with the punches a little bit better and smoother. I FINALLY found a way to organize my days in the form of a planner!! You guys know how long I’ve been in search of the PERFECT planner, and I finally have it. Don’t laugh. I literally run my days out of an appointment book. My days are broken out in 15 minute increments. It keeps me sane and alive, and I’m hoping that, with a working system like that, I should be able to handle a little bit more and accomplish a little bit more.

You can very likely see through this post that my intentions aren’t deep and personal. Those goals do exist, but they’re my “always” goals, not my new years goals. And frankly, if you know me, you know them. I hope to manage my anxiety better this year. I hope to be more hospitable and helpful to people this year. I hope to smile more and yell less. Yada yada yada. You know the drill. I desire to be better, but that doesn’t ever stop.

I really hope to bring a baby home this year, in July. I can’t resolve that I will, or even say I “intend” to. But I hope to, so so much.

Womb in Bloom: 13 Weeks

Alright, guys, here we go! I’ve been putting off this series for a while already, thanks to all my anxiety and irrational fears. I loved putting together a blog series in my last pregnancy, but it was another awful thing to clean up when Jamin passed away. For that reason, I have avoided starting a series in hopes of confidence kicking in sometime, anytime. Yet, if I wait until I feel comfortable, this thing is just never going to happen. I’m trusting you all to be compassionate and understanding if this all falls apart again. I’m counting on you guys!! Because this feels vulnerable and scary, but I think its going to also feel like a step in the right direction. So, I’m going for it.

Be gentle, as this is the first run on this series, so there is lots of room for change and growth! If I miss anything you want to know, ask away! You all know by now, I’m a pretty open book 😉 I’m going to try and cover the same talking points each week on Monday, which is the day my weeks roll over.

It is the first day of 2018, and of my second trimester. Today, I am 13 weeks pregnant, in my 7th pregnancy, hoping to bring home my fifth child. I am due July 9, 2018. We have currently been calling the baby Bambino.

Size & Development: According to one of the apps that we follow, (in this case, Ovia) the baby is the size of a matchbox car. I’ve also seen a pea pod, jalapeno, and a clown fish. My ultrasound last week showed baby at about 2″ tall, but I can’t speak for this week! Probably a little bit taller 🙂 As for development, the app kept harping about how hairy baby is getting. Sooooo we’ll look forward to that… (I tease, I’m aware most of that fuzz is long gone before baby comes. I’m familiar with the process.) As for my size, I haven’t wavered from the weight I began the pregnancy at. I assume I dropped some in the beginning with sickness and have gained it back over Christmas 😉 This is the heaviest I’ve every started a pregnancy at, but I’m trying to blow past that fact and not focus on it. Just have to throw it in there to follow it up weekly when I start to gain baby weight.

Appointments: So I’ve had a LOT of these! I’ve been seeing my OB regularly through my first trimester, I’ve had almost weekly ultrasounds, and I saw my own doctor just last week for our first prenatal! While I feel a bit high maintenance with all of the appointments, and while its been busy always going to an appointment of some kind, there has definitely been some comfort in knowing each week that baby is still growing and developing. I believe appointments will change right away here, though. I am no longer seeing my OB, which was my choice. I could see her all through my pregnancy, but really, everything appears to be routine at this point, and I just feel so much more comfortable with my own doctor. So I will have bi-weekly appointments with her, alternating with ultrasounds during the weeks in between. At about the halfway point, I will meet the resident who will join my crew of awesome medical team and follow me to the end of my pregnancy, which hopefully leads me to early July and NO sooner!!! 🤞

How am I feeling emotionally: This has been a brutally difficult time on my mental and emotional health. It is impossible not to go to the scary places, and almost impossible to talk myself out of the crazy. If you’ve never lost a baby, that is an enormous gift!! I wish no one ever had to lose a baby at any stage. But, I have, and its altered a lot of things for me. Hearing/seeing the heartbeat is reassuring, but its brief reassurance, because I know how fast it can just stop. Symptoms, like sickness or soreness, are not reassuring for me. I was sick until the day I found out Jamin had passed, and he had been lifeless for two weeks. Hormones can do some mean, mean things. So I concentrate on trusting God with this baby, because I have absolutely nothing else to hold on to. Nothing. Only God. And that is sufficient. I know the truth, but its hard to believe sometimes. My emotions are pretty nuts and all over the place, but I think they’re under control. I believe that its healthy to still ache for my little boys, and to excitedly anticipate and hope for another little one! Its a difficult balance to strike, but isn’t that just the reality in most cases?

How am I feeling physically: I’ve been solidly sick throughout my entire first trimester, and my boobs have been aching like crazy! My nausea has started to lift a little, but with that, I’m forgetting to take my diclectin, which does eventually get me into trouble. So I know its not gone gone, but I think its on its way out. The soreness hasn’t let up yet. Not feeling particularly optimistic about that. And just last week, my pelvis audibly clunked apart, and then crunched back together. It. Was. Excruciating. If you’ve never heard of symphysis pubis dysfunction, its an unbelievably painful thing that pops up (or pops out, lol) in each of my pregnancies. Did you know that your pubic bone is actually two bones that meet together? Yup, I didn’t either, until this condition slapped me in the crotch for the first time. When those things aren’t lined up just right, it can render you immobile very quickly. It comes about when the lovely hormone, relaxin, kicks in too soon. Its an important hormone that loosens up all the tendons and such that holds your pelvis together, to make way for your pelvis to spread and deliver your baby. Mine is just far too thorough and efficient, and is already out in full swing. I can ONLY manage it with regular physio/chiro, and wearing a strong, stretch-less belt around my butt to physically hold my pelvis together in one piece. In my case, relaxin also relaxes the closure into my digestive system very early in the game, leaving me to deal with some pretty wicked acid reflux. Well, people, we are there on ALL fronts. Its not the best I’ve ever felt, thats for sure, but maybe when the nausea completely wraps up, it’ll be easier to manage these other things. I hope, anyway. (I promise, this section won’t always ben this long! Just catching up!)

Wish List/Purchases: Ha! I wish for a lot of things, but nothing I can exactly pin on anyone, myself included, to give to me. I’m probably going to give it some time before I bolding throw my wish list out there in all its entirety! That being said, though, since this would be our fifth child, Lord willing, we already have a lot of what we’d need. So my “stuff” wish list isn’t too long at all. As for purchases, we recently bit the bullet and bought a little boy sleeper and a little girl sleeper. It used to feel like a right of passage, and I would be SO excited to buy a little baby thing. It felt scarier this time, and I think I apologized for it many times, just because I felt vulnerable and dumb. But, I did it anyway. Also, for Christmas, we bought the baby a stuffed puppy. So Bambino has a few little things. They’re in the drawer with the small handful of other baby things we bought last year and put away when we couldn’t look at them anymore. Sooooo we’ll see how that goes.

Pictures: I don’t have any pictures of my belly on hand, but my good friend took a few of me a few weeks ago. I’m definitely bigger now, but you’re welcome to take a peek at her pictures of my belly around 10 weeks. Its been hard not to hate how I look this time around. I am NOT being a douche and fishing for compliments, but I don’t have the cute little pointy bump I had with the two little boys. I started this pregnancy 15 lbs heavier than I started the last one, and while I’m probably healthier than I was, and its great that I didn’t drop a bunch of weight super fast in my grief, I still wish I showed nicer and more obviously like I did last time :/ Hopefully more cute belly pictures will come soon, and there will be more obvious baby to see!

How are the kids feeling: We were only going to tell the kids over Christmas but as many of you will remember, Dekker called me out a couple of weeks ago already! They were, and still are, completely thrilled that I’m pregnant again! Besides their innocent comments of “I hope this baby doesn’t die again,” the main topic of conversation is about the baby’s gender. The current standing surprises me, actually. As of today, the boys think the baby is a girl, and Laela thinks its a boy. And I have NO idea, seriously. I would’ve put money on Jamin being a girl, and was completely wrong. I think I’m going to forever think “boy” until I’m told otherwise. They’re almost always boys!!

Getting to know the new baby: I’m hoping this will be a fun category as the baby grows and moves and develops a bit of a personality 🙂 At this point, I like to think that this baby really wants to join our family. We have NEVER conceived on our first try, and this time, we did! I found out VERY early in our pregnancy, which I also have never experienced. Baby’s hcg was off the charts high in the very beginning, so even when the baby was too small to show (or have) a heartbeat, the hcg was tripling every two days, which brought some reassurance in the early days. Baby performs through every ultrasound, moving like crazy. I like to think he just wants us to know he’s ok. I really hope he is!

Best part of being pregnant: Ha! Ya thats a tough one this time, because its hard. This is the most scared I’ve ever felt being pregnant. I guess the best part of being pregnant right now is knowing that I still can get pregnant? Thats probably it at this point. My body knows how to get pregnant, thats for sure. It remembers what to do, and it likes carrying a baby. But its been a while since its carried one to term. I hope it still remembers how…

Favorite thing: So this is a new category for me, but I thought it might be fun! It likely won’t always a pregnancy/baby thing, but I figured I’d share a favorite or a recommendation each week 🙂 Cool? Cool. This week, its going to be the movie, “Storks.” We bought it for the kids this Christmas and just watched it this morning, and my gosh, it is SO FUNNY and SO sweet!!! I may have cried from time to time, but only a little bit. I highly recommend it to people who haven’t seen it yet. It has officially been added to the list of movies I watch during every pregnancy!! (Do other people have a list of pregnant movies, or is it just me?)

Being that this was my first post in hopefully a nice long weekly series, I’d love some feedback if you’ve got some to offer! Did I miss anything? Or do you just want to know anything out of curiosity? There is very little I’m not willing to share, so ask away 🙂 Or, if it seems put together enough, then yay!! I’m so happy to have all of this information on record for our family. I hope you enjoy it, too. And I hope we can all enjoy it for the next six months or so!! Please continue to cover us in prayer if we ever come to mind! Thank you for your continued support and interest in our family.

2017 Month by Month

I admitted on her a while ago that while I work HARD to find positives amongst hardship, I’ve had a really hard time picking out positives from this year. Improvements. Gains. Successes. I don’t want my last post of the year to just be mournful, but I tried many times in the past week or so to jot down some good things to reminisce about and I just can’t find enough to fill a post. So, rather, I’m going to skim my pictures from the last year and see what happened each month. Some will be happier than others, but it’ll be an accurate breakdown of how the year looked for us! Hopefully a more concise way to reminisce, rather than just blubbering about loss and grief. There is nothing wrong with some of that, but if you’ve been around for a while, you know I’ve done more than my share of it. So, let’s just see how this goes.

January.

So January was a tough kick off to 2017. We lost our baby, Theo. We found out halfway through the month at our 12 week scan. It was my first true experience with deep, deep grief. I had never known such a feeling, and it shook me deep. I hid out for a long time after that, but our loving friends and family understood and stood by us.

I had a ridiculous pregnancy announcement in the making, too 🙂 I thought it was hilarious, and the Bradymoji (see what I did there?) was vastly inaccurate, but it was the closest I could get!

Looking through the pictures, I can see one other big difference in our family in January 2017. We hadn’t figured out the issue with Rowan’s mouth yet!! If you’ve seen him recently, in pictures or in person, you can see the HUGE difference!!

Isn’t that crazy?! I’ll touch more on it as I go through the rest of the year, but its just an unmistakeable difference! I hope you guys can see it too.

February.

The second month brought us a little further from our loss, where it wasn’t as “new” or as raw, but still hurt my heart each day. There were triggers everywhere, and I grieved hard through the month.

Brady also bought me an iPad this month! It wasn’t to make up for the baby or anything, it just timed out that way. It was a good motivator for me to step up my game and be helpful with his business.

The day before our anniversary, we went to see Marianas Trench in concert. I almost bailed on it completely, but I’m so glad we went 🙂 We had front row seats, and it was an incredible show!

We celebrated our anniversary on the 7th and Valentines Day on the 14th. Nothing too crazy.

Eight years, baby <3

About halfway through February, I discovered that Rowan’s teeth didn’t touch, and that his funny “cartoon” mouth only existed because he was chewing blankets all night long.

So February was the month that we had to take all of Rowan’s snuggly bedtime stuff away 🙁 It was awful. He screamed and screamed for the first few days. No pillow, blanket, or stuffed toy. We felt like horrible parents. It was tough.

Ro survived our mean parenting choice, and turned two on the 23rd. I can’t tell you why, but the picture I wanted to post refuses to load! Still, the day happened 🙂 And Ro aged, even though I specifically asked him not to!

** You should all thank me, because I spared you ALL the pictures we have of vomit spread out throughout the house. My. Gosh. It was a barfy month. You’re welcome.

March.

It was not the most eventful month, but right off in the beginning of it, there was a MARKED difference in Rowan’s mouth and face structure!! Crazy, right??

A whole new face, seriously!! His teeth still didn’t meet at this point, but they were WAY closer. Progress!

The biggest thing we did in March was our Calgary trip! It was the first road trip we took in our big bus and it was truly awesome 🙂

It was a special family trip, just for us, to get away from what our life had been, and to have some lighthearted times together.

April.

Rowan continued to noticeably improve through April.

Jerilee and I went on our annual shopping trip to Edmonton, and Brady had his annual weekend alone with the kids!

While I was away, Brady took the kids to and from Home Depot every single day, and build me this beautiful makeup lighting system!! Its not nearly as yellow as it looks, fyi 🙂 They were a huge game changer for makeup “business.”

Beyond that, pregnancy was very much on my mind, and my arms ached to hold the bay I lost in January. These became my screensavers and backgrounds for everything.

May.

This month was quite a bit fuller than the last few. We built our deck, from start to finish, in May! It was a big job, and lots of people came and helped us when they had free time, which was HUGE! We loved the beautiful outcome.

The next notable event in May was Mother’s Day. I really enjoyed Mother’s Day. Brady took the kids and I to Cora’s for breakfast, where the kids were entertained by the balloon man, we ate delicious food, were complimented countless times on our kids great behaviour, and then were surprised to find someone had paid for our meal <3 I cried. It was so great.

A little bit after the fact, I took my mom out for Mother’s day. We painted pottery and ate at Red Lobster. It was also awesome <3

Shortly after Mother’s Day, I found out I was, once again, pregnant with our little Jamin.

That was a good motivator to finally get Solly into his own room, so we did! We moved the three older kids together, and made Solly’s space comfy for him.

(I realized Rowan has a pillow in this picture. I don’t know what to tell you :/ I must’ve put it in there just for the sake of the picture??)

The very last day of May, Solly turned one year old 🙂 He had a cake pop and some balloons, and was well loved.

It was a good month.

June.

The first fun thing that happened in June was that Carrie got our name in to perform some music at a car show over our town celebration weekend! She, Brady, and I put in tons of work ahead of time, and I think we pulled it together pretty well 🙂 And had a TOTAL blast.

I also spent more time stepping up my makeup gave this month, and I booked two graduation makeup gigs! They were both intimidating and exciting.

We also took our first trip (of many) to Waskesiu with the kids. The goal was to familiarize them with the surroundings so they could settle in easily when we went for our summer vacation there. They acclimated easily, and LOVED it!

Dekker had his LAST day of kindergarten! What a milestone 🙂 What a big time of life for him! He grew so much <3

We wrapped the month of June up by going to a “Walk off the Earth” show at Jazz Fest. It was unreal. If you ever have the opportunity to see them live, do it. It was truly unlike anything I had ever seen before, and so so enjoyable. It helped to have awesome friends with us 🙂

A fabulous end to June 🙂

July.

We went to Waskesiu again.

I started to look pregnant…

And had a really promising ultrasound, with a heartbeat and a wiggly baby!

I turned 29 at the end of the month, and we prepared for our family vacation in early August.

August.

This was obviously a tricky month. But in the beginning, we had no idea it would be that way. So the month began in Waskesiu, for our family trip.

We all truly enjoyed our time away. We were at the lake over Theo’s due date, and it was gloomy, which seemed fitting. Still beautiful, though.

It felt like a time of healing and peacefulness, which was greatly needed. Prayers were answered.

About a week after returning home, we found out our Jamin had passed away. I was 16.5 weeks along. I went from a high to a deep low very quickly. Thus began some of the worst days of my life.

We said hello and goodbye to our beautiful little boy the day after we found he had passed. It was unlike anything I have every gone through. I won’t go further into it. You all know how I felt, and how I continue to feel.

I have never received so many flowers.

Meals were brought, treats were brought, jobs were done, and children were babysat.

Days after I delivered Jamin, Dekker turned 6. My mom made a party for him, because I couldn’t. He told us over and over that it was the best day of his life <3

I have no pictures to prove it, but Jerilee brought him gifts and cake and decorations the very next day for party #2. My children were SO well cared for.

We went to Waskesiu again, to clear our heads and let the kids run. It was necessary for all of us.

I grieved hard there. Lots of tears, lots of wind and waves, lots of sensitive children processing as we limped through the day. We attempted a family picture, mostly to prove to myself that we were still together, somehow.

It was a very difficult end to the month. But we continued to move forward, as September kicked back into reality. I couldn’t lay in bed forever.

September.

I obviously don’t have much from September. Lots of bike rides, lots of playing on the deck, lots of hiding at home. Dekker started grade one, however, and Laela started preschool.

That was the beginning of September, and Laela celebrated her fourth birthday at the end of September 🙂 We played at the playground and went to McDonalds for ice cream in the evening. Again, low key, but necessary, and she was perfectly happy with it.

It was a very hard month to get through, but I can look back at it and see that, if we hadn’t needed to be busy and start into the routine of school, I never would’ve gotten out of bed. I hated the busyness, but I needed the busyness. God knew.

October.

October was also a bit of a tricky month for me. It was hard to be thankful on thanksgiving :/ But the kids were beautiful and lovies and distracting.

Maybe a week or so later, a friend recruited me for a photoshoot turned project about overcoming hard things, and my journey through loss. It was surprisingly therapeutic. I loved it. It turned out beautifully!

(Cher Andrea)

Brady’s birthday was on the 14th, and I had long ago booked us a night away! So we had a lovely hotel and went to a movie 🙂 It was such a treat to be away together.

My heart was very griefy through October as we tried to conceive again. It had been almost a year since we conceived Theo. A full year of being pregnant (on and off, anyway) with no baby to show for it.

And then it happened. We did conceive. I found out right before the end of the month. It was terrifying and thrilling and ALL of the emotions rolled into one.

Halloween wrapped the month up, and the kids were terribly cute.

Being cute is not uncommon in their cases, but still seems worth mentioning 😉

November.

I only have videos, so I can’t post photographic evidence, but Solly started walking in November! FINALLY! Only took 17 months, haha! But that was the other boys too. Not shocking.

We took a quick trip to see my sister and her husband and help them with some house stuff. Our kids enjoyed the hotel and eating supper picnic style.

We got snow in November, and unlike usual, it came and it stuck.

We were all overjoyed. Can’t you tell by my presence in this picture? Oh, I’m not in it? Yup, thats how happy I was about the snow, and how happy I continue to be about it.

It did motivate us to start decorating for Christmas, though!

November also held our first ultrasounds, where we learned that our baby was, in fact, alive. Very little comfort came in those ultrasounds, but I was determined to believe it.

December.

This has been a very challenging closer month this year. Its been busy with planning and prepping, nausea and dizziness, grieving and reflecting. Both older kids participated in their Christmas concerts, but I can’t share pictures without sharing other people’s kids faces :/ So sadly, no dice there. But they were cute and did great!

We had a couple of ultrasounds this month as well, where we gained small shreds of reassurance along the way. Our baby is growing exactly as it should thus far.

And the biggest milestone from December is that we survived. We made it. It wasn’t pretty, but Christmas has come and gone, 2017 is almost over, and 2018 is on its way. We made it. Barely.

I love my family, and while its been hard to see past my own grief and struggles, it was good to go through the year this way and see what else the year entailed. I think it was important, and I’m glad I did it. Though this is a brutally long post and almost crashed my laptop more than once. Thank you, everyone who has stuck with us through the year. I know we’re a lot to take sometimes, but I like to think that, if you know us at all, you know this was not a year we were set up to be able to handle gracefully. Thank you for your love and understanding and concern. You have my love right back.

Stay safe this New Years Eve, and hold your loved ones tight. Wrap it up well!!

Still Feels Like Christmas

For us, and for many others, Christmas is a rowdy time of family gatherings and staying up late and eating from bowls of candy and chocolates throughout the day and board games and jammies. Can anyone relate? I love those things about holidays, but I also LOVE being inside and lazy and cozy. Its not a secret that we’re homebodies over here. We really enjoy our outings, but we don’t live for them the way many do. We really like each other 🙂 We like to be together, just us. In case you hadn’t noticed (or you’re not from where we are) it is brutally cold out these days. Today, with windchill, its around -50C. Absurdly cold!! We had “plans” to spend a lot of this Christmas season going for walks, with kids in sleds, and playing outside. That has NOT happened, and while its caused some tears and a shred of cabin fever for the kids, I have truly enjoyed our quiet home days.

Today has been another FREEZING day, and we have spent the morning snuggled in the living room, watching Frosty the Snowman. Rowan flip-flopped from my lap to Brady’s lap a few times. Laela sat on the couch and looked through her new Pete the Cat books while watching. Solly dumped out the tub of links aaaaall throughout the house and dragged the bucket around. Dekker colored at the table as the show played. It was SO restful. I love the busyness and all, but I would miss these days dreadfully if we never ever got them <3 I’m so grateful!

I’m venturing out early this afternoon to pick up some appies for tomorrow. My parents are coming over for a chunk of the day, and we plan to enjoy a slow moving supper of appies and treats after the kids are in bed. Our very “old folks” way of bringing in the new year. We’ve done it this way for  a couple of years now, and its just so so nice. I’m really looking forward to it. So today, my mom and I will brave the winter cold and get the goods! Its worth it 😉

As a family, we have only a few Christmas “traditions” and none of them are really in stone, but the ONE we’ve pushed hard to do every year for the past few years is to go drive around the city and look at the lights. We’re a tad late in the game, but I think we’re going to try to head out this evening for it! No one is sick today! Not even Solly, whose nose has been running like a faucet for weeks! So I think today is the day for it! We’ll have an early supper with the kids, and then go get some cookies or dessert somewhere, and head out for a Christmas light tour! I’m SO looking forward to that, too.

It has been, and will continue to be, a lovely day! And tomorrow is the absolute LAST day of 2017! I’m pretty ready to see it go, haha! Anyone else? Don’t worry, though. I posted my sad mournful post a few days ago already, so hopefully tomorrows inevitable reflections on 2017 won’t be quite so sad. I’m going to try really hard!!

Until then, STAY WARM!! ❄️❄️❄️