Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful Heart

I don't think I ever truly understood the value of a day, until I had this baby inside of me and suddenly every day makes a tremendous difference.  These days, every return to work from my last doctor's appointment feels like a victory.  We made it another day!  I spend a lot of my time lately giving thanks.  It seems we have a lot to be thankful for.

I read over my Thanksgiving entry from last year.  Almost every thing I was thankful for then, I continue to be thankful for now - if not more so.  It's unbelievable how much our lives have changed in one year - and even more unbelievable how much they're going to change again in the next year.  It's almost impossible for me to wrap my brain around. 

It's so easy to get bogged down in the fear and unrest of life.  With all the changes come hundreds of unknowns that cause all kinds of anxiety and stress.  Financial concerns, health concerns, state of the world concerns.  "Oh dear Lord this baby has to come out of me somehow" concerns and  "what in the name of God will we do if our child becomes goth" concerns.  But this day is about putting those aside and focusing on all the hundreds of ways we have to be thankful.  My heart is so thankful for all the ways that we have been blessed.  Here's a few highlights:

I am thankful for Todd - every day, even on the days he makes me crazy.  I'm thankful for his sense of humor that keeps me laughing and keeps me grounded in the midst of all this crazy change.  I'm thankful for his patience and understanding, his concern and the gentle care he takes of me as my body changes, my hormones surge out of control, and my emotions take these crazy rollercoastery twists and turns throughout the day.  I'm thankful for the dad he's going to be to Nerdlet, and the parenting partner he's going to be for me.  I'm proud of the team we make and am so thankful that we are growing and strengthening as our family grows.

I am thankful for our families and our friends -- all of whom have shown us a tremendous amount of support first in our adoption journey, and now on this pregnancy journey.  Sometimes it seems like they are more excited than we are (although that can't possibly be the case)!  What an amazing network of love, security, and support we have been given.  We are humbled and strengthened by the thoughts, prayers, enthusiasm, excitement, support, and love that has been shared with us - not only during this time in our lives, but always.

I'm still thankful for these big, goobery, slobbery dogs.  My crotchety old man who tries to keep us all in line, and my goofy little girl who loves to snuggle, torture the crotchety old man, and sniff cat butt.  These are our first babies, and they are good babies.  There is still something magical about having a waggily tail greet you at the door every time you open it - even if you were only outside for 5 minutes.  It seems that every reunion is a monumental deal for a dog.

And - okay, I guess I'm still thankful for the cats.  Sometimes they are not so bad, and they've stayed out of the baby's stuff so far.

I'm thankful for my job, and the flexibility it affords me.  I'm thankful for co-workers who have been through the last year of my life with me every step of the way and shown me nothing but encouragement, support, understanding, and a genuine wish for our well being.  Everyone should be so lucky. 

I'm thankful (so thankful) to be done with school.  It took me longer than the average bear (that's a story for another post) but I finally tucked my head down and plowed through it.  School officially ended at the end of October and I wrapped it up with a 4.0 GPA.  My diploma should arrive sometime next month.  It should go without saying how unbelievably proud I am of myself for this accomplishment, but also how thankful I am that I was able to do it when I did it, and that I did it well.

I'm thankful for Nerdlet.  That probably goes without saying.  I'm thankful for all the ways this baby has already changed our lives, and all the ways it's going to change our lives in just a few more weeks.  I am thankful for every wiggle, nudge, flip, turn, poke, jab, bladder kick, and rib punch because it means my baby is growing and thriving in there.  I'm thankful that my body has held out this long, better than I ever expected it to, better than anyone - it seems - ever expected it to.  I'm thankful that Nerdlet passes every biophysical profile with an 8/8, that our fluid levels have held steady (and - as of this week - risen to more normal levels) and that everything else is currently looking okay.  I'm thankful that Nerdlet has allowed me to experience this rite of passage.  I was prepared to not have this and would have happily found motherhood through adoption, but I wouldn't trade the gifts that Nerdlet has given me for anything in the world.

It has been a tremendous year.  We are making a tremendous life.  It's not perfect, it never will be, but it's more than enough.  My heart is so full to bursting with gratitude for all we have been given and all that's still to come.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Time Marches On

We hit 34 weeks this weekend!

It's hard to believe how close we are to meeting this baby now.  Weeks.  And, for the longest time I have thought I was ready - way more ready to deal with the worry of this baby outside my belly rather than the worry of this baby inside my belly but now that we're getting closer I'm not so sure.  We are just weeks away from the biggest life change we've ever experienced.  I'm not sure anyone's ever really ready for this.

We've been spending the last couple of weeks getting prepped for the baby. My dear friend from North Carolina flew into town for my baby shower and I immediately put her to work helping me make some freezer meals so that we have something on hand after the baby is born.  I have never done anything like that before, so there is some question as to whether or not these meals will be edible, but it feels good knowing I have something on hand, and we had a lot of fun prepping them!

I had two baby showers in which Nerdlet was spoiled with fantastic gifts coupled with the kind of warm wishes that I couldn't even read in public due to the ugly crying.  My loved ones were able to put their amazing creativity to work in fun ways like -- the diaper wreath:

 The diaper cake:

The diaper motorcycle ridden by a stuffed frog:

The flower arrangement made with little washcloths and bibs:

....and more.  So much more.  In fact, those of you loved ones reading this should not be offended that you didn't make the pictorial.  I don't think the internets is big enough for all the wonderful things we received. 

The baby showers in and of themselves were a kind of milestone for me.  I remember when we picked the dates I had been hesitant because, as always, I have expected the worst.  I figured i'd be on bed rest by now or - in a worse case scenario - would be caring for my preemie.  We hit the baby shower dates with no problem and Nerdlet is still squirming away in there.

At my appointment 2 weeks ago my doctor became concerned with a low level reading on my amniotic fluid.  I've been seeing more than one doctor throughout this pregnancy and it's amazing at what a difference there can be between them.  The one didn't think much of it, the other immediately scheduled a bunch of tests to make sure everything is okay in there.  So - this past week I had a non-stress test to measure Nerdlet's neurological activity, and then a biophysical profile to measure Nerdlet's growth, breathing, and amniotic fluid.  Nerdlet passed all tests with flying colors - except the amniotic fluid test.  In fact, in the week between my doctor's concern and the second test, the fluid levels had dropped even more.  However, Nerdlet is currently measuring just over a week ahead and the doctor we saw last week (a new doctor, of course) said that the main concern with low amniotic fluid levels is that baby isn't being properly nourished and/or isn't growing.  Since we're measuring ahead, that doesn't appear to be the case, so he wasn't too worried.  However, to be on the safe side, he scheduled another biophysical profile for this coming week. So - Nerdlet has another test ahead and I'm hoping that we'll sail through this next one just as smoothly.

My good friend google tells me that the result of low amniotic fluid levels is sometimes bed rest.  And if levels get too low, sometimes they will take the baby.  So - my honeymoon period with this pregnancy is being threatened.  On the bright side, we've made it very far so if bed rest happens at this point, it won't likely be for long.  We'll see.  As always, prayers are appreciated!

Other than that, things are still going relatively smoothly.  I had a pretty nasty cold that I finally seem to be shaking.  This marks the second cold of this pregnancy, for those of you keeping score.  And this one was way worse.  I wound up on antibiotics due to some squeakiness in my lungs.  I'm happy to say that they seem to have helped tremendously.  I may not be coughing this baby out after all (as I had feared and, at one point, dreamed). 

Only 6 more weeks to go til my due date - with the holidays just around the corner, we know how quickly that is going to fly by.  At some point I'm going to have to stop being in denial about how this baby comes out of me (the baby classes are helping with that) - my brain leaves an empty space between feeling Nerdlet squirming around in my belly and feeling Nerdlet squirming around in my arms.  That empty space will be filled with all kinds of crazy memories eventually -- but for now, we'll just leave that worry for another day.