Carter Joshua

My son. It still feels unreal to say that. I guess it’s kind of fitting that I waited for a whole year (exactly!) to finish his birth story. I just can’t imagine life without him. All the fear and stress and nerves leading up to his entrance into our family seem silly now. This sweet, smushy, and snuggly little boy makes my life feel whole. It feels funny to write his birth story so far after it happened, but it feels like it was just last week that we met him. What a long and hard, but beautiful day. The day I met my boy, my husband’s son, my daughter’s brother. December 13, 2018 at 6:31 pm, I became a mother to the most amazing little man.

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Baby boy

We got to the hospital early; me and my little earth-side family of three. Check-in was 7:30 AM and they were shockingly prompt. We walked in and in just a few minutes, I was saying goodbye to my husband and daughter at the elevator. I thought they were going to be able to stay in the room with me for a while since I was just going to be laying there. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. All these months preparing, and I was finally saying goodbye to my little girl for the last time as an only child, before she became the sweetest, most caring sister in the world. I felt alone and a little sad, but at the same time at peace and ready.

I got my first dose of medication quickly, though at the time it seemed like it took ages. Then, I waited forever; bored and itchy. We had to wait four hours until I got my second dose so that we could make sure I didn’t pass this stupid GBS to my baby. When I got my second dose, they also gave me Pitocin to try to speed up the process. I didn’t feel anything. I felt like I was just sitting around wasting time. The contraction monitor showed I was having contractions, but I didn’t feel them. I was tired of sitting and getting more and more impatient. I tried doing some weird squats on the side of the bed hoping to break my water. Josh was checking his phone constantly and working. At around 11:15 AM, my water broke on its own, but I didn’t believe it. For some reason, I just tried to convince myself I’d just peed the bed, but gradually this liquid started to flow out every few minutes or so. By 11:40 AM it was still happening, and I finally realized that my water really had broken. Funny, that I felt weird saying something at first. All these people had seen me with my legs wide open already, but I would’ve felt embarrassed if I’d just peed the bed. Despite my water breaking, I still didn’t feel like I was in labor. The doctor came in and broke my water the rest of the way. Who knew that it was possible for your water to break only partway? The little due was blocking the water above him so the nurse scooched him over and the rest came out. After that, I went from 5.5 cm to 8 cm in an hour and the contractions came on INTENSELY. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. At some point, I remember yelling at Josh that I wanted him to suffer, too, which is funny and awful. I got an epidural around 3:30 PM. I went back and forth on trying to “tough it out,” but after those contractions seemed to come in full force out of nowhere and with my “history of large babies” as doctors call it, I decided I was still tough even with drugs. The rest is a little fuzzy. Everything seemed to move so quickly and slowly at the same time.

I remember having these horribly painful contractions right when someone came in to deliver a gift that Kerri sent me. I remember Josh leaving the room for a bit and thinking I would be pushing out this baby alone. I remember being terrified of pooping on the table again. I remember feeling conflicted and worried about the possibility of suction and forceps (I got the one other doctor besides the one who delivered Kaya that actually still uses forceps!) or an emergency c-section. I remember feeling like an idiot because I forgot how to push. I remember finally feeling like I got the hang of it. And then I remember that feeling of relief when he was finally out. And that sweet cry as he took his first few breaths. Just remember those feelings and sounds makes my heart race one year later.

When they put him in my arms, my fears and pain left me. This little boy was home. Oh my God, was he perfect. All 9 pounds, 11 ounces, and 21 inches of him. His squinty little eyes which took the better part of a day to open. His little nose. His tiny cry. His clenched fists.

Apparently, I had an episiotomy. I still have mixed feelings about that. But no forceps and no suction. And only about a half hour of pushing. Thinking back on the birth experience kind of makes me feel like super woman. I don’t remember delivering the placenta, but I have a vague memory of being stitched up while all the nurses oohed and ahhed and felt shocked about the size of our little guy. We all assumed he would be bigger than Kaya so we were all surprised that he was nearly a pound smaller! Immediate recovery after birth was tough. I had a lot of bleeding after the birth, which left me feeling lightheaded and nauseous. And my feet swelled up. So those things were unfortunate and uncomfortable, but HE WAS HERE and that made everything worth it.

About an hour after he was born, Kaya got to meet her little brother. If my heart wasn’t a complete puddle before, it was fully melted at this moment. Josh brought her in, and she looked so nervous. She was wearing her big sister shirt and carrying the llama she’d picked out for him. She gently laid it on him, and I snuggled her, and she stared at this crying little blob with wonder. The rest of our family swarmed in and I can’t help but think that he felt the love in that room. Shortly after, we kicked everyone out and I nursed him for the first time at 8:15 pm. He latched easily and ate heartily, and then he slept. He slept like a dream (and of course, I didn’t because I had to keep staring at him all night). He woke up at 11:40 pm when he had his checkup and then he went back to sleep at 12:30 am and by 4:17 am (kind of laughing at how specific I noted that) he was still snoozing. I was supposed to wake up him every few hours, but I just let him keep going. I remember trying to force myself to sleep because the first night in the hospital is always the easiest, but I just ate a burrito and watched him. Haha. His little blonde hairs and scrunchy face. He was and is so damn cute.

The next day was full of check-ups, more family visits, and trying to sleep when we could. Everyone always seemed shocked that he was so big, but Josh and I always laughed because he was our “small” baby. He really did seem so bony and little even though he was almost 10 pounds. He didn’t pass his hearing test the first day, which scared us. He also spent some time in the nursery getting some tests done because his breathing was abnormally rapid, but luckily, he didn’t have to go to the NICU. Dr. Reed came and checked on him super early in the morning and I missed him, while I was trying to relax and I still feel a little guilty and bummed about that, but all is well.  Being a parent is hard because you want everything to be right for your kids and the things that are out of your control make you feel helpless.

I stayed in the hospital alone the second night. I felt abandoned. That feels kind of dramatic to write, but it’s really how I felt. Josh went home with Kaya to get her back into her routine and I was left with this small boy that I loved wholeheartedly but feel like I didn’t know. I was scared and sad and I cried. A lot. Looking back, I’m not even sure why. I guess I just didn’t feel like I was enough for him. I remember a nurse coming into the room and asking if I was alone. I had to try so hard not to burst into tears. She reminded me that if I needed to rest, I could take him to the nursery for a few hours, but the thought of leaving him, even in good hands sounded so terrible. We made it through the night and bonded. I took some cute videos of his little grunts and squeaks. I watched as the baby acne shifted around his face and chest. I saw him really open his eyes for the first time. I’ll never forget these little moments we spent together, just the two of us.

He passed his second hearing test and that was such a relief. He had a few discordant blood pressure results, which led us to an infant EKG. Josh and I took turns hanging with each kid while the test was done. We found out he had a heart murmur but are so thankful that it was already quieter by the time we were discharged and completely gone by the time we had our checkup a few days later. We were discharged that afternoon and it felt so good to be home altogether.

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Going home <3

This year has gone by so fast. I can’t believe my sweet boy is one.

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December 13, 2019 – Carter is ONE!

His name is Carter Joshua and one year ago he made our family complete. Happy birthday, my love, my son, my sweet baby boy.

Tomorrow

Bittersweet. Sad. Excited. Scared. Right. Wrong. Hopeful.

Tomorrow our family will welcome our newest edition. I cried as I cuddled Kaya and sang her bedtime songs. I sobbed when I left her room. Josh and I held each other and cried as we said goodbye to our life as we’ve known it for the last three years. We are so happy and ready to welcome our sweet baby boy into our family. We know giving Kaya the gift of a sibling, a best friend, is the very best thing. Still, I feel like I’m mourning the loss of our one-on-one time, our girl time, my best friend. I so look forward to the adventures to come and can’t wait for this new chapter, but part of me wants to hold onto this moment a little longer. I love that little girl of mine so very much.

To my sweet Kaya June: Please know how much you are loved. Please know that you are still the center of your dad’s and my world. I wish I could say that you’ll never feel left out or jealous. This is going to be the hardest adjustment for all of us. Please know that even when things don’t feel just right for you, that we will always be here for you and you’re always going to be our baby and our number one girl. We promise to spend time just with you. We promise to love you with our whole hearts forever and ever. You’ll continue to be so much more than a big sister. You’re our life. I love you more than the whole world.

To my sweet baby boy: Tomorrow we’ll meet face-to-face. I can’t wait to look into your eyes and kiss your chubby cheeks. I can’t wait for you to be a part of our family. You’re going to love your dad. He’s the most caring and fun guy there is. And your sweet sister Kaya can’t wait to meet you and teach you new things. She loves you so much already and can’t wait to cuddle you outside of the belly hugs she gives you every night. I, as your Mama, promise to love you unconditionally. Please know that even when I’m exhausted and frustrated and overwhelmed, you will always be cared for and loved.

Tomorrow we become complete.

You’re growing up so fast

Kaya June,

You continue to be the sweetest girl I know. Tonight I had a headache so we sat on the couch and watched a little bit of a Mickey Mouse Christmas show, a special treat for you! Pluto accidentally made a mess of the Christmas decorations and Mickey got really upset. You noticed how Pluto was sad and started to tear up and asked why he was so sad. It was the saddest and dearest show of emotions. I love that you care so much.

I love the way you stare lovingly at my huge belly and talk to your “Baby.” I love the way you insist on giving him a kiss and hug each night and my heart swells every time you hold my tummy and tell your brother fun facts like “did you know pipes are under the street?” and talk to him about what you’ll do together: “When you get bigger, we can play. It’s Kaya. My color is pink and orange. What’s your favorite color?” I love the way you draw him photos and dream of the things you’ll do together.

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You are my sunshine.

You have the biggest heart. We’ve been having a lot of rain the last few weeks and Hank has been so uneasy about the thunder. I love watching you comfort him. Last week was the first time you noticed he was scared. You saw him shaking and asked why he was “moving.” You told him the rain would stop and asked him if he wanted us to make him feel better before showering him with hugs and kisses. You told him that sometimes we get scared of “strange things” and daddy makes us feel better. Tonight you kept checking on him while he hid in the bathtub. Please keep this sweetness forever, my love.

It’s been a while since I’ve written to you. We’ve been so busy! I was looking over the little notes I take from time to time on my phone about funny or new things you do or say and I can’t believe how much you’ve grown in just a few months. You are so opinionated and talkative and smart (you’re so good at counting and recognize so many numbers and letters now!)! Here’s a list of a few of my favorite things you’ve said recently:

  • 8/18 – I walked into your room after you woke up and the first thing you said was, “Mama, I was thinking we could get ice cream and then go to the place and maybe a show at the place.”
  • 8/20 – “I’m not really much hungry to this taco.”  “Ice cream is kind of like medicine.”
  • 9/14 – “Good night my mommy sweetie.”
  • 9/2018 – “I love you but you’re taking a long time.”
  • 9/2018 – “Is it soggy?” (I haven’t heard you replace your “f’s” with “s’s” in a while, but this was one of my favorite things about your speech. You still use the letter “w” instead of “l” though and it’s too cute!
  • 10/16 – You were reading a book and said “everybody, everybody, if you see a skunk or a dude that’s not funny, go to your family” “Everybody, everybody, go to your family if you see something stink on you.” I laughed for so long at this.
  • 11/4 – If our house was a little bigger, we could fit a helicopter in it.”
  • 11/9 – You woke up on your birthday and dad and I burst in singing happy birthday to you and you smiled at us and said “sometimes my tongue is on my pillow,” then “is baby brother out?” We’ve been telling you for months that he’s coming out after you turn three and I love that you’ve been looking forward to his arrival so much!

Speaking of your birthday, you’re a three-year-old now! I can’t believe how fast time has gone! I love that you still want me to snuggle you even though you’re often very independent. I love that you say “Mama” or “Mom” at the end of almost every sentence. I love you curiosity and how observant you are, even though you must ask well over 100 questions every day.

Last month you felt your brother really move for the first time. I’ll never forget how you looked up at me in awe as you shouted “he’s moving!” As your time as an only child quickly comes to end, I want you to know how much I love you. How I’m scared that we’ll grow apart, but you’ll always have my heart. I can’t wait to see you become a big sister and a big girl. These last few weeks while I’ve been on disability, have meant so much to me and I’m so thankful I was able to spend a little extra time just the two of us.  I hope you run to the door screaming “MAMA!” when I pick you up and jump into my arms forever. I promise we’ll still go on the coffee shop and dinner dates that you love so much. Please know that even when I have to take care of your baby brother, I’ll still make time for you and I’ll never love you any less.

I feel like there are so many other things I want to tell you, but for now I’ll share a few of my favorite photos of you over the last few months. I promise to write you again soon, my sweet girl.

No matter how big you get, you’ll always be my baby.

I love you,

Mama

Kern update

Dang it. I did it again. Months without writing much down and I feel like I’m slowly forgetting everything that I wanted to remember forever. We’ve had a busy few months and are so excited for baby boy to join us.

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Rest assured, I’m much larger than this now. November 5 – 35 weeks, 2 days

Today, I’m 37 weeks and 3 days. I can’t believe the end (or beginning?) is already so near! My checkups have been going well and I’m so happy I get to hear this sweet little guy’s heartbeat once a week now. Last week I got my cerclage out and it was a doozy. I forgot to take ibuprofen so that was dumb, but I’m not so sure it would have helped much anyway. I possibly almost broke Josh’s hand. Removing stitches from your cervix after they’ve been in there for about 20 weeks feels like someone is just cutting chunks off of your vagina. It’s so painful. But it’s done! Baby boy can fall out anytime now! (Although he won’t because he’s HUGE just like his big sis. Originally, my doctor said she wouldn’t let me go past 40 weeks, but yesterday, surprisingly, she said she wouldn’t let me go more than a week late. Strange. I don’t know if she forgot he was massive or just knows that I would really prefer not to be induced or have a c-section. That being said, she did schedule me to be induced on November 6th, two days before my due date, but she said it’s fine if I want to cancel it. I probably will. I am really hoping this guys decides to come on his own. End of November sounds good to me. :)

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This boy would not turn around so the tech switched to 4D and got this sweet image of him. Kind of hard to see if you don’t know what you’re looking at, but I feel like this gave me a true glimpse into what he’ll really look like!

What else… Two tests prove I don’t have gestational diabetes, just really big kids! I did find out that I have GBS though. That worries me, even though the likelihood of passing it along to baby boy and him having a problem is pretty small. Just another thing to think about and stress about. I think those are the big updates! Oh, and we decided we’re not going to circumcise him. I never thought I’d be on this side of the big circumcision debate, but I am. The thought of it just sounds so barbaric and unnatural. I do sometimes worry that even though it’s becoming more and more normal (I read somewhere that it’s a 50/50 split nowadays), he will feel uncomfortable or abnormal in the locker room or among friends, but I feel confident that we’re doing the right thing. I wouldn’t ever get Kaya’s ears pierced without her informed consent, so why would I have part of my baby’s penis hacked off? No way.

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We went to a wedding. I felt enormous. Pretty sure I’m 4 times bigger now. HAHAHA. :(

Lastly and on a non-peen-related note, though we’re struggling a little financially as Josh looks for a job (he has a huge and great prospect!), I decided to take the maximum disability I could before my due date. 4 weeks! I wanted to make sure I spent some quality time with Kaya and got a few big projects/goals completed before this guy makes his appearance. November 8th was my last day and I feel like I’ve been going nonstop ever since.

I got really good at taking bump photos for awhile, but since I’ve been home, I haven’t taken any. Whoops. In searching for these, I did find some super cute ones I never posted from when I was “small.” I’ll have to post them for comparison at some point. Anyway, here are the latest few!

I did another one of these thingys because its cool to compare them and helps me stay slightly on track:

Baby Size: Friggin’ huge. My last ultrasound was on November 5th at 35 weeks and 2 days. At that point, he was measuring 3 weeks ahead in almost all categories and weighed approximately 8 pounds and 1 once. And his head was off the charts in the 99th percentile. So basically, I’m going to have a 45 pound child. Oh, and also, he has spiky hair. :)
Weight gain: I already forgot what I weighed at my checkup yesterday, but it was somewhere around 153 pounds. Holy cow, that sounds like so much. I think I weighed around 120ish when I got pregnant so I’ve gained a little over 30 pounds. This bizarre thing is that my measurements have been about a week behind for the last few checkups even though my little man is a giant.
Maternity clothes: I  live in only maternity clothes except for my now extremely small undies and my extra large bras. Can’t wait to wear “real” clothes again so I can have slightly more variety.
Stretch marks: The same. Everywhere. Big. Deep. Blue. :(
Sleep: About a week ago I woke up only once during the night and it was glorious. Other than that, I wake up about 12 times and just flop around (with great effort) or get up to pee.
Movement: When this guys moves, he MOVES. Big ‘ol kicks and flips. I can really feel bones and butt now. I swear his head is already in my vagina, but I know it’s not. It’s been down that way for a long time though so I can’t say I’ve ever really felt it (or at least known that’s what I was feeling) through my belly.
Looking forward to: Meeting this guy and squeezing him and kissing him and snuggling him. And of course, watching Josh become a dad again. And perhaps my favorite, watching Kaya turn into a big sister. I CAN’T WAIT.
Food cravings: This whole time I keep saying I don’t have cravings, but I do. I have one hell of a sweet tooth. I just want to get anything sugary constantly. Also a big fan of quesadillas, although that is not necessarily pregnancy-related.
Food aversions: I EAT ALL THE FOOD.
Signs: Sometimes I get punched/kicked so hard I’m certain this man is coming out. Or he headbutts my cervix and I feel like I’m going to explode. My lower back has been killing me, but it’s probably because I’m huge and uncomfortable all the time. No contractions! My cevix was 2 cm and 50% effaced as of yesterday, but I know you can waddle around like that for weeks so that doesn’t make me feel like he’s coming out any sooner.
What I miss: Lugging around my little girl. She tells me daily that when Baby Brother comes out, I will be able to lift her and give her piggyback rides. I’m so excited for that. I’ve been lifting her a little (like in shopping carts and other random times), but it’s not often and I’m very careful.
Symptoms: Just chronic uncomfortableness I guess. I made that word up. My back hurts, my shoulders hurt, sometimes my stretch marks hurt. My uterus aches often, my feet look fairly normal, but are swollen and achy. My skin is super dry, my hair is brittle… now I’m just complaining…
Nursery: WOO! Nearly done, shockingly. I’m not even close to as freaked out about not having everything done like last time. Is he really going to use it much the first few months? No. That being said I basically just need to paint (tomorrow, I think) and hang up a curtain rod. Easy peasy.
Belly Button in or out? OUT. Kaya pokes at it and says it’s big.
Wedding rings on or off? Engagement ring is long gone and my wedding ring (for the first time ever I think?) is pretty snug.
Mood: READY. I don’t think that’s a mood, but although I feel like I have a zillion things that would be convenient to do, I feel pretty at ease with this guy coming whenever he wants to come even if I have a pile of projects that are half done.

It’s hard to believe that in just a few short weeks (or days!), I’ll be holding my tiny(ish) baby boy in my arms. It’s hard to imagine life with another person in it, but it feels so right. Sometimes I get sad thinking about how I won’t be able to feel his little movements inside me anymore. Sometimes I want to keep him all to myself, safe and sound inside my body. But mostly, I feel so lucky that this tiny person is going to be born into a family that loves him so much already. I’m trying to savor these last few moments as much as I can, but we are all so ready for him to be a part of our world. Now, he just needs a name!

Lastly, I leave you with this ridiculous photo that makes me laugh. And with that I’m going to bed because I’m old and tired.

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Just noticed the beer bottle. Classy.

30

Holy crap. I’m 30. Actually, it doesn’t feel that weird. I feel like I’ve been 30 forever. Probably because I’m so sophisticated and mature. Kidding. Really though, I thought 30 would make me feel so old. I remember when my parents were in their thirties and I thought they were ancient.

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Happy birthday to me.

The Friday before my birthday, I treated myself to a prenatal massage. Every year, my boss gives my spa gift cards for Christmas and I hadn’t used any since I was pregnant with Kaya. It was so relaxing and needed. I think I’m going to do it again a little closer to my due date when things start getting really uncomfortable and crampy. When I got to my mom’s house, Kaya surprised me with a birthday balloon, an orange ball, and a cute little card. She couldn’t wait for my birthday! She sang “happy birthday to you, happy birthday to mama” with a cupcake she’d decorated and stuck a candle in. THE CUTEST.

On Saturday, we went to dinner with my parents and sister. I ate way too much Mexican food and then inhaled my favorite dessert, my mom’s nilla wafer banana pudding. Kaya sang me happy birthday again and chose an ice cream sandwich over a cupcake, which she ate faster than I’ve ever seen.

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Birthday dinner.

I slept in until 8AM. It was awesome. I woke up to little notes slipped under my door, which was the cutest thing. We played for a little while before hopping in the car to a surprise breakfast location. It was delicious and a perfect morning. Since we were by the beach, we went to see the seals. Kaya’s “art art art” seal barks are my favorite.

I got to sprawl out on my bed for an hour while Kaya chatted in her bed instead of taking a nap. Then we went to get pedicures, and Josh came! It was his first pedicure and it was hilarious to see him a little nervous, but thoroughly pleased. Kaya picked out sparkly purple nail polish for him. Still kind of wish he went for it.

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My princess.

We ate ice cream and then picked up pizza on the way home (dessert is always better before dinner) and lounged the rest of the evening. It was the perfect, relaxing birthday. I think 30 is going to be my favorite year yet.

Little man

Yesterday, I had a checkup with my high-risk doctor and I am so happy to report that it was our first appointment where we walked away with only good news. AT LAST! The cyst on our little guy’s brain is gone and my cervix is holding strong at 3.1 centimeters. Dr. Stanco was very happy and, assuming things continue to go well, my last appointment with her will be at around 30 weeks. I’m allowed to increase my activity some as long as I don’t overdo it. TARGET HERE I COME.

We got an AMAZING photo of our little man. I’ve never seen a clearer ultrasound photo. You can really see his perfect face. We can’t wait to meet you, baby. (P.S. We can wait until 37 weeks. Stay in until then.)

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Peeaboo! I love you!

Not too much to share other than that, which is a relief.

I did two of these when I was pregnant with Kaya at 22 weeks, 3 days and 36 weeks, 1 day. Kind of fun to see how things compare!

I’m 26 weeks, 5 days today!

Baby Size: I had a checkup yesterday and they said the kern was about 2.6 pounds. He’s in the 77th percentile, measuring 2 weeks, 1 day ahead. He’s going to be a big chunk like his sister!
Weight gain: I started off about 15 pounds heavier than I was when I got pregnant with Kaya. That, added to the size of this kid and my body knowing how to stretch and move makes me feel extra huge! I haven’t been tracking my weight. Looking in the mirror tells me I am definitely beefing up. I just compared photos of my bump from a few days ago and my bump at 31 weeks. I’m HUGE. I’ll definitely pay attention to the scale at my checkup next week.
Maternity clothes: I swear I started wearing maternity leggings at 14 weeks this time. I stretch into some of my shirts and dresses, but said goodbye to my “normal” bottoms long ago.
Stretch marks: All of my stretch marks I got at the end of my pregnancy with Kaya are back and in full force. My poor skin feels like it’s going to burst sometimes.
Sleep: What is sleep?! Between waking up to pee and waking up to stare at the ceiling randomly for two hours at a time, I feel like I hardly sleep at all. I’ve taken more naps in this pregnancy than I have in my life. Being on mild bedrest has definitely helped me take time to relax more.
Movement: This little guy moves SO much. He’s constantly rolling around in there and poking me. I love feeling him move. This pregnancy has been so stressful and worrisome so knowing he’s in there doing his thing makes me feel like he’s doing okay.
Best moment this week: Hands down the best thing was seeing his perfect little face yesterday. Now, when he moves I feel like I can really picture him in there. I can’t wait to kiss those sweet cheeks!
Looking forward to: I can’t wait to see Kaya become a big sister to this little guy. I can’t wait to see how they interact together. I can’t wait to scoop up both kids in my arms and swing them around (because I’ll be able to finally lift things in a few months!)!
Food cravings: No surprise here, still love carbs. Just like with Kaya. I have more of a sweet tooth than I used to also. So, super healthy over here. Biggest love right now are bagels. I’m going to get a rude slap in the face when I have to dial back the carbs soon.
Food aversions: I pretty much eat whatever is in front of me. Nothing I can think of sounds gross.

Labor Signs: Other than the random contractions a few weeks ago, no signs of labor. Thank God.
What I miss: I miss being able to pick up Kaya SO much. And getting a good night’s sleep.
Symptoms: Restlessness, clear discharge from my nips on occasion, stretch marks, aches and pains, the list goes on. The biggest pain right now is the pain in whatever the tendon is called that connects from your leg to your pelvic area. That thing hurts so badly whenever I lay down.
Nursery: Currently, a massive collection of baby stuff and office stuff while Josh builds out the new office. This kid is going to be spoiled. We have so much stuff for him (thank you, nephews). I can’t wait until I can get in there and start organizing.
Belly Button in or out? Neither? It’s kind of flat and almost looks like I don’t have one at all. Sometimes a little squishy part does poke out.
Wedding rings on or off? My engagement ring came off really early on this time. My wedding band, which always spins around, is a little snugger now.
Mood: Excited. Relieved. Happy.

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Little foot <3

Let me tell ya ’bout my best friend

Kaya June,

I tell you this every day, but I love you more than the whole wide world. I love every little thing about you. I love the way you use the letter “f” instead of “s” and say words like “ficey” and “feaker” and “finny” instead of “spicy” and “speaker”  and “spinny.” I love your love for extra finny dresses. I love how you tell me “I wuv you more than the whole world” randomly and without me saying it first. I love the funny little things you say out of what seems like nowhere, like “I wuv donuts. Mama, I like donuts a lot.” when you first woke up and “oh this is cute” in the Starbucks bathroom and “know where it is next time, Mom” when I missed the exit to the frozen yogurt shop and “ya talking about elephants back there?” when Dad and I were talking in our room.

I love the way you talk to your babies. It’s funny hearing you say things to them that I say to you. You’re going to take such good care of your baby brother when he’s here. And that’s another thing I love about you! I love how you color pictures for your baby brother and show them to my tummy. I love that you like to scratch my tummy and sing him the ABC’s through your crib at night. I love that you love hugging him and giving him a good night kiss. I love how patient you are with me even though I know how much you want me to give you piggyback rides and pick you up.

I love that you’re silly and sassy. I love that you want me to snuggle and hold you even when you’re mad because you’re not getting your way. I love how you’re always in a good mood even when you’re not feeling good. I love that you know what a coffee shop is and like to go on dates with me there. I love that you have an imaginary friend named Bubba who you yell at and play with and talk to. I love that you rub my back without me asking you to and how you ask me to scratch harder and under your shirt when it’s your turn for a back rub. I love how you try to negotiate, often successfully, for just one more book or one five more minutes or five more songs. I love the way you ask (or demand) to go back to my room for cuddles.

I’m nervous that you won’t want to be so close to me when your brother gets here and I’ll have to spend some of my time with him. I don’t ever want us to grow apart. I want you to know that you will always be my best friend and true love. You’ll always be my #1 girl. I can’t wait to sneak away on girl adventures just the two of us. You are my world, my love.

I love you more than the whole world, sweetie pie.

Love, Mama

Oregon

We took a trip to Oregon at the beginning of the July and it was awesome! Josh and I both said we’d move to a place like that if we didn’t have all of our family supporting us here.

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Mount Shasta 2018

We started off on a Thursday afternoon and timed it pretty well with Kaya’s nap. It was a pretty uneventful drive aside from getting a speeding ticket (-_-) and Kaya did really well. We stopped in Tulare, which is basically in the middle of nowhere, after about four hours. It was so nice to check in to the hotel in daylight, have dinner, and sleep rather than drive through the night. Kaya had a blast playing with the corded phone.

We left the next day around 8AM, which we were super happy about, until we realized we left a bag there and had to backtrack twenty minutes. Not awful, but when you have a toddler in the car who doesn’t want to be in the car, those forty extra minutes are not great. We pointed out farm animals and construction trucks and tried to keep Kaya entertained with songs and new activities, but eight-ish hours in the cars with few stops is pretty rough. Our sweet and calm little girl didn’t have her best day, but overall it was a lot better than it could’ve been. We arrived in Dunsmuir around 4:30pm and it was beautiful. A quaint little town surrounded by trees was the perfect place to spend the evening. We had dinner at the local brewery and Kaya was super happy about the live music. She stared at the guy playing his ka-tar (guitar) and swung her little legs in her chair the whole dinner. Kaya did a hilarious little nudie dance before our shower that had us both cracking up hysterically for a while. After we put her to bed, Josh, Hank, and I sat on bench outside our room and talked while it got dark. It was so peaceful and I really want to do that more often. Then I got paranoid about mosquitoes so we came inside and went to bed.

The next day, we drove up Mount Shasta and it was gorgeous. We drove as far as we could go and hung out for a while just taking in the beautiful view.

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Tiny girl with the whole world at her fingertips.

Josh went for an unexpectedly long ride while Kaya and wandered around the park. I’m pretty grossed out by porta potties, but I had to pee so bad so Kaya had her first experience in one. It was not good. The toilet was FULL, which I didn’t even think was possible. The smell was so awful that Kaya and I ran out of there and I peed on the ground near the car, which Kaya thought was ridiculous and kept telling me not to pee on the ground again next time. We found a gas station with ice cream and ate too much sugar while we watched a man practice skydiving moves on the grass. It was a great morning. After that we packed up and headed to Oregon.

 

Besides a much needed family vacation, the purpose of the trip was to visit Josh’s friend Matthias and his family in Corvallis, Oregon where they’d moved a few years ago. I loved the downtown area and all of the brick buildings. I was surprised to see how much farmland there was out there. Matthias’ house was on a golf course meshed between farmland and forest. It was beautiful. We spent the next 5 ½ days hanging out at the house, trying their favorite restaurants, splashing in the country club pool, having our first NorCal beach day, and poking around forests. Kaya was pretty shy most of the time and definitely get her best rest, but it was so great to getaway and see a new place for a few days.

The highlight of the trip for me, and probably Kaya, was the 4th of July festival. There were a ton of jumpies, which Kaya loves, and I got her an unlimited pass so she bounced for hours. We found some cute souvenirs in a little shop in the main part of town and had fries for lunch before going back for a nap. That evening, we returned to the festival with Josh, Matthias and his wife Katherine, and their eight-year-old on Conrad and Kaya had a blast bouncing again. We missed the fireworks (it gets dark so late there so fireworks were way past her bedtime), but it was still a great celebration.

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My people.

Kaya and I flew back home the next day. Although we spent a lot of time by ourselves or hanging out with the family while Josh and Matthias rode bikes, it was nice to have this little adventure with just Kaya and I. She loved watching the plane come in and her favorite question (why?!) was definitely not in shortage that day. We had a great flight and it was nice to sleep in our own beds. Josh and Hank came home a few days later (we missed them!) and it was back to our normal routines from there.

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The sweetest goodbye.

I’m really thankful we had a chance to vacation for a while, especially now that I can’t really do much until we find out if my cervix is changing. It’s crazy to think that more likely than not, the next family vacation we take will be as a family of 5! Not sure how we’re going to fit 2 car seats, a dog, and all of our stuff in our SUV, but it will certainly be an adventure.

And here’s a few more photos because I can’t help myself.

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Next to the ocean she looks so small.

My last baby

This pregnancy has been extremely hard on me emotionally. It seems like with every bit of good news, there’s more difficult news. After four long weeks, I finally had my cervical checkup. Last week we got the amazing news that my cervix has lengthened from 2.3 to 2.8! Still not at the magical 3, my doctor wants to see, but thankfully it’s not getting worse. As of now, I’m supposed to be laying or sitting down after work and taking it easy with limited activities on weekends. This mild bed rest makes me feel so guilty and anxious. I hate not being able to do all of the fun stuff with Kaya I’m used to and not being able to prep the nursery, help with our office remodel, or do more basic tasks around the house makes me feel like going insane.

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Baby Boy: 22 weeks, 4 days

During the ultrasound, a cyst was discovered on our little kern’s brain. It’s called a choroid plexus cyst and while not super common, it’s typically something that goes away on its own and doesn’t cause any problems. Of course, my mind went to the worst place possible and the color drained from Josh’s face as he feared it was a tumor like he had five years ago. Our doctor let us know that when paired with other soft markers for chromosomal abnormalities, this cyst can be a marker for Trisomy 18. I passed my genetic tests and our baby is developing normally, which means this is not considered a marker at all. Despite that, I spent the rest of the afternoon in bed crying. We considered having additional non-invasive prenatal testing done, but after talking to my new doctor at my checkup the following day, I decided against it as it would basically be telling us what we already know; the likelihood of our boy having a chromosomal issue is pretty slim. Talking to my doctor made me feel a lot better. He told me that additional testing was unnecessary and that both of his kids had these cysts and turned out just fine. While I’m still uneasy, that helped. I let him know that I’m a chronic worrier and he told me about the itty bitty shitty committee, the tiny, but powerful part of your brain that immediately fills your mind doubt and fear and worst-case scenarios. He told me to tell it to shut up and enjoy my pregnancy (and life). And you know what? He’s totally right. I’ve been struggling to really enjoy this pregnancy because I’ve been consumed by fear and guilt and that’s not a good or healthy way to live.

I got home from work a little early yesterday and decided to go through some files to prep for the new office. It was kind of cramped in the closet, but I was sitting and not doing any lifting so I gave myself permission to be productive. Sitting around not doing much has made me feel like I’m going insane so I allow myself to do little tasks that require little physical effort on occasion. After that, I laid down in my bed for a while before going to pick up Kaya. From that point on, something just didn’t feel right. My uterus felt very heavy and I felt an unusual amount of pressure in my vaginal/lower abdominal area. I did my best to stay off my feet, which is hard to do with Kaya running around demanding things, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t as it should be. Josh was working on demoing what will become our new office and I asked him to come inside early because I needed to lay down. I told him something wasn’t right and that I was considering going to the hospital. By 7:15, I’d decided the best thing I could do was to go to triage and get this checked out even if it meant forfeiting my nightly routine with Kaya. I just didn’t feel comfortable walking around, bending, or sitting on the floor. I kissed her goodbye and headed to the hospital.

It was a long night. I spent a little over five hours laying in a hospital bed listening to other women in moaning and breathing through active labor. I felt silly for being there because other than pressure, I didn’t have any other symptoms, like bleeding or discharge. I was ready to chalk this up to me being overly sensitive and paranoid and was starting to mentally kick myself for choosing to spend half the night here for what was probably nothing. But, turns out I was having contractions. Light ones, that I really couldn’t feel much, but contractions nonetheless. Thankfully, my cervix remains closed and my cerclage is still tight. I was tested for a protein that shows up when you’re going to deliver within a week (which is insane that a test for that exists!) and that test eventually came back negative. I was given nifedipine to stop the contractions and was told that if the medicine didn’t work, that I was in preterm labor. I was scared and, of course, my phone died a few hours into my stay so I couldn’t talk to Josh about anything, so on top of that I felt alone. On the bright side, the kern was the most active I’ve ever felt him. Nurses kept coming in to fix the monitor because he was flipping and punching all over the place, which also kept throwing off the contractions monitor. I loved feeling him move around and hearing his heartbeat. He felt really low, which likely contributed to some of the pressure I was feeling and sometimes it felt like he was trying to punch right through my cerclage. The nurse couldn’t feel his head through my cervix and I didn’t appear to have any bulging waters so that was a relief. As worrisome as this experience was, I tried to soak in the little alone time I got to have with my super active and tiny son.

My contractions eventually stopped and I was finally discharged around 12:30AM. I was hungry and tired and pretty much collapsed into bed when I got home. As of this morning, my uterus still feels heavy and I still have the slight sensation that my vagina is wide open, but neither are as bad as yesterday. If my symptoms return, I’ll have to go in to see my OBGYN. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a reason for why this happened. Hopefully, it doesn’t turn out to be a pattern as that will likely lead to permanent, full bed rest. So today, I’m taking it easy, working from my bed, and trying to relax. I’m going to try really hard to force myself to do as little as possible. I don’t want to risk this pregnancy or losing even more time with Kaya.

All of this, the post-cerclage problems, the cyst, the contractions, the increased fear… this has made me come to the realization that this little guy will be my last baby. A few months before I got pregnant, I started dreaming of having three kids. I wasn’t ready for this to be my last pregnancy and I don’t think I am now either. The stress and pain and the feeling that I’m in some way abandoning Kaya are taking their toll on me and I’m afraid it will only get worse. I’m not shutting the door just yet, but I have a strong sense that our family will be perfectly complete as a family of 5 (can’t forget Hank). I don’t know that my body or my mind will be able to do this again. Sometimes I find myself struggling to get too excited because I’m scared of what I might lose.

With all that being said, I’m really trying to remain positive about this pregnancy. I’m trying to internalize all of the good things, like this little guy’s feisty kicks and how much Kaya already loves him. I’m trying to remind myself that this little guy is happy and healthy (and measuring a week ahead!). I’m trying to take more bump photos so I can have a physical reminder of how far I’ve come. I’m trying to steer my mind away from the itty bitty shitty committee and all of the things I keep worrying about that are mostly out of my control. I’m trying to ask for help more and I even hired my sister to come over a few times to help with cleaning and will definitely be recruiting for more help as time goes on.

Josh and I have been having late-night dinners together, just the two of us, at least four times a week. He usually makes it (this will be the only time I say thank you bed rest) and we have no phones or Netflix. Just us sitting together talking about life. It’s been refreshing. I don’t know what I would do without him. He’s the strongest person I know.

So that’s that. I keep telling the kern to stay in there for a few more months and hope he somehow knows how much he is already loved. I can’t believe that I’ll be holding him in a little over 16 weeks (or sooner, but hopefully not that much sooner). Today, I am 23 weeks and 4 days pregnant. It seems like I’ve barely crossed the halfway point, but I feel really lucky to be here. As much as modern medicine can be infuriating and scary (I feel like I know too much and it drives me bat shit), I would likely not have Kaya and definitely wouldn’t have the kern without it.

I love you, Josh. I love you, Kaya. I love you, Kern. I love you, Hank. Thank you for being the best family I could ever ask for.

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The best.

It’s a boy!

EEEEEKKKKK! We can’t believe it. This whole pregnancy I’ve been saying I think it’s a boy knowing that I have literally never correctly guessed the sex of anyone’s baby before, so I guess in my head I truly believed it would be a girl.

On July 11, Josh and I nervously waited in the waiting room. We talked about how it was definitely going to be a girl, but wouldn’t it be insane if it was a boy?! The tech doing the ultrasound seemed to take forever doing all of the important measurements (the real reason for the appointment) and I felt like I was holding my breath the whole time. She got to the part where she was measuring the kern’s legs and I saw a flash of what I swore was a penis. I looked over at Josh with my eyes practically popping out of my sockets as Josh said “I think I saw something!” The tech laughed and didn’t realize what we were talking about. We both stared at each other and finally the tech zoomed in on that little between the legs area and there it was: a not-as-tiny-as-I-expected penis! Holy crap! I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I think it was something like “oh my God it’s a boy, what are we going to do with a boy?!”

Although we were both shocked, we’re both SO excited to have a boy. We’ll have one of each, which I think is pretty awesome. Now, just stay in there for a few more months little man so you can grow healthy and strong. Your sister is so ready to play with you!
I guess I jumped a little ahead of myself with that reveal. We revealed our pregnancy to our parents when I was around 9 weeks pregnant. I was a little nervous because it felt so early, but I was about to burst keeping it a secret any longer and I wanted to tell them soon since my cerclage surgery was only a month away.

On May 8th, we had Josh’s mom and Terry over for dinner under the guise of an early birthday dinner. Kaya was wearing her big sister shirt with a long sleeve shirt over it to hide the news. Just before we sat down to eat, we asked Nana to take of her shirt so Kaya didn’t get too hot or dirty during dinner. Josh and I anxiously peeked at them from the kitchen as she nonchalantly took it off. Once she’d read it, her head spun around with her eyes bugged out as she said “You’re expecting?!” It was hilarious and sweet and a memory I’ll never forget. We’re all so excited to welcome this little man into our lives.

A few days later, on Mother’s Day, we went over to my family’s house from brunch where we played the same take-off-the-shirt trick on my mom. My mom asked Kaya what shirt she was wearing and Kaya kept saying “my big sister shirt,” which my mom felt like she wasn’t understanding. Once the shirt was on, my mom spun around with her eyes bulging out bigger than I’ve ever seen and said “WHAT?!” And then my dad poked me and my sister ran over and hugged me and everyone got teary-eyed and it was such a funny and special little moment. And then Kaya was just really ready to eat her chocolate chip pancakes, haha!

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July 24 – 20 weeks, 3 days. I feel huge, but also pointy.

Now skipping back ahead back to our gender reveal, we told our families the day after we found out. I originally wanted to do something cool to show them like popping a balloon filled with blue confetti, but we were kind of eager and since I’m on light duty activities still, I didn’t want to drive around to get balloons filled up; I’d rather spend the day sharing the news. (Although I do want to incorporate some kind of balloon-related into a reveal photo with Kaya at some point.)

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July 12, 2018 – Right before Kaya opened her box for the big reveal!

We went over to my parents’ house and I put a pair of blue booties with the ultrasound photos into a box for Kaya to open. She was so excited to have a sister and I was really curious and a little nervous about how she’d react to the news. I told her that if there were pink booties (which by the way, Kaya thinks is a hilarious name since it sounds like her booty) that meant she was having a sister, and blue meant a brother. We asked her to open the box and she said “blue” very nervously and quietly. And then everyone started shouting and clapping. So glad I have that on tape. For a while, she’d still call the baby her sister, but she almost always says brother now. And she’s been so sweet coming up to cuddle him or sing him songs. She even read a book to him recently! I’ve been trying not to buy so much since we inherited a ton of boys’ clothes from my nephews, but every time a little onesie or package of socks arrives, Kaya darts into her brother’s room to put it in there for him. She’s also helped me collect some of her baby toys and books to put in there, too. I asked her what she was going to teach her brother a week or so ago and usually she says “not to chew on books” because she’s always concerned and mildly amused when she finds her old books that she gnawed on when she was tiny. This time she said, “not to touch glass things,” which I thought was really smart and thoughtful.

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It’s a BOY!!

That evening when we got home, we started telling the rest of our immediate family. Josh’s mom was in Alaska on vacation and we called her first. Josh asked to FaceTime and she was so excited to see little blue booties sitting on Josh’s chest when the all connected. Kim was shocked it was a boy and was super happy, too. I think everyone thought the kern was going to be a girl. We texted Josh’s dad a photo of the ultrasound while we were on the phone with him and he said there’s no doubt that’s a boy! Haha. We texted and called friends over the next few days. So excited to share the news about this little boy!

We love you, my sweet little baby.