36 Weeks!

36 weeks!!!

I am amazed that ten weeks ago I was at the hospital being evaluated for preterm labor. If you had told me I was going to make it at least another ten weeks, I’m not sure I would have believed it. We are sooo thankful. In fact, last week I “graduated” from the preterm labor high risk program! I received my last Progesterone shot in the butt and went happily on my way.

These past few weeks have been anything but uneventful, though. During week 34 I was in and out of triage four times. A few days after I made it to 34 weeks (when Mariah was delivered), I started having crazy contractions. At first, I thought they were just Braxton Hicks, but they quickly grew more intense and frequent.  I was monitored several times and received hormone shots just to make sure our baby’s lungs and brain would be developed enough. At one point I was having contractions every four minutes for several hours and I thought FOR SURE I was going to deliver that day. Nope.

While I didn’t love the idea of going into labor at 34 weeks, it sure sounded better than labor at 26 weeks, so I was doing okay. The real concern came when I received a call from the hospital one night. The doctor called to tell me that they decided to send my urine sample out for a culture and that it came back positive for Group B Strep (GBS). I won’t lie, I had a minor breakdown. All those memories of Mariah in the NICU came flooding back instantaneously.

Group B Strep is actually fairly common. Many women are carriers and don’t even know it. Obviously I am a carrier and my doctors are very aware of that. In fact, I’ve already tested positive once (at 4 months) in this pregnancy and taken antibiotics for it. The reason it scared me so much last week was because of the contractions I was having. It was exactly like what happened with Mariah. Somehow Mariah contracted the bacteria in the womb and I went into preterm labor because my body wanted her out. Soon after being born, she started with the convulsions, 105F fever, organs shutting down, etc.

Obviously, my first concern was that this baby had already contracted the bacteria and my body was going into labor to get him out. I wanted to go in right then and there and have a c-section to get him out. The doctors weren’t so sure though. They said what happened to Mariah was so incredibly rare that the possibility of it happening again was almost impossible. Okay. Deep breaths. Get it together. Reread your own blog about overcoming high-risk pregnancy fears.

After an hour or so (and a good cry), I took it to the Lord and He gave me an overwhelming peace. He is in control and I trust Him- whatever His plan is. For now, I will be on oral antibiotics until I deliver and then I will be placed on IV antibiotics. When he is born, he will be monitored for infection and will receive antibiotics if necessary.

Pregnancy is such a thing for me. Such a test of faith. Such a constant reminder that I am not in control. The fact that I’ve made it past 36 weeks is bringing me some serious joy right now though. The fact that God has it all in His hands brings me even more joy. I’m still having contractions, so we’ll see what happens over the next couple of weeks. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me and our sweet baby during these crazy times!

 

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Sweaty “Digital” Exams

I’m still pregnant :)!

We’re at 27 weeks and my body is holding tight, praise the Lord! I found out that I had two infections that were causing a lot of the cramping from last week, so clearing those up has helped me feel a lot more comfortable.

The high-risk doctors I see every week are not overly concerned about how I have effaced since for now it seems to have stopped and I’m not dilating. They haven’t put me on bed rest, since apparently that’s not a “thing” anymore. There seems to be a lot of controversy about it, but the specialists I go to say that current research suggests that bed rest doesn’t really help avoid preterm labor. They do want me to take it easy and not lift anything heavy…like Mariah (ha!). I’ve done pretty well with not over-doing it, especially since my mom (and pretty much everyone else in my life) doesn’t agree with “current research” and think it’s common sense to take the pressure off the ol’ girl down south.

I did break the rules once this week when I was home alone with Mariah. We’ve been trying to potty train and she has pooped in the potty several times now (score!). Anyway, I was making lunch and heard her in the bathroom, so I rushed in only to find her with her hands submerged in the toilet bowl. Awesome.  My obvious reaction was to pick her up and carry her to the sink to minimize the amount of toilet water  being dripped everywhere. Mom fail in more ways than one. Ew.

I did better after that, though, because it was nap time and I had to try and figure out a way to get her in her crib without lifting her over. We brought in a step stool and a bar stool, climbed up, and had her put her leg over the side of the crib. Once I had her halfway over, I gave her a little nudge and she kind of flopped into bed. She looked at me kind of surprised and then we both started cracking up laughing lol.

Besides not lifting my tank of a child, I’m receiving Progesterone shots in the butt every week and getting those “digital” cervical exams. Did anyone else think for a second that “digital” meant some sort of machine was involved? Yah, it’s not like that. They’re just using the good old-fashioned digits. In fact, this week’s test was pretty comical. You may already know I’m a pro at failing gynecological appointments– but here is another one for the books. It was unseasonably warm last week, but the hospital didn’t turn down the heat, so by the time the doctor came in the examination room, I was a hot mess. Having already taken off my pants, I had been sitting (and sweating) bare-ace on that thin slip of “hygienic” paper that protects the chair. The little sheet they gave me to cover myself was doing nothing but creating a greenhouse effect over my lower half and I was pouring sweat.

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“Hygienic” Chair Protector

When the doctor, nurse, and student all came in for the special “digit” test, I tried to scoot to the end of the chair but the stupid paper was all sweaty and plastered to my butt. I tried to fix it with minimal exposure under the tiny sheet, but I’m too round to accomplish anything past my hips so I just flailed and thrashed until the paper was all torn and stuck to everything. The medical student tried to help, but it was no use. By the time the doctor snapped on her rubber glove, I had that useless tissue paper glued to my upper butt and even though I tried to arch my back to avoid it, the rest of my womanhood uncomfortably rested directly on the exposed vinyl chair that the rest of the world sits on.  Gag.

A little piece of my dignity died that day. But let’s be honest, dignity went out the door with “morning” sickness when I was puking my guts and peed myself at the same time.

Remember what I said about magical pregnancy unicorns last week? Yah, this is further proof that I am more like an awkward pregnancy hippo that isn’t very magical at all. At least it’s semi-comical.

Here’s to another week of pregnancy!

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

Raising our Kids with a “Legacy List”

As we start a new year, I’ve inevitably begun thinking about things I want for this coming year. Since my  track record with New Year’s resolutions is shaky at best (ie. thinking I’d do the whole 30 diet for all of January was a joke last year), I’m trying to keep it simple this year.

Over a year ago, I posted a list of legacies I wanted to live out with my family. That post must have struck a cord with a lot of parents out there because it received a lot of blog love. That list is obviously near and dear to my heart as well, so I wanted to revisit it to remind myself for the coming year. Not only that, but I would love to give you some ideas for how to make your own legacy list.

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Make Your List

My list was comprised of 10 values we wanted for our kids. I could have brainstormed a longer list, but I kept the list to 10 so I could prioritize and not be overwhelmed by setting an unattainable amount of goals. I picked an overarching statement: “I want my kids to grow up knowing how to love well” and based my top 10 off of that. Choose priorities for your family based on your main goal. For us, faith is a top priority, so that took the first couple slots. The rest are characteristics and values that we hope will teach them to love God, love others, and love who they’ve been created to be. Here is my list:

  1. Worshipers of God
  2. Live out the gospel 
  3. Adventurers and explorers
  4. Culturally-aware
  5. Family time to be important and fun
  6. Individuals
  7. Respectful
  8. Hard-workers that know making mistakes is okay.
  9. A sense of humor
  10. Little givers

Explain What Each Item Looks Like 

You don’t have to go into a lot of depth here, but it’s good to verbalize what each priority looks like in everyday life. It’s easy to say you want “respectful kids”, but how would you define that? Jot down a few ideas for how this might look so that you’ll be able to set clear goals for how to attain a certain value. Here is an example of one of mine:

We want culturally-aware kids. Obviously, we love cultures and love learning about them. We

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Paella at a Spanish Restaurant

want our kids to appreciate our Costa Rican and American cultures; but we also want them to have a love for all people. We hope they want to learn new customs, try new foods, learn new languages, and see new places. Obviously, we won’t allow racism in our house, but we want it to go above and beyond that–which means showing our kids how to be open-minded, accepting of cultural differences, and interested in the lives of others that are different from us.

 

Explain How to Instill Each Value

This is where you get to put your desires into action. I’d imagine you can des-

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Our daughter and foster son

ire to be a really great parent, but that desire has to be paired with action. After each priority and it’s description, I included a practical way that Albin and I were going to try to instill each value in our kids. Here is an example from our hope that our kids would learn to live out
the gospel like Jesus did:

We want this to be like second nature to them, so we’ve started to live like this: stopping to give away groceries to people begging, fostering needy kids, going onto the streets on Saturdays to talk with the hopeless, finding ways we can stand up for justice, etc.

 

The Results After One Year

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Scarlet Macaws at an Animal Refuge Adventure

Amazing. I am incredibly thankful I made this list because it helped our family live out so many things during 2016 that we may not have made a priority otherwise. For example, we want our kids to be adventurers and explorers. To make that a reality, we started going on at least one family adventure a month. We started planning our monthly adventures and putting them on the calendar and they quickly became a priority. As a result, we made some amazing family memories and we looked forward to time together.

So as we look forward to 2017, I’m excited about our little family and about being a parent. I love that God entrusted me with little lives to care for and I want to do that to the best of my ability. This little list has helped me set and meet attainable “goals” for our family, and as I look back over our progress, I’ve seen my own confidence as a mom be raised. Some days are great and some days I feel like I’m failing, but I’m reminded that all those days are worth cherishing.