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She Just Knew

It’s been three weeks. Three weeks since our little Jaimee joined us and every day I am still pinching myself. She is so tiny, so perfect and such a good baby! This 22 year surprise has sure been an interesting mix of complete unknowns, yet at the same time framed with so many instances where I just knew, and I knew she knew things. Like her early arrival: she knew when she had to get here to meet her grandpa before he passed. If she’d waited until her due date she’d have missed it. If they’d kept me the normal time in the hospital after a cesarean, we’d have missed the window too. She knew exactly when she needed to arrive and under what circumstances.

So backtracking to her arrival, I spent two weeks in the hospital on bed rest. I’m grateful this didn’t happen until 35 weeks! I’ve heard horror stories of much longer war stories. It started with a simple leak – literally. I’d just sent Blake and the kids off for mutual activities when I sat down to eat and noticed I’d sprung some sort of leak. It wasn’t enough to say my water broke, but it was definitely too much to be normal. At about 8:30 p.m. we headed to the hospital to get things checked out. The initial fluid tests came back negative for amniotic fluid, however the doctor’s ultrasound caused concern as he said he saw very little fluid and had some concerns about the placenta. He said he’d not be able to sleep if he sent me home; that it would be best to keep me overnight for observation. He said if it was indeed a rupture, labor would follow within the next 12 hours. The next 12 hours were long but not from labor. Being hooked up to monitors and having to pee every hour made for a long night. The next morning the ultrasound technician came and his tests showed great results, the fluid was up and all other readings were great. But the protein tests came back elevated and the blood pressure followed suit. In short, my placenta was showing signs of distress and so in the hospital we stayed until we reached the 37 week mark.

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Two weeks of hospital walls can make you a little crazy. But I’m happy to report that my experience was truly made doable by the amazing staff of nurses and doctors caring for me and baby. Everyone knew our story, our Cinderella baby they called her. As a result, everyone wanted in on the action. The care was top notch, everyone was so nice and I developed many wonderful friendships as a result. Many conversations kept me in awe of how the Lord works. I relived our adoption stories, found amazing connections as a result and just kept shaking my head at how the Lord knows how to help our paths cross with others to provide help.

The first week was uneventful with the exception of Saturday night when contractions began. For 13 hours they went from 7-10 minutes apart to and hour of 2-3 minutes apart, then back to a few hours of 7-10 minutes. By morning I was exhausted but she was still so high the contractions had done nothing to prepare for birth, just worn out mom. Pain meds the next day got mom calling the doctor her friend and by afternoon all went back to a calm status. The second week brought a little stability to the numbers and they opted to induce labor Tuesday night. After another long night of no sleep we learned only half of my body had cooperated; the cervix was ready but I hadn’t dilated. So door number two was taken and Jaimee arrived via c-section at 9:36 am, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. She was 5 lbs, 15 oz and 19 inches long – and absolutely adorable.

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Cidnie and Taylor couldn’t wait to meet their new little sister!

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The first night I kept looking over to see daddy and baby sleeping soundly. Each time I couldn’t believe it was really happening, that our baby was here and sound asleep just next to my bed.

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Daddy says he feels 20 years younger! Mom says Jaimee is so cute she can’t stand it.

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Thanks to the previous two week hospital stay, the doctor took mercy on us and let us come home a day early. Friday afternoon we arrived home. We went over to mom and dad’s first so dad could see mom and baby. It turns out this was the perfect and limited window for their meeting, by Sunday he was in a medicated state where he stayed until he passed away a week later. You can’t tell me this little one didn’t know. She knew. She knew exactly when she needed to be here.

It’s now been three weeks. Our little miracle is growing strong. She dropped to 5 lbs 3 oz by her 4 day check up, and had made it up to 5 lb 7.5 oz at her two week check up. Monday she weighed in at 6 lb 1 oz. Way to go Jaimee! She’s as perfect and wonderful as can be. She’s so calm and peaceful and we all feel it when we’re around her. Here’s a quick photo wrap up of the past three weeks:

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Because everyone loves pictures…here’s some of her newborn photo shoot:

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And just for kicks and giggles. Here’s a collage of newborn photos. On the left we have dad and mom, Jaimee is on the right. I think she fits right in!!

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If there were marathons for heart growth and work outs, I’m certain I’d be on in it. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of extreme heart stretching experiences. I watched my daughter (now pushing the threshold of 17 years old), get her own car and start her own job; been on bed rest getting our newest miracle baby here, got our miracle baby here on June 4th at 9:36 a.m., been smitten by all the awe of a newborn and the first time experiencing conception, pregnancy and delivery; tried to balance life for my 11 year old son who’s been a real trooper with all the disruption and changes in the past few weeks, and come home in time to see my dad enter the final stages of his life. Yes, I believe this qualifies as a routine worthy of the title calisthenics of the heart. As my friend said yesterday, 2014 is proving to be a miracle year. I agree completely, and she should know, she’s come back from the brink of death after being hit by a car 4 months ago! Miracles do happen every day, to those who believe in them.

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Dad has held on long enough to meet little Jaimee in person. Friday, when we got home he was in good spirits and so happy to meet her:

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Saturday afternoon his brothers came for a visit. Sunday his sisters came. Saturday was good, but Sunday he turned fast. He’s been in bed on high doses of pain meds keeping him comfortable since Sunday morning. Monday’s dialysis was out of the question, and that means the end is here. He continues to be made comfortable in his bed with his family surrounding him. Deniene is flying in today and with any luck she’ll get to say goodbye before he goes. Today his lungs are filling with fluid, and we know there’s not much left. Yesterday I took little Jaimee back over for some love:

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I think she was coaching him on the process of crossing the veil. We have talked in recent days about my two week hospital stay to get her here, and we’re thinking she had such a long line of people to get through to send her off that it took those two weeks to get passed off through the line up. Now, she’s helping grandpa get ready for the same receiving line. I can’t explain the process or the spiritual feelings and emotions that have been experienced. I can just reiterate, it’s been a marathon workout for this mommy’s heart.

Next week, I’ll get some details posted about Jaimee’s arrival. She is a perfect, petite little thing. She weighed in at 5 lb 15 oz , 19″ long and bless her heart spent no time in the NICU. She’s a miracle. Life is a miracle.

 

The Short List

Or should I say, short end of the stick?

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I landed in the hospital Wednesday night thanks to a fluid leak. :/ I was hoping for an overnight monitoring, but the short list says otherwise. Here’s how it was just explained to me:

We like the baby’s tests but mom has too many factors for us to feel good about sending you home:

1) protein levels indicate early preeclampsia

2) blood pressure fluctuates too much

3) unexplained fluid leak, haven’t ruled out a possible rupture of amniotic sac

4) gestational diabetes

5) never been pregnant before

and my personal favorite:

6) “Oh, and I almost forgot, you’re over 42!”

Yeah, thanks for the reminder. ;)

So, looks like I’ll be making a weekend out if it for sure and then “we’ll see”. On the upside, baby is doing great and it sounds like they won’t go past 37 weeks anyway. That’s only a week and a half away.

So Blake gets to celebrate his birthday today at the hospital with me. Happy birthday hon!

I have to say I’m grateful to have such good doctors watching me so close. I know I’m in good hands, where I need to be and all will be well. Just gotta hang in there for a few more days! Sure can’t wait to hold this little bundle, who just may be a little Jaimee! We finally found at least one name we all like. :)

So Little One,

Everyone is so excited about you and can’t wait for you to arrive! Even the nurses are fighting about who hopes to be here when you make your entrance! You are so loved.

Keep being strong and helping mom be strong. Doctors said today they probably won’t let this go past 37 weeks, if we can get that far. So another week and a half!! We can do this! Stay safe, stay healthy and know you’ve already impacted more lives in positive ways than you’ll ever know. I love you so much.

 

32 is Groovy

Yes, age 32 was a groovy year, but this time I’m referring to being 32 weeks pregnant.

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This morning’s appointment was great. They took new measurements of the baby and all is well. She’s very active! She weighs about 3 lb 15 oz, which is right on the money for my guess as I told Blake I felt she was probably pushing 4 lbs! It’s getting close enough to almost taste it and boy are we excited! I can almost visualize what she looks like.

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The technician was super sweet and explained lots of things to me, like how they measure the artery pressure in the umbilical cord to check the placenta’s function and to watch for danger signs. Today’s readings were right where they want them so I’m happy about that. The only numbers that aren’t playing are the blood sugars, but I’ll start a pill tomorrow to help with that. All in all, things are going really well! I was a little surprised to learn that I could be at a point of two visits a week from this point on, but it all depends on how things look on Monday. They are serious about tracking things at this stage of the game and I’m grateful for that kind of support, especially with this being my first and me being 42! Everyone is so nice and so excited for us. We continue to circulate as that “cute, miracle couple who’s pregnant for the first time in 22 years!” Words can’t express how much love, support and excitement we continue to feel from everyone around us. We are so blessed.

In other groovy news and milestones, we bought a car this week for Cidnie. Can’t believe she’s already at this milestone! As I watched her drive out of the driveway this morning to go to school my heart skipped a beat. I told Blake my old ticker needs some more breathing room between all these significant “firsts”! Cidnie is thrilled and the timing is perfect. She may have a job lined up soon and will need her own transportation and after baby comes it will be a wonderful help to have another person to help at that level. I just still can’t believe she’s 17 this year. Where did the time go?

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Taylor had a great time with the Pope Annual Easter Egg hunt this month too. He’s been good with his little cousins and can’t wait to have his “own” little sister to dote on and love. He told me yesterday how he just can’t wait for her to arrive – to know he can hold her and she’s ours, that he doesn’t have to just hand a baby back. I’m so excited to see this myself.

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So, Little One, as you can clearly see your arrival is a much anticipated event! I wish you could see how loved you already are. I wish I could share the abundance of excitement you have generated. And I can’t wait to watch it all unfold when you make your entrance!

Heads Up!

Yesterday, bugaboo decided it was time to go heads up! For the first time, she changed position. We finally have a profile! Granted, she was still pretty diligent about moving her hands and arms up over her face, but the tech did manage to capture a few shots in-between.

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Yay! She continues to do well. They’ll do new measurements at 32 weeks and it sounds like every week from that point on. Aside from everyone asking me how soon she’s coming – obviously because I’m starting to look like it could be any day instead of 10 weeks from now!

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Yesterday she was in a full breech position, so instead of using my bladder as a pillow, I guess she decided a trampoline would be a fun twist! Blake says maybe she doesn’t doesn’t like the pressure of the new maternity belt, or maybe it was the bouncy ride on the lawnmower this week….whatever the reason we’re tickled to finally have a new position and a profile shot! Can’t wait for her to arrive.

Is It Summer Yet?

Time marches on. It’s already been a month since my last post, I’m not sure how that happens.

In baby news, we’ve been trying since the 20 week mark to get our little one to give us a profile shot. She refuses to look at the camera. Our attempt last week at 28 weeks was reduce to a sneaky side shot that caught just her little nose and mouth:

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Everything has been measuring fine, and we were able to get visual and measurements on the heart and kidneys at the 24 week attempt, as she was so good at hiding those from us on the 20 week appointment. She just refuses to let us get that profile shot. It’s like she knows. Next week we go in for the 30 week baseline appointment. My understanding is that a new baseline of measurements for baby will be taken via another ultrasound (maybe this time she’ll smile?), to begin the new regiment of more frequent doctor visits to make sure things are on track and to know better what and when to expect her arrival. This stage feels like forever, but I know from experience it won’t be long before I’m looking back wondering where the time went! I’m working hard to breathe deep daily and remember the joy is in the journey.

I’ve now been pregnant for approximately 205 days. I’m still in awe. The tummy continues to grow and she continues to be very active. So far the only pregnancy concern is elevated sugar levels. My testing this week showed my body is still doing what it needs to, it dropped 118 sugar points in one hour! However, it’s slow and it’s taking longer. Throwing this in with my high risk of first pregnancy and age it means taking a more aggressive approach to monitoring these numbers from this point on. I’m a little bummed by the results, but grateful to know what my body can and will still do. For me, this means finding a slightly more rigorous exercise routine. I told the nurse, I’m simply not a spring chicken anymore and so I’m slower! Good grief, it took 22 years to get pregnant, clearly it stands to reason other things will follow a pattern of tardiness. *giggle* Aside from this, I’ve really only dealt with the basic inconveniences of being pregnant for which I am supremely grateful. I didn’t have any morning sickness. I haven’t had any real complications. I’m now experiencing the less convenient stages of pregnancy, primarily swollen sinus and mucus glands from hormones which make sleeping a real problem without my head elevated, constant bathroom trips and swelling ankles and feet. Check these poor “cankles” out:

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This is a mild case of daily ankle swelling. I’ve had worse. But seriously, how are you supposed to balance being told you have to exercise more (walking most preferred) while at the same time being told to keep your feet up?

A few months ago I was pretty freaked out about the whole labor and delivery prospects. I’ve been coming to terms with this and finding new peace. I recognize this is a medical process just like other’s I’ve already experienced. You just have to choose good doctors, trust them, and know everyone is there to help. There’s so many resources to help women be prepared these days and again I find myself counting my lucky stars I was blessed to be born when I was. I continue to feel good about the way things are and will progress. I have no reason to believe I’ll have any complications, I have a hunch (maybe it’s just a hope) that this baby will come through a normal childbirth process between early and mid June. I hope I’m right. My anxiety grows as so many friends close to my pregnancy timeline are now crossing their finish lines and sharing pictures of adorable newborns. The kids really share this anxiety as almost daily both comment on how they wish she was already here and how they can’t wait until she is.

On a downside, dad is having some more notable declines. Some of them are likely to instigate the need to make some tough decisions soon. I feel like we are probably down to the final weeks of his life. This is hard, it’s hard to watch my mom and wish I could do more to help her bear the weight of the load. Yet, at the same time I have an incredible peace of how okay it all is and will be. We knew the end game would be hard and bring with it more complications, we’ve had time to prepare for it. In addition, I know with all my heart that this change isn’t one of permanence or ending. It is merely another beginning, a necessary step for dad to continue to progress. And I know he will and it will be wonderful. When he is free from his physical prison cell, has a renewed and expanded knowledge of all things, I just know he’s going to be running at full speed. He’s going to be doing all he can to continue his progress with a renewed vigor and determination and I know it will be awesome. I don’t know what will happen in the next month, but I’ve felt since I learned about this pregnancy that his meeting this grandchild would be under spirit circumstances. I am confident he can and will do more for his family on the other side than he could have done here. Regardless of what does happen, I know that all will happen as it needs to and as hard as it is, it will be wonderful in the end. He’s had some miraculous milestones in the past two weeks!

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Life is too short and too miraculous to waste a moment of it. There is beauty and wonder all around us to balance the storms and clouds. I am so grateful.

Promise of Spring

It’s March 12, 2014 and I’m feeling spring fever! Yesterday I wore capri’s and flip flops, not just for the swelling in my feet, but for the sheer joy of having it feel like spring is really coming.

Last week’s doctor appointment went well. Our baby still didn’t want to look at the camera, so no face shots and no new photos that show anything. But she was at least on her side this time so they were able to get the heart and kidney pictures and measurements they wanted. Everything is measuring and tracking normally. I’m finding it’s a little easier to be more at ease psychologically at this point because she is so active and moving all the time. It is a most reassuring feeling, although sometimes the timing of punching and squeezing my bladder is most ill-timed! Honestly, I am still in awe of the whole thing. Many people have asked when it “felt real” or when “it really sunk in” to which both my husband and I reply it still hasn’t! There are still days I can’t quite make myself believe it’s all real. Believe me, at 25 weeks, it feels real enough physically, but the whole experience is so miraculous I’m not sure the shock will ever wear off – even when we get to hold her in our arms.

I’ve shared all the pictures of our little miracle’s growth. I thought maybe I’d share a few of my own:

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Meanwhile, the dog is wondering why I’m not jumping up to play with him:

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This week’s new experience was going to our first birthing class last night. It was so weird to look around at all the young, first time parents. I couldn’t help but comment to Blake that we could probably be parents of most of them! I’m sure they were wondering what this old couple was doing there. I was impressed that we both took the class information generally well. A few photos we could have done without, and may have had to look away a time or two, and I may have cut off the circulation in Blake’s hand once or twice, but generally we soaked up the information. The anesthesiologist did a short presentation on epidurals, and the discussion points were all about preterm or overdue concerns, what to expect and the various procedures that often accompany a delivery. I’m still absolutely terrified.

Everything else is continuing at a spring time pace. The kids are in their last trimester of school. The grass is starting to green in patches. Blake is traveling next week for work, his first time with his new employment. Cidnie got her driver’s license. Life continues on full tilt!

Dearest Little One,

I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to feel you move so much! Thanks for letting daddy feel it too. Perhaps you can explain what it is that you love so much about being so low? Any chance I could talk you into moving up just a bit? I’d love to be able to sleep for more than 2 hours at night without having to go to the bathroom.

I continue to marvel at the miracle it is to have you growing inside me. The quiet moments when I feel your valiant spirit react to the setting or circumstances is breathtaking. Your innocence is overwhelming. You are already teaching me so much.

Every day your brother or sister comments on how they wish you were already here, how fun it will be to hold you and take care of you. I quite agree! And our little family is only the beginning of excitement! Everyone we know is so excited about you. I get constant comments on how cute you are as a baby bump and how wonderful it is to see. You have brought an amazing level of energy and excitement into our lives!

Continue to grow well, little one. Continue to keep us all in awe, because it’s the most wonderful feeling ever. And continue to help mommy not be so scared about this entire process that will be wrapping up in just a few more, short months!

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