Sunday, December 30, 2007

6 months!

We have crossed over into the third trimester! Only 13 weeks to go until Sophie's due date...hard to believe. I had my glucose screen right before we left for WV, and thankfully that was normal. But, my doctor said I was slightly anemic and put me on an iron supplement--that has been a joy. The box says, "may cause abdominal discomfort.", I am back to eating prunes. But other than that, I am feeling great. I have really popped out in the last week or so--noticeable even to me. And Brian was able to see my tummy move today during church. It was really funny. He missed it the first couple of times, and then his eyes got really big and I knew he saw it. I kept laughing because it was really funny, so it was a little hard to distinguish her kicking from my laughing.

We had a great Christmas. We were gone for almost 2 weeks. Sophie got several great presents, including her bedding set, clothes, and toys. Brian was surprised with a new 80 gig ipod from his parents as well as a coffee roaster from several of us for his 30th birthday. I got some beautiful maternity clothes as well as a huge surprise from my parents. My mom saved a lot of my things from when I was a baby, and she got them all cleaned up and wrapped them and gave them to me. I cried....a lot. I am thinking about finding some nice wooden hangers and hanging some of the clothing up as decoration in Sophie's room.

Speaking of Sophie's room, we are going to begin putting it together this week ! We have a lot of rearranging to do, but I am anxious to get started. As soon as things begin to shape up I will post some pictures. My next doctors appointment is in about a week, and I will now begin going every 2 weeks...crazy! We are getting really excited about the arrival of this little one.

Our friends and family have been really generous. We have had friends give us a crib and dresser (thanks Blake and Kellie), an almost new pack and play--in WVU colors no less (thanks Shannon and Jorge), as well as various gently used hand-me-down toys and clothes. Brian's sister and brother-in-law gave us a huge container of our niece's clothing, and she was born in March so the sizes are perfect. And, we received our first shower gift from my aunt Anne and grandma--the high chair that we registered for from Babies-R-Us. It is all very exciting, and we feel extremely blessed.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

8 month break

Well, I took a Greek final on Tuesday, and now I have a big fat 8 month break from school! I am looking forward to the time off and on being able to focus solely on Sophie. I have about 3 months to prepare before she arrives, and we have a lot to do. We are completely switching around three rooms in our house. Brian's office will be Sophie's room, and we are moving Brian's office area to the third floor space and mine from the third floor to the current guest room, which will actually still be the guest room--just a bit more crowded. We have paint to put on the walls and furniture to put together in Sophie's room--I am super excited about that.

I have a huge list of other things to do around the house before the end of March. A lot of it involves consolidating and getting rid of stuff to make room for all of the baby stuff. I will also have a scrapbooking project for a friend to work on in those three months, which already seem to be getting shorter by the moment. And then once Sophie is here, I will have 5 whole months before beginning school again to devote totally to getting to know her, and I am thrilled about that. This is going to be a big year for us. Brian will graduate with his Master's in May as well--exciting.

I have a doctor's appointment on Monday; I will be at 25 weeks tomorrow--hard to believe! I am feeling really good--probably the best I have felt this whole pregnancy. Since visiting the chiropractor about a month ago, my back has been so much better; what I was attributing solely to pregnancy was actually a combination of that and a pinched nerve. And my cold has been gone for a couple of weeks, too. I am not far off from the third tri-mester! Sophie has become pretty active, and I love feeling her swimming around and kicking inside there. Brian felt her kicking about 2 weeks ago, and he has since spent time telling her stories via my belly in order to get her kicking. She actually does seem to respond to his voice. It is pretty amazing. We are blessed!

Friday, November 30, 2007

New Craving...

So, I am craving coffee. Weird, huh? I just can't get enough Starbucks. Thankfully I can get caffeine free. Except this morning--I am sitting at the computer working on a paper and presentation for Monday and all I can think about is coffee. So, I cheated and poured a cup of Brian's steamy hot delicious caffeinated coffee. Sophie must have received Brian's coffee gene...hehe.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Five Down, Four To Go

I had my 22 week doctor appointment yesterday, and everything looked good. It is hard to believe that I am 5 months along. In some ways this has been the longest 5 months of my life, and in others it seems to have flown by. Brian and I are going to Babies-R-Us to register next week--fun times! We have received several hand-me-downs from friends already, which is a huge blessing. We have been given a crib, dresser, baby monitor, high tech breast pump, baby carrier, stroller, and several other baby items that we now will not have to purchase.

I am feeling really good, other than a cold/cough that just won't seem to let go completely. Sophie seems to be doing pretty well in there, too. She has been moving a lot more--she really responds to music and singing--and to Brian's voice. We went to see August Rush on Thanksgiving and she moved around constantly during the movie's great guitar music. And she apparently really enjoyed Brian's sermon on Sunday, because she was dancing around the whole time. It was pretty cute. We haven't been able to feel her kick from the outside yet, but I don't think it will be too long. I am starting to look and feel bigger. My belly is really beginning to pop out, though I have only gained about 10 pounds total, which is great. I am aiming for no more than 25--we'll see how that goes :). My next appointment is right before we leave for WV for Christmas, and I get to drink the icky orange stuff for the glucose screen. Hopefully that will go well!

On another note, our semester of school is almost finished! I have a major project, a paper, and a final exam left--seems like a lot but it will all be over in 2 weeks. I am excited for the break so that we can really get started with baby plans--only 4 months left to go!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

And Her Name Is . . .

We have officially named our little girl ... at least 2/3 of her name! And yes, we are sharing the secret information. Drum roll, please ... her name is Sophie! We have been calling her Sophie since we found out she is a girl, and it just seems right. The jury is still out on her middle name, but we have plenty of time left to figure that out. Speaking of, I will be at the 20 week mark--half way, on Friday. It is pretty hard to believe. I feel good overall. My back gets pretty sore by the end of each day, but nothing that a back rub, heating pad, and good night's sleep won't help. My belly is getting bigger, and I feel little movements in there--more in the evening time. It is really the strangest feeling. It feels kind of like someone lightly tapping their fingers on the inside of my belly. I can't wait until I feel her movements more prominently and more often. I haven't been able to wear my normal pants for about 3 weeks, but most of my maternity pants are still a little too big. I have been wearing them anyway--not much choice. Maybe I should invest in some suspenders! But thank God for stretchy pants--I am still able to wear some of my comfy pajama type pants--those are great for being at home working on my Greek translation or reading Walter Brueggemann. Our school semester is wrapping up in the next month or so, and I have pretty much decided to take the next semester completely off. That gives me about 3 months before Sophie's arrival and plenty of time after. I think that will be plenty of time to prepare. I am excited to have a break, too.

We are just so excited about this baby. Thank you for your continued prayers for us and for SOPHIE!!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Cat's Worst Day Ever...

Poor Angus and Ellie. Today was their yearly check-up at the vet. Their day began seemingly normally--they had no idea what was about to unfold. We got up and I fed them. I ate some breakfast, and then Brian came down and said, "Let's do this." So, the mad pursuit began. First we attempted to lure them into the large cat carrier with treats. It almost worked, but Ellie escaped and bolted upstairs before Brian could catch her. She ran into the spare bedroom and hid under the bed--Ah Ha! We closed the door and figured we had her trapped. The plan was that I would go under the bed and "scare" her and Brian was going to catch her as she flew out. It would have worked wonderfully except that just as she bolted from under the bed, Angus opens the door and lets her out. Great--they are in cahoots. She flies into our bedroom and hides under our bed. We began to try the same plan again, but Brian said, "Wait!" He runs downstairs and grabs the carrier and wedges it in the door, so that when she ran out from under the bed she would run right into it. Well, it worked! She ran in, freaked out some more, ran out, and then ran back in. Now, this carrier thing is made out of tent-like material--flexible and lightweight. Ellie is frantically bouncing around in there like tumbleweed while we try to get it zipped up. Poor girl. We finally get her downstairs, and attempt to get Angus in with her. So, we have it unzipped enough to get Angus in, but when we go to grab him, she somehow tips it over and narrowly escapes. Great.

At this point, we have spent about 10 minutes on this and need to leave in 2. So, we wrangle Angus into the big tent carrier, and decide to try and get Ellie into the smaller plastic one. So, I head up stairs with the other carrier and Brian stays with Angus trying to calm him down. She went up to the third floor and was hiding under the bunk beds. I spent about 10 minutes chasing her around, trying to coax her out of hiding places until she finally gave up and sat down in the middle of the floor. I went over and patted her head and gently picked her up. She hesitated a little as I tried to put her in the carrier, but finally just walked in--with a little help. So, I carry her downstairs, and by this time it is 10:00--the time of our appointment. Angus is doing the cat version of screaming, and Ellie is quietly whimpering. Sucks.

We put Ellie in the car, and Brian goes to get Angus and put him in the trunk. As soon as he set his carrier in the trunk, Angus pees--his usual defence mechanism. We look at each other and get in the car. Of course, Angus cries the whole way there. We got there about 15 minutes late, and Brian waited in the car with the cats until they were ready for them. We brought them in and quickly saw that Angus was essentially bathed from mid-belly to tail in his own pee--gross. We get the cats out and Angus runs all around the room--leaving footprints of pee in his wake, and finally decides on a corner of the room in which to hide--I think he was embarrassed at his sorry condition. I took Ellie out and she just sat on the exam table quietly as I hugged her--completely traumatized. The nurse put on gloves and got Angus on the scale, and then decided to just take him back and hose him down--better her than me. During all of this, Brian attempted to clean up the carrier--it was completely drenched with pee. While Angus was getting a bath, the doctor came in to see Ellie. Ellie wouldn't leave me, so I put her on the scale--she is officially 3 pounds overweight which is probably like 30 pounds in human terms--Ellie, I feel your pain. She did fine with the rest of the exam and with her shot--I think she had really just exhausted all of her energy at that point. The doctor said, "Uh oh--did she hurt her nose?" I looked down and she had a little blood on her cute little nose--she had scraped it up a little. I assume that happened while she was pretending to be tumbleweed--poor Ellie. I almost started crying at that point. Ellie gladly walked back into her carrier and waited patiently until we were ready to go. They brought Angus in and the nurse said, "He did not enjoy that." Duh.

He was completely wet from his neck down--that was his first bath he hasn't given himself. He jumped from the table and parked as high as he could possibly go (on top of the little refrigerator in the room) to try and dry off. The doctor came in and Brian retrieved Angus. He did fine with his exam and shot, and promptly got back up on the fridge as soon as she was done. We decided that the best way to get them home was to wrap Angus in my sweatshirt and have me hold him until we arrived. Thankfully, it was an uneventful car ride overall. However, I noticed on the way home that Angus had scraped his nose, too. So, after $70, two bloody noses, a ruined cat carrier, a load of hair-covered laundry, and two completely traumatized cats later, we decided that we are officially done with yearly exams.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Girl!

What an exciting day! We had our ultrasound at 2:30 this afternoon. According to the tech, everything looks good, and the little one definitely has little girl parts! So, now comes the fun part of picking names. We are pretty sure about a first name, but just spent the last 2 hours in the car mulling over middle! Thank you all for your continued prayers for us and the baby. I'll update some more later, but I am tired and am heading to bed. Here are some photos from the ultrasound today:

Here is a view of her back--what a great spine!

And here she is giving us the "thumbs up!"

This one is of her praying :).

And here is the proof that she is, indeed, a she.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Into The Second Trimester

I am so excited to be past the first 14 weeks! I haven't been nauseous in almost three weeks--a huge bonus. I still seem to be enjoying sleep--I wouldn't mind if that lasts the whole pregnancy! My pants are beginning to become too tight, although I don't seem to be quite big enough for maternity pants yet. Overall I feel good. My allergies are a little crazy: the weather is making things weird, but the asthma situation is getting better. My doctor put me on a low-dose blood pressure medication after my appointment on Monday--it was still higher than she wanted. I am not thrilled to be on medication, but hopefully that will ward off any blood pressure related complications as things progress. I think the baby is sitting right on top of my bladder right now. My doctor says that should get better as the baby continues to move up the abdominal cavity--I am not sure I believe her! Speaking of, I gotta go...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My Geriatric Mountain Trip

Last week I embarked on a journey to Tennessee with my mom, my aunt, my grandma and all of her brothers and sisters and their spouses. I (and my mom and aunt) only brought the average age from 75 to 64....yes we we outnumbered from the beginning. I have several funny memories from this experience, but most notably is something I noticed around the fourth day into the trip: being pregnant is a lot like being elderly. First of all, I needed to stop at rest areas to empty my bladder with greater frequency than my grandma. This is exceptional seeing as she takes three different medicines that act as diuretics. Secondly, I knew I was in familiar territory when I requested a stop at the grocery store so that I could purchase some prunes. Turns out I could have saved a trip because my grandma and my great uncle both came stocked with their prune juice. I admit--I drank some. Thirdly, most of them went to bed before 10:00 p.m. Had it not been for my aunt and mom, I would have gladly joined them. However, they tended to begin waking at 5:00--thank God for ear plugs. And lastly, not 5 minutes went by without someone complaining about something--usually an ache or pain. I must admit, I can be held guilty of occasionally vocalizing my pregnancy "issues" to anyone who will listen--usually my husband.

It was a fun trip, and I am grateful for the time spent with relatives I usually don't get to see. Though, I will be happy if I don't set foot in a Cracker Barrel again for at least a year.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I Forgot...

One thing I forgot to mention in my post yesterday: We have the official "anatomy" ultrasound scheduled for October 25th...yay! We get to view the baby in 3-D on a HD big screen--way cool. Speaking of forgetting...that seems to be another "symptom" of pregnancy. Some days I feel like my brain is mush!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Feeling Better!

After a stressful minute of prodding around with the doppler and only picking up my heartbeat, my doctor found the little one's "hiding" behind mine. I won't lie--I kinda started freaking out--sweating, rapid heart beat...a billion thoughts running through my head at the same time; but then there it was. Yay for the tricky baby! Thanks to all of you who said prayers for us today--it means more than you can know. In my mind, we have passed a crucial point. So, everything looked good except my blood pressure which was SUPER high--I think like 150/90. Fortunately, we think we know why. I have seem to acquired allergy induced asthma. I have been having a heck of a time these past few days with allergy symptoms in addition to wheezing--I have been using an inhaler sparingly. Well, apparently when one's lungs are not functioning at par, one's blood pressure goes way up. So, I shall begin using the inhaler more frequently and see where we are in a couple of weeks--hopefully lower blood pressure and loosened lungs. Besides the allergy issues I am also feeling better in general--the slight nausea that I have experienced has lessened in the last few days, and that is a blessing. I am now past the point where we lost the baby last time, so everything is completely new--that is cool. I am excited to see what the remainder of this pregnancy has in store!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Anxiety and Excitement

I have my next doctor's appointment on Monday. God has blessed me with a tremendous amount of peace with this pregnancy, but my humanness always seems to creep in around the time when I am awaiting a doctor visit. It is hard for me not to remember that day in February when we innocently went to the doctor, with no adverse signs, and found out we had miscarried almost three weeks previous. It was truly heartbreaking, and I think that memory is behind my doctor anxiety. I am also excited. Three weeks ago we heard the baby's heartbeat with the handheld doppler. It was amazing, and I can't wait to hear that sound again. I appreciate so much all of the prayers that have been said, and are continuing to be said on our behalf. God has been faithfully answering those prayers. We are blessed.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

A Baby on the Way

We are going to have a baby! I am 10 weeks along, due on March 30. Here you see a lovely photo of my uterus and what looks to be a few white blobs. It is actually little Bowers--tricky, I know. This ultrasound was done at about 7 1/2 weeks. Since then, we were able to hear the heartbeat with the doppler--a very big deal. My doctor told me this past week that my hormones are peaking right around now, and that I should begin feeling a bit more "normal" soon. While I can't say that I have been miserable by any means, I can definitely tell that I am pregnant. Most of my pregnant friends (of which there are at least 1/2 dozen right now) seem to have escaped the beast called "morning sickness". I seem to have only a mild case, thankfully. But, I certainly appreciate the way my body works under "normal" circumstances. Here are just a few things I will learn not to take for granted post-pregnancy:

1. Brushing my teeth (and my tongue) without gagging.
2. Eating chicken.
3. Eating eggs.
4. Cooking.
5. Swallowing my vitamins.
6. Being "regular".
7. Not burping every time I open my mouth to say something.
8. Eating a normal sized meal without feeling like my insides are going to explode.
9. Sleeping a normal 8 hours a night--as opposed to 12.

10. Having dreams that don't involve weird things happening to me, my friends, my family, and the baby.
11. Constructing an intelligent sentence. Who knew that being pregnant kills brain cells?

Overall, things have been great. I am just so happy to be pregnant. We had a tough winter, but God is faithful! I am excited to see the plans he has for this little one.

Friday, March 02, 2007

God Gives Us More Than We Can Handle...

I don't have enough fingers to count the number of times I have heard someone (including myself!) say, "God won't give you more than you can handle." What does that mean exactly? I think for the most part it is a sloppy interpretation of I Cor. 10:13--No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. Taken in context it seems that Paul is speaking specifically about sin and temptation in this passage, but the context in which well-meaning people use it seems to be more related to general life circumstances...oh, you lost your job?...don't worry, God won't give you more than you can handle; you have cancer?...that's awful, but God won't give you more than you can handle; you just lost your baby? horrible, but God won't give you more than you can handle.

Hum...The theological questions abound when I begin to think about God's will...his sovereignty and omnipotence--whether he sometimes causes things to happen, or allows Satan to work, or whether bad things just happen because we live in a fallen world. I don't know if there are any solid answers to these big questions. But lately, I feel pretty confident that God, indeed "gives us more than we can handle".

Brian and I just went through the heartbreak and pain of a miscarriage. It was unexpected and hard to understand. Why does this happen? Why would God allow something this awful to happen? I am not sure that we can ever know the answers to the questions. What I do feel confident about is that we cannot handle this by any measure of sheer human will or desire.

Community has been a larger reality to me in these past weeks than in the past combined years of my life. We have felt supported and cared for by our brothers and sisters in a way I can't adequately express in words. And I don't think we would be in the place of healing where we are if it were not for our community. This is the church at her best. This is the radiant bride of Christ in her moment of beauty. If church was this--this family community--100% of the time, how quickly our world would see Christ in us. No, we cannot handle this, but God gives us a gift to help in healing along the way.

And, how could we possibly learn to trust in God if he never "gave us more than we could handle"? Of course we can't handle it! If we could do it on our own we certainly wouldn't need God in our lives. In Paul's second letter to the Corinthian believers he records,
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. His grace is sufficient. That is a hard pill to swallow, but I also find immense comfort and rest in knowing that I don't have to "handle it" on my own. I can put my tears, lost dreams, and fears of the future on him and trust that his power will be made perfect in my weakness.

I don't know if I am here yet, but I hope that at some point I will be able to say, "Praise God that he gives us more than we can handle!"