Tuesday, July 22, 2014

36 Week BumpDate

I'm 36 weeks pregnant- officially on my ninth month- and maybe that makes me a little emotional. There are no less than fifty billion things to do and I fear the stress gets to me from time to time. Aside from other unrelated-to-baby-stressors, my mind keeps floating back to labor and delivery. You would think I would be an old pro at this by now! But no two births are the same and if I'm being honest, I'm nervous again. With K, I was induced due to preeclampsia. The labor felt dreadfully long and painful until I got an epidural and was able to relax a bit. With Abel, I labored at home unsure if I was actually in labor until it was almost too late. He came so quickly there was no time for drugs or much worry even. I preferred the latter experience. It was amazing to experience what my body is capable of and to do it without the help of drugs or a doctor (no time to get there). I was blessed to have a studying midwife as my nurse when I got to the hospital and she was incredibly encouraging and knowledgeable about different positions to ease the pain. She truly made me feel like I could do anything! I was up and walking around shortly after birth, feeling amazing (considering).
I just don't want to have high expectations of that happening again. I know I should mentally prepare myself for a csection or an induction or a car delivery...basically just different avenues of lotsa pain. But I have this hope sparking inside that is telling me- it's going to be okay.
I went to the doctor today. I have gained, ahem five pounds since I last was there. I feel it, too. It was a slight cause for concern because you can see the gain in my hands and feet. Additionally, my blood pressure was slightly higher than it has been. We're going to keep an eye on this and my other pre-eclamptic symptoms, but at this point, I am told not to worry.

Baby is the size of: a large cantaloupe *I was told he weighs 6lb 4oz already!
Weight: 148 (+28 lbs total) I'm hoping this is water or some salt issue in my diet. Maybe I'll balance out in a day or two. The five pounds I mentioned earlier came on quickly! I regret tossing most of my maternity clothes after my last pregnancy and I regret not buying more this time around. Nothing fits. I look a hot mess most days.
Cravings: Ice chips. I could not stop crunching ice. It was awful. I googled it and it said that it was likely due to a lack of iron so I popped some prenatals and I do feel better. The craving has subsided for the most part.
Boy/Girl: Still a bouncing baby boy. Can't wait to meet him!
Stretch Marks: a few, yes. I think they'll go away, though. Here's to hoping!
Exercise: Nonexistent. I've gone for walks but not much more than that. My heart rate shoots up too high for any of my regular exercise routines or running. I miss feeling healthy and strong.
New Things: Abel is now recognizing that there's a baby in mama's belly. He'll lift up my shirt and (try to) sign "brother". Or if I sign brother to him, he will point at my belly. The kid is brilliant. I might be biased a bit. Kinley talks about Merit in a way that makes me excited for them to meet. He knows mama is having another baby and he actually seems happy about it. He often says, "Let's get him out!"
What I Miss: breathing normally, sushi, wine, my toned body
What I'm Looking Forward To: That moment when he is placed on my chest and nothing else in the whole entire world matters!

Were you nervous about your second, third, etc labor and deliveries, too? Is it just me being weird?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Let's talk budgeting-

I've spent the majority of this pregnancy depressed if I'm being totally honest. So when my oldest son picked up a piece of mail, "read" my name on the envelope, and opened it and exclaimed, "Oh no. Another one" that was my breaking point for this week. As much as I try not to let my sadness and stress influence him, I know that it does. He's watching everything I do and listening to everything I say. I know it's not just him, too. Abel knows I'm sad...even Merit probably feels it. That just adds to my guilt.
I don't know if it's the influx of hormones or what, but I have felt mostly unhappy during the past year. We've had a lot thrown our way- many of these happenings are blessings, I know they are, but still it feels incredibly overwhelming at times. Right now, I'm wishing we never bought this house even though I love it. It just feels like a large money pit. There were so many projects we wanted to do to it and I wanted to decorate it, finally, because it was a place we were staying at longer than a year. It was going to be home. But with Abel's recent medical bills and mine with this pregnancy, it doesn't feel like we should be here. The house feels too big. It's a pendulum above my head.
I know that money doesn't matter. It's not ours anyway...it's God's. I get nervous, though and when that bill came today and Kinley pretended to be worried, too that just made me feel about two feet tall. When you're wearing your rose colored glasses and purchasing your first home, you don't think that something might come up that costs a lot of money. You don't think your child might need cochlear implants. You definitely don't consider that your insurance won't pay for it. I've been on the phone off and on all week with doctors and our insurance company, trying to figure out what's going on. It has been a mess. The insurance company is telling me one thing and Vanderbilt another. I'm trusting in God that this is going to work out in some way in His time.

Until then, this family needs a plan. 

What are some ways you save money? Cut out cable, cell, etc bills? Clip coupons? Budgeting tricks? What's the single most helpful way you've found to watch your spending?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Marvelous {in my} Monday

There's not a lot that's good about a Monday, most people would agree. Mine started off rather rocky as I battled with the eldest to just brush his teeth (FOR THE LOVE) and with the other small child's pesky hearing aids that I'm pretty sure he's already outgrowing (UGH..MORE $). BUT! I happily dropped those two cuties off at "school" for the morning and nearly skipped back out to my car so I could go to Hobby Lobby, my happy place.
Because this post is supposed to be about the marvelous things about this sunshiny Monday, I won't discuss why I felt the need to go to Hobby Lobby in the first place. We'll only focus on the positive, okay?
While there I bought stuff to create fun things for Kinley's birthday. He's turning 3 and his recent addiction to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has spurred me on to have a fun little Mickey party. Never mind that I have no idea when I will have said party because-oh yeah- I have to labor and deliver another small child and plan around a hypothetical surgery for Abel that month, too.

This is marvelous, though...
I have recently joined the crazy oil train and decided to sign up to receive Young Living Essential Oils. I have heard such good things about using them to feel better, clean better, et cetera. I was a skeptic. I guess I still am, but the process is trial and error. Finding what works for you can be very different from something that works for someone else. I had my very first 'oh my gosh that essential oil is a miracle worker' moment recently and I wanted to share it with all of you. Got a sore throat? This one is easy. 2-3 drops of lemon essential oil into a glass of water worked wonders for me. I was so surprised how quickly my aching throat felt better. Try it next time!

Another marvelous happening this past weekend was reconnecting with many of my former high school classmates. It's hard to believe it has already been ten years since we graduated. It feels more like five. It was great to catch up with them, though. I moved around a lot after college and so I hadn't seen so many of them in years.

One other marvelous thing? Three years ago today, my husband and I dressed up as Tonks and Lupin for the final Harry Potter movie release. He used to love me. ;)
I was 35-36 weeks pregnant here, too! What a coincidence.

I hope you can find some marvelous thoughts to reflect on today. Happy Monday to ya.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Life With Toddlers

As a parent to a deaf child, you might think my house is quiet. Au contraire. It is anything but. I've seen videos of toddlers who communicate excitedly but quietly using sign and I think about how pleasant car trips must be for that family. Here? Not so much. My deaf toddler is NOT quiet. He is constantly chattering, which I'm told is a great sign for his future with cochlear implants. I spent most of this past year convinced he had croup because that's what he sounds like. My little seal is squealing and squawking over and over throughout the day. While I'm glad he's attempting to make sounds, it's also very trying on this mama who craves silence and peace. The seal-sounding-toddler teaches the hearing toddler that this sort of communication is not only accepted, but encouraged and thus they've created a little language between the two of them that is complete nonsense. LOUD NONSENSE. And it makes me absolutely crazy.

But I will continue to pour my heart and soul into raising these boys because they are my most important job and I love them so. Even when I'm pulling out my hair, I can't imagine a day without the crazy.

I mean, K is currently cah-rack-ing up at absolutely nothing as he jumps around like a little monkey on the couch. And Abel is stuffing his face full of crackers and signing "more food" and "more milk" even though he has plenty right in front of him. They are characters, these two. They're molding me. I hope they're pushing me to be a better mother and better person. Next month, I'll add another little boy to the mix. I wonder if he'll have his brother's curly hair or his other brother's ability to hear. Will he be able to hear mama whisper to him while I'm tending to him at night? Will he look like Abe and me or will he take after his father and Kinley? I can't wait to know. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Selection Series Review

Listen, you can judge me if you want but I hopped right into this series happily. I'd seen a few people discussing it on social media and as an avid young adult novel admirer, I had to check them out. Ya know, I have to stay relevant. ;) Anyway, it took me about a week to read the series which means that it was good enough to keep me at the book store every other day. Despite my frustrations with the story and the characters, I wanted to know what happened. I needed to know.

The main character, America, finds herself in a competition for the princess crown of Illea and the hand of the prince. Prince Maxon was nothing like she imagined him to be when she begrudgingly signed up for the Selection and she finds herself wanting to know more about him and wanting to stay in the competition she is in with thirty five other girls. A love triangle, a war, and the drama of several teenage girls in competition for the heart of one prince makes the quote regarding this series so perfect:

"A cross between The Hunger Games (minus the bloodsport) and The Bachelor (minus the bloodsport)..." {Publishers Weekly}

That honestly sums it up so well. I enjoyed reading these even if I was trying not to roll my eyes at the elementary way the characters and plot developed. I reminded myself that I'm the one who chose to shop in the Young Adult Section and soldiered through to the end. I'm glad I did. I love a good series after finishing up another semester of school.

Up next on the list?
John Grisham- Sycamore Row

Have you read anything good lately?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Bloating, Blating, and Triple Dating

(* If you can come up with a more appropriate, catchy title then I commend you. )

I went shopping today to hopefully find something that I wouldn't feel like an absolute cow in for my upcoming ten year high school reunion. I left with three items -all black- none of which I will likely wear for the event. That is what the third trimester looks like for me. I'm searching for any trick of the eye that will aid me in making me feel like I didn't just swallow two basketballs.

Aside from being largely pregnant, other things are going on, too. For starters, I had a blate (blog date)! I was blessed to be able to meet up with Sarah from Dandelions and Daffodils. She's just as fabulous in real life as she is on her blog. I got to meet her newest addition, too. Dang, they're cute.

Hopefully, there will be more blating in our future. Our meeting was cut short by traffic and doctor appointments- boo. Still, it was a big deal that I got to meet them- even the Nashville news showed up to document the date. ;)

I also finished up all classes until January! I checked my grades this morning and oh my gosh, I did awesome. Not to toot my own horn or anything. One semester left and I'll finally have my Master's. I've been craving this break and I plan to do lots of fiction reading between now and when the baby is born. I see bubble baths, chocolate, and good books in my future.

My boys are doing well. They're wild and sweet and mine. We've been having fun playing outside. Just the other day, another Sarah friend brought them a water toy for outside and they've been living it up. We added an attachment to it, too and now they have a huge worm and caterpillar that shoots out water and extends down much of the yard. What more could little boys want?

Cap'n is doing well, too. He just had a birthday and celebrated thirty one years by buying deck furniture. It's stuff like that that reminds me we're getting old. We did, however, venture out a few weekends ago to Brewfest in Knoxville. 

I was one of three pregnant gals there. I'm guessing it's safe to say we were all there for the pretzel necklaces. Afterward, we went to dinner with the folks we went with and my lips started swelling up like I ate an almond or ten. I ordered a salad, but it didn't have almonds in it- just pecans- so thus began my worry that I'm adding other nuts to my list of allergies. 

How's that for an update?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Exciting News from Vanderbilt

I promised my facebook people that I would write tonight about all the good news we got with A's doctors. That was before I drove three hours home with a fussy toddler. Now, I'm yearning for a hot bath and my bed. Ever faithful, I'll tell you all the good news without rambling too much...

The first bit of surprising news is that his hearing aids are actually aiding him. That was unexpected with his level of deafness. He is severe to profound in both ears without the amplification, but with the hearing aids on he is hearing at the level of moderate to severe. This means that if we are yelling in his good ear, he probably hears it as a whisper and only parts of the word. For example, if we yelled "ice cream" in his good ear, he would hear "Iii eee". Obviously this is not enough for speech development, but it is getting him used to experiencing sound. I was amazed at the difference at his testing with his hearing aids on! The audiologist was, too.

Little man was sedated again for an MRI/CT scan. He did so well. What a trooper I have! After the sedation, we carted him around to all appointments with little in his tummy and no nap. I expected it to be absolutely awful (and it was at moments) but for the most part, he soldiered on. I was nervous about the MRI/CT for obvious reasons, but today calmed my fears-

Dad to the rescue during a particular fussy appointment

We met with the surgeon who will perform the implantation. He told us:

1. Baby A is a candidate for bilateral (meaning both ears/sides) cochlear implants.
2. He also believes it unnecessary to seek genetic testing for a cause. He told us that from the information he has from birth history, infancy, and the recent tests that there's no reason to suspect any other underlying problems. In other words, some people are just deaf and there's no other reason for it. That made my mama heart happy. In the back of my mind, I was worried about a syndrome or something that we just hadn't discovered yet so it set my mind at ease a little. In addition, I was worried about Baby M.
3. The surgeon also wants to do the surgery ASAP. We do not have a surgery date yet, but they are working with our insurance for approval. He said the earliest he could get us in is likely August, but definitely before Christmas. It will depend on how fast we can hear back from the insurance company.
4. Lastly, he told us it was up to us if we wanted to implant both at the same time. I always thought, "Why wouldn't anyone want to do it all at once?" I assumed it was an infection worry or longer times under anesthesia. I was way off base, there. The doc said that there was a 10% chance that he could lose his balance and never regain it if both ears are done at the same time (If only one is done and balance is lost, the other side compensates and often balance is restored). That number seemed so high to us. It scared us enough to ask to have the surgeries done separately. It's not completely ideal, but he will have his left ear (bad ear) done first and then the right ear will follow within six months. It makes me a nervous wreck to know that he'll be having surgery twice, but that's what we've decided is best for him. For those of you who do not know, he will get his implant but won't be activated until 3-4 weeks later.

It's going to be a long road for him. We're excited for him, though. The speech therapist and audiologist are confident that he will excel with the implants. We were in the appointment for speech analysis and I was amazed at his ability to repeat and mimic. He does attend to sound when he hears it with the hearing aids and he is doing so well with sign language, too.
Picking out his processor colors

I'm proud of my boy and am so incredibly grateful for all your prayers for him over the last five months. Please don't stop. God is working a miracle in this sweet kid and I'm happy to be his mama and witness it first hand.


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