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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hip Hip Hooray ~ Miss V is 5 today...

Time flies ... sweet little miss V is turning 5 today - how did that happen!!!!

Wishing a sweet girl a very happy birthday...and birthday wishes to big brother K as well.

I am working on cleaning out old files on my computer this morning and I came across a few pictures of V from when she was very little .. just about the same age as Zola is now.  So cute!!!  Surrogacy is so amazing.  It is truly such a fabulous thing to know that I had a part in creating another family.  I love when I hear and get pictures from them ~ it just makes my heart smile.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sweet smiles and cooing...

Zola is so sweet!  She is starting to dole out the cutest smile and starting to coo.  I love watching her and giving her tons of kisses every day.  So totally in love.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hard day...

Today is a bittersweet day.  The sale of our home was final and this is a good thing...but also a sad thing.  I loved my house and I loved everything about living by the beach.  It was house that we build and put our savings and love into.  It held so many many wonderful memories for me and I will miss it a lot. I am already missing opening up my sliding door and listening for the sounds of the ocean.  To stand in the backyard and watching the elk stomp through the wetlands and missing my wonderful neighbors.

The good news is that the bank finally finally gave the ok for a short sale and accepted the purchase price offer in full settlement for the mortgage.  It has taken almost a year to get this negotiated this time around and that is in addition to the 8 months of trying to get it sold when we relocated back to the Midwest a few years ago. 

I wish for lots of happiness and love in "my" home for the new family that is moving in.  I hope that they will love it as much as we did.  They are getting a gem for a steal of a price while financially we will be hurting for a quite a while.  I guess that is the name of the real estate game .. we purchased land and build at the top of the market and the tanking of the real estate market is definitely not doing us any favors.  So I will be thankful for the outcome even if it hurts and makes me cry.

I pray for peace for my heart and acceptance that this was the right thing to do.  That the peace that I always felt from watching the waves and the lull of the wind from standing on the dunes overlooking the ocean will settle in my heart and soul for now and carry me through this difficult time.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Two little letters...

RN!!!!!

I am so excited!!!  It has taken a lot of hard work, sweat and tears to get to this place.  I took my NCLEX exam yesterday and got 75 questions and the exam shut off.  So many things went through my head when the screen went blank and the test was done.

I walked out of the exam thinking about all the things that I did not know...all the questions that I felt like I needed to make an educated guess on.  There is so much stuff to know!!!

Today I got my official notification from the State Board of Nursing and what a blissful email to receive.  I am a nurse....I am a nurse!!!

Next up .. celebratory lunch with the kiddos and a loooongggg snuggle nap with Zola and then a study free weekend!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Work it out...

Slowly!!!! 

I feel so ready to get back into a workout routine and I am starting up slowly.  I feel really great physically and my recovery has been relatively smooth.  The area around my incision line is still pretty numb but this is pretty common for abdominal surgery.  I still also have the burning on the external sides of the internal incision but it is getting better.  I took all my measurements this morning and overall I am actually pretty happy with where I am at this point.  My focus is not so much loosing weight but rather shapening up and rebuilding of muscle.

I have dropped down into the 130s and while my ultimately goal is to get to 125lbs but I know that is not likely to happen until after I finish nursing - which God willing I will be doing for a long time to come.  I love feeding my sweet baby girl.  Breastfeeding provides such a special bond and I feel so fortunate to be able to care for her in this way.  

My goal for now is getting my daily step goal back to 10K a day, make sure that I use my ab glider and to use hand weight for a light upper body workout.  To kick my thighs back into shape I have started doing lunges (will add squats soon) starting with 25 a day and planning to add 5 each day.

Hoping that adding exercise back into my daily routine will yield a little more energy for studying!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The big 4-0...

I turned 40 the other day .... "mom you are so old" said Olivia "are you sure you can blow out ALL those candles?"  ... yup because there were only 2 candles - one with a 4 and one with a 0 ... blowing them out on my cake went just fine ;-)

Two of my friends from nursing school came to visit on my birthday.  It was fun catching up with each of them and lamenting the joys of studying for our final licensing exam.  I feel ready and then I do not feel ready to take it.  I have my appointment scheduled but am debating if I should move it further out to have a bit more time to get ready.  Part of me says NO let's just get it done with and another part of me is worried about not being truly ready and not passing .. I have not have nearly enough study time to get ready as I have spent my time enjoying being back home full time, getting ready for Zola's birth and just having her in our lives.  Sleep deprivation surely is no help either....decisions decisions.




This picture is from my birthday .. this little beauty is keeping me young at heart and my 3 older kiddos sure keeps me running too.  I love all of them so much.  It is very fascinating to observe the bigger children's approach and beginning relationship with Zola.  They are all so different but they all love her in their own way - it is very sweet and endearing.

 Then again how can you not just love this little face - I just want to squeeze and love her .. and take naps with her ... LOL

Thursday, September 18, 2014

2 weeks check-ups...

Two weeks of feeling absolutely blessed by our sweet little miracle.  Zola is such a joy to me and I just love her so much.

She had her 2-week pediatrician appointment today to make sure she is growing well and to complete the second blood draw for the newborn screening panel.  I hate that they had to poke her little heel but at least I could nurse her before the poke and right after to minimize her pain.  She cried a little bit ... but she was much more mad about getting undressed for her trip to the scale.

I know that my sweet little baby is gonna grow and pack on the jelly rolls before we know it!  She was 6 lbs 5 oz at birth and at her first pediatrician appointment at 4 days of age she was down to 5 lbs 12 oz ... well today she is back above birth weight at at whopping 6 lbs 14 oz.  That is just over a pound in 10 days ... that is crazy!!!  And she has grown 1 1/4 inch since birth too.  I love that she is doing well .. but she can slow down just a little as I am not done with my newborn snuggles just yet!

I had my 2-week post c-section check-up yesterday.  Thankfully I was able to schedule an appointment with a clinic here in Eugene as opposed to having to drive all the way to Portland for my postpartum check ups.  I made sure that they clinic had forwarded my records from this pregnancy and from my last delivery .. the new OB was a bit overwhelmed with the 1 inch stack of paperwork that came in!!!  I am wondering what exactly they sent down. 

Anyway my check-up was good as well.  My incision is healing nicely although I still have some burning pain on the side of the internal suture line.  The OB said it is likely to be nerve pain and it will take a bit for it to away.

Two great two week follow-ups ... we are happy and doing really well :-)

Keeping fingers crossed for weight gain...

My baby girl is two weeks old today .. two weeks ago at this time we were checking into the hospital with such sweet anticipation of meeting our precious little girl.  I am just loving every moment of having her - she is so sweet and wonderful and the perfect addition to our family.

Zola has her 2-week pediatrician visit today and I am excited to see how much weight she has gained.  She is a really good eater but does not always want to eat a whole lot in one setting ... rather do small meals more frequently!  It have been following her feeding cues completely during these first few weeks as I want to make sure to build a good milk supply for her and be certain that she is satisfied.  With her being born at 37 weeks, I know it will take a bit longer than usually to get her feedings spaced more out time wise.  If she is gaining a good amount of weight, I am going to start trying to hold her off about 3 hours in between feedings where right now it is every 2-3 hours that she eats.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Feeling very alone...

I miss my momma ... she left too early.  She got angry, got her feelings hurt...and we got into a conflict that was just not solvable.  Sitting here I just do not understand how this situation could unravel as quickly as it did. 

My mother, who I love dearly, has a temper (...and yes I have inherited part of that lovely temper along with a good portion of stubbornness as well) and at times she can be a bit difficult to deal with.  Most of the time, I feel pretty capable of diffusing situations as they occur...but this time I have been under an extreme amount of stress and pressure from being in school for the last 15 months, living away from home most of the time, being pregnant, and then just recently having gone through my c-section birth and still being on pain medications .. I guess being sleep deprived by being up with a newborn at all times of the night just did not leave a lot of left over in my patience for dealing with nonsense and silliness. I know she is under a level of stress when she is here visiting as she is not in her home controlled environment and do not always understand everything that goes on...still I guess I expected a little more acceptance of my stress and tiredness in terms of her unspoken needs and demands.

I was wrong I guess, I should somehow have paid more attention to her needs and feelings but I just did not have the extra capacity to do so.  I wish I had had more foresight to diffuse this situation, to somehow have made her stay.  To make her un-angry and stay here if not for me then for her grandchildren who were so confused about her sudden departure.  It all makes me sad - she was supposed to be here with me but instead she left with her pride held high and determined that I should get no satisfaction from having her stay here with us.

I sought no satisfaction from winning an argument with her and her words of anger burn my heart as I am sure some of the things that I said must burn in hers.  I do no know what the future holds for our relationship and I sit here with a broken heart over her leaving and just wished she would have stayed.

Instead I sit here alone and she has returned back home at a great added expense.  It makes me so incredibly sad and so very upset that I was not worth enough to her to set aside her pride and work through our misunderstanding and differences.  At least I know that she is home safe and that provides some comfort...still I would prefer that she was here with me instead of half the world away.

Zola Simone...

We had a heck of a time coming up with just the right name this time.  As time has gone by many suggestions were made and many names considered but they were not quite right.  I love the name Zola Simone ~ Zola means peaceful and quiet in Zulu and my sweet girl has brought both peacefulness and quietness to my heart.  

Zola Simone
9/4/14
 6 lbs 5 oz
18 inches tall

This pregnancy was a surprise to us but turned out to be such a source of comfort, love and a very healing journey for me.  Zola is just the sweetest baby and I just cannot get enough of looking at her and snuggling with her.

I knew from the very beginning that I would need a c-section due to my last delivery with the twins and I knew that it was likely to be scheduled on the earlier side to prevent me from going into normal labor.

As each week of the pregnancy progressed I fell more and more in love with my sweet little princess.  As we reached the halfway point I was nervous especially up to the 26-week point when I delivered last time.  But sweet Zola stayed put and continued to grow.  I then prayed like crazy for her to stay put all the way through my summer clinical rotation … and she did – she is so amazing!

On 8/29 I finished my nursing school program and must say that I looked mighty pregnant crossing that stage and I felt elated listening to my name be called and so proud to have completed the program despite many odds and challenges.

On 9/4 ~ 37 weeks on the nose ~ hubby and I checked into the hospital just before 8:00 AM and got all settled in.  Most of the paperwork had been completed at my pre-admission appointment so it was all settled and ready to go.  The nurse who placed my IV was a bit messy and I ended up with blood everywhere.  She then hung my IV fluids that were cold – in minutes I was totally freezing and chilled as the fluids were running at a pretty high flow.  She then did my cleaning prep with COLD cloths chilling me down even further – I swear if I ever work in L&D, pre-warming is going to be part of my practice.  Anyways at around 10:30 I walked over to the OR and got my spinal.  It went well and I went numb and tingly from my ribcage down – it is such a weird feeling.  You go numb but do not loose the sensation of movement and tugging and I could see some of what the docs were doing in the light above the bed.  Rio then joined me in the operating room.  It was so wonderful having him present with me - last time with the twins I was all alone and scared.  This time was so different and having him with me to hold my hand was just what I needed.

Upon cutting me open, they found quite a few adhesions which is fairly typical when you have had prior abdominal surgery.  It took a little time to cut through to my uterus and required extra care-taking on behalf of the surgeon especially as some were attached to my bladder.  As I was laying there nervously awaiting the birth and wishing to hear her cries, I felt the tugging feeling of getting sweet Zola out of me and I completely teared up when I heard her little cries ~ it was music to my ears. 

The baby was handed to the recess nurse and I could see her from the OR table.  She was so greasy and covered in a thick layer of vernix.  She had to be suctioned a few times but did overall very well and within 7 or so minutes she was on my chest.  I got to hold her and breastfeed her right there on the OR table which was just wonderful.

Zola was born at 11:13 AM and within the hour I was back in recovery.  Everyone kept asking about her name but we had yet to decide!  So she was baby girl for most of my hospital stay.  I really wanted to name her Zola Simone.  We both agreed on Simone but Rio still needed some time to think.  Zola means peaceful and quiet in Zulu and for me she and this pregnancy has brought peace and quiet to my heart and has helped me heal some wound that I never thought would.  She is such a blessing and my love for her is just indescribable.  She is the perfect compliment to our wonderful bigger children.

During the initial hours of recovery I got quite a bit of fluids.  I was moved to the mother baby unit mid-afternoon and stayed there through Sunday.  Recovery was pretty good overall.  Friday afternoon was the worst.  My lunch did not agree with me and I needed IV anti nausea meds and IV morphine to stop my vomiting and get pain back under control.

Rio stayed with me through Friday evening and then went back home to get a good night sleep.  He brought the big kids and my mom to visit on Saturday and then he returned again Sunday for my discharge.  In addition I had a few other visitors during my stay and it was just lovely to see familiar faces spread throughout the days in the hospital. 

 
Zola Simone is now 9 days old and she is doing fantastic.  She is a great eater and my milk supply is sufficient to keep her happy.  I am starting to pump a bit during a few feedings a day to get some milk supply build up in the freezer.  I am feeling pretty good too.  My pain is decreasing and I have started to cut down on the pain meds and the stretch between needing to take them is getting longer.  The scale is also finally starting to reflect a weight loss.  When I left the hospital I was only down a couple of pounds which seems impossible considering she was a 5 + pound baby and adding in the loss of placenta and blood etc my loss seemingly should be more.  However, I received quite a bit of fluids and I can tell that now a week later my body is starting to let go of some of the excess and as of today I am down about 10 lbs from delivery.

I am totally in love and enjoy every moment that I spent with her.  I love watching the big kids beginning their relationship with her – it will be such a special bond for each of them.  It was also wonderful to have my mother here with me during this time.  She took great care of the big children while I was in the hospital and she was wonderful during my first few days at home.  Unfortunately, she decided to leave early – but that is a whole different story.

 
For now I am just grateful for the miracle of life that Zola is.  I am soaking up her sweet baby features and plan to enjoy every moment fully before I have to return to work.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A visit cut short...

Way back when we first found out we were expecting I learned that my due date was on my mother's birthday.  It was such a sweet thing to share with her...to tell her that I had a great present for her but that she would need to come here to enjoy it.


She planned a trip to come and stay for both graduation, Zola's birth and both of our birthdays.  I was so excited to have her come and celebrate some life changing moments with me.  A new career, a new baby and turning 40 ~ lots of changes all in one month.

She arrived a few days before graduation and well today she left.  Way short of her expected stay date.  Her anger and discontentment had been brewing for a few days and I got mad too and was unable to rectify the situation.  So she simply packed her suitcase and walked out the door and left.  She was supposed to be here with me and instead she left....with the words that she was never ever ever coming back to visit me again.

I am heart broken - I really wanted to share this time in my life with her but I guess it was just not meant to be.  I feel like I have lost again .. and this time it was someone very very dear to me.  I am just not sure how it all happened so fast and why she could not see through her anger and stay.



Sunday, September 7, 2014

I am so completely in love...

Our little girl is so amazing and wonderful.  I just cannot get tired of looking at and holding her.  She is so sweet.

We were not planning to expand our family post surrogacy and when baby girl surprised us, it took a little time for the news to settle in but once it did, joy has permeated my heart, mind and soul.

My pregnancy has been wonderful but the fear of an early delivery and another loss crossed my mind many many times. Some of these thoughts were especially present as I passed through June and July and all the marking days for N&J's delivery and litte J's passing.   The last several weeks leading up to 26 weeks +3 days were a little nerve wrecking as all the "what if's" were lurking in the back of my head .. each day past that point was a gift of growth for our little baby girl.  

In addition, every day she stayed put below my heart while I finished nursing school was a victory.  I did worry that she would come early and somehow different plans would need to be made with respect to finishing school.  But she did it - she stayed put!!!  Graduation date was 8/29 and she was delivered at 37 weeks just a week later.  

Every day of this pregnancy I was thinking of my sweet twinkie surro boys and little N's early gathering of angel wings.  I will always be grateful for surrogacy and I will always be grateful for having felt the extra love of three sweet babies below my heart ... even as one is soaring with angels.  With that said, Baby girl has healed my heart in so many ways and the amazing joy that I feel in my heart is amplified by the gratitude I feel for this pregnancy and the blessing that true surprises can bring along.  I am just beyond grateful for having her come into our lives.

Having baby girl has given me a closure that I did not realize I needed.  Being a gestational surrogate will always be a big part of me and something that I am proud off.  Life is not perfect but the miracle of life even when held briefly within our hands is pure perfection. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

She is here...

Baby girl is here and I am so utterly in love ... more details to follow:


Sunday, August 31, 2014

September...

In less than one hour September rolls around.  The month where I will officially graduate from nursing school (..and hope to finish up my NCLEX exam too), the month where our sweet sweet baby girl will join our family, and the month where I will turn 40.

This will be a life transforming month for me.  A process that started a while ago when I decided to go back to school ... it is not a definitive journey but one that has changed my life in so many ways.

I know that September will hold many changes for me and for these I am incredibly grateful.  Change is hard but change is also good.  The biggest one of them all is having a little baby girl.  I cannot describe in words how elated, grateful and excited I am about her arrival.  Finding myself pregnant was a shock but it quickly turned to such a sweet release of pent up desires for another baby that I did not realize I had.  Being pregnant with baby girl has allowed much healing of my heart and brought a joy that feels ablaze at every waking moment.  She will be the perfects sweet addition to our family and I am so lucky to have amazingly caring and sweet big siblings to love her too.

Finishing nursing school is such an accomplishment for me.  It feels monumental and overwhelming.  There have been moments when everything was just too much.  When my emotions were just worn too thin and it seemed too difficult to just continue.  But I did it ... and I am proud of myself - proud to have finished an incredibly difficult and intense program and to have done it well.  These last many months have change me and challenged me to be a better person in so many ways.  The hardest thing during this process was being gone from home.  I missed my children everyday, it hurt my heart every time I had to leave them and I have cried for them more times than I can count.  To be back home with them is the best feeling ever and they make my heart whole in ways that no one else can.  I am so incredibly lucky to have them and I hope that my perseverance will some day serve as an inspiration to them too.

September I welcome you ... and I cannot wait to see all that you have in store for me.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I am done...

As of today all my requirements for graduation have been completed.  Tomorrow is my graduation/completion ceremony for nursing school as of September 5th (the official end of the term) I will have the letters of BSN behind my name.

I am DONE!!!!!  I am so incredibly excited ... I have worked hard to get to this point and I am incredibly please with my achievements. 

It just feels very very good.

....and baby girl - I am ready for you anytime you want to come out to play.   Thank you sweetheart for sticking on the inside so I could complete my program.  You are a star in my eyes already!

Friday, August 22, 2014

A whole lot of belly...

Or just a whole lot of stripes ~ 35 weeks and 1 day :)

In 13 days...

At this time in 13 days, I will be checked in at Legacy's L&D waiting and getting prepped for my c-section.  I can't believe it!!  I feel like the luckiest mommy in the world.  Baby girl has hiccups right now and I am just loving the feel of her move within me.  It is just the sweetest and most special feeling in the world - I am so lucky that I am getting to enjoy this again...insert tears of joy here :-)

On another note I am frantically trying to finish up my last assignments for nursing school.  It is proving a bit difficult as my brain has totally checked out it seems.  I have one report to finish up and a research paper to get done as well as my final evaluation packet.  How I wish I could just snap my fingers and it would be done.  No such luck but little by little I am plucking away at it.  I am determined to have the report done to day and hopefully my research paper too....insert tears of frustration here :-(

The kids are enjoying their last few weeks of summer and I really want to just go and have fun with them.  I have been so busy with school this summer and they have not had a much fun as I want them to have.  Yup pile on the mommy guilt here!!!!

Mommy guilt, pregnancy hormones, exhaustion and unfinished homework is NOT a good combination (insert a steady stream of tears here!!!!) .... I keep telling myself to just breathe - I will make it through .. just breathe.... and for heaven's sake quit crying!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Counting is my thing...

You know I am still an accountant at heart ;-)

...And the counting down has truly begun for me ... and I am a completely mush as I am writing this down:

2 more clinical days left
1 more paper and a few different reports (seems like a gazillion words of writing!!!) 
12 days until nursing school completion ceremony!
18 days until my c-section!!
36 days until I turn 40 ....yikes!!!   

I cannot even express how excited and grateful I am. I have 3 beautiful, exceptionally creative and funny children and a husband who has taken care of them while I have been away at school.  My dreams of becoming a nurse is just within reach and add to that the blessing of a sweet new baby in our lives to make our crazy life even sweeter. 

New career, new baby, new decade ... life truly starts over for me at 40! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Catching up...

Baby girl is growing!!!  I had an growth scan last week and she was estimated to weigh about 4 lbs 15 oz .. right on track in the 50-55% for gestational age.  I wonder how big she will be at birth.  Olivia was my smallest baby at 6 lbs 7 oz (well aside from the sweet twinkie boys).  As she will be born around 37 weeks, I am thinking she may be around the 5-6 lbs mark .. but we will see.

Once again she was face-planted into my placenta so we did not really get any good pictures of her face.  However, I did get to watch her in action.  She had hiccups during the scan and you could see the little rhythmical bopping of her head - and I could feel it too.  She is super active still and has hiccups all the time.  The ultrasound tech only let me listen to the heartbeat for a very very limited time, like 4 beats, I love that sound and wished I could have listened a little longer.

I love this little one so much - it is amazing to feel this way.  With all our children I have been so happy and excited to be pregnant with them and welcome them into my arms and our family.  This time is no different but the feelings are so intensely strong maybe because it was all so unexpected.  It truly is such an amazing feeling to anticipate the birth of our baby girl.

My c-section was scheduled at my last appointment too.  It felt strange to schedule it ... to know when baby girl will arrive ~ well that is as long as she continues to stay put ;-)  Still I can't wait to meet her .. well I can .. but I am counting down the days. 

We still need to decide on a name for her.  It is so hard to find just right one - honestly I do not think we will decide until she is born.  I think I need to see her first ... oh my gosh just thinking about seeing her and holding her in my arms is making me all mushy.

Baby girl .. I treasure every kick and hiccup you are sending in my direction.  I love every roll and punch you throw.  I am trying to make sure that I enjoy every twinge of your movements and the magic of growing you below my heath.  I know I will miss feeling you in my tummy .. but I also know that I will LOVE feeling you in my arms.

Final ATI test out of the way ...

ATI testing is practice testing for the national nursing licensing exam - during the last two terms we have done 4 tests.  Two on our own and two proctored.  I have met the goals established for each and I am happy to have them all crossed of my to-do list.

The term is quickly coming to an end and with it comes the end of my nursing school journey.  I cannot even express how excited I am about this opportunity to become a nurse.  It feels so right and so big to be almost done.  It seemed so impossible when I decided to make this change yet here I am ... and I am almost done.

My summer in the NICU has filled with so much learning.  I am so thankful to my preceptor who has been a fantastic teacher and great support in my hands-on learning.  Tomorrow starts my last 5 day stretch of clinical days.  I still have paper work to attend to and get done but the practical piece will be concluded in short fashion.

Wow .. I can't believe it .. but I am almost done.  Then the NCLEX will be up next...can't wait to conquer that challange :-) 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Quick school update...

I just want to shout it again ... I LOVE nursing school!!!  ....and I will love getting done in another five short weeks.  This has been one heck of a journey to travel through and I know that I have grown and stretched myself in so many directions over these last couple of years.

I am so enjoying my clinical in the NICU - I know my heart are with caring for the babies and I hope that I will be able to find work in this field after graduation.

Currently we are about half way through with summer term and I am working on getting papers and assignments out of the way.  There is so much reading to get done and once done there is always more to learn.  I love it!  But I am tired mentally and on my clinical days I leave with minimal energy to do more homework after at 12 1/2 hour day in the hospital.

The experiences that I am having in the NICU are amazing and challenging.  Everyday I am reminded of what my sweet baby looks like right now and how much assistance she would still need if she were to arrive at the present moment.  Everyday I am thankful for another day of keeping her safe in my belly.

I feel so privileged in my rotation to work with great nurses and have wonderful support from clinical faculty for my learning and progression in school.  I have learned so much and still I know there is a mountain of more knowledge and skills to gain.  Small steps will make big gains....so for now I just get moving forward.

I am almost a nurse .... five more weeks of school and then the NCLEX exam.  I can do this ... I feel fantastic doing this :-) 

Getting ready...

In less than 50 days I will get to meet my sweet baby.  Clothes are washed, crib is ready, baby bag is packed and most of my hospital bag is packed as well.  Both bags are sitting in the car seat in our room .. just in case Rio needs to grab them and come to Portland at an unexpected time.  It makes me so excited that everything is mostly ready to greet our new little one.

...Only most ready...I pray for her to stay put for at least another 5 weeks until I finish school.  I have clinical rotation scheduled through the 21st of August so at a minimum she needs to stay put until then.  I am working hard on getting papers and assignments out of the way these days just in case I need to wrap things up quickly.  While in one breath I cannot wait to hold and snuggle my baby girl, in another I want to slow time down.  Slow it down to really enjoy feeling her movements and the magic of growing another baby inside me.  There is nothing like being pregnant and I have love every pregnancy that I have been fortunate enough to carry .. it truly is such a privilege to grow another tiny human 

There is no feeling quite like that of a baby below your heart.  It is so special to me and I am cherishing every moment with her in my belly.  Expecting another baby for our family has been a journey of healing for me - one that I did not realize I needed.  I am constantly taking aback by the very strong love and longing that I have for this child and while the pregnancy has been filled with some emotional ups and downs and worry because of my pregnancy with N&J,  the happiness I feel in my heart is soothing my soul to infinity. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

29 weeks along today...

Baby girl is kicking up a storm in there.  I love feeling her move, roll and kick - it is so life affirming and I am enjoying every bit of it.  She is a very active little girl and while she has some long stretches of rest during the daytime, I feel her bounce around all night long :-)

This week while in the NICU, I was holding a preterm twin for a feeding.  He was such a sweet little boy and as I held him on my lap, she was kicking up a storm toward the firmness from holding the little one.

My clinical rotation is going wonderfully.  I have done 6 12 hour shifts at this point and have loved every single one of them.  It is such a great learning experience.  While the days are long, I feel like I have ample time to sit down to chart and get off my feet for a bit of rest.  I have purchased a pregnancy support belt as well and that helps with keeping some stress of my lower back when standing for long stretches at the time.

The next few weeks will be extremely busy with school as I have a lot of clinical days and extra things scheduled at school.  I will only get to see my kiddos for a very short weekend this coming weekend so I will miss them bunches.  But!!!!  I am almost done with nursing school and that means I am almost back home full time again....I cannot wait to wake up with my kids every single day to hug and love em!!!!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Letting go...

A few weeks ago I picked up a book of daily devotions .. casually flipping the pages I landed on something I really needed to read.  It was about letting go of past hurts and not continually reliving sad memories.  And I knew instantly that was a message I needed to receive right at that moment.

Some of my struggles in this pregnancy, and over the last several years, have been related to the early birth of the twins and loss of little J.  The justice of the loss and fragility of life.  It makes me so sad to think about the events of three years ago and the fact that I never hear news of N, keeps me wondering and hoping that he is ok.

I bought that little book the day I read the passage.  Several of the daily inspirations since then have surrounded similar topics .. letting go, moving forward, refocusing etc.  I needed to hear them all.  I needed somehow to be reminded that it is ok for me to let go.  That it is alright to move on.  It is ok to honor the sadness and carry it in my heart.... but it is also time for me to make that conscious effort to close that door and let the main focus from that time be on the sweet memories of a beautiful friendship, the feelings of two babies bouncing around in my belly, the memory of holding little J close to my heart, and of seeing N off to the airport to fly home with his momma.

The other night I sent off an email to L and while she may never read it, it was important for me to write it.  To tell her that I think about them and miss hearing from them but also that it would be the last time that I would write or initiate contact.  It is hard to let go of the promise that was made to me of staying in touch but I also know that not doing so may be their way of letting go.  Still I truly hope that maybe some day our paths will cross once again.  At the same time it feels freeing to allow myself to step out and away from the shadow that has been hanging over my head for so long.  The feelings of the internal turmoil of my heart of wondering why and what I did wrong, and so wanting to have that pregnancy end differently and for two sweet boys to be with their parents .. rationally I know that nothing I did caused the events to happen the way they did but reconciling emotion with knowledge is hard.

Going through the last few months of my pregnancy has been such a mix of extreme joy and happiness and living with the fear and anxiety of "what if it happens again."  With the months of May and June bringing memory dates not only for the loss of my father, the loss of the pregnancy and the twins' birth and yet another Friday the 13th, and then the loss of J... it also brought the passing of my 26week +3 day mark of this pregnancy.  And a sweet relief flooded my heart....I made it past that day .. I made it past that day in my pregnancy.  Every new day - every new week of growing baby girl in my belly is a victory in my book.  I pray that she will stay put for a good while longer.

Time has come and I know I need to move forward and let go of some of my past hurts.  It does mean that I will ever forget but only that I am choosing to fully embrace this joy of sweet baby love without feeling loaded down with guilt of not being able to carry two sweet twinkie boys term.  I did something good even if it events did not go perfect.  My intentions were pure and I know in my heart that I loved those sweet boys (and still do) the best that I could.

It is time for me to fully embrace this happiness and the pure joy that this baby girl represent for me.  Words cannot describe how intense my feelings and emotions are for this little babe .. I just love her so much.  I have three beautiful, incredible and wonderful children and I never dreamt that I would feel this way again.  This strong longing for a sweet baby makes me feel ever so vulnerable and happy at the same time.  I am giving myself permission to let go, to refocus and embrace the open door for a brand new and changed future from the one I previously envisioned.  A new baby changes everything and I know this little one has changed mine.  I saw her today on a growth scan - her little perfect heart beating away and her feet kicking me as she moved around.  She is growing and is estimated at 2 lbs 2 oz and everything is looking really good with her ... a little sweetheart with so much power to change lives.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hiccups...

This is the first time in this pregnancy that I have felt baby girl's hiccups ... it feels so funny.  A consistent little tapping against my lower belly on the left side so I suspect that she is hanging out transverse with her head to the left :-)

I feel her all the time now and I am starting to recognize her wake and sleep cycles.  Her kicking and bouncing can be felt on the outside mostly on top, buttom and on the sides.  I assumed that the minimal kicks I feel right around my middle is due to the anterior placenta in the way.

I love feeling her move ... kick along baby girl ~ kick all you want!!!

Past the 27 week mark and entering the third trimester...

It feels so good to be past the point in my pregnancy where I delivered the twins.  Looking back over the last couple of months, there have been so many days bore reminders of some really difficult times and getting past these is good for my sanity.

Today I am 27 weeks + 3 days pregnant - exactly a week further along than when I delivered sweet N&J.  As I enter the third trimester, I am thankful for each additional day of growing time in utero and every week will feel like another little victory in my book.  I think that once you have experienced a significant complication, the worry of a potential repeat lingers.  I know full well that anything can happen at anytime and that feeling of vulnerability is there, but I hope and pray that baby girl will just stay put and let me love and nurture her below my heart for a good while longer.

In the last few weeks I have felt a drive to get stuff ready for baby.  I am very happy with some successful Craigs List purchases; a pack-and-play, a crib, changing table, play mat, bouncy seat, baby bath tub, some clothes and a great deal on diapers and bath stuff (a mom decided to go completely scent free and was gifted a lot of scented stuff at her baby shower) and a biggie... a brand new car seat of the exact model I wanted.  The seller still had it in the plastic bagging and box and sold it to me for $40 cheaper than I would have to pay at the store as she had received a second one at her baby shower!!!  Score!  And then when I went to get the matching stroller, I found the last one in the store on clearance :-)

I have also bought some newborn essentials including cute little bows for our little princess :-)  There are a few random pieces that we still need to get but overall I feel pretty ready in the baby department which is good as this term will be BUSY in school!

I started my rotation in the NICU last week and had a great couple of first days there.  It will be a challenging term and there is so much to learn.  Working with and looking at these little fragile babies is a staunch reminder of where my baby is in her development right now, it is also the work I have been drawn to for a very long time and I am really excited to be there.

Off to write a couple of papers and a whole lot of studying for my upcoming skills lab :-)

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Whoopi...

Three years ago I met Whoopi!!!  Really it was a VERY exciting day.  I spent the day in New York City in the Studios filming the View, taking in Central Park, and enjoying time with M&M, Miss V and her brother ... it was a beautiful experience.  I want to go back to visit New York and take my children to Central Park and visit all the sights.  Today I just want to revisit the great pics!!!

 

Thinking back 3 years this specific day is held close in my heart as that was also the day we lost little J.  Even as time passes the memories are so vivid in my heart and I cannot help to wonder why he had to leave us so soon.

The day I left for New York I left the NICU as little J came out of his first surgery.  Seeing his little body so still and tied to so many wires and tubes is etched in my mind forever.  But more so is remembering the pain washing over everyone there.  L&J and L's mother and myself ... feeling so powerless against the forces of nature on a course that could not be changed by any medical intervention.

On Tuesday I will enter the NICU as a student nurse.  I know that my summer in there will bring close memories that are difficult but I also know that I am so excited to begin this final term of my education and looking foward to working with these little tiny babies.  Today I completed another preparatory task in for this summer term by attending the S.T.A.B.L.E. class.  It was great and filled with lots of learning.....summer term here we go!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

99 days until my due date...

181 days have passed with out little sweet surprise growing steadily within me ... 99 days remains until my official due date.  However, knowing that I will delivery right around the 37 week mark leaves about 78 days give or take before we meet baby girl.

These next 78 days will be jammed packed with stuff for school and summer fun for the kids.  I start the new term up with an all day S.T.A.B.L.E class on Saturday.  It is a neonatal education program focusing on post-resuscitation/pre-transport stabilization of sick infants.  It covers practical aspects of neonatal care focusing on Sugar, Temperature, Airway, Blood pressure, Lab work, and Emotional support - all of which are crucially important in all newborns but especially so in premature babies.


The summer term ~ my last term in nursing school ~ starts on Monday and I will be going for my first on the floor clinical day on Tuesday.  I am so excited to start.  I know there will be a lot of learning to get done between now and the end of summer ... but really that learning process will never end - there will always be more.

The kids go off to Camp K in the end of June.  Magnus is going to be a junior CIT this year so he will be going for two weeks.  Sebastian will join him in the first week and Olivia will be there for the second.  All three of them are looking forward to camp this year.

Going to camp also offers three weekends in a row on the coast.  I am looking forward to catching up with friends and getting yard work done around the house.  I really wish we would get an offer on the house and be able to conclude this chapter; however, that is not happening.  I am not sure yet what our plan going forward will be.  An offer would be amazing!

Busy summer ahead ... looking forward to every moment of it :-)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day...

Wishing both M and J a Happy Father's Day ... I hope for both of you that it is filled with lots of love and happy memories.

Also a very Happy Father's Day to my hubby .. I never thought that we would share another Father's Day expecting a little bundle of joy.  It makes me incredibly happy and she is kicking up a storm for you in my belly.

Hugs XOXO...

Monday, June 9, 2014

Great Craigs List finds...

I found a great deal on Craigs List for a crib and changing table last week.  $125 for both and the mattress and it is all in great shape.  We put it together when I can back from Portland on Friday evening and just this morning I got it all situation the way we want it in the bedroom.  It is a snug fit but it will do :-) 

I have also purchased a pack-n-play and bouncy seat on Craigs List - the bouncer is sitting in the crib.  I love getting some good deals for baby girl especially since we officially had no baby stuff left.




Out of the mouths of babes...

This morning walking Olivia and Sebastian to school Sebastian goes "..Mom look even your shadow looks fat!"

...Gee thanks honey ... but I think you got it all wrong ~ if I turn to a different angle I still look very long and lean ;-)

And for the record, I am still doing pretty good with my steps.  There are days where I do not reach my 10K goal but it evens out with days that I go over.  Looking at my progress on a weekly basis, I pretty consistently hit above 70,000 mark which makes me very happy!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

5 years ago today...

I lost my father.  I miss him ... I looked back to my post 5 years ago and you know I am still missing his voice.  I still can't hear it even if I try really hard to recall it.  I know exactly how it sounded but the sound bites are still locked away somewhere in my mind.

I remember thinking during one of my visits home that at least he had met and seen all my babies...  that at least they all got to know him just a little bit.  Today it makes me sad to know that baby girl will never get that pleasure.  Instead I hope that he looks down upon us from above and sends his love.



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Baby update...

Baby girl is doing great.  Her heart rate was galloping along at 138 beats per minute and her estimated weight is at 1 lbs 6 oz.  The placenta looks good and firmly attached - it makes me breathe a sigh of relief.  While the placenta is sitting across the front of my belly, all the blood flow is contained within the uterine cavity and there appears to be no risk for accreta along my previous c-section scar.  It truly was all good news today.

My OB is happy with my blood sugars - they are all within range even without any change to my diet.  Though I can tell that Mexican food is definitely giving my higher blood sugars .. so I will attempt to lay off that for the rest of my pregnancy.  I will continue to do blood sugar checks for the last few days before each visit.  The scale is up a few pounds so all in all I have gained about 12-13 lbs now.  

I checked in with my doc about the delivery date again and it looks like 37 weeks will be baby time.  I finish school in the very end of August and week 37 is that very next week.  It seems a little unreal and then again VERY real!  Wow baby girl stay snuggled up .. we have one exciting summer ahead of us.

I go back to the doctor in 4 weeks ... I am so happy and relieved that all is looking good. 

Ultrasound today...

I have an OB visit and ultrasound scheduled today.  I am excited to get a peek at baby girl and to see how she is growing.  The primary focus for the ultrasound is to check placental location and to look at my cervix to see if there are any changes.  This is just a precaution due to my early delivery with the twins.  Hopefully all will look great...update to follow :-)

I also called my insurance this morning to get a few things settled with respect to expected out of pocket costs and such.  My annual copay is $500 plus an out of pocket max of $1,000 ... thankfully my short term disability covers just about as much so.  In addition, great news is that my breast pump will be covered at 100% as long as I order it through a preferred provider.  I want to get that done soon so I have by time of delivery.  I plan to breastfeed exclusively and am really looking forward to doing so again.  Having the pump will allow hubby (and big siblings ... if they want) to feed baby girl as well and will come in handy when I start up working.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Baby girl is growing...

I rounded 23 weeks yesterday and my belly is definitely rounding out




Feeling great and starting to get the urge to nest and get ready stuff ready for baby.  I pulled out my keepsake box for the big kids yesterday and took a look through baby outfits that I have saved with the intention of giving to them later.  I was able to pull out a nice little stack of baby girls stuff that can be used again .. so exciting!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Registered...

For my last term of nursing school!!!!!  Wahooo!!!  I am so excited about this last term and going into my integrated practicum in the NICU.  It has been so much hard work and being away from my kiddos so much has been so difficult....but I am almost home for good and I am totally excited about it.

I have two more weeks of this term and then a couple of weeks of break.  Looking forward to spending a lot of time at home relaxing and having fun with the kids and Rio.

Happy Hump Day....my last day for this week ~ ok well aside from the 2-3 papers that I still need to write but at least I can do that from home.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Just feeling very happy...

I am 22 weeks along today and I woke up with this feeling of unbridled joy about this sweet baby girl hiding deep below my heart.  She makes me so incredibly happy and I feel so blessed by this pregnancy.  I am completely taken amazed by the level of happiness and excitement I feel about being pregnant and bringing a new baby into our family.

While this was not a planned pregnancy .. my strong desire, longing and love for this baby is completely taking me by surprise.  She is truly a joy and a source of constant amazement as my belly keeps expanding and her life-affirming kicks grows stronger and stronger.  She is becoming quite active these days and I think very soon the big siblings and hubby will be able to feel her kicks on the outside of my belly.

My drive to nest and get ready for baby is kicking in as well.  There are so many things to get ready as we have nothing for a newborn....but really I know all she needs is diapers and lots of love!  I already know she will be so love and have everyone wrapped around her little finger in no time.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Baby shower picnic fun...

A couple of the women I attend nursing school with had arranged a picnic at the park baby shower celebration for myself and another student who is due with her baby here in June.  It was a great laid back event for getting out to have fun and sharing food and no emphasis of gifts which was great.

I got a couple of things: a sweet little dress, some adorable "sock-shoes," and some beautiful tulips .. but most of all I had a lovely time with friends and that is such a blessing. 

The weather was perfect and we spent a few hours just hanging out, singing/playing music and enjoying each others company.  I am truly blessed with a great group of people to have shared this nursing school experience with.

OB check up...

I had a great visit at my clinic last Wednesday.  Everything is going well.  Baby girls heart rate was bouncing away at about 154-156 beats per minute ... I just love the sound of her heart beat and can never get enough of listening to it.

The scale made a bit of a jump from three weeks ago and I am up another 3 pounds so my total weight gain at 21 weeks is about 10-11 lbs.  Not too bad but a good reminder to just keep being active.

We talked a bit about the delivery time frame as I will be having a schedule c-section.  The last doctor said about the 38 week mark, whereas the doc I saw this week said her recommendation is more like 36-37 week.  Yikes!!!  I finish school in the very end of August so at a minimum I really want to stretch that day to the 37 week mark but would prefer to go to 38 weeks.  This for sure will be revisited at at later appointment.

Still no measurement on my size of my belly.  I feel like I am starting to look "big" but I can still see my feet so I am probably not as big as I feel :-)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dear baby girl...

I am sad today ... each year this day breaks my heart.  While it has gotten a little easier over time, I think May 13 will always sting my heart.  I will always wish that the turn of events had been different and I will always wonder how little N is doing and hope that he is well and happy. 

This year you are giving me so much comfort today.  I feel your little kicks and I treasure them more than you could ever know.  I had no idea idea that I would feel this intense joy and wish for you...that your sweet surprise would again stir that burning desire to have another child of my own nor that I would feel it so strongly that it nearly sets my heart ablaze.  You fill me with so much joy and yet I also feel so scared at the same time.  I can help but think of little J as I still miss him more than words can say.  I hope and I pray for you to stay put and to be safe in my belly for a good long time to come. 

Baby girl you are my world.  You are now sharing a very special place deep below my heart - a place shared by your three incredible, wonderful and amazing siblings and by three sweet sweet surro babes.  All of you own my heart...your little footprints linger with my every beat.

So for now baby girl please stay put and let me love you from the outside ... I promise you the world will wait for you so take all the time you need.

Love,
Mommy 

Happy Birthday little N...

I am thinking about you today and wishing you the best 3 year birthday ever. 

Three years ago right around this time you came into this world ~ it was one of the most difficult days of my life.  I close my eyes and I see you and your sweet brother ... miss you both.

I hope that you are doing well and growing big and strong.  You will always have a big place in my heart and I am sending you lots of hugs and kisses for your birthday.

Love always ... your surromama :-)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

20 weeks...

I am 20 weeks along tomorrow ... time has flown by!   I am finally feeling more movement and I love when baby girl taps my insides.  It is just such a sweet reminder that we is growing bigger. 

Hitting the halfway point definitely is giving me some jitters.  There is so much stuff to get ready for having a newborn in the house again.  It is actually a bit overwhelming to think through all the little things we will need....so part of me is just putting that aside and hoping that love and a few onsies and cute blankets will do the trick ;-)

School is going well - this term is busy like all the others but in a different way.  Since I am doing my clinical rotation in the populations setting this term it is not as clinically intensive as the previous terms have been.  To make up for that I am trying to do lots of review so that I will be ready to take the NCLEX as soon as I can.  I am hoping that I might be able to squeeze it in before baby arrives but I will be a tight fit.

I am feeling pretty good aside from a really sore throat the last couple of days.  It hurts and it sucks!  I feel thirsty a lot just to get rid of that scratchy feeling.  Ricola and warm drinks are in high demand right now.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sweet little feet...

My anatomy scan today went well.  Baby GIRL is looking good and all the anatomy markers were checked off with flying colors.  I enjoyed hearing the heartbeat and watching her bounce around in there.  It is amazing how much she can move and kick and how little I can feel!

My placenta is anterior but far away from my cervix so that is good.  They measured my cervical length and it looks good, long and closed and I am very happy about that.  Doctors appointment after the scan was short and sweet.  Doc is very happy with my progress, my weight gain is great (about 6 lbs at this point), my blood pressure is nice and low and my blood sugars are within normal range as well.


 

Nursing school in a nutshell...

This just cracks me up every time I see it!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/modernartemis/36-things-you-are-guaranteed-to-experience-while-i-i1eu

18 weeks today...

I can't believe it but I am 18 weeks along today and I am feeling both a bit nervous and super excited for my ultrasound this afternoon. 

I am not feeling baby move a whole lot yet which is strange for me especially as I felt the twins really early.  Part of that is that my placenta is laying on the anterior side this time which cushions me from feeling a lot of movement when baby is so small.  The placental location is one of the things they will be looking at in detail today.  At the nuchal fold scanning they could see that it is anterior but the exact location was hard to see at that time as everything is still so small.  There is a chance that it is right on top of my c-section incision which is not ideal so I am hoping that perhaps it is off to the side some.

On pins and needles looking forward to knowing the gender.  The boys are saying it is a boy and they have named him Elliot!  Olivia wants a girl I think .. she always wanted a sister although she would prefer if the sister could come out her age!  So soon we will know :-)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Blood sugar overload...

I have been working on this post for a while ... somehow it is just difficult.  Anyway this pregnancy is different in many ways ... for one it started different.  My own pregnancies have always been very planned and this was so the complete opposite of planning.  With Magnus we got pregnant right away when we wanted to start our family and with Olivia we pretty much found ourselves pregnant as soon as we stopped preventing pregnancy.  Sebastian took a little while longer but he was hoped and wished for and came along with perfect timing.  For both my surrogate pregnancies, planning is mapped out in the knitty gritty details and very little was left unmanaged in achieving pregnancy. 

This time ... well ... life happens and pregnancy was not planned.  Yet I find myself blessed and happy and totally overwhelmed with all the emotions that continually wash over me as I find myself daydreaming about baby and all the sweetness to come.

Another thing that is very different is my age!  I have rounded the magic number where I am now considered of Advanced Maternal Age......GASP!!!!!  I like "mature" better but I digress .... bring on the geriatric pregnancy comments ... however please note that the senior discount does NOT apply!!!

With maturity comes a bit more testing and for me that included a hemoglobin A1c test which looks at blood sugar levels in the previous 3 months.  Normal levels is anything below 5.6 .. mine was 5.7 :-(  Enough to earn the diagnosis of gestational diabetes and the luck of poking my finger 4 times per day to do daily blood glucose testing.  I was not so happy!  The good news however is that my daily levels are all in the normal parameters and I am down to testing my blood glucose in the last 3 days leading up to each prenatal appointment.  Hopefully my numbers will continue to look good and no interventions is needed.

I personally feel that other factors has contributed to my high blood glucose levels.  At the time of the test, the 3 months look back period would go back to second week of November.  So not only did that period include both Thanksgiving and Christmas goodies, it was also a period with some extreme personal stress going on and that impact blood glucose levels as well.  Anyway now that I have a glucometer, there are days that I track my blood sugar to see how I respond to various foods in response to my natural curiosity on who the human body works!

Yeah ~ I got my clinical placement for my final term...

I am so excited!  I received my placement for my final clinical rotation in nursing school .. the NICU!!!  It is my first choice placement and it makes me incredible grateful and happy that I will be able to be somewhere I feel so very passionate about.

Delivering N&J early did not inspire my first thoughts about going to nursing school, but they sure where the catalyst to finally pursue something that I felt calling my name for a long time.  Ever since I spent time in the NICU after they were born, I was so amazed at watching the nursing care for these sweet little innocent babies who sadly arrived into their parent's arms too soon.

I just got on to order a few of the textbooks I really want for my library so that I can start to prepare for this upcoming rotation.  I know that being back in that environment will bring back many memories but also strength from having the knowledge I do.  I truly am so excited to be able to go in this direction with my clinical experience.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Easter Egg Stash Dash...

Woohoo we got a run planned yeah!  Mostly I will likely walk the "run" but it will be fun and I am looking forward to doing it.  Sebastian is signed up for a 1K Easter egg hunt run and the rest of us are signed up to the do the 5K later in the day.  I will have Sebastian walk with me for the 5K as well but we figured he would get a kick of the actual egg hunt too.

Rio and Magnus are planning to do a mudrun later this year too - I was planning to do one but now that I am pregnant, those plans will be on hold for another year.

I am planning to stay very active during this pregnancy....will say that all the spring rain during break has not allowed for a lot of outdoor activity - but we went swimming yesterday and plan to go climbing today!  I really hope to feel good all throughout especially as I will be doing my last clinical rotation for nursing school this summer.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

One lucky surromama...

Just recently I received adorable photos of little Miss V and her brother....ohh my they are so stinking adorable. 

It is just so much fun to see them grow and develop...

Hugs and Kisses to M&M!!!

Entering second trimester...

Today I am 14 weeks pregnant and I have entered into the second trimester.  I am starting to feel the baby move every once in a while and I am looking forward the feeling of more consistent movement.  For the most part I feel really good physically with the occasional aches and discomfort.   This morning I have had a lot of aching on my right side right where my hip bone is.  I think it is just ligament stretching but yikes it should feel free to stay away!

I feel so happy and elated about this pregnancy but also very emotionally charged.  The smallest things can make me weepy.  Looking at baby items makes my heart beam with feelings of joy of being so lucky to actually get to enjoy this stage of parenthood once more.  I felt certain that I was done with that aspect of life but finding myself pregnant I am realizing just how much I will love having a baby in our lives again.   At times these moments also make me feel very very vulnerable and sadly longing for what has been lost. Yesterday as I walked through a store I saw the cutest little blue baby blankets and instantly my thoughts lingered with L&J and their sweet baby boys.  While time heals some sorrows lingers on even as time passes.

Pregnancy is miraculous and wonderful....and then at the same time terrifying.  I feel worry creep in due to the outcome of my last pregnancy but I also know that placental abruption can happen to anyone and there is no predicting the occurrence.  It was a fluke and the likelihood of it happening again for me is the same as for any other woman.  The incidence is slightly higher due to IVF treatments and carrying twins but neither is the case for this pregnancy. 

I pray for a long and healthy nine months and for a sweet baby to join our family in due time.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Feeling so blessed by friendship..

In the course of surrogacy I have met some incredible people and I feel blessed in so many ways.  When I first realized that I was pregnant, one of things weighing heavily on heart was that a pregnancy for me should mean a baby for A&S.  While we had stopped pursuing surrogacy a while back due to various reasons, I think we all hoped that it would happen at some point. 

Early on in my pregnancy, I emailed A to let her know that I was expecting.  I felt uneasy sharing the news but I knew it was something that I just had to do.  Even if we only had a shared dream of achieving a pregnancy for her and S at this point ~ those dreams have occupied so many of my thoughts and hopes over the last several years.  The email I received in return (and many since then...) just warms my heart.   She has truly been such a wonderful and cheerful support and her joy for us is so genuine.  I cannot even explain how fortunate I feel to have her as a friend.

We both feel strongly that people come into our lives for a reason or a season .. I know that mine and A's path crossed to share the miracle of life in some way.  It has not been how either of us expected it .. but it is sweet all the same. 

Today I am just very thankful for good friends to share my joy.

Monday, March 17, 2014

First trimester screening is back...

My nuchal transluncency scanning was last Thursday and thankfully the diameter of the of the fluid in the neckfold was within normal parameters.  Baby was so cute bouncy all around.  In addition to the ultrasound, I had a blood work drawn to complete the first trimester screening.  Results came back today and further decreased my risk of both Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 21.  I was so happy to receive that call as when you look at the statistics for a 39/40 year old women they are NOT pretty.

Since the screening is back with good results, we are not planning further diagnostic testing at this time.  We will revisit the need to do so when we complete the screening for spina bifida and the anatomy ultrasound later in the second trimester.

I love getting good news...here is a belly photo from a couple of weeks ago ~ I cannot believe how quickly I just popped out this time. 






Sunday, March 16, 2014

I have such a sweet surprise to share...

Announcing sweet news to the big siblings...

Olivia:  ewww.... babies stink and "I thought you were getting fatter!"

Sebastian:  woohoo ... I want a baby brother

Magnus:  whaaaatttt???








... A sweet little surprise ...

I realized in early January that I was pregnant.  A surprising turn of events ...  I took me a bit to catch my breath and let the news settled in, but now I must say that I am just tickled and feeling incredibly blessed.

Baby looked wonderful on the 12 week ultrasound ... my heart is truly overflowing.



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spring...

I love spring time ... all the trees are budding, daffodils and crocuses are in bloom and the smell of spring is hanging in the air.  It is like little sweet secrets growing and hidden away below the surface and the once the sunny days come back they all pop right out!

I went for a long walk after clinicals today along the waterfront in Portland.  The weather was beautiful and people were milling around everywhere.  It felt so good to feel the sunshine on my face and taking in all the sounds and scents of spring.

Yeah my spring break is almost here!!!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Finals are almost here again...

Last paper of the term finished and submitted ...yeah!!! 

... I have been slacking and not blogging for a such long time.  School has been busy.  Really really busy.  I love being in nursing school!  It is intellectually challenging and stretches my learning wonderfully in so many directions.  But the biggest challenge of all is being gone so much from home.  I miss the kids tremendously and cannot wait for Spring break to roll around.  The toll of being gone so much over the last 10 months is compiling and every Sunday night when I have to leave yet again to go back to Portland my heart aches.

But here we are with the last week of term three upon me and I can look forward to almost two weeks of spring break.  It is gonna be great!  I can also look back over an intense 10 weeks of acute care experiences.  I had 5 weeks on the labor/delivery, mother/baby, and NICU units and 5 weeks on the adult cardiac unit.  It has been intense and I have loved every minute of being in clinical.  I am just so happy that I made the choice to pursue nursing.

Last week also brought my first ATI testing which is preparation for the NCLEX or the national nursing licensure testing that I will need to complete once I finish school.  It went fairly well .. we did not have to study in advance for this test so that it can provide me with a good baseline measure of what I currently know and where I should focus my efforts as I continue my studies.  It was a long test though - 150 questions ... still it is another step in the direction of becoming a nurse.

In addition to school, I sometimes feel that our life is constantly in flux and that I am caught in a game of wack-a-mole!  I will not blog much about it other than to say that we have had some very difficult times on the personal front and it has been emotionally tiring, difficult and unsettling.  It lead to a new move for our family and in January we relocated down to Eugene, Oregon for a new job for my husband.  We have rented a house there and hope to settle in and make this our home for the forseeable future.  Alas things seems to be settling down now for which I am immensely thankful...