Monday, December 31, 2012

on the move

Last night while Chris and I were in bed trying to fall asleep the little one was on the move! I've felt movement on the outside maybe once so far. I think that was on Christmas Eve, so it was several days ago. Since then, Chris has tried to put his hand where the baby is moving to feel it too, but he's usually too late! We'll last night he was in luck! He felt a good kick! What a special moment.

Here's a photo of all the baby related Christmas gifts we got this year. The shirt is maternity and super cute.

Only about five more months to go! We'll hopefully know the gender in about three more weeks!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas break update

Chris and I have had a great time off together so far. One great thing about working for the school system and for a public university is all the time you get off at Christmas. I can't complain. This year I got two extra days, which gave me two and a half weeks off! Chris got two weeks. We both go back to work on Wednesday, which is going to be tough. I've just been able to sleep in the last couple of days.
Sleeping in has been tough since I've been pregnant. I just have a hard time staying comfortable. I wake up on my back a lot, and that's starting to become uncomfortable.

On the first Monday and Tuesday of my break Chris was still working. I worked to try to finish up some Christmas shopping, baked a lasagna, relaxed with my puppy on the couch and visited my friend's new baby. Baby Jack is pretty sweet. Later we met up with our friends for dinner and to purchase some gifts from our small group for the kids at church.

On Wednesday, Chris and I made pancakes for breakfast and then went our separate ways to really finish up Christmas shopping. Then, we met up at home for a quick lunch and headed out to my doctor's appointment to check on this little baby. I was 17 weeks and one day on the day of my appointment. My blood pressure was up a little compared to last time, but still normal at 120/60. I had put on about four pounds since my last appointment (5.6 total), which my doctor said was what he would expect to see. The baby's heart rate was 163. Chris finally got to hear it! We scheduled the mid-pregnancy ultrasound, which I was hoping would be at 20 weeks, but I figured it wouldn't be since they're seeing me about every four weeks. Even though it's usually almost five weeks between appointments. It was as I expected. He wanted to see me back after four weeks, and they couldn't get me in with an ultrasound and appointment back to back until January 22. I'll be 22 weeks on that day. I am very excited to hear about how this little one is developing and the gender. I've been feeling flutters for about two weeks now. Some days it's really consistent, while other days the movement is so light and inconsistent that I find myself wondering if I've really just felt something or if I am imagining it!

Wednesday night we went to church to help out with the children's Christmas party, which was fun. We got to give out the gifts from our small group, which was a lot of fun!

Thursday we grabbed some stuff for goodies at the grocery store, cleaned the apartment, wrapped some presents and then relaxed while watching part of the first season of Modern Family- thanks, Niki! Our small group got together that night for a little Christmas party, which was more or less a meal and a game or two of Scattergories!

Friday we finished wrapping presents, went out to lunch and did all our laundry in preparation for going out of town for four days. Niki stopped by on her way up from Jackson for some dinner and then continued her journey to Elizabethtown. I stayed up to make a few treats to take with us to Elizabethtown.

Saturday morning we pack up the car to head to Elizabethtown. We set our cat up for being out of town- thanks to Jared for coming by over the weekend to feed him, scoop his litter box and set up his food timers while we were gone.

Presents for my family.

Presents for Chris' family. The big one underneath is for me.

Pooped out after all the wrapping and packing!
Saturday night I went out to a fancy dinner in Louisville with the girls in Chris' family. Chris hung out with his dad while we were gone. After dinner we went to see the Louisville ballet perform the Nutcracker, which was great! I had never seen a professional ballet before, so that was a real treat!

Sunday we went to church with Chris' family, made some more treats to share and vegged out on the couch a lot!

Monday was Christmas Eve. Lori made a wonderful brunch and we opened gifts with his family before his stepsister and stepbrother had to go to their dad's. Chris and Niki played music at their friend's church at the 11 p.m. service, which was neat because when it was over, it was Christmas morning!

Joshua enjoying his gift from us. Penelope knows he's under there!

She finally got her gift!

17 weeks and 6 days!

Penelope pooped out after all the presents! Too many bows and wrapping paper to chew on!

Chris making pecan logs!

On Tuesday, which was Christmas morning, we headed off to see my family in Henderson as the rest of the Carters headed out to see family in northern Kentucky. We spent the day visiting with my little brother and parents and preparing for the party that evening. We made lots of great party food! All my siblings, their spouses and kids arrived that evening prepared for the snow storm that was due to hit around midnight. They were calling for blizzard conditions, 8-11 inches of accumulation! The siblings that live close by were all planning on going home that night if at all possible, but came prepared to stay the night just in case the storm came early! We all ate too much and opened gifts. It was pretty much chaos as it always is, but we're talking about celebrating Christmas with a family of 17! It's bound to be a little crazy with that many people in one house! It's funny to think that they'll be at least 18 by next year!

Sorry, Dad! I think you're the only one I didn't get a picture of. You were really sick those two days, so you're probably glad. Plus, you never want your picture on the internet anyway!

sisterly love.

Massive amount of gifts! Before the kids tore into it!

Fiona on Christmas!

Nieces with Uncle Jason.

On Wednesday morning, we woke up to about four inches of snow with a little more on the way. We enjoyed a lovely breakfast while waiting for the roads to clear with one of my sisters and her family, my two youngest brothers and parents. By the time we got ready and packed up the car it was almost noon and the main roads were safe to drive on. We made a quick stop at my sister's in Evansville to pick up some of her maternity clothes that I wanted to borrow. Then, we went to see my grandparents before heading out of town. We stopped on our way back through in Henderson to see my step-grandparents and pick up my brother who was having his car worked on and needed a ride back to Bowling Green. Somehow we were able to fit him, his laundry, our gifts, the dog and all those maternity clothes in our car! I am still not sure how!

We got home on Wednesday night and finally got to open gifts from each other. Chris got money for the guitar he's building and I got a study bible and a fancy maternity pillow. We each gave each other some other little gifts and stocking stuffers. It was a good Christmas! Thank goodness it's over! I am beat!

I spent most of Thursday trying on maternity clothes and organizing my closet. We also went to the Bailey's to visit, have lunch and for Chris to meet their new baby.

Friday we ran some errands together, went out to lunch and did a little post-Christmas shopping. Today has been lounging, laundry and more closet organizing. It's tough fitting an extra wardrobe in your closet! Sheesh!

Just a few more days of break left. Not sure what else I can squeeze in!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Oh baby, baby

I've been noticing my growing belly a lot the past couple of days. Chris has been noticing it too! He likes to tease me by asking what I ate! Ha! I am still to the point where if you didn't know I was pregnant, you probably wouldn't notice it, or if you did, you might just think that I had enjoyed a big lunch!

I am 15 weeks today. My sister told me she thought I'd probably be starting to wear maternity clothes by around 15 weeks, but when she said that I was 12 weeks, and I thought there would be no way. I am still fitting in my regular clothes okay, but my pants are getting a little bit snug. I could see myself needing to wearing some maternity stuff by Christmas, but we'll see.

I don't go back to the doctor for a couple more weeks, but here's the info from my first couple of visits.

I went in for lab work at 4 weeks and 1 day, which was the day after I found out I was pregnant. They did a blood test to check for pregnancy and repeated it two days later. They said both blood tests were positive and that my levels of hCG were doubling beautifully!

The first ultrasound was at 7 weeks exactly, and the baby's heartbeat was 140. My ultrasound was moved up a few days from my first appointment because I was concerned about lots of pain on one side of my abdomen. I was worried that there might be something wrong, so they move it up a week and a half! That's the earliest they said they'd be able to see what they needed to see on an ultrasound. I guess it was all just normal pregnancy pains because I found out at my actual doctor's appointment a week and half later that the baby was measuring right on schedule and that everything looked fine as far as they could tell. Most importantly, to ease my worries, the pregnancy was in the right place!

My first doctor's appointment was at 8 weeks and 2 days. I was 129.8 pounds, which is pretty close to my normal weight and my blood pressure was 110/60. Because my ultrasound was a week and half before this appointment and it was too early to pick up the baby's heartbeat on a Doppler, they let me sneak an abdominal ultrasound to check the baby's heartbeat since they weren't too busy in ultrasound. They said it might be too early to see anything with this type of ultrasound, but were willing to try! They didn't take any pictures or measurements, but they put the monitor on my belly long enough to let me peak at the baby and get a reading on the heartbeat, which was 192! I about jumped up off the table when they told me it was that high! The tech told me not to freak out. She said fetal heart rates get really high between 8 and 10 weeks and assured me it was fine! She said it would start to come back down between 10 and 12 weeks. I was really nervous, so I am sure my heartbeat was sky high too. I am still wondering if that has anything to do with the baby's being so high.

My second appointment at 12 weeks and 6 days was quick. Well, the appointment itself was, but waiting to talk to the financial counselor, waiting in the lab for a urine analysis (which is a part of every appointment) and waiting on getting my flu shot afterwards was not! I thought I might miss my appointment time! I asked one of the nurses why the lab was so crazy, and she said that Mondays aren't good days for lab work because it's always so busy. That's valuable information for scheduling future appointments! I had gained 1.6 pounds and was weighing in at 131.4. My blood pressure was still 110/60. The baby's heartbeat was 170! I was so relieved that they were able to easily capture it on a Doppler and that it had lowered since my last visit!

At lot of people have asked me how I am feeling. I've been pretty lucky so far. I can only complain of the normal pregnancy aches and pains. I was having some pelvic bone pain for a few weeks, which is very early for this type of pain and it caused me to worry thinking it would eventually become unbearable. However, after coming off progesterone a couple of weeks ago, I have been a little better as long as I don't lift anything too heavy or cross my legs for long periods of time. The high levels of hormones during pregnancy are what causes the ligaments to get too loose too early, and that's what causes the weird pains. I was put on progesterone through my first trimester as a precaution because of my medical history and due to some bleeding very early on. I am glad I was able to come back off of it though. I had to take it right before bedtime because it made me feel pretty crappy. I was very nauseated between 6 weeks and 9.5-10 weeks. I only threw up one time though, and I have been fine as far as morning sickness for the last 5 weeks. I guess I am feeling pretty good now because I am in the blissful second trimester.

I have been struggling with worrying too much lately. I guess carrying around another life has gotten me a bit nervous. I know that everything is in God's hands and that whatever happens is supposed to, whether that means a healthy baby or not, but I still turn to worrying about things. Please pray for me. I worry that something will go wrong with the pregnancy, and to be honest, something could and that wouldn't necessarily be outside of God's will. I know that sometimes he puts us through trials so that we love and trust him more. I think that's what scares me so much. On the other hand, I know that God never gives us anything we can't handle, so just pray that I remember that every day and that I wouldn't worry so much. Plus, I don't want to drive my husband crazy.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Chris and I both turned a year older in November. It's so weird to say that Chris is now 31 and I am 28! Wow! We're getting on up there!

I made Chris his birthday cheesecake. Thanks to some cheesecake advice from Lori, Chris' stepmother, it was the first pretty cheesecake that I've ever made! Usually mine tastes pretty good, but it cracks and breaks across the top and on the edges. This time it was nearly perfect. Too bad I didn't get a picture of it this time! Bummer! During Thanksgiving last year, I remember her saying that she read about a tip that worked for her. The tip was baking it with a pan of water in the oven too. I think it might be called a water bath or something like that. I looked it up, and my springform pan didn't fit within any of my other pans, so I just put a pan of water on the rack underneath. It still had the same effect, and I think that may have been what Lori said to to anyway. I also stopped cooking it before it got too toasty on top and left it in the oven for another 45 minutes or so. I read about how it's not supposed to be totally set in the middle. Usually when I pull mine out it's already browning on top. Apparently, that's overcooked for cheesecake! I go by the Philadelphia Classic Cheesecake recipe when making a regular cheesecake for anyone who's interested.

Chris wanted to have dinner with the Bailey's at Taste of Europe for his birthday. We also invited his family from E-town, but with it being a weeknight and an hour drive, we didn't expect them to show up. They were busy and told us they couldn't come, but his dad did get away from work for a few minutes and surprised us. He was there long enough to finish his drink, take some food to-go and give us both hugs before being called back in to work. He was on-call and hoping to luck out with no work calls, but unfortunately, he got called on his way down to Bowling Green. What a sweet father to at least try!

I requested a quiet evening for my birthday. I was 12 weeks pregnant and really just wanted to sleep! Chris and I went out for Olive Garden, and I had my favorite dish there, Chicken Alfredo Pizza! Yum! Chris also made me a German chocolate cake, which my co-workers were happy to finish off when I took it in to work later that week! I also got to take a bubble bath, which is pretty much all I asked for on my birthday!

Cheers to getting old!

My birthday cake!

Pretty new boots I got from Chris. Not cute with the pants I was wearing, but I had to try them on immediately!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Long Awaited Answer To Prayer!

We found out on September 18. It was a long awaited answer to prayer!

Our plan was for me to get pregnant in the summer of 2011. Well, a year later, late this summer, it finally happened! Praise God!

We had decided early in our marriage that we would wait a while before starting a family because we wanted some time to adjust to being married before bringing children into the mix. Plus, we'd been through some job changes. At that time, Chris was still seeking a full-time teaching position, but we figured that if nothing came up by the end of that summer, he'd still be able to substitute teach and with my steady employment, we'd be fine. By that point, we'd been married for almost three years. We both really wanted to start a family. Luckily, by the end of that summer, he did find a full-time teaching position. However, after doing natural family planning (NFP) for over a year and a half to avoid pregnancy, I had figured out my cycle enough to suspect that getting pregnant wouldn't be so easy for us. I had issues with my cycle being very short with a short luteal phase.

Not wanting to try for months and months while knowing there was something not quite right, I sought a physician's advice about correcting the problem before we started trying. It was a problem that I had self-diagnosed months before through reading about my symptoms. Yeah, exactly what you're not supposed to do! I also had talked to one of my sisters who had the same symptoms. She was treated and the problem had been corrected pretty easily in her case, so even though I had known about it for a while, I had never worried too much about it. I incorrectly thought that it would be an easy fix for me also! It was encouraging to know that she had still been able to have children despite it not being easy until she sought treatment.

The first thing my doctor did was an ultrasound to check for fibroid tumors, cysts and any structural problems that could be seen on an ultrasound that might cause abnormal bleeding during the second half of the cycle. The ultrasound was normal. He said it was probably just a slight hormonal imbalance and put me on a synthetic progesterone during the luteal phase. He said that a lot of women just don't have quite enough of this hormone to keep the cycle going normally for the correct length of time. This was the same medication that my sister had received, so I was very hopeful that this would be the proper treatment for me. After a couple of unsuccessful months on progesterone, he told me he didn't think that progesterone was the issue and took me off of it.

Next, he recommended going on birth control pills for a couple of months with the thought that the pills could trick my body into having the right levels of hormones for a month or two after coming off of them so I could get pregnant. We did try to get pregnant for a month while I was on the progesterone before I started the birth control pills just because I felt like I was going backwards with trying to get pregnant by going on birth control. Who has to do that?

After several months on the pills, I was finally put on one that regulated my cycle better than the others. It still wasn't perfect, but it was as good as it was going to get for me! My doctor still wasn't satisfied with the result. I remember asking him during one of my appointments when he was switching my pills yet again (I was on three different ones for three or so months each!) if I was just wasting my time. We hadn't really even tried yet- not for any reasonable amount of time. I asked if there was really something wrong or if I was just being overly cautious. I feared getting pregnant and having a miscarriage as this is known to happen frequently with women who have short luteal phases. He told me he didn't think I was wasting my time and that I really would have a difficult time getting pregnant if we couldn't get this straightened out.  When the birth control pills didn't produce the perfect results he was looking for, he suggested doing surgery. He said a D&C with a scope would be a good diagnostic procedure to have to get a closer look at what was going on. I was still convinced the problem was hormonal, and I didn't think a D&C would provide many answers. The next step if the D&C was inconclusive or didn't help correct the problem would be a laparoscopic surgery to look for endometriosis, which does run in my family. He knew that we hadn't tried to get pregnant for very long yet, so he wasn't recommending the laparoscopic surgery until infertility was proven.

It was at that point that I decided take a break from the medical help and give God some time to work through the situation. I didn't mind trying a few pills to see if that could get me straightened out, but I didn't want to have surgery just yet. I already knew my cycle wasn't textbook, so I didn't think trying for an entire year would be necessary. We would try for six months, and if I wasn't pregnant and still having the same symptoms, I would have the diagnostic surgery.  By then, it was already almost a year after we had wanted to start trying. I had been on birth control pills for nine of those months!

So, I stopped the pills and started charting in March, although this time it was to achieve pregnancy. All the NFP books say that if you are charting to achieve pregnancy you should be pregnant in 4-6 months. If you aren't, you're advised to see a doctor to investigate fertility issues. Of course, we already knew there could be some obstacles!

In August, I had a doctor's appointment scheduled. I had also had more time to get discouraged about the situation. It had been 6 months and still nothing had changed despite supplementing lots of B-6 and Vitex for several months. These were the home remedies for issues with a short luteal phase. The appointment was just for a regular yearly exam, but I had planned on asking about getting my hormone levels checked and being put on fertility medicine for a couple of months. I wanted to try some mild fertility drugs just in case weak ovulation was the culprit before going through with the recommended surgery. Plus, I feared eventually having to have both surgeries, and I was more interested in having both in the same calendar year for insurance purposes. I was going to ask to have the surgery in January if I wasn't pregnant before then. BUT God intervened! I ended up having a work conflict come up on the day of the scheduled appointment. It was something that couldn't be rescheduled, so I had to move my long awaited appointment. The earliest they could reschedule it for was the end of September, which was six weeks later. I was so frustrated. I think I probably cried.  Little did I know that it was by God's timing that I did not get to go to my appointment in August. I may have been put on more medicine that I didn't need! I got pregnant during the 7th cycle of trying just 3.5 weeks before my rescheduled appointment! Praise God! I didn't have to do any surgery or fertility medicine!

I wanted to share my story in case there's someone else out there struggling with similar issues. Hopefully this can be an encouragement. While doctors and medicine are certainly helpful for some, giving God some time to work is something that shouldn't be skipped over.  He has a plan that is perfect. It doesn't always feel perfect, but it is even if it means you're childless when you don't want to be. Just remember that He never gives us anything that we can't handle. And he might just surprise you with some shocking news after just about giving up all hope that it could happen naturally! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

ultrasound at 7 weeks

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

meeting Fiona

On October 30, (yes, I am behind) my newest niece was born! Her name is Fiona Zelie Purcell! She's adorable. God must have heard my sister's prayer for the baby not to be born on Halloween because she was born the day before. We couldn't wait for the weekend to see her, so we drove down that night. We stayed a couple of hours, got to see almost the entire family (yes, at one time there was something like 12 people in their hospital room!), and drove back to Bowling Green barely in time for a decent night's sleep!

Fiona is beautiful, and Jamie looked great! She had just had the baby about four hours before we got there, but she definitely didn't look like it. Maybe she looked a little tired for getting to the hospital very early that morning, but not like she'd just had a baby!

I can't wait to go visit again and spend some more time getting to know Fiona! She is so loved already!

Here are some pictures we took while visiting at the hospital.

P.S. I still have baby fever!

Papaw with his newest grandbaby!

Fiona Zelie Purcell at about 4 hours old!

Nana meeting her newest grandbaby!
Uncle Austin and Aunt Sarah

Uncle Jason

Aunt Alicia

Uncle Chris

Aunt Melay and Cousin Emberly

Again, and in this one you can see Cousin Charis!

The Proud Parents

Momma and baby