Early Term: 37 weeks

37 weeks

37 weeks

Oh hey there, end of pregnancy. WHEN DID YOU GET HERE?!

Yesterday’s milestone was 37 weeks, a time that used to be called “full term” but has recently been renamed “early term” by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Early term implying, of course, that the baby could arrive and they won’t stop labor, but that it’s still a wee early and some significant growth and development still happens in utero for the next 2 weeks. 39 weeks is now officially called “full term.” So yea. We’ve made it to early term. Technically speaking, this baby could begin to make his appearance any day now.

HOWEVER, kind sir in utero,

Please please please please PLEAAAASE do not chose that time to be any point within the next 48 hours (at the very least! Even better, wait until 39 weeks!). Your dad is taking his family medicine board exam tomorrow. This is an incredibly important exam. This is the last medicine related exam, actually, for the next 10 years of his life (until he takes boards again, every 10 years for the rest of his career/life). The testing site is over an hour away from home so he and a couple of his co-residents are leaving this afternoon and staying in a hotel just down the street from the testing center. Tomorrow, he will have no access to his phone at any point in the day, so if I go into labor… well… I’m on my own here. He won’t know about anything happening with us until he’s released from the exam at the end of the day. So please, BoyBunny, keep holding out in there for a later, greater date than any time within the next 48 hours. This exam is MONUMENTAL in your dad’s medical career. You joining us is MONUMENTAL in our lives as well, and your dad doesn’t want to miss that and I definitely don’t want to have to go through the process of getting you here without him. So hey. Just keep on keepin’ on with what we’re doing here. 

Love, your mom

I’ve got nothing spectacular to say other than that about 37 weeks. It’s a tremendous gift to have made it here. I’m both so excited, and also terrified, about welcoming a new baby into our family. Every day I say to C, “Can you believe that within the next month we will have a newborn again. A NEWBORN! THAT WAKES UP ALL NIGHT! WE’VE BEEN SLEEPING ALL NIGHT FOR OVER A YEAR NOW! WE’RE GOING TO BE SO TIRED!” Then I consider everything else that comes with a newborn (in this house), like bre.ast feeding. Thoughts like, “Gosh I hope he latches well like E did,” and, “Man those first days of nursing are hard. I hope we can get it down quickly,” and, “It’s been nice to have my body to myself for the past 7 months. I can’t believe I’m about to start another (hopefully!) year or more of being a critical food source.”  I am constantly thinking about how I will approach every part of my day with E with a newborn in the mix, like E and I’s morning routine and how I might be able to accommodate nursing the baby and getting E’s breakfast ready and eating with her. I think about things like this all day. Constantly creating scenarios and options for how to deal with them. Some people might tell me that I shouldn’t do this. Whatever, I say. It helps me feel prepared. Even if nothing goes according to how I’ve thought about it, it makes me feel like I’m capable of facing anything that comes our way and that? That makes me feel peace about becoming a parent to two young children. I’m not by any means an A-type personality, but I do like to have a plan- even if nothing goes according to it.

In terms of how I’m feeling? I feel good. The worst thing going for me right now is a strained muscle in my abdomen, which is… kind of painful, to say the least. I should be taking it easy and not lifting anything over 10 lbs, but that’s just not realistic for me right now. So I deal. I mostly have a lot of energy (except, say, on mornings like this one when I steal a quick 10 minutes of snoozing on E’s bedroom floor while she plays), which is nice. I’ve somehow managed to keep up with cleaning and doing my hair at least once a week. I’m running out of energy to actually care enough to make real dinners, but I figure something has to give. I am 37 weeks pregnant, after all.

At my doctor’s appointment this week we went over our birth plan. All looks good and as long as things are/remain uncomplicated, it looks like C will get to deliver his son into this world. I also had the GBS swab done- but am still waiting on hearing back on that. i was GBS positive with E and it wasn’t a huge deal, so I’m not really stressed about how this comes out. Ideally, of course, it’ll be negative. It’s nice to not have to have the extra hassle of IV antibiotics to deal with on top of, you know, labor. My doctor also felt the baby’s position and did a quick ultrasound to confirm it. BoyBunny is hanging out, head down, with lots of fluid around him. I asked for a guess of the baby’s weight (I did this when I was 37 weeks w/E too). He said that it feels like he’s about 6-6.5lbs right now, and will probably be a comparable birth weight to E (which was 7lbs 3oz). I’m excited to find out. We didn’t discuss my weight, but I’m assuming that I’m doing okay because despite last week’s illness, my efforts to make up some weight have been overall successful and I put on 4 lbs since my last appointment.

The ONE hiccup? The ONLY downside/bummer/worry? My doctor is going on leave… for 6 days… next week. As are all my first choice backup doctors. *blank, terrified stare* I’m not mad, of course. I’m not even a little irritated. Doctors have families and lives outside of their patients. They desperately need time away. They desperately need time with their families. Their families desperately need time with them when they actually have the doctor’s undivided attention. I can most assuredly appreciate this, because I am/have been that family. I just hope that, again, BoyBunny holds out. Basically, between C’s board exam tomorrow, and my doctor being out of town for a week, and my MIL not arriving until I’m 39 weeks, it’s REALLY BEST FOR ALL INVOLVED if he waits on making his appearance until 39 weeks or later.

So… yea. I think that’s it. 37 weeks. Belly button is flat/out, but not protruding or anything. Feeling pretty good- good energy overall, not super uncomfortable, aside from my strained belly muscle. Still in denial about it being any day(ish)(but hopefully not). Our world is basically about to get flipped upside down, and that’s totally fine, because it seems that in some ways it’s already starting to (hello, almost 2 year old? What on earth prompted this meltdown again?!).

36 weeks, a stomach virus, a Sprinkle, and denial

Normally I wait and do pregnancy updates every 2 weeks, but this week is going to be an exception. This past Thursday marked 36 weeks and I have to say that it was a doozy of a week for sure.

It started with E coming down with a stomach virus last Sunday. My sweet, sweet child throwing up every 15 minutes for 5 hours, and then an uneasy/unpredictable stomach for another day and half. Eeesh. It was awful. One of the worst things I’ve had to see her go through so far (which really, I’m thankful for, because if that’s the worst I’ve seen her experience, then she’s had a pretty easy life so far). The sad and confused and terrified look on her face was heartbreaking. So that sucked.

By Wednesday she was 1000x better, but then the virus caught up to me despite my very best hand washing and bleaching of ALL THE THINGS efforts. Luckily, I only had a mild case and felt awful all Wednesday afternoon, and then Thursday was about a million times better (though still feeling mildly off kilter overall, but MUCH better). Luckily (fingers still crossed) C seems to have escaped it (a plus side to being gone so much this week! No exposure for him!).

So here’s the thing though: me getting sick, even though the worst of it was less than 24 hours, spurred on some contractions. For like, hours. And they weren’t Braxton-Hicks, but they weren’t active labor. They were uncomfortable enough that I was really worried and C was timing them and we were talking about going into Labor and Delivery to make sure everything was okay. I couldn’t just guzzle water like I normally would, because my stomach wouldn’t have held up to it. So there I was, sipping rehydration solution and water- like, milliliters at a time- while snacking on the smallest bits of saltine, and my uterus was all like: HEY! TIME TO CONTRACT?! OKAY! This was worse than actually feeling sick. All I did was worry. I am *so* not ready for this baby to arrive yet. And I don’t mean we aren’t prepared. We totally are, actually. But I worry a lot about what to do with E if labor begins before my mother in law has arrived. I have friends who would watch her, absolutely, but they all have kids- more than one- of their own and the thought of E being all discombobulated and confused about being/sleeping in a new place and C and I just leaving her there out of nowhere when honestly we’ve never had a night away from her?! Just… agh. I obviously will do it if I have to, but I don’t want to and I won’t like it. Coming home with a new baby who isn’t ever leaving is going to be a big enough change and cause ample confusion for her. I’d like to at least ease the degree of earth shattering newness for her by letting her stay in the comfort of her home with someone she knows super well and adores and the familiarity of her own crib. SO MANY WORRIES. YOU CANNOT COME ALL THAT EARLY, SIR IN MY BELLY. Luckily they subsided as I continued to slowly consume fluids, and went away as I fell asleep and didn’t return.

And all THAT worry brings me to another thing. 36 weeks and weight gain. 2 weeks ago, I was doing pretty good. The doctor had told me I could gain a bit more. He wasn’t overly concerned or anything, but also expressed that perhaps I *needed* to gain a bit more. Sweet. I can do that. So I tried to consciously eat more throughout the day and such, and it was working decently as the number started to go up on the scale (which still makes my chest tight, even though it’s obviously for a good cause). Then E got her stomach virus. While it was her that had it initially and not me, I still ate WAY less because I couldn’t bear to eat in front of her. Poor kid still had an appetite, but was throwing up everything so I needed to give her a break from all the foods. To eat and not have her eating with me would’ve been like torture. So I ate not a lot for those two days or so. Then I got the virus, which had the obvious effects of any stomach virus and suddenly I was the one starving but couldn’t eat a ton because … you know… stomach virus symptoms. By the end of it, what little progress I had made in putting on some pounds was completely nullified. I weighed the exact same, maybe even a pound less, than what I had two weeks before at the doctor. So. That sucks. Because even though it sounds awesome, not gaining enough weight  in pregnancy (relative to your pre-pregnancy BMI) CAN cause problems. And I don’t want those problems. So now, in the final weeks, I’m trying to carefully play catch up as much as one can in the final weeks and praying nothing else happens that causes me to wretch or not be able to eat (and I mean really: first that God awful pain, then anxiety induced vomiting from all the stuff with my stepdad, and then that virus… ugghhh, surely I’m done here). I have my next OB appointment this Wednesday and I’ll definitely be asking him about all of this.

On happier notes: today was the “sprinkle” for Boy Bunny! It was amazing. The decorations were lovely, the food was DELICIOUS, and the company was even better. Boy bunny is set for clothes for quite awhile now, which I’m so grateful for, and E even scored a couple of prizes herself from some very kind and thoughtful friends.

Food table <3 Nooommms.

Food table

Close up of the yummies!

Close up of the yummies!

Cookie favors! SO, SO YUM!

Cookie favors! SO, SO YUM!

Sweet friends who threw this for me <3

Sweet friends who threw this for me <3

It was a fantastic little party and I feel so incredibly fortunate to have such kind friends.

Finally… last but not least… denial.

You guys. I’ll be 37 weeks next Thursday. That’s early term. Like, baby could come and they won’t stop it. I mean, seriously. That’s insane. And while we are really pretty prepared, I’m honestly not ready to be done being pregnant yet (I know eventually I will, but not yet). I’m not uncomfortable. I don’t have trouble or discomfort moving around. The *worst* I usually feel is in the middle of the night getting in and out of bed as my body seems to get more achey at night. Truthfully? I really *like* being pregnant in general (other than first trimester). It’s a gift, one I don’t take for granted, and I actually enjoy the process overall. This is also most likely my last pregnancy ever (unless there’s an awful big whoops at some point, which we aren’t planning or counting on), and so it’s bittersweet that it’s already coming to an end. Already. Where did all the time go? For real though Where is it?. So I have a little bit of sads about this, my last pregnancy, ending (even though I know it will be AMAZING once he’s here!), and I’m also living in denial. I mean, I just keep on keeping on like I’m going to be pregnant forever. Until someone points it out to me, or I sit and dwell on it, I don’t actually think about or believe that this is almost over and he will be here so soon. So. Soon. Then come some more sads because E’s world is about to flipped on it’s head and I just want to soak up every bit of her because her time as an only child is rapidly running out. And then more denial because hey, 3-4 weeks (maybe even 5 if he were really late), is still a long time, yea?

(I know. It’s not. Let’s pretend though, k?!)

 

35 weeks and feeling all the feelings

35 weeks!

35 weeks!

“Full” (now considered “early”) term is a mere 2 weeks away. My due date is a short 5 weeks away. Final stretch, my friends, final stretch.

Concerning the pregnancy, I’m feeling fantastic overall and I’m generally super excited. There are, of course, the regular and expected end of pregnancy discomforts, such as how achey and sore I feel at the end of the day. A new thing that I didn’t get last time is that I’ve had a little bit of SPD pain (pubic bone pain, basically), but only when I overdo it or lift things that are really too heavy. Weight gain is still doing good and I think I might meet my personal goal of not exceeding 25lbs. My belly button is entirely flat and even sometimes actually out a little, which is hilarious and weird at the same time. I’m also thankful that my friend Molly was right on when she told me that near the end the belly size eventually stabilizes and stops exponentially increasing every week. It seems we have reaching the slowing point and my belly isn’t just exploding in size anymore. The rooms are 99.9% done, aside from that effing arch in E’s new room (which, ugh. The custom made arch we ordered for it DOESN’T FIT, so who knows how much longer it’ll be before this issue is taken care of… I just. Ugh.). Thanks to a very, very kind friend who generously gave us her sons’ newborn/0-3 month stuff, we have clothes for him to wear for the first few months. And I bought a box of nursing pads. For now, I feel pretty ready to go. Nothing’s packed, no car seat installed, but those are easy parts I think.

I’m considering asking my mother-in-law to stay a bit longer after the baby is born (the current plan is that she is coming just before he’s due and staying until the day after he’s born so we can have time alone as a new family of 4, per my wishes). This is for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, I need to give credit where credit is due. C’s mom is a phenomenal grandmother. Sometimes she has frustrated me because I’ve felt like she’s overstepped her bounds into MY territory as E’s mother, but the thing is? She’s not doing it to be spiteful or rude. She genuinely believes she’s helpful and wants to be helpful and is doing all the things that are generally normal in Argentinian culture. That’s hard for me because in my world and with what I know, it’s a little different than what she knows. BUT, she’s not actively trying to step on my toes. I can see that when I’m not in the middle of being profoundly irritated by small things. So if I’m being honest and fair, I have to acknowledge that she ADORES our kid and our kid adores her, and I’m grateful she’s so interested in being involved and helpful- even if it feels a little overzealous and like she’s overstepping at times.

With that being said, I’ve been thinking a lot about the feedback I’ve gotten from all my friends who have had more than one kid. A resounding piece of advice I’ve been given is to accept help. This is hard for me. Not necessarily because I think I can do it all (though admittedly that’s probably part of it), but because I’m kind of a control freak. I want the helping to look exactly how I would do it, and even I know that’s a completely unreasonable expectation. So it’s easier for me to refuse the help than it is for me to welcome help that might have different end results than if I just did things myself. HOWEVER. I’ve been thinking about all of this. I’ve been thinking a lot about E and her transition. I’ve been thinking about what’s best for her.

My initial desire to be left alone as a new family of four (C has paternity leave, so he will be around)) came from a lot of places. I wanted us to have some time alone to figure things out. I didn’t want to set E up with the expectations that she would still get non-stop attention even though she has a new brother, what with her grandmother around doting on her every second of the day. I had the expectation that it would be hard times with us as a new family of four, but that we would just have to power through them together and work out the kinks together. And I’m still weighing this option. Facing the difficult parts head on immediately.

But I’ve also been thinking about the accept help advice. I’ve pictured what it could be like if C’s mom stayed. Previously I only saw it as her hogging E and doting on E and giving E excessive attention, but I’ve been imagining alternatives to that. Like, she could hold the new baby while I spent some one on one time with E- reading or snuggling or doing whatever. She could keep E busy while I work on nursing the baby- not to say that she would have to keep E away, but she could be there in the room and talk to E while I nurse the baby and help explain what’s happening (C’s mom is super supportive of breastfeeding, and even though it was awkward for me when E was brand new, thanks to her just … being around, hanging in the same room … when I was nursing E in a separate room when she was only a week old, I don’t feel all weird about it this time around). She could walk our dog. She could help cook dinner. She could do a lot of things. And sure, she’s going to have to leave eventually and then we really will have to face the difficult parts head on- like my sweet toddler have to share my attention all day long, every day, from now on- having her here for a few extra days in those early days might ease the pain of the transition in some small way. Because for as much as I’ve worried about her being an E hog, I know she’d be equally as happy to love on the new baby so I can love on my first baby a little bit. And that’s a comforting thought to me. And having her here to be another helper and distraction for E so I can work on sorting out breastfeeding- especially when the milk arrives. It just seems like maybe accepting the help can’t be a bad thing.

But I can’t be sure yet. Part of me still worries about it just delaying the inevitable hard time that will come when it’s just us. E will eventually have to deal with the reality of having a sibling that requires my time and attention and I don’t want to set up an unreasonable expectation that even with a sibling she’ll still always be the center of someone’s attention. But I also feel like if I can ease the blow for a minute and allow her to be loved on (by me, her dad, or my MIL) while her new brother is also getting loved on (by me, her dad, or MIL), then that’s what I should do because above all I want her to never doubt that she is loved and she is important to this family, regardless of a new baby joining us.

So there’s that little bit of pontificating for you.

Other than feeling physically great, I think I’m hitting another emotional spell. Not freaking out about the new baby or anything, but generally highly and easily irritable. Mostly I’m feeling this towards family. I’ll spare most of the details, but generally speaking I am feeling pretty freaking RAWR at a couple of them. And I’m pissed off, because if I were to even attempt to explain what’s wrong with some of their choices/things they’ve said to other family members/how selfish they kind of are in a lot of ways, I’d be blown off. Because I’m the “naive” one. I’m the “scatterbrained” one (W.T.F. That was actually said and it still pisses me off to no end. Scatterbrained? Really? I’m actually the furthest thing from scatterbrained if you really knew me or what my life is like or how I do things. Never mind the college degree I earned in half the time most of them earned theirs. But okay. Cool. You go on with your bad self and your super busy and important life. Good luck with your family life.) I’d probably be disregarded because what do I know? After all. I gave up my career in teaching to be a stay at home mom. And related to that? I chose a career in teaching in the first place, so clearly, what do I know? I didn’t chose something that would make me good money and superior status. I chose something I was passionate about. Surely I can’t relate to any of their priorities or reasons for doing anything.

I’m considered the “less ambitious” one these days, probably because I made the choice to stay home with my children, whereas other people in my family are entirely about being successful, successful being specifically defined as making good money and advancing a career. Obviously then, I’m stupider/naive because I did not choose this route. Money is just not the end all, be all in my life priorities (to which many of them argue, of course it’s not! You married a doctor! You’re set! *rolls eyes* *vomits* *punches someone* because A) FIRST AND FOREMOST, I did not marry him because he was a doctor. I didn’t even actually marry a doctor, if we’re being specific here. You know what I married? A third year medical student who was busting his butt to stay in medical school and hopefully, please God, make it to the end. My college sweetheart. A mechanical engineering major. A guy with a beautiful brain that I could have intelligent conversations with about important and interesting things. A guy who always chooses the hard right over the easy wrong. ALWAYS. The guy who genuinely listens to me and can talk me off a ledge with patience and understanding in his voice. A guy who values his family- his parents and his brother, and me and our children- above anything else in this entire world- money, his job, material possessions, whatever, and demonstrates it on a regular basis in the choices he makes. He just happened to become a doctor eventually. B) Second? Because of the value he places on his family, he choose the second least lucrative medical specialty, family medicine, because of the eventual lifestyle- not material lifestyle, but quality time with loved ones lifestyle- it would offer him (along with some other reasons that have to do with his actual medical interests, etc.). So no, we aren’t set. Are we comfortable? Sure. And I’m grateful for our many material blessings. But we aren’t ROLLING IN ALL THE DOUGH AND SET FOR LIFE. We still worry about our credit cards. We still pinch pennies some months. My chest still gets tight over money. And we’re okay with all that. But I get sick of being told how made I have it because oooo, you married a doctor!  End rant. Sorry about that tangent.)

So basically in the aftermath of recent events, I have been reminded of the kind of people I am related to. And I’m not impressed. I’m actually kind of pissed. Not even at how they are per se, but at how they treat other family members. And I feel like I can’t even talk to them about it because I’ll just be dismissed/blown off/told that I don’t understand, blah blah blah, because ohhh, haha… that’s just Lauren. Lauren is crazy and unrealistic about life, obviously.

At the end of the day, I guess at rather be considered the naive, stupid, and scatterbrained family member who values my family and my loved ones even when they drive me insane than the asshole who puts work and ambition above the relationships in their life.

Things I’ve said in the past week that surprise me.

1) Maybe I want MIL to stay longer after the baby comes. Maybe. I’m thinking about it.

(if you really know me, you know this is HUGELY out of character)

 

2) I can’t wait for labor again!! Really! (to clarify, I can obviously wait until I’m full term. I’m saying I can’t wait until I’m full term and for labor).

(I refer you back to the day I delivered E when I was telling every single visitor: “WORST. PAIN. OF. MY. LIFE. I don’t know why ANYONE would do that more than once.”)

All the things: the trip, pregnancy stuff, kid room stuff, and pictures!

First and foremost, thank you to everyone who sent good thoughts, prayers, kind words, and so much more to me and my family last week. It was a sad and shocking time, but being able to go there and attend the memorial was something I’m incredibly grateful for. For those who were wondering, C did end up getting leave approved and was able to fly out there with E and I which was absolutely overwhelmingly helpful and so appreciated. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to do EVERYTHING to make it possible for him to come with us AND attend this training course, they (Army) changed the departure time for the course on Saturday AM at the very last minute and C was not able to go since our red eye flight didn’t get us back here until a few hours after the new departure time of 5am. So now he’s here and not gone for 12 days at all. He is a good man with an incredible attitude and from the day he heard this news he has been so gracious about having to miss it. I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like to make that trip without him, honestly. He did EVERYTHING. It was a sad occasion, but I was grateful to see some of my family that I haven’t seen in awhile and we made the best of it overall.

Upon coming back, the reality of this new baby is looming. But in a good way. The day we left marked 33 weeks (and tomorrow will be 34!!). I took a belly shot before we left for the airport at 4:30am:

photo-2

I seem to have reached a point where people are starting to say some rather inappropriate and offensive (to me) things. Like when my step dad’s mother said, “It’s a boy right? Well, looks like it’s going to be a BIG boy  then, huh! Hhahaaha!”

… Um. Thanks?

But seriously. No one said things like that to me when I was pregnant with E. Not a single, “Looks like it’s going to be a BIG girl!” Almost as if it’s supposed to be some kind of compliment when it’s a boy, but no one would dare suggest that about a girl baby. And then the complete stranger at the memorial who said that I look like I’m ready already. No ma’am. I’m not ready, actually. This baby isn’t ready.

C was, as usual, incredible and kept reminding me that he sees pregnant women ALL THE TIME and that in no way was/am I abnormally large for a 33/34 weeks pregnant woman and that other people just forget and/or don’t really know what actually constitutes normal at the end of pregnancy, and also that the baby is in no way abnormally large for this gestational age (I’m seriously so grateful that OB care (pregnancy through delivery) is a part of family medicine residency training. After doing some feeling of the belly (Leopold’s maneuvers) he surmised that the baby is still head down and feels like he’s somewhere between 4-5lbs- completely normal for 33-34 weeks gestation. I trust this estimate because the same thing was done when I was 37 weeks with E and my doctor estimated that she was no more than 7lbs at that time. She came 2 weeks later at 7lbs 3oz.) So whatever to the people acting like I’m a giant, but it still stings a bit.

When I was pregnant with E at this point I remember thinking around 34 weeks that 6 weeks still felt like FOR-EV-ER, but this time around I’m like: OMG. 34 WEEKS. THAT’S LIKE, BASICALLY DONE. SO LITTLE TIME LEFT. I know, of course, that there’s still ample time enough, but I’m not sitting here feeling like I have a lifetime left. I’m not rushing to put the carseat in the car, but I’m also feeling the heat to finish up his room, which unfortunately can’t be completely finished until E’s is, which at this point is mostly just waiting on this large arch covering.

34 weeks is just a mere 3 weeks away from full term. That’s seriously, like, nothing. I’ve been feeling good again- enough energy to get through the days and play with E and take care of things around the house. The stomach pain went away (but started to come back the morning we left California!!!!! I took the GI medicine and thank the Lord above it subsided without turning into a full blown incident), and aside from some interesting braxton-hicks I’ve shown no signs of labor or anything. We went on a 2 mile hike with my brother and his wife in California and I had no trouble at all. I want to start walking every day at this point, but the weather is so inconsistent that I’m walking more like every other day or so depending on how cold/windy it is.

Weight gain is doing great (hanging around at 15-16lbs so far. If this pregnancy is anything like the last, I’ll gain at least 10 more before it’s over), but I have to partly attribute that to the stomach pain that kept me from eating anything significantly for 2-3 days, then from the random bouts of anxiety induced nausea and vomiting that happened just before leaving for our trip last week. I’m not happy about those things, but they’ve kept my eating in control overall since I’m terrified to eat to much and upset my stomach somehow. I even went to the store yesterday and bought NOT A SINGLE ITEM OF JUNK FOOD. That’s unheard of in my life. I’ve even been eating things like salad and stuff.

Right now I’m feeling grateful for my husband, for some of the sweetest friends who are throwing me a Sprinkle Shower in a couple weeks, for my stepdad’s generous family who made it possible for us to buy a nice new dresser for the baby’s room, and most of all for this baby boy. I’m really and truly feeling so excited lately, and while I know it will probably be hard with E at times- especially in the beginning- I finally trust that it’s all going to sort itself out and be a wonderful thing in the end.

Hopefully things for both kids’ rooms start arriving and we can really get these rooms done and ready to go (so that we can then focus on getting all the crap upstairs situated so we have a livable guest area, yea?)

Here are some peeks of what I’m waiting on:

Image Source: NelsonsGifts on Etsy

Image Source: Land of Nod

Here is the new dresser:

photo-3

I love this dresser because it has the removable part on top that makes it a perfect changing table for now, but later I can remove it and just use it as a nice dresser. It also has that awesome cabinet thing which has a holder thingy built inside the door that is perfect for storing diapers, etc.

Aside from finishing rooms, I really need to write out a birth plan for this whole shebang, which may likely be almost identical to the one I had with E, with the possible exception of C catching the baby! Squeee! We didn’t do this with E, and I don’t regret it for a second, but knowing what labor and delivery looked like with her, I feel a lot more comfortable with him stepping in during the final pushing phase and coaching me from there as he delivers the baby. Obviously a birth plan is created assuming perfect circumstances and anything can change, but should everything go well I feel like this is something we both want. But yea. Birth plan. Need to do that. And of course all the other last minute pregnancy stuff: packing bags, installing car seat, getting the pack n play set up in our room as that’s where he’ll sleep for the first several weeks of his life, cleaning my carpets because OMG they look so gross to me, and uhhh…. that’s all I can think of right now. But most of that stuff can wait for now. Because after all, 6 weeks is just SO LONG, amIright? ; )

(that’s a winky face there, in case you didn’t catch it. So like, sarcasm and stuff.)

(But seriously how are we at 34 weeks already?)

 

Silver Linings

There is nothing good about a close family member dying, so when I talk about silver linings and the “upside” to all of this, I’m not trying to say that it was in any way a good thing that my stepdad passed away. It’s a terrible, tragic reality for which I would gladly trade all of these silver linings. But I believe in life that you find exactly what you look for- if you look for the bad, you will find the bad. If you look for the good, you will surely find some good.

Some of the good:

All of that other crap I was stressed and worried and panicked about? Suddenly I’m not stressed or worried or panicked about any of it.  The abdominal pain? I don’t even have a lingering pain in my side anymore. I mean, it was near gone as soon as the news of my stepfather being in a coma came. And if it were to come back? I have effective and safe methods of managing it. So it’s all okay. Parenting solo for 12 days? Whatever- that’s no big deal honestly. I really just want C to be able to come to California with me to attend the memorial. Feeling kind of alone and anxious in general since his schedule was hectic last week? Nothing reminds you of the kind of support you have like this kind of news. C sat by my side all weekend, even telling his superiors when they asked him about the military training stuff he’s scheduled to leave for and what he wants to do about that that, and I quote, “It’d be great if I could still go to XYZ, but I know my dates are all over the place this rotation, so my first priority is to support Lauren and secondarily, if possible, I’d really still like to go to XYZ but that’s a distant second.” Whether or not he actually gets to leave with E and I is yet to be determined, but at least in spirit I am not alone in this. The tiredness and overwhelm that I was having? It’s somehow gone and I feel capable again. Every negative or down feeling I was having prior to all of this has washed away. They’ve been replaced, of course, with grief and sadness, which isn’t awesome, but also with some moments of gratitude for my life and my family.

These are hard times indeed. I’ve lost extended family members before. I have no living grandparents, and I’ve lost and aunt and an uncle and we lost C’s cousin a little over a year ago. But I’ve never lost someone close, so this is all kind of new territory. I feel like I should just take each day as it comes and for whatever it is. Today I will take care of my house, and the laundry, and my kid, who currently has gobs of snot running down her face.

If you are the hoping, praying, send good thoughts kind of person, I would greatly appreciate you sending some my way for C to be approved to leave to come with us to the memorial. I will be 33 weeks pregnant and traveling for 8 hours to a time zone with a 3 hour difference with our 21 month old by myself is a very, very daunting task for me right now. I would obviously do it and survive it if I had to, but I really would like to not face all of that by myself. C is my companion and my teammate and we help each other. I could use that right now.

Falling apart

A week or two ago, I wrote about how I was freaking out about all the things coming, namely… having a second child. When I recovered and gathered my wits about me and found my resolve that everything was going to be okay, I mentioned that it probably wouldn’t be my last freak out. Of course it wasn’t my last freak out. This week- namely, yesterday- brought another one. A different one this time. Not about having a second child so much. Mostly about parenting alone for 12-ish days while 33 weeks pregnant. I wasn’t originally all that worried about this. I wasn’t… until I had a wretched episode of abdominal pain last Sunday and realized how desperately I needed C that day and how awful the day would’ve been without him there.

You see, over a year ago I had this two day episode of horrendous abdominal pain that resulted in diarrhea and vomiting. It was bad enough that C took me to the ER … twice. You should know that we don’t generally go to the ER. Like, ever. I mean, something has to be seriously traumatic or broken or need stitches to warrant a visit. In these instances, it was severely uncontrolled pain that wasn’t responding to prescription ibupro.fen or even perco.cet. The second night we went they gave me my own room in the ER… like, with a door and everything, and C said I was white as the sheets curled on the table. I had vomited on myself in the car and in the trashcan of the lady doing triage. They gave me IV morphine. There were lots of tests run, including a CAT scan with contrast and extensive blood work. However, everything came back normal. There was no clear cause of my pain, but a lot of speculation that something was angry in my gastrointestinal system- most likely my colon- and hey, maybe it was just some kind of awful virus? I was sent home with a prescription for a heavier, better painkiller and an anti-spasmodic to help my GI tract calm itself and maybe relieve whatever was going on in there. We never even broke the seal on the pain.killer as the anti-spasmodic seemed to help and eventually all the lingering discomfort dissipated and things went back to normal. I have spent the past year both relieved that the pain never came back and also living in constant fear that one day it would return. There are few things as scary to me as not know what is causing that kind of severe pain. Fortunately, the pain never seemed to make a comeback.

Until Sunday.

I slept horribly Saturday night. C wasn’t home- on call and such- and I just slept horribly. When he got home on Sunday, I ran out to turn the alarm off and realized that I didn’t feel right. Something was just… off. I was tired and nauseous and I had that weird beginning pain under my left rib… just like before. C was amazing and immediately stepped in to take care of E. I laid on the couch all morning, ate a small breakfast. I didn’t know what any of this was going to amount to. C did everything from feeding E, to keeping her busy, to laying her down for her nap. C and I were going to take a nap ourselves when suddenly the nagging pain on my left side turned into a full blown recurrence of that same severe pain. Again I was writhing on the bathroom floor, nauseous and eventually vomiting. No diarrhea this time, which is the only major difference. The only time the pain got better was after throwing up. Again, C was amazing. He sat with me. Rubbed my back. Cleaned up after me. Eventually it came down to the conversation about going to the hospital because this was, yet again, the worst pain of my life. We ended up not going since we had meds on hand from the first episodes. Luckily they worked and we managed to get the pain under control. In the meantime, C did… everything. Every single thing that day.

Since then, I went in to see my doctor on Monday who wants to find the ultimate cause of this pain, but can’t do a whole lot with me being this pregnant. He said to stay on top of the pain and if it’s as before, it should be self-limiting. If not, come back. Otherwise, finding the source of this pain is going to have to wait until after this baby comes out. Fortunately I only really needed the pain medicine for about two days, and it’s been well-controlled by the anti-spasmodic since then. Today is the first day that I haven’t taken a single medication since Sunday. I have some lingering discomfort in the upper left quadrant, but so far nothing wildly out of control. But as soon as night starts to fall, I know I’ll panic and want to take the anti-spasmodic… just in case… because few things scare me more than this God awful pain.

So what does all this have to do with freaking out?

Well, in all instances of this abdominal pain C has been essential. He has taken care of me. He has taken care of E. He has been my sounding board for treating it properly with meds. I can’t imagine what Sunday would’ve looked like if he hadn’t been home. For real. And soon, he will be gone for about 12 days for some military training stuff. Like, gone in a group and won’t be able to drive himself back in the event of an emergency. I was mildly nervous about this before, just with being 33 weeks pregnant, but after this? I have found myself terrified. What if the pain comes back? And in general I’ve been so run down and exhausted this week following that episode. My only saving grace has been C coming home and helping me (which hasn’t even been that much since he’s been on call a TON this week), and soon he won’t come home for days!! And we’re not sure yet whether or not I’ll even be able to talk to him at all during that time frame. So yea. Suffice it to say that I couldn’t sleep last night. I woke up him around midnight and just sort of broke down. Lots of crying. Lots of telling him how afraid I was of the pain coming back while he was gone. Lots of what am I going to do if… How am I going to manage if… and, I feel so alone.

He is, of course, a saint of a man, and even though he had to be up early this morning to go to the range to do some sort of qualification shooting, he stayed up listened to me and all my worries. He talked about making sure I have back up and friends that I can call if I need someone to take E (in case something happens with the baby, etc., or if I need to go to the hospital). He reminded me that we have a pain management solution that works well and is safe for the pregnancy. He talked about making sure I stay on top of the pain, so if I have the slightest inkling of doubt or fear, I can act on it. And he said that even if I’m exhausted and E and I do nothing of significance for those 12 days, we will make it. He told me what a good job he thinks I do and that he knows I can do it. He rubbed my back and held my hand until I fell asleep.

I woke up today feeling a thousand times better. I mean, nothing is solved really. I still have this lingering discomfort in my side that makes me incredibly nervous (though C did remind me that apparently the pain did not immediately resolve itself the first time either, and that I was super nervous and scared about it returning last time too). I am still blaaaah about him going away. But I feel a lot more confident. We do have a plan. I do know and have medication that works. I just need a backup plan for E if I have to go in to the hospital for any reason.

….

I paused writing this earlier today to go meet C for an early dinner before he started call for the night. On the way home, I received a phone call. My stepdad (who is actually no longer married to my mom, but they got married when I was 8 and didn’t get divorced until a year or two ago… maybe 3?… and has remained part of my brother and I’s lives, so we still call him our stepdad since, you know, he was around for a long time and did a lot for us when we were young) is in the hospital, in a coma, with a brain hemorrhage and minimal brain function showing on the scans. He is an alcoholic. Last year? Maybe a little over a year ago now? He was hospitalized for quite awhile for alcoholic hepatitis. He was basically on his deathbed then, and was told by his doctors to never touch alcohol again. The words he said they said were, “The next drink you have will probably be your last (as in… it will kill you).” Unfortunately addiction is a beast, and my stepdad wasn’t the greatest at following that kind of instruction. He stopped for awhile I believe, but eventually continued secretly drinking. So today he was drinking and he fell. From what I’ve gathered (I was in some shock as the news was being delivered to me, so the details are fuzzy), he hit his head? Called 9-1-1 somehow? And is now in the hospital in a coma. He has a severe brain hemorrhage and since his blood doesn’t ever clot (thanks to alcohol and the enormous amount of medications he’s taken) the neurosurgeons have said there is nothing they can do. The last scan showed only minimal brain function in his lower brain stem. They do not believe he will recover from this.

I just.

I can’t even.

In the shock of all of it, I can only think of logistics. I guess because it’s the only thing I really have control over. I should go. But when should I go? Now? After he passes, if he passes? Can I go? (all rhetorical questions, by the way. I don’t really want anyone to answer those for me.) I haven’t reached the threshold of no more travel while pregnant, but C won’t be able to go with me and I just had that weird abdominal pain thing and traveling by myself with a 21 month old while 32+ weeks pregnant is a daunting thought for me right now. Not just because traveling with a toddler by myself is a scary thought, but physically… this could? will? be very difficult. They live in California. That’s a long way from the east coast. But I feel like I need to go. His family would never forgive me if I didn’t go, which is in itself it’s own complicated factor.

So. I don’t even know. This is really happening I guess. And it’s awful. And also maddening because he was given a second chance at life and then this.

31 Weeks Down. 9 to go.

31 Weeks

31 Weeks

9 weeks left.

I’m glad to be doing these updates, even though this is likely our last baby. I go back regularly and read what I wrote when I was pregnant with E, because I like to compare and contrast, and because I forget so easily. There is so much I haven’t remembered about when I was pregnant with E and the history major/nostalgia lover in me loves having this stuff to go back to look at.

So anyway. 9 weeks.

At first thought that sounds like such a long time but then I think about it and realize 9 weeks is nothing. Nothing. That’s 2 months, and 2 months these days goes by in the blink of an eye. There is still much to be done, but we’ve made good progress. I had wanted to have E in her new room by now, partially so we had a good amount of time to work on Boy Bunny’s room, but mainly because I don’t want her to associate having to leave her current room with a new baby coming into the house. I want her to have already been living in her new space for awhile before the new baby is in her old one, and even before the new baby is here at all. The way it’s looking, we won’t be able to get her in there for another 4 weeks, but that’s alright. It’s good enough for me.

I feel… good, for the most part. But I was laying in bed last night after one of the many, and soon to be even more, trips to the bathroom and I was thinking about that exact thing: how I feel (physically, that is) and over the past week I’ve realized two things:

The first is that… whoo boy this is going to get exhausting really soon (because it kind of already has). During first trimester I remember feel so tired, but then second trimester came and I felt FANTASTIC. Like, really, really fantastic. There wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. I was doing all kinds of stuff with E, cleaning the house, cooking all the things, and I was like: I’VE GOT THIS. I did way more than I ever did while pregnant with E, and that felt awesome. I honestly thought to myself, “Oh heck yea. All is good. I’m good to go.” I couldn’t imagine not feeling so great and on top of everything.

Then over this past week, things… small things… started to get more tiring and difficult. I’ve suddenly starting wanting to nap when E naps (and I am most assuredly not a day time sleeper), and actually doing it every other day or so because it gets to be the middle of the day and I’m all: why do I feel so stupidly exhausted all of the sudden? Getting us ready to leave the house? Exhausting. I got us both ready and the dogs put away yesterday morning, and by the time I was done I was like: ugghhh I don’t even want to go anywhere anymore. I think about these small things over the course of the last week and I realized: I’m only going to get bigger. I’m only going to start waking up even more at night to pee. Sleep is going to become less and less restful. Mundane chores are going to become even more cumbersome.  By the time this baby is due, I’m liable to be super cranky and tired. Just saying.

The second realization I had was in regards to carrying E. Now, I don’t actually carry her everywhere. I mostly carry her from our house to the car, and the car into wherever we’re going (unless I’m using the stroller, so basically I might just be talking about the grocery store or her gym class or friend’s houses, etc.). I do this because a) she still lets me, and b) it’s quicker and easier. When leaving the house I have to set the alarm. It’s a heck of a lot easier to set if I’m holding her with me than if she has free reign to run around (in which case I’d have to wait for her to be totally still and/or in another room), and then I have exactly 60 seconds to corral her and get her out of the house with me, which could go well or could be a disaster depending on her mood. SO much easier just to hold her since she lets me do it right now. Once we’re outside? She adores the street. If she had her way she might spend all her time in the middle of it. So again, I’d rather just carry her to our car than make sure she holds my hand while I fumble with the keys to lock the door, etc. In parking lots, it’s generally the same. She can walk, sure. And she’d probably hold my hand. But she walks so slowly, and likes to look at the birds, and who knows when/if she’ll get a sudden desire for crazy independent running and try to free herself. So I carry her then too. She’s never been too heavy, and she happily obliges. I don’t get to hold her often anymore, and I won’t get to do this with a new baby, so whatever, it works. Except that…

Both she and I are getting too big for it to be comfortable for much longer. She’s a growing machine (which is awesome), and she’s getting heavier every day, as she should. Me? I have a human growing in my uterus. So I’m also a growing machine (which is appropriate, but doesn’t feel nearly as awesome), and I swear my belly gets a little bigger and a lot more in the way every day. This makes carrying her kind of, well, exhausting. Especially if I’m trying to walk fast. I still do it, and I plan to as long as I’m able, but man… the tireds. Kind of a workout there.

Neither of these realizations are anything to complain about really. I mean, other than being more tired and having to keep up with an almost 20 month old, I am fortunate to have almost no complaints at this point. I have some sciatic pain for a few hours probably only about once a week, some heartburn here and there depending on what I’ve eaten, and I am starting to wake up more at night to pee and/or to get comfortable, but as long as I don’t make the mistake of looking at my phone at any of those times, I fall back asleep quickly. Aside from the infrequent, but highly uncomfortable sciatic pain, the only other true pain/discomfort I feel lately (and this will be TMI… just so you know), is when it feels like he’s punching my cervix. Like, repeatedly. Owwww. And? While I know he hasn’t dropped/engaged fully, I know that he is lower because walking normally is so much more difficult than before. Generally though, I consider myself very lucky at this point. 9 weeks is both a short time and a long time, and I know that the discomfort is only going to increase rapidly over the next few weeks so I’m counting my lucky stars that it hasn’t been too bad thus far.

Other random pregnancy things? Weight gain is pretty on par with the weight gain I had with E at this point… I mean seriously? The number on the scale this morning is EXACTLY the same as it was at this EXACT point with E. That’s kind of crazy.

I think my belly button may actually pop out with this one? That’s kind of crazy to me. It never did with E, but this kid.. he actually FORCES my belly button out sometimes. It doesn’t ever stay, but I can tell you I’ve never felt anything weirder than this kid physically pushing on the other side of my belly button to the point where I see it come out and then go back in. Bizarre.

I had a long overdue follow-up ultrasound this week because they never visualized the stomach during the anatomy scan at 20 weeks. Having an ultrasound this late in the game was so neat. He’s like an actual human in there! With a face that has like, cheeks and stuff! I continue to be in awe over this because I never knew that with just a humdrum 2d ultrasound that you could ever actually see anything other than skeletor face, but it turns out you can! His face is just… gah. Wonderful. All was well in the ultrasound- stomach located and things are good. He’s still very much a boy. Also, I know ultrasound measurements are highly inaccurate at this point, but he was measuring three days ahead at 31w1d (rather than the 30w5d I was), and weighs in at 3lbs 7oz, +/- 8oz. So he’s something like 3-4lbs-ish. The best news, other than him being healthy, is that he is head down with plenty of amniotic fluid and a long cervix still. All good news for which I am thankful.

Two dear, kind friends are throwing me a “sprinkle” for this baby next month, which is incredibly wonderful and thoughtful of them. I cannot adequately express how thankful I am, and I am so very much looking forward to it.

What else?

I don’t even know. Things are good right now. The gratitude in my heart is overwhelming for all these things.

Oh. And for funsies this morning I did a side by side comparison of 31 weeks pregnant with E versus 31 weeks pregnant now. Suffice it to say that even though the weight gain is on par, the belly size is most definitely not. (O_o)

Left: 31wks w/E Right: Today, 31 wks w/2.0

Left: 31wks w/E
Right: Today, 31 wks w/2.0

A follow up

Yesterday I vented a lot of my fears about the impending addition of Boy Bunny. That came from a lot of places. It mostly came from having a tough week this past week. It’s honestly been quite awhile since I’ve had a really tough week, and for that I am filled with gratitude. But it was still a long, kind of hard and definitely hormonal week. I know it was hormonal (and still is) because my husband’s jokes which I usually laugh at are making me cry lately… that’s not normal for us. Hormonal though? Yep. That’s hormonal me. ANYWAY. I often turn to (poorly) written words to sort out my feelings and yesterday was no different. Honestly, after writing that post? I already felt 10000x better and more confident about the future. Just by getting it out of my head. Writing therapy and all.

Then I had my husband read it, because it’s well-known between us that sometimes I communicate my thoughts and feelings better when they’re written down, so whenever I seem to be having an exceptionally hard time getting out of my head he will ask me to write it down… or I will voluntarily write it down, either here or in an email… and he will read it. After he read it I asked him what he thought and he wrapped me up in his arms and said: “I remember when you were pregnant with E around this time, and you know what? You were having similar fears. Except instead of worrying about how a new baby would affect the one we have, you were worried about how having a new baby would affect us. And how it would never be the just two of us ever again- or at least until our children are out of the house. You were worried about a lot of things… and see? It’s all turned out fantastic.”

He said more things, but that’s the gist.

Then my good friend who is only 6 weeks into life with a second child wrote a post in response to it, which of course confirmed what I already knew: that it’s hard, but rewarding. Her circumstances are exceptionally tough as well since life dealt them some rough, rough cards right after he was born. And she’s doing it. She’s making it, day by day. And even though there are days/moments where she feels like she’s not doing great? I can tell you from the outside looking in that she’s doing an awesome job.

Then another friend who has been there, done that with transitioning to two and getting ready to add a third wrote me an email who again, confirmed that it is not a walk in the park to make the transition, but that it also all sorts itself out in the end. Toddlers have to wait longer than they’d like, baby has to cry longer than I’d like, but this is not the end of the world and while the beginning is hardest, eventually things will settle into a groove. The best part is this: “When I look back at my fears pre-R, they make sense, but I also see how it worked out just fine. And it will for you too. There’s always extra coffee, wine, chocolate…and internet mama support.” 

Then I saw my doctor at the family medicine residency dining out (aka: military formal) last night, and she and I chatted about it (she has 2 children roughly the same age gap as mine will be). She, too, said that yea, it’s hard, but the hard part doesn’t last forever, and she never, ever finds herself wishing for life before the second. We talked about deployments and having a spouse away and parenting solo with two, which her husband is having to do right now while she is away for 4 months for training. It sucks sometimes, but it’s DOABLE.

Then I talked to my mom this morning, who is notorious for not always saying the right thing and after sharing some rather discouraging things I’d recently heard/been told, she said: It’s not that bad. Lots of people have 2nd children and they are exactly the kinds of parents they want to be without jumping through hoops or sending the first one off somewhere. You can do this. It’s really a great thing.

And another friend of mine who just had her 3rd two months ago (who is also a SAHM, her husband is a military pharmacist who is gone equally as much as C and is about to be entirely gone for training and then a deployment) … she talked to me about how she had a rough time during those first 6 weeks and really found herself not being the parent she wanted to be. She also talked about how she made it through and at this point, 2 months in, has finally found her groove and is generally back to being the mom she wants to be. She just had to find her way in it first.

The bottom line(s) that I keep hearing are:

1) Yes. It is difficult. But the most difficult part is at the beginning, and then you slowly work your way into your own family groove.

2) You can do this. It is hard, but you most certainly can do this.

And honestly, when we got home late last night and I was still thinking about all these things, I realized: You know what? I can do this. Yes, it’s going to be difficult. But here is what I know about myself:

1) I dread big changes. I always have. The dreading is almost worse than actually doing it for me. I seriously spend lots and lots of time dreading the worst case scenarios for any kind of big change that could possibly occur. This is a blessing and a curse. A curse because, duh… who wants to spend all that time worrying and being afraid, but! A blessing because I channel a lot of my fear into productive outcomes. I plan, I analyze worst case scenarios, I think and think about what would I do if… and, how am I going to approach these types of situations… And ALL of that overanalyzing and anticipation of the worst helps me deal when I am in the midst of the Big Change, whatever it may be. And even more? Most of the time I’ve made things out to be WAY, WAY WORSE than what actually ends up happening.

2) I can do hard things. I do them ALL the time. I hate the anticipation of them, but when push comes to shove, I do them.

3) I am fortunate enough, and incredibly grateful, to have an incredible support system- both online and in real life. Our families, our friends, my internet friends on Twitter and through the blog… I am not alone in this, ever.

4) If C does have to leave, it won’t be for the first several months. This gives me a good amount of time to get a grasp on things. And then, if/when he does leave, we have family that will happily come visit me and help out as needed.

And a bonus 5th thing, that mostly speaks to my worries about not having my wishes respected in regards to my time with E before the baby, and having our space as a new family of 4: C purposefully scheduled his paternity leave to begin BEFORE my due date… around the time when his mom would be arriving (and it of course overlaps over after when the baby is due, and can be changed accordingly based on early-ness/late-ness of baby’s arrival). Originally I was like: WAIT NO! I NEED YOU AFTER THE BABY IS HERE! AFTER! NOT BEFORE! But when he explained to me his purpose in doing it, it all became clear and I was so grateful he knows me so well. He will also be working a super lax rotation around the time the baby is due, so there is a TON of flexibility for him to be around in those first weeks, and he knew that so he planned his paternity leave for a time when he knew I would need his support in a big way that would guarantee he’d be around to give it.

So the moral of the story is: it’s all going to be alright. I mean, I’m surely going to freak out at least 50 more times before this baby is actually here, but the freak out doesn’t last forever and neither do the hard times that will come with having a new baby and a toddler. I woke up today feeling a million times more encouraged. My baby girl is feeling better. C is home. The dark cloud of a long week has passed and things are looking up again. We can do this.