39.5 weeks – Birth Eve

29 weeks 2

#realpregnancy #nofluff #noBS #ALLthefeels #atonetime

I don’t know that I had any expectations of how I would feel today, but definitely didn’t expect to be this overwhelmed and anxious. I’ve spent the entire morning analyzing where to start in getting “ready” for tomorrow (I will be admitted tomorrow night for induction). In my mind, there is so much to do and I will never have enough time or energy to do it! There are floors to sweep and mop, rugs to vacuum, last minute nursery details, food to prepare for when we come home…(should I make freezer meals or go ahead and cook things)…. EVERYTHING needs to be sanitized before I bring her home!! (insert crazy eyes here), I have to get Moose ready for his vacation with Aunt Michele, do I have everything I need in my hospital bag, is the car seat installed correctly, am I even qualified to drive her home in a couple days….OMG!!! My brain is on overdrive and I can’t shut it off! I don’t know how much of it is hormones and how much of it is just my OCD.

But today is hard. Today is very hard. And, I’m exhausted.

I wonder what’s going to change after tomorrow….I mean, probably EVERYTHING. How will this affect my relationship with my husband, will I have the “instincts” that everyone keeps telling me will come naturally, will I be a good mom, how is Moose going to react and will he still know how much I love him, how are we going to balance running businesses and a new baby, is my mother going to make me lose my freaking mind, how will we make meetings, how is Joe going to continue with his crazy training schedule, how do you eat when you breastfeed, will I even be able to breastfeed, when can I work out, how long does baby weight stick around….it’s crazy how something so tiny can affect our entire world.

I say all that to say this….I struggle with control. I struggle with powerlessness and the fact that I have zero control over what is about to happen in my life. I try to feel the false illusion of control by controlling the list of things above and making lists and plans and working through all of these questions in my head….but deep down I realize that at the end of the day I am powerless. Birth is not something that can be controlled or cataloged. Bringing home a new baby is not something that has a manual and step-by-step instructions. Fear is a huge part of this journey, and the ability to walk through fear is making me grow exponentially….and I get that.

I’m learning about trust….something I have struggled with for most of my life. I’m learning to trust my gut, my doctor’s expertise, my body’s readiness to do this, my husbands willingness and ability to coach me through and support me, my mother and father in law and their love for us and their new grandbaby, my program and my tribe of women who will help and guide me through becoming a new mom, the growth that has happened in the relationship with my family-of-origin over the course of my pregnancy….I’m surrounded by infinite support and love, but trust has never come easy for me….especially when I am not in control and feel I could fail or not live up to expectations I have set for myself or that (I think) others have set for me.

So….that’s today, almost at the end of this part of our journey. So much fear…yet so much excitement and joy to finally meet this tiny miracle. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in fear and anxiety that I forget what a blessing I will be bringing into this world. I forget that God chose ME to be her mother, and that I never imagined I would be so blessed. I never wanted to be a mom….but now, I can’t imagine anything greater. A tiny piece of perfection, made with love, and forever to change our hearts and lives. T-1 till we #makewayforLillyK.

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39wk bumpdate – Adventures in Pregnancy

We made it to 39 WEEKS! Depending on which app I open, she is either the size of a Watermelon or a Pumpkin….either one is much too big to be hanging out in my belly (rib cage) for too much longer! The aches and pains are getting to the point where I’m just DONE….DONE being pregnant and ready for her to do all of this wiggling, jabbing, kicking and rolling and midnight hiccuping outside of my body. But, we are so close! Everything is much more difficult these days….from tying my shoes to shaving my legs or just trying to get in and out of the truck or roll over at night to find a more comfortable position (which is impossible at this stage, let me tell you)….but in all that bitching and whining, I can’t help but smile. My body is creating a LIFE, a tiny miracle that will become the center of our whole world. Although it is definitely difficult on some days, she is 100% worth every second, every ache and pain, every sleepless night….and I can’t wait to meet her!

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Ever since my stitch removal 2 weeks ago, I am able to do things that I have been restricted from for over 6 months. I’ve been walking a lot more, and usually get in about 4 miles a day for the past week or so. It feels so good to be active again. Even though it’s just walking, it is a big deal for me right now! Just walking a few miles a day absolutely exhausts me, but makes me feel so good.

The closer I get day by day to labor and delivery, the more anxious I get. I think it’s only natural. I mean, I’ve never done this before, I’m not sure exactly what to expect, and I know it will hurt. I’ve read all the books and apps and listened to all the stories from my lady friends….but I can’t help but still feel a little anxious and scared about it. I have a very loose birth plan, and have made it clear to my doctor that my only real “Plan” is to get the baby out safely and as easily as possible. Outside of that, I’m pretty flexible. I have girlfriends who have come into the delivery room with high expectations and firm birth plans only to be disappointed and realize that birth is messy and not something that goes according to our plans all the time.

The other point of extreme anxiety in my life today is my journey through the post-partum period. As someone who is in long-term recovery from a severe eating disorder and exercise addiction, I can’t help but plan ahead to make sure that I have a healthy idea of what to expect from my body, my mind, and from the experience. If I’ve learned anything in recovery it is that any experience is what you make it. It can be good or bad all dependent on my perspective. I do worry about losing the baby weight, I do worry about what “bouncing back” will look like and feel like, and I do worry about having unrealistic expectations of myself and relying on old behavior to solve my fear and anxiety, I do worry that I will push myself to do too much too fast, or that I’ll become depressed over my weight and appearance…BUT, I also realize that by being open and honest about my fears, it gives them less power. I know that I will have to practice grace with myself, and do what is best not only for me….but for this little miracle. I want to breastfeed for as long as possible. In order to do that, I will have to take excellent care of myself to provide her with the best. I also know that as she continues to grow up, I will become an example to her of how she should think about her body….and I can’t hate my body and teach her to love hers. Doesn’t work that way!

It’s still incredible to me that I have created a life inside of my body. That she will become a beautiful, brave, and wild creature of her own…I can’t wait to meet you Lilly Kate.

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37 weeks – Adventures in Pregnancy

I breathed the biggest sigh of relief this morning as soon as my eyes opened and I realized that Lilly and I have made it to 37 weeks. No matter what happens now, she is going to be ok! It’s that magical week when all of the pregnancy apps tell you that your baby is fully developed, just putting on more fat with the remaining weeks. What a journey it has been, and what a miracle she truly is. I think the challenges of this pregnancy have made me more grateful than I could ever have imagined, and have taught me so much about the joy and sacrifice of being a mother. I’ve learned so much about myself, my marriage, and life in general. I’ve learned who my friends are and who they aren’t. I’ve learned that “Family” has nothing to do with blood. I’ve had to dig into my spirituality, learn to trust the process, and that I’m not in control. I’ve truly surrendered to my powerlessness and come to a place of peace and understanding that would have been impossible for me to achieve had I not been brought to my knees. I can’t describe the joy and anticipation I am feeling.

She has defied all odds. Doctor’s always told me that it would be difficult for me to get pregnant and even harder for me to carry a child to term. I decided that I was ok with never having children, that I was going to live an exciting life and didn’t need to be a parent to fully enjoy my life.

In the last year, we’ve gotten pregnant twice without missing a single birth control pill. In February of last year I had a miscarriage, and in September, we found out that little Lilly was there. We thought we lost her at 16 weeks when I started bleeding uncontrollably, but with some medication and surgery, the docs were able to save her and stop my pre-term labor. I was put on extreme exercise restriction, modified bed rest, and told not to lift anything over a few pounds. I was terrified that I was going to lose her, that it was just a matter of time…

From that point in my pregnancy, it has been hard to let myself get excited. I’ve been cautiously optimistic, and hopeful. I’ve prayed more in the last 6 months than in the past 6 years…..but for the first time, today, it hit me that I’m going to meet this sweet angel and that she will become everything we never knew that we always wanted. The relief and the gratitude is indescribable. She’s going to be perfect, she’s going to be healthy, and she is going to be strong. It seems that God has a plan for us and for little Lilly, I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life. This is truly His plan for us, especially through all the challenges we have faced getting to this point. This journey has been incredibly taxing…emotionally, physically, spiritually….but, not for a minute did I want to quit. I’m so blessed with amazing love and support. I’ve been built up throughout the entire process and never went through a moment not feeling the strength of my tribe behind me. I can’t wait to meet this sweet girl and be her mama.

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Late baby shower post

I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing Lilly Kate’s baby shower was! I was surrounded by the people that I love the most, amazing food, and so much joy and anticipation for this little girl! She’s not even here yet, and she is incredibly loved by such wonderful people!

It’s crazy to think, but now that we have had our shower, we are 100% ready for her arrival. Her room is all ready for her, we have her carseat, stroller, diapers, the cutest freaking clothes EVER, crib, changing table…..It’s so strange to walk through our house and see her room all set up for her. This definitely wasn’t anything that we planned, but I couldn’t be more excited to meet this little girl.

Although I am IN LOVE with all the cute clothes and supplies we got for sweet Lilly, a few gifts definitely stand out in my mind and in my heart. Sometimes the simplest things mean the most. Especially when they come from the heart.

Last year, Joe lost one of his dearest childhood friends. Andy was an amazing guy with a giving heart and the best belly laugh I have heard in a long time. It was a hard time, and I remember watching Joe go through that grief. I opened one of the gifts at the baby shower, and inside was a gently used, stained pink baby blanket. I was a bit confused to be honest when I opened up the package, but then I read the card that came with it.

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I can’t wait to wrap my sweet baby in this blanket that was passed down to me with the purest love. It means so much to me, and I have no words to express what it means to Joe. I know Lilly will never meet Andy, but a little piece of him with be with us as we raise our sweet baby.

The second thing that REALLY stands out to me was not a gift for me, or for baby Lilly, but a gift for Lilly as she grows up and starts to experience the world around her. One of my favorite little people in the whole world wrote Lilly this little note inside a Dr. Seuss book…”Oh, the places you will go”…I have read it probably a hundred times now, and can’t wait to read it to Lilly, with words straight from the heart of a woman that I love so dearly. Lauren

I can’t even post this photo without tearing up a little…..must be the hormones!

I am overwhelmed with gratitude and amazed by the love expressed for my little growing family. We are so blessed and fortunate to be loved by an amazing community of friends, family, and some that qualify as both. I can’t imagine going through the journey without their constant love and support. I know that Lilly will never not feel loved, I know she will always be supported, and I have no words to express the joy that brings me. It takes a village, and I absolutely adore my village.  #MakewayforLillyK

30 week bump-date

LK and I had our 30 week check-up today. She is the size of a Cantaloupe or a Zucchini, depending on what app I look at! We passed the glucose test, and she is measuring right on track. Her little heart rate is at 145 and she looks absolutely perfect. My doctor expects that he can remove my stitches in the office rather than requiring surgery to remove. That eases my mind so much! They will hopefully schedule that around 37 weeks, and we can expect her arrival anytime after that. She’s so big now that sometimes her movements wake me up at night and you can see her moving outside of my belly more and more. She prefers to sit on my right side and often my belly is very lopsided. She is still head down and the doc says she has dropped a little bit. That is probably why I’m experiencing so much lower back and pelvic pain. He thinks that she might be putting pressure on a nerve, which is the source of most of my discomfort. I’m hoping she will wiggle around and get into a different position soon. This part is no fun. She’s grown to the size that I am uncomfortable pretty much constantly and can’t be on my feet for long periods of time without my legs and feet swelling. The doc is greatly in favor of me continuing yoga and stretching as it will help my body prepare for labor and there have been studies linking mindfulness practice with a more pleasant and peaceful delivery. I’ve noticed an increase in my appetite lately, but the inability to eat much at one sitting due to the lack of space in my belly right now. Mood swings have gotten a little bit deeper and more often, I’ve struggled with depression the majority of my life, and I didn’t expect pregnancy to be much different. I’m glad I’m able to manage it without medication now, but the last couple weeks have been tough with a lot of ups and downs. My sugar cravings are out of this world. These cravings have literally brought me to tears on more than one occasion this week, knowing that the sugar is not good for me or the baby, but the craving being incredibly strong and feeling almost overpowering. I’m managing them the best I can, but it is incredibly frustrating.

As we get closer to May, our home is starting to reflect the upcoming changes. It is so weird to look into the nursery and see the crib, knowing that soon there will be a perfect baby girl sleeping there. We have most of the essentials, and with my shower this weekend, I know we will be all ready by the time she comes. I had a smallish emotional breakdown trying to find something nice to wear to my shower this weekend. It’s so hard sometimes to accept my changing body without judgement. Nothing fits “right” or looks the way I think it “should”, and this belly is seriously getting out of control as she continues to grow! It took me a few hours to snap out of it and realize that my body is creating a miracle and that might not always look the way I expect it to. I did eventually find a cute and comfy dress that I am excited to wear on Sunday. I also have to remind myself that I will be surrounded by so much love and friendship that I really don’t need to get caught up in how I look.

Another week closer to meeting my sweet and perfect little girl, this is an incredible journey and I feel so blessed to share it with all of you. Thank you for your continued love and prayers.

30 weeks 3

 

 

Meal Prep Monday 13March17

This has always been true for me, but even more so now that I’m pregnant. If I fail to plan, I plan to fail! I have to make sure that I have healthy and nutritious food on hand, otherwise when I get hungry I will reach for whatever is fast and easy — which is rarely ever healthy. I also have found that I need to eat something every few hours, otherwise I get a craving for something sweet and will find the most high-calorie sweet thing I can get my hands on to ease the craving…BUT, if I keep a steady meal plan of good and healthy foods, these cravings aren’t nearly as overwhelming! I’ve been able to battle most sugar cravings lately with Greek yogurt and granola, fruit and berries, and cold pressed juices. Much better than grabbing for a donut, cookies, ice cream, or something worse! This baby needs nutrition, not processed sugar! I thought I’d share my weekly meal prep and recipes in case any of you are looking for something new!

13March17 Meal prep monday!

This week looks DELICIOUS! So IN LOVE with my new kitchen that I can’t help but get super excited about cooking in it! This week, I’ve got roasted veggies, Teriyaki Panko Chicken thighs and Buffalo turkey meatball muffins! Yummm!!! Photos and recipes below

Roasted veggies – This week, I made brussel sprouts, peppers, zucchini, and squash! I preheated the oven to 350, and rubbed EVOO on the pans I was using. I cut up the veggies and added plant based butter, ranch seasoning, and white cheddar popcorn spray. I then cooked the zucchini, squash, and peppers for 25 minutes and the sprouts for about 35 minutes.

Teriyaki Panko Chicken Thighs- Preheat oven to 400 and rub down pans with EVOO. I got organic chicken thighs, and put them in a gallon ziplock bag with a full container of Teriyaki marinade. (I added 15 thighs) Massage sauce into the thighs and make sure they are all opened up to get the sauce on the whole thigh. Then I took each one out individually and rolled in the Panko crumbs. I just used the regular unseasoned Panko. Put in pan and cook for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.

Buffalo Turkey meatball muffins – I used 2-1 pound packages of extra lean ground turkey, 2 eggs, mild wing sauce,  and a handful of panko (enough to get a thick consistency with eggs and wing sauce added. I oiled the muffin tin and filled each spot with the mixture. I cooked at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes – until they start to brown on top. I eat mine with the avacodo ranch Hidden Valley dressing, but Joe eats his plain.

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Finished Product!!

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I’m looking forward to a YUMMY week ahead and hope that you guys enjoy these recipes!

29 week bump-date

29 weeks! Crazy to think that in a little over 2 months, we get to meet Miss Lilly Kate! It seems like such a long wait and like tomorrow all at the same time! So many emotions at once, from joy and anticipation to fear and worry. I run the gambit of emotions on a daily if not hourly basis! But, I can’t wait to hold this sweet angel in my arms and kiss all over her! 29 weeks

Depending on which app I look at, she is roughly the size of a pineapple, a radio control car, or an acorn squash. No matter which it really is, she is definitely getting bigger and FAST! I can see her little body rolling around in my belly, elbow or knees, not sure which. At our last ultrasound, she was almost 3lb, and she will TRIPLE her body weight before she is born (according to the app, but I really hope she isn’t born at 9lb!)

Week 29 from the Ovia app

“Lilly Kate’s movements are getting less violent and more regular as she grows to the bounds of your womb…Your growing womb and the pressure it can put on your abdomen, means you might experience acid indigestion, and as always your increased levels of estrogen and progesterone aren’t helping…Lilly Kate is about 16 inches tall, and pretty close to birth height, she is still wighing in at almost three pounds, so she still has a lot of fat to pack on in the next eleven weeks. Lilly Kate’s muscles and lungs continue to mature…Finally, be prepared – Lilly Kate is going to be packing on some serious pounds in the coming weeks, and so will you; you are getting into the homestretch!”

Week 29 from “The Bump” app

“You are probably getting a little preview of baby’s personality, the more you feel her move. You might bet some playful kicks and jobs, and start to feel little hiccups, too! At 29 weeks, baby’s not just moving a lot, but also plumping up! Headaches and/or lightheadedness…Itchy belly. Your skin is stretching thinner, making it more sensitive. Back, leg , or pelvic pain, constipation, trouble sleeping, and as your uterus expands, the more you will have to hit the restroom with frequent urination”.

So, she is almost as tall as she will be at birth, which I can believe since I can feel her moving on complete opposite sides of my belly at the same time! She will stretch out and I’ll feel her pushing on the bounds of her tiny space. The heartburn is near unbearable sometimes, between Tums and Apple Cider vinegar, we are managing the best we can. It seems to be at it’s worst at night when I am laying down. So, there is always water and tums next to the bed.

29 weeks 2

Our baby shower is next weekend, and I’m getting more excited every day! I can’t wait to celebrate this baby girl with the people that I love most! My mom and aunt are helping with my baby shower and I think that is the best part of this process. This little baby has brought my family back together after years of distance and tension. There is definitely a lot of fear with re-connecting with my mom after the distance that has been between us over the past decade. BUT, I want Lilly Kate to have a fabulous relationship with her Grandmother, I want her to know where she comes from. My mom has made her fair share of mistakes, but I know she is ready and so anxious to be a grandma to this sweet girl. I don’t want to stand in the way of that. I want to give Lilly every opportunity to be loved by her family. So, prayers for acceptance, forgiveness, and willingness to trust are greatly appreciated as we go through this next phase of our relationship.

ED Recovery and the mom-bod

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I went to my very first yoga class yesterday. I can’t say that I was ready for the emotional experience that happened on that mat. In one class, one practice, one hour….so much happened that I’m still struggling to understand and explain. We were guided by the instructor to quiet our minds, to shut out the sounds and noise, to breathe deeply and look inward. Concentrate on our breathing and notice any thoughts that keep coming to our minds, dismiss them and concentrate on our breathing. I never thought I was a bully until that moment, realizing how much I was judging my new growing body. It’s the first time in months that I’ve worn “active wear” in public… and of course nothing feels or fits right at 7 months pregnant. But it’s also the first time in months that I have quieted my mind long enough to see that I was really hardcore hating on my body. I found myself judging my body in comparison to the other ladies in the room, I was flooded with fear that they were judging me too (talk about selfish and self-centered). I was judging my body based on what I “thought” it should look, feel, and act like, the things I thought it should be able to do…I was judging my body because the smallest movements and actions make me feel out of breath and winded. Hell, getting up and down off the mat was a challenge! Almost 5 years into recovery, I realize that my eating disorder is still alive and well inside of me whether I am acting on it or not.

(sidenote: Pre-pregnancy I was training for a marathon, working out daily if not several times a day, and working on developing a killer bod (and ego to go with it)….This pregnancy has brought with it several periods of modified bed-rest, activity restrictions, and I’m not allowed to work out at all, or do any strenuous lifting.)

Now imagine all of that running through my mind in the span of a couple minutes. Talk about exhausting!

Now don’t get me wrong….I believe that the miracle of growing a baby inside of my body is just that….a miracle. I am incredibly grateful that after decades of abusing my body, I have been blessed with the opportunity to carry a child of my own. I do not for a second take for granted the beautiful process that is happening within me everyday. So, don’t get it twisted.

As a woman living in long-term recovery, I feel obligated to keep it real. It is hard. It is harder than I ever imagined it would be. Eating disorders are all about control, and pregnancy is complete absence of that control.  My body seems to change everyday, sometimes I feel like if I sit still enough, I can actually see it changing. Of course there is the belly bump, but there is so many other changes that I wasn’t prepared for. My boobs, the expansion of my hips, my butt has lost the cute little perk it had in my running days, my knees and legs swelling, swollen hands and feet, puffy face and breakouts!  For years, my security, my worth, my entire world centered around my body and how it looked (or how I thought it looked). My self-worth was completely performance based and had nothing to do with who I was as a person.

 

So, I decided it was time to acknowledge this new mom-bod. To honor it and to be reminded of the growing miracle inside of me. I decided it was time to really dig into the fear and find out what I was really afraid of. I spent some time in silent meditation today, and really have no more answers than I did yesterday…but I’m digging. I’d love to say I figured it all out, but I don’t think it works that way. Just like any addict, I believe that I don’t just choose recovery and become cured one time….I have to continue to choose recovery every day. So, I’ve started by telling on myself…by becoming vulnerable and honest, secondly I’m seeking…seeking the truth underneath all the bullshit that I cover it up with.

Now, something else I feel I should mention….I am surrounded by amazing people, including my husband and family who remind me on a daily basis that I’m beautiful, that I’m “glowing”, that I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I do not lack for affirmations, for support, or for love. Just needed to add that

I think my biggest fear is the expectation of “bouncing back” after this pregnancy. I have so many expectations of myself and how that process “should” go. I set really high standards, and I’m terrified that it just won’t happen the way I want it to, or will take longer than I think it should. I actually calculate in my mind how much weight I’ve gained and approximate how long it will take me to lose it. I get lost in the thought that all this bed-rest has stripped me of all the gains, stamina, and work that I did pre-pregnancy….talk about control issues!  My mind has focused so much on how my body will respond after childbirth, that sometimes I forget that I will have a beautiful baby girl and that I will be her mom!!!….I forget that that’s what this is all about! It’s not all about me!

I think that the reality of raising a daughter has brought it to the forefront of my mind that I want to find a level of peace and serenity with my body. I know that she will learn how to judge and treat her body by the example that I set for her. She will watch the way that I judge myself and copy that behavior. She will follow my footsteps in exercise and nutrition by what I teach her. I want her to be confident, I want her to be healthy and strong, I never want her to feel what I felt when I was trapped inside an eating disorder. I want to teach her confidence and strength by example. I want to teach her how to be healthy by being healthy. I’m grateful that I have to opportunity to teach her that her worth is on the inside and that her character will define her. I’m grateful that I’m learning more about balance every day so that I can teach her that balance. I’m also terrified that I might mess up….but I know I will do the very best to teach her self-love and self-respect.

I will continue to trudge, to seek and to be honest. I’m actually really excited as much as I am terrified about this journey and what I will learn along the way.  I can’t wait to meet this little miracle and be her mom. I know it won’t be easy, it isn’t supposed to be…but I know it will all be worth it.

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“God has no grandchildren”

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Having so many complications early in pregnancy, and the uncertainty of if/how long my cerclage would hold….I’ve struggled not to get too excited about this tiny miracle inside of me. This week, when we finally hit 28 weeks and our third trimester, I started to allow myself to feel a little more joy, a little more anticipation, and a little bit more ease. It’s been a tough couple months, and there is so much relief in knowing that she is growing and progressing just as she was designed to. She has had near perfect ultrasounds and checkups, and her growth is right on track. I’ve struggled a bit with my blood pressure and some cervical swelling around my stitch…but overall, the last few months have been very calm in comparison to the fear and anxiety that we experienced in the beginning. It is crazy to me how attached and how in love I am with a person that I have never met. Her needs already come before my own and my life revolves around being the best vessel for her growth that I can be. For me….a selfish and self-centered recovering alcoholic….these feelings are so incredibly foreign. Yet, they came and continue to come as naturally as breathing. Every sacrifice is worth it, a million times over, if I know it’s what is best for her.

I am surrounded by such strong, courageous and beautiful moms on a regular basis, and from them I have gotten such amazing nuggets of truth and hope. One of those that keeps me from sinking into fear and worry came from my sweet friend Heather. Before I knew I was going into pre-term labor or knew what was happening with my body… I was having a lot of bleeding. I just knew that I was going to lose the baby….Fear swallowed me, and I couldn’t think outside of that fear. Having had a miscarriage a year ago, I was paralyzed with anxiety. Heather told me while I was sitting on my back porch crying, “God does not have any Grandchildren”….This one simple phrase has sustained me and given me incredible inspiration and hope for my child. It tells me that although she is growing inside of me, she is FIRST a child of God. He will protect her and sustain her, He will knit her together in my womb as he has designed. I am not in control, I am powerless, and I have faith that His love is sufficient. Now, don’t get me wrong….I still worry, I still trip out about the future, and I still want to be in control of EVERYTHING….But, when I get tired of feeling scared and overwhelmed I remember this simple thought and for a few moments, I find peace.

I’m learning the meaning of the phrase “It takes a village”. I need my village, I need my “Heathers”, I need the experience strength and hope of my girl tribe. I’m so blessed that I never have to go through anything alone….I’m surrounded by moms, and aunts, and grandmothers who love me through the hard times and celebrate with me through the good times. Fear steals so much joy….I’m grateful to be reminded to enjoy and live in that JOY, one day at a time.

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The adventures of Baby Felz, Cerclage edition

So…whoever came up with the MEDICAL term “Incompetent Cervix” has absolutely no idea how sensitive and hormotional pregnancy makes you. When the doc first told me that my cervix was apparently “incompetent”, I had mixed emotions. Half of me was terrified and the other half wanted to punch him in the face for insulting my innocent cervix. I quickly got over my anger as he began to explain that my baby was in trouble. I had been bleeding heavily and passing tennis ball size clots for almost 4 days at this point, so I knew something was terribly wrong.

So, what is an incompetent cervix? Well, the Mayo clinic says it like this...”An incompetent cervix, also called a cervical insufficiency, is a condition that occurs when weak cervical tissue causes or contributes to premature birth or the loss of an otherwise healthy pregnancy.” Basically the weakened cervix begins to open, which triggers pre-term labor and the baby is at a huge risk for miscarriage since it is still not developed enough to survive outside of my body. Here is my story through my cerclage procedure and maybe it will help someone.

Within 10 minutes of the doctor doing a pelvic exam, I was being admitted to the hospital. They started me immediately on 2 antibiotics and a medication that helped stop the pre-term labor called Toradol. The high-risk pregnancy specialists and surgeons came by my room and explained my options. Surgery to stitch together my cervix (called a cerclage) or daily progesterone with weekly ultrasounds.  I cried a lot that first night, I didn’t know what the right decision was, but I knew what my gut said. It was more difficult because this decision was not just for me, it was for my baby girl. The doctors told me that if I did not do the surgery in a timely fashion, there was a chance that they could not perform it as a later date as my cervix was continuing to shorten with each ultrasound. The surgery had some definite risks, but it had the most concrete results and the best chance of prolonging my pregnancy until my sweet baby girl was able to survive on her own. I decided on the cerclage surgery after consulting with my OB (not the surgeon) and my family.

What is a CERCLAGE? Again, according to the internets…“Cervical cerclage, also known as a cervical stitch, is a treatment for cervical incompetence or insufficiency, when the cervix starts to shorten and open too early during a pregnancy causing either a late miscarriage or preterm birth.”

The next day, the surgery was scheduled. During my hospital stay, they checked on my baby’s heartbeat every 2 hours. It made me so happy each time I got to hear her little heart beating. I knew she was still ok. The surgery was difficult to say the least. The doctors did everything they could to assure me and make me as comfortable as possible. I couldn’t help think of how close to my sweet baby they were operating, and it was absolutely terrifying. My surgeon explained the procedure to me and made sure that I understood everything before they got started. She was wonderful. The anesthesiologist was also great, explaining everything that would happen over the course of the surgery. Since I am pregnant, they gave me spinal anesthesia, which is a nasty, terrible, horrible procedure. I wasn’t numb the first time they tried to administer the anesthesia and I can’t put that amount of pain into words. I was blinded and have never in my life felt anything like it. Finally, they got me numb and I was unable to move or feel anything below my waist. The procedure itself was uncomfortable (since I was tilted backwards, spread wide open, and couldn’t move my body), but not terrible. I was not a big fan of being completely awake and aware during the surgery, but I was happy that the anesthesia was safe for me and the little one. I did not experience any pain during the procedure but felt pressure as they worked. It was over relatively quickly. Again, the surgeons told me everything they were doing as they did it, and I felt like I was in good hands…..literally. They finished up, sent me to recovery, and after regaining feeling in my legs I was returned to my room for another night of observation and checks every 2 (FREAKING 2) hours.

The surgeons explained to me the next day that during the procedure they had found a polyp. They suspect that the polyp was causing the insane amount of bleeding that I had been having for the better part of 4 days. HERE IS THE MIRACLE…Had I not had that polyp, there is a very high probability that I would have miscarried. Incompetent cervix has very few symptoms and most of them are so mild that women believe they are normal pregnancy symptoms. Light cramping, light spotting, back pain….none of which are alarming. Had I not had the bleeding polyp, I would likely have never gone in to have it checked out, and my cervix could have opened more. Had I progressed into full labor, they could not have stopped it and I could have lost her. I believe that God has a special reason for us to have this baby….that has been evident through the conception and the pregnancy. He is definitely in charge and knows the plan for us.

Post-op I will follow up with the surgeon every other week and with my OB every other week alternating. They will check on my stitches and make sure this little wiggle worm stays put. There is also the option to add progesterone therapy at a later date if they believe it is necessary. The prognosis is good, and they hope that with they help of this procedure I can carry this sweet thing to full term or until she is able to survive on her own. If everything goes well, they will remove the stitches a month before my estimated delivery date so that she can be born. If I do go into labor early, the cerclage will give her an extra 2-3 weeks to bake before they have to remove the stitches and let her out.

I am not thrilled that i had to go through this procedure, I have been a basket case and an emotional wreck for the better part of a week….BUT, I am incredibly grateful and would do it a million times over. I am blessed, my daughter is blessed, and I am in love with the life that God has given me today. Promises coming true over and over again. I have faith that He is protecting her and giving me peace. This journey has strengthened my faith and my assurance that I am truly never alone. It has also taught me that I am NEVER in control of my life. She is my baby, but she is also HIS baby. I am learning to let go of control and let go of anxiety.

I’m grateful to my husband, my family and our baby’s Godfather. Thanks to them I was never alone throughout my hospitalization. I always had someone to talk to, someone to cry with me, and someone there just to be there. I’m very blessed. I get to do life with some pretty amazing people.

Ask me again in a week or so how grateful I am…..even “modified” bedrest is not going to be a good look on me.

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