Saturday, February 26, 2011

Twenty-Nine Weeks

Fetus at twenty-nine weeks

This week, Michaela weighs nearly three pounds and is approximately 17 inches long. I hope she's nice and comfy in there, because I'm not. My back is just killing me! Next week I will see a chiropractor who specializes in treating pregnant women. He comes highly recommended. I am so hopeful that he can help me with my sciatica and some of the other aches and pains I'm experiencing in my mid-back and my neck and shoulders.

I know it's likely that I've got another ten or eleven weeks to go, but I am so ready for this baby to get here. I'm not ready in the practical sense, but I am ready in the physical sense. I want my body back. By that I don't mean that I want my figure back - although that will be nice. I just want to feel like myself again.

On Friday I took the three-hour glucose test. My dad kindly picked me up, took me to the lab, and then sat with me for the duration. The technicians at the lab were really sweet and they let me rest on a cot in their office for a while. Three hours, one nasty syrupy drink, and four blood draws later I was done. Then Dad took me out for a bite to eat. I am relieved to have that ordeal over with, and I am hopeful that I will not have gestational diabetes. I just can't stand the idea of having yet another complication during this pregnancy.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I saw my OB yesterday. We talked about my back pain, and I told her I didn't feel ready to return to work. She was very understanding, and we agreed to extend my leave for another two weeks. The soonest I'll go back is March 8th. I feel a great sense of relief about that outcome.

We also talked about my glucose test. Turns out my number was 159, but the cutoff is 140. Therefore, I must take the three-hour test. Lucky me! I've scheduled that for Friday morning. So, no nutrition counseling for now. Hopefully, I'll pass the test on Friday and be done with it.

After seeing the OB, I went to the dentist. I usually go to the dentist three times a year, but I hadn't been since last July. My most recent appointment should have been in November or December (can't remember which), but I had to cancel and reschedule due to my migraines. Needless to say, my teeth and gums were/are in pretty bad shape after being somewhat neglected. The hygienist did her level best to clean up my dirty mouth. I think it was a lot of work for her, and I know that I bled a lot, but she didn't complain. I'll go back in June for another cleaning and probably some x-rays. Let's hope there are no cavities in my pearly whites. I've never had one before, and I don't want to start getting cavities now. I thought the recliner I sat in at the dentist's office was the most comfortable piece of furniture I've been on in a long time. Wish I could borrow one for a couple of months!

Today's appointment is a prenatal massage. I can hardly wait.

Monday, February 21, 2011

So Much Loss

Two more friends have lost their battles with cancer in the last five days. I am really grieving for them and for their widows. I hate that two more women are left without their husbands and have to journey through grief.

Perhaps my grief is intensified because I am also coming up on the first anniversary of Michael's passing. My thoughts have been full of scenes from those last three weeks - all those visitors, hospice, the sound of the oxygen machine 24/7, waking up many times in the night to help Michael, his confusion at times, watching him become weaker and weaker.

As I took my shower this morning, and I thought about how it's getting harder for me to shave my legs and such, I thought about Michael's last shower. A personal assistant from hospice had come to help him bathe, but he wanted nothing to do with that. He wanted me to help him. I was so worried about his safety getting in and out of the tub, and I didn't feel strong enough to support him anymore. It was a stressful time for us both, and he reluctantly agreed to let hospice bathe him in bed after that. I hated that his dignity was being compromised. He had been this strong, robust man in the prime of his life, and he was reduced to being completely dependent on others for his basic needs. I think he sort of gave up after that.

Anyway, I'm just thinking about our journey, my journey, and now the journey of others as they embark on the difficult experience of widowhood. My heart is heavy for them. Lots of tears.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Twenty-Eight Weeks

Fetus at twenty-eight weeks

I was hoping to get an image like this one of Michaela at Monday's ultrasound appointment, but she was not in a good position to do so according to the technician. The technician was a little heavy-handed with the ultrasound device, so I didn't want to be there any longer than necessary anyway. The technician said that Michaela is measuring about a week ahead of schedule. On Monday, I was 27 weeks and 2 days, but the baby measured in a 28 weeks and 1 day. She weighs nearly two and a half pounds.

I did the two-hour glucose test on Tuesday morning. No fun, but it could have been worse I suppose. Then I got a call from one of my OBs on Wednesday evening that the test showed that while I don't have gestational diabetes, my sugars are kind of high. He wants me to see a nutritional counselor for that. It's always something. He also said that I'm slightly anemic. So, I will have to start taking iron supplements. I picked one up today that isn't supposed to cause constipation. Wish me luck!

My back is still hurting, but since I've been resting it has improved. I have noticed that the more I do, the more it hurts. I've also had a cold for the last week. Between the two, I've just had to take it real easy. I found a great service that will deliver meals twice a week (for a small fortune, of course). This has been a really good thing for me. I'm just not up to cooking right now.

Still dealing with reflux most evenings. Blech! My teeth and gums have really suffered during this pregnancy. I'm seeing the dentist on Monday, and I am afraid that they won't like what they see. Oh, well. The first half of my pregnancy it was nearly impossible for me to brush my teeth in the evenings without triggering a "hug the toilet moment", so I usually skipped that. And, I skipped my last cleaning a couple months ago because of my migraines. Now I find that my gums are just kind of sore in spots even though my hygiene has improved.

I will see my OB again on Monday, and we'll decide then if I'm ready to go back to work next week. I have to admit that with not feeling well physically and anticipating the first anniversary of Michael's passing in just a couple of weeks, work is the last place I want to be. I am so weary physically and emotionally at this point. I just want to hibernate. I am longing for spring, better health, and a happy ending to this pregnancy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February Scans

Facing forward here ~ can you see her eye, nose, and mouth?

Still facing forward ~ mouth open.

Profile ~ she looks like she has her daddy's forehead to me.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

It's my first Valentine's Day as a widow. I have spent many a Valentine's Day as a single girl, and I can tell you that having a sweetheart makes Valentine's Day much more fun. But I know that I am loved. Michael said he would love me forever, and I know that he does. I am also loved by my family and friends, and the Lord loves me with an unfailing love (Psalm 48:9).

Last Valentine's Day was pretty awful. We had just received the worst news about Michael's prognosis three days before, but despite that we had plans to celebrate the day together. Michael wanted me to go down to his favorite epicerie and bring home duck confit (a favorite of his) and some other delectables. It was something we had done on other occasions, and it was a way we could have a nice dinner at home.

The day was compromised because so many of his family members wanted to see him, and this was before they were respecting our wishes for short visits. At one point our little house had eight visitors in it for two hours or more. Michael was simply wiped out after all of that, and I was distraught. I just felt like we had no control over our own environment, and there was one person present who was intentionally disregarding our wishes to assert herself. That was really hurtful and infuriating to me. Thankfully Michael's sister returned from a business trip shortly thereafter and laid down the law about visits with everyone on our behalf. From that point on things were more manageable. I'm just sorry that our last Valentine's Day together was so stressful for us both.

This year my Valentine treat is going to the perinatalogist and seeing Michaela on their high-definition equipment. Surely that will be the highlight of my day.

I wish you all a lovely Valentine's Day, and that you know true love (John 3:16).

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Twenty-Seven Weeks

Fetus at twenty-seven weeks

Michaela is now approximately 15 inches in length. At this point babies are measured from head-to-toe instead of crown-to-rump, so that is her full length. Her weight is in the two pound range. I am going to the perinatalogist on Monday for another scan. I am excited to see Michaela then, and to get some more specifics on her development.

I have been so uncomfortable this week. Whatever this lower back pain should be called, it really hurts. I can't find a comfortable position sitting on the couch or lying in bed. It stinks. I had a wonderful prenatal massage on Tuesday, and I just wish I could feel as good as I did then all the time. Reflux continues to be an issue for me as well. It often strikes when I'm up in the night for a potty break, and then it keeps me up for an hour or more. I've tried TUMS, Maalox, and Pepcid. Not sure which of them gives me the most relief.

Today my sister and I will attend an all day birthing class at the hospital. I hope I can make it though the whole thing, but I won't feel badly if I can't. It will all depend on how uncomfortable I am. It's not like they won't allow me to have my baby if I don't complete the class!

My sister and my sister-in-law are planning two different baby showers for me and Michaela - one for my side of the family and one for Michael's side. What fun! I can hardly wait.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Looking Back

Michael this time last year

I hate remembering him like that, but the reality is that it's part of our journey. Cancer takes such a horrible toll on a person. When thoughts of Michael's last days come to mind, I have to remind myself that he has now overcome that thanks to what Jesus has done for us. He's been redeemed body and soul. When I see him again, he will be young and strong and filled with joy. I can hardly wait to behold that!

It was this day last year that our oncologist told us there was nothing more he could do for Michael, and that he recommended that we arrange for hospice care. As devastating as it was to hear those words, it didn't come as a huge surprise as he was struggling for breath and he'd lost so much weight. I remember Michael leading us in the Lord's Prayer once the doctor left the room, and there were many tears shed.

From that point on, I began my leave from work and took care of Michael around the clock. Family and friends were constantly coming and going for short visits and to bring us meals. That was a blessing and a curse in many ways. I have some good memories of sweet visits with people who cared for us both, and painful memories of insensitive individuals who came with their own agendas. I've learned that crises either bring out the best or the worst in people.

His fight only lasted another three weeks, and I'm grateful that he didn't have to suffer longer than that.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pretty Prints

I found these on Etsy this morning. I think they will look so pretty in Michaela's room! I'll be on the lookout for some white frames that have a some feminine/vintage details for these.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Pain in the Butt

Well, to be more specific, it's probably more like sciatica, pelvic girdle pain, or round ligament pain - although I don't know why round ligament pain would hurt my backside. Anyway, it's been getting worse and worse over the last few days. Every step hurts. Putting my pants and socks on is torture. Standing up and sitting down make me cringe.

Sunday afternoon and evening it really intensified, and then yesterday I was just miserable at work. I called the OB's office, and they had me come in. I suggested that it felt like sciatica or pelvic girdle pain, but the nurse practitioner thought it could be round ligament pain. She explained that at this point in my pregnancy, my uterus is experiencing a lot of growing and stretching. However, from what I've read round ligament pain is something that is usually felt in the abdominal area. In any case, she was very concerned about the amount of pain I was in, and she advised me to take some time off of work to rest and see if it goes away.

So, I'm on a leave of absence until I see the doctor again on the 21st. If the pain has subsided, then I will return to work. If it hasn't, I won't. Since I've been out of the classroom, my new responsibilities have me all over campus and working with every grade level. That's just not doable in this kind of pain. Sigh...

I was able to schedule a last-minute prenatal massage this afternoon. The massage therapist worked my sore side as much as I could let her. It really hurt! I'll go back in a couple of weeks for another session with her. I'm so high maintenance!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Eleven Months

Michael in Hong Kong

Another month has passed. Another month closer to a sweet reunion.

While perusing a copy of People magazine last week, I came across a book review for Heaven is for Real, by Todd Burpo. It's the retelling of a little boy's visit to Heaven during an appendectomy. Some of the things the review mentioned were really compelling to me and I had to order a copy of the book for myself.

I have been very careful to only read things about Heaven that are in alignment with what scripture says. There are a lot of books on the market about near-death experiences, but I'm skeptical about a lot of them. I found Colton's story to be compatible with what the Bible says about Heaven.

Some of the things that struck me were that he met his sister - a sister he didn't know he had. His mother had experienced a miscarriage several years before, but Colton did not know that. He also met his great-grandfather who had died nearly thirty years before Colton's lifetime. The thing I took away from that is that our Earthly family ties are still very important in Heaven. For those of us who have lost a family member, or spouse, that is incredibly comforting to know.

He also had some wonderful things to say about the throne room of God. The incredible colors displayed there. He described Jesus as having "markers". When his dad asked him more about that, Colton pointed to the palms of his hands and the tops of his feet. He said Jesus loves the children, and that Colton sat on Jesus' lap and He was his teacher. He said there are many children in Heaven, and lots of grown-ups, but no old people. Colton also said Heaven has all kinds of animals.

Colton's account includes many more incredible, Biblically appropriate details, and the amazing thing is that he was not quite four years old when he had this experience. I was moved to tears several times as I read his childlike but poignant descriptions of my final destination. I can't tell you how emotional and how comforting it is to imagine Michael in that place and most likely all the children we conceived via IVF - all eight of them! How I long to be there with them - in the Lord's timing, of course.

I feel like in these eleven months of living without the person I love the most, the Lord has revealed so much to me about Heaven, and that He has given me an understanding of Biblical prophecy through a lot of study. That knowledge has given me such comfort and hope. It sustains me while I wait, and I do believe that Heaven is close.

Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it. ~ Mark 10:15

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Twenty-Six Weeks

Eye of a twenty-six week old fetus

Drum roll, please! According to several sources, this marks the beginning of my third trimester! Other sources consider the twenty-eighth week to be the start of the third trimester, but I'm going with the former sources.


It's the start of your third trimester! And you can breathe a little easier: otherwise healthy babies born this week have a 90% chance of survival with no lasting physical or neurological impairment. Right now your ever-growing baby may be nearly 10" (25 cm) long from crown to rump, about the length of an eggplant, and weigh almost 2 lbs, 4 oz (1,000 g).

Baby's eyes are now highly developed, with retinas that contain nerve cells called rods and cones. Rods permit vision in low levels of light, while cones produce sharp images and allow us to see color. So your baby is now sensitive to different levels of brightness, as some light does penetrate through your abdomen and into the womb. Babies' eyes are usually blue or brown at birth, depending on race. Many blue eyes change color in the weeks following after birth, though, because the final formation of eye pigmentation requires exposure to light.
This week I've experienced lots of aches and pains. My tailbone is killing me. From what I've read, this is normal as the bones and ligaments prepare for birth. The last couple of days, I've had more digestive upset - reflux mostly and it's too much like nausea. My bottle of Mylanta is just about empty, and I've been to three or four pharmacies searching for a new one, but to no avail. Googled it tonight and it turns out that Mylanta was recalled at the end of last year due to some labeling errors. It's still safe to take, and that's a good thing because I've taken a lot of it. I'll be switching over to Maalox now instead because it has the same ingredients.

This morning I'm going over to the lab for my glucose test. I have to fast and the lab doesn't open until eight o'clock. It's going to be a tough morning for me as I usually eat as soon as I get up. I have to because I'm starving!

I treated myself to a humidifier the other day. I've been so stuffy since I've been pregnant, and that combined with getting over a cold and such dry winter air has made it difficult to sleep at night. I can't believe the difference it makes for me. Now if I could just get comfortable. Between my sore tailbone, and cramping feet and legs, sleep comes in fits and starts. Pregnancy is so hard! Waa!

Work has been "interesting". There was no schedule set up to determine how I was supposed to spend my time until today. So, I had very little to do all week long. I took a novel to work on Tuesday, and I'm halfway through it now. I am sharing a room with some really nice staff members, and I've enjoyed being around them, but overall it's been very frustrating to me to be removed from the classroom and left with close to nothing to do. That will change next week, however. My proposed schedule almost seems too full, so I'll see how that goes. Ten weeks to go until I can begin my maternity leave and I'll be counting them down with relish.