Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thirty-eight Weeks

I saw my OB on Wednesday. Dr. S was out sick, so I saw Dr. I instead. He used the ultrasound to measure Michaela and my amniotic fluid. My fluid levels are very good, but he said that also contributes to me feeling uncomfortable. As for Michaela, by his calculations she's already eight pounds.

He checked my cervix and said that I'm only 1 cm dilated, and 30% effaced. Therefore, stripping my membranes was not really an option. Perhaps next week will be different.

When I was being monitored on Monday, I showed three strong (although I couldn't feel them) contractions that lasted quite a while. But, when I went back on Thursday, I only had one and it wasn't anywhere as strong or long as Monday's had been.

I know I'm in the homestretch, but I am desperate to have this baby. I sure hope next week is the week!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Resurrection Sunday {AKA Easter}

Last year, Easter was just a month after Michael's passing. I was in the fog of grief, and although I attended church and brunch with family, I was just going through the motions. The first few celebratory occasions in the grief cycle are so hard. Nothing matters but the grief that has swallowed you up and the absence of your beloved. You are befuddled that life can go on as it does when your world has been devastated. Praise God that doesn't last! I've chosen to keep moving forward, trusting my Lord, and looking ahead to the day when I am reunited with Michael, and we get to spend Eternity together. Hallelujah!

This year, although I'm not planning on attending services (just not physically up for it with all my pregnancy issues), I've spent a lot of time this week reflecting on its significance. I'm so grateful for what Jesus did for me when he submitted himself to the cross. It's His blood that covers my sin and makes me righteous in the sight of God the Father. Without that, I don't have access to God because He's so holy, and I'm just not. Throughout human history God the Father has required a blood sacrifice as a sin offering. That seems so bizarre to our modern sensibilities, but He's God and His ways are not our ways.

I've learned so much in the last year about Easter that I never did before. For example, did you know that everything Jesus went through from Palm Sunday leading up to Resurrection Sunday corresponds with something from Passover? From one of my favorite Bible teachers, Jack Kelley at GraceThruFaith:

Prophetic Fulfillment

In the first chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus was introduced as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Throughout His ministry people proclaimed Him as Israel’s Messiah, but only on one day did He encourage it. On the Jewish calendar, it was the 10th day of the first month. We know it as Palm Sunday. Through out Jerusalem Passover lambs were being selected, but on the Mount of Olives The Passover Lamb was being welcomed into the city with shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matt. 21:9)

From then until the end of the 13th He received the most aggressively intense questioning of His ministry. He was being carefully scrutinized for some defect in His teaching until finally “no one dared ask Him any more questions.” (Matt 23:46)

After sundown brought the Passover, called Preparation Day in His time, he ate an abbreviated Passover meal with His disciples, stopping at the 3rd cup, the Cup of Redemption. It was a Thursday, the 14th of the month, and before the day was over He had been arrested, tried, convicted and executed by crucifixion. The Passover Lamb had been put to death on Passover. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed, Paul would later say (1 Cor. 5:7).

Just before He died, knowing that all had been completed and so the Scriptures would be fulfilled, He asked for a drink. (John 19:28-29) In taking the wine they offered, He drank the 4th Cup of the Passover, the Cup of Acceptance. “I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.” From that day forward, anyone Who accepted His death as payment for their sins would in turn be accepted into the family of God and receive eternal life. They are saved by faith through the Blood of the Lamb.

Earlier a group of Jewish officials had asked Jesus for a miraculous sign to prove that He was who He claimed to be. He said, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matt. 12:39-40). They would get their sign but only after they had put Him to death. And it would be unmistakable. No one had ever come out of the grave in a resurrection body before.

The day following the crucifixion would Friday the 15th, the first Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a special Sabbath where no work could be done (John 19:31). Knowing this, the chief priests asked Pilate to hasten the deaths of the condemned men so they could get them off their crosses before sundown. But Jesus was already dead. He had died at three o’clock and though His body was still on the cross, His spirit was already in Sheol, the abode of the dead. Day one.

At sundown it became Friday the 15th, and with it Night One, followed in the morning by Day Two. Saturday the 16th was the regular weekly Sabbath and again no work could be done. It began with Night Two and in the morning became Day Three. Then at sundown it was Sunday the 17th, Night Three. Three days and three nights, just as He had prophesied.

At sunrise Sunday morning the 17th, the Feast of First Fruits was being observed at the Temple when the women came to the tomb where He’d been laid to rest (Matt. 28:1). It was their first chance to anoint the body for burial since both Friday and Saturday had been Sabbaths. But the tomb was empty. He had risen, the First Fruits of the First Resurrection.

I am just in awe of all the Old Testament and New Testament connections, and how perfectly Jesus fulfilled the prophesies. I feel like I've uncovered layers and layers of meaning to this incredible event, but I know it's not me. It's the work of the Holy Spirit in me opening my spiritual eyes to the truth of the Word.

And beyond the connections to Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits, the Holy Spirit was then poured out on His followers exactly on Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks, which was a wave offering of two loaves of leavened bread. I'm doing a study of Acts with my dear friend Kristina, and we observed in this week's study how during the Passover Week unleavened bread (without yeast) was used. But come Pentecost it's leavened bread (bread made with yeast). We discussed how this represents the fullness of what Christ accomplished, and how we are full with the Spirit.

Anyway, I'm no Bible scholar or apologetic. There's probably a much better way to explain those connections and prophetic fulfillments. I've just learned so much this year that has deepened my understanding of God's Word, and it's been really exciting for me. What's most exciting is that when Jesus comes again he will fulfill the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles which are the Jewish feast days in the fall. In that day, the Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled as the Jews are regathered in preparation for the final day of atonement, they will repent and look to their Messiah (Jesus) on the Day of Atonement, and for the Feast of Tabernacles He will be with them. He will dwell with His people, the church and the Jews, forevermore. What a beautiful picture and promise!

So as cute as the Easter Bunny may be (personally, I think the ones in the malls are pretty creepy looking), and as much fun as it is to watch the kids in their Easter best hunt for eggs, those things just pale in comparison for me as I consider the incredible and miraculous things Jesus has done and will do in the near future to redeem His people.

The first time he came as a sacrificial lamb, but when he returns it will be as the Lion of Judah - King of Kings. What a wonderful Savior!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thirty-seven Weeks

Michaela is approximately seven pounds now. She is still very active and I feel her movements throughout the day. Poor little thing has the hiccups on a regular basis, but the nurse at the fetal diagnostics department said that's a good sign of lung development.

I think she has dropped. My mom commented that I look different, and I feel a lot of pressure in lower places. I constantly have to pee, and that means I'm up several times a night, whereas before I could get by with one trip to the bathroom overnight. I have been sitting on my exercise ball periodically, and my doula told me last weekend that doing so will help the baby engage (move down). My other pregnancy symptoms are the same as before: back pain, reflux, edema, etc.

My parents finished decorating the nursery yesterday! It is so cute. Today I will take pictures and post them soon.

Thirty-seven weeks is considered full-term - so, anytime now!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Thirty-six Weeks

Well, as I blogged earlier this week, Michaela is still measuring about a week ahead in size. That's a good thing. My OB doesn't expect her to be more than the eight pound range if we go to full term. That's also good. However, in two weeks my OB will check my cervix and depending on if I'm dialating and/or effaced, she may sweep my membranes at that point. I'm all for that, but I know that it's not always a sure-fire way to start labor. So, we'll see what happens, but I'm hopeful and excited that it will work. We shall see... And, for those who are opposed to induction, I get it. Everyone has an opinion. But, this is between my doctor and me, and I have my reasons. I share very openly here, but I'm not always seeking to hear other opinions. What will be will be. Things are just different with me being a widow and not having Michael here to help me.

At Friday's appointment my OB did the GBS (Group B Strep) test. I suppose the results of that will be available next week. If I am a carrier of that, then I will have to be on an antibiotic in my IV during labor and delivery to protect the baby. It's nothing to worry about, but I hope the test will come back negative.

At our NST on Thursday, I had to stay on the monitor for about and hour and a half because Michaela's heart rate was so high. Most of that time she was clocking in at 170 beats per minute or higher. She had the hiccups for the longest time, and I'd had something cold to drink, so that might have been the cause. The nurse wasn't worried, but we had to wait for Michaela to settle down. She finally seemed to fall asleep after all that time, and her heart rate declined to the 130s.

I'm just as uncomfortable as anybody would be at this point. I've gained about forty pounds, and it's hard to carry that extra weight around. I have edema in my ankles and feet on a daily basis. My back continues to be sore, but it has improved since I've been seeing the chiropractor. Reflux is still an issue, and so is some insomnia. The baby seems to be using my bladder as a pillow, and I feel like I have to pee all the time. Nothing too out of the ordinary at this point. My days are spent going to doctors appointments and resting. I am grateful to be at home and able to focus on my physical needs.

The nursery is close to being done. We just need to hang up some wall art, and get a bunch of baby stuff put away. I promise to post pictures when it's presentable. It's going to be so lovely!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April Growth Scan

I've been meaning to post about my appointment with the perinatologist on Monday. There we learned that Michaela weighs 6 pounds and 3 ounces. I know that can be somewhat inaccurate, but the margin of error could be plus or minus. With that in mind, I will be discussing reasonable options with my OB on Friday. My only thought is to avoid having a nine or ten pound baby. Hats off to those of you who have birthed one of those, but I'd rather not, thank you!

The technician there commented that she could see a lot of hair on Michaela's head. I couldn't really make it out on the video monitor myself, but I'm excited to see it in person soon! The baby had her face turned away from the ultrasound, so I don't have a picture to post this time.

The perinatologist said I wouldn't need to return for anymore growth scans, so unless something else comes up I have graduated from that monthly check-up.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thirty-five Weeks

This has been a very busy week. I have a doctors appointment four days a week now - once at the OB's, once at the chiropractor's, and twice at the hospital for fetal diagnostics. The day I don't go to a doctors appointment, I have a prenatal massage. My parents don't want me driving longer distances anymore, so they have taken on the responsibility of chauffeuring me to all these appointments. I am truly grateful because I tire so easily.

The appointments at the hospital are to measure the baby's heart rate, and how she responds to any contractions I have. She did well on this week's tests. They also measured my amniotic fluid, and that was in a normal range as well. On Monday, I will go to the perinatologist for the last time (most likely) for a growth scan. If she's still measuring big, I will discuss the options with my OB next Friday. I'd really like to have this baby by the end of the month if she's big. That would just be a couple of weeks early.

I feel like my chiropractic treatments are finally making a real difference for me. Thursday night was the first night that I slept without hip or lower back pain. What a relief! I hope it is the beginning of a trend. The Nexium has been more effective for me this week, and therefore my reflux symptoms have been better. I only had one really bad night with it early in the week. My ankles and feet are puffy on a daily basis, though. Just lovely. I have given up trying to shave my legs because I just can't bend over to do so. Friday I treated myself to having them waxed instead. Now they won't itch anymore!

This weekend my family will be coming over to help me do some things in the nursery. I need them to install a ceiling fan and a new wall sconce, hang window treatments, and help me organize all the odds and ends that have been accumulating. Perhaps things will come together after that, and I will be able to post some pictures of what Michaela's nursery looks like for your viewing pleasure.

Tomorrow is the last day for you to enter the give away by guessing Michaela's birth date and time. Make sure you scroll down to last Sunday's post to enter if you haven't done so already.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Baby Shower #2

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Yesterday my in-laws hosted a lovely shower for me! I love being around Michael's family because it makes me feel like I've been near him - there's a little bit of him in each of them.

Everything was done so beautifully, and it didn't rain although it seemed like it would at times.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Giveaway!

I thought I'd get some of you to come out of the woodwork by hosting a giveaway. There are so many visitors to this blog, but relatively few comments. I'd love to get to know my mystery readers. Furthermore, I've been blogging for more than five years, and this will be my very first giveaway. I think it's about time!

Anyway, you will have to do a little work for it.

In the comments section, please indicate the date and time you think Michaela will be born, and be sure to include your name and town, if we're not already blogger buddies from way back. ;)

The lucky guesser will receive a $25 gift card to one of my favorite places to shop:

Now because my appointment with the perinatologist on Monday, April 11th may influence all of our perception of when Miss Michaela will make her debut, I'm only going to accept guesses for this giveaway through next Sunday, April 10th. Just to be clear that will be up until midnight Pacific Standard Time on April 10th.

So, leave your best guess in the comments section, please!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Thirty-four Weeks

How about some bullets? Mama is tired...
  • Michaela has had hiccups multiple times per day this past week. It's really cute, but it can keep me awake at night.
  • She also moves around quite a lot at various times of the day, especially in the evenings.
  • Saw the OB on Friday. My fundal height is 35 cm. From this point on, I will see her every week. Induction is still a consideration, but we will wait to discuss it further after my next visit to the perinatologist in about a week. The only reason we would do so is to avoid having a nine or ten pounder.
  • I have had a week of less back pain, but when I saw the chiropractor on Friday she told me that I'm really tight in all areas. The massage therapist had said the same thing on Tuesday. Ignorance was bliss. The deep tissue massage the chiropractor gave me was excruciating, and it's going to take a couple days until I am not so sore.
  • I have found some really cute handmade items on Etsy for the baby. I haven't received them yet, but they will have Labrador Retriever appliques on them. I just couldn't resist! I will have to post pictures when they arrive because they are darling.
  • Reflux is horrible. I can't stand it. I can't drink enough water because it wants to come right back up again. I suck on lots of ice chips instead.
  • We're having a heatwave here, and my feet and ankles are now cankles. Just lovely! ;)
  • Sleep is mediocre. I'm just so uncomfortable. I can't wait until I can sleep part of the night on my back again.
  • Sunday is my baby shower with Michael's family. I'm really looking forward to it.
  • Monday begins the NSTs at the hospital twice a week.
Okay, two things are kind of bugging me, and I feel like I want to address them. If you feel like you've commented along these lines here or on Facebook, please don't beat yourself up. I'm not angry, but I just don't want to hear things like this anymore because they kind of negate my feelings, and I'm pretty sensitive at this point thanks to my pregnancy hormones.

1) Well-meaning people who suggest that being pregnant is better than having to care for a newborn.

2) Well-meaning people who suggest that the joy of having Michaela will somehow fill the void that Michael's death has left.

I guess these kind of suggestions bother me because I've been so miserable during this pregnancy. In my mind caring for an infant instead of being in pain or feeling sick has just got to be better. And isn't that the goal of the whole thing anyway? To have your precious baby in your arms?

And as much joy as Michaela will undoubtedly bring into my life, a child doesn't replace a loving and devoted husband. They are two very different kinds of relationships, and I will miss Michael every day until I join him in Eternity.

I don't usually complain about things that people say to me online, but I just want to make my feelings about that kind of stuff known because they just aren't helpful to me right now. Thank you so much for understanding and allowing me to express myself freely here.