January 4, 2016

Christmas Cuties

Usually we try to do fall family pictures and I'll use those for our Christmas cards but this year, time just got away from me... so I decided to take some pictures of the kids myself in our backyard! I love how they turned out, and you can't beat the free price, ha! (Daddy was especially happy about that.) Dad's just don't  understand the whole family photo thing like us mamas, do they?! It only took about 500 pictures and maybe some lollipops for bribery to snag these. ;)










December 30, 2015

Answers

Back in October (23rd)  I had my post-op appointment. I was really looking forward to getting the all-clear from my doctor and moving forward with life. Basically putting this little chapter behind us. Emotionally I've been doing really well and getting on with life as usual. Physically I'm doing even better and am 100% back to normal. So, I fully expected to be given a clean bill of health and told we would be able to try again once my cycles resumed. When my doctor came in, she explained that my pathology hadn't come back yet, but that it was possible the pregnancy was a partial molar pregnancy. This was the first time my doctor had mentioned that, so I was pretty surprised. It's a pretty rare condition, from what I've read it occurs in 2-3 of 10,000 pregnancies (not sure how accurate that number is, but it's pretty rare.) Coincidentally one of my good friends (who has my same doctor!) had a partial molar pregnancy once, so I just happened to be familiar with the term. My doctor told me that they would call me with my pathology later this week when it came in, and I had another blood draw before I left.

I'm obviously not a medical expert of any kind, but I've done some research on molar pregnancies, and there are two types. Full molar pregnancies, and Partial Molar pregnancies. In a full molar pregnancy, a sperm fertilizes an empty egg (an egg with no DNA), and a baby does not develop at all (although you will have symptoms of pregnancy and have a positive test), but the placental tissue is abnormal and develops into grape-like cysts.

In partial molar pregnancy, two sperm fertilize an egg at the exact same time, resulting in an embryo with 3 sets of chromosomes (1 from the egg, 2 from each sperm) a total of 69 chromosomes instead of the normal 46. The chromosome abnormalities are not compatible with life, and most are miscarried early on in pregnancy. If there is any placental tissue that is left in the uterus, it can sometimes develop into a type of cancer. You have to be monitored for several months to make sure this isn't happening.

That afternoon, the nurse called and told me it was in fact a partial molar pregnancy. She told me that I would need to come in every 2 weeks until my hcg level is back to zero. Once it hit zero, I would need to come in for 3 consecutive weeks, to make sure it stayed there, and then once a month for 6 months after that. After the 6 months is over, with my level staying at zero we would be cleared to try for another pregnancy.

My level hit zero near the end of November, so that's where we are now. I need to go back in for more blood draws, but I'm pretty confident it will be smooth sailing, especially since my levels dropped to zero fairly quickly.

It was a bit of a shock to find out that it was such a rare condition, but I'm thankful to have an explanation for the miscarriage. Only 1-2% of women go on to experience another partial molar pregnancy, so that's definitely reassuring. I'll list some websites below that I found helpful through this process.

http://miscarriage.about.com/od/pregnancylossbasics/g/partialhydat.htm

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_Partial_Molar_Pregnancy


October 20, 2015

Until We Meet Again

This is not the post I had planned to write when announcing our 3rd pregnancy. I actually have another one all typed up and ready to go, written days after I took my pregnancy test. I debated whether or not sharing this experience at all, but the Lord really prompted me to. This little blog is about our life, and life does not always go like we plan or want it to. I'm so thankful for this journey though, as crazy as that may sound and my prayer is that even one person may be blessed or given new hope on the path they're traveling.



On September 7th  (Labor Day) we found out we were expecting baby number 3!! We had been going back and forth for what seemed like forever in trying for a 3rd. We always said we wanted three kids, but it just never seemed like the right time. Between traveling, Graham and Claire having sleep issues, and just being worn out by raising two little kids so close in age, we couldn't seem to pull the trigger. But since we couldn't decide that we were "done" we figured, maybe we're not? On September 7, (Labor Day) we found out I was pregnant! We were so excited and a little nervous, but we quickly got used to the idea that we would be welcoming another sweet baby in May!




After I got a positive test, I called my OB and they had me come in for blood work a few days later. They called me the following Monday and said I was definitely pregnant but it was very early, and to come in for another blood draw to make sure my levels were multiplying correctly. They also called me out a progesterone Rx just to be safe because that number was a tiny bit lower than my doctor likes. My second blood draw came back good, and my levels lined up according to how far along I thought I was. My first ultrasound and OB appointment was scheduled for October 5th.

As the weeks went by, we let our big news slip to close family and friends and we even told Graham and Claire a few days before my appointment. I was so exhausted all of the time, I felt like it would be good for them to know why mom was laying around so much, haha. They were so excited, we took the cutest video of them finding out. They talked about the baby nonstop and would kiss my tummy and ask how big the baby was each day.

The day of our first appointment arrived, and on the screen popped up a beautiful little baby, measuring 7 weeks, and 1 day with a heartbeat of 135. I was measuring about a week behind what I thought I should be but the doctor wasn't concerned. I'd also been having mild brown spotting for a couple of weeks on and off. She wasn't too worried about that and just told me to take it easy until it stopped. Our official due date was May 22nd!


This was on Monday, and everything continued like it had been until Thursday night. I was laying on the couch and got up to help Graham with his homework, when I felt like I was spotting again. I went to the bathroom, and saw that the blood was bright red. I panicked, and called the on-call doctor immediately. She was so sweet and very comforting. She told me it could be fine but to come in for an ultrasound in the morning. I was upset and just knew something wasn't right. I just layed in bed and cried and prayed until I went to sleep. The next morning, I was relieved to find out the bleeding had stopped and hadn't been much more than the size of silver dollar, and it had turned back to brown. After we dropped off the kids at school, we went straight to the doctor's office for an ultrasound. Chad was pretty confident that everything was ok, and I was still pretty hopeful but bracing myself for bad news.

On the way to the doctor, I just kept thinking of the book of Job.  God doesn't cause bad things to happen in this world, but God does allow Satan to test us.  But no matter what happens in this life, the pain is only temporary and we are so blessed that we have eternal life through Jesus. I kept repeating in my head " The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord."

Chad said he prayed before the ultrasound started that whatever happens, that His will be done and that He would be with us. When the baby popped up on the screen, it looked the same as it had on Monday, except this time there was no flicker in the middle. Our baby's heart had stopped beating. The baby was measuring 7 weeks 4 days. Only one day behind what it should have been. After the ultrasound, I saw the doctor that was I had talked to the night before since my doctor was off that day. She was so sweet and comforting. She said I may miscarry on my own over the weekend but I can schedule a D&C for the following Tuesday if I don't.

We got in the car to leave the doctor's office, and when Chad turned the ignition, on the radio was MercyMe playing Homesick. The lyrics immediately struck a chord and we just sat there with tears streaming down our faces. Chad then pointed out that he'd never heard a Christian song playing on that station before, it was the XM pop station. We knew God was comforting us, it felt like a sweet "I'm Sorry" card from Him.

Over the next several days, sweet friends stopped by with flowers, cards, treats and books and meals. Our neighbors took Graham and Claire for the night on Friday so we could have time alone. We felt so loved and blessed by all of the support we received. We had 6 different bouquets of flowers around our house, and countless texts and calls from family and friends. It was such a comfort to us. I really just felt a peace that was supernatural. I know the Lord was so near. The hardest part was telling Graham and Claire. Claire had even kissed my belly before she left for school that day, and said "bye-bye baby! I'm going to school!" When they got home from school, we sat them down and told them that we went to the doctor and found out that our baby had gone to heaven. We told them that sometimes baby's stop growing and we don't know why but that it happens sometimes. They took it really well and have mentioned the baby occasionally and asked why the baby went to heaven and when will God put a new baby in my tummy. Overall, they've taken it remarkably well. We have Heaven is For Real for Kids and I think that helped them understand a little more.

My bleeding/spotting basically stopped over the weekend, and on Tuesday we went ahead with a D&C. I went in for another ultrasound on Monday just for peace of mind, since the bleeding had stopped and the baby was measuring so close to what it should be. This time, the baby was measuring even smaller at 7 weeks, 2 days and she checked for blood flow to the baby and placenta and was very thorough. I met with my doctor afterwards and she was very reassuring and I felt good with the decision to go ahead with the D&C.

On Tuesday around noon we arrived at the hospital for the procedure. My doctor said it couldn't have gone better and my recovery has been very easy except for some dizzy spells I had on Sunday. Overall, things are getting back to normal and we are looking forward to the future. It's all still very fresh but each day is a little better. I'm sure there will be tough times ahead but the Lord has given us so much peace and comfort.  We will always have a special place in our hearts for our sweet baby, and I can't wait to meet that beautiful little soul in heaven one day.



There were so many little blessings that God provided us with thought this whole experience.
-First of all, Chad was supposed to leave on Friday morning for a hunting trip 5 hours away for work. If I hadn't of had that small amount of bleeding on Thursday night, he would've been gone, and we may not  have found out about the baby until my next appointment.

-The song that played on the radio in the car when we left the doctor's office was actually written during a time of loss for the band, and the chorus was written after two babies were lost during pregnancy. I had never heard that song before, and it just has given me so much comfort listening to it.

-October is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness month.

-I was really scared of miscarrying on my own over the weekend, but I was also scared of having a D&C. I prayed over the weekend that whatever happens that the Lord would be with me, and I'm just so thankful that the procedure went so smoothly.

-For some reason, I had a lot of anxiety over this pregnancy and the health of the baby. I'm not sure if it was intuition or just feeling so blessed to have two healthy children already, but I feel like God was preparing my heart for this pregnancy to end.

-As soon as the ultrasound tech said that there was no heartbeat, I felt God tell me that the next baby will be mine to keep.

I'm holding onto that thought, and our faith has just really been strengthened through this whole process. I know God doesn't desire loss, death, and grief but that He is a God of Life and that through Him we are promised eternal life.  We know that He will work all things together for good and that is all the hope I need.


September 11, 2015

Family Beach Trip!! {2015}

In August we hit the road for our first Florida family beach trip!! Usually, we go to Galveston for our annual family beach trip, but this year we decided to do something different and make the trek to Florida! We stayed in Watercolor, which is basically a beach resort which kind of wraps around Seaside, Florida. We loved it!!

**Get ready for picture overload**







We left bright and early on Friday morning and caravanned to Baton Rouge where we stayed for the night and met up with our cousins. Our brother in law went to LSU so he took us to one of his favorite places for lunch, right by the LSU campus, The Chimes. So good! 



The next morning, we hit the road and arrived crossed through Mississippi, Alabama and arrived before dinner. The kids swam while me and my sister went and got the essentials at the local grocery.




We rented a awesome house which had its own private pool and hot tub (note: they won't allow you to use the heater in the spa during the summer months. I'm still a little bitter.) But other than that, it was awesome! We booked it on HomeAway, I am obsessed with that app. I don't think I'll ever stay in a hotel again, ha!





 The next day we ate breakfast and hit the beach! 
And did pretty much that same routine for the next seven days. 
Such is life in Florida.





 #sistersister





For dinner, we took turns cooking at the house, and a few nights went into town.
There are a ton of food trucks and restaurants right on the beach.
We ate at Pickles the first night. Gotta say, overpriced and not too impressed. 





 The sno-cones from from Frost Bites were a huge hit!! 




We rented bikes on the second day (its a huge biking community) and that was so fun. Seaside is really picturesque so it was fun checking out all the beach cottages and biking to the local market. Mer and I went to the Farmers Market one day and got the best crab cakes and this amazing fish dip.

 Mer made us wear bike helmets. #bossybigsis 
 Love this shot of Graham and his Papa. They are best buds. 
Graham sure does love his Grandpa's.

 You can't really tell in this picture, but Mer and I buried the kids and tried to make them Mermaid and Merman tails. Haha.
The girlies!

This morning we took the kids on a bike ride to a park we found in Seaside. We grabbed some breakfast and iced coffee on the way. 


 This was the day we took a break from the beach, relaxed and had a blast playing in the pool. There may have been a few batches of margaritas and a lot of shenanigans. 


For dinner, we went to the Shrimp Shack and ate on their beach front pavilion. 
I got the best shrimp gumbo!! Can't beat this view. 


The next day we went down early to the beach and could not believe how calm the water was!! Not a single wave, it was perfect for the kids. It felt like the Bahamas. 


 Cousin love!!!


Beach babe

Thats a giant mimosa in my hand was from the local market. 
They also had the best iced mocha coffees. 


Love this surfer boy.

The guys.


The week ended and we headed home on Saturday morning. Got to catch this gorgeous sunrise and then a double rainbow later. 


 Our only hiccup was the blowout we had on I-10 just before we crossed into Texas. Of course, I'd just gotten behind the wheel to give Chad a little break when the low tire pressure light came on and right as I was  pulling over, the tire just shredded. Chad changed it pretty quick and we thankfully were back on the road in no time.


Overall, it was an amazing trip spent with our family making memories!!! 
Already looking forward to the next trip!!!