Monday, May 23, 2011

Just a few updates...

**I meant to post this last week, but for some reason it never posted. Here it is.

I've been quiet around here lately, but things have been pretty busy! Here's what's been happening in our little world since our run-in with the raccoon:

  • Marty got really sick the next day and was bad sick for almost 9 days. He's still coughing today, but it's not near as bad. This was kind of weird because this is the first time I've ever seen him sick. He had an awful cough, sinuses, fever, etc. But he never missed a day of work. Crazy. 
  • And in the mean time, I managed to stay healthy! I catch EVERYTHING so I was really scared I was going to get sick too. But, somehow I avoided it. It might have something to do with using about a can of Lysol a day and not letting him hardly even hug me. 
  • Although I did manage to almost cut my toe off. You ever had that fear of dropping a knife on your toes? It happened. I was getting something out of a kitchen drawer and a random knife fell out and landed just right on my second toe. I just kind of said, "ouch" and picked it up and kept doing whatever I was doing. A couple minutes later I was thinking my toe was really hurting and I looked down and there was blood EVERYWHERE. All over my house, leaving a trail. Don't worry, my toe is still attached and this is just further proof that I am NOT made to be a "barefoot in the kitchen" kind of woman.

  • We had yet another little experience with our lovely ole home. During the raccoon adventures, my grandma came by the house and to try to help, she threw some moth balls up in our attic. Well, our attic is only separated from our house by a layer of insulation and some ceiling tiles due to our drop-down ceiling. Needless to say, by the next day I could not BREATHE. The smell was so thick and awful, I seriously felt like I was just breathing in straight mothball gas. Marty, with his cough and fever and all, got up in the attic and one by one got rid of as many as he could. He counted about 150 that he got, but there's no telling if there were any others that were still up there. I've had the windows raised and fans on high for an entire week now trying to air out the house. The smell is STILL there, but not near as bad. Hopefully it'll go away... if not, I might go crazy. We just laugh and are all making mental notes to NEVER EVER buy moth balls again. (My grandma felt HORRIBLE, but hopefully she can laugh with us now... funny thing is Marty almost did the exact same thing the day before.)
  • I went back to the doc last week... everything looks good! Baby is still growing great, heartbeat was perfect, and I broke 100 pounds! I'm still not gaining near the amount of weight the books say you're "supposed to" gain, but my doc says the baby is growing and I'm fine so she doesn't think it's a big deal.
  • I think we've decided on a Pediatrician. This was actually a hard decision because we know five of the Pediatricians in Conway personally and they're all GREAT! But the one we chose we do not know, although we know his family well. And he has worked a lot with clubfoot and some of the things we might possibly be facing. We still might change our minds, but as of now, I will be meeting with him soon to discuss after birth options.
  • Oh, I also had the yucky glucose test to check for gestational diabetes. I have pretty bad hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) so I get glucose tests done pretty often. So this wasn't anything new,  but it was still horrible. I had to drink  this nasty, straight-sugar water in five minutes or less, then fast for an hour. Let me just tell you, telling a girl with hypoglycemia to fast for our hour is already a pretty big command. But telling a PREGNANT hypoglycemic to fast after drinking that stuff... I think they were trying to kill me. By the time an hour was up and it was time to draw blood I was spinning and about to fall over and my veins were impossible to get to. They stuck needles in both arms five different times before finally just doing a finger prick. I survived. Doc said if I don't hear anything from them that means I don't have it. So far I haven't gotten a call, which is a relief because I was at a high risk for this!

  • I'm achy. Bad. My back hurts so bad. If I bend over it'll hurt for about an hour. If I lift anything at all, it'll hurt for two days. My hips and knees are achy, too.
  • Oh, I forgot.... baby is kicking!!!!!! I posted earlier that I wouldn't be able to feel her as early as most people because of the way the placenta was facing. Well, last week I felt her! And ever since, she's been moving like CRAZY. She loves to kick my bladder. The kicks are now getting stronger and more frequent. Today there were a few that actually hurt! I like it though!
  • I'm growing. My belly is getting very big and now there is no doubt I'm pregnant. Although when I tell people I'm 6 months they almost don't believe me. (This picture is very misleading. I promise I look a lot bigger than this!)

  • I can't stand wearing clothes. All clothes are so uncomfortable. But don't worry, I will continue to wear them.
  • This is my view of my feet:

  • I cut 3 and a half inches off my hair. I told myself I wouldn't, but this summer is going to be SO HOT and my hair is SO thick. I had to. I like it, though.


Monday, May 9, 2011

The coon.

A month ago Marty and I came home to a very, very, very interesting surprise. Our laundry room is kind of an extra room added on to the back of our house, it also has the entry to our attic. We haven't finished painting it and getting it all situated yet, so we hardly ever go in there. Just to do laundry.

We got home from eating and Marty went in there for something and a few seconds later I hear, "Hey Jordan... come here." I didn't know what it was, but I knew I didn't want to see it.

One of our ceiling tiles had fallen out. (We have a drop-down ceiling that the people before us put in when they put in central heat & air). Insulation and dirt were everywhere. At the time our city had experienced quite a few earthquakes, but we hadn't felt any at our house, and we didn't think it would have been THAT powerful. Then we looked up and noticed one of the rails that held that tile was very bowed and bent. SOMETHING had been up there. And that something was heavy enough to bend the rail and break the tile. But what???

Last year we had a LONG ordeal with rats. We FINALLY got them (and their smell after they died) OUT of the house and haven't seen a trace since. We knew there was no way this was a rat, though. For one, NO rat is THAT big and two, we've had no traces of rats like last time.

We put the tile back and forgot about it for a few days hoping it would just go away. And it did. For about a week...

Then we found pee in that same room. LOTS of pee. NASTY, brown pee. Pee that smelled SO AWFUL. But we had no idea where it came from, how it got there. We cleaned it up and Marty went and searched the whole house and attic. Still, nothing.

Another week or two went by and then we had LOTS of rain and bad weather. When I say lots of rain and bad weather, I mean the next town over got destroyed by a tornado. Trees all around us were blown over. Houses flooded. It was BAD. I laid down in bed one night and looked up at the ceiling in our bedroom and noticed a huge wet spot. I figured we had gotten some shingles blown off and we had a leak. I told Marty to go check it out. Shingles and roof looked great. Thought that was weird, but we still assumed it was a leak.

And the next day it hit me. Could that be pee???

We got home from work and I asked Marty to go smell the ceiling. I think he thought I was crazy at first, but sure enough. Pee. Dark, brown, thick pee. GREAT!

He searched the attic. We set traps. Nothing.

A few days later, another pee spot. In the laundry room. Bigger, darker, even nastier smelling.

By this point our house smells awful. I'm paranoid. I'm ticked. There's SOMETHING up there. And it's something big. But it's never there, or at least not moving, when we're home. It comes in and plays when the house is silent and vacant, then runs away when we come home.

A few days ago I came home from work and the house was very still and silent and I heard it. It was there. And it sounded like a stinkin MAN in our attic!! Marty had band practice at church so he was going to be an hour late. So I sat on the couch. For an hour. And waited.

He got home and searched the attic and realized he'd need some help. So some friends came over and we had the most interesting raccoon hunting experience EVER.

It took four guys, two guns, and a homemade spear. But by golly, we they got the stupid thing!

The spectators.

The hunters.

The coon.

He's gone. Dead. Over the fence (don't tell). Forever.

Or until next year, when our next wild animal adventure comes.

And yes, we have covered EVERY POSSIBLE ENTRY. She got in through one of our chimneys. Marty fixed that... with two big cinder blocks.  One animal (we think squirrel) began chewing a hole in the siding on the FRONT OF OUR HOUSE yesterday, trying to get in our attic. Marty fixed that... with duct tape.

So if you drive by our house right now you'll see two chimneys with concrete blocks just chilling on top and a very large amount of duct tape on the very front of the house.

Yes, we are THAT family.

We are replacing the siding (and backing with chicken wire) and getting real chimney covers soon. Very soon. Until then, just call us the Clampetts! 


Thursday, May 5, 2011

My everyday conversations. Pregnancy at 23 weeks.

I'm so tired. 
I'm hungry. 
My back hurts. 
Will you rub my feet?
I'm hungry again.
I have to pee.
I have to pee again. 
Yes, already.
My legs itch!
I need another snack.
I'm so ready for bed. Yes, I know it's only 6:00.
I don't know what I'm trying to say!
I need some chocolate ice cream.
Okay, I gotta pee NOW!
I think I might have felt her kick?
I really shouldn't have eaten that. Dangit. Why did I eat that?
Oh my gosh, I hate indigestion.
Seriously, it's HOT. Please turn the air down.
I can hardly read that, my eyes are so blurry.
Can you grab that so I don't have to bend over?
Is it August yet? I'm so ready for her to be here.
Hang on, I have to pee again.
Should I take a snack with me or do you think there will be food?
Okay, I'm going to lay for a minute.
Whatever that smell is, it has GOT to go!
I can't tie my shoe.
She's getting SO big!
I look huge today!
Do you have any food?
Hi, where is your restroom?

This is what Marty hears on a daily basis. This is pregnancy at 23 weeks.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A letter to my baby about her daddy.

Dear Morgan,

There is a man in your life who is absolutely crazy about you. He can't stop talking about you. Or planning things to do with you. Or asking questions about you. You don't know this yet, but you already have him totally wrapped around your finger. This man is your daddy. Let me just tell you some of the things that are going on with him right now.

I'll be really honest... he wanted a boy. I kept telling him I think you're going to be a girl, but he kept saying, "I just know it's a boy." Truth is, I think he was just scared. The minute he found out you were a girl I thought he was going to pass out. His face was red, his eyes were huge, and right then and there, he melted. Now I think he would just cry if the doctors said there was a mistake and you're actually a boy. He LOVES having a daughter and believe me, he's going to be the best little girl's dad in the world.

Early in the pregnancy we had trouble agreeing on names. (One thing you'll learn is that your dad is the weirdest person I've ever met. And you'll hear me tell him that every day. So he likes lots of really weird names, but don't worry, I had your back on that one.) He was so insistent on picking the name and finding one he loved and he would NEVER settle on one that I picked. But the day he found out you were a girl, I just kind of told him your name. He didn't even hesitate or argue. He loved it. He immediately texted it to me. He was in love. Suddenly, your name did not matter to him... he just loved you. (And I liked that, because I got my way.) He has said your name every day since then. Morgan Noelle.

He has absolutely NO idea how to shop for a little girl, but he wants to so bad. Every time we go shopping he'll pick something up and say, "Hey this is cool, right?" And I'll just kind of give him the, "Oh bless your heart" look because it'll look like an outfit that a baby doll from 1975 would wear. And he has NO idea on sizes. We'll go shopping for some new born outfits and he'll say, "Hey, look at these!" and hold up pants that would fit a four-year-old. He's getting better, though. I'm teaching him how to read sizes and match outfits. But I think we may want to leave him at home when we go prom dress shopping.

He also wants to get you everything! We started our baby registry at Target a couple of weeks ago. He had the little gun and I would point to things to scan and he'd pull the trigger. But sometimes I'd turn around and find him just walking down the isle scanning everything! I would tell him, "Marty... we've already scanned like four of those!" And he'd say, "So? She might need a variety. She can't have too many of these." (He doesn't know this either, but I can edit the registry online so I just let him scan away and went back later and did made a few changes.)

Anywhere we go he talks about how he can't wait to do things with you. We just had Toad Suck Daze last weekend and I can't tell you how many times I heard him say, "I can't wait til we take Morgan to toad suck!" He loves Razorback football and you're supposed to be born right before football season starts, so at least every week he says that he can't wait to dress you in Razorback clothes and watch the games with you and take you to our friends' houses to show you off. He can't wait to take you to the zoo. He can't wait to take you to his grandpa's house to go fishing. My favorite "can't wait for" moment came a few weeks ago. Out of nowhere he got so excited and said, "Hey! I'll get to do daddy daughter dates!" I have a feeling you will have MANY of those!

He's so protective of you, it's hilarious. Sometimes he'll hug me and then suddenly let go really fast and push me back and say, "We're squishing Morgan!" I always lay on my side when I sleep now, but if it even looks like I'm laying on my stomach at all he'll tell me, "You're laying on the baby!" If I have the slightest stomach ache he always asks, "Is the baby ok?" We got your crib all put together and the bedding on it and I was telling him all the rules about not having anything in your crib until you're older. Well, the other day I found my teddy bear I got the day I was born and I went in your room and sat it in your crib. A little while later he went in there and saw it and said, "Hey I thought she couldn't have anything in her crib???" Laughing, I explained that I was only putting it in there for now.

Every night he touches my belly and tells you goodnight. When he leaves the house he says, "Bye Morgan!" Sometimes he kisses my belly or just puts his hand there to feel you (even though we STILL can't feel you moving!).

He tries to act like he's going to be a "tough, scary dad" when it comes to boys. But we all know he won't be intimidating. I can already picture you laughing at him as he tries to sound tough when telling a boy to have you home by 8:30. Actually, your boyfriends will probably be more afraid of me than your dad. But that's okay, right??

My favorite thing about him right now (and this will probably stay my favorite forever) is the way he loves. He loves his parents and his sister and his grandparents so much. His mom is the only person I see him get frustrated with from time to time, but it's only because they are JUST alike! And they are super close. He tries to talk like he's a daddy's boy, but it's so obvious, he's a huge momma's boy. But he sure loves his dad, too. He will stand beside him and defend him and support him until the day he dies, no matter what. I love that. Like any siblings, he doesn't always agree with Aunt Erika, but he sure loves her. The older he gets the more protective he is with her. He wants to make everything right and good for her so bad.

His grandma (Meme) has Alzheimer's and has been in the nursing home for a while now. He is so good at just talking to her and helping her in whatever way  he can. I don't think there's a man in the world he respects more than his grandpa. Almost every single story he's ever told me from his childhood has included them. I love that.

But the thing that amazes me the most is the way he loves me. I know growing up I was always so thankful that my parents loved each other. I want you to know that your daddy loves me more than I deserve to be loved. He loves me with his words (you'll learn very fast that HE'S the cheesy one) and with his actions. He's the first to apologize. The first to compliment. The first to serve. There's nothing in the world he wouldn't do for me and I can talk him into almost anything. He's wrapped around BOTH of our fingers! Because of the way he loves me, I know that he is going to love you with the best fatherly love in the world.

Sometimes during the pregnancy stage the man gets overlooked. No, he's not carrying you and dealing with the back pain, indigestion, headaches, mood swings, big belly, tight clothes, etc. But he is very much a part of this. And I don't want you to look back on this time and not know what he was like. He's not perfect, but you'll think he is. He's mighty close. :)

I love you and he loves you and we are so ready to hold you!



Monday, May 2, 2011

Being a mom is hard. Info & update on our baby.

If I have learned anything in the last five months, it is this:
You can not prepare your heart for a baby. 

You can prepare your house.
Your car.
Your budget.
Your mind, maybe.

But not your heart.

No matter what you do, what you read, who you talk to, what experiences you witness... Until you ARE a mom, you can not prepare your heart to be a mom. I tried to. I imagined what it would be like to be a mom and I have tried very hard to understand and empathize with other moms. But it is so true what people say... you have NO IDEA until it is you.

I have never loved another person the way that I love this little girl growing in my belly. I have never prayed so hard and so long for another person in all my life. I have never had my mind so consumed by a simple name. Never.

She is not yet born, but she is most definitely alive. And I love her more today than I did yesterday. And will love her even more tomorrow. My heart has officially become a mother's heart. And I know... it will only be more so when I finally hold her.

Being a mom and having a mother's heart is wonderful, beautiful, exciting. But it can also be terrifying and challenging. The last few weeks for me have been terrifying and, to put it lightly, challenging.

A little over two weeks ago we had our "big" ultrasound. I updated and said that all the organs looked good and she was actually a little ahead of schedule size wise, which is all great. What I left out was a big "but" our doctor gave us. "All the organs looked normal and her growth is excellent but..." This was the moment our hearts stopped. She continued to explain to us that there was the appearance of clubfoot in Morgan's right foot and that we'd need to go see a specialist in Little Rock to get that checked out.

"Do yall have any questions?"

Ha. Nope. No questions. At the time I didn't even know what clubfoot was! I had no idea. So what? Her foot looked a little turned? No big deal, right?

It wasn't until I got to my computer later that day and had a nice long visit with Mr. Google that I began to worry and have about 300 questions. But the questions would have to wait until April 26.

Last Tuesday, Marty and I both took off at noon and headed to Little Rock to the specialist. This visit was not the most pleasant to say the least and I felt like we were treated like children by almost everyone there.  After hundreds of questions about ourselves, blood tests, and a 4D ultrasound we got our final verdict. At least until she's born.

The doctor confirmed both feet are turned inward, resulting in clubfeet.

That's not anything a mom or dad wants to hear, but that part isn't too bad. It's just feet.

The scary part is what's causing the clubfeet. In some cases clubfeet can exist in total isolation, meaning nothing else is causing them. But in other cases there is an underlying disease, disorder, etc. that causes the deformation.

Because we chose not to get the quad screening done and said no to the amnio test because of the high risks involved, we will not know anything else until she is born. The doctor ran all the tests and looked at all of our answered questions and we do not fit any single category or characteristic for a case of isolated clubfeet. That doesn't mean that the problem can't be isolated. It still very well can be. It just means that our chances of there being an underlying cause are a little greater.

This leaves us with four months of waiting. wondering. anticipating.

We have no idea what to expect in those first few weeks with Morgan. We may be facing a life-altering disorder, or we may simply be facing some twisted feet. She may need a surgery or two, or she may just need some casts and braces for a while. We have no idea. Of course, we are hoping and praying for the best-case scenario, but we are also not wanting to be naive about it. We know the possibilities and every day we are coming more and more at peace with them.

Like I said, there is absolutely no way to prepare your heart for this. For that moment when the doctor says your little girl is anything put 100% perfect. For that feeling of did I do something wrong? For that intense desire to be able to take it away from her and give to yourself, to fight this for her, to make it disappear. For the fear of what it might bring for her.

No books, no advice, no conversation, no amount of babysitting can prepare you for this. Nothing.

Sometimes I feel silly letting this becoming such a heavy burden on my heart, but I think any mom out there knows how heavy and devastating this can be. I want nothing more than to be able to hold my little girl in my arms and look at her and know that everything is going to be perfect for her. Not having a clue what we will be facing come August is almost crippling at times. I'm just so thankful that while I can't hold her, she is being held. And God's plan for her life is perfect.

It's been hard telling people about this. I don't want to tell someone there's something wrong or different with my daughter. It would be a lot easier for me to ignore it and hide it until birth, then deal with it. But Marty has really pushed me to be open about it and not hide anything. So I'm trying not to.

Most people have tried to be comforting in their response by saying, "Well I'm sure she will be totally okay and not even need a surgery!" Or "Well I know so and so who had a kid born with that and they are perfect now!" I understand their hearts. And of COURSE I want to focus on the positive and be hopeful for the best. But the truth is, I don't want people to try to protect us with these statements. I want to understand and come to peace with the fact that while this could turn out to be very minimal and easy to deal with, it could also be something not at all easy, not at all simple. And I need to be okay with that. And I really think I'm getting there.

I was talking to a man who has a disabled daughter and went through this whole experience when his wife was pregnant with her. He was talking to me about it and said something that totally made sense. He said, "From this point on, in these next four months, nothing else will matter besides this baby. Nothing else will really matter until you know she's okay and you know what the answers are."

That has been so true in these last few weeks and I know it will be true until we see her, hold her, and know exactly what's going on in her little body. When your baby is facing the possibility of anything but a perfectly normal life, everything else seems so insignificant. Of course other things matter and we will still continue to work hard and give our focus to our jobs, families, and friends. But in the back of our minds will constantly be this little girl and the prayers for her health and protection.

Our pastor's sermon yesterday was perfect for us. A big chunk of it was about how God is constantly saying to us, "Trust me." Even when we don't get it, when we're angry, when we have no idea how it makes sense, we trust him. Because we know that He sees what we can't see. His ways are higher than our ways. And He loves us more than we can imagine.

So that's what we're doing... we're just trusting. We know God is completely sovereign and faithful, and that's enough for us.

Please pray for us as we make important decisions in the coming weeks, as we meet with a neonatal orthopedic surgeon, choose a special pediatrician, and discuss further plans and actions with our doctor. Pray for peace of mind and release from anxiety and worry. Pray for Morgan Noelle and her little body that is so perfect for her life and her purpose.

And when it's all said and done, I wouldn't trade the opportunity to love someone this much in all the world. I am so blessed to have my daughter. And I am SO blessed to have such an amazing husband beside me.

As we were falling asleep last night Marty leaned over and hugged me and said, "I love my little family so much."

I couldn't say it better myself.