Here is a bit about my journey to this point and what we are having :D.............................
Back in February, I decided to take my health care and fertility into my own hands. After a lot of research on the losses I experienced very early on with 3 babies (6 weeks, 8 weeks and 11 weeks), I knew that there must be something my body was lacking. The answer seemed to be "progesterone". I was determined, hopeful and nervous to approach my OB about this. To my surprise she easily agreed and had me start it the very next cycle. She warned me that it may take up to 6 months to get that positive test and not to fret. Well, that very next month, I was feeling extremely emotional. It was Steve that came home from a quick errand and tossed 2 pregnancy tests to me laying in bed feeling grumping and napping. He insisted that it was time I took one. He knew something was up!
I rolled my eyes and decided to give it a try. To my surprise 2 little faint lines appeared on the test and later on they became darker. I thought, "uh, oh- here we go again." We immediately called the OB's office to schedule a blood draw. This is always where it went bad before. I would have my blood drawn and it would show me pregnant, but after follow up draws, my levels would decrease and I would miscarry.
That very afternoon they called me to report that my levels were very high and everything looked really good, but I had to have the dreadful 48 hour check to see if my HCG levels had risen. To my surprise 48 hours they had more than doubled! We were then scheduled for a 6.5 week Ultrasound to check viability. That word. "Viability" made my stomach churn with fear. I prayed and prayed that this baby would stick and I would finally have my baby. After what seemed to be a very long 2.5 weeks, we went in for that US. Nervous, frightened, scared.....I was hesitant to even look at the screen until the US tech told me I should look :) This is what we saw:
That's right. A baby. A teeny-tiny baby, with a heart already flickering away. My eyes welled up with tears, Steve and I were in awe. This was really happening. This feeling was combined with fear.
Fear that this little miracle growing inside me would go away, or be taken away. It was still too early to be too excited OR get my hopes up too much.
This was the most difficult part- excitement combined with fear.
Well, that little bean grew. At 8.5 weeks I had a teeny-tiny spot of blood show up in my underwear and I FREAKED. My OB rushed me in within the hour for an emergency ultrasound.
The entire way over to the clinic I cried, I thought "it" was happening....all over again.
But once again, my prayers were answered and we were given wonderful news that our baby was more than fine and we were even able to hear the heart beating at just 8.5 weeks.
We were sent along our way with this photo of our sweet little baby. We were amazed how much the baby had grown since our last US!
Of course, with this reassurance at the 8.5 week ultrasound, my fear still persisted and my anxiety grew with each day. It broke my mom's heart that I couldn't just enjoy being pregnant and instead I was continuously worrying about every little thing. I couldn't help it, I was already in love with this baby and feeling so incredibly vulnerable to my emotions.
During this time, I only experienced mild pregnancy symptoms- little to no morning sickness (which worried me of course, lol) and I was just mostly tired and emotional. The 1st trimester seemed to take the longest. I wanted to get to the 2nd trimester so I could feel more at ease that my baby was going to survive.
We made it. At my 12 week appointment, just to calm my nerves, my OB broke out their old ancient ultrasound machine and let me take a peek at my growing baby. Of course, more tears followed, and I couldn't believe how much it was already looking like a little baby.
Here is the baby at just 12 weeks :)
Sitting cross-legged, smug, totally chill....... as if to tell me,
"It's okay, momma, I am totally comfortable in here and not going to go anywhere!"
After this appointment, I learned my chances of miscarrying were less than 5% and this gave me great hope and comfort. Though I relaxed a bit more, I still worried daily and even called a few times to the OB's office asking to come in and listen to the heartbeat....just so I could put my worries to rest for a bit longer.
The next 8 weeks seemed to take the longest. I wanted to find out who this little being was growing inside of me. Was it a "she" or was it a "he". We did a little baby shopping during this time, even though part of me felt extremely nervous to buy things as I worried it would "jinx" my pregnancy. So we only bought a few gender neutral things. I decided that it was good to have a few things to look at, touch and day dream with. It was positive and kept me looking forward, not dwelling on "what could happen" so much.
I continued to feel well during my 1st and then my 2nd trimester, only experiencing a lot of fatigue and tiredness. Because we work from home, I was lucky to be able to take a daily afternoon nap to recharge my batteries. I am grateful for such a patient husband who was always considerate of this and suggested I rest often.
It was during this time I started to notice my stomach growing. I was so excited and this was really a sign to me that all was well and I really was going to be this child's mother.
Me at 15 weeks (just barely a bump, but this girl was SO proud of that barely-there bump!)-
A couple weeks later at 17 weeks, growing even more. Even more excited about this little growing baby and falling more and more in love- feeling less and less anxious, but unfortunately all that worry was still there.
The week before our Anatomy scan and gender reveal felt like a year away. I was SO excited to see how much my baby had grown and find out the gender, so nervous to know if everything was developing properly and SO anxious to just know!
The ultrasound was the most terrifying experience. It was long and silent and I had no idea what the ultrasound tech was doing or taking photos of. Was my baby okay, was everything the way it should be?! After she thoroughly examined each and every part, she would report.....brain is normal, heart is normal, liver, kidneys---all normal. She commented that she was happy to leave our appointment and say that she saw a healthy baby. Thank you LORD! My prayers have been answered and for that I'll be forever grateful.
Our baby was healthy..
The very last thing she told us......in her exact words...
(Looking at Steve) "You had better buy yourself a shot gun! Because you are going to have a daughter!"
I was absolutely thrilled. I would have been happy with either gender, but to hear that we were having a GIRL made me feel ecstatic. I was even more ecstatic that she was HEALTHY!
She was so pretty already, her little button nose and tiny face. I was more in love than ever before. I felt so grateful and blessed. I couldn't stop looking at my ultrasound photo for weeks.
We had 2 names picked out since we found out we were pregnant. I always knew if I had a little girl I would name her after my beloved Grandma Ann. My grandma Ann meant the world to me and when I lost her to cancer almost 10 years ago, I knew one day I would honor her by naming my daughter after her. I now had that chance.
Meet Annalee Grace at just 19 weeks
Only a couple weeks after my ultrasound appointment, I started feeling her move. One evening I was sitting on the sofa resting, watching tv and I felt the most strangest sensation. Like something flipped in my stomach. It startled me, and in that moment I flew off the couch. Steve and I both had a great laugh. I felt her a few more times that night and I was in awe. It's the most wonderful feeling to feel the baby you are carrying shift and move in your womb.
Of course, with this new "movement" thing came worries on the days where she didn't move as much. Was she okay? I worried like crazy. My thoughtful mother in law gifted us with the most wonderful gift- a portable home fetal doppler. I could now listen to my baby girl's heart rate and check on her anytime I started to worry. The day I received this wonderful gift, I could not wait to try it out. Steve and I found her heartbeat immediately (we knew at that time what was her normal heart rate due to all of our OB appointments- so we knew what to look for). It was so satisfying and also really a neat bonding experience. There the clopping, rocking, ticking sound was for me to hear and I could then relax and know that she was alright. This little piece of equipment has been the BIGGEST sanity saver. Otherwise I would be calling my OB's office weekly to ask to hear her heartbeat.
And...this growing baby bump has me believing, it really is happening...
Now that I am 1 day away from 28 weeks, I am not finding the need to use my Doppler as much. I literally feel her kick me all day off and on and I can't help but to feel comfort in that :) She's already developing her awake and sleep patterns. She wakes early around 4 am kicking me, rolling, moving around and then falls back asleep around 9 am until 11:30 am. She kicks and rolls throughout the day, but I really feel her get active at about 8:30 pm and until 12 pm at night. I love reading before bedtime and resting my hand on my stomach and feeling her little bumps and kicks....some nights she has the hiccups and my stomach bumps up and down in a repetitive motion for about 3 minutes. Poor baby- it's all that dark chocolate your momma is craving right now :)
I also purchased a "lullabelly" and this allows me to safely play classical music to her. So far, she's only listened to Mozart. It's suppose to calm babys and make them smarter. Plus I hope that she adores music one day as much as her parents do.
We have had a blast creating her nursery. It's something I've dreamed about since I was a little girl. Like most girls dream of their wedding, I remember thinking of my baby nursery.
We are still adding finishing touches, but it's coming along beautifully.
My inspiration for her nursery came from this designer: www.alittlesweetness.etsy.com. I bought prints and based the color scheme around them.
Steve has spent many hours painting, adding crown molding and decorative touches around the room- not to mention all of the assembling of the crib, changing table, chair, dollhouse book shelf... I am grateful he is so handy and so willing to do so. He loves his baby girl already and it is SO heartwarming :) Dad assisted him on Saturday afternoon in hanging the beautiful chandelier and crown molding. A room fit for a little princess ;)
So...that's where I've been over the last 7 months. Gestating ;) Preparing for this little miracle God has blessed Steve and I with at last.
We are so incredibly excited to raise this little girl.
To teach her to be a good person, how to love, be kind..... to read.....to ride a bike, how to create and explore her creativity, how to take risks and love herself. All of it.
We are looking forward to it all.
One very blessed and happy momma to be,