thirty-six weeks : maternity session

Weeks ago, Charlotte Pear thought she might show up early, but, with help from the hospital, she was convinced to stay where she was awhile longer. Now, we think she may have been convinced to stay in forever, which stinks, since we want nothing more than to hold her.

We'll be thirty-seven weeks on Friday, and we're more than ready for her to be born. Today the ultrasound showed she was seven pounds four ounces (which is bigger than I was when I was born full term), and they said I have polyhydramnios, which means I have an abnormal amount of amniotic fluid (something that hasn't been true until this week), so they said they won't let me go past thirty-nine weeks. Of course we're hoping she'll come on her own long before that (today is as good a day as any), but the most we have left is eighteen days. :)

We had a photo shoot to celebrate thirty-six weeks, and, as always, our friend Hannah Grace captured our time together beautifully. I love being able to have genuine laughs and snuggles photographed to look back on and say, "This is how much we loved each other and you even before you were born."


thirty-five weeks : nursery

Some people choose themes for rooms; Apples in the dining room, Pooh Bear in the bedroom etc., but I'm more of a "put all the things I like into one room and hope it turns out fine" kind of decorator. The dresser, crib, and giant bookshelf were handmade by my Pop-Pop (great grandfather) for his daughters, and have lived in many different homes before taking up residence in Norfolk. The rug and curtains are from IKEA, the changing table topper and activity gym are from Land of Nod, and most everything else is thrifted or gifted. Matt added a second, lower clothing rack in the closet, which Maura enjoys sliding hangers across and rearranging dress upon.

The room isn't completely finished. I haven't decided what to put on one of the shelves of the smaller bookshelf, we don't have our wet bag for our cloth diapers yet, and we don't have Charlotte's bedding, but if she was born she'd have a place to sleep, diapers to wear, and clothes to keep her (cute and) warm, so we're ready.

Our baby appears to be camera shy. Do you see that hand right in front of her face? That's how almost all of her pictures have been. Even if she doesn't come soon, they're doing ultrasounds every week now, so at least there's that to look forward to. Yesterday they said she was six pounds and seven ounces, and my contractions were three minutes apart, but not crazy painful. Tomorrow they'll do an internal exam, and we'll have more of an update on whether or not there's been any labor progress.

There will be a more complete nursery tour eventually, once Charlotte is living in there, and I have things in places that actually work for us instead of just how I imagine I'll want them. I've been imagining my whole life, and we're ready, Charlotte. Ready when you are.


Charlotte Pear : Baby Shower

Not every baby in the world is loved by so many people. Not every woman in the world has a future sister-in-law with beautiful taste in decorations and amazing cake making skills. Not every shower is documented by amazing photography skills. We're blessed ladies, Charlotte and I, to be so loved. Thank you to all of the women who loved Charlotte Pear and I so hard. The day was lovely.


thirty-four weeks

Last Wednesday, November 11th, 2015, I had a follow-up three hour glucose test for late-onset gestational diabetes with my OBGYN. While I was there, they did my routine thirty-four week checkup. I mentioned to them that I'd been having increased fluid/discharge, so the doctor did a pelvic exam. It was the first time I'd been checked this pregnancy, and she announced me two centimeters dilated and 30% effaced. We were half way through the blood draws for the glucose test, but instead of waiting to finish, they sent me over to labor and delivery to monitor my progress and make sure I wasn't in active labor.

I hadn't been having painful contractions that day (just tightening), but had had a couple irregular ones the night before, and once they hooked me up to the monitor at the hospital, the contractions (still not painful) were coming every five minutes. After a couple of hours, they checked me again, called me 2.5 cm dilated and 40% effaced and admitted me to the hospital for monitoring overnight. Because I was only (two days shy) of thirty-four weeks, they did what they could to stop my contractions: pumping me full of fluid, giving me pills to slow the contractions, while also giving me steroid shots for Charlotte's lungs and penicillin because I hadn't been tested yet for GB Strep. My next check was called 3 cm dilated, 50% effaced, but still not engaged. Overnight things slowed down, and I stopped dilating. Matt was with me overnight, helping me make all of the uncomfortable trips to the bathroom and re-hooking me up to make the nurse's job much easier. The next afternoon, they released us, telling me to rest (no lifting, exercise, hot baths etc.) for two weeks before resuming normal activities.

So, we're taking it easy. I'm doing everything slowly and carefully, while she wiggles much too low for my taste. We're definitely going to meet this baby before Christmas, and it wouldn't surprise me if she came before her two weeks are up. They said if she tries to come again, they won't stop her.

We made her a bow holder. I framed the dried flowers people gave us when we lost Christian, and then Matt stapled ribbon across the frame to hold her bows. Last Saturday we had her baby shower, and people loved us so hard. We've been putting all of her little things away, and we'll have a nursery post for you soon. Thanks for praying for us and her! I'm not worried one bit with the idea of her early arrival, but the less time we have to stay in the hospital after she's born, the better, so we're hoping she'll stay in a little longer.


thirty-three weeks

Last Wednesday at my doctor's appointment, they reiterated that Charlotte is measuring big and had me take (another) a one-hour glucose test. The results came back elevated enough that they're having me take the three hour test this week for late-onset gestational diabetes. If there's anything I don't like about doctors visits and pregnancy, it's the need for needle sticks and blood draws. I don't like to watch needles enter skin, and I have small/deep veins, so normally they have to stick me three or four times to hit what they're aiming to hit.

Last Friday at a court in Arizona, the father of the two boys we may get to foster/adopt let his parental rights go without a fight. Honestly, it makes me sad for the boys that he didn't fight for them, but we've been praying all along for God's will in their (and our) lives, and so we're trusting Him with every new development. The case now goes to adoption. The court has our adoption paperwork, and their current foster mom decided to file adoption paperwork for them on Friday (I'm sure she decided long before that, but we didn't know for sure until Friday). We have no timeline for the next step. They just said they'd be in touch.

Last night, halfway between thirty-three and thirty-four weeks, Matt and I (and Charlotte) went to the emergency room. I've never been before in my life, and it's not in my personality to cry wolf or make a big deal about something that isn't actually a big deal, but yesterday made itself the exception. Charlotte had been quiet all day. It wasn't that she wasn't moving at all, just that her movements were subdued and abnormally soft. When Christian was stillborn, it was after lack of movement, slowed movement, but we didn't go in right away because we didn't want to be "those parents" who worry about things that can't be controlled. Yesterday, we didn't feel comfortable about going to bed without checking on her, so a trip to the emergency room and some time listening to the beat, beat, beat of her little heart calmed our nerves.

This weekend, we have Charlotte's baby shower, and it feels like my birthday or something! It's an awesome feeling, knowing how many people love and support Matt and I as we begin again. I can't wait to put all of her little bits and bobs into their spots. It seems like the last step before we actually get to hold her.


Charlotte Pear: Thirty-two weeks

A mommy-friend from church recommended that we go get a 3-D ultrasound before Charlotte was born. We didn't do it for Christian, because it seemed expensive, but losing a baby changes your perspective, and we wish we had a video ultrasound of Christian to treasure. There were couches for family members to sit on (seven ladies, plus Matt and I) while they watched my ultrasound on a large screen, and we got a DVD of the ultrasound, a CD of the pictures, and printed pictures to take home and show the men (plus keep forever)! Charlotte kept her hands up by her face the entire time, but she gave us a general idea of how chubby her cheeks were, while amusing us with the world's largest yawns and by literally licking her arm (like a kitten) at one point when the video was rolling.

I think I see some of her Nowak relatives in her lips, but regardless of who she comes out looking like, we have a chubby, beautiful baby girl.


at the park

Oh, I love to watch them play. Mostly, I love to watch her giggle when he plays with her. I'm thirty-one weeks, but last week the ultrasound showed that Charlotte was 4 pounds 7 ounces, which means she's measuring closer to thirty-three weeks. They didn't officially change her due date, so she's still set to come on Christmas, but because of how big she is, we're assuming she'll really come before that, and the doctor is going to keep an eye on her size.

Someday soon we'll have our own baby to play with, and I know it'll be all the best things we get to enjoy with Maura, plus a million more good things.