Friday, June 10, 2011

Baby Showers

Alright, I'm not even sure how to go about this blog post . . . to properly express the extreme gratitude and thankfulness that Kelly, Brooklyn, and I have in regards to everyone's amazing generosity.  I honestly don't think I'm going to be capable of doing it justice, but I'm going to do my best.

As I type this, it is currently June 10th.  Rewind five days and go back to Sunday, June 5th.  I knew that on June 5th my aunts (my dad's four sisters) were going to be throwing us a baby shower at 2 p.m. at a local church.  That much I knew.  There was so much about that day that I didn't know though, so many things that took me by complete and utter shock . . . first off, let me recap the baby shower that my aunts threw for us, and then I'll do my best at to do justice to the rest.

My dad is one of five children and the only male.  Every time one of the nieces or nephews has their first baby, the aunts throw a baby shower for them.  Needless to say, it was our turn. =] I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was an absolutely amazing experience!  It started at 2 p.m. and I think my mom, my sister, and I ended up leaving at about 6:30.  My aunt Debbie did devotions and then a whole slew of little girls (six of them I believe - Evie, Kaydence, Abby, Bailey, Acacia, and Shelby) ranging in age from six to three, got up front and sang for us.  They sang, "Baa Baa Black Sheep," "The ABCs," and "I'm a Little Teapot."  I think there was one more song as well, but I can't remember what it was off-hand!  If I remember, I'll come back and edit this. =]

My cousin Shari was in charge of games.  The first game that was explained to us was the diaper pin game.  Every guest was given a little diaper pin necklace to wear.  If someone said the word, "baby," another guest could take their necklace away and whoever had the most necklaces at the end won a prize!  Along with that, there were three other paper and pencil games, including "Name that Tune!" and "Match the celebrity to their baby!"

We received so many wonderful gifts!  And let me tell you, this little girl is dressed until she is five!  We are so grateful to everyone that attended to celebrate little Brooklyn with us!  And we are SO excited to put all these wonderful gifts to good use!

Allow me to give you a few photo recaps of the event. =] Well, kind of I guess . . . I had every intention of bringing our camera along and then completely spaced! (Baby brain? Can I blame it on that?) I currently don't have any pictures of the actual event in my possession, but I did ask my aunt who was taking pictures if she'd be willing to send me copies and she said she would, I just don't have them yet.  So the pictures I have here are pictures of mementos from the shower that I took after we got home. =]

Shower balloons!

Adorable 'sock roses' that my brother's girlfriend makes!

Kelly's step-mom insisted upon being the one to get Brooklyn her very first doll. =] It chirps!

Brooklyn's bassinet that doubles as a changing table (also from Kelly's step-mom)!  We've even already got it stocked with newborn diapers and wipes! =]

Along with that, we received three diaper cakes!  I wish I had taken a picture of at least one of them to add her, but I dismantled them to get everything organized before I thought of it. =C There were also a lot of home-made gifts!  My parents attend church with quite a few very crafty ladies and Brooklyn received quite a few hand-made blankets!  One in particular is one that my mom commissioned from the Ladies Aid at their church.  It's a little yellow quilt based on the Dick and Jane readers from yonder years. =] 

Another gift that deserves note (although, quite honestly, they ALL deserve note) was a very sentimental gift from my mother that contained items from my baby days, including a little red dress, a hand-made activity book that one of my great aunts had made for me, a Precious Moments bible, and a plaque.  The plaque was in every one of mine and my siblings' nurseries and I remember reading it time and time again when it had moved on to my younger siblings' nurseries. In the background, it has a picture of a mother holding her baby and, in the foreground, it has the following verse:

"Cleaning & scrubbing
can wait 'til tomorrow,
For babies grow up,
we've learned to our sorrow . . .
So quiet down, cobwebs.
Dust, go to sleep . . .
I'm rocking my baby,
and babies don't keep."
- 1958, Ruth Hamilton


I knew that my aunts were throwing us a baby shower.  I did NOT, however, know what had in the works.  I think I've mentioned Aywas here before.  The site opened up in October of 2009 and I've been active since day one.  Throughout our struggle with infertility and our subsequent pregnancy, I have been very open with our journey to parenthood there:  the trials, the tears, the heartbreak . . . the excitement, the miracle.  The community, even though there are now well over 20,000 users, is very intimate and amazing.  

I logged on to my account on the morning of June 5th to discover that Slash (the site owner) had proclaimed that June 5th was 'Babby Day' on-site in regards to the fact that June 5th was also the day that my aunts were throwing the other baby shower!

I don't think I can do it justice, so allow me to post snippets from the news post on-site:

"Today is Babby Day, where we celebrate all the mothers and fathers who have brought life into this world. Life is a beautiful thing, and we haven't done anything to appreciate it - but now we will.

But first, before we get into what items and pets are available for today, I want to tell you something. In the first few months of Aywas existence, I came across a rant thread made by Springdragon. In it, he told the Aywas community that his cat needed an operation, and that he didn't have the money - so the cat was going to die. Upon seeing that, I decided to run an event to raise money for Springdragon so that his cat may live. By selling some custom-colored hybrids, we raised the money. Springdragon's cat is still with him, and Springdragon's life was changed by all of those who participated. Our community had the power to do this.

See, our site is not like the others. We read the forum threads and care about the people behind the accounts. One of our users, Dana, has kept the Aywas community informed of a tragic situation throughout the year and a half Aywas has been online - she has PCOS, a reproductive disease that kept her from conceiving. But months later, something amazing happened: with the right medical attention, she was able to conceive a baby, no matter how much it seemed she would not be able to. But her fight is not over. In rant threads, she has told the community there are financial problems in her life that will make her and her husband's life tough.

Just like with Springdragon, our community has the power to help her, as she has helped the community. Our goal, beyond all other things, is to help people. We are not a faceless company that only cares about money. We are a family, a community, and when one of our community members needs our help, and the time is right that we can offer it, we help. 

Can we help everyone? No - we would go broke, and we would be unable to help anyone. However, if we can help one person, then we're reaching our goal. If we can help two, that is even better. In the future, we'll help three. Four. Five. Making a difference in the lives of a few people is a huge part of what we stand for. It is what makes us different. It is what makes our community special and caring. We are a family, and we help each other.

Today is about honoring the parents onsite. All of you are special, and have brought life into the world - or are about to, and that's a beautiful thing. We chose today for Babby Day, the day that Dana told the Aywas community she'd have her baby shower, but this day is about all of us.


One [on-site item] costs $25.00 via PayPal, and upon submitting your transaction, you will get a Pacifier item to submit your custom. The customs are "metal-only," no lineart changes. Why is it cash only? Half of the proceeds will be given to Dana, to help her, like we did for Springdragon, and half of the proceeds will be given to the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association, Inc. so that we can reach beyond our community and help as many people as we can, no matter how small our contribution may be. Anyone who purchases one of these customs will know they made a difference in the life of one fellow member, and in the lives of many unknown people that deserve their help."


Even now, five days later, I still struggle to wrap my head around this.  Money has always been tight and I've often used Aywas as a resource to garner ideas on how we can work towards putting away the money we need to survive while I take a few weeks off from work after Brooklyn's birth.  We've been saving, we've been trying really hard . . . but even with our best attempts, the amount of time that I would have been able to take off has gotten shorter and shorter as our finances just aren't cutting it to where they need to be for me to able to afford to take off work.

Obviously, this is no longer an issue.  We can afford it now.  Thanks to Aywas.

And what struck me even more than the assistance to us was the donation that was going to be made to the PCOS Association.  PCOS is such a poorly understood, under-recognized, and emotionally devastating syndrome.  It makes me so incredibly happy that because of Slash and Aywa's generosity, that other women who suffer from PCOS may be able to recognize the disease and get the medical assistance that they need to control it before they suffer as much emotional pain and feelings of worthlessness as I did in the three plus years that we were trying to conceive.

I know I've said it before, but it deserves to be said again a thousand times over.  Thank you SO MUCH to Slash and the Aywas community!  There aren't even words to demonstrate how grateful that we are!

3-d Ultrasound Pictures!

Okay, I decided to give these pictures their own post as well. =] As I mentioned in the previous blog post, we were able to go in on May 26th and have a 3-d ultrasound.  This gets a little complicated, but bear with me.  Kelly's step-brother's brother-in-law is the head ultrasound technician at the hospital that we've been doctoring at.  He offered for us to come in and have a 3-d ultrasound that he could claim as a practice ultrasound.  Meaning, we didn't end up paying anything for it!

He tried really, really hard to get us a good picture, but, as I mentioned in the last post, 28 weeks is the optimum time to have a 3-d ultrasound.  Once the babies start getting bigger than 28 weeks, it gets a bit more crowded in there and it's more difficult to get a good picture.  It was still an amazingly fun opportunity and it was definitely fun to get to see little Brooklyn's face!  Plus, he confirmed for us one more time that she is indeed still a girl!  Not that we didn't trust the first ultrasound technician from our 20-week scan, it's just reassuring to hear the same thing again so that we can feel a little more confidant in our pink-amassing. =]

I apologize for the not-so-great quality of these pictures.  It would have been better if I had scanned them; however, the scanner is very put away at the moment and I really didn't want to drag it out so I took pictures of the pictures instead.

I can't wait to meet you little one! =] Mommy and Daddy already love you VERY, VERY much!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

33 Weeks!

Okay . . . so 33 weeks and 1 day actually . . . I'm not the most prompt person in the world.  And I actually have two blog posts to make today.  I'm going to use this one to focus on the health-related aspects of where we're at pregnancy-wise and then I'm going to make another one (because it deserves it's own post) that encompasses the generosity of a lot of different people!  I have about 20 minutes before I have to leave for work, so I'm going to do this health-related one now, and then check back some time after 11 p.m. CST for the other. =]

First, let's play the 'how big is mommy now!' game. =] Wearing the right clothes, I can still pass as just having consumed far too many twinkies, but it's definitely getting harder to hide the fact that I'm pregnant.  Not that I'm trying to hide it mind you, I've been looking forward to sporting this baby bump since we first saw that elusive second line waaay back on November 17th!

Backing up a bit, the screening for gestational diabetes came back WONDERFULLY!  Blood sugars ended up being a whopping 114 at the one-hour mark and 'normal' is considered anything below 140.  Whoot!  We were DEFINITELY excited about that! =]

On May 11th though, Mommy ended up having a strange bout of dizziness and went in to urgent care at the phone nurse's promptings.  The urgent care doctor that she saw was AWESOME!  They ran an EKG along with a large number of blood tests and blood pressure monitorings to see what may have been the cause.  The tests came back inconclusive.  After that day, Mommy has been experiencing shortness of breath and a racing heart roughly 3 or 4 times a day.  She brought it up at her next appointment with her ob/gyn on May 18th and her doctor informed her that the shortness of breath may be typical with third-trimester pregnancy; however, the racing heart is not.  So she referred me to an internal medicine doctor and I went back for another appointment on May 19th to visit with him.  He felt that the symptoms I was having were highly likely related back to my asthma not being as well-controlled as I thought it was.  He sent in a script to get my inhalers replaced and ordered a 24-hour Holter heart monitor and an echocardiogram as well, just to be sure that we weren't overlooking anything heart-related.

I got the results back from the Holter monitor on Monday of this week.  The monitor detected no abnormal heartbeats or arrhythmias (yay!); however, it did detect a notably high heart rate 37% of the time.  This, as the doctor put on the note, could again, be attributed to my asthma.  We just went in this past Monday (June 6th) for the echocardiogram and we haven't heard results back on that yet but, for the most part, Mommy's been feeling okay.

Weight wise, Mommy weighed herself this morning and is currently up about four pounds from her pre-prego weight.  At 33 weeks, that's basically NOTHING.  Brooklyn herself probably weighs about four pounds herself at this point, not to mention the weight of increased blood flowing through Mommy's circulatory system and increased uterus size!

Another not-so-fun symptom that Mommy has discovered is pelvic pain!  It kicked into high gear a few days ago and it definitely hurts to walk right about now! 

Also, some very fun things that Mommy and Daddy got to do!  On May 26th, we were able to go in for a 3-d ultrasound!  The ultrasound technician had a difficult time getting a good picture of her little face because 3-d ultrasounds are best done at about 28 weeks and we were at 31 weeks at the time.  This means that Brooklyn was starting to get a little crowded in there and the 3-d ultrasounds turn out best when they're mostly surrounded by fluid.  We did get four take-home pictures though!  I will be editing this post and uploading them as soon as I get home from work. =] Also, at the echocardiogram on Monday (which happened to be performed by the same ultrasound technician as the 3-d scan), he let us take another look at her after the echo was over. =] She's not moving around too much in there (she's pretty well crammed into a head down position already), but he zoomed in on her little face and we were able to see her tongue moving in her mouth!  Definitely amazing!

We are soooo excited to meet this beautiful little girl!  48 days from today until our due date! =] 

Check back in a few hours to see the 3-d ultrasound photos and the second blog post! =]