Friday, July 31, 2015

Baby Kono IV: 24 Weeks

24 weeks
The other night Collin and I had a rare moment of just the two of us, no kids, watching television.

Okay, fine, it was the Bachelorette finale, if you must know. Hey, don't look at me with those judgey eyes and while we're on the topic, let's just talk about that finale real quick.  Am I just being completely naive to think Kaitlyn and Shawn might actually make it?   It's been several years since I've been into watching the Bachelor/Bachelorette but in the last few months I've (we've, he probably doesn't want me admitting it on here, but usually Collin is watching with me) watched TWO seasons. Trashy tv, welcome back to our home! Anyway, what do you think?  Do they have a shot??

While we were enjoying our viewing Collin felt the baby kick for the very first time.  I was trying to explain to him just what it feels like to have a child inside of you and the best I could come up with is that it feels like some sort of alien life form that is trying to take over your body. I mean, a beautiful alien life form but let's be honest, it also feels a bit weird.  The kicks alone are awesome and cute and wonderful but the body rolls?  Those are just bizarre feeling. And wonderful, but bizarre. Anyway, on with our update....
  • I can tell she is getting bigger because I've been feeling a lot more movement in the past two weeks.  
  • Like Nolan, most of the time she is sitting low, low, low.  See where my hand is in that picture up there?  That's where I feel her the majority of the time.  In fact, in order to really feel her from the outside I have to pull an Al Bundy. You're welcome for that little tid bit!
  • I've been feeling generally pretty good these last couple of weeks, with the exception of a couple of acid reflux flare-ups, a few days of bad dreams, and two days this week when it hurt to sit and walk (more on that later.)
  • I had one fairly strong contraction last Saturday. While I've been having Braxton Hicks for several weeks this was the first one that I had to stop and concentrate on/breathe through. It was more in my mid region though, rather than moving from the top down so my doctor wasn't too concerned. I haven't had any more of those since then. 
And that brings me to this week's doctor appointment.... Last week (23 week apt) I got really good news at my ultrasound; my cervical length hadn't changed at all from the prior week. Just as a refresher, at 22 and 23 weeks I was measuring at 3.0 cm and 2.5-2.6 cm when applying pressure. He had said then that he didn't want it any shorter than 2.5 cm.  So when he measured me and said I was now at 1.9 cm (with pressure, her head was right. there.) it took me a second to even process what he was saying.

"Wait." I told him, "That's not good."

The nurse graciously gave me her hand to squeeze as he did a cervical check.  She knew I was scared.

The good news is, my cervix is still closed; it has not started to dilate.  But it is still a bit concerning.  

Both he and my regular OB told me again that a short cervix doesn't mean labor is imminent, it just means I'm at higher risk for a pre-term delivery (which we already knew.) I have not been put on bed rest, although my OB was ready to write the script if I wanted it, and just need to continue to stay well hydrated and rest as much as I can.  The short-term plan is that if my cervix gets down to 1.5 cm or lower then they will give me the steroid shot to develop her lungs quicker.

The perinatologist said we need to make it another month.  My regular OB said, we know you are going to go early, but lets get you to 34 weeks.

As I mentioned earlier, these past few days I have been so sore/stiff.  I thought it was just from sitting in a chair all day but after seeing her on the ultrasound and realizing how low she was sitting I think it was actually from her positioning and the pressure she was putting on my cervix.  Last night sitting on the couch was too uncomfortable so I headed to bed and within a few minutes felt her turn and start to kick me in the sides.  This morning I woke up feeling like a new person.  I'm hopeful that without all that pressure my cervix might actually be longer than it was measuring yesterday.  I'm also constantly reminding myself that I may be perfectly on track to follow the boys births, we'll just never know because they weren't checking me this far into the pregnancy last time.

So, that's where we are at. She still looks great. Fluid levels are good. Placenta looks fine. We're still just  taking it week-by-week and hoping my cervix will slow its roll.  

Let's finish this update with some fun news, shall we???  We have officially decided on a name!!!!

While I have never announced a name publicly before a birth in the past, it feels right this time. Besides, most of you will not be surprised anyway. Let me formally introduce you to:

- middle name to be announced after birth -

24 weeks
Est. weight 1 lb 7 oz

I know, anticlimactic, right?? As most of you know, Stella has been our girls name, well, forever. Each one of the boys would have been Stella had they been a girl.  BUT the one thing Collin and I both knew immediately when we found out we were expecting again is what we would use for a middle name if it was a girl (and a boy too, middle names were easy).....and it wasn't the middle name we had originally chosen for Stella. So then we started wavering on her first name and started seriously considering a different name. But a few weeks ago I was reading the prayer Ave Maris Stella and started crying; I just knew in that moment, without a doubt, her name was Stella. We've been referring to her by name ever since. 

So, listen up Baby Stella, while we are so, so excited to meet you, stay put for awhile longer, okay?

Haha, I feel like I should hashtag that, #stayputstella

More updates to come....

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

To the Beach!



A couple of weeks ago I was on Facebook commenting on a friend's SUP picture when she responded "What are you doing tomorrow?" At exactly that same moment my phoned dinged and in came a message from another friend asking "Want to go to the beach tomorrow?" I knew these two friends went to the beach together and I had to laugh at their timing.  And say YES! of course.

The next morning I got up early to run to the store before Collin headed out the door to work to get some supplies for lunch and snacks.  I came home, packed us up and thrust my fist into the air as I said to the boys: To the Beach! (which, of course, was answered by cheers and hoots and hollers.)

I've been so stressed out lately with this pregnancy and the thought of having to be on bed rest and not getting all the things done.  You know all those things, right?  Because I'm afraid I'm already in nesting mode and I want all of these rooms cleaned and decorated before October (October 9th is my own personal goal date. Ideally, obviously, I'd like to go longer.)

A day in the sun and sand was exactly what we all needed.  The boys had a ball jumping off of the dock. Climb, run, jump, swim. Climb, run, jump, swim. Climb, run, jump, swim.  They did this for, literally, hours.  

While I'm not a big swimmer, I even got in the water to help Nolan jump off the dock and ENJOYED IT.  My worries and stressers seemed to drift away with each lapping wave and I'm so grateful for the invite.  Thank you, Becky & Meg, this was one of my favorite days this summer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Big Camping Trip

At the beginning of the summer we asked each one of the boys to tell us one thing they'd like to do this summer.  Keaton picked going on a picnic and Hutt picked camping. To be honest, I don't remember what Nolan picked - sorry 3rd child!!

Two weekends ago we fulfilled Hutton's summer wish. In the week leading up to our Big Camping Trip the boys were crazy excited! It's all they talked about all week and each day they'd come home from Busha's with a list of items they needed to pack or ideas of activities they were going to entertain themselves with or treats (popcorn and licorice, supplied by Papa).  

When the big day finally arrived Keaton was up early getting all of his things ready.  And if you know Keaton then you know when I say all of his things I mean ALL OF HIS THINGS. This child is a....pack rat might be a nice term.  He has things, is what I'm saying.  Lots of things.

"Mom, I'm ready to go." He told me bright and early. 

"I'm going to drive my tractor." And sure enough there was his tractor sitting in the garage with a purple winter sled attached and packed, all ready to go.  

"I've got my headlamp and a water bottle, a soccer ball - in case we want to play soccer -, a baseball and all of our gloves and bats, because we might want to play baseball while we are there. And Jingle. Jingle is coming too. Oh, and I brought a tarp to cover my tractor in case it rains. And some paving blocks to hold the tarp down."

He was ready alright, and by the sounds of it we were headed to a neighboring state.

In actuality.....we were headed to the backyard:

They had a blast though.  We cooked hamburgers over the fire for dinner on Saturday night then had a bonfire at the neighbors before retiring to bed. On Sunday morning we got up to have breakfast over the fire before church.  Keaton insisted on NOT coming in the house for the weekend. We were CAMPING.

For Collin and I it was most definitely a test run. We lost all of our camping gear in the fire and while we've repurchased some of it we needed to see what else was a necessity before we ventured out for a weekend of real camping.  The boys didn't care, they were just excited to be sleeping outside in a tent. 

I'm not sure that "real" trip will happen this summer, pregnancy sleeping is already uncomfortable enough without the added bonus of sleeping on a blow-up mattress. I should point out that by "we" what I really mean is Collin and the two big boys slept outside in the tent.  Nolan was planning to but when it came time to shut off the flashlights and zip up for the night he came scurrying back to me: "Me sleep with you, Mom." But soon, soon enough that trip will happen, and to be perfectly honest I think I'm just as excited about it as they are.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Baby Kono IV: 22 Weeks

22 weeks

I thought I was waaaaay behind in writing this first Baby Update post, I mean, dude, I'm already 22 weeks.....but then I looked back at Nolan's baby posts and realized, I'm RIGHT ON SCHEDULE! Woo!!  Fist Bump!

Okay, *clap clap* let's just dig right in to the good 'ol bullet pointed list, shall we?  

  • I think everyone knows this by now but this baby was conceived right on the heels of a miscarriage, which from the get-go has made this pregnancy that much more wonderful and that much more frightening.  Shortly after finding out that we were expecting again I remember frantically asking a friend, "what do I call this baby? Baby Kono IV or Baby Kono V??? " And she calmly told me, "you'll know when the time is right." And she was right. While technically our 4th child is in heaven with Jesus I now only think of that baby as Job, the name we chose for him (or her, we don't actually know). As we've progressed through this pregnancy it felt right to refer to this baby as Baby Kono IV.
  • And before I go any further, Baby Kono IV is a......
Ahhh! That's right! IT'S A GIRL!!!  
(full gender reveal post to come, because I need to properly document that even if it is late)
  • Okay, back to our list.....
  • Where do I even start???  From the beginning....the first trimester can be summed up in three words: That. Was. Terrible.  
  • I know, I'm supposed to be grateful and joyful and all of those good things. And I was, I was very grateful (maybe not so much joyful) but I was also miserable.  Miserable. To even pretend that this pregnancy has been enjoyable up to this point would be a flat out lie.  Pure exhaustion. Acid Reflux. All day nausea. Week 6 to Week 14 were down right awful.  Week 14 to Week 16 were much better but the acid reflux was still a killer. Since Week 16 I have been getting progressively better and can say I am now in the enjoyable part of pregnancy; unless I over exert myself (every weekend) or have acid reflux flare ups. 
  • All of this is pretty on par with my previous pregnancies with the exception of the acid reflux, I don't remember having that in the first trimester with the boys.  
  • I felt her kick for the first time at 16 weeks, just the tiniest little flutter, and saw her kick for the first time at about 20 weeks.  Keaton has also felt her kick but the other two boys are too busy for sitting still that long.  Sadly, I don't think Collin has felt her kick yet either, maybe he has, my brain is pretty much mush these days.
  • Weight-gain wise I'm only up 2-3 pounds so far, which is much less than my previous pregnancies (I was up 13 with Nolan at this point) but that's simply because I weighed A HECK OF A LOT more starting out.
  • I started my progesterone shots at 19 weeks and have been seeing both my regular OB as well as a high-risk maternal/fetal health doctor this time around.  I'm high risk because of my age but seeing the perinatologist because of my history of pre-term delivery.  I've been seeing him since 16 weeks when we had out first ultrasound and he said he wanted to see me every three weeks for the next six weeks (so, to uncomplicate that...apts with him were at 16 weeks, 19 weeks, and 22 weeks - this past Monday). The beef of my baby updates will definitely come from these appointments. My regular OB appointments feel pretty much like a formality and take, literally, 5 minutes.  Blood pressure. Heart rate. Fundal height. Any questions? Good, you're on auto pilot, see you in 4 weeks.  Sometimes I like to make random conversation just so I feel like I get my money's worth.  Haha. Just Kidding. Sort of.
  • Before I delve into the results of those multiple ultrasounds here's just a couple of pictures from them:
16 weeks
Est. weight 6 oz

19 weeks
Est. weight 10 oz

22 weeks
Est. weight 1 lb
  • Okay, so, here's the deal...first and foremost, baby looks good.  Great, even.  Fluid level is good. There is no cause for concern as far as she goes.
  • My cervix, on the other hand, is not cooperating. Every ultrasound begins with a measurement of my cervix, results of which have been:
16 weeks - 3.9 cm
19 weeks - 3.5 cm
22 weeks - 3.0 cm 
(and when he put pressure on it, it was down to 2.5 cm this week.)
  • This is....not great news.  We're not at freak-out mode yet but it is concerning.  I will now be going back every week for the next four weeks to keep a closer eye on things.  When I asked how short it can get my doctor said we don't want it any shorter than 2.5 cm. I asked if the pace can slow (I'm on track to hit that in 3 weeks, at 25 weeks along) he said yes, it can. So, my task right now is to stay well hydrated and not be over doing it.
  • What will happen if it continues to shorten?  Honestly, I don't know.  People have asked if I'll be put on bed rest or have a cerclage. None of this has been discussed at this point. I probably should have asked the question (and I probably will if we see further shortening next week) but to be honest, I'm scared of the answer.  Any prayers you can spare, I'd appreciate them.  
  • More to come.....

P.S. a little online research - bad idea, don't ever do this! - tells me that a cerclage can be performed up to week 24 if the cervix is 2.5 cm or shorter by this time (2.5 cm/25 mm seems to be the magical number). After week 24 it is not generally done due to the risk of triggering preterm labor. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

4th of July Traditions

"What's a tradition, Dad?" One of the boys asked Collin just a week or two ago.  With the 4th of July holiday fast approaching it wasn't hard for him to explain.

Parade ~ Snowshoe Baseball ~ Fireworks

These have become our 4th of July traditions.

We had a perfect spot at the parade this year (thanks to Collin, who woke up and made it downtown a little after 6 am to put out our lawn chairs and sleeping bag while the rest of us continued to snooze) right under a tree that gave us just enough shade and right in front of my favorite coffee shop. Mmmmm, iced caramel macchiato (decaf, this year). And once again it was a huge hit with the boys....well, all of us, really....we came home with a bag full of candy, icees, popcorn, bottles of water, and a Frisbee. 

Our plan was to come home, eat lunch, and have the boys nap before heading to mass and then snowshoe baseball.  Ha!  Those were good plans.  

Instead we came home, the boys got to shoot the BB gun, ate lunch, went swimming, raced home to make it back into town in time for church (with two sleepers in tow), came back home to change, went fishing, headed to snowshoe baseball where we picked up dinner and ice cream before walking down to the park, watched snowshoe baseball from our shoulders (the boys), watched fireworks, headed home, collapsed into bed.  At least I did, that was an exhausting day.  But awesome.  Totally exhausting and awesome.  The 4th of July is quickly becoming one of my very favorite holidays (probably because of the traditions).

The fireworks were also fantastic again this year. Unfortunately my phone ran out of memory before I could capture any but Collin did get this video of Nolan.  He was getting a little squirrely after the game while waited for the show to begin, using his glow stick flag as an ax (the night before he called it a sword so, improvement?), but as soon as that first boom went off he snapped to attention.  Of course we didn't have the video ready for that but I still love his little "whoa!" about half way through this.

The rest of the weekend we spent boating, fishing, more swimming, playing with cousins, lighting sparklers, going on a boat parade, target practicing, building steps down to the lake, and jumping on the trampoline.  It was a good, good weekend.

When we got home last night we asked the boys what part was their favorite:

Keaton - catching a 15 3/4 inch bass, his biggest fish yet.  He could not stop talking about this the rest of the weekend, he is so excited about that fish.

Hutton - fireworks.

Nolan - Nolan sat and thought about this for awhile..."Me favorite part...."  and then he'd pause and we'd wait and his brothers would interject with one or more activity from the weekend..."me favorite part....." he finally told us it was "going home" which is kind of adorable but also a lie. As we were packing up he asked me "where we going, mom?" and when I said we were getting ready to go home he said "me no wanna go home."  

I hear ya kiddo, me no wanna go home either.