Saturday, March 31, 2012


'Round about 12 years ago, I walked into my college dorm room wearing nothing but a shower dress. A strange boy was sitting on my futon.


'Round about 10 years ago, he had weaseled his way into my heart and become my very best friend.

'Round about 7 years ago, he decided he wanted to date me. Finally. For the love of pete.

'Round about 6 years ago, he asked me to spend my life with him. It was the most disastrous night that has ever happened.

'Round about 5 years ago, he was waiting for me at the end of an aisle.

In the five years since then, we have been to some exceptional highs and some devastating lows. Neither of us could have possibly imagined the road we've traveled so far, most especially the stretch of highway we are currently on, but one thing I know for absolute certain is that he is the very best person to have riding along. He works exceptionally hard to take care of me and our boys, he keeps me from venturing too often into Crazytown, and because of him I spend most of my life laughing. He is an amazing husband, a devoted daddy, and he's still my very best friend.

I love you!!! Can't wait to see where we are 5 years from now.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Parker Poofs and Pre-Pre-Eclampsia

Three week break from the perinatologist ran out today. How wonderful it was to have some time away from the doctors! I love getting to see the P-nut on ultrasounds as much as possible, but the drive, the wait, the nerves, and the "we still don't know much" gets old. Today marked the start of my final sprint to the finish line-- I set up all of my biophysical profile appointments from today until my due date (every Friday at 10 am). I will also be going to my regular OB for checkups and non-stress tests every Tuesday. Yahoo!

Today's appointment was pretty straightforward-- Parker looks great. He was doing some fantastic practice breathing, which was encouraging to see. He is measuring at 4 lbs 9 ounces, which puts him slightly above average for this stage of the game (~53%ile)... They told me not to be one bit surprised if he grows exponentially in the next few weeks and winds up a 10 pounder like Jeremiah. We'll take it-- we need him to be a big strong boy ready to fight!

In other news, I have been placed on the pre-eclampsia watch list. My blood pressure was wacky today, my legs look like sausages, and I have been dealing with some consistent nausea (AGAIN? Seriously? Like 22 weeks of it wasn't enough??) There is intermittent abdominal pain, but my thoughts on that are that every 32 week pregnant lady has abdominal pain. They are keeping an eye on it, and they don't really think that it will amount to anything. Still, as my sweet nurse said today, "Well, you don't seem to have enough to deal with, so why not add that?"

I did have a total freakout moment today. I ventured to this appointment alone, as I told Mike I didn't expect him to take off of work EVERY FRIDAY for the next 2 months. After the scan, I got sent to a consult room (which has never happened before). Even on the Bad News Day, we spent all of our time in the ultrasound room. My heart started pounding, and I furiously texted Mike. I was left in there approximately 2 minutes, and in that 2 minutes I determined that I was about to be told that something was horribly awry and I would be delivering Parker today.

Panic attack alone in small room.

Turns out they just wanted to redo my blood pressure measurement and set up my weekly appointments. Thankfully, my blood pressure cooperated and I got to go home. Jiminy crickets!

That's really about all from the appointment today. He's happy and growing, and that's all we can ask for right now. 7 weeks to go!

I shall sum up the rest of my news with bullet points:

-We are constantly amazed by the amount of love and prayers poured out on us. I have at least 3 people a day tell me how much they love us, how often they think of us, and how willing they are to help in any way. It is a wonderful feeling, and we are so very grateful to you all.

-The MegaMillions Jackpot drawing is in 6 minutes. I hold in my hand 5 chances at a new life. Mostly, I hold in my hand a $5 piece of trash. Still, it's worth a shot!!! If this entry goes unfinished, it's because we won and I am passed out on the floor.

-Tomorrow is CDH Awareness Day! It is also my fifth anniversary (on which my husband has to work... boo), and it is also the day of The Color Run. The Color Run is the wackiest 5k on earth-- every kilometer, people standing on the sides of the race course pelt you with neon food dye. By the end, you look like an Easter egg. I am running (um, let's be real. Waddling.) with about 20 of my favorite people. All proceeds go to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. I figured 1) it's on CDH Day, and 2) it benefits the hospital that will care for Parker upon his arrival... sign me up! They welcome kids in this extravaganza, and I think it will be great fun.

I have fashioned myself a shockingly turquoise CDH Sparkly Spirit Bow to wear (I call it the Parker Poof). I have also taken it upon myself to create an Informational T-Shirt.

My Informational T-Shirt assumes several things:

a) Said information will be legible for longer than 3 minutes before being covered in neon powder.
b) Anyone will think, "Hey, let me stop having fun to read that girl's T-shirt!"
c) There will be anyone behind the 8 months pregnant lady to read said shirt.

Ya know what? Couldn't care less. It's going to be a ball, and maybe at least one person will go away knowing that their tie-dyed foolishness was for a great cause.

**updated to add... Still here. Not unconscious. Blast!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My 15 Milliseconds of Shame

Today started out innocently enough... Mike and I took Jeremiah to the library to check out some new books and renew Mike's before he left town. Little did I know, I was going to wind up on the local news!
As I was perusing the shelves, happy as a clam, a soft voice behind me said, "Excuse me, ma'am?"
I turned around to see the gigantic lens of a TV camera literally 12 inches from my face. "Would you mind answering a few questions about the library?"

Y'all. I panicked. I am NOT good in front of people. Put me in front of a group of kids, I can go all day. Put me in front of grown ups, or apparently inanimate objects such as cameras, and I go straight to pieces. She very kindly asked what the library means to our family.

I started sweating profusely in my armpits and mumbled something about how I like being able to bring JB to look at books and hear stories.

She kindly inquired how I felt about the community spirit in our library.

I lost all grasp of the English language and started speaking in tongues. I think I mentioned being an English teacher, knowing the importance of access to library services for families who don't have computers or lots of books at home, and how cutting funding to libraries sucks.

She wanted my input on local businesses advertising on free bookmarks as a source of revenue for the library.

I think I blacked out at that point.

She then asked if Jeremiah was at the library. So they spent some time shooting JB and his daddy playing on the computers. They were cool as cucumbers. Superstars.
We aired during the 5 o'clock newscast. Thankfully, I got edited down to approximately 1.5 seconds of speech and some shots of me waddling around in the background during a voiceover. I was also quoted HERE.

What a humbling experience. I am the daughter of one of the best public speakers in America, and I am not saying that as his child. Just last week, Dad was in Vegas as a keynote speaker for the Exhibitor Show. He had someone stop him in the airport on the way home to tell him how his speech literally changed her life and inspired her to be a better professional. He spends his life speaking to people and telling them how to be better at their jobs. He travels around the world delivering speeches and teaching classes. He has groupies.

Me? This face sums it up nicely.I die.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hall Pass and Hurdle #5

Friday was a busy day (followed by a busy cake weekend- which is why I am late updating). We had a visit with the perinatologist Friday morning, followed immediately by the cardiologist at lunchtime.

Both appointments went great!

At the perinatologist, we found that, yet again, Parker has turned breech. Sigh. It couldn't matter less to me or my doctors, but it is pretty darn uncomfortable to have all the gyrations! One benefit that far outweighs any discomfort is the easiness with which we could get a view of his face:

In short, I am carrying another miniature version of my husband. Jeremiah has looked exactly like Mike since the second he was born (sideburns and all), and now I know that we can expect the same thing from Parker! At least I know he'll grow up to be handsome. :-)

Here's Jeremiah, on the day he was born. They are the same!

Parker weighs 3 pounds on the nose. He already has a pretty good head of hair, and anatomically speaking, no changes in the herniation of organs. I asked if they would be continuing to do the LHR measurement at each appointment, and the answer was no. They really only look at the LHR from 24-26 weeks to determine the outcome, and from then on it doesn't much matter. We get to keep Parker's "highly favorable" outcome for now, so we will take that!
His lungs were measured, and both left and right are growing nicely. Everything else looked great, and thus we were given a hall pass of sorts...
THREE WEEKS OFF FROM APPOINTMENTS! Yahoo! I had been told to expect twice (possibly thrice) a week appointments from 30 weeks on. They felt, on Friday, that there were no indications of fetal distress, so I don't have to go back until 32 weeks. I have to go see my OB somewhere in there, but this is still great news!

We left there and went directly down one floor to the pediatric cardiologist. We hadn't seen him since 18 weeks, and he felt great about things then. A follow up at 30 weeks was ordered, and were very much hoping for "no news is good news" from him. Sure enough, after a LONG fetal echo, we were given the all clear in the cardiac department. Parker HAD ENOUGH ultrasounds that morning, and very nearly started behaving badly during the echo. He kicked the tar out of the transmitter for most of it, then rolled over so she could not get a good reading for a while. I threatened him with lack of donuts, and soon after he fell alseep and cooperated. Booger.

Dr. V (cardio) reiterated that until Parker is born, they can't know too much, but that from what he can see, there are no causes for concern of any kind. The heart is pushed fairly far to the right, and is right up against the chest wall. In my head, combined with the news that his lungs were bigger than expected and that there is a fair amount of stomach up there, this resulted in a mental image of his heart getting smooshed and having to work harder to pump blood. Dr. V assured me that his heart is strong enough to keep itself from getting smooshed, and that the only complication that might arise from overcrowding in the chest is the kinking of major blood vessels leading to and from the heart. If that happens, fluid builds up in other parts of the body (fetal hydrops). He sees absolutely no indication of that right now, hasn't ever seen it develop after this late in a pregnancy, and has already communicated with the perinatologist to keep an eye out for it. He then told us that he'd see us on Parker's birthday (he will likely do an echo before Parker is transported) and sent us home.
Hurdle #5 is behind us!

I'm so thankful that our appointments went so well, and Parker was pleased with two donuts on the way home. I feel like once we hit those 2 or 3 times a week appointments at 32 weeks, we will be on the ground running until he's born (I might have to re-evaluate donuts at that stage... 3 donuts a week for 8 weeks might not be the smartest of plans... ). From all indications, Parker will make his grand appearance on Friday, May 18th. That used to seem like a lifetime away, but it is creeping up on us. I can't wait to meet him, I can't wait to finally be able to stop hearing "once he's born...", and I can't wait to get this show on the road so we can hurry up and go to Disney World.

I had a brief sad moment looking at that picture of Parker's face-- it's likely that we won't be able to see his face for weeks due to ventilators and nasal tubes. Even when he's born, he will be intubated and whisked away within seconds. I won't get to snuggle with him, I won't get to giggle at the sideburns he probably will have, I won't get to see him for days and days. That's stinky, but that's life. I can't change any of that, but I can be in control of some things. I WILL have my husband on FaceTime 24 hours a day so I can videoconference with a newborn. I WILL know the people who are taking care of him are wonderful, kind, and caring. I WILL do my best to recover quickly so I can get the heck out of dodge and get to Egleston to see him. I WILL NOT ACT UGLY IN THE HOSPITAL (I will need reminders of this. They aren't going to let me go before it is safe to do so, and that's that. If nothing else, I must think of nurses and doctors as keepers of the epidural pump, thus deserving of all kindnesses).

That's my new mantra-- control what you can, leave the rest alone. Continue to prepare for his arrival, knowing all the while in the back of my mind that once he's born, I will control nothing. Deal with emotional hiccups as best I know how, pray for God's strength to carry me the rest of the time. Start saving money with which to bribe nurses to break me out of the hospital early.

Just kidding.

Sort of. :-)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pastel Polyester Suit Necessary to Read This Post

Today would have been my sweet mama's 61st birthday. For those who don't know me "in real life," she passed away EXTREMELY suddenly when I was seven months pregnant with Jeremiah.

It was October 15, 2008. I distinctly remember driving home from teaching sixth grade... usually, my commute home was a semi-coma of exhaustion. I called to check in with Mom, but had to leave a message. I hung up, and for some reason spent my entire car ride home blissfully happy. I cranked the radio and sang, did some solo car dancing, and thought about how blessed I was at that exact moment. I arrived home feeling fresh as a daisy, and for once did not collapse face down on my bed for a 2 hour nap. I fixed dinner. Life was good.

Throughout the early evening, my sister and my dad called to see if I had heard from Mom. I told them I'd left a message at the house, and that she was probably out at the grocery store without her cell phone. Mike and I sat down to dinner-- pork loin, mashed potatoes, and peas. I will never forget that.
The phone rang, it was my brother in law, and he immediately asked to speak to Mike. I could tell by his voice that something was off, but didn't think much of it. Within 2.6 seconds hearing Mike's side of the conversation, my heart was on the floor and I just knew. I don't know how, but I knew.
We sped down to my parents' house, where my dad was waiting for us. Mom had passed away in her sleep, peacefully and with no pain. She was recovering from some orthopedic surgery earlier in the summer, and the only explanation we ever got was it might have been a blood clot from that. We still don't know exactly (they chalked it up to "natural causes" and left it alone), and it didn't matter then in the slightest. My mom was gone and I was 9 weeks from delivering my first baby.

I've been told by many people who were there that her funeral was perfect. I don't really remember it, to be honest. I have a recording that I can't listen to, even 3 years later. It was held on the day of the Georgia/Florida game, and we made sure to be all wrapped up in time for kickoff. My ever-loving aunts somehow managed to find the only florist in Georgia who would actually make the "Jesus Called Her Home" styrofoam floral heart complete with phone receiver (my mother got endless hours of amusement from tacky funeral flowers, and that one ALWAYS made her laugh), and we sang Motown music right alongside "How Great Thou Art".

As I was out running errands today, the very song we sang at her funeral-- "Reach Out" by the Four Tops-- came on the radio. Not only was it one of her favorites, and not only did we have a well choreographed family car dance to it, if you get right down to it and pay attention to the lyrics, it works. Mom will always be there, giving all the love we need. More importantly, God will be there-- all we have to do is "Reach Out."

I truly feel, looking back on that drive home the day that she died, she was in the car with me saying her goodbyes. That might sound completely off-the-wall to some people, but I know myself well enough to know that there was something different about that drive home. I knew it even as it was happening, but I certainly never would have dreamed of the possible explanation. I felt her again in the car today, rocking out at the red light to Motown.

During this season of uncertainty in my life, there are lots of times I want to lay down in the floor and beat my fists on the ground and have my mom come make it all better. She would know the right things to say, and even if she didn't, she'd make up something brilliant that would somehow ease my mind. I know without a shadow of a doubt that she would pray with me, and pray for me. She'd explain all the scary NICU procedures and would probably go tell Egleston that she would be assigning herself to Parker's care. Somewhere in the middle of all that, she'd tell me to stop worrying, to stop laying down on the floor and beating my fists, and to let go.

And so, I am still. I allow myself to feel the peace that comes with giving it up to God. I allow myself to feel my mom, who is with me always. I allow myself to feel the love and support from hundreds of people that covers our little family. It's easier than I thought it would be.

But sometimes, stillness just won't do. Sometimes you've got to put on a pastel polyester suit (is that pink???), do a little sidestep, and be reminded-- God's there. Mom's there. All our prayer warriors are there. We are so very blessed.