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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Baby Belly

What many of you have been begging for: Belly Pics! We've hesitated sharing these or letting ourselves get too excited until after the surgery was successful. :-) Happy to share now, except that you will all be disappointed. Not much of a baby belly yet! 

Flynnie was feeling left out....

How Far Along: 16 wks 4 days
Size of baby: 4.6in (crown to rump), size of an avocado
Weight gain: 10ish (I'm hoping getting back to the gym will curb this number a bit!)
Maternity Clothes: Not quite using them yet, but I have some! I've been shopping sales and my lovely sister in law sent me some all the way from Seattle!
Gender: too early to tell
Movement: Haven't felt much ... but not technically supposed to yet with 1st baby.
Sleep: I currently use 4-5 pillows and get up to use the bathroom at least once. So far, have nothing to complain about yet though. 
Milestones: safely through surgery and into the 2nd trimester!
Symptoms:  nope not really. Feeling great.
What I miss: Beer, Wine, Earl Grey tea, runny egg yokes
Cravings: Anything carb sounds great. Bagels, Bread, Bagels, Rice, Pasta, Cereal, did I mention Bagels?. .... doing my best to eat more veggies and fruit to curb the weight gain a bit. 
What I'm looking forward to: looking slightly pregnant - instead of just feeling bloated and large in the midsection :-)

9 wk ultrasound picture - it's a Gummy Bear!

Rest, Recovery, and Rejoicing!

I apologize in advance for this rather late and lengthy update. I know that you all have diligently and fervently prayed us through my surgery and recovery. And for that, we are so completely grateful. There are no words to describe the peace that surrounded us throughout the whole process - a peace that undoubtedly came from the Great Physician. :-) Thank you doesn't even begin to describe!

Now for the details :-) ...

About a week prior to the day of surgery, people kept asking me how I was doing. I was happy to tell them that I was too busy to think about it - and therefore too busy to get overwhelmed or worried! Jamie and I had friends from Colorado staying with us from Fri-Tues, and my mom/sister came into town on Weds.... and surgery was Thursday! The one source of stress, however, was getting my act together at school for a sub while I was gone for potentially 4 weeks. God must have known that I needed extra time because 3 well-timed snow/cold days happened within the week of my procedure! :-)

The morning of my procedure, I woke up after a full night's sleep (miraculous blessing!), and was immediately hungry/thirsty. BUT alas, I had to wait. No food/drink past midnight to prepare for surgery. This is nothing short of cruel and unusual punishment for pregnant women. Holy shamoly I was so thirsty! On the way to the hospital, Jamie and I joked about whether or not I left all my shrapnel at home (they ask questions like that prior to surgery.... "do you have shrapnel of ANY KIND in your body, anywhere?"), and talked about baby names - incase the worst case scenario happened and we would have to name our child that day.

We checked into the hospital and was assigned a pre-op "room". I say "room" because it was more like part of a hallway separated by a hanging sheet.... but still. I changed into a HUGE "gown" in the shade of lovely mint green... and the most annoying socks I've ever worn in my life! A nurse from Labor and Delivery as well as my doctor came to listen to the baby's heartbeat (always fun to hear).  And then my favorite person came to take me away. He called himself a "bartender" because he mixed the cocktails. HA. He was the anesthesiologist. :-)
No joke. I closed my eyes... and opened them in the recovery room.

After hearing a good strong heartbeat from the baby, they moved me to my room for the night. Once I was situated in my new bed, the nurses began to point out different buttons for raising/lowering the bed, how to operate the TV, and call the nurse for help. I laughed at them and said that currently I was blind as a bat and couldn't see what they were talking about! Thankfully my family came in shortly thereafter and Jamie handed me my glasses! :-)
Jello After Surgery - this pic was sent to the grandmas proving that I survived!
Throughout my stay, I got really good at rolling out of bed and not bending in my mid section... and thankfully had NO complications from the meds or surgery. I even ate Jimmy Johns for dinner on the same night! (Did I mention how preventing a pregnant lady from eating was cruel and unusual?!). The next morningr, I even tried conducting - and surprisingly had NO pain. Woohoo! My doc came to check on me the next morning and signed my discharge papers after being very pleased that I was already eating normally and walking laps around the hospital floor. :-) Baby was also doing very well!
The damage - minimal! About 5 hours after surgery.
I went home, took lots of naps, and ate some wonderful food prepared by my mom/sister and church friends. :-) My family went home a day early because I was doing so well - and didn't need as much help as we were originally thinking (we had planned for full surgery, stomach staples, hard recovery, etc).

This past week has been one of the weirdest in my life. People have been texting me to say "sit down" or "rest" or "stop trying to be superwoman". Jamie has been great. He's scolded me for getting up to get my own glass of water.... saying "that's my job!" So now I call to him from the living room couch, and he comes running from his office, interrupting his work, to get whatever I need. Even if it's "can you pull this table a little closer?" How on earth did I get to be so spoiled?! LOVE HIM.

All of my painstaking rest (got bored and stir crazy after about a day...) must have paid off. At my post-op appointment my doctor was very pleased with my progress and how well baby was doing (baby heartbeat was good and strong - 148).... and told me that I could start going back to my normal life and normal activities. YEAH!  She warned that I will get overly tired, but that I am in no risk/danger of tearing incisions or hurting myself. So excited to say that I'm back at work for half-days on Tues/Weds and then full-time on Thursday! Also, very excited to get back to the gym this week. I've been missing it a lot... and I think it will help me feel like I'm not ballooning out in size these days!

A lot of you have been asking to see "Baby Belly" pics... well I'm sorry to say that I don't really have much of a baby bell yet, but I promise another blog post soon with some pics we've taken along the way. :-)

Love to you all.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Not exactly as planned....

God will comfort all who mourn, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. (Isaiah 61:3 - paraphrased)

This is truly how I feel. As I write this I am 13 weeks pregnant with a wonderful miracle. God has given Jamie and me the scary and sacred responsibility of becoming parents to the little one that is growing inside of me. I'm still in a bit of shock, but the ultrasound confirmed that it's in fact happening, and that paired with my pants beginning to fit a bit more tightly....... I can't deny it any longer! I truly believe that this little one can and will bring joy to my family and help us grasp the hope that is in our future. :-)

One thing I know full well about God's plan is that it doesn't always come in ways that we plan or expect. Last May was proof of that....

On my first ultrasound at 8wks, my doctor found something she wasn't planning on. She suspected a type of ovarian cyst called a "dermoid." Thankfully it did not seem to be interfering at all in the pregnancy! After talking to a specialist, she scheduled me for an MRI to better determine what exactly it was and determine the best course of action.

The MRI showed a mid-abdominal Ovarian Dermoid Cyst (doctor says this is a good thing!). It is roughly the size of a softball - maybe slightly smaller. My doctor and the specialist decided that surgery is necessary. The cyst has completely taken over the ovarian tissue, so surgery to remove the cyst means surgery to remove the ovary as well. Docs reassured me that this is fine. Many women function normally with only 1 ovary. :-)
Okay. Now comes the scary part. What type of surgery? Typically whenever possible, they would lean toward laproscopic surgery because it would minimize recovery time, size of incisions, etc.... HOWEVER there are many factors that lead them to want to schedule a normal "open you up"/ "c-section" type of surgery in my case. Some examples:
1) size and location of cyst
2) laproscopic would mean puncturing/draining/removing cyst... usually leads to infection in healthy people because of the "gunk" that can be left behind inside the body.... NOT GOOD for pregnant people.
3) time under anesthesia would be more with laproscopic - not good for baby.
Downside - recovery time from this surgery (with a vertical incision - yikes!) is typically 4-6 weeks off of work. I pretty much laughed when they told me that. SO we are going to plan 2-3 weeks off work, then take it week by week with me hopefully coming back in some capacity before the 4 week mark (like sitting at a desk - clerical/administrative type stuff).
When, you may ask? Safest time for baby is between 15-16 weeks. That means between January 27-Feb 4. It's been scheduled for Thursday, January 30th at 10:30am. I will be in the hospital for 24 hours after surgery and on some meds to calm the uterus (aka prevent premature labor). After that... I'll be limping/crawling my way home to become a couch potato/hermit for 2+ weeks.
God is good however, because the chance of miscarriage due to this surgery is actually quite low. I'm lucky that the cyst's location is high enough in my abdomen that they wont really be anywhere near the baby (on my right side about even with my belly button.... and the scar will heal enough for me to have a normal delivery (God willing)!  Yay!

So now the prayers begin for me not to be overwhelmed when the time comes, and for my team at school to be able to find the best possible Music Ed sub for my absence. My team now also has to take 100 students to Disneyworld during the last week in February without me! I am struggling to not feel guilty about leaving them behind, and doing my best to balance the need to take it easy for my baby only 4 weeks after major surgery. 

This post is not meant to scare, but rather to inform and ask for prayers for a speedy recovery, for steady hands and clear minds in the 2 doctors completing the surgery, and for my team at RCS. I'm so very thankful for Jamie (whose boss told him to work from home for the entirety of my recuperation) and for my family on both sides. A mom and a sister who are coming the week of my surgery for 5 days, and a mom/dad-in-law who plan to pop in to help later! 

God really is good. :-)

Saturday, August 24, 2013


The type of journey on my mind doesn't include hits such as "Don't Stop Believin' ", "Faithfully", or "Any Way You Want It". (though I'm am blasting those tunes currently while writing this....)

This train of thought stems from Chapter 4 in Lysa Terkeurst's book "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God". Part of my study through that chapter this week lead me to study Psalm 84. Go look it up if you haven't done so in a while. It's the Psalm that starts out with "How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty...."  I'm stuck on the verses that talk about God's provision as we travel life's journey. Here are those verses from the New Living Translation:

"What joy for those whose strength comes from the LORD, 
who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, 
it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
They continue to grow stronger, 
and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.
O LORD God of Heaven's Armies, hear my prayer. 
Listen of God of Jacob." (Psalm 84:5-8 NLT)

The psalmist is reassuring those on a journey. He is reminding them that their strength comes from the LORD (the Lord who commands "armies of angels"). When they walk through the Valley of Weeping (a time of inexplicable pain and suffering), God's benevolent care over his pilgrims will transform that valley into one of praise and renewal. Together, they will continue to grow stronger until each of the travelers reach their goal.

In the end of Chapter 4, Lysa Terkeurst describes herself as a woman on a journey. I long for this to be true of myself as well. She can write it better than me, so I'll share her words. :-)

"I am a woman on a journey of learning how to make sure my reactions don't deny Christ's presence in me. I am a woman who says yes to God not because my emotions and reactions are always perfect. No, I say yes to God because He is perfectly able to forgive me, love me, remind me, challenge me, and show me how to weather trials in ways that prove His Spirit resides in me. I remind myself often that people don't care to meet my Jesus until they meet the reality of Jesus in my life." ~ Lysa Terkeurst

I am a woman on a journey.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Change is coming.

If you know me, you know that the previous sentence is NOT something that enjoy. Change and I do not typically get along very well. The fear of the unknown and the inability to control define the word "change" in my vocabulary. It is high time that I change that definition.

3 months of change. 3 months towards finding the "new normal" (as my family describes it). The "new normal" without Dad. My dad was my inspiration. He was probably my best friend. He was my lifeline. The person I'd call to complain to or laugh with about something that happened at school today. He was my source of knowledge for everything that it is to become a great, well-loved, respected teacher in our field. As school is starting again, I'm faced with the reality that I'm not sure I know how to do this without him. What if I fail? What if I don't live up to all the expectations? Part of me thinks that if I stop the hurt my heart feels, then he will really be gone...

My head tells me that I am the daughter of an almighty King, but sometimes my heart still refuses to follow. I pray for grace and mercy in this part of my journey. I have just begun to find the balance this summer, and now the busy of school looms just around the corner (on Monday). I've been begging for God to grant me courage because sometimes I don't think I have the strength to do this on my own.

Then it hits me. BOOM. I am not on my own.

In Joshua 1:9, God reminds me of his commands and promises never to leave my side. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

And King David - author of the Psalms who he himself royally messed up on many occasions - writes out of his own experience, that he is confident in the nearness of God. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18)

Yes, change is coming. Change that I'll just have to expect and get used to. It doesn't have to debilitate me, as it would have in years past. The change is that my dad is now in the presence of our King. The change is that I have a new resolve, and a renewed strength. I will choose to rely on God's plan, and not my own. I will learn to release control of situations that I cannot change. I will give voice to God's shouts in my life over the whispers of Satan's attacks. I will determine to find the blessings in the midst of the burdens that seem too heavy to bear.

Photo: ~Encouragement for Today Devotion by Proverbs 31 Ministries~ 

Since Daniel was a thankful man, God’s nature and how He provides was front and center in Daniel’s heart—even in the midst of uncontrollable circumstances.

“Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Daniel 6:10b 

READ the REST of this devotion by Lysa TerKeurst at

Lord, I commit to seeing these changes through with an open heart and palms raised upward. I long for more of you and a deeper understanding of what it means to live in your presence. I promise to be disciplined, devoted, and diligent in keeping my morning time with you untouched so that I can be in your word consistently. Here I am. Ears ready to listen, feet ready to move, and letting go of my need for control. Show me what you'll have me learn and walk with me in case I fall. When I do stumble, I know without a shadow of a doubt that you will catch me. - Amen.


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