Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chubby Cheeks and 36 Weeks!


Just needed a breath!

It's been a busy week and I am so grateful! My sweet Pensacola Girls came in starting last Wednesday (missed you, Tina!) and as I suspected they would, the days just FLEW by! It was nothing to find it was 2 am and we were STILL jibber-jabbering, even with our eyes half closed! We made the last airport shuttle run last night, and the house is quiet in kind of a sad way...more for the dogs because they LOVED having some sweet little girls visit with them and treat them like they were the best things since sliced bread!

Now I am looking at the bottom of my computer screen and see a 22 on the calendar pad.

December 22.

Where has this year gone? How is it only 3 days before Christmas? I've been listening to Christmas music in the car on our drives, and with each song I sing to, I am so aware of this time last year. How "I'll Be Home For Christmas," nearly killed me...literally. I couldn't breathe listening to it...thinking about how DESPERATE I was to be Home...with Matthew. How he was there and I was here. Or the words from "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,".... "From now on, our troubles will be out of sight..."

Yeah, a year ago, there was no way that I could be sure I'd be able to get out of the bed the next morning, much less shower, get dressed and eat. Remember to breathe. Go for more than a half an hour without 'troubles' being out of sight was laughable at best.

Insult to injury at that time of year was more believable.

But here I've been....for a week of driving all over...and singing those very same songs. With a different perspective, of course, but determined to let Luke's 'first' Christmas be one where he hears his mommy sing words that she has always, always loved. Some songs still make me tear up, and I've not been brave enough to go back to my words from these days a year ago. There is obviously no doubt that we've known unimaginable sorrow this year but we've also known unimaginable blessings. "J" wrote something that SO warmed my heart...there's no way that Luke could ever fill the hole in my heart left by Matthew, but he has opened up parts I never knew could exist...and surely didn't think would exist after losing Matthew.

I don't know of a word that could more aptly define that statement than simply, "True." We are just nearly ecstatic some moments when Luke does something funny to us--like go nuts over food and especially candy and sugary stuff (which Dr. Polko told me to watch these days, darnit!). When he yawns or swallows on the ultrasounds...when he kicks around so much they can't get the fetal monitor to stay and get his heartbeat appropriately. When he smiles...

We are so blessed with and grateful for this sweet little boy.

He is doing fabulously. I'm measuring big still, which just makes me laugh. He is now in the 75th%tile and I have told everyone (and a few doctors agree!) that I don't know that I'd have made it to 40 weeks on my own anyway--he is definitely lower, my hips are DEFINITELY aware of it, he's bigger...there's just no place on my tummy that you can feel where there is NOT Luke pushing as hard as he can to fill that space! He's weighing in at 6 lbs., 9 oz., which is more than Matthew was at birth. Even if this is an overmeasurement, with the standard measure of error, he's probably at least about 6 lbs. He has chubby, chubby cheeks!!!! He has obviously enjoyed the cuisine of Hotel Mommy! Dr. Polko and I discussed the options for if he should decide to come a bit earlier than even the 38 weeks we planned, and came to the consensus that we had several, but should not necessarily plan on being too far from St. Mary's at the least and Annapolis at best. I think we'll make it to 38, but maybe just barely.

I'm gaining more steadily, about 25-26 pounds now and some light/moderate swelling is beginning. I think a lot of it has been me being so busy lately, not to mention it's just that time of a pregnancy when it should start if it will. It's not too bad at all and I plan to spend the next 11 days and 14 hours until his birthday just sort of taking it easy.

Still scheduled for 1:00 on January 4. Did I mention that's just a little over 11 days?

Don't know if I will get a chance to write before Christmas...we are looking at a possible Nor'easter this weekend and that could put a crimp in our travel plans because John doesn't want to be too far from home for too long either, and that includes taking the chance of being snowed in. We'll see.

In any event, for any who read, and for all who comment and take the time to give me a sweet word of encouragement or email or amazing little gift in the mail for me or for Luke or for Matthew....I just can't say thank you enough. I mean that literally. I am so behind in thank-you notes and acknowledgements and it's mostly due to the fact that we are just SO ABUNDANTLY blessed with the generosity of such precious hearts.

How appropriate to remember the generosity of a precious heart at this time of year...specifically the heart that so loved the world that He gave His only one day I'll see my first-born again.


Definitely still Mommy's lips and chin...look at those cheeks!

I LOVE this little pout!!!!

Me at 36 weeks..starting to fill out a bit more....

Dixie can't understand why a camera is pulled out and she is not asked to pose....

Pensacola Girls (minus Tina!)

Here's what's going on with Luke this week:

Week Thirty Six: Baby may drop into the birth canal

You are 36 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 34 weeks)
  • The baby is about 19 inches (48 cm) long.
  • Weight is around 6 pounds (2.7 kg).
  • The baby's body is becoming chubby as fat layers build.
  • Between now and birth they may gain about an ounce (30g) a day
  • You may feel contractions of the womb, called Braxton Hicks contractions.
36 weeksWhile it says that your baby weighs six and a half pounds this week and measures 19 inches long, this is only an estimate. In general, babies are gaining half a pound (225 grams) per week now. Baby continues gaining weight as fat deposits and is forming creases in the neck and wrists.

You may feel contractions of the womb, called Braxton Hicks contractions, which can be used to perform and practice breathing exercises. You may be visiting your caregiver weekly up until the birth. Regular internal exams may begin, to see if your cervix has softened, thinned, dilated or if your baby's head is dropping into the pelvis. Any of these could be signs of impending labor but there are no guarantees and you could be waiting for weeks yet. Your baby is almost ready, a pair of kidneys and the liver has begun processing some waste products, the only organ still to mature is the lungs.

38 weeksThis week your baby may drop into the birth canal, this is called 'lightening' or 'dropping'. If this is not your first baby, this 'lightening' may not occur until right before labor. Your care provider may refer to it by saying that your baby is now 'engaged'. The majority of babies are now in the birth position, either head down (vertex) or butt down (breech), most will maintain this position until birth. Any movements that they make are more likely to be rolls from side to side.You may notice when this happens because it will suddenly become much easier for you to breathe. While breathing becomes easier, walking may be the exact opposite. If your baby has dropped you may find yourself visiting the bathroom much more often as baby is resting right on top of your bladder again.

Keep talking - by now he or she can recognize you voice, and may respond to any loud noises with a swift kick out.

The average twin birth occurs between 36 and 37 weeks and the babies weigh an average of 5 pounds apiece. A baby's average size is now 18.5 inches (47 cm) and 6 pounds (2700 g).


  1. :) Aw I love the pictures!!!I can't believe that Luke is going to be here in a short 11 days! So excited for you, and praying for you too! <3

  2. cutest little chubby cheeks ever:) so glad your girls came to be with you last week! how awesome they are!

    sending you hugs-

  3. Lori, you look absolutely beautiful! I continue to pray for you and for Luke. May his delivery be uneventful, and may your heart feel the love and peace of our heavenly Father's touch. ♥

  4. I cannot believe how close you are!! I am just so thrilled and cannot wait to meet Luke. Your pictures are lovely.

  5. Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis singing that song ALWAYS makes me cry! But you're right, someday you'll be with him again and all your troubles will be out of sight. You are SO close to Luke! Looking beautiful as usual ... and Luke has the best lips and cheeks ever! It's a good thing I'm so far away, cuz I would probably grab him (gently) from you and kiss his face all over! ;) Merry Christmas, friend! XOXO

  6. I was just thinking about those lyrics "I'll be home for Christmas"...I wish Matthew and Madelyn could both be home with us.

    I can't wait to see pics of Luke outside the womb!

  7. Luke is AMAZING! Merry Christmas to your little guy, and to you and John!


  8. I love the pictures!!! You look amazing. My dog often seems to wonder why the pictures aren't of her, too!

    It's hard to imagine that last year was a year ago. It seems to me that although the whole year has been a struggle, there are so many things that take me back to those moments last year.

    I keep you in my thoughts daily and I can hardly believe we're so close!!! XOXO

  9. Sweetest Friend,

    You look absolutely adorable! I'm counting down the days until Luke's arrival, as we can not wait to see the little blessing we are all praying so hard for. His ultrasound pic's are beyond precious, which makes me want to see him even more...and those cheeks, Lovin' them :)

    Sending you love, peace of heart, and praying for you always.

    Merry Christmas to you, John and your boys.

  10. You are still looking great!! :)

    Wishing you as merry a Christmas as can be! I am so excited for Luke to make his arrival so we can all see him in person. Well, at least in pics! I love chubby baby cheeks! My kids always seem to have them! They're good for planting big kisses!

  11. 11 days! That is amazing. I can't wait to see your pictures with Luke. You are looking beautiful.

    I will be thinking of you on Christmas. As much as our other children warm our heart, I think we will always ache for our angels. The holidays really remind us of what should be. Big hugs.

  12. Oh he is beautiful!! Merry Christmas to you Lori, and I can't wait to see Luke on this side of the womb.

  13. I can't believe we are soooo close to having our sweet rainbow babies... it seems like just yesterday we were finding out and then finding each other on this blog world... I love seeing the pictures of your little man since I haven't had a chance to get a 3D one here and can't wait to see what they both look like on "the outside". We are gonna have some cuties on our hands, I'm sure! Hugz.

  14. Glad you were able to have some friends there to distract you and make the time pass quickly. Your long wait is almost over!

  15. You are glowing! I am so far behind, I cannot believe 11 days!!! I know what you mean with the Christmas songs... Sending you lots of love this Christmas and the time until Luke arrives!

  16. You look beautiful! And Luke is a cutie pie!!!

    I added you to our Sunday School prayer list the past week (well, updated it as you'd been on it previously!) since we won't be back at church til after Mr. Luke arrives!!

  17. You are so close! Hang in there mama! You look like your cooking that baby perfectly! Can't wait to see his sweet face on the outside. HOPE he likes his painting and stares at it for hours!~

  18. Lori!

    I am thinking of you and your rainbow baby. Time goes flying and I can't believe you are so near of giving birth. I am wishing you the best. I saw your pictures and I also bought the stocking you bought for your sons in PBK, beautiful and so thoughtful to buy one for Mathew. I also bought one for Inés!!

  19. (((LORI)))
    Thinking of, and praying for you all daily!!
    I love the photos of Luke, and the photo of you by the boys stockings!! Precious!

    And so true...a part of your heart will forever be for Matthew only, but Luke will fill many parts you never knew would open up again! (((hugs))).

    The days are going quickly, and I excitedly await the news of Luke's arrival, and then pictures of him in his nursery at home!

    Love you tons!! And praying for you all!

    Heather (heathershope - HP)

  20. <3 to you, and Luke... thinking of you this Christmas, and praying for his impending delivery! So very, very excited for you.
    And, by the way, you look amazing! Merry Christmas!!!

  21. It's 100% true that your heart grows with each child - each one needs their own little space. Matthew has a corner all his own (different from the "Matthew-shaped hole," I'd think), and Luke has already laid claim to another piece of real estate.

    Face-to-face time with life-long friends is so good for the soul...glad you all make it a priority. Hope the next ?9? days and some-odd hours (or less! Luke, stay put...) are full of rest, reflection, finishing "to do" items, and celebrating. Because once Luke is here, some of those things will be hard to come by for a while :)

    Merry Christmas, Happy New Year (just in case no blogging happens before then), and over the moon at how you'll see Luke (not just in blurry black-and-white) very soon. His baby cheeks - always my favorite part - are so sweet. Must be torture to have them so close (literally and figuratively) and not be able to kiss them yet!

  22. Lori what precious pictures! Love, love, love his cheeks! You look beautiful! As I am sure in evryone's household, the count down is on! Everyday Hailey tells us how many days are left. Praying for you to have peace, comfort, and strength in the days leading to and on delivery day! Lots of love to you, John, Matthew and Luke!
    The Withrow Family