Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rebel Yeller!

So last week, a sweet friend emailed me and told me that they saw something that reminded them of Luke because he was already showing what a, um, personality he has! He stays up and parties all night, eats all the junk food that he wants, whenever he wants, and is constantly ordering things for himself with Daddy's credit card. (She was alluding to one of my FB statuses where I noted that Luke had ordered himself a pizza since Daddy was flying at night and he even used Daddy's credit card to do it!)

Whereas Matthew leaped for joy every Sunday morning as traveled to church and he listened to Elvis gospel tunes on the way, I just get the feeling that his little brother is in there wondering when I'm going to start jamming to AC/DC or something along those lines.

He's quite the little Rebel Yeller, this little Luke. I love it.

We saw Dr. Sweeney for what will be the last time for another 3 weeks (I know, I know...I'm VERY spoiled in how often we go!). We go out on our cruise this Saturday (provided the hurricane situation doesn't affect things) and then when we get back, we told Dr. Sweeney it was ok for him to take a vacation, since we know how hard he works and all. So, by the time he's back, it'll be September 20 before we see Luke again. Seems like a long time, but I know it will just fly with all going on in the interim.

Luke was pretty chill yesterday. Actually, it was more that he was sleeping off the all-nighter he'd pulled the night before. He was measuring 19w6d (which is just perfect as I was 20w0d) and a respectable 11 oz. He definitely looks like he's filling out some! He was practicing some yoga, avoiding pictures, and swallowing amniotic fluid quite a bit to get those little lungs good and mature.

He's kicking more and more (mostly after meals and at night...alllll through the night!) and John was able to feel him two nights ago. I love that the kicks are getting stronger! Keep growing, little one!

I started measuring my waist at 8 weeks and wish I'd started a hair sooner. It was 30 inches then. (When I first told this to John, he said, "Are you sure? That big?" Yes, if my husband wasn't so clueless about some of the things that come out of his mouth, I'd have some BIG issues with him. Seriously. Like 30 inches is big. Not to mention I had just had a baby about 4 1/2 months before. And was PREGNANT again. Geesh.) I measured earlier a few days ago and was at 33.5 inches. I measured this morning and was the same. So, I've added 3.5 inches. I've also picked a few pounds up. The average for the last week's nights has been 104.2, but for a few nights, I was back in the 102s. For this week's progress, I'm going to go with 104, which means that I've gained a total of 4 pounds so far. I know this is going to start changing rapidly.
It already is.

Luke likes his food. He LOVES his candy. He has been on a caramel kick like you read about. Bull's Eyes can't be consumed fast enough and I think the words Sugar Babies were written for babies like him--that seems to be what that boy is made of. So, he's been rocking the caramels and sour skittles. Good energy for his nighttime parties, right?

Here are some of the most recent pics of my boy. He's quite Bad To The Bone, if I say so myself!

Mommy and Luke at 20w0d

Good grief, people...don't you know how late I was up last night?

Knees to nose...to have that flexibility again...(or ever!)

This is his Fonzie Thumbs Up! "Ehhhhh"


I hear my mommy has a thing for sweet feet!!

Getting plump!

Look at those sweet cheeks!

I'm getting tired of this!!

Lights out, people. Lights out.

Here's how Luke's developing:

Week Twenty: The halfway point

You are halfway through your pregnancy, 20 weeks marks the midpoint. Remember, pregnancy is counted as 40 weeks from the beginning of your last period if you go full term.

You are 20 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 18 weeks)
  • Baby now weighs about 11 ounces and is roughly 7 inches long.
  • Baby is 17cm long crown to rump, and weighs about 310 grams.
  • The baby can hear and recognize the mother's voice.
  • The mother will probably start feeling the first fetal movements.
  • The toenails and fingernails are growing.
  • The growth of hair on the rest of the body has started.
  • The skin is getting thicker.
  • The heart can now be heard with a stethoscope.
Your baby may react to loud sounds. Baby can actually hear noises outside of the womb. Familiar voices, music, and sounds that baby becomes accustomed to during their development stages often are calming after birth. This is an important time for sensory development since nerve cells serving each of the senses; taste, smell, hearing, sight, and touch are now developing into their specialized area of the brain.

20 weeksYour baby now weighes about 11 ounces and at roughly 7 inches long they are filling up more and more of the womb. Though still small and fragile, the baby is growing rapidly and could possibly survive if born at this stage.

NoteNote: Babies are measured from the crown (or top) of the head to the rump (or bottom) until about 20 weeks. After that, they are measured from head to heel. This is because a baby's legs are curled up against the torso during the first half of pregnancy and very hard to measure.

Weight: 10.6 ounces - 300 grams
(crown to rump) 6.5 inches - 16.5 cm
(crown to heel) 10 inches - 25.5 cm.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nine Months Isn't Just For Pregnancy...

It also can denote how much time has passed since your pregnancy ended, you gave birth to your son and he died.

At least for me, today, it does. Nine months ago...on a different Sunday, my precious boy left this earth.

How is it that he's been gone almost as long as he was with me? How is it that so much time has passed and I'm still breathing?

I went to Women of Faith this weekend with Nanci (will write more on that at another time...need some time to decompress, process, assess and reflect) and though I don't remember the context of this conversation, we were talking about how people say things like, "I don't know how you are doing it...if it happened to me, I'd ________________."

And the fact is that no one can really say how they'd react to something if it happened to them because honestly, one just does not know.

I'll tell you how I know this.

Before Matthew died, if I had contemplated what happened to us actually happening to us, I can guarantee that I would have said, "I would kill myself."

I've never been suicidal, never felt the need even in my darkest, darkest days to hurt myself and don't feel it is any answer.

But before Matthew died, I loved him so much that the thought of something happening to him truly would have made me consider it. I would have told you that I wouldn't want to live. And I would have meant and believed every word.

Some days, if I am really honest, I still feel that way...that without him, I just don't have that will to press on. Still don't have the desire to hurt myself, just don't have the will to press on.

Which is where the supernatural grace and mercy of God come in to play.

Because though I thought I would have wanted to die without him, I don't.

For nine excruciating months, I've pressed on. I've been given strength and ability that just defies logic and understanding. I've been given joy and hope and feel firmly planted on a path of restoration.

So when you look at me and see strength or bravery or courage or just about whatever it is that you see, please know it is not me.

It is solely the grace of God. Left to my own will and ability, I'd be nothing, have nothing and show nothing.

My heart aches at how quickly nine months have passed and yet how long the rest of my life without Matthew seems. While our time on this earth may be just a blink of an eye, when viewing it in light of not having your child with you for the rest of it, it seems like eternity.

Nine months.

Nine months of a new life I never wanted.

Nine months of learning how to navigate that life.

How so ironically it juxtaposes the 'nine months' of pregnancy.

Missing my sweet boy...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Sweet Giveaway!

The always adorable Kelli is having one heckuva giveaway!! It's a photo session with Blue Lily that's worth over $450!!! The thing about this giveaway is that Blue Lily travels and you should see the list of places they will go!!! Before you think they won't go near you, check out their list first!

Visit Kelli for the details on entering. She makes it super easy!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Still A Boy!

I got some very nice and supportive comments about the Teacher Club. Thank you. I want to be clear, though. I have absolutely, positively NO regrets about not teaching anymore. I have wanted to be a SAHM since I was a little girl. College and work were just those things I'd have to do until I got that chance (and found Prince Charming to help me out with that...lucky, John, huh? Yes, I realize how 'archaic' some might find that. I don't. I think raising children rivals any job in the 'real' world and is as highly underpaid (in monetary value) as tons of other selfless jobs--think teacher, social worker, fireperson, police officer, military personnel, etc. I feel really, really bad that John doesn't have the luxuries of gardening, computering, organizing, coupon clipping and baby-growing that I do and I am grateful that he allows me those gifts.).

I think more than anything, I was feeling like I had traded teaching for raising Matthew and was thrilled to do so. I was EXCITED to trade that identity!!! I felt like it was FINALLY my turn!

And so, with no Matthew to raise and no classroom to go back to...that old 'purposeless' feeling set in. The guilt that goes with, "Really, I *could* go back to work...throw money in the bank, keep me busy, be part of new little ones' lives..." fights the reality of work being the last place on the planet I want to be. It feels quite a bit selfish.

But Luke is definitely my priority. I miss feeling like I have the camaraderie I've enjoyed for the last several, several years, but I wouldn't trade the intimacy I get to have with Luke on a daily basis for anything in this world. I was just feeling wistful...thinking of how it should have been.

And knowing there are no shoulds.


So--19 weeks! Twenty weeks *officially* marks the half-way point for a pregnancy, as 40 weeks is the going rate for gestation.

Knowing we are delivering at 38 means that today, we are half-way! I've been counting up-to thus far....now I feel like I'm mid-way through a deployment (yes, the military permeates analogies whether I want it to or not) and am counting the days down.

I love that feeling.

Luke is definitely different in his movement patterns than Matthew was. Yesterday, I hardly felt Luke at all for most of the day (listened to him with the doppler twice several hours apart) and was a teeny bit worried. True to his Ennis-hood (not that Matthew wasn't, I just think he took a bit more after his mommy in some things), Luke likes his food. Every time I eat anything, I feel him going to town. As yesterday was Sunday and I treat myself to a teeny bit of coffee on Sunday mornings, I figured after Captain Crunch and coffee, he'd be wiggly all through church. Not so much. He did move some, so once I started feeling that, I felt better, but then for most of the day, nada. I ate...and ate some more...and ate some more. Finally, around 5ish, I started feeling him more and felt a lot better. It kept up and then by the time we went to bed (around 10ish), he was non-stop. I fell asleep around 11 or so and yep, he was still up.

Apparently my Luke thinks the night time is the right time.

Oh boy!

I've picked up about two or so pounds this week. I'm about 102 consistently, though the scale hit 103.2 Friday when we went up to Baltimore for Restaurant Week and had YUMMY dinners with cousin Andi and a friend. So, all in all, that's about a 2-3 pound total weight gain. At this point with Matthew, I weighed about the same, but the weight gain was 5-6 pounds since I started a little bit lower. There's still plenty of time to gain weight!

I'm mostly in maternity clothes, but I can strangely fit into some pre-pregnancy dresses--I find this strange since my body shape and weight distribution really changed after Matthew was born. Even when I got back to pre-pregnancy weight, I just couldn't wear a lot of things because my body was different. I wore two dresses this week that were not maternity and really not worn much even before when I wasn't pregnant and John said they both made great maternity dresses.

Which leads me to wonder what they looked like on me on the occasions I did wear them before?

I pretty much wear dresses as much as I can because honestly, my scar pain and irritation is getting worse and worse. The keloiding is getting thicker and having things hug my waistline is just uncomfortable.

Sleeping a bit better these days, mainly because I think I am burning up a lot of energy getting a lot of my 'projects' that have been neglected for these last months out of the way. My counselor and I talked about making sure I kept my OCD under control but honestly, I'm taking advantage of it these days.

I've been pushing back as I feel little Luke kicks, just for interaction with him, and the other night, I pushed back and felt his little body!!! I remember that feeling the first time with Matthew (in the shower, he kicked and I pushed back and think I got his shoulder!) and it freaked me out at first!! This time, with Luke, I knew exactly what it was and LOVED it! Wonder if I surprised him?

Dr. Shonekan this week, so no pictures. I'm bringing them fudge (thanks, Terri!) and then a week from now, Dr. Sweeney and more pictures.

Keep growing, Luke...you're getting big! So is Mommy! Even though I weigh about the same, give or take a pound, I am looking MUCH bigger now than I was at this time with Matthew! I'm also carrying Luke much higher--Matthew was always low! I have no idea of how to put pictures side by side, but here are two for comparison:

Mommy and Matthew 18w5d
(This was Matthew's first boat ride!)

Mommy and Luke 18w4d

Week Nineteen: Genitals recognizable

You are 19 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 17 weeks)
  • Fetus is around 6.5 inches (17cm) and 9 ounces (250gm).
  • Your placenta continues to grow and nourish the baby.
  • Features of your baby's heart, should be visible during an ultrasound.
  • Your baby's genitals are distinct and recognizable.
  • Scalp hair has sprouted and continues to grow.
19 weeksIf baby is female the uterus starts to develop, the vagina, uterus, and fallopian tubes are in place. Females have a limited supply of eggs in their lifetime. At this point your daughter will have 6 million eggs. This amount decreases to approximately one million by birth. If it's a boy, the genitals are distinct and recognizable. Even if the sex looks obvious, ultrasound operators have been known to make mistakes.

Baby's legs are reaching their relative size and with the increase muscle development occurring as well, you will start feeling much more than tiny flutter kicks soon. If you have not felt movement yet, you will soon. Your baby will increase its weight by more than 15 times between now and delivery.

Your baby's size is around 6.5 inches (17cm) and 9 ounces (250gm).

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Well, it's back-to-school time. For the first time in more years than I want to admit to, I will not be walking into a school building after a whirlwind summer vacation to begin another year of amazing little miracles.

It's very weird.

Considering that it's nearly 4 in the morning and Luke has been partying and kicking since 2, I guess that's a good thing because I'd be exhausted if I had to go anywhere anytime soon, but it's still very weird.

In honesty, teaching has never been a job that I've loved. Don't get me wrong...there have been many aspects to teaching that I've loved, but the actual job (and pay and lack of authority to do what is right for my kids without a fight and all the bureaucratic red tape) of teaching has not been so endearing to me. I planned to be (and was for a bit) in public relations and/or marketing. That's what I majored in. If I am *really* honest, I got my Master's in Education because John and I had been dating for a while as we both wrapped up our undergraduate degrees and he decided he was going to go to graduate school for environmental engineering. (Yeah, my civil/environmental engineer-turned-pilot.) Since HE was going to grad school, well, I certainly was too!!! And since I pretty much assumed our dating-for-a-while was leading to the altar at some point (which is another story entirely!), I figured he'd become a pretty successful engineer, we'd move back to Northern Virginia (of course it was Northern Virginia vs. just Virginia back then when I didn't think there were too many places worth being outside of Northern Virginia), we'd have 3-4 kids, a dog or two and a lovely suburban home with summer pool parties and potlucks with neighbors on the weekends.

So, what job would work well with that lifestyle?

Kindergarten teacher, of course!! It was perfect! I could play with kids all day (always have loved kids), wear those cute teacher clothes, work from 8-3, Monday thru Friday and best--have the summer and all the great holidays off! It wouldn't matter that I made peanuts because John would have a great job and life would just be idyllic.

(In my head, I am hearing Dr. Phil ask me, "So how'd that work out for you?")

In the course of my graduate program, I realized that there was FAR more to teaching than most generally assume, and I thought that I'd perhaps be better off as an administrator (because frankly, I was NOT thrilled with the way I felt so many schools were being run) or as a textbook writer. Hence my degree being in Curriculum, Instruction and Supervision vs. Elementary Education. At the time in Virginia, though (and maybe still?) I had to have licensure and experience as a classroom teacher before I could move into administration, so I chose K-6, figuring I'd teach kindergarten a few years, move into admin and then on to textbook writing.

Long story short, my marriage proposal was, "I got a flight contract to the Marine Corps and I'm signing it," and I was then grateful that I had my teaching licensure because I didn't know much about military wives, but I knew careers for them were difficult due to all the transition, and nurses and teachers always seemed to be able to work. After we first married, I spent a while in PR because I could and did make WAY more money than I would as a teacher, but once we moved to NC and settled, we weren't in an area that I could do much more (without a heckuva commute) than teach.

And I did. And though there were so many days I was tired and frustrated and aggravated and cried and promised, "THIS IS THE LAST YEAR!!!!!" I was so, so blessed with amazing things.

Friendships in my colleagues that to this day sustain me.
Friendships in parents that I treasure.
The honor and the privilege of 'mothering', if only in a semi-surrogate way, hundreds and hundreds of incredible miracles in the form of precious little boys and girls.

I don't know if I was meant to be a teacher, but I DO know that God placed each and every child in my care for a reason. Many parents are sweet to me and tell me how I was a Godsend to them. They have no idea that they have it backwards.

So...making the decision to not go back after Matthew died was truly gut-wrenching. I missed my students and I missed my collegial friends.

As my friends are heading back in just a few hours, I feel like I've been kicked out of a club.

Granted, it's more that I dropped out of the club with this leave of absence, but my loss is the same nonetheless.

I will miss all the hustle and bustle that comes with setting up my room and getting ready to welcome 20+ new little lives into my heart.

I will miss all the inside-jokes and commiserating over new policies and procedures with my 'teacher friends'.

I will miss the squeezing in as much as we can possibly share about our mornings into our very, very short lunch breaks.

I feel like I am yet again losing an identity.

I thought when I finally dropped out of the Teacher Club, it would be for the Mommy Club.

Who knew it would be the Mommies Without Their Babies Club?

We made the right decision--me taking this year (and probably many more in the years to come with Luke) off...we're still fresh from losing Matthew and precariously balancing the joy and anxiety that comes with growing and bonding with Luke. We can, for now, financially afford to have me focus on taking care of me and the baby and we feel like I have enough stress in my life as it is--there's no need to add more into the mix if we don't have to.

But I admit, and I never thought I would...I miss the Teacher Club and am thinking of all my friends as they return.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

18 Weeks and Soccer Bound!

Yesterday we hit 18 weeks. It really shocks me sometimes that we are this far...yet so far away. It's half-way through August but many days I feel the chill of a November day to my core. I'm grateful that days between doctor's visits draaaaaaaaggggggg because they force me to take advantage of the time I have with this sweet little boy I'm growing--days I know I'll never get back and will cherish always. I'm also grateful that the calendar seems to just turn pages at astronomical speed because it brings me closer and closer to a day I've prayed for my entire life: a day I'll hold my precious child.

So, time, I won't complain about you anymore...there are pluses and minuses (as in everything) to your speed and your lagging so I'll try to appreciate and make the most of them.

Luke is doing fabulously!! He is such a mover!! He was flipping, wiggling, waving his hands frantically...just moving, moving, moving! He still was constantly trying to get that little thumb or fist in his mouth and he is certainly looking like one heck of a soccer player. As usual, when trying to get his heartrate with the doppler, he kept moving around so much, it was hard but we eventually got it and it was just lovely at 146. We went ahead and did the anatomy scan yesterday and all systems looked wonderful. Two kidneys, one stomach, on bladder, 3-vessel cord with great flow, super smart-looking brain, 10 perfect fingers and toes, sweet little button nose, daddy's little mouth, 4 perfect-looking chambers in his heart...everything. Everything looked just perfect. Dr. Sweeney told me he could cut me loose that day and he felt extremely confident that all would be amazing with this baby.

Of course that's not happening, but it was nice to hear that Luke is doing just great. My placenta has moved from previa back to low-lying and he's confident that it will only get better because of how high the attachment at the top of my uterus was. Seriously, I do not know how they can make all that stuff out, but so glad that they can! John is getting pretty good at finding stuff...I'll randomly hear, "There's the humerus. There's a kidney." and it's John and he's right. I'm waiting to hear, "There are the alveoli in his lungs," from John and then I'll really be impressed.

It was just a great appointment. I love that place. I brought homemade peach pie (although I was aggravated with the crust because my recipe was for a 9" crust and my pie plates are 9.5" and left me with less than the appearance I wanted to have) and admit that I was up late the night before. Peach pies are a lot of work but SO worth it! I figured I owed them since the Oreo brownie bars from last visit were not my best work!

Definitely feeling Luke more and more and love it. He likes his food (he's measuring right on target at 18w1d and 8 oz., which is a hair over the average and I love that!) and thankfully my appetite is picking up a bit more. Not much, but a bit and that's helped with weight some. I picked up about a pound and am now averaging about 100-101 each night. I looked back in my journal of Matthew and on day 89 of his pregnancy, I was 101.8. On day 90 with Luke, I was 101.8!!! Granted I started a little lower with Matthew than I did with Luke, so overall, my weight increase with Luke has been 0-1 pounds, but I just thought it was neat that with both of my boys I weighed exactly the same at almost exactly the same point in the pregnancy!

Of course, I'm not looking to swell up like a tick and put on 50 pounds again!

No stretch marks still...none with Matthew, so curious as to whether I'll pick any up. Definitely in maternity clothes and picked up a few things last week and feel like I probably won't need too many more to finish the pregnancy out. Matthew and Luke are basically 6 weeks apart in their year difference, so really I just needed to add a few warmer weather things in for November and December and a little after and should be fine.

I've got lots of energy these days, which is good because I keep tackling really ginormous projects. This weekend was the 2-day marathon garage clean-out and I also detailed my car. If you knew what the garage looked like before, and how dirty, dirty, DIRTY black carpeting in a car can get (as well as what a can of Ginger Ale does to your leather seats when it explodes as you are driving), those accomplishments would seem bigger!

Just coasting along...getting ready for Nanci to come up next week and for us to attend Women of Faith together. I am super, super, super excited about that, though I know it is going to be a very emotional time, especially with Steven Curtis and Marybeth Chapman as speakers. Thankful for the support I know I'll have in Nanci!

Here are a few pics from this week:

Mommy's Little Luke!

The bump is getting bigger!

Precious, precious profile!!

"Oh, the paparazzi!!!" (Definitely a taste of his mommy's dramatic flair!)

I think he's going to look a lot like daddy!

Tired of pictures, but look at that sweet ear!

Ahh...the flexibility!

Here's what's going on with Lukey-Luke's growth:

Week Eighteen: Baby begins to hear

You are 18 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 16 weeks)
  • The fetus is now 6 inches long and weighs 7 ounces.
  • The fetus measures about 15cm and weighs almost 200 grams.
  • They can hear sounds and may be startled by loud noises.
  • Recognizable active and rest periods.
  • The skin is building a protective wax layer (vernix).
18 weeksVernix (a white cheese like protective material) forms on baby's skin with the lanugo, a soft lightly pigmented hair covering the body and limbs, both help to protect your baby's skin during the months in water. Your baby may hear your heart beating, your stomach rumbling or blood moving through the umbilical cord. He or she may even be startled by loud noises.

Tiny air sacs called alveoli begin to form in lungs and the vocal chords are formed. Baby goes through the motions of crying but without air doesn't make a sound; yet.

Your baby may have the same awake and sleep patterns of a newborn. Baby will have a favorite position for sleep and recognizable active and rest periods.

Your baby measures about 6 inches (15cm) crown to rump and weighs about 7 ounces (200gm).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It Wasn't You...

It Wasn’t You…

It wasn’t you who finally made it come true—
My motherhood.

It wasn’t you who gave me the first taste of kicks and wiggles and squirms; bulging belly and backaches and entrance into the coveted Mommy Club.

It wasn’t you I spent hours and hours researching every little thing for…deciding on each item bought so specifically and purposefully.

I didn’t read all of those books for you.

I didn’t see you in that crib…on that changing pad…in that chair…in that room.

It wasn’t you I spent years and years dreaming for.

It won’t be you who enjoys me as a “New Mommy” because I am not.

I am seasoned in a way that many others can’t imagine.

I was your brother’s mother first, and though he is not on this earth, I still parent him.

I love him.
I dream of him.
I miss him.
I grieve him.

So your mommy will not be the same as I would for him.

Because it wasn’t you.

But make no mistake: It IS you.

It is you who gives me hope.

It is you who makes me smile again.

It is you who I now include in my dreams and cherish the thought of every one.

It is you who holds a place in my heart that no other ever will.

It is you I’d again give my life for and it is you who will know me in a way that no other would.

You will know the mommy I’ve become.

The mommy who is so honored to have two sons and so humbled by their presence in my life, no matter how brief it was, has been or will be.

It is you who will know the mommy capable of the deepest sorrows and the greatest joys existing within, and it is you who will grow knowing that in all things, there is a season.

It is you who epitomizes the power of God’s restoration and healing, and it is you that reminds me again and again that He was and is and always will be faithful.

It wasn’t you who first showed me that, but it is you who perpetually maintains the concept.

You will never be him and he will never be you and I am blessed, for I have known and loved you both.

No, it wasn’t you…but it never had to be.

You are both cherished.

My sons.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Luke has really been the recipient of some very sweet and wonderful gifts lately. I've been meaning and meaning and meaning to take pictures and post them and just have not gotten the motivation together to do so. I guess if I am really honest, I haven't cleaned up a nice background surface on which to place and pose them. It seems all of my manic desire to organize and clean is just for the stuff that has been driving me nuts for the last months and is finally coming to a head.

The thing is, I have always been a bit OCD. Yes, surprise to those who know personally know me and know what underneath my cabinets look like (all my cleaning supplies) and how many floor cleaners I own, not to mention how my towels in my linen closet have to be folded just so and shelved just so, among many other things....

I do not like dust, though with the basement refinishing, it seems like I can't escape it, no matter how hard I try. I do not like worrying about the doorbell ringing because I haven't vacuumed that day. I don't like going a day without vacuuming. I don't like having dishes in the sink. I love that my sister-in-law once opened a container of clorox wipes and my nephew (who was only a few years old at the time) said, "What mells like Aunt Lowee's house?" I used to make the tightest beds EVER. I'd not be able to leave the house if a bed was unmade. Bathrooms were the bane of my existence because the get so dirty so easily...I could not STAND a dirty bathroom and wouldn't leave mine in the morning without clorox wiping all counters and surfaces, spraying down the shower and spraying the toilet with my favorite, Scrubbing Bubbles. My pantry needs to be organized by category and groups and all labels need to be facing front. That has been woefully neglected.

Mostly, all the routines and structure I used to love and find (admittedly false) security in, have been woefully neglected.

If I am honest, I will say that I took some things to extremes. (Really, though, can one take CLEANING to extreme???) After my mom died, and I started counseling with Dr. Guyer, we went through a whole buncha stuff...I kept the mortgage on his practice paid with the grief from my mom, my anxiety and my OCD. And to his great testament, I have been able to relax some of my anxiety-driven needs and don't feel the need to scratch myself silly if my house is out of order.

Which is a very good skill to have, because since Matthew has died, I have been putting things off more and more. Making piles of 'to-do' that just grow larger and larger and get stuffed in the office. I've blamed the office being a DISASTER zone on John not finishing the bookshelves, therefore not leaving me room to organize, and while that is somewhat true, it's not entirely true.

The truth is, I just have not cared. One bit. I've wanted to care. I've tried to care. I just don't. Or didn't.

That's changing.

In defense, a lot has gone on in the last 8 months and 15 days. I couldn't really do much after Matthew was born and died because I was still recovering, and it was hard. When I finally got to a point where I could do a few light things, we started the frozen cycle and I had to take things easy. Once we got a negative, we sort of jumped right back in and a fresh cycle meant I had to be a bit more careful because of ovarian stimulation. Then when we got a miraculous piece of Heaven given to us, you better believe that I decided no dust, made bed or laundry pile was important enough for me to tax myself while growing this sweet little baby. (I know, I am very spoiled.) In actuality, the first 13 weeks or so of the pregnancy pretty much had me feeling like I had the flu and I wasn't up to do much of anything. Then I got that nasty cold, which is finally, finally making its exit.

So, things are changing. I am at the point now where the anxiety of having a my house in order is WAY worse to me than the lack of motivation I have to do anything about it. And I think my lack of anxiety about Luke (and really, I am feeling very calm and assured about his growth and delivery) is being channeled in massive ways into my little OCDisms. Which is great for the house and to-do piles and the one million things that need to be done. John likes it too, except at the grocery store where I have specific ways that the groceries need to go in the cart. Yeah...not fun to shop with him at the grocery store.

These little retreats to former neuroses make me feel like more of myself.

Of course, that is the myself that I was before I got over not being able to eat foods that touched.

'That' me needs to be kept in check a little more. I don't leave myself enough time anymore to drive back down the driveway 5 times and be sure that I didn't leave my curling iron plugged in. (It IS automatic turn-off, though!) Sometimes I just HAVE to use the pen in the store to sign the receipt (though it's only when it's the electronic ones that you have to use because I always have at least 14 pens in my purse for the times when I need to sign something, ANYTHING, and don't want to use a 'public' pen). Yes, I need to keep a careful eye on 'that' me.

So...as we had counseling yesterday and the therapist noted 'progress,' I did too. Just progress that I have to monitor.

Ironic, huh? Even 'progress' comes with its own pitfalls.

EDIT: As soon as I published this post, this is the sidebar of ads that Google gave to me. Google is super excited about OCDLori because she buys all sorts of cleaning products and gadgets!

Ads by Google

Monday, August 9, 2010

Junk Food Junkie

It's official....Luke is a Junk Food Junkie. He is similar to his brother in many things (like having my chin, lots of activity, love of carbonated drinks), but in his diet and my subsequent 'cravings' (I don't really have them, really) he is very different. I couldn't even think about eating sugar or sugary stuff for the first 6 months or so of my pregnancy with Matthew. This was very strange for me because I LOVE sugar!! Matthew liked routine and very specific things--Fiber One and orange juice for breakfast, peanut butter & jelly, fresh fruit and more juice for lunch and whatever healthy and nutritious thing John made for dinner, with *maybe* some ice cream for desert. Around 7 months, I added a bowl of Lucky Charms before bed. He did enjoy chocolate cake and chocolate shakes, but again, even in his like of chocolate, he was very specific (something his OCD mommy easily relates to!).

Luke likes junk. Nothing (but Mexican, and more specifically, certain Mexican foods only) really ever sounds appealing in the name of food. I have to purposely force myself to eat foods with nutritional content because left to what I'd like to eat, well...I'd live on junk. Luke likes Oreo Blizzards and sour skittles and gummi worms, Ho-Hos and Nutty Bars. Lunch today was peach pie with tons of whipped cream and pour-over butter popcorn. I eat cereal for breakfast, but it's Captain Crunch or Lucky Charms (I throw in Basic Four once a week for good measure).

I supplement with lots of juices (again cannot say how much I love V8 Fusion) and vitamins; DHA and Omega-3 and Iron and Calcium. John always makes a nutritious dinner. Luke's growing well. I'm not worried about all this junk, but have to say that I'd rather be craving more fresh fruits and vegetables!

My waist is now 32 inches, and started at 30. Definitely feeling him--little scrapes and bumps under my skin. His heartbeat is easy to find with the doppler now, even though he moves a lot, and the other night when listening, John started to talk to my stomach and Luke's heart rate totally sped up and raced. Of course, it probably scared the bejeepers out of him, but I like to think it's that he knew his daddy's voice!

Regular OB visit this week, then Dr. Sweeney next Monday. My back is starting to hurt in the same places it hurt with Matthew, and I know that just means there's more (and worse) to come. It started with Matthew at 9 weeks, so I'll be grateful for not having too many problems start until now as they have. Of course, that colors my sleep (or lack thereof), but par for the course and I'm glad for the reasoning.

We went out on the boat this weekend and there were no issues. I was about this pregnant when we went out the first time with Matthew and he didn't like it at all...I was sore and crampy and thought I might be like that this weekend, but wasn't. Luke seemed to enjoy all the acrobatics!

Here are a few pics:

Luke LOVES Slurpees!! This was wild cherry. YUM!

It was really a great day--warm but not miserable!

17 Weeks Today!

I'm carrying a bit higher than I was with Matthew. I was low from the start with Matthew!

Self-portrait of Mommy and Daddy in "The Hammock of Heaven" (what my niece called it this weekend!)

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

Week Seventeen: Fat accumulates

You are 17 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 15 weeks)
  • The umbilical cord is growing thicker and stronger.
  • Fetus weight is just over 5 ounces (150g).
  • Baby is about 5 inches (14cm) long crown to rump.
  • and would be about 9 inches (23cm) head to toe, if it could stretch out.
  • The retina has become sensitive to light.
  • The first stools (meconium) are now beginning to accumulate.
17 weeksThey recycle the amniotic fluid by swallowing up to a litre a day. Meconium (composed of products of cell loss, digestive secretion and swallowed amniotic fluid), is accumulating in the bowel. Fat stores begin to develop under your baby's skin this week. The fat will provide energy and help keep your baby warm after birth.

Baby's eyes are looking forward now, but they are still firmly closed. The skeleton is transforming from cartilage to bone. The bones remain flexible to make the journey through the birth canal easier. You can feel your uterus just below your bellybutton. If you put your fingers sideways and measure, it is about two finger-widths (1 inch) below your bellybutton. Your uterus is the size of a cantaloupe.

The crown to rump length of your growing baby is 5 to 5.6 inches (12.5 to 14cm) by this week. Weight of the fetus is about 5.25 ounces (150g).

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I'm very grateful for a lot of things. I am keenly aware as I read other blogs or watch tv or read books or just listen to people that I am very blessed and the most devastating thing in my life could be (hard to believe, but true) so much worse.

I'm grateful that I have John. His work is crazy-demanding and he has a million things he is responsible for and he will still make me Oreo Blizzards (no DQ near us!) when I ask.

I'm not sleeping well still, and my back is starting to take on that familiar ache in the very same places it did with Matthew, and yet--as I sit on the couch with the laptop and a blanket, the sun is just peeking through the window on my left and is giving me glorious little glimpses of shadow and brilliance at the same time. Sort of how my life feels many days...brilliantly lit but always shadowed. I used to sit just like this with Matthew as I got closer to his delivery because I couldn't sleep then and I'd dream of how nice and quiet it'd be in these early hours with just him born and me loving every second.

I'm grateful that I'm reminded of those sweet moments, even for just the few minutes the sun stays in this position.

I'm so glad I have amazing, amazing people taking care of me. Seriously, the baked goods I bring to the doctors show nowhere NEAR enough of my gratitude! I know so many others have to fight for good care and advocate for just basic reassurances and the people taking care of me worry if I sneeze the wrong way. I am so thankful for the care Luke and I receive and even more thankful that I have no regrets about the care Matthew and I received.

I'm glad that Matthew's birthday has not been forgotten one single time in the last 8 months. Beautiful flowers have been arriving on the 28ths and remind me that family is certainly not just dictated by blood.

I'm extremely happy that for the most part, people do not hurt my feelings in things they say or do.

For the most part.

Realistically, what more could I ask? Even *I* don't know what will sometimes hurt my feelings until it's happened.

I love feeling little, teeny, tiny Luke kicks.

I love self-seeding flowers. Vincas make me happy.

I love that butterflies seem to be all over my garden this year. Verbena makes them happy!

I'm so happy to find sour skittles. Or when sour skittles find me!!!

I adore smiling babies.

I cannot BELIEVE some surprises! (I won one of the Angels at A Baby Named Nathan! I never win anything, except for things that have a pool of 1:5200 or something like that...)

I'm getting excited about what I'd like to do for Luke's nursery. I love this baby. I want his room to be perfect and special for him. I am the one who will have to come to how to do that while I go through the process of Matthew's room becoming Luke's. He will not suffer for it.

I love saying, "My boys." I love their names and I love the character and strength and purpose behind them.

I'm so glad I don't have any qualms about rambling.

A bit ago, I heard Casting Crowns' If We've Ever Needed You, and adored it. Loved it. Took it to my own heart. If I've ever needed God, it is NOW. It has been in the last 8 months and 11 days.
I love that that song has been playing in my car at least 3 times a trip and I wake up at 3:13 in the morning and it's running through my head.

I'm grateful for God's redemption and restoration.

I admit that seeing Halloween candy out in the stores right now makes my heart leap.

I've been to so many beautiful places in the world.

The cruise is soon!

I know what miracles look like. They have dimpled chins and big feet.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I love the Willow Tree figurines.

The very first one I got was from a sweet student years and years ago (sweet little Kellie Beth!) and I'd not really seen them before. I was so honored to get it--The Angel of Learning--For those who delight in the joy of learning--because as a teacher, it really touches your heart to know you've touched someone else's.

When we moved from North Carolina to Maryland, I left such a wonderful and dear group of 'teacher' friends who were really family. They gave me my next one, Courage--Bringing a triumphant spirit, inspiration and courage--and I ADORED it. They said it screamed me--fighting for the underdog and telling the world, "You're not the boss of me!" (Yes, I am a little like that!) What I love the most is that my friends thought of me as courageous...but in honesty, it's not courage that drove me to fight the fights but my pure and simple love of the causes for which I fight. I loved that my friends got that about me.

The next one I received was just recently--my birthday last year. It was from a sweet, sweet friend who was really instrumental in making all my IVF treatments easier on the work schedule. My birthday is March 7, and Matthew was transferred March 6. The angel I got was the Angel of Hope--Sharing the light of hope and courage. It couldn't have been MORE PERFECT.

Very shortly after Matthew died, another sweet, sweet friend sent me the Angel's Embrace ornament. She wanted to be sure that at Christmas and always, we'd have the remembrance of our sweet boy. The wording is, "Hold close that which we hold dear."

I also got the Loving Angel--Love, pure and simple--from a group of people with whom John works. In truth, people I've never met and yet, I was so touched by the generosity and compassion they shared with us. One simple rose in remembrance of the pure and simple love for my baby boy.

I never buy these for myself but I just love the sentiment and perfect thought that goes into someone giving them to me. I feel very loved.

Every now and then, I stop by the shelf they are displayed on in different stores because I like to buy them for others when I find them to be significant and appropriate, so I look to see what's out there.

I had one of those "Must get out of this store or I'll lose it" moments today when I saw this one, simply named Quietly--Quietly encircled by love.

I thought about how this is one I'd never receive.

But this was one I'd desperately love to have.

I should have. Two sweet boys, loving on their mama.


Speaking of these sweet figurines, if you check out A Baby Named Nathan, you can win one of the sweetest ones I've seen--Angel of Mine...So loved, so very, very loved.

Again, sigh.