April 20, 2014

That one time there were two...

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Since we have had to keep the pregnancy on the "down low" the last 3 months, I feel that there are so many things to catch everyone up on.  Mostly good things, normal...preggo things.

This is not one of those things, so I just want to get it out of the way.  If my last post made you tear up, this one may not be much better, I am hoping to get through writing it without crying!  This is a long, long post.  Sorry about that!

My first few weeks of pregnancy were as normal as they could go.  I didn't have a lot of symptoms, just slight cramping, which I have had on and off this whole time, and some slight nausea that never ended in puking (except when I had an actual stomach bug) and extreme fatigue.  Those first weeks were full of telling family, and just getting used to the idea of being pregnant.

Our first OB appointment was on a Tuesday, March 11th.  It went well, the only hiccup so far in this whole thing was that I noticed that my fasting blood sugar was high a few mornings.  I don't know what moved me to start checking my sugars, except that I know gestational diabetes is a thing, and I have had once instance before (2 summers ago, during my horrible allergic reaction ordeal) where my sugars where a problem.  The midwife was really sweet, said everything looked good, and even though she seemed concerned about the sugar numbers, she said it could be controlled easily.  She wanted me to come back a few days later, that Friday, for our first ultrasound and a fasting glucose test.

Dave and I were excited for the first u/s, we were actually going to see our baby for the first time, and maybe even hear a heartbeat.  I remember waking up that morning thinking that after that day, I could relax a little, knowing this whole thing was really real.  For reals real.  Dave had worked the night before, and my OB is at his hospital, so he met me at the office and we got ready to meet our baby for the first time on screen.  The tech we had was so sweet, she tried doing the regular u/s but since I was only 8 weeks at the point, it was sort of hard to see what was going on.  So she prepped me for the internal scan, which I've had before, so I wasn't that worried.

Right away, the baby popped up on the screen.  He or she was so big!  Already!  Maybe the size of an olive.  The tech took pictures and chatted through the whole thing with us.  Then she moved the wand around a bit, and for some reason to me, it looked like a whole other baby was in there.  But...I couldn't tell, everything looked blurry and was going so fast.  She started labeling things.  Baby A.  Baby B.

Um...I looked over at Dave.  Was there TWO in there?  Or...was I just looking at it wrong?  Maybe it was two different views of the same baby.  The view of Baby B looked smaller.  Baby A came back on the screen.  The tech typed some things in.  She took pictures.  She chatted with us some more.  Then the screen went back and she typed Baby B again.  Then, this beating sound filled the room!  Oh my gosh!!!

"Is that her heart beat?"  Dave asked the tech.  "No, if that was hers, she would be in cardiac arrest.  That's the baby's heart beat!"  She smiled at us.  I teared up, trying to keep them from spilling over but not succeeding.   "Is it...a healthy heart beat?"  I asked her?  "Very healthy, very strong."  She replied.  Then, just like that, it was gone.  She had switched back to the Baby A screen.

At this point, I'm looking at Dave and saying things like "Oh my gosh, there's two in there," under my breath.  Dave finally asked her, "Um...we aren't looking at twins, are we?"  The tech gave him a look like "yes" but didn't actually say anything.  I had heard that the techs don't say a lot, they just take the pictures, so I didn't think anything of it at that point.  She took a few more pics, and was very friendly and talking with us, and then told me to get dressed and that the OB would be in soon to see how everything was going.  I thought that was normal, again, so I didn't think anything of it.

As soon as she closed the door, Dave and I exploded.  "OH MY GOSH.  TWINS."  We both were freaking out.  How the heck are there TWINS growing in there??  How??  I didn't take fertility drugs.  Twins don't run in my family.  They do, however, run in Dave's but the odds of twins when it's in the fathers genes are rare.  We stepped out in the waiting room and so many questions were running through my mind, and I was saying them aloud.

"How do I take care of TWINS?"
"Where are we going to PUT them??"
"Can I use just one crib?  We only have ONE crib!"  A friend from work gave us hers.  There is only one of them!
"I am going to have to quit my job, I can't make my parents take care of twins, it will kill them..."

Dave was just as shocked.  We will figure it out, that's all he said.  We will figure it out.  We kept saying how crazy it was, over and over.

After about 5 minutes of thinking of this possible new lifestyle, the midwife that I saw on Tuesday called us back.  We sat down with her and she started talking.

"Well, it looks like you are pregnant with twins, however, we couldn't find the heart beat on Baby A.  This happens more than you think, some women don't even know that they are carrying twins."

Now...I didn't necessarily get into this whole pregnancy thing to have twins, but...knowing for 5 minutes that I had twins growing and living inside of me and then finding out that one of them was...well, not alive anymore, rocked my world.  Instantly.  I managed to hold myself together for the midwife though.

"Did I...do something wrong?"  I asked her.  Immediately my mind was running over all the things that I had done wrong.  My blood sugar being high.  The two times I drank early on in pregnancy before knowing (karaoke with work friends, Krystal's surprise party...)  I lifted some heavy things at work that week.  Is there mold in my house from all this STUPID AWFUL flooding that was toxic to me?  What had killed that baby?!

"No.  Absolutely not" was her answer.  "This happens more then you think, we see it a lot."

"What will happen to the one that doesn't have a heart beat??"  I can't remember if I said it, or Dave.  "What will happen to the one with the heart beat?"

"Usually, the non-viable baby sort of just absorbs back into the moms body.  This is the norm.  Sometimes, the mom may miscarry.  So, if you have any bleeding or cramping at all, just come right back in and we will take a look."  She was so calm and so nice.

"And the one with the heart beat?"  I asked again.

She pulled out the picture.  The babies were almost exactly the same size.  Which, I figured out almost right away, that the one must have just stopped growing that very week.  My mind was still turning over all the things I had done wrong.  My heart was breaking.  I had to keep it together.

"The baby that didn't make it was the bigger baby, Baby A.  Baby B looks smaller, and has a smaller sac.  That doesn't necessarily mean anything bad, but it is something we want to keep an eye on.  It could be that Baby A implanted a little earlier and that is probably what happened."  She was looking at me intensely now.  I had already told her I am an anxious person.  I'm sure she was wondering what this would do to me.

"So, Baby B...may not make it either?"  I could barely get the words out.  She was honest with me, as she should be in this case, because you can't give a pregnant woman false hope.

"It's possible.  I know you are worried but there isn't anything you did wrong, or even anything you can do to make this go either way.  You don't need to be on bed rest, you can continue to live your life normally, and everything will probably be ok.  We'll have you back next week, for your peace of mind, and so we can see how little Baby B is doing."  She held the picture up to me and starting cheering, "Come on little baby!"

I looked at Dave.  He too was looking at me like he was worried about how I was doing.

"Do you have to work today?"  She asked.  I nodded.  I had just taken the morning off, and planned to go in at noon.  "I can give you a note for today, if you need it.  Remember, we are here for you.  If you feel upset or feel something that worries you, just call us.  One of us is always on call for emergencies.  If you get scared, come to the ER and they will let us know.  Please don't feel like you are alone, we are here for you."  She really was so sweet.  "Do you have any questions for me?"

I took a deep breath.  "I am supposed to have my fasting glucose taken today, should I still do that?"

"Absolutely.  You can follow me around when we are done.  Anything else?"

I shook my head.  I knew I had a million thoughts, but I couldn't organize them.  I couldn't think.  "Not right now, but I can call later if I do, right?"

"Yes of course, anytime."

So, I followed her out the door.  Dave was tired from working all night and then getting this news, he look tired, so I turned to him and told him to go home, I'd be there in a little bit after the test.  He asked if I was sure and I said yes, I would be fine.  I did the glucose test in a daze, it was just the one where they take blood and let me go.  Walking out through the OB waiting room, I already felt like a fraud.  Like I didn't belong there anymore.  My body already killed one baby, and I was convinced the other one wouldn't live either.   It is just the sort of thing that happens to me, my body does nothing the normal way.

I got to the car, got through the garage and toll, and onto route 24 to go home and lost it.  I couldn't believe my heart was breaking this badly, for a baby I didn't even know existed until 1 hour before.  But, that baby had grown in me, and lived there, for 8 whole weeks!?!  It had a body and a brain and a heart that beat at one point, and little webbed feet and fingers...and it was gone.  Still there inside of me, but gone already.  How was I supposed to process this?  I had lost a child I never met.  One I didn't even know about.  I shouldn't be this upset, right?

I got home and Dave was waiting on the porch for me.  He hugged me tightly and I sobbed all over him.  He knew that I was broken.  We went inside and sat on our big couch and he just held me while I cried it out for Baby A.  Not only that, but I was terrified for Baby B.  Would it last?  Would it live?  I was also so upset for the day we could have had!  We should have had good news, a reason to clear our minds and worries!  A reason to start telling people the good news.  Now I was even more anxious and worried.  How was I supposed to wait a whole week to know if things were going to be ok?  Plus, there was a little human inside of me that wasn't living anymore, and it was just supposed to absorb into my body?  I was freaking out over everything.  The tears kept coming.

Dave just sat and comforted me.  He was convinced everything would be ok.  Baby B had a heart beat, a very strong, viable heart beat.  Once you hear that, the chances of things going wrong go down.  We've heard that, read that, been told that...and it is true.  But I was still freaked out.  I had to let him go to bed.  He was exhausted and our sad news just made him even more so.  He asked if I was staying home now, since I was so sad, and I just didn't know.  I knew I had to go over and tell my mom, she would be able to talk me out of my worries, so I assured him I wouldn't be alone no matter what I did, and that I'd see him when he woke up.

I did go over and tell my parents.  Mom cried with me for a while, she looked so sad for me.  Dad just stroked my hair.  They convinced me to lay on their bed, between them like a little kid, so they could talk me through it and comfort me.  Mom offered to take me out, to eat or to shop, but I couldn't help but feel that I needed to go to work.

You see, as my heart was breaking, I thought to myself, "Wow.  This sort of thing could really break a person.  I'm lucky enough that I have two babies, and one of them is still living and healthy.  I could break for Baby A, or I could live for Baby B."  There is always something to live for.  There is always something to be broken for.  We have the choice to let something break us, or to let it make us stronger.  I could stay home all day, I had a pretty good reason to, and be sad and broken and just let it overtake me.  Or, I could trust that God had a plan and had me in His arms, go to work, tell the few people that knew what happened, and start getting over it right away.  The news of Baby A had the duplicity of being a big deal, and not really a big deal at the same time.  The enormity of what was happening inside of me was crazy, but then again, it happens more than we think and usually doesn't mean any harm for the surviving baby.

I didn't have a crazy schedule at work that Friday.  I even had a built in break for a bit in the afternoon, I had to go to Central Office to get a picture taken for The Sun, they were doing an article on my counseling cohort.  I decided to dry my tears, pick myself up (metaphorically) and get on with my life.  I went to work, told my principal and AP what was going on, as well as a few friends, and it was the best decision I could have made.  I had an immediate support group who helped me through it.  They didn't treat me differently or act like they needed to tip toe around the subject.  It's just something that happens.  It really is.  It's sad, but it's life.   It happens.

Am I still heart broken for my little baby that didn't make it?  Of course.  Like I said, the enormity of what was happening to me was rocking my world.  I was anxious for weeks.  Is there blood?  Is that cramping normal?  Even after our ultrasound the next week, I still worried.  I'm still worried today.  But you know what?  I will worry for the rest of my LIFE.  My child will soon be out of my body, walking around in this crazy, dangerous world, and the worrying will never stop.  I may as well get used to it, right?  And fast!  All I can do is trust the plan that God has for us and this little survivor growing inside of me, and thats about it!

That next Friday, I was terrified to go in and see what was going on in my belly.  I almost didn't want to know the outcome.  Was Baby A gone already?  Was Baby B ok?  I cried to Dave in the waiting room, I was so worried.  The same tech came out to get us and she was so sweet.  She remembered us, and what happened, an apologized that she couldn't say anything to us.  She got Baby B right up on the screen with the u/s on my belly and immediately told me she could see the heart beating.  I cried, hard.  She wanted to do the internal one for me, just so I could hear it.  I could have kissed her. She brought all those images up on the screen, and we saw the sweet little heart.   It was beating fast. We heard it going strong.  It was the best sound in the whole world.  We even saw our little baby wiggling and dancing like a little Mexican jumping bean!  It was so cute!  A little bobble head.  Dave was out of his seat, glued to the screen hanging from the ceiling.  I had tears streaming down my face the whole time.  Growing a baby is such an amazing miracle.

This.  This was the happy day I wanted.  Leaving the office, knowing things were ok so far.  Knowing that my baby is living and growing and getting ready to come meet us in October.  I know that there is a little tiny soul in Heaven, waiting for us.  Baby A for Angel.  Maybe Dave's dad is taking care of him or her, and they are anxiously awaiting our arrival someday.   I also know that my God won't give me anything that He knows I can't handle.  I know that He holds me and Dave and Baby B and our whole family in His hands and He will help us through anything, no matter what.  I am not sure what God's purpose is or was with Baby A, but I was happy to be his or her home on Earth for a few short weeks.  I am honored.

As I reflected on our lives today, this Easter Sunday, I realize again how very blessed we are.  I owe it all to our Lord who rose from the grave on this day, proving that even death can not win.  That is a wonderful comfort to me in all of this!!

Happy Easter everyone!

April 18, 2014

The night our lives changed...

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That sounds like an ominous title, but it was supposed to be exciting.  I need to work on my writing skills;)

Anyways, now that this news is out...

I wanted to say that part of the redesign of the blog here is going to include baby and family stuff.  It's going to be great...and honest...and probably gross...but hey, this is my space and if you don't like it you don't have to read it!  But I hope you will!!

Anyways, let me tell you a story.  It begins on a chilly February day...

Heather, my bff, texted me and said, "Running to Michael's for some crafty stuff, wanna go?" to which I replied YES!  She picked me up and we headed over to the store and walked around for a bit, bought some stuff and then on the way home got to talking about babies.  She knew that Dave & I had been off our birth control for 2 years, and while we weren't actively "trying" for a baby, we weren't preventing it.  It was getting just a little frustrating, to the point where we would have to become a little more purposeful in...things.  That's all I will say about that!

Anyways, I mentioned to her that I was about 2 days late and while for me that doesn't mean much, sometimes I'm a few days late or early, she jumped all over me and tried to convince me to go get a test right then and there.  I just laughed at her.  Silly Heather, she thought I was pregnant.  Plus, I was feeling crampish, and that was a true sign that things were normal like always.  How many times had I been just a day or two late, freaked out and tested?  Only to find out that no...no I was not pregnant at all.  It happened quite a few times over the past two years, sometimes I was glad, sometimes I was a little sad.  I wasn't quite ready for a baby most of the time!

Fast forward to the next morning.  I was at work when Dave texted me, "Hey what are we doing for dinner?" to which I replied, "Buffalo chicken wraps!!!"  He texted me back something like, "Seriously?  Again?  You've eaten buffalo chicken 4 or 5 times in the past week.   Are you preggo?"  He meant it as a joke, I think.  I had ordered it a lot when we were out, or made it at home a few times.  It made me think, could I be??  Are these cravings??  I still felt crampish, but I knew that could be a sign of pregnancy too.  I decided that when I got home later that night, I'd test if nothing had showed up by then.  At that point, I was 3 days late.

This was Wednesday, February 12th.  I'm not sure if you remember, but that night a HUGE snow storm was on it's way.  The big one.  I knew I'd be off the next day, and possibly even the day after that so it was good timing if I wasn't pregnant, I could be upset and not have to worry about work.  I didn't even think about the fact that I could be pregnant.  On my way home from work, I stopped at Target to pick up a few things, and I grabbed a set of tests just in case.  I was going back and forth at this point as to whether I should test that night or not.  I know it is better to test first thing in the morning, but something inside me just pushed me to think that tonight was good.  We ate dinner, buffalo chicken again, Dave joking about the pregnant text from that morning, and I just laughed along.  Right before Dave started getting ready for work, I went upstairs and took the test.

I set it down on the night stand and started cleaning up the room and playing with Frodo on the floor. I must have forgotten about it momentarily, because Frodo is so darn cute, so it must have been around 10 minutes before I thought, "Oh!  I should check the test!"  Seriously, at this point I still didn't think it would say what it ended up saying.  I picked it up.

Yes+  Wait...!?!?!?  Yes+?!?!?!  Does that mean YES I am pregnant?  Or YES I am right, I am not pregnant?  I seriously thought that in my head.  Baby brain already!  I immediately sat on the bed and teared up.  Oh. MY.  God.  Not in vain, but Oh. MY. God.  Help me.  I am pregnant.  This is actually happening, am I ready for this?  I walked to the hallway and gently called to Dave.

"Babe?  Could you come up here?"  He had no idea I was taking this test.  I didn't even mention it to him.
"What do you want?" was his oh-so-romantic reply.  The TV must have been entertaining.
"I need you to come up here.  I need some help..."  That always gets him to get up.  I'm short, I can't reach things.
"Right now?"  Good gracious.
"Yes.  Right now.  It's...an emergency."  Get your BUTT up here, is what I wanted to say.  But Ashley was here, and I didn't want her to hear me say butt.  Or something else.

He walked up the stairs and called into the room, not coming in, "What is it?"

"I need you to come here.  Inside the room."  He really isn't this stubborn when I need help!

"What?" he said as he rounded the corner where our bed is.  Then he stopped and saw my face.  Tears streaming down and splotchy.

"What?!  What's wrong?" I could see worry in his eyes.  So, I handed him the test.  He looked at it, and looked at me and said, "seriously?"  I nodded, crying harder now.  He had the same thought I did, "Wait, does this mean...YES you are pregnant?"  I nodded again and I think snot even came out of my nose at this point!

Then he hugged me and we screamed, quietly, and freaked out as silently as we could.  I asked if we should tell Ash, but he wanted me to wait.  Take another one in the morning, just in case.  It was a smart idea...false positives are rare, but then again it's me and rare things seem to happen to me so I agreed.  No sense in getting her all excited if it wasn't for reals.

We sat there for a bit, just staring at it, and then staring at each other.  "Our life is about to get really crazy..." is all we could say.  We kept on hugging.  He had to start getting ready for work.  He was in a daze.  I was in a daze.  Thankfully, Ash was going to small group and then spending the night at my MIL's that night, so I had the evening to freak out on my own.  Except, I had to tell my parents.  I had to!  The only thing was, a huge storm was coming, so I either had to tell them that night, or wait a few days until we could dig out of the snow.  I decided to go that night after Dave left for work.

I put the test in a baggie (hello, I peed on that thing and even though I cleaned it off, you know...it was a nice gesture) I had to show them the actual proof.  They weren't going to believe me.  I drove over, hoping the snow wouldn't start while I was out.  I let myself in, and walked up to their room, they were both reading books, and I just handed the bag to my mom.

"I have some news!" is all I said.  She freaked out.  I looked at my dad and told him it was a pregnancy test.  They were up out of bed and hugging me, like spring chickens.  Seriously, I haven't seen them move that fast in years!  Mom was crying, dad was teary eyed, they were overjoyed.

This night was full of special memories and moments with my family.  I was genuinely happy.  I knew it was right.  I knew it was real.  I didn't need another test, although in the next few weeks I took 3 more just to make sure it was still true.  I had a hard time believing it.  Actually, at 13 weeks and 3 days, I still have a hard time believing it!

The snow started falling that night and I starting planning.  Pinning on Pinterest, reading What to Expect (I had bought a copy from Goodwill a year ago for $.50 just for the heck of it) and just trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I am going to have a baby.  I am going to be mom.  What does that even mean?  I'm still not sure;)  I was happy though.  I am happy.  And terrified.

It hasn't been an easy road, but we'll talk about another time.  This is the first pic I took of myself as a pregnant me "in the know" in the snow.  Man, was I SO glad to have that 5 day weekend, it gave me time to get used to the idea, and not having to freak out at work!

So that's the story of the night that we learned our adventure was just beginning.  It is going to be a crazy ride!  Thanks to all of my family and friends that have shared our joy this week.  We waited for 13 weeks for a good reason, 13 is a lucky number for us, and sharing it on Dave's birthday just seemed totally perfect.  We were amazed at the love that was poured out to both of us this week.  This baby will have a village to love it for sure!  What a lucky little Bland;)


April 9, 2014


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Uh, has it really been two months since I've posted on here?  How sad!!  Just poppin in to say that I am changing the ol' blog to include some more fun stuff!!  I am training to be a DISNEY TRAVEL AGENT so I'll have a Disney Side right here on my not so BLAND life, as well as some other fun things coming up!  I'm still a DIYing, cooking, writing, Pinteresting fool...so I'll be chatting about all my normal craziness too.  Right now I am getting through the Disney College of Knowledge so I'll chat all about what that means when I am done.

We haven't been too busy on the home front these past few months.  Work has been busy for both of us, and I've been sick at least 3 times so you know...there have been a lot of nights where we are just lazy bums on the couch eating take out.  But!  I did some updates to our pantry and our linen closet, just organizing and getting rid of junk.  I also did some DIY art on a canvas, and I'll show that to you soon!  So...spring has sprung, my latest terrible cold is on it's way out, and I have a HUGE update to do list stretching out before me as the school year wraps up and the summer starts.  I can't wait to tackle some more projects again!  My last one was the striped hallway, which I love and adore, but haven't decorated yet;)  Shame on me.  Anyways, below is what is on my agenda for the next few months.  Some are easy, others are expensive and complicated and probably won't get done (hello back of the basement, that has been flooded FOUR times, I'm talking to you!)

I'm really great at doing the organizing and purging stuff.  That stuff is easy peasy.  I really need to get on some DIY art and other framing projects, I have pictures and art and frames all over the dang place, and I need to get em up on the walls!

Has spring put a spring in your step?  DIYing?  Organizing?  I always get the "bug" around now.  Usually I have a lovely spring break to get it all done, but alas...with all of those snow days we have a measly 4 day weekend next week.  I'll still take it, it's nice to have any kind of break!

Stay tuned for lots of fun updates coming in the next few weeks!  Start thinking about planning your next Disney vacation with me, my services are totally free;)