I took this pic of The Blands, Christmas 2008, just a few weeks before Mr. Dave was diagnosed.
Let me tell you about a very special dad. His name is David W. Bland, and he is my husband's father. Five years ago today, Mr. Dave lost his battle to pancreatic cancer. He was such a vibrant, happy man! I miss his corny jokes, and his constant singing around the Bland household. I miss him putting me in head locks. I miss watching him love on his sons and Ashley, he loved them all so much! I miss his beautiful dedication to his wife, Joyce, and his love and passion for God. He was such a wonderful man, and he was taken from us way too soon.
He was diagnosed in early January of 2009. His doctors never gave a firm time frame, but we knew from the start that it was bad. He battled the cancer so hard, though. He made it so much longer than people with this cancer usually do. For a while there in 2009, we really thought he may have beat an unbeatable cancer, but in the fall things got worse again. By winter 2010, amidst all those crazy blizzards, he was on hospice care. He died at home with Joyce and Dave by his side on March 15th, 2010.
It seemed so unfair to lose him then, if at all, with so many happy events coming in the future. Dave, Matt and I were all graduating at the same time in May (Dave and Matt with Bachelor degrees, me with my Masters) plus, Dave and I were getting married in June...so many BIG milestones that he should have been able to attend and enjoy.
Way back in the day, when we all were youth leaders at the same church, Mr. Dave used to tell me that he was my #1 fan, because he wanted me to marry his son. When Dave and I started hanging out and then dating, he would always ask me how our relationship was going, I think he knew Dave was too shy to talk about it with him whereas I, obviously, talk about everything! When Dave asked me to marry him, he was so excited that I would be joining their family. He was always praying hard for us, and holding us accountable so that our relationship could be blessed. He was awesome like that!
I know that Mr. Dave would be so proud of my Dave today. He is a wonderful husband. He's dedicated, and hard-working, and so much fun to be around. He is also an amazing dad. I know he gets those traits from his father. That goes for Matty as well. Mr Dave also missed Matty and Laurie's wedding, another event we wish he could have been around for. He would also be proud of Ashley and how much she has grown into the young woman she is today, and most of all that she loves church and and Jesus even through these hard teenage years.
He will miss the birth of his grandchildren this year, ours in May/June, and Matt/Laurie's in July. I know that him not being here for their births will be hard for both Dave and Matt. However, he was the only one of us that got to witness Lily and Jackson being "born" last year, because both were born right into Heaven. And hopefully, after being held by Jesus, they each were passed right into the arms of my father-in-law. As much as I wish they ALL were here with us, that thought comforts me a lot. They are all happy, in Heaven, not sick or scared or anything bad like that, and they all have each other.
I know that it's possible that Mr. Dave still keeps tabs on his family, and has been with us through these past 5 years, but it's not the same has having him here, physically. Dave told me today, that if he could just have a few minutes to talk to his dad, to hug him, to have a conversation together...that would be awesome. I wish with all my heart that I could give that to him. I tell him all the time that I think his dad knows how far we all have come, that he has to be able to see how we all are doing. I really think that is true. I hope that it is.
Grief is such a sucky thing. Losing loved ones is the worse thing that can happen in life. I know we shouldn't feel bad for Mr. Dave, because he is where his heart always wanted to be, but I do feel bad for us. We've lost a wonderful father and friend. No matter how much we love Jesus and try to understand death and Heaven and all that, it still seems totally unfair that we had to say goodbye to him so soon.
We visited his grave today, to tell him we love him and to spend some time telling him what his beautiful life meant to us. As I gave Dave some alone time, I looked up at the sky and saw what looked like an angel in the opening of the clouds. I took it as a sign that everyone up there is more than ok, and that we will be too. One day, we will all be together again. I can't wait. Until then, we love you and miss you, Mr. Dave.
Well, here we are. I am 26 weeks and 3 days. Last week, when we saw Dr. Bellantoni, he told us that at 26 weeks our baby has an 80% - 90% chance of survival if he were to be born now. So, if my water broke and they had to get him out, it would possibly go very differently than last time. Maybe. Jackson couldn't survive my water breaking a 21 weeks, and he was gone before the process even began...not that he could have lived long if he was alive after birth. It could be different now. A teeny tiny bit of fear has been lifted from me, because there is some sliver of hope that if all of that happened again - they wouldn't send me home from the hospital, they would watch the baby and me and if his heart rate dropped, they would get him out of me. Not that I want that to happen, but at least one more milestone has been hurdled.
Now that we are in the viability range, my fears are starting to turn towards late stillbirth. I'm trying not to be afraid of my body, but again all the knowledge is working against me. My body can do so many wonderful things like growing this beautiful boy, but it can also do terrible things like kill him as well. Infections, cord accidents, abruption, etc etc. I wish I could get a memory eraser and not know all of those things! Now that he is kicking and I can feel him here and there, I'm always counting, always trying to get him to move so that I know he is ok. It's going to be a long few months...I'm trusting God to get us through it, no matter what happens. I'm praying hard every hour of every day that He wants this baby boy here with us, and not with Him.
Health wise, we are doing well. My diabetes is completely controlled. I even got a "great job" card in the mail from my endocrinologist! I met with him the other day and my A1C, which is the measure of how high or low my sugars have been over the past few months, was a 5.9. When I first became pregnant, after the first month it was up at 6.2. Our main goal is under 6, but I want it under 5.8 - I'm almost there! So while I still eat plenty of carbs and sugar (this baby loooooves sugar) he and I are still as healthy as can be according to my team, not anywhere near a range of risks that could be with gestational diabetes. My diabetes team is awesome, I email two different ladies at the office twice a week and they help me adjust carbs at meals and the insulin if needed. They want me to eat...a LOT. It's hard to eat as much as they want me to! I've gained the most weight in this past month, 6 pounds, but being at the end of my 2nd trimester they said that was normal. I'm starting to feel it in my belly, it's getting a little harder to get out of bed, pick things up or put boots on;) I'm glad flip flop weather is around the corner, I don't have to bend over to get those on!!!
I feel great, I am able to go to work and come home and cook dinner most nights and stay up until 10 or so. I have energy, I'm not sick...so I would say so far, things are going really well. I try to take comfort in that! Somewhere in the back of my mind comes the voice that says that tons of women have great pregnancies and then lose their babies, but I tell it to shut up!
We talked with Dr. Bellantoni about the birth day. I'm due June 9th, but as it is now they won't keep him in there that long, so technically his new due date is June 2nd. I told him my fears of keeping the baby in me even that long. I told him that my preference is that, if at 36 or 37 weeks, they feel he is healthy and developed enough, I want him out of me. The doc told us that is a definite possibility - and he'll talk it over with my high risk doc at St. Joes to see what they think. I don't want this kid in me any longer than he needs to be, because most of the stillbirth stories I know of happen after 36 weeks. This all depends on how he is growing. We go for yet another scan on Monday, which they are trying to assure me is "just a growth scan" to see how he is measuring at the beginning of the 3rd trimester, but I'm still so scared. I hate those scans. They still want to look at the heart and other major organs in case they didn't see anything the last few times. That terrifies me. I know the odds of something being wrong are lower now, and they would have caught anything major by now...but I defy odds, don't I? Something could still be wrong, right?
Be glad you aren't in my head, it's a nightmare!
So, how am I getting through it all? One day, or hour, or minute at a time. I forced myself to start the baby registry, and that has been really fun. I take some time every day to get on there and add or delete things, to research baby products and scan Etsy for cute baby stuff. It's part of my special time with him, feeling him kick and talking to him like a nut:) I like letting myself imagine using the baby stuff with him here with me, and it makes my heart so happy. But, I'm still so cautious when dreaming about having him here. My mom and friends have started talking about my shower, to be held in April. That terrifies me a little bit, but when I let myself think about it I am excited. And, Dave and I went out last weekend a bought our nursery paint, colors that I agonized over for a month before choosing. We jumped right into the nursery project and now are almost done the major redecorating parts. We've painted all the walls and the closet, put new crisp white paint on the trim and doors, and I just finished steam cleaning the carpets, again. It can't be too clean for our baby!
Dave is chomping at the bit to put the crib up, but I want to wait a little longer. Right now, it could technically just be an empty, repainted room. Once that crib goes up, it's his room, it's a nursery. That crib has been up in the attic since the day after we lost Jackson when we forced ourselves to get it out of our sight before the grief really hit. Getting it back down is going to be hard in more than one way. What if something happens and we just have to put it back up there? So maybe just a few more weeks, then we can do it.
Our nursery theme is going to be a mix of vintage travel/little adventurer. We aren't crazy about typical "themed" nurseries, and we wanted to pick something that we all really love and could be a cool room for a baby, but clean and classy too. Since we love to travel, and want to continue to travel over the world with our little bambino, we chose this theme. The colors are navy and cream, and are really beautiful colors and I think they go with our theme perfectly. We'll add touches of white and natural wood tones too. I'm on the look out for a dresser that I can refinish, but it's been hard to find one. I think we may end up going to IKEA and picking up the Hemnes dresser I see pinned in so many nurseries. Our closet in there is really small and we could use a big dresser for clothes and stuff. It will double as our changing table too.
We've had some fun painting this week over the weekend and our three snow days, and I am very glad that I was able to help and get it done before I get too big or tired to do so! Now I can sit back and let Dave put together furniture, and tell him where to put and hang things. Once we get to that point! I'm super excited to get to the decorating part, but want to wait until I'm a little further along to do all those things. Plus, we need to get through the scan coming up on Monday.
I'l leave you with some fun pictures we took while painting. I'll do a nursery inspiration post with updates soon! Prayers are appreciated for our growth scan appointment on Monday, for my sanity (and Dave's while dealing with me) and for our little Baby Boy Bland who almost has a name, but we want to be sure before we proclaim it to the world ;) Please be healthy, and happy, and please stay here on Earth for a very long time!
Dave, painting over the yellow that was on the walls. He wrote a sweet note to us on the wall before he started rolling ;) Ashley helped too but I forgot to snap a pic of her, she rolled on most of the cream color.
Don't mind our dirty, crazy hair. This was a snow day, and we hadn't done much other than paint and clean!
The color is on the walls, and Dave is starting on the closet and doors here...
Trim is done, doing touch ups and starting to clear out the painting supplies so the carpet can be steamed...
Now the room is completely clear and empty and clean. It's just waiting for "the stuff". It's coming right along!