One Month Ago Today: Hospital Anniversary

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It’s amazing to think that one month ago yesterday I spent the morning frantically changing my outfits not sure which would be best for our day out and our appointment with our midwife. I knew this wasn’t going to be the traditional check-up; we had recently gotten news of Uriah having Hydrocephalus and my midwife (being the awesome lady that she is!) had asked to continue seeing me (free of charge!) so that she could keep up with my health and be a soundboard for bad days or questions (as we’d be moving my care to a specialist).

Dalton and I drove the 30 minutes and had a hundred questions answered and someone willing to listen to our concerns. What do we do with finances? Which hospital would have the most experience? How could I best prepare for a c-section? The list was a mile long and the 20+ years of experience Susan had definitely came through. We left her home feeling hopeful and glad; we can do this. We can do this.

It was date day which means all sorts of fun in our home. We visited several Mennonite-run stores gawking at the low prices and great variety. Lunch included handmade sandwiches and trail-mix. Dalton had never been to these stops before so that always make the adventure fun. Our last stop was a shop with gorgeous pumpkins of all sizes. We were in the check-out line with a bag of brown rice and a lump of blue cheese when I had to find the restroom.

In that tiny room my water broke. I wobbled out, stood by Dalton as he finished the transaction, mentioned that I think something weird happened, and smiled when he still remembered to ask the cashier for three pumpkins. Before we hopped in the car I picked out the most adorable dwarf pumpkins and Dalton found a large, blue-ish-green specimen he loved.

One month ago yesterday, my water broke. Today is the one month anniversary of our being in the hospital. Thirty-one days of monitoring, pokes and prods, and the ever impersonal, funny question, “Have you had a bowel movement today?”

One month of unknowns, new diagnosis’, nurses, doctors, and getting to know the staff who bring me my meals and clean our room with smiling faces. One month of being more social than I have been in my life, feeling more loved by friends and family than I ever knew, and getting dressed earlier in the morning (quick, put the bra on before the nurses arrive!) than I knew routinely possible. (In normal life I get dressed after Dalton heads to work … at 9 am.) 😉

And we have been so blessed.

Since my water broke God has graciously given Uriah 32 more days to grow, thrive, and develop in my womb. Plus, with no major contractions, it looks like He may be giving us more!

Since my water broke we’ve had countless cards, goody baskets, surprise packages, promises of prayer, and financial support pour through the mail system and into our little room.

Since my water broke I’ve connected with families who have experience with Hydrocephalus and Holoprosensephaly. Amazing families who love their children without conditions or questions. People who give me hope and let me know that children with special needs are still children and worthy of every ounce of love we can give. People with children who defy doctor’s prognosis’ and expectations.

Since my water broke I’ve lived in two different hospital rooms; one for labor and delivery and the other for maternity. I’ve met so many people. Dr. Mohammed, Letensie from Eritrea, Africa, and Rita from India. Not to mention the nurses from more local areas. They all have a story to share; one had an arranged marriage which is 35 years strong and experience serving in her once war-torn country, one raises alpacas and rescues puppies she find on the street. Another invites me to the Christian church in Columbia when I’m able. Then there’s the sweetest housekeeper who raises horses and asks me questions about my Christian walk no one has ever asked before.

Since my water broke I’ve drank more water than ever before. In an hour I down 30 ounces or more. My complexion should be beaming before this is over! 😉

Since my water broke I’ve had more people see me in my jammies than I ever thought possible. But these are the people who stop by and pour their love on our family. These are the folk who take time out of their day to sit on an uncomfortable couch and ask about Uriah and his latest news.

Since my water broke Dalton has made this hospital his home. Our days have developed a routine. He heads to work early to beat the traffic and change into his uniform at home, works his 10 hour shift, drives home for a quick shower and picks up the mail and fresh laundry, then heads back to the hospital by 8 to 8:30. He pulls “Lawrence” close to my bed and we watch “Whose Line” reruns while we eat dinner. Then, he helps set up the monitoring equipment so we can hear Uriah’s heartbeat; most of the nurses are impressed with his ability to work the machinery and how much easier he makes their job. I’m just grateful because I like him snuggled so close to me. Afterwards, I get my heparin shot and we both fall asleep faster than I think possible for a bed rest patient and her easily-woken husband. He’s does this without complaint or grunt. Our weekends are full of quiet, relaxing times full of wheel chair rides outside, a special dinner, movies, and Minecraft.

Since my water broke I’ve gotten to lean closer to the Lord than ever before. Oh, I’ve had times where I’ve leaned into the Lord but there is something urgent, something necessary about drawing close to the Lord in the unknown. Since my water broke my God has taught me:

That He does, in fact, answer prayer. 

That His Word really can bring comfort and healing to the soul. 

That He is, indeed, very present. As in, He is in this room with me. 

That He cares about every need, the big and small, in our lives. 

That He does carry the pregnant woman and child like a Shepherd carries His sheep. 

That sometimes praising Him is the only way to defeat anxiety and fear. 

It’s been amazing how fast a month can pass by. When the doctor first recommended my staying here for 10 weeks I nearly choked. But time passes pleasantly, I am able to stay busy, and I’ve gotten the perfect time to bound with little Uriah before he even enters the world. Plus, this has taught me how to best be with people when I have nothing to offer them. And I’ve discovered, again, that my and Dalton’s marriage and friendship can run so much deeper; we just have to be purposeful.

Thank You, LORD, for this good month. Thank You for carrying us, like small, fragile sheep, through the wilderness. Thank You for being with us every step of the way. You are trustworthy, faithful, and full of mercy. “I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more. My mouth will show forth Thy righteousness and Thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof. I will go in the strength of the LORD God …” (Ps. 71:14,16a)

God is so very good, my friends.

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Quiet, Summertime Changes: Currently Series

Currently Series with Authentic Virtue Blog

I am thankful for the seasons life brings us. It’s summertime and the days are passing by as quickly as July’s rainstorms roll in. Our vacation time is over, we’ve settled in our new rental, and the fears of my first trimester and the misdiagnosed miscarriage are beginning to look more like memories instead of terrifying, first-hand experiences.

Life is quieting down and I’m finding new ways to make the most of my given time. I will not be teaching this year which means I’m not scurrying around decorating a classroom or writing lesson plans. The timing of baby’s birth did not combine well with the year’s contract. So, now is a season of letting go and preparing for what’s to come. Change is always difficult for my personality so there were quite a few emotions as I cleaned out my desk and put away lesson plans and curriculum. I’m going to miss the routine of being a part-time teacher and all the benefits that come from being in the student’s lives; I am looking forward to substituting though.

Dalton gently reminded me to focus on baby and all the joy this new season brings. I was a bit embarrassed by that — of course I’m loving baby and all that pregnancy means. But his words also reminded me that change is good and should be embraced. Now isn’t the time to mourn over a part-time job or be sorry over my changing routine and schedule. Now is the time to begin planning, dreaming, and investing in the new life which will forever change ours

I’m so glad I have time to plan for our new family member. His/her bedroom is slowly turning from a guest room/library to a garden and Beatrix Potter themed nursery combined with the guest room. Baby clothes have been folded and set into different categories. Blankets are being washed.

In the kitchen I’m trying new recipes, looking at freezer meal recipes (in preparation for our busy, recovering time), and trying to discover the best ways to accomplish meal prep a head of time. (Since waking up – cheerfully – and making breakfast for my Darling Man is a bit difficult these days.) I think I need to take a second look at my morning routines for being successful. 😉

Our new home is becoming more nest-like and comfortable. I finally have enough energy to weed through closets, the motivation to toss what I no longer need, and the desire to find the best ways to decorate our home. I’m hoping with each change I make it becomes more peaceful and welcoming.

Most importantly, I’m endeavoring to bring more focus on the Lord into my heart and home. Hymns and worship music are filling the air, negative thought patterns are being weeded out, and Scripture themed prayers are becoming more common. We have loved ones who need God’s grace in their lives, relationships which need treasured and protected, and a little one to raise up for the Lord; these are all things which come from God and are accomplished through His good will. They’re also things I can ask for in confidence knowing my Heavenly Father hears my pleas and understands my heart.

AuthenticVirtue.com // Currently Series on homemaking, pregnancy, and the grace poured into every day life

What beautiful things have come your way this week? Are there any changes you’re trying to adjust to? I love your comments and growing together as friends. Let me know what you’re thinking! 🙂

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

My Top 8 Favorites of First Trimester Pregnancy

Pregnancy has been such an adventure for us. We’ve experienced crazy highs and lows and I am enjoying settling into being this little one’s mom. So often I struggle with worry or fear over our future but God has been good to me and sending me little ways to enjoy this time.

Here are my top favorites of our first trimester of pregnancy. The best part is that it will only get better now that I’ve entered the second trimester this week! (Praise the Lord!)

Resting in bed and pondering this miracle within me

I’ve been napping in the afternoon which means that Dalton typically falls asleep faster than I do at bedtime. These are the quiet moments when I talk to baby, wonder over him/her growing within me, and pray special Scriptures over baby. Some how night time seems to be a more sacred moment of the day as I rejoice and feel awe over our precious, growing bundle.

Pinteresting nursery ideas and other women’s weekly bump updates

I love searching for great ideas on Pinterest. (I think I’m addicted!) From adorable nursery themes to cloth diaper facts I tend to spend a lot of time learning through Pinterest’s gorgeous pictures and posts. (Here’s my boards) 

AuthenticVirtue.com Baby Board on Pinterest

Also, I love looking at other women’s weekly bump updates — it’s so fun seeing how my body will grow!

Seeing my belly grow (even though it still looks like a food baby)

I know my belly looks like a food baby to everyone else but I adore this growing bump. There were moments throughout my teenage years and early twenties where I would privately stuff a pillow under my shirt and try to imagine just how I would look as a pregnant momma.

It’s fun finally having that bump and knowing that it’s a real baby and not a pillow taking up all that space!

Praying Scripture over baby 

Praying over Baby Duncan has been the number one way I have grown from fear into hope in this pregnancy. I love the the below printable created by The Purposeful Mom. I’ll often pray through the list, meditate on it’s meaning, and repeat the words over baby and to the Lord.

All credit goes to The Purposeful Mom

This habit has made my pregnancy more special and real to me. Plus, it’s a beautiful way to invest in baby even before he or she is here in our arms.

Discovering great deals on neutral baby items (like my adorable Moses Basket!) 

I feel silly telling you that I’ve already been snatching up great finds at consignment stores and clearance racks! So many of my friends are waiting to buy baby items until they know baby’s gender but I can’t help myself.

So far, I’ve snatched up a beautiful Moses Basket bassinet (for $8!) and a few maternity items when Dalton sent me out for a shopping spree. 🙂

Eating well for baby 

Eating well has been a major joy in life lately. With the miscarriage scare, family visiting, and lots of out-of-town trips I haven’t been as diligent and focused on eating nutrient dense meals as I should be.

So, I enjoyed changing that habit and spent a good amount of time at the grocery store stocking the cart with snacks and ingredients I knew I could enjoy (even on days when I feel sick).

My latest pregnancy snacks? Raw veggies, prunes (for you know … 😉 ), yogurt, cow’s milk (we normally drink Almond Milk but were advised I should be drinking straight from the cow), and whole grains (which I normally avoid since we eat mostly gluten-free).

I’ve also taken to drinking chai tea as coffee is difficult to drink lately. (The horrors!) I still wanted my daily dose of warm goodness so the switch to creamy, home-brewed chai tea with a sprinkle of stevia wasn’t too difficult.

Drooling over modest maternity fashion

Is there anything cuter than maternity clothes? I’m tickled by the cute, layered hoodie and love the idea of wearing what I already wear — skirts, comfy shirts, and dresses.

All credit goes to Polyvore

All credit goes to Polyvore

Ah! Isn’t that so cute?

Having Dalton stroke my belly, talk to baby, and pray over baby 

Friends, I married an absolute gem. This man has blessed, encouraged, and cared for me since day one but he has really blossomed into a wonderful husband and daddy. I love watching Dalton pat my belly, talk to baby, and pray over us. There is nothing more precious than a grown man bending to talk to a baby still within the womb.

I love my husband and I love that he is enjoying this baby as much as I am.

There are my 8 top favorites of the first trimester. It’s been such a crazy yet beautiful time and these are just the beginnings of fun, delight-filled things. 

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Joy V. Happiness in Marriage, Pregnancy, and Daily Life

Joy v. happiness in an unknown pregnancy with a subchorionic hematoma with AuthenticVirtue.com

It’s happening again, the waters are rushing over our heads and I’m struggling to keep up. Being pregnant with our first has been one of the most delightful and trying experiences of our lives. Having a subchorionic hematoma is commonly low risk but tell that to the momma who’s bleeding, making ER trips, and being told the area her placenta needs to implant is filling with blood.

Then, suddenly, it doesn’t feel low risk any more.

But that’s the nature of a blood pocket in your womb. You never know what it’s up to, what it means, and what it could lead to. You simply wait. Monitoring helps (sometimes) unless you get news that it’s grown larger (as is my case). Then, waiting becomes more dreadful and more difficult to accept.

If you can tell life isn’t very happy right now but it is still very full of joy.

Dalton and I have been meaning to collaborate and write a post on the differences between joy and happiness. (As in I should have written it 5 months ago). But now is the perfect time to write because I’m experiencing it tenfold.

Happiness is temporary. It’s bliss. It’s me resting in bed on rainy afternoon with a cinnamon pecan candle burning in the light finishing a long book. Happiness is my husband bringing me dinner and then washing the dishes afterwards. Happiness is the fleeting feeling I experience after finding a good subchorionic hematoma story.

But happiness, however sweet and nice, eventually leaves.

And after the emotion leaves I’m still left with unanswered, scary questions. Will I have this baby? Will baby be hurt? When will I know? If I lose baby will I ever have more children?

Reality sinks in and the weight of it pushes the temporary feelings yummy candles, good meals, and a rainy afternoon brought.

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22,23

This is where Jesus and my Heavenly Father changes things. This is where joy take over. God’s Word promises the fruit of the Spirit includes joy and that I as a Christian can have it. I cannot create this fruit; I can prohibit it but I cannot force it in my life. It’s God working in me. It’s similar to real life planting; I could place vile and damage the root system around an apple tree and expect its growth to be affected. But I could never actually create an apple — I can only enjoy that it was made, given, and satisfying.

That’s joy — it’s present in the lack of happiness. It’s God given. It’s there when I’m dreading our future; it’s present when it’s 3 am and I’m having blood drawn and being wheeled away from my husband to an ultrasound room by a tech who isn’t happy to be working.

When I’m not feeling happy joy remains.

I do get overwhelmed with the unknowns of our pregnancy. I get tempted to fall headlong into fear and the sickness of dread. Happiness sometimes eludes me. (Which is scary for a sunny-disposition person as myself).

But during those moments when the sickening questions fill my head I’m reminded of God’s promises,

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

If I lose baby God is still good. If I am in limbo from now until week 40 God’s thoughts toward me are still good. If I have to live with unknowns until I deliver this baby God’s ways are still for Dalton and I (and baby). If my next pregnancy resembles this one I am still in God’s vision and His plan is good.

And that is joy. God’s Word and promises are joy. God’s loving will is joy. Living life open-handed, as much as it hurts and as hard as it is, is joy.

Joy is peace, God’s presence, and the knowledge that despite the outcome of our lives God is still good.

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Celebrating Our Baby Again (And Our Misdiagnosed Miscarriage)

Misdiagnosed miscarriage and still pregnant and celebrating!

Well, sweet people, imagine you’ve been given the worst news, experienced two weeks of mourning, and then were given the excited proclamation that hope still lived and thrived.

Welcome to my world of being pregnant with baby Duncan and our misdiagnosed miscarriage.

The facts: 

We’re still pregnant! (Isn’t God good?)

Baby Duncan is 10 weeks and 3 days old with a thriving heartbeat, moving arms and legs and as big as a prune (so cute!) That’s him/her in the picture above at 9 weeks. 🙂

I have a subchorionic hematoma which means I have a blood pocket which has caused the spotting and bleeding and much of the heart ache within the last three months.

The miscarriage was misdiagnosed due to my conception dates being wrong. Due to my irregular cycles, Baby was much younger than first thought. This is part of the reason our midwife missed seeing him/her and assumed we had had a miscarriage.

Although low, I am still considered at risk until the blood pocket is absorbed into the body or empties out.

The Story: 

On June 4th I went in for an ultrasound so we could understand how much longer our miscarriage would take. At this time we had been in the waiting period for two weeks.

Dalton wasn’t able to attend this appointment so I drove to the midwife’s alone, talking out loud, asking the Lord for His will to be done. I’m a very whimsical, imaginative person so hope is very easy for me to cling to; because I know I tend to wear rose colored glasses I spent most of the two weeks preparing myself to be practical, that I was, in fact, going to lose this baby.

But hope is a beautiful thing and deep in the corner of my heart I still asked God to be merciful and let the diagnosis be wrong.

I hopped on the big bed as the midwife jellied my belly and began looking for signs of our miscarriage’s progression. We were both silent, she as she checked and double checked (and checked again!) her screen and I as I looked at what appeared to be a baby where no baby had been before.

I nearly panicked when she remained silent for so long thinking something was amiss or wrong when she spoke words I still love to repeat:

Well, Frannie, there appears to be a baby in there! 

Of course, you can imagine the mass confusion, hysteria and nervous questions which came flowing.

Undeniably, there was an 8 week old baby with a steady heartbeat.

Since that moment, God has filled me with beautiful, amazing hope and praise.

I’ve since been referred to a specialist in Columbia, Missouri. I went in for an ultrasound with him at 9 weeks and he confirmed that baby appeared to be fabulous. The heart beat is high (170 per minute) and growth is perfect for our new due date, January 9th, one day after my birthday.

You can imagine the amazing, emotional roller-coaster life has been. I’m incredibly in awe, shock and wonder. I’m still going to have this baby. Dalton is still going to be a Daddy. God has still given us a little one, that for now, looks like we’re going to keep.

The Fears: 

Of course, fear is never far around the corner. Just last night we spent several hours in the ER due to sudden bleeding. But when the kind ER doctor turned off the lights and began the ultrasound she encouraged us with the words, “Baby’s heartbeat still looks great.” She believes I experienced bleeding because the blood pocket was emptying. Because baby looked so great and I’ve experienced no major cramps she felt she could encourage our hearts and say that all is well.

I’m also afraid of sharing news when I’ve already been wrong. I’m afraid of making mistakes and the thought of announcing our pregnancy, announcing a miscarriage, and now re-announcing our pregnancy freaks me out. I want the whole world to celebrate Baby Duncan (because all life is worth celebrating!) but I’m afraid I’ll have to make another major announcement and that scares me.

Finally, I’m scared of truly having a miscarriage. I’ve already “lost” this baby once; I’m afraid my heart couldn’t take it again.

The Truths:

Despite all my fears the truth is very simple: we have a healthy, growing, heart-beating baby who has surprised us all.

I’m experiencing all the normal pregnancy related symptoms like nausea, bloating, food cravings and aversions, growth cramps, and fatigue. (Whoo-hoo for being sick even though I don’t always feel that way) 😉

The only worry is my blood pocket which many women experience and still have healthy babies

I don’t know why we went through this. I don’t blame our midwife; I believe I am her first miscarriage misdiagnoses after 20 plus years of experience and successful checkups and deliveries. Her equipment isn’t the top of the line tech you’d find in a specialist’s office but I know there are women who have had miscarriages misdiagnosed by even those expensive pieces.

Right Now:

So, here we are, celebrating our baby’s life. I am so thankful that God saw it fit to let baby be well despite all the worry, fear, and misdiagnoses. I praise Him for being good to us, carrying us through a very stressful time. I’m also grateful for all the amazing friends and family who have been quick to celebrate, then support, and now celebrate again.

Currently, I’ve been ordered to a less active life. But according to Dalton that means almost complete bed rest. 😉 He’s been such a darling, sweet, caring husband. He means to do all the laundry, dish washing and other chores I typically care for until the bleeding subsides and we’re assured the blood pocket can cause no more alarm.

We are so blessed; mainly because through all this crazy upset God has carried us both through magnificently. Even though our experience has been so hard God has walked us through and blessed us with growing love for each other and His goodness and Person.

So, that’s it. Welcome back into the limelight Baby Duncan. We think you’re pretty amazing.

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie