Thursday, September 23, 2010

38 weeks

Today is my birthday, my 29th birthday. I had the most fabulously uneventful day. I got to be on-call for work and didn't end up going in at all. I slept in, cleaned house, watched old episodes of Glee from Netflix, skyped the family and got a delicious cupcake from a local bakery from a friend. Pretty much my definition of a perfect day.

Elspeth is coming in only 10 days! We went to the doctor yesterday and everything is looking great. She was extremely active during our office visit and made everyone smile, including Dr. Sheridan.

Elspeth is my best birthday gift. She has made this past year the most incredible adventure. I have had such a wonderful pregnancy, no major aches and pains, no morning sickness, etc. She is the best baby a mother could ask for. Today I can say that I have everything I have ever wanted for my birthday...a wonderful husband and a beautiful daughter. I am truly blessed.

I can best describe the emotional side of the pregancy as an "emotional marathon". I have never enjoyed running, and the best I have ever ran was a 5k, but what I do know about running is that the most difficult part of a marathon is the last few miles. Ryan and I are on the last few emotional miles of this pregnancy marathon and we are feeling the wear and tear of a long road. We have learned so much about ourselves. Marathon runners run hundreds of miles in preparation for their races. Ryan and I have "trained" for this pregnancy is a very different way. We have good parents who taught us to trust in our Heavenly Father and they showed us how to go to Him in prayer since we were small children. We have studied the scriptures and found comfort in the passages left by prophets of God. Ryan and I have relied on our faith and fortitude built up from many years through this time. We have been sustained and lifted up because of it. People may wonder why I can smile and laugh during this time and I can tell you that I know it's because I know that I am a child of God, He loves me. He knows who I am by name and Elspeth is one of His most precious daughters. I have felt the loving arms of my Savior around me as I have prayed for my daughter. I am so thankful for this testimony, to know who I am and to understand my eternal goals. I know that Ryan and I will be reunited with our daughter again someday and our joy will be so sweet when we get to see her perfected body along with her perfect spirit that we feel now.

Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes. You have all helped to make this day special for my little family.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Elspeth and I had a very special Satuday this past week. It started with a photography session with Julie Pinedo. We found Julie through Alexandra's House founder Patti. Julie's path to us started when she volunteered taking photos for children with cancer. Her work with these children lead her to Alexandra's House which is a peri-natal hospice house. Julie was so much fun to work with and bent over backwards to meet our crazy schedule. She really helped us to relax while we were getting our photos done and we actually had fun. We don't have the finished product yet, but we are hoping to get them this week. You can check out Julie's work at . I'm thrilled to have our first family photos to cherish forever.

Saturday afternoon my dear friend Celeste threw me a "shower of love". I felt extremely showered with love from family and my friends from church. It's terrible to admit, but I was really hesitant about having a baby shower because I felt self-concious about recieving gifts for myself. Ryan saved the day however when he suggested that we collect items to donate. He pitched the idea to Celeste and I, of course we loved it. After careful deliberation, we picked The Rose Brooks Center. The Rose Brooks Center is a shelter for battered women here in Kansas City. I was first introduced to this organization back in February at a women's conference held by our church. All of the ladies brought items to donate and then the founder spoke to us. She was inspiring and I knew that they would be the perfect choice. A battered women can be anyone, it's possible they could be pregnant or have small children. Now that I have a mother's perspective there have been so many times I have wished that I could give Elsepth anything she needs or do anything I could for her but in so many ways I cannot. These women feel the same way about their babies, they want to give their babies everything but can't because they are starting their lives over again. I wanted to make it a little easier for them and this project was a tiny dent in the list of needs for the shelter. We collected far more than I had expected. I am so grateful for the generosity of good friends.

The photo is of us preparing to unload the truck. From left to right Rose, Joan, Me, and Celeste's children Scout, Olivia and Asher. The best moment of the day was Joan's embrace. She transferred so much love into my heart through a simple hug, I couldn't help but to become a little bit emotional. These women's work is inspirational and amazing. I hope I can get involved in the shelter again soon.

Photos from the baby shower:

No baby shower is complete without tasty treats. Celeste, Shirley and Michelle did a great job keeping our sweet teeth satisfied. Thank you everyone who helped and participated.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

37 weeks

This week's milestone is a celebration because Elsepth is officially a full term baby. 14 weeks into the pregnancy we found out that Elspeth has anencephaly. The doctors told me over and over again that she could pass at any time. They told me that she might not be very active. Basically they left us with very little expectations. This is not to fault our medical staff, I just think we all didn't really know what to expect. I had to go to the doctor on a weekly basis for several weeks just to check to see if she still had a heart beat. Those weeks were terrible, not knowing if my baby was still alive. Elspeth has beaten the odds and surpassed every expectation in several ways over the past 37 weeks.

So many people have told me that they are praying for a miracle for Elsepth. I am so grateful for their prayers and also hope for a miracle at birth, but I know that she has already been a miracle several times over. It's a miracle I could even become pregnant, it's a miracle that Elspeth didn't miscarry in the first fragile trimester, it's a miracle that she has made it to be a full term baby. Who knows what else she has in store?

So, I decided to celebrate Elsepth's full termness by going out with my dear friend Celeste. We went for pedicures (as you could see from a previous post that I really needed one), and then went out to eat disgustingly unhealthy cheese french fries. It was great! With so much to mourn, it was refreshing to celebrate.

You all probably think I am obsessed with my feet. I guess I am a little bit, especially since I can't see them anymore.

This week's doctor update is extremely uneventful...thankfully. No dialation or contractions (I know it's TMI). It's looking like we are still headed for an induction on Oct. 5th as previously planned.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Reality Check

Yesterday Ryan and I recieved a tough reality check. I came home from work last night and I realized I hadn't felt Elspeth kick at all yesterday. I got settled into my comfortable chair and sat still waiting to feel her familiar and friendly kicks. Nothing. After about 2 hours I started to panic. I called Ryan who was at work and told him the situation. Ryan was wonderful, he stayed calm and we said a prayer and asked God to help me feel Elsepth soon and to know what to do. We discussed going to the hospital or calling the OBGYN but decided to just wait it out. I hung up the phone with Ryan and my sister Annah called. She helped me keep things in perspective and calmed me down. While I was talking to my sister Ryan had an interesting experience. A NICU nurse walked right into his work and saw the worry on his face and asked him what was wrong. Ryan told this stranger what was going on not knowing her profession. She was able to calm his fears so that he could be a better support to me. Of course early this morning around 4:45 a.m. Elspeth woke me up beeping and bopping around like a ninja baby. She was exceptionally active for a good part of the day today too.

3 lessons learned
1. I am not nearly as prepared as I thought I was to have my baby die. Last night was a painful insight in the weeks to come.
2. God answers our prayers through other people. Maybe it's family, maybe it's a stranger.
3. Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding". We talked about this verse in Sunday school about 2 weeks ago and it's been on my mind ever since. I can't even tell you how many times I have asked Heavenly Father "why me? why my baby?" I have tried justifying and rationalizing this situation over and over. The only answer that makes any kind of sense is that this is God's plan. He loves me and I have to trust in Him. Maybe someday this will all make sense.

Oh, I liked this quote I "overheard" on my online support group.
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal and love leaves a memory no one can steal."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

36 weeks

Have you ever seen a cloudy day, the kind where everything looks gray and depressing? Then suddenly out of nowhere there's a part in the clouds and a little ray of sunshine will break through and light up the path in front of you. Today, we got a little ray of sunshine when we found out that Elspeth has turned back around and is now in perfect birth position! Maybe it seems small but it's something that has weighed heavily on my mind these past two weeks. It has been in my prayers to have a smooth labor and delivery and now we are one step closer to that goal.

Another bonus is that we got some measurements on Elspeth too. We found out that Elspeth's femur and humerus are measuring a week behind. We don't really know why this could be, but I have some theories. Maybe it's because first babies are smaller than subsequent babies or maybe it has to do with her birth defect. It's impossible to get a measurement on her weight because weight is measured by a calculation between the head circumference and the femur. The sonographer took the best measurement of her head circumference that was possbile and figured out that if Elspeth had a completely formed head she would weigh 5 lbs and 7 oz right now. Since most of her head is missing it's speculation on her weight...she could weigh anywhere from 1/2 lb to 1 lb less than estimated. So my best guess is that she is weighing in somewhere near 5 lbs with about 2 more to gain before birth.
The photo quality is really poor. I must have taken this photo 10 times and this is the best it could get. It's a shot of her face...well half of it. When the sonographer saw this shot she said "what chubby little cheeks!" It's very difficult to get a shot of Elspeth's head and face at all because her head is so small and it's usually squished right up into some part of me. Visible in the photo is one eye, part of her nose, mouth and the mass of white is her chubby cheek.
Her little foot measures 7.5 cm or about 2.5 inches long. Errggg, I wish these photos were better. I will put them in the scrapbook and it will be much easier to see them then.

We are down to weekly checks at the doctors office now that I am in the 9th month. I can't believe that we're on the home stretch. This pregnancy has gone by so quickly. Even though I am ready for a full night of sleep and my back to stop hurting I am not quite ready to let my baby go yet. I am still looking forward to the next 26 days with Elspeth.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

35 weeks

It has to be more than coincidence that I have so many perfectly placed people in my life right now. The more I think about it, the more I realize how many people that are dear to me are exactly who I need for this period in my life. It's almost like a have a huge circle of love wrapped around us specially built for just this moment. I can honestly say that I have never felt more loved than I do right now. Friends have become family, extended family have become close family and immediate family have become even more tightly woven in my heart.

The most important thing Elsepth is teaching me is that family everything. I always knew that Ryan and I were a family before Elsepth was in our lives, but she has altered the dynamic for the better. Before I was expecting Elspeth I would always tell Ryan that I wanted a family of my own and to have the opportunity to be a mother. Thank you my baby for making my dreams come true.

I finally figured out how to set my camera up so I can take my own photo...don't judge the pajamas, they feel so good these days!

Oh, there's my feet! Wow, I need a pedicure. Good night readers. Thank you for your love and support.