Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not My Decision

As I sit here, 33.5 weeks pregnant, with my decision made for me. It's definitely not my first choice, but it is what will (likely) be.

I'm going to have a c-section.

We had another ultrasound this morning, and we discovered/confirmed a few things.
1) Peanut does not like to have his/her picture taken. We didn't get ONE good ultrasound picture out of it. Hands/arms in the face, smashed up against the placenta, cord beneath the nose.
2) Peanut is about 4.9 lbs now, putting him/her at the 41st percentile in weight. They couldn't get a length, though Peanut seems tall (see #1).
3) Peanut has a lot of hair.
4) Peanut is stubborn. Peanut, though head-down until about 20 weeks, decided it was a good idea to turn head-up (breeched position). I have tried heat and cold application, music, positioning and exercises and . . . nothing. The babe doesn't want to move. They think I may have a cephalopelvic disproportion (pelvis is too small), but they cannot confirm that.

#4 is the reason we are scheduled to have a c-section. We have a date set, but we aren't sharing that with anyone. There is still a change that Peanut will turn on his/her own, but as each day goes by, this becomes less and less likely as the babe is running out of room. If Peanut does turn on his own, then I can proceed to attempt a vaginal delivery.

I know c-sections aren't the worst thing ever. I know that one of the best OB doctors in the state will be the one performing the c-section. I know that Peanut will not have a misshapen head if I have a c-section. I know it's much safer for Peanut to come out via my abdomen versus trying to attempt a breech delivery.

I also know c-sections require a lot more recovery time. Babies can have more trouble breastfeeding when they are born via c-section and can be more groggy from all the meds they end up absorbing.

So, we wait. We wait to see if the little one with move into the correct position. If not, I know when Peanut's birthday will be, and I'm trying to be ok with that.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

An Update

It's been quite a long time since I've posted anything. I would like to claim that this is because I have such an exciting life that I have not had time, but I also don't like to lie. I haven't posted for two reasons:
1) We have actually been pretty busy
2) I mostly forgot about it . . .

The past month has been filled with several new things. We started our Lamaze class about a month ago, for one. It is interesting and helpful, but what the other couples in our class DON'T know will never cease to amaze me. I realize that I'm in healthcare, but they ask about things I've known since . . . . forever. What's an epidural? What are kegels? What's an episiotomy? *sigh* I suppose I will have to learn to be more patient. Lord knows I'll need it with this child!

Besides our Lamaze class, we have been actively collecting things for our Peanut. I had a fantastic shower in State College (thanks, Becki!!) where we received TONS of very much needed (and desired) baby things. I am so incredibly thankful to all my friends and family who were able to come and celebrate with me! It very much calmed my nerves about not being ready for our new addition!

The biggest thing that we have been going through is trying to figure out where to live. We have about 5 weeks left before we have to be out of our trashy apartment. I promise you, there is not an ounce of my ever-growing body that will miss this place AT ALL--each and every day, every cop siren, ever drug deal, every slamming door and every unclean clothing garment confirms that. However, the thought of not being sure WHERE to move when I'm 7.5 months pregnant is horrifying. So, needless to say, we have spent countless evenings and weekends house hunting. It didn't go so well at first . . .

I know we don't need anything spectacular--we are RENTING this new place, after all, not buying. We did find out, however, how very difficult finding a nice, affordable place is. We could find multiple things seriously wrong with nearly every place we have looked at until this week. We finally have our search narrowed down to one of two townhouses in the area. There are definite pros and cons to each, and we're in the process of figuring out which benefits outweigh which risks, along with seeing how willing the owners are to negotiate. I hope to know exactly where we will be living by tomorrow night.

It's hard to explain, but I've never been more excited to move. It's not just that our current dwelling place is similar to a POW "living" space with drug deals going on multiple times a day. I just want and NEED to nest. (I feel Peanut's constant jabs and pokes, along with his/her frequent tumbles on my bladder and "hi-yas!" into my diaphragm are telling me so). I need to set up Peanut's room, wash Peanut's clothes and put things away. I need to know exactly where things will go and what all we still absolutely need before Peanut makes his/her debut. I realize I have about 8 weeks left, but let's face it, this babe is going to come whenever he/she wants to, including very early. I know some people are into last-minutes things, but I am way too OCD to wait until mid-January to start preparations. I'll end up in a psych ward . . .

All if this rant is to ask this: please pray for us. Please pray that we'll make a wise housing decision that will be the best of all 5 of us (yes, pets, too) in a timely manner. Please pray that our tentative mid-December move will not be stricken with inches upon inches of snow and that everyone helping us will be able to be safe in their travels. Please pray that I will be able to nest successfully without driving poor Adam mad. Please pray that we'll soon find a church to officially call home very soon. Please pray that Adam will continue to do well in school, even as our lives take a crazy turn. Please pray for a safe and healthy delivery.

Please pray.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

First Spanking

My dearest firstborn,

Know that I discipline you because I love you. I did not want to spank you today, and by doing so smack my own belly, but when you are disobedient, I have no choice.

We wanted a simple picture of your face today to make sure you were developing as expected. You didn't allow us to do this 7 weeks ago, but we attributed that to your lack of desire to move to a pathetic apartment. Today, you have no excuse. You were simply being stubborn.

A 25 week, 4 day ultrasound should not take 2 hours. Yo
u did not want to face the "camera," and instead hid your sweet face with BOTH hands AND a foot. When the expert tech used her "fool proof" method of getting babes to move by putting the buzzer on my belly, you still didn't budge. She said even she was going to have a choice nickname for you that she couldn't share with us. Now we have to have more ultrasounds in 4 and 8 weeks. This was the first time you embarrassed your parents, but I know it will not be your last.

So, since the tech couldn't get you to move, I had to spank your tiny hind-quarters. This didn't seem to bother you, either. This will have to change once you begin to breathe something other than amniotic fluid.

All I can say is, you are truly a product of your parents. You are just as stubborn as your mother and you stay snuggled in a comfy position just like your father. I can't wait for the next 18 years.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Last Time

Today I spent a lot of time thinking at work. Obviously I'm a CRNP and I think constantly because it's part of the job, but I mean I was thinking about different things in between patients.

First of all, I was thinking about the things I had to get done this weekend . . . return a shirt, breakfast date with Huck, viewing a few potential rental properties, laundry, dusting, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, baking cookies, watching the PSU homecoming football game, taming the mutt, deciding which church to check out this Sunday, visiting with the parents in Lancaster for my birthday, etc. etc. These are all good things and I oddly look forward to them.

I will be 27 years old on Sunday. I'm not old, and this is not a whoa-is-me kind of a birthday, but a different one. This will be the last birthday I have before I become a mother. At this time next year, I will have 9-month old babe to care for. This is the best thing ever, but it also made me think of how all the aforementioned things on my "to-do" list are going to be a lot more challenging.

I will no longer be able to run and do whatever on my own time. Instead, my new to-do list will be as follows:
1) feed Peanut (and throw in a load of laundry)
2) burp Peanut (and wash dishes)
3) change Peanut (then make supper)
4) console Peanut (and tackle the mutt)
5) teach Peanut (and try to spend time with Huck)

That's going to be the best to-do list. Ever.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Pregnancy Calendar

At our last OBGYN appointment on October 5, we found at that I am actually a little farther along in this pregnancy than originally thought . . . a whole three days! Three days isn't significant to some, but as I gradually become more and more swollen, it makes a world of a difference to me.

At that appointment, I was 23 weeks and 3 days pregnant. So, as of yesterday, I was 24 weeks pregnant, or 6 months pregnant. I have recently heard many controversies about this timing from males and those without children. "Well if you're 6 months NOW, that means that at 40 weeks, you will be 10 months pregnant, not 9!" Yes, that's true--10 LUNAR months pregnant. Ask any pregnant woman or woman that has had a child within the past 30 years or more. It's 40 weeks or TEN months.

I do find myself telling people that I'm six months pregnant now--it's so much easier for them to "visualize" than telling them I'm "24 weeks, 1 day." What does THAT mean to them?

While I'm happy to be farther along than originally thought, all this realization of me being six months pregnant (already!) is terrifying to me. We sadly still live in a dump of an apartment where the maintenance staff doesn't seem to care that our outlets don't work and that our toilet doesn't work. We still haven't sold our home, though it's looking like it may be leased soon. I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that this may very well be Peanut's first "home". If that's the case, that also means that there will be no family coming to help for the first few weeks, as is customary--we have no room to house them.

What's more terrifying is that we really have nothing for Peanut. We have a crib, but no mattress or sheets. We don't have diapers or bottles. We don't have a car seat or a strolled. I also haven't had any showers yet, but all this makes me worry--what if Peanut decides to grace us with his/her presence SUPER early, and we still have nothing? I know we won't be entirely prepared to be parents (who REALLY is??), but I was at least hoping to have a real place to live and real necessities for the little booger.

It's fun being sixth months or 24 weeks, 1 day pregnant. I think I need to stop thinking . . .

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pros and Cons

It's official--I am more than halfway through my first pregnancy. I am 21 weeks along now and getting bigger by the day. . . . and, according to some, more whiny ;-)

I love being pregnant--there's a beautiful little life growing inside me, and I get to have a connection with this life that no one else will ever have. I do not, however, love the fact that you still can't really tell if I'm pregnant or just getting generally fat. I have had a few of my new patients look at me like, "hmmm, kinda chunky, ay?" I also still feel like people look at me like I'm a chunky hog when I am eating in public instead of realizing that I require a little more energy than usual.

I also don't like reflux or my chubby cheeks. I don't like how my clothes are fitting . . . the maternity clothes are, for the most part, too big, but I definitely can't fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes. I do like that sweats fit me perfectly and remind me of my college weekends with the best roomie ever.

I do like that my nails are growing faster and stronger than every before. I like that my hair is growing as fast as it did before I ever had radiation. My husband likes that other . . . "parts" . . . are growing at an insane rate.

But, all in all, I take the good and the bad. As of January 2007, I didn't know if I'd even be able to have children. As of February (or, ideally January 23 at precisely 2224), I will have the most beautiful little gift in my arms, and I will have forgotten all of the nonsense that weighs on my mind now.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Choose like your life depends on it

It's September 8, 2011. We have lived in Harrisburg for about 1.5 weeks now and I have been working for 3 days. One would assume I haven't developed too many opinions or haven't really gotten a taste for it here, but that's just not true.

I am currently working for the most fantastic hospital system with the nicest and most helpful people ever. They are beyond understanding of peoples' life situations and how work is not, in fact, all an employee should ever focus on. (People have LIVES outside of work??? WHAT???) Anyway, seeing what was happening yesterday and today just blew my mind--in a good way.

As you may know, a large portion of this system is right on the Susquehanna River--I'm talking fewer than 50 yards away. Naturally, since Lee decided to dump lots of rain on us and since the river is now at nearly 29', parts of the system have been flooded. People didn't panic. They didn't run away. They *helped* each other get the essentials out of the way and got people to go home and into safety. Wow. People that care about people. Amazing.

Don't get me wrong, here. I have been working for the company for only 3 days now. I know I will have good days and bad days. I know that people will upset me and probably rearrange my books just to mess with my OCD-like tendencies. I am just really happy that I have not yet encountered ONE mean/uncaring/dramatic/self-loathing person. Not one.

Needless to say, we have been much happier out here. Sure, money's beyond tight. We're struggling to sell our home. Adam's trudging his way through school and trying to find part-time temporary work to help with the bills that are piling up. Jabber has no room to run around or be outside "by herself." The flood waters are dangerously close to our temporary home and we have had to stock up on water and other essentials since we can't access our own supply. We don't care. It doesn't matter. Peanut is developing perfectly and moving around like a little monkey. Adam and I have been able to spend time with each other. I love everything about my job. Our families are significantly closer to us. God has done nothing but take care of us, and I know He will continue to do so.

I continue to pray for the things that trouble our hearts--primarily the sale of our home in Canonsburg, Adam's school and finding a good church home. But one of my biggest prayers has been answered. . . I "chose like my life depended on it" . . . and I'm happy.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Apartment . . . part 1

So, we're here, living in a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment in Harrisburg that reminds us both very much of the poor-quality college-type apartments in State College. That's right--our floors have multiple dips in the floor, you can hear everything in every apartment, you can smell everything in every apartment and the whole place seems to be held together by 23 coats of paint left from previous attendants. We have been unpacking, decorating and trying to figure out where to put everything that we used to have in our much larger home. We're trying to figure out how to keep Jabber from barking any time she sees anyone walk by or hears a door in the building open or close. We are trying to figure out how to do laundry in a laundry closet where the vent to the dryer vents directly into the same room, not to the outside. I am trying to figure out how to make anything other than a bowl of cereal in my Barbie-sized kitchen. It hasn't been going well. I'm trying to figure out how to not fall down the steps to the outside and break my toes again.

We really like being in Harrisburg. We like being closer to family and we like having stores/businesses within a TEN MINUTE drive. We like the lower cost of living. It's just this stinkin' apartment . . .

We know it will just take time . . . and the sale of our home in Canonsburg for us to be able to get out of this apartment and into a new home. We are hopeful that the right buyer will come soon so we can 1) not worry about paying rent on top of a mortgage and double bills and 2) so we can feel like we are actually settling here.

So, here's to living in Harrisburg in a college-ish apartment.

And here's to moving out of it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fun with Packing

As I have now been off work for 2.5 (week) days, I find myself to be enjoying packing more and more. Strange, yes, but nonetheless true.

First, and most obviously, I like things to be organized and clean--a true shock to anyone who knows my OCD-like tendencies, I know. I hate junk--a trait I get from my mother, for sure. Moving is a perfect excuse for getting rid of . . . well . . . anything and everything. Ask yourself this and answer honestly--do you even remember getting rid of specific items during a move and regretting it after one or more years has gone by? Truth be told, I know we got rid of a lot when we moved from State College to Canonsburg. What that "a lot" was, I couldn't even tell you.

I, however, sincerely enjoy going through cabinets and old boxes, determining what I should keep, donate or throw away. I get a rush thinking that someone else could use some of the things we can't or don't use anymore. I like going through clothes and wondering what the heck I was thinking at ages 18-20 or so with my wardrobe choices. I have fun checking out what I saved because I thought it meant a lot, but now I have no idea what it is, let alone why I kept it, for the past 4 years.

It's not that I'm not sentimental--I definitely am. I have a throw that my Grammy made for me when I was about a year old. I don't think I have ever used it, but I'm certainly not getting rid of it. I have a picture that my mom cross-stitched for me that my little Peanut will have in his/her room one day. I have multiple Willow Tree statues that, though I generally don't like kitsch, I will keep because my mother-in-law gave them to me to represent different times in my life. We have a quilt that Adam's great-grandmother made for us that's too big for our bed, but we are never getting rid of that, either.

I also found some silly things from elementary school--including some laminated hand-written and illustrated"books" that I remember being so proud of when I was little. (These books also remind me that my handwriting was actually pretty darn good when I was 7-9 years old and has since gone downhill after having to write "Katrina Johnstonbaugh, CRNP" 165 times a day.) I found some of my favorite stuffed animals, including and orangutang that I stole from my baby brother named "Monkey Monkey," and my favorite childhood doll, "Foosta." (I'm not sure the origin of this name or how the heck I came up with it, but I like to think it was my creative genius just beginning around age 2).

All in all, I like moving because it allows me to remember what's truly important in my life. It allows me to see how I have grown and changed, but also shows me just how much I've stayed the same. I'm sure that our Peanut(s) will throw most of these things away when we're gone, and that's ok. They aren't Peanut's memories, they're my memories and Adam's memories. We'll have a box (or two or twenty-five) that will contain memories that are significant to Peanut, too. One day, probably 20+ years from now, Peanut will look through a box and find clothes that he/she was ashamed to admit he/she actually wore and liked. Peanut will find drawings that Mom and Dad kept, even though they look like a pile of squiggles. Peanut will find his/her first blanket and his/her first ultrasound picture. Peanut may choose to keep some of these memories, but may choose to get rid of more--especially if the poor little babe takes after Mama and can't stand clutter. That's ok. They will no longer be my memories to keep or toss.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The End

I didn't wake up until 0715 today, something I haven't done for . . . well, years. I didn't take the dog out, jump in the shower, fix my hair and makeup and deliberate over what to wear. I didn't need to. I didn't go to work today. My first job as a CRNP has ended.

It's a really weird feeling to "not have a job," to not have to worry about patient complaints, to not have to hope and pray I get home at a decent time. It's a feeling I'm never had before.

The reality is, I fortunately do have a job all lined up--it just hasn't started yet. I have the next three weeks to pack up one life and move it to another. I can nap when I want and run errands at whatever time is convenient for me. For three weeks, I don't have to answer to my career.

For the past two plus years, I did have to answer to my career--I have been the nurse practitioner at a small family practice in rural western Pennsylvania. I had the pleasure of working with some great people and have had the pleasure of caring for some really special patients. We have recently been taken in another direction . . . on the other side of the state.

I am very much looking forward to my new position in suburban Harrisburg. I'm looking forward to having a grocery store, gas station and Lowe's all within 5 miles. I'm looking forward to living 6 miles away from my job, instead of my current 35 miles. I'm looking forward to not having to fill up my gas tank twice a week and looking forward to getting home in 10 minutes instead of 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. I'm looking forward to living closer to family.

As much as I have always wanted to take a month off work, I'm actually not super-excited about it this time. I am actually looking forward to starting work again. I'm tired of thinking of the end of my last job . . . I am ready to start a new one.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

the Reason

Well, we had hoped it wouldn't come to this, but it did.

We're moving to a new apartment in about 2-3 weeks.

Don't get me wrong here: We are super-excited that we will be living in a much nicer area with much nicer schools that actually has stores within 15 miles AND is closer to our families and work. It's just hard to go from living in a 3.5 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom house to a smaller apartment again. We've gotten so used to our privacy and quiet (minus the mutt) that we are hesitant to give it up. We have no choice. I can't commute 4 hours to work every day. I just can't. Gas is too expensive for that. ;-)

We signed a 12-month lease, though we are very hopeful that our home will sell VERY soon so we don't have to be living there by the time Peanut comes into the world and so that we don't have to keep paying our mortgage AND rent.

A huge part of me wants to know why the timing hasn't worked out better . . . or at least better in my opinion. Every time we've moved before, the timing worked out oddly well. Why not this time, when it's more pressing than ever?

I'm trying to remember that my timing isn't what it's about. There is a reason our home hasn't sold yet--aside from the disgustingly horrible economy and housing market. There is a reason we signed our lease this weekend.

Perhaps there is a perfect home for us in Harrisburg that just isn't on the market yet. Maybe Adam will find his ultimate long-term job, and so we aren't supposed to get settled in there and then have to go through the home-selling process again. Perhaps there are people there that we need to meet.
Perhaps it's simply a lesson for me to learn that my timing isn't God's timing.

No matter what, we're excited. I've found a perfect new job. We are only about 30-45 minutes away from my parents and about 1 hour 15 minutes away from Adam's family. There is a nice PCA church only a few miles away. We have a place to live together as Peanut continues to grow.

All in all, what is supposed to happen will happen when it's supposed to happen. I'll be honest, though--I am still praying that our home selling soon is supposed to happen!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Clothing Dilemma

As I was getting ready for church this morning, I found myself to be in quite a dilemma . . . my clothes don't fit! Even the clothes that I wore last summer (when I was about 10-15lb heavier than I am now) don't fit me right. They pinch, bind and grab in all the wrong places. My peanut does not like to be pinched!

I, naturally, thought the solution would be to switch to maternity clothes, once and for all. Just give in and say, "that's it. I'm ready. 26 more weeks of "fat" clothes."

I have a pair of capris that my loving mother-in-law helped me pick out that I wore before without problems. Unfortunately, that's the ONLY pair of pants that fit me right now . . . the other maternity clothes I have are too big and don't stay up/on. Am I supposed to go places in the buff?

After I spent a good 20 minutes getting angry about this, I realized two very important things . . .

1) I have clothes, no matter how they fit. I have multiple outfits that I could create, even if some aren't as attractive as others. I'm fortunate enough to have to struggle with what to wear, instead of IF I will ever be able to get clothes on my back.

2) I am blessed to be pregnant with a healthy baby. When Adam and I got married 3 years ago, we didn't even know if that was going to be possible because of my cancer and the subsequent treatment for it. Some otherwise totally healthy people struggle with infertility daily and would just be delighted if they had to decide when to switch to maternity clothes.

So, that being said. I got dressed with my pair of capris and a slightly too-small pre-pregnancy black t-shirt. And it's amazing . . . because I have a baby growing inside of me.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Best Sound . . . . EVER

On Wednesday, I heard the most amazing thing in the world . . .

It was not a joke.
It was not words from an old friend.
It was not a new fun song.

It was the sound of my baby's heart beating.

Adam and I were at my 13-week prenatal appointment that day, and we were both a little nervous. Sometimes, after all, these little babes don't like to be heard just yet. This was not the case for our little peanut.

It did take my OBGYN some time to find the little one's sound of strength--he/she apparently likes to move around . . . a LOT. When she, however, found the "sweet spot" for our little acrobat, we heard the most glorious "lub dub" going at a rate of approximately 140 beats per minute. My heart swelled three sizes, just like the Grinch's did when he found out the true meaning of Christmas.

So, we did not hear from an old friend, a great joke or a fun song.

We heard the wonderful sound of life that we created . . . . together. Nothing could ever beat that.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A New Life

It's strange to think about everything that has happened in our lives and to think about what's coming up. We have been moving every 1-2 years due to graduations, getting married and starting new careers, but I have a gut feeling this will be a move that will last us for decades to come.

I recently took a job with a fantastic health system in eastern Pennsylvania, closer to our hometowns. We have never wanted to live in our parents' backyards, but living 4+ hours away has been sad and hard for us. Sure, I know some people live 10 hours . . . 20 hours away from home, but that's just not us. It's not who we are. We like to travel, we like to try new things. We also like home and our families.

So, life's going to change a LOT for us in the next few months. We're trying to sell our home in a terrible economy (prayers, please!), we're moving to Harrisburg, we're starting new careers and Adam will be finishing school . . . and that's not all! (More to come on that, later!)

We may be in the middle of a chaotic time, but we have each other and our growing love for one another. That's enough for me.