Saturday, December 28, 2013

I love being pregnant

I love being pregnant.

I sit here looking at my round belly, feeling my sweet girl moving around inside of me, and I love every minute of it. During this time I can pretend like I'm a normal lady whose only worry in two months will be to adapt to life with a newborn- to deal with late nights, unconsolable crying, and disgusting diaper changes.

However, in two months I won't be the normal, new mom. The day that I finally get to meet my daughter, to hear her coos and smell her sweet scent, is the day the countdown begins. The clock will begin ticking to remove this tumor, forcing me to deal with cancer again.

I was told by doctors to "enjoy the pregnancy," as there is nothing to do until I deliver. However during this waiting game, I've actually forgotten that I have cancer. Isn't that weird? That I've pushed this disease so far out of my mind that I forget that I'm sick. Then I'll randomly touch the lump on my neck or look at the pile of medical bills and remember. I'll remember that I'm not healthy and that our newborn-baby experience won't be typical.

How do you prepare for life with a baby with cancer hanging over your head?

Sometimes I let the worry overwhelm me. It takes over my thoughts and emotions. It debilitates me into thinking about nothing else, keeping me up at night.

As we wait, is it spreading? What if something goes wrong during surgery? What if the cancer is more aggressive than we thought? Will I be physically able to nurse or hold my baby? How am I going to deal with this emotionally?

But a friend's words convicted me the other day.

"We only worry about things we haven't given to God."

I'm trying to give this to Him. Trying.

And as God continues to refine me, I'll enjoy these next eight weeks. I'll cherish each pregnancy symptom, kick, and punch and try not to worry about tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Love, Josh Alex and Baby C

Monday, December 23, 2013

Week 31: D-day plans

We are now in the single digits until Baby C arrives. I can't believe in 9 weeks we will be holding our baby girl, maybe sooner and hopefully not later.

How am I feeling this week? Pretty darn good! I have been intentional about my nutrition, increasing my intake of green juice, salads, fruit, and all that other healthy stuff people tell you to eat. With this whole pregnancy and cancer thing, I've felt less in control over my body more than ever. Refocusing on  healthy eating has given me a boost of self confidence and a sense of control in this crazy, awesome time.

Of course with the holidays come lots of goodies, and what pregnant lady can turn down a second helping of pumpkin pie? It is a little embarrassing how much I can eat. I swear my stomach is now a bottomless pit.

In preparation for D-day, last week Josh and I attended a birth class and hospital tour. The class was more for Josh's benefit than mine, but it was still helpful to hear what other women are experiencing and what is typical practice for our hospital. While the birthing video was Josh's favorite part (kidding, obviously), I loved seeing the labor and delivery room. While the hospital setting tends to be a bit more "medically involved" than I would prefer, I think we made the best decision for our family and current situation.

I'm trying to be realistic about D-day, aka pushing baby out. I would love to labor at home for as long as possible and have a medicine-free birth. I'd also love to have an easy nursing experience without milk-supply issues and a happy baby that sleeps through the night. As much as I can prepare, I know from recent experience than things don't always go as planned. Surprisingly, I've never actually experienced child birth before so I'm trying to be realistic and not set myself up for disappointment. So, while I plan for a low intervention birth, I really just want Baby C and myself to make it out alive.

Baby's size: 19 inches, 3.9 pounds

Total weight gain: No clue! My scale broke. (Please note: I did not break the scale, it just happened to break as I stepped on it. Total coincidence.)

Symptoms: My back is so achy. High and low, it just hurts. Luckily baths and Josh's massages help tremendously. And baby loves to push and punch my diaphragm; I am constantly short of breath and gasping for air. Also, I rarely see past 9pm. I wish it was acceptable to eat dinner at 4:30 and be in bed by 7:00.

Things bought for baby: Josh and I, both separately, stopped into Baby Gap during recent shopping excursions. Being cheap and like-minded, we both stuck to the sales rack and with an additional 40% off got some pretty good deals. Who can say no to a cute Gap dress and leggings?

Most excited about: Our maternity photos got rescheduled, again. With last week's snow/ice storm and this week's flash flooding, I'm hoping for good weather next weekend. Granted, I'm liking how I look in photos less and less. I know I should love my growing bump, and I do, but not necessarily how it looks in photos.

Also looking forward to: Christmas! Two straight days of family time and I can't wait. I seriously have the most loving, generous, and funny family in the world. I don't know what we'd do without them.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week 29: Third trimester fun

Holy Moly, it has been a month since I last gave a fun pregnancy update. Aren't you guys itching to see how big I've gotten?

Here I am at 26 weeks, a few pounds lighter and a whole lot warmer.

Seems like only yesterday that I was wearing short sleeved shirts. Oh wait, it practically was!

As most of you are well aware, we had some winter weather over the weekend that gifted us with sleet, ice, and 8 inches of snow. I would like to say it was all fun and games, but I still had to work, our maternity photos were postponed, and I couldn't go sledding. Boo. But the snow sure did look pretty!

29 Weeks

Please don't mind the awkward photos. 
It felt like -3.
Not exaggerating.

I am now well into the third trimester, which means that we are in the official home stretch. Only 11 more weeks until Baby C gets here and that seems WAY too soon, yet not soon enough. As time creeps on I feel that my to-do and to-get lists are only growing longer. How is that even possible? 

What is Baby C doing this week? "Her muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and her head is growing bigger to make room for her developing brain." In a nut shell, Baby is working on getting big. And I can tell.

This ever growing belly is slowly interfering with day to day activities. Getting out of bed and off of the couch is requiring much more effort, putting on my shoes and socks leaves me breathless, and picking things up off the floor, ugh! It does provide a nice shelf for books and bowls of cereal, however.

The breakdown:

Baby's size: A butternut squash, about 17inches and 3 pounds.

Total weight gain: 15 pounds. 

Running update: I really thought that I was going to be a pregnant runner and had very good intentions to keep trotting along. But alas, last week's terrible run might have been the last of it. I was fine cardio-wise and my legs begged me to pick up the pace, but my bouncing stomach and straining ligaments called the shots. I've tried again since, but running just isn't comfortable  anymore. Now I just need to convince myself the walking is actually a "workout" or the next three months might feel that much longer!

Baby's name: After "When are you due?" and "What are you having?", the next question is always "Have you decided on a name?" And when I say we haven't, that must translate to "Please, tell me what I should name my child." So to clarify. No, we haven't officially decided but we have a few top contenders; no recommendations needed, but thank you. We probably won't decide until we see that sweet face.  

Symptoms: Growing belly. Increased appetite. Lots of rumbling and tumbling from Sweet One.

Most excited about: The rescheduled maternity photos, and for getting lots of family time during the holidays!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

An Overdue Update

This post is loaded full of random photos that make me smile. 

Lots of things have taken place since I last checked in. Doctors appointments, holidays, shopping, dog vomit- you know, the usual.

Most importantly, I'm in a much better place. Time and prayer really do heal the heart. And there is something about bubble baths that put the world in perspective.

Last week I met with specialists in Little Rock at UAMS to get some answers and a plan. Dr. Stacks is my ENT surgeon who loves removing people's thyroids. Well, he probably doesn't like that he needs to take out people's cancerous thyroids, but he is one of the best in the country so he must get some amount of joy from it. If you're going to have someone remove an organ, might as well make it someone who is really, really good at it. And Dr. Stacks is just that. 

I also met with Dr. Bodenner, an endocrinologist who specialize in thyroid cancer; he's a brilliant, kind man with way too many initials after his name. He is my no nonsense, plan-man. He confirmed that the cancer has not spread to my lymph nodes and that it is Stage 1. Good news.

He also gave me a time line: For the next three months I am to enjoy and relish my pregnancy with no need to give this stupid cancer a second thought.  Upon delivery I will give my team of doctors a call and surgery will be scheduled for one month post baby. Then, with a little begging on my part, they agreed to postpone the radioactive iodine (RAI) treatment until baby is 4-5 months old so I can breastfeed during those precious first months. 

The only disappointing news I received (besides the fact that I continue to have thyroid cancer, will have a thyroidectomy, and be on a thyroid replacement hormone for the rest of my life) is that during RAI treatment I cannot be around baby, or anyone, for two weeks. Two weeks of partial confinement- no hugs from family, no comforting my crying baby, no snuggles from Josh. It is going to be lonesome and sad. But it is only going to be for two weeks, and I'm telling myself I can do anything for two weeks. 

So, there's the update. A little bit of sour with a lot of sweet. Kinda like me. I'll keep you posted, but promise not to turn this blog into a medical drama saga. If you know me, I'm not a fan of drama. Or medical sagas.