Monday, December 27, 2010

The Ups & Downs of 2010 (Our Christmas Letter)

It’s been hard for me to come up with an all-cheerful Christmas letter this year, because we’ve had so many ups and downs this year. So I thought I would just highlight all of our ups and downs this year. Most of them have ended on a happy note!
The UPS and downs of 2010

We found out Adam’s mom’s cancer returned. The diagnosis was not good, but having gone though several rounds of chemo, the doctors can find no signs of the cancer in her. She has beat the odds once again!

Adam’s grandpa was lying on his death bed, but he has recovered and is home with his wife.

Adam did not get accepted to the University of Minnesota to finish his Electrical Engineering degree, but that was a blessing in disguise.  He was accepted to the University of St. Thomas, which was made free with the GI bill this year.  He likes the small school atmosphere much better than he would like the U.  We expect him to graduate in May or December of 2012, and begin his new career.

On May 17, we brought our beautiful daughter, Danielle Joann, into this world, but two very short days later, God called her home. We were both able to hold her and love her. I was able to nurse her once. We both miss her very much, and wish she could share her first Christmas with us, but she gets to celebrate with Jesus on His birthday (and I’m sure that’s the best birthday party anyone has ever been to).

The high school that we both attended closed and I lost my job as a result. In July, I found a job at a Catholic grade school, but wasn’t totally happy with it. But, we took a road trip anyway to celebrate and to get away for a while....

We visited my childhood neighbor, Brent, in Nebraska. Then we stayed in Denver, CO on our way to the Grand Canyon, where we toured the South Rim. From there, we stayed in Vegas for several nights (we didn’t win anything... though it’s kind of hard to win when you don’t play at all!), and saw a couple shows and walked the strip. Next, we went to Los Angles, CA and helped Adam’s sister, Jacque, and her family pack up for their move back to Minnesota. Finally, before we headed home, we went to Oregon to visit my grandparents and a few of my cousins.

… When we returned, I kept applying to a few public schools in our area, and was hired at Eagan High School teaching Algebra I to freshmen and Tech Math to seniors. I love my new job, though I do miss all my Saint Bernard’s family.

We hope you have a blessed new year!

All our love,
Sarah, Adam, & Danielle 

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas Grandma & Grandpa!

Adam and I debated on whether or not we would tell my parents. We really did not want to tell anyone this time at least until the first trimester screening, when we would (hopefully) be able to tell everyone we are pregnant with a healthy baby. But we knew that my parents would keep it a secret until we were ready to tell everyone else. I thought about telling them before Christmas, because I knew that mom would end up getting the baby Christmas presents then. But we weren't ready then.

I think two days before Christmas, I thought it might be fun to wrap up the ultrasound pictures we had gotten in a box full of tissue paper, and have them unwrap it. I was thinking mom should unwrap it, but Adam said that dad should. So we wrapped them up in a small box and after we had unwrapped all the other gifts, Adam handed dad the box.
Dad opened it, pulled out all the tissue paper, and saw the little pictures. Mom leaned over his shoulder, saw what it was, and started crying. She looked at them, and handed them to Jeff, then came and gave me a hug. Jeff was slightly confused, as he thought they were of Danni, but he said the date was wrong. So mom said, "She's pregnant!"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Results

I called the nurse midwife line Thursday afternoon to find out the blood test results. The midwife I talked to said that my hCG levels were well within the "normal" range for how far along I am, but the levels didn't double as they would expect them to. She said she wasn't worried about it.

I asked if she could tell me what the heart rate was at the ultrasound, since Adam and I couldn't agree on what the she said. She said it was 124 bpm (I was right!). :) Then she asked if we had met with an OB or midwife after the ultrasound. I said no. So she pulled up the results of that. She said there was a medium sized hemorrhage behind the placenta (about 2x2 cm). She called it subchorionic hematoma (SCH).

I found an article online that said that 1-3% of women that get SCH end up miscarrying, but most of those cases are where the women has a large hemorrhage. I'm hoping that a medium-sized one isn't anything to worry about (the midwife I talked to said she wasn't all that concerned), but I'm still a little worried.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

First Ultrasound

I left school early today (after classes, but before the end of the "teacher day"), so that we could get to Woodbury in time. I had my second blood draw (they're comparing it to the first to see if my hCG is increasing), then the lady pointed us in the direction of radiology.

Our appointment was at 3:30pm, but I don't think we got called back until 3:50pm. Lindsey, an u/s tech brought us back to the exam room. I was told to come with a full bladder, something that I was never told with Danni. (For those of you that aren't sure if you need a full or empty bladder at an u/s, here's the deal... If you're not very far along (like me this time... only 6 weeks), they want you to have a full bladder so that it raises your uterus up so that they can hopefully see it with an abdominal scan.)

So Lindsey first did an abdominal scan. She found that my uterus is retroverted (tipped towards my back instead of my front). It's not a big deal, she said that sometimes they'll flip back and forth at this point, but it makes things just slightly harder to see. She could still see the baby and the yolk sac (feeds the baby until the placenta is formed). When she looked at the baby, she could see the teeny-tiny little heart flutter! The baby is okay. Of course at this point, there's no way of telling if the heart is formed properly, because for one, the baby is so small (about 1/8 of an inch), and two, the heart isn't fully formed yet.

Since I was at Woodwinds hospital, they require that she check everything. So she had to check my ovaries and measure them and check and measure my uterus and some other stuff. Then she asked me to go to the bathroom (so I would have an empty bladder), and then she would do an internal u/s.

With the internal, she checked the baby again, and we could see it a lot closer up and in slightly more detail (it still looked like a little gray ball). We could see the heart beating away again, but a little closer up. Again, she check my ovaries, and whatever, which all checked out fine.

I don't remember which part it was during, but she found the heart rate of the baby. (Which I can barely see how she could find it with how tiny it is... when they found it with Danni, it was larger and much easier to see). When I asked Adam if he remembered the heart rate he said 140 bpm, because he thought it was about was Danni's was the first time we heard her heart beat (hers was actually 150 bpm). But I thought she had said 124 bpm. So as far as trying to predict a gender at this point, we've got nothing. (They say over 140 bpm is a girl, but under is a boy). If I'm right, maybe we're having a boy. If he's right, it could go either way. I am going to try to get a hold of Elizabeth, the midwife, to see if it's recorded somewhere.

She had also taken several measurements of the baby to see how far along we are, and her measurements were only a day off of what we said. I thought she had said we were 6 weeks 2 days (where I thought 6 weeks 3 days), but the screen said we would be due August 14, and I figured August 13. At any rate, we're much closer this time than we were with Danni. So maybe I'll believe them this time!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Drama-Free Pregnancy?

Adam & I had been talking about how it would be nice if this were a drama-free, "normal," or even boring pregnancy. But last week Wednesday, something not-so normal happened.

Last week Wednesday, I started spotting a little bit. So I called the nurse midwife line, and she asked a couple questions, and determined that it should be fine, and told us not to worry. By Saturday, it hadn't stopped, so I called again. The nurse again said it didn't sound too worry-some, but to call again on Monday if it still hadn't stopped and make an appointment. I would love to say it stopped on Monday, but it didn't.

I made an appointment on Monday at school, and we went in after school. The nurse-midwife that we had was Elizabeth. She asked the usual questions. We told her that it was our second child, and she commented about how I must be a busy mom having a 7-month-old. So we had to explain to her what happened with Danni.

She did an internal exam, and said that it looked like it might just be my cervix, and nothing to worry about, but I think she could tell that we were a little more worried than most expectant parents, since we had already lost one child. So she said we had two options. I could have a blood draw and come back two days later for another to make sure that my HGC (pregnancy hormone) levels were increasing, and/or we could have an ultrasound, which might be inconclusive, since the baby is still pretty tiny at this point (they might not even be able to find the baby). We said we would be fine with either or both. So she wrote up orders for both, and brought us over to the lab.

I felt bad making the lab tech find a bed for me to lay down on to get my blood drawn (I usually get light-headed and they worry about me passing out). But he found an empty room, and Adam held my hand (without looking at the needle), and he drew my blood.

In the car on the way home, I called to schedule the ultrasound for the next day, but later changed it to Wednesday. Since we had to go in again anyway for the second blood draw, it would save us another trip out there. Of course, it's suppose to snow again on Wednesday, so we'll be crawling up 494 through the snow again, but hopefully we'll find out everything is just fine.

6 Weeks, 3 Days

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby Dreams...

I was talking to my sister-in-law once about baby dreams, and she said that it indicates a life change if you have one. I remember having one before I was pregnant with Danni, and then another one a couple weeks before she was born. But this time I haven't had any! (Guess my life isn't going to change with this one!)

At dinner tonight, Adam told me that he had a "baby dream." He said that we were in the labor & delivery room, but had to share a room with Courtney Cox (who apparently we knew pretty well). I guess she told me that she was really scared about having a natural birth and all. But I told her, not to worry, that it was easy. -When Adam told me the next part, I COULD NOT stop laughing!- He said I then laid down on the bed, and the baby just popped out (he said quicker than it took to explain his dream). So I told her, "See it's easy." Then I guess we came back into her room 42 hours later (yes, that was the time frame he gave me), and she was still in labor, but we had a child that was walking around. (They really do grow up fast don't they?!)

5 Weeks 3 Days

Friday, December 10, 2010

Better Kept Secret

With Danielle, we had decided to tell our parents & siblings early on, but then let the rest of the world know after we were through the first trimester. It turned out the news traveled fast, and Adam's brother, Ben, found out we were expecting from his neighbor, instead of us.

Since we had that experience, we said right after that, that with our next child, we would wait to tell everyone until the second trimester. But since our pregnancy with Danni was so public, and people we didn't even know were praying for her (don't get me wrong, we really do appreciate all the prayers), I felt the need to keep the next one to ourselves for as long as we could. We joked that we would show up with a 5-year-old to Christmas one year, and finally tell people.

So far, so good. We have kept our secret, though, we have only really known for about a week. Which I suppose is better than with Danielle, since Adam had told his brother, Jon, the day we found out. (They were up getting the cabin ready for hunting, and I think Adam was just itching to tell someone.)

4 Weeks, 3 Days
I was looking at pictures from when I was pregnant with Danni, and this one would probably compare to a picture when I was about 13 weeks along with her... Maybe we won't be able to keep it a secret for as long as we want!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A New One!

About half-way through this month, I started noticing some "symptoms" that I had when I was pregnant with Danni. I figured it was the "hypochondriac" in me, trying to find little things that might suggest I was pregnant again. So I didn't get too excited or anything, as I hate it when my hopes are dashed. Besides, if we were pregnant now, then I'd miss the beginning of the school year, and I'd hate to do that.

About four days before my friend should show up, I thought I'd take a pregnancy test. I was anxious to find out, plus I wanted to know if these things actually worked "up to 4 days before your missed period." It was negative. So I figured either I'm not pregnant, or they really don't work that far in advance. So I figured my friend would show up by Tuesday or Wednesday (or Thursday or Friday). I told Adam that I would just wait until the weekend again to take another test, because by then we'd know for sure.

Well, on Wednesday morning, I figured, what-the-heck, I'll take another one. So I waited my three minutes, and then took a look. I had to squint, but I could see a very faint second line!
Adam was at work, so I couldn't tell him right away, and I would be out to dinner with the Saint Bernard's staff, and by the time I would get home, he would probably be sleeping. So I decided that I would make a slide show for Adam. (I'll see if I can post it somehow.)

I had it started on his computer, so that when he got home from work and sat down at this desk to take off his shoes, he would see a screen that said "Press Play." I sent him an email once I got to work, hoping that he would email me back, somehow letting me know that he saw it, but I never got one. So I text-ed him to see what he thought, and he said "nice show." He wasn't terribly impressed that I tried to find a creative way of telling him. (Maybe that's why he doesn't understand that it's nice to do something thoughtful & romantic for your wife every once in a while...)