Tuesday, October 14, 2014

18 Week Update!

18 seems like a big number. A big week to hit. I am not sure if it's because I am past my 17 week appointment or the fact that I am 2 weeks away from being halfway! 

No matter what number I hit, I feel like it's a huge milestone. A milestone we never even thought possible. A milestone we have never imagined journeying towards. Each milestone is a gift from God - a representation of His grace in our lives. 

Dan has said at times, he forgets that I am pregnant as this is just so surreal. We will wake up, he sees my tummy, and we are reminded of the gift of life. We find ourselves rubbing my stomach, saying hi to our sweet little one, letting him/her know how much he/she is loved already. We have so much love for a child we never met! How is that possible? Well, those feelings of love were created when we were in the IVF process with our first 2. Those 2 actually were not physically created yet, but God had grown in our hearts, a love for those 2, that would soon become a part of our family. And honestly, now carrying this child, we still feel the love is the same. Of course the experience much greater, but the love for our children never weakens, whether here on earth or in heaven.

That is why our hearts go out to those who may not have children by what our world would call the "natural" way, but a heart that loves a child, is something that cannot be diminished or taken away. God led us down a very unique path to having children, but our love for them, is no different. Same for those who adopt. God has created places in our hearts for those children to fit right in - an empty space that God overflows with a child. It may not be the way we all grow up thinking it will be, but before time, God already knew what children would be in our lives. 

How humbling to think. That God knew He would care for our first 2 with His own very hands in heaven. And now Lord-willing, we pray that God would reach through our hands, to care for our first earthly child. What a blessing of stewardship! 

That is why I love eating raspberries. That is why I love eating cereal. All. The. Time. To think that our child is "eating" those things as well, makes me love eating healthy. But I unfortunately also love my salty potato chips at times and maybe sneak in a bowl of ice cream. I figure it's dairy, right? Our child lets me know when I eat too much of something as my stomach grows to astronomical proportions! Smaller and more often is better for this girl! 

I am still loving every part of wearing maternity clothes! The belly band, well, still an absolute wonder how that thing works so well, but it surely is creating more "space" in my pants! I just have to remember to cover up my undone zipper, as I am reminded of by my dear husband!

My body, well basically my stomach, is growing incredibly fast. Dan was gone for 2 days last week and he said it has grown. I would agree, as I am now in a part of the pregnancy where the baby starts to grow extremely fast. It has grown a 1/2 inch in one week, and is now the size of a bell pepper (for reference). I held one of those in the grocery store and couldn't believe that our little one is that big already! That if we HAD an ultrasound this week, we could probably tell what it is! Although, our gender-revealing appointment isn't until week 21 (in case you were wondering). 

Still not a fan of chicken - I had turkey not too long ago, and I am thinking it's more the consistency of it, that I maybe am not a huge fan of. Regardless, that is about the only food that I will pass on. Other things I just may not eat a lot of, but do not mind eating.

And our baby, well, he/she is a mover! I am starting to feel our child more and more - especially when I bend over or squat. I feel the baby is telling me "don't squish me mom!" I can't WAIT for Dan to start feeling the movement too. We are getting closer!

Dan and I are looking forward to our babymoon that is coming up in a short bit here! We decided to take one more getaway before this little one comes. We are ready for some sun, fun, and relaxation!

Did you go on a babymoon when you were pregnant? If so, where did you go? 

Thanks again for walking this journey with us :)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

17 Week Checkup!

Mile marker 17!

I was looking very forward to my 17 week check up, since it has been since 3 weeks since my last. Not long in the grand scheme of a pregnancy, but plenty long when I know the further along I am, the closer we get to meeting our little one.

Apprehension set in the night before, as I went back to the journey God has taken us down. I knew I was feeling the baby move, but I just needed that confirmation through a heartbeat. I was thinking about how quickly God took those first two, but through that, we were okay, and God saw us through it all. I know deep down that no matter what happens in this pregnancy, we will be okay (as we talked a lot about with Brenda). We pray unceasingly that this child will make it into our arms, healthy and strong, but we have given this complete pregnancy to God. And that is why I think I have not been worried overall about this pregnancy. Maybe glimpses of God reminding me of who IS God, but this all happening so fast, I have not been nervous or worried, which is definitely good for the blood pressure!

All that to say, my appointment went VERY well! My blood pressure 112/70, got the good ole flu shot, and have a few other tests done, heard the heartbeat which was at 160, heard movement, uterus in perfect shape, and my weight gain is spot on. I couldn't be MORE thankful for all of those good results! I didn't think I was gaining an enormous amount of weight, but after all of the cereal I eat, I wondered! 

Now we look forward to my next appointment, which is in 1 month, where we will hopefully find out what we are having! Many have asked if I have an inkling, and I really don't. Dan had a dream that we had a girl, but I seriously have NO CLUE. If you told me I was having a boy, I wouldn't be surprised and if you told me I was having a girl, I would say "I can see that." I have no experience with what a boy or girl feels like, so we will take whatever they tell us :). We do have names picked out, but we are not telling. Though, we ARE going to be sharing what we are having! We are just as eager to find out and as you all know, we can't keep a secret (except for the baby's name). 

Then hopefully the registering can begin, which I was SO overwhelmed with before, but am feeling a bit more confident about. Have you recently walked through the aisles of a baby section? How in the WORLD is one to have all of that stuff in their home? This probably doesn't surprise you, but I want to keep it simple. We do not have a home that can fit a lot of items (not even sure we can even fit a high chair), so simple is what we are going for. Granted we don't want our child to be bored all of the time, but we know what we grew up with and I would have to say we turned out pretty normal (for the most part I suppose :)). 

Recommendations from people are DEFINITELY helpful, so if you have any recommendations of what you would suggest putting on a baby registry, let me know!

Dan and I also look forward to getting away on one last trip before the baby comes! We were thinking about not, but then numerous people told us that it is a good idea - to just step away for a little while. Plus, for Dan and I to truly get a break, we often have to flee our home. So we decided to shop around for great trip deals and found some! 

Thank you for walking this journey with us! We appreciate already, having a "village" raise and pray this child through!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Friendship Made In Heaven

A friendship designed in heaven. That is the only way I can describe the relationship we have with Brenda. 

 This past weekend, she made the trek out to the north and visited us for a few days! It was QUITE cold; in fact, a few hours before she came, it was SNOWING! The first "snow" of the year, even though it was just a few flurries. She wanted to see the life we lived, so we invited her to do docks with us! What a trooper she was (along with all of our kids who took their Saturday to raise funds for our youth group and for upcoming mission trips!)

And one of the biggest blessings was to have her meet our little baby! Words cannot even describe the bond we have, the love between all of us, and a friendship that is unexplainable. I wish I could put into words what this relationship means, but let these pictures say a few:

I never get sick of people touching our baby! It is because of the prayers of so many and God's gracious plan in our lives, that we have the privilege of building a family. And to have Brenda be a part of this journey with us (along with her husband and family), means so much.

 Family photo before church!

And one of the most precious moments of the weekend! When we were preparing for a life with our first 2, with Auntie Brenda and Uncle Tim, we talked about what her pregnancy would be like, and how our two would learn to recognize our voices. One of the ways we decided would be a great way to build that relationship, was to read stories together, to our children inside Brenda. Of course God had a different plan, but dear Brenda, remembered our dreams. She bought us 3 board books, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, God Gave us You, and Goodnight Moon. What fun we had and what memories were created, as we spent our first night, reading stories to our little one. 

A bond, never broken. SO many people asked us while we were going through the carrier process, that if the process did not work, how we could still have a friendship. To us, our friendship with Tim and Brenda was not circumstantial. It was rooted in something far beyond what any situation could effect. Were there tears and struggles? Yes, but they were all things that we were able to walk and talk about together. And we still do. We talk about where God has taken us often, how we are not the same people, and for that we are thankful. We are thankful for the journey and thankful for the journey God continues to lead us down. 

A deep friendship made in heaven - as the two little ones who are in heaven, that brought us even closer, are a promise to us, that God always knows best!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Week 16 - Things Are Moving Along!

This is the difference one month makes!
Comparison of Week 12 and Week 16!
So what does pregnancy look like right now for Kristin?

Well, it looks like I am pregnant that is for sure! The precious students at the school I work at, are starting to ask questions, ask their parents, and I have less and less eye contact with them, as they look at my tummy. You can just see the wheels turning - it's so cute.

Clothes: I am officially in almost all maternity shirts, as those are most comfortable. I have found some STEALS at Old Navy and also Pink Blush Maternity (normally fairly expensive in my book, but they had a $15 deal on select dresses!) My pants, well, that is where I am a little concerned. If anyone has found pants that aren't a ridiculous price, that would fit a 37" inseam girl, please let me know! I am sporting the unbuttoned and sometimes unzipped pants look, but the bella band does wonders! Whoever invented that "belt" is a genius, as I wear one every. single. day. The hair twistie trick no longer works because my pants are then too tight, so as you can see, my belly be growin'! Some of my maternity shirts maybe aren't as "fitted" as they could be, but let me tell you, they are comfortable and I love it. It brings my heart so much joy to put on a shirt and realize it only covers half of my stomach - to the back of the drawer it goes, for a LONG time, we pray! Maybe consider this odd, but I love not fitting into some of my clothes because that means this babester is growing like crazy!

Food: Cereal. Enough said. I eat bran flakes multiple times a day, while also indulging in cheese. Anything cheese - chips and cheese, plain cheese, cheese on a tortilla with sauce, anything. Those are my two biggest cravings. Fruit is a close 3rd though. I need to work on the whole veggie idea, as they are not a fav yet, but I am getting there. I know for the health of our baby I need to eat more, but right now I am resorting to V8, which helps. Sweets I enjoy, but don't NEED them. I get too full with big meals, so I literally eat almost every hour it seems!

Weight: I believe I have gained 7-8 lbs., depending on the day. Depending often on how much cheese I ate, probably! I feel good.

My Body: It is taking a different shape, but a shape that I am falling in love with!

Exercise: I am still able to jog, though I am starting to have to walk more and more, but that is just my body telling me that this baby is growing. Jogging still feels so good, and they would like me to keep up on it as much as I can because I KNOW there will be a day when I can't. I try to exercise in some format daily, but with our busy schedule, I may miss a day or 2.

Babester: I think I am still feeling those flutters! This morning I was sitting in a chair and I felt this constant flutter; I still want to chalk it up to our baby moving! From the crown to the rump, our baby on average is measuring 4-5 inches, weighing in at about 4 oz. It is so hard to believe that this little one is that BIG already! That isn't even including the legs! And if this child has any resemblance to it's mother, the legs are going to be forever long! The baby now has eyebrows and eyelashes, and the ears are now in the right spot! The eyes move from side to side, and can even "see" light. Dan had the brilliant idea of shining a flashlight at it to see if it responds. I told him I didn't want to blind our child, so I put the damper on that one :).

My blood pressure is definitely NOT high, as I was at the eye doctor today and for some reason they had to take my blood pressure, and it was 100/58. Maybe a tad low, but that is not necessarily a bad thing either - I am on a blood pressure med for my heart (even though I don't have high blood pressure), so to know that it is working, is great news. The last thing they want is for me to go high.

We are starting to get VERY anxious to find out what gender of our child, but it's only because we just love this child so much and want to call it by name. Yes, we have our names picked out, but that is going to be a secret until birth (in hopes that it doesn't slip). Thankfully our baby already has a "name" as everyone still calls it Cletus (poor child...it's going to be so confused when it's born!)

Thank you for continuing to share in our excitement and more updates to come!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Delight In The Lord

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart - Psalm 37:4

This verse has been raining down on my heart the past few months and especially in the past few weeks. I may have talked about this already, but I want to share again, how God's timing is perfect. Every piece of it. Down to the day. And the hour.

The week of May 12, we always have many emotions. We celebrate the 8 years of love that God has blessed Dan and I with. Yet it is also a reminder of the 8 years of just us two, with no children. A desire of our hearts. It is also the week of when our babies were supposed to be due. So many emotions. On Wednesday, May 14, Dan decided to do a youth group lesson this very verse:

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart - Psalm 37:4

The first part of this verse is essential. You see, without applying the first, the second isn't a guarantee. I never fully understood this verse because I didn't trust that this verse was true. And it's not just because I am now pregnant. You see, that day that Dan gave the message in youth group about this verse, it was before we knew what miracles God was going to do in our life. We had no clue.

When we went to Islamorada in April, we really wrestled with our life's situation, yet by the end, concluded that no, we are to delight ourselves in the Lord, and bask in HIS glory, not our circumstances. From that week forward, we just wanted what GOD wanted. And that is why Dan felt led to share this verse.

He stood up there telling the kids, that even though he desired his own children, that maybe it wasn't God's plan. And that He was okay with it. He wanted what God wanted. He was willing to give up that dream, to delight himself in the Lord first. The amount of peace that came out of him sharing that, gave us a pep in our step for the next day.

The day of my yearly heart appointment.

And as we walked into that office, God knew that day, He knew before the beginning of time, that He would give us the desire of our hearts.

God needed to do a spiritual heart change in us first. We had to delight ourselves FULLY in God's plan for our lives. Giving up dreams because we wanted GOD'S dreams. And we have an incredibly long ways to go, trust me. But I wasn't willing before to fully delight myself in the Lord because I was disagreeing with the journey He had taken us down. I had to give it up. I had to give it over to HIM.

It wasn't a mistake that Dan did the message he did that Wednesday night. It was all part of God's perfect plan. He could have done that message ANY Wednesday, but his heart felt it was to be that night. It was that night, that God gave us a peace that passes all understanding.

That night as we laid in bed, falling asleep, I had a fleeting thought that what if, just what IF, God healed my heart, and we were able to have our own kids.

And lo and behold, God blessed us with the gift of healing.

And God blessed us with the gift of a child.

A child within.

A child within. Me.

Pregnancy Update: I have been feeling so GREAT. I can't even begin to tell you how overjoyed we still are about this all. Not a day goes by without rejoicing. We have savored every moment thus far because we know everyday, this is a dream come true. My baby belly is growing like CRAZY, to the point that I can no longer where my pants "normal" which means fully zipped and buttoned. The belly-band is a life-saver, long tanks are so comfortable, and watching this belly grow, brings such immense joy in our lives. I LOVE wearing maternity clothes! I believe on Wednesday that I felt the first movement of our baby! I was at work, was walking down the hallway to the bathroom, and felt this flutter. It took me a millisecond to realize what was going on, but I am almost sure it was the baby! I don't even remember if I went to the bathroom, but all I know is that I quickly emailed Dan to tell him! I am over 15 weeks along, able to still exercise fully, I sleep well at night, and I have cravings that just taste oh so good! Spaghettios never tasted so good, cereal I can't get enough of, and ice cream? Ya can't go wrong. Daily we are thankful for this blessing. For this growth. For this miracle. Oh to meet this child someday, we can't WAIT!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Continuing the Tradition of Michigan Football Games

It had been 3 years. Three years too long, since I had been at the big house. Living in Minnesota especially, I wasn't sure when the next time I would make it back to the Big House, but when Dan told me he really wanted to get back for his annual fishing trip with friends, I right away headed to over to the Michigan football schedule to see if they were in town that weekend.

I about jumped out of my chair, when I saw that they were. I facebooked the person we got our tickets from in the past and lo and behold, they were still available! This girl is so into Michigan football (I can't even really explain why), but it has been a passion of mine for a long time. I think I appreciate the competitiveness of college football, the sheer striving for only the best, without getting paid millions to just show up. And of course, the atmosphere is unlike any other. To sit in a stadium filled with over 100,000 people, all cheering for the same team. We always have to chuckle at the faithful few who travel and are sitting amongst all of the maize 'n blue. Not chuckle at them, but realize their bravery!

So, my sister and I continued our tradition of our love for Michigan football! I am so thankful I have someone to share it with - who enjoys it just as much as I do. We may be odd - two girls loving Michigan football so much, but that's just who we are. Sports fanatics.

We are known to go to odd games - the last game I was at, was rainy and cold, the game before that, it was delayed during the 3rd quarter because of a severe thunderstorm warning and on the drive home, there was a tornado warning, where a tornado did eventually hit, but thankfully we were fine and didn't see it. We were also at the Appalachian State game, where they lost, and also 2 games later that season, when they beat Notre Dame (which was a HUGE surprise). We were at another one where Michigan lost on a last second field goal against Minnesota (go figure). And there are more crazy games. So we knew with going to the Miami of Ohio game, who knew what could happen!

Thankfully Michigan won the game 34-10, but at one point, it was tied 10-10. Yikes.
It was an absolutely gorgeous fall day for a football game and what a memorable day it was!


Sista Love
Watching them warm up, right by the field. One of our most favorite parts.

Special teams


When the band comes out, setting up for the players to then come out, there is nothing like it! If you've been there, you know exactly what I'm talking about! That drum beat...

Throughout the game, they celebrated the 200th anniversary of the national anthem.
Even with a fly over! It was so amazing. They even had a bald eagle fly from who knows where and land in the middle of the field
And another one of the amazing parts of the day, is seeing my friend Dick! Dick is the man who always feeds into our love for Michigan football - the man we get our tickets from. There was a 3rd ticket next to us, but it was just my sister and I, so we wondered who would have that 3rd ticket. When we found our seats, I saw Dick sitting there and I was so excited! We share the same love for Michigan football and what a fun time it was catching up!

They did a few fly overs

Whew...they won!

It was definitely worth the trip to Ann Arbor that day. To continue the tradition of our love for Michigan football!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Memories That Are Forever

The memories of 2 years ago, so fresh in our minds.

It is hard to believe that it has been that long since we said goodbye to our little hooties, but that is also why it makes today, our life circumstances in these moments, so special.
We wouldn't understand the depth and love we can have for a child, if we didn't know what it meant to lose and say goodbye to two. We wouldn't understand the power of an ultrasound where we can see a beating heart, if we hadn't seen a blank screen. We wouldn't understand the intricacies of what God does in knitting together a child, if it wasn't for the IVF process. To follow a pregnancy that close, with our beloved carrier, we wouldn't be able to fathom the miracle (though I am certain at times we still can't fathom what it means). If it wasn't for God's gift of those two little babies, our hearts wouldn't be as full as they are today. I truly believe.

I struggled seeing past the grief and raw emotions that came with losing those 2. It took me weeks. Months. Even years. And in some ways, it is still hard. It took time. And even before we found out about my heart healing, I can honestly say that God has given us the gift of time, to heal. He has given us new life in many ways. In new surroundings, in new opportunities, in new passions, in new jobs, and most recently, in new life.

We never imagined that God would bless us with the gift of new life - inside of ME. Those ideas were only fleeting. Maybe dreams that we thought about for 5 seconds, but never let ourselves go there because that was not the road God has us on. We tried and tried to live in contentment with the fact that I couldn't carry. I believe we got there.

And then God said "hold on a second, I have something even BETTER in store for you." That week this past May, I can't even explain the feelings. We celebrated our 8 year anniversary, we had my heart doctor's appointment where we found out the leaking in my heart has greatly decreased, and we were reminded on May 17, the day our babies were due, that maybe, just MAYBE, our first 2 would have a sibling. And before we knew it, July 5 would confirm that yes, God created life within.

To think that our two children in heaven and our heavenly Father are rejoicing with us daily, over the life within, makes me excited and eager for the day when we will be one again - one family unit together, in heaven. I know those two little hooties are cheering their brother or sister on. I know that they are living it up in heaven and that in and of itself, has made all of the tears, pain, and grief, worth it. God has created a longing in us for heaven that we never felt before, but also a peace on this earth, that he is not done with us yet.

And He reminds us of that daily as we see our newest little one grow.

This little baby has given us new hope. This little baby has reminded us of where we've been. This little baby is a reminder that God's promises hold true. And if it wasn't for our lil hooties, we wouldn't understand and be where we are today.

For those two children we prayed, and for this child, we continue to pray.