Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Baby-Daddy :o)

In pregnancy, so much gets said about the momma, the baby, the baby-belly, the baby's heart beat, the nausea, the exhaustion, cravings, emotions, etc... a lot of times, a very important ingredient gets left out/looked over - the baby-daddy.:) Today's post is dedicated to my best friend, and my baby's daddy-o.

Despite growing up with only sisters, my husband was NOT well versed in many aspects of "womanliness." Plus, anything medical in nature usually makes him want to pass out. Marrying a woman, who also happens to be a nurse, who has had a variety of female health issues has been a stretch, to say the least, for the poor guy. For real, the dude is just now being able to consistently say "Vaginal exam" as opposed to "Vag-EYE-nal exam." And no, it wasn't just because of his southern boy accent, although he has tried to claim that excuse.

As with most couples, his journey through infertility was much different then mine. He had a great deal more faith in this area then I did, and he was able to take the focus off of himself and his desires and focus on supporting me. Something I wish I had been able to do better, in reverse.  In the beginning, there were times I would get frustrated with him for "not caring enough that we weren't getting pregnant," especially, when it had been his idea to start trying in the first place. Jared majored in Communication Studies, and excelled in his Conflict Communication studies. (I tease him often that I am the more naturally gifted communicator, and he had to get a degree to excel at it.) These skills definitely came in handy when trying to deal with his hormone/fertility drug induced wife. Initially, he would joke that all guy's needed there their wives to have a brief bout of infertility, as it brings lots of certain activities husbands tend to enjoy. After his experience was no longer so brief, he quickly recanted that sentiment.

When we found out we were pregnant, it took WAY longer for it to really sink in for him, then it did for me. I was pregnant from the first positive test I saw. He wasn't really sure I was officially pregnant, and not in fact dying of some disease until he saw our first ultrasound. Ha ha Even then, he was pretty disappointed that "it" didn't really look like a baby. Has anyone sees the Friends episode of Rachel and Ross' first ultrasound? In case you haven't it was kinda like that, with Jared being Rachel, and me being Ross:)... minus the spanish subtitles in this video:)
(for some reason the video won't add to the blog, so just click on the link if you want to view the hilarity!) 

I have heard that "Moms are moms from conception, but Dads become Dads at birth." I wanted to make Jared feel like he was just as much a part of this experience as I was, and every bit as much needed. Just because, "He finally figured out how to do it right," like I jokingly/lovingly tease him from time to time, didn't mean his job was over and done with. It was only just beginning.

Since he didn't really get a lot of the info on pregnancy and fetal development, and I knew he certainly wasn't going to start reading any baby books until we were on our way to hospital, in labor, I needed to find a way he could educate himself (not me do it for him/to him) in way that was enjoyable and non-stressful for him. I stumbled across two amazing tools - email updates from: and
They send you multiple emails a week about pregnancy and fetal development, and you can create an account for the daddy to get his own emails too! It worked! He actually reads them and remembers the info in them. I get told several times a week what food our child is equivalent to in size - melt my heart!:)

For his first Father's Day I got him a few little gifts/helpful reminders of our upcoming family changes.
Jared and my dad with their "Dad and Grandpa" gifts to go in their offices

In case you can't see, this is the book I got Jared

We had our last appointment with our fertility specialist this past week, along with an ultrasound. We got to see our baby, actually looking like a baby - arms waving and punching, legs kicking and stretching, and full body turning! It was amazing! My tears started as soon as I saw the heart still beating. Daddy's tears started once he saw his little munchkin acting like a human. As soon as we got home, he kept watching the video of the ultrasound over and over and editing it down to a small enough size to text and email to our family. He keeps resting his hand on my rapidly expanding abdomen. 

I think he has finally crossed over into "Baby-Daddy-dom":)

Monday, July 18, 2011

How We Told Friends and Family

When we first began talking about starting our family, Jared and I both really enjoyed the idea of keeping our own little secret, between just the two of us, for several weeks. We thought it would be a really special something that only the two of us would know, share, and enjoy. Then, infertility hit. It really sends you reeling in a million different directions, you never even considered as possibilities.

As most of you know, I was very uncomfortable being vulnerable in this area. I didn't like opening up this area of my life to anyone and everyone. I even had a hard time with people closest to us. This journey has taught me so much about vulnerability! Overtime, we slowly learned how and when to share our struggle with certain people. It certainly wasn't the way I would ever have envisioned it "going down"... but I will say this: if we opened up to you about our struggle, and spoke with you about it more then once, "you" were such an incredible source of comfort and support, and we couldn't have made it through without you.

Once we grasped the reality that conception wasn't just going to happen for us, I slowly began to realize, despite all the new fears I was experiencing, thinking about a future pregnancy, I wanted as many people as possible praying for our precious miracle... if we ever were given one. We wouldn't shout it from the roof tops, but we turn to our "inner circle"... people we knew would rejoice with us, while faithfully lifting us up in prayer. And gradually, we would go out from there.

Our immediate families were the first to know, after we dropped $$$$ at the drug store on all our pregnancy tests, that Sunday afternoon. All of my family lives out of town, which made sharing it with everyone at the same time difficult. This weekend, the family happened to scattered all over the state. We decided my mom needed to be first to know - she had her own struggle with infertility, and as my mom, understood my emotional struggle better then anyone. We decided to send my family the below picture and text, but would send it to mom first, and wait to hear from her, before sending it out to the rest of the family.
Text: So, it looks like we were given an extra special, early anniversary present this year!:)

I didn't hear back from my mom for over 5 minutes - what the heck!?!?!:) So I sent my little sister, who I knew was with her, a text
Me: Hey Gracie, have mom check her phone
Mary Grace: She is talking to nanny, she will when she is done, unless its important, and needs to now?
Me: oh no, its fine, she can wait until she is done.:)

2.5 seconds later my phone rang and all I heard was "Oh my gosh! sobs sobs sob Are you serious??? Sobs sobs sobs, Thanks you Jesus sobs sobs sobs sobs sobs sobs sobs followed by whooping and hollering, all of which took place in Target, I later found out!:) In the back ground, I hear my then 14yr old sister chanting "I am going to be an Aunt, I am going to be an Aunt."

We talked, cried, and celebrated for a while. I told mom she could tell the family she was in East Tn visiting, but to keep it on the "down low" for now. Gracie was allowed to tell one of her neighborhood friends, otherwise the child was going to BURST!:)

Next, the same text and picture went out to my dad and brothers, who were all working a huge AAU basketball tournament. My dad didn't have his glasses on when he got my text, so he showed it to his secretary to make sure his eyes weren't playing tricks on him!:) He immediately called. I asked him to keep the news kinda quiet, as I knew there were lots of coaches, parents, and players at the tournament our family knew very well. He assured me he would. Somehow though, the picture still circulated rapidly, but luckily we were able to do damage control, before the news spread too far.:) Of course, my brothers all had trouble deciphering the exact meaning of the picture and message, but after conversing amongst themselves, they figured chances were pretty good I was pregnant!:) There was LOTS of celebrating going on from one end of the state to the other, in the Elliott household that day.

Next, we went over to Jared's parent's house to tell his parents and youngest sister the news (the middle sister Sara, has Down's Syndrome, so she doesn't really comprehend pregnancy until she sees you great with child. Plus, we were all a little nervous she would bring the subject up during times and at moments when we didn't want people knowing). Of course, there was lots more hugs, tears, and rejoicing.

Later that day, we came up with our "inner circle" we wanted to let in on the news. Some were family, old friends,  new friends, college students, etc... I am surprised my poor old phone didn't explode and die from all the texts and calls we received that day.

Unfortunately, Jared left to go out town shortly after the news. I did NOT enjoy being at home for my first two doctor appointments and blood draws without him, but we managed, and it was a good exercise in trust and faith for me.

The next weekend, we were up in Pigeon Forge at our CSF alumni reunion. We told a few of the students and alumni while were there, but not many. On the way home, we called our Grandparents and let them know our news, and sent out a text message to my network of cousins/childhood friends stating "we were pleased to announce the debut of Baby Ross in January 2012." We also gave my mom the go ahead to tell her sister, and several of her closest friends back home. After that, news spread quickly!

Two of our college girls who had followed our journey/struggle closely were Laurie and Whitney:
Unfortunately, both were out of town when we found out. They were two people we really wanted to tell, but selfishly we wanted to be able to do it in person. Whitney was coming back home the week we found out, and Laurie kept changing her mind as to when she was coming back (and moving in with us for the summer). I kept trying to convince her she really needed to come back, but she didn't listen, and therefore, was one of the last of the inner circle to know. A point she is still mildly bitter about.

Whitney was going to go to Bible Study with me on the Wednesday Jared was out of town, so after talking it over with Jared on the phone, we decided to let her in on the secret. We already knew how we were going to tell both girls. Whitney had gone to Universal Studios over Spring Break and brought Laurie and us back Thing 1, 2, 3, and 4 shirts.  This is what Whit saw when she walked into the living room:
She kept staring at this shirts saying "What does this mean?! I mean, I think I know what this means, but I don't want to say in case its not what I think it means." Once she realized she was in fact correct in her assumptions, her next question was "Does Laurie know?" She got some evil satisfaction out of knowing something Laurie didn't, but I think keeping it a secret nearly killed her too.

Once Laurie finally did decide to come back into town, and move in with us, she waited until we were already in bed before arriving at the house. As pay back for her prolonged absence, we decided to leave her with this gift on her bed:
As we went to bed that night I told Jared, "Make sure you sleep fully clothed. I will not be surprised if she comes flying into our bedroom once she gets home." Evidently, it crossed her mind. :) Needless to say, the next morning I had no less then twelve text messages from her consisting of, "Oh my gosh, are you serious, are you pulling my leg, I hope these messages wake you up, how am I supposed to go to bed now, WAKE UP!!!" Etc... Slid underneath our door was this:

After that, things spread the good old fashion way - word of mouth from one friend or family member to another. 

We didn't make it "Facebook Official" until after our first ultrasound. 

And we all know, nothing is "official" until its "Facebook Official.":)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Utter Exhaustion, ever present NAUSEA, and a Precious Bulging Belly

I have sat down at this computer so many times in the last few weeks to try to put to words what this experience has been like. To keep forever in written words, memories of this incredible gift God has given us. Unfortunately, extreme exhaustion and constant nausea generally get in my way - I can hardly hold my eyes open at the end of the day to type, and watching the letters pop up across the screen as I type them, makes me dizzy and nearly makes me loose what little food I have been able to eat that day. Fortunately, I purchased this at the beginning of our pregnancy:
I have kept up with entries each day. I can't wait to look back on this account years from now, maybe even with the little sweet pea these writings are about! I highly recommend this book for anyone who is expecting, or even has an early gift for a newly expectant friend. It is hilarious, and provides some much needed laughs each day. Also, it only has a few lines for you to fill in each day. I tend to be a bit wordy at times. I will more then fill however much space provided for writing. The limited lines keep my ramblings brief and concise, and isn't overwhelming, even during my most extreme pregnancy exhausted moments. Of course, I also purchased the companion book, Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy.

Overall, I am very thankful for where I have fallen on the the dreaded first trimester symptoms spectrum - it really could be MUCH worse! I never knew one could feel so tired - as soon as breakfast is over, I could go back to bed for a 3-4 hour nap. Driving to work in the morning, I fight falling back to sleep. I have been known to take cat naps during my lunch break. I come home from work, eat a few bites, and fall asleep for 2-3 hours, wake up, eat a few bites more, and go back to bed for the night. My poor husband has become more familiar with my eyelids then my eyes lately.:)

On the food front, I have probably eaten meat a total of once week since I got pregnant. And by meat, I mean pieces of diced chicken. I used to eat chicken daily. Not sure what has happened, but I have horrible meat aversions right now. Which has made getting adequate protein really difficult. Luckily, I am still able to drink my Shakeology every morning. Interesting side note: in the Shakeology world/family there is a going theory - if you can drink the chocolate shake during your pregnancy, its a girl. If you can't, and have to switch to greenberry, its a boy. I have been chocolate all the way... we will see if I keep with the theory, or debunk it!:)

I have only thrown up a hand full of times, but remain on the verge the majority of the time. I would love to say I am one of the precious expectant mama's that says "but even when I throw up I have the biggest smile on my face, cause I know its just another sign of this beautiful gift God has given us..." Yeah, definitely not this girl, as evidenced this story. However, I do say a prayer of thanksgiving afterwards... once I get myself cleaned up and calmed down.:)

And it is not just meat I have aversions to, its food in general. I have lived off of applesauce and honey nut cheerios - seriously! I took this picture at the pool recently, titled "a Pregnant Girl's Pool Survival Kit"
Because of this somewhat lacking proper nutrition intake, I feel awful by the end of the day. Its a toss up - eat adequate/proper nutrition and throw up all day, or eat minimal, somewhat empty calories, feel terrible, but not throw up. I choose not to throw up every time! Which generally mean, this is what I have looked like many nights:) I haven't gained a pound so far, in fact, I am pretty sure I lost ~5 lbs, but I am not worried! I have no doubt I will pack on the pounds later!:-/ I think the weight loss has more to do with the extra pounds fertility meds love to hand you! Ugh
picture courtesy of my husband, sent to my mom

As not so pleasant as all that sounds, let me tell you about my precious, pooching-out belly - I LOVE it! I literally starting showing at 3 weeks! It just looked like a peach-sized protrusion just below my belly button. It has steadily grown since then. However, I am just now starting to look like I might be pregnant, and not just pudgy, based on what I wear. I love feeling, rubbing, patting, or just placing my hand on my belly, and knowing our little sweat pea is safely nestled inside me, growing like a weed. There is nothing else like it! Lately, the Baby Daddy has taken to resting his hand on my belly too, while we watch tv, are falling asleep at night, driving in the car, etc... I guess I can share some hand space on my belly.:) Here is glimpse at the belly bulging, from week 2, until now.:)
sorry about the poor quality. I have an archaic camera phone:)

I enter my 2nd trimester tomorrow! I can not believe we have made it this far, and this quickly! 1/3 of the way there!!!! Jared and I keep saying we don't want to jinx it, but this last 2-3 days, I have been a little bit closer to my usual self. I have been able to eat at least one normal meal a day, haven't napped nearly as much, seem a bit more energetic, etc... Maybe that incredible 2nd trimester energy everyone keeps telling me about is about to come my way???

There is so much more I want to share about what this pregnancy has done to/for me spiritually, emotionally, relationally, how it has affected my marriage, etc... but I am not back to that level of cognition yet (I swear I lost the entire half of my brain cells, you supposedly loose during pregnancy, by week 3... it ain't been pretty!) It still seems somewhat surreal. However, I am no longer walking around on pins and needles, waiting for the "bomb/other shoe to drop."

Until the the next wave of energy! For now, I am off for my morning nap! It is the weekend after all - time to catch up on some rest!:)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pscyho Preggo

After all my posts about our longing for a baby, and our struggle to get to this point, I do not want to complain about all any of the unpleasant aspects of pregnancy. When people ask me how I feel, I say " 24/7 I am nauseous, exhausted, but so very thankful." And that really is how I feel! However, there have been a few down right hilarious stories... now that I am on the other side of them.:) Its been a rough past 10 days... ok, really 2ish months, but who is counting? Here are my two "favorite" Psycho Preggo moments.

Sunday Night:
It was not a good weekend. I felt awful! Everything I ate, didn't eat, did or didn't do seemed to make me worse. I was worthless all weekend, even though my poor little brother was visiting us. Jared was a champ - he took care of entertaining our guest, and even did his best to clean the house and do laundry Sunday evening! I definitely have a keeper.

As Sunday wore on, I was getting worse and worse. Finally, we decided just to head off to bed to see if I could "sleep it off." Ha! 2 seconds after getting into bed, I knew I was in trouble in the nausea department. "Do NOT move a muscle" I told Jared, "Or I am vom all over the bed." I am pretty sure he just thought I was being dramatic (I have no idea why he would assume such things about me!?!). We talked for a few minutes - for once he was doing the talking and I was doing the listening. At the same exact second Jared leaned over to give me a kiss goodnight, I knew I had lost the fight not to vomit. I threw up, with his face mere inches from mine, but managed to keep it in my mouth, and flew out of bed, whacking his nose with my forehead.

I made it to the bathroom door, and lost the contents of my mouth, and stomach, all over the clean sink. Next it was onto the toilet... for quite a while. I should also mention, Jared had just cleaned the bathroom that day. Washing my face that night had been out of the question. When my hurling episode finally decided to be over, my contact-less eyes could not figure out what all the black stuff was all over the toilet seat... it was mascara, from my unwashed, but now tear streaked face (I always cry, unemotionally, when I puke.) After this last realization, I finally started to cry in earnest - I had just puked all over the clean bathroom, I was an unclean mess, a worthless wife since I hadn't done an ounce of housework all weekend, but left it up to my husband... etc... You get the picture - pregnant girl, who just looks pudgy, not preggers, sitting on the bathroom floor, mascara cascading down her face, surrounded by a vomit covered toilet, sink, and vanity. This was the scene that greeted my husband when he finally thought it was safe to come check on me (I hate having people check on me when I am sick, especially throwing up! I have been known to lock the bathroom door! ha ha)

I am happy to say, we recovered (and cleaned up) nicely. Although, Jared isn't snuggling as much in bed, and definitely asks me how I am feeling about 5 times before I get my goodnight kiss.:) Can you blame the poor guy?

Tuesday Night:
I came home from work even more exhausted then usual, and unable to eat anything. So we called it a night at 9:45 pm. This never happens in the Ross household. I slept like a baby until 1:50am. I rolled over and felt amazing - completely normal! Ah, sweet relief. I made myself go ahead and get up to pee, as I knew my bladder would be waking me up between 3-4am - might as well get up since I was awake. Of course, as soon as I got out of bed, I was immediately hungry... followed by overwhelmingly nauseous.

I have been eating Honey Nut Cheerios like they are my job - its one of the only things I confidently know is not going to make me worse. I usually keep a box next to my bed, but of course this night, I had forgotten. And as luck would have it, the only thing I knew would satisfy this nauseous craving for food was Domino's Pizza!!!!! I tried to convince myself the frozen pizza downstairs would do the job, but my stomach lurched at the thought... only Domino's would do. I got Jared's smart phone and started trying to find a Domino's in our area that was till open and would deliver. I realized how ridiculous this was, and I stopped myself. I did not need this food, right this second... it was simply a psycho preggo craving. And since I chose not to satisfy said craving - I was awake until after 4 am, and had to get up at 6am. Needless to say, Wednesday was a long day. In fact, I am still recovering.:)

So there you have it - welcome to what Pregnant Life is like at the Ross pad. I am sure Jared, and some of our college ministry students could definitely add their own stories about me!:)

Say a prayer for my sweet husband... he might actually have it worse off then I do... well, maybe only when he gets off work and has to deal with his worthless-always sleeping-don't bring any type of food anywhere near me-why should I go grocery shopping when I am not eating-laundry might just walk down stairs and clean itself if I let it lay there long enough-wife.:) During the day, he gets to feel normal/good while he works.

Little precious fetus, you are kicking mommy's tail, but you are oh so very worth it, and this is the easiest you are probably ever going to be for me!:)