Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Living proof I will give in to peer pressure

This post is dedicated to all you nay-sayers out there that accuse me of never taking pictures.

You know who you are.

You who say my children will never know what they looked like as kids.
You who say they will think they're adopted because I have no pictures of them as little people.
You who say my kiddos will think I was in jail and grandma raised them, because all of their lovely photos are at grandma's house and snapped by someone other than myself.

Well, ha, joke's on you.

I've given into peer pressure.

I PRESENT: Cold, hard evidence that I have taken a photo or two.


Or at least had someone else do it.

Either way.

Allow me to ramble whilst presenting my proof. Pull up a chair and grab a steaming cup o' cocoa, extra marshmallows.
Or ice cold lemonade. How am I supposed to know what the weather is like where you live? For me, it's currently a balmy 13 degrees outside, so hot chocolate is what I'll be having. The good stuff.

It's been a mere four months since the last time I updated my 'journal,' er, blog. It's been an exciting time. A crazy time. A difficult time.

The first longish story short: the cutest and sweetest little baby was born on November 18th.

I had to have another c-section due to my two previous ones...

...but the positive thing about that is at least it is scheduled so as to guarantee a person a grand total of 22 minutes of sleep the night before.

Oh! And I was able to persuade my darling sister-in-law to come and snap a few photos of the whole shebang. I was really, really grateful.

(Small shoutout: If you live in the Idaho Falls area and are ever in need of a photographer, look her up. She's spectacular.)


Just scroll down without peeking. I won't judge.

Presenting: BABY!

That's as graphic as it's going to get. Gotta keep things G-rated.

The pictures are so nice for me because then I can better remember the moments that are pretty hazy due to being under the influence of some serious painkillers...

...and see the moments I'm not able to witness in person due to being sewn back up..

My perfect little baby BOY!

You will remember that even with my seventy-five hundred ultrasounds, we went into the surgery not knowing if this sweet person was a girl or boy.

And he was a boy.


(Did I just say that?


I'm definitely not getting wittier and/or improving my vocabulary as I'm getting older. Bummer.)

Sure love that cute little mug. Well, both of those mugs.

He was nameless for a mere four days until we finally settled on the name of Porter Kenneth. And by "we finally settled" I actually mean that I gave up in exasperation of trying to agree on something and told Jackson he had the honor of choosing the name.

But I think he did a pretty good job.

So for the next several days I was fortunate enough to experience the comfy-ness of a hospital bed and some pretty cute visitors.

Jackson was a champ taking care of the ol' homefront.

And I have to say a BIG THANK YOU to all of our family and friends that were soooooo helpful and nice to our family while we were adjusting to minion nĂºmero tres being around. You, the ones who watched the other yahoos, brought meals, helped me clean things around the house, and on and on...

You people are terrific.

Now for the best part. Remember all the stress surrounding this baby's heart prior to him being born? Unprecedented mystery and all that? Well, the little man's heart resumed back to a "normal" rate about two weeks after he was born.

We had various tests done, and everything came back looking good. Relief, anyone? So best guesses for now is that my body initiates some sort of an autoimmune response to pregnancies....but not all of them....and for some unknown reason.

A conundrum. Perhaps something for House to find the solution to after 45 minutes of wrong guesses by all the other doctors.

In the meantime, our little buddy has been growing:

(Some pictures are a little fuzzy, but, hey, I'm a novice to this picture-taking thingamabob, remember?)

Brylee-boo turned the big 04

Don't laugh. She wanted a Mickey cake, and I can't afford Cake Boss to make her one. Plus she's a 4-year-old....so.....there ya go.

Fine. Laugh if you want. It's not the most glorious cake, I know.

The girls have been cute little things (as usual) over the past couple of months...

They're the best of friends.

And at the end of January we said goodbye to our family and friends

and embarked on a longish journey off to the wintry iceland of North Dakota.

Which has been interesting.

But we've survived the frozen tundra for almost three months now! Hooray!

But more on that next time. For now, I'm off to take more pictures!

Just kidding. I'm actually going to bed.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 11, 2013


I feel as though my life has been a little bit soap opera-esque lately.. packed with drama, drama, drama. But absent from this soap lifestyle is the ridiculously good looking housewives and illegitimate children. Or something. I've never actually seen a soap opera, so my best guesses comes from checkout stand magazine images and the Spanish soap opera episode on Modern Family. Both are entirely accurate, I'm sure.

So, anyway, last week was, frankly, not the best week of my entire life. Stressful. Filled with negative energy. Call it what you will. Tears were involved. As a result of those tears, headaches became involved. Pregnancy hormones were involved, which (as everyone knows) makes everything a wee bit more dramatic than maybe it actually is.

I've been going in for doctors' appointments at least three times a week (sometimes more if they're especially missing my presence :). Babe's heart rate has been a little more sporadic/all over the place this past week... which has not been overly comforting to me. Wednesday we had a really hard time even getting a reading for a variety of reasons, and then the readings would be super high, go back down really low, just really inconsistent and random. Couple that with the fact that I've been feeling a bit more anxiety overall about the pregnancy the last week or two, and, well, anyway, I wasn't really handling things super well. Couple that with the fact that I truly am pregnant and I think those pregnancy hormones really do affect rational thinking at times, and, well... you get the picture. And that's a lot of fact coupling.

Anyway, one of the doctors has come to the conclusion that what is going on is something called Long-QT Syndrome. After the sporadic/non-tracking heart appointment on Wednesday I decided to look it up and see if it was a diagnosis I agreed with. Keep in mind that I currently have a five-year-old that had the exact same symptomology in utero... so my super-rational brain is thinking that if the baby has Long-QT Syndrome, then likely that's what my five-year-old has/had.

So I googled Long-QT Syndrome (hereafter abbreviated LQTS for typing purposes so I don't get too exhausted).

And in retrospect determined this was a bad idea for an already emotional pregnant lady.

I read through the first article that looked reputable. It's from The Mayo Clinic, which I think is a fairly reliable website? I'm just not a Wikipedia kind of girl.

First paragraph from the Mayo Clinic: "Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a heart rhythm disorder that can potentially cause fast, chaotic heartbeats. These rapid heartbeats may trigger a sudden fainting spell or seizure. In some cases, your heart may beat erratically for so long that it can cause sudden death."


"Many people with long QT syndrome don't have any signs or symptoms. For people who do experience signs and symptoms of long QT syndrome, the most common long QT symptoms include: Fainting...Seizures...Sudden Death"

"Signs and symptoms of inherited long QT syndrome may start during the first months of life, or as late as middle age. Most people who experience signs or symptoms from long QT syndrome have their first episode by the time they reach age 40."

"Long QT Syndrome results from abnormalities in the heart's electrical recharging system. However, the heart's structure is normal. Abnormalities in your heart's electrical system may be inherited or acquired due to an underlying medical condition or a medication."

I completely just copied and pasted due to laziness of not wanting to paraphrase. I believe that's called plagiarism. I actually think that paraphrasing is a form of plagiarism as well... so might as well copy and paste. Justification. Feel free to know that the italic words are not mine and are courtesy of the Internet, specifically the Mayo Clinic. Disclaimer over.

So a diagnosis that's not exactly sunshine and rainbows. Well, I've got a little baby with suspected Long-QT Syndrome. And I've got a little girl that had the same issues as said baby who has had a total of zero monitoring or tests done to see if there is, in fact, something wrong with her heart.

Stress. Drama. No good.

Now, what's a momma to do? Part of it is easy. I make appointments for the very next day to take my little Addy in to get an EKG done and check out what's going on with her heart electrically. The other part is not so easy: try to not stress. I spend lots of time praying, reading scriptures, listening to uplifting music, trying to get some feeling of peace. I certainly know that stress is no good for the almost 6-pound baby I've spend the last nine months growing, so I really am trying to not just fall apart. I had little success in the sleep department, so, of course, that does not help.

While I was busy not getting sleep, I was pondering a lot on the principle of faith this past week. Wondering if the reason I'm having a difficult time with everything is because of a lack of faith, an inability to "let go."

I thought a lot about Elder Holland's talk in the April 2013 conference called "Lord, I Believe." If you haven't watched/read it, it's worth your time. http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/lord-i-believe?lang=eng#2-10785_000_51holland
I found myself relating a lot to the father found in the book of Mark asking for the Savior's help in healing his child. Jesus tells him that all things are possible to them that believe, and straightway the man cries out "Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief."

And this is how I feel. Help my unbelief. Here I am, and I feel in my heart of hearts that everything will be fine. Things will turn out okay. I also know that my current definition of "fine" and "okay" may not be what is in store for us. But big picture stuff, I truly believe that the Lord loves me, and, more importantly, my children, and He will do what's best for them. And for me.

So why the anguish and worry? A part of it I think is a lack of faith, the "help my unbelief" part. And part of it I think is a normal human emotion. There is many an instance in studying the lives of righteous individuals, prophets, and even the Savior himself when He asked to let the cup be passed from Him that shows that sometimes the things we are called to do may not be the things we want to go do or want to go through. And that's okay. Those times may be difficult as we are traveling through the trial of our faith. I think that's okay as well. It's mortality.

But just because I struggle with something, does that mean I want to be stuck in a never-ending pit of despair and self-pity? Of course not. What I'm saying is I think it's honestly okay to have times in our lives that are hard. Times where we struggle, that we are forced to cut back, to simplify, to pray more, to be more reflective, to ask for help. These are the experiences that humanize us, that make us rely more fully on our God, that build compassion and love into our souls. And I think it's okay if it's not all sunshine and roses. I don't think it was meant to be. But how blessed are we to have the gift of faith and trust that things will work out. Alma tells us that "even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe."

Coming down from the preacher's stand now.

Anyway, back to the tale I am telling. Thursday comes and we do the EKG. Addy does awesome. She was pretty nervous, but I let her bring her "special sheep," we talked about what was going to happen, she held my hand, and she was a champ. The unknown can be hard for her, so I was super proud she did so well. The doctor came in, and he said he thought everything looked totally normal.

May I repeat myself? He thought her little heart pattern looked completely normal. Can I get a hallelujah?

How about another one for good measure? Hallelujah!

The doctor did want to send the EKG to the pediatric cardiologist in Salt Lake to get a second opinion, but he thought it looked just fine. Good enough for me.

I was sooooooooo relieved. Since we had the exact same heartbeat pattern going on with the two kids and since LQTS is genetic, I feel comfortable that most likely that's not what's going on with the baby. Of course, we'll still do tests once the baby is born, but for now I feel like there is a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders.

Another plus: I had an appetite again, and suddenly I was quite hungry. And since I'm "eating for two" and all, I have complete justification in stuffing my face. Right? (*cricket, cricket, chirp*) Right? Well, maybe I stuffed my face anyway. Don't judge.

Friday came and we did monitoring again. For the first 20 minutes, the baby's heart rate was in the normal range of 130-160. Odd. It was the first time it's been normal (with the exception of when I was running a fever) since week 32.. five weeks ago. So I wasn't quite sure what to think of it. The doctor wanted to keep me on the monitor, because she was sure it would return to the baby's "normal" low baseline. Sure enough, after 20 minutes it dropped back down to the 90s and stayed there for the next 45 minutes.

They took me off and I had an appointment with my doctor where we discussed when to deliver this baby. I explained about my doubts of the baby having Low-QT Syndrome since Addy's testing had come back normal (confirmed by Primary Children's earlier that morning), and she agreed. We decided that either Friday the 15th or Monday the 18th would be a time that both of us felt comfortable having this baby delivered. I spoke with the hubs, and we decided on Monday the 18th. So officially (for now at least) we'll be having this baby in just under one week! And, according to the 3D ultrasounds, this baby is super duper cute... so everyone be excited for that :)

If anything changes, I'll write another update, but hopefully next time I'm updating our little blog will be bombarding it with adorable little baby pictures of our new little one!

And I wanted to add that I don't write these updates to gain sympathy or something. I know a lot of times people will tell me of their sympathies, and I appreciate everyone's concern, but I don't want anyone to feel bad or sorry or anything. I'm glad for experiences that make me grow, help me realize what's important, and help me to have a softer, more compassionate heart. I'm so thankful though for all of the encouragement that I receive from so many people. So thank you.

Stepping off the soapbox, once again.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The update that really doesn't explain anything

So it's been about two weeks since my last preggo update.. in terms of me blogging, that's actually pretty good. In terms of updating family and friends, well, you have my apologies for taking so darned long.

It's been a busy couple of weeks. First off, the flu hit our family, which I thought was truly unfortunate. The kids both had it, then I got sick, and then Jackson was sick. No fun! I guess the upside to having the flu (if that's not a huge oxymoron) was that I was a SUPER good bed rest patient while being sick. I literally had zero energy, so that was a convenient cure for my restlessness. The other interesting thing was that during the days that I was sick, the baby's heart rate was actually up in a low-normal to normal range! So I was thinking that maybe all of my mandated resting was doing some good... until my fever broke and baby's heart rate went back to its "normal" aka low range. Odd? For sure.

Anyway, after being sick I had to get back into our normal(ish) routine of getting kids to school, Addy's therapies, feeding the small people, and general maintenance of la casa. Since the baby has been consistent and stable, they let me go in for monitoring every other day and put me on "modified bed rest," which gave me tons more freedom (including being able to drive.. yay!) I just have to be careful about how much time I'm standing/walking, no lifting over 10 lbs, and certain household chores are now off limits (and delegated to the five-year-old :) ..............................................
Oh, hush, I'm only joking. Sort of. She's a good vacuumer.)

Anyway, last week the doctors have been talking to me about when we're going to deliver this baby. My delivering doctor said our goal was 37 weeks (when the baby is considered "full term"), and started giving me potential dates. At that time I was at 35 weeks, and there's a chance I started panicking un poquito.

37 weeks was only TWO weeks away....and what did I have ready for this child? Well, I had bought a car seat. Check. Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd that's it.

Our "baby room" was a quasi storage slash disaster room, and I certainly didn't have the foggiest idea about what, if any, clothes we would have for this little one. Diapers? Negative. Potential names picked out? Not a chance. What else is there again? I mean, this isn't my first baby, but, heck, the last one was 3 1/2 years ago. With this "pregnancy brain" I've got goin' on I can hardly remember what I made for dinner last night...much less what's good to have around for a newborn!

So I talked to the doc quite a bit about the difference for the baby developmentally in that 37/38 week time frame, the risks of waiting an extra week and delivering at 38 weeks instead (which he said he would do, but didn't think we should wait any later), and a bunch of things that were interesting to me but probably not so much to everyone else.

And then I went on a shopping spree.

A practical shopping spree... which is less fun, but more, well, practical.

And in the meantime I decided that if the babe was still looking good, I definitely wanted to wait until 38 weeks. This was due to wanting to give the baby more time to develop in utero. In that 37th week there are important neurological connections made and developments with the digestive and immune systems. These are important factors for me to consider, especially because this baby is at a greater risk for an autism spectrum disorder. (All of my children are just due to the fact that (1) I already have a child who was diagnosed, and (2) I have a gene mutation that can be passed down to my children predisposing them to a number of things -- including autism.) The digestive and immune systems are really key factors to kids with ASD, and so I wanted to give as much time as possible for the development of those two areas.

Then Friday I changed my mind.

It was in the afternoon, and I was just at the house doing house stuff when all of the sudden I had a very distinct thought that I hadn't felt the baby move in quite a while. It was a super strong feeling and kinda freaked me out a little bit. I decided to drink my ice-cold juice and lay down and do a kick count (something I'm really becoming a pro at). So I laid down and for 15 minutes I waited.... and felt nothing. This was pretty unusual, because when I do the kick count it's always only taken about 10 minutes or so to get all the movements in. Soooo... trying not to completely freak out I waited... and waited.. after 15 minutes I felt a movement, and FINALLY after 1 hour and 10 minutes I got all of the movements counted. It took a verrrrrrry long time.

I qualified that as definite decrease in fetal movement and called my doctor. They said to come in and do a non-stress test, so I packed up the girls and off we went to the baby doctor. Again.

Long story short (TOO LATE), Thursday's baseline heart rate was around 110-115 when I went in for my normal monitoring. Friday's baseline was 95. Quite a difference. We still had good variations, so the doc felt comfortable doing monitoring every day again and to "take it easy" until my appointment on Monday (today).

So the last couple of days of monitoring has shown the heart rate to steadily be in the 90s/low 100s, dropping down to the 80s, and increasing up to the 130s (and once up to 143). It's a change.

And now I'm thinking this baby should be born at 37 weeks.

We've still got two different opinions from two different doctors (one thinks we should take the baby at 37 weeks and the other thinks we should wait until 39), but I've really started feeling uneasy about waiting too much longer for this baby's birth day. Obviously, I've been praying lots and lots for this child, and I am a firm believer in going with what feels like the right thing to do. So even though philosophically I tend to agree with the doctor who thinks we should wait until 39 weeks for maximum development in utero, I feel like the right thing is to deliver at 37 weeks when this babe is officially considered full-term.

So that's where we're at. I am officially at 36 weeks, so this means that sometime within the next week/week and a half we will have a new addition to the fam!

The girls are super excited. Brylee keeps saying that the baby's "so cute," and Addy keeps listening to what the baby is "saying" to her. She'll tell me if the baby is hungry and gets really excited when the baby is kicking me. It's cute :) Addy is convinced we're having a little girl, and she's told me multiple times that she "doesn't like boys and only wants a girl baby." Brylee changes her mind about every time I ask her. Sometimes she wants a baby brother and other times she wants a baby girl.

There's our little Princess Cinderella and Princess Sleeping Beauty for Halloween.

The best of friends. The little sweethearts are more than I deserve for sure.

Oh, and the title of this post is regarding the fact that nobody has any idea why the baby's heart rate is so low. All of the tests they've run have not provided any answers. So it's quite the mystery.

"Gus, don't be the Mystery Mousketool."

Anyway, I appreciate all the support we've received from everyone. You rock. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

FREEDOM!!!!... ish.....

Let me 'splain.

No. There is too much. Let me sum up.

The last post I wrote we were chatting about the deja-vu experience with baby #3's heart rate and how it had dropped somewhat drastically. Then we took a little trip down memory lane slash the current lane we are on. Ahhhh nostalgia.

Well, that was Monday. Now it is Thursday, and so I'm writing a little update. (I figure this is easier, since I can't keep track of who I've talked to, what I've said and to who (whom?) I've said it to, and, well, my memory these days is not really top notch.)

Sooooo.. here's the update: On Tuesday I went back in for round two of the steroid shot that helps with the baby's lung development and a non-stress test (NST) at the doctor's office. The highlight of that visit was that the steroid shot didn't hurt nearly as bad as the first one!! -- I was practicing my deep breathing techniques :) -- and that the baby's heart was still having a lot of variance. The other big positive was that the baby was moving around a lot. The bad news was that the baseline was still really low -- slightly lower than Monday's. During the 20-minute test, the heart hung out a lot in the 90s/100s, dropped as low as the high 80s, but then accelerated as high as 134.

The doctor was not happy with those numbers, so he then told me to "not pass go" and to head over to the high risk doctor, who will hereafter be called Dr. B -- mostly because her last name I can never remember and it's really long and I don't have any idea how to spell it, and we all know how important spelling and grammar is! (Wow, run-on sentence anyone?) So I went and had an ultrasound and appointment with Dr. B. Just like the ultrasound on Monday, everything looked great with the baby, but the heart rate was still low, and so Dr. B sent me over to labor and delivery to be monitored until Thursday.

So for the last day and a half I've been tied (literally) up to this machine that measures the baby's heart rate and my non-existent contractions. Aaaaaannnnnnnnnnd it has not been as relaxing as one would think! Anyone who knows me knows that I don't do very well just.... sitting... my mind was going crazy, my legs were going crazy, my body was not very happy, and, well, let's just say I was praying this would be a short-term "vacation." Overall, the heart rate stayed pretty well the same, 100ish baseline with decelerations into the 90s and accelerations up to the 140s.

-- I'm going to take a little break from this update for a minute just to say I am truly amazed at modern medicine and the technological advances that we are fortunate enough to have to help us understand the human body. It is a miraculous thing. It's also truly inspiring to be surrounded by such kind people. I had such sweet nurses who went the extra mile just to chat with me and keep me company, and I have such a great support system in the form of family and friends. I really, really appreciated the visits, phone calls, text messages, Facebook messages, etc. everyone has given. So thank you!! (wipes tear.)

I actually slept several hours last night and woke up this morning feeling much less anxiety. Dr. B ordered another ultrasound this morning and then she said she'd come and talk with me after speaking to the pediatric cardiologist in Salt Lake. She came back around 11:00 and laid out my options for me: 1. Inpatient monitoring. (no, thanks, if I can avoid it!) 2. I could go home, be on bedrest, and come in for monitoring/appointments every day. I chose option 2. Surprised? I thought not. So I was sprung from jail and granted my freedom until at least 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

So now..... where do we go from here? The plan right now is I'll just go in for monitoring every day and an ultrasound about every other day. If everything stays the same, I have a decent chance of being able to make it several more weeks and hopefully full-term (fingers crossed!) I'll be 34 weeks tomorrow, so only six weeks to go! If the heart rate drops, she'll send me down to Salt Lake or they may decide it's best to take the baby. Hopefully in the next few days we'll be able to have some test results back to see whether this is a problem with the baby's heart or if it's a problem with my body producing antibodies that are not compatible with the baby.

Either way, I'm still feeling positive about everything, and I feel that we're in good hands. Maybe it's not ideal, but it could be a whole lot worse, and I know that things will work out for the best.

Oh, and if anyone needs a chat or wants to watch a movie or practice coloring skills or learn to crochet or do anything that can be accomplished while on bed rest, I am the lady to come visit!! I am suddenly finding myself with all kinds of time to do activities that don't involve standing, walking around, or driving :)

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

So here's the thing...

So there's been not much activity on this blog as of late. Or ever. Let's face it.

One primary reason why:

In July we announced a new little baby would be joining our family of three girls plus a daddy.

(Sidenote: We're not finding out the gender of the baby, so, no, you didn't miss some grand party slash announcement. Everyone seems to think they just weren't invited or something!)

This pregnancy has been busy. My sweet hubby has been out of town quite a bit leaving me flying solo to play with and feed the little people at my house.

And since, you know, pregnant women have been known to have oodles and oodles of energy (and patience) all the time, sometimes it's been a bit of a challenge keeping up with the two yahoos. Consequently, things like writing have fallen (intentionally) by the wayside.

Let's just say I may or may not have taken my fair share of naps over the past 7 1/2 months.

But tonight I'm feeling a little worried. Stressed. So I decided to write the thoughts of my head. And then I will be less worried and/or stressed. You shall see. Or really I will.

You see, at my 33 week appointment this morning we had a slight mishap. Baby's heart rate had dropped. Sort of significantly. You know it's not a terrific sign when the doctor has to double check and make sure it's not YOUR pulse that he's hearing. (Though I'm thinking that would be a cause for concern as well if my heart rate had jumped up 40 beats a minute.)

So into the other room I went for a non-stress test. The NST showed a heart rate baseline of around 100 beats a minute. Doctors like to see the baseline anywhere from 120s to 160s, so nobody was an overly happy camper. And, as a result, I am shuffled off to the ultrasound room to do a biophysical profile of the baby and see how he/she is doing.

Baby's movement is fantastic, and 95% of the ultrasound is focused on the heart. The tech can't quite make up her mind about whether or not the heart is at a 1/1 ratio or a 2/1 ratio or something, but tells me not to worry, she's sure everything's fine.

(And is it just me or does it seem like doctors and nurses always say things like that? Or my favorite: "This shot's not going to hurt. It'll just be a bit of pressure. BULL. Maybe they're taught that in school. Someone who is enlightened, please inform me.)

ANYWAY... As much as I know about hearts (*cough* almost nothing *cough*), I'm not positive what all of this means. But I do know that this is the exact same scenario that happened to Addy 5..ish.. years ago. The only difference here is that it is happening two weeks earlier with baby #3 than it did with her.

So long story short (TOO LATE!), we're doing another non-stress test tomorrow, and I'm meeting with the high risk baby doctor in a few days to see what she recommends. Oh, AND they gave me a lovely steroid shot to help develop the baby's lungs. (And, okay, can I just go on a little rant here and say that shot HURTS like... well, like something... that hurts a whole heck of a lot? Sheesh! I'm limping out of the office like an oldish lady and I could hardly drive home!) The shot goes in your "hip" (*ahem* it's really just in your butt, but I think they want you to feel a bit more dignified), and I go in for round two tomorrow. Looking forward to it. Ish. Also I think the non-stress test is stressful. Ironic.

So I've been doing some thinking. And pondering. And praying. And more thinking. And pondering. And, well, you get the idea... and I've come to a conclusion: IT WILL BE ALL RIGHT. I've been reflecting on the road that Addy has been on and what an amazing little girl she is growing up to be. And the amount of progress she's made in just the last year alone is truly astounding. So even if baby #3 is headed down the same path, it will be all right.

(And, okay, I'm not playing favorites here. Little Bry is the cutest thing you've ever seen in your life and has all the spunk a three-year-old can handle, but I'm writing about my sweetheart Addy since the situation is a bit like deja-vu for me.)

We haven't gotten to where we are without some challenges. Addy had a big drop in her heart rate around 34/35 weeks, and the doctors ended up delivering her five weeks early. She spent some time in the lovely NICU facility in town, and came home with us after a bit of time practicing eating, learning how to breathe, etc.

As she grew, she didn't hit milestones on time, never slept well, and just generally had a harder time learning skills and appropriate behaviors. Not always a picnic.

BUT I know that things will be all right...not only for her but for baby #3 as well.

And I'm not saying that the delays, the autism diagnosis, the difficulties came because she was an early baby or because she had problems in utero. Maybe they did; maybe they didn't.

The honest truth is I don't care. What happened happened, and there's no point in me wishing for a different outcome.

I'm also not saying that this new baby will follow the same route as his/her sister. Heck, we may even go full term! But even if things turned out exactly the same, I know it will still be all right.

Now, has my eldest child had a harder time with things than my soon-to-be middle child? She sure has.

Has she had to work harder than other kids her age? You betcha.

Have I had to work harder to do my part in getting her where she's at? Definitely.

Would I trade it for anything? Nope.

I've learned more in my experience being this brilliant and beautiful kid's mom than I think in the rest of my life combined. It's been so, so tough at times, but so incredibly worth it.

Our days are filled with therapies, special foods, vitamins, supplements, school, and squeezing in time for play. The days are busy and a lot of work, but I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. These beautiful children are worth it. And who knows? Maybe we'll get the opportunity to take the path less traveled all over again.

In the meantime, I will continue to be grateful and cherish the two princesses I have been given and continue to pray for and love the unborn miracle coming to our family (hopefully later than sooner).

Thanks for reading.