Wednesday, October 26, 2016

(Almost) 16 Weeks

Well my first update happened around 12 weeks so it's been almost a month.  Monthly updates are better than nothing, right?

I did this questionnaire a few times with the twins so let's bring it back from the vault.

How far along? 15 weeks, 5 days
Total weight gain/loss: 8 lbs. Yowza!  Even with a 4-year break, my body remembers this whole pregnancy thing quite well and I feel like it's sort of showing off at the moment.  My bump is bigger with this child than it was with two.  My mom likes to remind me it's because I'm old.  
Maternity clothes? Maternity jeans for sure!  I'm still wearing non-maternity leggings and joggers but they're getting a bit snug.  Most of my tops are pretty loose (flannels, boho style) so I should be good for awhile.  
Stretch marks? Nope!
Sleep: The sleep is great.  The waking up three times a night to go to the bathroom is not my favorite.  Michael is closer to the bathroom and I told him as of next week I'm taking over his spot.  Walking alllllll the way around the bed is just too much at 3 am.  ;)  I still take a short nap almost every day but my energy is slowly returning.
Best moment this week: Hearing the heartbeat at my appointment last Thursday!  It took my doctor a while to find it but she was laughing from the start so I wasn't too worried.  When we finally heard it (such a great sound) she said, "I couldn't find it because this baby won't stop moving.  All of the noises you heard were kicks - it'll have no problem keeping up with its siblings."  
Movement: I don't think so.  I've felt some flutters that may or may not be the baby but I'm not certain.  Can't wait! 
Food cravings: Where do I begin?  Cake.  Brownies.  Dill pickles.  Cottage cheese.  A lot of JUNK.  I had Taco Bell for the first time in years and then I had it two more times that same week.  Could not get enough!  
Anything making you queasy or sick: I still have to make sure I'm eating every few hours.  If I go too long I start feeling pretty gross (and then no amount of food makes me feel better).  
Have you started to show yet: Absolutely (see above).  I'm large enough that a few girls actually touched my stomach at a birthday party last weekend.  You know it's a sizeable bump when people are that confident.  
Gender prediction: I'm almost positive it's a boy.  We find out in three weeks and I can't wait!  We have two names we love for each.  
Belly button in or out?  In. Remember how I had umbilical hernia surgery to fix my poor belly button?  I did that because we were DONE having kids - whoops!  The doctor said there is a chance the mesh will keep it in place but I don't have high hopes.  I imagine I will have an outie by 20 weeks.  Sigh.
Wedding rings on or off?  On! 
Happy or Moody most of the time:  I feel like I'm just overly emotional.  I'm very happy - wouldn't say I'm too moody - but I cry at the drop of a hat and Michael knows to approach with caution, especially if there is a sweet commercial on tv.  
Milestones: Having a complete stranger congratulate me on my pregnancy;  first flight (to Chicago!) for the baby
Jude & Sloane's Responses:  The kids are so excited for this child.  Sloane talks and sings to my stomach and Jude loves to give it hugs and kisses.  Sloane says she can't wait for it to "pop right out" so she can babysit.  They make this entire experience so much fun for us.  They also ask if it's awake or asleep and if I say it's sleeping they whisper and play quietly. Needless to say, this baby sleeps A LOT.  ;)  
(Juno & Bleeker at a benefit last weekend! 15 weeks)

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Today is Michael's and my nine year anniversary!  I started this blog when we were engaged so it's been a pretty great journal of our lives... up until 2012 when it turned into the Jude & Sloane show.

I went into our marriage thinking we were a great couple.  Several years of wedded bliss confirmed my suspicions.  I wish I could say once the kids arrived things just kept getting better - and in some ways they did - but my blog isn't the only thing that turned into the Jude & Sloane show.  

I've done a few posts on what I would tell my 16-year-old self so I'm going to dedicate this year's anniversary post to nine things I would tell my newly married self.  Because, oh my goodness, she didn't have a clue.

1.  Travel before you have kids.  This is one I think we nailed.  We didn't go anywhere too crazy, but Michael and I went on several trips before kids and they are some of our fondest memories.  The furniture and new cars were nice, but nothing makes me smile more than talking about our trips.  If you love to travel I can't emphasize this one enough.  I think we always thought we'd continue traveling once we had our first child but when you have two at a time, logistics make it quite difficult.

2.  SAVE.  Going from dual income/no kids to one income/two kids was a swift kick in the pants.  So many times we've looked at each other and asked, "Where did the money GO before kids?"  Of course we remember where it went... Fancy sushi dates on Tuesday nights.  Late night movies with giant popcorns and cokes.  Do I regret the fun times?  Meh, I don't think so.  But going from no budget to a very, very, very tight budget was so hard.  Maybe just share a popcorn.  And save the sushi for a special occasion.

3.  Fighting does not make you a bad couple.  This has been a hard lesson for me.  Why?  Because Michael and I don't fight.  I need two hands (maybe one?) to count the number of true fights we've had in nine years of marriage.  I always wore this as a badge of honor.  What I didn't realize is this often means crucial words are left unsaid.  Grudges held.  Fights don't harm a relationship as long as you work through it.  Silence hurts.

4.  You are not #1.  I think this is an easy rule in the beginning.  You are so excited to be married and you want the world for your spouse.  You didn't want to spend your Sunday afternoon watching football?  Who cares, he's happy.  You didn't want to shop till you dropped?  Who cares, she loved it. As the years go by and kids arrive, it's very easy to make the kids your #1 priority.  And in the early days, I think that is to be expected.  However, there comes a time when they get a bit older and are more self-sufficient.  When that happens, remember to put your spouse first again - not yourself.  Once I realized I could finally take a breath, I put my needs first and didn't look back.  I felt like I'd earned it.  Terrible idea.

5.  Date Nights Are Important.  With twins we didn't have people knocking down our door to babysit.  No clue why.  :)  Also, due to budget restrictions mentioned above we didn't get out much.  I wish we would've realized how much we could do once the kids were asleep.  I read about this all the time - keep the date nights up - and I completely agree.  Even if you don't leave the house.  Even if it means eating cereal for dinner and watching a made-for-tv movie together.  Have a date night.

6.  Embrace the Mess.  The physical mess, the mental mess, the metaphorical mess.  When you get married, offer your partner grace.  When you have kids, offer yourself grace.  Grace upon grace upon grace.

7.  Pick Your Battles.  As I mentioned above, Michael and I rarely fight.  However, that doesn't mean we were lovebirds constantly complimenting each other.  I picked every battle.  Rather than be grateful for all the things he did, I noticed the one or two things he didn't.  Teachers always tell us to offer more positive reinforcement than criticism with our children.  I think that should be the golden rule for all humans.

8.  Don't Lose Yourself.  I've written about this multiple times.  Some of the strongest marriages I know are two individuals who have their own passions, jobs, friends, etc.  It doesn't mean they don't make time for each other, it simply means they never lost who they were.  At some point I lost who I was.  It came after kids and it wasn't a pretty revelation.  I've since gained some direction (still have a ways to go) but I wish I'd never let it get to the point where I barely recognized myself.

9.  Eye Contact, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation.  Look each other in the eyes when you talk.  Hug as often as you can (even if - especially if - you don't feel like it).  Don't just tell your spouse you love them, tell them WHY you love them.  I'm a firm believer that saying it out loud affirms them and reminds you what a special gift you have right in front of you.

This past year was the hardest we've experienced yet, mostly because of the reasons above and mostly because of me.  Fortunately, rather than turn away from one another we chose to turn toward each other and became stronger because of it.  It wasn't pretty.  It wasn't easy.  But it was necessary.  And, as with all things on this dear blog, it's very much a work in progress.

In plenty and in want
In joy and in sorrow
In sickness and in health

Here's to year 10...

Friday, October 7, 2016

Jude & Sloane's Reactions to #3

There are two things about this pregnancy that make it so much more fun than the last: Jude & Sloane.  Yes, technically they were a part of the last pregnancy but they didn't say too much and were (if I'm being honest) a bit boring.

Michael and I decided to wait until my 11-week appointment before we shared the news with the kids.  Sloane is basically another adult in our house and we didn't want her to have to think through things if this pregnancy wasn't meant to be.  This doesn't mean they were oblivious to the changes happening to me.  Sloane saw my stomach one morning and said, "Mom, you've been eating A LOT of food lately."  When Jude realized it'd grown a bit he immediately wanted to kiss it (this trend has continued and the baby now receives 8-10 kisses at a time from Jude).

Once we were given the green light we did our typical bedtime routine and told them we had some news.  Michael recorded the whole thing and I had an idyllic vision of how it would happen:  I'd share our news and they'd jump on their beds while telling us this was the best day of their lives.  Instead, Sloane immediately furrowed her brow and said, "I want to name her Sloane and we need to build her a crib."  Jude listened intently and immediately changed the subject to Paw Patrol.

Ah yes, exactly how I pictured it.

Since then, they have taken on the roles of big sister and big brother quite nicely.  Sloane constantly asks how the baby is doing and how I'm feeling.  She talks to it often and tells me she's going to be "the best big sister in the whole wide world" (I think she may be right).   Jude has become much more gentle around me and loves to rub my stomach.  He always smiles and says, "It's going to get a whole lot bigger!"  Yes, yes it is.

They both think they have a baby in their bellies.  I'm too tired and they're too young for "the talk" so I'm just letting them think 3/4 of our family is pregnant for now. We'll cross that bridge later. We've only had one "How did it get in there?" and we dodged that bullet like a pro.

I've been a little concerned with the age difference as they will be 4.5 when the baby arrives but I also think it could be great for our family.  I'm also nervous this baby won't have a plus one but then I remember 95% of kids have the same issue and deal with it quite easily.

All in all, it's been a pretty smooth transition so far.  I know this is all a little too abstract for them but my hope is to make it feel as normal and natural as possible.  While the baby is obviously a part of our lives already, my plan is to spend the next 26 weeks reinforcing how special Jude & Sloane are to us.  And if I don't do it enough, I'm quite positive Sloane will remind me.  :)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Number THREE!

Whenever I disappear from this dear blog it's typically because we're up to something big.  I think you could say that this time as well...

We posted the announcement on social media yesterday and the amount of comments that started with "Whaaaaat?" was hilarious.  Surprised?  Yes, so were we.  I'll rewind a bit and tell you about the last few months.

In mid-August, I took the best nap of my life.  I told Michael about it that evening because the kids had to shake me to wake me up.  I was groggy and out of it for a long time afterward.  While I am no stranger to naps (ask anyone), this one was magical.  I didn't think much of it and just chalked it up to having 3-year-old twins who are exhausting in every possible way.

The next few days are foggy.  I honestly don't remember what led me to take a pregnancy test but I remember walking to the bathroom already knowing what it would say.  It took less than three seconds for two lines to pop up.

Regardless, I was absolutely shocked.  I looked at it 10 times.  15 times.  I'd walk away and then come back a minute later to peer at it again.  I started pacing around our house (I do not pace) until Sloane started asking what was wrong with mommy.

When I finally processed the information, I sent Michael a quick text, "Please call when you get a chance."  I waited 30 minutes (actual time: three minutes) before calling him.  I never call him at work so he picked up after the second ring and had to listen to me spew nonsensical garbage before I finally said, "I'm pregnant."  He started laughing and told me he was so excited.  That night he came home with lemonade and Oreos, the two things I craved most with the twins.

Most of you know our story.  Before Jude & Sloane we suffered two miscarriages.  Thanks to one round of clomid, they arrived healthy and happy.  Due to these circumstances, I firmly believed I could never carry a child to term without intervention.  Once I fully embraced our news, I realized the chances of this baby surviving were pretty small. I hoped for the best and expected the worst.

I called my doctor and went in for initial blood tests.  I told Michael I expected my hCG number to be around 300-400 because I knew I was further along than four weeks.  The next day my mom and I loaded up the kids and drove to Waco for a quick overnight trip.  While we were driving I received a call from the nurse.  My progesterone (which has always been very low in the past) was perfect.  And my hCG?  27,000.  I'm sorry, let me say that again.  27,000.  I asked the nurse what that meant and she said I was further along than I thought.  Or....  "Marissa, promise me it's not twins."  "I can't promise you that, Meredith.  You need to prepare yourself..."

One phone call gave me more hope for this child than I ever imagined.  I wouldn't need progesterone supplements and this baby was STRONG.

Michael and I went in for an appointment the next week and saw our singleton.  Yes, JUST ONE.  We asked her to triple check.  It turned out to be a few days older than I originally guessed but we weren't as far along as they assumed based on the high hCG.  We saw the tiny heartbeat and were told to come back in a month.

The differences in this pregnancy and my last are pretty severe.  I've felt gross since six weeks.  My energy is shot and I can only eat bland comfort food (which just so happens to be my favorite food so no complaints there).  Even at 12.5 weeks, I struggle if I don't drink enough water or eat every two hours.  Since I never suffered morning sickness with the twins, I fully expected this pregnancy to be a breeze. NOPE.

A few weeks ago we went back for another check-up and ultrasound.  I was 11 weeks and we saw the cutest little baby bouncing around.  Michael was blown away by the details.  The hands and feet were already perfectly formed - I think he expected to see another white blob on a black background.

My due date is April 14 but we've decided to have a c-section so they will take the baby at 39 weeks - April 6 at 7:30 am to be exact!  We'll find out the gender at 20 weeks and already have a few names we love.

As far as my emotions?  I'm still shocked.  And to be completely honest, I'm terrified.  I've always felt like Jude & Sloane maxed us out so the thought of adding another one to our family... how are we going to do it?  Will I be able to keep up?  Surely I will lose one along the way?!

I'm also thrilled.  Elated.  Grateful & humbled.  A third child is something I've always thought sounded amazing but never believed was in our plan.  But this baby is a fighter.  It's already proven this by surviving against so many odds.  And that?  That makes me want to fight just as hard.

As always, we covet your prayers for a safe and uneventful pregnancy.  While I guarantee I won't be as faithful to this blog as I was with the twins, my hope is I can journal through the pregnancy so this time won't be lost.

2017 is already shaping up to be a pretty great year.  Cheers!


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