What's happening?

Well, I hit my third and FINAL trimester Tuesday *happy dance*. A whole 13 weeks (give or take) left! I can't remember if I told you guys but I found out I have PUPPP and it's AWFUL and it has made my stretch marks horrible.

Here's my stretch mark/PUPPP journey:
This is at 14 weeks. Yes, 14 weeks:

15 1/2 weeks:
16 weeks and 1 day:
20 weeks and 1 day: (fyi, this is the week I started getting a couple of itchy bumps in my stretch marks)
And it goes downhill from there :(
21 weeks 3 days:
22 weeks and 2 days: (the PUPPP had finally reared it's ugly head full on)
I had been bad. I itched it...
4 days later, it was better! I was still holding out hope! 22 weeks and 6 days:
23 weeks and 4 days: (not too bad!)
25 week comparison:
Then the s*** just HITS THE FAN...
25 weeks and 5 days:
26 weeks:
26 weeks and 5 days has probably been the WORST:
Disgusting right? It's on MY belly :( This little girl is messing mommy up.

Today the PUPPP isn't very visable BUT let me tell you, my lower abdomen still itches like nobody's business and my stretch marks? Oh, I just don't even want to talk about it.
The a few days ago: (my belly button is frowning now, lol)
My belly at exactly 27 weeks: (in the morning and at night)

And lastly, my belly tonight: (27 weeks and 2 days)
This, my friends, is the UGLY and very UNLUCKY side of some pregnancies. For more information on PUPPP, click here: PUPPP info

Note: If you EVER get itchy bumps in your stretch marks while pregnant, don't let anyone keep you from thinking it's worse than just an irritation. It's much better to be safe than sorry. I think if I would have known it was PUPPP back when I first thought it was, things would be a whole lot different right now.


The truth is...

I can honestly say that I didn't see this coming. My heart hurts. It hurts bad. I want my family here. I wish I could call my mom to go with me to the hospital when I worry. I wish I didn't have to hope someone else will go with me when Ryan has to work early in the morning and I don't want him to have to miss sleep unless it's really important.

It hurt me so badly the night before last to go to Labor and Delivery alone to make sure everything was ok. I had a brown discharge and it scared me. I called my mom on my way to the hospital and she assured me that I had made the right decision. That brings me to this: I wish I had my mom here like the rest of my siblings do. I hope they never take her being around for granted. They will never know what it's like to only be able to talk to her on the phone when they need her. I am so jealous that they can call her and she will be there.

They call me "mom's favorite" because she talks to me a lot and talks about me a lot but that's because I'm not there like they are. They will never know the pain of not being sure if your parents will make it for your child's birth (if she is born early and quickly, I mean). They will never know the pain of knowing your child won't be able to be around their Aunts and Uncles and Grandparents. It's killer.

These are some of my emotions and feeling in text:

I posted this on facebook after I realized I was really, truly sad. It shocked me. I got some responses and these are my replies to them.

Apparently I really miss my mommy. Sigh.

At the end of the day yesterday, Ryan saw what I had said on Facebook and it made him feel terrible. He apologized for not going with and said he should have gone after I told him not to worry about it. I didn't even ask him to go because he had to work early and he had the understanding that I would call if something was wrong and he would come.

I've just had an eye opening experience and it's sticking to me like syrup on clothes. I know I'll be okay, it's just going to take some time.


Bump Day! Guest Post from Heart on Guard

I love this post from Heart On Guard and I hope you guys do too! Thanks again darling!

I thought my fast labor with my son was something that would never be beat. Water breaking at work, back-to-back contractions, hyperventilating, freaking out, and a baby in less time than it takes to watch an extended version of Lord of the Rings... but then Little Miss was born, and her birth story takes the cake.

My pregnancy with Little Miss was one wracked with anxiety. Her big brother had been born at 37 weeks, so I was convinced she would come around the same time -- which was conveniently when my husband was gone for 3 weeks of training with no communication. Worry #1 - she'll arrive when he's gone. With her big brother my waters had broken first, so there was no question as to when to go to the hospital. Worry #2 - I won't know when I'm actually in labor. Her big brother had arrived in 4 1/2 short hours... so we have Worry #3 - I'm not going to make it to the hospital (especially if I have worry #2 to deal with and end up identifying it late).

We made it through my husband's training without her arrival, so I could breathe a bit easier there. But those other anxieties were stronger than ever. My OB and my doula both laughed at me repeatedly when I expressed concern that I wouldn't recognize labor and that I'd end up giving birth to her in the parking lot of the strip club between my house and the hospital. Perhaps they were simply trying to put me at ease, but of all people they should have known one of the cardinal rules of dealing with pregnant ladies - Do Not Laugh at Them! (ranks right up there with no unsolicited belly rubbing and no stealing food off our plates).

Needless to say I was watching and scrutinizing every possible sign of impending labor. Was that part of the mucus plug? Was that a contraction or just braxton hicks? Then just before my 39 week mark, I started having sporadic contractions. My doula didn't seem all that interested or excited at my "I think I just passed my mucus plug", so I turned to my friend 1500 miles away who was also a doula and much more enthusiastic. My friend agreed that it seemed like I was probably experiencing early labor (i.e. prodromal labor)... and I left my actual doula in the dark. I knew that prodromal labor could last anywhere from a couple days to several weeks, so there was no way of knowing when to expect her. Fast forward two nights and I was having trouble sleeping. Contractions were still sporadic, but I couldn't rest through them. It was about to get serious.

1:34am -- After finally falling asleep, I was woken up by a really painful contraction. I wasn't sure if it was a real one, because I only felt it in one small area of my belly, and for some reason I expected "REAL" labor to affect my entire belly. I got up, used the bathroom and realized there was quite a bit of blood, so at that point I was sorta confident that labor was starting.

1:41am -- I woke up my husband, told him I wasn't sure, but we were most likely going to need to leave. For some reason, though, the last thing I wanted was to bother our friend who had offered to watch our son and our doula who we paid to be on call.

1:59am -- I called my doula, and she recommended waiting a half hour to time contractions. (Note, she wasn't aware of the two days of early labor I'd been experiencing, had she known, she would have sent me to the hospital... oops, my bad).

2am to 2:30am -- I walked around and timed contractions. They were coming every 4  minutes... and then every 2 to 3 minutes... but I still didn't leave. My husband said to me "Um, those are 4 minutes apart..." but didn't tack on what he was really thinking "Um... we need to leave!" Again, I didn't want to inconvenience my doula, and I insisted that I needed to wait the full 30 minutes before I called her back. Note that at that point I was completely ignoring my plan of leaving home as soon as I had three noticeable contractions within a short time. Again... ooops, my bad.

2:40am -- We left the house to take our son to our friend's house where he would stay while we were at the hospital. We arrived and my husband took the bags and gear into the house.

2:45ish -- I told my son how he was going to have a great day with his friends. He gave me a kiss and said "Love you!" before daddy came back. My friend said good luck to me just before I had to brace for the next contraction, and she, my hubby and my son all went in the house leaving me in the car.

2:50ish -- Ten seconds into this contraction and I heard the classic pop, followed by a whoosh as my waters break. I was frantic, because I knew my labor was going to intensify, and I realized I hadn't put anything underneath me in the car. I fumbled for my phone, trying to figure out how to get my husband back to the car in a hurry. After hitting all the wrong keys, accidentally setting the phone to vibrate, I gave up and honked the horn once. Hubby ran out and grabbed some towels from the back as soon as I told him what happened.

2:52am -- I called my doula back, frantic, scared. I could feel my body starting to bear down and push without my help. My doula talked me through, trying to get me to breathe through the urges. My husband was driving through post trying to get us to the hospital 25+ miles away. My doula asked if I could reach down to see if the baby was crowning, but I was too busy holding on to the handle above my head, so I asked my hubby to check.  Thank God he was a medic before, so this didn't phase him much. He did a quick check, while driving, and verified he could feel her head.

~3am (time got blurry at this point) -- My doula informed me that if we kept driving toward the hospital, I'd probably have to catch my own baby, so I yelled at my husband to pull over. At that point we were just past the post gates in the parking lot of some car audio place. At some point he had called 911 and the police arrived just before he got over to my side of the suburban.

3:04am -- While I was still on the phone with the doula, Little Miss was born, with her daddy there to catch her. My doula told me to have him check for the cord around her neck, but as he was checking another push delivered an arm and then her other shoulder. I threw my shirt off, losing my phone in the process, and my husband laid our precious little girl on my chest. I could hear the small-town police talking about how awesome this all was, that in their 15 years on the force, this was their first road-side baby.

The parking lot where Little Miss was born

3:17ish -- the Paramedics arrived having received very little information from the dispatcher -- all they knew was that a mama and a baby were on the side of the road. Way to go dispatch! They clamped the cord (which no longer had any blood in it) and had my husband cut it. They wrapped the baby up and got us both into the ambulance.

After we got to the hospital, I thought we were golden. I hadn't thought to grab the birth plan out of my bag, because, hell, I already birthed the baby. But, sigh. I should have, because then I could have maybe stopped the OB from giving me pitocin to help with bleeding. The nurses told me the doc wanted to give me an IV, and I failed to hear them say "Pit" when I asked what they were giving me -- all I heard was "fluids" (and for some reason my doula didn't stop to ask me if I was sure, even though "no Pitocin" was on the birth plan she helped me write... but eh it's done). The pitocin was horrible, far worse than birthing a baby in a suburban in less than 10 minutes! It was one long 2+ minute contraction with my whole lower body shaking uncontrollably. Ugh. The doctor on call laughed at me when she heard our story, but she did an amazing job repairing the second degree tear. Little Miss was quite cold when we arrived at the hospital (95.9 degrees), so she spent the first 8-9 hours under the warmer by my bed, but she latched well and became a pro at nursing, as can be seen by her chunky thighs :)

For months after this birth, I vowed we were done with kids, even suggesting the "big V". But, now I've concluded that I do still want my four kiddos... but I refuse to ever try to make it to the hospital ever again... the next ones will just be born at home :)

April writes about faith, family, and her life as an Army National Guard wife and stay-at-home mom to her two kiddos -- Stinker and Little Miss -- over at Hearts On Guard


Abriella Jane,

Today I am 26 weeks pregnant with you and boy are you proving that you exist today. Rolling, kicking and hitting my belly as if to say, "Hey! Pay attention to me!". But, I can't pay much attention to you yet. The most I can do is touch or hold my belly and talk to you (though you can't understand what I'm saying). I do that every day anyway. I love that you still kick me even when my hand is on my belly. I also love that you finally kicked your daddy's hand.

Thoughts of you and the preparations for you consume me. If I'm not looking at clothes I long to buy for you or hoping someone buys this or that for you, I'm thinking about what/who you will look like and how excited I am that we get to see you for the first time in almost 2 months in just 2 weeks and 6 days! I also can't believe that your Grandma and Grandpa will be here. The last time they saw me, I was this big:

 And this is how big I am now:

You make me feel weird sometimes because you kick me in my butt. I have been reading that a lot of women with an anterior placenta get that feeling as well. I feel like you are trying to kick your way out back there.

I love you so much. I don't know what to do with myself. I want to touch you, feed you, hold you and watch you grow (but not too fast!). I want to watch your daddy with you. I can't wait to see how you two interact. I'm 100% sure that I will have a hard time sharing you. I carried you for 9 months (by the time you are born) and I want to continue doing so. I can't even imagine the anxiety I will have the first night we leave you with someone so we can go out for a couple of hours. I don't even want to think about it.

I have so much to say to you but I just can't get it all out right now. Just know that you and daddy are my world and I promise to be everything you deserve.



A lot has happened in the last 2 weeks! Here are my recent updates via IG photos :)

Let's start here. I looked around the gym while working out 2 weeks ago and realized none of the other pregnant women were there and I was being looked at by most of the people within eyesight. Made me feel pretty uncomfortable.
Turned 25 weeks and had an upper respiratory infection (I'm still not quite over it, a week and a half later)
 The cloth on my face was pretty much my only relief from my runny, raw nose.
 Got Abriella's playard/bassinet thanks to her Aunt Missie and cousin Mady.
 Finally got the LifeProof case I have been dying for and it me proofed AND baby proofed my phone
Enough said.

Dressed up for Valentine's Day and felt great doing so! Too bad my hormones were raging and food/drinks tasted horrid that day.
Got this super adorable outfit which MAY be her coming home outfit!
 Had super swollen fingers yesterday morning and thought my ring wearing days were over. Thank God they aren't yet!
Last but not least!!! Last night baby girl was kicking and Ryan sat his hand on my belly just in time for her to give a good, hard kick! He felt it! I then giggled for a while so he didn't feel anything but after I stopped laughing she kicked hard again! The smile on his face was so amazing. I could have cried. He said "That was my first contact with her" and then he kissed my belly. I can't wait to watch them grow together after she is born. He is already a fantastic daddy <3 p="">


Bump Day! Guest post from Chambanachik.

Happy bump day! Yes, Wednesdays have officially changed from hump day to bump day here in my pregnant world. Without further ado, here is this weeks guest post! Thanks for sharing your experiences Erika!

I've always heard that each pregnancy is different, and I have to admit I would roll my eyes a bit. After all, no matter if it's my first or my tenth, I'm still going through the process of carrying a baby, right? And while there haven't been any monumental changes during this pregnancy compared to my first, there are a lot of smaller things that actually are quite different... 

First Baby: I had a few early symptoms, and one night, my husband Sky and I were up until past midnight, talking about "what if?" He finally told me to take a test, and I yelled for him to come and see the results.
Second Baby: I had some faintness a couple days before, and then felt the rest of what I felt the first time. I told Sky that I should probably take a test. A day or two later, I did after Millie went to bed, and was less surprised but still a bit overwhelmed/excited.

First Baby: I felt Millie first kick just a couple days before the ultrasound at 18 weeks or so.
Second Baby: I'm told I should be able to feel this baby sooner, and I'm 16 weeks now, but nothing so far. I'm really impatient! 

First Baby: I had an only noticeable to me bump the first trimester, but seemed to go from flatness to roundness fairly quickly, and definitely looked pregnant by 20 weeks.
Second Baby: I looked puffy only a couple weeks after finding out, but it (mostly) disappeared and then reappeared as a little roundness. It feels much bigger than it looks!

First Baby: Sky held my hand during the ultrasound and we watched amazed.
Second Baby: Duty calls. So while Sky is gone with the Army, a friend in town offered to keep me company during the ultrasound. It'll be nice to share the experience with someone- and maybe, I can find a way to convince the hospital to break their strict video recording rules so Sky can still see it.

First Baby: Just a little morning sickness, lots of migraines, no interest in food except for a few cravings here and there.
Second baby: A lot more morning sickness, some migraines, and no interest in food again.

First Baby: Craved chocolate milk (the pre-made kind), lots of pancakes, and, towards the end, strawberry cream cheese. Couldn't stomach any Italian food, which is usually my favorite. 
Second Baby: Not as many cravings, but I'm only 16 weeks along. Like fruit right now, and have been drinking grapefruit juice and Sprite cocktails when I'm feeling especially nauseous. I'm always thirsty but don't have much of an appetite. Can't stomach meat too often, especially sandwich meat and bacon.

First Baby: Slathered lotion and oil on daily. They say it's all genetic, but I only got a couple stretchmark’s (and not until the 39th week, gosh dang it!), and they're hardly noticeable.
Second Baby: Slathering it all on again! Fingers crossed on this one.

First Baby: Saw my family practice doctor for the pregnancy.
Second Baby: I heard wonderful things about the midwives at my hospital, so I'm seeing them this time. The first one I met (and the only male, thank goodness) was British and a dead ringer for Ringo Starr.

First Baby: Found out we were having a girl and proclaimed it to the world immediately. There were a lot of frilly, ruffled clothes in her closet.
Second Baby: We're pretty sure this is our last baby, so to do something different, we decided to not find out the gender this time. That means a lot of yellow and green for this little one! I think the only thing that could even come close to topping the indescribable joy of meeting your child would be to have that sweet surprise, too. But the waiting will be hard!

First Baby: Regular deodorant.
Second Baby: Extra-strength deodorant. Enough said.

First Baby: Received a "One Line a Day" 5 year memory book to keep track of Millie's daily happenings. I've written in it faithfully every day.
Second Baby: Hoping to get one this time, too. I don't want to do anything less for this sweet baby.

First Baby: I worried all the time that something would be wrong, that she wouldn't be kicking enough- anything in the realm of possibility scared me. I've never felt so protective in my life.
Second Baby: I don't worry quite as much since everything with Millie was fine, but I still do some. Pregnancy makes you so aware of how much this little life depends on you.

First Baby: No matter what I was doing, who I was talking to, etc., the only thing running through my mind was, "I'm pregnant. I'm pregnant. I'm pregnant." It was impossible to not think about it.
Second Baby: I constantly forget. Not in big ways, like taking medicine I shouldn't, but chasing a two year old around doesn't give me a lot of time for thought! Even so, it's just as special this time.

Education and Help:
First Baby: Watched "The Business of Being Born"
Second Baby: Watched "More Business of Being Born"

First Baby: Sky and I took a childbirth class, but weren't mature enough to keep straight faces through it.
Second Baby: Not a chance!

First Baby: Hired a doula, meeting with her a few times before labor. It was amazing to have someone else to be there for me, especially after being surprised at how little the nurses actually checked on me.
Second Baby: Met with a doula last week, but because she is more experienced, her fee is more than double that of my first doula (who isn't available this time). Not looking forward to a birth without one, but it may end up that way.

The end of 9 months: 
Both babies: Having gone through these things once before, I can say that I don't look forward to labor any more than the first time- maybe less, to be honest. But more than anything, I cannot wait to feel that overpowering love and amazement when I get to hold my baby for the very first time. Love at first sight would be an understatement. There isn't a feeling on earth like that precious moment. And any difficulties along the way are worth it after that first cry.

Thanks again so much, Erika! I loved every bit of your post so I couldn't bring myself to remove anything to shorten it, lol. If you would like to follow Erika's blog, click this link: Chambanachik


I don't know how to begin

There is something that has been weighing very heavily on my mind.

When we were in Indiana at Christmas time, Ryan and his mother got into a fight (mainly because of me, I'm sure. She has never seemed to like me much). They didn't make up before we came back to Virginia even though Ryan tried contacting her many times. Every day actually. A few days after we got back to Virginia, they talked and made up, as did she and I but things didn't get better after that, they got much worse.

Ryan wanted them to take over their phone lines by a certain date so we didn't get charged for another month and on that date Ryan called them to verify what they were doing and they never responded so Ryan took matters into his own hands and suspended their lines. He never wanted it to be that way but they forced his hands. It's not my right to say why, but he just didn't feel comfortable having them on our plan anymore. Frankly, I didn't either at the time.

Let's move forward a day or two and his mom emailed him about him suspending their lines.They had shut their home line off (or so they say) so she couldn't call. He replied the best way he felt and she never replied after that. Fast forward another week and she emailed him with one line. He didn't reply. She hasn't tried to contact him since.

That's her SON. HER SON. I can't believe it. I just can't. Our kids will do things that make us angry constantly but to not speak to your SON? Just wrong. On so many different levels. Sadly, Ryan and I both feel like this wont get any better. My heart breaks for him. I know he is hurting. I know he wants his mother in his life but it kills him that nobody is even TRYING to be in his life. None of his "family". Not his step brothers, not his step dad, not his mom, not (all but one) his cousins, not his aunts nor his uncles. NOBODY. How can these people think that is ok? I have news for you, IT'S NOT. He may not be trying either but he still hurts. And maybe he needs someone to prove to him that he is worth the fight

My poor husband has been turned into an adult orphan. I can't even begin to imagine the pain he feels.

Last night I reminded him that he is so important to me and he is so important to Abriella. Whether he knows it or not, the family he has created by his love for us lovse him more than any argument would ever get between. He is the light of my life. He is the most wonderful and amazing man. I am so blessed. Abby is so blessed to be able to have him as her daddy. Anyone who would stop talking to him is not even worth his love.


Maternity photo shoot...

Seriously, I don't know what to do with myself. Check these out!!!


 Let's focus on the shadows here ^ :D