Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Reflections one year later...

Disclaimer:  This post is about my [our] journey and reflections after the loss of our baby on September 3, 2013.  This is MY story and I am doing this for me.  I've been thinking about it for a year and I want to get my words and feelings in writing.  I want you to know that I understand that there are people and specifically family and friends of my own who have gone through much worse than Ryan and I went through.  I have family and friends who struggled immensely to get pregnant and some who may never be able to become pregnant.  I have family and friends who also suffered through miscarriages and even multiple miscarriages.  I have both family and friends who carried their babies much longer than I only to have their beautiful child's life end in stillbirth or pass away shortly thereafter.  I have family and friends who struggled with cancer at a young age [or any age] and still others who have beautiful children that have to live with a medical condition their entire lives.  I do not in any way want my story to lessen what they are going through.  If anything, I have hope that I can connect with them on a deeper level and maybe understand a tiny bit what they are going through.

Where do I begin?  At the beginning of course.  Ryan and I found out we were pregnant with our first child on July 17, 2013.  We were so excited.  Who wouldn't be?  If you have ever been pregnant [or had a significant other who was] you understand that as soon as you become pregnant, you start planning your life with that little one in it.  You dream about your baby.  Will it be a boy or girl?  Who will it look more like?  What will they be like?  How will your family change?  You dream about your baby in your future.  It may sound crazy, but even though you can't see that you're pregnant yet or feel your baby inside of you... you do have a feeling that you have a baby inside of you.

Alaina was very excited to help us announce!  Her onesie says "Only grandchild" [crossed out], Big Cousin."

The doctor was unsure of how far along we were so we had an ultrasound at 7 weeks, 5 days.  We were both able to see the baby's heart beating and we got a due date of March 26, 2014.  It was so neat to see.  

During the time that I was pregnant (11 weeks), miscarriage and stillbirth only crossed my mind a couple times.  I read a little bit about it and knew it was a possibility, but to be completely honest, I was naive.  It is not that I didn't think it would happen to me, I just didn't really think about it happening at all.  Should have I?  I don't know.  There was no reason to live my pregnancy in fear and I already worry about everything the way it is.  And if I did think about it as a possibility, there is no way that you can be prepared for that.

Ryan and I spent Labor Day weekend with family up in Duluth.  I love Duluth and it was a beautiful weekend.  On Friday evening after we had just announced to Sam, Rachelle, Colton, and Bailey that we were pregnant, I went to the bathroom to find that I was very lightly brown spotting.  I tried not to get too panicked, but I did anyways.  Luckily,  my sister-in-law who was with me is an OB nurse and I chatted with her right away.  We decided that we would just wait and see what happened.  I wasn't having any cramping and it wasn't frank red bleeding.  Many women spot throughout their entire pregnancy.

We waited it out and I tried to have a good weekend, but the thoughts running through my head were devastating.  Throughout the weekend I continued to have brown spotting, most of the time passing small clots.  Ryan did everything he could to make me feel better and keep my spirits up.  I know he was nervous and scared too, but he had to be strong for me.  I'll never forget laying in bed in the camper on Sunday night with tears streaming down my face.  I knew it.  I knew our baby was gone.  Monday we had plans to go to the MN State Fair and go to the Tim McGraw concert.  The brown clotting was increasing and I was starting to get some light cramping and pain in my lower back, but I didn't want to forgo the fair or the concert.  We tried to have a good time.

On Tuesday I made an appointment with my doctor after work.  If I could go back and change anything about that it would be to have had Ryan at that appointment.  I guess it didn't even cross my mind that he should be there.  I told my doctor the story and he checked and found that my cervix was still intact.  He then used the doppler to hear the heartbeat.  He couldn't find it, but reminded me that it can be hard to find anyways at 11 weeks.

He sent me down for an ultrasound.  It was absolutely horrible.  I was already crying before the tech even began.  I knew.  She did the ultrasound and as soon as it came up on the screen I knew right there that the baby's heart wasn't beating.  I started bawling.  I couldn't move.  I'll never forget how rude the ultrasound tech was.  I went back up to the exam room to talk to my doctor.  He was so caring and compassionate.  I don't think I could have made it past that moment if he hadn't been, especially since the ultrasound tech was so rude.

Next came my options.  Option #1: I could wait.  How long?  He said it could possibly be a month before I could pass the baby on my own especially since my cervix was still completely intact.  It could be quite painful too.  Option #2:  He could give me a vaginal cream that could help dilate my cervix and pass the baby sooner.  Also a waiting game and painful.  Option #3:  D&C or dilation and curettage.  This is a surgery in which they would put me under and remove the baby from my uterus.  I couldn't bear to wait, nor did I have the courage or the strength to pass it on my own.  It sounds horrible, but I had to have the baby out of me.  We scheduled the surgery for two days later, Thursday, September 5.

The drive home from the clinic was absolutely horrible.  I bawled and I didn't know how I was going to tell Ryan.  How do you tell your husband that his baby is gone?  I felt so guilty.  Ryan was sitting on the couch and I remember just collapsing on him and crying my eyes out.  I just kept telling him I was so sorry.  I couldn't help but think it was my fault.  I was the one carrying the baby.  What did I do wrong?  Still to this day I think back and wonder about different little silly things and it is useless.

The surgery went very well.  I cried that morning all the way to the hospital and when I returned that afternoon I was welcomed home by my mom and beautiful flowers from my grandmother who knew just what I was feeling.  She not only suffered one, but four miscarriages.  My mom stayed overnight with us and Ryan's work so graciously let him off for a few days to be with me.

When the pathology report came back, nothing came back as "abnormal."  It was just a spontaneous miscarriage.  The pathology report stated that the growth of the baby stopped at about 8 weeks, 5 days.  This means that it wasn't long after Ryan and I had saw our baby's heart beating on the ultrasound that our baby went to heaven.  It also means that my body went a long time before it decided to even begin to tell me that something was wrong.

The pain didn't stop after I had the surgery.  I think it only got worse.  I had a lot of dreams about the baby and I had an extreme fear about getting pregnant again.  I would cry everyday before and/or after work.  Every day when Ryan would get off work he would find me in bed.  I was having pretty bad separation anxiety until about December.  I hated being away from Ryan.  I was scared that I was going to lose him too.  Leaving him for work every morning was so hard and I would do everything I could with him when we weren't at work. 

I'll never begin to be able to thank Ryan enough for the strength and comfort he provided me with throughout the entire process.  Our love for each other and our relationship grew so much because of this.  He may not have been carrying the baby and had the same connection with it that I did, but he was still that baby's daddy.  It still hurt him. 

We are so thankful for the wonderful people in our lives who comforted us during that hard time [and still now throughout this pregnancy].  It is a situation in which the words in which to say are not always easy to come up with.  Sometimes the best thing was just a hug and letting us know that you cared.  I received a lot of messages and stories from others who suffered miscarriages and/or stillbirths.  Some women telling me that they didn't have anyone else to talk to because no one really understands what they are going through.  I received messages and cards from others just letting me know they cared and that they are there for us.  It meant the world to us.  When a miscarriage happens, society makes it feel like it should be pushed under the table when in actuality, 1 and 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage.  That is a huge number that I wasn't aware of until I had my own. 

Although people tried so hard to make us feel better, there are just some things that hurt more than anything.  Many of those things begin with "at least."  At least it happened early.  At least you never got to hold your baby.  At least you didn't know if it was a boy or a girl.  At least you can always get pregnant again.  Others included: It was God's will and everything happens for a reason.  We were also extremely offended by someone who told us that our baby was a misfortune.  We even had a friend ask us when we were going to get pregnant, wondering if Ryan had slow swimmers.  My eyes teared up and I did not hesitate telling him that we had just suffered a miscarriage.  The best you can do is think about what you say before you say it.  If you aren't sure, just be there, listen, and acknowledge it as a loss of a child. 

We want to thank everyone for the kind words, sweet cards, and gifts that we received.  I will cherish them forever and I have made a box specifically for this baby and all of its keepsakes.

Flowers from my Grandma Evie

 These two photos were from my mother-in-law Rose.  Right after it happened she went to the cemetery to see her parents.  She had never really noticed it much before, but when you first entered the cemetery was the first photo, which is so fitting.  Then when she went to her parent's headstone she couldn't help but notice the tiny little flower growing all by itself off to the left of their headstone.  When she texted me these photos she wrote "I drive by there a lot, but for some reason needed to stop and talk to mom.  When entering I noticed the sign and then the flower, not a weed.  It was almost like mom was saying the baby is with us."  It was perfect. 

I received this stone from Rose that sits in our landscaping out front.  I see it every time I look out our picture window.  My mother gave me the most heartfelt card with a poem that anyone would expect from their own mother.  I love you both so much!

At Thanksgiving I received this charm from Ryan's aunt Jean.  It is perfect.

For Christmas my mother-in-law Rose gave me this beautiful sun-catcher.  It hangs in our big picture window and I look at it all of the time.  The three birth stone colors are the birthstones for the month of conception (June), miscarriage (September), and the baby's due date (March).  It is beautiful.

When our due date came (March 26), little did we know we were pregnant with the wonderful blessing of a baby that I am currently over 25 weeks pregnant with.  I received the beautiful flowers from my Grandma Evie and the angel from Rose.  The angel sits right at our front door and it is always a reminder of our sweet baby in heaven. 

I also received a wonderful card from my mother and a poem from Ryan's aunt Jean.  It is not a coincidence that the poem I received from Ryan's aunt Jean is the same poem that my mother gave us back in September when we lost the baby.  We love you both very much!  Below is the poem. 

What Makes A Mother
I thought of you and closed my eyes
And prayed to God today
I asked, "What makes a Mother?"
And I know I heard him say
A Mother has a baby
This we know is true
But, God, can you be a mother
When your baby's not with you?
Yes, you can he replied
With confidence in his voice
I give many women babies
When they leave it is not their choice
Some I send for a lifetime
And others for the day
And some I send to feel your womb
But there's no need to stay.
I just don't understand this God
I want my baby here
He took a breath
and cleared his throat
And then I saw a tear
I wish I could show you
What your child is doing Here
If you could see your child smile
With other children and say
"We go to earth to learn our lessons
of love and life and fear,
but My mommy loved me so much
I got to come straight here!"
I feel so lucky to have a Mom who
had so much love for me
I learned my lessons very quickly
My Mommy set me free.
I miss my Mommy oh so much
But I visit her each day
When she goes to sleep
On her pillow is where I lay
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
And whisper in her ear
"Mommy, Please don't be sad today
I'm your baby and I am here"
So you see my dear sweet one
Your children are okay
Your babies are here in My home
And this is where they'll stay
They'll wait for you with Me
Until your lessons there are through
And on the day that you come home
they'll be at the gates waiting for you
So now you see
What makes a Mother
It's the feeling in your heart
It's the love you had so much of
Right from the very start
~Author Unknown

A Father's Grief
It must be very difficult
To be a man in grief,
Since "men don't cry"
and "men are strong"
No tears can bring relief.
It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test,
And field the calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.
They always ask if she's all right
And what she's going through.
But seldom take his hand and ask,
"My friend, but how are you?"
He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her,
But "stays strong" for her sake.
It must be very difficult
To start each day anew.
And try to be so very brave-
He lost his baby too.
Author Unknown

I was so scared to get pregnant again, but yet I longed for a baby.  It was hard to watch everyone else get pregnant and have babies and somehow try and be okay with the fact that you had to give your baby back.  It took awhile, but I eventually became at peace with it.  People kept asking when we would get pregnant and I just flat out told them that I was scared and we would when the time was right.  The doctor suggested waiting at least two cycles.  We waited over six months before we began trying to have a baby again. I don't know that I was ever really ready to become pregnant.  It had to just happen.  I've tried so hard not to live this pregnancy and fear and paranoia and I think I have done well. 

I can say that I've learned so much throughout this journey about life, love, and myself.  But what I have learned the most?  Pregnancy and having a baby is a privilege.  Having children is a privilege.  I can no longer stand to hear women complaining about being pregnant or complaining about their children.  Cherish it!  There are women and families who would give anything to be in your shoes!  Having a baby is not a given.  It is a privilege.  A privilege that I wake up every day thanking God for.  Am I scared right now to be carrying this child?  More than ever!  How do I know that my dreams aren't going to be shattered tomorrow?  I don't, but I have faith in God that this baby is for us to keep.  Each time I feel that little baby girl move in my tummy, I breathe a sigh of relief.  When I think about the day that I get to hold this rainbow baby girl in my arms and see my husband hold her, I start crying.  It is going to be a miracle that I will never forget.  I am so lucky to be 25 weeks, 3 days pregnant today.  God is great.

So that is my story.  I'm sorry it was long, but it took a lot of courage to share my feelings.  Did I make it through this without crying?  Of course not.  We are blessed.  We wouldn't be expecting the blessing that we are today if we wouldn't have lost our first baby, but we will also never, ever forget about our first baby.  He or she will always be a part of us.  Ryan and I joke around sometimes and say that he/she is up in heaven playing with Ryan's cousin Jordon and taking turns sitting on the laps of Grandpa Howard, Grandpa David, Grandpa John and Grandma Della, and Grandpa Carrol and Grandma Betty.  What a lucky baby!

Thank you SO much for the love and support you have given us throughout this journey and the prayers you've provided.  None of it has gone unnoticed.  We thank God everyday for where our lives have brought us.

"A mother is not defined by the number of children you can see, but by the love she holds in her heart."  
"I carried you every second of your life and I will love you every second of my life." 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

25 weeks... 7 months!?

You read that right!  I am currently 7 months pregnant! I say it every time, but time is really flying!  Everything is getting real and oh so exciting!  I'll admit.  I do have moments where I am scared too, but that is normal.  I hope!

The last two weekends Ryan and I spent our time at my mom and dad's place on the lake near St. Cloud.  Since it has been so rainy lately my mom and I decided to make a trip both weekends to St. Cloud to go shopping!   Turns out, I have decided that I can no longer buy Baby Girl Kuenzel anymore clothes.  Don't get me wrong.  I haven't gone crazy.  I can honestly say I have bought her less than 10 outfits and each outfit I have bought her has been on sale, but I know that I have wonderful friends and family that will shower her with wonderful gifts of goodies and clothes.  Because seriously, who doesn't like buying baby girl clothes!?

Anywho... mom and I struck gold at JCPenney and mom got her a bunch of cute outfits that she will give me as shower gifts.  On our trip to St. Cloud over Labor Day we even found the perfect outfit for Baby Girl for her "going home outfit."  Yes, I know those things don't really matter, but it is fun to find a cute outfit.  Plus, if she is born before Christmas (like she should be, I hope) she will need some cute outfits for all the gatherings.  My mom bought her the adorable going home outfit and I just can't get enough of it!  It just might have a kitty on it. :)

This week marks 25 weeks and I am definitely looking it!   In the past two weeks I can't count anymore how many people have told me that my "belly has popped."  Great!  It is nice to know that I am actually looking pregnant because I can say that I feel pregnant too. :)

I forgot to take a 24 week picture and my 25 week picture is a little out of the ordinary up at the lake.  As you can see, my parent's kitty is also proud to be in the picture as well.  :) 

Week 25 Pregnancy Stats:  

Size of baby: According to the Internet - a rutabaga. I don't know what that is, but she should be about 1.5lbs and a little over a foot long. 

Movement: Lots of random movements all the time. I am wishing for it all of the time.  Sometimes I get nervous if I don't really feel her much on a given day, but apparently I don't need to be feeling her all the time yet.  I do keep telling Ryan that I think she will be a very good listener because sometimes I tell her "keep kicking mama!" ...and she does!  :) 

Sleep: Bah.  I am sleeping well for the most part, but now I dread gong to sleep.  Last Monday night I woke up with neck spasms and haven't been able to move my neck normally ever since.  I am in a lot of pain and the mornings are absolutely horrible.  I only had the neck spasms during the night for about three nights, but now I wake up every morning in pain and it lasts throughout the day.  I was able to see a physical therapist on Wednesday which was somewhat helpful.  They taught me some exercises and worked on massaging my neck and assured me that they think it is a muscle problem and not a nerve issue.  I am thinking it is all pregnancy related.  It is safe to say that I am sick of it already though.  Imagine not being able to move your neck around without bad pain and not even being able to look down.  It is quite frustrating.  Otherwise, sleep has been good.  I borrowed my sister's body pillow which I am loving.  Ryan is not. 

What I miss:  Being able to comfortably move my neck around.  Sandwiches.  

Cravings: Rice krispie bars.  :) 

Symptoms:  Neck pain. Neck pain. Neck pain. 

Maternity Clothes: Yep, they are necessary.  Of course I am still wearing some of my other clothes, but the belly is definitely pushing through them.  

Best moment this week: I have two!! Tuesday morning when I arrived to work there was an adorable pink box on my desk.  It was the first morning of my horrible neck pain and I needed cheering up and that pink box was perfect.  Inside were 4 adorable homemade baby cookies.  They are just beautiful and so detailed.  They are from a sweet woman that I work with.  It was such a sweet surprise and they really mean a lot to me.  I am so happy to work with such kind, generous people like her.  Aren't they adorable!?  Too adorable to eat, at least now!  We have decided that we will eat them when Baby Girl arrives.  Thanks so much Joann! 

 Moment #2:  On Wednesday after work there was a big package at our doorstep!  I couldn't get out of the car fast enough to get it open.  Guess what it was? 

This beauty!  Apparently Baby Girl is pretty special because that thing may have cost *almost* as much as my car behind it! Just kidding!  But she is pretty darn special to us and we wanted a really nice stroller.  Ryan has been talking about the perfect stroller since before we were even married.  He would point out strollers and say why he didn't like them.  He wanted an "all terrain" stroller with good tires, shocks, and suspension.  So this is what Baby Girl gets!  We are kind of dorks and have been pushing it around the basement.  Needless to say, Buttons does NOT like it and he hisses at it every time.  Apparently it looks like a cleaning product to him?  I don't know.  It is pretty darn cool and Baby Girl will spend a lot of time in it!  

It is hard to believe that tomorrow is September!   I will have another OB appointment on Thursday.  My wonderful mother-in-law sent out invitations for a shower that will take place the end of September.  My mom is throwing me one the end of October and my sister is also throwing me a baby shower the beginning of November.  I can't begin to say how thankful I am for all the wonderful people in our lives.  Labor Day weekend is a milestone weekend for us in this rainbow pregnancy and it has been great.  We have so much to be thankful for. I will leave you with a photo of Ryan and I from this weekend!  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

It is getting real at 21, 22, and 23 weeks!

You read that right.. 23 weeks!  Every time someone asks how far along I am and I tell them, I always get the response, "Wow, it is going so fast!"  It is true.  It is going fast.  Not only is it going fast, it is starting to get real.  Really real.  These past few weeks I have definitely started to look pregnant.  I can't get over the fast that my belly sticks out further than my.. ahem.. top area.  :)  Each time I try to wear a regular shirt I get quite frustrated because it doesn't fit like it used to.  I have officially transitioned to maternity scrubs.  But you know what?  It is all worth it.  I am loving it.

21 weeks

I had a little bit of a scare the Monday after I had my 20 week ultrasound.  I got a call that morning at 8am stating that I needed to have another ultrasound with my next appointment.  My heart suddenly sank and tears swelled up in my eyes.  What now?  I asked the girl on the phone why when I just had my 20 week ultrasound two days prior?  She not so nicely said, "Well, I don't know."  Oh gee. Thank you.  She said she would talk to the doctor and get back to me.  After a long 45 minutes at work, I received a phone call from my doctor stating that everything looked GREAT, they just didn't get as many pictures of the heart that they wanted.  Phew.  The next day I had another ultrasound and I was able to see my beautiful baby dancing around again.  I even got better pictures that are now proudly hanging on our refrigerator.  After they reviewed that ultrasound, I got another call stating that the heart looked wonderful too.  I am a happy mama. 

I am loving feeling baby kick inside of me.  It is truly a feeling that I can't describe and makes my heart melt every time I feel it.  I am looking forward to more forceful kicks and when Ryan can feel her kick as well.

 22 weeks

Baby Girl is getting quite the stockpile of goodies so far.  Her great grandma Evie even bought her a whole bag full of cute outfits and other goodies.  She also has a nice arsenal of diapers so far.  Her room is almost complete.  Two weekends ago I went crazy cleaning it from top to bottom.  I just need to go through it again with my new Dyson vacuum that I am a little excited about.  We need to put up the window valances and a few shelves and then I will share photos of her perfect little room.

Apparently the news of a baby coming has kicked our butts into gear at finishing updates in our home.  Baby's room was painted, we made custom shelving for the closet, added a radiant heater, and a friend of ours made a cabinet door to put over the electrical box.  In the downstairs bathroom we painted, put up new light and bathroom fixtures, new shower curtain, added a window valance, and got new hardware for the cabinets and drawers.  The guest bedroom was painted and rearranged.  We have almost finished putting new light fixtures throughout the house and adding new hardware for the cabinets in the kitchen.  Finally, Ryan is currently putting hardwood floor in our bedroom.  For the past week our bed has been in the living room.  Romantic. :)  Bottom line, I don't want to be doing any of this when the baby comes.  :)

I had an appointment last week that went great.  Baby is doing great and I got to hear her heartbeat again.  It brings tears to my eyes every time.  I don't think that sound will ever get old.  

23 weeks today and a trip to the Mall of America!  I did good, I think.  I only bought Baby Girl 4 outfits and a pair of jeggings.  :)  I got some more maternity tops and even crossed 6 Christmas gifts off the list!  I will be a little busy during Christmas shopping season, so I figured I would get a start on that now!  

Things have been going great and I could not be more thankful.  My work is even giving me more maternity leave than is required of them, which is greatly appreciated.  I thank God each and every day that things are going so well.  Less than 4 months and Baby Girl Kuenzel will be here!  Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Baby Kuenzel is a mover! Weeks 19 and 20

We have officially made it halfway through the pregnancy and we are beyond excited!!  The time is flying by and if the last half flies by as fast as the first half did, our sweet little baby will be here before we know it!

The past two weeks were pretty darn exciting in the baby world.  At 18 weeks 6 days, I was sitting at Sam and Rachelle's house hanging out with Rachelle and the kids and all of a sudden I had a really funny movement in my tummy.  I immediately wondered if it was the baby and I asked Rachelle if she thought it could be.  She said maybe, but I wasn't sure either.  It wasn't long and I felt another one.  Throughout the weekend I kept feeling these little fishy like feelings in my tummy.  I knew it couldn't be just gas or ligament stretching.  It had to be my baby!  Since then I feel the baby moving around in there all of the time.  Ryan laughs because I tell him almost every time it happens.  I just wish he could feel it too.  :)  It is pretty spectacular.  I can't wait until they are big kicks!

19 weeks and dying to find out if we are having a boy or a girl!!  I realized that some clothes show your baby bump more than others!

It is pretty safe to say that I had an amazing birthday.  It was a wonderful day and we had our 20 week ultrasound.  The ultrasound was so cool and it was neat to see Baby Kuenzel again.  Even though I thought I have been feeling Baby Kuenzel like crazy, I was a little worried going into it because I hadn't had an appointment since June 24 and my next OB appointment isn't until August 12.  As soon as Baby K got on the screen, arms and legs were flailing all over the place.  It sure made me relax a little.  We watched the screen as the tech measured all of Baby's important parts.  It was just phenomenal.  Baby's heart rate was 151.

As the tech was trying to measure baby he made the comment, "This baby is really a swimmer!"  We laughed and kept intently watching the screen.  Five minutes or so went by and the tech said, "Wow, baby is a mover and a shaker!"  We laughed again and I asked, "Well, aren't they all like this?"  The tech laughed pretty hard and said no.  Both Ryan and my mom said that they weren't surprised and made the comment that if Baby K is anything like me, Baby K can't sit still! :)

Here is a still shot of Baby K on the big screen.  

Here is a YouTube link to an ultrasound video of Baby K.  Of course at this point Baby wasn't moving as much as he/she had been prior.  It is still neat to have a video like this though.  Thanks Ryan! 

Many of you have already seen the big news, but the next part was the gender!  At first Baby K would not open his/her legs, but soon enough it was clear for us.  I knew right away from the famous “hamburger” sign of her hooha!  The tech told us it was a GIRL and congratulated us on having a daughter! :)

We are super excited to have a little girl and after our ultrasound we called our close family with the wonderful news.  I called my niece Bailey to tell her the news and boy [or girl], I got an earful of a scream when she found out it was a girl.  :)  Everyone is very excited for us.

Afterwards we headed to Target and Babies R Us to register and boy, what an overwhelming process!  It sure helps that we have had lots of advice from my sister and I did lots of researching on what we wanted.  We decided that although there will be a lot of pink stuff there is no reason that our little girl can’t have boyish things too, so we registered for some of those too.  :)  I also decided since I finally knew the sex of our baby that it was completely necessary to buy an outfit or two. :)

After we registered we went to Best Buy and Ryan bought me a cute video camera for my birthday so that we will be able to take sweet videos of our little girl when she arrives.  We ended the night with a yummy birthday meal at Chili’s.  It was the perfect birthday! 

We are super excited for a little girl and we are so thankful that this pregnancy is going so well and we have a healthy baby.  God is great!  I would like to leave you with a cute little anecdote from this morning.  As we were driving to our friends’ house this morning to meet their new baby boy, we were talking about all the different things we will get to experience with a girl.  After listing off about a half a dozen I said to Ryan, “Oh man, just think!  You will have to deal with her dating boys!”  Ryan didn’t say anything and after about 30 seconds he said in a very serious voice, “I’m scary.”  I died of laughter and almost peed myself.  Right Ryan… You are very scary. :)  Thanks for all the well wishes! 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

18 weeks ... Time is flying by!

We have now made it to 18 weeks which is an awesome feeling and crazy to think that in two weeks we will already be half way done with the pregnancy!  Time is really flying by.  I am so thankful that I have been feeling so well or I am sure it wouldn't feel like it is going by so fast.  I sure do hope that when the baby comes that time slows down a bit though!  :)

There is a lot of news to report in the baby department from the last two weeks!  I have spent a lot of time reading a book called "Baby Bargains" that I got from my sister.  After reading this book and doing some other research of my own, Ryan and I have made decisions on a car seat, stroller, pack and play, high chair, and crib mattress -- all those big ticket items!  The book is really helpful and has also given me a lot of insight into diapers, maternity clothes, bedding etc.  Basically, don't spend the big money if it is not necessary!  I am fine with that.  Much of buying baby items is a huge gimmick -- I am not falling for it!

During week 17 I did the maternal chromosomal screening.  The blood test screens my blood for the likelihood that the baby would have any chromosomal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome or Trisomy 18.  The results were normal meaning that the likelihood that baby has a chromosomal disorder is very, very low.  I was quite nervous, but after hearing the results our minds were put at ease, even though we know there are no guarentees. 

So the big news... we found daycare!!  This is what I have been concerned about since we got pregnant.  There are about 40 daycare providers in the Belle Plaine area and my goodness, it was TOUGH to find daycare.  I think our biggest problem was the hours that we needed daycare.  Many are only open 7-5 which doesn't really help the people who work longer hours than that or have commute time.  We found one last week and she definitely put our feelings at ease.  Her name is Cristi and she was wonderful.  She runs a small home daycare and has a son that is the same age as my niece, Alaina.  We were very impressed with everything she had to offer and we were able to meet her son and husband as well.  I have been very surprised and frustrated with many of the judgmental comments that I received while on my quest for daycare.  Sending our child to daycare will not make Ryan and I bad parents.  Will it be hard?  Of course!  The time that we do spend with our child will be extremely valuable.  Everyone does what is best for their own family and shouldn't have to feel guilty for sending their child to daycare or not.  Rant over.  :)

We also have our names picked out!  One girl name and one boy name and both middle names are picked out as well.  This wasn't a hard decision for us at all.  My niece Bailey is just dyyyyyying to know what the names are.  I told her that if she can guess what it is, I will tell her, but she can't tell anyone else.  So far she has been unsuccessful!  :)

Size of baby: a bell pepper

Movement: Nothing yet, but 4th of July weekend I was having a lot of ligament stretching.  I attributed it to playing bags all day! 

Sleep: Still good!

What I miss:  Not being so absentminded!

Cravings: Still nothing I can really pinpoint.

Symptoms: Emotional and absentminded.  Can I say it again?  Emotional and absentminded.  Here is a story that contains them both.  Last night Ryan and I were making supper.  He went out to start the grill and I was working on peeling the potatoes.  Right before he walked in the patio door I started crying and as he walked in I weeped, "But I didn't mean to peel the potatoes!"  It is true, we weren't planning on having peeled potatoes, but somehow in the 1 minute after we had talked about that, I forgot.  And really, crying over peeled potatoes?  Wow, this is going to be an interesting last 5 months for Ryan!  :)

Maternity Clothes: None yet, but I am doing the rubber band trick with my jean shorts and my scrubs get tighter every week.

Best moment this week:  My husband.  I honestly don't know what I would do without him.  I read an article (and out loud to him) titled, "20 things no one tells you about Postpartum."  It scared me and worried me and I got a little emotional (see above).  He consoled me and told me everything would be okay and he would be there to help me the whole way.  I have also been asking him for the past 10 weeks or so if he thinks the baby is a boy or a girl and he would never say one way or the other.  I asked him yesterday and he said, "I think he has a weiner."  :)  Of course it made me giggle and it was neat to know that he thinks it may be a boy!  I on the other hand still have no clue or inklings.  I've had no dreams or anything and when people ask me I can never come up with an answer.  I just want a baby.  I just want my baby. :)

That is all for now!  Stay tuned!  If you have been keeping up with the posts you know that we will be finding out the sex of the baby on my birthday!! :)  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Food baby... or Baby?! ... Week 16

On Saturday we officially hit week 16 (which I was able to spend talking to two other pregnant mommies which was helpful to hear what they were feeling as well)!  Things are coming along so smoothly which is such a relief.  Many times I forget that I even have a baby growing inside me!  Often times, other people are the ones reminding me about it, which gives me a little excited feeling in my heart.  

This week I had my monthly OB appointment at the new Women's Center at Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital.  It opened about a month ago and it is absolutely beautiful!  When you come out of the elevators onto the 5th floor it just opens up to a wall of windows and you can look out into the twin cities.  Very cool!  Even cooler?  I will be delivering at Methodist Hospital in their new Family Birth Center that is only 3 months old.  We are very excited to tour it!

My appointment was absolutely wonderful.  The doctor said baby is progressing well and I was able to hear Baby Kuenzel's heartbeat for the first time.  I have been waiting to hear a heartbeat since my last pregnancy and boy, it was worth the wait!  What a wonderful sound and a perfect feeling!  This time I think I was smiling more than anything, but a tear did roll down my cheek.  It was proof to me that my baby was still okay in there!  I was able to record it and when Ryan came home from work, I let him listen.  He loved it too!

We scheduled our 20 week ultrasound for the day of my birthday.  My birthday present will be seeing Baby Kuenzel and yes, we will be finding out if he or she ... is a he or a she!  Well, we hope to anyways.  We all know that it doesn't always work!  Maybe if you're nice we will tell you what we find out! :) 

Week 16 Pregnancy Stats:

Size of baby: an avocado

Movement: movement?  I don't feel anything!  I really hope to soon though!

Sleep: Great, but not enough!

What I miss: Not worrying about if my normal clothes fit or not

Cravings: Lots of people have asked me this.  I don't think I have specific cravings as much as I think of something or see something and I HAVE to have it!  This has happened many times:  cheez-its, skittles, spaghetti, Noodles & Co., Champs fries and seasoned sour cream, ice cream cone, Deli chicken dinner from Coborns, and pizza.  Most recently we had to make a  trip to MOA to go to Bubba Gumps so that I could get the jumbalya! :)  The list goes on and on. 

Symptoms: Headaches, although they have gotten a little better, so I am thankful!  I can tell a little ligament stretching is definitely going on.

Maternity Clothes: None yet, but I haven't put on a pair of jeans for over a month.  Clothes are starting to get snugger, but I don't really feel that pregnant, just fat.  My scrub tops are definitely giving me the most trouble. I started using the rubberband trick on my jean shorts this weekend thanks to my sister. :)

Best moment this week:  While I was at work this week I got a text from Ryan that said he couldn't wait for the pregnancy to be over because 6 months was just too long to wait to see the baby.  He wants it to be now.  It really melted my heart.  Every once in a while he makes comments like that that let me know that he has been longing for this baby just as much as me.  It's a wonderful feeling and he is going to be such an amazing daddy.

Beware: this could just be a food baby, I did have Bubba Gumps the night before! :) 

With each day and each week that passes by, we talk about thankful we are that everything is going well.  We pray for this baby and pregnancy each and every day and appreciate your prayers as well.  Many people are saying that it probably won't be long and I will be feeling Baby Kuenzel kick -- I can't wait!!  Stay tuned! :)

Oh and I've had quite a few people ask me already... Yes, I have started a pregnancy scrapbook album already! Are you surprised? :) 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Are you ready for a Baby Kuenzel?

By now, many of you have heard that Ryan and I are expecting a baby!  On Wednesday, I will officially be 15 weeks along and my due date is December 13, 2014.  If you're one that gets into the hype about cool dates... this is one of them -- 12/13/14!  For some reason, I have a hard time believing Baby Kuenzel will make his/her appearance on that day.  I tend to run early and Ryan just does what I say, so I have a feeling that Baby Kuenzel will be born before that date.  But I do think that would make a cool birth date, especially because it is the last sequential calendar date of this century!  That is putting a lot of pressure on the baby (or me!) and he/she's not even born yet! :)

Ryan and I officially found out we were pregnant the very end of April.  Many of you are aware of our previous pregnancy struggle (I'll talk about that another time) and know how ready and excited we were to have a child.  I had a really hard time after what happened last time and I went a long time without taking a pregnancy test even though we were fairly certain that I was pregnant.  All the signs were there so I took all necessary precautions and kept the thought in the back of my head.  It ultimately kept the fear of what happened last time, that could definitely happen again this time, at bay.  When we finally decided to test and got two positives -- we were over the moon excited and scared all in one!  We had faith that this pregnancy would go great.

I was about 8 weeks pregnant when we found out and it was NOT easy keeping it from family.  To say the least, many close family members found out right away.  Many people were also very suspicious of me.  The first two nights that we found out we were pregnant we spent with friends at my sister's house and then out for my best friend's birthday.  I don't normally turn down drinks.  Since I've announced, I have heard many "I knew its!" :)

Our first OB appointment was at 13 weeks because I did not have insurance with my new job until June 1.  The appointment was great and the nurse practitioner did an ultrasound.  She wasn't surprised when Baby Kuenzel couldn't fit on the screen and measured only at 11 weeks, 5 days.  She immediately said that we needed to schedule an abdominal ultrasound to figure out the exact dates and size of the baby. 

Just a little peanut! :)

A few days later I had the ultrasound and it was just amazing.  Baby Kuenzel measured at 13 weeks 6 days, 3cm long, and 3oz big!  I still can't begin to explain how amazing these ultrasounds were - especially the second one.  Tears rolled down my cheeks, I cried.  It is beyond wonderful to see your baby's heartbeat and arms moving around after seeing an ultrasound with no movement or heartbeat.  I'll never forget the feeling I had when I saw our baby moving around like that! 

Looks like Ryan, huh? :)

So here we are at almost 15 weeks.  The baby's room work is in full swing.  We've painted, put in new closet shelving, and we've got all the necessary furniture (changing table, crib, recliner chair, dresser, etc.).  My next nemesis is definitely finding a daycare.  Ugh.  I am not enjoying this process already!  I have been feeling great.  My biggest issue is by far headaches, but I'll deal with them knowing I have a little miracle growing inside me -- which is still hard to believe!

12 weeks 

We are so thankful for each and everyone of you who have congratulated us and sent us your prayers after last time and now for this journey.  We sure have a lot to be thankful for and we can't wait to see where this miracle is going to bring us!  Stay tuned!