Sunday, October 19, 2014

32 weeks!

32 weeks and doing great!  I am constantly praying that it continues to go that way!  The last two weeks have gone great, although I am having some new symptoms!

We are continuing to go to our prenatal classes on Tuesday evenings.  We had our breastfeeding class during week 31 and it went well.  We learned a lot and continue to hope and pray that breastfeeding will go well for us.  Week 32 brought the first of our 3 childbirth classes.  We had originally had it scheduled for one full day, but had to change it.  We are making the long trek to St. Joseph's hospital in St. Paul, but it is totally worth it.  We are learning a lot and each class makes it more real!  We are going to be going through labor -- this baby has to come out!  Ryan giggled when he pointed out a spot in the book that was geared towards the partner that said, "Don't take anything personally."  Seriously.  :) 

I had another prenatal appointment last week and it went great again.  My blood pressure is still great and I still haven't gone over 10 pounds in weight gain, which is good for me.  I got my Tdap vaccination and my 32 week packet with lots of information as well as information on pre-registering at the hospital.  It is so hard to believe that it will be here soon. 

This week we went to Wisconsin Dells with Sam, Rachelle, and the kids and stayed at the Wilderness.  We had a fun time, but baby sure made it easy for me to take it easy!  On the very few water slides that I was willing to ride, the trek up the steps sure was a lot of work.  I can tell that baby is really starting to grow and take up space inside of me -- and take my breath away!  I tired very easily and took lots of breaks.  

Here are baby stats this week: 

Size of baby: According to the Internet - a large jicama.  Seriously? Who comes up with that stuff?  And what in the heck is that?  Apparently she is around 3 3/4 pounds - 4 pounds and about 16-17 inches long.  She still has lots of growing to do!

Movement: She is a very busy girl and I am loving it!  I feel her movements all of the time.  I feel a lot of her movements up by my left rib cage, but feel them all over as well.  I love watching her move in my tummy too!  What a miracle!

Sleep: I am still not going to complain about sleep!  I am getting it and that is all that matters!  The last 4 nights I have woke up every 2 hours to pee, but I fall back to sleep right away!  Every morning before I get out of bed I wait for a kick or punch from baby girl.  :) 

What I miss:  Not sure. 

Cravings: Pizza.  It is so good.

Symptoms: Week 31 brought a new symptom for me -- Heartburn.  I have never had heartburn in my life.  Ugh -- gross!  I will fall asleep for a little while and then wake up, sitting up fast with a feeling like I am going to puke and nasty taste in my mouth, throat, and chest.  Yuck.  Tums have been my friend.  I also had one night where I woke up with what I am sure was a Braxton Hick contraction.  And of course, the peeing and the charlie horses.  I am still battling a bad cold.  This will be the third week.  That can go away anytime soon!

Maternity Clothes: Nothing has changed here.  Yes, maternity clothes are necessary.  My normal t-shirts are getting tighter by the day. 

Best moment this week: My heart melts when Ryan feels or sees the baby move.  He gets so excited and it just melts my heart.  I get to feel her all day long and the little bit he gets to feel her is just so exciting.  I love it.  

 Happy Fall!

Week 32!  Not sure if she is as big as that pumpkin yet-- but I feel that way! 

This week will be a fun week.  On Tuesday night we have our second to last childbirth class.  On Tuesday afternoon we are doing something very neat that we will share after we do it!  This weekend my mom is throwing me a baby shower in Grogan.  I am very excited!! It is hard to believe it is getting to be the end of October!  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Week 30! 10 weeks to go!

Yesterday we made it into week 30 which means there are potentially only 10 weeks to go!  It is so hard to believe!  Next weekend marks exactly two months until our due date.  To some that may seem like a long time away, but when you are expecting a new life to come into the world that is your responsibility for the rest of your life... two months isn't long! 

The past two weeks have been great and we have been making quite a bit of progress in the baby world again.  It is going to be non-stop from here out! 

On Sunday I had my first baby shower in Norwood Young America thrown by Rose, Julie, and Ryan's aunts.  It was an awesome shower.  I still can't even believe all of the wonderful gifts that we received and the great support that we have.  It is incredible.  When I got home that evening I took each thing out and showed it to Ryan telling him who it was from, etc.  I felt like it was never ending! 

Here is a photo of all the goodies after I took them out of their bags to show Ryan.  Thank you SO much for the wonderful gifts, cards, good wishes, and just being there for us.  It really does mean so much to us!  We are very thankful. 

The adorable cake made by Rose! Thank you!

My wonderful mother and mother-in-law! 

My great sister-in-law Rachelle! 

On Tuesday night we had our first prenatal class at Amma Parenting in Edina.  It was titled Newborns 101.  The class was good, but I knew a lot of the information from nursing school and taking care of my niece Alaina and Ryan knew a lot from living with his niece and nephew for 8 years as they grew up.  It was kind of comical when we had to go around and introduce ourselves and explain how much interaction we have had with newborns and babies.  All of the men said that they have either A) held a baby once B) never changed a diaper or C) never touched a baby.  Ryan wasn't afraid to mention that he lived with and took care of his niece and nephew from birth to at least 6 years of age, not to mention his own siblings or cousins.  He definitely had the most experience and I wasn't afraid to mention that he has a lot more experience than me!  

Overall, it was a good class and mostly a refresher, but there was a lot of good things pertaining to safety that you can never hear too many times.  Our next class is on Tuesday and it is all about breastfeeding.  Again, I learned all about breastfeeding in nursing school and helped teach mothers how to breastfeed, but when it comes to myself.. well, I don't really know anything and I need the help!  Breastfeeding is going to be challenging and I pray that it will work out for us.  This class will be very helpful for me and even Ryan so that he can help troubleshoot and understand the entire process.  I am very thankful I have a husband (daddy to be) that is so willing to learn and wants to be a part of every step of this.  Thank you Ryan.  

I started putting away all of baby girl's new goodies this week.  Her room is really starting to look like a baby's room with all of the new goodies!  I am in the process of washing everything and putting it away.  This process makes me pretty excited for her arrival.  I even sat down on Friday afternoon and read some of her new books to Baby Girl.  Apparently you're even supposed to be reading to your baby in the womb -- so that is what I was doing! :)  Of course, I couldn't get through "I'll Love You Forever" without crying.  I don't know how my mom read it to us so many times without bawling through the entire thing!  I may have to learn how to control my emotions or maybe it won't be as bad since I won't be pregnant anymore!  :)

As a I was putting stuff away the other night, Buttons wasn't being so helpful.  He knocked over a stack of Baby Girl's new books and decided to sit on them, but he looked oh so cute.  Of course the only thing that I could do was take a picture! :)

 On Thursday of this past week I had my first biweekly prenatal appointment.  I have biweekly prenatal appointments until about 36 weeks and then I will go weekly.  The appointment went great.  Baby sounded great and I explained how much I am loving all of her movements.  I can tell when she is doing a full movement in my belly and when she is just giving me kicks or punches.  She has recently starting using my bladder as a trampoline.  It is kind of annoying, but I'll take it! :)  My blood pressure was right on target at 125/71 and heart rate was great at 81.  Best of all, I have only gained 10 pounds.  The doctor congratulated me and said that they are okay with moms gaining 10 pounds at the halfway point.  Well, I am quite a bit past that and I am doing great.  The pounds will start creeping up over the next few weeks that I get to meet our baby girl. 

I got Rhogam this week since I have A- blood and if Baby Girl has + blood, my antibodies could attack her.  I also received it after my miscarriage and will receive it again after birth to protect any future births.  Ya know what else I got this week?  My flu shot!!  I would encourage you to get yours as well if you haven't yet!  I am urging any family members of ours to receive their flu shots and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) since Baby Girl will be born in the thick of flu and pertussis season.  We want to do what we can to keep her safe.  Ryan is getting his flu shot tomorrow and we will set up an appointment for him to get his Tdap when I get mine in two weeks.  It is very important. 

Week 30 Baby Stats:

Size of baby: According to the internet she is the size of a large cabbage.  That simile is hard for me.  In normal terms, she is about 17 inches long and over 3 pounds.  She has almost reached her birth length, but she has a long way to go in the developing department.  But really, she is getting big!  She is going to start growing exponentially and my photo above shows it.  I don't want to know what I am going to look like at 39 weeks.  Uffda!  

Movement: Since I really started feeling her big movements, I have began to feel the difference in them.  I know when she is just giving me kicks and punches and I know when she is moving and squirming around in there!   It is fun to SEE her move as well!  Sometimes she kicks right at my bladder and it makes me nervous about what could happen in the future if she keeps that up!  Yesterday I rolled onto my side and she was like a drum in there.  It amazes me every single time!  Sometimes she catches me so off guard with a big kick that it still startles me!  All I have to say -- stay in there baby! 

Sleep: For the most part sleep is still pretty good.  I have been using that body pillow since about 20 weeks and it really is necessary.  I've noticed that sometimes I wake up on my back and I can feel that my heart is racing and I have trouble breathing.  Back to my side I go!  The past week I have also started having to use the bathroom multiple times throughout the night.  That obviously has something to do with her using my bladder as a trampoline! 

What I miss:  Bending over normally?  Seriously, I look like a dip when I bend over.  You can't just bend straight over with a big belly in the way.  Oh, and I still miss sandwiches.  First meal after birth please?  Thank you. 

Cravings:  Cereal.   I always want cereal as a snack. 

Symptoms: Peeing.  I have to pee.  Funny though, I have to pee much more during the night than during the day.  I am starting to get tired easier.  I haven't really started swelling yet (a little in my ankles), but I am nervous each day that I put my wedding ring on.  As soon as I get a hint of swelling that thing is coming off!  I am not about to get that beautiful ring cut off my finger (I had a friend who did)! 

Maternity Clothes: Totally necessary!  And they are comfy.  I have been wearing some of my normal t-shirts, but I definitely stretch them out when I wear them. 

Best moment this week: I have a couple!  Like I mentioned above, my shower was just great.  I am very thankful for everything that we received and all the wonderful people in our lives supporting us.  The next one?  Putting away and "playing" with all these baby goodies.  It is sure getting me excited to finally meet our little one.  It is hard to believe that it won't be long and she will be in our arms, not in my belly.  And finally, hearing her heartbeat at my 29 week, 5 day appointment.  Why it was so neat this time?  It was the first time during my entire pregnancy that I wasn't afraid to go to my appointment or hear (or not hear) her heartbeat.  Will I still be afraid the rest of my pregnancy that something could happen?  Yes, but feeling her move around inside me so much during the day is so reassuring.  

Well, I am off to finish washing and folding Baby Girl's clothes.  They are much more fun to wash and fold than our clothes!   :)  Thanks for your support! 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Welcome to the THIRD Trimester!

You read that right!  We have now officially entered the THIRD trimester and as always, time is flying by!  I am just so happy and thankful that everything has been going so well and I have really been able to enjoy this pregnancy.  Apparently Baby Kuenzel's due date is about 80 days away which seems like a lot.. but it really isn't!  We have SO much going on between now and then that it is going to fly by! 
26 weeks and feeling great! 

At 25 weeks I had another OB appointment - my last appointment before I move to every 2 week appointments!  I was able to hear baby's strong heartbeat again and I talked to my OB about fetal movement.  I was kind of worried because I didn't feel her that much and I didn't know if that was normal or not.  She informed me that I had an anterior placenta (my placenta is in front of the baby) and could be absorbing some of baby's movements.  I also had to do the dreaded one hour glucose test to begin screening for gestational diabetes.  Well, to say the least, I failed.  My sister said it must be a Niemeier thing because she failed too.  Apparently 1/3 of women fail that test.  

So after failing the one hour glucose test you have to take the even more dreaded 3 hour glucose tolerance test.  Ugh.  They make you (a pregnant woman) fast for 12 hours and show up at the lab.  They draw your fasting blood and then make you drink a very sugary drink (100grams of sugar in 100mL).  To make a comparison, I was looking at a bottle of Sunkist yesterday and it had 72grams of sugar in 521mL.  Big difference.  Then they make you sit there for three hours and they check your blood glucose levels at the end of every hour for three hours.  Uff da.  I was pretty antsy and had a hard time just sitting there (I mean, when do I ever sit still?), but I made it through.  The news... I passed!  I do not have gestational diabetes!  As soon as I got into my car I ripped into my peanut butter sandwich I had saved for myself.  Ahhh. :)  

Week 27

27 weeks brought some excitement!  On Friday, the 12th we were at the BP football game and I was getting kicks and punches like I had never felt before!   On Monday night I was laying in bed holding my belly as I had been feeling some more of those strong movements and sure enough, I felt her kick me from the outside!  I couldn't believe it.  I got up and ran out to the living room to tell Ryan and headed back into bed to feel it some more.  Sure enough, she kept it up!  Since then I have been getting lots of kicks, jabs, and punches and I am absolutely loving it.  I can't even begin to explain how amazing this feeling is.  Sometimes she does it so hard and catches me so off guard that it completely startles me!  Ryan makes fun of me because it makes me jump.  I have even been able to SEE her move from the outside.  How cool is that?  A miracle, that's for sure.  As for Ryan, he has yet to feel Baby Girl.  She is playing hide and seek with him at this point.  Ryan and my brother-in-law John have a theory that it is because when they (John would try with his daughter Lainey) would put their hand on the belly it would have such a calming effect that she wouldn't kick and when they take away their hand (the calming effect), the baby gets upset and kicks.  Sure boys, keep your theory. :)  I'll take all the kicking I can get! :)

On Wednesday we had our Family Birth Center tour at Methodist Hospital.  Absolutely incredible!  They just opened their new family birth center last year and it is beautiful.  I have seen labor and delivery units before and this place takes the cake.  From the labor rooms to the recovery rooms, the waiting areas, the equipment, the available options, the security, the proximity of the operating unit on the same floor, as well as the NICU if it is needed.  Not to mention the knowledgeable nurses and staff.  I left that place in awe.  I am so thankful I have been provided the opportunity to give birth to our baby at such a wonderful facility. Ryan was pretty impressed that they have a snack area that he can dig into whenever he wants.  He is going to need it!

We've had a few people wonder why we are giving birth at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park.  Lots of "isn't that too far away?"  No.  It is not.  First of all, it is a no-brainer.  I have wonderful insurance through Park Nicollet and will pay $250 for my delivery.  I refuse to go to a different hospital and have to pay more.  Second, the likelihood that I will go into labor during rush hour is lower than other times of the day and I drive to and from work during rush hour every day of the week and it take me tops 45 minutes.  What if it is snowing?  We will cross that bridge when we come to it.  And what if it happens during the 9.5 hours of the day, 5 days of the week that I am at work?  Well, then I just need to drive down Excelsior Blvd and I will be at Methodist Hospital in 5 minutes! :)  Honestly, this is what Ryan is hoping for!  I am a little nervous that my water will break during a surgery or something.  Oh well, we will cross that bridge when we come to it and through some way and some how.. I will get somewhere to give birth! :) 

28 weeks- third trimester!!  Don't worry, that blanket and pillows in the crib will not stay there.  They are just for show right now and will move to the rocker recliner soon enough.  

So that brings us to today!  Today we are 28 weeks, 1 day and tomorrow is our 2nd wedding anniversary!!  Ryan left about an hour ago to spend the week up in Thief River Falls at Arctic Cat school.  It will be a lonely week without him, but I got my little baby kicking me all the time to keep me company (not to mention Buttons).  I am going to stay busy with work, finish up cleaning the house, getting up to date on my pregnancy scrapbook, and working on a wedding scrapbook for my best friend.  

These next 80 days are going to FLY by!  We are going to the Wild game on Saturday night with Russell and Meghan and my mother-in-law and Ryan's aunts are throwing me my first baby shower on Sunday.  The following two Tuesday evenings we have two prenatal classes and will learn all about breastfeeding and newborn care.  On Oct. 12 we have an all day prenatal class learning about childbirth, over MEA we are going with Sam and Rachelle and the kids to the Wilderness in Wisconsin Dells, and the last Saturday in October my mom is throwing me another baby shower.  Not to mention we've got to fit in going to the apple orchard with our niece Alaina sometime in there! :)  November will bring another baby shower, hunting for Ryan, Thanksgiving, and lots of getting ready for baby!  

I am so excited, but I am getting very nervous too!  I had a little freakout moment with Ryan the other night and I just kept telling him, "somehow, someway, this baby has to come out of me!"  But for now, please stay in there and keep cooking! :)  I just keep praying it all continues to go well.  We sure have a lot to be thankful for! 

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!