Today was a different sort of day...I've been pretty emotional for the last couple weeks as we led up to September 28th, so, needless to say, I've been pretty up and down today! Personally, I can't believe it's been a year since we lost Nathaniel.

September 25th was an anniversary for us also - it was the day we checked into the hospital after finding out that he was 1) dying and then 2) had died. So this past Thursday was a tough day also, but then the days in between passed in sort of a blur. We spent September 25-28 at the hospital working to deliver Nathaniel last year, so they all sort of clump together in my mind as something remarkable and meaningful now. Who knows what next year will feel like!

Since being put on bed-rest, I've not been able to shop at New Seasons, which I must say I've missed. There are so many familiar faces there - such nice people that I've gotten to know over the last year. When we stopped by this morning, Amy was available to put together our bouquet (she helped us last year when we stopped in on our way to Nathaniel's funeral).

She did an amazing job! We stopped by the cemetery and placed the flowers on Nathaniel's grave. It was then that it really hit me that we're a family of four now. Even though he's gone and this baby hasn't been born yet, there are four of us in our family unit. Nathaniel's not here, but I know where to find him - this baby is biding her time until she's ready to come, but she's pretty easy to locate also...I felt a sense of calm and completeness as I thought about our family.

In case you can't read it, I'll type out what his stone says:

Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever and love me I pray
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care
And fit us for Heaven to live with Thee there

We decided on using that on Nathaniel's stone after church last December - we had sung "Away in a Manger" and were touched by the final verse, so we used it!

I submitted an article to the Brief Encounters newsletter about the changes that have taken place in Nate's and my relationship over the last year and it was so timely - he read it this morning before we left the house. The last year has been incredible...It's hard to really explain how today felt and how we found our way through it. We've spent the evening watching movies and going through Nathaniel's photo album and memory book and just talking through some of our thoughts and what we've learned over the last year.

The last few days have been a strange walk down a lane filled with some tough memories. Where I was able to embrace and work my way through the situation we found ourselves in last September with a bit of humor, that was because I was overwhelmed and in emergency mode. This year was just a bit more raw (in a totally different way from last year), simply because it was an undesirable anniversary, one you'd never expect to find yourself processing. We had a lead-in to this anniversary (a full 365 days), so it wasn't as jarring as last year, but still...

So I'm rambling, but now I think I'll bring it to an end! Let me just say this, though: I feel just as blessed by my husband today as I did a year ago. God has been good to us!


32 weeks / 8 months

Gettin' bigger, to say the least...


Guess what

We made it to 8 months! We're 32 weeks today, a wonderful place to be. Okay, that's all I wanted to say. I'm going to post a picture later today (if I can get Nate to take one, that is!)...



UPDATE (again)

I saw Peggy today and we had a good appointment - she was thrilled with the report from the perinatologist's report. I'm still under bed-rest orders, and I've been given a better understanding of what that actually means (I've not been faithfully following orders, turns out). I'm still editing, but no Starbucks. And now I'm working on keeping my feet elevated, which I wasn't really thinking about before.

Peggy still wants this girl out between 38 and 39 weeks, though, so we're looking at having her anytime between November 7th and November 14th. She's doing really well, though, so Peggy gave us permission to go out to dinner (wahoo!) and even to attend the Baby Memorial on October 15th at Portland Adventist.

Good news all around! I'm scheduled to see Peggy next Tuesday for a stress test.

I'll keep you posted!



We met with the perinatal specialist this morning and had good news from him! Baby Girl Banks is growing really well - she's not being impeded by the blood flow issues between her umbilical cord and the placenta. In fact, today she measured a full 12 days ahead of her gestation date. Oh, and she's about 4 pounds 5 ounces - I think I'm reading unreliable information because I really truly believed she'd be about 2.5 pounds right now. But no. She's a good grower!

We see Peggy on Monday so I'll have more information to share then. I'm sure she'll expound on what the specialist saw today...

The final word from the specialist, though, is that she's looking great so there's no reason we can't carry her to term. What an answer to prayer!

More soon.



So tomorrow we go in to see the perinatologist at 7:30am at Legacy Emmanuel. We're having another biophysical ultrasound performed to measure the flow of blood through the placenta and to see if she's still growing well.

There's a chance that she might need to come out...but we really don't think that will be the case. We're going packed, just in case, but we're pretty confident she's going to stay put for awhile.

After our first meeting with the perinatologist we were worried about her status and asked for alot of prayer - and I think that God answered those prayers with the good news we received from Peggy the following Monday. So I am asking for you to keep praying! I know that God's taking care of our girl, and it would be wonderful if we got even more good news tomorrow :)

I'll add a post tomorrow after the appointment...


crib set up

So on Sunday, we set up the nursery with the help of Stephen and Karen. It took some time to move my office out of the once guest room. I think that poor room was having an identity crisis, confused by my Mary Kay supplies, the guest bed, and my desk and books.

We moved some of the random things in my office into the loft (to be dealt with later...I guess!) and then my desk and books into the bed nook, the small room attached to our bedroom.

It's good to have the nursery cleaned out and mostly set up. We have a few more things to do, like organize the diapers and hang things on the wall. I look forward to getting those things done also, and when all is said and done, I think it's going to look great :) But I'm biased I'm sure!

Ah well...



I saw Peggy (my nurse-midwife) today and walked away from that appointment with some good news! She had a typed report from the perinatal specialist about his findings from last Thursday (still hadn't actually spoken to him over the phone). She said that, according to his review of our ultrasounds, both from Thursday and from those we had taken before, he believes that the placenta has been working like it is right now for the duration of the pregnancy; translated - if that's true, she's been growing above and beyond and thriving the entire time with a partly working placenta, so we are safe to assume that we'll make it to 36 weeks or farther along with no trouble. (Peggy also told me that I can deliver at Portland Adventist at 34 weeks - yeah!)

I'm still set up to see the specialiast again on September 18th for anther biophysical ultrasound, but I don't think he expects to see much of us following that visit. Per his instructions, we're to visit Peggy once a week for stress-tests and we'll get several more biophysical ultrasounds over the upcoming weeks, but he seems to think her health will hold and she'll continue to grow right where she's at.

Because of the initial red flag, though, my bed-rest continues. Peggy is going to keep an excellent eye on her and I think we'll be okay! I get a second steroid shot from Peggy tomorrow (for lung maturation) and then we're on our own for about a week and a half until we see the specialist again.

This is good news and I'm feeling very encouraged! Of course, that's balanced by thoughts that this could change any day, and something else entirely could hurt her before the end, but overall this pessimistic girl is sensing some optimism on the horizon :)


CALLING ALL HER PEEPS (a guest post by the sister)

bed rest... ugh. there's really nothing worse when you're anticipating the arrival of a bebe. there's so much to do! there's freezers to fill! there's work to be done! not to fail to mention all of the research, decorating, and belly gazing.

due to the unfortunate requirement inflicted upon robbie from her lovely med-wife, i'm posting this guest (blog) request for help to stockpile the soon- to- be- sleepless- parents fridge with yummy food. it will be one less thing for them to think about while they (well, nate) break into a mad rush to prepare for their early girlie and it will be less cold cereal that nate is forced to consume do to robbie's current couch cushion crushing status.

i'm creating a schedule so that the growing family can stay well fed even after the birth of their bub. if you're available (and really love these guys), please consider offering more than one meal since this could be a long road of pregnancy, NIC-U visits and adjustments.

if you're not really into cooking or making good, old fashioned, baptist style casseroles, a pizza hut gift card would work just fine or even if you were able to provide some fast food, front door delivery service.

in the event that you are a culinary extraordinaire, keep these things in mind:
*robin is allergic to grapes & grape products (wine) & raisins
*she also cannot handle cabbage (also allergic)
*nate is really loving wine (and possibly all of it's effects, although this is unconfirmed since i didn't ask why) and will happily accept his own bottle even though his lovely, pregnant wife cannot have the boozy grape by-product (shame...)
*no cooked zucchini, eggplant, radishes, asparagus

they will happily receive and devour anything in a casserole dish that could be considered comfort foodie goodness. exceptionally yummy dinners in large quantities are also welcome since leftovers are great and food in the freezer is even better.

thanks for loving on some of my favorite people during such a difficult time. God knows that they've had their fair share of heartache and setbacks in the last year. my hope and prayer is that they can feel surrounded by love and embraced by the people that they call their village. the really awesome thing about friendship and family is that you always have someone to cry with, but you also will always have someone to celebrate with!

i'm looking forward to hearing from (all of) you and freaking out with sheer giddiness when my squishy little niece arrives! cheers!

***email me: stratorsgirl at gmail dot com to be added to the dinner delivery list.***



Ah, home.

Okay, here's where I've been the last two days, and where I expect to stay for the next 48 days.

And here is my view.

Here she is saying hello.

Oh, and this is my ever enthusiastic housemate.

Today Stephen is here working on prepping the house to paint it. Tasha is lending her efforts to the cause.



So here is my seventh month picture as Nate took it...actually, we were a little late getting to it, so we took this on Labor Day, when we were 7 months and 3 days long. Forgive us :)

And here is my perspective lately:

You can barely see my toes peeking out from my belly, but they are there! I often have to reassure myself that I still have toes.

After taking these pics, we jetted over the Uncle Dave's house for a BBQ. And here are some pics from that! It was great to see and spend some time with Mom's side of the family. It had been a long time since we'd seen some of them (minus Grandma's birthday BBQ the weekend before; but before that it had been almost a year).


A world of change.

The last few days in our household have been really interesting. Over Labor Day weekend the baby's movement decreased drastically. I felt that something was wrong, but I waited to call Peggy until September 2nd, this past Tuesday. She scheduled me for a biophysical ultrasound (which the pictures in the previous post are from), so we went to Portland Adventist Tuesday afternoon for that appointment.

The results of that ultrasound were enough to cause Peggy to meet us in the radiology department and then drag us back up to the Family Birth Place (where we delivered Nathaniel just about a year ago) to discuss the results. She ended up referring us to a perinatal specialist at Legacy Emmanuel because the ultrasound has raised some significant flags.

We had to wait until today to meet with the specialist and his results closely echoed those of the radiologist at Portland Adventist. What he told us is that there is a chunk of the placenta that is not working, therefore the part of the placenta that is working is working double-time, and so is our baby. She's as healthy as can be - that's the most important thing to keep in mind.

But how long she'll continue to be healthy with a placenta that isn't working is up in the air. We're now under the co-managed care of the perinatal specialist and midwife Peggy. We have an appointment to meet with the specialist for another ultrasound on September 18th. At that point, if she isn't growing like she should be and if the blood flow from the placenta has decreased, then he will likely want us to deliver her at that time. So we could deliver in two weeks - we'd be 31 weeks pregnant (7 months and 3 weeks along).

BUT we could make it as far as 36 weeks; he and Peggy don't want us to carry beyond that, though, and that date is October 24th. Right now I'm on modified bedrest. I'm taking a leave from both Starbucks and Bible Study Fellowship, so I have plenty of time for editing!

We're pretending that she'll be with us in two weeks, so we're now working toward readying her clothes and setting up her crib/room and figuring out a car seat. If we do deliver in two weeks, she'll be in the NICU for 6-8 weeks, which gives us some extra time to pull together her premie clothes.

Pray for our baby girl. We need her to stay in as long as possible. Everyday she stays where she is she grows and becomes stronger and healthier; the longer she stays in the fewer obstacles she'll have when she does finally come out.

Selfishly, I hope I carry her to 35 weeks at least - if that happens, I could probably have a vaginal birth and it would take place at Portland Adventist with Peggy. If we go into labor before then, I'll deliver cesarean at Legacy Emmanuel with a bunch of strange doctors and nurses that I don't know.

So that's the update for right now. Bottom line: She is very healthy right now. She's growing well and scoring well in her measurements. I'll be 29 weeks on Friday (9/5), but she's measuring at 30 weeks. We don't fear for her life by any means, just the battles she'll face if we deliver sooner rather than later.

So, yes, please pray for her! I'll keep posting as we have our appointments and new information comes our way.


She has hair!

We had an ultrasound yesterday and at the conclusion we were given a long strip of pictures of our girl. The first thing the tech pointed out is that she has hair! It's the white fuzz along the back of her head...

And this is a profile of her at 7 months and 5 days. I think she's kinda cute...She's losing the alien look that she's had for so long, so that's nice. When the tech first started the ultrasound Nate and I got a wonderful view of her face - no picture, though, sad to say. Instead you get the nose and mouth picture posted just below this one of her profile.

And this is her foot! The side profile of her foot reveals a nice arch - maybe she'll be a dancer!

There are a few pictures that Nate took of my belly, but they're on his camera. At least they're on their way home right now, but I really wanted to get these posted. As soon as he walks in the door, I'll sweep the camera away from him and upload those pictures - I promise, I'll do it, I will.