Family Shower

This past Saturday (October 25th) was what I like to call the family shower. Several of my aunts (Nancy, Suzi, and Susan) worked together to organize the shower with the help of my mom, Karina, Cherol, and Jennifer.

It was so great! They really hit the nest theme from our baby's room, so that was fun. And the food was tasty - I wish I'd had more to eat while I was there, but there were so many people to talk to, some I hadn't seen in nearly 1.5 years. But, I will say that the cheesecake met Nate's approval (we shared a couple pieces that I brought home).

Okay, so here are some shower pictures. These first two are from when I got bored at home and so I dropped in at Mom and Dad's to hang out and see what was going on the morning of the shower. Jennifer is exhausted and I think even creatively maxed out. And then there's Karina...

I couldn't resist including this picture of Dakota - I just think she's pretty!

Oh, this is a 36 week/9 month picture! It's silly, though. I was trying on one of Karina's dresses and it didn't quite fit, so it looks a little odd. You can really see my belly, though...

This is a picture to compare with the last one. I took this on Nate's computer the other day (when we hit 37 weeks).

Cherol lost a charm from her bracelet down the toilet, so here she is trying to get it out. It took Dad and a well-chewed piece of gum to finally get the charm.

Mom and Suzi totally dressed the same when it came time to leave the house. I'm pretty sure it wasn't entirely intentional...I think so anyway, but you never know!

Mom really wanted to wear this necklace with a faulty latch, so Karina had to use her fingers and teeth to bend the metal to secure the necklace.

This diaper cake was made by Jennifer - I thought it was so cool! Suzi planted this sign right in front of it...

Rae Ann made the baby's mobile. She used scraps of Grandma B.'s material (most of which I totally recognized from my childhood) and some from Suzi and made birds, which she hooked to a crooked willow branch. It was so creative, and it ties the entire baby room together.

These last few pictures are of some of the people from the shower. This was just before the shower technically started (6:30pm). More people came in as time went on, so there are quite a few faces missing from these pictures.

But thank you so much to all of you who helped put the shower on, and to all of you who came! It was a real blessing on Nate and I and we feel so much more prepared for our little girl.

Speaking of our girl, my next appointment with Peggy is on Monday, and she'll be checking to see how dilated I am. She would like to see us at 3cm. Holy crap! I've been contracting more and more frequently and pretty hard, to tell the truth, so I can't wait to find out where we're at come Monday. Just watch, though - I'll only be like 1cm. I guess I'll have to wait to see...



So I wasn't able to make the trip to Parkdale in Hood River this year because of bedrest, so Mom and Dad had to go on behalf of Nate and I. Don't worry, though - the orchard didn't have what we wanted so Mom and Rae Ann went back the following week. That's a LONG trip, especially to have to make twice.

But we finally got our apples! Slowly but surely I've been working my way through the boxes to dehydrate the pears and cook down the apples. This year I'm using Elstars for the applesauce and spicing them up with pumpkin spice. My batches have been pretty tasty so far! And the dehydrated pears - YUM. Cascades are excellent for dehydrating.

Stephen thought he'd hang out with us a couple Sunday's ago. Well, he got roped into helping peel and dice apples. He and Nate were actually quite helpful - and I'm sure the football game that we kept on was a huge part of why they stayed put at the kitchen nook table...Tis the season, right?


Friends Shower

Here are a few pictures from a friends shower that Leslie and Mom threw a few weekends ago. It was fun to get out of the house, I'll tell you that! Several of my Starbucks co-workers showed up; it was good to see them! Overall, it was a nice, relaxing evening, and such a blessing to get to hang out with so many lovely people.


Pumpkin Carving Party (oh-eight)

Well, Sunday dawned bright and beautiful, but soon became tragic. Suzi, Karina, Jennifer, and Cherol (aunt, cousin, and two cousins-in-law) were flying back to California later in the day, but we thought it'd be fun to have a big breakfast together before they left for the airport. Nate and I drove to Mom and Dad's around 8:40am and helped Dad with breakfast.

We called everyone downstairs when it was finished and the table was set and it was about then that someone noticed water in the back hall - the downstairs toilet had flooded magnificently. Mom, Dad, Suzi, and Jennifer got to work on it; Karina, Cherol, Nate, and I were shuffled off to the side so that we weren't in the way of the clean-up.

The water got mopped up, stuff from the back hall got moved onto the back porch, and then finally, when nothing else could be done, Mom, Dad, Suzi, and Jennifer sat down to breakfast.

When the girls finally left for the airport, Mom was "this close" to canceling the party. Nate and Dad worked on finding a 24/7 plumber and I swore to help Mom do whatever was necessary so that the party wouldn't be canceled. Nate and I were enlisted to wash all the dirty towels from the mop up.

It wasn't too long after we got back home that Dad messaged me to say that the plumbing was fixed and the party was still on. Wahoo! So Nate and I went back over around 4:45pm for the party.

It was good! It was much smaller than in years past, but we had fun still. There was a good amount of excellent food - that's always a highlight. The party started later than in previous years, so it actually got dark as we were in the middle of carving.

Ivy spent some time showing Nate and I how to get the good stuff out of snap peas. And then she began to tell us how crazy Stella is. She switched topics, though, by the time I took this video:

Here are some other family pictures from Pumpkin Carving.


Baby Girl Banks UPDATE

*See below for name rules clarification.* (I added another bit, so read the rules again...)

We saw another ultrasound tech today, but this time at Portland Adventist. We're no longer going to visit the Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) department at Legacy Emmanuel because, well, TOMORROW WE'RE 36 WEEKS! Wahoo!

Since we won't be delivering our girl at Legacy, Peggy made the call to have us visit Portland Adventist for all of our ultrasound needs. The appointment today went just fine, although the tech made me nervous. We've had her before - she looks like she's 14-years-old. She had the order for the ultrasound, obviously (or they wouldn't have helped us), but she kept asking us what had been going on and what other ultrasounds had looked for/found. So we had to explain our girl's entire medical history to her. Cool.

While we were there, though, we had the tech look for our girl's umbilical cord to see if it was wrapped around her at all. It was resting across one of her shoulders, but it wasn't a problem. She could trace the blood flow - we didn't actually see the cord, just the fluids moving through it. Quite interesting...

Portland Adventist's ultrasound equipment is quite different from what they use at MFM at Legacy. MFM's machines can instantaneously average her weight and size right there in the room. It took a few minutes for the tech to input the information on another machine in another room to get our girl's measurements. I don't what her technical measurements are, but the tech did tell us that it looks like she weighs 6 lbs. 14 oz. right now, up 1 lb. 7oz. from her last ultrasound two weeks ago.

I'm feeling pretty good these days. I don't feel like I'm having a panic attack (because she was crowding my lungs and I couldn't breath) nearly as often as I was even a week ago. She's filling up my belly space pretty well but I've been able to eat more lately. At this point, I've gained about 17 pounds total...I think. My weight varies depending on the time of day. Seventeen pounds is a high guess. I don't know what that means for losing baby weight after the pregnancy, but I feel like I have a head-start! (Please don't burst my bubble if you disagree! I like believing this!)

Insomnia is still troubling me, though, and I have a feeling that might only get worse over the next weeks. Peggy has told me to get up after 20 minutes of sleeplessness so that my body doesn't begin thinking that it's okay to not relax, so I've been reading, playing games on the computer, and putzing around in the baby's room. Usually I have to eat before going back to bed, though, which I don't like doing very much, mostly because my nails have gotten too long to successfully turn off the alarm using the remote on the first try. (And why don't I cut them? Because I've NEVER had long pretty nails. I'm enjoying them for now!) It took me five minutes the other day to get the alarm off...No chiding. I have time to spare these days.

I hope you came prepared to read a long blog...Here are some pictures I want to share with you, lovely readers!

These two pictures are of the diaper bag that Nate's cousin Jill designed and made. She is so talented! Find her stuff online and support her as a Portland artist - Christmas is around the corner! [jmorrowdesigns] If you're going to spend money, rethink how you spend it and who you support...

*And now I step off my soap box.*

But isn't the baby bag so pretty?

I've been packing it, but I'm not entirely sure what I should be taking to the hospital. I have no idea what we'll get from them while we're there, so I'm kind of just sticking a lot of different stuff in the bags. Here are the little clothes I've picked out to take along so far.

And this is her crib. Yes, it's laden with stuff. The material draped over the side closest to the camera is a Hooter Hider - I'm so excited about it! I think they're so useful...and sturdier than just draping a blanket over the baby and I.

There are three blankets on the far side of the crib. One I started in high school home ec and Rae Ann finished it for me (it's blue). The pink one was made by my SCI supervisor, Elizabeth, and the big white one with the pattern is from Leslie and Adam, which they picked out when he was still working at Pendleton Woolen Mills. I have a blanket fetish, so I'm thrilled!

The moon light is something I bought from Ikea while I lived in Canada. I read by it during my two years up there sharing a room with my roommate. It's a soft light, so it should be just about perfect to see by when I have to check on her at night and during naps.

Okay, this picture is of a game that we played at the Banks shower a few weeks ago. I'm including it here so that you can make a guess at her name. As I've mentioned before, we've narrowed her first name down to two options - her middle name has been decided on since we found out we were pregnant. The letters for "both" of her first names, her middle name, and her last name are all included on this paper. Guess away! I can't wait to read what you come up with...Oh, and you can use letters more than once, but not every letter is used. Sorry I didn't mention that before!

Just before I go, I want to clarify something (gosh, I hope you've read this far...): I have NO PLANS on being medically induced with our girl, unless she reaches 42 weeks. The only inducing I mean when I talk about inducing is what I can do naturally, with walking, pedicures, homeopathic options, etc. Never fear, I'm not checking into a hospital for a scheduled delivery.

Until next time...enjoy your day!


Because I can't resist. (once)

I can't be who I was before.

Last year the baby memorial fell just two weeks after we lost Nathaniel, and it felt like perfect timing. We met several other couples who had lost little ones also, and felt the freedom to talk about Nathaniel openly, without worrying over making someone uncomfortable with our honesty and pain. It was a good experience.

So last night we headed back to Portland Adventist for the baby memorial. The group had at least doubled in size from last year. Again, it was good.

A few things stick out the most in my mind from last night, one of which was when someone said that everyone in that room was part of a crooked fraternity, where what we have in common is the death of a child. Too true. Even though every story of loss Nate and I heard last night was totally unique, each ended in the same way.

We lost Nathaniel just over a year ago - other people in that room lost their children as far back as 27 years or as recently as a few months ago. Whatever the case, each loss still felt fresh.

But that doesn't mean that we've been unhealthy and wallowing in grief - the reality is that we have a son, he's just not with us right now. Our daughter is coming, in one way or another, and very soon! She didn't stop moving during the entire service - Nate said that she must have known where we were and felt comfortable because that's where she'll be making her arrival in a few weeks. She was sharing her excitement with me, I suppose!

We were blessed by last night's service, by the roses and tiny feet pins, and by the remembrance tree and Nathaniel's name being said aloud. I know it must be scary for people to bring up Nathaniel by name to Nate or I, but in truth it is such a balm - the fact that others remember his existence means the world to us. True, you run the risk of tears on my part, but more likely than not they're from the pleasure you've given me by saying Nathaniel's name out loud.


Somebody said it was all for the best,
That something was probably wrong.
Somebody said it was meant to be -
Different verse, same song.

Somebody said, "You can have another!"
As if that would make it alright.
Somebody said, "It was not a real child."
Somebody's not very bright.

Somebody thinks it is helpful
To say when grieving should end.
Somebody shows their true colors -
Somebody isn't a friend.

But somebody said, "I'm sorry,"
And sat quietly by my side.
And somebody shared my sorrow
And held my hand while I cried.

And somebody always listened
And called my lost baby by name.
And somebody understood
That I'd never again be the same.

[Author unknown]

I was changed when Nathaniel died. As much as I might like to go back to when I didn't know what it meant to lose a baby, I can't. Something else that someone said last night echoed my heart closely when it comes to this: My new normal is in the here and now, with the reality that my baby died. As difficult as that is at times, I can live with that, but only because of my faith and the fact that I know I have all of eternity to get to know Nathaniel.

To our new friends, if you're reading this, blessings to you and we're praying for God's best in your life. And, Lorrie, thanks for making the 12 pounds of fudge - what a feat!


(another) UPDATE

We saw Peggy today - not too much new to tell. We sat through an unrecorded stress test (the machine and office were out of paper to print the results on). We were afraid that we'd get sent over to Portland Adventist to repeat the test, but that didn't happen, thankfully! Peggy gave us a couple birthing videos to watch, which I can't wait to do! I'm resisting, though, until Nate is able to sit down with me. Although, maybe it'd be better if I previewed them...I could then forward through the really scary parts when he watches them with me. Huh. I'll have to think about that...Suggestions?

Our girl measured just right again today, and performed well for the test. She's on a roll! We found out that she scored an 8 out 8 on the biophysical ultrasound we had done last Friday. Wahoo!

Peggy had us cancel our appointment with the perinatal specialist for November 7th, and instead schedule an ultrasound for next week at Portland Adventist. She made a good point - we're to 34 weeks now so we won't be delivering at Legacy Emmanuel, so let's have Portland Adventist monitor her growth since that's where we WILL be delivering. So the next ultrasound is on October 23rd and our next appointment with Peggy is on October 27th.

I talked with Peggy about natural inducements and she gave me permission to begin trying at 38 weeks! That's only 3.5 weeks from now...Holy crap.



We saw the perinatologist again this morning. The news was great once again! Our girl is looking good. She's head down (has been since I started bed-rest) and practices her breathing movements pretty constantly. I feel her a lot more these days, I think because she's getting so much bigger. She doesn't flail around nearly as much - she's running out of room. It's comforting, though, to feel all her little movements now. The specialist placed her weight around 5 lbs. 7 oz., up from her 4 lbs. 5 oz. a few weeks ago. We're 34 weeks today, a huge landmark for us! We're scheduled to see the specialist again in four weeks, November 7th. I see Peggy on Monday, so if I find out something new or different I'll post again then.

Oh something funny happened while we were at the ultrasound. The tech was getting ready to take a picture of her bladder when all of a sudden it disappeared. Yeah, she peed on camera.

But to summarize today's appointment over all: WAHOO!


Sometimes I forget I have this.

Kinda strange how one can forget, but I keep bumping into things...My center of gravity is shot, but I don't think it's that. When I walk past a mirror, I'm still a little surprised at how much bigger my stomach is in real life than in my mind. Maybe I'll get used to it by the time we go into labor.


A List of 11 Things

What I miss about not being pregnant:

* Nice hair. Mine has gone totally frizzy since becoming pregnant. No nice glossy locks for this lady. But I haven't lost copious amounts of hair either, and I've heard that that's a real possibility during pregnancy also.

* Not waking up in the middle of the night because someone is hiccuping and it's shaking my whole body.

* Speaking of the middle of the night, this one is two-fold: 1) I miss sleeping through the night, but I know full well that it might be years until I'm able to do that again, and 2) I miss being able to pee more than eight drops especially when I feel like my bladder is going to burst.

* I miss sitting in my car without feeling like I'm suffocating - something about my lungs and her little feet and butt combined with the inflexibility of my car's seats crunches everything together and makes it hard to take a deep breath.

* Shaving.

* Eating more than four bites before feeling really full.

* Walking more than 100 yards before feeling exhausted.

* Not having a racing heart rate.

* Sleeping on my stomach - oh to sleep on my stomach again! Those were the days...

* Not having super sore hips. That's been a real shocker. No one warned me about the whole sore hip situation...

* And I miss my regular people clothes! I look at them in my closet every day and then resort to wearing one of the same two pairs of pants and one of the same five shirts.

So I've decided that I'm not the most wonderful pregnant lady in the world - you know, one of those crazies who could be pregnant every day for the rest of her life...I'm so excited to meet our girl, and I'm incredibly grateful to not be sick anymore, but I don't see pregnancy as my life-long calling. I'll have to learn to be okay with it, I guess, if I plan on having four kids, though...