Thursday, April 30, 2009

Doctor's Report

I just returned from yet another doctor's appointment and I am happy to report that I have finally received the news that I have been hoping for - my blood/protein ratio is FINALLY at an acceptable level!!! I am so thrilled because this means that we will now be able to deliver at the Alternative Birthing Center at the Southfield Providence Hospital again. We delivered both Ethan and Kaden at the ABC and both experiences were wonderful (as far as labor and delivery go, let's be realistic now . . . LOL). It may seem like an insignificant thing to some, but it actually created much anxiety in me to think that the ABC may not be an option this time around. I go 100% natural during my labors and the idea of having to be in the typical labor and delivery area of the hospital made me nervous - I didn't know if they would insist on monitoring, IV fluids, restrictions, etc. I know they have the very best intent for my baby and me, but I much prefer to be as hands-off as possible. With my first labor and delivery I was in the L&D in the hospital and really felt out of control (they really pushed drugs I did not want and my birth plan was all but ignored). In contrast, the ABC is an extremely calm, warm and relaxing atmosphere where I have found that the nurses really listen to your wishes and plans. It helped me feel more in control and comfortable with the natural process my body was going through. I was also able to deal with the pain in ways that were comforting to me (yoga ball, hot shower, walking and standing as much as possible, etc).

Have I mentioned that I am thrilled to have the opportunity to deliver there again?! :)

I would really love and appreciate your prayers that my protein levels would remain where they are (or lower even) and that labor would begin soon. At my ultrasound last week the baby looked 100% healthy, strong and fully developed, but she is already packing on the pounds. I know the female body is fully capable of delivering babies of all sizes, but I would really desire another baby under 7lbs. Kaden was 6lbs 6oz and the difference between him and Ethan (7lbs 4oz) was certainly noticeable. Because she is in the 60th percentile for weight already, the baby will probably be over 7lbs by the middle of next week. Currently I am 3cm dilated and 60% effaced (cervix is completely soft) so labor could begin at anytime, but I have now been at this stage for the last week and a half. C'mon baby, could we get this show on the road?! :)

I know the end is near and I am trying to enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy, but I am admittedly restless. God's timing is perfect, but it is hard not to be impatient. :) I hope to be sharing exciting news of the baby's birth very soon!

God bless!

Sneak Peek

Pictures of our baby girl at 36 weeks!This is her profile shot. She has her hand over her mouth so it may be hard to see the whole face. According to the measurement of her foot, leg bone, and a few other body parts, she is in the 60th percentile for size. She is already 6lbs and will be about 8lbs if she goes full term - my biggest baby yet!
This is a front view of her face. If you look carefully you can see her eyes (lids closed) and her nose, but her hand is covering her mouth. I thought it looked like she might have been sucking her fingers.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Baby Update

I just got back from my doctor's appointment and I received both good news and bad news. The good news is that I had a non-stress test and the baby sounds healthy and happy. For this information I rejoice over and over! Also, my blood pressure is still in a good range and this is something that they are really monitoring since pre-eclampsia usually always means hypertension (however I seem to be proving this one wrong at this point in time).

On the flip side of things, my protein levels are still elevated and I must still stay on bed rest. Ugh! Do the doctor's realize that this is pretty much IMPOSSIBLE when there are three other children at home? The instructions are for me to stay in bed, laying on my left side, except to eat and use the restroom. Yeah, right. I am really trying to follow their instructions, but the closest I can seem to get is to sit in a chair and put my feet up every now and then. I'm not sure that it qualifies, but I am trying my best.

The doctor checked me and I am thrilled to know that I am now almost dilated to a 3 and the doctor said that I am beginning to efface. My cervix is completely soft. Since the bed rest is not something they see lifting anytime soon, going into labor seems like my biggest salvation right now. Of course I want the baby to "cook" as long as possible, but if she is healthy, I'd really like to go into labor naturally SOON! I pray that God sees to the timing, but I will pray that He is quick with His decision. :)

I am also excited because I am going to get the opportunity to "see" our baby again soon. I am measuring small and because of the pre-eclampsia, the doctor ordered another full ultrasound. I still have to call to set an appointment, but I think it should be within the next week. I am excited to see what a difference there will be in her development from 18 weeks to 36 weeks! It will also be comforting to be reassured once again that it is, in fact, a girl. I have the dream fairly regularly that the first ultrasound was incorrect and that the baby is actually a boy. The pictures were VERY clear the first time around, but that still doesn't make me doubt any less. It all just seems to good to be true! I will feel complete comfort and excitement once I am holding our little pink bundle in our arms.

I appreciate everyone's love, care and concern for us and for our precious baby. Thank you so much for the well-wishes and for the prayers! Your prayers are of GREAT value to me and I know I am so blessed to have so many people petitioning God on behalf of our unborn child and for our family. Please continue to pray and I will try to send along updates anytime I know anything new. My next doctor's appointment is this Wednesday (April 22) and I will be repeating the blood tests and 24 hour protein tests at that time. The results for that, however, will not be available until Friday. I will let you know if anything changes.

Now, I need to go put two little boys down for naps so that I can go obey doctor's orders and lay down. God bless!

No Menu Planning Monday - VII

This week our dinner plans are going to be a little bit up in the air. As of right now I am on complete bed rest for pre-eclampsia and my doctor does not know when (if) I will be able to come off of it. This makes preparing dinner a bit impossible. I go to the doctor again later today (and again on Wednesday, and Friday . . .) so hopefully I will know more soon. If my protein levels or my blood pressure rise too much I will be induced, but that will not be decided until my appointments. Please pray for the health and the development of the baby, and that I will be able to stay put in bed as I'm supposed to. So far I know I have done miserably, but it has been incredibly difficult with the boys running around and needing me constantly. I am hardly able to stay in bed, but I am trying to at least sit and put my feet up as frequently as possible. I hope that God will protect and watch over the little life growing inside of me.

Kevin and my parents (and Julie Lupo) were a godsend over the weekend, and I am so blessed with their kindness and generosity! This week should be interesting, but I know God is in control and that everything is in His hands. What a mighty God we serve!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Sunday

What fun it is to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior and King! I can't help but love and be so grateful for the ultimate sacrifice that took place for each of us over 2000 years ago - thank you, Lord!

Our Easter was incredibly busy this year, but we still had a wonderful time worshipping at church and celebrating with our families. We started the afternoon at my parent's house and then headed over to Kevin's parent's house later in the afternoon. The boys enjoyed Easter Egg Hunts at both houses and came home with a plethora of new toys and treats. How blessed we are to be surrounded by such loving and generous families!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sweet Anticipation

A baby girl!

Wow . . . the thought of it still takes me by surprise!!!

I really never thought that Kevin and I would be the parents of something sweet and pink. Oh, how the Lord loves to surprise us!
I am finding that as the weeks are winding down (5 more "officially" to go), my anticipation level is gearing up. With the help of my amazing in-laws, the baby's room is also getting geared up. A few weeks back we (well, mostly my mother-in-law) painted the room a spring green to match an accent color in the bedding I bought used from a friend of mine. Then, the hunt was on to find curtains to coordinate. I searched high and low at every home store and major chain, but just couldn't find the perfect combination of colors. My mother-in-law then suggested that we look at a fabric store and make our own. The idea was overwhelming to me since I have only done very minimal sewing in my life, but she is so amazingly crafty and talented that I bravely went and found the perfect fabric at JoAnn's. We set an afternoon aside at her house to get the curtains cut and sewn, but I was so slow at the sewing machine that she ended up finishing them up on her own and bringing them over a few days later. I am so thrilled with the curtains because they really tie the room together and make it look classical and feminine - it is the perfect touch!
I haven't really picked a theme for the nursery (except for the flowers adorning the blanket and bumper, and the stripes on the curtains, baskets and sheets), but I was thinking I might use one of my favorite old toys as a spring board. Most everyone who knows me for any length of time knows that I am head-over-heels in love with horses. It would just seem appropriate if my daughter became infatuated as well, wouldn't it? If I surround her with horse figurines and pictures now, will it increase her potential as she grows up? I can hope! Also, I love the idea because I still have the horse pictures that hung on my wall growing up and I think the colors might work for the baby's room as well. That would certainly be a cheap and nostalgic fix to my decorating block.
The baby's closet is beginning to fill up now and it is so fun looking at all of the pink and purple things - I truly never thought these colors would be in the nursery! Almost the entire collection of clothing has been tremendously blessed to us from close friends and family. I am so incredibly thankful for the hand-me-downs of others! When we initially found out we were expecting a girl I was worried that we wouldn't be able to afford to clothe her. My fears can be laid to rest now thanks to all of our amazing loved ones! In fact, she has so many 0-6 month outfits, she may not ever be able to wear them all before she outgrows them! Now how's that for a laying a fear to rest?!
I am not particularly a girlie-girl myself, but I must admit that I am really loving all of the girlie clothes and accessories that we have been given. The little shoes and the hairbows are just too much fun to imagine accessorizing our little sweetheart someday soon. Can I admit that I am just going to have too much fun playing dress-up with her?
I am so excited for the next 5 (or less!) weeks to pass! How amazing, different and fun life is going to be by adding a little girl to our family. There will, of course, be all of the incredible challenges that come with having three busy boys and a newborn in the house, but the realities just can't suppress my excitement. I don't relish the ideas of sleeplessness and exhaustion, but I can't help but still want her here as soon as possible. I pray that the Lord watches over her development and decides the perfect time for her to arrive - the sooner, the better, of course!

Menu Planning Monday - VI

  • MONDAY - Deluxe Ham Sandwiches (with all the fixin's), Raw Carrots, Chips
  • TUESDAY - Baked Spaghetti (thanks Darlene!), Corn, Garlic Bread
  • WEDNESDAY - Loaded Baked Potatoes, Applesauce
  • THURSDAY - Italian Herb Grilled Chicken, Salad, Chicken-flavored Noodles, Homemade Bread
  • FRIDAY - Pizza, Breadsticks
  • SATURDAY - Fiesta Chicken Enchiladas, Mexican Rice, Creamed Corn
  • SUNDAY - Lunch with Wright's

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Welcome, Noah Christian O'Dell!

My wonderful friend and business partner, Ashley O'Dell, and her husband recently welcomed the newest little addition into their family - Noah Christian O'Dell - on Saturday, March 28th. He is such a beautiful baby and was extremely cooperative for his first "official" photoshoot this past Thursday. Enjoy these great pictures of such an adorable baby boy!

Family Twister

I love board games. I love card games. I love party games. I love games.

I grew up playing games nearly every chance we got - it is one of the fondest gather-round-the-kitchen-table-as-a-family memories I cherish. It is a tradition I happily look forward to sharing with my own growing family. We have already tried to establish game times and even the occasional game night, but with all three boys still seven and under, there is only so much Chutes and Ladders, Go Fish, War and Candyland one can take. We've started teaching Eli some of the more advanced games (Settler's of Catan, anyone?), but we are realistically still a few years away from some serious game night competitions. However, for the time being, we do have an Autry family favorite that everyone can enjoy - TWISTER (well, I can't particularly play right now due to the simple fact that I need to breathe regularly so that I do not pass out. I do, however, make a great referee and am the official "spinner")! The boys love to play Twister and they now beg for it every time we mention playing a game. It's fun to play even if they can hardly reach across the mat and tend to "cheat" by sitting down, but it doesn't matter the details because it's the family memories that we are building that are the most important.

Can I get an "amen"?

Here are some pictures of our latest Twister game. It's so great watching the boys play together with their Daddy and have fun together as a family!