Friday, January 30, 2015

Oh Hey, Friday! {September Goals}

Happy Friday friends!  I hope the weather is fine your way.  We have been spoiled with these spring like temps this week and all it makes me want to do is be outside and enjoy it with Mr. G.

I made some hopes for 2015 back in this post but I would also like to have small monthly goals to strive for.  I am a list maker so this makes my OCD heart sing to do this too.


Start making purchases for Griffin's Birthday party.  His party will be at the end of April, but I really don't want to buy everything at once.  My husband bank account may freak out.  So far I have purchased a monthly banner, name cake topper, and mini cupcake toppers.  They are coming from Little Dovie and I am so excited to be working with her.

Cook 3 times or more a week.  I am lacking in this department.  A cook I am not, but I want to try all those wonderful pins in my food board on Pinterest.  So, hubby get ready to get your belly filled!!

Enjoy the wonderful spring like temps we have had.  I know we are getting into one of our cooler months, but we are still suppose to have some warmer days and I plan on spending it outside. 

Track all of my food intake.  I just completed my first DietBet game with Mama Laughlin and I am so excited to be splitting such a huge pot.  With the DietBet game, you had to lose 4% of your weight in one month.  What a way to stay accountable is to get $$$ for all your hard work.  While doing this I tracked my food intake on certain days.  I didn't do it 100% of the time but for February I want to track everything for the entire month.  The good, the bad, and the what did I eat that.

Go through closet and get rid of items.  We are moving soon!!  Well, not soon enough.  More like moving in a month.  I digress.  I want to go through our closets and get rid of the items that I have been shoved in there and don't belong or items that we just don't wear anymore.  Luke has items from High School, so I am hoping that he can part with all some of them.

That's it.  I think it should be fairly easy to accomplish.  The main on that is going to be a little difficult is to track my food.  It is just something that take a lot of time and who has time for measuring out everything.  But, it is a goal I am working to achieve.

Happy Friday!

Linking up with the Five on Friday ladies:

Lauren Elizabeth for High Five Friday
Jennie for Friday Favorites
Rebecca for That Friday Blog Hop
Leslie for Confessional Friday
Amy for Oh hey Friday
Amanda for Friday Favorites

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Behind RSG

Did you ever want to know a little more about what goes on behind Raising Southern Grace?  Keep reading to find out.


-How did you decide on the title of your blog?- 

I have had two different names prior to Raising Southern Grace.  I decided to change right after I had my son and I knew I wanted a name that would be the “it” name from here on out.  I am from the south, hence the Southern portion of the name and I am raising our son, Griffin.  Graces comes from a background of always being taught to remember who you are and to always be kind.  I always want to teach my son and future children to have grace in the different situations life sends.

-What do you love the most about blogging?-

There are a ton of things that I enjoy and love about blogging.  My number one is being able to look back at posts about my son or our home and remember what was going on.  This has quickly become a hobby of mine and I love the idea of it being a scrapbook for our family.  The second is the relationship with the other bloggers.  Most of which are in a different state and we would not of connected otherwise.

-Where does your blog inspiration come from?-

I get my inspiration for posts through daily happenings.  My sweet boy is always giving me something to write about and I am officially “that mom” who talks about her kid all.the.time.  No apologizes here.

-In your opinion, what is the best blog post you’ve written so far?- 

By far my favorite post is my 2014 Year in Review.  I am a sentimental type and I love being able to go back and see (all in one post) what was going on.  

-How do you find the time to keep up with all the aspects related to blogging (posting, reading, commenting, responding, etc)?-

Is this job ever done?  I usually write at night after Griffin goes to sleep.  This is usually my “Me” time and it allows me to wind down.  As far as commenting, I do my very best to comment back.  I read most of my blogs while getting ready in the morning.  One hand is on the hairdryer and the other hand is scrolling through Blogger and reading what I missed the day before.  

-Does your family know about your blog and does this affect what you blog about?- 

Yes my family knows about the blog.  It is not something that we have conversations about but I know my family reads.  Who wouldn’t read about a cutie named Griff, anyway?  When I write I honestly don’t think about who is going to read this.  I don’t censor myself because I write for me.  There are some things I keep private but other stuff is open game.

-If you didn't blog, what would you be doing with that time?- 

I usually get all my house work duties finished in one day, so if that is done I would probably be watching trash  reality TV.  Real World and any Housewives show is my TV addiction at the moment.

-Have you been in a blogging rut and how did you pull yourself out of it?- 

Yep! This usually results in me not blogging.  I still keep in touch and read other blogs but there are times when it doesn’t feel right to write.  Not now though! I love posting at least three times a week.

-Show some blog love: name another blog that you adore.- 

OOOOO, you need to check out this post!

-What's your favorite social media outlet for sharing your blog posts?-

I always posts on Instagram (sydedwards22) and Facebook (Sydney Edwards).  It depends on the post but some of them will go on Pinterest.  

Hope your Thursday is wonderful!

Thoughts for Thursday

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

We fixed his Flat!

It has been a little over a month since I have done an update on Griffin’s cranial band.  You can see our first post here. 

I shared that the cause of Griffin’s flat spot was due to torticollis, which resulted in Griffin having a preference to looking to the left over looking to the right. 

From day one, Griffin did awesome with the band.  He never messed with it while it was on his head and slept just as good if not better with it on. 

The hardest thing was ME being self conscious with it anytime we were out.  I did want the looks and the questions asking what was wrong with him.  In the long run, I would take all the rude stares and comments to have my son’s head be perfectly round. 

Having his cranial band painted by  Treasured Interiors changed how people looked at him.  I loved the aviator helmet we had painted on it and he because a good conversation piece. It only took me a few days and then I honestly even forgot that it was on.  I looked passed it and always saw my cool little dude.

When he was first fitted with the band we were told to expect a few appointments along the way to take measurements of his growth.  He started out at a 439 and his end number was 459.  At 459 he would have no more room in his helmet and it wouldn’t benefit him any longer.  Some children reach their final number but still have some flattening, which results in a second helmet.  I am so glad we didn’t have to go that route.

At our initial appointment, we were estimated Griffin being in the cranial band between 8-12 weeks since his case was mild.  He made it to the 6 week mark and was told his head was perfect and we could forgo his helmet.  His number only got to 448 but his head was already rounded out, thanks to a good growth spurt.  We could of kept the helmet on him until he reach the 459 number but it wouldn’t change his head shape any since the flat spot was already corrected.

I am so grateful Griffin did so well with his helmet.  The rule of thumb is that he helmet needs to be worn 23hrs a day.  I am a stickler for rules, so if that is what we were told to do, I am going to make sure we do it.  I would even set a timer on my phone for 60 min and it would go right back on when it went off.  During his free hour we would do bath and some play time to give him a short little break. 

One thing about the helmet is that they reek! I mean it is bad.  Griffin lets off a lot of heat as it is and his little head would be sweating so bad when I would take it off.  Luckily he wore it during the cooler months and we are thankful we didn’t have 90 degree weather to deal with.

The helmet came in handy a number of times when he would crash into a table or topple over on the floor and hit his head.  Maybe we need to put it back on him during his “walking phase.”

If you see that your little babe may be suffering from flat spots be sure to make an appointment with her doctor.  The sooner the problem is taken care of the better and happier your baby will be.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Show Me The Love

I hope you all enjoyed Kayla's posts about her journey through infertility.  If you missed it be sure to go check it out.
I'm linking up today for a little Show Me The Love Blog Party and sharing some of my favorites for Mama and Mini.

Infertility Journey: Kayla's Story

Today I have Kayla sharing her infertility story.  If you missed Elena's story and Amber's story, be sure to check them both out.

Here is Kayla's story:

Hello Raising Southern Grace readers. I am Kayla and I blog over at Waiting for Three. Thanks Sydney for letting me take over your blog for a day and Welcome everyone. As you can tell by the name of my blog I am on the journey of trying to become a mom. My husband and I have been married for almost five years and over half of that time we have been trying to conceive with more than one speed bump along the way. Originally my blog was going to be my little piece of the internet where I talked about my pregnancy and my baby.  Boy was I wrong in so many ways. Our journey started in 2011 when we decided that I would quit taking my birth control. I had horrible monthly visitors for as long as I could remember but birth control was always the way that I could control these problems. I became the crazy tracking women who just knew she would be pregnant in a month. Two at the latest! When I came off the pill we started trying the good old natural way and after eight months of getting nowhere we decided that I would make an appointment with my obgyn. She decided that she would do some bloodwork and see if she could see anything. She reassured me that it may just take some time and sent me on my way. Well a few days past and I received a call from the nurse telling me that my progesterone levels were 4.3. Yeah this is bad. Your levels should be over 30 after ovulation and mine were at 4.3. Holy Moly how could this happen! So I came back in and we decided to try Clomid 50mg.

I can remember thinking that this is my month and that the Clomid would do the trick. Yeah not so much every single pregnancy test in the Costco bulk box said otherwise. But I returned to the doctor’s office to have my labs drawn and they were 12.1. So we were heading in the right direction. We left the doctor’s office that day with orders to do it all over the following month. That month came and went with labs that resulted with a progesterone level of 4.6. I can remember thinking this has to be a mistake since they were just 12.1 last month. I was assured that it was no mistake and that we would schedule a HSG and do the Clomid. By this time I had already started researching and found several people who were in my shoes and had PCOS.  I talked with my doctor and she decided that she would test me for this when she drew my progesterone levels next time. I had my levels drawn and the following day had my HSG. My HSG did not show any abnormal things other than small tubes which she did not think it was a problem. My labs came back and my progesterone level was at 1.1. She also dropped the bomb that my PCOS levels were out of whack and it turns out I needed Metformin to increase my levels to help me ovulate. I can remember getting this call and having to pull over because the tears were a flowing. I made the decision to suck it up and deal. The doctor increased my Clomid to 100mgs and I was given the RX for Metformin one per day. I was not going to let this get me down.

Like every month before I tracked everything and went to have my labs drawn. They were at 14. I knew that we were heading in the right direction. I felt positive about everything and the results that we were now getting. The doctor advised us to do the same as the previous months and that my hubby needed to have an analysis done this month. I went in for my labs and he went in for his analysis. My labs came back with a progesterone level over 50 and his came back with no swimmers. Ummm hold on what? I have awesome results and his sucked! We were set up with an urologist in our home town that could really give two craps. He pretty much told us we couldn’t do anything about it. After yet again our research we decided that we would go to an urologist in Birmingham, Alabama. We went to see him and he told us to go see a Reproductive Endocrinologist in the meantime to devise a plan. After several samples all coming back the same the Urologist got us on board to do some labs and a testicular biopsy.  The labs came back normal the horrible testicular biopsy surgery came back with no swimmers. We received a referral for a different urologist closer to home and went to follow up with him.  He told us that he would try the hubs on a medication to see if this would do anything. After months of medication he went to go get another sample and THEY WERE THERE! He had perfect swimmers!! They made the decision to freeze them incase this was a freak accident. So since we found out last month that we would hopefully get to be parents we now have a plan. This month coming up {February} I will have labs done while taking Metformin and Clomid to see if everything is good with my progesterone levels. If everything is great we will try IUI with the specimen that they froze. The hopefully have a baby! I cannot tell you that this will work! To be very honest there was a point in their somewhere when I gave up hope that we would ever be parents. I had to work through that and realize that there is a bigger plan than what I know.
Although this is the hardest thing I have ever dealt with I will continue to fight this battle. I have wonderful friends in this community because we all care about each other.  1 in 8 couples are or have fought in the infertility battle. These numbers are crazy. If you have questions or just want to talk feel free to head over to my blog and we can chat.

Thanks so much Kayla for sharing your story with the Raising Southern Grace Readers.  Please head on over to her blog, Waiting for Three and give her some love.  If you are interested in sharing your story, please feel free to email me and we can work out details and dates. 
Hope your Monday is great!


Friday, January 23, 2015

Ready for the Weekend?

Are y'all ready for the weekend? I know I am. Last weekend was packed so I think I'll use this weekend to not get out of my pajamas.  Doubtful.  Let's get on with our Friday post shall we?


Did you miss last Friday's post?  I had a lot of fun doing this one and loved sharing some of my favorite blogging Mamas.  I love that there are some that we ALL follow and I love introducing some of my readers to some they may no know about. 

E.C.  or also known as Erin Condren.  Have y'all heard about her Life Planners? Oh they are amazing! I ordered this one and I am so happy to get this personalized with some of my favorite pictures of my family.

At my son's day care, they want everything labeled with a marker, including his bottles.  I hated to write his name all over them because I know I will want to use them for our next child.  Inchbug is an online store where you can make custom labels with your child's name.  They fit all sized bottles and sippy cups.  You can't beat the price at $13 for 4 labels. 

We picked out some tile for our spare bathroom downstairs.  Love this weathered wood look!  We may be pairing up a rustic vanity with this too but that is still in the works.
Orchard Girls shared a free printable on their blog and I wanted to share it with y'all too!  Be sure to check on their blog and look at the different colors offered for this print.

Linking up with the Five on Friday ladies:
Lauren Elizabeth for High Five Friday
Jennie for Friday Favorites
Rebecca for That Friday Blog Hop
Leslie for Confessional Friday
Amy for Oh hey Friday
Amanda for Friday Favorites

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thoughts for Thursday: Currently

Thoughts for Thursday

Making: Planning out blog posts for the upcoming week.

Cooking: Crock Pot Roast, Potatoes, and carrots.  Yum!
Drinking: Water, water, and more....H2O

Reading: Some of my favorite Blogs.  I didn't get to read yesterday so I am spending my morning catching up.

Wanting: To move in our home like yesterday.  There is nothing like getting down to the wire and I am getting antsy to get in there.

Looking: Friday! I live for Frid-yay's!!
Playing: Not much of a gamer, this one.

Wasting: My morning watching Reality TV.  Real World Skeleton's anyone?

Sewing: See Playing. :-)

Wishing: I was in Philly right now with my family.  I really miss the snuggles of my sweet Nephew and Niece.  

Enjoying: This awesome weather we've been having in Upstate SC. 
Waiting: Waiting to go see Wicked on Broadway! So excited for this.
Liking: The feeling of a clean house.  Makes me feel so empowered. 

Wondering: Why everyone is up in arms over the Championship game. 

Loving: The idea that we had a three day weekend last weekend.

Hoping: Hoping that we could have a three day weekend at least once a month.  Don't think that's too much to ask.

 Needing: Sleep.  I have been going nonstop thing about all that needs to get one with our house that it is keeping me up at night.  Sleep would be wonderful.

Smelling: Zilch! Thanks stuffy nose.

Wearing: Black sweater dress that I've had for years and some tall black boots.  Thanks to so fall-ish weather today.

Following:  Some new favorite shops on Instagram.  "Little Dovie" has became a favorite.

Noticing: That I am "that mom" who talks way too much about her kid.  Haters Gonna Hate. ;-)

Knowing: That all our lists for this week for the house are being completed.

Thinking: It is time to start buying products for Griffin's 1st Birthday.  Good grief.
Feeling: See Needing ;-)

Opening: Emails since I didn't get around to checking them yesterday. 

Giggling: All.The.Time.  I guess it comes with the territory of raising a kid.  His witching hours are my favorite.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Scenes from the Weekend

This weekend was jammed packed.  We had a fully weekend of picking out tile, paint, flooring, lighting, etc.  I was even up at 4am because I was so excited about our day.  I decided to document the day to look back on once the house building is finished.  Hopefully that will be soon. 
Can you see his furrowed eyebrows?  He always seems a little confused if I have to wake him up instead of waking up on his own.


We of course had to start our journey with Chick-Fil-A for breakfast first.  These Pipsquigz toys are amazing when trying to occupy a baby while you eat.

I spotted this Roman Shade at Lowe's and immediately thought it would go wonderful over my kitchen sink.  It isn't something I would probably pull up and down but I love the decor factor.

I knew I wanted to use weathered wood tile in my house somewhere.  I originally wanted in my master bath but it wouldn't go with my spa feel that I want.  So, this beauty is going in our spare bathroom downstairs.  I am thinking we will need a rustic vanity in here to but I love that I can make this bathroom a little different than the rest of the house.
For paint we are using Sherwin Williams. 
All the trim in the house will be Westhighland White and the walls downstairs will be Neutral Ground.  Our kitchen cabinets will also be Westhighland White but with a caramel glaze.
The nursery and downstairs bathroom will be Sedate Gray. We are using Alabaster for our cabinet color in the laundry room, master bath vanity, and master closet.  Luke's office will be painted Anonymous with the same trim that's throughout the house.
We haven't picked out a color for the playroom and some of the other bedrooms and baths upstairs but we still may go with Neutral Ground.
We have already ordered our can lighting that we are using throughout the house, but we went and tried to find some specialty lighting.  This gorgeous lantern lights will do on both sides of the front door and there will be 1 of the same lights beside our side door.  We also picked out pendent lighting for over the island in the kitchen, and some outdoor lighting for our screen porch out back. 

Our fireplace rock is finally finished and the guy did a rock solid job.  No pun intended.  Griffin approves too!
We ended the day back at Ma'ama's house.  We house our Christmas tree in her storage building and we finally got around to getting the box our of our living room. 

If you haven't checked out Amber's story on her infertility journey, be sure to go back and check it out!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Infertility Journey: Amber's Story

Hi Friends! Last Monday I shared Elena's story of her infertility journey and today I have Amber.  You may remember me talking about her on this post as one of my favorite Mama Blogs.  I am so happy to have Amber here today and share a part of her life that is all too familiar to some of use.

Here is Amber's Story.

When Sydney approached me to share my story with her readers I was so flattered and really excited!  Through all this hurt and heartache, I have met so many other women dealing with or had gone through things of my similar story.  Looking back on this last year, as I prepare my heart and mind to write this post and share the 'tough stuff' that continues to break my heart on the regular - I found myself in a state of clarity.  It became apparent that so often I find myself feeling like I have the control.  I am in control, and my plans have been laid and I expect it to go my way.  So many things are wrong with that statement.  I know that they are not my own plans.  I know that God's plan is greater than my own (Isaiah 55:9).  I know this, yet it is so easy for lines to become blurred when things that I planned are not going my way.

God has his hands at 10 & 2 one-hundred percent of the time, steering me through this narrow road with confidence, and how often I make attempts to turn on the blinker and make a (wrong) turn.

Through this past year, I questioned God.  A lot. Everything that was happening.  There was more than enough hurt, disappointment, confusion - time and time again.  I prayed and prayed for a sweet baby, and although prayer was delivered (more than once) it all came crashing prematurely - a loss that I didn't think I could stand to deal with again.

I don't really know how or where else to start, but from the beginning to walk you through this last year. When I went in for my post-op check with Dr. Walsh about 6 weeks after Parker and Jolie were born, she advised and basically made me 'promise' for no pregnancies for at least a year.  My body after carrying twins and being bed rest for nearly 6 months couldn't tolerate another pregnancy (at least not very well) so soon.  We didn't have a problem with that 'agreement' .. I'm pretty sure we were running on fumes at that point with two newborn infants at home.

Over their first year, I successfully and exclusively nursed Parker and Jolie, and my period never returned.  No surprise there, as I had read this was normal.

At month thirteen, we were all ready to wean, and I was ready for my period to return, and Jordan and I were ready to start trying again.  I went in for my 'annual' with my OB and expressed our desire for more children.  It was then that she directed us back to Dr. Douglas (fertility specialist) for monitoring.  Based on my history before with tracking my periods and monitoring ovulation - I don't ovulate.  Her exact words: "I don't want you here 2 years later asking me what to do because you can't get pregnant - lets just do the right thing (in my opinion) from the start."

After a brief consultation with Dr. Douglas, we decided that when my period returns we will start 25mg Clomid (as we did before with Parker and Jolie.  Awesome feelings filled my heart and the excitement was nearly overwhelming.  This was going to be a piece of cake.. right?  So I thought.
By mid-January I still had not started my period (it had been a month of no breastfeeding), so the fertility specialist prescribed me Provera (a medication that induced menstruation - to be technical).
January 18th I filled the script and took the Provera as directed and waited, and waited and waited. Less than a week later I showed spotting, and I never thought I'd be so excited to see Aunt Flow return.  Except, she never came.  I spotted for a few hours, literally, but a full on period never came.  Disappointed, I called the office, and they just told me I had to wait.  Wait? UGH.  Fine.

February marked the start of a several busy months of travel for me and work - but it also marked the return of my period.  THANK YOU! Day three of my period, I started 25mg of Clomid.  I remember I was in Austin for a work conference, but the girls and Jordan traveled with me.  I just remember the excitement that was had thinking we were about to get pregnant with another to do all this over again.  

The first week of March I went in for egg measurement for the first time in almost two years.  The process was all too familiar, and I remember finding a weird comfort in that.  3 minutes into the sonogram, the doctor hopped up and said
'You're ready to go!' 
Wait- what? Okay!

After checking my surge levels, and as usual, zero signs of ovulation, I took my Ovidril shot home with me with instructions scribbled on a sticky note from the nurse.  Clomid had done its job this second time around, and while I had multiple eggs producing, only one was large enough for ovulation.  
I remember coming home on March 21st after taking a pregnancy test that morning showing positive with such joy and confidence in my heart.  I was going to be a momma again.  I snapped this picture and will never forget posting it to social media with the thought in the back of my mind - I'm pregnant, and all I want to do is shout it to the world.  Instead I posted it with a simple caption, 
"Today was a good, good day"
4 weeks pregnant.
At this point I needed to wait three more weeks before we were able to see this little thing.  My hormonal pregnancy numbers (hCG) weren't nearly as high as they were with the girls (understandably) because there was just one baby in there.  It went from 40mlU/ml to 90mlU/ml in the two days it was 'required' to double.  All was great! 
April was another month of travel for me.  I was exhausted and thankful for the exhaustion.  Scheduled for our first sonogram at 9am, I was called for meetings in Houston the day before, and while I was not ready to tell my boss about the pregnancy yet, I made it work anyway.  I was whipped to the core after multiple meetings back to back, so I stayed the night and woke up around 4am to make the trip back to the Dallas area.  I remember waking with a weird intuition.  I was in a really bad mood.  I was tired.  I was cranky.  I was supposed to be excited to see our teeny baby - but for some reason, I wasn't at all.  I almost dreaded it.  I shrugged it off as the dread being for the LONG and boring drive home alone from Houston.  
  7 weeks pregnant.
I pulled into the parking lot, and hopped out to meet Jordan who was waiting for me there already.  When I saw him, all was well.   I needed to see his face. His face of joy and excitement.  Enough for both of us - thank goodness.  Laying on the exam table, the silence in the room was deafening.  I didn't know what in the world I was supposed to be feeling at this point.  And then the doctor spoke.  
"Well.  You are only measuring 6 weeks along.  And because we know exactly when you ovulated, you should be measuring 7 weeks.  There is something wrong."  There was a heartbeat, but due to the size and strength of the heartbeat, it was just too slow to pick up. 

He didn't say miscarriage, but he didn't have to.  We got our little soon picture of our petite baby, and waited for the doctor to call us back to his office down the hall.  He explained over and over about the process I can expect.. and that there wasn't ANYthing I could have done differently to prevent this.  He told me to expect to start bleeding within the next couple days, and to return in a week if things hadn't progressed.
"Good new is, you got pregnant.  We can do this again."      
I clung to that statement.  I didn't cry.  I walked out of the office numb and in awe of seeing my baby, alive with a heartbeat, but was told it won't last long.  
How is this happening?
8 weeks pregnant.
We returned a week later to see the baby again.  It hadn't grown at all - still measuring just 6 weeks, but everything around it (including the yolk sac) had grown.  So at first glance, even the doctor thought it had grown.  But after true measurements, there was no growth.. and the heartbeat had slowed.  But I could see it.  I could see it beating.  This was even more heartbreaking than the first time I saw it.   I'm not sure what is worse than seeing your baby decline this way.  My baby that I hadn't even gotten a chance to hold or cuddle. Once again I was instructed to return if things didn't progress soon.
"I can't imagine it being much longer"
We left the office again.  And again, I had no tears.  Shouldn't I be so upset right now?  Shouldn't I be bawling?  At this point, my prayers to the Lord changed from "please save this baby for me to keep" to "please stop this short and carry on with the miscarriage."  
9 weeks pregnant | Easter Sunday
Still pregnant, and praying every day for no D&C, we went to church that morning with our sweet girls.  I quietly cried with glee over the fact that I had these two girls that made me a mother just a short year before.  Thankful everyday for that.  We made our way to Jordan's parent's house for lunch, and it came.  I felt sick all morning, and never having gone through this before, this wasn't what I was expecting TODAY on Easter Sunday when we were around EVERYone.  
I confess to nearly sighing with relief when I realized what was happening. 

After a quick call to the doctor that Monday morning after, I came in for a brief meet with Douglas and to draw my blood to make sure my levels were decreasing.  I was instructed to wait 4 cycles (periods) before we could try another round of Clomid.  My body needed the time to regulate after being 9 weeks along (technically) and then losing the baby before he was comfortable going for it again.  

He told me not to expect my period to return right away - and I remember thinking in my brain back over the years of struggling with PCOS and irregular periods.  
Dramatically I thought to myself- I was NEVER going to have my period again!  
"You seem to be dealing with this rather well.. how are you?" 
I truthfully answered that "I was fine."  
I really was.  I knew and was perfectly fine with the understanding that God was in control of all of this.  This was not my doing. This was nothing I had control over.  So I was fine.  Really.  
I still hadn't cried much.  Tears came randomly, but were very short lived.  We were going to make it through this.  I bled for a week.  The baby was just 6 weeks old, but my body thought and registered that I was much further a long than that.  
Surprise to me, but my period returned just a few short weeks after I stopped bleeding.  Whew.  May marked my second cycle down.  Two more to go.  Jordan and I went on a day-date to a Texas Ranger game, and stayed for the Mercy Me concert afterward.  I remember sitting in the stadium seat with thousands of people around me, crying on the shoulder of Jordan through the entire set of 'I Can Only Imagine'. Finally I was crying.  I hadn't cried through this entire process, and it felt good to just let it go.  
June | July 
Life carried on as usual.  I was 'regular' almost to the day with my periods (first time in nearly 15 years I could say that) and I was 'fine' - dealing with everything "on my own".  I didnt talk about any of it, and hadn't said anything about it in months.  Still in The Word every morning, but my prayers were about everything else and not about myself and my heart in dealing with the miscarriage just a few months before, and definitely not about pregnancy or having another baby.  My fourth period came, and the moment I started I put a call into Douglas' office.  It was time.  

"He wants you to have 4 cycles and THEN on your 5th period we will do Clomid."
Well, what's a month, right?  
My period didn't come when I thought it was going to.  I had been regularly starting about the first week of the month - give or take a couple days in between - but regularly for the last 4 months.
I was about 2 weeks 'late' and someone randomly 'liked' the photo of Parker and Jolie that I had posted 19 weeks prior, on March 21st.  The day we found out I was 4 weeks pregnant. 

For whatever reason looking back at that picture set me into a spin of frustration.  I was angry.  Angry like I had never been about any of this situation in the 8 months we had been dealing with all this. 
I am supposed to pregnant.  Approaching my third trimester. We would know the sex of this babe.  The bedroom down the hall would be filled with baby things and nursery plans would have been made.  We would have a name.  My belly would be showing, and everyone would know we were welcoming our third come December 4th.  
Tears came.  I cried and cried and cried.  Why this was hitting me so many weeks after the fact was beyond me.  Finally after about a week of this depression, Jordan sat me down and we pow-wow'ed it out over several hours.  I couldn't explain why I had all these emotions NOW, but I was.  And he understood.
Finally.  The end of August arrived, and my period came.  After a sono to check my 'stuff' and make sure all looked well, we started another round of Clomid, just as we did a few months before.
Back and forth to the doctor's office 3 times for egg measurement (sonograms are flipping expensive, by the way) there was nothing. Clomid didn't work this round.  
What do you mean??  
Again with loads of emotions and confusion and "why is this happening?" played over and over in my head.  My body was tired, and this low of a dose wasn't going to do the trick to get the eggs where we 'need' them to be.  
"We will just try again next month."  
I was so tired of hearing 'next month'
'just one more month'
'we can do this again'
Here we were again - 'the next month', and this time we bumped the dose to 50mg of Clomid.  I was elated to think about this AGAIN, but this time it was going to work.  It was going to be successful. We were going to have a baby.  My prayers over the last months changed from anger, question, and confusion, to thanksgiving, hope, and joy.
We knew the drill.  Eggs (there were a couple) were ready to go and trigger shot was had.  Waiting two weeks before I could take a pregnancy test felt like a million weeks to wait.  The day came.
4 weeks pregnant
I went in for a routine hCG check, per the usual, and waiting patiently to hear back from the nurse.
"Thats kind of low, right?"
"Yea, we want it to be at least 25.  Come back on Friday and we will run it again - it could double as normal, so don't fret." 
Friday came.  I went in for my labs, and got the call just a couple hours later.  
"Its dropped, Amber. I'm so sorry.  Since this is the second, we need for you to come in for a consultation with Douglas to talk about a plan of care for the next pregnancy, and also to rule out any kind of gestational issues that could be causing these miscarriages."  
2 miscarriages in 6 months.  
I scheduled my appointment with Dr. Douglas for October 17th - a Friday.
I started bleeding just hours after that call with the nurse | October 11th

The next Friday came, they drew my labs one last time to make sure they were less than 5 (meaning not pregnant) and we had a chat with the doctor.  He said that this pregnancy, since it was just barely at 4 weeks, didn't concern him.  It could easily have been a chemical pregnancy, or an egg that just didn't attach correctly.  He wasn't worried about testing for any genetic abnormalities on my end that was causing these miscarriages. We could try next month. 
I could have kissed him.
We would wait for my period to start and then go again with Clomid.  Since I was actually getting pregnant successfully on Clomid, there was no talk at this point about trying with anything different.  
I only bled with this miscarriage a couple days, and by the time we met with our fertility specialist on October 17th, I was done (I bled from October 11th-14th).  He gave us the clear for intercourse as we pleased as long as I wasn't bleeding anymore, and we happened to have a date night lined up and for Parker and Jolie to stay the night at their BB and Papa's.  
I expected my period to start pretty quickly again - just as it had back in April/May with the first miscarriage.  When it didn't come, I started to feel the emotional frustration as I had before, but nothing like what I had experienced previously.  My emotional stability was relied strictly upon God and his salvation.  I had such a peace about everything, and found it pretty hard to get 'angry' about any of this.  I knew He was in control.  Finding my joy in that, and laying that burden at His feet allowed me to be free of that anger I felt so strongly before.  Talk about relief.  
After weeks (I counted back nearly 6 weeks) since the miscarriage, I grabbed the cheapest pregnancy test off the shelf at Target after finishing my shopping for the week.  When I got home and unloaded everything, Jordan questioned me.
"You really think you are pregnant?"
"Not at all, but its been a long time, and I feel like I should have started by now." 
We had errands to run, and so while Jordan hopped in the shower, I nonchalantly took the test.  Before I could even finish peeing on that stick there were two thick blue lines.  
What does two lines mean?  What does THAT mean?  
I panicked because I had thrown the box and all the instructions away because I didn't think I needed them anyway. Of everyone, I was by far the most skeptical of taking this test, but I had to rule it out.  I busted out of the bathroom and dug through the trash in the kitchen to find that box and instructions. 
I then proceeded to run through the house to our bathroom where Jordan was showering and basically yell in his face (through the glass doors) that I was pregnant.  
We didn't have any reaction but to laugh.  No way.  Not a chance. 
We spent the rest of the weekend laughing in disbelief.
I called the doctor's office on Monday and made plans for me to come in for an hCG lab draw.  I had no clue how far along I was, but five tests said that I was at least 4 weeks. 
When the nurse called later that day, her first words (in almost a shout of her own disbelief) 
"When was your period?!" 
"I haven't had one. I took a test because I hadn't had one yet and I was trying to rule everything out before I called you guys."
"Well, your numbers are 3,800."
My first thought was that I had a couple babies in there.  These numbers were similar to that of what I had when I was tested with Parker and Jolie. Two days later my numbers jumped to 5,500. Pregnancy was real.  This was happening, and it seemed much different than the two other pregnancies I'd had this year already.  I was instructed to come in on Friday to see if we could figure out how far along I was - no one could understand these crazy high hCG numbers.

Friday came so quickly- everything was going so fast.  It was such a whirlwind. 
6 weeks pregnant - and there was just one (they checked and triple checked).
Heartbeat was strong.  Baby looked great, and measured to be exactly 6 weeks pregnant.
"Come back next week and we will measure again. If it grows a week's worth, all is well, and you have a 7 week old baby on your hands - or in your belly!"
The week of Thanksgiving.  The longest week of my life. So much unknown and so much FEAR.  I couldn't get over it.  
But, the symptoms started - literally - the moment I found out I was pregnant.  I forgot how tired I was with Parker and Jolie.  I forgot how BAD my boobs hurt almost three years ago when I was newly pregnant with two babies.  I was thankful for the exhaustion and soreness.  I wanted it.  It kept me going through this week until we got to see it again.  I couldn't help but jab myself in the boob here and there to make sure they still hurt.  
Yep.  They did.
7 weeks pregnant.
Heartbeat was strong(er), and the baby measured exactly 7 weeks.  Everything was perfect. 
I was released from the fertility specialist and instructed to call my regular OB for follow-up and natal care.  All this was amazing, and neither Jordan or myself still didn't believe what was happening.  But it was.
8 weeks pregnant.
My OB scheduled me for my first nurse visit (just basically to get the history and such since the last time I saw her) and then for a sonogram and well-check with her.  My nurse's visit and sonogram were a week apart from each other - and I was dying to get a peek at the little thing just for some sweet relief and confidence to get me through.  I begged the nurse to see if Dixie (the sonographer tech) was free to just let me see the heartbeat.  
I teared a little.  This was a huge milestone for me to be at.. we had made it, and that teeny baby is healthy. 
9 weeks pregnant. 
The week flew by, and it was time to see the babe again.  Everything looked good - measuring right on schedule at 9 weeks and 2 days.  I wasn't even expecting it when the tech went to check the heartbeat - with the sound: loud and fast at 173bpm.  THE sweetest pitter patter ever.
I didn't get to see Parker and Jolie at this size so early, or I don't remember how big they were at least. Of course because there were two, they were smaller, but measuring appropriately.        
14 weeks pregnant.
Although I still jab myself in the boob here and there to make sure they still hurt (because they do), we've made it to yet another milestone in this pregnancy - second trimester.  Finally leaving my frustration and questions at God's door and confidently allowing Him to be in control changed my outlook on everything - as they have successfully done so many times before. 

Thanks so much Amber for sharing your story with the Raising Southern Grace Readers.  Please head on over to her blog, 3 Ladies and Their Gent and give her some love.  If you are interested in sharing your story, please feel free to email me and we can work out dates. 
Hope your Monday is great!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Top 5 Favorite Mama Blogs + Instagram

Today's Five on Friday is coming to you in form of my Favorite Mama Blogs.  I have more than five but these are honestly ones that I look for daily to see if a new post is up.  Creeper much?
If you don't follow these Mama's be sure to check out their blog and show them some love.  Be sure to tell you that Sydney sent you.

Jessica from Little Baby Garvin

Jessica's IG: jlgarvin
This is honestly the cutest blog.  She owns that there many days that she doesn't get out of leggings and that many days are filled with ciaos while raising two young girls. (she just announced that a 3rd baby girl is on it's way too!)  She has great ideas for coordinating outfits with your littles and her chalkboard prints are amazing.  Click here for her Etsy shop where you can download her prints right to your computer.

Summer from Simply Summer Ann

Summer's IG: SimplySummerAnn
Summer is so so sweet.  Sometimes when I think of her I think of Sweet Summer Ann instead of Simply Summer Ann.  I honestly can not remember how I found her blog but I am so happy that I did.  She is a lifestyle blogger and has the most adorable little guy named Boston.  It is a huge plus that he and Griffin are only days apart.  I love when I find other children his age.  

Amber from 3 Ladies and Their Gent

Amber's IG: Masseya
Read this blog and try not to smile. She fought infertility and has the most adorable 2 year old twin girls. (And expecting another addition soon)  She is also a Registered Dietician and has a foodie section and shares some of the best looking recipes around.  I love that this blog is a one stop shop for me, in that I can look at some awesome dinner ideas, mom life, and someone who has beat infertility, twice!  Be sure to stay tuned because she will be sharing her infertility story on my blog this month. 

Shay from Mix and Match Family

Shay's IG: Mixandmatchmama

I have been following Shay's blog since before I had a blog.  She is also an infertility warrior and has two beautiful children and just adopted a precious little girl from China!  Did I also mention that her brother is Sean Lowe?  Yep, the Bachelor!  Isn't she gorgeous?  She just moved into a beautifully built home and I love seeing all of her ideas for different area's in her house.  She also has a foodie blog that I adore!  Nom Nom!

Ashley from I Love You More Than Carrots

Ashley's IG: lvdmorethncrrts
Ashley is a mom to 3 boys and one adorable sheep dog.  She has had me belly rolling on more that one occasion and the mom life she leads.  She is a hilarious life style blogger and really tells it like it is.  I love the stories she tells about her boys and says that she is now part of the MOB Society. (Mom of boys) Be sure to head over and check her out.
That's all I've got.  Have a wonderful weekend!