Monday, January 31, 2011

Beauty for Ashes

Although we are thrilled about having baby Nolan, I can't help but remember my other 2 sweet babies that we lost early on.  I was talking with a girl today and technically both her and I have been pregnant 3 times in 1 year.  That is a lot and I know I should be grateful for that but at the same time, I could be sitting here with one of the 2 babies I've lost and holding him or her and saved myself a lot of pain.  (Don't worry, that's just if I was in charge....although it's not that unreasonable, is it?) 

February 1st was the day that I had my D&C last year with our second baby.  That was such a tough time for me.  I did a lot of crying and just couldn't understand why we were going to lose another baby.  Equally as hard was the physical aspect that my body didn't recognize that the baby was not alive and I felt sick and just really bad.  Both Gray and I were so shocked that things weren't ok with this baby, we were blind-sided.  I had to wait over the weekend before I could have the D&C and that was such a hard weekend for me.  My mom flew up, which I'm so thankful for but emotionally I was a wreck.  I just didn't know how much more I could take.  I had the feeling that everything in my life was being taken from me and I just didn't understand it.  Deep down, I know that God was in that situation, but it was (and still is) hard to see it.

Losing the first baby was hard and I wouldn't want to go through that again but I can almost see that one and I rationalized in my mind that I was ok and I was so tired of grieving after losing my dad that I just didn't have it in me to grieve and be sad like I thought I would have.  Our first baby gave me hope during a very difficult week dealing with my dad's estate and the things that came along with that.  I felt like God was giving me hope in a very hard, tumultuous time in my life.  I would love nothing more than to have had that baby in July (2010) and to have not gone through any of this.  Unfortunately, that wasn't the plan.

Not all the time, but this week especially they are both on my mind.  I can remember having one of my (many) follow up appointments with Dr. Newman after my D&C and just crying and asking her as a Christian how you can get through this awful time?  I will never forget what she said to me.  She said, "Sara, at the end of the day God's Word is still truth and you have to cling to that."  How powerful, and from my doctor?  I am thankful if nothing else that she is my doctor and that she has walked this hard journey with Gray and I (along with many wonderful friends and family).  She has shared her experiences with me and allowed me to grieve and just cry when I saw her.  Last spring, I needed people that were going to speak Truth into my life and just grieve with me.  The occasional "it will get better" definitely helped, but most of all the tears were healing.  I don't know why we lost two babies and I will probably never know, but God was in the midst of that pain and is still in it now (even when I couldn't grasp it then).

The Crystal Lewis song, Beauty for Ashes is taken from Isaiah 61:3.  The chorus of that song is:
He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear 
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair 

 I totally believe that God is giving Gray and I beauty for ashes in multiple situations in our lives, not just this one.  We have learned just how BIG our God is and that only He can restore the hurts and pain. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Gray and I had the follow-up appointment this morning at The ROC (Regional Obstetrician's Center - High Risk Dr's).  I hadn't thought much about the appointment or worried about it.  Until last night I started worrying myself a little and thought, "what if I go into this not worried and get blind-sided by something?"  My fears were fleeting, I think it's normal to feel that way but I'm glad I didn't totally let myself get worked up and caught up in the "what if's,"  that brought potential for a long night in the Ange house! 

We had a different girl do the ultrasound this time and Gray and I were so glad!  When she started telling me parts of Nolan she was seeing I said, "so, you'll talk to us?"  (the last girl wouldn't speak to us during the ultrasound).  She said she had no problems telling us what she was seeing.  It was so fun because she looks in-depth at so much!  She magnified different parts of his little body and he looked (on the screen) like any other baby I've seen, he seemed so big!  She told us that he is weighing 1 pound, 12 ounces which is in the 40th percentile and that is normal!  I've had it in my mind that I will have a little baby because he's not getting as much nutrients as he could but after today I don't think that will be the case!  We got to see a close up of his profile and she froze the screen and printed us a copy, it's adorable!  He looks so sweet!  (I'm hoping to scan that picture and put it on here)  She looked at his heart very well and according to the Dr. there is nothing to be worried about right now with his heart, blood flow looked great and we saw all 4 chambers hard at work.  The ultrasound tech made the comment, "it's not everyday you get to see a working heart close up."  Which is so true, what a blessing!  The only thing she said that surprised me was that his legs are measuring short...did she see us walk in?!  She said she was pretty sure he'd hit a growth spurt soon and those legs will grow, my mom told me both of my brothers had "average" legs when they were born so I guess there's not much to that one! 

I made the mistake of going to Burger King for french toast sticks before my appointment.  Lets just say, Nolan likes french toast sticks....when he is here, he probably won't get those too much!  The little guy was moving like crazy!  The tech had a hard time getting some measurements that she needed because he wouldn't be still long enough for her to get him.  We laughed about it but I did feel a little guilty about it!  When the Dr. came in he said, "I hear we have a mover in here!"  Nolan has built quite the reputation for himself! 

Both times we have been to the ROC I have left with a smile on my face which I know many women will not get the same good news we have received there!  The Dr. said he would see me again in 6 weeks just to make sure Nolan is still looking good and when we come back as long as he looks good he won't need to see me again! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

24 weeks!

I was so excited to be able to say I am 24 weeks, 6 months along! It just seemed like a milestone that a while ago I didn't know I would reach!  I am still feeling Nolan move a lot, Gray is asking several times a day if I have felt Nolan move and I always say, "yes, but not really right now."  Which is true, I seem to feel him most early in the morning and it night when I'm laying in bed.  Maybe that's because days that I am working I don't notice him as much because I'm busy.  I was thinking this week was going to be uneventful (in pregnancy) until we made a trip to Nashville. 

When I knew we were going to Nashville I scouted out where the Pottery Barn Kids store was because they have bedding bedding that I like and I wanted to see it in person.  Before going to the PBK, I was pretty adament about not having a themed nursery, I was thinking stripes/plaids/solids for bedding then just getting some accents for his room.  I had no idea what the accents would be, just knew I didn't want a particular theme.  Well, we get to PBK we are looking around and the bedding I have been thinking about isn't kept in stock in the store.  So, we look around on the sale rack is really cute bedding that Gray has pointed out to me before online but I have veto-ed because of the theme.  When it was sitting on the rack and then I looked at the sales price (1/2 price!)  I knew it was meant for us!  It really is perfect for us and we think Nolan will be happy too! :)

Nolan's Bedding at Pottery Barn Kids

We bought the crib skirt, bumper and sheet!  There is a really cute whale themed bedding that I would like to get a sheet and pillow sham from to put with his sailboats!  I am still not sure about what crib to get but Gray and I have it narrowed down somewhat (depending on the day)!  We just can't wait to meet baby Nolan and put him in his sailboat bed!

Here are my ever-growing belly shots!  The first one is 24 weeks, 4 days and the second picture is 24 weeks 6 days! 

Only 16 weeks to go!  I would rather think about it as 24 weeks down!! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

23 Weeks

I just finished my 23rd week of pregnancy!  This was a great week and I'm feeling more in "baby mode" now!  We had a week off of school because of the snow, so I did a lot of online searching and looking around in stores (once we could leave the house)!  Gray and I decided we might as well register since we had the time off and I had been looking at lots of stuff online anyway.  Let me just say, registering was really fun but also a wake up call!  Babies are expensive!! I mean, I knew that going in but come on!  I'm sure there are ways we can cut corners on certain things but we also want to get items that will last the 1st time around so that (God willing) we have another baby we won't have to buy too much new stuff! 

We started our registry at Target and scanned some of the basic items.  We went to Babies R Us and I think 2 stores in 1 day for Gray and I was overload!  It just seemed so overwhelming!  We ended up running into some old friends from Lee at BRU and talked to them for a while.  By the time we parted ways from them I knew I had to scan a few I scanned 9 items and turned in the scanner.  The lady working the registry counter was less than thrilled that I didn't take her advice of scanning at least 250 items, yep....250 items....are you kidding me?  That was crazy!  While I know only scanning 9 was un-productive we were over it.  We both ended up sitting in the glidders (we didn't even "try out" the gliders), we sat in 1 until we decided it was time to leave!  I got home and added some stuff online and I'm feeling like I have a decent grasp on what we "need."  I feel like there are so many things that we will just have to see about when Nolan gets here but I picked things out and hopefully they will work (but I will be saving boxes and receipts as much as I can just in case!) 

Thinking about the week, it seemed pretty uneventful since we didn't work but I am so glad that we had the time to go and register and we really enjoyed it!  The other night Gray said, "I love this guy and I don't even know him yet!"  That pretty much sums it up!

Here's my 23 week picture, I tried to wear a tighter shirt just for you Em! :) 

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Fightin' Weight.

When I was at Lee playing volleyball we had to workout 3 times a week.  It was heavy, power lifting (squats, power snatches, clean & jerks, etc).  During that time, I thought I was awesome so I did the heaviest weight I could and tried to increase my vertical.  Then, one day, out of no where my jeans became tighter and tighter.  My roommate and I (#8), realized we were doing this to ourselves and forcing new a bigger size....but we were in too deep!  They saw what we could do and we were unstoppable - I was in college, OF COURSE I was unstoppable!!

Looking back at pictures, I've asked my mom why she never told me I was fat and to lay off the extra cookies?  I refuse to put an actual picture up of myself but just know....I was not ripped as you would imagine....the muscle was there somewhere, I just looked like I was packing the pounds.  My mom has the same answer everytime I bring this up, "you played college volleyball Sara, you were in great shape and you were not fat!"  (while saying it in her you are so ridiculous right now tone)  All I know is, I've seen the pictures, I lived the pictures and it was bad friends.

Right now at 23 1/2 weeks pregnant I'm at my college volleyball weight.  At least this time around, I can use the whole "I'm growing a child in there, leave me alone!"  This has been a big mind adjustment for me.  Mentally, it's just challenging because as a female you are (unspokenly taught - my husband blames the media) that you should be skinny and look great.  If I were talking to someone else who was pregnant and feeling not so great  I would give her the, "you're having a baby, you look amazing speech" but it's different when it's you looking in the mirror each day.  I get that now.

I have truly prayed and asked God to please take away that insecurity and help me to feel good about myself during this time.  Gray has reminded me MULTIPLE times, "all you wanted to do was get pregnant and have a you are and you're complaining about that!"  I DO NOT want to be that person, I know deep down that I can try to look as great as I want but my body's going to do what it's going to do.  If that means junk in my trunk, sign me up.  :)

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

God is preparing my body to have baby Nolan and He has definitely grown my mind!  Today, I choose to praise Him for the baby He is giving me!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

22 weeks!

I am officially 22 weeks and this has been an exciting week for us with Nolan!  I feel as though I am "large and in charge" but I know I haven't seen anything yet!  Everyday I just have to laugh when I look at my growing belly and changing body, it's getting crazy!  Since it's winter, I've been wearing a lot of scarves, sweaters and coats so I have hidden my baby belly but this week has been a "coming out" week!  We went back to work (after 2 weeks off for Christmas) and my co-workers couldn't believe how much has changed and how my belly is growing!  The students are starting to notice and they have all been really sweet, some of the girls that I know well are really excited which is so neat!

I had a check-up with Dr. Newman this week and she was just so encouraging and said Nolan was looking great and things on my end were looking good too (weight gain, measurements, etc).  Everytime I have been to the dr. I have had an ultrasound!  That is so awesome, this weeks was really fast but it was still fun to see him for a minute and have Dr. Newman telling us what she was seeing!  I guess I could explain why I get ultrasounds all the time, it's two-fold (I love that term...):

#1 Because I have had 2 miscarriages, Dr. Newman has been WONDERFUL to reassure me that Nolan is growing and looking great.  Early on, she told me she would watch me closely in the beginning not because she had any fears about this baby but because she knew I would be nervous and she wanted to calm my fears as she could.  I really appreciate that about her and her staff's understanding that I was nervous.  Thankfully, I made it through that time with lots of prayer from friends and family and the peace of God which I cannot explain!

#2 At our "full anatomy scan" Nolan looked good but the ultrasound tech, Kim, saw that Nolan had a 2 vessel umbilical cord instead of 3 vessels.  When we met with Dr. Newman, she told us all the wonderful things that she saw from Kim's report and the pictures of Nolan looked good.  She said that Kim reported the 2 vessel cord and she will have to refer us to the high risk dr. to get a better look.  Dr. Newman presented this in a way that eased our minds, she said that she's had about 10 patients with this problem since she's been in practice (6 years) and all of them had no complications and delivered at full term.  We left there feeling not great (even though Dr. was really optimistic) and that night was kind of hard for me.  Note to self:  don't EVER, EVER google a problem you may have!!  Gray and I both did, I think Gray did more reading than me but we both decided we wouldn't do that again!   I went to work on Friday with a heavy heart but started feeling better about the situation as the day progressed.  I have had some great people praying for us and it has brought us so much comfort!  God is just really protecting our minds during this time!  We went to the high-risk and the Dr. seemed really fine with where Nolan was and said that he wanted to bring me back again to see how his heart was developing but he had no real concerns at that time!  (we went there in Dec.)  I say ALL that to say, I will keep getting ultrasounds everytime I go to the Dr. so that they can check my amniotic fluid and make sure Nolan is growing like he should.

Other big news this week, Gray felt Nolan move!  I have felt him move a lot more lately so the other night I felt Nolan kicking (or throwing!) and told Gray to feel my belly to see if he could feel it too!  He definitely did and has felt him a few more times since then!  Gray is loving it and I'm glad he can feel a little bit of what I'm feeling!  It is comforting to feel him move and I'm thankful to know he's moving....but it does feel a little weird at times - a good weird though!! :)

Here's my pic, 22 weeks pregnant and growing....

Even though I don't feel great about myself, I'm so thankful for this growing guy and can't wait to meet him in May!!!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Dedication to Ross Duke

In all of our excitement about Nolan, we haven't even mentioned our 1st baby, baby Ross Duke!  He is the best little beagle pup!  I would like to think he really just loves me and Gray because he does...but he has such a great disposition he's good to anyone!! 
Poor Ross Duke, he's in for a rude awakening when Nolan comes!!  When Gray or I come in the door, we immediately look for him and go over and love on him!  The dog has got it MADE!!  He even has his Ringgold, GA Grandmommy that comes over most days and lets him out to play in the afternoon! 
The funniest thing is I was NOT a dog fan before we got Ross.  I really didn't even want him but as soon as we got him home I've done my best to claim him over Gray!!  I'm sure we seem crazy to a lot of people who don't have dogs (I would've thought I was crazy before getting Ross), but I'm telling you he's just the best!  Our neighbors, Eric and Holly, have Ross's brother O'Malley and it's so funny to think Dukers brother is 2 houses up (we've had some good story lines on this one...).  Eric and Holly laugh at Gray and I because we have so many names for Ross, very rarely is he called Ross by Gray or I.  His most common name is Dukers but lately we've been calling him Bubbies.  I think I should stop here before I make myself sound too bad!! 

Anyway, we love our beagle pup and we're glad he's been ours!!  For the record, I was against Dukers going sledding but Gray insisted!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

IT'S A BOY...Nolan actually.

It's almost four months away but it still seems like eternity.  Sara and I are so excited about meeting Little Nolz.  He has started to move on a regular basis, only enough that Sara can feel him.  Just the thought of getting to feel him throw and slide in Sara's belly makes me really excited (yes, throw and slide....Nolan's not big on soccer). 

Today I was reminded over and over by a co-worker the struggles of having a child.  "You are in for a rude awakening", "Enjoy your free time while you have it".  I have to confess, it was a little annoying.  Not to discredit or minimize the certainty of many sleepless nights, constant crying, and the unbearable smells (my ultimate challenge), but I feel that this baby boy is truly a blessing and can't imagine a more exiting challenge.  So, can I say I'm completely confident and prepared for Nolz's arrival? No I can't.  I can say I feel that the Lord has given me the awesome responsibility of loving and teaching one of His own.  And what better person to share this task with then my beautiful bride. 

As long as I take the responsibility seriously and search for truth and direction for the CREATOR of our Baby Nolan, then what's there to fear?  Recently, I finished up the Book Of Luke.  What a great historical book to read before having a little boy.  John (the baptist) and Jesus births where such miracles of God.  The lives they lived, the people they inspiring.  And of course, Jesus life......just amazing!  I really come to understand the blessing that a child gives its parents.  I believe, at least in my case, that we can take children for granted and not see that it's truly a miracle.  I'm truly thankful for the reason I have to write this blog.  Lord, you are amazing!