Oh, yes, pregnancy. Seeing as I have not blogged in 265 days, I suppose I should catch this place up to speed.
2017 was the most craziest eventful year in the history of my nearly three decades of life... In the span of a few months, Justin and I...
...brought home a new (completely crazy) fur baby
...traveled almost every single summer weekend
...found out we had to move out of our cute rental house
...searched for a house
...found a house
...made an offer on a house
...bought a house
...did a TON of unexpected work on said house (cat piss ruins everything, people. everything)
....moved (amidst multiple week long work trips for Justin)
...found out we were pregnant (!!!!!!)
...experienced the first trimester of a horribly challenging beginning to a pregnancy
Okay, now that we're all caught up (not really), let's dive into some nitty gritty.
Pregnancy with chronic health issues is downright terrifying. It is the hardest thing I have ever ever done. And friends, to be perfectly vulnerably honest, that really is saying something, after the past dozen years of illness.
Scrolling through my Facebook, you'll find numerous requests for prayer. God has blessed us with so many faithful prayer warriors and prayer is truly what has gotten us through these last few months. Below is a synopsis of the first half of this pregnancy. (For those who have been following our story on social media, this will be somewhat repetitive but I promise there are new thoughts & details sprinkled in.)
On November 5th, we made our social media pregnancy announcement. So fun.
On November 8th, we requested prayer as we began this journey of pregnancy with chronic illness. By this time, morning (all day/night) sickness had been in full force for weeks and the concerns regarding my Crohn's were increasing, as I was unable to eat even remotely properly.
On November 14th, I shared a painful post, urgently requesting prayer, as the Crohn's had begun to flare up.
On November 17th, I expressed mega thanks for my momma and sisters who were helping me through incredibly rough times of migraines, nausea, Crohn's pain etc. They really are the best and deserve more props & praise than I could ever give them.
On November 21st, we experienced awe & wonder as we heard baby's heartbeat for the first time and breathed a huge sigh of relief that all appeared well with our wee one!
On November 22nd, the eve of Thanksgiving Day, we shared the HUGE praise that God had miraculously answered prayers and my Crohn's symptoms had *almost* all gone away! We had started noticing improvements within 48 hours of requesting prayer on Facebook and asking our families to pray... Dozens upon dozens were in prayer and my parents spent time in fervent prayer on that Tuesday evening. This goes on my list of top answered prayer request of my whole life. God is so good.
On November 24th, we had our first family photos as a family of THREE!!!
Over the next week or two, I shared about things like pregnancy hiccups, unpacking boxes when I actually had a decent Saturday, rough Mondays with nausea, abdominal pain, and exhaustion, encouraging notes in my mailbox, birthday fun, Christmas preparations, and other such little daily life things. We had a very small timeframe of a bit of relief from the most severe nausea, etc. and we were so grateful.
On December 8th, I posted requesting prayers after having the most horrific migraine of my entire life all day. Little did I know that by 4am the next morning, we would be in the emergency room. Saturday, December 9th, Justin and I began taking turns keeping our friends & family informed as i endured 4 of the most painfully horrific days of my life.
For days, we battled excruciating head pain, incredibly violent vomiting, extreme dehydration, exhaustion and sleeplessness beyond anything I had imagined, gagging, choking, anxiety, medication side effects, extreme fear for baby's well being and my own ability to keep going, etc. Friends, it was awful. The care of the nurses and doctors is something I for which I'll be eternally grateful.
On December 11th, day 2 1/2 of my hospital stay, the ultrasound techs came up to my hospital room to check on our little one. Words cannot express the relief, joy, love, and gratitude I felt as my mom and I watched this precious, 13 week old miracle kick and wiggle and show off all his/her moves. Amidst my utter misery, my heart exploded in a million awestruck pieces and I was given renewed strength and motivation to keep going.
The next day, amidst the weariness and discouragement and continued pain, I was able to go home. It took a little discussing and pleading, but they let me go, even though I was far from out of the woods. I just needed to be in my own home and sleep in my own bed. Grateful for the nurse who went to bat for me and for the doctor's agreeableness. That first night home, I spent 12 beautiful hours in our own bed and it was glorious.
Over the next couple weeks, I continued to battle headaches (not migraines, gratefully), weakness, a head cold, nausea, blurry vision. Shortly before Christmas, I was able to go back to work very part time. We enjoyed a quieter Christmas than I would normally plan but still enjoyed plenty of time with our families. We both had off work and Justin was able to remodel our laundry/mud room, with the help of a few family members. It made for one happy momma to finally have that room functional!
Throughout the month of January, I have continued to experience pounding headaches, daily blurry vision, and other "fun" pregnancy symptoms. We have had to make difficult decisions over and over... diet, medications, financial losses, etc. We have struggled and cried and prayed through very very hard choices. I have begun weekly acupuncture and chiropractic treatments as we continue to seek out relief and healing. We have spent much time in prayer together and individually. Justin has held me through more tears than we could begin to count.
We've also had more enjoyable conversations about things like baby names and whether we're having a boy or a girl (we find out the end of the week!). We've been in awe of my growing belly and laughed at my new bra size. We've had a few date nights, everything from Christmas lights and hot cocoa in our PJ's to sharing the Tour of Italy entree at Olive Garden after running errands.
On January 6th, Justin got to feel baby move for the first time! This man has stood so strongly by my side through the most painful and ugly moments...so sharing in one of the happy joys of this journey was all the more precious.
My obsessive, over thinking, perfectionist personality has been challenged over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. I am slowly learning the art of letting go, of trusting God more, of relentless submission and surrender, of breathing deeply, of praying over everything, of taking time to be in the Word, of letting others help and hold me when I need it.
Our Christmas trees are still up. The baby's room is full of all kinds of crap. The kitchen still needs a ton of painting and scrubbing and organizing. The laundry is never done. Our bedroom is a mess of maternity and non-maternity clothes that need to be organized and put away accordingly. The dog doesn't get nearly enough exercise. There is dog hair and dust everywhere in this house that only gets lightly cleaned about every 2-4 weeks tops. The kitchen floor really needs to be mopped. On and on the list goes. I remind myself it's good preparation for motherhood, once baby is on the outside.
Over the past couple weeks, I've gradually had a few good half days here and there, during which I've enjoyed baking for the hubby, strolling Target, and actually making a few solid home cooked meals. These small victories bring so much joy to my soul.
We continue to pray every single day and learn new lessons each week. God's faithfulness & mercy has been so abundantly present, amidst each struggle. I hope to share more details about the daily battles, emotional struggles, & random decisions associated with pregnancy, specifically pregnancy with chronic illness. There will also be more fun details about baby planning & dreaming, gender reveal, and more. Stay tuned as we continue this baby growing journey!