Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Birthdays and Holidays!

I got exactly what I wanted with my birthday.
1. A day home with Stephen that wasn't spent around ER's or throw up buckets.
2. Solid food that stayed down!

We laid relatively low, which was good for both of us. Stephen as you can imagine is getting caught up in the whirlwind that will be the next four days or so. I think it's especially hard when Christmas falls so close to Sunday without actually being Sunday because that's one more service to do sermons, plans, bulletins and prep for. So our day included a nice nap. :-)

For Stephen's birthday, I gave him a game called Creationary. It's like Pictionary with Legos, but you have to guess what is being built not what is being drawn. It's quite cool and of course, Stephen is VERY good at it. We love playing games either with each other or with a crowd, so it was fun to spend some time enjoying that together. 

Here's a link to it on Toy-r-us...apparently it only has a three star review, but we'd recommend it.

Creationary on Toys-R-US

My birthday present is an all-expense paid date-night to Outback, but in order to enjoy it more fully, I'm going to wait a while. :-)

Yes, my present did just revolve around food.

I did make a difficult decision to cut North Carolina out of our Christmas travel plans. I just don't have the energy and was afraid I'd end up spending much of the time resting away from family anyway. With much of our family looking different not only because Papa is gone, but because Nana moved to a retirement facility (which she seems to be having the time of her life at!), we were going to have to book a hotel, and rent a car so I could get to food and medication when and if I need it. My parents need to be spending their time helping with their parent and it just seemed like an overwhelming production with too quick of a turn around to try to get to Tennessee to see Stephen's family. It also shaved some time off of our travel time as we will get to Knoxville earlier than we were getting into Charlotte.

I hate that I won't be there, particularly because it will be a very different Christmas, but then again, so will next year with a six month old! :-D It's hard to even fathom what life will look like, but I'm sure it will be fun!

I know I always end with this, but seriously - keep the prayers coming. They are sustaining us and getting us through! We hope you have a blessed Christmas wherever that may lead you! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Recovery is sweet!


I have fantastic news in that I have not thrown up since before I was in the hospital, which if you're counting with me, means six full days!

I was not however anticipating how long it would take for me to get my strength back. I hear people say it takes them months to recover, but since (believe it or not) my vomitting was somewhat controlled by medication from the get go, I figured I would be better off than those vomitting ten to twenty times a day.

Tonight, I get to fill in for our music director Marsha and play Holden Evening Prayer. I am super excited as I don't often get to do this sort of thing and being as that is where my education, heart and soul really sit I know it will be a good thing both spiritually and emotionally for me. I have practiced the service at home and am able to make it through, but to test my stamina with things like walking, standing and people, Stephen took me to Walgreens last night to pick up my own perscription.

When we first entered the door, it was rather crowded for Walgreens on a Tuesday night. Stephen leaned down and said "Betsy, these are people." To which I replied: "You mean they aren't just healthcare workers?" Stephen: "No, they aren't going to stick you." Betsy:"Oh. huh. wow."

I was excited to actually get to pick out Stephen a birthday card, although I probably could have found a better one had I been able to stand and look a little longer. I could tell I was tired. By the time we got the medicine and got home, it was about 6:30pm and we needed to call Nancy to wish her happy birthday. (It's a wild month in the Friedrich household...a June baby was planned for sure!) We left her a voicemail and unfortunately I didn't stay up to talk later because by 6:45 my eyelids were closing themselves. I went to bed and was out until about 8:00am or so this morning and then had a mid-morning nap until around 12:30pm. Really, I'm a good sleeper and have always needed my sleep, but that is crazy. We're talking hard hours of sleep...

So as you can probably tell, the mundane of the mundane are still very tiring. I'm getting scared about traveling home for Christmas but as long as I still get the go-ahead from the doctor, I'm hoping I can make it.

The frightening thing about HG is that it can rear its ugly head sometimes even when you're doing all you can. That probably speaks to why it was so hard to get it under control in the first place. It makes me nervous I may get sick and not be near any of my doctors or the hospital nurses that have already treated me and know me well. We had such a fantastic experience at BSA, I really admired the nurses there. But as I continue to try to eat more each day (no where near a normal diet, but it's staying down and that's all that counts), I try to live each day in the present and think there is no reason to think I'll return down that ugly path again.

In other random HG trivia...I found out it is believed that author Charlotte Bronte died from HG. Granted that was a LONG time ago, but it's one more reason to give thanks for modern healthcare!

Thanks again to all you who have continued to pray and walk alongside me - figuratively speaking!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hosptial Survived! Home, sweet home!

It has certainly been a week for the record books at the Friedrich household. This baby is full of firsts...the most recent of which was a three day, two night stay at Baptist St. Anthony's Hospital here in Amarillo. I am certainly thankful our call is not out in the middle of nowhere because the nurses and staff and BSA were wonderful. For a break down of the week, here's what happened.

Last Saturday I landed myself in the ER only to return Tuesday for fluids and dehydration. I was to the point where I could not keep any fluids down no matter the combination of medications I tried. I'm not sure I have ever felt so physically, mentally and emotionally spent in my entire life. It seemed no matter what I did or did not do, I could not get myself well.

After our visit on Tuesday we headed to the OB office Wednesday morning. It was suggested I start steroids and upon gazing at my condition (which was me barely able to walk because of dizziness and fatigue) they were willing to go ahead and admit me to the hospital. Stubborn 'ol me wanted to give the steroids a try first with visions of uncomfortable days and nights at the hospital. I could not have been more wrong.

By afternoon and evening on Wednesday it was clear I was not going to be able to make it on my own at home. I threw up every ounce I tried to drink and only managed to keep down one dose (of the three daily I was supposed to have) of steroids. I was admitted to the hospital Thursday morning.

I did not anticipate the anxiety that would be taken away from not having to worry about taking sips every 15 minutes or managing my medications without falling asleep. I did not have to worry about bothering Stephen and he was able to do the funeral he had that afternoon. I think it was a welcome relief for the both of us.

I was immediately put on IV fluids and given two iv medications to help stop the vomitting, one which I had never taken before. It proved to be the miracle combination so far as this new medication keeps food moving out of your stomach into your intestines before it has the chance to become terribly acidic. (The things you learn when you're sick.)

After 24 hours of keeping down IV fluids, I was allowed clear liquids, which tasted like nectar from heaven. Sometimes I wonder if the Land of Milk and Honey was really just jello, chicken broth and water given to starving dehydrated Israelites. 

At some point I was taken off IV medication to make sure I could sustain the liquids while on pill forms of medication. For all the hype about "don't take medicine while you're pregnant", I'm on more medicine than I think I ever have been. However, it is clear that without these medicines, myself and my baby would probably die. It's a daunting thing to think about and it makes you thankful for modern medicine. Throughout all this, baby has sustained a healthy heartbeat and even likes to squirm underneath the doplar. He/she is a swimmer that packs a punch when poked! I was able to listen to the heartbeat once a shift which always made the time more bearable.

By Saturday, much to our surprise I was given the go ahead for solid food. I had half a roast beef sandwich that consisted of the beef, provolone cheese, lettuce and good old white bread. It filled me up like a thanksgiving feast, and I was able to keep it down. Not only that, my nausea was the most controlled I can remember since being pregnant. It's enough to make you sing praises to God for all the things possible through the gifts given to us on earth. Food, water, modern medicine,!

What I had not anticipated is this side of recovery, in part because I was getting to the point where I couldn't imagine life without throwing up. The nurses bid me a nice farewell and said the hoped they did not see me again until June (which I agreed.) It is possible that I could get sick again, but we are hoping this regimen of medicine and steroids will get me through the hump I need to be able to function on my own again.

I did not anticipate how weak I would be. Thankfully, I have never really been incredibly sick during my life. I have lost all my pregnancy weight and about two pounds beyond that, about 7 lbs in all in the course of a week and a half. My body and muscles often feel like I ran or rode my bike on a hard work out after mundane tasks like showering, making a sandwich, or walking from one side of the house to the other.

I had high hopes of making it to church this morning as it's been 5 weeks since I have made it to a Sunday morning service for one reason or another, but the daunting task of walking across the yard and then to the Sanctuary and then talking to everyone made me realize I should stay home. It is easy to want to do something when you're lying or resting...

So far, I rest when I feel like it and make sure something stays in my system at all times. I trust that doing to ordinary things in life are enough exercise for now and know I will continue to get stronger as I can eat more.

Once again, thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers. I can honestly say I think they were the only things that sustained me at times. I am sure Stephen feels the same. Your phone calls, cards, meals for Stephen and visits were welcome encouragement. I ask that you continue to pray we have found a good solution and that things continue to be on the upswing. I feel as though carrying this child has truly been a group effort and I know we will all cheer loudly when he/she makes his/her grand arrival!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The ugliness of HG

There's a joke going on some of the support boards I've been frequenting for people like me who make frequent trips to the ER and are hearing "duchess" jokes. We had it first. If you're weak of stomach yourself, please save yourself from reading any further. If you want to know more about what this is, and I hope you do, please read on.

All joking aside, hypermesis gravidarum is not a joking matter. In fact, it's not the least bit funny, but if you don't find a way to laugh about it you'll go nuts. It affects as little as 2% of pregnancies and is different from morning sickness. In fact, "acute morning sickness" as it was first being called for Princess Kate could be considered an insult. In fact, we shouldn't joke about her at all, because she may be our saving grace for answers. Someone is bringing this to the forefront and even though this kind of diagnosis is a new thing to me, it's been going on a long time.

I'll admit, I'm not the worst. I'm considered mild. And I'll admit, I'm a complete wimp about it. I'm mild because I only throw up five or ten times a day while on treatment. Like many will tell you, it comes in waves of bad to worse. I'm on an up swing.

Lots of people have picc lines like cancer patients, and many swear by their Zofran pumps. So far, my saving grace has been phenergin suppositories and oral Zofran. You can ask my mother, one time when I had problems with internal hemroids, I had to use suppositories and I called her crying like a mad woman for having to put something the wrong direction in my butt hole. Yesterday, I could have cared less.

Like the IV version, they burn, but they're fast acting and within 10 minutes I'm knocked out and thanking God for not feeling like an instant puke is around the corner. Even though it's cheaper and my insurance is better about keeping me well stocked, I'd rather not take them. Phenergin leaves my skin feeling raw when anything touches it, sometimes even when there's nothing there. I get bad headaches from them and there is no functioning. And puke really isn't an accurate word. I never understood the need for an ugly word like vomit until now. But I have to say, I'll use them any day over enduring what I have the past four days, much less the past 10 or so weeks.

Unlike morning sickness, this can carry on well into pregnancy, so as I welcome my 2nd trimester, I have to say, I'm not as excited as some may feel. In fact, I'm still scared out of my mind to eat, even though I kept down chicken and rice and some crackers.

I hate it when people tell me they hope I can enjoy my pregnancy when I can't help but feel like my body is having such an adverse reaction to it. At the same time, I realize this is a joyful time for some, and I shouldn't take that from them. In fact, there are people much worse than me with HG, who do this two, three and four times, and because HG is different then morning sickness, their body does the same thing every time. I can't imagine doing this with a small child, much less more than one.

You can't take care of yourself and at first, you're humiliated. I never thought my husband would have to bathe me at 28 years old. He graciously even offered to shave my legs because he knows I feel dirty when I don't. When I was at my worst and couldn't make it to the toilet, he cleaned and mopped the floor...on 1 am. Did I mention he's a Pastor, like the pastor, the only one that shows up the next morning to preach and preside? You can add saint to that. Forget humiliation, the help from him is the most amazing Godsend I could ever ask for.

I'm giving your the graphic details, not so you feel sorry for me. I'll make it and so with my child and my marriage. I also don't deal with the intense guilt of having another bio child, because I never felt the need to biologically have a child in the first place, I just wanted to be a mom. I'm asking this so you help spread the word about this horrific condition in pregnancy of which I am only a mild sufferer. If you can help go to for more information. If you hear "duchess"jokes, please correct people. It's not funny, it's serious. She's not pampered (although I wouldn't mind the in house help rather than the hosptial or ER), she's seriously ill and carrying a royal bloodline. I mean, thank God I don't have to worry about that! There's no pressure from anyone for me to have another biological child!

I thank everyone for your prayers. They have definitely carried us through. Don't forget to pray for Stephen in all this. With no family anywhere near, a lot falls on his shoulders. God gives him a steadiness and compassion I will never understand, but am extremely grateful for. If you ever get that feeling when he talks or listens to you that he's really present with you, it's because he truly is and I'll never know how he pastor's and takes care of me. I only give thanks and praise to God whom it's due.

I also thank the people at church who have brought meals, gotten my Rx's refilled, filled in for me in the Christmas pageant and everything else I've had to let go, and otherwise prayed for us. It's certainly not been an easy time, but the people of Beautiful Savior and God's church abroad have rallied around us, and we thank you.

And so, as I close in on 36 hours of vomit free, I say, keep the prayers coming, encourage the mothers in your lives, and stand up to those who think it's just "morning sickness".

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Nasty November = Happy December

November started out fantastic with a visit to the family in Knoxville, if you recall the previous post, but things sort of went downhill from there.

We did have a fantastically quick visit at the Wallace Inn in Compton, IL before things started to head down hill. It was great to not only see Heather and Jamie, but enjoy the company of Owen and Thea Peterson as well. For those who don't know, Heather is from our home congregation St, John's Knoxville, as are her parents Owen and Thea. Heather and Jamie met at Lenoir-Rhyne our collective alma-mater. Jamie went to the Chicago seminary and is currently serving Immanuel Lutheran Church which is beautifully situated among windmills and still country life in Compton, IL. We had not seen them in a long time, so it was a wonderful visit even though it was quick.

Unforunately, I came down with a wicked cough and general ill feelings the next day which I blame on the guy that sat across from me on the Skylink in the Dallas airport who didn't cover his mouth. Really, two year olds can cough in their's not hard.

After I got an anti-biotic I proceeded to throw up despite my Zofran (aka, heavenly relief in a pill) regimen. Despite several friends efforts to provide movies, meals and a taste of Thanksgiving, my thanksgiving meal was two bags of fluids in the ER and a diagnosis for Flu B, despite my flu vaccine. The good news: Stephen remained healthy.

About the time I felt like I was arriving to the land of the living again on Monday, I learned my Papa had a bad stroke...and later discovered he was brain dead and would not recover. I'm exhausted talking about it, and a hole will be in my heart for a very long time, but it did help put things into perspective, and seeing family was nice.

A Happy December has come around though, because Tuesday, we got to hear baby's heartbeat for the first time. I healthy 155 bpm. I don't know how you can love something you can't see so much but I can't wait to kiss this baby all over! I wanted to beg the nurse not to move the doplar so I could listen for hours, but turns out baby likes to move! Even though I can't feel it, baby moved under the doplar so we got to hear that too.

I'm continually thankful for Stephen and his willingness to not only take care of me, but make every doctors appointment. Since the heartbeat was rather faint compared to other noises, we didn't record it this time, but the nurse assured us it would be louder as baby gets bigger, so we'll take video of it then. Of course, I don't expect you readers to want to listen hours on end as I did, but it's still pretty darn cool!

Our next anointment is December 21rst, the day after Stephen and I turn 28. I think we both agree the best birthday present ever will be a good report and a happy healthy baby!

We also got in an order of baby's first diapers and they are precious! I can't wait to put it on baby's bum!

This color is called "noodle" but when we find out boy or girl, you can bet we'll get creative with colors. Too cute!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Home, sweet, home!

After a full year almost to the day of moving to Amarillo, we returned to Knoxville for the first time to visit family. When we landed, we saw the Smokey mountains with a perspective we never had before. The hills looked huge and we never realized just how much water the Tennessee River provides in the area. It was certainly a sight for sore eyes, and although the leaves were past peak, we were still able to see some vibrant colors here and there.

Arriving on the eve of Week 9 of pregnancy, baby offered a reprieve from massive fatigue but decided growing means throwing up is a thrice daily activity. The good news with the break in fatigue meant mom could throw up and go on about her day.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon (November 1rst). My dad surprised us by sporting a 'stache when he came to pick us up. I was expecting a goatee, which I had seen a picture of, but the mustache was a new thing for me. I enjoyed making a few "I mustache you..." jokes. :-) We rested most of Thursday evening after mom got home from school and enjoyed catching up with my parents.

On Friday, we had lunch with the very Reverend Amy Figg fresh off of sabbatical. It was great catching up with her. There's something to be said about catching up with people you have so much history with - one two hour lunch just wasn't enough! It was so good to hear about her sabbatical - which sounds like a fantastic way to regain perspective after some pretty packed years of ministry. It was also good to get to share about what is going on a Beautiful Savior face to face. If anyone is a model for good youth ministry it is Pr. Amy Figg so I had fun sharing stories of middle school Sunday school. Of course Stephen also took some time to brag on the mission spirit of BSLC with Snack Pak, the food pantry, sewing group, ramp project, etc etc.

John and his fiance Cat and Cotton the best behaved dog in the world came in later that evening. We talked a little wedding and I caught up with them while Stephen went to hang out with his parents for a while. I had not seen John and Cat since we went down to visit them summer before last before we moved. John has great taste in jewelry and Cat's ring did not disappoint. Mom and I gushed over wedding ideas and flipped through family pictures of my and all the cousins weddings helping Cat get wedding ideas. It was funny to hear my parents tell Cat how she should keep things as simple as possible when I felt like the bar, table linens and flowers were all a bit over the top...At the end of the day, we all had a good time and I expect nothing less with the Quesada-Ward wedding. It also means March will bring more time with family which sounds fantastic after this year without!

Saturday, because it was one of the very few times the entire Ward clan was together, Dad suggested we do something fun and go to Dollywood. It sure has grown since the last time I went! I stayed away from rides for obvious reasons, but that didn't stop John, Cat and Stephen from having a little fun riding a few roller coasters!

This is Stephen in front of Thunder Road. It's one of the newer wooden coasters and it crosses in and over itself 32 times at crazy speeds.

They also got to ride the brand new roller coaster that's supposed to be the best new roller coaster in the US. It drops something like 12 stories right off and goes into two loops with little time for recovery. John said his stomach dropped at the beginning and then never really came back up until they stopped. I was a little jealous I couldn't try it. You hang off two sides o the track. This isn't our picture, but it shows you what it's like.

We also ate lunch at the backstage restaurant where I got to take this fantastic picture of the family. 

In the original picture Stephen and mom weren't cropped out...don't knopw what happened with that. But you can get a good luck at the hair on dad's upper lip! John is growing a goatee as part of "No shave November" a campaign to support prostate cancer awareness which couldn't help but make Stephen and I think of Gerry Holman who recently died in our congregation and made waves in prostate cancer awareness to his dying day and beyond - complete with a blue funeral bulletin. Gerry made such an impact on us for the short time we got to share life with him.

Of course, no trip to Dollywood is complete without a train ride! It sparked memories for John and I of riding on the Tweetsie railroad in Boone which we did more times than Dollywood when we were younger. My memories of the two trains seemed to run together. 

Dad as we waiting to head down the track. 

 Stephen and I on the train... and then chugging down the track.

We came off covered in soot, but it was a fun ride. When I was little it seemed SO much's funny how that happens! I can't wait to take my little one to Dollywood!

We walked most of the park for most of the day and headed home with full bellies of fried apple pie, funnel cakes and if you're me...frozen yogurt and a bite of most everything else.

Sunday we did marathon church day hitting St. John's for the early service (our home church) and Messiah Lutheran Church (where Stephen was baptized and my parents attend) for the late service.

During the announcements before the offering at St. Johns, Amy about jumped out of her seat making sure Pr. Steve announced we were pregnant. Later, I asked Pr Steve if he knew because it was a bit of an awkward moment where he looked like he wasn't sure what to do. He let us make the grand announcement  but I'm pretty sure they got it after Pr. Amy mouthed baby about as obviously as possible! <Thanks for that by the was fun to share the news!>  Pr. Steve being oh so pastoral wasn't sure the big news was public even though he knew, so he was nice and polite and stalled until it was clear we had to say something. We were happy to share.

At Messiah, it was great to hear a fellow LTSS alum Pauline Pezzino preach at Messiah. She was a senior when Stephen was a middler (aka, second year). I remember dreaming about days when we would get to see ordained seminary friends preach and preside after Stephen graduated. It was truly inspiring, not just to be at that point in our lives, but Pr. Pauline pretty much knocked it out of the park with her sermon. There we were married, visiting as Pastor and spouse, expecting and getting to see the fruits of all the hard labor that goes into to seminary for any seminarian be displayed in all the ways the Holy Spirit works. It was one of the moments in life where you want to pinch yourself and see if you're dreaming!

All that excitement left me wore out, but we rallied after a nap to go see Stephen's grandparents in Oak Ridge with Jim. They seemed very well and it was great catching up with them. It's so nice to slip into the comforts of family. Per their usual, Roland and Mitzie had seen several productions and were making rounds at Oak Ridge High School football games. Roland, who reads textbooks for the blind filled us in on the math book he's currently translating into speech...I don't envy that job, but I didn't like math when all I had to do was solve, much less try to explain a graph or illustration to coincide with a problem. I think if I did that I'd have to limit my time to History and Literature books! There's no way I could make a math book make sense to a listener, but I guess you're a little better with that when you had a career working in a National Lab!

Monday, mom and I went shopping, I took yet another nap, and then we headed over to the Friedrich's for dinner. We had eaten so much heavy food and I had thrown up so much of it that I swear chicken breast and  pasta tasted like manna from heaven. I was so thankful for Jim cooking such normal food! Afterwards, I got to look at Stephen baby pictures and school work. Stephen was such a cuter baby than I was! Being born three months early, my skin was funny color and I did not make many expressions until I was much older. Stephen had such chubby cheeks (jowls as Nancy called them - to Stephen's dismay - however I thought they were the CUTEST thing ever) and chubby legs. He was the cutest smiling chunker ever...except perhap maybe the one that's baking in the oven right now. 

I have to say though - I had heard and experienced Stephen being a bad speller, but his writing from the 1992-93 school year was phenomenal! I had so much fun reading them out loud. I have to give him credit, if he was trying to spell them out phonetically by what they sounded like, he came up with some very convincing Tennessee dialect spellings. Points for creativity for sure! On the flip side, his penmanship was very nice! 
This one is tame..

Other highlights included two journal entries/letters from Jim. One written just before they headed over seas to live in Vienna, and another written to Stephen on his birthday. They were very sweet and heartfelt. I hope we remember to do things like that for our kids. While Stephen may or may not have understood their significance at the time, it was a very nice momento to read down the line. One of my favorite quotes from Jim regarded around Stephen and Craig's insistence to play and make guns despite Jim and Nancy's greatest attempts to keep toy guns out of the house. 

"Every time I turn around, you're either shooting me, shooting Craig, or rolling around in the grass (and mud) trying to dodge enemy fire. When you're thirty-five, I hope you have a kid who stalks you with a toy gun ten hours a day, then you'll know what it's like!"

To think, that kid grew up to be a pastor who's darn close to a pacifist. Of course, some of his early childhood writings did mention how evil Sotumlusan (Sadam Hussein) was - compliments of the gulf war, I'm sure. 

We wrapped the evening up earlier than I would have liked to catch our flight early this morning. We arrived without a hitch. My predictions of the cat ignoring me at first then begging for attention five minutes later were spot on and soon we were enjoying a nap and each others company. 

We'll call this trip a success for sure! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hello week 7, again.

Week 7 has come in with a vengeance. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I ended up having to get the doctor to call in an anti-nausea medicine to keep things down. First it was out with the oatmeal, then the ginger ale and saltines and finally the Popsicle. Thankfully today, I kept down toast, nilla wafers and finally some very yummy mashed potatoes courtesy of Super Husband/Future Super Dad, Stephen.

Despite the miserable feeling of keeping nothing down and being even more fatigued because of it, we've had some fun times talking about baby's upcoming arrival. Saturday evening, as Stephen and I have decided we want a jungle/Lion King themed nursery, Stephen got a kick out of thinking about a future Christmas card on the edge of a lip in the Palo Duro Canyon holding our child out like Simba. We were thinking about channeling our current President for inspiration.

 If you've never heard Stephen's opening scene impression before, trust me, it's pretty dead on. Add this fun little musing to sitting with the Wells who have confessed to thinking about the Lion King as Stephen presides and he had a pretty hard time holding it together presiding on Sunday morning. I looked over at Megan and asked her if she made a face, but really I think he tickled himself and refused to look at us. <Which if you've ever seen me get tickled in church, that was a well played move on his part.>

The next night we mused a little more...Always keeping adoption in the back of our mind for our family, I confessed to Stephen that I now understand why the biological argument of loving a biological child more has absolutely no ground. As far as I'm concerned, biologically speaking this kid's not doing itself any favors. I'm throwing up, and if not, I feel like it, I want to do nothing but sleep, my skin is breaking out and thanks to this medicine I'm getting more constipated by the minute! (TMI!!!)...I mean kid, get yourself together because right now, having someone do the hard work next time sounds fantastic!

Ok ok, momma breakdown aside, we are looking forward to our little jellybean. It will be fun to see if it gets my pale white scotch-irish freckled skin, or Stephen's tan European skin. <For the sake of yearly Friedrich family beach trip, I'm hoping for his skin! That or between the two of us, we'll buy stock in sunscreen.> His blue eyes, or my hazel, his static mohawk baby hair or my next to nothing blond hair from when I was little. His structured nose or my bulb of a nose that wrinkles when I laugh too hard, his height or my....lack there of.

So despite the rough week, we're still very excited to what's to come, both so I'll feel better, but also because I can't wait for this little trouble maker to make it's way to the world!

Monday, October 15, 2012

First meeting, hello Rice.

Today, we had our very first meeting with our tee-niny little grain of rice. That's right, our baby is the size of a grain of rice which means we really are around six weeks pregnant. If you're calculating from our previous emergency room data, that means we really were only about three weeks pregnant at the hospital.

There were many great things confirmed today. One, although we couldn't really see much, we did figure out that our rice grain is in the right place (as in my uterus and not my tubes). Two, we saw the littlest flicker of a heartbeat thanks to my doctor's expert positioning skills with the sonogram machine. Three, our new due date is June 10th.

We were a little dissapointed that we're two weeks later, but decided it sounded more than it really is because it pushed us into a new month. On the other hand, both families will officially be out of school, so we're hoping this means family can get into town in ample time to be here for Baby Friedrich's grand arrival.

On the other side of things, this mom is so thankful to have seen proof of life today because so far, pregnancy is nothing to be excited about. Pregnancy fatigue is a different kind of tiredness that I never knew exisisted. If gives me new prospective for people who deal with chronic fatigue and how easy it is to get discouraged with it. Although I haven't yet thrown up, I feel like I should probably 80% of the day. I have to say, so far the only good thing about pregnancy is the sex that started it. (Sorry if that's TMI for the family members, but it's no secret how babies are made - and if it is, you're too young to be reading this...:-)

All in all today's appointment was a good thing because I saw proof of life that will make this all worth it in the end. It's hard to believe we all started so incredibly tiny. In theory we all learn about it in anatomy but seeing that little bitty heart beat that lives inside my tummy makes gives a totally different perspective. My little grain of rice is so cute already!

In other news, Happy 30th Birthday to Uncle John!

My brother who hates that he's turning thirty will be an uncle of a 4 month old on his 31rst birthday, so I promise unclehood to be the best part of his thirties!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Two Tennesse Texans and a...Texan?

Say WHAT??

Well, that's pretty much what our response to the ER doctor  was when he told us we were pregnant. Oh, it wasn't that we weren't trying, we were. It's just that was the second visit to the emergency room for ovarian cysts and 2 blood test at LEAST 4 urine tests, an ultra sound and a CT scan from doctor's offices and let's not forget to mention Stephen and I could buy stock in Target's "up and up" brand just because of the number of pregnancy tests I'd used.

So you can imagine that while I was writhing in pain from bursts ovarian cysts and they asked me if I was pregnant I shot them several dirty looks. We had been trying and I had already resigned myself that to go through this much pain, there's no way I've held on to a baby (not to mention this is two weeks post menstrual. <if that grosses you out, you may not want to read for the next nine months - or - ever.>) I had grieved over this "not being our time" and we weren't going to try till later after Christmas, because who wants to be in the final trimester of pregnancy in the dead of a Texas summer in hundred degree heat? So amidst my pain and our frustration at no one really taking my abdominal pain seriously, I think we both blinked and let our mouth hang for a little bit when the ER doc dropped the baby bomb.

Naturally, we were both a little scared because pain and pregnancy this early in the game are not good things. So as we were wisked off for yet another round of ultrasounds, we were told that a blood level would be run.

<Fyi, I'm leaving out a lot of detail about what Friday night/Saturday morning looks like in the BSA ER, like the shirtless guy that got beat up in the parking lot because he was running a way from people "he didn't know why" were chasing him, the cop detail that surrounded him, and the stabbed lady that was later intebated when we got back from ultra sound. If you want to hear about that exciting bit you'll have to ask, there is way too much else to tell.>

It took forever to hear back from anyone, as you might imagine in the ER at that time of day, so in the mean time prayers were said, Fernando Ortega tried his best to lull me into an ER room sleep, and we waited, somewhat impatiently to hear the confirmation of this so called "pregnancy".

The Doc came out and told us our  hCG level (pregnancy hormone) was a 99 <Great, out of a 100, right?> To which we were clueless what that meant. We were explained that it was a low number which could mean I was miscarrying, so we wanted the number to grow. By the way, this girl who was two weeks late was only 2 weeks pregnant, explain that - especially given the ban from sex we'd been put on since all this cyst stuff started? <Don't worry, I will.>

Now, stop right there because a girl dreams about things when she's little - one is getting married. After that, she dreams about how she's going to drop the baby news to her parents and suprise the heck out of them that they're finally getting grandbabies. Now forget all that because I ended up freaking out and calling my mom and laying it all out there. If anyone knows what becoming a mother is like and the emotional rollercoaster, it's And at the end of the day, this new mom just needed her mommy. <Yep, totally feeling capable of raising my own child, why do you ask?>

As any good mom would do, my mom kept calm and told me a bunch of things I can't remember that seemed to comfort me and offered prayers, and because that meant so much, Nancy and Jim were soon called in on the prayer chain as well.

By Monday, the number of our hCG (which we later found out would be in the hundreds of thousands by full much for 100...) had jumped to 321.4. We felt a little more confident exchanged hugs and tentative congrats with each other but still felt mostly too scared to be excited. We weren't really sure what that meant and the whole 2 weeks pregnant thing freaked us out a bit.

Tuesday morning, we arrived at our new OBGYN office (which is another store in itself), to a friendly new NP who threw all kinds of "swag" at us immediatly. Pre-natal vitamin samples, a tri-mester by tri-mester journal, FitPregnancy magazine and a whole other host of "welcome to Parenthood" propaganda. Like it was just assumed we new we were having a baby and everything was going to be ok.

Through the course of the apointment, we were assured that my ovarian cysts were likely just an unfortunate event that occured right around the time I was supposed to find out I was pregnant. Since the pain was subsiding, the risk of a tubal pregnancy was down and by all accounts, we are 6 weeks into a healthy pregnancy.

What? Six weeks, yes. OH, yeah you see, the medical community measures to the point of conception or something like that. The REST of the world including the OB world measures pregnancy from the date of your last missed period, August 20th. Which if you do the math, by the time this hits the world-wide-web, we are 7 weeks along.

I think it took us a couple days to really soak it in, and I'm not entirely sure it has at this point. After talking about when to tell everyone you always hear "wait till 12 weeks to make sure you don't niscarry". Well, quite frankly, my baby has lived through radiation and narcotics for pain at this point, so I'm pretty sure he/she is as strong as ever, but I also just can't seem to understand the reasoning. If I miscarry this child, I certainly don't want to have to grieve about it by my lonesome. What's the need for secrecy, especially since miscarraiges are so common, we're talking 20% of all pregnancies!

Now that all the excitement is starting to settle in, we're getting used to the idea, and Stephen is doing fall youth gathering next weekend, we have decided to tell the congregation. Because I just couldn't wait any longer.

I'm not sure what that will be like. I do know from my wrist problems that everyone and their uncle from tim-buk-tu has a cure for this or that. I'm not terribly looking forward to that part, or the judgement that may come from choosing this over that, the rolled eyes when we mention cloth diapering or any other thing people may find naive. I am NOT at all looking forward to the fact that suddenly people feel it's ok to touch a pregnant womans belly because when I got pregnant my personal bubble seemed to just dissapear. But mostly, I'm really looking forward to this incredibly supportive congregation that loves us, cares for us and will be JUST as excited as we are.

And so as the chaos of the baby annoucnment is about to insue, I have three things to say.

2. Sorry Mr. Cat, you're about to become a little less cute in this house hold!
3. May 27, 2013.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February, WHOA.

Phew! It is hard to believe it’s been so long since I’ve updated! I know you all have asked, but life took a very unexpected busy turn two days after my last update! I am now the manager at Viking Sewing Gallery here in Amarillo. Many of you know this is the company I worked for in Columbia selling Husqvarna-Viking and Singer Sewing and Embroidery Machines. I am in HOG HEAVEN. However, it has left little time in the way of blog updating.

Let’s start way back at Christmas. Many of you know because of my new job I was unable to go home for Christmas. I must say, I was really bummed, but loving my new job helped. Much to your all’s disappointment, I have to say Christmas Day’s unexpected snow fall also helped boost morale!

Yes, in true Amarillo weather fashion, it was forcasted to be a gloomy mid-forties rainy day on Christmas, but instead it never got above freezing and we received six inches of snow! 

This was our trek to Christmas Day service!

And this is what happened by two hours later!

Conditions continued to deteriorate, but the airport continued to say Stephens flight was still slated to fly. So he dug out a path for our new-to-us CR-V (bought quicker than originally planned due to quicker employment for myself) <I quickly commandeered the car with little fight after I exclaimed about actually seeing the lane markings on the road - being up high is SO COOL! That was easy. ;-) >

In the meantime we went to have Christmas Dinner with the Berg family. The meal was delicious as usual, but the fellowship was even better! It made missing Christmas dinner in NC more bearable for sure. 

Stephen packed his bags and put them in the CRV to take to the Berg's. Checking flight status again before heading to the airport, the flight was still slated to leave so we headed out on snow packed icy roads passing several wrecks. I was less freaked out by driving in the road conditions as I was about Stephen's plane taking off in the conditions. As the sun went down, things were quickly going from bad to very bad. But alas, I dropped him off with a quick kiss eager to get the drive home over with.

A good 20 minutes later, I was a little over halfway home and received a text from Stephen saying his flight had indeed been canceled. <Rest assured, I pulled over to check it before turning around thinking it had to be him - or PRAYING it was him to tell me it was canceled to ease my nerves aka KEEP ME FROM FREAKING OUT!!!!>

Come to find out, they could put him on a plane, but they weren't going out of Houston until the next morning. Stephen thinking he could either spend a night in a crappy hotel by himself in Houston or at home warm in bed with his absolutely charming wife, made the appropriate decision to ask me to come back pick him up. <It was tough, but I braved the elements once again to pick up my husband so that he may spend Christmas night comfortably. I hated he couldn't leave...really....>

Turns out due to more mechanical issues, he couldn't leave until Tuesday. This was actually sad because it meant missing a lot of extended family and Craig. 

And the rest of the story of Christmas is history.

January bought new changes for me once again as my store got moved to a similar location and format with in JoAnn Fabrics as the store where I previously worked. After five weeks of dust and multiple inconveniences - like a recurrent cough and eventual illness making me feel the sickest the longest I ever have (hence the blog update)- we moved the store. My area manager came in and we set up.

I have not taken a full picture of the finished product, but this picture featuring the 160th Anniversary Limited Edition Singer Sewing Machine shows some of our progress.

<Isn't that the cutest machine EVER? It's made to look like the old Featherweight! *Droooooll*>

Stephen and I are continuing to settle nicely. Of course, the new schedule for myself has proved difficult to adjust to and spend appropriate time together. Stephen has been a pastor-on-wheels for most the month of January going to various "mission area" gatherings including a "Think Tank" for the future of our mission arear, a tri-synodical gathering, and first-call theological education. The trips back and forth to Dallas and Waco left him exhausted and me sad for our lack of contact. Thankfully, things have slowed down AND the mission area has dedicated funds from their Disciple Life Alive campaign to update technology. One of their goals is to create web conferencing so that Stephen and others so far from the mission area offices will not have to hit the road and skies so often. It's cost efficient, wife-approved, and pastor appreciated (tending to a flock is hard when you're on the road so much!)- a definite win-win.

Our house is slowly coming together...some clearance shopping piece by piece has helped our living room feel homey and warm. Post this pictures, we've put up red curtains, and I've worked on some pillows.

Things are going well, and when you leave work with a few like this - it's hard to complain.