Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Two Weeks Old!

Sweet Sarah Grace turned two weeks old yesterday and we made a day of it! First, with her two week check-up at Dr. Young's office.

Sarah had been having a lot of gas and very frequent bowel movements (she can thank me later for posting about this publically...) so we called the on call line the night before and were told to give her pedialite through the night until we could get to Dr. Young at our regularly scheduled check-up the next morning.

We thought Sarah had been growing despite the tummy upset and we were right! We've noticed her face filling out and her clothes fitting a little better. She was up from 5 lbs 10 oz to 6 lb 4 oz. and had grown a whole inch. Since she's been mostly breastfed, I feel like I deserve an award for having enough breastmilk to have her growing on target! I have heard so many friends having problems with supply, but the growth indicates that she's getting all the milk she needs from me! (Now if I could just keep it from making her so uncomfortable!)

Dr. Young interestingly enough asked me if there was something I had added or taken away from my diet since her stomach became so upset. I'm a pretty regular eater as of late...especially because we've had a lot of leftovers, but on Saturday, Papa asked for Mimi to bring home a dessert, and she brought red velvet cake. Knowing of some friends with food coloring allergies I suggested that and Dr. Young concurred it was likely the culprit. So I was instructed to pump and dump for 24 hours since my last slice of cake (I really hadn't had much of a taste for it anyway...) and switched her to soy formula in the meantime.

She did well on the soy formula. I did less well dumping about 10 oz of breastmilk down the drain. (I now understand the phrase "Don't cry over spilt milk." That's harder than it sounds...)

Because her feeding schedule got off a little the night before on the pedialyte (she ate a lot more frequently) I ended up staying up a lot later to get that first breast feeding after the fast.

There had been storms in the area south of us, but they weren't expected to come to Amarillo and to be honest I really didn't pay much attention to it. I was exhausted and ready to get to at 10:45 I fed her burped and changed until she was comfortable and sleepy...stayed a little extra longer to make sure she was good and asleep before I put her down. Success at 11:00! Quite impressive if I do say so myself!

I drug my tired body in the bed...curled up to my warm sleeping husband, pulled the covers under my chin. Let out a contented sigh and then...


No it wasn't the baby. It was the tornado sirens.

Mind you we had been talking about our emergency plan since the tornados in Oklahoma (which was only about four hours from us if you need a reference), so we knew we were going to pile into our small master bedroom closet which is one of the only interior places in the house without windows.

I shot up out of that bed, practically shoved Stephen yelling "Stephen it's the tornado sirens, GET UP and go!!" I ran and picked up Sarah and then ran down the hall bursted in the guest room where mom was sleeping and again in a panic said "Mom it's the tornado sirens, get up, let's go!"

We grabbed all the pillows we could and our cell phones and huddled in that closet keeping in touch with weather updates on our phones. Meanwhile, Sarah who I was so worried about waking up when I laid her down - slept in my lap cradled on a pillow - SOUND asleep the whole time. Through tennis ball hail coming down like our house was being stoned.

Mom took a picture to document the occasion of all four of us curled up in the closet and I prayed it would be nothing more than a memory of the time the tornado sirens went off when Sarah was two weeks old and we were all okay.

Since we were all in our pj's that one is going in the family book, not online - sorry folks! ;-)

There was a period of time where it got really calm and quiet. I just prayed that wasn't a sign of bad things to come, but shortly after the news channel reported they were headed out of the studio to a safe place. (This morning they were featured on the Today show and NBC nightly news forcasting from the bathroom...) Apparently a funnel cloud either touched down or came really close to the studio. The studio as a crow flies is probably not more than a mile from us. I'm wondering if that funnel cloud passed over us first.

By midnight, the threat was declared over. Sarah had slept through it all. Mom and Dad then got up all through the night with her since she was later wide awake. We made sure to tell her we didn't sleep through the storm and would appreciate it if she would calm down and sleep. She didn't seem to understand.

It was another one of those days were I was thankful Mimi was still here to watch her so I could get some sleep.

She also let Stephen and I take a date night. We went to Napoli's (a local Italian restaurant) which went by all too quickly even with dessert. Since I hadn't been out much, we decided not to go straight home and went to...wait for it...the most romantic of all places...Sam's Club. That's right, we went to Sam's. There were some shorts I'd gotten there about a week before Sarah was born. They were great, but now fall down to my I wanted to get a smaller size. Plus, we were out of graham crackers and nutella. That really can't happen in our household.

All in all it was only a little over an hour and a half we were gone, but the adult conversation was good for me. Even if it did include a little about Sarah.

And now...again, the moment you've been waiting for...

 Sarah and sleeping on her Daddy's shoulder. So incredibly sweet. I could eat them both with a spoon!

Sarah really likes to be walked and bounced. When we need to get work done we put her in the swing. But don't be fooled...if she wants to be walked and bounced, the swing is NOT the same. She got a little fussy in the doctors office while we were waiting on Dr. Young. I walked back and forth in the room and bounced and said to Sarah "Oh we love to walk and bounce don't we!" to which Stephen said..."You need to say "I" for her, unless you like to walk and bounce too." I replied..."If she's quiet and happy, I LOVE to walk and bounce!"

Hopefully, we'll get this stomach thing figured out soon...

This is that sweet sleepy face we like!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A week and a half in...

It's hard to believe so much has happened since Sarah was five days old!

The breathing issue turned out to be a bigger deal than I thought...although not as big of a deal as it could of been. Let me explain...

I had always been able to get my breathing under control when it became difficult, but last Sunday night, after doing some simple walking around the house and getting ready to watch the Hunger Games with mom (and Sarah) I suddenly became so short of breath that I felt like I couldn't breath. It wasn't like a panic attack because I've had that before. (Besides, Sarah had been relatively easy to care for - plus I had mom and Stephen with me...)

Long story short I ended up spending the night in the ER at BSA. (And we thought those days were over...) Stephen went with me and even though my mom is a perfectly capable mother who took care of both a fussy baby (my brother) and a baby hooked up to a heart monitor born very premature (me) I cried and cried (not helping the breathing!!!) over leaving my five day old baby. Sarah had been exclusively breastfed up until then, so no bottle and no formula. I fretted over giving her a bottle at so young because everyone makes such a big deal about nipple confusion. I did not want to introduce formula, but do to a back order issue with the electric pumps and an ill fitting manual pump, I had not pumped any breast milk and I was sure this one night was going to kill my efforts at breast feeding. That and the only time Sarah ever cries hysterically is when she's hungry (I'll take responsibility for that as a Ward). What if she didn't take the bottle OR the formula? I would have left a screaming child with my mother for who knows how long...

After 8 hours overnight in the ER, I was given oxygen, had a chest x-ray and a CT scan, was told I had pneumonia and fluid on my lungs and given an antibiotic. Sarah - took the bottle no problem. I had to pump (with my ill fitting painful manual pump) and dump for the first half of the day and then she went back to breast no problem. (Except mom's supply having dropped - which we're slowly getting better at)

The next day I was told to go to Dr. Anderson's office immediately...and God love that man...he says "Pneumonia? WHO told you that?? What doctor was this? I don't even know this don't have a fever, you're not sweating you don't have pneumonia!" But what he was concerned with was a little bigger of a problem (and perhaps that was part of his frustration) It was a condition called pericardial myopathy which is weakness in the heart left by pregnancy...I was booked with a cardiologist the next day for an echo-cardiogram. (Fluid on the longs is just one symptom...)

It could have been really scary...but fortunately, I do NOT have pericardial myopathy. But my blood pressure is taking its sweet time going down and I did have a fair amount of fluid left in my body. I go back in a month to make sure my blood pressure goes back down. It was chalked up to my body having a really difficult time recovering after gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and major surgery. (And it probably doesn't help I'm "severely anemic".

So let's talk about that fluid because it's a week and a half post-partum and I have lost 30 lbs. Mind you, I only gained 15 - but that's what malnutrition and throwing your guts up for six months then being put on a restricted diet does to you. But let's think about this...Sarah was 5 lbs 10 ounces. So to date...I have lost 25 lbs of fluid. It's bizzare. But my lungs are feeling better and I'm feeling better.

So by Wednesday it was time for Papa (my dad) to arrive and crisis was averted. So onto why you REALLY visited the blog. Thank you to those of you who pitied me and read the part about "mom".

First we had our first bath. Dad made sure he got the most obnoxious shots of bath time as he could. As you can tell. Sarah was not particularly fond of the experience.

Of course, I use only the best Arbonne Baby Care for my daughter. ;-)

But it didn't seem to matter much. You can tell the deep concentration on my face as I try to scrub the back of a screaming, squirmy wet bet baby. Bless her heart...

Towel time wasn't near as bad until mommy decided the towel needed to come off...

Because it was time to put her in her cute kitty PJ's from her great Aunt Cathy. (Which of course, makes mommy happy to indoctrinate into baby Sarah that cats are indeed a good thing). Now we're all clean and ready to meet Papa!

(Side note: Several of you have asked out Mr. Cat aka Palmer is handling his demotion. He seems a little lonelier than usual. But I try to take intentional time to pet him each day. He's been a little curious of Sarah, but for the most part hasn't been too interested. I think that will change when she's old enough to chase him and pull his tail. Something, no doubt, Mommy will discourage and Daddy will encourage. We need to get our "we parent together" minds together on that one...Mommy WILL win.)

Side note over.

At last Papa got to Amarillo and met us in the hall way as we were finishing up a feeding from earlier. I was surprised at the group hung (Dad did actually hug me first, although he later apologized and hugged me because he forgot, and thought he hadn't hugged me...I'll take it either way.)

Love at first site on both accounts. 

This is one of baby Sarah's very favorite places to take a nap. I remember it was one of mine as a little girl. Those broad shoulders and warm chest. My dad always seemed to radiate warmth that made nap time so easy...Sarah and Papa often nap together.

But it's more fun when Sarah is bright eyed and saying hello to the world. Papa loves to see her eyes open. They still aren't quite focusing but you can tell every day she gets a little closer.

The Sunday night trip to the ER didn't help us straighten out night from day. Mom (Mimi), bless her, was trying to stave off feeding Sarah thinking I could get home and breast feed. I think it caused Sarah to take a step back and mix her days and nights up (although I do appreciate the gesture). There are times when she is wide awake and has kept Mom and Dad up most of the night. Finally I got so tired we both completely zonked out when we were left alone.

Mom (Mimi) thought the picture was precious as we all look so exhausted. The picture is less than flattering to me, but I remember thinking that taking a nap with baby and Mr. Cat would be my definition of nirvana. It was...

As you can see, my Kindle is propped up. I was reading...apparently a while ago since it shut itself done to idle. Who can resist a nap when you've been up most of the night, there's a warm baby on your chest breathing sweetly and a cat keeping your legs warm. Anyone else would've looked equally exhausted...

Last night we made great strides in the night time reversal. I had done some reading on how to readjust her clock. My Breastfeeding 101 class (which I'm constantly using things from) recommended that if you're baby was especially fussy at night and was sleeping in the same room to move her because she likely smells milk on mom. So for the first time (which was a little nerve wracking) Sarah spent most of the night in her crib in stead of the pack and play bassinet.

I kept all the lights down low, and the second she cried, I was up changing a diaper and feeding her, no matter whether it was technically time. I didn't say a word to her, we just got down to business so that she would know if she cried in the night that was going to be the routine. And as has been the case most of the week, she cried on and off from the time we went to bed (around 10) until around 1:30am. I was diligent and on a mission. By the time I got her down at 1:30/2:00am, She went until about 4:30...again with the no nonesense changing and feeding. I was finished by around 5:30. Stephen who gets up at 6 on Sunday mornings was going to take the last feeding, but I knew if she was sleeping there was no reason to wake her up.

So around 7:45 she woke up again ready to feed. We got up flipped all the lights on and opened the blinds...ta-da...we made it through the night with more sleep than we'd really gotten since we first brought her home. I was thankful because Sunday is probably Stephen's most exhausting work day and he deserves to be in the right frame of mind with the important work that is to be done on Sunday.

Here's to hoping we can play the game again tonight and have just as much success.

In the meantime...naptime.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

5 Days Old!

Sarah Grace is officially 5 days old today! Our first night home was a success. She only got us up about three times and I was still giddy enough to have her home that I didn't mind. The next day, Mimi got in town and boy, are we grateful for her help!
We're all just so smitten with Miss Sarah! She has been the most perfect baby. I feel like I was that pregnant lady that didn't want to hear about anyone's "perfect pregnancy"...I'm totally that mom that has the baby that only feeds two or three times a night. She only cries when she's hungry, so we have to be vigilant about dirty diapers because she doesn't let us know. She sleeps very well (takes after her mom that way.)It's like God's taking pity on me after such a rough pregnancy!

She continues to breastfeed well. I'm so glad I took a class on that as it has made our learning process so much easier. I've not had any issues other than a little tenderness.

I'm recovering slowly but surely. Right now, most of my pain is around the incision part and still soreness when getting up and down. I'm still taking pain medicine and an anti-inflammatory. I tried to get off the narcotics yesterday but it was clearly too early. I'm also having trouble breathing here and there. Taking nice deep breaths can be difficult. I try to cough as I was instructed to get the fluid out of my lungs, but it's painful to cough. I need a good deep productive cough and I can't seem to get one. Mom and Stephen remark that I'm sometimes very pale and I'm wondering if it has to do with my breathing. If I'm not any better by my follow up with Dr. Anderson on Tuesday I will address it with him.

In the meantime, our days have been filled with spoiling that sweet little girl. The first picture is the one of the first time she opened her eyes for any good period of time, but we got some good pictures today.
Here she is snuggling with her daddy. She loves him very much. One of the funniest things she does when she gets hungry and is cuddling with daddy, is she searches for a place to feed off of (aka a nipple). Stephen loves to give her lots and lots of kisses and she eventually opened wide and tried to root on to his nose. Well...I guess the tip is kind of pointy!

We stayed home from church this morning because the doctors really don't want her in large crowds for two months (or passed around much for the first two weeks - when she will get her first round of vaccines.) When we were told that - I asked the nurse if she wanted to tell the church that...I'm guessing though as she gets older, her pediatrician will be able to direct us better as to when we can get out.

She was however wide-eyed this morning, so Mimi and I put her in a cute outfit and took pictures.
Here are a few of our favorites...

I'm convinced she looks like a doll baby, but I know I'm biased. I just think she has the most perfect little face! We can't decide who she looks more like. I think she has Stephen's mouth, my nose..and every day I think the eyes are a toss up.

After this, she fed, we changed her diaper and she fell dead asleep.
Needless to say when she falls asleep like this on me, I melt into a puddle. It's also really easy to get sleepy myself. She must have had a good feeding that time because she let me sleep for a full three hours. We slept HARD and Momma really needed it. (See perfect baby...)

Thanks for all your congratulations and well wishes! We're still on cloud 9!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

She's here!

As I wrote my previous blog post on Monday night, I had absolutely NO clue I'd be having a baby the next day. I was anticipating another long drawn out process with no conclusive results. But Tuesday morning when I woke up with twice the headache, my feet still fairly swollen (which now that they are returning back to size, I realize they weren't just kind of swollen, the were REALLY swollen), swollen bags under my eyes and a swollen face in general, I decided to check my blood pressure even though it had been normal all weekend.
My feet Sunday Night
Here I am very swollen and very uncomfortable!
Not Tuesday..178/89. On Monday, I was given orders for the 24 hour urine collection, but I wasn't told what to do if my blood pressure went up a lot higher. I figured if I felt that bad, it must not feel to good for baby girl either so I called the on call doctor before offices opened and he sent me straight to the hospital.

Now, at this point, I figured they would just monitor me and see if it goes down. So when we got to the hospital at 6:30, they drew some bloodwork which can also explain some tendencies in pre-eclampsia such as a low platelet count or high liver enzymes. Then, fortunately it was Dr. Anderson's turn at the hospital.

My blood work didn't look all that bad, but all the nurses that came in and out were really shocked at how swollen I was - especially for it being in the morning. The nurse said not to count on anything, but it was likely we would have a baby sooner rather than later. Which was just vague enough to keep us curious and somewhat prepared for the thought.

At that point, I knew I was probably going to end up having that dread
ed c-section. I was completely closed and not effaced the day before and had no contractions.

Dr. Anderson came in and explained, "yes would could wait and see what the 24 urine sample says, but you're 36 weeks and the likelihood of this getting any better until we deliver you is slim to none." Then he checked my cervix, and commented on my crooked pelvis (that was a new one for me!) and said that as much as he knew I wanted to have a vaginal birth being induced with no help from the get-go was going to be a hard, likely more than 24 hour labor that might result in a c-section anyway. So, given my history with him and how much I trust him - I agreed to have a c-section around 10:00 am Tuesday morning. I still wasn't clear on timeline so I asked when he thought that would be and his answer was also a shock. "Well I have another surgery right after this then I'll be free to do it around noon."

NOON? As in 12:00pm, as in two HOURS from now, I'm going to have a baby????? You can imagine that this kind of scenario just doesn't run through my mind after I've had so many scares with this pregnancy. We stayed as calm and cool as we could, but on this inside, I have to admit I was a mixture of excited, nervous and terrified. Excited to bring baby home, nervous about delivering her techincally one week preterm, and terrified of being awake during that whole surgery!

Getting the shot in my back was not hard. It contained both a numbing medicine and a delayed release morphine for when the numbness wore off. It's a bizarre feeling to have a c-section. I felt like they were pulling and pushing from my belly button, but the incision is actually very much lower than that. But that's all you feel.

She came out healthy and well!
Being assessed in the nursery.

Proud Papa!

Soon enough I heard the sweetest sounding strong blood curdling scream when Sarah Grace Friedrich made her arrival at 12:23 pm. She weight 5lbs and 10 oz and was 18 inches long (NO WONDER I felt kicks so high!) Beforehand, we were warned she might have to go to the NICU, but with that healthy set of lungs and a 9/10 on both APGAR scores, she headed straight to the newborn nursery with Stephen while my c-section was being completed. And becasue she got to skip the NICU, they brought her to me in recovery and allowed me to start breastfeeding her right away.

This moment was so surreal!
I was anticipating the breastfeeding process to be so much more difficult, but the truth is, Sarah came out like she already knew what she was doing! Sure we have had a few rough moments when she's tired because this was all so stressful to her too, but for the most part, she has done fantastic. I find that I have more patience with it than I thought I would too...because I get to just stare at her and coax her into doing what's best for her. What more could you want as a mom?
Visiting me in recovery! My sweet, sweet baby girl!

Now we're stuck in the hospital because of me and not Sarah - which I would have rathered if it had to be that way. The recovery of the c-section, which I feared just as much as the actual procedure, has not been so pretty, but it's not unbearable, especially when you have such a cute little girl's eyes to look into all day. The worst part was actually related to the magnesium drug they gave me to prevent the pre-eclampsia from turning into eclampsia and giving me seizures. That drug makes your head, hurt and the world foggy. I can't really remember what we did right after surgery, and I had to have that drip in an IV for 24 hours until the risk was significantly reduced or my blood pressure came down. (It's still a tad on the high side for me, but not too bad)

The pain, although uncomfortable is dull and not sharp.I only feel it mostly when I move. But after getting a shower and actually getting to use the bathroom I am realizing that movement actually helps it feel better in the long run. Having said that, I can tell I am very weak on my feet. I don't know if it's blood loss, or having a baby or major surgery or a combination but I required some help getting to and from the bathroom and shower. (Plus I still have this draining pump hanging out my abdomen...)

There was talk I may possible go home today, but I don't feel strong enough or in control of my pain enough to do so and there's really no hurry.

In the meantime, Sarah and I have spent lots of time together bonding skin to skin and breastfeeding, singing and's a dream come true really. Stephen had a funeral he had to lead at 4:00 today so I got to spend most of the day with her by myself...not that I'm hogging her or anything. ;-) But when he finally got back to the hospital I decided it was time to feed her, so I held her a little longer. Other than that she's been with him all night. She nuzzles in his neck when he holds her. She lays her sweet little head on his chest and lets out the sweetest sighs. Stephen turns into a melted pile of wax and already Sarah has him wrapped around her very tiny pinky finger! The two of them are adorable.
Dad's a total goner for his little girl!

That's my sweet Sarah Grace!

I can't stand how beautiful she is!

Monday, May 13, 2013

36 weeks and she keeps the surprises coming...

Well I guess we shouldn't be surprised! Today was rather eventful and then uneventful as we are starting a game of hurry up and wait.

I have been having some very bad swelling in my feet, ankles and legs. Saturday night/Sunday morning I slept the whole night with my feet propped up and woke up to a swollen bag under my right eye and my left eye swollen shut. It slowly drained out but still looked pretty puffy by the time I got to church. I must have looked horrible...I didn't wear any make-up because I was still so swollen. People kept giving me pitiful looks.

I decided to check my blood pressure a couple times as excessive swelling is a sign they tell you to watch for with pre-eclampsia. I had been told to drink 90 oz of water a day and while I do my best, I know I'm not letting go of 90 oz a day, so up until this point I had thought the swelling was normal (and it still may be...). My blood pressure was a little elevated from my normal 112-116/68-72 but certainly not high.

I checked it this morning before I got out of bed and it was 149/89. I do have a hard time with the cuff because it takes up my entire upper arm and is sometimes hard to get above my elbow. I took it again and got a similar reading so I decided to call the doctor and see if I could have a professional check it. By the time I got to the dr's office it was 130/110. They checked my urine and found protein (another sign of pre-eclampsia) and I had gained four lbs in one week (yet another sing of Pre-E). (This from the girl that didn't gain any weight for about four weeks until the most recent trip when I had gained two)

Apparently, none of this is worrisome enough for an immediate diagnosis or action. However, they are concerned about the protein in my urine, so tomorrow I get to be chained to the hat in my toilet and keep urine in a cooler for the next 24 hours. WHoo. Hoo.

I saw the nurse practitioner and while in general I love her, she would not give me any indications of what may or may not happen next. (Not helping the blood pressure issue with anxiety...) I don't know if it's because they truly won't know until the urine comes back (which by the way will take until Friday - hence the hurry up and wait comment) or if she really wasn't sure what Dr. Anderson would want to do because they made me keep my appointment for Wednesday even though we did all the "normal" cervical check, heartbeat check and measuring today.

She did tell me she was hoping for a half a centimeter of change and maybe some effacement. I told her my contractions had stopped and I wasn't holding my breath. No change. Baby girl is sealed up tight and not at all in a rush to get here...once again, I'm left feeling like my body is failing her.

I'm just so frustrated. Apart from being so incredibly uncomfortable because at this point all that fluid just moved from one place in another in my body. My belly is huge and hard to manage. And...I'm going to officially cut my dad more slack when his blood pressure is elevated because the headache isn't fun and I'm so irritable I feel like I could just bite someones head off at any second. I forgive you dad.

But more so I'm frustrated because it's just another example (in my mind) of my body not doing what it's supposed to for this baby girl. With hyperemesis you feel like your body is literally rejecting what you're growing. With diabetes, you feel like your body has begun to harm itself and there by harm your baby. Now with whatever this is either high blood pressure or full blown pre-eclampsia...I feel like my body is just not made to carry this child! I know they always say the womb is the safest place but I feel like I'm going to breathe a HUGE sigh of relief when she gets here. I feel like my body is toxic.

Next week she's considered full term, so the closer we get to that the better. But with all this said I also don't want to be induced because if I'm closed shut and not effaced at all...inducing labor is going to likely be very difficult and perhaps even result in that c-section I want to avoid.

So in the meantime you can pray for both of us. Pray that this hurry up and wait game isn't harming her. I'm trying so hard to trust in my doctor's lack of immediate concern. It's not like they don't have a follow-up plan in place. Pray that I make it through this hurry up and wait game without making things worse for her by worrying so much and driving up my blood pressure. Pray for Stephen because he has to deal with the two of us! My husband the saint...

Most of all pray for a happy, healthy, safe baby girl whenever she makes her grand entrance. That's all I've ever wanted...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Gift from God I didn't even know I needed...

 I have received one of the biggest gifts from God at such the perfect time that it's another one of those times that I am convinced God is present for us even when we don't know what we need.

You're going to think I'm nuts, but the gift I'm talking about is selling Arbonne. Yes, this crazy woman started a new business at 34 weeks pregnant.

I wasn't really looking to sell. I was looking to start taking care of myself and my body again. This  pregnancy has wreaked havoc on me. I loved the skin-care I used with Arbonne and I just wanted to spoil myself because by-golly I felt like I deserved it. A friend of mine from get this- middle school - sells Arbonne and we did a favor for each other back when I sold Thirty-One...she bought from me I bought from her and although I LOVED all the purses and totes that I sold...I'm pretty sure I got the better end of the deal. My skin looked and felt amazing.

Having a little knowledge of network-marketing and what did and didn't work for me as a Thirty-One consultant, when I looked at Arbonne's business plan I thought - holy moly, that is way better! And it peaked my interest but I'm still thinking ok, I'm 34 weeks pregnant this is ridiculous but maybe I'll just hear more about it and decide do something after baby girl gets here.

Here's the other this opportunity video.

Everything sounds too good to be true..".you're not in business by yourself, just for yourself...this has been a life-changer...I never thought I would do something like this, but I'm good at it." 

Sounds like fantastic network marketing propaganda. So I wanted to talk to a real person. Enter, my sponsor Roxie. Again, after exchanging a few e-mails with her, I was still very skeptical. I broke even with Thirty-One...I want to make money at this and I don't have cash laying around to invest in a bunch of product, so when I made a plan for a cold call from a consultant I didn't know on a Tuesday evening, I was still thinking...I can't do this right now.

But this woman on the phone was an actual REAL person. She has three kids and a marriage and just moved to Houston from Amarillo, life has been up and down and Arbonne has been there the whole time. She quit teaching and gave herself six months to make Arbonne work...she ended up making as much as she did teaching, was also pregnant when she started and then toted her sweet little girl around with her while she built her business. 

Suddenly I'm seeing visions of getting to have my own fulfilling job and staying home with my sweet girl and traveling with Stephen when he's off doing all his deanery duties and extra trips to Dallas to the synod offices.  AND - building up some cash reserve until I can get my long-arm quilting business off the ground. 

God plopped Roxie and her story down right in my lap and I thought - this woman and I can relate! But not only that- she was SO helpful. She wasn't the least bit pushy. She told me I could build my Arbonne business anyway I wanted and promised to put me in contact with some locals in Amarillo after they got back from the Arbonne Global Training in Las Vegas. And she made good on her promises.

Now, I'm not going to lie to marketing is still network marketing. Roxie still gets a cut of what I make and what the people underneath me will make. But that whole "you're not in business by yourself, just for yourself" isn't just propaganda, it's the way the whole company works. Everyone I've come in contact with is helpful regardless of whether or not they're part of my "team". It's like some strange secular version of the Church where people actually HELP each other without expecting some massive payback.

I experienced that when I met a local consultant here that's worked her way up in the company and has also done business with Arbonne a million ways. Buffy was so sweet, so helpful and is going to include me on some of her things locally. (Did I mention we're not on the same team...this woman gets nothing from me...and yet as I offered to pay for her coffee for doing me a favor, she offers to buy mine instead. It's a small gesture I know, but it's just one more example of how awesome the people in this company are!) She also left me a copy of a really great book "The Flip-Flop Ceo" and told me she thought I was in great hands with Roxie but she's happy to help whenever I need.

And apart from the fact that this company and my experience with it has been so uplifting already (not to mention successful)...I still can't believe I decided to jump in at the end of my pregnancy, but it truly is a gift God gave me I didn't know I needed. I have needed a distraction from this baby girl. I'm sleeping horribly, my depression is worsening (naturally), I'm getting contractions daily that constantly leave me thinking "is now the time?" and the whole waiting game is really stressing me out.

So, what have I done? I've said to God "You know when this baby is coming. I trust you will help me know what's best for her and when I need to do something. This is all in your hands." And God said..."I know you Betsy...that's a fantastic prayer, but let me help you with a little distraction and give you something that will help you not just now, but after my beautiful creation gets here." 

I've jumped feet first into Arbonne. I've booked a party, I've placed orders, I've immersed myself in their fantastic online training and for once in this entire pregnancy I have found a way NOT to worry. And now, I have a way not to worry about saving for her education. I've found a way to put something in my own retirement fund. I've found a way to provide myself with a way to take good care of myself, mentally, physically and spiritually. I've found a way to have a life outside being a mother. AND - this way of life will go ANYWHERE with me. I will always have the clients, friends and team I have in Amarillo long after Stephen takes another call. I will always have a way to meet new people in a community when we settle. (Mind you - I'm hoping this isn't for a while).

If there were still a spouses group at Southern Seminary, I'd be sending them an e-mail saying - you have got to try this. This isn't propaganda, this is changing my life, and I'm not even working that hard at it because I'm 35 weeks pregnant. I want you to share in it - not so I can make money or we can scheme together - but because this is the real deal. This is about taking care of people's health and wellness and sharing that with them. I can't help but try to share it with everyone.

I know you all pray for us constantly and like I say - this wasn't even part of my prayers. But thank you for your prayers because God is listening and has been faithful. I give a hearty "A-men" to every single one you have lifted for us. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

40 days or less...the countdown continues!

Yesterday we had the first of what are now are weekly appointments. Everything is looking good and we talked about what is to come. If baby girl doesn't come early, I will likely be induced at 39 weeks in part because of being a gestational diabetes baby, and in part because of my fear of a c-section and my size. I am still measuring where I should be at this stage, but if you remember from a previous post, I had expressed to Dr. Anderson that I really don't want a c-section but if I have to, I want him to do it. So by 38 weeks, they're going to see what everything looks like and make a decision on how to proceed the next week on a day when Dr. Anderson is at the hospital.

I'm also a fan of this idea because if I know in advance, mom might can book a flight and make it for the delivery. How nice it would be to have her along side from the get-go. Every girl is always going to need her momma! Well at least this girl...

So in honor of this pregnancy starting to quickly come to a close, I thought I would post about the things I'm looking forward to post-pregnancy (apart from the obvious baby!) since I can count on one hand the things I've liked about this pregnancy.

1. No more nausea and no more daily drugs to keep me from throwing up. (I can't even remember what that is like!)
2. Pants with a waistband, zipper and button!
3. Getting back into my old clothes. I have such cute clothes I just stare at in longing! Now that I'm at the end of pregnancy, I have about three pairs of pants, four tops and two dresses that I rotate...I'm looking forward to a little more variety.
4. No more swollen ankles, hands and feet. I can't wait to put my wedding rings back on!
5. RUNNING! I'll start with walking again, but I can't wait to start running and not feel like an elephant when I move.
6. Getting healthy in general. I had sort of let myself go before this pregnancy. I gained a lot of weight and will probably actually weigh less post-partum because of all the weight I've actually lost in pregnancy. But it's more than weight. With the gestational diabetes, it's scared me straight to take better care of my body so I don't get Type 2 Diabetes. I also haven't been able to take vitamins because they upset my stomach so much. Eating regular meals has been difficult. Because I'm going to try to breastfeed, I find eating healthier to be even more of a priority. I'm looking forward to getting baby girl and myself on a routine to help us be as healthy as possible.
7. Getting my Arbonne business off the ground and running. I'm doing my best this late in pregnancy and it's going VERY well. But the more I learn about this company and the more I meet other people involved with it, I am falling in love with the opportunity I've found!
8. Getting my long arm quilting business off the ground. I had to put this on hold because it does take a certain amount of bending over and physical work to get a quilt on the frame. My back couldn't handle it.
9. And with that said - BENDING OVER! I curse almost every time I drop something in the floor.
10. Sitting in the floor with baby girl and actually being able to get myself up. 
11. Wearing more than just one pair of shoes. I only have one pair that fits right now and on days when the temperature drops in the 40's like this, I only have open toed shoes to wear because I can't stuff these sausages into any of my closed toed shoes anymore. At least if my feet are a little bigger I can justify going and buying new shoes (which I've never had a problem with!)
12. This probably should be further up the list...not peeing my pants all the time. The bigger she's gotten, the worse this has gotten. The way this is going, in a few weeks, I think I'll graduate from liners to full on out adult diapers!
13. No more insane medical bills. Getting rid of gestational diabetes will save me at least $78 a month add on top of that  the $30 something a month I pay for Zofran, not to mention the bills we have paid from ER trips, my hospital stay and Labor and Delivery trips. We've already paid upfront for baby girl to be delivered barring the need for a c-section or any extra medical care she needs, so things are going to start to feel a lot better around here.
14. Breastfeeding. Ok, so this list was just going to be about me...but really this is about me too. I was terrified of the idea when I first got pregnant and swore I wouldn't, but when you want the best for your little one it's hard to make an argument against it just because you're unfamiliar with it and scared. While I'm still a little terrified of learning how, I'm so looking forward to the bonding time. I'm going to cherish every moment I get to hold her close so I'll remember it when she hits middle school and wants nothing to do with me.
15. Starting a new chapter with Stephen. I can't imagine life without him. Our marriage has weathered a lot, not only in the past four years, but the past seven months! I can't wait to start this new family with him and where that takes us in our marriage. I never thought I could think him talking to my belly was the most attractive thing ever...I'm going to be even more of a goner when he gets down in the floor with her, picks her up and plays with her....awwwwwwwww.......

And...I'm going to leave it at that for now. If you have somethings you loved about not being pregnant, comment below so I can think about that too!

Next time I'll have to write a post about what I'm looking forward to about baby girl, but I honestly don't think there's enough time in the day!