Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Things are looking up

As you probably recognized from yesterday's post, things were bad yesterday. I even ended up calling my OB nurse because I felt like my health was also suffering after we got the news. My BP was very high and I was dealing with serious, serious anxiety. They put me back on the BP meds I was on during pregnancy which also helps with anxiety and also prescribed me Zoloft. I'm already feeling a little more in control today just from the BP meds alone but glad I have the Zoloft if I need it.

Yesterday morning, I tried to make an appointment with the specific geneticist we were referred to, but I found out the earliest that he could see us was October. I just about lost my mind. I felt like I was in no mans land - just enough information to scare the life out of us but no one could help us get answers. I ended up calling the pediatrician's office and asked if they could get ahold of the geneticist and make something happen sooner.

As we waited for the call back, we took our precious little Sammy girl into the children's hospital to have her blood drawn. I was running on no sleep, and watching them pin her down, tourniquet her tiny little arms until they were white and poke her while she shrieked, was a little piece of hell for me. I know parents watch their kids go through far, far worse things and that this is nothing. But to me, I was just sickened and it was awful.

Our sweet, little Sammy sleeping at home after the blood draws earlier in the day.
When we got back, the pediatrician called. He said he couldn't get us in sooner, but that he had talked to the geneticist about the situation. The geneticist didn't think our situation was even remotely an emergency! And in fact had said, and I quote, that "95% of these state mandated screens come back as false positives"! I knew that there was a chance this could be a false positive but knowing an expert in this field was saying this gave me a huge, huge rush of relief. I still worry about being in the 5% but those odds are incredibly promising. I could sense in the pedi's voice that his urgency had declined after talking to the geneticist.

We also got some answers as far as timelines and tests go. Sammy had a urine collection done on Monday and her blood draw yesterday. The geneticist recommended a third test, which would require a blood draw to check for some enzyme or something (I think?) Because we had just returned from the lab, we will have to go back on Friday to have poor Sammy poked again for more blood. But that should be the end of it, I hope.

We should have the urine and first blood test back within 10 days or so and those results should be pretty telling about where we stand with this disorder being legitimate or a false positive. And the final blood test will take a month but will seal the deal either way. I pray that these initial tests are so blaringly clear that we won't have to worry for that last test and it's just final confirmation that this truly is nothing.

Anyway, there's my update on her health and I am so, so grateful for the kind words, prayers, and encouragement from my blog readers. I know that this is what being a parent is all about - being worried because you love your baby so very much.  But I had no idea we'd be going from the typical new-parent kind of worrying about things like colic, weight gain, sleeping etc to being thrust into knowing which signs to watch for in the event of a seizure, or that we must take her to a particular children's ER in the event of an emergency from the VLCAP situation.

And on the breastfeeding front, I hired a lactation consultant to come over last night. Ever since the news of the genetic test results, Sammy hasn't been latching. I figured she could sense my stress. She roots really well, hops on, but then gives up after a few seconds after attempting to latch. We've been frustrated and have been supplementing with formula while I pump. Despite that, my supply has been growing and the LC was pleased with where I was at with it. And as far as the newly developed latch issue, it turns out that we just have to entice her with a little milk on me first before she latches and she will get going on it! The LC said that once we introduced bottles, she got used to immediate reward with the milk coming out. On the breast, she has to work for it and has gotten impatient so gives up when nothing comes out in a suck or two. Why work for something when it comes out so easily from the bottle?  T his baby girl is just too smart for her own good. :) I had no idea how intelligent such a tiny little baby could be, but I'm learning every day!

We weighed her and she's finally gaining weight and her jaundice has all but disappeared. We also have clear guidelines on how much she should be eating every day - something we've been clueless about. We've also rented the LC's very sensitive scale that can tell how much she's consuming. I feel in control of breastfeeding again and it's a really wonderful feeling. I have no problem supplementing or using formula if we need to go there, and still need to top her off from time to time, but I am so glad we are back on track with it.

I'm well rested today, on my BP meds and feeling better, and I hope to finally tackle her newborn pictures to share with you all.

Again, thank you for all of the support and prayers, and please continue to pray that we aren't in the 5% of these screens that are not false positive after all. I still do worry.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Why does God keep testing us? WHY?

I write this as I sob uncontrollably after a horrible, horrible night.

Yesterday started like any other day. We had our first pediatrician well check, and all that was on our minds was Sammy's mild jaundice and moderate weight loss. I've also struggled with breastfeeding, I feel clueless.

We left, came home, went about the day when the phone rang. It was the pediatrician. He told us that one of Sammy's state genetic screens had come back "out of range" and needed us to come into the office right away. Nothing in my life has been so terrifying. He didn't answer many of my questions over the phone.

The genetic problem is called VLCAD. I guess it's a problem where babies can't process fats properly, something about lacking an enzyme. But if they go without eating for long periods of time (beyond 3 hours or so) they could go into metabolic distress and need hospitalization, or could even die. It's something that is treatable but terrifying because without strict management could cause serious, serious issues.

No mom wants to get news like this. No dad wants news like this. I hung up the phone and cried and cried.

We rushed Sammy into the pedi and I felt like we left with more questions than answers. We were referred to a geneticist at the local Dell Children's hospital here in Austin. They collected urine and will be getting blood this morning. I'm just sick of the thought of these tests alone, let alone the outcome. Like I said, having left the pedi with more questions than answers, I've been left to look it up online. I guess another confirmation test is to do a skin biopsy on her leg.

Do you all realize how tiny this little girl is? The idea of them doing these tests sickens me. She looks up at me and smiles with her big cheeks, she doesn't understand. I don't understand why this is happening.

With my stress levels high, I've been unable to breastfeed. She's not latching. I'm waking up every 2 hours to feed her formula and then follow with pumping. Even if this screening turns out to be nothing, we probably won't know for a very long time - months even. I have no idea since I still have so many questions lingering. My blood pressure was sky high yesterday after returning from the peditrician. I already felt like I had a level of post-partum anxiety due to how much I feared something hapening to our little girl, then I get news like this. I don't have words to describe how sick I am over it. I'm terrified for our future. I'm horrified by the thought of watching her go down this testing path. I just wanted to spend these first few weeks like a normal family, with our beautiful baby girl.

Why does God keep testing us?

Please pray that this screening turns out to be a false positive. Please pray we get the results quickly. Please pray for our mental health in the meantime. We are not doing okay.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

We're home! And some pictures...

I'll also be making this post short, as I'm sure you'll all understand because there's a little girl who will undoubtedly be calling my name any minute. A quick update - yesterday, we went home with our beautiful snowflake girl and I cried like a baby as I looked at her in the backseat of our car. I just can't believe our "take home baby" is home with us now. I kept thinking "is this really real? IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?" I can't begin to tell you how there were many days I never ever thought this day would come. But it did. Oh boy, I'm crying again just typing that.

We made it through our first night. Kevin and I are taking shifts the best we can while I pretty much nurse her around the clock. I have some minor issues with breastfeeding but am pushing through them with the support and help of friends and taking naps every opportunity I can.

I'll try to type up a birth story in the next few days while our little angel sleeps (wish us luck) with lots and lots of pictures.

And like many of you said, I couldn't be prepared for the amount of love I'd feel for this little girl - you were right and then some. I love her so much my heart just aches, in a good way. Like it's going to explode all over the place. I can't wait to get to know her and love her and see her grow. I don't want anything to happen to her and would do anything for her. Kevin feels the same way.

Here are a few pictures to share in the meantime until I can write more. I also hope to do a newborn photo session with her tomorrow and capture her in all her sleepy sweetness while I can. Lots more pictures will come your way, I assure you all!

Kevin having a heart-to-heart with his brand new little girl
Hi, world! Here's a picture of Sammy as she officially turned one day old. :) I could eat those cheeks up!

Cracking a smile for daddy. (Or probably gas, but we can always pretend because she's too cute not to share!)

More smiles (gas lol)
One of the happiest moments of our lives. Strapping this beautiful girl into her carseat and heading home with her. She's ours!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

She's here!

I'm posting from my phone because my other arm is holding the most incredible bundle of love we've ever laid eyes upon.

Meet Sammy, our much prayed for snowflake.

She arrived at 7:39am CST weighing in at 7lb1oz.

Despite having a planned c section, my water broke one hour before we were leaving for the hospital anyway!

Goes to show this was meant to be her birthday all along.
All of the tears, years, and heartache - it was all worth it.
It was all for this little girl, meant to be ours all along.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tomorrow is the day

She's coming tomorrow.

I just got a call from the OB nurse and I'm scheduled for the c-section at 7am CST.
I'm beside myself with emotion right now. I'm in disbelief that we finally get to meet this long awaited baby girl. All of the years, the tears, we're finally looking at the finish line. This will be the moment it was all leading up to. I can't even think straight. I can't even type straight. It's hard to type with the tears in my eyes.

Please say a special prayer for us tomorrow for a safe arrival and smooth recovery. My next post should be from the hospital with pictures.

July 22, 2014: Our snowflake's birthday.

We're just hours away.
<3 <3 <3

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I did end up at the hospital. But...

I did end up at the hospital yesterday, but they discharged me after spending five hours in L&D. Sammy is still an inside baby and I'm resting at home. Whew.

I had been fighting a horrific headache since Friday around 5pm. I had a BP reading around that time of 152/88 which wasn't quite at the threshold my MFM had set, but was flirting with it. So I just laid down and kept an eye on it every 30 minutes or so. It stayed in the 130s/80s. But throughout the night the left side of my head and face started to hurt really bad - my eyebrow, my scalp, my cheekbone. And it didn't just hurt internally, it hurt to the touch! The weirdest part was the roof of my mouth on the left side hurt really bad and was swollen.

I "woke up" Saturday morning (which isn't really true seeing how I barely slept because of the pain) and spent a while laying on the couch. I sucked on some ice chips to try to help the swelling go down in my mouth because I had hoped it was just related to hot food I ate on Friday afternoon.

But finally around 2pm, my BP was at 138/90 laying down which was the threshold my OB gave me for calling them. And the clincher was when I thought I saw sparkly confetti falling down in front of me. When it happened, it didn't even register that this confetti wasn't real, and I even waved my arms around to try to get it away from me. It freaked me out. But then I realized that it might be visual light disturbances from pre-e and decided it was time to call my on-call nurse. I hated the thought that I'd be in hospital bed rest but knew it was what had to happen.

Sure enough, the nurse sent me to into L&D. They were so, so busy yesterday. Their triage rooms were full so I was put in the pre-op room which ended up being full as well.

They monitored Sammy who looked great the whole time. And of course, while I was there, my BP was nice and normal, although my pulse was crazy high! Having normal BP at the hospital irritated me so bad because I felt like I was looked at for crying wolf and felt embarrassed. They didn't make me feel that way, it was just my own crazy, sleepless insecurity. But my headache, facial and mouth pain persisted. Because of that, they wouldn't let me eat or drink in the event that I would need to actually deliver Sammy on the spot. They started an IV in preparation and ran some blood work to make the determination.

Well, sure enough, a few hours later the blood work all came back normal. That was the biggest relief of the day. They were still concerned about the monster headache and facial pain so they asked if I would be willing to take a Norco as a test. If the headache responded, then they believed it wasn't related to pre-e. But if it didn't, they were planning to admit me for observation and hospital rest.

I took the Norco, and thankfully it did help the headache, even though the facial pain persisted. What a relief! The L&D OB felt like the headache was maybe a virus or something which was also causing my mouth swelling and facial pain. I guess most pre-e headaches are in the temples and are on both sides. My pain was all on my left side only.

I went home, had a good night sleep for the first time in a long, long time, and woke up this morning with even more mouth swelling and that same persistent headache, but I feel reassured knowing my blood work looked good. I'm happy to be home in my own bed and knowing Sammy will still be coming this week regardless. I'm really anxious to see what my OB wants to do when tomorrow rolls around. I'm still guessing they will make the decision that Tuesday will be the big day! I'll keep everyone posted!

Oh and last thing to mention...

While waiting the many hours in triage I overheard many conversations from other patients. I happened to overhear an angry man asking the nurse if his pregnant wife/girlfriend could go outside and have a smoke. He was arguing with the nurse about it! And I heard the nurse say "We think that her smoking is what caused her first loss."

I just shake my head.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The suspense

Yesterday I had my growth scan and BPP appointment with my MFM. Sammy weighs approximately 6lb 12 oz and measured at exactly 37w1d, which was how far along I was. Just perfect. She passed the BPP with flying colors, and I couldn't be more proud of her.

In talking to the MFM, he said that due to the pre-eclampsia, Sammy must be delivered this week. He even said to cancel my next appointment with him that was scheduled for next Friday because this little girl should be an outside baby by then.


So both of my doctors have said it. This little girl will be born no later than next Friday. That's just crazy to wrap my head around! I don't think it's quite registered yet.

So with my MFM being even more insistent than my OB, I called my OB yesterday to see when he wanted to schedule it for. Unfortunately, he wasn't in, nor were the schedulers who could schedule the actual c-section. But I do know that my OB considers Tuesday his surgery day. If I had to make an educated guess, I would guess the c-section will be Tuesday for that reason. But it's the weekend now and we won't know until Monday. The suspense! Right? I could find out on Monday that Sammy is coming on Tuesday morning!

I'm still desperately trying to keep my blood pressure down, yet it's still going up. My MFM said if my BP goes over 160/100 at any point (sitting, standing, laying, whatever) it's time to go to the hospital. And if I do, they just might deliver same day. I know my OB wants me to to try to make it through the weekend so I'm not sure if being admitted would mean hospital bedrest until Monday/Tuesday or a weekend delivery, but I've got a close eye on it. My BP landed at 154/92 yesterday evening so I'm definitely flirting with the possibility of being admitted this weekend. I'm hoping and praying I can wait it out at home.

I haven't been sleeping well at all. I don't know if it's physiological from the pre-eclampsia itself or because there is so much running through my mind. But I feel really run down physically and I'm sure lack of sleep has to do with it.

Also, since yesterday I've been dealing with a headache on the left side of my head only. And the top left side of the roof of my mouth is swollen and tender. But I'm pretty sure I burned my mouth yesterday with some hot food which likely explains that. But still being smart, I'm keeping an eye on it and if it doesn't get better, I'll be calling and heading in. Again, I think there's a decent chance of hospital time this weekend.

I'll leave you with a picture of my hospital bag(s) (okay, its more of a pile right now.) I think I only have four last-minute items to add to it as we actually go out the door. I've had some anxiety about leaving for the hospital bedrest in not feeling prepared so having these bags done has helped me feel better about it.

I have my camera bag with professional camera  and lenses because I want to be able to get some really good shots of Sammy and Kevin during our first few days together. I know I may or not be with it mentally and physically but I think I'll be able to get a few good shots to share. I've got a duffel bag full of essentials like comfy clothes, nursing stuff, toiletries, etc. I'm bringing my brest friend, laptop (so I can update my blog, of couse!) and Sammy's diaper bag with her going home outfit and other baby essentials.

Please continue to pray that everything turns out okay and that this preeclampsia stays at bay until next week when my OB can deliver! Or if she has to come this weekend, that we are safe and sound. Thanks for all of your support!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Crap just got real.

First off, the happy news....

I'm 37 weeks today! THIRTY SEVEN WEEKS which is..... *drum roll* full term! Yes, it's early full term but still full freakin' term! I figured that if I were ever so lucky to sustain a pregnancy, I'd definitely not make it to full term. But yet here I am staring full term right in the face, shaking it's hand and introducing myself. I have a full term baby named Sammy, ladies and gentlemen. It's just unreal.

Now onto the bad news.

We confirmed I have pre-eclampsia. Ugh. It's really mild right now but I am spilling protein into my urine and my BP is continuing to rise.

What does this mean? It means we are going to wait it out carefully over the weekend and it's highly, highly likely Sammy will be coming next week instead of the following as planned. Yes, you read that correctly. Next week we will likely have this little girl in our arms.

I'm excited and scared crapless all at the same time.

I'm supposed to take it easy from here on out and call the after-hours number if my BP goes over 140/90 while laying down. If that happens, they will probably admit me to the hospital for bed rest and deliver early next week. I have tried to be a 'go with the flow' type person about all this, but if there is one request I could make to the universe it is that my OB himself gets to deliver Sammy and not just some random OB on-call. He's such a caring person, an amazing doctor, and it would mean a lot to me that it's him and no one else. He's optimistic we can ride this out and nothing major will happen between now and next week, but if you could offer your prayers up that I can continue to stay stable until at least next week for all of the obvious reasons, but also that my OB will be the delivery man, I'd appreciate it. I have an appointment with the MFM tomorrow for what sounds like will be my final growth scan and BPP.

And today we have hired a team of house cleaners to come by and clean every square inch of this house. It's in desperate need of it. It's my version of nesting....from the couch as I watch. :)

Stay tuned, things just got really real.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Yup, I'm benched. But it's okay.

As mentioned in my previous post, my SI joint dysfunction pain has increased so much that I can't walk even from the parking lot at work to my desk. BUT the good news is that although I was skeptical that I'd be able to work out a telecommuting arrangement with my work, on Friday, I did! YAY! I'm officially telecommuting from here on out instead of going on early disability. This means I will likely work until Sammy arrives and will get to spend more time with her on the tail end!

Also on Friday, I mentioned my blood pressure readings to my OB nurse because my BP had passed the threshold I was given (above 140.) She put me on bed rest over the weekend, which I did. And luckily, my BP stayed nice and low while I was laying around. I'm also not spilling any protein which is another sign of pre-e. I just might avoid it after all, we shall see. Over the weekend, Kevin and I watched movies and lots of TV and laying around significantly helped my SI pain as well. I think even minimal walking is what has been exacerbating it. It's much more bearable at home after long stretches on the couch. 

Laying around has me daydreaming a lot about the moment I will finally meet this beloved baby girl. I picture the room we will be in, the doctor and what he will say, the sounds, and the moment I finally get to lay my eyes on our Samantha for the very first time. I imagine her hair, her eyes, and her lips. I picture seeing Kevin hold her for the first time. I imagine her first cries. I've done all of this kind of day dreaming before but it's become so much more real and I can't describe the overwhelming feeling I feel when I think of it now. I wonder if because of infertility and loss, there was still a part of me that wondered if this was all just a dream and was afraid to really let myself believe this little girl's arrival was going to become a reality. And I think finally now it's starting to hit me that it is. This really IS happening. I'm sure the feeling I imagine about her grand entrance is going to be pale in comparison to the real thing. I can't wait.

So that's my happy update for today. I get to telecommute and work until delivery AND my BP and SI pain seems to improve as long as I'm not moving around. I'm seriously on the home stretch and will be considered full term on Thursday. Three short days!

14 days, 22 hours, 52 min, and 20 seconds until our little snowflake arrives.
Or less.... ;-)

Friday, July 11, 2014

I think I'm about to be benched

I'm 36w1d and I can tell my body is starting to give me big signs that it's time to slow way, way down.

I'm thinking I'm going to end up on disability early. In fact, I would bet money it will be as early as next week. Or I could even deliver before July 29 to potential pre-eclampsia creeping in. But guess what? Sammy is doing WONDERFULLY, and to me that's the most important thing. She passed yesterday's biophysical profile with flying colors in four minutes. She's an overachiever!

Please don't read the next few paragraphs and think I'm complaining. I'm not. I'm just reporting what is going on with my body because it's part of how pregnancy works. I could not be more grateful that I've made it this far and can even write about these inevitable ailments that come with third trimester pregnancy.

Despite physical therapy, my SI joint pain has become so intense I can't even do the most basic things anymore like cook dinner, clean the house, or get ready for work without being in excruciating pain with every single step. Kevin is doing everything around the house, and I am so, so grateful. Because even the walk from the couch to the restroom is putting me in tears. It feels like a knife going into my back/hip when weight is put on my leg, and then again when the weight is removed. The only relief is to lay down on my side. At first, the SI pain was only on the left side and was mild. But as my belly has grown and my joints continue to give out, the pain level is much more intense and it is also on my right side. I can no longer favor one side and limp around. I just plain can't walk anymore.

Even though I work a desk job, walking from the car to the office or from my desk to the bathroom is beyond-comprehension painful. I'm hoping to figure out a telecommuting arrangement with work between now and delivery (which I'm skeptical will happen due to our new company policies) or I'll be forced on disability earlier than planned. Leaving for LOA early will mean returning to work early. I don't like that, so I'm really trying to tough it out as long as I can. I obviously want to spend the LOA time off with Sammy, not alone on the couch debilitated before her arrival. But I'm at the point where I think I don't have a choice anymore. I see it coming soon and I'm bracing myself for that reality. It's okay. I'll deal with it.

And as for pre-e, my blood pressure is slowly but surely going up over the past couple of days. Until now, I've been shocked that my BP has been relatively low/normal during my entire pregnancy. And so has my MFM! I have pretty much every risk factor out there for pre-eclampsia and using donor embryos is one of them. So I suppose it is inevitable. It's not super high yet, but since it's steadily going up up up, we think that it is just a matter of time until it's high enough to be a problem. My MFM says that if I show even signs of mild pre-e after 37 weeks, that's an indication to deliver. I'm keeping a close eye on it but I'm happy I'm so close to being full term that it shouldn't even be a big deal if it happens.

Infertility has taught me a lot. But probably one of the most profound lessons is to just roll with the punches. If I try to plan and work around MY plans, that's when disappointment and heartache enters. I'm going to just follow doctor's orders, try to tough out this SI pain until it's clear I'm forced to throw in the towel, and then leave it up to God and the universe as to what will happen next. The most important thing is that Sammy makes it here safe and sound. And she's dancing around in my belly as I type this so I have a smile on my face no matter what else is going on with my body.

Anyway, I'll leave you with my 36w bump picture!
Sporting my new, shorter mommy haircut!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

It's always fun when...

It's always fun when I meet someone in real life who has had experience with embryo adoption. It rarely happens since it's such a rare and unknown thing to most people.

Yesterday I was at the nail salon getting a pedicure with a dear friend of mine who had spent the last week house hunting in Oklahoma. (She's moving away, wahhhh.....) We spent the time in our pedicure chairs catching up and inevitably we started talking about Sammy and my pregnancy. I was telling her about the 3d ultrasound we had just had earlier in the day (which I'll get to in a moment) and somehow ended up on the topic about how I had read a frustrating, ignorant anti-embryo adoption article a couple days prior. As I mentioned the article to my friend, a nice woman sitting next to my friend spoke up and said "don't let anyone tell you anything negative about your baby!" She went on to explain her very close friend had struggled with infertility and found success with embryo adoption.  Her friends friend had remaining embryos which she didn't want destroyed and gave them to her friend. She adopted them and had beautiful miracle twin boys. She even showed me a photo of her friend's miracle boys!

I could tell that while although this stranger at the nail salon perhaps had not endured the pain of infertility herself, she had been touched by the struggle of her close friend and had become an advocate for embryo adoption herself. It was such an exciting thing to talk to someone who knew of it, thought fondly of it, and lived right in the same town as me. I gave her my information and hope she and her friend contact me. Our embryo adoption community continues to grow!

Even without having someone overhear me talk about embryo adoption, I have my elevator speech about embryo adoption ready whenever I feel it's appropriate to share. Usually, someone will ask me a question about my pregnancy or due date. And quickly as the conversation progresses (provided we have enough time) I'll slip in something like "We waited a very long time for her. She was actually adopted as an embryo!" Usually that peaks curiosity and I'm able to answer questions about it for whoever I am talking to. Everyone has seemed interested to hear more and I love talking about our journey. I hope that they keep it in the back of their minds to share, and perhaps someone who has remaining embryos to donate will consider donation, or a couple struggling might consider pursuing this path just because I got the word out. I really hope I'm making a difference, even for one person as cliche as that sounds.

Last, I'll share with you our ultrasound from yesterday. Sammy hasn't cooperated too well for the 3d ultrasounds so far so they sent us back for one final try. We figured if she didn't cooperate yesterday, we'd just give up and wait for her arrival in just a few short weeks.

While it was hard to get a really clear shot at her due to her face being so close to the uterine wall, we were able to get this picture which gave us a glimpse at her gigantic lips! I don't care what she looks like, but it's so much fun to get these puzzle pieces for what she will be like and imagine them all together.

These lips are for lots of kisses!

That's it for today. I'm 35w3d and my MFM says that if she were to come now, he wouldn't be worried at all. In fact, she probably wouldn't even need NICU time. I still can't believe I'm a mama to this beautiful girl. I can't believe a real life human being is growing in my tummy, from a snowflake that was frozen for so long. It's just amazing.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A snowflake's baby shower

Saturday was out much anticipated baby shower. And of course, it was snowflake themed. Would you expect anything else? :)

My friend, Candace, flew in last Wednesday and we had a great time planning and prepping for the big day. I'm surprised we were able to find so much snowflake themed stuff in late June, but we did. And the stuff we couldn't find was made by friends and family. They really went all out to make it nice. I can't thank Candace enough. On top of tending to her 7 week old baby, cooking and prepping, she also took the beautiful photos above. Super woman, right?

It was so perfect and amazing and much more than I could have ever dreamed. I honestly never thought I'd have a baby shower. After the years of infertility, I figured I'd never even be a mom. But even if I did, who would even care enough to go celebrate a shower or throw one for us? My mom had passed away amidst it all and I had distanced myself from many of my friends who "didn't understand." Infertility is a cruel beast and as many of you know, can rob us of more than just a chance at parenthood. But my true friends stuck it out and my dream of a baby shower came true. It was a celebration I'll never forget. Lots of happy tears were shed. I still can't believe we are celebrating a baby that is growing inside of me. It's surreal. There really are no words to describe how happy I feel.

And to my very special blog-reader-turned-friend who made the long drive down to celebrate with us, thank you. Having you join us was one of the best parts. You know who you are. :)

We got so many beautiful and thoughtful gifts. Everyone at the shower knew of our struggle and of the incredible way that this baby came to be. I still think about it and cry.

Everything is now put away and I am realizing it was the last major milestone on the countdown to Sammy's arrival. There's nothing left but to wait. CPR classes? check. Nursery finished? check. Hospital tour? check. Baby shower - check! I just can't believe that in 25 days, or less, this little girl will be an outside baby and in our arms. I'm 35 weeks today and in just two short weeks, I'll be full term. Un-freakin'-real. If this is a dream, I don't want to ever wake up.

Just incredible. I could not be more thankful and in awe.