On behalf of everyone here at the Taylor household…
Have a very happy Thanksgiving!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
When Lydia was not yet one year old, I started a tradition that I hope to continue with each of our children. Instead of creating a Baby book by hand (I’ve never been much of a scrapbooker) I designed a photo book online. A month or so ago, I continued this tradition with Abby. This is really irrelevant to the rest of my post except to explain the pictures. The pictures used in this post are taken from Abby’s little book. Moving on.
As Thanksgiving Day approaches, our family has taken time to reminisce on the past year and share some of the things for which we are the most grateful. Lydia’s favorites have been Sandy rides at Meijer, and the color pink. Some of Dan’s top blessings have been God’s provision for us with a new home and job, and Abby’s long awaited homecoming last December. Abby’s only “Thankful” has been food. Although, she is, in general, pretty happy about everything.
Today I thought I’d share one of my “Thankfuls”.
About a year and a half ago, we were still living on campus at Dan’s college, and I was pregnant with Abigail. Since we didn’t know why Lydia had been born early, we didn’t know whether or not Abby would follow in her footsteps. It was a struggle not to be anxious. Would Abby be born early? Would she be born earlier than Lydia? Would she be born too early to survive?
Frequently I would lay in bed at night praying over these questions and God would bring to mind Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” It felt like a Word from God assuring me good things for Baby, but not answering my questions about when she would be born.
As it turned out, Abby was born early. She was born earlier than Lydia, and she stayed in the hospital far longer. She had more issues to deal with and was a puzzle to the doctors. There were even nights I wondered if she would ever come home.
Finally, last Thanksgiving Day, Abby had two surgeries that allowed her to come home. Her surgeries were Thursday and we brought her home Sunday morning.
Shortly after Abby came home, I was holding her one morning as I sat in my glider. She was asleep and I was praying for her and asking God what specific things I should be praying for her future. Among other things, I felt led to pray that Abby would bring joy to others. Abby wasn’t even smiling yet, and the prayer didn’t spring from anything I had observed in her character, only what I thought the Lord had in mind for her future.
Soon Abby learned to smile, and since then she has rarely stopped. Others have observed, and I agree, that she is simply the happiest baby we’ve ever met. A week or so ago, as we were tucking Abby in one night, Dan commented that, “Our family wouldn’t be the same without Abby. We have more joy because she’s here.”
This year, among a host of other things, I am thankful that God gave us Abby: that He created her and protected her, brought her home, and had a plan for her future. Even while I was laying pregnant in bed anxiously praying for an unknown future, God could already see far beyond the pregnancy, the hospital stay, and even past today. How reassuring it is to know that a good God holds our futures in His hands, and the futures of our most loved ones as well.
Dan and I found out we were expecting Baby 3 while we were still camping out in the basement of some generous church friends. As God’s timing would have it, we found out we were pregnant only a few weeks after first hearing about the house that is now our home. It’s a good thing too, because I would have given up the house hunt if we had found out about Baby first! The timing was perfect, so, while the house buying process was going on, we began out hunt for a new doctor.
My last doctor was great, but she retired this summer. We called a couple of different offices and eventually chose a doctor who has turned out to be terrific. He has years of experience working with high risk and unique pregnancies, so mine was no surprise to him. At our first appointment we got our first glimpse of Baby 3 and a guess on the due date: April 20.
The first trimester wasn’t too bad for me, apart from the stress of trying to get settled on the house. I was sick for three weeks in a row with various viruses. Maybe I was feeling sick from the pregnancy too, but if so, those symptoms were masked by the other illnesses. My most obvious pregnancy symptoms were the cravings and aversions. Cheese and pickles were favorites, with random weird and short lived cravings like rice with soy sauce and tomatoes or chicken salad. As usual during my first trimesters, I couldn’t stand lentils or broccoli.
A couple of weeks after the first appointment we were back at the office again to check on Baby and start working on a game plan. Here is Baby at 12 weeks:
(That’s his/her head on the right side.)
There are a few things we’re going to try this time that may or may not help keep Baby from coming as early as Lydia and Abigail. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. One of those precautions is limited activity for me from 20 to 28 weeks.
Now, when you’re moving into a new house, preparing for Christmas, and anticipating another possible long NICU stay, there’s a lot to do. That’s part of what has kept us so busy lately. I’ve been working away at making some Christmas gifts a little every day. I’m happily making progress on unpacking and our goal is to be completely settled by next Tuesday. Of course Thanksgiving is coming and we’ll be hosting Dan’s family this year, but we’re keeping things simple and those present will all be pitching in to help with the meal. 🙂
The bulk of my extra time has been spent cooking and freezing meals for the time after Baby is born. If Baby spends as much time in the NICU as Lydia or Abigail, we hope to have enough meals to get us through most dinners and lunches without having to take the time to cook. We have three freezers right now (our chest freezer, the one on top of our refrigerator, and an upright some friends brought over a couple of nights ago). Two are packed full and I have two weeks left to finish my cooking!
Once twenty weeks hits, everything is going to stop. No more unpacking. No more cooking and freezing meals. No more running around like crazy buying things we need for the house. I have ten days left.
Our next Baby appointment was at 14 1/2 weeks, and here’s Baby:
S/he is bent over like someone who fell asleep in school, and his/her arms are up behind his/her head.
So that leads me to another new decision for us. We’re hoping to be surprised with this baby, instead of finding out early if it’s a boy or girl. With ultrasounds every two or three weeks, it’s likely we might unintentionally find out, but the goal is to be surprised. That said, I will be referring to Baby as “he” from now on, even though we don’t know if he is a boy or girl yet.
During November I had a small surgery done that was another one of our attempts to keep Baby from coming as early. Afterwards, I had an appointment where we confirmed that everything was well and Baby was happily staying put.
Here’s Baby at seventeen and a half weeks:
That’s a head-on picture with the head on the left. You can see the eyes and brain (kinda weird!), and everything looked good.
That brings us up to today. During the past few weeks I’ve felt the first little kicks and Baby is starting to take up my stomach and lung room. I have had a lot of energy, which has been great for getting all my preparations taken care of. But more recently I’ve been getting tired out more easily, so I’ve been having to take more breaks to rest, nap, or just prop my feet up.
Our next appointments are on December 5 (two weeks from tomorrow). The first will be the big 20-week ultrasound screening, and right afterwards we’ll be heading back to our doctor for another check up.
Whew! That felt like a lot. From here on our I’ll be able to update more frequently with any Baby news, pregnancy changes, and more pictures of our little Pumpkin.