Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas cards...

At the beginning of this year, we thought Christmas 2009 was our "last" Christmas to do as we liked: Next Christmas would be so different, buying presents for a baby, getting up early, probably still sleep deprived. Last year, as I addressed and sent out cards, I knew it would be our last Christmas without a real child (not a dog or cat) on the front. 

So when it came time for Christmas cards this year, I was a) hurt and b) torn: I shouldn't include Noah on it, but how do I not? To not have included him would mean, to me, that we didn't value the time we had with him. Dave and I talked it over. We decided we would include him on the card. We would not send cards to anyone who didn't already 100% know. (I never made Noah's disorder public on Facebook.) 

So this card is what we came up with. I'm very happy with it. But also sad. Because I wanted to be buying "baby's first Christmas" ornaments and onesies. 

Lord willing, maybe next year.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Holidays

In our church bulletin a few weeks ago, there was a blurb about a grief support group stating that the holidays are hardest after you've lost a loved one. I didn't really think much about it. I'm not sure why I thought "that won't be me" but it is.

Thanksgiving wasn't too bad; I am thankful for Noah. He has brought so much joy to our lives - but also much sadness. But I am still thankful for him, I couldn't see myself any other way. So I quietly passed through thanksgiving. (I'm sure it helped that we were very busy.)

But December is different. Nine months ago, we thought we'd be having baby's first Christmas, and what traditions to start, and a Christmas card without our pets on it. The obvious is that we don't have that. But what surprised me most was this past week: This past week was the week that we conceived Noah - maybe too much information for you, but it was. In the coming weeks, I will look back to this time last year - how I thought it was weird I was late, but chalked it up to the overseas move and the stress that involved - stress takes a toll on your body, right? I'll remember the first pregnancy test we took and how it was negative and Dave said "See, it's fine" and how I was highly skeptical.

Christmas will be hard. I can already see it coming. We took our positive pregnancy test on December 24. Christmas will be so hard. I'm glad we will be with family, and busy, but I know I'll cry. Probably more than once.

Recently, I attended a church sponsored women's Christmas gathering. We were singing some Christmas carols, I don't remember which one it was, but something about the lyrics just hit me and I had to leave and have a two-minute cry. (I'm lucky that I have my church-family to support me.)

I think the hardest part right now is not knowing when it will hit me. "It" being my missing Noah; being sad for myself, for Dave, for my family; that gaping hole of hurt. Now that I've recognized that December will be hard, I'm better at just letting myself feel it, instead of attempting to be strong and block the emotions.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Balancing Act

Recently, I've learned the hard way about the love triangle that is Noah, my heart, and others.

You hear about that glow that prengant women get - I wonder what causes this perception of a glow, but I also think it's really sheer joy radiating out of a woman's face because she's accepted this unborn-child in to her life: She's committed and is so excited. It's joy.

It is only natural, I believe, to want to share this joy - hence all the mommy blogs, the internet forums, the literature, the (decaf)coffee talk sessions - all revolving around sharing this information.

And then women have the baby - and it's still all about sharing. To people without children, it seems weird and almost petty and often annoying. You share how much they pooped today, what time they woke up, how many times they fed; every intricate detail that (hopefully) people grow out of sharing.

But where do you fit in when you've lost your baby? When you can't share the first time he sat up, the first time he slept more than 6 hours, the first time he tried real carrots. I think there is a group of us that just lead double lives. You choose not to share about the baby at all - it probably is easier that way - to not talk about how you chose this name because then the person will ask how is the baby doing to which I will (never?) have a ready or good response.

I feel, however, that it isn't fair, though. My baby existed and impacted my life and others: I can only hope that I aspire to touch as many lives as Noah did has. I want to share - I want to tell everyone about him. But it hurts at the same time. Sometimes it hurts a lot. Sometimes it hurts a little.

So I shared recently. And it backfired. The conversation ended up becoming just downright hurtful, offensive, and inappropriate. Looking back now, I can see what went wrong: I shared with the wrong person. I shared with someone who would not understand the position I am in, the position I have been in, or the decision(s) I have made. I did not know this person well, that I had spent time with them.

And so I am at a crossroads: How do I know when it's okay to share? How do I know if it's a safe person to share with? Is it wrong to only want to share with people that will support me? And if I do that, isn't that just surrounding myself with "yes-men"?

And so I have recently discovered this will be a balancing act and I am learning on the fly every time. I will have to balance my overwhelming love for Noah and life with protecting myself and guarding my heart. Because everytime I share about Noah I am also opening myself up to be hurt: putting salt on a wound. In regards to my most recent failed sharing attempt - I will just have to hope and belive that God wanted me to share with that person for a reason - one that I will not know probably in this life time, but for a reason that will be revealed to me when I meet Noah again in Heaven.

And so there is this balancing act between sharing and guarding my heart.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I'd heard on Thursday that Friday, October 15 would be Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Day... I was shopping for Christmas (yes, that's me planning ahead) presents for my nieces and came across a book by Olivier Dunrea's Peedie These are my all-time favorite books. I bought it for Noah, and when I came home and put his sticker in it, I just lost it. It's just hard. We're getting better, but it's still hard. 

Today is 3 months since his birthday. It seems like such a short time and yet like it was ages ago,  too.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


The loss of Noah is just something I will live with.

Talking to Katie today, I told her I just want "to go back to being functional," to which she replied, "well what does that mean?" Well, it means that basically I want to go back to feeling how I felt before April 5, 2010, before my life became burdened with loss.

Well, that obviously can't happen. There will never be a day that goes by that I don't think about and love Noah; there will always be that hole in my heart where he is. My hope is that one day the hole won't hurt so badly. And maybe one day I won't be measuring time around December 24, April 5, July 16 and September 8.

I haven't used my blog as an outlet recently, I'm not sure why. Probably because I'm stupid and am trying to be strong. But, again, reality is that I cannot be strong all the time. And that being strong doesn't mean not crying and not hurting, which is what I want it to mean. As we quietly passed over Noah's due date and  the two month anniversary of his birth and loss, I guess I thought not thinking and talking about it would make it less painful. But that's not true either - the pain just gets damed up and delayed. Reality is that walking through any children's section will never be easy for me any more; seeing pregnant women will hurt; babies hurt; I'll never see handicapped, mentally delayed, or disabled persons again the same - because if he had lived, that would have been Noah. "Retarded" is not a funny or acceptable word - not when you've heard it used in the medical aspect do describe your baby. Flippant remarks about death, or killing someone, aren't so flippant, not when they have truth behind it.

Just to be clear- I'm not depressed. I'm just experiencing loss as anyone else would - which is comforting to me - that if you'd lost a husband, mother, or sibling, you'd be feeling this way too: small things trigger memories and become reminders. And remembering just hurts. Hurt doesn't mean we don't love; I think it means we do love: it hurts that we have lost someone we love no matter who that someone is. Even in high school, breaking up with a boyfriend meant tears, because it hurt to let go of that part of you. Losing Grandma hurt and I cried because her death meant I wouldn't get to see her at my high school or college graduation.

Hurting is just a normal part of life and a highly normal part of grief.
But it doesn't make the hurt any easier to bare.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Love is...

Love is forgiving and making amends.
Love isn't passive and always defends.
Love is so deep, honest and open.
Love isn't about listening, but hearing the unspoken.

Love is about faith, trust and loyalty.
Love isn't just about making memories, but finding your destiny.
Love is sincere, honest and true.
Love isn't about the old, but about creating something new.

Love is about feeling what others merely only dream.
Love isn't about being poorly glued - more like stitched at the seams.
Love is so special; when you get it, don't let it go.
Love isn't wondering what could've been, it's about what you already know.

Love is about second chances, forgiving what's been said and done.
Love isn't abut finding new, but realizing you already have the One.
Love is patient and always makess time.
Love isn't about what's been lost, but about what you'll find.

Love is about kindness and staying true to your heart.
Love isn't about being separated, but becoming stronger as you're apart.
Love is about not wanting to argue but always ready to fight.
Love isn't about what went wrong, but about what's right.

Love is about being fearless, fearing nobody and nothing.
Love isn't about wanting everything, but always cherishing that something.
Love is about always being there through the thick and thin.
Love isn't about saying good-bye but saying hello again and again.

Love is about keeping promises through the imperfection and flaws.
Love isn't about starting over, but picking up where you paused.
Love is about perseverance - supporting them through the good and bad.
Love isn't about changing dreams, but chasing the ones you had.

Love is about the simple things, and not sweating the tough.
Love isn't about what's on the outside because what's inside is enough.
Love is about taking chances and living what's real.
Love isn't about apologizing for what was said, just say what you feel.

Love is rejoicing in the good, becoming stronger in the worst.
Love isn't self-healing but seeking help from His word.
Love is believing in God and the love He gives.
Love isn't about imagining - your love is to be lived.

-- Emilie Lauren Mankey
                  July 25, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Money for Trisomy 18

You've probably heard of the Pepsi Refresh campaign, donating $1.3 million to different causes. Where the money is donated is up to us: each cause must be voted in to the top ten.

I'm supporting a cause created by a mom in Kentucky whose child was diagnosed with Trisomy 13. As a result, they were unable to find a doctor willing to help them. This story hit close to home for me, not only because of the Trisomy 13 - which similar to Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 21 (Downs Syndrome) - but because we also had a difficult time finding a doctor that would not only support our decision to carry, but also support us in finding surgeons who would operate. We were told that no doctor would operate on Noah because of his Trisomy.

No parent should not have that option. With $50,000, this grant would create an online referral system that would help parents find supportive doctors. Well worth the 2 minutes it take to sign up and vote. You can vote up to three times each day.

Hurry, voting closes on August 31.

Learn more: $50K: Care for children with Trisomy 13 and 18

Vote: Using the widget on the Right, or through the link above.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Scary Movies

Dave and I were talking last night about scary movies. I used to love scary movies. When I was in grade school, my friend, Stephanie, and I watched all six of the "Children of the Corn" thrillers. Of course, they were late 80s or early 90s scary movies - can't really be compared to the gore of modern scary movies.  My parents even went to see Blair Witch Project to see if I could see it. I saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre on opening night in college. And now I won't even watch the previews.  So what changed? I used to love having the pants scared off me.  Here's my theory.

Up through college life was very care free, I still had my parents to fall back on if I needed them. My biggest fear was getting a low GPA and failing a final. Post-college I got married and had something to lose. Moving away from my family, having my husband deploy, living in a completely foreign culture: all of this was much scarier than Children of the Corn or Blair Witch.

Life's a lot scarier when it's real. I don't need to be a thrill seeker or an adrenaline junkie and watch scary movies to get a buzz. Real life is much, much scarier than whatever Hollywood can make.

Horror films over-do the blood, guts, and gore to make it scary - to prove a point. But emotional films do the same thing. Think about any movie that makes you cry. Like the Notebook. Both the Notebook and Texas Chainsaw over-embellish to evoke emotion. They just evoke different types of emotion. I can't watch super emotional movies any more either. It used to be that my roommates and I would watch Legends of the Fall once a semester, to get the emotional catharsis that accompanies the viewing. Now I don't need to watch movies to feel something because once again life has proven to be much more emotionally draining than I could have anticipated in my care-free college days.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I've thought what I'd want my return-to-the-blog post to be about. But the truth is, I can't organize my thoughts enough to create something that's worthy of remembering Noah, not yet.

So instead I"m just jumping back in with my latest news: I've deactivated my facebook account.


I know, I know. It's kind of a big deal. There were several factors going into this. In December and March, when we found and announced we were pregnant, we didn't put it on facebook. In April, when we found out about Noah's condition, we didn't put that on facebook either. And I'm not about to put Noah's death on facebook either. The recent months have made me consider how much I share, and more importantly, to whom I'm sharing with. So that's reason one - Not everyone need to know about my life, my real life. Second reason, thinking back to what I would share on facebook, no one should care if I'm going to Fresno today, having coffee in the morning, or excited about some tv show. In light of everything that's happened to us, these just seem mundane. And my final and third reason for closing my facebook profile - information overload of people I am no longer connected with: seeing people's names come up with information about their lives then makes me carry around that knowledge.

    Baggage. I need to lose the baggage.

People I went to college with are especially special. I had good times with so many people and they were important at some part of my life, and now they aren't not because I stopped liking them or don't want to be friends with them but rather that our lives have taken us different directions. I'm keeping up with those people a) because facebook decides who comes up in my news feed and b) because of the relationship we no longer have.

This is kind of coming out wrong, I'm not exactly sure how to word it all. There are still many people I care about on facebook. I'm just going to move our relationship off of facebook. After all, we are friends in real life not just cyber life.

Relatedly, I can't watch everyone who got pregnant after or at the same time as me have their babies. Selfish, possibly, but protecting myself, yes.

So yes. It's gone. At least for now. It's kind of experimental. It is similar to me quitting coffee cold turkey. It's part of my morning routine and my killing-time routine. We'll see what happens.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Update from the grandmothers

On July 16, at about 3 am, Annie's water broke. Dave was on an aircraft carrier in the Atlantic Ocean, so Annie called her dear friend Katie. Within minutes, they were on their way to the Lemoore Naval Air Station hospital.  Upon her admission to the maternity ward,  Annie's very supportive doctor, Dr. Schipper, performed an ultrasound. At that time, both Annie and Dave (on the phone from the ship) learned that Noah's heart had stopped beating. With support from Katie, Amy, a great nursing staff, and her doctor, Annie labored until Noah's birth at 2:03 pm.

Noah weighed 2 lbs 13 oz. and was 13.5 inches long. He had auburn hair, like his dad, and blue eyes, like his mom.  Miraculously,  Dave arrived at the hospital late that night, and he and Annie were able to spend time together with Noah.

We grandmothers arrived in time to hold Noah, too.  A private memorial service is scheduled this week.

Annie will add to their story later, when she is ready.  They are grieving with hope.

Barbara and Jenny, aka Bobbie and Nonny

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Party for Noah

We've decided on what our equivalent of a Baby Shower will be. If you'd like to help in celebrating Noah, send me an email and I'll get you the information. There's no set date, necessarily, but there is an end-date, so the sooner you let me know the longer you'll have.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Three-parted Post

I'm going to preface this post by stating Yes, we'll be seeing a counselor starting next week.

I'm just always shocked by how many people have had similar or relatable traumatic experiences, especially the loss of a child.

No one talks about it. And as a result, we live in a world where our expectations don't match reality's baffling statistics.

Part of me says, if we don't discuss what we've learned - how difficult it really is to have a healthy child - then how can we share knowledge and spread awareness?

The other part of me answers - duh, it's because it's too painful. Obviously. If I open myself up to my emotions, they overpower me so fast, and I quickly become unable to function.

The other part of me says, would I have wanted someone to sit me down and tell me everything that could go wrong? Back when I was reading pregnancy books, they do tell you about millions of things that can go wrong, and I sat there thinking, "well, i'm young, i didn't do cocain, so this will never happen to me." (Irony here is that the book was reading didn't mention Trisomy - except in regards to Downs Syndrome.)

So, yes, I suppose they do tell you about the risks of having a healthy baby, but who paid attention to them before it affected them directly?


As I said, if I open myself up feeling all my emotions, it's bad. As I've posted before, it's not like we lay about the house being sad all the time. But it sure would be easy to do that. But some days are just more... pensive and fragile than others. So we build walls and keep distances.

Some of you may have noticed how impossible I am to get a hold of now-a-days. (Maybe I was before, too, I don't know.) I let my phone ring to voicemail a lot. The truth is, it takes so much energy to keep up our walls. Some days are harder than others, other days are easier. Usually on the easier days I'm more prone to chatting. But I can't predict which days will be what. Some times it's an hour-by-hour thing, too. I find myself calling people one minute, and when they didn't answer and call back 15 minutes later, the moment's gone and I no longer feel up to it.

I just wanted to put this out there because there are quite a few of my friends and even family that this happens to. I just wanted to let you know "it's not you, it's me" and it's not personal. I'm trying to force myself to be "out there" more, because if I let my relationships fall away before our tragedy and trauma strike, what will I do after? Who will I lean on then?

So don't give up. Keep calling, emailing, facebooking, snail-mailing. (I can't tell you how many time's we've gotten a letter from someone from church, home, or college just letting us know they're thinking and praying for us, and how that brings a ray of sunshine in our darkness.)


Now I'm almost 8months pregnant, and there is just no hiding it. Because of that, I get more attention from strangers or people I don't know well.

I almost want to wear a stickynote on my forward "DON'T SAY IT." Don't say "How far along are you?" "Is it a boy or a girl" "When are you due" "Oh you must be getting close now, are you excited" "are you so ready for him to come out" "do you have everything set up" because you really have no idea what you're asking. I try to remember, these people don't know, they're trying to be supportive of the pregnancy they think we're having. And I do a pretty good job - mainly because of constant practice - of smiling, nodding, and telling them what they expect to hear. But then I come home and feel sad. Because I want to be able to answer all those questions joyously, and I do, when I answer, Yes I'm looking forward to it, I really am. But these strangers don't know the what's looming ahead of us.

And that's what I am afraid of. I'm not afraid of the unknown. I'm afraid of what I know will happen.

Being Catholic/Christian, I know that Noah will be in God's hands and be in a better place and all that jazz. I know that. I believe that. But knowing and believing that doesn't make pain of future-loss go away. I really thought it would help. But it doesn't.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not losing my faith in God. I'm not even angry at God (at least not yet). I'm not blaming Him. I believe he'll keep his promise to us - that's why we named Noah Noah. But there is only so much solace to be found in that. This knowledege makes the rational mind say "it's okay, in the big picture, it's really ok, Noah's not meant for this world." But the emotional part of me says, "but I want him to be." And it doesn't make it easier.

I thought it would. But it doesn't.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Waiting Room

Oh my gosh the Waiting Room blows our minds every time we go. Today we had a 9am appointment, our first one that early. As a result we had a different crew of peeps to hang with. No kids! What!? I know, it was crazy, there were no kids in the waiting room. And only two families violated the "no more than two guests per patient" policy. Also a first. Usually it's everyone.

The wait started very quiet. No distractions. Except two patients had the same first name and so one girl would get all pissed when they meant the other Crystal. Well turns out, Crystal #2 probably had a lot on her mind. Her Snoop-Dawg ring tone was the first thing that drew attention to her. And when it rang for a third time, and she answered, that's when things got interesting. Oh man.

"No, man, he's locked up... yeah, he's in jail. And they won't let me see him.... Yeah, he was arrested yesterday for jaywalking....Yeah, but then they found out he used a fake name, they took his prints, dude. And he had a warrant so the locked him up....They told me they'd arrest me if I kept trying to see him...He's got a court date tomorrow...yeah I know,  but they won't let me see him. I can call a number tomorrow to find out what the result is...."

Yes. Really. That was the conversation she had in the waiting room.

I just want to go back to Japan where you don't answer you cell phone in public. Prime example of a conversation we didn't need to hear!


Well, today just sucked.

We had a doctor's appointment in Fresno (Waiting Room Stories post). Our usual sonographer is on vacation this week - the first vacation anyone in the office can remember him taking. Our sonographer this time just didn't mesh with us and our situation. It's one thing to be professional, but now we know the difference between "professional," "professional with sympathy," "callous ass," and "doesn't know how to respond to our situation and has obviously never seen a Trisomy baby." John and Dr Morgan- our first sonographer and doctor at this new clinic - was professional - the one who was almost in tears by the time we left. Jeff and Dr Choa- our 'regular' sonographer is professional with sympathy - and because of that we feel 100% comfortable around him - he understand the situation we are in. Callous ass would be Dr. Wood's office, everyone. And then there's Mariella or whatever he name was today. She's the "doesn't know how to respond to Trisomy and obviously never seen it." She kept her distance and there was just something about it that told us she didn't know how to respond.

So we had some antenatal tests done - Dave and I don't understand, we thought we declined antenatal care, but then this might be standard? I'm not sure. There are three tests that Noah had to complete within the 30 minute time frame: 3 gross movements, fetal tone (heartbeat?), and breathing. I guess around now is when babies start practicing breathing on their own. Well, Noah didn't practice breathing. Usually, that would mean they'd send us to the hospital for 2 hour evaluation, or reschedule another ultrasound and try the test again in a few days. If he didn't pass the second round, they'd check me in. So fun times. Dr. Morgan had told us of a Trisomy 18 case he'd seen at the beginning of the year where they opted to continue evaluation in the hospital - she was there for two weeks - and then was able to check out. But it doesn't change the outcome - they still wouldn't delay delivery (before 32 weeks), or do anything more aggressive later. And the concept of me being in a hospital for an undetermined amount of time... in Fresno. Dealing with people like people in the Waiting Room. Away from Dave. For a situation that monitoring won't affect. Not worth it.

We also learned that as of 3 weeks ago, Noah was in the 5% for weight. 584g, 1.2lbs. They didn't do growth measurements this week so we don't know how that's changed, but that's never good. We expected him to be small, but it's still hard to hear it. Especially such a low percentile. Dave and I were talking on the way home - If you compared him to his like-peers - Male Trisomy 18 babies at 31 weeks - he probably measures right on, and is great compared to everyone else. Mainly because no one makes it this far to begin with. Also not a fun thought.

To top off the visit, we got no pictures. Ugh. So we're obviously only scheduling with Jeff from now on.

So we made it home, and Dave went into work, and then I promptly broke down. Sat balling with Slider for over an hour. Slider's got some great attributes but consolation isn't one of them. Just crying about everything. Nothing in particular. But everything at the same time.  Dave was able to come home from work a bit early and we canceled dinner plans and were able to just spend some time together, which i needed. (He's been flying/working nights the past two weeks in preparation for Carrier Quals out of Virginia next week.)

So that was a great afternoon only to be topped by this evening's news: Our travel insurance claim has been denied based on the fact that pregnancy is a preexisting condition. Well you just watch Dave and I fight this. It's total bullshit. We weren't canceling the trip because we realized I was pregnant. We canceled the trip because the DOCTOR(S) said I can't travel. So that's fucking awesome. I don't know who deserves to get $2k more than we do at this point. I'd go ahead and say we've earned it. So this will be fun. Not.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July Weekend

Every year, I feel like the 4th of July sneaks up on me, and before I know it, I've got no plans. Poop. Probably as a result of this, Dave and I don't have any 4th traditions - unless you count rarely seeing fireworks. Last year we were in Perth, Australia, and Dave had a kangaroo steak for dinner and we saw a movie; the year before we were in Maryland at the Grebb's; I can't remember the years preceding those... So this weekend will at least be memorable.

On Saturday, we had a JO wine tour arranged in Paso Robles. For me, I wasn't thrilled about driving to Paso, spending 50$ for me to ride around in a limo (when i could be driving since I drove up there anyway) and then having to drive back. But it's never a dull moment with the single guys, that's for sure, and Dave found a way to pay for our trip.

Here we have Dave getting a Hanna Montana airbrush tattoo on his lower back. What we like to call a "Tramp Stamp."

When some of the single guys said "I'll pay you $100 to get a Hanna Montana tattoo" "Yeah I'll throw in another $50" Dave weighed the pluses and minuses and immediately said okay. So, there we paid for both our of limo tickets, all the wine we purchased, and then pocketed a bunch. Woot!

The day escalated quickly and was a lot of fun, save the last 45 minutes which were nothing but d-r-a-m-a. Aside from the drama, this was the first full-out day of neck pain, and I was poppin' Tylenol like they were Pezz...

On Sunday, the actual 4th of July, we had no plans. We used Dave's well earned money to go to Walmart-ugh-and buy two racks of ribs, which ended up being waaay to much and one sits calmly in our freezer. Dave and I realized we hadn't had ribs (homemade) since Summer 2008, when Mary and Kyle came to visit us in Virginia Beach. We decided to try two recipes out of the Webber Grill Book: one saucy, and one Memphis-style rub.
The Rub.

The Apple Mop Sauce.

Grilling, with some hickory chips, and sweet corn.

YUMMY. The rub was a bit peppery, the mop was awesome (it has shallots in it, and Dave said all he could taste were the onions, eeeeewwww. I, however, loved it.) the corn was amazing, the squash was bland.

before and after

Peach Cobbler with some local peaches. (I doubled the amount of crust.)

Slider, being Slider, and celebrating. 

After dinner, we went over to the Stephen's house for some fireworks. Local fireworks here are super lame. They are only on sale July 2-4. They cannot go more than 5ft off the ground. So we all sat on the curb to get a dog's-eye-view in an effort to make them more spectacular. 

Look! It's a picture of ME and DAVE!  And Noah. I look like a tent in this shot, but my dress is red-white-and-blue. Not the greatest picture, but it's at least a documentation that we were there together, all three of us :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The little things

Last week's post was a downer, so I thought I'd write something more cheerful. Because the reality is, most of the time, Dave and I are ok. (I almost wrote "fine", but reality there is that we won't be that for a while.) Most days are not tearful, and while there may be a few moments that I think of Noah's fatality, I don't dwell on it usually. It would be impossible to function if I did.

A lot of times, Dave and I are happy with the normalcy of the pregnancy. We've never been pregnant before, so it's all new to us.

It simply is baffling that the human body can change so much physically. Let's face I went from being Annie to Whale-like-Annie and don't consider it a bad thing! When I go to the doctor's office, they weigh me every time. If I'd hit this weight a year ago, I'd be flipping out and exercising three times a day. But now, as a creep up to 150lbs, I'm not unhappy.

It's amazing to me that there is a little human body growing inside of me. I think that anyone who is skeptical about God has to become at least agnostic when they look at a pregnant woman: There is a HUMAN growing inside HER. Little toes and fingers. And a heart! So complex!

It's amazing experiencing Noah move. I've finally - finally - recognized the little movements in addition to his full-out change-of-position rotations.  They feel like bubbles. Once I was able to describe them to Dave as bubbles, he understood what to feel for and voila- he can feel Noah too! All those weeks I thought my intestinal track had shifted and that I was digesting food, nope, it's Noah. ((flutter flutter)) He say's "Hi!"

Most times I can look down at my tummy and play "On Which Side of Annie Is Noah?" and visibly tell the answer. I guess that's what people mean by carrying high or low - Noah hangs out most of the time upper right quadrant. Of course I don't know if it's his head or his rump.

And then there's the back pain. Not so much fun. After three months of sleeping on my sides, I only want to sleep on my back. Or my stomach. And guess what I can't do? Sleep on my back or stomach. The stomach for obvious reasons, but I can't sleep on my back because it compresses a main artery that sends blood to Noah. It's also sore from carrying extra weight at one point in my body. You try carrying an 11-15lbs bowling ball fastened to your stomach around for a while and see how long it takes you to develop back pains. Dr. Schipper said she would write me a prescription for "back massages from husband" if needed. I'm going to be trying prenatal yoga starting the week after next. (The studio is closed next Monday for 4th of July, blast.)

And then there's always the random cravings, random bouts of extreme tiredness, constipation, remembering to take the vitamins at give me constipation, remembering to eat fiberfull foods, peeing at least twice in the middle of the night, remembering to turn on the nightlight in the bathroom so I don't blind myself every night, and extra pillows everywhere.

So really, Noah's just a normal kid.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Disclaimer: Not Uplifting. 
Father's Day passed similarly as Mother's Day... though with less tears. I vetoed church because I didn't want to hear a sermon about how great and important dads are. It's not that I don't agree but rather that it is a constant reminder of what we will never have. Playing catch and teaching Noah how to ride a bike just aren't things we can think about without utter pain; instead, we'll be lucky if we get to hold him.

I have to remind us that we are perfect parents because we've given Noah the opportunity very few would grant him: The chance. The opportunity to make a difference in people's lives; to be treated like a normal baby instead of a fatal statistic; to be loved not despite all his difficulties but because of them. But still, we mourn for the loss of what we thought we'd have.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Noah's photoshoot

Full-body view of Noah, he looks like he's sucking his thumb, maybe. Omphalecele also apparent. (We learned how to spell it today.)

Noah's little legs/feet, crossed at the ankles. This is probably what's poking me every day...

Little fist! It's his hand, but his fingers are clenched so they're folded under.

Sucking on the umbilical cord...

Obviously he can't hear me tell him not to put that in his mouth....

Noah's boy parts! We had the tech, Jeff, show us because we found out he was a boy via amnio results. The big blob in the bottom left is his butt.  :)

We had an overall good visit with the doctor today. The Tech was disappointed when we had to schedule our next ultrasound while he is out of town. (Having to plan around Dave's schedule.) We had a minorly traumatic event as we witnessed a massive heart deceleration from 130s to mid 70s. So that was upsetting, but apparently not wholly abnormal. We spoke with Dr. Chao, who is our favorite, aside from Dr. Shipper. He has very good interpersonal skills. Dr. Chao arranged for a neonatologist from the hospital to stop by and meet with us. Dr Savid was helpful in discussing what options we have available - which aren't a lot, but we already knew that. We're planning on delivering at the Fresno hospital, where they'd provide some basic comfort care support. So overall, not a bad visit, but always emotionally draining. We're getting take out for dinner because a) we have no food and b) no energy to cook. 

Warning, the following includes judgmental comments. I'm just letting you know that I know they're judgmental. 
As always, we have many tales of the fall of the human race from sitting in the waiting room. Today's future-mom-of-notice was.... almost indescribable... Dave and I were unbelievably appalled. The office closes for lunch from 12-1pm. Having the appointments right after lunch are good because that hour gives the morning's rush time to even out, and you generally wait less. Well little-miss-Thang obviously didn't notice this, and continued to complain about the wait (they lock the doors until exactly 1pm). While we had to wait with her for 15 minutes, she drank a soda, pulled out some nothing-but-sugar-blue-and-pink candies, proceeded to announce to the other 10 of us waiting to get in that she was a gestational diabetic, but she didn't care since her due date is in 6weeks anyway. "I really shouldn't be eating all this sugar, but who cares." We also learned that this was her 7th child, (she's 31, I checked her birthday when I signed in.... come to think of it, she cut in front of me, but I don't care because I didn't want to have to deal with her); she has a baby girl, and a dead 12-week-old fetus in her that's causes extra fluid build up; she has the mentality of a 10 year old; she was wearing a tube top with a strapped bra. (Ok those last two aren't observations, they're judgements.)  I managed to avoid eye contact enough so that she didn't seek me out as a social companion in the waiting room (thank the Lord), but latched on to a 10year old boy who was there and talked about how many stitches and staples she'd had... There was also discussion of being in and out of jail, but I didn't hear the details, I don't think it was her that was in and out of jail, though, so that's.... good? 

Dave also thinks she's on welfare. Pure speculation, and judgement, but hey, if we can beat .007% odds and have a Trisomy 18 baby, it's almost a safe bet she's on welfare or unemployment. Or both.

When Dave and I over heard that she's had 7 kids, we just about lost it. How in the world can people like this get SEVEN kids and our FIRST has Trisomy 18? Why do bad things happen to good people, and why is stupidity continually recognized and rewarded in our society?!?!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dr. Horrible

On Saturday night, we had Tyler and Laura over for dinner. After dinner, we watched Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog, a spoofy, pithy, laugh-out-loud mini-musical with a surprisingly serious ending. Written during the massive Writer's Strike in 2009 (?) (Why did I capitalize writer's strike?), it originally was available for free online, but now you can buy it in iTunes or watch it via Netflix. It really is sad it isn't a full-length production, the music is great, lyrics are insightful and fun, and fun characters.

While we were watching it, Penny's song resonated with me:

Here's a story of girl
who grew up lost and lonely
thinking love was fairy tales
and trouble was made only for me

even in the darkness
every color can be found
and every day of rain
brings water flowing 
to things growing in the ground

Grief replaced with pity
for a city barely coping
dreams are easy to achieve
if hope is all I'm hoping to be

Any time you're hurt
there's one who has it worse around
and every drop of rain
will keep you growing seeds you're sowing in the ground

So keep your head up billy buddy.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Maternity Photos

Tada! While Diane was here - in the 45 minutes we had before we had to load everyone in the car to go to the airport - we did a mini-photo shoot of Noah and I. These are some of my favorites.
(Click on any of the photos to make them fullscreen large.)

The photo shoot wasn't hard until later - we were so busy getting everyone out the door, and then driving, and then driving again. But yesterday it was a little hard. I mean, I love the photos, but it's still difficult knowing that we won't have more photos of Noah. Regardless, the photos are a tribute to Diane's photography abilities - since the only light we used was the natural light from our bedroom window.  

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


So. Dave's been gone for almost two weeks, boo, in Panama City, Florida. He comes home on Thursday, yay! Since he's been gone I've attempted to keep busy. I attended a surprise birthday party for a friend from church, attended a birthday soiree for a friend/Katie's neighbor, and saw a local production of Butterflies Are Free preformed by the King's Players. I met the director at Jo's soiree so it was fun to chat theater for a while. Our church was scheduled to have a church picnic on Sunday at a local ancient park with big trees, but due to high winds (25mph) we had to stay at the church (not nearly as fun). I also pet-sit Topher last weekend. Slider enjoyed having some company and playmate, but I think he was worried Topher would be a permanent addition - he just wasn't himself all weekend. This week I've been preparing for the Hamilton Invasion, who also arrive on Thursday. I'm driving to LA to pick them up, and we're banking on their "packing light" abilities so that' we'll all (7 of us) fit in our Highlander - with 3rd row. So I've been busy making nest-beds for the youngest boys, including a "clubhouse" in the walk-in closet in the guest room. I decorated it with Dragon and Navy paraphernalia and put a touch light and night-time reading books in there. It's pretty cool. It's like Nathan and John's own room, and I think Connor's going to be bitterly jealous. Ohwell.

Noah and I are off to our regular doctor's appointment with Dr. Shipper, Katie is accompanying.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

more updates

I'm making this quick because I'm super tired of finding more things wrong with Noah.

We had a fetal echo cardiogram on Monday and the Tech found that Noah has Trucus Arteriosis. Click the link to learn about it becuase I don't feel like describing it. The good news is that it doesn't harm him while he's inside me, cause I keep him safe. As always, if it were the only thing wrong, it is treatable.

We had a really good expereince with the doctor there, super nice, easy to talk to, willing to listen, appreciated and supported our decision, inspired by our bravery, etc. The Tech offered to see us whenever we wanted to have an ultrasound - regardless of insurance - during his lunch any day. He's willing to do as many pictures as we'd like.

We also discussed that a) Noah's cute; b) we are blessed that he doesn't have any facial deformities; many babies with these types of abnormalities have cleft palates or the like. It's comforting to be able to just look and him and think he's beautiful, and not have to see everything that's wrong.

Slider's busy eating cat vomit, so I'll leave it all at that.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

There he is!

There's our little Noah-boy! We had an ultrasound in Fresno today and were able to get some 3D glamour shots.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Baby's name

We've decided on a name!

Noah Patrick

We decided on Noah for the Biblical references: We have to trust that God will guide us through this storm and keep His promise in the end - that Noah will be awaiting us in Heaven, keeping seats warm for us. So we're banking on that rainbow.... Dave also points out that Noah in the Bible is first recorded drunk. I think this will bear no similarity to our Noah.

Patrick is for my cousin, James Patrick Walthall, who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in 2007 at the too-young age of 26. Noah will also be taken from us at too young an age, but both son's memory will still live after them.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Another week goes by..

Another week passes by. It started off pretty rough - as is usual - with trying to make doctors appointments and not being able to and trying to sort through it all. The week picked up though. Katie and I - with Maya and Caleb - went shopping in Fresno, and visited Laura at Anthropologie as we oogled over the clothes there. Dave signed us up as volunteers to work a concession stand at the Fresno Grizzlies AAA baseball game. While we didn't have to actually cook the burgers, we did everything else, serving hundreds of people, and it happen to be Dollar Beer Night so the place was bouncing, even though it was a crispy 55degrees out and progressively getting cooler. I can honestly say that I have not worked that hard in a long long time. Another wife and I even did the dishes after the park closed. We raised money for the squadron's MWR fund, and I'm not sure what our total is yet. I also do not recommend eating anything from a ballpark: while the place was "clean", the food is "fresh", but it is all SO gross. Stick with hotdogs: at least there you know you don't know what you're eating. The "most interesting" item we served was a Frito Pie. I'm sorry if I offend anyone, but it does not sound appetizing to me. Two bags of Frito chips, topped with Nacho cheese, tomatoes... I don't even know what else, but I stopped listening after they said chips and cheese.... Friday, Dave and I had date-night and ate at Toshiko's restaurant in Hanford. It's a Japanese restaurant, but pales in comparison to those who've recently eaten real Japanese food. They don't even serve Toro, I mean really! And no Ramen! Blah! Saturday, Dave and I drove to Monterey for the day. We ate at a place called Pepper's Mexicali Cafe in Pacific Grove and went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I now want to live in Pacific Grove - the houses there are just my style. I can't even imagine how much many millions they cost...We drove up "The Five" on the way there, and took 198 all the way back. I-5 is a major highway and not too scenic, but 198 was really scenic, very twisty, and lots of valleys and peaks to look at. Today, Sunday, we drove up to Fresno to leisurely watch a Grizzlies game, which is definitely the way to see a game. I even kept score, using all the nerdy stuff my dad taught me. I had some trouble remembering how to mark everything, but the basics were there. The Grizzlies won 4-3 with an exciting 2 single run back to back home runs in the bottom of the Eighth.

We've chosen a name and will reveal it after we've told our parents.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

This week

This week has been up and down, which isn't unusual I suppose.

Monday started with a call from my doctor, giving me two pieces of information. First, the address at which I can send a complaint about the clinic we were referred to. Second, she notified me that Lemoore's hospital, should we decide to deliver there, will only provide "comfort care;" if we'd like more aggressive care, we should deliver at Fresno Community Regional Hospital in Fresno. Lemoore will not provide an IV, intubation, oxygen and no surgeries. Comfort care consists of delivery (nice), wrapping the baby, and spending time with him. Fresno would provide intubation (so the baby can eat), an IV (to replace lost fluids), oxygen (to breathe), surgery options (like putting the intestines where they should be), and resuscitation. We would be referred to another perinatologist, but not the one we saw previously, which is good.  So basically, I felt like we have to choose between a good, supportive system at Lemoore, and more options for our baby in Fresno. It all comes down to the question "how aggressive do we want to be" with our baby.

So that was all a lot to take in. And not a decision I'd want to make for Slider much less our baby. Dr. Shipper made an appointment for me to speak to a pediatrician at Lemoore so that I could learn more about what Lemoore can provide. (This is why I love my doctor.) The pediatric doctor gave me a call within 3 hours to schedule a meeting.

On Wednesday we had our regularly schedule OB appointment. We were able to have some more questions answered and hear the heart beat.

Thursday, I met with Dr. McVey in Pediatrics. Katie came with me since Dave was flying. It was good to have her there because she's actually had children, with some minor complications, so she new some better questions to ask.

That was a hard discussion. It just sucks. Basically, if we don't do the surgery on the external-intestine, it will kill him eventually. But, since we know he has heart issues, and will likely have lung issues, do you put someone that unstable in surgery? Also, after surgery, he wouldn't get to come home with us after the surgery. He'd have to be tube fed for about 2-3 weeks and stay in the hospital. And that's assuming he'd make it through surgery. It's hardest because we don't know what his lung condition will be until he's born, and we don't know the exact heart complications he has. And then there's a chance he wouldn't be eligible for the intestine surgery to begin with if some hole isn't big enough. Some of this we'll be able to know more about via further ultra-sounds. But it doesn't help our situation much. We still have to decide. If we do surgery we will be being very aggressive; surgery means iv, intubation, the works.

So yeah. Rough week. I felt a little bit better when I realized that people have made this decision before. If someone is in a car accident and is brain-dead or vegetative, some one's family has to decide what to do. Hopefully there is a living will that can offer some guidance. Well, we don't have a living will, but have to make the same decision: how long is too long; how much is too much; IS there too much?

So this is lame. :(  But we try to stay positive, "always look on the bright side of life" and keep chugging along.

This weekend we had Katie and Tom over for dinner on Friday night, and participated in Relay for Life Saturday. We spent a few afternoon hours on a track walking around the track. We saw a youth Mariachi band, and a K-9 demonstration. Then we went back to the track at 2am to walk for an hour. Dave was a little less than pleasant about getting up at 130am, but we went out anyway and had a good time. We've been thinking of boy names, but haven't come up with anything yet. We had a girl's name all picked out. Maybe next time. ;)

Monday, April 19, 2010

the Weekend

Dave and I had a nice uneventful weekend together. On Friday night, we drove up to Fresno to celebrate the birthday of one of Dave's fellow-JO's (Junior Officer). There were about 10 of us, Laura and I being the token wives. We ate at Ruth Chris' Steak House.... I've not been a fan of red meat or chicken since getting pregnant, so I had the vegetable options, with a crab-cake starter. In case you've never been there or heard of it, this restaurant basically sells only steaks, with seafood options to satisfy the wives, or girlfriends that will inevitably get taken there. It's also very expensive: $10 beers, $18 appetizers, $42 steaks. Ouch. The cheapest thing we ordered was the $9 creme brule. Oh well. We don't spend that much regularly, and it was a special occasion. After dinner we went out to a bar, and were home by 1am.

On Saturday, we hung out. Didn't do much. Slept in, for one. We had dinner at a friend's house; they'd gotten up at 6am to start brisket, and again, not being a fan of meat currently, it was good, Dave really enjoyed it.

Sunday was church, where we (I) had a minor melt down. We spent the afternoon in Fresno, attending Triple-A baseball game of the Grizzlies, the field-team of the San Fran Giants. The Grizzles won 7-6, through some anxious innings.

We got a call on Sunday evening from the genetic counselor from Clinic Horrid. The Amnio results confirm that our baby has Trisomy 18. As odd as it sounds, Dave and I were relieved. We've prepared ourselves for Trisomy18, and if it had been something else, like something hereditary, we would have been broken all over again. No word on the gender yet. I've got a doctor's appointment on Wednesday morning, and hopefully the amnio results will have gotten to her by then so she can tell us more information.

On a happy note, I saw a video of one of my sorority sisters being proposed to. So sweet. Made me cry tears of joy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Prayer Works

For anyone who is a skeptic, prayers work.

Dave's mom had been in town since Wednesday of last week, and we just dropped her off at the airport. It was a blessing to have her here with us as we've been working through everything. We were relieved as much as she was to realize that we have a support group here larger than we thought. Our church has been so helpful and supportive. Today we were able to meet with a doctor for the first time and have a good discussion and have questions answered. Our doctor gave us a standing invitation to be her walk-in appointment at any time, and even offered to deliver if and when the time comes. She was sympathetic, compassionate, astute, and informative; she was everything we didn't receive when we were told about our baby's condition. She's willing to see me twice a month as I progress to check the baby's heartbeat. And in another answer to prayers, she told us that last week, their office received word of another clinic that can provide the same services, but hopefully with a better bedside manner. She's helping us work out how to file a formal complaint about the doctor we were referred to.

So, to review. Prayers answered this week:
1. Dave and I are still strong and maintaining a positive outlook.
2. We've found we have a stronger support system here than we thought through friends and church.
3. We've found a doctor who is on our side, is willing to work with us and support us and our decision not to terminate our pregnancy.
4. There is another clinic available for Lemoore to refer patients too so hopefully no one else will be treated the same way we were.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dear friends,

I'm sorry to relay this news to you via email, but it's just too hard for me any other way right now.

About two weeks ago we did a screening test for development abnormalities for our baby. One of the results came back abnormal for the AFP test. With a 25% false-positive rate, and Dave and I being young and healthy, we were pretty sure it was nothing, maybe that the baby was older than the doctors had thought.

On Monday we had an appointment with a Fetal Maternal Medicine Specialist to do an ultrasound and received the worst news any expectant parent can receive: our baby has Trisomy 18. Her brain is filed with water, her heart is enlarged and has several problems, her arm bones are wrong, and her intestines and liver are on the outside. 

Trisomy 18 is a genetic non-hereditary disorder. It happens at conception and is random. Every pregnancy has a .075% chance of having it happen. The 18chromosome didn't split correctly and as a result, our baby has three parts of 18 instead of two. This has caused her to develop abnormally in almost every aspect.

There is an 80-90% chance that she will not make it to her birthday; if she does, there is a 10% chance she would survive; if she does survive, because of the complications she has, almost no chance that we would take her home. 

For us, terminating the pregnancy is not an option. I could carry to full term, or miscarry at any time. 

Dave and I are not ok. We canceled our trip to Germany, Dave's mom is coming today, and we are trying to work through what we need to be doing.  We are meeting with the pastor of our church this week, and planning to meet with a doctor to discuss out ultrasound results and more of what we can expect. 

What we really need right now is love, supportive words, and tons and tons of prayers. The most difficult part of our situation is that the hard part hasn't come yet. Please pray for the strength of our baby, and for strength for Dave and I as we work through this time. 


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

1st Baby...

I always feel so stupid calling and making appointments. I don't know any of the lingo the doctors want to hear. I was referred out to Fresno's St. Agnes Hospital for our big Ultrasound, and when I called this morning to make an appointment, I felt that now-familiar apologetic conversation coming on: "I'm sorry, this is my first baby, so I don't know what exactly I need to be asking for, but I need [generic description]." Blah. It's not like I don't pay attention when the doctor tells me what I need, it's just that they assume I know exactly what it is, and am familiar with these terms. I'm sure every first time parent has felt this way - it just seems more noticeable when I'm in a new place.

The good news is we have an ultrasound appointment on APril 21 - the day after we get back from Germany! We'll find out the sex, woot!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What have we been up to recently....
-My friend Katie hoested a birthday party for me last week. We made chocolate mousse from scratch and Diane's red sauce recipe. Unfortunately, Dave was on duty that night and wasn't able to attend my party, but he did make me a birthday breakfast of pancakes :)

-Resolved my expiring drivers license issue - via military extension. A process involving lots of paperwork including a letter signed by the squadron's Commanding Officer.

-This past weekend, Dave went skiing with the other Junior Officers in his squadron at Lake Tahoe. I think he had a pretty good time, we'll see if he took any pictures to document it. He said the skiing there uncomparable to that on the East Coast. I'm looking forward to skiing there next winter.

-While Dave was skiing, Katie took me to Anaheim, home of the Angels and Disneyland, and her sister's NAWG conference. I was introduced to the very different side of the American economy as we ate dinner and held a live auction for the National Association of Wheat Growers. We had a grand ole time helping Cori set up for the banquet, and Katie and I were runners, retrieving contact information from the winning bidder. Saturday was spent at Seal Beach, a great example of un-commercialized California beaches, reeking only of alluring charm. We spent hours wandering along Main Street's shops, finding some great birthday gifts for Maya (I bought her a Fancy Nancy sparkle puzzle and Katie bought her a pink ukulele, which she'll learn to play guitar on, or just play with). We had lunch at Crema Cafe and it was ahhhmazing. I'm still dreaming about that turkey sandwich. We ended the day - and the conference obligations - with a celebratory dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, where we discussed Cori's future plans to move to Thailand as a missionary-slash-agricultural researcher. Sunday we had planned to go to Hollywood, but low-and-behold, it was Academy Awards night, We considered star-gazing, but decided to check out Huntington Beach, the copywritten capital of Surf City, USA. We had a great lunch there, and a brisk stroll on the beach where we did see a surfer catch some wave.

-Dave's been on a night schedule last week and this week. This means he doesn't go in to work until 10ish, but doesn't get home from work until 10ish either. It's messed up our relaxing evening routine and I don't care for it. We'll be happy when this phase is over.

-I fixed a running toilet. Our toilets have the tendency to run and run and run, and after discovering the cause being that the chain was catching under the plug, I did some fiddling and shortened the chain. It's worked in the short term, but we'll see how it does in the long-term.

-I had a baby appointment this morning. It took all of 5 minutes. We listened to the heartbeat and was very glad this was an external magic wand instead of an internal magic wand. We'll find out the sex right after we get back from Germany, in about 6 weeks.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Introducing Jenarbra!

Yes, it's true! There is a baby en route! Anticipating some of your questions, here are some answers:

1. How far along are you? Today, I am 11 weeks 2 days. I will be 12 weeks on Feb 24. The ultra sound photo is from a few weeks ago when I was 8 weeks 5 days. In the photo, the baby is 2.10cm, although that is now outdated, and the baby's now more the size of a plum or clementine.

2. When is your due date? Our first due date was August 26, but our latest due date is September 08. I think it will be closer to the August date. The first date is determined by the first day of your last cycle, and the second date was determined by the length of the baby taken during the ultra sound.

3. When did you find out? We found out pretty early. Very early actually. As you may know, I arrived from Japan on December 11, 2009. A few days after that, I started getting suspicious. We took one pregnancy test that came back negative. Dave was convinced that was the end of it, but I knew better. We waited 5 days and took another one on December 24, when I was about 3 weeks along. So, that's pretty early!

4. Who was the first person you told? The first person I told was my sister, Mary. I woke her up waving a positive pregnancy test in her face, haha. If you know the Walthall Family at all, you know we drink at any family gathering, Christmas Eve being no exception. Mary was my bartender and made me virgin Pomegranate Martinis. Then, I had a get-together in Arlington on the 26th, and Mary again was my bartender and ordered me virgin drinks discretely.

5. I TOLD YOU SO! Yes, Annie Czapp, you were right. When we got together the efirst night I was in town, we'd had a negative preggo test, but I wasn't convinced. It wasn't until the next morning that we found out for sure.

6. So, are you excited?! What kind of future parent would I be if I wasn't excited?? Duh, we're excited.

7. So, was this planned? Yes and no. Coordinating the move from Japan to Cali was super stressful. A certain unnamed older sister told me that stress was a big contributing factor to conception. So me being totally stressed out of my mind, I didn't think we'd be conceiving. Wrong. But Dave and I were completely open to having kids. The Highlander was purchased as a future-baby-mobile. So there you have it.

8. Are you going to find out if it's a boy or girl? Yep. But that won't be for another two months I think.

9. Are you already thinking of names? Yep, but we're not sharing.

10. What's with calling it Jenarbra? Well, if you've read Twilight..... It's a combination of our moms' names. Jennifer and Barbara. I think it's pretty gender neutral. We also came up with Mavder - a combination of Slider and Mav, haha.

11. How have you been feeling? I've been feeling pretty good. The first six weeks I felt a little blah, but I've never thrown up. Now that I'm prenatal vitamins.... blah. The amount of iron in them tears up my stomach, so I have to plan when I take it.

12. How did your parents react? We told both of our families when we saw them over the holidays. Mary was the first person we told, followed by my parents on Christmas morning, and then my older sister via skype. When we drove to Mississippi, we told Sarah, and then the rest of the Wrigleys. My mom cried, and Emily didn't. :) Everyone is very excited for us.

Here's the ultrasound video.
You can hear the heart beat! It gets louder and softer as the OB moves the magic wand.... We currently believe there is only one baby, and so far everything looks good.