Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Song & Dance of Letting Go

When my miscarriage happened 10 days ago, I changed the name of the blog from "The Caudill 3" to "One Day at a Time." The new title has definitely been my motto lately: I just need to get through this one day at a time. And then there are some moments when my feelings of guilt, failure, anger, and sadness get the best of me and my motto instantly changes: I just need to get through this next hour. One hour at a time. ...And when that hour passes, I thank God for bringing me through it and I keep drudging forward... almost afraid to see what's lurking around the next corner.

Sometimes, I get around the next corner and I'm pleasantly surprised. I find a sweet card in the mail from a friend or family member letting me know that even as time continues on, they still remember me (and Jason) in their prayers. I hear a song on the radio that reminds me of who I am in Christ and how His love for me never runs dry. I see a child gleefully playing with her mother and I think, "One day, that will be me and my little one..." instead of "WHY HAS THIS HAPPENED TO ME!?" You see, around some corners I'm beginning to find comfort and peace, and I know that when I can fully let go of what has happened and turn the whole thing over to God, I'll fully receive the peace that He has for me.

I keep trying to let go of my miscarriage and completely hand it over to God. But in a way, I'm having a really difficult time with this. I feel like I'm holding so tightly, so closely, to my pain because it's all that I have left of my sweet little baby... and when I start to extend my arms toward Heaven to release it all to God, I feel myself pulling back once again, afraid to let go. I feel like "letting go" has become a song and dance for me, where some moments I will feel like I'm ready to let go, but right before I release it completely, I find myself grasping for it one more time, afraid to totally let it go. I know that when I am ready to completely let it go, I'll find comfort and peace... but for now, I almost feel comfortable dealing with the pain. {Sorry if this doesn't make any sense - these are my feelings and I guess I'm the only one who really needs to understand them.} There was a baby dedication today at church and I thought that I would be able to silently close my eyes during the dedication prayer and pray those same words over my baby as a way of dedicating him/her to God... but instead I found myself in tears, unable to hear a word that was being spoken with a desire to run out of that sanctuary like you wouldn't believe. So, it didn't happen today. I haven't been able to let go quite yet. But I know that with your continued prayers and encouragement, I'll someday get to a place where I can joyfully release my miscarriage, my baby, over to God and relish in the peace that will fill the hole in my heart.

The following song has been my "anthem" over the last few days whenever I start thinking negatively about myself. I bought the CD and blast it in my car whenever those thoughts creep in.
You may need to click on the title at the top of the video to view it in full-screen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Mother's Intuition

Well, I know that a number of people were praying for me today since it was my first day back to work. I can honestly say that my 7 hours of work today were the best 7 hours that I have experienced since 7:55am on St. Patrick's Day. When I walked into the classrooms of my kiddos, they came running up to me and showering me with big hugs and warm smiles. It felt so good to feel wanted... needed. My self-esteem has taken a major blow through this process of grieving and these children were like angels sent straight from heaven to make me feel valued and appreciated. The principals and teachers that were made aware of my situation ahead of time were very supportive and encouraging. I really couldn't have asked for a better first day back to work.

.........And then 3:00 rolled around. I walked out to my car, and the tears were streaming down my cheeks before I even left the parking lot. All at once, the emotions that I had so carefully suppressed and had been distracted from during my work day came flooding back and totally took over. I wanted to bawl. I wanted to scream. I wanted to punch someone. This evening has been rough, as most evenings usually tend to be. Tomorrow, however, I'm having dinner with an old friend and former colleague and am looking forward to having a nice dinner, opening a bottle of her homemade wine, and talking through some of these raging questions and emotions. My hubby is out of town until Saturday evening, and while the timing of the Keystone National Tractor Pull isn't the greatest (AT ALL), I understand and acknowledge his need to stay busy and involved in things that he loves to help him through this difficult time, as well.

After work, I needed to go to David's Bridal and order my bridesmaid dress for the wedding of one of my closest friends, Melody. This time last week, I thought I was going to be ordering a short pink dress 4-sizes too big to accomodate my 7-months-pregnant belly in June. We were actually encouraged to order our dresses in the beginning of March to ensure that they all come in on time for the wedding. But I kept putting off the ordering of my dress... not because I didn't have the money, not because I didn't want to try on the 6-month fake belly that David's Bridal has that you strap on to see how the dress will fit/look when you're pregnant (I was actually looking forward to that part, to be honest with you)... but because I kept telling Melody that I wanted to see/her my baby's heartbeat before I ordered the dress... "You know... just in case..." and I never finished the sentence, but I thought it: Just in case my baby doesn't make it. I think I sensed that something was wrong for a long time, and maybe it was God's way of trying to prepare my heart for what was to come. When I started spotting in my 7th week (the same week that I later came to find out that my baby died), I was extremely anxious and I worried constantly. Everyone kept telling me that it was okay... spotting is actually a normal sign of pregnancy... as long as you're not bleeding heavier than a period with serious cramping, you're fine... blah, blah, blah.

But I still worried. And just last weekend, I went to Babies 'R' Us with my cousin Beth who is 30 weeks pregnant... and as we were shopping, I would pick things up and consider buying them and then put them right back onto the shelf. There was a crib set that I found that matched my nursery theme idea and colors perfectly...  originally $300 marked down to $67. I fell in love with it and dreamily held onto it for a minute, and then said, "Well maybe I shouldn't get it... you know, just in case..." And Beth told me that I needed to stop thinking that way... that everything was fine... that I needed to just have faith. So I bought it, and now it's in the infamous box in the back room.

Just have faith. What an interesting concept, eh? Such a strong Christian woman so deeply rooted in her ability to trust in God needs reminders to "have faith" when it comes to her baby?!  ...I guess this one does. Or did, rather.

I simply don't have any way of explaining it... but I just feel like my "mother's intuition" was flashing bright red warning lights the whole time. If only I had been more assertive with my feelings at my first appointment where so little was done, perhaps I would've found out that day that my baby had died 3 weeks earlier instead of going yet another 3 weeks thinking I was pregnant. SO FRUSTRATING. It just hurts so bad... everyone keeps saying "It will get easier." And I'm praying and waiting for that day because the pain is still unbearable in my weakest moments. Jesus, help me. Thank-you.

In My Shoes

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in other's eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in this world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try to walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so that they don't hurt quite so much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Revelation of Sorts

The evenings have been the roughest time for me. I usually find myself home alone, with a box full of pregnancy and baby-related items (books, calendars, blankets, the crib set I bought just 4 days before finding out that my baby was gone, etc.) lurking under a quilt in the back bedroom of the house. I thought that by moving those items "out of sight" that I'd be able to focus on everything else around me that is positive and try to feel a little bit better. But I feel like that box just taunts me from the back room... Even from behind the closed door, it's still a reminder of my failure. I'm thinking about maybe writing a letter to the baby and putting it inside the box and then moving it to the basement. Maybe then I'll feel a little bit of closure?

When the evening time becomes difficult, I try to pray and meditate on God's word. In my previous post, I talked about my confusion over how I was supposed to seek comfort from the same God who supposedly took my baby away. Well... during my time of meditation last night, I had two thoughts come to my mind.

  1. The baby was never "mine" to begin with. From the very moment that I found out that I was pregnant, I prayed to God because I knew that He and no one else would be in control of my baby's life (and consequently, there was nothing that I could've done to make in a difference in the length of my baby's life). God had a plan and purpose for that baby's life, however short it was, and one day I'll fully understand that purpose... even if it doesn't become clear until the day I finally hold my baby in my arms.
  2. God's will was not for my baby to die. In fact, His will from the very beginning of time was for His people to live in a world where there was no suffering, pain, death, or dying. However, because we live in a fallen world, we are subjected to pain, tears, grief, darkness... and death. And right now, I'm praising God that my baby is already enjoying an eternal life of LIGHT and happiness... my baby never cried a single tear in it's entire life and never felt any pain. Now that is something to be grateful for. ...And I'm also asking for God's forgiveness for doubting that He'd bring me the comfort and peace that I need to go on.
Tomorrow I go back to work. Physically, I feel like I'm up for the challenge. Emotionally.... eh, we'll see. I know that I will probably have my moments, but thank God I have an office where I can pull the door closed for a few moments and have some quiet time to pull myself back together. It will be okay. It will get easier. It just has to.

For today, there are a few Bible verses that I've found and am clinging to in my heart and mind.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28   Even though it's hard to see now, I trust that God will work something good out of this situation.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38, 39   No matter what "hell" I have to walk through, God will be there with me. He never separates Himself from me.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10  God will get me through this.

Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God. Psalm 22: 9,10  My God is also my baby's God. My baby just had the privilege of seeing Him first.

He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people. He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord. Psalm 113: 7-9  One way or another, God will make children a part of our family and our home.

Please keep praying for me. I can feel the power of the prayers being uttered on the behalf of Jason and I, and a sense of peace is coming beyond these clouds... I can feel it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Trying to Make Sense of It All

Let me start by saying thank-you to all of the many family and friends who have sent cards, flowers, kind spoken words, prayers, offers for meals, and many other blessings our way during this extremely difficult time. There have been numerous people who have been in my situation (unbeknownst to me) who have reached out to me saying really the only thing that I want to hear right now: There's nothing that I can say that will take away your pain... but I promise you it will get easier.

Believe it or not, hearing from someone who has been in my shoes say "there's nothing I can say that will take away your pain" is a hundred times more comforting than the other "condolences" people offer. And I know, because I used to be one of those people who had no idea the depth of the anguish and misery that someone who has experienced a miscarriage feels, that most people just don't understand... and they think that they are saying things to you that will comfort you, but sometimes their words end up adding salt to the wound.

"Oh Sweetie, there was probably something terribly wrong with the baby..." "It's a blessing that the baby didn't go full term because imagine the heartache you would have if the baby would've died then..." "It was probably for the best because something was obviously very wrong."


I'm angry. I admit it. I'm not exactly sure who I'm angry with, or what, but I can tell you that my feelings of extreme sadness are coupled with anger. I'm angry because there are over 115,000 abortions performed daily on women who CHOOSE to kill their babies because they don't want them or because they'd be an inconvenience. ...And then here I am. Ever since I was a little girl, when someone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say "A Mom." I prayed for this baby, I had dreams and hopes for this baby, and I loved this baby with every fiber of my being. And now it's gone. While it is comforting to know that I'll get to hold my baby in heaven one day, do you realize how incredibly shocking it is to find myself looking forward to dying just so I can hold my baby?!? -Now, let me just say right now that I am not suicidal. I'm simply stating that I used to be somewhat afraid of death, and now I don't fear it because I know that my baby will be waiting for me as soon as I enter the pearly gates.-  ...It just breaks my heart that that moment feels so far away and out of reach. Some mommies who have experienced miscarriage went through this grief in their second or third pregnancies after having a baby already... and while I don't know for sure, it has to be somewhat, to a very tiny degree, easier because you can hold onto the baby that you have and be thankful for it while you grieve the loss of your little one. And then there's me who is falling to sleep each night clutching tightly to a pillow, just so that my arms don't feel so empty.

I know that God loves me, and I know that He loves my baby. I know that God will provide the comfort and grace that I need to get through this. ...But knowing isn't the same as feeling. While I know these things, I don't necessarily feel them right now. The same God who is supposed to (and will, eventually) provide me with a peace that passes all understanding is the same God who willed my baby's life to be so short. How is that even possible?! Like I said earlier, I'm angry... but I'm trying to be real with God. I'm praying to Him in a language that is real and personal... not all religious-ese. I'm telling God exactly how I feel but also asking Him constantly for comfort, grace, mercy, and peace.

Then there's the guilt. It just won't go away. I know in my heart of hearts that there is nothing that I did that hindered my baby from growing and being healthy. But I still can't shake this feeling of guilt. I feel like a failure. I'm embarrassed by the fact that I've had a miscarriage and it hurts. I'm so anxious about going back to work where I told a few of my teacher friends of my pregnancy and having to tell them the bad news, because I honestly feel like such a failure. It's a miserable feeling... and again, this is one of those moments when I'm asking God to cover me with His grace and give me peace. Because I know that prayer is powerful, and I feel like prayer is the only thing in addition to time that might take away the guilt.

While I am angry, sad, and experiencing these feelings of guilt and failure, I have had some moments where I begin to experience a feeling of calmness and comfort. The place where I feel "the best" right now considering the circumstances, is in the sun. When I sit in the sun and just bask in the warmth and talk to Jesus, I start to feel a tiny bit better. I tell him how I'm feeling and what I need... and I give him specific messages to whisper in my little one's ear. I spent close to two hours on my deck yesterday... and I was outside again this afternoon. The sunlight kissing my face is just so peaceful and I feel like it's God's way of saying, "It'll be okay." Just run to the Son, and everything will be alright.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Raw Emotion

Well, I honestly didn't know if I would ever post again. I've debated between deleting the whole blog or continuing to document my experiences in life. To say the least, the last two days have been the worst days of my life, and while I'm still searching for strength to go on, I feel like this blog can be an outlet for me to express my emotions, feelings, and thoughts.

Yesterday, I had a miscarriage. Miscarriage. The word tastes bitter and putrid on my lips. Quite makes me want to vomit, to be completely honest with you. Before now, when I would hear that word associated with someone, I would think, "Oh my, that's so sad." But now that I am that person who has been labeled with the scarlet "M" it's completely different than what I previously thought. I have lost a baby. My first child, our first child, has already gone home to be with Jesus. And my heart is broken. I am grieving in a way that I have never grieved before. When I received the news yesterday, of course I was upset... but I think a numbness settled in and I went through the motions of talking with the doctors, having surgery, and coming home to a house where I was making preparations for my baby.

Today, as the reality of what has happened has hit me full tilt and the numbness subsided, I am overwhelmed with sadness. I've cried to the point where I'm not sure there are anymore tears left... but to my surprise, they just keep coming. I am sad that I will never know whether I had a son or daughter. I am sad that I will never get to hold my first child in my arms. I am sad that I will never know whether my baby had my eyes or Jason's heart of gold. I am sad for our families who were so excited for the first grandbaby. I just weep and weep and cry out to God to help me. My whole body shakes with sadness.

They say there's nothing you can do to cause miscarriage. That, from the very moment of conception, the baby's genetic make-up determines if the pregnancy will either be viable or if it will dissolve. According to my sonogram, at about 6 and a 1/2 weeks of my pregnancy (I had just celebrated the monumental completion of my 12th week on Monday), my baby stopped growing. Unfortunately, my body did not receive the memo and continued to release the pregnancy hormone that made my breasts ache, my uterus stretch and grow, and that made me extremely tired and nauseous at times. Even as I sit here in grief and sadness, my body continues to experience pregnancy symptoms because it will take a few weeks before my hormone levels return to normal. My uterus is sore and a bit swollen today... a constant ache and reminder of its newly vacant status.Thoughts of guilt creep into my mind constantly, even though I know it's the devil and I've told him several times to go back to Hell. I keep thinking, "If only I had passed this test of faith that God had given me..." and "If only I had been more healthy and less overweight..." and the worst of all: "If only I had been a better mother."

While my heart breaks, I can tell you that I am searching for hope and trying to praise God for the positives through this storm. And believe me, it isn't easy AT ALL to find the silver lining in these clouds, but I'm trying. I'm thankful that we were able to conceive in the first place. I'm thankful that God blessed me with the 6 and a half weeks that I was able to carry my baby, because some women try for years to get pregnant with no avail. I am thankful that my mom was with me when I received the news... that I wasn't alone and in excrutiating pain in a bathroom somewhere. I am thankful that I had a compassionate doctor and surgeon to help me cope with the immediate aftershock of the news I was given. I am thankful that 90% of women who suffer miscarriages in their first pregnancy go on to have healthy pregnancies in the future. I am thankful for a husband who is supportive of me in this situation and not holding me responsible for the loss of our first child.  I am thankful for such a loving and caring group of family and friends who have reached out to Jason and I.

My mother in law made a suggestion to me that I feel is extremely appropriate for our situation. She mentioned that her pastor had done a service some time ago about coping with the loss of babies. One important part of the grieving process is to give the baby a name. Jason and I will be discussing and deciding on a name to give our baby so that we can acknowledge its presence in our lives. Even though I only physically carried this baby for 12 weeks, it will always be a part of me and our family, and it deserves to have a name. I won't know until I get to Heaven whether my baby was a boy or a girl... but I have a strong feelng that it was a boy. We will chose a gender neutral name, though, and this baby will always be known as my first child. When someone asks me if I have any children, I will say "yes" and if they follow their question with "how old are they?" I will say, "___________ would have been X years old" (fill in the blank with the baby's name and fill in X with the number of years).

So there you have it. I have had a miscarriage. I lost my first baby and a piece of my heart died right along with my child. I'm grieving as any mother would grieve for her child... but I know that if I were to ask, "WHY, GOD?! Why MY baby?!," He would answer me with the following:

You see, the child lives. Instead of the wind he hears the sound of angels singing before My throne. Instead of the beauty that passes he sees everlasting Beauty—he sees My face. He was created and lived a short time so the image of his parents imprinted on his face may stand before Me as their personal intercessor. He knows secrets of heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for My Kingdom and each creature fills a place in that Kingdom that could not be filled by another. He was created for My joy and his parents’ merits. He has never seen pain or sin. He has never felt hunger or pain. I breathed a soul into a seed, made it grow and called it forth.

Romans 8:38-29 NLT
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

...And a special note to my friends and family members who recently had babies or are expecting: I am beyond happy for you and your experiences in pregnancy and raising your babies. Please don't try to hide your experiences from me for the sake of sparing me from sadness... Watching you go through the beautiful stages of pregnancy and motherhood are already giving me hope that I will one day be able to have children of my own.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Daddy please don't look so sad, Momma please don't cry.
Cause I'm in the arms of Jesus, and He sings me lullabies.
Please try not to question God, don't think He is unkind.
Don't think He sent me to you and then changed His mind.

You see I'm a special child, I am needed up above.
I'm the special gift you gave Him, a product of your love.
I'll always be there with you, so watch the sky at night.
Look for the brightest star and know that's my halo's brilliant light.

You'll see me in the morning frost that mists your window pane.
That's me in the summer showers, I'll be dancing in the rain.
When you feel a gentle breeze from a gentle wind that blows
Know that it's me planting a kiss upon your nose.

When you see a child playing and your heart feels a tug,
Don't be sad Mommy, that's just me giving your heart a hug.
So Daddy don't look so sad and Momma please don't cry.
I'm in the arms of Jesus and he sings me lullabies.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Broken Hearted

You all remember reading about the death of my beloved grandmother ("Nanny") in my very first post. Well, her death left my grandfather ("Pappy") with a broken heart. Pappy has also suffered with COPD for a while now, and his condition has progressively gotten worse over the last year. A few weeks ago, he was diagnosed with a viral form of pneumonia and since this diagnosis he has had a very difficult time bouncing back. Over the weekend, he went into the hospital and his condition continued to deteriorate to the point where he wasn't responsive.

At about 3:30 this morning, my Pappy went to Heaven to be with my Nanny and Jesus. His last breaths were peaceful and I can only imagine the reunion that took place as his beautiful bride met him at the pearly gates. While my heart is broken for the loss of my grandfather, I am so thankful that he is no longer suffering. He has been made complete and whole again in the presence of Jesus. No more oxygen tanks, no more breathing treatments, no more breathlessness. He can run, dance, and chase after my Nanny without becoming winded and tired. I'm thankful that I was able to delight him with the news of another great grandchild before he left this earth, because I know that it brought him much joy to know that Jason and I are expecting a baby. The services for his death will be on Monday. There will be a small viewing at the funeral home from 10-12, and then the graveside service will be immediately following at Mountain View Cemetary. I remember the mental and physical exhaustion of Nanny's passing, so I'm trying to prepare myself for an emotional couple of days. Your prayers for my family during this time of grief are appreciated more than you know.

Nanny and Pappy at Christmas 2010

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Rich and Steady Time

Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch.
-E.B. White

Well, I promised I would be back later this week with my weekly pictures, and you better believe that I have pictures for you! I've been quite busy with picture-takin' lately... not only my own do-it-yourself photos with a tripod, timer, and flash remote... but I've also been taking pictures for my friends! I've done some maternity pictures, some wedding pictures, and some baby pictures. I love being able to capture these special moments in the lives of my friends. Time does not stand still, and these precious moments that bring us such joy become memories in an instant. That's why I love photography. I get the honor of capturing these memories and preserving them for my friends. ...AND I CAN'T WAIT TO DO THIS FOR MY CHILDREN!!! My camera will always be armed and ready for special moments that should be frozen in time. I'm even going to send my camera with my baby to daycare so that those special moments that happen when I'm not around can be captured and savored. I also have a hi-def digital video camera that I bought a couple of years ago when Jason was into tractor pulling... and I'll be using that to make DVD videos of the baby, as well. Here's a picture of me with our "Fur Baby". She doesn't know it yet, but her reign as the "only child" will be coming to an end in a little over 6 months. I hope she adjusts well... hehe :)

During my pregnancy, I've been trying my best to eat in a healthy way. Everything that I eat goes directly to the baby, so I'm trying to avoid the junk foods and eat foods with high nutritional value. For breakfast, I usually have a banana. However last week, I grabbed one off of my banana-hanger that wasn't quite ripe yet, and the hardness and somewhat bitter taste almost made me throw up. So, for the past couple of days I've been eating oatmeal instead. I think I need to try to add some protein into my breakfast, though, to keep my blood sugar levels from spiking. For lunch, I always have two pieces of fruit, a sandwich, and some kind of veggies & dip. I'm sad to announce that egg salad no longer holds a special place in my heart. For some reason, I can barely stomach it now. Now, dinner time is when I tend to have the most trouble. I usually do pretty well with eating healthy during the day... but by the time dinner rolls around, I'm h-u-n-g-r-y! Jason likes to come home to a meal before going out to the garage to work for the evening... so I usually try to make something that he likes. I have such a hard time finding foods that are low in sodium, but I'm trying. The last two days have been rainy and dreary, and I thought that soup and grilled cheese sandwiches sounded like a good idea. So, I made Tomato and Spinach Soup with Tortellini and some "fancy" grilled cheese sandwiches (fancy = Vermont cheddar cheese on Jalepeno Cheddar Bread). It was quite tasty, but my Hubby isn't a huge fan of tomatoes, spinach, or pasta... so the soup wasn't a big hit with him (oh well, more for me!). He did like the grilled cheese sandwiches, though.

Eating healthy is part of my plan for keeping my weight gain slow and steady. My doctor told me that if I can keep my weight gain at 20lbs or less, I will feel amazing and my delivery will be much easier. I have to admit, though, that I'm so excited about the prospect of wearing maternity clothes! I've bought several pairs of clothes from an online consignment store and I've gotten some great deals. My Momma has been watching the racks at a local consignment store and has bought me a bundle of goodies, too. I happened to be at the mall the other night and stopped in at Old Navy to see what they had in the store for preggo women. When I was having difficulty finding the maternity section, I approached one of the sales girls and she said that they are no longer carrying maternity clothes in the store - you can only buy them online. BUT, she said there was one rack left of some denim... and I could hardly believe my eyes:

$1.97?!?!?! Yes. Every single pair of jeans on the rack was marked down to $1.97. I ended up buying four pairs: One pair to wear as jeans, one pair to have made into capris, one pair to wear as cut off shorts, and one pair for Jason's cousin's daughter (Lindsy Brown) who is about 3 weeks further along than me. I am tickled pink with the bargain that I found. I walked out of the store with four brand new pairs of jeans for less than $10. How can you beat that?! Here's a picture of my proud purchase (ignore the behind of my kitty - she doesn't have the best manners!).

Well, in 8 more days I have another Baby Doctor Appointment. This time, we should be able to hear the heartbeat of our little love. I cannot wait! I still find myself tapping on my belly and asking, "Is anyone in there?! For real?! Because it sure doesn't seem like it..." Given that I'm feeling relatively good other than needing more sleep than usual and my pants are getting tighter, it's still hard for me to "believe" that I'm really pregnant. I think it'll hit me at my next appointment... I guess we'll have to wait and see! My cousin Beth is 29 weeks pregnant and she's my Go-To-Girl when I have questions/concerns about my pregnancy. She said that for her, it didn't really sink in until she felt her little boy (Lane) move. Gosh, I can't WAIT for those flutters!

So here's my weekly pictures, and my prayer for the week can be found down below:

11 Weeks Down, 29 to Go!

Lord, I just want to thank You for all the amazing developments that are happening this week inside and outside my baby's body. When I feel tired or overwhelmed, help me remember that You are with me and You strengthen me. Let me experience Your peace with all the changes that are going on in my body, and peace in knowing that You love my baby and are guiding the development according to Your plans. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Baby After 11 Weeks:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wake me up in the second trimester, K?

I cannot convey to you how tired I am these days. *YAWNS*  I finished my 11th week of pregnancy on Monday and I've started my 12th week! In two weeks, I'll be entering the second trimester of my pregnancy. Time is flying by... perhaps because I'm sleeping so much?! Yesterday when I got home from work, I had the most amazing, wonderful nap of my entire life. Today at work, I knew my day was coming to an end because I felt my eyes growing heavier and heavier. By 3:00 (the end of my work day), I'm struggling to muster up the energy to walk out to my car to go home. Tonight, I'm thinking a bedtime of 8:30 sounds heavenly.

They say that no two pregnancies are alike. I have a few friends who are pregnant and I'm reading more than my share of pregnancy books these days, and everyone seems to experience pregnancy differently in their own way. Until now, nausea has been an occasional annoyance, choosing to randomly grace me with its presence from time to time (usually when I would go a long time without eating a snack/meal)... and usually, all I would have to do is eat a little something in order for my stomach to feel better. However, yesterday and today have been a completely different story. I've had a nagging nausea all day long. And when I have tried to eat a little something to make myself feel better, I end up feeling worse. I'm hoping that my Baby isn't deciding to start making me feel sick now when I'm so close to the end of my first trimester... if anything, I'm supposed to be regaining my energy and feeling better than ever...not taking steps backwards!

Now that I'm in my 12th week, my uterus is about the size of a softball and the baby is comparable in size to a lime. I haven't gained any weight during my pregnancy (I've lost a few pounds, to be completely honest), yet my waist is getting thicker and my pants are becoming more and more difficult to button. THANK GOD for the rubber band trick! I'm still able to wear my regular work trousers and jeans, thanks to this helpful little tip that adds an extra inch or so to the waist.

I'm also starting to get the teeniest-tiniest bump in my lower abdomen. When I touch my lower stomach, I can feel something hard right above my pubic bone... and I'm guessing it's my uterus saying, "Hello!"  I will post pictures later this week (planned to take pictures today, but the exhaustion/fatigue has won the battle.) I found a cute pregnancy cartoon today... and while I'm nowhere near this "pregnant" yet, I thought it was funny and wanted to share it with you.

~Click on the cartoon to see full-size image~

I'll be back later in the week with my weekly pictures! Thanks everyone for your prayers for my cold/bronchitis/asthma --- I'm finally starting to feel better after six rough weeks of being "sickly."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Another Week Bites the Dust!

Well... it's March! So hard to believe that it's been almost two months since my life took a turn so differently from what I had planned/imagined. I've heard that saying before, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans" ...and my "plans" were to wait until the summer/fall to try to have a baby... that way, I'd have a great opportunity to get hired on in a full-time teaching position and then have a late spring/early summer baby next year. ....But, God had other plans! And while His plans are quite a bit different from mine, I know that He has all things under control, and that all things work together for the good for those that love Him. I am putting my complete faith and trust in Him that He will provide for us over the next several months. Because my job is "temporary", I do not have benefits offered through the Board of Education. Unfortunately, it would be an astronomical amount of money out of our pocket per month for me to go on Jason's health insurance plan. So for now, I've purchased an HMO plan that provides maternity coverage through Aetna healthcare. I won't mention how much I'm paying per month for this insurance (let's just say that it's more than any car payment I've ever had!), but it's worth it to have the necessary insurance to bring this baby into the world in the most healthy way. Tomorrow, I have a screening interview with the Board of Education for potential teaching positions that may come available for next school year. I am fearful, though, because the "call backs" for second interviews will not be until the summer... and I'm so afraid that as soon as I walk through the doors with a 6 or 7 month pregnant belly, they will discriminate against me (even though "legally" I know it isn't possible... but it happens all of the time...). So we'll see what happens!

I'm officially in my 11th week of pregnancy. I completed my 10th week on Monday. Although I have a few random bouts of nausea, I'm feeling pretty well! The fatigue is still there... I crave naps, especially when I get home from work. I have to admit, I've even considered taking a nap in my car when I get off work before driving home because I'm that tired. I guess my body is just so busy making a baby that I'm wearing myself out! In terms of cravings, I'm still a huge fan of fruit... and my newest/latest obsession: egg salad sandwiches on wheat bread. Oh, my, goodness... they are the BEST thing since, well, sliced bread! That pretty much sums up my lunches as of late: an apple, an orange, and an egg salad sandwich!

Another pregnancy symptom that I'm in the process of adjusting to is the increase in emotions! I find myself tearing up at Pampers commercials. PAMPERS COMMERCIALS. I mean, come on. And anytime I even begin thinking about my Nanny, I start to cry. I miss her so much and it breaks my heart that my baby will never know her. I wonder sometimes... if before God sends babies to earth, if maybe our loved ones in heaven get to meet them first? I don't know how it all works... but I just pray that Nanny is watching and is proud. ...Ok, where's my box of tissues?! *sniff sniff*

On a lighter note, I had dinner the other night with a very dear friend of mine, Amy Kiskaddon. I have done pictures for her of her little girls over the last couple of years, and although I never charge her to take the pictures, she always insists on paying me through gifts. At dinner the other night, she presented me with a box of goodies: a black and white quilted tote bag (perfect for use at the hospital or for the baby) and several books that she collected during her pregnancy - and beyond. She also handed down to me a "Pregnancy Countdown Calendar" in the shape of an egg that provides life-size illustrations of the baby from week to week so that you can get a visual idea of how big your baby is and begin bonding.  I've decided that from here on out, I'm going to take my weekly pictures with the egg from the week so that everyone can see how big my baby is in relation to my belly! That way we can all begin bonding with Baby Caudill together.... (((GROUP HUG!)))

Oh, and the other night, one of those sappy (ok, so not really sappy... but cute enough to make me cry) Pampers commercials came on... and Jason looked over at me on the couch and said, "Oh no! I forgot all about diapers! We're going to have dirty diapers to deal with! Ugh..." It was so funny! I guess he's been so in love with the idea of having this baby that he forgot a few of the "fun" details that are part of the joy package! Hehe, the next year is going to be soooo interesting as we venture into this unchartered baby territory!

I have decided on a theme for the nursery, but for now, it's a secret! I will reveal more in the upcoming weeks as the plans are finalized. I've been in conversation with a local artist about coming in and doing a mural on one of the walls... and it's going to be pretty special!!!

My prayer for this week:

Dear Lord, this week I pray for my baby's brain development. I pray that my baby will develop a healthy, intelligent brain. And because Your Word says, "Whatever you ask in My name, I will do," I ask confidently, in faith. I also ask that You will bless my baby with an excellent memory.  Psalm 119:11 says, "Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You." I believe it is Your will to hide Your Word in our hearts, and I ask that for my child. I pray that Bible verses will come to his or her memory quickly in times of need. I thank You for Your promise of giving us peace, so I don't have to worry about something being wrong with my baby. I declare the power of Your Word and Your Holy Spirit to come to pass. May my baby's brain develop just as it should, and may my child be blessed with a strong mind, to be used for Your glory. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

10 Weeks Down, 30 to Go!