Dear Baby Journal

Dear Baby Journal

Even before I got pregnant I knew I wanted to keep a journal about my pregnancy journey. When I ask my Mom about what it was like to be pregnant there isn’t much she remembers. I guess that’s a vital part of natures plan to keep us wanting to have more babies. I want more from my memories. I want to be able to share my experiences with my child when they are starting their own journey of having a child. I want to be able to enlighten them about both the fun and the ugly parts of making a person. Also, they won’t remember us when we were first becoming parents and trying to figure out what to do. I want to be able to show them that we didn’t have it all figured out.

My husband and I didn’t know when we started this idea what it would become. We bought some blank journals and decided we would each document our individual experiences throughout the pregnancy. As we got started we both realized that we wanted this to be more than just a diary. We wanted something special we could share with our child some day. We started writing as if we were talking to our baby. Each entry became a letter to our unborn child about how the pregnancy is going and how they have already started changing our lives.  It’s therapeutic in a way we didn’t expect. We don’t hold back, expressing our joys, fears, amazement, love and our own self doubts.

I write once a week on the day the pregnancy switches over to the next week. I always start with “Today you are ** weeks and roughly the size of a **”. Each entry is unique based on what has happened over the last week. I end every entry with “Love Mom” which is strange in its self getting used to the new title of “Mom”. My husband writes when he has something to write about, sometimes more often, sometimes less. I don’t read his and he doesn’t read mine. We want to be able to share in complete honesty with no fear of judgment from the other person about how we may be feeling.

Some day our child will be starting a life all their own, whether that be moving out of state to college, getting married or having a child of their own. When the time feels right we will gift her with these letters we wrote to her before she was born (and possibly through her first year). I hope they will bring a smile to her face and offer some insight into how having her changed our lives.

 

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Pregnancy Gender Predictions!

There are so many old wife’s tales depicting ways to predict the gender of your baby while pregnant it can make your head spin! I loved gathering everyone’s guesses and learning of all of the different reasons why they thought one way or the other. My husband and I are very competitive and while we didn’t actually have a preference we had many laughs debating our girl vs. boy predictions.

I decided to create a chart (I’m an accountant, we LOVE charts!) to tally up the boy vs. girl wife’s tales so we could see, after we found out from an ultrasound, how accurate they were. I decided not to do any of the ones where you have to play with your pee because it grosses me out a little. We kept it simple and innocent.

Our results were almost perfectly split 50/50. I intentionally kept the tests to an odd number so one or the other would have to win out. The silly predictions came out to guess, 8 for a girl and 7 for a boy.

Over all it ended up being correct (by a hair)! We are having a girl!!!

Gender Predictions

What other fun gender prediction tests have you heard of? Where they accurate for you?

Before Baby Comes Check-List

I’m 16 weeks (4 months) along now and I recently sat down with my boss to discuss my maternity leave plan. After that meeting I started to feel a little panicked. There was so much to do at work before November comes and it suddenly seemed right around the corner. This of course led me to start thinking, “is there a ton of things to do in our personal life before the baby comes that we haven’t thought of yet”?

I scoured the internet for hours looking for pregnancy to-do lists and pre-baby prep lists. The more I looked through the more frustrated I got. List after list containing to-do items like “drink lots of water”, “get plenty of rest” and “pamper yourself with a pedicure”. That’s cute, and all well and good if you’re looking for a sweet list to remind you to take a piss every couple hours. I was looking for a serious pre-baby check list. One with actual necessity items not all this fluffy sh**!

I couldn’t find a single list containing the types of serious items I was looking for… I was able to gain a few ideas here and there but no comprehensive list. Could I possibly be the first person to ever want a serious, no frills pre-baby checklist? I doubt it.

I decided to create my own list! I surveyed my friends, family and co-workers, looking for items I haven’t thought of yet. I am a first time parent after all, I can’t expect to know it all. Below is the list I have put together for myself, though I’m sure it will continue to grow a bit. Hopefully others find this helpful as well. If you have items I’ve missed please share!

  • Sign up for birthing and newborn care classes.
  • Plan the nursery space and take measurements.
  • Research daycares in our area.
  • Research baby products safety and consumer reviews.
  • Create a labor contact list.
  • Register for baby shower gifts.
  • Take a hospital tour.
  • Create a birth plan.
  • Paint and set up nursery.
  • Pack a hospital go bag. (Items for me, husband and baby)
  • Prepare our pets for the new arrival.
  • Buy and Install carseats.
  • Wash all of the baby clothes.
  • Deep clean the house.
  • Make freezer meals.

 

Of course if it’s important to you, don’t forget to get a pedicure 😉

Pregnancy Panic

We (Myself, my husband, and all of our family and friends) released a collective sigh of relief once we made it past the terrifying first trimester of pregnancy. I naively expected to be able to sit back, relax and watch my belly grow…

If I had truly thought long and hard about it I would have realized that conforming your body to hold a whole new person inside an already pretty cramped space wouldn’t be easy or comfortable. But I was so relived that our baby lived through the first trimester I hadn’t thought about anything else. We had learned to protect ourselves after the first loss, by the second and third we almost expected the losses when they came. So this baby was no different. We couldn’t allow ourselves to get excited, to get attached to something we couldn’t keep. We did everything we could to give this baby a fighting chance but we never let ourselves believe that it would be ok. Then, all of a sudden we were at twelve weeks. Our high risk doctor cleared us to be transferred to a regular OBGYN and assured us that our baby was still doing great…

The first few weeks of the second trimester were spent trying to wrap our heads around the idea that our baby was healthy and strong. The excitement and sudden reality of the future overwhelmed us. We are going to be parents… Our baby is going to live…

Then the sharp pains in my lower abdomen started… We panicked, my husband was suggesting the emergency room but I decided to wait it out and call the doctor in the morning. My thoughts were consumed with “It’s happening again”, “we got excited too soon”, and “please survive baby”.  I called the advice line at my doctors office. I explained in great detail to the nurse what was happening. She asked me a thousand questions and told me she would talk to my doctor and call me back. That had to be the longest two hours of my life…

I got the call back and was immediately concerned by the chipper note in her voice. How could she dare be peppy while my baby dies inside me… Then she said the words I hadn’t even dared to hope for, “What you are feeling is perfectly normal”. She went on to explain “round ligament pain” and gave some suggestions of how to calm it. Stretching regularly, warm baths, plenty of rest. I was flabbergasted, could it really be that simple?

Once I got off the phone I researched round ligament pain and started laughing uncontrollably at my own fearful overreaction. The description of round ligament pain was almost word for word what I had described to the nurse. My symptoms were textbook second trimester ailments. “Round ligament pain is a sharp pain or jabbing feeling often felt in the lower belly or groin area on one or both sides. It is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy and is considered a normal part of pregnancy. It is most often felt during the second trimester”. It went on to describe what can bring it on, detailing the exact situations during which I had felt my own pain. I felt elated and like an idiot at the same time. My baby was fine! Still healthy, strong and growing. I couldn’t believe I had jumped to the worst possible scenario, I felt very foolish.

This experience opened my eyes to the reality I face for the next six months. Of course it will be painful and difficult to expand my body to make room for this whole other person. There will be a million new feelings and sensations I will be experiencing as my entire body changes. There is no good in jumping to the worst case scenario, though I will admit I will still probably call my doctor far more often than is truly needed. Better safe than sorry.

Pregnancy is hard. It should be, I’m making a person from scratch after all.

Baby Fortner Announcement!

13 Week Ultrasound

That’s right! We are bringing a person into this world!

For those of you that don’t know our history here is a little background.
My husband and I have been trying to have a baby since we got married about five years ago. We succeeded in getting pregnant three times each time ending in a first trimester miscarriage. In 2016 we starting seeing an infertility and recurrent miscarriage specialist. She made some suggestions based on weeks of tests. The last few months of 2016 and the first couple months of 2017 hit us hard in terms of house issues and medical emergencies. We followed the doctors suggestions but didn’t have the opportunity to put them to the test. We decided we didn’t know what our future held medically so we made an appointment for insemination for June 2017.

That brings us to February 2017 when life calmed down a little. My husband was getting better and able to come home again and our newly purchased house was now safe to live in. I will say my birthday is in late February and my husbands birthday is in early March. We had been apart for quite a while at this point and had a lot of celebrating to do! Fast forward to March 17th, ST Patrick’s Day. I was 1 day late for my period and I had a feeling I was pregnant. I took a test and low and behold!

Test

As I mentioned before we had been here before… This time we decided to not tell anyone until we made it past the danger zone (first trimester). We continued seeing the specialist through the first couple months. Where we were spoiled with weekly viewing sessions of our growing baby! Each week we dreaded the possibility of bad news and were ecstatic to see our healthy growing baby each time! Finally the time had come… We were cleared as no longer high risk and were being transferred to a regular OBGYN. We could finally feel secure in the progress of our baby.

On Mother’s day (a day that has been very difficult and painful for me in the past) we shared our news with our families and friends!

Dog and Baby COLLAGE

The response was even more overwhelming than we had expected. For the last five years I had considered our battle to have a baby a strictly personal journey between my husband and I. I had failed to see how many people had been quietly but anxiously hoping and praying for us to succeed in our dream of becoming parents. While we felt so alone in our struggle, more people than we could have imagined were helping to hold us up.

We are extremely blessed to have a healthy baby on the way and such a strong and loving network to bring that baby into!  I will add more along that way as I can. here is a picture of my at 12 weeks, you can only image how big I am going to get before this is over…

12 week bump

Infertility Testing Update

Hi!
Earlier this week I revealed my new weekly series, Monday Meals! I’m so excited for all the new recipes to create and share! BUT this blog was not created to become a cooking blog so Wednesdays will still be whatever topics as my heart desires (Whatever Wednesdays :)!)

This week I want to give an update on our pregnancy journey. If you missed my last update you can check it out here. Over the last month we have been having a lot of tests done to try and find any issues that might be causing our miscarriages. Today we got the results from the very last test. 🙂

Continue reading “Infertility Testing Update”

The Loss of Hope After Recurrent Miscarriage

When I started this blog I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to share about our fertility struggles. I talked myself out of my mothers day post as well as avoided blogging after positive pregnancy tests. I didn’t want to be a Debbie Downer and drag other people down with my own misery. I have changed my mind about not blogging this part of our journey, not because I sadistically want to  spread misery but because perhaps sharing what I’m going through will help someone else know they aren’t alone. I also hope getting it out will act as a kind of therapy for myself as well. This is my story so far…

Continue reading “The Loss of Hope After Recurrent Miscarriage”

Starting a Blog!

My very first blog! My name is Stephanie and I have created this blog to share a glimpse of life as I see it.

As my husband and I work on starting our family the urge to document and share our experiences has been growing in me. There are so many amazing and significant milestones in my life that I look back on and can’t remember much about how I got there. Having a family has been my biggest dream since I was a little girl. It’s going to be a rollercoaster of a ride (as anything worth doing in life is) with challenging and painful moments but more importantly miraculous and joyous moments. When my husband and I look back on the start of our life together and the building of our family I want to be sure nothing gets forgotten. My goal in writing this blog is a purely selfish one, I want to write about our life for my own pleasure and perhaps for my kids to read one day. If someone else happens to stumble upon it and enjoys it then wonderful. Continue reading “Starting a Blog!”