Thursday, March 29, 2012

One Week

How on earth are we at one week!?  I nearly cried this morning.  I need time to slow way down already.  It feels like I have only had seconds of loving on our sweet Grey!  Happy One Week darling!!

At one week you:
Eat every 3 hours, mostly bottles.  Mama is proud of how good of an eater you are.
Love to be held all the time!
Spend about 20 minute sessions awake at a time.
Can suck your thumb and paci.
Wear preemie clothes and diapers.
Change every day.
Make our hearts grow bigger and bigger each day to contain all the love!

Check out the sneak peek of her photo shoot!  :)

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.  Lamentations 3:25

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Sweet Grey Danelle,
There is nothing greater than being your Mommy.  I seriously cannot imagine my life without you, my sweet daughter.  I stare at you all day and never cease to be amazed at how God could bless me this much. Being a Mommy is more wonderful than anything I ever dreamed.  You have filled my heart and hands with love that spills over and over.  Every part of you is wonderfully made.  You are gorgeous and leave me speechless.  
Grey, I know God's plans for your life are beautiful and perfect.  I know He is going to bless you and you are going to change the world in a precious way.  I love you more than I can ever say. 
My heart is full.  

I still cannot even find a word to describe how lovely motherhood is.  I was born to be Holden and Grey's Mommy.  Getting to have Grey here to love on and hold is almost more than my heart can handle.  

19 months ago we left a hospital with an empty car seat.  It was the most difficult and heart crushing moment, as well as entire drive to Snyder.  On Monday, we left the hospital with Grey sitting snugly in her car seat.  It was a moment I will vividly remember forever.  I cried several times that day, thanking God for His restored hope in our lives.

Being home with Grey is the best feeling in the world.  Everything has changed.  It is overwhelmingly awesome.  It is also overwhelmingly exhausting - and worth every minute of sleeplessness.  Grey is the best baby!  I kiss her a thousand times a day, and can never tell her I love her enough.  

I wish I could write down each precious moment every day, but I can't stop loving on Grey long enough to write anything.  I am going to try to recap some of the moments from Saturday night through today with phone photos.  I have uploaded these to Facebook, but I want to upload them to our online family journal as well.    

Saturday Night:
Daddy and Grey.  My heart melts.

 Holding her paci. She always has a hand holding her paci in.  
What a blessing!  NO tubes!  We removed the feeding tube and were thrilled to watch her do wonderful without any tubes.  

We found out we could go home on Monday (what a HUGE BLESSING from the Lord) if Grey passed some tests.  Her bilirubin levels were still higher than we liked, but not high enough to keep us from heading home.  I was discharged Monday as well, so it was perfect timing.  We loved all of our NICU nurses and Dr. S. while we were in NICU, so I knew we would miss all of them!  Chet and I learned a lot about parenting a preemie from the NICU nurses.  The hours of sitting with Grey and talking to her nurses were a very special time of bonding for our family.
Getting our hearing test.  Passed!
 Just looking pretty in our Grey Danelle onesie (check out Couture Blessings on Facebook)!
 Grey had to sit in her car seat for one hour to take the "car seat test".  Passed!
One of the most wonderful moments in my entire life.  Leaving the hospital with a full car seat.  She might have only been 4 lbs. 14 ounces, but she FILLED that car seat with love! 

We carefully made the trek from Lubbock to Snyder.  I had not been home in two weeks, so it made it all even more surreal.  We arrived at home around 6pm.  Tisha was home already, with dinner on the stove.   Many friends made our arrival even more amazing (chalked driveway, tree planted in our front yard, balloons, welcome sign, etc.).  

I held Grey the entire first night.  I could not put her down.  We found out she could roll completely over, so that made it even more clear to us that she would not be able to leave my arms.  :)  

Our first full day at home was amazingly beautiful.  We established a schedule and started to put all the stuff away from the hospital and past two weeks.  Tisha was (is) our life saver here!  

 Grey is a great sleeper!  Isn't she precious?!
Middle of the night smiles!

Tuesday evening we took a walk in the beautiful weather to meet our sweet neighbor friends, who have loved and prayed for Grey for the past 8 months.  Grey is still very fragile and small, so we are limiting a lot of visitors until she is stronger, but we loved getting to meet the O. family!

Today was such a big one for us!  Grey had her first doctor appointment with Dr. G. in Lubbock.  Oh boy - we packed what seemed like 10 days worth of luggage for the hour and a half drive.  ;)  
 More middle of the night sweetness!  Thanks to Diana, we actually slept a couple hours, since she taught us how to make a "nest" to keep Grey from rolling over.  
 Headed to the doctor!
 We LOVE that Aunt Carrie is our nurse at the doctor!
 Grey did not love getting weighed, but Mommy and Daddy were so proud of her weight gain!  Grey weighed in at 5 lbs. 1 oz.!  She is nearly back at her birth weight!  One thing I stressed over a lot was that Grey would gain the right weight.  She is doing wonderful.  She got a clean bill of health, and did not even need to get pricked or prodded.  Dr. G. and Aunt Carrie are awesome!  
 Me smiling after I found out our little angel would not need any pricks.  
 Tisha's collage of Grey's adorable expressions.  She looks so much like her Daddy, I laughed out loud when I saw this!  Chet makes all those faces! lol
 Tisha had an impromptu photo shoot with my sweetheart.  This was what she looked like after the exhausting shoot.  I am SO excited to share her photos soon!!  They amazing! 
 Cuddling with Tisha after her photo session.
My little thank you card helper.  My view can't get any sweeter.  

It's late and my husband is telling me I should sleep.  :)  Hoping to better keep up with photos on here, but no promises since Grey keeps my hands and heart a little occupied!

He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen.  Deuteronomy 10:21

Sunday, March 25, 2012

3 days old

How can our little blessing possibly be three days old already?!  We have taken hundreds of photos with our phones already.  I can't stop smiling.  I can't stop thanking God.  I can't believe I get to be this blessed.  Chet and I spend every moment we can in the NICU with her.

Last night Grey weighed in at 4 lbs. 14 oz..  We will weigh again at midnight tonight, and we are hoping she has gained or stayed the same at least.
She "graduated" and came off all tubes, including feeding tube, this afternoon - praise the Lord!  It made me tear up to see my sweet little girl free from tape and tubes.  She just looks so much happier and more content now that she is not fighting them.
We were able to get off the bili light too, but her morning blood work work will let us know if we need to get back on tomorrow or not.
She's doing great regulating her body temperature and breathing room air.  Such a champ!
Today was the first day on solely breastmilk, and she did not spit up near as much as she has been.  I love that she is tolerating it so well, since she did not tolerate formula (even sensitive) well.  This is the most she has been able to keep down!
My little angel is learning to take a bottle and breastfeed wonderfully.  We are learning to be patient and just enjoy feedings.  I am not going to stress her (or myself) out like I did the first two days.  I 'stepped back' and realized it was not worth it.  We will just take it a feeding at a time, and enjoy being with each other.  Ever since I have relaxed more, it's gone much better.
This is a "small" thing, but I think worthy of writing out: our baby is such an easy baby!  She eats, burps, sleeps, etc. on such a great schedule already.  I know this could change, but I am overjoyed she seems so happy on her schedule.  We feed at 6, 9, 12 and 3.  I am just going to continue this when we get home, and adjust to her needs if that is necessary.  

We may get to go home tomorrow!!  It all depends on her blood work and if she is still jaundiced, but there is a big chance that she will do good enough tonight to go home tomorrow!!  We are praying for a clean bill of health...I cannot even imagine what it will be like to ride home with a full car seat.

I slept well (for having a newborn) last night, and felt a TON better today!

I think I am going to really miss this hospital, and specifically this third floor.  Our care has been so amazing I am almost afraid to enter "real life" again. :)

Got to go love on the cutest baby alive...

Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!  For He has done marvelous things; Psalm 98:1

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Best day of our lives

She's HERE!  Grey Danelle Erwin was born on World Water Day (I LOVE the details set before the world existed by our wonderful Creator), March 22, 2012, also known as the best day of our entire lives.  She entered this world SCREAMING at 5:28pm, weighing 5 pounds 2 ounces and stretching 19 inches long.  Grey Danelle shares a middle name with her Aunt Charys, someone who has loved her since the moment she existed.

If every book on earth contained words about love, there would not be enough written words to describe how we feel.  I have never had time and life move around me like they do now.  All I can think about is how blessed I am to be Grey's mommy.

I do not have time to type out every detail, since the only thing on earth that seems to matter is being with our precious Grey...but I do want to share her 'brief' birth story, since I love that so many friends and family have been praying for her, and I want to share her story with them.

It was decided that Grey was going to have a birthday on Thursday, due to her not tolerating contractions for two days.  We were set to have a repeat amnio to check for lung maturity that morning, but after her heart rate decelerated with early signs of labor, our doctors agreed it was safer for her to just come meet us, even if her lungs were still a little immature.

The day went by much quicker than I thought it would, waiting on our 5pm c-section.  Nerves hit about one hour before the big moment, but otherwise we felt very calm.  The surgery went perfect, and both of our doctors were there to deliver Grey.  Tisha was allowed in the room, and captured Grey's arrival with breathtaking photographs!  I am so ridiculously stoked to share the photos soon!  I get CHILLS every time I see them...  Our doctors told us that they could see Grey kicking and punching in my uterus, even before she entered the world.  God's handiwork is so astounding!!

The BEST sound on earth happened at 5:28pm, when we heard Grey screaming as she entered the world.  My whole world changed forever.  Our little Grey was healthy, pink and perfect!  We were given time to love on her before they took her to the nursery.

Chet and Tisha left with Grey to be with her and photograph our little beauty while I was in recovery.  She found her thumb within 30 minutes, and we have a great iPhone movie of her noisily sucking it.  Auntie Charys was able to watch Grey in the nursery too.  However, an hour or so after birth, our little girl started "grunting" and showed signs of labored breathing.  Her pulse-ox also clued the doctors that she needed to be transferred to the NICU.

Grey was wheeled by my recovery room on the way to NICU though, so I was able to see her and love on her again before she was whisked away.  This was a very emotional moment for me, and if it weren't for Chet, Tisha and Charys by my side, I would have been a wreck.

In NICU, she was given a feeding tube and put on a c-pap machine for oxygen, so that all the energy in her body could contribute to making her stronger and healthier.

I was not able to hold Grey until about 1:30am, but oh my was it worth every moment of waiting in the world when I could finally hold our daughter.  She is PERFECT!  She has the most gorgeous deep blue-ish green eyes, fuzzy brown hair (lots of it) and looks so much like Chet! :)

Grey's health has improved each hour of her life.  We were told she could be on oxygen for a week, but was off her c-pap in less than 24 hours.  She was given an iv the first day - due to her labs showing some dehydration, but that was already removed this morning as well.  She is now under a bilirubin light for at least 24 hours, since she is a tad jaundice.  The prodding and poking of my poor sweet baby has been the toughest part of being a mom so far.  I would take a thousand iv's in my arm to spare her sweet hand that horrible thing.

Grey LOVES to eat and LOVES to hold our hands.  She insists on holding something with both hands, all the time.  Her grip is crazy!  One of my favorite moments was when Chet and I were giving Grey her first bath last night: she did not like the water too much, and as I was washing her, she held onto her Daddy with both hands.  She had the sweetest, "Daddy make them stop this!" face as she held onto him for comfort.  She is a cuddler and wants to snuggle up as close and tight as she can.  She is always reaching for our hands or faces.

Grey took her first bottle like a pro last night, so we attempted breastfeeding today.  The staff here is fabulous and encouraging, and we are getting better at it with each feeding.  Her feeding tube may come out for good tomorrow, Lord willing, since she is doing so well with learning how to suck.

Due to her stint in NICU, we have not been able to have any visitors see Grey.  The NICU here is serious about their babies' safety, meaning even Auntie Charys was never allowed to hold her.  I love that they care so much, and I know God had planned for Grey to be safe and sound in NICU though.  Grey's NICU nurses are amazing.  Just like my nurses have been on the antepartum floor, Grey's nurses make us feel like there is no better place for her to be right now!

Chet is the best Daddy on earth to Grey.  I knew he would be, as he is the best Daddy I have ever known.  He has sat in NICU for hours holding his daughter, even when I have not been able to.  He has changed diapers (even poopy ones), fed her, checked her temp and loved on her 24/7.  He is a natural at being a's as if he has been Grey's Daddy his whole life.  I love the sense of calm he has around her.  He even napped with her one afternoon, while I was busy pumping and talking to doctors.  Seeing Chet become a Daddy to a baby on earth has made me love him in such a new and amazing way.  It's an honor to call him my husband and father of the most beautiful girl on earth!  He has also assisted me in everything "fun" about childbirth, never complaining or leaving my side.  Because of Grey being in the NICU, and me pumping or being with her every waking moment, Chet has helped me with the tough job of letting our sweet friends know how difficult visits are right now.

Charys was here until yesterday.  It was beyond special to have my twin with me for this time.  She loves Grey in the most beautiful way, and helped me with everything.  Her presence brought so much peace into my life during the crazy last couple of days.

Tisha just left this  I can't even imagine where I would be without her help.  I do believe a mother's touch and help is what made us get through these last two weeks.  Tisha assisted me in every duty and task, and made my healing a hundred times easier.  Tisha relieved so much stress that could have been on Chet and I, I just can't thank her enough.  

We did not realize this level of exhaustion even existed.  I am so honored to be allowed the privilege of being Grey's Mommy.  I thank God over and over and over for this life.  Physically I am healing well.  We were moved back down to the antepartum floor, right next to the NICU.  It is so nice to be able to just take a few steps and be where our daughter is.  Also, the third floor nurses are EPICLY caring "family members".  It's become home in many ways here.  Everything about Grey's arrival has been the perfect plan from God.

My favorite thing on earth is to be with Grey.  I have not been able to answer almost anything - emails, texts, messages - anything.  I am so grateful and humbled by all the love we have been shown, and hope to get everyone answered soon.

This blog was typed out of delirium (excuse the typos), and I am about to go love on Grey again...but I just wanted to send out a blog birth announcement.

I have never been filled with this kind of joy.  The relief and happiness is more than I can say.  I am speechless and breathless every time I gaze at my daughter.

A couple photos before I go feed the most beautiful girl on earth:
 Door hanger from Ashley M
 On C-pap
 First time to hold my daughter
 Off C-pap
 After our first bath, all cozied up (feeding tube replaced after this)
 Litte hands and feet - about 1/2 the size of big brother's
Getting a bili tan

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift... 2 Corinthians 9:15

Monday, March 19, 2012

One week down!

I can't believe last Monday we checked in to this place!  It's actually gone by very quickly for the most part.  It is beginning to feel like home in this room.

Grey had a perfect ultrasound today, so I am wrapping my mind around being here for the longest possible time.  This is so important and great for her development (and those chubby thighs), I know! :)  I just really want to hold my baby! I really want a "dirty shoulder" (baby spit up), as Ashley M. has prayed for.  I really want to be up all night feeding and caring for a baby.  Babies come when they are ready, and our little Grey is not ready to meet the real world yet, no matter how ready we are to meet her.  We have the sweetest nurses, doctors and nurse practitioner who are all cheering her on though!  

We had a fun West Texas thunderstorm last night.  It was eerie and beautiful.  I have enjoyed about 15-30 minutes a day in the little Prayer Garden/Courtyard here.  I can't wait to get out and smell the fresh air after last night's rain.  Yesterday was gorgeous:
I LOVE SPRING!  I love that we will have a "spring baby"! :)

Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on the new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.  Deuteronomy 32:2

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Paddy's Day

I woke up eager to see if we would get "lucky" today and meet a special little girl, but I know we will be far "luckier" on her actual birthday...whenever that happens to be...even if that is two weeks from now!

The nurses here continue to amaze us.  They will do anything and everything to make our stay fabulous.  Our beautiful nurse this evening even brought us a DVD so we could have a romantic "Saturday date night" together.  I really need to figure out something to do for these precious ladies.

So far the only two things I am really missing about home are hot showers and Henri (our cat).  Okay, and maybe our dogs too. ;)  And my Keurig.  But mostly I miss Henri cuddles and "real" showers.  I think the first night we go home I will take a 20 minute HOT shower - or better yet, I hope I won't even think of a shower because I am bringing a newborn home. :)

Grey has been in the same exact position for nearly two months, but last night she decided to do a big "flip" and now is kicking me on the other side.  (We can be precise about her location since we get a lot of ultrasounds.)  It felt like she was rearranging my organs when she made the move, so maybe she will like house decorating one day.  ;)
Her ultrasound and NSTs showed no change today, which is good.  She is healthy and getting even chubbier.

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake.  Psalm 23:1-3

Friday, March 16, 2012

Keep Cooking!

Our little one's lungs were checked by an amniocentesis yesterday morning.  We anxiously waited on the results, knowing they would give us a better idea of when Grey's lungs would be ready.  The results showed that she needs to keep cooking before meeting all of us out here.  Because our stay has been very comfortable, and of course we want a healthy baby (number one), I am not too disappointed.  God has the perfect birthday for Grey planned, and we are just going to continue to wait until that day comes.

I have heard many different things about amnios, but I can certainly say that it was far from anything scary or painful.  A very small prick, a few cramps and a little soreness in the injection site are all I have felt.  IVs and a lot of shots are far worse.  

Both yesterday and today proved to be two more nice days in the hospital.  Charys went back home yesterday and Tisha just left this afternoon.  I loved having them both here this week...and probably got a little too used to the spoiling, food and conversations!!  Tisha and I spent an hour in the sunshine this afternoon, and I am red!  (No sun for a few months became apparent!)  Chet will be with me all weekend, so we should enjoy some quiet couple time together.  With the sweet company and lots of visitors, I haven't even cracked open a book yet!

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Psalm 139:23

Thursday, March 15, 2012


When you sit in a hospital bed, you get lots of blogging time.  I am procrastinating some emails and HUF stuff, because I do not want to forget any details of Grey's journey.

Yesterday was actually what I would consider "fun" in the scheme of a hospital stay.  The staff at Covenant truly make you feel like you are a queen (or king), and have far exceeded every request, need and expectation we have had.

Chet, Charys, Tisha and I were given a very informative tour of the NICU (just in case) before lunch, and I am so glad to see it and be aware of how it is run.  I love their strict policies and procedures, and know they will take epic care of Grey, if she were to need to go there.  I had to contain myself from not swooping down and scooping up one of the babies in there.  I wanted to hold and love on them all! ;)

Tisha treated us to a yummy chicken lunch, and then my sweet friend Jennifer came for a visit.  She brought a wonderful basket of snacks and goodies...and the most precious drawing from her daughter, "E":
Story to this drawing:  Jennifer had told E that she would be staying with her grandma this afternoon, since she had to visit her friend in the hospital who was going to have a baby.  She did not give any details (our baby being a girl, Holden's story, nothing...).  E drew this sweet picture and asked her mom to give it to me.  She drew me holding a baby girl, and when Jennifer asked her who the other baby was, she said, "That's her baby brother!"  What a GIFT!  All the details - from me holding our little Grey, to Holden being colored in orange (a color we associate with him because of his nursery, the Ugandan flag, etc.), to our chair we are sitting in being grey are things I do not think are coincidences.  I love love love how God uses the 'littlest' gestures as gifts, and how oftentimes the deliverers of His gifts are children.  I needed to see Grey smiling today.  :)

Chet and I then took the infant CPR class offered here at 3:00pm.  We have both been certified in infant CPR in the past, but it makes it a lot more real when you are about to have your own baby.

The day really did fly by with so much to do.  The Raleys came over and brought a delicious lasagna dinner from Orlando's for all of us.  We have been eating well since being here! :)

Grey impressed us on her NSTs yesterday, which was of course the most important thing!  Chet and I were up early this morning, ready to start this new day!

Then Hannah prayed and said: "My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high.  My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.  1 Samuel 2:1

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I guess my normal blogging time will be around 4:00am during our hospital stay.  I am grateful I can usually get a couple of hours of sleep in before 2:00am.

Yesterday's update (3/13/12):

After our little girl did not look very good on her morning NST (baseline heart rate was too low), we were swept into another ultrasound and literally surrounded by caring hospital staff.  My favorite part of this [scary] lesson was that we learned we could have Grey out in a matter of minutes if ever need be.  They move FAST when there is a reason to!  An iv with fluids and oxygen mask (on me) seemed to do the trick, and her baseline jumped back into the normal range for the rest of the day.  There is a lot that can be done in a 5-minute window.  Another reason I feel peace here.

Tisha decided to be nearer to us after that episode, so she drove the entire way back to Lubbock yesterday morning.  It was wonderful sharing another day with her!  She brought Slaton Bakery thumbprints, listened to me jabber all day, and strolled me around in a wheelchair to the courtyard for some much-needed and craved sunshine and fresh air.  I was surprised to see my beautiful sister Charys arrive too (she met us in the courtyard)!!  With both of them here, I know Grey and I will get all the love in the world until she makes her debut (and afterwards of course).

Chet ran back to Snyder after working yesterday, and accomplished my "please get done" list.  He's pretty awesome like that with the demanding wife he's married to. :)  I am amused how we have packed a ton of stuff, but I still manage to realize something "important" that we forgot - oh like at 2am each night.  I do not remember these things when Chet is awake, or my [amazingly helpful] friends could run an errand.  Tonight/this morning I realized that we did not pack shampoo/conditioner/hair spray/anything to help out my bed head.  Lovely. :)  I may experiment in a couple hours and see how hospital soap does on my locks.  Hmmm...
We also did not seem to think of packing anything but casual pajamas and sweats for me.  Laying in a bed all day made me think I would not care.  I clearly did not take into account that I would be hanging out here for a long haul...and with Tisha, the world's most wonderful photographer, but who really enjoys documenting me in pictures too much.  ;)

So far, other than yesterday morning's scare, I have felt good.  Baby is good.  We are so relieved to be here.

Thank you Jaci and Melanie for sending these:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.  Psalm 105:4

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Extra care!

3/13/12 4:00am *just now posting since we really debated posting this...*
I woke up (or really just didn't sleep) so excited that Tisha and Jim were able to attend our ultrasound and NST appointment bright and early yesterday morning.  Grey even (kind of sort of) showed us her face, more than she ever has, which was so sweet since they were there.  She was impressing the photogs in her life!

Taken through my placenta, so it's blurry and distorted, but you can make out a nose and eyes! :)

Our specialist discovered a disappointing trend though; my placenta is not nourishing Grey as it is expected to.  They were only able to discover this because of the weekly monitoring and ultrasounds we have had, which is such a blessing.  We were able to see the graphs that depicted this small decline in my placenta's "work ethic", which has hindered her growth as well.  Since our last weigh in nearly a month ago, Grey only gained 2 ounces (so much for me thinking she gained at least a pound or two...all that weight gain was just me?!).  All that medical jargon boiled down to this: our specialist said that when a placenta is not functioning to its fullest, a baby does not have the "reserves" it needs to withstand pressure and problems in the womb.
[Completely my own theory after hearing all of this, and I am just journaling here...but I am wondering if this may have contributed to Holden not being able to make it through his cord deficit.  I wonder if my placenta was beginning to deteriorate during the end of that pregnancy?]

Although I felt like it was a huge blow, I am grateful for a few things:  Namely that God is in control above all else, and that He has given my doctors wisdom and the technology to discern all of this.  We are in the best Hands (God's) and hands (hospital staff) possible.  Also, this was the first time the Shuffields could make it to an appointment with me, and I can't think of a better time for them to be there...although of course I would have loved a completely positive appointment and experience for them!  They are beyond supportive and loving, and spent the entire day spoiling me before we had to check in at the hospital.

Tisha and Jim stayed with me all day yesterday, ran all of my errands, spoiled me a LOT (so excited for new bedding and a lamp for our new guest bed/quarters in the office!), and took me to lunch and a pedicure.  Tisha picked out a bright pink, since it'll be my last pedicure before our little girl arrives. :)  Grey even got in on some spoiling and ended up with a few shopping bags of her own!  It was a perfect ending to my "civilian life" before I was checked in to the hospital for good.  They made a day that could have been depressing for me a fun one.  Chet wasn't able to meet us in Lubbock until about 5:30, so having them with me was perfect.

Tisha and I snapped phone photos on our phones of each other getting pedicures.

We checked in to be monitored at 5pm last night, and I won't be leaving the hospital until Grey arrives.  We will get at least three NSTs a day.  It could be a week to a couple of weeks here...our doctors are hopeful Grey will be cozy inside of me until the very end of the month.  I know her birthday is something that was planned before we were all even born, so I am trying not to stress about it.  

After we got settled in to our room (with a beautiful view by the way!), we got our first round of steroids at about 6:00pm.  Tisha and Jim left around 6:30, and Carrie (my sister-in-law) brought us dinner.  Grey has actually rocked all of her NSTs so far, which is very comforting.  The nurses and staff are epic, and we could not ask for a better place to stay.  We feel at peace, and I am glad they are doing everything they can to keep our little one and me healthy.

Thank you Rebecca for these two passages I will have memorized in this version during my stay here:

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

Each time he said, "My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness."  So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring Break 2012

Spring Break this year is going to be quite uneventful for us.  My last day of work until Grey arrives was yesterday, since Spring Break starts this upcoming Monday, and I'll have many trips to the hospital for monitoring the week (or two) after Spring Break.  Other than a couple of doctor appointments, and Chet working of course, I will be resting and laying low.

It's been rainy and cold, so we have been able to get caught up on a lot of inside stuff today.  I officially wouldn't be upset if Grey decided to come this weekend!  ;)  All of her clothes and blankets have been washed (several times each) and I feel more than ready now.  We've added some last minute touches to the nursery and completed the projects I was waiting on.  I am realizing that I am actually glad I was slow to get all of her stuff ready, since I'm guessing these next couple of weeks will drag on as it is.

I'm planning to get caught up on Holden Uganda work this week; I have a feeling cuddling my little girl may get in the way of HUF to-dos in a little bit.

Grey Update:

  • We get to feel her hiccuping about every other day, and I LOVE it!  
  • Her movements consist of more "rolls" and "turns"than kicking, but I have been reassured by several nurses that this is normal at this point in gestation; she's getting squished in there.  During Holden's pregnancy, I was blissfully happy for any movements, and did not stress over what kind they were.  Now I find myself obsessing over each little movement.  Poor Grey probably gets more jabs than necessary from me, always waking her up to move.  :)  
  • The "baby growth chart" I get emailed weekly said that she was approximately 5 1/2 lbs. on Thursday.  I hope that we get to compare this to her actual weight on Monday's appointment.  I personally think that guess is pretty accurate though...meaning she should weigh a little more than that on Monday.    
  • My stomach has grown considerably in the past month.  Last week, my doctor measured me four centimeters ahead of the prior week (and re-meaured it a couple of times to confirm).  I think Grey and I are both going through a growing spurt, because I am eating more than I have throughout this entire pregnancy.  (And that's a LOT!  I never have a small appetite!)  On Thursday's weigh-in, I noticed I had gained the "max" amount I ever thought I would already.  Grey's worth a permanent 200 lb. weight gain, so I have decided to not stress about pounds.  They will melt away in my mind when I look into my daughter's eyes.  <3
God is good.
Sitting on the North Carolina beach this summer, I could not even picture us in March.  Here we are.  

But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.  Nehemiah 9:31

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Happy Nursery!

This nursery definitely has nothing to do with me, although I would love to take credit!  Three friends (all three are co-workers too, which is fun) came together to create a nursery that made me cry (on several occasions during the set up process).  It is over-the-top beautiful and sweet for our little girl.  Seeing her nursery put together makes it all so "real" to me that we will be bringing Grey home, Lord willing, so soon. 

I feel like a nursery has been a two-year ongoing project in our home.  It took a lot of time for me to accept creating another nursery, after very tearfully taking one down that had never had a baby rocked in it.  If it weren't for the three amazing women who are mostly responsible for Grey's nursery (and Grey's daddy for painting it), I think it may still be an empty room today.  I was talking to a fellow Hope Mommy about nurseries at the beginning of this pregnancy, remembering how Holden's nursery was such a focus in my life during his pregnancy.  It is amazing how our eyes and hearts can be re-focused in an instant.  Beginning late in my second trimester though, I had strong urges to still have a place that my little girl felt loved, secure and at peace in.  A nursery for her was definitely a must.

I looked at custom bedding online for quite some time, and decided that the months it would take to arrive was just frustrating and would result in a nursery being done when Grey was probably 2 months old (read above...that slacker in me didn't look into bedding until way too late).  I loved the fabrics from this collection and showed them to Daphny.  Well, Daphny did so much better than ANY place I could ever order from online...I believe the bedding "sets the stage" for the rest of the nursery, and I am completely thrilled with the way it turned out!  [For anyone reading this, worried about the safety of a bumper, Daphny made sure to use the safety bumper pads! ;)]  The quilt has the softest minky rose material on one side, and all the fabrics from the collection on the other side.  Daphny even made me (or Grey when she gets a little bigger) a standard-size pillow case to enjoy!  She cared about every detail being perfect, and as you can see - it's exactly that.

The first thing done in the nursery was the decor!  My dear friend Tressa, my go-to friend when I was working on Holden's nursery, who never tired of my million design, color and pattern questions, is the beautiful friend to thank for Grey's nursery being put together!  Tressa is patient, brilliant and helpful.  Tressa knew how stressed out I was about putting a nursery together this time, especially being on bed rest.  (Okay, let's be honest with myself...I cannot design and put together anything cute without being on bed rest...but bed rest made it even more of a stressor!)   Tressa completely took over the entire nursery project, and within a week (no joke!) she painted an old mirror, bookshelf and doll chair we already had, made the curtains, re-did two lamps, created a cool focal point polka dot "G frame", and bought and designed nearly all the decor, ETC!  She secretly got a key to our house from Chet last Monday morning, and while we were gone to the doctor in Lubbock she (and her sweet family-thank you Brantley, Abbey and Terry) spent the entire day creating Grey's nursery.  I walked in the door completely unaware that she had been working on it, and literally squealed like a little girl when I finally saw it.  Then I cried.  (The excitement actually made me get some pretty serious contractions all night...) ;)  Tressa made me feel like I was able to hire a famous designer from HGTV for Grey's room!  She even came back tonight and helped me unload, rearrange and organize ALL of our baby stuff until WAY past her and Abbey's bedtime!  Talk about a true friend!  (Check out her other creations at Hodge Podge Designs on Facebook.)

Note from Tressa that was taped to the back of this beautiful plaque (tears):

We had invested in very nice baby furniture with Holden, and knew we would obviously need to use it with this little one. Chet and I both loved the dark, rich wood for Holden's nursery, but I really had a difficult time wrapping my heart around the exact furniture for Grey. The furniture was a big part to blame for me not wanting to create a second nursery.  I remember how difficult it was to watch Chet take it all down and wrap it up for storage. (One of the top five worst days in my life.) We wanted it to be a little "different" for her, so she could have her own furniture that I would not refer to as "Holden's furniture".  Another amazingly gifted friend, Terrisu, offered to transform Holden's furniture into Grey's furniture. It's breathtaking! When she offered to paint it, I knew she was amazingly talented, yet I still did not fathom it would turn out so lovely.  They are heirloom quality in every way.  It was hard to believe they were the same pieces we gave her to work with!  Terrisu also set up the furniture without us being home, completing our nursery; even placing the bedding on the crib so that we walked into such a sweet room this evening.  Can I just say blessed?  Take a look at the beautiful pieces, Grey's furniture, she created.

When I asked Terrisu for permission to write about her and her furniture business on my blog, this is what she asked that I write. You can clearly see where her heart is - sharing God's blessings:
"It's a God given talent that is used by my husband and I to honor God. It is very humbling experience and an honor to serve Him through others and to see the transformations. After all, He has transformed us all with His Love!" ~Terrisu M.

Each drawer has Scripture written in it.  The Manns prayed over us, Grey and the nursery before they left.  Wow.

I feel as though this nursery could be in a magazine... it is a happy place that I pray and hope Grey will spend days and years creating memories in.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart Daphny, Terrisu and Tressa!  You are gifts.

Check out some photos (took with my iphone this evening...we will take better photos with our camera hopefully this weekend or next week, but I am too impatient not to share):

 White crib and bedding (plan to have Grey's newborn photos on canvases from Shuffield Photography hanging over her crib)
 Gorgeous quilt
 The details


 Dresser/changing table with red mirror (eventually we will have a basket of "essentials" on top)

 Nightstand and "view"

 Cute doll chair redone and curtains
 View from the entry door and "G" hanger from Jessica

 Closet is a big work in progress still :)

Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD. Psalm 144:15