Merry Christmas…just for Kicks

Since our last post we’ve seen alot of changes. Not only has Erin finally felt like the bump is harder to hide but Isabella has been super active and we’re really enjoying our “family of three” time.

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Erin has begun to feel her kicking and punching throughout the day, but she seems to get especially active first thing in the morning, when Erin gets home from work, and then again as we settle into bed.  Last night we decided to check to see if we could actually see her moving rather than just feeling her.  WOW. I wish I could capture video of what I could see. It’s incredible. People always tell you that its really cool when you can feel the baby move, and that you can eventually see them moving a foot or hand across the stomach, but last night I swear she was just showing off. She seemed to push her entire side outward and I think I saw basically the entire arm from her shoulder down and then her hip and entire leg.

On another note, the reality of everything is setting in. We are under 16 weeks from when we may get to meet Isabella. Her nursery is slowly coming together, but with Christmas just days away and New Years Day shortly behind we know we still have a ton of work to get done in a really short time. We took some time on Sunday and had some fun registering at Pottery Barn Kids, and plan to hit Babies R Us later this week or early next week. I’m in complete research mode now since I have several days off of work so if you have any recommendations on “must haves” for new parents feel free to leave them in the comments. I’ll definitely check them all out.

With that said…MERRY CHRISTMAS…for the last time as a family of two.  Wow…that’s weird.  Here’s to 2017 and big changes coming!!!

It’s a….

What? You thought I would tell you in the blog title? Come on. That’s too easy. Now I just need to take up enough characters that you can’t even tell from the text preview…Ok. I think that’s enough.

On Thursday we had our anatomy scan. Going into the scan we were excited and anxious because of course whenever you check the internet for anything you always hear the worst case scenario. Would the baby face the right direction? Would we get a clear picture? With Erin’s history, would a fibroid get in the way of what we needed to see?

Well…the answers are Yes, Yes, and No, respectively.  With that said we didn’t quite expect to get the news on if it was a boy or girl quite that quickly (I’d say within the first 15 seconds of the ultrasound picture coming up on the screen) so now I feel like I have to make you wait longer. You know, raise the anticipation levels. Did you seriously read all of that and not skip ahead? If you did call yourself out in the comments.
Ok fine, I’m done messing around…

Please welcome…


Isabella Grace Hannaford. It’s a GIRL!!!!

We’re beyond excited…although the reality of having a daughter is slowly starting to creep in for Matt but it’s definitely exciting.

Thanks to everyone who picked Team Pink or Team Blue last week. We’re looking forward to everyone meeting Ella come mid-April!

The Bump Begins…and a kick?

For weeks now, Matt has been able to tell the beginnings of the bump but with Erin’s clothing style it’s likely that if you’ve seen her in person, there is no way you would know she was pregnant from looks alone. However, that is starting to change.

As we head toward the end of week 18 and move onward to week 19 on Wednesday (and finally getting to the anatomy scan on Thursday), Erin’s beginning to notice that some of her clothes aren’t quite fitting as they once did. As she put on a sweater this morning, she broke down and wrote a post on Facebook…

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It’s there. Others can sort of tell now. Well, depending on what she’s wearing. That bump is there and we’re getting even more excited now. It’s one more step in this journey that just makes it feel that much more “REAL”.

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If you look close you can see it there. It might be small, but it’s an outward sign of our growing family.

With the bump beginning to show there is also another sign of our growing family.  In the last few days, Erin felt our little fruit ninja moving a few times now. At first she wasn’t quite sure if that was really it, but after talking to our doctor last week about it she assured us that it was what Erin was feeling. Matt thinks he might have felt it, but we’re pretty sure that’s just wishful thinking.

It’s just one more sign that this journey happens fast. People keep saying that it flies by, but it doesn’t really hit you as to how fast it really does until someone says, “You are halfway now.” Wow. Yes, 18 weeks isn’t usually halfway, but when we’re only heading to week 37 or 38…we’re right there at that halfway mark already. It’s flying. It’s crazy. But it’s incredible and we couldn’t be more excited.

Coming up on Saturday we’ll be sharing the results of our anatomy scan. Pink or Blue? Leave your guess in the comments.

The Registry…

When you get married many times you do a wedding registry for things to start your life together. Sheets, knives, a coffee maker, maybe even a toaster. But when it comes to a baby registry…or even just walking into the baby section of the store (or a speciality baby store like Babies R Us) can be downright intimidating.

When you registered for your wedding, you typically have a clue about the products. You’ve probably used a toaster and coffee maker before. But have you ever used a baby bottle? Sure…maybe you helped feed a friend or family members baby but just wait until you realize that not only are there 30,000 brands of baby bottles, but each one of those brands have 3-10 different “versions” of not only bottles, but also nipples for each of them. Talk about overwhelming. And don’t even get me started at how fast my head started spinning when we looked at car seats and strollers.

Erin is definitely a planner, and while I’m a little better with short deadlines, when it comes to this baby, both of us are trying to stay as far ahead of the game as we can. However, until December 8th we are at a bit of an impasse. We’ve realized that not only is it hard to find truly gender neutral things, we really want to know before we get going too much into the registry. With that said, the first few things have been purchased…a small stuffed animal, a carrier, and probably the most exciting (and it’s definitely making everything more “real” again) the crib and mattress have been purchased. (And put together in 13 minutes! — Small victories for Matt.)

It’s starting to feel more and more real each day. Now we just need to sit back, relax, and try to get through the next three weeks until we find out what we are having. (And don’t worry…we’ll be sharing that information here on Saturday the 10th.

So for now…feel free to let us know what did you feel when you first walked into the store to set up your register and realized just how many options are lining the walls.

Hiccups – Nope, nothing bad…the cute kind.

So we’ve gone for two more appointments since the last post.  We had our genetic testing exam / blood work and then just our “normal” check in.

During our genetic testing ultrasound we were shocked at how quickly the baby is growing. I mean it was only about 2.5 inches at the time, but after seeing everything from the faintest of circles in a black hole, it’s incredible.

The ultrasound nurse held the scanner over the baby for a few seconds before zooming in and doing the actual measurements for the test and let us see the baby. It hit us when we first saw the little kick before, but now, it was really real. As we left the doctor Erin called her mom and said, “Mom, it actually looks like a baby now.” And it did. We saw our little baby relaxing on it’s back, knees tucked up and legs crossed. And we all had a nice little laugh as we saw a few little hiccups.

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Check out that cute little face. It’s crazy to think that over the next few months we’ll only be able to see our little “fruit ninja” a few more times. But again, we’ll likely see more than most because of needing to monitor the baby’s size so that we can plan the c-section.

Now comes the part that isn’t as much fun. We’ve had so many ultrasounds up until this point that we’ve gotten used to being able to actually see our baby developing. Now we wait. We won’t see the baby again until December. It will be about 6 weeks since we last saw our little one. Every time we’ve gotten a new photo there has been such an obvious change. Now we can’t wait to see how big our baby will be by the beginning of December. They told us once we were released from “high risk” that we might feel some ultrasound withdrawal. Matt definitely does.

We’ll have another appointment in between but the date has been set… December 8th. Finally on December 8th we’ll have our anatomy scan!

While you are here, (and thanks for reading this by the way), leave some feedback and thoughts on the first three posts.

The first few weeks…

The first few weeks after we got the positive pregnancy test were hectic to say the least. Erin was on vacation Sunday through Tuesday evening and then had a long day of scheduled meetings on Wednesday. That meant we couldn’t get to the doctor until Thursday to do blood work and get “official” results.

**Author’s Note**
— Our story is likely different than many others when it comes to pregnancy and doctor visits, so we consider ourselves very lucky when it comes to the opportunities we’ve had so far. —

We went to the doctor’s office on Thursday for blood tests. The results came back positive, but there was a hitch. Of course there was a hitch, why wouldn’t there be one? We’ve done everything else the hard way why would our pregnancy be easy? Erin’s progesterone level was slightly low. Not super low, but considering the circumstances our doctors recommended supplements.

Erin had to return to work after the morning appointment so it was up to Matt to figure out where to find the supplements. And of course…it was the Thursday before Labor Day and there was ONE pharmacy in the area that had the supplement. The problem is the short shelf life and the high cost. Most pharmacies won’t stock the item. We were lucky. It was only 10 miles away….this time.

Friday we went back to the doctor…again. We could tell right away that this was going to become a pattern.

The doctor did an ultrasound on Friday and we saw a black hole. Literally…that’s all it was. A black hole.

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“The Black Hole”

We had to come back on Tuesday. The doctor couldn’t confirm a pregnancy from just a black hole. We came back after what could have been the longest long weekend ever. Luckily, we had plans with some awesome friends and were distracted for much of the time. Here’s what we saw the second time…

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The Black Hole with a Yolk Sack

If you look REALLY close you can see a small circle inside the now slightly larger black hole. Apparently that’s the yolk sac which confirmed that it was definitely a pregnancy, but again, couldn’t give us the “good pregnancy” designation.

So again…we wait. Another few days and another appointment and another ultrasound. Still no true “confirmation”.  We know she’s pregnant, they’ve said she’s pregnant, but they’ve never given us the “it’s good” report. So many questions…in fact…

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Two heartbeats?

When they did this ultrasound there was a question as to whether or not there were two heartbeats. There was a definite solid heartbeat near the top of the “blob” at 164 BPM. That one was good. But then they found another one…sort of. They couldn’t get a good listen on it, but we could “see” it near the very bottom of the “blob”. At 8 weeks our doctor said that in her 16 years of doing this, she’s NEVER had a “?” on her reports. We were the first…but as seems to be the way we do things…why wouldn’t we be?

Finally, at 9 weeks…more than a full month after we started this crazy trip, we got a solid determination of a good pregnancy, everything looked perfect and we were finally released from “high-risk”. The doctor looked at us and now said the words that we had been waiting to hear. We were “normal” and everything looked “perfect”. We were elated.

 

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You see that? For the first time it actually looked like a baby. It punched and kicked and we could see it. A lot of people say that the heartbeat sound is what makes it “real” to them. For us, it was seeing the punch and the kick. Our little “fruit ninja” was real. This whole thing was finally actually becoming a reality.

 

 

Our first post…sort of

A few months ago we wrote a blog post. You can find that entire blog post below, unchanged, because it was written with our hearts.

This whole thing hasn’t been easy, but after writing the  blog, and sitting on it…we waited. We didn’t want to share the post until we knew what the next step was going to be. We waited for the inevitable. At least it seemed to be inevitable. One more month. One more fail. One more heartbreak. We made the decision to go back to the doctor. We were going to try to figure out how to financially afford not only a child, but the cost of IVF to finally have one. We had already filled out the paperwork to get on the waitlist for adoption but with that list being about 4 years long, we were going to skip the other options and go right for the best chance at conception…

We were going to wait until we knew for sure that we failed one last time.

But we didn’t.

FINALLY!

It was early in the morning on a Sunday. Not just any Sunday, but the Sunday that Erin was going to be heading to the beach with several of her friends. After feeling like her period would start at any moment for at least 3 days, and being 4 or 5 days “late”, she decided to test. It was 5:15 a.m. Matt was passed out in bed hoping to sleep for another 45 minutes until the rest of the girls got to the house to help pack up the Jeep and see the ladies off to the beach.

Erin walked into our bedroom and simply said (in one of the most serious tones possible), “Matt, you need to wake up and look at this.”

Confusion ensued as Matt thought that one of the dogs had made a mess of the house or something else terrible had happened. Instead, he was shown the test. It said “Pregnant”. Really? Did it really say that? Are we sure? Did it finally actually work? It’s been almost 3 1/2 years…is this real life? Am I really going to be a dad?

All of those questions would have to wait because it’s now 5:35 and the girls are supposed to start arriving at the house at 5:45 a.m.  Ok, we’ve got about 2 minutes to try to process and celebrate and then its back to Erin doing her hair and Matt making sure that everything is set for the girls at the beach.

The girls arrive and we act as though nothing is different even though our entire world has changed in the matter of a few moments in the early morning on a Sunday in August.

We’ll share more about our journey throughout the pregnancy and birth. Our little one is technically due May 3rd, but we’ve already discussed with the doctor that our baby will come somewhere between week 37 and the beginning of week 39…likely closer to the 37 week mark so let’s get ready for an Easter baby!

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— Original Blog Post As Written in Early August 2016 —

It was a little more than a year ago that Erin first made our situation public via a Facebook post…

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While the post doesn’t talk about our struggles with starting a family, it was our first public discussion about it.

Just over 9 months later, we shared a blog that really hit home.

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That was our first posts that truly told people exactly what was going on.

But it’s now time to move forward. Since April we have remained unsuccessful in our attempt to begin our family. So as you will be able to read in the Our Goal and Learn More About Us sections we have made a decision that adoption is part of our journey.

Our journey begins here in Harrisburg, Pa., and we have no idea what to expect moving forward. All we know is we have each other, and a strong network of family, friends that might as well be family, as well as other friends and co-workers who are supporting us through it all.

We aren’t really sure where exactly our blog is going to take us, when we will be able to finally begin our family, or even how often we’ll post. Our promise is that we will continue to share this journey in hopes that someone else draws hope and inspiration to take their own journey as others that have posted theirs and helped us through this emotional rollercoaster.