Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ten Things No One Told Me...

For someone who's been around about a bazillion pregnant women in her lifetime, I quickly found out a few things I didn't know about pregnancy. Most of them are not fun things, so I'm glad someone kept them a secret from me. Others, I heard about but didn't really believe. Still, others, are amazing that I wouldn't have believed even if someone HAD told me!

Oh, and I guess I should say that dudes probably shouldn't read this. :)

1. Snotty nose - I figured women who had issues with congestion during pregnancy just had a cold that never went away. Boy was I wrong! With increased blood flow and an increased intake of fluids, my nose has become a mucous factory. Occasionally, the drainage actually makes me nauseated in the mornings which is a whole different issue about which I can do practically nothing... except maybe invest in Kleenex.

2. Poor sleep - I thought you were supposed to sleep like a baby until your baby arrives!!! No one told me that problems with sleep could start in the first trimester. At first, waking up for frequent potty breaks was what did me in. Now I am just plain uncomfortable. But, it is a little blessing because I really do think I am being prepared for when Maleah arrives! It won't be such a huge shock to only get a few hours of truly restful sleep.

3. Constipation - I had NO clue about this one! Honestly. It started pretty early on, but got worse as I started taking Zofran. Thankfully it hasn't hit me as bad as some women, but it is still pretty darn annoying.

4. Struggles with gaining weight - I mean, I thought pregnancy was my golden ticket to the Smorgasbord of All Things Delicious. Wrong-O. From weeks 5-13, just eating a bowl or two of rice was a major accomplishment. Even though my appetite is back (and morning sickness is gone), I am still not putting on weight like should. I'm just going to try to alter my diet and hope I've gained at least four pounds by September 20 (my next appointment). Lots of women lose weight in the beginning, so that doesn't concern me anymore. It's just whether or not I can steadily put on weight. And most women laugh and say "What a nice problem to have..." except that it's not nice! So far Maleah is doing just fine despite my issues, so that makes me feel more at ease.

5. Heart palpitations - Another shocker! Had NO clue this was even common until it happened to me two days in a row and I finally allowed myself to google it! I was in bed one night and my heart went through three cycles of palpitations. There was no pain and they stopped after the third, so I just told myself not to worry. Then it happened again the next day. So, I looked it up - (which normally I try to avoid googling anything related to pregnancy b/c other moms like to freak  you out!!!) - heart palpitations are tee-totally normal! As long as they don't last too long and don't cause any pain, there's no need for alarm. I also didn't realize how HARD my heart would be pounding. Sometimes I can even hear the beats in my head!

6. In-N-Out Doctor's visits - You mean my OB doesn't want to spend 20 minutes talking to me about all the things I have experienced over the past four weeks?? And she doesn't even want to do an EXAM every visit!? (Honestly, this has been a huge relief!!!!)

7. Back pain - This one is similar to sleep problems - I knew this was coming, but I didn't realize it would be so soon. My back has been acting up since around 11 or 12 weeks - ever since I had to start sleeping on my side. I have scoliosis, so it's super uncomfortable to sleep on my side and leaves my back aching for the rest of the day. I can't use a heating pad and don't like Tylenol (Ibuprofen is usually my pain relief BFF!), so I just request a lot of massages. :)

8. Bella band - I didn't know this existed until my cousin Holly let me borrow hers!! It has been a budget-saver, since I really don't want to go drop loads of cash on maternity clothes. (Okay, I want to drop loads of cash on maternity clothes but I don't have loads of cash to drop on maternity clothes.) Now that I've "popped," it doesn't really work well on jeans b/c the pressure of the fabric pushes against my oh-so-sensitive tummy. Dress pants + Bella Band = me likey.

9. Forgetting I'm pregnant - There are times I totally forget I'm pregnant. It's so weird. I don't even know how to explain it!!!

10. Instantly in love - People definitely told me about this one, and I knew it was true... but I didn't know how true it was!!! At first, I was in love with those two little pink lines on the HPT. Then I was in love with the gray blob they told me was a baby. Then I was in love with a little creature that looked like an alien. And now I'm in love with a little girl I've yet to meet. It's amazing how much more in love I am with Blake, too. Knowing that he is our baby girl's daddy and knowing how much HE loves her just makes my heart swell!

So, there's my ten things no one told me about pregnancy. Did you have any surprises during your first pregnancy??

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Baby Ball: Week 18

I guess I don't have to name these posts "Baby Ball" anymore!! After about 6 oz of Mountain Dew and half a Krispy Kreme donut, Baby Ball was moving around like crazy and cooperated like a good little.... GIRL! :)

This post may be a little disorganized because I want to try to answer the questions people have already asked us, and this post is probably going to be VERY long... but I KNOW what everyone really wants to see are her very first pictures:

Maleah Kathryn Ball
Due January 27, 2013
Current Length: Approx. 6 inches head to booty
Current Weight: 7 oz


Here you can see the back of her head and her spine, and those little ridges are her tiny ribs!

Her little profile!


This is Daddy's favorite picture. She's looking right at the camera. Mama still thinks it's a little creepy! 

The "potty shot"!! One of MANY she was so eager to give! I just love this picture because her little legs look like frog's legs! 

Still in shock that we are the parents of a little GIRL!

I was SO worried that our baby wouldn't cooperate for the 3 o'clock appointment. I was MOST concerned with whether or not she was healthy, so I just reminded myself all day that I just needed to be content with finding out if our baby was okay - we could find out the gender later if we needed to. Three of my cousins recently had shy babies at their afternoon anatomy scans, so I kept preparing myself for the let-down. But, as soon as the tech put the ultrasound wand on my belly, Maleah was moving and wiggling and flipping around like CRAZY! And she gave us several glimpses of her girly parts! So much so that we actually didn't get a lot of still photos of her other parts!! In the video they gave us, we can see her little toes and fingers and can see her stretch out and curl up, flip, kick, and wave. We've only watched the video 4 times so far... ;) 

It took only about 45 seconds for the tech to say, "It's a girl!" I know my jaw dropped, and I'm certain Blake's did too! I said, "Are you SURE!?!?" Blake and I just KNEW it was a boy. For a few weeks early on, I thought it was a girl because I was so sick and the heart rate was high. But, once I wasn't sick anymore, I just had a gut feeling it was a boy! So, needless to say, we were completely shocked. During the ultrasound, I just kept looking at Blake and looking at the screen in complete disbelief that WE are having a GIRL. We had already bought a few boy outfits on clearance!!! I had already picked out boy bedding, boy outfits, boy STUFF. But... it didn't take long to get excited about picking out GIRL stuff!!! We obviously would have been happy either way, we couldn't help but laugh that Surprise Baby surprised us again! 

She looked perfect. No signs of anything to worry about. Her little heart looked great, her spine was the most beautiful spine I've ever seen (not to mention the ONLY spine I've ever seen!), and that little brain is probably halfway filled already with Daddy's history stories. She measured right on track for her gestational age and Dr. Ray said we can see her again in about 2 months if we choose to do the 3D/4D scan! 

Our families are THRILLED! Most of Blake's family thought it was a boy, just like we did! My mom PRAYED we were having a girl because she already has two ALL BOY grandsons. She was over-the-moon excited and honored that Maleah is named after her..., about Maleah's name! I'm just going to make a LONG story as short as I can: Blake and I decided to choose names several weeks ago. Our boy name was easy because we had talked about it before we even got married (I'll have to save it for later!). All I knew about a girl was that I really wanted her to have my mom's initials (MK - her name is Mary Kathryn). Originally, I thought I'd want to name her Morgan Kate. But, one day the name Maleah popped into my head - it was a name I have always liked, I just hadn't thought about it in a while. I texted Blake and asked if he even liked it and he said yes! I'm all about name meanings, so I looked it up and found that Maleah is a variation of the name "Mary" - my mom's first name!!! It also plays on my sister's name, "Leigh". So, it's like killing three birds with two names! We get to honor my mom, my sister, and me (since my first name is Kathryn) with this sweet little name for our sweet baby girl!

We are already SO in love with her and we are completely in awe of what a gift she is. The best way to describe how I feel is "unworthy". I pray for her (and us!) constantly; not only praying for her health, but also praying for the woman she is going to become. As soon as the idea of having a girl settled with me, I thought, "I have to start praying Proverbs 31 over her!". Blake and I believe Psalm 129, which says, "Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, so are children born in one's youth... blessed is he whose quiver is full of them." We are not a Quiver-full couple in the "traditional" sense of the word, but we do believe that God will give us the number of children that will make our "quiver" full. And it is our job to sharpen our children and set them out, like arrows, in the direction God is calling them. It is a huge responsibility, and we are just completely honored to be given this opportunity. 

I can't wait to see this little girl in person, but until then, I am just enjoying letting her grow!


Now for the boring part: about ME! :) 

Quick update on pregnancy: 
- At one day shy of 18 weeks, I am feeling really great! I have FINALLY gotten back up to my pre-pregnancy weight and will hopefully gain weight steadily from here on out. I was really proud when I got on the scale and saw those magic numbers! I don't wish morning sickness on ANYBODY, but if you have it, I pray Zofran works for you the way it has worked for me! 

- My appetite is great! The only MAJOR food "group" I can't eat = SWEETS! It gets worse every day. Somehow chocolate Teddy Grahams are okay, but anything sweeter than that is just plain gross. I wish this is how I felt about sweets when I'm not pregnant!

- The little bump is ever-growing and is still very low (which makes me look like I'm carrying a boy!), but it's starting to move upwards as well as out, if that makes sense. For my birthday, I got a pair of maternity jeans, two dresses, and two shirts from Motherhood. I can wear most of my old shirts, but most of my jeans are goners. I can still wear dress pants with the Bella Band, but the pressure it puts on my stomach when I wear jeans is too uncomfortable now. 

That's all, folks!!! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I've always been known to be sentimental, sensitive, emotional... it's a good thing, and it comes straight from my Granddaddy who, as tough as he was, got choked up over just about anything! My little heart is just so tender and it doesn't take much to get the tears a-flowin'. It's easiest to turn on the "water works" (as my dad always called them!) when I'm singing - particularly singing to or about our Heavenly Father. There is just something sweet about worshiping the Lord through song, singing with a congregation of believers, and singing with conviction when the words just fit life so perfectly.

There are some classic themes within songs we sing at church that are almost guaranteed to make me cry:

- Jesus as a tiny baby (this is #1 on the list for inducing tears!)
- Jesus dying on the Cross for my/our/your sins
- Seeing God's glory in Heaven
- God's faithfulness
- The presence of the Holy Spirit
- Jesus coming back
- The awesomeness of God's love for His children
- God's provisions
- John the Baptist (really, I can't explain that one)
- Mary, mother of Jesus
- Trusting the Lord
- Jesus clothing us in His righteousness
- Thankfulness for all God has done
- Any song with the words "Holy," "Lord," and "Almighty"
- God's gracious mercy
- John the Baptist (really don't understand that one!)
- The names of God/Jesus
- Praise in the midst of trouble/sorrow
- Any song calling God "everlasting"

So, basically, any church/worship music makes me misty-eyed!!! But, there is one song that - in all seriousness - has been on my heart lately. The words just keep replaying in my head:

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever

"A Mighty Fortress is Our God"

Just let 'em sink in for a moment and you might find yourself needing a Kleenex. His truth abides even through the midst of Death. There's just nothing better than that.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In Plenty or In Want

God's Word has this strange tendency to linger. You read a passage, a verse, a story, and weeks later it is still with you. Whatever you read pops back up in conversation, in your thoughts, during your prayers... and at some point, you take notice and realize that He is doing this purposefully.

I don't want to go into long, boring details - I'm sure once you read this story, you can put the puzzle pieces together yourself. But this passage is such a beautiful picture of God's faithfulness to those who give all they have to Him.

Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath
1 Kings 17:7-16
Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.  Then the word of the Lord came to him:  “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.”  So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?”  As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”

 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”

She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

I hope to be more like this widow. She was obedient even though she was afraid. I often think that the best times for me to give - and I don't just mean financially - are when we have extra. Extra time, extra energy, extra money. But I find the times when I am most satisfied with serving the Lord are when it hurts to give. When I am tired, when I am poor, when I am spent. And maybe those times are when He is most satisfied with me.

It is a scary prayer to pray, but I do pray that God teaches us to give even during our own times of need. When we could easily say that we are the ones in need of rest, in need of peace, in need of an extra few dollars. He will be faithful to grant us what we truly do need, just as he did with the Widow of Zarephath. 

Philippians 4:12 - "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Thought in His Mind

Blake and I are getting very excited about our anatomy scan next Thursday!! It's the day we will get to see Baby Ball's spine and brain and we pray that he/she is growing into a healthy little person. We also hope that we'll get to see if this baby is a boy or a girl. Everyone says your connection with the baby grows so much more after you know if it's a he or a she. We are looking forward to calling it by its name and praying for the little boy or girl that God has blessed us with to raise. 

As we ate dinner Monday night, I asked Blake what he thought his favorite part about being a parent would be. I already had an answer, and I had a hunch what his might be - which was, of course, how much he is looking forward to teaching our children things. About the world, about God, about music. My answer was similar - I am looking forward to watching our children experience life. Watching them smile out of pure joy, watching them (this is so sad!) experience heartbreak, watching them grow into people with dreams and hopes. But before I answered, I said, "Well, the obvious answer is watching our child accept salvation and learn to love and serve God."

In our household, I would hope that would go without saying. Obviously Blake and I are eager to teach our children about the Lord and we desperately want to see them come to salvation, be baptized, and live lives of service to Him.

And that process starts now. Through our prayers, through surrounding our baby with Scripture, through our own relationships with our Savior.

This means that I already have to let go of my child and relinquish him or her to our Father. I have to trust in His sovereign plans for Baby Ball. He has already created this child in His image and He has already laid forth the path our child will take. We just need to do our part in steering this baby towards God's calling.

And today, the reality of God's love hit me through a random quote from George McDonald (mentor to C.S. Lewis) I found on Pinterest (go figure!). Not just for our baby, but for me, for Blake, for you, for your family. That He thought of us, He formed us, He planned for us, and He gave us Life. Just to know that He thought of me reminds me of just how deeply He loves me. Just to know that He formed this baby reminds me of how much He loves our child - even more than we already could.

Whatever it is that God has created this little one to be, I pray that God will give us the wisdom as parents to guide him or her to that life He has ordained. It is the biggest challenge in life I can possibly imagine, but I know He will guide me all the way.

"I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God's thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking." - George MacDonald

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart..." - Jeremiah 1:5

Monday, August 6, 2012

Life in Heaven

"I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp." ~ Revelation 21:22-23

I like this little life I have here on earth, but imagining living an eternal life of worship and service in Heaven makes me very excited. Yesterday, Dr. McKee's sermon was on just that - life in Heaven. There are lots of different ideas about what Heaven will be like. The Bible tells us about its opulence and grandeur, and many people look forward to reveling in its beauty. The Bible tells us about the others who are there, and many anticipate reuniting with their loved ones. The Bible tells us about rewards and crowns, and many daydream about what jewels they will receive.

But when you read verses like Revelation 21:22-23, the reminder that God himself will be our treasure is hard to miss. He will be our reward, and we will live to worship and serve him forever. How amazing is that? Heaven will be majestic because of the glory of God, not because of its gates of pearl or streets of gold or the Saints or the Angels. It will be beautiful simply because God is there.

A little glimpse of Heaven is a great way to start the week! :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Baby Ball: 15 Weeks

Our appointment was just over an hour ago and I CAN NOT WAIT to post this update because I am just SO excited! It took the nurse less than a minute to find the heartbeat on the Doppler, and Baby Ball's heartbeat was going strong at 148 bpm and it was, as usual, the most beautiful sound I have ever heard!! And we get to go back in THREE SHORT WEEKS for the anatomy scan! I am excited to see Baby Ball's development and, of course, to (hopefully) find out if it's a he or a she!

It's been an interesting four weeks as I've transitioned from the first trimester to the second, and here are a few notable events during the past month (prepare yourself for an unprecedented amount of exclamation marks):

- Morning sickness has practically disappeared! I started feeling better around week 12, and have only had small, short bouts of nausea since. Some days I still need Zofran, but I just start out with taking a half tablet and it usually does the trick! I also have a lot more energy and have been MUCH more active than in weeks 7-12!

- The absence of morning sickness has meant that I've gained back 2 of the 7 pounds I lost! I can eat BEEF again! (Hallelujah, praise the Lord!) Other foods that have made a comeback: apples, bananas, yogurt, lettuce (hellllooooo, salad!), and COFFEE (1/2 caff). The one lingering aversion I have is pork chops! So strange.

- Some of the things I've been highly interested in eating lately: a bacon cheeseburger, apples and cheddar cheese wrapped in a tortilla, lots of yogurt and milk, spicy food, junk food (maybe for the calories??). 

- I'm still wearing my regular clothes, although sometimes I have to wear a Bella Band with my pants. A lot of my pants and skirts were actually loose, so now I am just growing into them! I think my stomach has grown about 3-4 inches, but I didn't measure it before pregnancy so I'm really not sure, but it's definitely rounded out much more than usual.

A little bump at 14 weeks. 

- We've decided on names and nursery themes for each gender. Most everyone still thinks it's a boy. I thought it was a girl for a while because I kept having dreams it was a girl, but now I'm not so sure!

- My back has been hurting a lot. I have scoliosis in two places and the addition of belly weight plus strange sleeping positions is putting pressure in all the wrong places!

- We got our first baby item! Blake's mom got us a Fisher Price baby swing from a friend who was getting rid of it - and she got it for quite a steal! Blake and I have already tested it and listened to all the little songs and watched it swing! Just six more months and there will be a tiny baby enjoying it!!

- This past Sunday I was writing in my journal during church and noticed that I dated the page "1-29-13" instead of "7-29-12". Haha! BB's due date is 1-27-13.  I looked back in my journal and realized I'd been doing it the past few days!! I guess I am excited about January!

That's about it for Week 15! We are just gliding along and trying to soak up every moment of pregnancy. Hopefully my next post will include the words "he" or "she" instead of "it" and a new ultrasound picture! Blake will also start his last semester of classes for his PhD program in just a few weeks. This is an exciting time because we know that the end is drawing near! Thanks for checking in on Baby Ball's development. We can't wait for the next appointment!