Thank you for visiting my blog! If you are visiting because you have experienced a pregnancy or infant loss, let me say that I am so very sorry. I started this blog shortly after our Baby Grady was stillborn on November 12, 2008. Please visit the sidebar below called "Labels" to find the topic in which you are interested, or just read as your heart desires.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why I Waited & A Belly Shot

I never thought I would wait so long on my blog to announce my pregnancy with Dumplin'. I was going to share the news after my first trimester. However, I found myself in no hurry to tell anyone we were expecting. And if I'm completely honest, I would love to not tell anyone...hide away in my house...have my c-section on August 4th...and then tell everyone about the baby. Weird maybe, but true. However, I do covet your prayers!

We told the girls when I was 7 weeks because I was feeling SO bad. I was grumpy, couldn't make dinner and was spending lots of time on the sofa. I didn't want them to think I was just lazy. I'm surprised Jessica didn't catch on earlier since she's older, but she didn't. They were super excited when we told them and they both promised not to tell anyone. They did a SUPER job keeping our family secret. I was very impressed with Emma Grace because she's younger than Jessica. However, Jessica couldn't wait to tell everyone. I gave her the go-ahead after my first high-risk appointment on February 22nd for the first part of my sequential screen (nuchal fold test). She literally got off the bus that day and asked me how my appointment went and if she could start telling people. The very next day I got a call from a friend of mine who also teaches at her school...she wasted no time.

The news started trickling out in real life. But telling our families was a bit harder. We weren't sure if they would be happy or not. My brother was the first to know and he didn't find out until I was between 14-15 weeks. He and my sister-in-law were both happy which thrilled me. My stepfather was the next to know. His reaction wasn't so positive. It hurt my feelings, but he has since apologized. Gib's brother in Colorado was next, and his parents just found out about two weeks ago, not long after we found out Dumplin' was a boy.

It was hard to tell our family because of the love and level of concern they have for us. I expected negative reactions. Fortunately, there weren't as many as I thought. At least not yet. But, I know they are worried and probably think we're crazy for putting ourselves in this position again. Not only because of Grady's stillbirth but also because of Emma Grace's prematurity. Once we made it past prematurity with Grady, we thought we were golden. We rested somewhat easy, although I still had a nagging feeling of uneasiness (premonition or paranoia?).

There were people in my real life that I wanted to tell first before I announced it on my blog. And, much to my dismay, I actually missed a few people. I'm so sorry if you were one of them! Please know that it wasn't intentional, and I love you!

The newsletter from my support group that I attend was another reason for the delay in my announcement. It is called "Caring and Coping" and is published quarterly. The leader of my support group took some excerpts from my blog and included them in the most recent edition of the newsletter. I tried to be sensitive to those who might be visiting my blog from that resource. I didn't want someone fresh in the throes of grief to come here looking for comfort, only to find someone pregnant again. I am still contemplating putting some sort of disclaimer at the top of my blog addressing that very fact. This blog was started to help me through my journey of grief and it has served that purpose well. But my intent all along was also for this to be a way to document our lives as a family. It has basically turned into a hodge-podge of "Tonya Talk" which is okay with me!

Soooo, that's why I waited to share the news with all of you. And then when I started thinking about it, I realized that I never even told you, until this post, that we had decided to try again. I tried to ease you into it, but some of you had already figured it out! You stinkers! :)


I'm not big on having my picture taken during pregnancy. I am not a cute, petite pregnant woman with just a round belly. I'm a big one! I only have pictures from showers of when I was pregnant with Jessica and none of my pregnancy with Emma Grace. (But that one did end at 25 weeks!) I had professional pictures taken when I was pregnant with Grady by my wonderful high school friend April. But I've already had Gib take some of me this time, and I've attempted a couple myself. I have learned through losing Grady to treasure this time with Dumplin', and I want this pregnancy documented in pictures from this point forward.So here's the first of (hopefully) many belly shots to come. I was 20 weeks, 3 days in this picture. (And don't forget that I measured 28 weeks the day before. Oh, and Dr. Joe's exact words to me were, "You're measuring like you have twins with one baby." TH, I thought of you!)

And this last one...picture it horizontal as that's how it was taken. (it flipped this way when it loaded on Blogger). I was showing that I already can't see my toes...

Off to get dressed and have lunch with my wonderful friend, April, that I mentioned above. It has been WAY too long since we've seen each other. I'm so excited to spend some time with her today! Have a great one!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Easter 2010

Playing a bit of catch-up on my blog! This year we spent Easter with just our family of four. It was rather nice to be on our own time schedule and do whatever we wanted.

We started the day by finding out what was in the girls' Easter baskets.

Then headed to church.

My girls, especially Jessica, no longer like to dress up much. I don't fight the battle anymore. I choose outfits that look cute and that they can wear again. We go to a very casual church where you come as you are. It's not about the clothes you's about your heart. People do get all decked out on Easter. Maybe I have the wrong attitude, but we go to church on a regular basis. Easter is a very special celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, it's not an occasion that I will spend tons of money on to make an impression on others. I really don't believe God cares what you wear. Within reason that is...

Once home we boiled eggs and the girls had a blast dying them. This year I got them 18 eggs each. Emma Grace was a bit less patient in letting the colors soak in, but they all turned out beautifully.

I forgot to take pictures with their eggs earlier in the day, so these were taken at bedtime after showers. Poor Jess had poison ivy all over her face. :(

Gib headed out to hide the plastic eggs that we've collected over the years. I'll have to blog some day about how he threw them out once, and I made him dig through the trash to get them. (Sorry Gib, I'll never let you live that one down!) The girls had a great time hunting them but the day warmed up much more than I expected. It was rather warm out.

While they finished dying their eggs, I baked a strawberry cake. We made our first bunny cake. The recipe called for just a plain white cake, but I thought strawberry would be more exciting and yummy. I would love to make a resurrection cake one year, but the pictures I saw looked like more than I wanted to take on this year.

Start with two round cakes. Using a rounded edge, cut off the two sides of one to make the ears. What is left is the bow-tie for the bunny. Using the whole round cake as the bunny's head, assemble bunny with cut cake parts.

I did not make my own butter cream frosting like I did with Grady's first birthday rainbow cake. Instead I took the easy way out and bought two containers of Betty Crocker butter cream frosting and let the girls have at it. They pretty much frosted this cake all by themselves.

We used spice drop candies for the eyes and nose, red licorice for the mouth and Starburst jelly beans for the bow-tie. Gib had to help me with the mouth because I was getting extremely frustrated. At times he has the patience of Job. I'm so thankful for that in him!

Here's our finished product.

(Note the left side of the bunny's bow-tie...Emma Grace decided to do a pattern of red and purple jelly beans)

For Easter dinner, I was going to attempt leg of lamb. However, someone told me as I was on the way to the store that it has a "gamey" flavor to it. I re-evaluated my dinner selection and settled on a ham. Safe bet in my house. So for dinner we had ham, green beans, lima beans, corn and rolls. I completely forgot to cook the carrots. Oh well. There was plenty without them. And our bunny cake was delicious for dessert!

After dinner, it was my turn to hide the eggs again for the girls. It was much nicer to be outside because the weather had cooled off considerably. Again, they had a blast.

However, the most fun part of their day, reported by both of them at bedtime, was hiding the eggs for me and Daddy to find. I told Gib he couldn't run around to get his because I couldn't keep up with him being pregnant. He was a good sport, but I had two little helpers named Jessica and Emma Grace who kept telling me where to look. Emma Grace even went as far as to pick some of them up and bring them to my basket. I ended up with more eggs than Gib, but it wasn't a fair-and-square distribution. It was 3-1 egg hunting. It was tons of fun watching their faces light up and hearing their squeals as they cheered us on.

I have to say that the day was absolutely wonderful, and I spent it with my three most favorite people in the world. However, I can't end this post without telling you how very much I missed Grady on Easter this year. I always thought the "first" of everything was the hardest. But I can honestly say that wasn't the case with Easter. This year was harder than last. This year he would have been walking. I couldn't help but picture him with a basket, probably bigger than his head, toddling and trying to run to find eggs. Trying his best to keep up with his big sisters. Or maybe he would have gotten one and just sat down to inspect and explore it, not caring how many more there were to be found.

I remember the chaplain from the hospital telling me that moments you aren't prepared for can often hit you the hardest. (This was after I broke down into sobs at midnight on New Year's Eve the year Grady died) I was definitely caught off guard by the depth of my sadness over Grady this year at Easter. I still enjoyed a beautiful day with my girls and hubby. I cherish the time we spent together as a family. But I missed my baby boy more and felt more sadness over him not being here than I have in a while. I miss him every day...but you know what I mean...

And as I was loading pictures, I forgot a major jam session during the day consisting of some very loud music, dancing and pretend guitar playing. Jessica seriously cracks me up!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures. They tell the story of a great, fun day of making memories together! That's what it's all about to us.


Saturday, April 17, 2010


Finally, some long-awaited details on Dumplin'! Along with a picture and why I didn't announce our news sooner...

Once we made the decision to try again on September 13, 2009, I had to have some blood work done. I drug my feet because I knew we shouldn't try until November. Dr. Joe had told us to wait a year from my c-section. I got the blood work done in early October during my girls' Fall Break. Dr. Joe tested me for all sorts of things, including clotting disorders. All of my labs were normal so we got the green light to start trying.

I prayed that I would get pregnant quickly. I know myself very well, and if it had taken me a long time to conceive, I would have constantly second-guessed our decision...even though I felt that it came straight from the Lord. On the second month of trying, I had a positive pregnancy test.

I was honestly shocked.

I found out I was pregnant with Dumplin' on Sunday, December 20th. This was just two days before I came down with the monster H1N1 flu that knocked me off my feet right through Christmas. I didn't go to the doctor because I couldn't take Tamiflu. I took the bare minimum OTC meds (approved by my doc) just to help me feel like I might live. My fever was high, and I was scared silly that this baby wouldn't make it through such fever and sickness. Gib was worried, too. There was lots of prayin' going on while I was on that sick bed!

I had my first ultrasound at 6 weeks on January 6th and was completely overwhelmed emotionally. I was going to have my HCG levels checked, and they told me that if they weren't busy they would sneak a peek at the baby. However, when I walked into the office, they were so busy that I sat on the floor because there were no seats. I resided myself to the fact there would be no ultrasound that day. Fun thing was that I saw a blogger that I met at the Atlanta MckMama gathering, so we had a little time to know who you are! :)

After Nanci (Dr. Joe's nurse) drew my blood, I was walking out the door and she went the opposite direction toward the ultrasound room. UH-OH. I wasn't prepared to go in there again. It was the same room where I learned Grady no longer had a heartbeat. I hadn't been back in that room since that horrible, life-changing day. Nanci hugged me and talked me through my anxiety...

As I sat and waited, I cried. And cried. And cried. And I so badly wished I wasn't there alone. I relived every moment of that November 12th morning. I was so scared I would get more bad news that there was no heartbeat with this one, too.

When Dr. Joe did the ultrasound, it was VERY hard for me to see a heartbeat. With Grady, I saw a tiny circle with a heartbeat. This one literally looked like a line or pole. I strained hard to see the heartbeat. Dr. Joe insisted things looked good and I trusted him. After all, this is his area of expertise. But I wasn't 100% sure.

I have had an ultrasound every two weeks since. Dr. Joe always checks my cervix with vaginal ultrasound because of my history of prematurity, and yesterday was the first time he didn't peek at the baby. I was fine with that because he didn't look at Grady every time either. I'm feeling much more consistent movement which is unbelievably reassuring. I was actually convinced for a few days that this baby had died...

I felt Dumplin' move for the first time on Monday, March 15th. This is super early to feel movement as I was only 15 weeks and 5 days. It was BIG movement, too. I was lying in bed that morning and felt the baby on the outside of my abdomen. It was such a bittersweet moment. I was overjoyed to actually feel this new life inside of me. But the last time I felt movement was with Grady...

I was very teary when I went to wake the girls for school. Jessica was still asleep when I told her I felt Dumplin' move for the first time, so she didn't say anything. But little Emma Grace, in her sleepy slumber, said "Mommy, that means he's not dead".

More tears..."Yes, baby, you're right".

I felt tiny flutters when I was still and had an appointment two days later. Everything was fine. However, after my appointment and for the next 3-4 days, I felt absolutely NOTHING. I tried to trust and not be scared. But I was. I didn't call Dr. Joe. I waited it out. I was convinced this baby had died too. I think it was on the following Saturday that I felt another tiny flutter. This put my mind a bit more at ease but not completely.

Things are going well. I'm just HUGE! I am a little over 20 weeks along and yesterday I measured 28cm! For those of you who might not know, you should measure the same number of cm as you are weeks (20weeks=20cm). A little variation is normal, but 8 weeks is a lot to be off. This same thing happened with Grady, although with him I measured 26cm at 20 weeks. I'm a bit bigger this time. I didn't measure this way with the girls, so I'm a bit puzzled as to why I'm this way with my boys. Dr. Joe will watch me closely. With Grady my fluid levels were always normal and his growth was on track. He was a little bigger than average but not too terribly much. I expect the same for this one, too.

Finally, here's a picture of our little Dumplin'. He's waving to all of you!

This was actually taken at 12 weeks and 5 days at my first high-risk appointment. I have some recent pics but they aren't nearly as good or clear as this one.

This post is already much longer than I intended. I'll post about why I waited to share another time.

Thanks for your kind words, cards, phone calls, emails, and most of all your prayers. This is an exciting time, but not an easy time. And it's not blissful excitement. It's guarded excitement. This is not a replacement baby for our Grady. He will always be our third child. And while we are able to find joy in our lives, the love we have for him and the hole he has left in our hearts will forever be with us all.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

*MORE* Fun Pictures!

So, I challenged myself to add more pictures. And when I did, I forgot that Emma Grace had her seven year old check-up this afternoon. But I have a little time while dinner is are a few more pictures for your (and our) viewing pleasure.

Jessica, my tall softball player who is catching and enjoying it.

Emma Grace, who for some reason likes to get in Buddy's crate with him.

And taken just a little bit ago, Emma Grace, "cool rider", with a huge Blow Pop in her mouth.


I have to work, so I don't have time for a real post this morning. Here is a hodge-podge of some pictures taken recently in no particular order. Hope you enjoy!

These girls are so creative with their imaginations. They made this "mailbox" yesterday from a log (which Jessica carried from the back to the front - we're not sure why she didn't just roll it!), tape and flowers. They will write letters to each other and put them here. Yes, the sun was very much in their eyes! Too fun!

A girl and her dog.

Spring break fun with Daddy home, jammin' to some Band Hero.

Buddy and a few of his "treasures".

Sidewalk chalk drawings of our family. I took pictures of each member, but they didn't all turn the right way when I loaded them, and I don't have time to mess wtih it right now. However, the girls with the Baby Grady angel turned out good.

That's all I have time for this morning. Maybe more later?! The challenge is on...

Have a great day!