Monday, October 14, 2019

34 Weeks 🌈


Hey yooooooo!!! We are just 21 days out from meeting this little burrito and I cannot freaking wait.  I'm terrified, but I am also SO EXCITED.  This past week I started to actually get stuff together for this kiddo around the house and bought a few things we still needed (newborn diapers, boppy lounger, etc...), but I still need to wash all of the itty bitty clothes and cloth diapers and all of that too.  I figured I'll do that in the next couple of weeks so they'll be nice and clean for when we head to the hospital bright and early on the 4th.

I have been having 2x weekly NSTs and this kid really likes to snooze in the morning when I have them! HAHA!  So a few times the 20 minute test has actually taken like over an hour because someone had to wake up and get moving to get a good reading in before we disconnected me.  Knock-on-wood, everything continues to look okay and I'm hoping it stays that way!!!!  I have 6 of them left before baby day. EEKKKK!  And on Tuesday this week I have my final growth scan and appointment with my high risk doc I'm excited to see how big this bean is measuring.  Patrick was over 7lbs at 34 weeks, Rosie was a shade under 6lbs, no clue what Annie was but I think she was right around 6lbs too if I had to guess.  So we will see!! I'm estimating now a 7.5 - 8 pound kiddo.  We'll see if I'm right :)

We had family pictures this Saturday with the amazing Victoria from Fresh Pine Photography (she'll be doing this kiddo's birth pics too!) and we snuck in a few maternity pics too.  Since I'm almost certain this is our last kiddo, it was kinda bittersweet documenting the bump...because we only have 3 more weeks of bump snaps before this kid is evicted!!

I still cannot believe we are just 21 days out.  In less than a month they come to a close and then we’ll start counting up from there (funny how that happens, huh?! You count down then up!). I have snapped quite a few babies this year that came at 35, 36, and 37 weeks and the vast majority of them skipped any NICU time so I am hoping and praying this babe stays put for another 3 weeks and does the same.  I want nothing more than to snuggle this little bear in my arms so so so soon after he/she is born.  Not much else going on other than my anxiety being its usual ever-present self and the trials of Clark’s pregnancy from a year ago still very-very-very fresh in my mind…especially as we approach his birthday in a little over 2 weeks.  Keeping busy 📸 has helped SO MUCH and truly gives me such a great outlet to take my mind off of everything that it tends to gravitate towards and race about.  I seriously cannot believe we’re in the home stretch: 21 days! AHHHH!! Oh little bear, we cannot wait to meet you oh-so-soon!!

Current Gender Prediction?BOY
Baby is the size of...An Apple Pie
Cravings?Nothing really this week...
Overall mood?Excitedly Anxious. Terrified. Repeat.
Rings on or off?OFF. boo hiss. see you in November.
Movement?Oodles! And hiccups too!!
Linea Nigra?(still) supppppper faint bellow and above belly button

Friday, October 11, 2019


I posted this photo and text on social media this morning, and figured it deserved its own blog post as well.

October 11th, 2018: the day our world came crashing down. My 19 week ultrasound. Where we found out Clark was a boy but also that our sweet little guy wasn’t going to make it much longer. I cannot believe it’s been a year. An entire 365 days...8760 hours...525,600 minutes.

October is a tough month around here, and with it being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month makes it all the more so. In less than a month last year our plans changed from what going home outfit we’d bring him home in to what funeral home we should send him to. I think I’ve been avoiding writing a post about Clark — just trying to keep myself and everyone else around here crazily busy so I wouldn’t have to face it.  But this morning after after maybe 5 hours of restless sleep, I opened Timehop to mindlessly scroll through the October 11ths of years’ past, Clark’s ultrasound pic hit me like a ton of bricks.

Grief is funny: it comes and goes like a wave...sometimes a big massive huge gonna knock you off your boogey board wave, and sometimes it’s just a teeny tiny little ocean blip that barely splashes the shore. But it’s always there, and some days, much like today, it’s a storm surge sized wave that you haven’t seen in a long while.

We miss our Clark more than anything. What would he look like today? Would he have Patrick’s perfectly sculpted eyebrows? Rosie’s infectious giggle? Annie’s amazing side-eye?! We can only imagine.

We will celebrate Clark’s first birthday just 6 days before we meet his little brother or sister...our rainbow after the storm — never a replacement, never a do-over. A little one hand-picked from above to hold here and help us weather those waves whenever they come up. Because this sweet new babe will never ever replace our Clark, but we hope that he or she will bring us what we ached so much to have here with Clark, as he instead continues to watch over us from above 💙🌈

Monday, October 7, 2019

33 Weeks 🌈

FOUR WEEKS LEFT.  Less than a month.  Just 4 weekends left as a family of 5 (here with us) until we meet this new little babe! EEKKKKK!!! I seriously can.not.wait.

I had another NST last week (I've got one tomorrow, another Thursday, and repeat that for the next 4 weeks!) and this bean wanted to make things interesting!  I think he/she was in a deep sleep pattern because instead of the normal 20 minute test it was like an hour because it took some apple juice chuggin' for that little one to finally wake up!  Once he/she did, they passed with flying colors!  WOOT!  I didn't have another on Thursday since the office was closed (all of the OBs were gone for training) so I've got another one now tomorrow.  As 'stressful' as it was last week, once this kid was cooperative it did make me feel better.

But with that, my anxiety is still through the roof.  I'm back to not sleeping real well and waking up in the middle of the night completely panicked that I haven't felt him/her move and then I can't go back to sleep.  And then repeat that all day long -- if I don't feel movement my mind goes from everything is fine to OH MY GOD THIS BABY DIED.  This anxiety WILL BE WORTH IT -- I keep telling myself, but I also keep telling myself that this is IT.  I cannot CANNOT possibly do this again.  It's just too much -- the stress and panic and everything coupled with pregnancy after loss.  So I am pretty darn firm that this kiddo will be our last (plus 5 c-sections in 6.5 years is a SHIT TON.).  I just want this baby here in my arms and nothing more.  I pray everyday that his/her big brother is keeping a good watch over them from above so we can hopefully meet them happy and healthy in just 4 weeks.

Other than that anxiety and stress, not much else has been happening other than I've been extremely crazily busy with snapping!!!  Like more than I ever have been (which is great) but also HOLY BUSY...I mean, from Friday night until Sunday night I snapped 6 family sessions, 1 birth, and 1 Fresh 48. HOLY CATS!  I keep telling myself that if I push myself hard now it'll be worth it to have some down time when this kiddo comes.  I'm just praying for no rain (during my scheduled sessions!) and nice weather and happy families from here on outttttt!!

ALSO, this is a hilarious video of Annie kissing my belly, telling me it's a baby brother AND we should name him baby giraffe.  HAHA!!

Welp friends, that's about all I've got for this 33 week bumpdate...until week 34 (and just 4 more updates left until baby day! EEEKKK!), adios!

Current Gender Prediction?BOY
Baby is the size of...Cotton Candy
Cravings?Birthday cake Oreos with ice cold milk
Overall mood?Excitedly Anxious. Terrified. Repeat.
Rings on or off?Off :( See you in November rings!
Movement?Oodles! And hiccups too!!
Linea Nigra?(still) supppppper faint bellow and above belly button

Wednesday, October 2, 2019


It's so funny: so many friends have been excitedly posting all weekend leading up to October 1st -- the unofficial start to Halloween season and all things fall.  Now if the weather around STL would cooperate and boot this 90+ degree humidity we're having, it would absolutely line up with all of these cozy, fall, Halloween-y vibes that are brewing.  Heck, we spent the end of last week putting up our Halloween decorations (blow-ups, the kids' favorites) and buying pumpkins.  And you know what?  I've always loved Octobers -- the leaves changing and falling, signifying something new is coming, the cool, crisp air and getting to get out those warm, oversized sweatshirts and sweatpants to stay cozy in, no one giving you side eyes about ordering hot chocolate (as they do when you order it in July. haha), and my busiest season for my photography business -- but best season as I get to be entrusted to capture so many amazing families' memories during such a great time of the year.  A little climbing excitement before the hustle and bustle of the big holiday Thanksgiving and Christmas season officially start.

But you know what else October brings?  A month that will forever and ever be different for me, for our family.  It's a month that just last year in 2018 our world came crashing down.  Every morning just before getting up I pull up my Timehop app to check out what was going on on this day the past however many years I've been sharing things on social media.  And lately, the posts from just a year ago over and over again.  They show a very excited family, excited to welcome their #4 into their crazy chaotic life in early 2019...but they also show a side of pregnancy (who now, looking back is sooooo apparent. Hindsight is 20/20, isn't it?!) that I had never experienced before: one of worry and nervousness.  I was 18 weeks along with Clark this time last year and for a week or two things had been brewing that I just wasn't feeling right with this pregnancy.  I panicked and switched my anatomy scan from 21 weeks to 19 weeks just to get it in sooner.  I couldn't wait.  I wasn't feeling any movement but my belly sure was getting bigger and something was just off.  And now, looking back at all of my posts from a year ago, I think deep down I knew something was wrong.

And then, October 11th hit and our world seemingly came crumbling down.  We got the devastating news of Clark's prognosis and everything just became a blur.  A blur during this month which I have always loved, and now one that will forever be such a hard reminder of the October of 2018.  

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  I have had so many friends (and even close family members) share about this in years' past, as they are the 1 in 4.  I had always seen them share posts, change their profile picture on Facebook, share stories about their loss(es) that I truly had no idea about.  And while in the past I had never been in their shoes, I absolutely empathized with them: losing a baby must suck.  A lot.  But never ever in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be there with them...and then October 2018 hit.  And again, my world came crashing down.

Sometimes I cannot believe it's been almost a year since we lost Clark.  Because, as if October wasn't hard enough last year with finding out about his prognosis, on the third to last day of the month we had to say see you later to him.  A complete whirlwind of a month, one now that I'm hoping zips by instantly so we can bypass (for so many reasons, really), mostly so we can get to November -- a month last year that brought a lot of reflecting and a bit of healing -- because November this year is baby month.  And just 4 days into November we get to welcome a new little bean to complete our family.

But as much as I wish there was a fast-foward button on life, there isn't.  So October this year is one I've got to endure. And truth be told, I've been kind of avoiding it; kind of avoiding writing this post even.  I miss that little boy SO much it really makes me hurt.  And sometimes, missing him is just too much that I try and ignore it and think of anything else, because the pain is just too real.  My mind will wander and wonder what he would look like now...if he'd have Patrick's perfectly sculpted eyebrows, his dad's nose, his big sisters' fiestyness, his big brother's heart and compassion for others... and I just lose it.  We will never know, at least not in this lifetime.  And it really truly just fucking sucks.

I look at his birth pictures nearly everyday.  Those mean the world to us.  And help SO MUCH to have.  And using my camera to provide photos for families in similar circumstances, as we faced with Clark, has actually helped so much too.  

So what does October mean to me this year?  My goodness, I don't know if I can properly put it all into words.  A whirlwind of emotions we get deeper into the month and closer to meeting this new babe, but further away from holding our Clark in our arms for the last time.  I thought sitting down to write it all out would help but gah, I am really struggling to put my thoughts down today.  I don't hate October now -- I still love all of those fall and Halloweeny things -- but I feel like Octobers will never be the same again.  They will always come with a heavy reminder of our Clark, being as this is his birth month, but also the month where we honor all of those lost too soon to pregnancy and infant loss. 

But if Clark has taught me anything, it's to keep going -- keep moving forward.  Use your grief, your sadness and harness it into something good, as terribly hard as that may be.  A year ago I was so done with teaching, and as much as I hate how the end of my teaching career panned out, I am incredibly thankful for Clark's part in it -- the push I needed to stop teaching and do what my heart had been leading me to do the past few years: snap pictures.  I look at where I am today: literally turning away clients and referring them out to other photographers and couldn't be happier with my career choices.  And I have Clark to thank for that.  A positive for me out of a very not-so-positive situation. 

And as I keep going, I know he's always with us, leading us to what lies ahead in the future.  I know he's watching over his big brother and little sisters and this new bean in my belly and I know he will be watching over us until we are reunited with him one day.  I see little signs of him everywhere and I am so thankful I get to be his mama -- and that he keeps showing us he's here, even on the toughest of days.

So I'll keep sharing about him, telling his story, writing down my jumble of thoughts in this little corner of the Internet.  Whatever I can to keep him alive.

No matter how difficult this October -- and those to come -- is, we will go forward.  We will use our little Clark's memory to light the way of what's to come in the future. 

Keep shining bright up there Clark.  We miss you so so so much little man.  One day further away from holding you, but one day closer to meeting you again.

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