Faith in Flutters: 19 Weeks

19 weeks. 

Picture pending...

We have reached the exciting and nerve-wracking stage of pregnancy where I get to feel tiny baby flutters. Neither of my girls were big in-utero movers. Papillon had an "anterior placenta" which makes movement hard to feel. I'd have to check, but I think it was really 22-24 weeks when I finally felt her move, and I could never do a "kick count" for her. And Hibou was just pretty chill I suppose.    

So really I shouldn't expect to feel much movement this early. But for a number of reasons, my expectations of movement from this child are way up.  

 First, this is my 3rd time around, I know what it feels like. All the websites (and the doctors) say to expect first movements between 18 and 22 weeks, but definitely earlier if you are an "experienced mom". 

Second, the Baby never stops moving, or at least that's what the ultrasounds indicate. Granted, we've had 4 ultrasounds with this one already, and had just 1 at this point with the others. But I never knew a kid so tiny could move so much. Arms, legs, total tumbles. How can I not feel that?

Third, I am desperate for movements. Like hugely desperate. I keep telling myself "after my next appointment, I won't be as anxious".  My doctors keep throwing statistics at me. "Risk of miscarriage at Xweek is less than Xpercent". No amount of reassuring seems to help with the anxiety.

Movements have started (first convincing batch of flutters came Feb 9th, at exactly 17 weeks). But they've also stopped. And started. And stopped.  And I don't mean every couple hours. I mean one day I feel Baby all the day long; every time I sit down. Then I feel NOTHING for 3+ days. No matter how much juice I drink, or how long I lay on my left side. Nothing. 

And this is what that means for me for these past couple weeks:

When Baby is moving, I feel beautiful, pregnant, full of life, ready to tackle anything, excited to plan, to nest, to name this kid! 

When Baby is not moving, I feel fat, lethargic, unmotivated, distracted, unwilling to think past today, and I definitely don't want to talk about Baby Froggy for fear of becoming "too attached". 

In summary, I've been a hot mess the past couple weeks.

I've prayed for movement. I'll be really honest. I've begged God for movement. Just one convincing movement before bed so I can sleep.  One flutter so I can focus on making dinner. Movement of any kind so that I can breathe while my husband travels 14 time zones away for two weeks. 
And this is what God has sent me (literally, via a really sporadic email devotional):

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.  Isaiah 26:3-4

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.  Psalm 4:8

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thess 3:16

Instead of sending me Flutters, He sent me Truth
Flutters help alleviate anxiety, for sure; but I can't put my trust in them. 
They are fleeting, as is my faith in them.
 God is eternal and unchangeable.
He sustains all life
He is Lord over death
He delights to bless those he loves
That's what God's been showing me time and time again (again literally, He sent me the same email devotional twice in one week...weird). True peace is found in Him, not in Baby Flutters. 
And yet, I still find it much easier to have faith in flutters.  I keep telling myself it will be better when I can feel Baby more consistently.  I know it won't.

I can't beat this anxiety until I put it in something worthy of my trust.  I know this. But it's still hard. Why? I'll be honest again. It's because peace in God doesn't necessarily result in a healthy baby.  God has given me much peace about the Babies we lost. And His promise is that He'll be with me, even in the valley of death.  I've thought that a 3rd miscarriage would be the end of me; that I wouldn't survive it. It feels that way, though I know it's not true. Should that be God's will, I know He would give me peace, help me find joy, possibly even give me the courage to try again.  

 But, truth be told, I don't want that kind of peace this time. I just want a healthy baby that I can hold! 

I am working on putting my faith in the God of eucatastrophes.
Ultimately, there will be a great eucatastrophe and I'll get to meet even my unborn Babies. 
For now, God's promise is to never leave me alone and that is sufficient, or at least I am working on letting it be (while I continue to pray for a ridiculous amount of Baby movement). 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Partners in Crime

Being sisters is so much fun. These girls are totally best buds.  And they've begun to be partners in crime. 

On this particular occasion, they snuck into the bathroom, used the stool to climb up to the right shelf in the closet and get bandaids for their pretend booboos. We have a fairly strict bandaids-are-not-toys policy around here, but it was hard not too smile when they came out to tell me how they were taking care of one another.

Funny thing was, they put the bandaid on Ingrid right pointer finger which was fine, but she actually had a pretty significant cut on her left pointer finger.  Time for more bandaids....

Side note: Ingrid's face may look like it has some "booboos" on it - but that's just from lunch. Nutella or berry juice or something.

Best Friends

Just some cuteness to prove I haven't already forgotten about blogging again.

These girls are pretty much best buds.

(and I don't know why this first one is sideways)

January Highlights

January was a fun an exciting month, here are just a few highlights.

Matching hair "bobbles".

Hibou moved to a Big Girl bed (which, so far has not been a huge success, but then again, it's not any worse than when she was in her crib, so whatever).  Here she is practicing sleeping.

It's been cold. So we have been desperate for outside time. I think we managed 20 minutes on this day.

It's even cold in the car!

I love how kiddos love playing with babies.  I also love having a house full of Little Ones!

We spent some time with an artsy friend, who helped the girls make these adorable hair clips.

Papillon loves babies. This baby (Baby D) is a particular favorite.

Hanging out with our Artsy Friend, and also our favorite little Baby.

Doing some baking with friends.

More friends. Everyone we interact with gets roped into reading books.

Visiting friends and matching hair-dos.

All these adventures are exhausting.

We discovered that our car can, in fact fit 4 carseats. Yay for adventures with friends!

Yes, this really is how she sleeps.

Her head was cold.

Papillon drew her first "people". This pretty much made my month.

Baby Froggy: 14 weeks

I guess it's safe to say that the blog has died. 3 months of no posts is pretty bad.  5 years of consistent blogging is really not too shabby. Especially for someone whose never kept up any hobby or journal for more than a couple weeks.  Success! 

I don't know how or where I am going to find the time to revive the blog, but I am determined to do it. Too many sweet memories documented here to completely abandon it.  Fingers crossed that I can bring it back to life! 

I partially blame the death of the blog on instagram...I am addicted now and it seems to satisfy my need to document random memories.

I also partially blame an exciting new development, who we affectionately refer to as Baby Froggy. 
Baby Froggy is 14 weeks along at this point; due July 20th.

It seems that it is true what they say about subsequent babies showing earlier. Yikes. Combine that with some holiday eating (yay for first trimester hunger coinciding with Thanksgiving and Christmas) and a little stress eating (post-miscarriage pregnancies are very stressful).  

I haven't weighed myself recently, but its safe to say that I am currently significantly ahead of my historical average of a pound a week from week 1.

I also think that this baby bump is much higher than my previous bumps. Even though the baby is still way tiny and obviously way down low, my Baby Bump starts way up at my ribcage.

Also new this pregnancy is the exhaustion. I remember being kind of tired with previous pregnancies, but this is a totally different beast. I have napped every day since about week 5, almost without exception. If I try not to skip a nap I simply fall asleep the midst of typing an email, or even at the library in the midst of reading a picture book to the girls. 

Perhaps the reason for the exhaustion is that it seems this baby is a mover. We've had a fair number of ultrasounds and in every one Baby Froggy is nonstop moving....kicking, sucking his/her thumb, rolling over, holding his/her feet, looking around.  He/she has a tendency to disappear off the ultrasound screen altogether.  Neither Papillon nor Hibou moved much at all inside me. A sign of things to come??

Hibou officially gave Baby Froggy gave his/her nick name. We showed the girls one of the early ultrasounds. Papillon declared that it didn't look like a baby, and Hibou promptly declared it a "Froggy!".  It's a good nickname, and it's stuck. 

On a bit of a sidenote: I am very glad this Baby has a good nickname cause I find I don't like to think about or refer to this Baby as Baby R. #3. Cause he/she is really Baby R. #5. Which is something I can't/won't ever forget, but at the same time it feels weird and confusing to refer to him/her as Baby Risner #5.  So, Baby Froggy it is.  Our 5th tiny little blessing.

Both Big Sisters are very excited for Baby Froggy. Conveniently, we should find out Baby Froggy's gender right around Hibou's birthday. And Baby Froggy should make his/her appearance right around Papillon's birthday.  This makes it a little easier for the girls to put some kind of timeline on Baby's growth. 

God has been very good to us throughout this pregnancy.  He's given us so many little reassurances along the way - from the undeniable exhaustion, to the timing of ultrasounds (one of the early ultrasounds measured exactly 1 day past the official age of one of our miscarriages...oddly comforting!) 
I am relieved to be past the first trimester. Though I must confess, I still find myself quite anxious. I've had an appointment every 2 weeks since the beginning, but this time I have to wait the normal, 4 weeks. Which seems like forever and a day. How did I ever go 4 weeks between appointments??  But I am trying to remember that this Baby is in God's hands no matter what; and in general I feel very confident that God wants us to meet this Baby come July.

Children's Museum Adventures

At long last, we found time to visit the legit Children's Museum in our city.  It was a lovely time!  Overall, I would say it's a really cool place, though, for various reasons, I don't think it's a place we need a membership to. A once a year kind of visit is probably sufficient. 

That said, we did have a lovely time. 

There was an art room.

A pretend store (sponsored by Royal Farms...with a marked lack of "real food"...and an over abundance of processed foods. Weird)

There was a cool water room that smelled way too strongly of bleach to be any fun. There was a cool diner that was probably the coolest room. There were also some seasonal displays and a few things that were a little to "old" for my girls.  Perhaps next time...

Train to Grandad and Grandma's

For many years now, we've talked about how fun it would be take the train from our house to Mon Amour's parent's house.  They literally live a block from the train station in their town.  Practicality has always won out and we have just driven; it takes about the same amount of time to drive as it does to take the train.

But earlier this month, thanks to a gift from my parents, we had the chance to take the train!

Here we are waiting for our departing train.

No true Amtrak experience would be complete without a multi-hour delay, so we shouldn't have been surprised when our departing train was 2.5 hour late.  Thank heavens for "Trunki" the suitcase with wheels; it makes a nice make-shift "pet" to play with to pass the time.

It wasn't supposed to be dark on the way down. But thanks to the delay, we got to see some fun Christmas lights on our way south.

The weather was lovely at Grandma and Grandad's house.

Mon Amour escaped a couple times in our short visit to have some kid-free time.  This hot-chocolate is pretty tasty!

The girls enjoyed having breakfast with Grandma and Grandad.

Group shot!

All too soon it was time to take the train home. Trains can be loud...

Weekend adventures are exhausting.

Enjoying the train ride home!

Tired of the pictures.

Though definitely not the most efficient way to get from here to there, it was truly a fun experience and one the girls will be talking about for some time!