Friday, January 31, 2014

Baby #3 - 23 weeks

I have been horrible about blogging overall and even worse about blogging about baby #3….a.k.a Baby Rosey! 

To catch up, here are some pictures of the growing baby bump….

17 Weeks….date night in Bahrain (December 20)
20 weeks in Washington (January 9)
21.5 weeks cheering on the Seahawks (January 19)
23 weeks (January 29)…baby bump has grown a bunch in two weeks! Which would explain how hungry I have been for the past ten days and how now my appetite has gone back to normal.
Baby #3 is growing and doing great! This has been such an easy and wonderful pregnancy! I battled with some pretty bad exhaustion up to just into my second trimester and I am sure having two other kids to keep up with, take places and take care made it much worse but after we got through that I have been feeling great. Very little to almost no cramping which is a huge praise! I have noticed when my body is fatigued that I get it more but thankfully I have been getting sleep, and have been able to keep the cramping away.

Baby is SUPER ACTIVE! I love it! Both of the other kids were not active at all and this baby moves a bunch! I love feeling its kicks getting stronger and stronger and it is amazing! The kids have loved feeling it move and it was so special to be able to share that with John when I got home from Washington.

Flying back to Washington the end of December at 18 weeks pregnant was a whole new experience. I flew around 26 weeks with Peyton from Houston to Portland but this was a whole new ballgame. Not only was it a 16 hour flight, I had two kids to manage and I was alone. Thankfully the kids and I have a pretty good system done flying together and it went smoothly. I did make sure to wear compression maternity leggings to help with swelling and walk a bunch and drink tons of water (which helped with the walking as I was going to the bathroom all the time). Our flight to Washington is during our day time so it was easy to manage the walking and I didn't have too much swelling and was pretty comfortable throughout but on the way back….not only was I further along at 22 weeks….it was a nighttime flight so I was pretty bad about walking and got pretty swollen. When we landed in Dubai I tried to put my shoes on and they wouldn't fit. I was about to have to walk off the plane with no shoes. Thankfully I got them on and just walking during our layover to our next flight helped some with the swelling but it was still pretty bad. No more flying for this mommy especially that long of a flight!

When we got home to Saudi we had our 20 week anatomy scan….at 22.5 weeks….a result of the scheduling department refusing to do it early and me being gone. The ultrasound was an experience and highlighted quickly the differences of having a baby in the States versus the Middle East. For starters, when we got to the appointment, John had to wait in the men's waiting area and me in the female waiting area. I laughed and sent him a text……

Finally it was time to go back and the technician told me that she would do the scan and then come get John and the kids at the end to see the baby. So off we went….when I got to the room I laid down on the bed…no pillow, no asking if I was comfortable and she started. I couldn't really see the screen so I asked her to turn it slightly so I could see and I was told that I will be able to see the baby at the end. Hmmm… I strained and could see glimpses here and there. No explaining what she was looking at our how the baby was doing….pure silence. No letting me listen to the heart beat….nothing. A very different experience than our anatomy scans in the States :) The kids and John were able to come back at the end and I was so thankful for that. She showed them the baby and all its body parts and then turned the screen so I could finally see baby. She pointed out, "head, arms, hands, belly, legs, feet….baby fine." And that was it. I asked about some pictures and was told we have to go to the liaison office and request them and pay for them and then will get them in 3-5 business days. 

So we ordered them and picked them up the other day and looked at them at home. Graham loved pressing the keyboard to scroll through the images and see all the bits and pieces of baby. He is so in love and was so excited. He sat there for another 15 minutes after we were done scrolling and pointing and giggling. Baby is healthy and breached which confirms that my body just carries babies the same way…breeched. But baby is healthy, measuring big and is doing great!


Our next task was to schedule a hospital tour which was another interesting experience but it all worked out and we are going on February 11 to see the hospital and then I have an appointment with the high risk OBGYN starting on the 13th. I have asked to be seen at the main hospital/clinic starting near my third trimester because of the various things that I had to have monitored with the other two (blood pressure and fluid levels) and I wanted to be more comfortable with the doctors there who would actually be involved in my delivery. It means an hour drive (or bus ride) each way but it is worth it for quality care to monitor my health and the babies health.

So, overall we are doing well. We are working one the nursery that John painted while I was gone and putting away all the stuff I bought while home and getting the older kids settled in their new shared room. It hit me the other day that I am having a baby in Saudi and I am freaking out a little bit but I am meeting with a friend who had a c-section here at Aramco and talking with her about her experience and I am hoping between that, the tour and meeting the doctors that I will start to feel better about this decision. For the most part the things that worry me and I get emotional about is handling the cultural differences and learning to be a stronger voice and advocate for what I want. Being a passive, people pleasing person over here doesn't work and I need to stand up (loudly, forcefully and more than once) for what I want for me and my baby and that is a scary thing for me. And just other cultural issues surrounding visitation, room sharing and more….but right now I am hoping that having some information in the next few weeks, processing it, praying, reflecting on my expectations and managing them and meditating on a positive birth experience will result in a healthy baby and beautiful birth experience for us.

And I leave you with some sneak peaks of items I bought for the nursery…I am in love with it and it is my favorite one we have done…..

Friday, January 24, 2014

Back to Saudi We Go

Unfortunately it was time for us to head back to Saudi. It was my shortest time in Washington but we needed to get back. Peyton had already missed some school, baby #3 was growing and we needed to get back and get back into real life. 

It was such a wonderful time home and we were sad to leave but excited about all the things to come in Saudi with a big ultrasound for baby #3, Graham's 3rd birthday and welcoming baby in May! 

Saying Goodbye to G and Papa….and our car all loaded up!
Going home is always a little more logistically challenging. We came to Washington with two suitcases and left with ten pieces of luggage. Yes 10! We had a stroller (that I normally leave in Washington but wanted in Saudi for baby), an infant car seat, 2 boxes of gluten free goodies, 1 box of baby gear, 1 duffel bag of baby gear including a new pack n play and then 4 suitcases….plus three carry ons! Thankfully it all fit in our car and my dad was there to help at the airport. I was super proud of myself for one having it all packed ahead of time (I only had a couple bags the night before to pack) and they all weighed 49.7 or right around there! I was pretty accurate! 

After checking in, saying our goodbyes it was off to buy the kids some treats for the plane….
Peyton picked a stuffed animal thing….of course!
Graham picked a space shuttle

And then we were off….it was an easy flight again with them! It was harder on me because I didn't get up and walk as much or drink as much water with it being an overnight flight but we made it. Peyton managed to sleep close to 10 hours and Graham slept for about 3.5 hours, was up for a little bit and then back to sleep for another 3. They were excellent little travelers. We landed in Dubai and I became a little concerned when I couldn't get my shoes on due to the swelling and was worried I would be walking off the plane with no shoes. Thankfully I got them on and walking through the airport helped the swelling a little. We stopped for ice cream, made our next flight and was on our way to Saudi. The customs/passport line was a breeze since I was a solo woman with kids and was allowed to go in front of everyone :) and then we got some help with our ten bags….all of which made it and then we were off to see daddy (and a friend who came to help drive our stuff home). 

The kids were overjoyed to see John. This trip was really hard on them being away from their daddy. They cried for the first time when we left him and had more moments than normal asking why daddy wasn't there or wishing he could do things with us so it was a sweet moment to see them reunite. 

We made it home and unloaded bags and stayed up until 3:00 AM and then crashed. Unfortunately I was up at 8:00 AM due to being hungry but the kids slept until 3:00 PM which was great but jet lag hasn't been that easy and it was a full week until they got somewhat turned around and not up at 2:00 AM but even now they are still a little out of sorts and sleepy earlier in the day. But we are happy to be home!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Peyton's Ski Day at Mt Baker

My dad wanted to take Peyton skiing this time we were home but only had one day that worked with his travel schedule and before we left. He told me what gear to go and get for her and they headed out to Mt Baker the morning before we left. She was adorable all suited up in her new pants, gloves, helmet and everything! She was really excited but also nervous about being able to do it and I was scared she would get fed up or frustrated and not try.

They got to the mountain and got her boots and skis and then went to a lesson. She was the only one in her lesson and my dad left her to do her class. It was probably for the best that one my dad took her for the first time and that he left her alone to do her class. I knew she wouldn't whine or not try in her class and sure enough she did great!

After her class they had some hot chocolate and then went out to the bunny hills where she apparently did really well and was awesome about getting back up and had a blast. The skied for about 2-3 hours before having a break and having lunch. 

She was so hungry that she even ate the peanut butter sandwich that I packed for her. It is hard to make cold gluten free meals that she will eat so I had tons of other items in her bag in case and then threw in a sandwich figuring if she was hungry enough she would eat it. She did! And then they headed back out again!

We were wondering at home where they were thinking it would be a quick trip but she stayed out for several more hours and begged not to leave and to come back the next day. She loved it! She came home so excited and full of stories and excited about Graham going next year.

I am so incredibly proud of her attitude and willingness and her skills……John and I need to get out on the mountain and practice to keep up with our kids! We will for sure be taking her next Christmas and Graham will be old enough as well to start. I am excited to be so close to skiing and look forward to a new family activity!

On a side note….I was telling my mom how grateful I am for Peyton's health. A year ago she wouldn't have been able to ski for a whole day, have the energy or attitude to do it. As hard as it was to watch her get sick and go through everything this summer with Celiacs, the result is a completely different kid who is healthy, strong, energetic and has a completely different attitude. I am so thankful that we found everything out as soon as we did and for a healthy girl!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Washington Trip

On the 26th we headed back to Washington to spend time with my family. Normally I would have no concerns at all about doing that flight solo but with being pregnant I was a little more nervous. Thankfully we planned it so I would have a super long overnight layover in Dubai which allowed me to fly from Saudi to Dubai early evening, go to a hotel, eat, sleep and then get up rested the next day for our flight to Seattle. The whole goal of the trip was to limit me having to carry kids. I bought some compression leggings for maternity/flying and between those, walking a bunch and drinking a bunch I managed to not get too swollen and have a pretty enjoyable flight. The kids were awesome and so excited to see family and have a second Christmas with my parents and sisters!

We did have the inevitable jet lag which was rough being pregnant and tired and having these two all turned around. I think it was even harder this time because it was so dark so early, I had no energy to get outside and play during the day and so it took longer but finally it passed!

Falling asleep grocery shopping at 5:00 PM….
My sister had bought gingerbread house kits so each kid was able to make their own. They loved decorating, eating icing and putting them together. Grahams is on the left and Peyton's is the one on the right.

My family waited until we got there to do a family picture in Christmas PJs. Graham was still super tired from jet lag and not into doing it.

My mom also arranged a spa day for us girls which was such a wonderful and unexpected surprise. We had a nice lunch by the water, a massage and facial and a nice afternoon spending time with my sisters and mom. 

Since I was pregnant and not able to work on our house at all, I took the time to do more fun things with the kids. We went to the Seattle Aquarium one day after dropping off my sister at the airport. The kids loved it!

We enjoyed beautiful weather, scenery and also days of rain and cold!

I did work on picking exterior paint colors for our house. We are having siding repaired, new gutters and then the house painted this summer and needed to pick out colors in case they got to the painting stage before we got back this summer. 

We settled on a color called Lemongrass by Shermin Williams with a cream color for the trim and then black for our front door and garage door. It has more green in it than you can see from the picture. I actually found a house I loved in Bellingham and then put the color swatch up to their house and matched it. Not sure if it is the exact color but pretty close and I am excited about how it will look in the end! It will be a big transformation from bland white with peeling paint :)

My other sister left before us and so after driving her to the airport the kids and I ventured to the Space Needle area and the Children's Museum. It was this day that it hit me how John and I were in Seattle nearly six years ago after my good friends wedding for a short baby moon while I was pregnant with Peyton. We enjoyed Pike Place Market, the Aquarium, dinner at the Space Needle and I fell in love with Seattle. It was our first time there but I felt a connection and we talked about how it would be nice to move their someday. We thought retirement, we never imagined that we would move to Saudi Arabia and that our journey there would bring us to the Pacific Northwest. I was so overcome with thankfulness and humility at how awesome and unknown to us God's plan is. I truly hope we will move there when we are done in Saudi but if not, I am so thankful for the time that we have now to call it our home and how richly it has already blessed our family!

We ended up having to buy a new fridge for our house. Since I couldn't work on the house much and the main point of the trip was family time, we stayed at my mom's the whole time but I had planned a fun sleepover night at our house, went to the store and bought groceries, snacks, a DVD player so we could have movie night…I carried all our bags into the house and the groceries and went into the kitchen to find that it stunk and our fridge was dead. So, I had to clean it all out and then realized we had nowhere to store groceries. I figured we could just eat dinner there and toss what I bought and then go out for breakfast and although it wasn't ideal I was bound to make it work…well, then the oven/stove wouldn't work :( So,  although I wanted to take sledgehammer and demo something in the house….instead we packed it all up and had movie night at G's house and it all worked out but we had to start looking for a new fridge. The process to find a fridge that would fit the small space we have in our kitchen was kind of amusing and left me with really only two options which was nice and frustrating. Thankfully we found something and it fit perfectly. Didn't bother with replacing the stove so that will probably be something this summer.

Our trip was such a nice time of relaxing, hanging with family and enjoying yummy gluten free food in restaurants and stores! We enjoyed all of the Seahawk support and game watching and cheering them on to the Superbowl. We had wonderful Sundays worshipping at our church home there. It was a nice time home and we left feeling rested, rejuvenated and so thankful to have Bellingham as our second home! Next time we will be back will be after Baby #3 arrives and we will be staying in our house 100% and hosting our first visitor (Grandma Martha) to Washington! Exciting things to come and again so blessed to be able to call this home!