Well, I made it through my maternity leave. Unlike with Piper, I had both a driver’s license and a car this time, so I was able to really take advantage of the world around us. From 3 weeks on (when both Paul and Piper went back to school after the holiday break), after every drop off at school, I would take a few hours and run errands. Piper only goes to school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, so I had to make sure to get all the shopping done when she was gone because I was terrified of taking two kids out alone.

I would go and get coffee from the Coffee Bean drive thru, I’d go to Whole Foods and hit up their hot breakfast bar (Creme brulee french toast casserole FTW!), and basically just be able to enjoy being a stay at home mom. I got so much done in those three hours (Ellie would be sleeping from drop off at 8 to about 11/12). We had a nice little routine- the store for shopping and breakfast, come home and eat breakfast, watch Paternity Court at 11 (I know, I’m an animal), 8 Simple Rules at 12, People’s Court at 1, nap until 3 (me, she’d be sleeping the whole time just to wake and eat) then I Love Lucy from 3 to 4, when we’d leave to get Piper. It was a good life.

Right now Ellie is home with my mom, and I am pumping during the day to keep her milk intake going. It’s not too bad, but I have to say pumping kind of sucks donkeys. Not because it hurts or is time intensive (Since I hand pump at my desk), but just because it’s like, annoying that I could be doing something else. I am just thankful that I can pump enough to feed her what she takes (so far).

Piper and Ellie are besties. Ellie is such a good, good baby, and Piper is the best big sister ever. We had a bit of a trying week last week because Piper got the full on flu (SUUUUCKED) and we had to keep Ellie quarantined in the bedroom- of course, the first week back at work so I couldn’t take time off. I was so anxious, but we came out of it. WE MADE IT!

Life is great here. And since you haven’t seen Ellie lately, here is a shot of her below a shot of Piper at the same age. It is apparent that I make clones of the same child. At her two month appointment, Ellie was .44″ longer than Piper and about 6 ounces less, with the exact head circumference. It was insane.

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Born on 12/13/13, at 10:10am, at 7lbs7oz and 20 inches long. Just under a pound less than Piper and an inch and three quarters LONGER. Crazy!

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That was our last belly shot, the night before surgery.

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The surgery was super easy and oh man do I love scheduled c-sections. We spent two nights in the hospital and came home.

Ellie turned three weeks on Friday! Piper is absolutely in love with her.
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I’ll be back in a bit to talk more about the transition and the surgery. Let me just say, I am loving life with two kiddos- especially since Paul and Piper were off for a few weeks!

It appears that I have somehow gotten to 38 weeks pregnant in the blink of an eye. It’s incredible to me how quickly this has gone by. Of course, the first 12 weeks were mind-numbingly slow, with just waiting waiting waiting to get to that safe period. The fear that encompassed me then isn’t something I’ll likely forget any time soon, but I’m thankful that I’m now here with a week and a day left until our little baby is born. Yeah, a week and a day. Little Noelle (Hopefully the baby is still a She!) will be born via repeat c-section on December 13th, 2013. Uh huh, Friday the 13th. The funny thing is, I was so happy to have scheduled a day that when my OB said, “How about the 13th?” I immediately said, “Sounds good to me!” It still didn’t dawn on me that it was Friday the 13th until I walked out of the building and called Paul to say, “Hey! Baby day is the 13th!” Paul replied, “Friday the 13th? Awesome!” I stopped in my tracks and said, “Oh shit.” Of course, he wasn’t worried in the slightest. So, I am attempting to not be worried, either.

Things at home are great, Paul has been making me do stuff that needed to be done (Organize the room, wash/put away all the clothes, get bottles ready), because I think I’ve been in a sort of denial about the recent change to come. I finally packed my hospital bag (sans toiletries because I’m pretty sure I’ll need those things before I go in), with three separate outfits for the baby. One is a brown dachshund fleece footie (Piper’s first doctor appointment ensemble that also was her first blowout, what a great memory, haha), another is a 0-3 fleece footie in case she’s a large baby, and finally, the NB sized fleece footie that Piper also wore home from the hospital. I had a little bit of an issue with this, because I was thinking, “What if Ellie (Noelle/Ellie) is sad that we didn’t put her into something else? What if she hates living in Piper’s hand me downs?” I mean, Piper was LOADED with clothes because she was the first girl in the family in like, forever.

It’s been a little crazy for me to think that A.) We’re going to have a NEWBORN again! Ohmagaaaad. After dealing with a four year old (Oh yeah, Piper turned four 11 days ago), I am so not current to what babies use/need/do/want. Baby led weaning? What? What is happening now? Cloth diapers? What is this about a stump falling off? Then, there is B.) This is my last (intentional, and hopefully ever unless we win the lottery) pregnancy. I’ve enjoyed it immensely, once the panic and fear tapered off a bit. I honestly can’t believe I’m never going to have a son. I’m never going to feel little feet inside my belly, feel little hiccups down low, knowing that’s my baby practicing their breathing. Sometimes I wonder if Paul will ever regret not having a son. I know he has said time and time again that he wanted girls, and always thought he’d have two, so this is kind of a fulfilled prophecy for him, but still, what man wouldn’t want a little mini-me? Not that Paul isn’t just the best dad to a girl, he can do the Princess thing and the My Little Pony thing like no man I’ve ever seen. Doing hair? He tries. :)

I’m both scared and excited for this next step ahead for us. I am wishing and hoping that Piper will continue to be excited for her sister, and be just as wonderful as she has been so far. I am feeling a sense of loss for her because I am obviously crazy. :) I just want having a sister to make her life BETTER, not take anything from it. I hope that is what happens. I hope so many things, really. For Noelle to be healthy and come out easily, for Piper to not just accept her in our life permanently but to LOVE her, for our family to thrive in its new form, and lastly, for Paul and I to remain just as happy and in love as we have been. After all, we’ve been together for ten years now. Ten years, and (almost) two kids. It seems unreal, how can it feel like time is washing away while I feel like the same person as before?

This Christmas I will be home with my two girls, wonderful husband, and grumpy dachshund. I have a lot to be thankful for. Please keep us in your prayers that all goes well with the surgery and Noelle’s birth. Thank you.

According to “LMP” (HA, started typing “Lamp”), I am now 28w pregnant. This means not only am I in the third trimester, but I also at at the stage of viability. Meaning, Noelle’s odds of surviving if born now (PLEASE DON’T BE BORN NOW, MY LOVE) are far better than the odds of her NOT surviving.

This is how we look this week.

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Piper is a fan of herself. :) Can’t blame her, she’s pretty awesome.

Here is one of just me.

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Ever classy with the “I’m in the bathroom at work” shot. I like to keep it real.

Okay, REALLY, I can’t find anyone to take the pictures of me.

In the last few months, we’ve gone to Disneyland together…

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(You’d never know it was like, a million grajillion degrees there)

The county fair…

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and basically just spent a lot of time together. In the next few weeks, we have some fun times planned for our girl. This upcoming Saturday, Piper and I will be accompanied on an adventure with our great friend, Tina. Tina is the one responsible for 99% of the photos we have on our walls of our family. Usually she lives in DC (TRAITOR!), but will be home for a visit this weekend (And later this year!). We will be getting dropped off at the El Capitan theater for a showing of… The Little Mermaid! Not only is it a beautiful theater, but this will be the second time I saw this movie in this theater, I first saw it here when it came out. Which makes you want to ask, “Amber, how OLD ARE YOU?” Yes, I am old. Anyway, NOW I can bring my daughter to a showing of my favorite movie ever, in the most magical theater ever (Disney owns it, and will have a stage show before the movie and an appearance by Ariel after the showing), and it will be an even BETTER experience than I had, because this time, it’s in 3D! I really hope Piper is okay dealing with the glasses, as well as hoping the glasses on top of MY glasses don’t give me a headache. After the movie, we’ll likely take a stroll next door to the Disney Soda Fountain and factory shop, where we can have a treat and maybe pick up something cute. Since the area is right across from the famed “Hollywood and Highland” intersection, we’re probably going to spend some time looking around, since I told Paul we’re going to attempt another level to our adventure- the LA Subway. That’s right, folks. We’re going to try to take the trains home and hope we A.) Arrive in a timely manner with all members of our party intact and healthy and B.) Do not end up lost in the Garment District like I may have done once previously. I really think a ride on that train would be exciting for Piper, since she’s such an LA girl, never riding any type of public transportation that wasn’t a Disney monorail, tram or train at various amusement parks.

Then, the Friday after that adventure, we will be leaving work/school early to go to… Mickey’s Halloween Party! It’s our favorite time of year, our favorite holiday, and we’re so excited to have our last Disney hurrah before the baby comes. While it’s a separate admission fee, there are 50 various places for Piper to “trick or treat”, as well as 99% of the rides are open and working, and all the characters (And guests!) will be costumed! Not to mention: the free parking (16 dollar savings), the entry to the park three hours before the “party” starts, the supposedly awesome fireworks, the midnight end time, and the little “cavalcade” (too small to be called a parade), and did I mention the candy?? Supposed to be GOOD candy, too. Ghiradellis and all sorts of goodies. Muahaha. CANDY. Sure, after the painful labor day we spent there when my assbone nearly fell out as I hobbled back to the tram, we likely won’t stay until midnight (With or without Piper, there are very slim odds that I can survive that long), but we bought Friday tickets just so we can stay out later than usual and sleep in the next day. See, people. We plan shit. We’re parents like that. I really am excited to go, the Haunted Mansion is set up for Nightmare Before Christmas, which is (seriously) one of Piper’s favorite movies of all time. Hopefully it won’t be nearly as scary as her previous rides on the usual Haunted Mansion, where she promised us she was fine, but then buried her head in Paul’s shoulder whimpering as people gave us the side-eye with a serving of judgment… you know.. because we’re horrible parents who make our daughter the princess come on our favorite rides despite her terror. That’s us.

I’m calling this year “the year of Piper”. Her final year as a single child. It affects me more than I thought it would, to be honest. It’s not even a question a lot of moms have when adding to their family. I don’t doubt I’ll have enough love for both of our girls (!! still can’t believe that). No, I know love has a way of multiplying, not dividing. As a second born, I sometimes question if Piper will remember how utterly cherished she has been these first few years of life. I’ve said it before a million times, our lives were forever and ever bettered because she was born. Words honestly can’t describe how deeply I adore her, how this one girl can make you feel like the luckiest people in the world- just by being herself. I have such great memories of the last (nearly) four years, and it kind of breaks my heart when I think about how fleeting a preschooler’s memory can be. Will she remember her life pre-Noelle? Not that I want her to wish for it back or anything. I just want to know if she’ll remember doing things with her Mom and Dad, those memories. I’m a little scared because I know life can be hard to juggle when you have two kids, and I just don’t want her to ever, ever feel forgotten or pushed aside. I don’t know how my brother felt when I came along, but I know he was younger than Piper will be, so maybe for him it was an easy transition and never had a resentful feeling for me.  Just rambling, I suppose.

This is what has been going on our in lives, lately. As usual, if you miss me and want to see what’s up with us, feel free to find me on Instagram, I am Ambergontrail. I am McLovin. Sorry, I don’t know what made me do that.

Today Piper began her second year of preschool. She was moved from the Juniors group to Seniors, because all the children in “Seniors” will either be going to Kindergarten next September (Not Piper, the cutoff is in September, I believe, and she’s a late November baby) or eligible to be placed into various “Transitional Kindergarten” next year. Piper will be eligible for that, and Paul’s school OFFERS T-K, but we’re still not sure what our plans will be once that time comes.

Other than the new group she’s been placed into, she will have two new teachers. It sounds scarier than it is, since the two main teachers for the Juniors and the Seniors trade off afternoon shifts, so the kids are exposed to all of the teachers throughout the week.

Since her last day back in June, Piper had been excited about being a Senior. She loves school, always has. So, imagine my surprise when at bedtime she was a bit of a bear. She didn’t want to put her jammies on, she didn’t want to go to bed, and once in bed, she called me back to say she didn’t LIKE school. As I walked with her to the potty, I sat down on the folding chair we keep in there (When you have a potty training child you spend a LOT of time in the bathroom), and asked why she didn’t like school anymore. She didn’t have a response, and we began to talk about what will happen at school.
I explained that it’s the same school, same friends, same teachers (pretty much, right?), just that she’d be in the big kids group now. I mentioned some of her classmates by name and said how excited they would be to see her, and she perked up. Then, she asked me… “Will someone get me after school?” I was a bit flummoxed and sad. She thought we’d be leaving her there? I then had to explain that school is her “job”. Like Mama goes to work in the morning and comes home in the afternoon, she has to do the same, only it’s school. I told her someone will ALWAYS pick her up after school, and she will never need to worry about that.

After our talk, she went to bed, and cried a little bit. I covered her with kisses and hoped she’d be okay in the morning. 

Luckily, when I heard, “Moooommy….” coming from her bedroom, and I peeked in, I hoped this meant she was happy. “What day is it?”, she asked. “It’s Wednesday”, I replied. As per the routine, she asked, “What are we going to do today?” Today I hesitantly replied, “Today you are going to school!” That got a cheer and a request that she bring a stuffed animal along in case of a surprise Show and Tell (Gotta love this kid), and she was ready to get dressed. 

Here she is, with her Daddy.

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And in comparison, here is the picture of them last year.

 

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This is Piper and I (and baby Noelle photobombing us).

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And the comparison shot!

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Wow, she has grown so much! This morning, we were (as per usual) the first family in, so Piper ran around to see what was new, and then immediately sat down to play a puzzle. I swiped some sunblock on her face while she sat, kissed her head, and told her I loved her approximately fifteen times, and left. No tears, no “Mommy, please don’t go!”

Another first day of school down. I can’t wait to hear all about her first day as a Senior when I pick her up after school today!

I know I have been so much more silent with this pregnancy than Piper’s. I know many people say they’re busy with their first born when they get pregnant with Baby #2, and while that’s true, it was mainly because of my anxiety.

After having had those two losses (one naturally and one missed miscarriage), I had a hard time believing our baby was going to make it. Even after waiting until 8 weeks to be seen, in hopes there would be something there, I was still anxious. Still waiting for that bad news. When my nuchal scan results came back with a higher odds for Down’s than I had expected, I pulled away from my pregnancy a bit. I refused to get attached, because I feared, fretted, and felt that when the anatomy scan came up, that I’d have to make that tough decision- to keep or not.

God knows I am not the most logical person. Everyone who knows me knows I tend to worry first, and trust all is well later. Far, far later. But I just had this feeling… this intuition that things weren’t going to be okay with us. I just felt that somehow, we weren’t destined to have a happy, healthy baby. I know, totally ridiculous.

So I haven’t been posting because I didn’t want to “jinx” anything. I didn’t want to show how worried I was. I have never in my life spent so much time stressed out about the unknown. It seems that from that positive test, I was afraid. Afraid of a multitude of things, miscarriage, deformities, trisomies, and I let that take over my life. I hid it when dealing with Piper, but I would lie in bed, wide awake, poring over posts on Bump.com, BabyCenter and the like, looking for other people in my position. I felt angry with myself, that we had told Piper she was going to be a big sister, and spent hours agonizing over how we’ll tell her she wouldn’t be a big sister anymore, should something happen. Typing it all out now just sounds crazy. It shows me that I was suffering from something. I’m not sure what. Post traumatic stress from the previous miscarriages? Just general anxiety? Depression? For a long long time, I just felt like I was never really happy. I was always looking around that corner for the anvil that would fall on my head. I hid the news of the odds from our parents, because I felt talking about it would make the bad news come alive, and I would cement this outcome.

Our odds weren’t even terrible, but I felt, as with the miscarriages, that having been on the “wrong” side of the odds twice before, both times dealing with pregnancies, that I was pretty much destined to not have another baby. That I would forever be on the wrong side of the odds. I started characterizing myself as the girl with the bad luck. That’s just who I am now, I figured. Perhaps, I thought, Piper is our good luck. And since she’s so great, maybe that’s all we’re meant to have.

During this whole stressful period, Paul knew what I was feeling, but I don’t think he quite understood how much this encompassed my day to day life. I don’t think he really realized how detached I had become to this baby. As with my last loss, I couldn’t accept that I would get to keep this baby. It didn’t help that I had to go to all my doctor’s appointments alone, all that time to stress silently.

At my first appointment with a new provider, I got a surprise scan. I was 17 weeks and hadn’t seen the baby for 4 weeks. As she showed me the baby, I looked at the tech for signs that something was wrong. I scrutinized the baby’s profile for a nose bone, an odd shape, anything that would appear to be a red-flag. The midwife said nothing about anything being amiss, so I was slightly at ease, but the worries came back full fledged when Paul found out he couldn’t attend our anatomy scan anymore.

As is my (current) nature, I panicked. This means something bad will happen. I steeled myself for bad news. Then I steeled myself to hear bad news at the follow up appointment two days later, since our provider has techs do the scan and sends them to your doctor. During the scan, when my bladder was full or overwhelmingly full, he pressed and shook, trying to get the baby to wake up. Even though I had a gender reveal card all waiting for the tech to mark off so Paul and I could find out together, the tech said, the second after the wand touched my belly, “You know it’s a girl, right? Did they tell you that before? It’s definitely a girl.” Even though I deflated at the thought that Paul and I didn’t get to find out together, I was elated to find out the baby is a girl. After finally coming up with a boy name, of course,

Other than the gender reveal, he was pretty silent. I know this is the norm for techs, that they can’t tell you any good or bad news, but if it’s something extremely worrisome, they’ll call a doctor in there to look at it more closely. He told me to get up to empty my bladder (THANK GOD) and to come back for more scans. When I got on the table, he came by quickly and said, “We just need more leg shots”. Leg shots? Because the bones are short? Is something wrong? As I waited, he was in the office, worriedly looking at a computer screen and smoothing his hair out of his face. I put  my hands on my belly and looked around. Hoping for a sign that all would be okay. He came back, and began with more scans. I asked a few times, “Is everything okay?” He said, “We’re going to send the scans to your doctor, and they will discuss their findings.” I figured it wasn’t TOO bad as white-coated doctors with their faces stricken with panic weren’t exactly galloping into the little room where I lay prone on the table. I saw little things he typed, like the scan of the heart, where it said, “Four ch” which I hoped meant chambers. Everything else seemed to be coded, and I couldn’t understand it. I just looked at the screen and took it all in. When I left, he gave me a long strip of images to show Paul, including three crotch shots. Nice.

The next morning, i received an email from my doctor. It was short and read, “Results from your scan came back NORMAL!” I wanted to cry. Things are normal. Thank God. I could relax, we could name her. I can start getting attached.

It’s been hard, these last 23 weeks. But I am trying SO hard to let go of fear and let hope and love and faith in. This baby, Noelle, is our miracle baby. She was the rainbow after the storms.

I can’t wait to meet her.

Piper and Paul get surprised.

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