Sunday, July 28, 2013

Is There a Disconnect Between NFP and Children at Mass?

There was a great article on Catholic Sistas this week that you must go read. Seriously, go and read it now and then come back here for my thoughts: NFP - Long Term Promises.

Did you read the article? Go ahead, I can wait.

When I first read this article I was blown away by the basic premise of this post. Basically that there is a disconnect in the Church between those who practice NFP and are open to life and those who think the Mass should be quiet and child-free. This is the main idea I took away from this article The article was not primarily about the people in Mass who give a young family the "stink eye" when a small toddler makes a noise or a baby whimpers for a moment or some small child lets out an unexpected scream. The author of the article wasn't even complaining about anyone commenting directly to her or her family about anything her kids were doing.

What was interesting to me though was that the majority of the comments focused on things like "ignore those people who give you the stink eye" or something similar. Not all the comments, but quite a few.

It seems to me that the actually point of the article was missed by many readers.

I agree with this post and I'm going share with you why. First, there is what the Church teaches. We teach an openness to life, we teach against contraception, and we teach that couples who have discerned that they need to postpone or avoid pregnancy can use Natural Family Planning (NFP). That's what we teach, plain and simple.

What the Church teaches and what the people actually do are two different thing. It's no surprise to anyone that a great majority of our fellow Catholics do not follow the teachings of our Church. It's incredibly sad and disappointing.

Another problem we encounter is the culture of death right in our own pews. The "culture of death" is so pervasive in our society that even among faithful Catholics the idea of having more than two children is crazy talk. I'm not saying that every couples needs half a dozen children or more. Only that we should be open to God's plan for us and not listen to the culture around us. Many couples who are open to God's plan will only have one or two children, others will have more. It's not the number of children that matters, it's being open to God's will and not our own. But because of the "culture of death" that has made it's way into our collective subconscious, people in general have developed an impatience with the normal chatter of children, even when it's quiet chatter.

Finally, and this is where I believe the article above really hits the nail on the head, we need more support for those couples who are following the Church's teaching and who are open to God's will for their family in terms of family size (whether they are practicing NFP or leaving their family size up to God's providence).

In my particular Catholic community (not just my parish, but the Catholic community I am in my city which has about 7 or 8 parishes), I see a lot of promotion of NFP. It's a diocesan requirement now in marriage prep to take an NFP course. It's often in the bulletin, it's talked about on our local Catholic radio stations, and there are many people I know personally who practice some form of NFP. We have a pretty large pro-life support in the community as well. All of these are great things. What I don't really see is ongoing support for couples who practice what the Church actually teaches.

We need more ongoing support for couples who humble themselves to follow Christ's teaching in His Holy Church. Jesus said "Let the children come to me." I hope we can grow as a Church to include children at all levels. They should be in Mass with their cries and whimpers and constant whispering because Jesus wants them there (and yes, there are also valid reasons for using the nursery/cry room, I'm not saying you can't take advantage of that option if you have it and need it).

And others in the pews around those young families need to remember that those children are our future. They are the future of the Church. Without them, there will be no Church. We need our children in Mass. We need them to start learning about the Mass from a young age so they will become more engaged as they get older.

For those in the pews around these young families, give them a smile when their kids acts up. Try to remember those days when your own children did the same. Give them encouragement after Mass to keep bringing their children. Don't tell them to take their kid out or to go to the cry room, most parents know when they need to do that, they don't need someone else telling them.

Most importantly, we need to encourage parents to bring their kids to Mass. If they get the "stink eye" one too many times or have some stranger near them in the pews tell them they should leave their kids in the nursery or take them to the cry room, the message they are getting is that children aren't welcome. That they need to limit the number of children they have or not bring them to Mass. Imagine if that young couple was coming back to the Church for the first time in years. Do you think they are likely to come back?

Would Jesus like that? I don't think so. If we want to encourage a culture of life throughout the entire Church, we need to be open and welcoming of children at Mass. And we need to provide support for those parents who are in the throws of those early childhood years.

I know, I have two toddlers, both two years old. In five months (God willing!) I will have three kids under three. But we'll be taking them to Mass with us and sitting in one of the first few pews every Sunday. Don't give me the stink eye, because I'll just send it back at you!

Let's close the disconnect between teaching NFP/encouraging couples to use NFP and the attitude of completely quiet, well-behaved children or no children at Mass. We need ongoing NFP support for couples who want to be encouraged to keep on keeping on. Until we combat the culture of death infringing its way into our Church, we are going to have a tough time overcoming the poor attitudes toward children that many parents run into on a regular basis.

Does your parish offer some sort of support for young parents? How does it encourage an openness to the culture of life?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Saturday Post

I've learned that posting daily is not in my temperament. But here it is, day 6 and I'm posting something. Probably a quick one, please ignore any grammatical infractions and misspellings. Thanks!

I actually just spent the boys' naptime working on a post, but I think I'm going to get it set up for tomorrow. Needs some proofing and maybe a few cuts. Maybe not.

In the meantime, I'm posting today just to post and say I did it.

We went to a birthday party this morning. It was a pool party. You'd think at the end of July it'd be warm with the sun shining. But no. It was a nice cloudy day with temps in the upper 70s. It even rained earlier this morning and I think we had a few drops of rain during the party.

Most of the kids there were not deterred by the cloudy cool day. They jumped right in and had a great time in the pool. My two wouldn't even put a toe in. I tried to get Ethan to put his feet in and learned that he's capable of a mid-air split.

Next summer we'll be in neighborhood with a pool and I hope to get the boys in some sort of introductory swimming lessons. How can a child of mine be so afraid of the water??

And speaking of the new neighborhood, Hubby did not come with us to this morning's pool party and instead working on packing non-essentials around the house. This coming week is our big move. Carpet goes in on Monday, granite people come out Monday afternoon, my parents come up on Tuesday, I'll be doing a lot of cleaning on Tuesday, and then we'll be moving what we can on Wednesday and the movers move everything else on Thursday.

Busy week ahead. I guess in a way, these 7 posts in 7 days gives you a chance to "see" me again in the blogging world for a little bit before I'm on a brief hiatus. One more post for tomorrow!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday, v. 53


I hadn't realized that I had been neglecting 7 Quick Takes. My last one was in March. This is July!! I've been doing some on Catholic Sistas once a month, but not here. Oh well, my brain only stretches so far.


We had a retreat at work on Thursday. As part of the day we had "lightning talks." Basically a series of talks by different presenters, each presentation being 5 minutes or less. When you hit your 5 minutes, you get gonged and your presentation is over. Whether you were done or not. I was one of the lucky ones to do a presentation. I was asked by my supervisor to organize one for the team I manage, which meant I was going to be doing the presenting. So I collected the info, made a PowerPoint, practiced, edited it down A LOT, and timed myself some more. I got it down to 4:30 or 4:45. But during the actual presentation, I must have slowed my speech down a little. I got gonged. Luckily I was only one slide from the end anyway, so I got most of my info in. 5 minutes goes by FAST!!


My boys are so cute! I love seeing their personalities coming out more and more. Peter has this thing with lining things up. And he's so proud of himself when he finishes. All the cars in the toy basket and anything else that he can get to work, all end up in a straight line across the floor or on the couch or wherever he finds a spot. He has even started lining up his food, plate, and cup when we're at the table. The funniest part is watching Ethan's reaction to all this. He either completely ignores it and does his own thing, which is nice, no arguments. Or he steals one item from Peter's line and Peter goes ballistic. I swear Ethan is purposely antagonizing his brother. Yet, on some occasions Ethan starts helping Peter out. At those times, Peter is good about it and lets him. I love watching them when Ethan helps Peter line up all the toys. It's so cute to watch them working together so well.


House update: The basement carpets have been cleaned and it looks like the second floor carpets will be replaced early next week. Yay!! I'm looking forward to a clean look. Now I just have to go over their sometime and clean the rest of the floors. There is so much dog hair and other crap all over those floors. Ugh, I hate it. 


It's been on my mind for a while now to write a post about the phases of our lives and how that impacts our ability to be more or less active in our parishes. This has been swirling around in my brain for a while after having conversations with two different friends at two different times. I've been thinking about it more tonight because Hubby and I recently started discussing whether or not we want to get more involved in something at our parish. The timing seems all wrong, but at the same time a lot of other things seem to be lining up in favor of this. So I'm not too sure yet. But it is getting me thinking again about that post idea. Maybe I'll try to make that my Saturday post. [Don't hold your breath.]


Can you believe I have posted 5 days in a row?? I haven't posted this much all year! It's been fun, not too stressful, but still a challenge to do. I don't think I'm a post-a-day kind of girl. The weekend is going to be my biggest challenge (maybe I can get two posts written on Friday night). So I've learned so far that I can post a little more frequently and it doesn't seem overly stressful to do so, but daily is not going to ever be my strong suit.I think 2-3 times a week is probably my max. But this has been fun as an experiment.


And speaking of the weekend, I hope everyone has a good one! We will be going to a birthday party on Saturday and then spending the rest of the day packing as much as we can and taking things over to the new house. Although Hubby may be ripping out carpet, so I may just be home with the boys and packing what I can. Next week is going to be the big push!

For more Quick Takes, check out Conversion Diary!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Free Will, Pride, and Humility

Last Friday I wrote a post for Catholic Sistas called "Come Holy Spirit, Give us Humility." It is the eighth post in a monthly series we have been doing since December on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.

I have known that I was going to write this post since last November. I have had lots of different thoughts about it since that time. I prayed about it, I looked for anything I could find on humility during those many months, I looked for examples of humility around me (lots of that to go around between both Pope Emeritus Benedict and Pope Francis), and I tried to let the Holy Spirit lead me to the right words.

There was one thing on my mind a lot that I thought tied into the virtue of humility quite well. But when all was said and done, it didn't make it into the post at all, which was probably for the best. But it's continued to be on my mind so I'm going with it here in this space.

There are people in our world, some of whom are very well-known public figures, who claim to be Catholic even when they hold viewpoints that are contradictory to the Church. In some cases, these people are just poorly catechized. But in more notable cases, it's obvious that poor catechesis is not to blame.

For those who were educated in the faith at some point with the Church's correct teachings on an issue, I've often seen that a person will still hold onto erroneous beliefs simply because they think they have the "free will" to do so. I'm thinking of one person in particular and her very public stand on her supposed faith and the issue of abortion. However, I believe this applies to a lot of people. She is not an anomaly, just one of many very lost and confused souls.

There are many problems here. First a misunderstanding of Free Will. Second, pride. And third, an unwillingness to humble oneself before the Church.

Free Will
I hate when people throw around the idea of free will as meaning that they can do whatever they want. That's not free will. To properly exercise free will, one has to have a well-formed conscience. Without that, you really are just doing whatever you want.

The God-given gift of Free Will is so that we will love God because we want to. He didn't want a bunch of robots on Earth who would love Him for no other reason than He made them that way. No, He wanted us to freely choose to love Him. The problem is that we can also abuse this gift of Free Will. Adam and Eve did and pretty much every human being since then has at one point or another.

Choosing to use Free Will to take a stand contrary to the Church is nothing more than an attack against the Church. When a person claims to be a faithful Catholic and loves the Church, but then claims to hold beliefs contrary to Catholicism based on nothing more than Free Will, there is no love there. This is a downright rejection of God's Church and God Himself.

I look at this abuse of Free Will and I can't help but think that it is rooted in pride. Pride is not a virtue. It's a vice. It's one thing to be proud of your husband for completing a big project at work or proud of your kid for getting an A in a really difficult class. In those cases and similar ones, we are showing pride in someone else's hard work and dedication. But the kind of pride that we should not be delving into is the kind in which we are looking inward to ourselves only with the belief that we know better than God.

I was one of those who was poorly catechized. Before I was dragged brought more fully into the Church I held contrary beliefs to Holy Mother Church. But I don't think these were rooted in any sort of pride on my part. I was just ill-educated. However, when you know the Truth and specifically go against it, I can't help but wonder what is going on deep down in that person.

They say Free Will gives them the ability to believe what they want. But at the same time they say they are faithful to Catholicism. You can't have it both ways! The only explanation I can come up with is pride. A sense of knowing better than God knows and therefore, thinking that holding contrary beliefs is somehow justified.

The opposite of pride is humility. To be humble, you often have to put your own desires aside in favor of others. A prideful person can't do that. Pride is focus on self while humility is focus on the other. Let's go a step further.

When I was learning my way back to the Church I had to reconsider some of my viewpoints that were contrary to the faith. There were things I believed that I didn't even realized were against Church teaching. Some of those beliefs were pretty easy to reverse myself on once I understood the Church's position more. Others took me more time. Contraception was one that I really had a hard time understanding. I read a lot and still couldn't quite "get it." Eventually, I had to make a choice. Set aside my objections and accept what the Church taught whether I understood or not *or* walk away from the Church entirely.

I chose the route that kept me in the Church. Essentially, I willingly humbled myself to the Church. I decided that the Church was much older and wiser than I was and the best path was to trust in Her. This took a great deal of humility on my part. The best part is that by doing this I also opened myself to fully embrace the Church's teachings. If I had not been willing to humble myself I'd still be struggling with this teaching and may not be Catholic today because of it.

When a person is unwilling to humble themselves before the rich history and long-standing beliefs of a 2000 year old faith because of their own pride, they will never experience the richness and beauty that is the Catholic faith.

Overall, I feel sorry for those who can't see beyond the pride and error that has put them on a path contrary to the teachings of the faith they claim to profess. To get them to the point where they can be humble before the Church will take a lot of work. They have many hurdles to get through before that is even possible.

Let us pray for all those who are misguided in their understanding of the faith and who are too prideful to see the error of their ways. Let's pray that they will one day be brought to a point where they are willing to be humble before Holy Mother Church. St. Augustine, pray for us. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

[This post is my fourth in a row as part of the "7 post in 7 days" challenge.]

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Random Updates for a Wednesday

Random Picture for a Random Post
I have a post in my head that I still need to flesh out a bit more. My goal is to get it down for a Thursday post.

Let's call that update number one.

More fun update: I'm 20 weeks today!!! Half way into the pregnancy! Does that mean my baby is half-baked? Just kidding!! I'm anxious to find out how things are going but I have another week to wait before the next ultrasound. Otherwise, still feeling good, no major issues.

We successfully closed on our new house on Monday. Yay! Before we can move in though we are having a few things done. Monday afternoon I met someone from a carpet place at the house so he could measure our whole second floor. We should have new carpet installed on the stairway and throughout the second story by early next week. I also got hold of a friend who owns a carpet cleaning company with her husband and he's coming over this afternoon to clean the carpet in the basement.

Hubby also contacted a granite person who is coming out next Monday to check out our interesting sink situation and see if he can match up the granite. The current sink is massive (and ugly) so we know the hole cut in the granite is too big to do anything to it. We have pretty much decided that the whole section of granite there needs to be replaced. We'll see what the guy says on Monday. When we talked to him last week he agreed with us just based on how we described it. I think our experience in remodeling a kitchen in our previous house has come in handy with talking to a professional about this situation. We actually know what we're talking about.

The moving has also begun. Hubby took a load of stuff over to the house tonight. Once we get the basement carpets cleaned I'm ready to start bringing anything and everything we can over. The basement will be the best place to stack things for now and we have tons of storage space down there.

My parents are coming up next week to help out. I'm looking forward to it! They'll be here for my ultrasound as well which will be fun. Er mostly fun. It's not really a "fun" ultrasound, but usually they take some time to take a quick look at the baby before we do the "not-so-fun" ultrasound.

The boys have no clue what is going on. Everything we have done so far has been while they are sleeping or at school. We took them to the house on Sunday for the final walk through, but for them it was just a big empty house to run around in. Next week we'll pick them up from school and take them to the new house and they'll be rather confused. I'm curious how they are going to react. They were only 8 or 9 months old the last time we did this.

Final bit of randomness, I have a presentation to do on Thursday at an employee retreat for the entire library system I work for. Not sure how many people that is, but I'm guessing it's around 200?? Anyway, my talk is one of ten "lightening" talks. We get five minutes and no more. They will actually have someone timing the talks and they have a gong they'll hit when your time is up. I thought it would be easy since mine was going to be mostly pictures with just a few words from me. But I started practicing it today. Not easy! I set a timer on my iPod Touch and during the first run through the timer went off with 4-5 slides still to go. I had to cut it down more than I thought. I think I have it down now to around 4:30 to 4:45. In order to do that I have to stick to my script and not get distracted. I'm used to presenting, but not in such a short span of time. I always write out a script or a semblance of a script but I always practice with the idea that I can go off script at times or as needed. Can't do that this time, at all!!

Thursday should be interesting!

I really need to take more pictures. I really need a new iPod that comes with a camera. My current one is old ... no camera. If you don't mind, leave me a comment explaining to Hubby all the benefits of having an iPod with a camera feature on it. (Neither of us have smartphones nor do we have plans to get them; also remember there will be a new baby arriving in December, you don't want to have to wait until we get out of the hospital for pictures, do you?)

That's all the randomness for today. You can thank Jen's "7 posts in 7 days" challenge for bringing on this randomness.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Appeal of Organic and Natural

Organic! Natural! No preservatives! Buy local!

It's everywhere we look today. It's in the grocery stores, on TV, all over Facebook. Everyone wants to live a natural life as much as possible. Hormone-free meats and diary, less processed junk, no GMOs, etc., etc. The list can get pretty long.

But there is one area of people's lives in which they seem okay with adding hormones to their bodies or using unnatural devises in their bodies. It's rather mind boggling really. How can you be so picky about your food and other chemicals you and your family come in contact with, but be okay with these other things?

I am, of course, talking about the pill, IUDs, and any other devise that is used as birth control by millions of people every day. 

Courtesy of
I find it confusing when I see friends of mine post things on Facebook about GMOs in food or any other unnatural, food additives that are illegal in other countries but okay with our FDA here in the US. I'm confused because often these are the same people I happen to know also use some form of unnatural contraceptives in their bodies.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't be concerned about the food that we eat and serve our families. We should, absolutely!! I want my family to eat healthy foods, to not be ingesting hormones they don't need or chemicals that are bad for them. I share those same concerns.

And it is because of those same concerns, among other reasons, that I don't take the pill or use some unnatural devise to prevent pregnancy. Yes, one of my main reasons is the teachings of the Catholic Church, but this other stuff plays into it as well.

Here's the thing. The pill contains hormones your body doesn't need. You are adding more hormones into your body with regular consumption of the pill than you would ever get from a steak that came from a cow who was given extra hormones. So if you're so concerned about your food, you really should be more concerned about the pill.

I saw some recent discussions in which friends of mine shared that they had seen the copper IUD held up as a "natural" form of birth control. Seriously? Inserting a devise made of copper into your ... is "natural." I'm no science expert, never took anatomy in school, but I'm pretty sure copper is not a natural part of our bodies. Anyone??

All those devises that can be inserted for long periods of time, they also have hormones in them. How do you think they work?? Again, it's not natural for our bodies to be getting more hormones than we need. And long term, they can cause all sorts of problems, from infertility to cancer to who knows what else. Why take that risk??

Okay, so you see the point, maybe? Or at least you have something to think about? Do some research yourself and read a bit more if you think I'm crazy or smoking something. Regardless, maybe you're thinking that this is something to be rethought. Maybe you'll just use condoms or something in the meantime. No hormones there, right?

True, no hormones there. But condoms are one of the most unreliable forms of birth control there is. Take your chances if you want. But remember this, when you give yourself to your spouse you should be doing it totally and completely, giving him ALL of you, holding nothing back. It is about you and him (and God) and no one, or nothing, else. How does a piece of rubber fit into that equation?

Courtesy of the Couple to Couple League
While you chew on that for a bit, let me introduce a new concept to you: Natural Family Planning, or NFP for short. 

Whoa, whoa, whoa!!! you say!! STOP! Don't close up this window. Hear me out and keep reading.

Natural Family Planning is NOT the Rhythm Method. It does not assume that every woman has cycles the same length or that individual women have the same cycle time after time. NFP is a series of different methods that work WITH your body's natural processes. You learn to observe the fertility signs your body naturally goes through, chart those, and then identify your fertile and infertile times. It's really very simple once you learn it.

I won't go into the various methods here. But I do want to leave you with a list of resources. Keep an open mind and check them out. Remember, this is all natural. You like it when your food says "All Natural, No Preservatives" on it. Shouldn't other aspects of your life also be "All Natural?"

One More Soul (resource with medical information, articles, and ability to find an NFP doctor in your area)

Taking Charge of Your Fertility (a non-religious site on fertility awareness)

Various NFP methods include:
Symto-Thermal Method, taught by the Couple to Couple League:
Creighton Model: and Creighton Fertility Care:
Marquette Method:
Billings Method:
Serena: (based in Canada)

This post was written and inspired by this week's NFP Awareness Week (many more resources available at this website). This post is also part of the "7 posts in 7 days" challenge.
I've also linked this post up to an NFP Week Linkup at

Monday, July 22, 2013

7 Posts in 7 Days Challenge and Some News

I saw Jen. F. of Conversion Diary post about doing a 7 posts in 7 days challenge. My first reaction was to dismiss it. I've barely had time to do much posting on this blog all year and I didn't feel like I wanted to get bogged down in trying to post for 7 straight days.

But then Sunday afternoon, I'm sitting at my desk catching up on blogs and email, Hubby is at the grocery store and the boys are napping. It's quiet and peaceful and I'm feeling relaxed and I see Jen's post and I think, "okay, what the heck! I have time!"

Ah, the deception of quiet!!

So I'm in! I'll try to post 7 posts in 7 days. "Try" being the operative word here. It is time for me to pick up the slack some, so this comes at an opportune time. I figure even if I don't get all 7 in, even doing half is more than I've done in a long time.

For my first post, I thought I'd share some exciting news. Today (this morning, in fact) we are closing on a new house. Surprise!!! Those that know us in real life got the news just a couple weeks back. We were pretty quiet about this change considering that we only moved to our current home about 16 months ago. Honestly, it comes as a bit of surprise to us too.

Although we had been talking about selling again, and buying again and moving AGAIN, we figured we'd wait until at least next year, maybe even a year after that. But the market started really hopping around here and especially in our neighborhood. So we listed, had an offer by day three, and worked out all the negotiations by day four. We went looking at homes ourselves on day two of our house being on the market and so we were able to put in an offer the day after we worked out the deal on our house.

As of this past Friday we closed on our current home. We are still here under a post occupancy agreement and are basically renters for the next two weeks. Later today, after our closing, we are getting the new house measured for new carpet on the second floor. We hope to have the installed before we do any major moving. Then we need to get a granite person in the house this week sometime to see what their recommendation is for replacing a section of granite so we can get a better, more functional sink. A lot is happening over the next two weeks!!

This move helps us out in some ways. We are moving into a house that is comparable in size but set up very differently. All the bedrooms will be on the second floor again!! Yay!! We'll also have a backyard that isn't so shady that we can't plant a garden. Actually, there is already a garden area at this house (neglected, but there) so we plan on using that starting next spring. The house is also cheaper than the house we are currently in. We are saving some money there which will be nice.

For my posts this week you may get many more updates and hopefully some pictures as we start the journey of moving to a new home with two toddlers and a 20 week high risk, pregnant momma. Lots of fun to come!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pregnancy Update: Week 19

Here we are again, another pregnancy update. I have to admit, this pregnancy is so different so far than any of my previous ones. I feel great and can't help but wonder if something is wrong because I feel so good. But so far, everything is going really well.

How far along: 19 weeks and 1 day.

Pregnancy symptoms: Like I said, so far so good. And being this far along, I doubt anything is going to suddenly turn in this area. Here's hoping!

Food Aversions/Cravings: Other than feeling like I need some sort of chocolate every day, not much else.

Weight Gain: About 6 pounds.

Maternity Clothes: What is the deal with the band at the top of maternity pants that is supposed to be supportive?? Instead it rolls down and then cuts into my stomach area. It's so not comfortable. I need to go through all my stuff and see if there is anything more comfortable. It's so not cool. My most comfortable clothes at this point are PJs and two pairs of capris that aren't appropriate for work.

Belly Button: I always add this in for fun, never thought I'd actually have something to report in this area. But late last week I suddenly had major pain right in my belly button area. It lasted all day, although it eventually became more of a dull ache. Still, it was uncomfortable trying to sit and stand or lean forward when I was sitting. I was worried that maybe I had an umbilical hernia and talked briefly about it to a friend who does have one. As painful as it was, it actually went away by the next day and I've been fine ever since. I was able to talk to a doctor yesterday and she couldn't find anything, so hopefully it was just a temporary thing. My other theory is that the baby was right there all day pushing on that area.

Oh, and it hasn't popped yet, but definitely closer (especially after that painful day).

Baby movement: When I'm lying in bed at night I sometimes think I feel something that might be the baby moving. But I'm never sure. Yesterday I think I finally felt something during the day. I'm never sure if what I'm feeling is the baby or something else. I'm amazed when I hear other women say they can feel baby movement as early as 12 weeks.

Ultrasound/Appointment: No regular appointment this week, but I did have an ultrasound yesterday. Baby looks good, but we didn't spend a lot of time looking at the baby. The main point of this ultrasound was to check cervical length. Good news there!! We got a measurement of 4.4 cm. Normal range is around 3-4 cm. So this is great news!!! The doctor actually wanted me to wait three weeks to come back for the next check, but I felt more comfortable coming back in two. So that's what we decided on.

Other things of note: We have such a hard time coming up with names. We have a girl name all set. But boy names are hard. We won't share the name we've chosen until the baby is born, but I'd love to hear what your favorite boy names are. Especially good Catholic names. Share with me in the comments!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Almost 18 Weeks of Pregnancy

I did a pretty good job of writing weekly updates when I was pregnant with the boys over two years ago. I enjoyed doing it and I think our family, who all live at various distances from us, all enjoyed those weekly updates as well. This time, I've been a little slack on updates. I'm not going to promise to start now, but I'd like to do a few updates here and there. So let's start now!!

I just went back and looked through my updates from my last pregnancy and I was surprised to see that I'm right on track. 18 weeks was exactly when I started doing weekly updates. How fortuitous!

On Wednesday I'll be 18 weeks along. Hard to believe that we are nearing the midway point already!! Here's what we know so far:

Size of baby: At my ultrasound last week (right at 17 weeks, 0 days) baby was estimated to be about 7 ounces. Right on track.

Pregnancy Symptoms: Overall, I've had a relatively easy time. I've been taking a vitamin B6 and vitamin D3 each morning and a prenatal with dinner. If I remember I also take a calcium supplement that has some extra D3 in it around lunch time. But more often than not, I forget that one. The B6 and the D3, I believe, have helped stave off the fatigue and nauseousness I've had in previous pregnancies. So overall, I feel good!

Food aversions/cravings: Nothing in particular. My husband likes that, so far, I haven't completely gagged at any food he's made (unlike the time when I couldn't do red beans and rice AT ALL during a pregnancy). As far as cravings, again nothing in particular. I'm just wanting to eat more and more, but I'm trying to make healthy choices and keep the unhealthy things to a minimum. Because you know, you can't be pregnant and avoid chocolate. That just wouldn't be natural! Which leads me to ...

Weight gain: Unfortunately, I started this pregnancy about 20 pounds heavier than where I started out with the boys. So I am trying to keep things under control and not overdue it. I don't need to be left with 50 extra pounds after the baby is born. So far, by my calculations on my scale at home, I have gained roughly 5 pounds. I feel like that is pretty good. I just keep hoping the baby will feed off those extra 20 pounds for a while and maybe I won't gain much more weight. Hahaha! One can still hope, right?

Maternity clothes: Yep. Started wearing them about two weeks ago. My sister gave me all of hers, most of which are too small for me. Her old maternity pants mostly work so I can wear those, but her tops were almost all too small. Between her stuff and my own stuff I am pretty set for winter. Since it's July I figured that wouldn't work. What summer tops I did have were mostly casual and not good for work. So I went out and bought a couple tops to add to the mix and so far I'm making do.

Belly-button: I'm surprised at how much it is already stretched out! Combo of baby and the extra weight I'm still carrying, I'm sure. I give it 2 maybe 3 more weeks.

Baby movement: None yet. At least nothing I have distinguished as the baby.

Singleton vs. Twins: I keep thinking I haven't grown much and it feels weird. I have to remind myself that I grew a lot faster last time because there were two babies in there. Only one this time so, of course, I haven't ballooned out yet. It feels very strange to see how small my pooch is. I think the maternity clothes are mostly for those extra 20 pounds that have all been pushed up to make room for my growing uterus. Seriously.

Other symptoms:  It just wouldn't be pregnancy without a few fun things thrown in, right? So leg cramps are back. Yay! I'm adding coconut water to my OJ in the morning and trying to eat a banana every few days. After talking to Dr. M today (my regular OB) I realized I need to start chugging more water (and those that know me know that all I drink it water) and paying attention to my calcium intake. We think I get enough calcium, but since I haven't paid attention to that specifically, I need to start. In the end, some people are just more prone to leg cramps, so there may not be anything I can do. But I'll be trying anyway. Sleeping has been fine so far, no issues there yet. That's actually another difference between this pregnancy and the last one. By this time last time I think I already had the pregnancy pillow out. Lastly, restless leg (and arm) syndrome. I hate this one so much!! The potassium in the bananas and coconut water for leg cramps also helps in this case too. I need to start getting more magnesium. I found this article to help me in my food choices in this respect. A friend also recommended a magnesium lotion. I haven't searched one out yet, but I'm very tempted to!

Ultrasound: Ultrasound was last week. No, we are not finding out gender. The baby looks really good. Hands, feet, head, organs all there, umbilical cord was normal, etc. It was kind of weird to me how quick it was considering in my last pregnancy there were two babies to look at, plus blood flow between them and their shared placenta and always checking the membranes between them and the fluid levels in each sac. So yeah, this ultrasound was so much more straightforward and shorter. But, as important as anatomy is, the biggest thing for me at this ultrasound was the cervical length check.

Cervix: My cervical length measured at 4.3 cm. This is REALLY good! Anything between 3 and 4 is considered normal. So 4.3 ... let's throw a party! Dr. O (the MFM doctor) was pleased and didn't think a cerclage was necessary at this time. Plus, he explained, the uterus has already expanded to a pretty high degree (twins to 36w, 5d), so the pressure on my cervix is a lot less this time around than the last time. Overall, my conversation with Dr. O was encouraging and made me feel better. I go back in a little over a week for another look.

I think that about does it for this update. This is plenty long as it is anyway and one of my keyboard keys just broke, again! It slows down my typing and is just plain annoying. So good night for now!