38 weeks… and still pregnant!

IMG_9566Well, I honestly didn’t think I would be pregnant this long this time… I really, really thought I would go into labor around 37 weeks. Ha. Guess not, because here we are at almost 39 weeks and STILL pregnant.

This last week has been one of the most frustrating I can remember in a long time. It’s like Christmas Eve, except that Christmas Day is a moving target and you fall asleep every night feeling like the next day is definitely going to be Christmas, and then its not. Yeah, disappointment city.

BUT, in spite of the fact that I am disappointed that I haven’t had this baby yet, let’s talk about everything I’ve done to try and encourage labor to begin. :) Yall, this is our third and final baby (and thus pregnancy) so I’m making the most of the experience. I know lots of these things aren’t scientifically proven, and there might be some not so nice comments about it all, and trust me, I know baby will come when baby is ready, but let’s just have some fun OK?

So far I’ve eaten dates and pineapple (including the core! Yep, that’s right, I cut that bad boy out and put it in the food processor and blended it up in a smoothie! haha!) and Mexican. I’ve had raspberry leaf tea and done some crazy yoga moves (that my husband likens to the elephant from Zootopia hahahhaha) annnnnd I’ve walked approximately 15 miles in less than a week. Oh and Brandon has done his part to help… wink.

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How far along: 38 weeks 5days

Baby’s size: Baby is approximately 20 inches long already and about 7lbs. If I had to guess though, I’d say she’s more like almost 8lbs at this point.

Total weight gain / loss: +36lbs I think I’ve hit a plateau… which they say some women do in the latter weeks of pregnancy. I’ve never done this before but hey, I’ll take it!! Less weight to lose afterwards right?!

IMG_9550Maternity clothes: About that… I’m starting to grow out of them… 😝 See exhibit A above 😜

Stretch marks: Little lady is straight tearing me up. It ain’t pretty, but it’ll be worth it.

Sleep: Not much at all these days. Between having to go to the bathroom, having contractions, and the hip/pelvic pain, I don’t get a lot of shut eye. I’m actually looking forward to the middle of the night feedings over this.

Loving: Trying every method and old wives tale to try and get baby to come. Its kind of become like a game now. Oh and washing and putting away baby clothes and going into the nursery (which is 90% decorated now!!) to just sit and think about holding that sweet baby girl in my arms. Ahhhh….. Also loving spending a little more time with my boys before baby comes ❤️

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Loathing: The prodromal labor. Can I get an amen from those mama’s who’ve experienced it?! Oh my goodness. I’ve had contractions start, get more intense and closer together and then just STOP. It is the worst! You feel as though you’ve done all that work (laboring through contractions) for nothing. AND, its such a let down! Like biggest disappointment ever.

Missing: Being in shape and being comfortable. I could cry sometimes because I’m so uncomfortable and nothing helps. I can’t wait to feel good in my own body again.

Movement: Slowing down a bit, probably because she’s running out of room!

Cravings: Slightly sour and fruity candy like nerd ropes, sweet tart ropes, Swedish fish, sour patch kids, etc. And Chick fil A Ice Dream ice cream or Mickey D’s ice cream cone.

Aversions: COFFEE still.

Labor signs: Contractions. Lots of contractions. And I’m dilated some already, whoop whoop!

Symptoms: Crazy hip pain and pelvic pain. And a big ole belly.

Exercise: Well I’ve been walking a lot lately in hopes of convincing her to come out 😬

Belly button: Same answer as before: Already popped out, but that wasn’t a big deal since my boys already gave me a belly button adjustment 😉

Wedding rings: Not anymore… fingers are too swollen so I’m rockin the fakey 😉

Mood: Pretty good, but super whiny. I’m ready to have this baby.

Husband: He actually was in the hospital twice within 2 weeks, but is now feeling a little better because of a new medicine they put him on so we are thrilled!!! He is also super excited about his daughter and has gone into baby gear connoisseur mode which is so helpful. I’m preoccupied with thinking about laboring and delivering this baby so I don’t have the band width to research 400 baby swings to see which one wins and why. He also has been having what we think are sympathy pregnancy symptoms! Actually really funny!!! Like a sweets aversion, or craving Subway, or being nauseas… yeah we’ve shared a few giggles about all that!

Can’t wait for: MEETING THIS BABY!!!

32 Weeks Pregnant

Once again I’m kicking myself for not blogging more this pregnancy. Typical third pregnancy, eh? So much else going on with the two other munchkins, the holidays and working full time. Not to mention the crazy nesting that has set in.

Speaking of nesting, I have always been a “what if” person and that leads to keeping a lot of stuff. Like “what if I need this in the future?” and “what if I get back down to this size and want to wear this again one day?” and “what if I won’t get as good deal on this in the future as I got on this one?” or “what if I can’t find this exact one again?”

Seems silly to some I know, but I think its really just rooted in being frugal to the core. If I can get away with just using half a paper towel, I will, so I don’t waste the other half… *waits for judging thoughts and eye rolls*. Sigh… weird, I know, but I hate to waste things, and therefore money. Anyway, I digress.

Nesting. I have never had nesting hit me this hard before. I’m like throw away all the things. I don’t know who this girl is, but she keeps taking bags of trash out and bags of stuff to goodwill. And the thing about cleaning out when you have a lot of “stuff” (and by stuff, I mean years of random things we’ve held onto just because of my inability to let go) is that you can spend hours going through said stuff and it looks like a tornado went through your house even though there are 6 trash bags sitting by the door. So frustrating. And counterproductive to the nesting urges because it totally un-motivates.

But, fear not, I have plugged away, as quickly as my big belly and low endurance levels will allow at this point (think very slow progress each day… very slow). And I have sorted and organized and walked down memory lane in an effort to get ready for this baby because we realized shortly before Christmas that she could come practically at any time and we are not ready.

We still have to move Maverick into a “big boy room” and then tackle the nursery. We need to un-Christmas-fy (yes, I just made up that word. You know what I mean right?!) the guest room because in the event I go into labor, my out-of-town family will need a place to sleep and the guest room is Grand Christmas Central Station during the holiday season. I have also suddenly come to the realization that my closet organization is insufficient and must be rectified immediately. I spend my evenings looking at closet organization solutions on Pinterest and Amazon and then dream about a place for every.single.thing.we.own.

See, that’s the problem with “stuff.” It needs a place, and if it doesn’t have a place, it overwhelms me, and if it overwhelms me, chances are, I ignore it. Possibly for years. And I only say that because this is a safe place, right? If you judge me, just do so silently and then pray for me. Insert toothy grin emoji.

I’m working on everything having a place in this house, and if it doesn’t, it goes. It is not welcome. It is causing me more stress than joy and it.must.go. So, if you see my random posts of things for sale, or if I poach your trashcan, dear neighbor, because ours is overflowing, just know that I’m a very pregnant woman dealing with very pregnant nesting urges, and everything must be in order so we can bring this baby into a home of peace and order.

I have rambled on enough about my inadequacies as an orderly wife and housekeeper and will just ask you to move right along to the 32 week survey below :)

 

How far along: 32 weeks 4 days

Baby’s size: Baby is 16.7 inches long already and approximately 3.75lbs, um, what?! She is getting SO BIG.

Total weight gain / loss: +30ish lbs (oh my, two words. The holidays.)

Maternity clothes: Yep. I am actually starting to grow out of my maternity clothes too. How depressing. If you see me wearing the same 4 outfits over and over, its because I am frugal and I refuse to buy any more maternity clothes. 😬 Oh, I am SO excited to wear my regular winter wardrobe after she gets here, I just hope I lose the weight in time to wear some of it before it gets warm!

Stretch marks: Like a boss. Straight up, like a boss. If we’re in a competition for stretch marks, I win. Hands down. Don’t even try. I take the cake, and the road map. Trust me, this is a battle you don’t want to win.

Sleep: I get up a lot to pee, and sometimes wake up anxious and stay awake for a long time praying and trying to get a handle on whatever I seem to be anxious about. I’m not really that anxious during the day, but maybe because I’m dealing with it in the middle of the night?!

Loving: The Christmas festivities and having baby girl get so spoiled by family! Also loving the snow days we’ve been blessed with this weekend.

Loathing: Morning sickness, and reflux when I lay down and the leg cramps. Oy! Also not enjoying being this big. I am seriously limited in what I can do compared to pre-pregnancy. For all you leg-crossers to put your shoes on, bless you. I am used to being able to whip my foot up practically to my face in order to put my socks and shoes on (thanks to years of gymnastics) and now I can’t even think about putting my shoes on in less than 5 minutes, and a lot of times I get Paxton to do it for me.

Missing: Being in shape and being comfortable. I am going to try to walk at least 3 times a week though because I’m seriously worried about how hard labor will be if I don’t do something to whip myself into shape.

Movement: So active! She is non-stop practically all the time!

Cravings: Hot tea still, and if it doesn’t give me heartburn, then it sounds good. And Chick fil A Ice Dream ice cream, except now I am struggling because my church is doing a 21-day fast and since I can’t do a complete food fast, I decided to fast processed sweets so that means no ice cream for 21 days. I can do this. And this will be good for me. Because I am going to pray every time I want an ice cream cone, and that will be a lot.

Aversions: COFFEE. Oh please, please don’t talk to me if you’re drinking coffee, and bless my mother and step-dad for taking their Keurig into their room over the holidays and drinking their joe in to-go cups with lids so that I wouldn’t have to smell it. Other aversions… things with tomato sauce, like pizza and spaghetti, and garlic, and anything that might try to burn up my esophagus later when I’m laying down. Ok, those aren’t really aversions, but they could give me heartburn just by looking at them and that makes me really really not want to eat them.

Labor signs: I mean, this might be weird, but I feel like I might already be dilated?!?!?!? And loooooooots of Braxton Hicks contractions that are getting super strong. Like crazy strong.

Symptoms: Morning sickness unfortunately, especially after I eat. And hip pain, and leg cramps.

Exercise: I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes today. And I did some squats the other day… someone please hold me accountable to working out (ok I realize that’s a liberal way to put it when we’re talking about walking and doing some unweighted squats) every week. I’ve got to get ready for labor, and it is no easy feat.

Belly button: Same answer as before: Already popped out, but that wasn’t a big deal since my boys already gave me a belly button adjustment 😉

Wedding rings: Still able to wear them during the day but have to definitely take them off every night because my fingers swell so much while I sleep.

Mood: Pretty good, but still easily irritable.

Husband: Poor guy has had a rough few weeks with his Crohns, and I’m praying we can keep him well before, during and after the arrival of baby girl. He’s otherwise been very supportive and helpful with my nesting, and gladly takes those trash bags out :)

Can’t wait for: Decorating the nursery!

Sooo, I don’t have a 32 week picture yet (hey, snow days equal pjs and no makeup ok?! 😝) but I’ll add it to this post when I do. For now, here are some comparison pictures for 30 and 31 weeks. Enjoy! 😜😁

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Bring on 2017! Happy New Year!


4da6c7ba-8b98-4e4d-b594-64a8b77ff0ddc1c8840a-78f1-4d2f-a81f-292bcb873b752016 was eventful. That’s a good word to describe a year with multiple hospitalizations, surgeries, broken bones, starting (and selling) a new business, and finding out we’re pregnant with baby number 3, right?! Yeah, I thought of a few other words too, but eventful seems safe.

I have had moments of serious panic over the last few weeks thinking about January coming up. Maybe it’s been the cold weather, or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been having some of the same pain that landed me in the hospital in the first place, but I feel my breath quicken when I think about January 4. January 4 is that fateful day that I went for a run in the cold with my sister-in-law, and thought I was maybe coming down with a stomach bug, only to be sent to the emergency room the next day and put in ICU with ischemic colitis that caused me to be septic. I am seriously struggling thinking about crossing from December into January. It just feels so eerie, and scary. Call me crazy, but I also get really freaked out in the cold too. Like, I’ve never liked the cold (EVER), but knowing that it (and my lack of a certain important artery in my stomach) put me in the hospital for 3 weeks, makes my heart drop and my palms a little sweaty. Totally weird, I know, but it’s like trying to eat a burger after it was the last thing you ate when you got the stomach bug, ya know?!

My Facebook newsfeed has been full of comments and blog posts and memes about the new year, or the one we’re leaving behind. Some have had good years, and others can’t wait to turn the chapter in their book of life. I guess I’m somewhere in between. I was so optimistic about 2016, because we were leaving a kind of rocky 2015 behind and were ready for a brand new year. Then BAM, don’t you want to start your new year in the hospital for 3 weeks and miss the first 2 months of work on medical leave?! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!! It was like a bad dream, especially after everything Brandon has been through.

Even though the doctors didn’t know exactly what my diagnosis was until about 2 weeks in to my hospital stay, I was still strangely optimistic that everything would be ok. I think that’s called peace. Peace that the Lord gives His children when though they can’t yet see the outcome, they can hear His quiet voice assuring them He’s still in control. The last 3 years have been rocky for the Delk family, but I have to say that without these last 3 years, I would not have experienced the Lord the way that I have. I have had to depend on Him, release control over what I think is best, and fully rely on His provision. Our medical bills are more than what a car cost… a new car. But God is so good, and we have not once gone hungry, and we’ve enjoyed chuckles at the robo-voice billing office workers who call and ask if we want to go ahead and pay our $4,573 balance in full today… really, it’s quite funny! I always ask “do other patients respond ‘Sure!’ And whip out their credit card for you?! Because you’re one of approximately 21 medical providers we owe that much money to.” Then I laugh and tell them I’m just giving them a hard time, and offer to pay $25 :)

God also taught us about loss this year, with losing my grandmother and Brandon losing his great uncle. Those moments made us realize how precious people are, and how short this life really can be. Thankfully they are spending eternity with Jesus and we can rejoice in that fact, though we miss them terribly and feel their absence so strongly.

img_4305Then God apparently thought that this would be a great time for us to get pregnant… WITH OUR THIRD CHILD. Talk about a surprise! Not only did we think we couldn’t have any more children, but we weren’t exactly planning on this little munchkin, especially after the craziness of the year so far. We’ve talked about peace, so let’s talk about trust now. We laughed and we cried and we sat down slowly over that little pregnancy test, and had to pray and ask the Lord to help us trust Him and His perfect plan. Don’t get me wrong, we are THRILLED beyond measure to welcome a baby girl into our family, and think she will be a perfect addition to our lives, but I had my moments where I asked the Lord alllll sorts of questions… like “why now Lord?! I’m juuuust now recovering from a very serious acute illness that we really don’t know a ton about since it is so rare in someone so young.” And questions like “how can we afford another child with all these medical bills?!” And “why would you allow us to be told we wouldn’t have more children three weeks before we found out we were pregnant?” And “are we equipped to be parents to three? Officially outnumbered.”

Then in September, God thought the perfect celebration of our ten year wedding anniversary would be a 2 week stay in the hospital and another surgery for Brandon. OK, you have our attention! Talk about learning to trust in Him and literally living out our marriage vows to one another. In sickness and in health… Where you go, I will go, where you stay (the hospital haha!), I will stay, your people will be my people and your God will be my God. I never felt so vibrantly in love with my husband than on our ten year anniversary. I felt so passionately secure that THIS man was the man God hand picked for me, and that THIS journey was the most magical ride and I was so stinkin’ grateful to be on it with him, serving our Lord together, raising 2 (soon to be 3!!!) children to follow Him, through the good times and the bad… the scary diagnosis, and the thrilling (and surprising 😉) positive pregnancy tests. Through the surgeries and the bills and the adventures of moving and living and starting new beginnings.

Its beautiful really, the way this life weaves itself together. I couldn’t create a better one for myself if I tried. God knows exactly what I needed to grow and to mature and to love more deeply. We didn’t ask for trials upon trials but I wouldn’t be the woman I am without the life I’ve lived these last 3 years. And the year hasn’t been all bad. In fact, it’s been so sweet in a lot of ways. We’ve gone on some fun trips – some with family, some with friends – had friends who’ve had babies, celebrated some important milestones in our lives and the lives of those dear to us, and grown closer to one another and to our friends and family.

As I look to the new year, I look with a different outlook than I did at this time last year. I’m not slamming the door on 2016, although it was fraught with trials and hurdles for our family, because I know that God had everything perfectly planned out, and that He knew exactly where we’d be in this moment right now, a year ago. Instead, I’m embracing all that the Lord has taught us and shown us and looking eagerly ahead to the year before us. We have much to be excited about… we have less than 2 months before we meet our daughter and we are asking God to teach us and grow us and provide for us in ways that are perfectly planned for us. He is so good!

If you’ve experienced great success and happiness this year, I’m thrilled for you and praying that it continues. God wants to pour out His blessings on you! If you lost someone dear to you, or fought for your life – after an accident, or in a chemo chair every week – know that He is still good. He is weaving together the not so yummy parts of life with the lessons and the blessings that only trials can offer us. Trust in Him with all your heart, for there is nothing you can do on your own that will too what He has in store.

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

He is the master at creating a way through the wilderness and we have wound our way through 2016 and are anticipating what God has in store for us in this new year. Whatever it may be, our eyes are on Him, and we know that He is good.

Happy New Year, friends. We love you dearly!

 

28 Weeks Pregnant

img_7679So basically I’ve been the worst at blogging during this pregnancy. Ugh. I totally blame working too much and feeling so bad… aaaand lack of motivation. I have been so tired this pregnancy, and when I told my mama that she gently reminded me that I AM older this time around. Totally makes sense. I’m 7 years older than the first time I was pregnant! Wow!

I’ve also been bad about taking bump pics too (which I hate because I love being able to look back on those!) and honestly, my face is so fat now I’m dreading taking any pictures of myself. This pregnancy has been totally different than I originally thought it would be, and definitely different from my pregnancy with Maverick. When I was pregnant last time, I was able to work out multiple times a week and this time I’ve been working so much (my full time job and doing LuLaRoe) that I’ve had to prioritize sleep over working out and I am feeling it. I feel sluggish a lot of the time, and so weak. And I’m to the point now that I have so many aches and pains and my belly is so big, I can’t really pull off a vigorous workout. Soooo, I’ve been walking some, not even every day. I feel like a fat whale. Or a cow. I pretty much “moo” every night when I get in the bed… you can ask Brandon. I just feel so big! I have NO IDEA how I’m going to make it a whole trimester more. Seriously.

And speaking of, I’m pretty tired of telling people how far along I am when they ask and getting this look like “wow! I thought you were going to say any day now” and some people actually saying it. Yes, I know my belly is huge. I don’t know how to make it not be huge and if I did, I would sure make it happen. I’ve love it if my due date was sooner than it is, but its not, and I’m not looking forward to a whole trimester of those comments. UGH. Sorry for the rant…

Anyway, here’s the latest survey:

How far along: 27 weeks 5 days

Baby’s size: Baby is 14.8 inches long already and approximately 2.25lbs, say whaaaaaat?! That’s crazy!

Total weight gain / loss: +21lbs (YIKES!)

Maternity clothes: Yep. I finally succumbed. I managed to not wear any maternity clothes until I was 26 weeks pregnant. I’m already struggling with what to wear because I pretty much just wear leggings all the time. Annnnd, I’m only going to get bigger. Speaking of.., anyone have some winter maternity clothes I could borrow for say… 2 months?! 😬😬😬

Stretch marks: In full force. My stomach is officially destroyed (sorry babe!) but I’m not even trying to prevent more damage because its inevitable at this point. Its not gonna be cute either way, so eh, here’s to road map belly!

Sleep: Mostly good…I can still occasionally make it through the night without even having to get up to go to the bathroom. Other nights I wake up randomly for no reason (which is weird, I don’t remember that in my first 2 pregnancies) in the middle of the night and just lay there. And for the last week and a half I’ve woken up every day with a headache right in the middle of my forehead… not sure if this is pregnancy or weather related.

Loving: Having the boys be able to feel their sister kick. I tell them that she loves them so much and each kick is because she is saying hi and I love you. They are loving it and I love their reactions! Precious!!

Loathing: Morning sickness that’s returned after my brief reprieve. And feeling so fat and huge. And my hips hurting. And the recent 3 hour glucose test I had to do (which was NEGATIVE for gestational diabetes by the way, Whoop Whoop!). And HEARTBURN. Ew.

Missing: Being in shape. I am so out of shape it’s not even funny. I just want to be able to get to the gym every day and have energy. And I also miss being comfortable. I am not comfortable at all any more. Ever. Not sitting, standing, walking, or laying down.

Movement: This little girl is SUPER active! Both my doctor and the sonographer have commented on how active she is. We had to do her anatomy scan in 2 different sessions because she literally wouldn’t stop flipping around and be still!

Cravings: Anything that won’t give me heartburn. Which is basically anything with flavor sooooo, I’ve been eating lots of chicken. And boring foods.

Aversions: COFFEE. The sweets aversion seems to be waning a little but I still don’t crave anything sweet. I want to eat sweets but I’m not craving them and when I eat them I still feel kind of sick and unsatisfied. Honestly, I’d rather eat a meal than dessert. I guess that’s a good thing.

Labor signs: None

Symptoms: Morning sickness again and oh the hip pain. I wake up and my hips feel like they’ve been drilled into. But bring it on. Spread hips, spread. We gotta get yall ready to birth this baby!!

Exercise: I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes the other day… And did some pushups. But basically this has been a huge fail for me. I don’t even get 10k steps a day anymore. UGH. Just call me fatty…

Belly button: Already popped out, but that wasn’t a big deal since my boys already gave me a belly button adjustment 😉

Wedding rings: Still rockin’ em! :)

Mood: Pretty good this week although I get irritable easily. Feeling bad just lends itself to being in a bad mood.

Husband: Brandon has been really understanding this pregnancy and helped me so much. We’re a pretty good team and he’s been really protective of me. He has done so much to help with the boys when I’ve felt bad and I feel awful that he’s had to do so much, especially since I know there are times when he doesn’t feel good either.

Can’t wait for: Christmas!

Also, we need to do maternity pictures and I need some inspiration. I feel like I’m fresh out of cool ideas/locations/outfits. Help a tired mama out 😉

For a good laugh, here’s my 28 week comparison with all 3 babies:

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Surgery Eve (Again)

I think I’ve written a post before with that same title… or it at least felt a little familiar anyway.

Tomorrow morning, Brandon will have surgery… again. His surgeon came to see him tonight and told him that he watched a ton of footage from the capsule camera, mostly of the spot where he has a stricture in his small intestine. The surgeon will go in, retrieve the camera, and cut out the bad section of intestines.

I had someone ask me earlier if this was a pretty minor procedure.

No.

NO, it most certainly is not MINOR. They can’t go through his nose or just numb him a little and then give him some gingerale and he will be fine.

No. The anesthesiologist will put him under, the surgeon will cut through his skin and abdominal wall, and then squeeze feet of his intestines until he finds where the camera is stuck, then examine the small intestine for other signs of blockage, CUT OUT THE BAD PART, reconnect the ends of the small intestines together, and then sew up my husband’s stomach. The surgery can take anywhere from 4-7 hours, the better part of the day, and then his recovery will be weeks long. I will bring him soup and help him set up shop downstairs since he won’t be able to climb stairs for awhile. He will be restricted to lifting less than 5lbs for about a month, and it will be tedious. The days will be long, and the path frustrating.

No, it is not a minor procedure.

Please, please join with me in praying for a SMOOTH, SUCCESSFUL procedure. Please pray that this is his last surgery. Please pray that his Crohn’s will go into remission and we can have a reprieve from this life filled with infusions and hospital stays and clinic visits and bloodwork and CT scans and surgeries. Please pray that he is a gracious patient and that I am a gracious nurse. I am tired and emotional and he is tired of feeling bad and irritable. We are ready to enjoy life with one another and not life with each other and Crohns.

Crohns, I hope you get the boot tomorrow. You have been disruptive long enough. I am claiming an end to this and hope you’ll join me in begging God for the same.

I will post updates in the morning and as I can throughout the day. If you recall, last year we prayed on the “fives” and you’re welcome to join me again in doing that.

Thank you for all the sweet messages. I will continue to read them to Brandon until he is taken back for surgery, so keep them coming. :) We love you all.

Hospital Update

Friends, we have received many messages and follow up questions about how Brandon is doing. THANK YOU. You have been so sweet to us and we rest a little easier knowing that an army of friends is bringing our concerns to the Lord Almighty. You are wonderful and we could not do life without you.

Here’s an update on his condition:

Today is day 3 in this hospital stay and we are beyond frustrated. When Brandon presented to the ER Tuesday night, he specifically talked with the doctors about not having a CT scan because he’s had so many in the past year, and it’s really not good for a patient to have so much radiation. We’re wanting to minimize our risks and potential side effects (because we’re already seeing negative outcomes from some of the treatments intended to “help”) and the doctors agreed it was in his best interest to not have another CT scan. They did an xray to rule out perforation and rupture and then he sat. For 2 whole days. Not eating and in pain and battling waves of intense nausea. Last night GI medicine finally came in and announced that they did not believe he had an obstruction and that he was going to have a CT scan shortly. Needless to say, we were upset that GI Surgery had not yet been consulted (we had been told they had been called earlier in the day and waited the whole day to see them) and that his GI doctors were making decisions opposite what had already been discussed.

Late last night, Brandon had a CT scan and GI maintains that he does not have an obstruction, but Internal Medicine (who is currently running point on his care) gets to decide and they agree with Brandon’s surgeon, that he likely DOES have a mechanical obstruction. Brandon’s surgeon (from his previous 2 resection surgeries) came by to see him earlier this afternoon and told us that the CT scan is not showing an obstruction in the sense that GI is thinking. His intestinal tract is NOT closed off completely. You might be thinking, so why is he in the hospital? Why is he having pain? What is causing all the nausea? Here is your medical lesson for the day (I learned something new today myself!!):

Your intestinal wall is made up of muscle, and food is moved through the tract by little squeezing motions, like contractions, that pulse the food on down the path. Well where Brandon had surgery, his intestinal wall has formed scar tissue and basically (this is the real dumbed down version coming from me, the furthest thing from a medical doctor, so just hear me out) that part of his intestines has become “paralyzed.” It doesn’t do that squeezing motion anymore because its stiff with scar tissue and the parts above that area have to work doubly hard and it’s gotten to the point that its causing Brandon extreme amounts of pain. Think about when you have a stomach ache with cramps, how it kind of comes in waves. The pain is like that for him, only it’s not just when he has a stomachache. It gets to be whenever he eats. Whenever food is trying to go down his intestinal tract. Think about that. Think about all the times throughout the day you eat. Every day. How awful.

The plan now is to have Brandon do a procedure called a capsule endoscopy. Basically, he will swallow a camera in the shape of a pill and it will take pictures of his intestines on the inside. His doctor has been talking about this procedure for half a year now, so it is somewhat a relief to know that will finally happen.

The risks with normal capsule endoscopy are minimal, but in Brandon’s case, the doctor thinks the capsule will get stuck (in the part of the intestinal tract that is thickened and not moving!) and that his surgeon will have to go in and retrieve it. At which time, they might as well go ahead and take out the blockage! His surgeon came in today and told us that Brandon is on the schedule for surgery for Wednesday. He is currently doing a bowel prep (which is no fun at all, seriously.) and will swallow the capsule tomorrow.

I am feeling so many emotions right now, I’m not sure I know how to even describe it all. I spent a large portion of time between 3:30-5:30am last night begging God to heal Brandon and to give his doctors undeniable wisdom and clarity. I am so distraught over how all of this affects Brandon. There’s the obvious, of course, that he deals with a lot each and every day physically. He is tough and on any given day, you’d probably never know anything is wrong, but I know. Because I see it. Up close and personal. It’s raw and its real, and it truly is amazing that he can go to work every day, parent our children every day, and love me gently as his wife, while being in pain, or nauseas, or uncomfortable, or tired, or anxious, or all of the above.

This hospitalization has felt different for me, I think because I have truly battled feeling overwhelmed with it all. I’d like to think I can balance work, owning a business, parenting 2 small children and being pregnant with a third gracefully, but to be honest, I’m juggling about 17 things right now and I feel like all of them are on the floor, having been dropped, by me. I’m so tired. And so worried I won’t be able to handle it all. And I’m worried. I’m worried about my husband, about how he’s dealing with all of the same emotions, but being trapped, unable to do anything about it all, in his hospital room. I’m sad that he’s feeling so crappy, and I’m worried that he’s worried. I hate that he’s been through so much, and I hate that I’m not more understanding at times. That I snap back when he’s feeling bad, and hold a grudge when he’s not himself.

As usual, you can pray for us specifically, because I believe there is power in taking specific requests to the throne of Almighty God:

For minimal pain and nausea and discomfort for Brandon these next few days

That his mind would be eased and he would not be anxious

That the team of doctors would truly look at his individual case and determine the best course of action for HIM

That there would be clear answers from the capsule procedure

That the boys would not worry

That he could avoid surgery if possible

That we could determine an effective treatment plan so that we don’t end up here again in the next few months

That I can be productive and focused at work early next week so that I won’t feel as guilty about being away the rest of the week to be with Brandon

That his recovery would be swift and without complications

That he would FEEL GOOD

Thank you for praying with us and for us. We love you all and are so grateful for your friendship and your diligence in showing us what community really is all about. I will keep you posted as I can and appreciate your words of encouragement more than I can say. This man is my world, and today, on our tenth wedding anniversary, the best gift I can receive is knowing you’re all praying for him. <3

(Read more about Brandon’s Crohn’s story here.)

16 Weeks Pregnant With Baby Delk #3

 

I’ve been terrible about blogging lately. I think about it often, but I’ve been so busy (and tired and not feeling like blogging because it kind of makes me nauseated to type/read a lot on the computer) and it just sort of falls by the wayside. The blogger in me is mad at myself because there are lots of memories not captured. ugh… BUT, here we are, at 16 weeks pregnant, and I want to remember some of this pregnancy so here we go!

The last few weeks have been super busy. Most of you know that I recently took the leap and became a LuLaRoe fashion consultant. What started as a simple curiosity about some “buttery soft” leggings, has grown into a full fledged thriving business opportunity for our family. I innocently had a pop-up boutique back in March to see what the fuss was all about – after all I wasn’t going to be suckered into buying something that wasn’t what it was cracked up to be, until I had tried them on myself. Insert laugh at the irony! After praying about it for a few weeks, we decided to join forces with my friend and start a business. Why? The reason is simple. We have enormous amounts of medical (and student loan) debt and we are determined to pay it all off, so that we can provide the life we want for our children. Financial debt is stressful (can I get an Amen!?) and stress aggravates Crohn’s Disease and aggravated Crohn’s Disease lands my husband in the hospital – twice now under the knife of a GI surgeon – and there’s only so much small intestine in there.

To those of you who have supported our small business, thank you! Every bit of our share of the profits will go towards paying off medical bills and we are already anticipating the end of this burden! The Lord has blessed this endeavor thus far and we are so grateful for His favor. We have put in long hours and lots of hard work and quite frankly, I’ve been exhausted. There have been many a late night spent pouring over inventory, sending or reviewing invoices, and planning all while being so nauseous and exhausted but I feel certain that the Lord has us right here for a reason. We have already seen the fruits of our labor and we are beyond thrilled that this venture has been so successful already.

Along with putting in lots of hard work, being a LuLaRoe consultant is also a ton of fun! It’s like Christmas every time we get a shipment in, and we get to play dress up with women and help them feel beautiful! Plus we’ve already been able to bless so many people through this business. That’s the best part. Without LuLaRoe, we would not be able to bless people as generously as we have been able to.

And a bonus, LuLaRoe makes for really cute maternity clothes!!! Which leads me to my survey…

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How far along: 16 weeks

Baby’s size: Baby is 4-5 inches long already – wow!

Total weight gain / loss: +4lbs

Maternity clothes: Not yet! I’ve totally been protesting maternity clothes even though I’m much bigger at this stage than in my previous pregnancies!

Stretch marks: Already starting to stretch more! I’m trying to just embrace them. I’ll worry about swim suit season later 😉

Sleep: Mostly good…I’ve been so exhausted that I really haven’t even woken up to go to the bathroom!

Loving: Feeling the baby move <3

Loathing: Being nauseous. And my sweets aversion. And my coffee aversion. I miss milkshakes and ice cream. I’m pregnant and I deserve to be able to drink a milkshake, right?!

Missing: being in shape. I am so out of shape it’s not even funny. I just want to be able to get to the gym every day and have energy.

Movement: I started feeling tiny little baby kicks about a week and a half ago. Enter the swoon, heart eyed emoji. I wasn’t sure at first but then I distinctly felt soft little kicks.

Cravings: Salads with Italian or balsamic vinaigrette dressing and baked potatoes still. I’m starting to crave healthier foods again, which is great because during the first trimester I only wanted everything that I never eat: fast food, pasta, mac n cheese, fried chicken sandwiches… you get the picture.

Aversions: COFFEE. The sweets aversion seems to be waning a little but I still don’t crave anything sweet. Crazy!

Labor signs: None

Symptoms: Morning sickness some still.

Exercise: I worked out once last week. UGH. I have GOT to get back in shape. I feel gross.

Belly button: Already popped out, but that wasn’t a big deal since my boys already gave me a belly button adjustment 😉

Wedding rings: Still rockin’ em! :)

Mood: Pretty good this week although I was a little irritable a few days this week. I may or may not have snapped at Brandon this week in the stress of working a full time job, running a small business, and having family come in town for Maverick’s birthday party. Its ok 😉 we worked it out and he was a champ in helping me!

Husband: Again, been such a big help to me. He has really taken on the role of Dad and Mr. Mom while I’ve been pregnant and starting a business. Thank you babe. I love you more every day!

Can’t wait for: Our anatomy scan in a few weeks!

These are fun pictures.. enjoy! 😉 See if you can guess which pregnancy was first, middle and current! Hint hint, the ones where I’m huge already are the ones in which my abs were destroyed by the first 2 babies! :)

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Read other bumpdates here.

13 Weeks Pregnant

imageI love being able to go back and read about my other pregnancies so I want to document everything about this baby too. I have been too sick to blog before now so this will have to do. To summarize weeks 6-12: NAUSEAS

YEP, that about wraps it up. I went through my typical Taco Bell craving phase (that silly cheesy gordita crunch gets me every pregnancy! 😜) and was so intensely sick the last 7 weeks, I haven’t been myself at all. I haven’t cleaned, cooked, or been much of a wife or mom at all. I’ve been eating zofran and phenegren like candy, and I could care less if I ever saw another saltine in my life.

Heres to rounding out the last of the first trimester and feeling better!

How far along: 13 weeks

Baby’s size: Baby is almost 3 inches long already – wow!

Total weight gain / loss: +2

Maternity clothes: not yet, but I’ve had to do the hair tie trick already with a few pairs of pants. I’m not ready to feel fat yet.

Stretch marks: Oh you mean all the lovely ones my boys gave me? Yep, still there and starting to stretch more I’m sure :/

Sleep: Mostly good… a few weeks ago I was waking up here and there in the middle of the night because I felt like I was going to vomit. Other than the fear that raced through my heart that a) I was going to throw up and b) I really hated to throw up on our comforter, I have been sleeping pretty well.

Loving: Starrrrrrting to feel somewhat better.

Loathing: Being nauseous. Haven’t I paid my dues already?! I am so over being sick.

Missing: working out. I have been so sick, I haven’t been able to work out, and I also have let myself sleep for as long as possible every morning because you can’t be nauseous while you’re asleep… oh wait, see response about sleep above…

Movement: Nothing yet!

Cravings: baked potatoes, mashed potatoes

Aversions: COFFEE and sweets. Oh my goodness, the smell of coffee sends me running for the toilet to lose my lunch and sweets want OUT as soon as they get inside my belly… out the way they came unfoturnately. I can’t eat fruit, ketchup, or any kind of dessert or candy. You can just forget it. Its not worth it.

Labor signs: None

Symptoms: Morning sickness

Exercise: none this week. I can’t wait to get back in the gym.

Belly button: Already out loud and proud! (Thanks boys!!!)

Wedding rings: Still rockin’ em! :)

Mood: A little emotional, but not too bad… says the pregnant woman. Maybe you should ask my hubby this…

Husband: Been such a huge help while I’ve been so sick. We only had only little spat where I screamed and danced around and had steam coming from my ears, but we talked it out and I think we’re on the same page now! haha! But seriously, he has been Mr. Mom and Dad the last few weeks and has done more housework and taking care of the boys that I could ever thank him for. He has been a huge help, because let me just tell you, this girl has barely been able to get out of bed. I have been so sick and honestly haven’t been able to do anything to help. Hello single parent.

Can’t wait for: Our labor Day weekend trip!!


 

A Good Father

Today was a hard day. It’s a Monday so it’s not all too surprising, but for me if I’m honest, most Mondays aren’t actually all that bad. I make a point to get up early on Mondays to spend time with the Lord, and then go to the gym. It sets the right tone for my week.

My alarm went off at 4:45 this morning and I peeled my eyeballs open one at a time and off we went. Thus began a normal Monday for me. It hasn’t been terrible, really, but my heart is so burdened for others, I feel as though I’m trudging through mud, and can barely move my feet forward, and my head hurts from crying so stinkin’ much.

For the last several months, every Monday morning, I ask my coworker how her weekend was, knowing the answer ahead of time… and dreading it.

See, she’s watching her brother die from a brain tumor.

It is the most heartbreaking thing to watch. Maybe it’s because she’s been such a sweet friend to me, maybe it’s because I’m a little more sensitive to others’ hardships now, or maybe it’s because I have a brother myself, but I can’t get through my Monday morning without crying because it just hasn’t been good news for a while.

Today, I couldn’t get her off my mind, because he doesn’t have much longer on this earth, and I know how very hard this has all been for her. Today, I spent my lunch break weeping for this sweet girl and her tender heart. Today, I wept like a baby in the middle of a store because my heart is just so burdened for her.

I also wept because I thought of a couple in our family facing what must feel like an impossible future ahead. They both have serious health concerns and 3 small children. I know fear must be lurking at every corner. I know those corners all too well. I have begged God for miracles and bright sunny days on their behalf.

I got an update about someone I know with cancer. The news wasn’t great and they are so discouraged. The road ahead seems long and without much to look forward to. Their daughter is dear to me and I have cried out to the Lord on her behalf much over the last month. “She’s too young,” I reason. She’s too tender and too sweet to have to carry this burden. “God, please be good to her” I beg.

Today, one of our family members suffered a heart attack (after weeks of other health procedures and trials) and is in critical condition. The family was called in tonight to say goodbye, but fortunately for us, it is just “see you later.” Brandon got a phone call on the way home and went straight to the hospital where he is with all of the family, singing that sweet man into heaven. Sweet, familiar hymns of God’s grace and goodness.

I have wept today, really wept, more than I have in a long time. My heart cries out for these sweet people near to me, going through such difficult battles. In addition to these hardships, I know 2 more young mamas, one who was just diagnosed with cervical cancer and the other who was diagnosed with an incurable disease. In crying out to the Lord today, I have heard Him whisper very clearly to me, “I am still good” and I know this down deep in my core. He is good. He is good, even when it seems as though what we’re going through isn’t very “good.”

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

See, when you’re watching your brother fade from this life, know that He is good. God loves you and is piecing together the puzzle that we don’t yet understand. He is there, and He is good.

When you lock eyes with your spouse in the midst of a health crisis, know that He is good. He knows you have young babies, and He’s writing a beautiful story for them, and for you. Let Him comfort you, and fear not. He is there, and He is good.

When your loved one feels crummy, because chemo and radiation can do that, rest in the grace of God Almighty. It is hard, and it seems unfair, but He is good! He is whispering softly to you and wants you to rest in Him. He is good, so good.

When one of the patriarchs of the family is at the doorstep to heaven, and you can’t imagine life without him, know that He is good. When it seems impossible for you to live without your other half, the man you intertwined yourself with for the better part of almost a century, know that He is good. God named each of the sparrows, and He counts each tear that falls from your face. He is so good, so so good! Rest in Him when you’re weary, because He will give you rest.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8

I have been so burdened for so many people today and all day, God kept reminding me today that He is good. He is sweet, and He is good. I have wrestled with this all day and I thought about this… when I parent my children, I have to sometimes watch them make mistakes, or get hurt, or walk through something painful and I don’t relish in those moments of their pain and their sorrow. Instead, I feel their pain as if it were my own, often wishing I could take it from them for myself. I hold them close after they’ve been hurt, and I whisper softly in their hair “Mommy is here. It’s OK. Mommy is here. I know this was painful, but Mommy loves you and I am here.”

I have prayerfully asked the Lord for mercy and goodness on behalf of each of you, and I hope you rest well tonight, hearing Him whisper in your hair “I am here, I love you so much. It will be OK, child. I am here.”

Post Discharge

Today marks 2 weeks since I was discharged from the hospital (the second time). I was hospitalized 21 days out of the month of January. That. Is. Crazy.

Since my discharge, Brandon was discharged 2 days later on high dose steroids and we’re both rocking the low-residue healing diet. We’ve been joking that we’re a match made in heaven! How funny is that?! But on a serious note, I gained a whole new appreciation for what Brandon has been through. This is no walk in the park. And I will heal and most likely never deal with this again. Brandon has to face a lifetime of this. Oh, I hurt for him just knowing that pain like that lies ahead of him potentially.

“What’s the plan?”, you ask… Well, the plan for me is to heal – rest, low-residue diet for a few weeks, no heavy lifting, no working out for 3 months, and no running, ever. In a few weeks I will be off all medication and slowly incorporating more “regular” foods (read- VEGGIES!!!) back into my diet, and hopefully back to work soon. I’ve watched my fair share of Netflix and I’m ready to get back to normal… Now, when I’m pulling my hair out in a few months because we’re crazy busy like “normal”, just remind me that I was tired of watching tv and that I wanted this.

The plan for Brandon is to continue his steroid taper (which is working to open up the partial intestinal blockage that landed him in the hospital) in hopes that we can get the inflammation down to the point that the Remicade can work. And the Remicade dosage will be increased at his next infusion. We have 2 options available to us: increase the dosage, or increase the frequency at which the infusions occur. Our doctor has put us on the track to increase his dosage first and we will see how that plays out. I’m still hopeful that the Remicade will work, and that we can get this nasty Crohn’s under control. In case you’re just joining us on this journey, Brandon has a very aggressive form of stricturing Crohn’s. When the Crohn’s is active, that’s when the scar tissue forms. We need to pray that we can get the active Crohn’s to settle down and go into remission. Remission can last for years and that is my prayer. That we can live in remission and free from worry.

Forgive my lack of posts the last two weeks. It’s not like I haven’t had the time… I’ve had plenty of time, but I’ve been in a bit of a haze from the pain medication still and have been doing a lot of reflecting. I’ve got another post in the works but I don’t want to overdo it on this one.

For now, though, I have found myself so incredibly grateful and embracing just how blessed we are. You might be wondering how I can feel this way, when I just spent 3 weeks in the hospital and with Brandon’s health history, but let me put it in perspective… things could be so much worse. Sure, we started out 2016 with 2 hospitalizations, but neither of us has cancer, and both of our children are healthy! I could be writing post after post about how one of my sons is sick, or how one of us has a terminal illness… but I’m not. I’m writing about little storms in the Delk’s lives and how each of you has helped us weather them.

This past Sunday at church, our pastor showed a video, an NFL football Sunday video. I cried through the entire thing. You might find that odd, considering it was a video of NFL football players for Super Bowl Sunday, but I found myself relating immediately to Thomas Davis, linebacker for the Carolina Panthers, and the tears just wouldn’t stop. Call me crazy, but I felt like the video was just for me, on my first Sunday back at church, and I felt God clearly speaking to me.

I am so blessed and I feel like I’m bursting at the seams to tell everyone. If you’ve got 25 minutes to watch the video, you won’t regret it, but if you can only spare a few minutes, listen to Thomas Davis’ story (minutes 1-5) and Trent Dilfer’s story (minutes 15-21), just keep the tissues handy. I’d love to hear your reactions to the video.

I have a big ole gratefulness post but I’ll save that for later since this one is already long enough. Thanks for praying for us during this time, friends. We value each of you and I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, we’re convinced we have the best family and friends in the world.