Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Gender Reveal: Baby BOY Clancy

Our dear friends Angela and Steve hosted a gender reveal shower for us on March 11. 
The theme was Wheels or Heels, and the Facebook invitation read: 

Wheels or heels, boots or bows. 
Until March 11th, only the hostess will know! 

By mid-September, Baby Clancy will be in tote. 
Wear pink or blue to the shower to cast your vote. 
Either way, he or she will steal our heart! 
Feel free to bring diapers or baby books to give us a start!

**Brunch starts at 10:30. The reveal is at 11:00 sharp!

Despite having a dream early on that it was a boy, I was completely convinced we were having a girl. 
I didn't really have the mother's intuition feeling per say, but every. single. theory pointed towards girl. Shane believed it was a boy all along -- and he is (almost) always right! 

We had already agreed on a girl name, and I had nearly 800 pins on my Pinterest board for a beautiful baby girl nursery -- then out popped BLUE balloons! 

I was so confused when I tore open the box and saw blue balloons -- It didn't register that it was a boy... I just wondered where the pink balloons were. 

I was 13.5 weeks pregnant at the shower. We found out the gender very early due to my high risk genetic testing panel. 

The lighting wasn't great ... but here are some pictures from the shower. 

We asked Angela and Steve to be the Godparents, and we are so honored that they said yes!

We are so thrilled to have a boy! I hope he looks just like his Daddy!

Monday, March 20, 2017

First Trimester Recap

Wow! The first trimester has flown by! Here is a little recap.

How I Found Out:
Despite all of my Lyme complications, my period still remained very regular. I didn't think for one second I was pregnant, but when I didn't start my period on time I decided to play it safe and get a cheap pregnancy test from the Dollar Store. I was taking medications for my Lyme that could be harmful during pregnancy, so I figured better safe than sorry! On January 4, I went on my lunch break and bought two cheap tests, and I proceeded to take them in the bathroom stall at work. (Not at all where I imagined finding out I would be a mama!) I totally would have waited on Shane had I thought I was about to receive such exciting news. I took the test, and browsed my phone while waiting for the results. I glance over and saw two lines, and said OH S*#! -- I quickly took the second test and sure enough -- another pair of lines appeared! On the way home from work, I stopped by Publix to get a real pregnancy test, and after a few minutes the word PREGNANT popped up on the screen.

How I Told Shane:
I didn't know how to tell Shane, but I knew I didn't want to frantically call him while he was at work which was my initial reaction. So I waited -- an ETERNITY -- well more like a 6 hours until he got home. I wrote Daddy on a few different things that we normally use throughout our evening routine, and I decided it would be best received if he had a chance to come in and get settled first. I wrote it inside a mug he uses for hot cider and on a dog toy thinking I could just causally share the news with him when the time felt right. Well it felt right just moments after he walked in the door, and I just blurted out -- "Wanna hear something exciting? We are pregnant" He had NO facial expression and just said "Nuh uh" -- then he could tell by the look on my face I was serious. He gave me a hug, and I could tell he was stunned. He said "How did this happen?" and I just busted out laughing as if I needed to tell him about the birds and the bees. Come to find out, my Lyme medications messed up my birth control, and well -- sex really does make babies!

I could hardly wait a single second to tell my parents and sisters. I FaceTimed them, and they were just as stunned and excited as we were!

^^ I thought my mom's phone froze because she was like this for a solid 3 minutes. Snow was in the forecast that weekend, so my parents were making a big pot of chili when I FaceTimed them. I asked what they were doing and they said "cooking chili", and I told them, "I am cooking something, too! A baby!"

I didn't take a screen capture of Tina's reaction... 
but it looked much like these. Eyes wide // jaw to the floor! 

5 weeks - Appleseed
At this stage your embryo is dividing into three layers of cells. The top layer will eventually become the central nervous system: the brain, spinal cord, spinal nerves, and backbone. The middle layer will develop into the circulatory system and the bottom layer is where the lungs, intestines, thyroid and other major internal organs will develop.

6 weeks - Sweet Pea
Your baby is rapidly growing and will triple in size this week. Basic facial features such as eyes and ears are becoming more developed and the neural groove will have closed by this time. The tiny heart is starting to pump blood.
Along the midline, 40 tiny blocks of tissue are developing which will eventually become the backbone, ribs, and muscles of your baby's back and sides.

7 weeks - Blueberry
This week your baby's brain is becoming more complex and is developing cavities and passages vital for circulating spinal fluid. Your baby's face is also becoming more defined with the lenses of the eyes and middle part of the ear forming. Tiny arms, legs, hands and feet are also just beginning to bud.

8 weeks - Raspberry
By now, your baby's head is proportionally larger than the rest of the body and the ears and eyelids are developing. Fingers and toes are developing from the arm and leg buds which now have distinguished wrists and elbows that can even flex. At this stage your baby's heart rate is around 150 beats per minute.

Baby is as big as a ... raspberry
Mama is craving ... anything [and everything] that doesn't smell gross
& feeling ... some morning sickness and battling a bad cold. [Lyme symptoms are still at bay!]

9 weeks - Green Olive
This week the embryonic tail disappears. The hands and feet look a lot less like paddles and have more formed fingers and toes. These changes give your baby a more human shape. Your baby's head is still larger than the rest of the body and the eyes are fully developed, but are covered by the eyelids which are fused shut for the next 16 weeks or so.
Inside your baby's body the internal reproductive organs, testes or ovaries, are starting to form but will not be quite distinguishable until the next couple of weeks.

Baby is as big as a ... green olive
Mama is craving ... a Falcons victory #RiseUp
& feeling ... gross. Lots of morning sickness.

10 weeks - Prune/Strawberry
The tenth week marks the beginning of a critical period in your baby's development when all the vital organs have formed and are beginning to function. Your baby is also growing tiny nails on the fingers and toes, as well as tiny buds for teeth.

Baby is as big as a ... strawberry
Mama is craving ... everything -- all the time. SO hungry!
& feeling ... pretty good as long as I stay fed. (Way more sleepy lately!)

11 weeks - Lime
You can’t see it, but baby’s moving fluidly and gracefully in there.
Baby’s skin is see-through, but is on his or her way to looking more like a baby.
Baby’s fingers and toes aren’t webbed anymore.

Baby is as big as a ... line
Mama is craving ... chipotle.
& feeling ... GREAT! 

12 weeks - Plum
At 12 weeks pregnant, baby is as big as a plum. The average fetus at 12 weeks is about 2.1 inches long and .49 ounces. Now that baby's got pretty much all his or her important organs, his or her main job is to keep on growing. Go, baby go!

Baby is as big as a ... plum
Mama is craving ... SO much food.
& feeling ... STARVING & sleepy.

13 weeks - Lemon
Your baby now has his own unique fingerprints, and his veins and organs are clearly visible through his still-thin skin. His body is starting to catch up with his head, which makes up just a third of his body size now. As you approach your second trimester, most of your baby's critical development will be completed and your risk of miscarriage will drop. Early pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and fatigue may soon fade, too.

Baby is as big as a ... lemon
Mama is craving ... eggos
& feeling ... excited for the gender reveal this weekend!

When we conceived, I was about 20 lbs underweight due to my Lyme symptoms, so as soon as the baby started to grow I started to show. I absolutely LOVE my sweet bump because I felt so betrayed by my body for so long and now it is creating such a miracle! 

^^ Shane announcing the news!!

^^ Rowan was so thrilled! She had lots of questions about how the baby got in there! I will leave those up to her parents -- I just told her we prayed really hard. Haha! 

^^ My sweet family. 

^^ Shane's 30th birthday party

^^ We traded in my convertible for a Sante Fe Sport, and I LOVE it!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Two Red Lines

The pained look from my Lyme symptoms no longer stains my face. Strangers and loved ones alike say I look happier, healthier, and bright. (Their words… not mine!) They say I have glow about me – little do they know it’s because of you. I don’t even know you yet, but I can’t wait to meet you, and hold you and kiss you and THANK YOU!

Trust me when I say, you saved my life. My perspective will never be quite the same. Sweet child of mine, you have been a part of me for just under 8 weeks. You are the merely size of a blueberry but your impact has been nothing shy of profound. You see, before you came along, I was sick. Very sick. I was jaded and felt so betrayed by my own body. It was attacking itself and refusing to heal. I was withering away – I had lost over 20 pounds and the pain – oh the pain I suffered was excruciatingly torturous. And then suddenly, after 18 months of unceasing, unimaginable pain and distress, I felt -- better – for no apparent reason. I was shocked. I thought it was a fluke at first, a much needed break perhaps. I waited on pins and needles in anticipation of the shooting, stabbing pain to return and radiate throughout my body … but it didn’t. The days of relief turned into weeks --- I thought maybe a recent fever I spiked had triggered my immune system and flushed out the bacteria. Or perhaps the warmer weather gave my joints just enough relief for the inflammation to subside. Or maybe the strict anti-inflammatory diet in conjunction with the nerve pain medicine and the steroids was finally doing the trick. I knew it was by the grace of God that I felt healed, but I still wanted some sort of tangible explanation. 

The proof came in the form of two red lines on a Dollar Tree pregnancy test. Make that three cheap pregnancy tests and then the word “PREGNANT” plastered on the side of not one but two of the "expensive tests". I just kept taking tests because I could. not. believe. it! We had been praying for a miracle for quite some time -- but we had not idea it would be you! I was only a day late, but decided to take a test anyway since I was on so much medication that could be harmful to a little baby like you.

The pregnancy hormones are keeping my Lyme symptoms at bay – the same hormones that make me a little grouchy and tired and nauseous  – the ones that are working to provide for and create you -- they are also giving me relief! What a freakin’  miracle. You, my love, ARE a miracle!

At first, we called you our “maybe baby” because we seriously couldn't believe it! Now, your daddy calls you “Sprout” while we toss around baby names. We should find out the gender in just over a month or so, and we will pick your real name then. 

We heard your heartbeat for this first time last week, and it was incredible. You were just a little blurry blob on the screen, but your heartbeat was a strong 150 BPM. We have started sharing this wonderful news with our closest family and friends, but we can’t wait to shout it from the rooftops and blast it all over social media! You are so loved already, and together we will have a pretty awesome life! I’ll teach you what I know, and you’ll help me learn what I don’t. I seriously can’t wait to meet you! 

(written in late January at 7.5 weeks pregnant) 

Friday, February 3, 2017

You Aren't Wealthy Until ...

The new IDS wasn't helpful at all, but they rarely are down here in the South -- at least in my experience. There are so many misconceptions surrounding Lyme disease -- it has been difficult to find someone who knows enough to actually be helpful and also has the bandwidth to accept new patients -- and don't even get me started on insurance. I will admit, this doctor's appointment wasn't nearly as devastating as those in the past, because this was my first appointment that I was symptom free. Oh -- I am still on cloud 9 relishing in every pain-free second! It is one thing to hear a specialist with 30+ years' experience tell you there is nothing he can do when you aren't currently suffering -- it is something completely different when they tell you that and you are suffering from 5-7 severe symptoms a day and have already received the only treatment available.

This disease can be ugly -- it is scary and overwhelming and devastating -- but it has shown me so much beauty. Beauty in others -- like complete strangers that held the door open for me when I didn't have the strength, or the countless number of people that helped me stand up when I couldn't bare the pain on my own. Our support system is filled with the most loyal and loving friends, family and coworkers. My family has been so incredibly supportive, and my husband is hands down sent by the grace of God.

God may not have placed the perfect health care professional in my life (just yet!) -- but he gave me a best friend years ago that later became my husband and vowed to love me in sickness & in health -- and boy did he deliver!

My sweet Shane is the man my parents always prayed I would find -- one that loves me for all of me. He took care of me for days weeks months on end without ever complaining or making me feel ashamed. It was as if he didn't even consider any other option. He avidly researched my symptoms, numerous diseases, supplements and treatments for countless hours. Lifting me in and out of his truck, driving me to a ridiculous number of appointments, carrying me up the stairs, sleeping hand-in-hand with me on the couch when I couldn't muster the strength to even be carried up the stairs, willingly sacrificing sleep, money, social life, work, free-time, himself --- sacrificing EVERYTHING for me. He is the most pure and loving man -- kind and loyal to a fault, and I am forever grateful for his love and dedication!

PS -- He is going to hate me for writing all of this.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Knock On Wood!

Image result for god is good all the time lyrics

Happy New Year! Recently, I have had a random streak of symptom-free days, and I wanted to do a quick post to share this incredible news! I am currently on my 8th day symptom free (knock on wood!) I am so grateful! I have been eating much cleaner recently, but otherwise I have made no other changes. It has been over 2 years since I had more than 3 days symptom-free, so I am just as shocked as the next person, but I will take it! 2017 is off to a great start! Thank you for all the prayers and support.

My next appointment with my new IDS is at the end of January. I will keep you posted. (No pun intended!) :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Who Do You Know That Knows Someone?

I need a doctor. A Lyme literate (LLMD) one to be exact, but I will settle for an IDS in Georgia -- the kind that doesn't get hung up on the controversy between "post treatment lyme" and "chronic lyme". I don't need just any doctor, but one that is up for a challenge of confusing and conflicting test results. One that is accepting new patients and is in network with BCBS PPO. One that listens intently and doesn't believe in diagnosis by exclusion. Someone that understands the repercussions and benefits of every single prescription and supplement that I ingest -- individually and when combined with each other. Someone that is willing to listen to my story and hear all of the facts from beginning to end with the goal of improving my quality of life --- I need a medical professional to tell me what I can do to treat the root of the problem(s) that are causing my numerous symptoms -- not just how to tolerate and manage the symptoms themselves. Help -- who do you know that knows someone?

In the past few months, I have met with 4 specialists (2 internists, a rheumatologist, a neurologist and a team of 3 Infecteous Disease Specialists) -- and they have all admitted that they have done all that they can do at this point, they wish me the best of luck, my condition is "outside of their area of expertise", come back in 3 months -- and in the meantime see one of the other doctors (that is referring me right back to them) or go to the ER.

Comment below if you know anyone that can help me!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The latest (but not so greatest) update.

I know I haven't posted in quiet some time, but to be honest I knew that between a full time job and living in chronic pain that I would have very little time to blog -- especially about a disease I am still avidly researching myself! Anywho -- I have had several people reach out and ask for an update, so I figured a short post would be the easiest way to get all of my prayer warriors and support system on the same page.

I reacted well to my first round of treatment which was 21 days of oral doxycyclin. It has been just over 2 months since I finished that round and some of my symptoms have resurfaced. This was to be expected given the fact that I was likely infected for over 2 years before ever receiving a diagnosis or treatment -- but it is still very disheartening! Some symptoms are more manageable than others, and my new clean diet seems to really be making a difference in both severity and frequency of discomfort. Once I receive the results from my lumbar puncture that is scheduled later this week, then I will know my options for treatment moving forward. Meanwhile, I take it day by day -- or hour by hour -- and just "keep on keepin' on". (That's what my sweet Papa told me to do!)

Shane is still recovering from rotator cuff surgery, so we are both doing our best to take care of each other. As you can imagine, this storm isn't pretty. It is scary and painful and concerning -- but as Shane and I learn to dance in the rain I am so thankful for all of the love and support we have received. You wouldn't believe the number of people that went above and beyond to send us cards and care packages and meals or the people that have come to visit and help with chores and errands. We are so humbled and gracious!