December 25, 2008

All I Want For Christmas...

Today we celebrated Stella's second first Christmas at my parents' home in Georgia, a beautiful 65-degree Christmas afternoon that made "Let It Snow" playing on the radio feel a bit out of place. My Grandfather from South Carolina met Stella for the first time, as did my Aunt and Uncle from Chattanooga, and like the star she is, Stella loved every minute of attention.

We started the day with a private Stella-Markana-Chip present exchange, and Stella was kind enough to pose with one of the books I made for her.

I swear her face isn't stuck like this.

Stella also surprised us all by receiving an unexpected present, or presents - her two front teeth! (Yeah, I know. My Dad started singing the song the minute we found them.)

We hope everyone had a great day with those dearest to them. Happy Holidays!

December 20, 2008

Stella's First Christmas

We traveled to Union City (Markana's parents' house) yesterday and officially began our Christmas season. Stella was all over it (see more pictures @ Picasa), and tore into her presents like a pro. Then she ate wrapping paper like a pro.

All was going well until THIS happened:


Ok, I can live with it. It's not a Braves shirt or a Ga. Tech hat, but when in Rome... I can definitely support the team of Markana's parents (sorry Shelia), Byron's soon-to-be alma mater, and our good friends Jim, Amanda and Sam. Very important to them, so very important to us.

Plus, she'll have something to wear while watching Phil Fulmer coach their bowl game this year.

Oh, wait...

December 17, 2008

Happy Holidays

We were successful this year in putting up a tree, but are failing miserably at sending out a Christmas card, so I thought I would share this family image.

I want to wish all of those that I love safe travels, joyous reunions, warm bellies and peaceful nights.

Chip, Markana and Stella

November 27, 2008

Pass the Nachos!

Stella celebrated her first Thanksgiving today by having her first meal of big girl food. After napping through the grown-up feast, she sat in her high chair for the first time and tasted some avocado mush.

It didn't start very well,

but eventually got better.

Our secret hope is she'll master guacamole by the weekend. Las Palmas!

More pics on Picasa.

November 20, 2008

Neighborhood Watch

It's good to know that while I'm at work, Stella and her sidekicks are keeping a lookout for any suspicious happenings. Good thing they're guarding the house, because today she started wearing her gold shoes.

Of course, she later peed on them, so I'm a little confused by her security measures...

For my Health

I will be posting updates from my treatment to the website listed below. Thank you to everyone for your kind and supportive words. My heart is heavy and full.

November 11, 2008

A Personal Note from Stella's Mom

Dear friends,

I have been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I wish there was a better way to say this, but cancer just isn't that polite.

Two months ago I found a lump in my neck above my clavicle bone. Being the procrastinator I am, it took me six weeks before I consulted with a doctor. (I also have a baby mind you, so scheduling these appointments can be difficult) So, in one month, one primary care doctor, a referral to a surgeon at Vanderbilt, four CT scans, a referral to an Oncologist, an ultrasound and ultimately a biopsy that lead to my diagnosis.

Today I met the Hematologist Oncologist at Vanderbilt that will be taking over my care. Thursday I will have a bone marrow biopsy, PET scan and a test that shows the strength of my heart and Friday I will have my first round of chemotherapy. I will have eight rounds of chemotherapy over the next four months and then five weeks of radiation. Hodgkin's Lymphoma is treatable and, ultimately, curable.

My greatest concern has been for Stella. My heart is broken. I waited so long to have this sweet baby and I don't want to miss one second. I also have loved breastfeeding her and tomorrow will be our last day together like that. But, she also is the reason that I know everything is going to be alright. She is so little and needs her mommy to be well, so I go into this thinking of her.

I wanted to know exactly where I stood before sharing this. I will do my best to update you all along the way.


November 4, 2008

O baby!

Tonight Stella helped us cheer our candidate into history. You would have to lack breath to not be moved by Barack Obama's ability to inspire and unify our nation. Just looking at him helps me believe that there is much hope for our country. We are a new America and our future looks bright from where I stand.

As parents we make choices for our children until they are able to find their own voice. My choice, and today's victory, I made for my daughter so that one day her voice will be heard. In this country she has the opportunity to be who she wants to be, live the life she wants to live and make decisions for herself that are hers to make. It is my job as her mother to protect that - for the next 4 years anyway.

October 30, 2008

Fast friends

Here's Stella with her first best friend, Samantha Wright. At least that's how we'd have it.

Sam is the daughter of our good friends Jim and Amanda that live across the street. Sam is also the world's most perfect, calm and cooperative child. The kind that just wakes up peacefully in her crib and will stare at the ceiling quietly until you come to pick her up.

Stella, on the other hand, just spent all of Thursday wrestling with her mom every time she got tired or hungry. Markana swears Stella tried to punch her today. You'd also think her crib collapsed by the way she's been announcing the end of her naps.

Regardless, they make a pretty cute combo.

Oh, and how about Stella's corduroys? Stylin', as usual.

October 28, 2008

New Hat

No real news to report, except that Stella got this rockin' new hat today. It's been quite chilly in Nashvegas, and babies need hats that match their favorite pets.

October 16, 2008

Ok, seriously... (pt 2)

I naturally thought on August 5 that a cuter blog picture would never exist. Clearly, I was wrong.

So what if this pose is just a left hand's brief stop between floor and mouth? It could just as easily be her headshot for the jacket cover of her Pulitzer Prize-winning third novel. Or the poster for her speaking tour after winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Of course, she'll have to put her acting career on hold...

October 4, 2008


Stella celebrated her 3-month birthday with a trip to Walden Farm where she got her first look at pumpkins, chickens, pigs, ducks, goats, cows, and turkeys. Mmm...delicious.

What did she learn? That her right hand tastes great no matter where she is.

See more farm pics on Picasa.

September 25, 2008

Doin' Stuff

Lack of updates. We know.

Markana has tried several unsuccessful times to recount her/our experiences of Stella's birth, but writer's block seems to be one of the unmentioned postpartum side effects. Maybe the muse will visit at a later date.

So for now, a quick update of Stella's more recent accomplishments:
  • reaching
  • grabbing (sometimes)
  • sleeping through the night (we think we're officially past the 'it's just a fluke' stage)
  • complete love of the dogs (I'm serious)
  • apathy, borderline hatred towards the cats (seriously, I'm serious)
  • lots of smiles and giggles
I'd also list love of pizza and cheese, but I think that's called projection. Or genetics.

At any rate, and as most of you already know from your own experiences, it's extremely fun watching her discover her hands/feet and work hard to get them to cooperate, make new noises (laughs, yells, unidentifiables) and generally turn into a little person. Ah, big fun.

And, yes, we officially concede the fact that we really do have a very happy and cooperative little baby. The first few weeks were trying and had us concerned at times (surprise!), but after some diet adjustments and a few doctor consults, we think we're doing o.k.

Again, sorry for the lack of posts, but for anyone who hasn't been keeping track, there's lots of activity on Stella's photo page. Visit our Picasa photo albums for a steady visual record of what she's been up to.


August 24, 2008

Baby Love

I have put off writing for so long that I don't even know where to begin. The last seven weeks have been such a whirlwind. Looking at this picture reminds me of how quickly things change.

You know the saying, "A baby changes everything". Well, it does. We are in so deep now, it is hard to imagine where we were before. (Except for all the beautiful sleep we had, or those sunny days lounging by the pool or all the wine I still can't drink due to breastfeeding.)

This entire experience has tested patience that I didn't have much of to begin with, made me cry more tears than I knew I could cry, made me realize that anything I thought I knew about having a baby was completely wrong, appreciate my husband even more than I did before and taught me to love deeper than I have ever known. It truly is beautifully humbling.

I promise (very soon) to ellaborate on the finer details of how our life started with Stella and where we are today. Every day is ever changing.

August 5, 2008

Ok, seriously...

Can you honestly look at this picture and not think Miss Stella is the cutest baby on the planet?!?

(Apologies to the Westbrooks, Freemans, Sewells, Steakleys, Shugarts, Throops, Kings and Wrights. And by 'apologies' I mean I'm sorry your children aren't this cute.)

Not convinced? Check this one out...

Are you kidding me? I mean, come on. Al Gore is gonna have to launch a campaign about the sudden rise of global cuteness.

July 6, 2008

Get Your Stella Fix Here

I launched a new photo gallery page for those who want (or need) to see more pictures than I tend to post on the blog site. Also, I hate to keep bombarding personal email accounts with large files.

So, from now on, you can visit our online photo gallery at I also added this link to the blog's right-side Favorite Links for easy access.

I've set the gallery to allow downloading and print ordering (Mom), so let me know if something doesn't work as expected. For those who choose to download and print to a personal printer (Mom), let me know if the quality is good enough. I tried to keep the file sizes to a minimum, but I'm not sure if it's too low for good prints.


July 5, 2008

Stella Declares Her Independence

Born July 4, 2008, 8 lbs, 20.5" long

Long story short, Stella joined us Friday morning (10:22 AM) in plenty of time for the annual fireworks extravaganza and Coney Island hot dog eating contest. She surprised everyone with a head full of dark hair and Walter Matthau jowls (circa Grumpier Old Men II). After a long night of "what the hell am I doing here?" screaming at the hospital, Stella, Mommy and me came home to enjoy our first bath and Braves game.

This is your life, baby.

(oh, and here's another photo after the bath. and right after she peed on Mommy. hee hee.)

Love to all and thanks for the support. More writings later after we catch up on a little rest...

June 27, 2008

Waiting for Stella

I had a nice visit with a midwife yesterday. Not sure why they want you to come in once a week since nothing has happened to report. I repeat - nothing has happened!!!

Yesterday afternoon I found myself unable to do anything but lay on the couch and involve myself in countless episodes of Law and Order. Pathetic, I know. But I am feeling not only discomfort, but a deepening bout of angst. Chip and I just look at each other and wonder when she is coming. We wonder when, we wonder how, will he be at work, will he have taken the bus to work that day and have to find a ride home, will there be construction on the interstate and what alternate route will we take? My mom warned me of the dangers of having too much time to sit and wait...

But really, the suspense is killing us! We just can't wait to see her. I try and try, but I can't get a visual in my head of what she will look like. I watch Chip as he is sleeping and wonder if she will have his mouth or his eyes (he hopes that she does not inherit his nose). I love to look at her little gowns and hold them up my belly and imagine how tiny and snugly she will be. I long to see her and hold her and love her.

June 13, 2008

And in this corner.....

Week 36

Weighing in at 181..... Yes, I have been to visit my midwife today. I am still always amazed to step up to the scale and see how much I weigh. Today I was even more surprised because I have gained 12 pounds in 2 weeks. The midwife says that I am retaining extra water. You think? Look at these feet!

I have to say that other than the occasional bout with acid reflux (well, daily at this point really) my only complaint is these monster feet. Anyone that has seen me has been concerned, so on Monday I went and had my blood pressure tested and a urine test. Both of which were fine. Today, seeing my midwife, she took one look and felt there might be something beyond what the other tests has shown. She requested blood work, so I will have to report back on that when I get the results. (I just heard from my midwife and the blood work was normal 6/14)

At our visit today she also did an examination and it seems that I am nearly 2 cm dilated. She also said that I have a very soft cervix. Both of which I am not sure that I fully understand, but as long as she says everything is good, then I am good.

This weekend we will spend some time getting all of her goodies put away from the baby showers and pack a bag for the hospital. I am feeling the need to get everything ready just in case. There is a full moon on the 19th, so who knows what will happen.

May 23, 2008

"I don't think so"

Week 33

Markana has come in contact with several friends and colleagues in the past few days that have greeted her with smiles and a quick, "So, how much longer?" When she replies, "About seven weeks," they all say, "uh...I don't think so."

And that would be fine with us. We're ready.

I'm using my daughter as an excuse to buy new toys (a true Dad already), the first of which is an off-camera flash for my digital camera. The excuse is that it'll make our Stella photos better, and my defense against M's suspicions is, "Do you want to be the one to explain to Stella why we have no good pictures of her?" Heh heh.

So far, my subjects aren't much help and my training is slow-going. Markana went to bed after about 7 head shots. Jack won't look at me if I pick up the camera.

So I had to find a willing participant that wouldn't tire under the demands of an amateur photo shoot.

Really captures his pensive side, huh?

May 2, 2008

Vanderbilt Hospital

Chip and I took a tour of Vanderbilt Hospital last night. This is the place that we have chosen to have Stella - mainly because this hospital has the program with the midwives. We were given a tour of Labor & Delivery, as well as, the Postpartum rooms that both provide modest accommodations. The instructor did answer all of our questions and concerns and again we feel at ease that we have made the right decision.

My Dad has been spending some time at Vanderbilt Hospital these days as well. I have not shared through this blog that on March 25 my Dad was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. It was found during a routine physical, so we are hopeful that it was caught in good time. He met with a specialist at Vanderbilt hospital and will have surgery on June 3. This is why it is so important for men and women to get an annual physical.

The specialist did run some additional tests that brought attention to some spots on his lungs. Dad then sees a lung specialist at Vanderbilt and a series of other tests were given and eventually a PET Scan to see if there was anything anywhere else in his body. They did find spots on his pelvic bone and sinus region. The doctor has chosen not to do anything at this time and has asked for another PET Scan in three months. I have tossed this around in my head a hundred times and really not sure what it all means. We were hopeful that he would call and say that there was nothing to worry about and to carry on, but it makes me nervous that they want to revisit the situation in a few months. Routine, maybe.

When all of this started to unfold, I kind of fell apart with it. How could all of this be happening to my sweet dad. The man is a model for good health and happiness (with the exception of a lifestyle of good ole southern cooking that I adore as well). Even through my initial tears and heartbreak, he has remained confident that everything will be just fine. If you know my dad at all, this is exactly what you would expect him to say. I did sense that he was strained by the pain his family was experiencing, so I made a conscious decision to keep my tears private and just be there for him.

So, in the midst of our grief and personal despair, our girl Stella is a star after all. I know that the thought of meeting her brings a bright spot to all of our lives. Though many of our experiences unfortunate, maybe it all has happened in the time that it should.

April 14, 2008

Two down, one to go

Week 28

Welcome to the third trimester. Stella is extra busy these days, and from the looks of it, extra big, too. Markana has received some comments that because she's carrying Stella low, it might be a boy. I hope he likes yellow sweaters.

April 3, 2008

26 Weeks

So, we went for an ultrasound today and found out that the placenta has shifted. Hooray! The doctor said that everything looks perfect and we are all set to move forward with a vaginal birth. No Cesarean. This is fantastic news. (I bet you never thought you would hear so much about a person's placenta)

Now, I must deal with the politics of abandoning my OBGYN. She has been so wonderful to me throughout this crazy adventure, but we just do not share the same point of view of my desired birth. We spoke with her about the hypnobirth at out last appointment and did not receive a "warm and fuzzy" feeling from her. We are so excited about the birth, and know what we want, so we have to seek out a more suitable person to share this with us. Our first stop will be at Vanderbilt Hospital with a nurse midwife. More later on that, but any advise on how to I should let my doctor know that I will no longer need her services is much appreciated.

Meanwhile, I also learned today that I have gained 17 pounds. Wow! Is this normal? Considering I have 3 months to go, I think I better slow down on the sweets. But the gelato at work is so delicious!

Lastly, in the ultrasound today Stella was sitting upright inside me- on her little toosh. That just makes me smile.

March 21, 2008

Peace and Love

It seems that I may have offended some people with my latest entry. You must know that it certainly was not my intention. We started this blog as an opportunity to document our experiences through this process - a journal if you will.

What a wondrous life that we all get to live filled with choices and experiences that are our own. At the time of that entry, I was battling my own frustration of outside voices being projected on my choices. Choices that have been dear to my heart, and I, too, have been offended.

What a gift, as women, that we have the opportunity to make decisions about our bodies and childbirth. I am so thankful that I live in a city that has the resources that we need to help us learn through this process. I am most thankful that I have a loving and true companion to share this experience with. I know that we have never done this before, and Stella will come at her will, but if we all work together this will be a beautiful first memory for us all.

Every child begins the world again.
- Henry David Thoreau

March 16, 2008

Dogs win!

I know everyone's been patiently awaiting the final results of our first visitor poll, Dogs vs. Cats.

Dogs = 7
Cats = 3

It's clear that cats can only hope to be slightly less than half loved as much as dogs.

Don't forget to vote in our new poll: diapers.

March 13, 2008

Hypnobirthing - The Mongan Method

I knew that I wanted to do a natural birth. A very dear friend of mine has a beautiful daughter, Isla, birthed through the Mongan Method of Hypnobirthing. She had such a beautiful story to share about Isla's entry into our world and I always knew I would look into it for myself when the time came.

To me, it makes perfect sense. And the more I learn about it, the more I understand. I mean, is there anything more incredible than pregnancy and childbirth? The fact that Chip and I fell in love, married, decided that we wanted to share that love and have conceived a child is miraculous. But, the real miracle is that this little person inside me starts out as a ball of cells, develops and changes daily and after 9 months will be the size of a small pumpkin and will be ready to join us. I am pretty sure that after all of that, she knows how to find her way out. This is why I have chosen for Stella to have the birth that she wants. She'll let me know when she is ready.

In our class we are practicing deep meditation and relaxation. We are not hypnotized. We have seen several videos of births in our class, and for the most part the mother is completely silent. It looks as though she is sleeping. Even at 10 centimeters, there is a state is calm in the room. If you have ever watch an episode of Baby Story where the mother is in labor for 23 hours, exhausted, drugged, in stirrups and screaming - this is nothing like that.

Calm. Peace. Beautiful Baby.

The most difficult part of sharing this experience with others is the commentary that follows. There are some women and friends that assure me that I will be begging for the epidural. It is sad that women have become so used to being medicated by their physicians, that the thought of conceiving naturally seems wildly abnormal. Call me a hippy, call me crazy, call me whatever you like. But the thought of being so medicated as my child is being born that I feel nothing, and my child being medicated (as we are sharing a lifeline) and requiring a good slap on the ass to wake up, seems absolutely absurd to me.

*Side note: At our 18 week ultrasound, we also found out that I have placenta previa. We will have another ultrasound in 3 weeks to see if the placenta has moved up. If not, I will have no other choice than to have a cesarean. This is obviously not what we desire, but in the end will take a healthy baby no matter how she gets here.

March 12, 2008

B - U - M - P

Week 23

I know. We've been really bad about posting progress, but the second trimester is kinda boring. I did learn that the second trimester is made up of several mini-mesters: the cake-mester, the donut-mester, the cookie-mester...

The bigger news is that we've enrolled in a hypobirthing class. I'm really enjoying the classes for their application to everyday life, and I'm excited about what it means for bringing Stella into the world. Markana will write more soon about her thoughts and hopes for a natural birth.

February 7, 2008

Meet Stella Rose Jordan

Well, here she is. I guess all the prognosticators were right. (except Jessica)

Markana and I had our 18th-week visit this morning. We not only found out the sex, but that everything looks good, healthy and on track. A great relief.

For the first time, I was the nervous wreck and she was the calm one. For some reason, I started getting nervous last night and it carried over into this morning. Anyone who knows our story understands our worries to this point, but even though we're statistically in the clear, I found myself jittery and impatient. The first glimpse of the heartbeat settled me.

(yes, I hear the comments flooding in from the experienced, "It's your first of many worries for your child...")

So from here it's all pretty normal, I guess. Another simple check up in four weeks, and another ultrasound four weeks later. Can't wait to see her again.

scary face

little feet

February 2, 2008

Charles Finnigan, in memoriam

My Grandfather, Charles William Finnigan, died on December 13, 2007, and this recent weekend was spent in Orlando, Florida, at a memorial service honoring his life and our memories.

Problem is, I don't really have any.

I have memories of visiting when I was younger: a trip to Disney, paddle boat rides on the lake, early computer games, coy fish in his backyard pond, heat, seeing Saturn's rings through a telescope, swimming, fresh-squeezed orange juice. Only a couple of these really involved him.

It might have been because I was too young and he was getting to old. It might have been because I was somewhat of a reclusive child, perfectly content to find entertainment on my own and by myself. It might have been that my interests and his were too different, and as a child, there was no such thing as a respect for differences, especially for someone so greatly removed from my day to day life.

Many people spoke at today's service and referenced his warmth, his humor, his sharp mind, his never-ending interest in space, math, problem-solving — I do remember these in degrees. However, I never knew the man who taught children to ride bikes; who encouraged learning of all sorts, even when it meant supporting dreams unlike his; who, seemingly out of character, sent a bouquet of flowers to a lonely daughter on Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, I mostly remember a man I wasn't very close to. And now, as I find myself at a point where family, learning and career are my passions, I think I could've been.

There are some questions I'd ask:

How did a scientific man trained in electrical engineering, mixed with a passion for the cosmos, reconcile thoughts of a god and religion?
What motivated him to explore new careers, even after leaving the profession of engineering later in life?
What politics did he tend to follow or support? Why?
Did he consider himself successful?

This makes me think about the living family members I still have (which are many) and, of course, the one Markana and I are about to meet. Most of us live many miles apart and, for all I know, 'many miles' means physically and mentally.

But that's just it; "for all I know".

Truth is, I don't.

I had hoped today, as I looked for the last time at my grandparents' backyard, a yard that now holds the mixed ashes of two people who spent 50+ years at each others' sides, I'd find a sense of sentimentality and connection. I stood silent and alone after our private ceremony, waiting for at least a slight understanding of the thread between us.

It didn't happen.

But then, inside my Grandfather's house with my living family, looking through old photos, organizing the hopes of genealogy projects gone astray, eating the birthday cake of my youngest niece, playing card games, talking, laughing - I found it. The connection we don't enjoy often enough; the unbreakable bond in spite of the differences in our everyday lives, politics or beliefs; the simple enjoyment of each other's company; the honest love I hope for in my family-to-be.

So after many years of not really knowing the man we honored today, I realized that, to me, an understanding of his life can simply mean positively contributing to the thoughts and deeds of the family circle he helped create. I hope I always remember the effects of his efforts.

January 28, 2008

Here comes the Big!

This is not the first tummy pic I've posted, but the committee decided the original was inappropriate. In other words, no more bare skin pics. "Doughy" was the word used to explain the decision against.

But hey! There's a baby Jordan incubating in there!

Markana had another acupuncture appointment today and Dr Sheng is still placing bets on a girl. A colleague of Markana's gave us well-thought reasoning explaining her belief it's a girl, and most of the relatives have also expressed visions of a she-baby. I tend to put a bit more faith in medical proof, but it's fun to get caught up in the "what if". Regardless, we're not reviewing Home Depot pink paint samples.

January 23, 2008

The road to here

Chip and I still look at each other and wonder can this really be true. I suppose starting this blog is our first courageous effort into our present lives and glimpse into our future. It still feels surreal to me. If you are visiting this blog, you most likely are a family member or dear friend and know how important all of this is to us. I would like to take time to share our story for those who may be searching the web for something personal that responds to their something personal as I did.

Chip and I were married on January 1, 2006. We were so in love (as we still are) and ready to start our lives together. We both wanted a family and that was one of the main reasons we wanted to be married. We decided that I would stop taking the pill, knowing that your body may need some separation time before it will respond to pregnancy. Months later, still no response. This is where my commitment to conception begins.

On January 9, 2007 I had my first visit with Dr. Lihua Sheng, OMD, L.Ac-doctor of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She had been recommended to me by several people I had spoken to about our problems with fertility-she was known for her success in helping couples to conceive. I really wanted to conceive a baby naturally or at least try this route before we depleted our savings account and put my body through the pains of fertility treatments.

I have had a few sessions of Acupuncture while living in Los Angeles and did find the practice to be helpful. I had been on a waiting list for 2 months for Dr. Sheng and was very anxious about my first visit. She is an adorable Chinese woman and I immediately felt comfortable with her. On my first visit we spoke about my medical history, she looked at my nails and my tongue and then she read my pulse. I am still fascinated by this. She spoke to me about how my body was not ready for reproduction. She said that the body is like a machine and that all the parts have to be in good working condition before it can work properly. She said that not all women are able to conceive, but that I was and one day I would have a beautiful baby. I loved her already.

I cannot tell you how many needles I have had in my head, feet, legs, knees, arms, hands, back and especially my stomach. She also ask me to drink a tea twice a day that had been blended especially for me. I have no idea what was in that tea, but I was committed to do anything that she told me to if it would help me get pregnant. (I know that Chip's mom worried about what was in the tea) I staring charting my temperature every morning, completely changed my diet, no more caffeine and no more sugar. No more sugar! One of the hardest things I have ever done. I slipped off the wagon a couple of times and by reading my pulse she would know. How does she know??? I would be in trouble with her and she would say "You want to have baby, right"? No more sugar for me.

On Monday, March 26, 2007 I took a home pregnancy test and I was pregnant. I knew that I was. I told Chip on Saturday that I wanted to take a test and he said that I shouldn't, that it would only make me upset. I agreed. Then, when my temperature went up Monday morning, and Chip had already left for work, I took the test and when I got the results I just sat at my desk and cried and cried. I immediately was terrified and have been terrified ever since.

We went into the pregnancy with our eyes open wide and our hearts very full. We were so excited to share this wonderful news with our family and friends. We had our 8 week ultrasound and got to see our little baby that affectionately became known in our home as "Bud". We returned to the doctor at 11.5 weeks to hear the heartbeat. The doctor was unable to find the heartbeat with the doppler, so she preformed an ultrasound. There was our baby on the screen, but there was no heartbeat. The doctor gave us a moment alone in the room. She came back in the room, and though it must have been difficult, she spoke to us about having a D&C to remove the fetus and that she would like to do it the next day. We were not prepared for this. The next morning I went into surgery.

As most of you know, I am a pretty strong person and recover quickly. When I was recovering from surgery, I had a lot of time to think. In my grief, I tried to find peace in knowing that Chip and I were able to conceive and that something was wrong with the baby and there was nothing that we could have done. You have no way to know how long this inner strength will persist and when reality sets in and you wonder how you will ever get out of bed. I experienced a lot of both that weekend. I still think about that little baby.

I gave my body a little time to heal physically and Dr. Sheung blended a tea to help with the recovery. After some time passed, I was back to charting my temperature, dieting and digesting everything I could read about miscarriage and possible contributing factors. I knew that we could get pregnant, but how do we keep the pregnancy?

On Monday, September 24, 2007 I took a home pregnancy test and it was positive. I couldn't breathe. I immediately called the doctor and she asked my to come in for blood work. The pregnancy was confirmed. I had an appointment with Dr. Sheng and told her the news. She said that progesterone seemed low. Damn progesterone-always my issue. The following day the doctor confirmed that my progesterone was low and that she wanted to start me on Prometrium. I did not like this. I did not want to take medication. I had worked so hard to conceive this baby naturally. In the end, even Dr. Sheng said that it was best to take the medication. I complied.

We were absolutely freaked out. I know I was. I did not feel great on Friday, but being pregnant, there are many days that you do not feel well. We went to visit my parents that weekend. I woke up Saturday morning and had some light spotting. I called the emergency nurses line and my doctors office and she told me that it could all be very normal. She said to monitor the spotting and I should only be concerned if the flow gets heavier and I start cramping. My doctor was in the ER that weekend, so she said that she would consult with her and get back to me. Within 2 hours, I was bleeding heavily and cramping. We knew what was happening and decided to go back to Nashville to be near the hospital if needed and to rest in the comfort of our home. We miscarried that weekend.

Here we were again. The whole thing was really exhausting. Physically and especially emotionally. Within less than a week we were pregnant, low progesterone, put on Prometrium and then losing the pregnancy. We decided that we needed a break. No more temperate, no more dieting, no more stress. We felt good about our decision-it felt right.

On Friday, November 2, 2007 I took a home pregnancy test and it was positive. I knew that I was late, but also knew that with the miscarriage last month that things could be a little off track. We were pregnant - again. We certainly had not intended for this to happen. I again am sitting on the edge of the bathtub crying. I called my doctor and she said to come in for blood work. I told her that I was scared that it was too soon. She said that every pregnancy is new, so maybe everything will be ok. She immediatley put me on the Promtrium (which I took through 11 weeks). I had just started a new job and Chip came by to visit that day after he got off work. Funny for him to surprise me at work like that. He sat in my office and we chatted about our day and nonsense and then I blurted out "we're pregnant". He looked at me with confusion. Believe me, it was confusing to me as well. It took a while for it to sink in for both of us. A good long while.

On Thursday, November 29, we had our first ultrasound (see image below). Everything looked great. After that you would think that I would feel better. Well, I didn't. I allowed myself to get completely consumed by fear. It is was all I could think about. Every cramp or discomfort paralyzed me. I was making myself physically ill. This certainly was not good for the baby. Our next appointment was not until January 3-I was never going to make it. On Friday, December 14, 2007 I finally convinced my doctor to see me. The doctor was actually not in the office that day, but her sweet nurse said that she would see me. I left work, picked Chip up at his office and off we went. The nurse tried to hear the heartbeat with the Doppler and had no luck. She knew we were scared and she decided to do an ultrasound. Then a different nurse came in and wanted to give the Doppler a shot. She found it - we had a heartbeat. I was happy of course, but still completely terrified. I couldn't get past it.

At this point, our family and closest friends are all kind of on stand by. Nobody wants to get too close. I understand. The emotional circus of all of this has been is too much for everyone. You have to keep your guard up a little. My mom gave the baby 2 presents for Christmas. It was big for her to take the first step. It was good to be happy for a moment and feel like everything was as it should be. I thank her for that.

On Thursday, January 3, 2008 we had our appointment with the doctor. We had been waiting for this appointment for so long. The baby was 13 weeks, 3 days. Again, there was a heartbeat. We were giddy. On that day, we really had to make a decision to turn this thing around. It was time to celebrate in this pregnancy. I sent an email out to friends announcing our big news. On February 7 we will have another ultrasound and find out the sex of the baby. We cannot wait!

Calm. Peace. Beautiful baby. (Words from Dr. Sheng)

January 22, 2008

Post #1

It's only fitting that our first entry begin with the image that excited us most. At the time of this ultrasound, we had already been through a series of tough doctor visits and disappointments — one lost heartbeat at 11 weeks and two chemical pregnancies. This image was taken at eight weeks, but the relief occurred four weeks later with a successful Doppler heartbeat. Now we're in our 16th week and excited about the pending "what sex is it?" visit at week 18.

Our intent with this blog is to chronicle our march towards parenthood for those who can only be near us virtually, and, according to our shortlist of new blogging parentals, start a continuous record of our lives as they change dramatically. We're excited and scared, anxious and cautious. Here goes...