Wednesday, April 9, 2014

overload.

There is so much information to process about all this chromosome stuff. Seriously, I read so much about it and it is all so utterly confusing. Like today, I was finally thinking I was understanding it and I found out that if we decided to conceive naturally, our baby could have an entirely different disorder, Trisomy 14 (also known as a million different confusing names....yeah, that sure helps) other than just the prospective Down Syndrome.

And don't even get me started on this IVF-PGD junk. I tried tackling some of that yesterday and called Sterling bawling because I kept getting transferred around in a circle of departments at the Utah Center for Reproductive Medicine and everyone was asking me questions I didn't understand. Do they really expect someone who is calling for a consultation to be an expert?

Oh, and health insurance sucks. Even when you think you have a great plan, you don't. Your out-of-pocket expenses and deductible doubles without notice.

I wish someone could just tell me what to do from here. I sure don't know what decision to make. And I'm reeeeally tired of trying to figure it out. Just put a healthy, happy baby in my arms for me to love, please.

Oh, and Dear Jenelle from Teen Mom 2: You seem to have this inexplicable problem of purposely getting yourself knocked up then contemplating abortion. How about you just give me all these babies you can't decide if you want? I'd drive to South Carolina in a heartbeat, I promise.



.....okay, maybe watching dumb girls on MTV isn't the best thing for me to do in my current situation. But, seriously. Come on.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Test results, answers, and lots of decisions.

Yesterday we had an appointment with a high-risk obstetrician from the University of Utah. He gave us the results of our genetic testing--I'm a carrier for Robertsonian Translocation Down Syndrome. We discussed what this means for future pregnancies. Basically, we have a 50/50 chance of RT Downs in each pregnancy. Out of the 50% chance of not having it, the baby has an equal chance of being a carrier, like me, or being perfectly healthy and chromosomally normal. We don't know which category Brynleigh falls into, she'll have to be tested sometime in the future. Hopefully she isn't a carrier so she never has to go through this and face these hard choices.

Out of the 50% chance that a future baby would have Down Syndrome, there's a 15% chance the baby would just be born with it and  a 35% chance that we'd lose the baby sometime during the pregnancy (or I'd go into labor very early and lose the baby after birth, like Brooklyn). With that being said, this doctor thinks the RT Downs is why Brooklyn didn't make it, so we are thankful to have that answer now.

So essentially, there's only a 25% chance of us having a perfectly healthy baby with no negative consequences. Not the best odds.

Getting pregnant naturally just doesn't seem to be something that is in the cards for us at this point in our lives. We can't handle losing another sweet baby, and 35% is far too high. Even if we fell into that 15% of having a baby with RT Down Syndrome, the baby would be at a high risk for heart defects, leukemia, and other disorders/diseases that I don't want to see my child go through.

We'll be meeting with both a genetics counselor and an infertility specialist down in Salt Lake City soon. The infertility specialist will talk to us about our options of using IVF PGD (invitro fertilization preimplantation genetic diagnosis) to conceive. This is where we'd do IVF and they'd be able to look through our fertilized embryos and choose ones that are chromosomally normal to implant. We don't know exact details and rates of success yet, but the doctor said he believes the U of U fertility center has about a 65% success rate. IVF is not a fun process, and it is pretty dang expensive.

Our other option is adoption. We plan on meeting with LDS Family Services soon to discuss the ins and outs of adoption through them. Adoption is, of course, a difficult, emotional process to go through and it really intimidates me. But none of our options are easy in the least, and we know our family isn't complete yet. For now, we're learning all we can about our options and putting a lot of thought and prayer into determining what the best route is for us.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Brooklyn May Stoddard

On February 14th, 2014, we lost our sweet baby girl, Brooklyn May, to preterm labor caused by placental abruption at 24 weeks gestation. I started a blog to aid in my healing process.




Saturday, November 23, 2013

Baby #2!

Well, the secret's out. We're expecting another baby! I'm due June 4th, so I'm about 12.5 weeks along right now.

This pregnancy has been easier than my first in some ways, and much harder in other ways. I'm not as sick as I was with Brynleigh. I'm able to manage my morning (all day) sickness as long as I always keep something on my stomach. But I'm much more fatigued than I was with Brynnie, which makes sense because I wasn't chasing after a 10 month old when I was pregnant with her! I'm tired all the time. I try to nap when she naps, but that doesn't happen much lately. Her naptime is when I usually get myself bathed and dressed and decent-looking. And by the time I'm all done with that, she's awake. Lately she only takes one nap a day pretty frequently (which I am SO not ready for) so there's really no time for me to nap.

And her nighttime sleeping....oh gosh. Somehow we got away from our great sleep-training schedule. I got into a bad habit of rocking and feeding her back to sleep, I think because she was sick? I don't even remember how it started, but now she wakes up 2-4 times a night and has to be rocked and fed back to sleep. I hate it, but I hate sleep training, too, so I've been putting off getting her back into a good schedule. I'm doing it this week though. I have to. I neeeeed sleep. And she does too! And I'm not going to be rocking two babies to sleep a million times a night come June. No, thank you.

Oh, and the little monster is walking now. Like, really walking. She walks around the house instead of crawling. She is so good! Everyone is amazed that she's walking so good so early. We can't believe she's getting so big and so smart so quickly!

Anyway, back to pregnancy stuff. Everything is going well so far. I found a great doctor (at least, we think so thus far) in Pocatello who does VBACs (apparently only 2 OBs in the area even do VBACs?! Crazy.) and he gives me an 80% chance of having a successful one. So, we're hoping. We found out I have a retroverted uterus, which I likely had my first pregnancy, but my lovely old doctor just didn't care to tell me about. And my placenta is anterior right now, so hopefully that changes because there's a slight chance it could cause complications with my VBAC. But everything is looking really good right now.

I'm showing a tiny bit, not enough for other people to really notice yet though. Except for some days when I have monster bloating. Then I look 6 months along. I lost a few pounds, but I've gained them back so I'm right at my pre-pregnancy weight right now. I'm about 7 pounds less than my pre-pregnancy weight with Brynleigh, so I fully intend on using those 7 pounds purely for Christmas candy. That works, right?

Seriously, is it Christmas yet? I want to down a dozen boxes of cordial cherries and a few bags of Lindt truffles and Ghiradelli peppermint bark. I'm just about done with my holiday shopping already. Really, Christmas is so much more exciting when you have kids. I'm going crazy this year. Sterling let me listen to Christmas music on the drive home from our anniversary date last week. It made my week. Because, let's be honest, he's kind of a party-pooper. He's more excited for Thanksgiving.

This was intended to be a pregnancy-announcement post, but instead you got a fully random update on my ever-exciting life. You can definitely expect more Christmas babble to come.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The one I wish I wasn't writing.

October has been a roller coaster month. A super emotional month. There were highs, but we'll talk about those another time.

I've been debating writing this post for the last week or so. Part of me doesn't want to address it publicly at all. But part of me wants to have an outlet, and since not many people read this blog, it feels most appropriate. 

Earlier this month, my dad spent a week in the hospital.

Long story short, a couple of days after he was released from the hospital, my parents called to tell me he was diagnosed with stage-3 lung cancer.

Sterling and I (and Brynleigh, who caught her first ever sickness on the 11 hour drive there) drove down to California a few days later, and my sister flew home, too, so that we'd all be there as my dad started radiation. He had his first round of chemo a few days ago. He seems to be doing really good so far.

I don't really know what else to say about it. I don't really know what to do or how to feel. Right now, I know that it's not benefiting anyone for me to be a mess, so I don't think about the reality of it much. I mean, I know the reality, I'd just rather go a day at a time for now.



“Whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 36:3).

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Lucky.

It's Saturday night.

I forgot that it was until my Facebook newsfeed was filled with pictures of California friends all dressed up & out at the bars and clubs, like it is every Friday and Saturday night. And let's be honest, pretty much every night of the week. Y'all sure like to party.

I'm sitting on my couch, baby asleep & husband at work still, in my fleecy leopard pajamas, eating mint chip ice cream and watching General Conference on the DVR, continually rewinding to re-listen to parts of talks I didn't fully absorb the first time around.

Sometimes I'm stunned when I think about where my life is at now. I don't know how this happened, but I know why.

And it's the happiest I've ever been.

And it just keeps getting better.

I don't know how I got so lucky.



Thursday, September 5, 2013

8 months!

Brynleigh is 8 months old! And she's growing up so fast, it's insane. She is a genius baby, for serious.

She crawls around the house super quickly. She stands up using the help of whatever she can find. She walks along holding onto the tables and couches. She learned how to crawl up on the fireplace (we need to teach her it's hot before winter comes!). She says "Dadad" (or Dadadadadadad) but won't even attempt to make an 'm' noise. She eats anything and everything and wants a bite of whatever anyone around her is eating. She's known her name for awhile now and will respond to us calling her, but pretends she doesn't know the word 'No' despite us using it more than we use her name. She cut her first two teeth in the past few days. She now sleeps in her own bedroom (except for the past couple fussy nights due to teething), but in her portable crib still, she refuses to use her big crib. She won't hold still for a second, especially not for a diaper change.

There's tons more, I'm sure, but I'll just move onto the picture part, cause I know that's what y'all really wanna see.




Pasta and a hunk of raw zucchini from the garden!

Nommin' that zucchini.

She HATES the vacuum and will only let me use it if she's in her carrier. She still looks a little scared here, doesn't she? She also hates blenders.


Eatin' a tortilla while Mom makes tacos.

Playing in the big crib.

Pulling Dad's beard while watching TV.

We love beets from the garden!

Licking the beaters after Mom made frosting. Seriously, we let this kid eat everything.

She likes crawling around with her toys in her mouth. She knows it's hilarious.

Trying to attack Mom's camera!



Walking along the couch!


Gnawing on' some apple slices!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Budgeting Win.

I don't think I've talked about this on here yet, but a few months ago Sterling and I decided we needed a serious money reform in our household.

We have a pretty good amount of debt. Having Brynleigh racked up close to $6000 in medical bills (thanks, emergency c-section!), we have about $5000 left on our car loan, most of our down payment on the house was taken care of with our tax refund money, but we still had some left over that we owed, then I insisted on getting new carpet in the house, so that was another $1500, then together we have about $60,000 in student loans. That's a lot, right? It sounds pretty scary.

Until a few months ago, we just put the paychecks in our bank account, used our debit cards for anything and everything without really keeping track of our spending, and we only paid the minimums on our debts.

In May, Sterling finally convinced me to start the Dave Ramsey program. I was scared of it, because living on a strict budget just doesn't sound like fun. But I gave in. We ordered Dave's Starter Pack and began our budget the first of June.

In addition to only using cash for everything aside from bills, we're also using the Snowball Method to pay off our debt. Once we pay off our smallest debt, we roll what we were paying on that debt into our payment for the next smallest debt, and so on. So we make increasingly larger payments, and it helps us pay off things pretty quickly.

Last month we paid off our dental bill. And yesterday, I made a payment of $665 toward our loan for the down payment, which paid it off completely! And we paid it off earlier than we were expecting even. That was a pretty proud moment for us. We've been really frugal with our money, so that we're able to make big payments like that! Next month we'll be able to pay off one of our big medical bills, which will be earlier than planned, also.

According to our plan, we should have all our debts except for the student loans paid off by June. Really though, it should be a couple of months earlier, since we're paying off everything else early, and Sterling will have bonuses to put toward the debts that we haven't figured in. So that'll be over $12,000 paid off in less than a year. Can't wait for that.

Then we'll get to the serious stuff. With all the other debt out of the way, we'll be putting everything toward our student loans. Our goal is to have all our student loans paid off by the time Sterling turns 30, so five years. I can't even imagine how good that'll feel. We hope to never go into debt again after that.

Having a firm plan for our money has been such a great thing for us. And it's a safeguard for our marriage too, since most divorces these days are caused over money issues! It's hard living so frugal at times, but we know it'll pay off later. We see all these people our age going out and buying ridiculous things all the time, and now we just shake our heads and talk about how bad of a financial decision that is.

We still go out and have fun, of course, but we have an "Entertainment Budget" we use for that, so we're really choosey on what we do for fun. And I went to Nashville last week (more on that later), and for my spending money there, I just planned in advance and cut back on other budgets and put the remaining in my Nashville fund. I also sold things like clothes I don't wear anymore on a local Facebook virtual yard sale page.

Anyway, I just wanted to share what we've been doing lately, because it really has been working for us! Dave Ramsey is a lifesaver, check him out if you need money help, too! His starter pack is only $45 and is SO worth it.

Friday, July 12, 2013

6 months!

Apparently the only times I blog anymore are just Brynleigh's monthly updates :)

My little monster is 6 months old! Half a year. I can't believe it. She is growing up SOOO fast. She changes everyday! She's always learning new things and is SO smart. Little genius baby.

Here's what's going on with the babe:

- Working on crawling! She tries so hard but can't quite get it down. She does push-ups-- she'll get up on her hands and toes in a plank position and just whines. Cutest/funniest thing ever.

- Even though she can't quite crawl, she sure does get around! She can scoot backwards, and she can pull herself around to reach things. And she rolls all over the place.

- She blows raspberries all the time. When she does her whiny cry (like when she wants something), she just blubbers and blows raspberries. It is so funny to watch.

- Loves food! She always wants to eat what we're eating. She's a spoiled little girl and is always getting tastes of adult food, like pudding and ice cream and jello salad. For her actual meal food, lately she loves beets, applesauce, oatmeal, and bananas. Oh man, she loves bananas.  We were surprised by how much she likes beets, too.

- Got her 6 month shots and took them like a champ! Not fussy at all.

- Weighs 14 lbs 11 oz. Only in the 9th percentile, but it's proportionate to her length, so the doctor says she is fine.

- She loves to talk and hear her own voice. She'll just sit there babbling and happy-screaming.

- Is back to sleeping through the night after a rough 5th month. Woooo!

- LOVES splashing. Every night she splashes out most of her bathtub water. She kicks her feet and slaps her hands in the water. She had a great time doing this when we went to the pool in Lava, too.

- Still is such a happy baby. She gets fussy, of course, but she's usually always happy and playful and smiling.

- Loves having her picture taken. When she sees the camera, she just hams it up and won't look away.


That's all I can think of for now. Picture time!



Model baby


Playing in our new (to us!) jumper!

Hammin' it up for the camera, as usual.

6 month photo! 4th of July!

After bathtime


She made her way over to the toy basket and started pulling everything out.

We went shopping and haaaad to try on this hat

Trying out our new sippy cup!


Friday, June 14, 2013

5 months!

As usual, I'm late on this post. But Brynleigh is 5 months old! Here's what's new with her:

-Is still such a happy baby! She's always smiling and she'll laugh and giggle, too.
-Still wearing 0-3 or 3-6 month clothes.
-Just started wearing size 2 diapers today!
-Is getting close to crawling. When I lay her down on the floor, she rolls over to her tummy right away and wants to start exploring. She'll turn herself around in circles and kick and try to reach for things just out of her reach. She can scoot a few inches, too!
-Her sleep schedule has been all over the place the last couple of weeks, so we're just waiting for that to work itself out. We can't wait to sleep through the night again!
-Wants a taste of whatever Sterling or I am eating. Her favorite is when Daddy lets her lick his popsicles. Her favorite food that she's really allowed to eat in bananas. I just cut them into little chunks and she loves it.
-She is always grabbing something! She loves grabbing Dad's hat and beard, and my face. She's got a good grip, too!
-She's learned how to crawl out of her bouncy chair....there's a picture below documenting her in the act!
-She's working on sitting up...she can for maybe 10 seconds, then she sees something she wants to reach for, and she falls over!

Now for pictures!



Caught her sleeping with her legs in the air like this. So funny!

Chattin with her froggie in her crib.


Escaping the bouncy chair!

Sitting up!




Naked baby playing with her Nashville owl friend.