Monday, July 21, 2014

Brynnie is 18 months!

Brynleigh turned 18 months a couple weeks ago, on the 4th. I can't believe she's so old already. She's not a baby anymore, and it makes me so sad. She's incredibly smart though, Sterling and I are impressed everyday! She always surprises us by what she understands. Here's some updates:

-She knows lots of words. Some of her best/favorite ones are: no, easy, eat, bites, more, milk, juice, night-night, apple, shoes, ball, snack, boots (this is what she calls Dora the Explorer, because of the monkey), duck, bird, bee, meat, pee, poo, wipes, diaper (all the potty words, yes), baby, and teeth. We're working on phrases--she's working on repeating "Love you", though it sounds more like "shuhs su". Not sure why she makes an 's' sound instead of 'l'. But it's cute regardless.
-She can point to and say ears, eyes, nose, hair, mouth, teeth, feet, and belly (belly button).
-She calls pillows 'marsh', as in marshmallows. It's still a mystery how she knows the word marshmallow and why she thinks pillows are marshmallows. She calls real marshmallows by name, too.
-She loves smelling flowers.
-She LOVES dogs. At a bridal shower in CA last month, she had 3 big dogs pretty much mauling her with licks and she thought it was fantastic. 
-She dances when music comes on. Her best dance move is twisting her torso and shaking her arms. It's pretty funny.
-She loves pointing out other babies. Sometimes she'll point to a kid who is like 8 and calls them a baby, but close enough.
-She loves brushing her teeth. Whenever she sees me or Sterling brushing ours, she yells "Teeth! Teeth!" until we hand over her toothbrush. It's more just chewing on her toothbrush right now, but I figure it's still good.
-She can point out and make the noises of: dogs, cats, sheep, horses, cows, and bees.
-She's a pretty picky eater. And she refuses to sit down for meals, so I usually just put a plate of finger food on the coffee table in the living room so she can grab some bites as she walks around doing whatever it is that she does. Some foods she'll usually eat without a fight are fruit snacks, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pickles, meat, cheese, pretzels, bananas, plain whole wheat pasta shells, and frozen peas.
-Seems to go through phases of sleeping good then bad, but we've been in a good sleeping phase for awhile now! She goes to bed around 8pm and wakes up between 6-7:30am, and doesn't usually wake at all during the night. Then she'll take a nap after lunch that's between 2-3 hours long.
-She is SUCH a daddy's girl. She loves waving to him out the window when he leaves for work. Everyday when I get her up after her nap, the first thing she says is "Dadda? Dadda?", asking if he's home. Those two are the best of friends. 

That's all I can think of right now. But the bottom line is, she's growing and learning so fast and is the best little girl ever! We love her so so much.






Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Due date.

Today was supposed to be my due date. It's been close to 4 months since Brooklyn left us. How did that happen? Some days it still feels so fresh.

It's summer now. The snow is melted, the grass is green. The perpetual frost of this valley has finally let up for a few short months. It would have been such a beautiful time to have a new baby in the house. I should have Brooklyn in my arms now, at least that was the plan. I planned on quiet summer days with my two girls. I planned on having a crazy 17 month old and a newborn.

 Life goes on, whether you're ready for it or not. I feel like much of February, March, and April were a blur. Brynleigh has suddenly morphed into a toddler who talks and understands what we say, and responds to us. I've been trying to absorb as much of her as I can, time is so precious.

I've been settling into my role as a bereaved mom, who shares sad smiles with women who confide in me that they know all too well what I've been going through. It's a club that I wish I wasn't in, yet take comfort in knowing there are other members.

All this time, I've still felt pregnant in a way, since I knew I should have been. I guess that can be over now.  I've been dreading this day (month, really) as it's the last real mark Brooklyn has left. She was supposed to join our family around this time, and even though she's gone now, it still belongs to her. It's the last thing I've been holding onto.

Some days, I think I'm doing great. I think I'm so strong and resilient, that I've overcome such a trial. Other days, I'm a mess still. I'm sad and searching for answers I know I can't have. I think about how I could have changed something and I get hopeful, then have to remind myself that there are no do-overs--Brooklyn is gone. I think about how much my life changed so quickly and how stunned I am to be where I am now. I marvel at how naive I was before this all happened, I had no clue any of this was coming. But who would?

This is life now, this sad chapter of our life and these struggles that are still ahead of us. I know I'm still blessed through it all, and I see that everyday, too. As much as I don't want to be written into this story, I am. I know there's a lot of happiness to come, as well, and I know we'll get there someday.






Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What's next.

I met a (pretty young) woman the other day who's pregnant with her sixth child. Six. How can some women just keep popping out babies like it's nothing? I get pretty jealous. I'd love to have six kids. But I'm pretty sure having more than one, maybe two, more is pretty much impossible.

I think we've ruled out adoption, for now. It might be in our future still, but for this next time around, I think we're trying the old-fashioned way one more time. We've fasted, we've prayed, I got my Patriarchal blessing, we've seen multiple specialists down at the University of Utah, and I've read more studies, articles, and forums online than I probably did my entire college career.

We know we're just about guaranteed to have one (most likely quite a few) miscarriages. One part of me wants to say that I hope they're early miscarriages, because losing another baby further along would be so so hard, and because putting my body through more c-sections gets riskier every time. But the other part doesn't totally mean that, because the little time I had with Brooklyn was so very precious. It's just about all I have. Though I'd imagine losing her was much harder than an early miscarriage would be, I'm still grateful she didn't leave me earlier. An earlier miscarriage would be hard because I wouldn't get time to know the little life growing inside of me.

Anyway, we know we have a hard road ahead of us still. We don't know when exactly we'll be beginning on that road yet. I know I need to be responsible and let my body heal from this c-section so that we don't have even more risks posed to us. We're scared but we have faith, somehow.

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!