Then God Decided To Surprise Me

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Thank you all so much for all the congratulations yesterday!  We are all so excited about our new little baby, and you all made me feel so loved by being excited with us!  

Here's the story of how Baby #3 came to be.

As most of you know, it took some trying for Derek and I to get pregnant with Wyatt and Gwen.  My cycles just don't like to function properly.  For Wyatt it took 11 months for me to ovulate.  Then even though my cycles came right back after I weaned him, it took us 8 months to get pregnant with Gwen because of a luteal phase defect.  I've had some fertility issues in the past.

I weaned Gwen around July 7th or 8th, but I felt like my cycles weren't going to come back right away.  Derek and I had talked about it and decided to start trying for Baby #3 in November, and I was hoping my cycles would return before then.  I was already expecting it to take at least 6 months of trying for us to get everything back on track and figure out what we needed to do this time to get pregnant, based on our previous trying-to-conceive experiences.  It's always taken some strategizing for us to get pregnant.

I have to admit to getting a little bit of baby fever around the middle of July though.  I don't know why, but it seems like everyone starts announcing pregnancies or giving birth to sweet, squishy little newborns when I'm no longer pregnant!  Then when I am pregnant, the announcements die down.  I love being pregnant, so all the recent pregnancy announcements were starting to get to me.  I was laughing at myself for getting baby fever too early and I just kept thinking about November.

After weaning Gwen, I was watching my signs carefully, waiting for my cycles to come back.  About 2 weeks after I weaned her I though I might be getting close to ovulating, but it ended up being a false alarm, because there was no temperature shift.  Then my other fertility signs went completely away, and I just assumed my body was going to take longer to get back to normal, though I kept taking my temperature to track things.

  (If you have no idea what I'm talking about with all this temperature stuff, you should read these posts I wrote a few years ago, but be prepared for TMI.  I'm talking about women's cycles here, after all, but if you are a woman you should probably be aware.  Public service announcement of the day.)

About a week after all my ovulation symptoms disappeared, my temperature went up, then kind of down, then back up again, and just did some wacky things.  Now, when we were trying for Wyatt my temperature was all over the place, and I was not ovulating.  When I weaned Wyatt and we started trying for Gwen, my temperature did some weird things that cycle too, so I wasn't really sure what was going on at first.  However, I just had this feeling that I might have ovulated.  The temperatures did have a general upward shift, even though they were all over the place.  There was no way to be sure except to wait the two weeks, so that's what I did.

It crossed my mind that I could have gotten pregnant, but I thought it was unlikely.  Not only were things not even close to being perfect for conception (in the past everything has had to be perfect for me to get pregnant), but we were not actively trying and had taken certain precautions.  However we weren't exactly being super careful, so I knew the possibility was there.  I just thought it was very improbable, considering my history.

But then weird things started happening.  That week after I ovulated, I suddenly felt extremely tired.  Like I was going to die if I didn't get some sleep.  This was also the same week Gwen started waking up a lot, so I chalked it up to that, but I still thought my fatigue was a little excessive, even with her not sleeping well.  It took me by surprise because I didn't remember ever feeling that way after ovulating before, but I knew it was way too early for pregnancy symptoms even if that's what it was, so I just dismissed it.

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(Me, pregnant without knowing it, holding the big sister.)

However, the next week my chest started hurting.  Just little twinges here and there, but that was really unusual to me.  My chest is never tender, except when I'm pregnant.  That is not one of my PMS symptoms.

It was so odd to me that after a couple days I pulled out one of my dollar store pregnancy tests and took it.  Negative.  So I let myself get a Venti mocha (non-decaf).

Still, a little voice kept telling me to make sure my bath water wasn't too hot and to watch the ingredients in my tea, just in case.

A couple days later things got even more weird.  I saw an empty root beer bottle in the back of my mom's car, and suddenly I just had to have a root beer.  I made Derek go buy me one.  I felt like I had to visit the bathroom during the day way more than usual.  My lower back started to hurt (which isn't necessarily a pregnancy symptom, but it was unusual for me).  Then that night I woke up feeling famished.  I almost went upstairs to get a snack but I tried to just go back to sleep instead.

(The announcement photos . . .)

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 (A behind-the-scenes shot of our pumpkin photo shoot.  The kids only lasted so long!  I promise Wyatt really is happy about his little brother or sister, despite the facial expression here!)

I tell you, I have never had a two week wait with more symptoms - not even when I was pregnant with Wyatt and Gwen!  It was just bizarre to me.  I even wrote a post on my private baby blog, wondering if I was going crazy.

The next day would be 14 days past ovulation, so I knew something would show one way or another, and I decided to take a pregnancy test.  I was really expecting it to be negative, and then I thought I could expect Aunt Flow later that day.  I think a little part of me knew I was pregnant, but part of me just didn't think it could possibly be that easy, especially when so many factors weren't in line with us getting pregnant.

I held it in all night (even though I really had to go).  After I woke up I headed to the bathroom, caught the urine in a cup (because that's how my cheap tests work), and grabbed the little dropper and deposited four drops into the well.

And I waited.  I looked at it again a minute later, and it looked pretty negative to me, so I thought I should probably just expect to start soon.  Then I took another look at it a minute later.  And I squinted. And I brought it closer to the light.  Was that a line?  It looked like a little smudge, a very light shadow right where I expected the line to be.

I tried to convince myself that it was probably still a negative and that I was just seeing a smudge.  But I had started to shake just a little bit.  The words "intensity of lines may vary", from the box of the cheapy kept replaying in my mind.

What to do now?  I had another generic test from Target in the cupboard - a not-quite-so-cheapy. I could just wait to get my period since the first test was most likely a negative, and then if I didn't get it by Monday I could take the test.  Or I could take it today, and then if it was negative I could just buy some more tests, wait for my Aunt Flow to come, and then if it didn't come by Monday test again.

I ran over my options in my head several times, even though I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to take that test.

So I pulled it out of the cupboard, hands shaking a little, and read the directions (because I always do, even though I've taken tons of pregnancy tests).  I used my handy-dandy cup of urine (I tell you, I am never peeing directly on the stick again), and took the other test.

Normally when I take these tests, I make myself not look at it for the full 2-3 minutes, and then look.  But not today.  I sat there and stared at the results window.

At first I thought it was going to be negative.  The color in the window looked pretty even.

But then a very faint line started to show, and I watched it get darker and darker.

Until I was left there staring at a test with TWO very clear lines!  Albeit one fainter than the other.

I just sat there, and grinned, and whispered "Oh my gosh, I'm pregnant".  I breathed a prayer of thanks to God for letting me get pregnant!  And so easily!

Of course, I couldn't just let it be, so I grabbed one of the Clearblue digital tests that I had bought that week on a whim, and I took that one too.  And that blessed word "pregnant" flashed on the screen!

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(My first set of pregnancy tests.  Only three of many.) 

I was in shock a little bit.  I was pregnant!  With a surprise baby!  I never in my life thought I'd have a surprise baby!

I hurried and got ready for the day, put on my makeup, got dressed, and went outside to find Derek (he was working on the porch).  I said "Babe?" and he pulled his headphones out of his ears.

I think at first he thought I wanted him to do something, but I said "So you know how I've been so tired lately?"  And he said "Yeah?" with a little suspicion.  Then I pulled the test from behind my back and said "I'm pregnant!" And he said "Whaaat?" In a good way!  

His next words were "No way . . . How?" and I said I didn't know!  (I.e. I didn't know how we got pregnant considering it was so unlikely at that time.  We do know how babies are made!)  I said that I guess God wanted us to get pregnant!  And we laughed and went over everything.  I, of course, was grinning and Derek was too.  I asked him if he was happy and he said that he was.

We are both so happy!

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(I took this picture of Derek with our little pumpkin because I didn't like that he was being left out of the announcement shots.)

I went into the doctor the next Monday to get my blood drawn (at my request).  Since my progesterone was low with Gwen  wanted to make sure that wasn't happening with this baby.  My progesterone came back borderline, so my doctor put me on supplements, which I'm working off of now.  

My HCG came back at 439.  Anything under 1000 and they want you to come back in two days to makes sure your HCG is doubling, which kind of freaked me out a little bit.  I knew the lines on the tests were lighter than any of my other positives ever were, and I had my blood drawn on the same day in my pregnancy with Gwen and they were already at 1400, so I was nervous.  I so wanted everything to be okay with this baby.  I've had to give this baby and my cares over to the Lord a lot this pregnancy and trust Him to take care of this little life He has given me.  But my numbers came back at 962 - more than doubled, so everything was fine! Worrying is so useless, but it's so hard not to do.

On September 13th, when I was almost 9 weeks, we had our first ultrasound.  I was so happy because Derek was able to make it back in time to come with me!  We saw our beautiful little baby, with a nice strong heartbeat at 173, and measuring right on track!  We were able to go out to dinner afterward, and it was such a nice date after our big ultrasound!

We decided to keep it our little secret for a while this time around, just for fun.  A post is coming on how we told our families!

It seemed surreal for a long time that I was actually pregnant!  I'm not sure it really sunk in for a few weeks.  Things just seemed so easy.  It's never been easy. 

Yet here we are with this beautiful surprise!  

I think it's funny how the Lord seems to like to surprise us.  Just when we think we've got something figured out, He decides to do the unexpected.  When people would ask us about future kids, I kept telling people that I was expecting it to take a while to get pregnant with our third, but maybe God would surprise me.  And He did!  Even more than I thought since we weren't even trying and I really didn't think it was really possible.  But everything is possible with God, and He is the Author of Life.  He decides when it starts, and He can allow a baby to be conceived even when all other earthly knowledge would say it can't happen.  He is the Worker of miracles - and babies are miracles.  Every one of them.

I can't wait to meet my next little miracle!

P.S.  Lauren pointed out yesterday that April 20, 2014 (my due date) is also Easter Sunday!  How cool is that?  Believe it or not, I did not realize that day was also Easter until she told me!  I'm 12.5 weeks pregnant now.

P.P.S. Check back tomorrow for a belly picture catch-up!

One, Two . . . Three Little Pumpkins

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We are thrilled to announce that we are expecting Baby #3 on April 20, 2014!  We feel beyond blessed right now by this perfect little surprise and gift from God!

More details coming tomorrow!

Unforseeable Review

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I have to admit, the reason I requested Unforseeable by Nancy Mehl was because I saw that the main character was named Callie!  I rarely meet a Callie in real life, and I think I've read two other books with a character named Callie.  It's kind of fun to see your name in print.

Callie Hoffman is a Mennonite woman, getting ready to marry the man she loves, Levi.  But then a series of murders come to their town, and Levi starts acting like he knows something about what's happening.  At the same time Callie starts to wrestle with some things about herself that she has never faced before.  Will they find the murderer?  What does Levi know?  Will Callie and Levi get their happily ever after?

I really enjoyed this book.  I felt like the struggles and doubts that Callie had throughout the book were believable, and there was good character growth (which I always like).  The mystery was really good, and I didn't figure it out until the very end, and even then there was a little surprise twist that I wasn't expecting at all.

I also really liked Mehl's style of writing.  If I had to pick one word to describe this book, I would say "cozy".  Mehl's writing style is warm and cozy, which is quite a feat when she is writing about blizzards and murders.

I would definitely like to read the other books in this series after reading this one, and I would recommend this book!  It had just the right amount of suspense, romance, coziness, and lessons-learned.  Good read.

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

Stranded Review

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In Stranded by Dani Pettrey, Darcy St. James returns to Alaska to help her old friend with an undercover investigation aboard a cruise ship - but right after she arrives, her friend goes missing.  Darcy goes on a hunt for her friend while struggling to maintain her cover.  What she doesn't expect is to run into Gage, the man she almost fell for on her last trip to Alaska.

I liked this book. It was full of adventure and sinister happenings, and I liked the romance woven in as well.  The characters were likable, and it was easy to read.  The conclusion of the mystery was not something that I was expecting when I started the book.  I don't want to say too much so I don't ruin it, but I really liked it.

This is another one of those series where the characters are connected to characters in the other books, and once again it leaves me wanting to go back and read all their stories!  It also makes me want to visit Alaska.

I'm looking forward to checkin gout more of Pettrey's books - I love it when I find a new author that I like.  I would recommend this book - it's a perfect fall/winter read, because you can read about the cold Alaskan landscapes from the comfort of your cozy living room!

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

My Personality Confuses Me

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I think I must have a very confusing personality.

I recently took the Myers-Briggs personality test again.  I score moderately or strongly in two areas (intuition and judging).  But two of the areas I score almost exactly in the middle (extroverted and feeling).

The one that really confuses me is the introverted/extroverted one.  Why?  I took this test several years ago and I was introverted.  I took this test a couple weeks ago, and I was extroverted.  What?

When I'm in groups that I don't feel comfortable, or where I'm not sure I really belong, I am an introvert.  I also recharge with time by myself, which is an introverted thing.

However, I've always liked to get out and do things. I like social interaction, I like having events to look forward to.   I love parties.  I'm usually the one to set up gatherings with friends.  When I'm in a group where I'm comfortable, I talk a lot and carry the conversation at times.  All that points to extrovert.

Confusing much?

Then, I read this post, and I realized that I am actually a classic ambivert!

Ambivert: A person who is moderately comfortable with groups and social interaction, but also relishes time alone, away from a crowd.

This makes sense, because I was only 1% more extroverted than introverted on the test.

I think when I was a teenager I was definitely more of an introverted ambivert.  I liked doing things in groups, but I often felt awkward and quiet when I was actually there (unless it was a group that I had been a part of for years - then I felt more comfortable).

Now I think I'm more of an extroverted ambivert.  I need my alone time and I still feel a little weird in new groups, but I love getting out and doing things in groups and making new friends, and I don't mind being the initiator.

Thinking over this I also realized that I think the majority of my friends are introverts, or extroverts who aren't over the top.  I think there are two types of extroverts:

Group 1 - Extroverts that are very extroverted and border on overbearing/pushy.  Over-the-top extroverts can make me feel uncomfortable. 

Group 2 - Extroverts who are skilled at making others feel comfortable and drawing people into conversation.  I really like extroverts who focus on making people feel comfortable or included.  I actually married a member of this group.

I think more than anything my switch from introverted to extroverted has to do with me just growing up and becoming more comfortable in my own skin.  I'm comfortable with who I am now - when I was a teenager I was still figuring it out.  I've also figured out my type of people, the people who make me feel like myself.  I didn't know those people when I was a teenager.  Now I can spot "my kind of people" pretty easily, and those are the people I hang out with.  

Between knowing who I am better, and knowing what kind of people make me feel comfortable, that inner extrovert who was dying to get out all those years has made an appearance.  

Moral of the story?  People don't always fit into a box.  According to this website, all four of my potential personality combinations (considering I scored close to the middle in two categories) are "extremely rare" at 1-4% of the population.  Since I don't even fit into the "extremely rare" categories nicely, I'm assuming my personality is "extremely, extremely rare".  

But I have a feeling that everyone is "extremely, extremely rare" in some aspect of their personality.  No one fits perfectly into any one category, and even people who score exactly the same on these tests are still going to be different.  I like that.  What an imagination God has.

Second moral to the story?  Being a teenager is hard.  But hang in there, because things get much better once you hit your twenties.

P.S. If anyone is wondering, I'm officially proclaiming that the INFJ personality description here appears to get closest to my actual personality.

Lemon Fudge Recipe

Through Clouded Glass | Lemon Fudge Recipe

I really like citrusy things.

I'm not sure when this started, but ever since having babies I just get these cravings for citrus.  Like lemon in my water.  Or orange juice.  Or lemon bars.  Maybe I'm just deficient in vitamin C.

Regardless, lately I've been in the mood for lemon-something.  Then the other day I remembered seeing a recipe for lemon fudge on Pinterest a while back, so I looked it up.  However, I read through several different lemon fudge recipes, and . . . I just didn't like them.  Either they called for stuff I did not have on hand, or they seemed too complicated, or they had to set up over 4-6 hours.  Yeah, that wasn't working for me.  I wanted lemon fudge, now.

So I decided to invent my own.  I looked up a cherry almond white chocolate fudge recipe that I have used in the past as a starting point.

Through Clouded Glass | Lemon Fudge Recipe

I have to say, I love that white chocolate fudge recipe.  You could probably do all kinds of things with it besides just lemon, and it's one of those fudge recipes that is hard to mess up.  Kuddos to whoever invented it (apparently it first appeared in Woman's Day magazine?), because it's a good one.

So I changed a few things and turned it into lemon fudge!  It turned out pretty good, so I thought I'd share my little adaptation here.

Lemon Fudge

1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cups whole milk or cream
1/2 stick of butter
2-3 drops yellow food coloring (if desired)
10 oz. white chocolate chips
1 tbsp. lemon flavoring
1 tsp. lemon zest (optional)

1. Grease a small plate or pan with butter or cooking spray, and set aside.  

2. Mix together sugar, milk, butter, and food coloring in medium-sized pan.  Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  

Through Clouded Glass | Lemon Fudge Recipe

3. Boil for 5 minutes without stirring.  Actually I boiled it for 6 minutes the first time and it set up right away but it was a little riskier.  If you want to be safe just do 5 minutes and then expect it to take longer to completely set.

4. Remove from heat and stir until smooth.  Stir in white chocolate chips until melted. Stir in lemon flavoring (you might have to do this to taste, because if your fudge is still hot some of the flavoring will burn off).  Stir in lemon zest if desired.

5. Spread in prepared dish.

6. Now go lick the pan while you wait for the fudge to set up.

Through Clouded Glass | Lemon Fudge Recipe

And that's it!  Lemon fudge.  I'm feeling like I should try experimenting with some other fudge recipes I have and see what I can come up with.  I feel like so many fudge recipes are so complicated - I'd rather just stick with the recipes that I know work for me and see what I can do to change them up!

Anyone else have some amazing fudge recipes they'd like to share?

Through Clouded Glass | Lemon Fudge Recipe

Check out some of my other fudge recipes!

Gwendolyn At Nine Months

Gwendolyn is 9 months old!  That is so close to a year.  She is officially an "older" baby, and I can't believe it's been that long already!

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Right now she's in 12 month size clothes - we pretty much just skipped 9 month clothes altogether.  She's in size 3 shoes, and size 3 diapers.  We're not doing cloth diapers at the moment because she has a horrible diaper rash that I need to talk to her doctor about when I take her in for her 9 month appointment.  I'm also very curious to see how much she weighs now!

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This has been an exciting month for Miss Gwen. On September 2nd Gwen pulled up to her knees by herself!  Then just a couple weeks later, on September 17th, I came upstairs from putting Wyatt down for a nap.  I had the baby gate closed, and when I came up Gwen was standing up against the baby gate, just bawling her little eyes out!  I think she pulled to her feet and didn't know how to get back down!

 Since then she's gotten very good at getting up and down against all of our furniture though.  She's not really taking steps yet, but she loves standing (while she's holding onto something).  She looks so proud of herself when she pulls up on something.

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She has also started crawling on all fours more instead of doing her inchworm/lunge crawl.  I think the lunge crawl is on the way out.  This makes me slightly sad, but I'm glad she's learning so many new things!  

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For months Gwen has been eyeing our food whenever we sit down to eat.  She'll reach for our plates, and sometimes she watches us eat and makes a chewing motion with her mouth.  This month I started giving her more things that she can actually gnaw on, like mum mums (rice cookies), and puffs.  She loves it.  I think she feels like such a big girl when she is eating more chewable food.

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(Ignore the food smudge on the Bumbo that I clearly did not take time to clean off . . .)

She is also talking a lot more this month.  She has a lot of consonant noises now, and it's fun because she tries to copy some of the noises we make.  I taught her to say "mama" a couple months back - I'm not quite sure if she associates it with me or not, but when she's upset and she sees me she'll cry "momomomom".  Or when she is happy she'll sigh and then say "momomomom".  I love it.  Derek taught her to say "dada" the other day though, and she got it immediately - and now I have a hard time getting her to say "mama"!  Derek was just humming/singing a song to her the other day, and she started to copy the noises he was making then too.  She's definitely becoming more vocal.

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She lets us know when she's not happy - she knows how to screech.  She sometimes gives this "I'm-being-dramatic" cry, and it sounds like she's rolling her tongue while she's crying, like a vibrating noise.  The other day my dad said it was her Chewbacca cry, and I realized that's exactly what it sounds like!  It's super cute.  Ever since then when she cries like that Derek and I secretly smile at each other, because it's so funny and so Gwen.

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She is very into her toys right now.  Unfortunately she also gravitates toward anything Wyatt is currently playing with.  We're practicing sharing.

Everything, and I mean everything, goes straight into her mouth.  Wyatt's plastic toy animals?  Mouth.  Dog chew toys?  Mouth.  My necklace?  Teething toy.  Dog food?  She thinks it's people food (I've had to remember to put it up every morning or she'll eat it!).  Piece of lint?  Yummy.  I have to watch her like a hawk.  I do not remember Wyatt trying to eat everything like this girl does.

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I am happy to report that she has gotten past the wake-up-evey-two-hours phase that we suffered through last month!  I still cannot figure out what caused her to sleep so horribly.  I am just glad we're over it, and praying that she'll stay with more solid sleeping habits!  She's waking up once a night now, which is so much better.  No way am I complaining about that!

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No teeth yet.  I thought for sure a tooth was about to pop through when she wouldn't sleep all those nights, but there's nothing.  I'm just enjoying her gummy smile while it lasts!  I love gummy baby smiles, and Gwen gives huge ones!

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(This picture is blurry, but I loved her smile in it too much to not include it.)

Her personality is just so cute.  I love how she's getting to the point where she'll play with me and laugh with me.  She loves peekaboo right now!  Her new thing this month has been shaking her head back and forth (like to say "no"), and then stopping and waiting for me to laugh.  I think she's doing it on purpose to make me laugh, and it's so cute!  She loves to be dipped upside down, and she cracks up laughing!  She grins when I tilt her upside down and kiss her chin. Her newest thing is making a clicking noise with her tongue (another things Derek taught her), and she thinks it's so fun when you do it back.

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She's been giving me more baby kisses this month.  She loves to play with Wyatt.  This sounds awful, but she and Wyatt will throw their heads back against their car seats and then laugh at each other when they do it.  There is nothing I like more than hearing my babies giggling together from the back seat!  I love this age.

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My Beautiful Gwendolyn,

You are such a joy, Gwen Girl!  I can't believe you are getting so close to a year old!  You are growing so fast.

This month with you has just been fun.  

Daddy loves it when he picks you up, because you will put your hand on his shoulder and pat him with your hand.  It's so sweet.  You love your dad and I can definitely tell that you sleep better when he's home.

I love how you always have a smile for me, and how content you are just to sit or stand near me and play.  But you light up when I tickle you, or kiss you, or talk to you.  You just love our one-on-one, face-to-face time. I love it too.  You are so precious.

You've never been one to sleep in my arms much, but you've fallen asleep with me on the couch a few times this month.  I love feeling your little breaths going in and out.  You tuck your feet in and you just look so peaceful.

In one of the Anne of Green Gables books, Anne's mother writes that she loves her baby best when she's sleeping, and even better when she's awake.  That's how I feel too.  I love you awake, asleep, happy, crying, and everything in between.

Love you always, Sweet Girl.

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