Unexpectedly Expecting

The Adventures of One Woman's Journey Into Motherhood

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The Great Adventures of Noah D…

Nineteen months have come and gone.  I apologize for not posting for Noah’s eighteen month birthday.  Some of you may already know the crazy busy month we have experienced.

Trying to think back to what has transpired over the past two months is difficult.  But I’ll see if I can successfully put into words all that has changed in Noah D’s life as well as ours.

First, in order to be completely transparent, I have had to return to taking my blood pressure medication after coming off of it for about three weeks.  Unfortunately, my blood pressure was rising too high to continue without it.  However, I have to say that I am now on only half a dose daily, which is still amazing progress.  I happened to find my handwritten prescription dated 10/12/10 for my medication, which I never had filled.  It was written for 40 mg of the medication to be taken daily, if my reading was correct.  I am now on only 10 mg of that medication and looking forward to taking even less (like none) by the end of the year!!  So that covers the full disclosure of my recent health.  🙂

Now on to Noah.  I glanced over the last blog and found that Noah had just cut two molars and was just starting to sign.  Wow!  I didn’t realize it was just January when that all happened.  He has since broken two eye teeth through with another two coming in soon.  He’s still the best teether around so I’m definitely not complaining.

Noah and I have had a few adventures in the past two months.  One day, while playing with friends at TFC, Noah decided to throw up all over me and him after eating his lunch.  Nice, right?  Well, then all the kids decided to play in the mud puddle.  Was very cute and fun for them, but Noah’s backup outfit is definitely not the best for photographing.  Joel said something like, “That’s an interesting outfit.”  But for those moms out there who read this, you know how it is.  You don’t want to put anything in the diaper bag that you want him/her to wear on a regular basis.  The outfit is not supposed to be seen, except in an emergency.  Too bad for Noah that on this day, the cameras were shooting pics faster than lightning.  And the pics have already been posted on FB for the entire world to see!  😛

Then we went to Elachee Nature Center in Oakwood with some more friends for a mommy and me morning.  Noah loved seeing the live hawks up close!!  Otherwise, he was just glad to be out of the house.

We all went to Gatlinburg for a two-night stay with some dear friends of ours.  We took a stroll downtown where Noah saw things he’s never seen before… and then he saw some more!  There were so many people there!!  We went swimming at the condo where we were staying.  They call it a therapy pool and it truly is because it was at least 85 degrees in the water!!  Noah loved it although his little diaper was fuller than we had ever even known it could be!!  (I wasn’t about to buy swimmers for him for one dunk in the pool!!)  Joel found being in Gatlinburg truly surreal as he remembered walking the sidewalks with his parents when he was little.  And now we had Noah in a stroller walking the same sidewalks.

Before that, we all went up to Bibi’s cabin in Clayton to stay the night with some friends of ours from North Carolina.  Noah loves going to the cabin!!  He especially enjoyed playing with his new friend Harriet.  🙂

Sounds like we’ve not been home much lately, but we have.  At least, Noah and Joel have.  I was blessed to go on a ladies’ retreat recently and spend some much-needed time with old and new friends.  And then, several friends of mine gave me a surprise overnight party at the cabin on that same weekend.

I was super excited to go to Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta for the No Kid Hungry Baking Contest with a friend of mine.  We had a blast and really enjoyed sampling all of the creations.  I still think her cake was the best, but I know I’m a little biased.  (By the way, you can see the cake she made for the competition and one she made for my birthday on her FB at http://www.facebook.com/SweetDaisysCakes.  Be sure to like her page and/or pics.)

Speaking of my birthday, I had a fantastic 40th birthday this year.  The celebration never seemed to end!!  First, my hubby threw me a wonderful surprise party at Natalie Jane’s in Clarkesville with some of the best people in our lives!!  And then I had the surprise party at the cabin with more dear friends of mine.  Noah and Joel were the greatest at keeping everything a secret!  (Shout outs to Harriet & Frank, Raven, & Angie for long-distance driving to share my surprise with me!!)

Noah and Joel got me a really cute apron for my birthday, which is the perfect gift for me!!  Noah has decided that he LOVES to stand on a chair at the counter beside me when I’m fixing dinner.  In fact, he gets quite upset when he’s not able to for various reasons.  But when he does, he thoroughly enjoys watching me and making his own dinner with his spoons and bowls that we give him.  He’s tried several times to get to the knives.  Challenging to keep up with him while trying to make a meal but it’s worth it for him to have fun.

Another thing Noah loves doing right now is cleaning!  He absolutely loves to help us put things away.  We’re trying to teach him where things go like his clothes & trash.  Sometimes those get confused but not very often.

Noah’s not saying any new words.  We’re working on Grandma for their visit next month but right now it just comes out as “MA.”  Otherwise, Daddy and Mama are the only two words he can say for sure.  And now he knows which is which because we ask him all the time.

Ok, I have to dish on this one thing… which isn’t that what this whole blog is about anyway?  😉  He’s recently figured out that I’m Mama and Joel is Daddy and he is Noah.  So we’ll ask him, “Where’s Mama?” and he’ll point to me.  Same thing for Daddy and Noah.  Well, we decided to ask him where Jesus is and he raised him arms up to the sky!  We love it and are trying to teach him that Jesus is also in his heart.  But for now, we’ll keep asking as long as he’ll keep showing us.  🙂

I guess that’s enough for this blog.  I’m sure I’m missing something that will probably be lost in infamy.  For now, though, I think I’ve covered it all.  Picture time!

The place he loves more than anything else in the world... outside with his truck!

The place he loves more than anything else in the world… outside with his truck!

My little cutie patootie!!

My little cutie patootie!!

Hiking along Panther Creek before the rain came... 10 minutes later.  :)

Hiking along Panther Creek before the rain came… 10 minutes later. 🙂

Snack time in the tent.  Woohoo!

Snack time in the tent. Woohoo!

Noah playing the drum while Mommy tried percussion.

Noah playing the drum while Mommy tried percussion.

Noah holding Nehemiah... best buds already.

Noah holding Nehemiah… best buds already.

Helping Mommy get dinner ready.

Helping Mommy get dinner ready.

After dinner fun with Matt and Lauren.

After dinner fun with Matt and Lauren.

Playing the drums with Mommy at the Factory in NC.

Playing the drums with Mommy at the Factory in NC.

How much has he grown since we were there last summer?!?!

How much has he grown since we were there last summer?!?!

Noah and his animal friends in bed together.

Noah and his animal friends in bed together.

Trying to relive the old days... but I think he's too big for the bumbo now.

Trying to relive the old days… but I think he’s too big for the bumbo now.

If Noah didn't look like he does in this pic, this would be framed! Oh well. :)

If Noah didn’t look like he does in this pic, this would be framed! Oh well. 🙂

Reading with his new pal.

Reading with his new pal.

A fun weekend with Harriet and Frank from NC.

A fun weekend with Harriet and Frank from NC.

My surprise party at Natalie Jane's.

My surprise party at Natalie Jane’s.

Look Mommy... a worm!!

Look Mommy… a worm!!

Reading a book with Daddy.  Nothing better in the world!

Reading a book with Daddy. Nothing better in the world!

Holding Nehemiah... Noah's newest love to do thing!

Holding Nehemiah… Noah’s newest love to do thing!

Having fun in the mud with his new friend, Gabe.

Having fun in the mud with his new friend, Gabe.

Noah's new car seat... no more squished knees for our little man.

Noah’s new car seat… no more squished knees for our little man.

I'm gonna getcha!

I’m gonna getcha!

Raven made it to the cabin!!!  Such a rock star friend!

Raven made it to the cabin!!! Such a rock star friend!

Dear friends after a long night of talking.  I actually slept with that little man TWICE in one weekend!

Dear friends after a long night of talking. I actually slept with that little man TWICE in one weekend!

Mommy's little kitchen helper.

Mommy’s little kitchen helper.

This one's for you, Grandpa!

This one’s for you, Grandpa!

Enjoying Gatlinburg as a family.

Enjoying Gatlinburg as a family.

Mommy, which one did you say you wanted?  ;)

Mommy, which one did you say you wanted? 😉

Noah D. loves his animal friends... regardless of where they are.

Noah D. loves his animal friends… regardless of where they are.

Listening to a story about rabbits at Elachee Nature Center.

Listening to a story about rabbits at Elachee Nature Center.

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Ready for Battle

As you may know, I have been on blood pressure meds since the summer of 2010. At that time, I had an echocardiogram, a stress test, and a sleep study to determine that I had hypertension and a very mild case of sleep apnea. I decided to forgo the cpap and wanted to try just taking meds for my high blood pressure. At the time, my doctor mentioned that I could come off the meds if I changed my diet and exercised. Without clear direction or desire to change anything, I just started taking pills. Then came December.

In December 2010, I found out that I was pregnant with Noah. Fast forward nine months, and I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome. (Apparently, I had Class I HELLP which means that I had all three indicators for this syndrome. In doing further research, I have since found out that this is typically caused by gestational hypertension, i.e. high blood pressure.) Noah and I survived with God’s hand to live to see today and beyond.

Walk further with me as I give a synopsis of the last year or so of my life. I have never been one to cook much, let alone spend hours in the kitchen fixing meals. If it wasn’t quick and easy, I wasn’t interested. Thankfully, God brought Noah into our lives to change all of that. Once he started eating more and more solid food, I started to realize how little I knew about cooking and how much I didn’t like feeding him stuff loaded with junk that he didn’t need in his body. It was at about this time that we found out that Noah is highly allergic to dairy. That means I could not give him cheese (think grilled cheese), milk (got milk?), butter, sour cream, and yogurt. These items are essential to the form of cooking I had been doing until just recently.

As Noah grew, he learned to recognize the fact that he wanted to eat what Mommy and Daddy were eating. However, half the time he couldn’t because it had one or more of the above listed ingredients. I got to a point where I was tired of fixing two separate meals and never feeling like we were sitting down to a meal together.

Then we decided to drop our cable company. Now, sometimes you give things up merely for the benefit of saving money. Other times you do it on principle. Ours was mainly the first and not the second. Having said that, Joel found that there is a LOT of content that is free on the internet if you’re willing to look for it. In fact, we see more of the programs that we want to watch instead of the junk we don’t need to watch. (Sorry… got off on a tangent there. I promise, I’ll return back to the point immediately.) In browsing through documentaries, Joel decided to start watching some videos about food, specifically the food we eat and is processed in America.

Before Thanksgiving, we watched one documentary (Chow Down) that loosely talked about how eating a plant-based diet could dramatically alter one’s health. We talked about it but quickly walked away from it because we just weren’t that convinced. Then came Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving night found us watching the Forks over Knives documentary. Yes, we had just had our fill of mashed potatoes with gravy, roasted chicken, dressing to die for, and other food that we absolutely didn’t need to eat. Let’s just say, we were ripe for the pickin’.

The documentary basically discusses, and proves through two separate doctors, that plant-based diets can not only stop the effects of high blood pressure and diabetes, but they can REVERSE those effects on your body. I was almost speechless. That weekend, we sat down and had a serious discussion about our eating habits. And Joel agreed to “try” eating healthier with less dairy, meat, and other non-plant products. And to show his support from the start, he bought me the Forks over Knives cookbook. (On a side note, if you do decide to purchase this or any other book online, think twice. Please go to your local bookstore and have them order it for you. We need to stop giving our money to the big guys and start supporting our local economy better.)

Ok, so I got this cookbook and immediately my anxiety level went up. There are ingredients like quinoa, flax seed, millet, nutritional yeast, tofu, miso, sesame tahini, just to name a few. What???? I’d like to see the number of hands who actually know what half of these items are and how to cook them. My thoughts exactly. I really thought I had gotten in over my head. But I dove straight in and started cooking.

I started with the easy stuff, things I recognized. Lentil chili was a hit and has become part of my rotation. Then I moved to stuff like spinach béchamel. Okay, so maybe cauliflower shouldn’t be used as a crème sauce. There are other ways around this… I’ve found. 🙂

Again, I’ve navigated off-topic so I’ll right this ship to get back to the point at hand. Needless to say, my cooking skills have changed greatly since Thanksgiving. (Joel has shown his support even more so by buying me a new set of knives, a new set of wooden spoons, and a bamboo cutting board. I almost have a brand new kitchen!) Most of the food items I’ve made have been pretty good. I’m not sure I’ll try the baked ziti again anytime soon, but that’s ok. 🙂

So on Valentine’s Day, I had a follow-up appointment with my nurse practitioner to see how I was doing back on my first prescribed blood pressure meds. (I had to change while pregnant because there are issues with the meds and babies. I didn’t come off the pregnancy meds until I finished breastfeeding Noah in August.)

I go to the clinic, roll up my sleeve, and let them draw blood for the typical tests. I then went to the doctor’s office and did what I always am asked to do first… stand on the dreaded scale. The scale. I’ve hated it my whole life. We don’t own one and haven’t since we were first married. But on this day, I had a wake-up call. I got on the scale and instead of continuing to the number where I’ve hovered for far too long now, it stopped early… try 16 pounds early. I thought something was wrong with it. Seriously. The thing beeped, the nurse said, “Ok. Right this way.” I would love to have a picture of my face at that moment. Because my goal has not been to lose weight. This is a life-style change. I will eat this way for the rest of my life, as long as I can. I didn’t feel like I had lost that much weight. Honestly. Even now, I’m sitting here shaking my head because I have no words to describe how surprised I was at that scale.

So as I’m trying to text Joel about the weight loss, the nurse practitioner comes in. She says something about me wanting to get off my meds. In thinking ahead about this appointment, I had determined that I was going to stand my ground and talk them into letting me get off the meds. I was ready. I was so ready for battle, you would have been proud! I tend to get nervous when those who know way more than I do tell me something I need to do but I’m not interested. (Make sense?)

Anyway, I was armed and ready. I had already planned out how I was going to present my case. I’ve been eating healthier. I’ve (obviously) lost weight. I’m not exercising yet, but I feel like that will come soon. I am determined NOT to take this stupid medication for the rest of my life. (Well, I didn’t say stupid to her, but that’s how I felt.)

Here’s where there was more surprise… and tears.

She agreed.

She said that my numbers reflect that I’ve made a significant change in my life. She said that my glucose alone was 96. I hadn’t tested that low in the two years I’ve been going there. She said that not only was I not pre-diabetic any longer, but I’m not even in the range to be diabetic at all. (At my August visit, she wanted to prescribe me pre-diabetic pills because my glucose was still higher than they like it.)

She was just as surprised as I was at the conversation we were having. She even showed it to the main doctor’s nurse and was telling her how I had done it.

Here’s the best part. She wrote out instructions for how I am to remove the blood pressure meds from my life. Did I just type that??? Again, sitting here just trying to find words to express my feelings. I could have soared through the roof! I felt like I danced out of the clinic!!

In my hand, I had a piece of paper that said I would be medicine free in three weeks. THREE WEEKS! (She did, of course, tell me that if my blood pressure started going back up that I would have to get back on them. In fact, she stated that several times. I didn’t bother to argue.) 🙂

So the next morning, I started the process of removing the pills from my system.

Never did I imagine that I would be sitting here relaying this information. And never would I have thought that in less than 3 months, my life would take this incredible turn.

Without sounding cliché or Christiany, I’d like to give all praise to God for His healing hand in my life. Seriously. I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed over my heart. Joel’s prayed over my heart. We’ve prayed together for healing. And He is truly healing me. I don’t understand why, but I’m thankful that He is.

Have I taken steps to make life healthier for my family? Yes. But God is the One who holds my life in His hands. He desires for me to be healed! Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. This time, it did. And I can’t thank Him enough. I can’t thank Him enough for giving me the courage to take this on. I can’t thank Him enough for unveiling my eyes so I could see. I just can’t thank Him enough. And even though it’s not a good thing, I can’t thank Him enough for Noah’s allergies. Because without them, I’m not sure I would have ever even thought about it.

So there you have it. I just wanted to express my joy at what God is doing and has done in our lives. Once more, He has proven His faithfulness in our lives. And more praise needs to be poured on Him as He deserves every ounce of us and more. I’m in love!! Blessings and thanks for reading. 🙂

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