Saturday, November 9, 2013

The "Honeymoon" Stage

I didn't think it would ever come.  I didn't think I would ever get there, but around 20 weeks something magical happened and I FEEL AWESOME.  

The most exciting thing about this change?  I love food again!  Steven and I joke that the way to MY heart is through my stomach.  I have missed food so much and it feels great to enjoy it as it was meant to be enjoyed. ;)

Now, I'll be honest, the nausea and puking hasn't completely subsided, but as a whole I am feeling MUCH better these days.  Man, if I had just known that the puking would "only" be the first half, I think it would've saved my sanity when I was 17-18 weeks along.  I was convinced that I was going to be one of the select few unfortunate moms that are sick the whole dang time.  And for the few moms that I know that are like that, I just want to give you a huge hug right now.  

Other fun things as of late:

-I am feeling our little guy move ALL THE TIME now!!  (is it sad that that comes second to me being able to eat food again?)

-I'm pretty much past the "awkward" pregnant stage.  Almost as sudden as the nausea went away, my belly decided to pop!  

-Steven has been able to feel our little guy moving too!  I never thought he'd be able to feel the baby's movements this early, but I've got pretty strong kicker in there…which may be a big issue later on.  Guess we'll see.  

-My maternity jeans and leggings are GREAT.  I could live in those leggings…they are so so comfy!

-No swelling (yet).  My ring still fits and my feet are just fine. 

-My belly button is flat!

All in all, we are happily humming along.  I'm a bit irrationally excited about the holidays this year…partly because my in-laws rented a beach house in Florida for Thanksgiving and partly because I get to spend Christmas with both sides of the family AT THE SAME TIME in Colorado.  It's going to be so great. 

ALSO, THE HOLIDAY FOOD.  Did I mention the holiday food?  My mother-in-law makes these sweet potatoes that are the best, and this blueberry-banana pie that I now look forward to every year.  YUM.  I'm drooling.  Gosh I'm such a fat kid.  I need to stop talking about food…

Speaking of which, dinner is calling!  

Until next time,

Amber and Baby Boy

Monday, October 21, 2013

It's a...


Steven and I will be welcoming a perfect, beautiful, bouncing (I'm sure) baby boy to our family! We are so excited.

Since we found out last week I haven't been able to stop wondering what our little boy might look like.  I personally think I married the most good-looking man in the world, and his childhood pictures are absolutely adorable.  I'm secretly hoping to have a little clone of Steven.  He was the cutest little boy!  I had so much fun looking through his pictures earlier that I thought I'd share a few...

 See???  The cutest!!  Age 4.  

 Steven's 4th birthday

I couldn't help myself...I love pouty faces! Apparently the soup he was eating was too spicy!

These were the earliest I could *safely* find.  They were taken during the Summer of 1991.  I know I have his baby pictures somewhere, but they're way up high and I need Steven to get them down for me haha.

It was also fun to look at his pictures in '91 because that was the year I was born!  It was fun to go back to my albums and find pictures of what I looked like during the exact same summer he was already stealing my heart...

Me and big brother Brandon

And just for kicks...a picture of my brother Jordan when he was almost 3 and myself at age 4.  

It has been so much fun *finally* knowing what we are having!  It just feels so much better to be able to say "him" and "he" instead of "the baby".  Since we've found out, it's almost felt like "Well, of course the baby's a boy!".  It just feels so right, to the point that I wonder why I didn't just "know" like some expecting moms do.  It's just meant to be!  

Stay tuned for the first 20 weeks bump progression...which, I'll be honest, isn't really that much.  But for those who have been asking, it's coming! 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Finding out!

It was Sunday July 7th, 2013.  Everything was normal, except that it wasn't.  I woke up to my alarm and got out of bed to get ready for church.

I had no reason to take a pregnancy test that morning.  I hadn't been having any symptoms, and I was still a day early.  But, I'm a notorious "stick-pee-er" and thought, "what the heck".  I was still groggy, and went about my business.  As I was just stepping into the shower I remembered, "Oh ya!  My test!" (literally, that's how non-excited/expecting I was about that pregnancy test that morning).  I was floored to see a positive result!  I collapsed on the toilet seat, put my face in my hands and starting bawling.  I wasn't even expecting to react that way!  I was so overwhelmed!

Once I collected myself I ran over to my cell phone to call Steven.  Half way through the ringing, I realized, "Crap!! I can't tell him now!  He's taking his board exam!".  Yep, he had woken up early that morning to go and take Step 2.  It was an 8 hour test which meant that I had to wait until 5:30 that evening to tell him that he was going to be a dad.  It was 7:30 in the morning then.  LONGEST DAY OF MY LIFE.

It was a whirlwind getting to church, and the primary lesson during sharing time was not easy on my "on the surface" emotions.  It was the first Sunday in July, and the theme that month was "Families Can Be Together Forever".  I was a mess.  I had to keep running back into the bathroom to wipe my eyes so no one would notice.  Luckily I had something fun prepared for singing time that was unrelated to the theme so I was able to act normal.

We have 8:30 church this year, so I was home by noon.  Time went by excruciatingly slow that afternoon, but because I had time on my hands, I figured I could come up with a "cute" way of sharing the news with Steven.  I started going through my book collection and found Dr. Suess's "Are You My Mother?".  I decided that I would write "Father?" and tape it over the "Mother?" on the front cover, write a little note from the baby on the inside cover, and wrap it up and give it to Steven when he came home.

His reaction was perfect.  He had a small look of confusion at first that quickly turned into realization.  He ran over and gave me a big hug and wouldn't let me go.  I think the poor guy was in shock, well actually, I was still in shock too and I had had all day to absorb the news!  However, the shock quickly turned into excitement, and I had to BEG him to keep the news from his parents for a day.  He is the worst liar on the planet so this was asking quite a lot from him.  I had already ordered flowers to be sent to our parents announcing the news and his parents' flowers were being delivered the next day.  My parents, however, didn't receive theirs until the following week.  My mom and I are really close, so that week was a long one for me.  I even lied to her and told her I had started my period that Monday.  I just wanted everyone to be perfectly surprised and not expecting anything at all!  It was perfect!

A little side note- I did overhear Steven later that evening announcing our news to his gamer friends online.  This was hilarious to me.  He was so excited!  But really?  Do you really think these random people all over the world care that you're going to be a dad??  Maybe they're that close, I really don't know.  It was so funny.  The man cannot keep a secret if his life depended on it and he just HAD to tell someone!

All in all, it was the perfect day (aside from the waiting).  We are so thrilled to be parents!  March can't come soon enough!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Stories of the first trimester!

Hi friends!  Well, if you haven't heard already, The Neeley Crew of Two is soon going to be a Crew of Three...which is very exciting.  Only one major problem-I've gotta come up with a new name for our blog!  "Crew of Three" just doesn't quite have the right ring to it.

Tomorrow I will be 15 weeks, and right now I'm feeling...better :).  I still throw up just about every single morning when I get out of bed, but I get through with my "morning puke", eat a good breakfast, keep my snacks on hand at all times, and I usually have a pretty good day after that!  This semester all of my classes start in the afternoon which has been a tremendous blessing. I've been plugging along quite nicely.

Now lets rewind about 9 weeks.  At 5 weeks 6 days (yes, I know the exact day!) I was SLAMMED with morning sickness.  Actually, it was more like "all-day-all-night-sickness" and "heave-till-you-burst-capillaries-under-your-eyes-sickness".  It was...horrible.  Ugh, it was so awful.  I lost 10 pounds.  I was in Arizona for weeks 6-9 when it was at it's worst.  It was such a blessing to be with my mom!!  I don't know what I would've done!  I also came down with bronchitis while I was in AZ so I was just a ball of hormonal, sickness mess.  Good times, yo.

I would definitely say that my biggest symptom has been nausea, but there were also a few things (actually two things) that NO ONE warned me about.  First of which is that you MAY experience extreme nausea accompanied by extreme hunger.  Conflicting feelings?  Not when you're pregnant!  Holy cow!  I don't know how it's possible, but I feel the sickest on an empty stomach and vice versa (hence the necessity of having snacks on hand!).  Usually when I feel like I'm about to die, I'm also freaking starving! This usually turns into a vicious cycle of eating and throwing least it did during the first trimester.  Now that I'm "officially" a second tri girl, it's just in the mornings.

Now the second thing that no one warned me about kind of crosses the "tmi zone".  If you're sensitive to that, you may not want to continue reading, but it's been nice having you :).

Are we ready?  Are you sure?  Ok, I'll fess up.

The second thing that no one, and I mean NO ONE, warned me about was that you may get extremely constipated.  Oy, that one has been killing me!  YIKES.  Also, if you take zofran while you're pregnant to help with the nausea, it's biggest side effect is that it can make you constipated.  This all leads to you being a plugged up hot mess.  I don't know why other friends/pregnant people didn't warn me about it. I mean, ya, it's kinda gross.  I certainly haven't been at the pinnacle of attractiveness lately, but I definitely would've appreciated a heads up about that one.  So this is for my friends who haven't had a baby yet, it MAY (every woman is different) happen to you.

Other than all of that I really haven't been dealing with much.  My face is constantly breaking out, and I'll get the occasional headache, but I feel like thats nothing compared the nausea and, you know, the poop thing.  But like I said, it's definitely getting better, and I'm hopeful that with each coming week it'll only get better...that is until I'm the size of a planet (and student teaching!), but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Being pregnant and knowing that a little life is growing inside of me makes me gush and squeal with happiness.  Our plan was always to wait to have children, but now that it's "our turn" I find myself constantly smiling to myself all day.  Regardless of what I've been through, and will go through later, I have no doubt that it will all be worth it a million times over.  What a wonderful and sacred calling I have been blessed with.  I couldn't be more grateful.  Now I need to stop typing before I start crying haha.   Three weeks until we know if we're having a little boy or girl!!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hakuna Matata

I've gone back and forth about whether or not I really want to hash out the gory details of our travel.  I'm still undecided.  It may just have to wait for another day as I'm still suffering from international travel PTSD.  Needless to say, the kidney stone thing was just the beginning of a long, arduous 48 trip.  Coming home wasn't fun either.  However the actual VACATION was incredible!!  I want to go back with Steven some day SO BAD. 

Our first day there us ladies went to the spa.  Initially I thought this was a little strange to do that on our first day, but it could not have been more strategically placed!  All I wanted to do after getting there was sleep, so the spa day was perfect!

The next day, Thursday, we went to Aldo Elephant National Park.  It was amazing.  I was so upset because the battery in my camera died that day, so I didn't get to snap the photos of the HUGE heard we ran into while we were there.  There were over 30 elephants in this group!  There is just something so gentle and wonderful about those animals.  They were by far my favorite during the whole trip!

This is some of what I was able to get pictures of:

  Seriously!? It does not get any cuter than that!
On Friday we traveled to Plattenburg bay so the following morning we could travel to Mosel Bay to do our great white shark dive.  On our way to Platt, we stopped by a big cat rescue center and we were able to play with young servals and pet a full grown cheetah!  She was beautiful!  We were also able to look at mercats, leopards and lions.  It was definitely a unique and a once in a lifetime experience.

 My favorite picture of the whole trip!


Once we got to Platt, we visited Monkey Land!

On Saturday my dad, Adam, I went on our shark dive!  It was amazing.  I want to go again, only preferable in December or January during their summer months.  It was pretty dang cold.  And by pretty cold, I mean brain freeze cold.  We bought the DVD that the dive shop made, but my parents have it and I don't have a copy...:(  Here are two little clips that kind of give you an idea:

On Sunday we went shopping and visited a reptile farm.  We got to see lots of cool snakes, and Adam was brave enough to hold them. 

On Monday we went on a Safari.  While we were out we saw Giraffes, Rhino (without horns, they had been poached two weeks earlier...SO SAD) and the king of the forest!  It was SO COOL.

On Tuesday we went on a "Cheetah Walk" where you get to walk alongside cheetahs and watch them hunt their prey.  It was crazy awesome!  This place is the only place in the world that has them trained to do that alongside humans. 

Wednesday was our last day and we spent the day shopping in Port Elizabeth.  The trip was a dream, and I can't wait to make it back someday!  



Saturday, June 1, 2013

13 Hours

I'm going to skip the part where I say that I haven't written on my blog in a millions years, blah, blah, blah, and just cut to the chase.  My experience this weekend was note worthy in the "Life of Amber" and I feel compelled to write it out in detail so I never forget (not that I think this is something forgettable).  Brace yourself for detail, a bit of swearing, and some humor.

Friday, May 31st

12:30 AM

I groggily woke up to pain in my upper right abdomen.  I don't know about you, but when I first wake up I'm pretty out of it.  I remember thinking to myself that this pain was unlike any indigestion I've ever had, but thought that it probably wasn't a big deal.  I remember getting up and going to the bathroom and returning to bed.

12:45 AM

After I had gone to the bathroom the pain I was feeling escalated rather quickly.  Bad enough that there was no way I was going to be able to fall asleep again; I was wide awake now and very alert.  At this point, I decided to call Steven rather than wake up my parents and bother them about it.  In Texas, it was 2:45, so it took a couple of calls before he answered the phone.  I told Steven what I was feeling and he said that it sounded like gall stones or something with my gall bladder because the pain was high up just under my ribs.  He told me to take some aspirin and wait a couple hours. Feeling a bit guilty that I was bothering him in the middle of the night with my probable "no big deal" pains, I quickly got off the phone with him.  I remember looking at my phone and telling myself that if the pain was still bad at 1:15, then I would take some pain killers.

1:00 AM

By now I was panicking at how quickly the pain was increasing.  I decided to say a little prayer and asked Heavenly Father to let me know if this was something serious and to give me the wisdom to know what I should do.  You see, my family and I were set to leave and go to the airport in 4 short hours on a big trip to South Africa, so you can imagine my apprehension about going to the hospital.  Realizing that this constant, stabbing pain was not going away, I kinda laughed at Steven's advice and decided that I definitely needed to wake up my parents.  When I got to their room, my mom was already awake.  As I was explaining that I had severe pain in my upper right abdomen I crashed on the floor next to her bed.  I was so dizzy, so nauseous.  I told her I was going to pass out.  This got my dad's attention, and they proceeded to help me move to the couch.  

1:15 AM

It is extremely hard to describe how fast and how hard this pain escalated.  Once I was to the couch, my dad gave me a blessing.  I can't remember what he said.  I was in SO MUCH PAIN.  I remember looking at my mom and saying "I need to go to the hospital".  She jumped up and started to change and gather her stuff.  I remember looking at my dad's pale face and he immediately got on the phone to change our flights.  We all knew that there was no way my mom and I were making our flight at 7am.  

***I think it's important to add a little embarrassing side note here.  To say that I am the biggest grouch when I am in pain is an understatement.  I was NOT fun to be around at this point.  I think it may have only taken my mom 10 minutes to get ready and out the door, but those 10 minutes felt like eternity.  I remember yelling out, "Mom!  What the hell is taking so long!?"  Yes.  I know.  Shame on me.  But seriously you guys.  You don't even know.  Don't.  Even.  Know.  Unless you have also passed a kidney stone, then I suppose you do know.

When I was on the couch I experienced pain in a way that I never have before.  When you get to a certain point, your body does some pretty weird things and I had some very strange (to me) physiological responses.  I was hyperventilating.  My skin was cold to touch.  I was sweating BUCKETS.  My entire body was shaking and I remember my limbs going very numb and tingly like when your foot falls asleep.  I also remember looking at my hands and my fingers were stuck straight out in all kinds of directions.  With this, I was feeling extremely dizzy, nauseous and constantly on the verge of blacking out.  It was truly the most excruciating pain I have ever felt in my life.  Wow.  Wow, wow, wow!

1:45 AM

While on our way to the hospital my pain subsided a teensy bit.  I was still hyperventilating, sweating and feeling tingly all over, but I felt more consciously aware of what was going on around me.  However, I also started to feel pain in my right kidney which alarmed me and made me think that it wasn't gall stones.  For what ever reason, it still hadn't occurred to me that I may have a kidney stone, even though my kidney was now very obviously throbbing with a dull pain.  

2:03 AM

I was admitted to the hospital.  Thanks to close family friends I was in my own room in a short time.  I remember signing the admittance paper and not recognizing my signature.  I couldn't write.  I could hardly walk.  I remember feeling proud of myself that I was still conscious, and yet at the same time wishing I could just fall unconscious.

After this, time is kind of a blur to me.  I was quickly given a double dose of morphine and two IV fluids.  This however, was done after my mom badgered the poor nurses about getting the doctor in my room.  There was one part of my that was thinking, "Mom, shut up, those poor nurses are just doing their job", and there was another part of me that was thinking "You tell those nurses that unless they'd rather switch spots and have their abdomen explode into a million pieces, that they'd better get that damn doctor in here NOW!!"  Ahhhh the monster that erupts from me when I'm in pain.  My poor mother.  My poor nurse.  I will say this though, the doctor did come within 5 minutes, and that morphine was the most beautiful drug I've ever been given.  Ah, the sweet relief!

3:30-4:00ish AM

I believe that it was around this time that I went and had my CT done.  I was feeling much more comfortable now that I was on the drugs, and now I was just worried about whether or not they would actually find out what's wrong with me.  My poor dad went to the hospital multiple times before he had his gall bladder removed.  Every time the CTs kept coming back clear whenever he went to the hospital in immense pain.  My fingers were crossed.

I also had a pelvic exam done because they thought that there might be slight chance that I had an ovarian cyst.  So ya.  That's always fun (by the way, there was no cyst).

***Another important side note:  My mom "went to bed" at 11:30 but never actually fell asleep.  When I came to her room at 1:00 she was still awake.  She literally pulled an all-nighter with me at the hospital.  I love that lady.  Thank you mom.  Thank you.

5:15 AM

The doctor came to visit and said he had the results of my CT.  It showed that I had a 3mm kidney stone in my ureter, but that it was near the bladder so that it was very possible that I would pass it within the next 24 hours.  I was so relieved that they had found something wrong (which sounds weird, I know).  I was just so worried that they would say, "Nope! Everything's fine! Time to go home!", because I was NOT about to leave when I was in that kind of pain.  He also said that my blood work showed that my potassium levels were threateningly low, so he prescribed me to take to oral supplements along with this powdered potassium drink.  That drink was NAS-TY!  Yuck!

7:30 AM

My potassium levels were back up to normal so I was discharged with pain killers, zofran for nausea, and lovely "pee strainers" to catch my stone whenever my body decided to pass it.  Ya, my brothers sure got a kick outta that one.

When I got home I slept, a lot.  The morphine started to wear off so I took some pain killers which made me even more drowsy.  Sleep was a welcome relief after the pain and sudden travel changes.

1:00 PM

I drug myself out of bed to eat lunch.  My sweet older brother brought my mom and I lunch from Subway and he stayed to chat for a while.  We all talked about what would happen if I didn't pass the stone before Sunday.  We decided that my mom would catch up with my dad and brother in South Africa, and that I would stay, wait for the stone to eventually pass, and then return home to Texas.  This was a very depressing conversation, as I have been looking forward to this trip for over a year now.

While we were talking I had a sudden urge to use the restroom (I had been downing fluids all night and day).  It was during this trip to the bathroom that the magical moment happened-I passed my stone!  I called out to my mom and brother downstairs and they ran up and we all started cheering, jumping up and down and taking pictures.  It was quite the celebration and also quite funny.  Then my mom ran to go and retrieve my dad's kidney stone that he's saved for years (creepy, I know) and we compared the two.  I just want to get it out there and say that my stone was WAY bigger then my dad's and my dad actually passed out with his.  Clearly, I am awesome.


And that is pretty much my story!  13 hours of excitement right there.  Aside from soreness, and the terrible drug hangover headache that I have right now, I am doing LOADS better.  Hopefully I'll get back on here to do a nice post about Africa.  SO excited!  I am also feeling incredibly blessed that this happened when it did and not on our 17 hour flight.  I can't even imagine what I would've done.  Surely I would've passed out.  No normal human would be able to deal with that kind of pain for 13 hours and be conscious the whole time.  At any rate, God is good!  I'm grateful for His watchful care and know that He loves me (even when I get grouchy and say and think bad words).  My heart is full.