Friday, December 13, 2013

Update On Caris

Hi friends,

I am popping in to give a quick little update on our sweet daughter, Caris.

She is 12 1/2 weeks old already! 38 1/2 weeks gestation. Caris weighs 8 lbs. 7 oz. now! She is 20" long....not quite the itty bitty baby she used to be--she has more than quadrupled her birthweight.

Caris is still in the NICU. We thought we may be settling in at home by now, but taking bottles has been a little bit of a struggle for her. She has been working on them for 4 weeks. She has great technique, but just needs a boost of energy for endurance. She is taking about 50% of her bottles of 70 mL. Whatever she does not drink by mouth, she gets fed through a tube in her nose.

She is still on oxygen, and may go home on it for a while. She developed a cold over the weekend, but is starting to feel better. It is difficult to see her go through these trials, but we sure are developing a strong bond. I love holding her and comforting her. She is such a little sweetheart.

Please keep praying for our little lady. Especially that she develops endurance to drink all of her bottles. She has been working hard and is getting so close! Such a strong little girl. Will you pray her home soon? It sure would be an amazing Christmas present!!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Our Sweetheart Caris

Caris is 8 1/2 weeks old (34 1/2 weeks gestation). She weighs 5 lbs. 3.3 oz.!! She feels so very big to  Colin and me. She is 17" long.
Last Saturday, she graduated from her incubator isolette to an open 'crib'. She has done very well with this and is showing that she can regulate her own temperature, and also not get too overstimuated with noise and light.
This last Wednesday we started bottle feeding her. She is on 46 mL feedings, and has taken in up to 36 mL at one feeding. Sometimes she is too sleepy, so she is fed the rest of her milk through her feeding tube.
Once she takes in the amount of milk she needs for the entire day, they will stop waking her up every 3 hours, and let her give cues that she is hungry. After she masters this and is able to sit up in her carseat for 2 hours without a drop in heartrate or oxygen, she will be ready to come home!!!
I am hoping it is within 2-3 weeks! It would be really lovely to have our family all under one roof, as we are currently sleeping under three.
Please keep praying for our miracle lady!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pictures Of Caris Noelle

Here are some more pictures of our miracle, Caris.
She is getting stronger and bigger each and every day. She hit 3 pounds this week!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Caris' 1 Month Update

Our Caris is 1 month old today. God has blessed us so much by giving us our sweet little lady. He has been so gracious to us, providing what we need when we need it. Caris is 2 pounds 8.1 ounces and is just over 15 inches long. She is growing bit by bit every day! She is looking so beautiful and healthy. I would have been pregnant just over 30 weeks today. I am sad for the time lost with her in my belly, and I struggle seeing her defenseless and knowing the strength it takes her to endure pokes from nurses, tests being done, and simple cares. But I am thankful God has given us these extra weeks to love her and hold her. I know He has BIG plans for our love. Some other updates...she is now taking in 22 mL of my milk every 3 hours...hopefully in about 3.5 weeks she will start learning to feed by mouth. I think she will do great, as she is starting to suck on her pacifier. She had to have her third blood transfusion this week due to a low blood count. She is just so silly and tolerates these way better than getting her temperature taken under her armpit! She still has her heart murmur...we are praying hard that her extra valve closes on its own. Her oxygen levels have been improving and her drops in them as well as her heartrates are becoming predictable...usually with tests, cares, or feedings. Our strong little miracle girl is surprising everyone with her progress. Keep the prayers coming, please. We are immensely thankful for them!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Pictures Of Our Sweet Caris

Today, Caris is 2 1/2 weeks old. She weighs 2 lbs. .6 oz. Her doctors say she is doing incredibly well for her gestational age (28 1/2 weeks). Her caregivers are all very positive about her progress and the future. I know it is all of your prayers giving her strength to fight.
God has been so good to us. Her health. Love and support. Prayers from around the world. Kind words and generous giving.
Our daughter is so precious. She is beautiful and has progressed wonderfully healthwise in her 2 1/2 weeks. She was taken off her IVs this week--a big step. She still has her feeding tube in her mouth and is on oxygen. From time to time, she forgets to breathe and has a brady, with a low heartrate, but usually recovers on her own. Sometimes she needs to be stimulated. But these bouts are becoming fewer and farther between. Please continue to pray for Caris' lungs and strength.
Because her IVs were taken out, I was able to start dressing her in clothes this week. She swims in her preemie clothing, but sure looks darling all dressed up!
Caris is tolerating her feedings really well. She is up to 18 mL breastmilk every feeding. About 34 weeks gestation is when we may start to work on feeding her by mouth. At 32 weeks, I can start giving her a bath. Some exciting steps coming up!
Here are some pictures!
My first day of Kangaroo Care (skin-to-skin snuggling)-Day 5:

Caris' 1 week picture:

My beautiful daughter:

Wearing her first piece of clothing- a wintry hat:

Colin's first day of Kangaroo Care:

Caris' 2 week picture:

 Caris' first time in clothes!:
October 4th:
I love her so much!
Please continue to pray for our sweet Caris. Thank you all so much.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Our Baby Girl Is Here!

On September 17th, I went into premature labor at 26 weeks pregnant. I was airlifted to a hospital that has a NICU for preemie babies. At 6:40pm , I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Caris Noelle. She was 1 lb. 13.6 oz. and was 13 inches long. She gave a cry at birth, which was a very healthy sign. She scored 9/9 on her Apgar scores. She was breathing on her own, but was put on a respirator for 3 days. She is now off the respirator, and breathing fine. Sometimes, she forgets to take a breath, but often recovers on her own or when stimulated. She has a heart murmur, but it appears to be clearing up after medicine. Please pray for her lungs and heart. Overall, she continues to surprise us by her strength. She is our little fighter. She has a long road ahead of her, and will be in the NICU for approximately 2-3+ months. Please pray for our sweet Caris.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Weeks 22-24

22-24 (August 21-September 10)
Baby's Size:
Baby girl has grown from 8 inches long to about 8 1/2 inches from head to rump, and has gone from 1 pound to 1 1/2 pounds in weight.
Growing belly--I received my first stranger comment about my belly during week 24!
A lot of fun kicks!
Baby was breech (head up) at my 20 week ultrasound, but I think she flipped, because I have been feeling most of her movements up high.
Some nights of insomnia.
Ease of round ligament pain--still there, but mild.
Nothing new.
Best Moments:
Colin started seeing and feeling baby's movements during week 23!! It was so exciting for me to have Colin be able to experience baby girl's movements with me.
Looking Forward To:
Solidifying a name. I think we've probably got it, but we are trying to not talk about it so we don't let it slip.
Creating a nursery after we move into our first house September 21st!
WEEK 22:
 WEEK 23:
WEEK 24:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ten Months Dreaming

We have been on the waitlist to adopt for 10 months last Monday!
Our Ethiopian girlie has been on my mind a lot recently. The unknowns and unpredictability of adoption can be daunting, but I am learning to find excitment in it.
How old will she be when she joins our family?
Will she have tight corkscrew curls or loose curls?
Will she be sassy? (I've heard Ethiopian kiddos have some sass!) :)
Will she enjoy Ethiopian food?
Will she be ours in 2 years or 4?
When we first began the paperwork chase in May of last year, we had thoughts of what the journey might look like. About 2 to 2 1/2 years of being on the waitlist. Her nursery would be our 2nd bedroom in our apartment. And surely, she would be our first child!
Now, just over a year later, the wait time has practically doubled. We are moving into our first house. And she has an older sister on the way!!!
I love to think about having two girls. Sisters. I never had a sister. I grew up a tomboy, playing with my older brother. My husband has 3 brothers. So, this sister thing? It will be new to all of us!
I have so much joy knowing that I AM going to be a mama of two sweet girlies!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Another Miracle

Back in July, Colin received a job offer with a new police department. We have been so very excited for this new transition, especially because it meant a move from our apartment to a house, and a move from 3 1/2 hours away from my family to just 45 minutes away.
Colin started his new job the middle of July. He loves it! But, he has been having to commute either to and from my parents' house on days he works, or to and from our current city on days he has off.
We have been searching so hard for a house! At one point, we even had a secondary offer on a house that we thought was 'the one'. We were told the owners were going to bump us to the primary offer, because they preferred our offer, but in the end, they gave the others' offer 72 hours to come through on financing/contingencies, and they pulled through and closed on the house.
We looked at more than 15 houses, but none of them felt like home. The good ones were sold before we could even schedule a showing, and the bad ones? Well, some of them were bad!
One of Colin's co-workers learned of our struggles finding a house, and told us he had friends that were selling their house.
His friends turned out to be assistant pastor and wife of the church we used to attend and planned on attending once we moved!! We do not know them personally, but this got us excited.
We got their number and found out that their house was not yet on the market, but was going to be. It was perfectly in our price range, and had the features we were needing and had hoped for. So, we scheduled a time to tour the house the day it hit the market, last Tuesday. We knew that we had to move quickly, because of how fast the nice homes were moving.
That afternoon, our realtor opened the door to their house. We both knew. We felt a connection. A sense of home.
There is something special about knowing who the people are living in the house. I don't mean knowing them personally, but I mean knowing they share your faith. Knowing there are little ones running around the house, being brought up to love Jesus and love people.
We put an offer in that day. We found out the next day that our offer was accepted!
We are so very happy. So very thankful. So very excited to move in. And so very thrilled to be able to start on our baby girl's nursery!!
The closing date is September 27th. So, we will have plenty of time to pack and get everything set up. A little bit more commuting for Colin, and a little bit more boredom for me (being all alone is getting tough). But, the tough is going to be so worth it!
We have felt entirely blessed this year.
Friends, when you feel worn, when you feel the stress of unanswered prayers, hold on to Jesus. Run to Him. He has better plans for you than you are planning for yourself. He loves you and will give you the best! Take joy in the wait. Rest in Him.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Weeks 18-21

18-21 (July 24-August 20)
Baby's Size:
Baby girl has grown from 5 1/2 inches long to 7 inches, head to rump. Baby has gone from about 5 oz to 11 oz in weight.
A growing belly! And round ligament pain.
Nothing new.
Best Moments:
Having our 20 week ultrasound and finding that baby is healthy and baby is a girl!!
Seeing our baby girl's beautiful face on our ultrasound.
Reaching 20 weeks...I am over halfway through pregnancy already.
Feeling baby girl kicking away! When I turned 19 weeks, I started feeling her move daily.
Looking Forward To:
Solidifying a name! It is going to be a secret until baby girl is born. :)
Colin feeling the baby's movements!
WEEK 18:

WEEK 19:

WEEK 20:

WEEK 21:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Baby Mumford Is A....


It's a GIRL!!!
Colin and I are so excited to share that our baby is a little girl!
We had our 20 week ultrasound on Tuesday at our new hospital in Eau Claire. I loved our ultrasound tech. She was very informative and reassuring about the health of our little precious one. She went over every inch of our baby for the anatomy scan and found everything with baby and me to be perfectly healthy.
She found the gender pretty quickly. Momma's intuition was right! Colin and both of our families almost unanimously "knew" that it was a boy, but I stuck with my instinct. Somehow, knowing the gender makes my pregnancy much more real.
We are SO in love!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Is Baby Mumford a Boy or a Girl??

I don't know! But I WILL!!!
I have my 20 week ultrasound tomorrow afternoon. I am so giddily excited. I am praying our baby shows us if he or she is a gentleman or a lady.
Please pray that our baby is healthy--they will also be doing an anatomy scan tomorrow, I believe. I have worries, especially going through 6+ years of infertility, but I am trying really hard to trust God.
So, do you think that baby Mumford is a boy or a girl??? Vote NOW!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Nine Months Dreaming

We have been on the waitlist to adopt for 9 months yesterday!
9 months...this mama should be ready to pop!
A question Colin and I often get asked is, "What if you got THE call today?!?"
1) That wouldn't be able to happen, because of our pregnancy.
2) Aside from our pregnancy, that would be very, very, very unlikely to happen because of our limited parameters. And the long list of families above us (somewhere between 100 and 120 or so).
3) If it DID happen, we would be ecstatic!
Waiting for 9 months-the length of a pregnancy-feels like a good amount of time to become prepared for an adoption. Our hearts are feeling prepared. Our brains are soaking up as much information as they can. Our arms are surely prepared to hug and to hold.
But, this mama and daddy are going to have several more years to prepare for our little Ethiopian love. I know that God wants it this way! He knows exactly how much longer we will be waiting.
And, we are thrilled that our little love will have an older brother or sister to play with!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Weeks 14-17

14-17 (June 26-July 23)
Baby's Size:
Baby has transitioned from about 3 1/2 inches to 5 inches, head to rump. Baby has gone from about  2 oz to 5 oz +.
All of my not fun symptoms (nausea, tiredness, etc.) from my first trimester have subsided!
New to me during these weeks was round ligament pain when I walk around or roll over during the night time. Also, I experienced a little bit of lightheadedness when I was on my feet for too long.
Still bell peppers and balsamic vinegar.
Best Moments:
Beginning my second trimester!
Breaking our precious news to the rest of family and friends!
Looking Forward To:
Feeling my baby's kicks!
Finding out baby's gender on August 6th!!
Picking out a name.

WEEK 14:

WEEK 15:
WEEK 16:
WEEK 17:
Sorry, no picture. :(
My handsome photographer, Colin, was out of town.

Friday, July 19, 2013

June Letters To Africa

It is July. I have just sent out my "June" letters to our precious Dominic, Eyouel, and Mugwaneza. Oops. Sorry kiddos! I promise I will make it up and double up letters this month!
For my letters, I used Compassion letter templates that are sent every time we receive letters from our children. At the top of the template is always a space to write a verse to share. I wrote:
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
~Psalm 91:11-12
My letters were pretty simple. I let them know how much I love them and their families--their family is a part of ours! I also wrote to them about various fun things they shared with us in their last letters.
 To our boys, I sent soccer mazes--they love their ball! I found one easy one and one difficult one for a challenge. I downloaded them for free on Printable Treats.
For our little lady, I sent three coloring pages that have simple activites on the back.
I hope they find excitement in their little packages! I love them so much, and I want so badly to smother them with love!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My First Trimester

My first trimester...a phrase I never thought would be a topic for a blog post! I am so grateful to the Lord for providing me with this miraculous experience of pregnancy. He gets all of the glory!

Because there was a long wait in us telling most family and friends, I have been slow in keeping my blog up-to-date. Without further adieu...

1-13 (March 27-June 25)
Baby's size:
In 13 weeks, our baby transitioned from nonexistent, to a single cell, to the size of a peach! At 13 weeks, baby was about 3 inches long from head to rump.
Nausea from week 7 to about week 13. Eating was such a chore! But, God blessed me with no vomiting. Hallelujah!

Tiredness during weeks 7-13. After work, I just had to come home and crash on the bed for a little while. And on special days, I would take 3 hour naps! And still sleep very well at night. No insomnia here.

Sore breasts
Frequent urination
Cramps and twinges
No cravings. If anything--cold, cold water always tasted so good!

Honestly, most foods. In particular, bell peppers and balsamic vinegar. Colin makes a wonderful pasta dish with all kinds of veggies, balsamic vinegar, and parmesan cheese. I just could not touch it! Ew.
Best Moments:
 Hearing my baby's heartbeat. And seeing our baby jumping around during a surprise ultrasound!
Looking Forward To:
Feeling little baby kicks and punches. Our gender ultrasound! Everything.

WEEK 12:

WEEK 13:


Monday, July 15, 2013

Sweet Sound

I had my very first doctor's appointment on April 25.
I had a LOT of blood drawn--6 or 7 vials I think. Wow. I also had a general physical and a urine sample taken.
I was given a copy of What To Expect When You're Expecting. It was a nice gift to receive, and I read it weekly to learn about what miracles my baby is experiencing! It sure is pure amazement--the life God creates throughout 9 months. He is so good.
I was so happy when I received a phone call that my tests all turned out normal and that my hormone levels were all showing that I was, indeed, pregnant. Every single confirmation helps! 
My very favorite confirmation has been an at-home doppler that I purchased. I found a Sonoline B doppler online on Amazon for $70. It was well-recommended in the reviews. The directions stated that it would be most effective in picking up the heartbeat after the first trimester, but some of the reviewers stated they found it earlier.
I received it somewhere between week 7 and week 8. Let me tell you--I tried every day, at least once!
 I was desperate to hear the sound of life inside of me.
Finally, on week 8, day 4 (May 19), I heard the most beautiful sound. My baby's heartbeat. I praised God immediately. It was in the 160s. Sweet sound.
In the beginning, it often took 5-20 minutes to find the heartbeat, because the baby was hiding so low. But now I find it immediately, and still listen every single day.
Another beautiful sound I have been hearing is baby kicks! My doppler picks up kicks and punches! And my little one is always very active. I still can't feel them quite yet, but the sound is so fun to hear.
I very, very highly recommend the purchase of an at-home doppler. Without it, I would have been even more of a nervous wreck!
I am praising God all the time for this miraculous blessing. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Telling My Husband I Am Pregnant

My last post left off with me sharing how I found out I was pregnant.
At this point of my story, Colin has no clue I am pregnant, and no clue I had been testing for almost an entire week!
I had never before held back from him when I tested, and often, he would be the one I would send into the bathroom to read the test for me. Back when there seemed to be endless hope.
I desperately did not want to get Colin's hopes up this time if there was any chance the tests could be false positives. Infertility has affected him, too. In the past, we have both been crushed time and time again when we were so sure the tests would be positive.
After 8 positive tests that gradually increased my assurance, I felt ready. In fact, I felt ready to burst!
I researched fun ways to tell him. I wondered what his reaction would be. I glowed with anticipation.
I had 4 hours to wait to tell my man he was going to become a daddy!
I picked him up from work that night, because we were sharing a car due to a minor car accident and a new car on order. I had thought about telling him in the car--then I thought no, I wanted to be able to see his face the whole time, and I was driving.
I was SO nervous. I had butterflies in my stomach. I was shaky!
So, we got home a little bit after 9 pm. I let him get out of his uniform and get comfortable. Walking into the kitchen, he was in a hurry to heat up his dinner.
I was sitting on our chaise chair and told him to sit by me for a minute. I think he started to get a little suspicious that something was up.
I told him to close his eyes and hold out his hands.
*I SO wanted to film this, but I knew he would notice the camera wherever I put it!*
At this point, he tells me later, he thought I was being silly, and we simply sold an Etsy item.
I placed the last two pregnancy tests in his hands. His eyes immediately opened! His jaw dropped. He stared at them. He looked at me. He stared at them.
He said, "Are you serious?!?" At least 5 times, I am sure.
I said, "I'm pregnant!"
We laughed.
We giggled over thoughts of our whole story--the years praying for this moment.
Today, we are still giggling! We still laugh in shock. We get surprised by my growing belly.
It feels like a dream.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Finding Out I Am Pregnant After SIX Years


After over six years of trying to grow our family biologically, I became pregnant.
In those six years, do you know how many pregnancy tests I went through?
(Some of you do!)
Much money wasted, many tears cried, and much pain and frustration.
About two years ago, I finally found some really cheap paper pregnancy tests through Amazon that I bought in bulk. Money saved.
During my 8 months on birth control pills, I never thought about them, as I never needed them. But, when I came off of them in March, I immediately thought about them. You know, 'just in case'.
Well, come to find out, they were expired by a month or so. What a great reason to use them up!
I used my first one on April 17th (when I would have been 4 weeks pregnant).
I STARED at it. Held it up to the light. Looked at it from all different angles.
Was that a....faint....very faint....very very faint....second line?!
I say to myself, "A line is a line is a line, right Jess?"
So, I get all excited. I get nervous. Then I remember that it was an expired test.
Keeping my special secret with much uncertainty of its reliability, I test on the 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd!
The line progressively gets darker and is about even with the test line at this point.
My hopes are up, my doubts are still there, and I know I need to have an answer right away!
I buy way-too-expensive tests at Walgreen's--one with lines and one that is digital. The check-out woman is trying to talk me into signing up for some savings card, and I just want to scream at her, "Lady, please let me simply purchase my pregnancy tests so that I can go home and use them!"
I finally leave, finish up my day of work, and rush home to take them.
The one shows very clearly two equal lines, and the digital one shows the word: PREGNANT.
I immediately thank our Lord.
After all of these tests, I am still very shocked and almost still in a state of disbelief.
*I am 16 weeks pregnant now, and Colin and I are both still feeling disbelief and shock!*
At this point, I have about 4 more hours until Colin gets off of work.
And, the story will continue!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Will You Still Adopt?

Another questions we are often asked is, "So, will you still adopt?"
The answer is, "YES, YES, YES!" Our hearts are still in our adoption and loving the orphan.
Some adoption agencies will not let a family on the waitlist become pregnant--if a family would become pregnant, they must discontinue the process and lose all of their progress. AGCI used to follow that rule. We are really thankful they no longer do. Since we are so far out on our lists, at least 2-3 years until a referral, we will still move on the list like usual.
However, we will not be able to accept a referral until our baby is a certain age--10 months, I believe(it is about 99% unlikely that we would receive a referral before then anyways).
Also, AGCI does not let a family adopt out of birth order, so we will likely have to change our paremeters to just one infant, or possibly twins, which happen very rarely. If the wait is really, really long, we can choose to expand our parameters again to include an appropriate higher age range.

So, yes! We are absolutely proceeding with our Ethiopian adoption.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

How Did That Happen?!?

 Yes, I am pregnant!
The number one question people ask is, "How did that happen?!?" I'm sure most mommas-to-be aren't asked that question, but after Colin and I have been through over 6 years of infertility, it is a question on people's minds.
Colin's first response is always, "Well, you know, when a husband and a wife...." 
Physically, I was never told by a doctor that I could never get pregnant due to my PCOS (ovarian cysts), but I was told it would be very unlikely, especially without infertility treatments. I tried one unsuccessful round of clomid pills years ago and Colin and I both decided we did not want to proceed further with treatments for health, emotional, and religious reasons.
Last year, my cycles were dangerously irregular and heavy, and I was prescribed a year of birth control pills. After being on them for 8 months, I decided I needed a break due to them affecting my emotions and moods negatively, as well God doing a work in my heart after reading a blog post titled Should Christians Use Birth Control?, written by Mandy of Biblical Homemaking.
THE first month off of them, I became pregnant. The first month!
Underneath the infertility, we both know that God happened.
He arranged this in His perfect timing.
Baby is due on December 25th, Christmas Day. CHRISTMAS DAY!
Could God be any more clear that this was ALL Him?
We are so thankful and excited for our little miracle. We feel overly blessed right now. My heart is aching for all those still waiting for their little miracle. I am praying for you! Trust and believe.
I have so many words to write, so much to catch up on! Soon, very soon. If you have any questions for me about our journey, please ask, as I would love to answer! 
With Love,

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Eight Months Dreaming

We have been on the waitlist to adopt for 8 months yesterday!
As slow as time seems sometimes, I think this first year of waiting has gone by pretty quickly. Well, 2/3rds of a year. :)
I think the last year will be the most difficult--knowing how close we are, knowing a momma in Ethiopia is pregnant with our little love.
It is really humbling to think about what our love's first momma will go through during her pregnancy and the baby's first hours and possibly days or months.
I like to pray for our baby's birthparents every night and wish good things for them. I pray they are well and their needs are being provided for. I pray they have good health and they have God in their hearts, helping them through their days.
I pray I get to meet them one day. I would love to know their story and who they are. I would love to know their wishes for their little one. I would love pictures. I pray for these things.
Eight months dreaming....we love our Sweet One!