Curious About the Surrogacy Process and How it has Affected Me? Read on!

It’s baby month! Well, at least we hope it’s baby month! Hopefully Knox won’t make us wait until March to make his grand entrance. I am now 37 weeks and he’s welcome to come anytime in the next few weeks. =) I had Isaiah at exactly 37 weeks and Olive at almost 41 weeks so we’ll see what little Knox decides to do…maybe somewhere in the middle!?

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37 Weeks!!

I can’t believe that my journey as a surrogate has almost come to an end! It has been an amazing thing to experience and I’ve loved it all! As I near the end of this incredible journey I thought it might be helpful to put together a little FAQ about surrogacy to help you better understand the process and how it has affected me. So… here you go!

SURROGACY FAQ’S

Q. How did you get matched with your Intended Parents?

A. Sometimes a woman becomes a surrogate because a close friend or family member is unable to carry their own children and so she offers to do it for them. Though I had the desire to be a surrogate I personally did not know anyone who needed one so I applied to an agency to be matched. I feel so blessed to have been matched with the intended parents that I did! The agency that I am going through allows each surrogate to make the decision for themselves who they would like to be matched with. When applying, I filled out a form about what type of parents I would be willing to carry for as well as a profile with details about myself. The intended parents did this also. After reviewing each other’s profiles you can choose to meet (usually via skype since most matches are long distance) and see if you feel comfortable with each other and want to move forward or if it doesn’t seem like it would be a good match. My agency was very great during this process and didn’t pressure me at all to match with anyone I didn’t feel comfortable with. I almost matched with a different family before Ben and Kristen and I’m so glad it fell through! I got blessed with really great IP’s!

Q. What kind of relationship do you have with your intended parents?

A. Although we didn’t know Ben and Kristen at all before this process started we have now become friends and I am so thankful we have a close relationship. Surrogates and intended parents all desire different levels of communication and closeness during the process. Some develop amazingly close relationships and some treat the process more as a “business transaction.” I was definitely hoping for a close relationship with my IP’s! I was so grateful to be matched with a great Christian couple who we have a lot in common with! They live in a different state but are not too far away so it has made travel to and from Florida relatively easy. We talk regularly and they have been able to make it to many appointments. They will also, hopefully, be here for Knox’s birth! I love knowing that baby Knox is going to a great home with great parents!

Q. How can you carry a baby for 9 months and then give up “your” baby?

A. This is a pretty easy answer – Knox is not my baby! I’m not genetically related to him in any way and so he was never mine to begin with. Since the very beginning both Drew and I have been very cautious not to bond with this baby. It is a delicate balance because while I’m pregnant I, of course, need to protect and love on this life inside of me yet still remain distant. I think I have done a really good job of that! Honestly, I do not feel sad at all to think about giving Knox to his parents in just a few weeks – this has been the goal all along! I started this journey to help make the dreams of a couple come true by being able to carry a biological child for them when they were unable. I am so excited for Ben and Kristen and the joy that they are going to be experiencing very soon and that is what makes the journey worth it. Also, I do not want a newborn and all the work that comes with one right now so that is very helpful. I am very content in knowing that I am not the one bringing a baby home this time. 😉

Q. Wait, what do you mean it’s not “your” baby? How does another couple’s baby get inside you?

A. Most surrogates get pregnant using IVF. The process and procedures are generally the same for any woman undergoing IVF – weeks of meds, blood draws, injections, ultrasounds, etc – it’s just that when it comes time for the transfer the doctor transfers the intended parents’ embryos and not the surrogates. The embryo transfer itself is a quick and painless procedure in which the IVF doctor uses a small catheter to insert the embryo(s) into your uterus. Some doctors require a few days of moderate bed rest afterwards or some, like mine, actually tell you to get out and walk around to get the blood flowing and increase the chances of a successful transfer. Many women (surrogates or not) undergoing IVF experience many failed transfers and often transfer more than one in hopes of at least one sticking. We were blessed that we only went through one transfer and only transferred one embryo – and it was successful! Baby Knox is on the way!

Q. But won’t Knox think you are his mom?

A. It is true that babies born via a surrogate do not know at birth that the woman carrying them is not their mom, which may result in feelings and struggles similar to those of an adopted child. However, Knox (unlike many adopted children) has the advantage of growing up knowing that his parents went to such extents as using a surrogate to bring him into this world because he was SO wanted and SO loved. I doubt he will have any trouble knowing exactly who is mom is and how much she loves and wants him! ❤

Q. How do you explain surrogacy to your children?

A. Our children have done amazingly well with me being a surrogate. This is the way that we explain it to them in terms that they can understand: We tell them that Ms. Kristen’s tummy is broken and she can’t grow her baby in her own tummy so I offered to keep Mr. Ben and Ms. Kristen’s baby safe in my tummy until he is big enough to go home with his Mommy and Daddy. Of course that’s not quite accurate and is such a simplified version of what surrogacy is but it has made sense to them and they have not questioned it. We talk regularly about how Knox is not their brother and how we would never “give away” our own baby. We are planning on the kids coming to the hospital after Knox is born to see him with his parents to help them understand that he went to be with his loving Mommy and Daddy. We will see what questions arise afterwards but we have been very open and honest the whole time with them and think that the adjustment afterwards will go smoothly.

Do you have any questions you’d like to ask me about surrogacy? E-mail me via FaceBook or at drewamhutch @ gmail.com and I’d LOVE to share more info with you! =)

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Surrogacy Bump Date: 35 Weeks!

Oh my! The final countdown has begun! Thirty-five weeks!! This week was extra special because Knox’s Mommy and Daddy and Big Brother got to come down to Florida! They came for my 35 week OB appointment and ultrasound. We got to see sweet little Knox on ultrasound again and everything is looking perfect! He has cute chubby cheeks and even has hair on his head already! He kept pursing his lips together as if he were blowing a little kiss to his Mommy! And, as usual, he was very shy and kept putting his hands up in front of his face. =) Won’t be long now until he’s here!!

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We had such a great visit with Ben, Kristen and Blake! Knox doesn’t know how lucky he is to have such a great family!

 

How far along: 35 weeks

Size of baby: Baby doesn’t have much room to maneuver now that he’s over 18 inches long and about 5 1/2 – 6 pounds. He’s about the size of a honeydew melon. Most of his basic physical development is now complete. He’ll spend the next few weeks putting on weight.

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Stretch marks: None! (Well except for the little tiny one that I got right above my belly button right before Olive was born!)

Gender: It’s a sweet baby BOY!!

Movement: Lots of movement, especially at night once I get the kids down and actually have a few minutes to sit down! That’s when he likes to wake up and play! Ben and Kristen bought me a pair of Belly Buds last month and Knox loves them! I just stick the speakers on my belly and connect them to my phone and Knox listens to messages and songs that his family has recorded for him. I LOVE that he is hearing their voices on a daily basis and hope that it will help him to recognize them when he is born.

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Knox listening to the Belly Buds!

Sleep: Not sleeping the best. Starting to get a little uncomfortable. I’ve started sleeping with a pillow underneath my belly and that seems to help. I have to go to the bathroom multiple times a night so I don’t get many consecutive hours of sleep.

Cravings: No cravings. Boring, I know, but I have never really had cravings in any of my pregnancies.

What I am looking forward to: This week my goal is to get my hospital bag packed and ready to go! Still have a couple of things I need to buy for the hospital and afterwards so working on getting those things checked off my list. Also we’re planning who will watch the kids while we’re in the hospital and working out all those fun details.

Symptoms: Starting to feel my energy drain as I get closer and closer to the finish line. Drew keeps reminding me to “rest not nest” and I really am trying to follow his advice. It’s hard because the nesting instinct comes on strong! Even though I am not preparing to bring a baby home I still have several things around the house that I’d like done before I have the baby. I’ve been able to get several things done but now I can feel my energy and motivation waning as I enter these final weeks.

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35 Weeks!!!

 

A Graduation, Christmas, and a Dog. Warning: This Post Contains Excessive Pictures! =)

Two thousand sixteen ended in a whirlwind and the beginning of 2017 has been just as crazy! Things are finally starting to slow down a bit around here and so I thought I’d update you on what the Hutcheson household has been up to these last few weeks!

Drew graduated from Jacksonville University on December 17 with his MBA! Over 2 years of hard work and perseverance finally paid off and he is DONE!!! Going to grad school with three small children and working full time is not for the faint of heart. It’s been hard but it’s been worth it! We have seen God’s hand of faithfulness to us throughout the journey and it has been an adventurous ride. Not only does Drew now have his Masters but, through a series of events only God could have orchestrated, he’s also already landed his dream job as an Equity Research Associate at Deutsche Bank. God is so good!!!

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Just in case you were wondering Olive is not a red head. She was a pumpkin for Halloween and we spray painted her hair orange and STILL cannot get it to all come out!!!!! =)
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So proud of this man and how hard he works!! ❤

 

The surrogacy is going great! On December 19 I had my 30 week doctor’s appointment and Ben and Kristen were able to come down for the ultrasound! Baby Knox is growing away and looking great! I’ll be 34 weeks this week and can’t believe we are getting so close to the finish line! I am so excited for Knox to join the Berry family!!

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I did tons of baking over the Christmas break. The messiest baking adventure was when the kids and I made Christmas cookies. The kids had a blast.

But cleaning up was not quite as fun. Whose idea was it anyways that making Christmas cookies should be an annual tradition? Dried frosting, cookie crumbles, and sprinkles everywhere. Whew…. I need a nap just thinking about all the cleanup involved.

A few days before Christmas my parents and two little sisters, Janae and Adelynn, came to spend the Holidays with us! They live in Indiana so we don’t get to see them much and it was a real treat. We LOVED spending time with them and had a blast. We packed a lot into their week and a half here and were so sad to see them go!

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These kids love their Meema and Papa!

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Christmas was great except that Livy got sick on Christmas day and threw up 3 times so that was no fun! But we were still able to have a great day and she was better by the next day, thankfully.

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I spy a present that we couldn’t wrap…. Yes, the dog is a Christmas present! (More on that below)
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Each year on Christmas Eve the kids get to open up two presents. One is new Christmas jammies and the other is a new book with their name on it!
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Our Christmas morning tradition is that, before we open up any presents, we read the Christmas story, light candles and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus! It helps the kids (and us) remember why we are celebrating!

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My favorite Christmas gift – a deep freezer!! My husband is an AWESOME gift giver. ❤

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Poor, sick girl couldn’t even make it through opening up all her presents before she needed a nap.

Speaking of presents, the kids got an exciting Christmas present this year. We got our first dog! Meet Cheza! Cheza is a two year old Double Doodle (mix of a Labradoodle and a Goldendoodle). “Cheza” is the Swahili word for “play” and he definitely lives up to his name. He is the perfect addition to our family and fits right in with our crazy kids. He is a very good and obedient dog and plays great with the kids. I have been putting off getting a dog for a long time because of the extra work involved… despite the pleas of my husband and children! But I finally gave in and am so grateful that Cheza is such a great fit for our family.

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Why yes this is Cheza dressed up in some of Drew’s clothes. Sorry, boy, you have joined a crazy family!

Well I think that about sums up our life these past few weeks! We saw the Lord’s hand of faithfulness throughout the ups and downs of 2016 and we look forward to watching Him at work in 2017. To HIM be the glory!!!

The Third Trimester and a 3 Hr Glucose Test – Surrogacy Bump Date: 28 Weeks!

Hello third trimester!! It feels so good to be here! The third trimester brings a lot of great things like…. the birth of baby Knox! However the third trimester also brings some not so great things like a bigger and bigger belly which causes more aches and pains, the return of the tiredness felt in the first trimester, and…. the dreaded 1 hour glucose test.

Some of you may remember that I passed my 1 hour glucose test with Isaiah but failed it with Olive and so had to take the 3 hour. It was a terrible experience which you can read more about here. I ended up passing my 3 hour test with Olive but I really did not want to repeat that experience again so was hoping to pass the 1 hour again this time. No such luck. I failed it again and had to take the 3 hour. Thankfully this time I had a much better experience! Although it wasn’t the most fun thing in the world, I didn’t get as shaky and nauseous as I did last time and I didn’t feel like throwing up or passing out. I was actually pretty comfortable (albeit hungry from fasting for 12 hours) …. which then led me to worry that I was going to fail the 3 hour this time because I didn’t feel as bad as I did last time! =) However, I did pass my 3 hour – with flying colors! You are allowed to fail one of the blood draws and still pass the overall test however I not only passed all 4 draws but passed them with levels on the low end of normal so not even a tiny bit of concern of gestational diabetes! Wahoo!!

How far along: 28 weeks

Size of baby: By this week, baby weighs about 2 1/4 pounds (about the size of a large eggplant) and measures about 14.8 inches from the top of his head to his heels.

 

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Stretch marks: None yet! I didn’t get any with my previous pregnancies so hoping it stays that way! =)

Morning Sickness: All gone! Feeling great now!!

Gender: It’s a sweet baby BOY!!

Movement: ALL THE TIME. This little boy is seriously going to be some kind of athlete. Oh and by the way, he LOVED that sugary glucose drink I had to drink for my glucose test. He was kicking and punching away for the whole 4 hours!!

Sleep: Not getting much deep sleep as I’m either waking up to go to the bathroom or to try and get comfy. Having three children has taught me how to get by just fine on not the best night’s sleep so it’s all good. =)

Cravings: Pretty much anything sounds good as long as it’s in small portions! Knox is squishing and squeezing everything in there, leaving little room for my stomach to expand so I have to eat little meals at a time. 😉 Also big meals or meals late at night give me terrible indigestion so trying to avoid that too!

What I am looking forward to: Ben and Kristen are coming down for our next ultrasound in December! We are so excited!! We are looking forward to seeing the little guy again and also getting a hospital tour and making sure everything is all set to go for delivery!

Symptoms: Sciatic nerve pain has been a little better this week. I can feel myself wearing out more easily as I enter the third trimester though I can’t complain because I still have lots of energy and motivation so far! Thankfully still feeling good!

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28 Weeks!! Third Trimester!

Surrogacy Bump Date: 25 Weeks!

Twenty five weeks down!! Wahoo! Time flies when you’re having fun…can’t believe I am 25 weeks already! Time is about to fly even faster too with the holidays coming up. Before we know it, it will be January and we’ll be able to say next month is baby month!

I celebrated my 30th birthday on November 5th… can’t believe I am in the 30’s club now. Thirty used to sound so old but now I think it’s really quite young. 😉 I can’t think of anything I’d rather do in my first year of my 30’s than help bring little Knox into the world for the Berry family. Surrogacy has been an amazing journey and I have loved every step!

How far along: 25 weeks

Size of baby: Head to heels, baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches and weighs about 1 1/2 pounds.

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Stretch marks: None yet! I didn’t get any with my previous pregnancies so hoping it stays that way! =)

Morning Sickness: All gone! Feeling great now!!

Gender: It’s a sweet baby BOY!!

Movement: Knox loves to move! He is most active in the morning right when I wake up and then in the evening when life starts to settle down around here again. He kicks/punches me on both the right and left sides of my belly at the same time so I was thinking he was still laying sideways but at our last ultrasound he was head down already. So the jabs I feel on either side must be his elbows or hands. We thought he was going to be a soccer player but maybe he’s going to be a boxer. 😉 Either way I love feeling him move and be so active in there!

Sleep: Have I ever mentioned how much I love master bathrooms?!?!? Golly gee, I have to frequent ours several times in the middle of the night these days and I am very glad it is attached to our bedroom. =) Other than waking several times a night to pee I am sleeping well!

Cravings: Not really any cravings… Lately I’ve been obsessed with cheese and crackers and apples and peanut butter but it’s not really a craving, just what has been sounding good for lunch. =)

Symptoms: Still feeling good with lots of energy. I am having some sciatic nerve pain in the lower left hand side of my back. With each pregnancy it seems to start up earlier and earlier. I’ve had it a few times already in this pregnancy but this week has been the worst so far. Stretching and rest help but I’ve found it’s just something I have to deal with in pregnancy! It will all be worth it. =)

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25 weeks!

Surrogacy Update: It’s a…!

I can’t believe I’m 20 weeks today! Half way there! Wahoo!

Last week Ben and Kristen came down for our 19 week ultrasound and we were able to find out the gender of Baby Berry!

Can you guess what it is?

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IT’S A BOY!!!!

 

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Ben and Kristen have named the baby Knox which I think is the most adorable name ever. I am so thrilled for Baby Knox to join Ben and Kristen’s family in February! He has the sweetest big brother waiting for him at home and all 4 of them are going to make the cutest family. Please pray with us for a healthy baby and a smooth rest of this pregnancy! February is going to be here before we know it! ❤

Walmart Grocery – My New Found Love

Last week I tried the new grocery service offered by Walmart called Walmart Grocery. Oh my goodness, I think it is a match made in heaven!  (P.S. that link right there contains a coupon for $10 off your first order if you want to try it too!)

Here is how Walmart Grocery works:

  • Go here, sign up for an account and add items to your cart. With Walmart Grocery you don’t only have to buy groceries! School supplies, beauty products and more are options too!
  • Check out and choose a designated pick-up time (there will be time slots such as 2-3 pm). They offer delivery (for a fee) in some areas but not in my area yet.
  • On the day/time you’ve chosen head to your Walmart and park in the designated spots for grocery pickup (located on the right hand side of most stores).unnamed
  • When you arrive call them (you’ll be given the number of your store’s grocery pickup line at checkout) and they’ll be out with your groceries in just a few minutes! There is no fee for the service and no tipping allowed. There is also no monthly or annual subscription fees and they do not charge any markups on their items! Just like that you’ve done your grocery shopping and can head back home!

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This employee came out with my groceries in this cart just minutes after I arrived and loaded them into my car for me before heading back in! I would call that good customer service!

Three things I love about Walmart Grocery:

  1. If you have young children you know how stressful it is to grocery shop with them in tow! My kids are often either complaining, running around the store, or whining for me to buy them a certain something whenever I go shopping. With Walmart Grocery I can order online the night before and then, while I’m out running errands the next day just stop by Walmart to pickup my groceries on the way home. Doesn’t matter if I have the kids with me or not because they’ll all stay in the car anyways. Avoid dragging them into the store with me and still get my grocery shopping done? Yes please!
  2.  Ummmm, hello? Shopping online in the peace and quiet of my own home while my kids are sleeping and I’m in my pjs. Sounds heavenly to me! Shopping online without kids hanging all over me allows me to actually focus on the items I’m trying to buy and figure out what is the best deal for the amount and what I actually need. When the kids are with me I usually just throw in the cart whatever I see first to try and make the trip as short as possible. For instance, when I put together my order last week I ordered basil leaves. When I searched for basil leaves all the different brands came up on the page allowing me to quickly see what was the cheapest/best deal and add it to my cart. It took like a minute. Have you ever been able to find the cheapest spices at Walmart that quickly?!? Usually I’m standing for several minutes in the spice aisle before I even find the spice I’m looking for, let alone figure out which one is the best deal!
  3. Ordering online allowed me to buy ONLY what I needed and keep an eye on my final bill. If you’re trying to stick to a budget it’s hard to add up your groceries as you go when shopping in store (especially with kids!). With this service, I knew what my final bill was going to be before I even checked out, allowing me to put back or add items as needed. Also, by shopping online I avoided adding enticing looking items to my cart on the whim as I am prone to do. 😉

Oh, and because it was my first time using the service they even gave me a goodie bag as a thank you! How cool is that!?

I had a great experience with the service and will definitely be using it again and again. I’m hooked! I actually do a lot of my shopping at Aldi because they have great prices on fruits and veggies but I can’t get everything I need there so I also have to make a weekly trip to Walmart – and this is definitely how I’ll be doing it from now on!

If you’d like to try it out for yourself and see if you love it as much as I do here’s a code that will give you $10 off your first order: $10 off!  Try it out and come back and let me know what you think!!

Medicine, Injections and a Transfer Date!

I have some exciting news! I have started my medications and am one step further in my surrogacy journey!

If any of you have gone through the IVF process before you know that it almost always requires medication. Lots of medication. Many pills and many injections.

Last week I started the pills part of the medication protocol. Pretty easy to remember to take a handful of pills every day so that part is not so bad. But yesterday evening I started my progesterone …. And progesterone needs to be injected. In my butt.

Progesterone is in oil so it’s thick and the needle for it is on the larger side. Oh, and did I mention that my husband has a great fear of needles (and is rarely home at my injection time) and that I’ll be doing most of these myself? Sounds like fun, right? 😉

Progesterone needs to be administered into your deep muscle tissue so the needle needs to go all the way in. The best place to administer it is in the upper, outer quadrant of the butt/hip. The process I followed was ice the spot, don’t think about what I am about to do, try to control my shaking hand, try not to think about what I’m about to do, jab it in without thinking about what I am doing to myself, slowly push the medication into my body (remember it’s in oil so this stuff moves slowly!), remove the needle, try not to think about what I just did, heat the spot with a heating pad, sit down, and finally try not to think about the fact that I have to do it all again tomorrow. 🙂

I will have to be on this medication for several weeks so I had better get used to it! The spot I put it in yesterday evening is pretty sore so tonight I may experiment with different icing/heating techniques and see what works and also try a slightly different spot on my butt to see if I can find a spot that’s higher up and less painful afterwards. It really didn’t hurt too bad going in, it’s just sore now!

Although the medication is not too fun, we do have something fun coming up in the future… we have a transfer date! Next week is transfer week! Drew will be flying with me to the state where the intended parents live and Drew’s parents will be watching the kids for us while we’re gone. I would love for you all to pray with me that this first transfer would be successful and that we would soon find out a little baby is on the way for this sweet couple. ❤

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Here’s my medication and the needles I need to draw up and administer it. Progesterone is an intramuscular medication which means the needle needs to be inserted ALL the way in so that the medicine can get down into the deep muscle tissue.
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Don’t worry. This big honker is just the needle used to draw up the medication out of the vile. The needle to administer it is (slightly) smaller.
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The needle used to administer the progesterone.

Isaiah’s First Day of Pre-Kindergarten

Today something bitter-sweet happened….. My baby boy started pre-kindergarten!!! I am both excited and miserable at the same time. =) Thankfully, Isaiah was very excited (and just a little bit nervous) this morning. He has a very out-going personality and I have no doubt he will do fine in school (sitting still is going to be his biggest hurdle!!!!).

Isaiah is attending Argyle Christian Preschool and Kindergarten this year. We are so glad to have him in a christian school and love love love the school so far! Because of the way Isaiah’s birthday falls (he will be 5 September 25th) he was not allowed to start pre-K last year (in Jacksonville you must be 4 by September 1st and last September 1st he was not yet 4). So, although I am sad to see my baby growing up and starting school, I am thankful that I sort of had an “extra” year at home with him! I wouldn’t trade that for anything. And, based on the class calendar I saw on the wall in his classroom, it looks like there are two other kids with birthdays even earlier in September than him so he won’t even be the oldest in his class!

As a funny after-thought this morning as we were taking first day of school pictures with Isaiah, we realized that today is also Drew’s first day of his next grad-school class. He takes his classes in 8 week rotations and today happens to mark the first day of his next class. So, we decided to print him off a sign too and they had fun taking pictures together. =)

Happy First Day of School to both my boys! ❤

 

 

Our neighbor was leaving for work and saw us taking pictures of Isaiah by the front door and stopped her car right in the middle of the road to get out and offer to snap a family picture of us. It was so sweet! (We didn’t have time to grab Livy who was still inside finishing up breakfast.)
Looks like he’s excited about his first day!

 

 

Eloise cried on the way home after we dropped Isaiah off. She misses him so much already!
Drew’s sign says, “It’s my first day of my next grad-school class! 2015”
Isaiah’s sign says, “It’s my first day of pre-kindergarten. 2015”

 

Me and my boy. I LOVE having a son. ❤

 

The Three Amigos!

 

In front of his classroom door.
In front of his cubby.
Ready for class to start!

How to Help Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

Stretch marks… we all dread them….and many of us believe there is nothing we can do to help prevent them. We believe they are genetic. You either get them or you don’t. You either have elastic skin or not. Although I do think genetics play a big role, I know there are things that can be done to help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Some people’s skin may naturally be more stretchy than yours but if you are genetically predisposed to stretch marks (like me!) I have good news for you!!

There are several ways to help your skin gain more elasticity and thus have better stretch during pregnancy. This results in less or no stretch marks! Although my family history suggests that I should have gotten many stretch marks, I went through two pregnancies (one where I went almost a week over with an 8lb 11oz baby) and came through both with only one teeny tiny, not even noticeable stretch mark above my belly button.

40 weeks and an exited big sister!

There’s hope for you too! Here are some tips to help your skin gain elasticity and help prevent stretch marks:

1. Hydration

 

Drink lots and lots of water – keep your body and skin hydrated! Water helps detoxify your body and keeps your skin cells plump, which makes your skin healthier and more likely to bounce back from the stress caused by stretching. It is recommended that you get 8-12 glasses of water each day.

 2. Vitamins and Minerals

It’s important to take a good prenatal vitamin while pregnant but it’s imperative to eat a healthy diet to get vitamins and minerals from food sources as well. Make sure you also eat lots of healthy fats to help your skin have the most stretch possible. Avocado, nuts, fish, etc. are good sources of healthy fats.

Here are some important vitamins and minerals to be consuming:

  • Foods containing zinc, which is used in the production of collagen. Eat lean poultry, yogurt, and cheese.
  • Foods containing vitamin C, which forms collagen and cartilage. Eat red and green bell peppers, kale, broccoli, citrus fruits, and tomatoes.
  • Foods containing vitamin E, which protects skin cell membranes. Eat nuts, seeds, avocados broccoli, and collard greens.
  • Foods containing vitamin A, which repairs skin tissues. Eat carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, squash, and red bell peppers.
  • Foods containing omega 3s, which keep cell membranes healthy and make your skin glow. Eat fish, fish oil, walnuts, eggs and oysters.

 

3. Gain weight gradually

Try to gain your weight slow and steady. This will help prevent your skin from stretching too quickly. Stretch marks often happen when you gain a lot of weight, fast. If you follow your doctor’s guidelines for gaining weight gradually, rather than putting on your pregnancy weight all at once, you greatly reduce the chance that you’ll end up with stretch marks.

 

4. Keep your skin oiled

There are many natural products you can use (such as coconut oil) but when I was pregnant I lathered myself daily with Bio-Oil and LOVED it!! I began applying it around 12 weeks with both pregnancies. Sometimes twice a day but usually only once,  just before bed time. It’s oily and I didn’t want to ruin my clothes so I would put it on just before I got into my pajamas. I would lather a heavy coat of that stuff on each night and it made my skin so soft and smooth. I truly believe this was the product that helped me the most! It can be found at most grocery or drug stores. Whether you decide to go with Bio-Oil or a natural oil like coconut oil, I believe oiling your belly and lower back may be the most important step of all in preventing stretch marks! Also, Bio-Oil can help reduce the appearance of existing stretch marks too so don’t be afraid to use it if you already have some!

I want to end by saying that, while most of us would rather go through a pregnancy with no or few stretch marks, many women do get them. You may feel bad about stretch marks you have but try to remember what beauty those scars represent. You carried a life inside of you, what an amazing miracle! A few battle scars are worth the wonderful prize at the end. You are beautiful no matter what!