Pregnancy

30 Weeks

Five days late. Five days late.

‘I can’t be pregnant,’ I thought.  We haven’t even started *trying*. And yet… five days late.

You know what though? I knew.  Somehow I knew.  Despite all my hours and days of disbelief, the moment that I saw those two blue lines I was in shock — in shock that I’d been right.

I opened the door and walked out of the bathroom. Nick’s eyes met mine. I nodded softly as my eyes widened and a smile hinted on my lips.

“Wow,” he said.

“I know,” I replied.

Hugs and kisses all around!


That was 26 weeks ago.  A lot has happened since then.

Since then we’ve learned:

That we’re expecting on or around August 5th.

That we were going to have a baby girl (!)

That there was an abnormal view of the 4 chambers of her heart and we referred for additional screening following the 20 week ultrasound.

Shortly after that, we named her Donna Jean.

Eight more weeks, two ultrasounds, one fetal MRI and one fetal echo cardiogram later we have learned that Donna will be born with a rare birth defect called Heterotaxy Syndrome. Her particular case of heterotaxy involves: (approx.) 9 congenital heart defects and several gastrointestinal defects or abnormalities affecting her stomach, liver, gallbladder, colon and also her spleen. After meeting with a team of specialists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital it was determined that I will deliver with a high risk OB and cardiac team present, she will then need to be transported to the CICU (Cardiac Intensive Care Unit) at Children’s within the first few hours of her life. (It is possible she will need surgery within the first week of her life.)

We have a long road before us.  Donna will definitely require surgery, but to what extent and of how many instances we are not yet certain.

Although overwhelmed at times, Nick and I are in a good place and feel grateful with the support of our immediate family. Obviously this all has become a big part of our lives and will continue to play an even bigger part once she is born. We want to share in it all as we move forward for the support from our extended family and friends, but also because we believe God has something bigger in store for all of us here. We have already clearly felt His comfort and we want to share in that too.

(If you’re interested in learning more about the specific defects that she has been diagnosed with, or Heterotaxy Syndrome in general, please feel free to reach out to me!)


I want to document this time — these 10 weeks I have remaining pregnant.  I want to share in the deep and the raw as we navigate big feelings, but I also want to revel in this time and document this pregnancy as I would any other.  As I did for my boys.  So, I’m hoping to share weekly here: with some of my favorite photos from the previous week, as well as a ‘snapshot’ (in the format seen below) of life at this very moment.

Life is good. And God is so, so good.


Highs this week:  Being told I’m the cutest pregnant lady a dozen or so times. A little vain perhaps, but also always a nice thing to hear!  More so than that, we continue to feel empowered by the immense support and prayer we have received from our family, friends and community. It’s been extremely humbling and incredibly comforting.

Lows this week: No real lows this week. I remain feeling in an empowered state.  My energy is up (mostly) and I feel physically, mentally and emotionally strong.

Miss anything: Normal sleep, haha! Physically speaking my sleep has been terrible the last several days and I wake up feeling just about as tired as when I fall asleep. (Could be worse though!)

Movement: She is all over the place SO much of the time.  I’ve loved starting to feel those bigger movements. She is still regularly flipping from breech to head down, so I feel some truly big movements a lot of the time.  Also, Thurser go to feel her (like really feel her) for the first time.  On Saturday morning I woke before Thurser and tried to lay and stretch in bed while he still snoozed.  Eventually he stirred and rested his leg on my stomach. Moments later, Donna began to roll and ‘bop’. Thurser’s head whipped to stare at my belly and then he quietly awaited another movement. I couldn’t help but grin.  As soon has she kicked again, his head whipped to stare at me wide eyed. “Did you feel her?!” I asked.  “Yeaaahh…” he said. And then in a really breathy voice, “Wowwww…!”

Happy or moody most of the time:  Happy!

Looking forward to: People not scrutinizing my activity levels.  No one has been severe about it by any means (no shunning at the gym, etc.)  But I’ve been pretty hands on with several physically involved home improvement projects over the last couple weeks and it’s been the topic of conversation on more than one occasion.  My thought is that as long as you are truly listening to your body, you should continue to be active as possible while pregnant.  I feel that I’ve personally benefited from this greatly during this pregnancy.

Sleep: Physically speaking my sleep has been terrible the last several days and I wake up feeling just about as tired as when I fall asleep. (Could be worse though!)

Food cravings: No specific food cravings, although fresh fruits and yummy salads are starting to sound better and better as we head into the hotter weather. I have noticed however that I have been getting extremely hungry during the late afternoon — like ravenous hungry. And then I’m not hungry at all for dinner…? Been trying to just go ahead and eat a super early dinner (like at 2pm, haha!) so I don’t just keep snacking and snacking and snacking and then have no real meal.

Weird pregnancy moment? Nothing good to share this week!

Labor signs: No ‘labor’ signs per se, (would be entirely too early for that) but I’ve been having regular braxton hick’s contractions for weeks now.   And more recently (like over the weekend) I started having some low abdomen pains associated with the uterus beginning to drop. All good signs in my opinion!

Belly button in or out: Half in, half out — but mostly just disappeared. Haha! Consistent with every other pregnancy!

Weight gain: About 23 lbs

Favorite maternity clothes: Dresses! I only have two at the moment that fit and one of those just crapped out.  I attempted a mend but it’s not permanent.  I love this navy maxi dress (still available in black) that I got back in April and have ordered a few more different dresses recently to see me through the rest of the summer.   Anxious for the arrival of: this grey midi tank dress, and to see how well this gingham dress and this Pyne and Smith dress work for maternity wear. (I will keep you updated!)


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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Rebecca | Seven2Seven8
    May 30, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    I’m a newer reader, and wish your family and Donna Jean a smooth and complete pregnancy, an easy birth, the best prognosis, and speedy recovery all around. Praying for you!

    • Reply
      Laura
      May 31, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      Hi Rebecca! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment — and especially — to pray for my family. Seriously means more than you probably know. :)

  • Reply
    Susan Clark
    June 1, 2018 at 2:44 am

    Hi Laura,
    When you first posted about Donna Jean’s diagnosis on instagram, my heart stopped. Getting scary news about your precious baby is the most terrifying thing. I’m praying that you soak in and enjoy (as much as possible) these last 10 weeks of her in your belly! Also praying for her and your road ahead. We lost our little buddy to anencephaly just over three years ago. I hope your lady gets a long, joyous life with her two older brothers.

    • Reply
      Laura
      June 4, 2018 at 2:59 pm

      Thank you for your prayers Susan! I am most definitely enjoying and soaking up these days. I am grateful for having been able to lay my fears to rest and simply trust in the next step. She (and we) are in the best place possible — His loving hands. Also, thank you for sharing about your little angel baby with me. Know that I will think of you and him.

  • Reply
    Summer 2018 Reading List – The Lovely Laura Life
    June 1, 2018 at 8:01 am

    […] was introduced to this book by a friend in the days following us learning of Donna’s diagnosis.  I admittedly have just gotten started on it, but holy wow.  It is most definitely one that is […]

  • Reply
    Rachel C
    June 5, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    Congratulations on the gift of a precious little girl! I have three and absolutely cherish what they add to our Family!
    The 20 week anatomy scan for our son began a long series of scans that ended with the realization that he is missing a portion of his brain. Shocking words indeed. I remember vividly the feeling of numbness as we tried to wrap our minds around what this diagnosis entailed for us all, and yet underneath that a peace that this was in God’s perfect plan. We were so certain that no matter how things worked out, they would be used for his glory. As it turns out, you don’t need all of your brain to be normal :) Thank you for your testimony of Gods peace in your lives, you and yours will be in my prayers.

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