My computer has been out of commission due to a really bad virus (like so many people these days) and its taken some time to get things back up and running correctly. My entire computer had to be wiped out and started from scratch. In the process, I backed up my 14,000 pictures on a backup drive but somehow still lost 7,000 of them :( I'm still in the process of recovering the missing pictures and have found 1,250 of the 7,000. Because of all this I haven't been able to do a blog update for a little while, so this one is going to be a bit longer as we have lots of catching up to do!
Afton Apple Orchard!
A couple weekends ago, my grandma, cousin Elise (from Oklahoma) and I took Evelyn to Afton Apple Orchard for a couple hours. Evelyn picked out her pumpkin and we picked one out for Gabriel too. Evelyn thoroughly enjoyed climbing through the pumpkin patch and Elise taught her how to "march" so her feet wouldn't get stuck in the vines.
We walked and walked and walked around the entire orchard looking for one specific kind of Apple. It was nice because it gave Elise and I a chance to talk and catch up on how things are going with Gabriel and life in general. We haven't seen eachother in a few years so it was nice to get caught up on how things are going for each of us. Evelyn enjoyed the fresh air and nice outdoors too.
Apples are one of Evelyn's favorite fruits. She was a little confused at first as to why the apples were hanging from a tree. But she knew right away what it was and was trying to get to them. Most were a bit out of her reach and required mom's help to get to them.
Boy was she thrilled when she finally got one off the branch. She couldn't wait to take a bite. She quickly realized that these apples are even better than the ones you buy at the store! She ate the entire thing before we even made it back to get our apples weighed!
After a our long walk around the orchard, she enjoyed some time playing on the hay pile. She didn't want to get off for quite some time and eventually I had to peel her away. Guess she isn't allergic to hay...
"Sea Life" - Mall of America.
I was a bit disappointed to see that "Sea Life" raised their prices again. Although Evelyn was free, it cost Derrick and I a total of $40 to get in. But we knew Evelyn would love it, so it was worth it for us. We were right, she was in awe while we were there. She loved the shark/sting ray tank at the entrance, I think it surprised her when they could swim right up to her face because they were right at her level.
The Jellyfish exhibit was pretty cool. If you go, make sure you read the facts in the jelly fish exhibit as they are VERY interesting creatures. Evelyn couldn't figure out what they were. I swear she could have sat there for hours watching them swim around.
Once we got inside the tunnels, Evelyn was moving her head around like an owl trying to see everything around her. Occasionally she would get a little weirded out that she was surrounded by water, but then a shark or fish would catch her attention and she'd be fine again. She was pointing and watching every fish that moved around her.
The night before Halloween we sat down to carve Evelyn's pumpkin. At first she was bored with this process as there wasn't a whole lot she could actually do to help (assuming that giving a small child a carving knife isn't such a good idea). So we gave her the job of holding the bowl of seeds so daddy could put more in. She liked that she could help do something and was enjoying the process after that.
When she figured out that the top goes on the pumpkin, she wouldn't let it be off of it. The whole time we were carving she kept trying to put it back on. This made it tough to carve the pumpkin, but with a little patience we succeeded.
Her pumpkin turned out so cute. She definitely liked it. (I'm still convinced that her favorite part is the lid though).
Gabriel's pumpkin is the one next to Evelyn's. His pumpkin was found by Elise still attached to the vine, half the pumpkin was still green and its shape isn't quite right. Seemed fitting to be Gabriel's pumpkin. We were going to carve a "G" in it for Gabriel, but we decided not to. We have decided to leave Gabriel alone and let nature do its work, so we decided to do the same with his pumpkin, leave it as nature intended.
Late afternoon on Halloween, I took Evelyn to a few of the grandparent's houses trick or treating. She was the cutest little pink leopard! After a couple family and friend's houses we went to pick up Derrick from work and then hit a few more grandparent's houses.
By this time, she'd figured out this game. "If I give you my bucket you'll put candies in it!" She was proudly sporting her bucket and filling it with candy at each house we went to.
Not a whole lot to update actually. There hasn't been any changes and we are still just waiting to see what happens. We have officially decided to let nature take its course as it would have anyways. I plan to go into labor naturally (provided I don't go overdue - most Potter's babies come early if anything).
My medical care has basically been forgotten. I am working on making an OB appointment with my doctor as a lot of regular checks have been missed. In fact, other than seeing the specialists a couple times, I haven't been seen at all...
We are now 31 weeks along, which leaves us a very short 9 weeks left to enjoy his little life with us. We still pray for a miracle, but realize that the reality is: he probably won't survive and come home with us. Realizing that this is barely 2 months away is a bit devastating. On one hand, I can't wait to (hopefully) get to finally meet him, on the otherhand I want him to stay put as long as he can where he is safe and warm, where I can continue to enjoy him.
Sometimes, when I'm having a bad day, I feel so blessed. I can just curl up on the couch, wrap my body and arms around my belly and give Gabriel all the love and hugs I have in me. I can sit and hold him and enjoy him moving and playing inside. Others don't have that opportunity, how lucky am I?
Our Plans for Gabriel's Birthday (the tough stuff)
My mom is now on call to take Evelyn when we go into the hospital. Everyone else has been put on a contact list to be texted/called when we go in (If you want to be notified, send me an email/call/text me and I'll add you - immediate family is already on the list). Not knowing what to expect is making planning a bit difficult. But we do know this: Our doula is going to be keeping our friends/family in the waiting room updated after he is born. She will let everyone know whether or not he has made it through the birthing process and what our status is.
If he is stillborn we will take time for just us and Evelyn, then invite people to come in and see him if they want, but only after we have taken our time.
If he is born alive, my mom will bring Evelyn in to us right away and we will be taking some family time with just Derrick, Evelyn, Gabriel and I. After that, our doula will invite in all the grandparents that are there in the waiting room to meet him. After the grandparents she will invite our siblings, and after our siblings we will invite anyone else in. We won't know how much time (if any) we will have with him still alive, so we won't know if everyone who is there will get to meet him while he is alive, but we are hoping for the best. Also, depending on how much time we have, we would prefer not to have kids there. This is going to be a very emotional time for us and having kids running the hospital/room is going to be hard.
If you are there, I cannot guarantee you will get to hold him while he is still with us. Derrick and I may not let him go during that time. You are welcome to touch him, kiss him, talk to him, and anything else you feel in your heart. After he has passed however, everyone will have the opportunity to hold him if they choose.
Either way, we are hoping to have "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" there taking photos for us, and of course we invite anyone to bring cameras and take photos. We want as many pictures as possible on his birthday - so feel free.
There may be more details coming out over time. This is what we have planned for people so far. We want everyone to know what is going on in advance so our doula's "job" will be that much easier.
We have also put much thought into the funeral. Although we don't know when this will be, we know that we just want to have a small service (maybe just at the cemetary). After which will serve a small lunch at our place, I will keep everyone updated on the plans as they are panned out.
During this time, we have truly appreciated all the people who have been there for us. I may be asking favors of some people for his birthday and the days following. If you can't do something for whatever reason (emotionally, physically, or otherwise), please let me know. If there is something that I may not have thought of that may help us get through this time, please share your ideas with us. I'm thinking of the extra things like: helping us with lunch after the memorial, taking care of our dogs while we are at the hospital, and other things that come up in the meantime.
Meeting a new friend (a more positive note)
A co-worker of mine (Tiffany) told me about a girl she knew from middle school who was going through a similar situation as me. She said her name was Melanie and we should talk. We were sending messages a little bit on Facebook for awhile. Her daughter has an Anencephaly and is also not expected to live. She is due 10 days before me on December 24th. One day last week, she posted on Facebook that she had nobody to go with her to an ultrasound she had scheduled. So I saw the opportunity to finally meet someone in person who was walking in my very same shoes. I jumped on the phone and offered to go with her. As odd as it sounds, seeing her walk out of the elevator was such a comfort for me. I finally feel like I'm not walking this unbeaten path through a dark forest alone, now I have someone walking the same path with me... She is very sweet, very busy (she has 3 little boys too!), but very thoughtful, caring, and hopeful. It was too bad we didn't have time to sit and chat a bit after the appointment, but I'm hopeful that, even with her busy schedule, we'll find time to meet periodically and talk more.
Now that I have my computer back, I'll be sure to post again soon!
Just a random picture of Evelyn that I liked!!