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We met over 8 years ago at church as Shaun was walking in and I was walking out. The few words exchanged sparked an interst that kept Shaun coming back. When we FINALLY began dating 4 years later we soon knew there was something special here. Our first year quickly flew by and we both decided we never wanted to spend another year with anyone else or without each other. We married in the place where it all began on January 1, 2011 (1/1/11) and gave birth to our beautiful daughter Ava Marie on September 22, 2011 our next little one, Clara Rose came 16 months later on February 11, 2013. This blog began with our preparation with our wedding and has entered into recording the days and events of our newlywed life and new motherhood.

The Happy Couple...

Daisypath - Personal pictureDaisypath Anniversary tickers

Ava Marie

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Third Birthday tickers

Clara Rose

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Second Birthday tickers

Gabriel's ticker

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Twins ticker

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Pregnancy tickers

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ready or not... here she comes!

So... I just recieved a phone call from my midwife, Louise... you remember Louise:

After reviewing the results of my urine test, the fact that my bloodpressure is creeping up again today and my platelet count is still low... They're inducing me... tonight.

I'm feeling a little shaky and anxious, but know that Our Lord is in control and perhaps he just wants to see how WELL I learned that "Life Lesson 101" aka: You are NOT in control. 

*Deep sigh*

I'm very excited to meet little Ava Marie and for those of you coming to the baby shower on Sunday, (stay tuned, my Mom will let you know the plans) might even recieve news during the shower that she has arrived!!!

Today we even set her baptism date for October 22nd during the 4pm Mass.  Mark your calendars, this child of God is on her way into the world and I'm sure not Shaun, I or anyone else will ever be the same! 

Thank you everyone for your prayers.  I won't have a computer, but will let you know when I get home, how everything goes.

So good to be HOME!

Yet another lesson in "Marijanna, you're not in control 101" - CHECK!

I went to the midwife yesterday for my weekly visit and ended up visiting the hospital for the next 24 hours.  My midwife really IS the best... ever... I mean, how can you NOT love this face:

Louise is the "Mom to the Moms" and has taken SUCH great care of me.  I've really grown to love her and found that we're a good balance because sometimes I "under-react" to things ...and she makes sure she's on top of everything

I had felt a little funny this weekend and Ava wasn't moving as much on Monday... at all.  I attributed it to her just "getting bigger" and waited to call Louise.  I won't do that again. 

When I went in for my visit I had protein in my urine, swelling in my feet, legs and hands (as I usually do ...but worse ..."pitting edema" I guess it's called), headache, a back ache, high blood pressure and a few other signs that could be signals of preclampsia or gestational hypertension.  Some of them can be just "pregnancy related" so I sort of overlooked them... wont do that again either.  Louise sent me immediately down the street to the hospital for a "non-stress test" to monitor the baby and I. 

All turned out well and my bloodpressure was back down, so I planned on having to do a test that checks for protein in my urine (essentially I have to save all my PEE for 24 hours... fun fun!), but was going to be able to do so at home.

...then my labwork came back and evidently my platelet count was really low... Soooo back I was sent back to the hospital for monitoring for the next 24 hours.

This evening I was released because everything was coming back "ok" and Louise thought I might actually like to sleep in my own bed (which I DID... but because of 3rd trimester insomnia, I find myself blogging instead when I could be sleeping ...still, it's good to be home.)

I didn't like staying in the hospital by myself at first.  It was the first time I'd been away from Shaun since we'd been married and I admit that I really missed him, but I realized a little while through my visit there that I probably needed a day to just be "laid up in bed" and rest.  At home I only saw what "still needed to be done" before the baby comes!  When I actually left the hospital after some good rest and elevated feet ...I could actually see the bones in my ankles again.  BOY had it been a long time since I'd seen them!!!  Even Shaun was like, "Wow!  That's what your feet used to look like?"  Ha!

I also found out that it was a very busy day in the maternity ward, so I picked up my rosaries and began to pray for all those moms in labor... thinking that would be ME soon and I'd sure like someone spending their day praying for me in the room next door!  I even got to meet one of the little babies I'd prayed for during the day before I left to come home!

I also got to meet many of the wonderful nurses at Tobey and was definitely put at ease as the night and day went on and I realized I would be giving birth among all these wonderful women.  If I had only come in when I was in the "heat of labor" I may not have gotten to appreciate them all the way I did meeting them this way first.  They were SO wonderful to me and you could tell that they genuinely loved what they did, what a beautiful place to give birth!

I had recently watched a GREAT documentary produced by Ricki Lake called "The Business of Being Born" and was so encouraged that I'd made the right decision to give birth through a midwife and at Tobey (which is an amazing hospital that is very "mother/child" friendly).  I HIGHLY recommoend that you watch it if you can by the way, because it's definitely eye opening.  Shaun watched it with me and was so flabbergasted by how "backwards" things are here in the US in regards to giving birth.. things you wouldn't even really thing of.  ...Things that make you go, "Hmmmmm"

Anyhow... I digress.

I prayed for these brave women and through my time there found more and more peace in the thought that soon ...VERY soon ...this was going to be ME giving birth to little Ava.  I think maybe God knew that I needed this experience to help me get over some of my anxiety.  I'm thankful.

Going forward for the next few weeks I have to "take it more easy" and go twice a week back to the hospital for tests and more often to my midwife for prenatal visits.  Say a little prayer that ALL continues to go well and thank you to all those who were praying for me as I was there.  I'm sure your prayers helped me to come home tonight.  I'll keep you updated!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


We're trying to take advantage of the fact that Shaun and I are quickly approaching our last days of being "just" husband and wife. 

This weekend we went on Retreat to spend some of those days in silence and time together.  It was lovely  and both of us were "stuck like glue" to each other praying together... taking walks,

...and of course... fishing.

(who brings fishing poles on a retreat??? ...WE do!) 

When I was busy packing everything beforehand, I'd say to Shaun "Can you go get the such and such?"  And all he'd hear is "Can you go get the fishing poles?" 

I realized afterwards that #1: We'd forgotten whatever it was I asked him to pack (he was too excited to go fishing and yes ...this DID remind me of my Summer-time with the boys when I'd say "did you remember to bring such and such with you?" and later would find after all their affirmations that it was somewhere still at the house) ...sigh.  And #2: It was actually futile to "pack" because there was NO way I could sleep on the beds there.  I had a hard enough time sleeping on our own "comfy bed" at home lately, so each night we'd drive home (only 20-30min) to get a better night's sleep and head back in the morning.  You may be able to see my feet in the water which was a failed attempt at reducing the swelling in my legs and feet.  They were quite a site by the end.  Ahhh, you women who don't experience this... lucky.

We even had time to gather some of our OWN "Awkward Maternity Photos".  While Shaun was taking some of the last pictures we'd be able to get in this stage of my pregnancy backdropped by the beautiful scenery... he failed to realize that he'd captured one of our friends looking like she'd just stepped out of HEAD in the background! 

I couldn't help but think of THIS one from the site I previously cracked up on:
(don't you LOVE "skinny" pregnant people???) 

Here's our own more "realistic" version...

When I asked him if he NOTICED the person standing RIGHT behind my head ...He said, "I figured you could "edit it out" ...In his favor ...He must think I'm REALLY talented!!! Ha ha!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Maternity Photos? To take or not to take???

So, I've been thinking a bit of having some Maternity photos taken.  I did a little research and have to say I absolutely cracked up today when I stumbled across this site: Awkward Pregnancy Photos feel free to peruse for a great laugh.  Definitely NOT what I would be going for.

Today I also woke up and think that she "dropped".  My mom came over and also said my belly looked lower... that's it, she's getting ready!!!  Getting excited *little squeal*  ...Are you all ready for her???

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

27 days till delivery...

So now I'm obsessed with counting in "days".  I know she could come 2 weeks early (or even tomorrow for all I know) ...or late.  I'm hoping not late because she's already big... I think... well, ok, maybe not just me.  Everyone thinks. 

I went to my midwife appt tonight and after a particularly difficult night sleeping I found myself feeling "edgy" as the day went on with a lingering headache that wouldn't go away.  Probably the fatigue.  When I feel like this I try to pretty much keep to myself, realizing I probably just need rest and space. 
By the end of the day I went into my midwife appt and burst into tears!  This is SO unlike me, but I think my fatigue and anxiety had built all day long and I knew I had to put together my "birth plan" and took one look at her and said, "I'm not myself today" (enter the waterworks)
(I wasn't this bad... but almost felt like it inside ...hormones GRRRR)
This is such a humbling experience for me being so in touch with my own fears and vulnerabilities.  I've cared for hundreds of children lovingly and confidently and all of a sudden this one little person can make me scared to death.  I am so aware of the responsibility of being a good parent and though billions of women have given birth over the years... somehow my own experience has gotten me tremendously anxious, so when people say "Bet you can't wait now!" ...I'm torn between the excitement of meeting this little person I've grown to love so much and the sadness I'll feel when I don't feel her kicking inside me or playing with her feet or moving around ...this is something I've really grown to love.

*Deep sigh*

After my appointment I came home in time to walk next door to my neighbor's and pray a rosary (She's having her home enthroned).  I needed the strength that comes from Jesus and Mary.  I wondered why it took me so long to "break out the beads" today.  I began to feel a little better.

Then Shaun came home after a long day ...and he was SOoo encouraging.  I am calmer just when he's around!  He's not scared at all.  He's SO ready for her and can't wait to hold her.  His confidence and trust puts me at ease.  He just took me in his arms, kissed me on the forehead, told me how beautiful I was and not to be afraid because "I can do this". 

Thank God for this man I've been given who believes in my strength and yet is such a rock that I feel I do not have carry everything on my own.  He is such a gift to me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

36 Weeks!

I'm 36 Weeks and now have only 28 days to go (officially)!  Whoa... I can't believe I'm counting in "days" now.  This pregnancy has gone by SO fast and I'm utterly flabbergasted by how much has happened in such a short period of time.

Last night we had our last childbirth class.  I was SO proud of Shaun and how much he's working to make me feel like "I can do this".  He's such a support and brings comic relief for sure as well.  I find myself laughing the whole time inside.  I know he's going to be a great "coach" and help me through everything. 

We both came home and dreamed all night that I was going into labor.  He woke up in the morning and said, "We need to practice your breathing!"  I completely understood as we'd both evidently been obsessing on the whole labor experience all night long.

Today I went shopping with my Mum to get things for my bag to take to the hospital... like a nightgown (I don't fit into anything else at home with any sense of modesty... which doesn't matter much at home, but will when I'm walking through the halls at the hospital).  Finally found something (this is not easy when you're nearly 5' 11" AND pregnant!)  The last time I tried to accomplish this I brought Shaun with me... big mistake.  He can't help it.  He just can't pretend to enjoy going shopping in the women's "nightgown" area... Oh well.  We all learned a lesson that time.  Quickest shopping experience ever.

I keep thinking about what needs to be done at home and what I still need to do to prepare.  I think I'm going into serious "nesting" mode.  I have to try to rest as well and not get so distracted by things like... the basement that needs to be reorganized.  I think about it every time I go down to do laundry... then I come upstairs and by the time I'm done folding laundry feel like I need a nap!

Tomorrow I go to my weekly midwife visit and have to go over my "birth-plan" with her.  I have to admit that even though I have SOME ideas... how do you really "plan" for something you've never experienced before???  I don't really know what to say.  Any suggestions??? 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day

So it's Labor Day and I havent' updated in what feels like months... though in reality it's only been less than two weeks.  Today I find myself thinking more and more about "Labor" you know... the kind I'm going in for soon enough. 

It can be a little "unnerving" at times... Probably more because I'm not sure what to expect.

In fact, though even Shaun will admit that overall I've been very good...

..Today... I finally had a mini-break down today on poor Shaun (who has really been such a wonderful husband through everything).  He's off fishing for a little while and you would have thought when he left that he was on his way off to war!  I wanted him home with me SO badly, partly because I just love his company, partly because I knew I couldn't sit at the lake with him like I used to because I swell up so fast and get too tired... and partly because I feel like my own "Labor day" is SOoooo close and didn't want him far away at all!!! 

I know it's selfish of me because he already does so much and has VERY little time to himself.  So... after a mini-minor-breakdown, I called him back, apologized, hoped I hadn't completely ruined his chance at any fun and realized that I just needed a bit of a nap.  Pregnant women... sheesh!!!  What their husbands have to put up with!
To update you all, over the past two weeks, I've finished up nannying for all the little munchkins I've had over the summer.  Enjoyed it so much, but realized by last Friday how much harder it's getting for me to move around, how much more tired I am (though I hate to admit it) and how sore and swollen I am.  I gave them all kisses and hugs goodbye, sent them off to school and looked forward to the next few weeks of preparation for my own little one to come ...SOON.

I was so worried when Hurrican Irene was coming that I'd be kicked into labor by the barometric pressure changes.  I already have an overactive imagination and that was just getting me going even more.  Instead I looked around our lovely home and while Shaun was preparing for her coming (Irene's that is) by putting things away and "battening down the hatches" I was taking pictures of our flowers (thinking they'd be all blown away afterwards).  Here are the last of the season... aren't they lovely???

 Phlox that were given to me by a dear old friend from her garden last year

 Our Morning Glories that I planted last Summer (thinking that this year I'd be married to Shaun & enjoying them in MY yard) and returned again this year.

 The last Hydrangea of the Season.  This is the first flower Shaun ever gave me.  It had bloomed late that year and he brought it to me one day in late-September.  I still think of Hydrangeas and think of him every time.

 Rose of Sharon

 Black eyed Susans

 Our window boxes that burst into pillowy fullness as the Summer went by.  I just think they're beautiful!

 even the bees like them...

 Gladioli that I also planted last year between the Hostas and which all returned this year!

Someone else is blooming too!  This is me just before the Hurricane.

Well, it turns out Irene took it easy on us.  We were VERY well off here.  Extremely minor damage and no loss of power.  We'd been wanting to top off one of the trees in the back and she did it for us...

...placing it neatly between the garage and the arbor.  Didn't even damage the grapes!  Shaun quickly cut it up and it was gone in a couple of days.

Following the storm, I was asked to speak at the school where I'd taught for many years (but gave up my position to stay home with Ava) due to their assigned speaker not being able to make it.  I was so happy to do this and speak to the children I'd watched grow for so many years (at least 1/2 of whom had passed through my classroom) about beginning the school year well, keeping Christ with them each day and being aware of the power of their words and actions. 

It's so beautiful to be able to go to a SCHOOL and speak openly about Christ instead of being afraid of "breaking the rules" or the law... How sad that we live in a country where we proclaim freedom and yet live in fear of speaking openly about our faith.  (FYI: For more info on this great school go here!)

Shaun & I also celebrated on August 30th the TWO year anniversary... of our first date. 

We'd known each other for four years before this came to pass and I remember that day very well and how quickly he won me over.

This year on Aug 30th in the morning we both woke up and looked at each other and he said, "Happy Anniversary" ...I said "I'm SO glad I said "yes" to you two years ago and gave you a chance.  Thank you for waiting for me."

He picked the last hydrangea from the garden and brought it in to me later that day... a reminder of the first flower he'd ever given (it's so nice when they remember!)

We both remember this day because after we'd been dating a little while we realized that our first date had taken place on his grandmother's birthday... the same one whose home we live in now and who had brought Shaun to New Bedford.  Ironically we were also married on her wedding day (not knowing when we planned it that she also was married on January 1st) AND later found out that she too was blessed with a "honeymoon baby"... the very "Auntie Louise" I've mentioned in other posts. 

(here with Shaun's Mum, her sister Germaine... aren't sisters FUN???)

Anyhow, we've felt Grama Mary's been praying for us all along.

I also recently found out that a friend of mine who had suffered from brain cancer after many years passed away.  Steven's death and passing was a reminder to me of how short life is and how our lives are touched by others for only a brief time.  None of us know the day or the hour.  He had been such a witness to the value of life even in the midst of suffering that I was moved deeply by how many people filled the church for his wake and funeral services and how filled with hope they were!  It was truly a "Christian" burial in the sense that even in the midst of mourning, there was such profound hope!  Even with this new life inside of me, I couldn't help but think while I was there praying for Steve, that my job in this life is now to make sure that this little one I've been given, finds her way back to the one who gave her to me.  This is quite a steep vocation.  (Please pray for me that I am a good mother to her.)

We'd been meaning to plant flowers on Shaun's grandmother's grave and intended to do so for her birthday, but Irene was coming and we weren't sure how they'd fare. 

We waited and did that yesterday and prayed a rosary for her and his grandfather... thanking her for her prayers for us and for her help in bringing us together.  Before we left I looked at him and said, "You know honey... if it wasn't for her, there would be no YOU... and without you there would be no "Ava" and without her... my life would be very different."  It's funny how our lives go around in circles touching so many as we go, isn't it?