Long-awaited update

It's been long enough since I posted at my more recent blog that I don't think some of you know that I'm pregnant. Way to welcome myself back with big news, hey? So now let's back up a bit.

The day I found out I was pregnant, I also found out I had Fibromyalgia and Sjogren's Syndrome. A few months before that, I found out I also had Hypothyroidism and PCOS (Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome). As if my life couldn't have gotten any more complicated when we found out the news of another baby in incubation. ;) I wasn't sure whether to be excited or worried. Of course I only got very worried, excitement unable to set in.

To bring you up to my current status, I'm still pregnant. (Great big smile.) 16-1/2 weeks, to be exact. We find out the sex of the baby in 15 days (yes, I'm counting down).

The first 13 weeks were a crazy roller coaster filled with mostly the big downs. I was super sick, losing about 10 lbs. I was extremely exhausted, not just because of the pregnancy, but also because of my illnesses, well, and then the fact that I was also mothering two pre-school-aged children. It was very hard. I've had one bout of major pain lasting about a week. When I have the bouts of pain, it's hard to function. My arms, legs, feet, elbows, upper back all hurt. (When I say "hurt", it feels just like body aches when you have the flu, only worse. So sit back and imagine that. It's not fun.) I get spasms throughout my body and limbs go numb. I also get really exhausted and just need to sleep, but as all us mothers know, that's nearly impossible. So I just bite my tongue through the pain, try and parent the best I can, and do what I can to just get through another day (all the while complaining and crying to Neil every waking minute he's here -- he's my rock). Thankfully that just lasted about a week. Things have pretty much been in remission since then. Knock-on-wood. I would be quite happy if I could make it the rest of the pregnancy without anymore bouts. Actually, I would be ecstatic.

On the plus side, baby is doing quite well. S/he is growing on time and then some. S/he is measuring 2 weeks ahead (something we'll get more concerned with as time goes on) and his/her heart rate has been nice and high. Now I'm feeling kicks and movements constantly which is reassuring and wonderful. I have missed those kicks...something you hope to never forget once you're not pregnant, but when you are again, you welcome back that feeling with open arms because you forgot how great the real thing felt.

The first few weeks were tough. Not just because I was so sick but because it was a very risky time. I saw my doctor every 2 weeks and had 4 ultrasounds in that time. We went into the pregnancy thinking I was going to miscarry, but s/he came through for me! Making it to the 13 week point was such a huge huge milestone. I have now "graduated" to just every 4-week appointments.

Now we're just waiting anxiously for the next appointment, hoping we get good news from the level II ultrasound which will tell us a lot about the baby's health. I'm very nervous about that. I am taking a lot of drugs and while I know they are deemed safe, it is still scary to put anything questionable in your body when you're carrying a baby.

In other areas of our life... Neil is working hard and traveling a LOT. He got another new responsibility at work and so far that has meant he travels much more. Not my cup of tea, especially during pregnancy. I am hoping he'll get it out of his system before baby arrives. I'll need him much more then. But in the last 3 weeks he has been to New York City, San Antonio, Geneva, Switzerland, and Paris, France. Tomorrow he leaves for Chicago. Based on his pictures, I really hope to get to go to Switzerland with him sometime. Looks gorgeous and a place I'd love to document with my own photography.

I signed Noah up last week for kindergarten. That was hard. On me. I sat in the car and took a few deep breaths and held back tears before heading in. It was just such a big step in his/my life. It means reading, writing, tying shoes, losing teeth, and going full-days at school. My baby is a big boy now. It's hard to come to that realization some days, especially on the day of registration.

Maia is also signed up for next year, pre-school. She'll go every day, half days. She's very very ready and I'm ready for her. (It's so much easier to let go of her versus Noah and I'm not sure why that is, but it is.) She already knows her teacher quite well and a handful of her classmates. I know she will do very well and I'm thrilled for her. She'll have a much better time getting to go to school every day than spending the mornings with mommy and baby. It will also be good for baby and me to have this one-on-one time together. Ultimately will make it easier for all I hope.

In my photography world, to be honest, I've been very slow. After Christmas, most sittings stopped, and I have no weddings booked for 2009 (something I did on purpose and am very excited about). Not being busy has been a Godsend as I don't think I could have done anything, even if asked to, the past 4 months. Now that spring is peeking out it's head, people are getting the itch for photos, so my months ahead are booking up. I love family and baby/child sittings. While I adore weddings, I feel I can be more creative and have much more fun with smaller shoots. Not to mention I get MUCH more time with my family.

A few months ago I was offered a job through a graphic design firm in Decatur to work for them doing specific photo shoots every month. They kind of interviewed me and I got to see and hear exactly what they wanted from me. I was excited with what I saw and the girls at the firm were excited with what they saw in my work. (Yay!) So, now that the magazine is finally starting up, I can talk about it! It's called "Thrive" and it's about Decatur (and surrounding areas) focusing on the good and positive about Decatur (especially night life and recreation; Decatur's reputation isn't that wonderful to outsiders, even some insiders) and highlighting those positive things on a monthly basis. I am, and will be, the main photographer documenting these things! My first "job" begins this month and the first publication will be out in June. I am very very excited. A great way to expand my work portfolio, have a steady stream of moolah coming in, and it will give me the chance to open myself up more. I tend to stay in this nice little bubble most of the time and I think I need to get out more :)

I was also contacted at the beginning of the year about my "Informant" movie photos. This magazine "Illinois Country Living" has decided to do a special issue dedicated to the movie and will be published in September when the movie comes out. They've chosen my photos for the article as well as the COVER photo!! They interviewed me, too, and I'm kinda nervous about that part, hoping they won't publish any of it. ;) I think I had some pretty corny answers. It's hard to come up with clever stuff! But, ultimately, I am soooo excited and hope to get a few copies to hand out to those of you who love me most ;)

Well, I will end this post for now. I have a feeling it's already WAY more than what you were hoping for. I guess that's what you get when you don't see "me" anymore and my blog doesn't see you. Sorry for the hiatus. I've missed you all a lot. I'm also going to update Grandma's Diary. I've been getting lots of slack from my mom and Great Aunt...in very nice subtle ways ;)

Lots of love ~ Val


Corie said...


Welcome back. I've missed you.
I have been thinking about you sooo much and wondering how you are doing.

So glad to hear that everything is going well.

And, I'm going to be in Decatur next weekend. Beth and I are hanging out on Friday. I think the date is the 24th... maybe we could all get together?!?!?!
Would love to see you!!!

it's me, Val said...

Corie, I could totally do Friday! What time? Beth's house? Will she care or is that a silly question? I have missed you, too...Beth, too. We just can't afford the chiro anymore so I never ever see her :(

Michelle said...

Welcome back! :) Yay for all your new work opps!

Alexis Jacobs said...

So did you mention our little stalking experience when I was in town during that interview. If so make sure they spell A-L-E-X-I-S right :-)

I am glad you are back blogging. It makes the miles seem not so far apart.


Erin said...

Wow, I've missed you. I missed your blogging and emails and this has made you feel like you're here talking to me :) xoxo

oh amanda said...

Oh, Val! So glad to hear a looong Val post! I've been keeping up via facebook-statuses, but it is NOT the same! Praying for the baby! Crying for kindergarten! And loving you!!