6/30/10

Reminiscing

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; Yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; Psalm 77:11-14a
Anna Cate in the NICU

Brian in the NICU

It's so hard to believe Anna Cate and Brian will be 6 years old tomorrow. As many times as people have said, "they'll be grown before you know it," I finally understand. It's a bittersweet birthday . I love watching AC and B develop their personalities, trying to make sense of the world, and hopefully implementing some of the values Todd and I have tried to teach them. But, this year will also bring huge changes in their lives: starting full-day kindergarten and gaining 2 sisters, just to name a few. After putting the kids to bed tonight and preparing for our birthday traditions- waking up to a room full of balloons and a birthday breakfast with presents, Todd started reminiscing about previous birthdays....makes me feel good to know I'm not alone!

6/27/10

Love Builds

Friday evening, our Sunday school class gathered at the habitat for humanity house our church is building as part of our 175th Anniversary.

Because most of us in the class have small children, we chose to do the landscaping. We were able to plant trees, shrubs, flowers, and lay sod all in a couple of hours.


The soon-to-be homeowners came by and it was so fun to see their excitement and pride in their new home. They are raising 4 of their grandchildren along with their own, so they are anxious to have a little more room!

The dedication of the house is today and they will move in some time this week.



It is such a blessing to be involved in a church that focuses on teaching children and adults-ha! the importance of giving.

6/26/10

Baby Shower

Yesterday some of my sweet friends hosted a baby shower brunch for us! I let Anna Cate come with me, but Brian decided he would rather spend some time with Todd at the office- shocker! We had such a great time and got lots of beautiful gifts!




6/25/10

A Little History

I'm always hesitant to discuss our infertility history because it is such a personal journey. We made our decisions after lots praying and feel we have been guided along the way.
Todd and I were married in 2000 and "the plan" was to wait at least 5 years before having children. In August of 2003, we found out we were expecting, but 5 days later I was admited in the hospital with an ectopic pregnancy- my tube had ruptured and my Dr. said I was hours away from bleeding to death. The next month was the hardest our marriage had ever faced, yet it was also a huge turning point for us as a couple. We were told that we would have to do In Vitro Fertililization (IVF) in order to have babies of our own. This was a brand new word to both of us and we immediately began researching and gathering information. By the time we met with our Endocrinologist, we had made the decision that we wanted a baby more than anything and we were willing to try IVF. We had many factors on our side: IVF was actually developed for a woman with my exact issue (an ectopic pregnancy) and I was 26 years old. True to our style, we decided this was also the perfect time to gut our house and remodel. In December of 2003, we found out were expecting twins! I had a really great pregnancy with no complications- other than gaining very close to 100 lbs.! I went in for my weekly visit at 34 weeks and was told, "It's baby day!" Brian's umbilical cord was presenting, so the decision was made to go ahead and get the babies. Anna Cate and Brian were born on July 1, 2004: Brian at 5:07pm 5lbs. 2 oz.and Anna Cate was 3 lbs. 11 oz. at 5:09pm. Both had to stay in the NICU for several weeks dealing with respiratory issues, but overall they were very healthy. Brain came home on an apnea monitor that we all came to hate!
We came out of our first cyle with IVF with 6 embryos to freeze in Cryopreservation. Every year we would get a renewal form that asks what your plans are for the embryos during that year, but it was a topic of converation constantly. In my opinion, infertility is so hard because you have to make the move in deciding this is the perfect time in your life to have a baby instead of just saying, "we'll see what happens."
This past August, apparently August is the month we make big decisions in the Sparkman house -ha!, we decided to try a transfer with the frozen embryos. Unfortunately, the transfer didn't result in a pregnancy. Again we prayed and tried to really sit back and listen to what God had in store for our family. We decided to do a second round of IVF. Just before Christmas this year, we found out we have been blessed with twins again! This pregnancy has been a little more eventful- I was put on bedrest at around 14 weeks for a month. That was super challenging with 2 very active 5 year olds but we survivied. Since then, everything has gone well. We are hoping this set of twins will not make an early appearance, but if we have learned anything in the past 6 years, it is to expect the unexpected!

6/22/10

Freedom


Brian's prayer last night: "Dear God, please give me freedom. Thank you."

Todd and I exchanged a quick look with raised eyebrows and tried not to laugh.

Me: "What do you want the freedom to do?"

Brian: "Every time I say I'm going outside, ya'll tell me it's bedtime and when I say I want candy, y'all say only a healthy snack. I just need freedom. I can handle it."

6/21/10

Father's Day

This Father's Day we managed to see my Dad, Todd's Dad, and spend the whole day with Todd....breakfast with mine, lunch with Todd's, and then home to celebrate with Todd . Todd and I are so blessed to have wonderful father's who are loving and supportive. It goes without saying they are great grandfather's!






Todd, you are such an amazing Dad and it shows in the way Anna Cate and Brian hang on your every word and rush to your car every evening! We love you so much and thank God for putting you in our lives!

6/19/10

Cousins

We have my sister's children visiting us this weekend- they are 5 years old and 4 years old. It is so fun to watch their relationship grow into that super close bond only family can have. Yesterday afternoon we went to the pool. An older boy, who is something of a bully, was there and I watched as Anna Cate and Brian pointed him out to their cousins. The rest of the time, they all kept a watch out for each other to make sure the "bully" didn't bother their cousins. While I certainly don't want my children to be cruel to other children, I love the idea of them watching out for each other.
We have a fun day planned for today- more swimming and grilling out tonight!

6/18/10

Baby Report

Yesterday I had an appointment with the perinatologist and the babies look great! Both babies are estimated to weigh around 3lbs. 5 oz. I don't go back to him until 34 weeks, so that will be at the end of July. Of course, I'll be seeing my OB more fequently. Thank you, God, for having your hand on these babies!
We are going to have a great weekend. We have cousins coming to visit (without their parents!) and to say the kids are excited is a little bit of an understatement!
The nursery is coming along. My sweet friend, Meredith, spent several nights this week painting and it looks so precious. I'll post pictures soon.

6/14/10

Anna Cate


Today in the car:

AC: "I hope God is making me a husband who is as fun as Daddy because that is important."

I hope so too, sweet girl!

6/13/10

A photo re-cap

Projects Anna Cate and Brian made this week at Vacation Bible School


Cocktail party for the Member Guest Golf Tournament

Lunch with the golfers



On a mission to get to the pool....it has been soooo hot


Loading up in carts.....


for the shoot out



One happy girl to be with her Daddy

Busy, but fun days!



6/10/10

After a very uncomfortable night, I went to the doctor this morning after dropping Anna Cate and Brian at Vacation Bible School. Yesterday and last night I was having a lot of pressure and Braxton Hicks. Because I had a slow amniotic fluid leak with my first pregnancy, my doctors are watching closely for one to develop again. After an exam and ultrasound, I was relieved to see it's just that both babies are head down and they are huge! Baby A's estimated weight is 2lbs 13oz and Baby B's is 2lbs 15 oz. So, Baby B is looking great despite the double vessel cord. It must be all of the watermelon I've been eating!

6/8/10

Baby Report

Today I had my bi-weekly appointment with my OB and Anna Cate went with me! I didn't have an ultrasound but she got to hear the heartbeats and thought that was great. I'm 27 weeks and measuring 34 weeks, so these babies are really growing! With Anna Cate and Brain I measured 6 weeks ahead throughout the pregnancy and they were born 6 weeks early.....hopefully these babies will stay a little longer regardless of the measurements. I have been having some Braxton Hicks contractions so I will get a round corticosteroids injections early next week. I didn't have them with Anna Cate and Brian so this will be a new experience.
The nursery is progressing. Todd put the cribs together last night and the upholsterer delivered the rocker and ottoman last week. It looks so sweet!

6/6/10

Lazy Summer Saturday

Back in the spring, I tried to plan our summer knowing it would be very different this year since I can't travel, be on my feet for long periods of time, and the babies could likely arrive early. So, our summer routine is camps in the morning, lunch, pool, quiet reading time for the summer reading program at the library (rest time for me!), and late afternoon playtime outside. This week was our first week implementing the routine and it works pretty well. The kids attended tennis camp and had a great time. Yes, Anna Cate played in her cast, much to her orthopedists dismay, and then in the brace she has to wear for 3 weeks.





Todd was out of town today for a golf tournament, so we had friends come in town yesterday to spend the day at the pool with us.....we got to the pool at 10am and didn't leave until 5 pm. Kathleen and I got a chance to catch up and the kids had a great time. When we finally did leave the pool, we ran to a local restaurant that is super kid-friendly and grabbed dinner. At one point, all of the kids were up dancing! Needless to say, they were asleep before their heads hit the pillows.


6/3/10

Bonding Over Mario Brothers

While we were at my parents' this weekend, my Mom brought out our old Super Nintendo. Brian loves Mario and Luigi after going to a Mario Brothers birthday party, so he was very excited when CC said he could bring it home......and so was I. Not to toot my own horn, but I was excellent at these back in the day and while I'm a little rusty, it 's coming back. My boy is super impressed that I know all of the little secrets to the game. I overheard him telling a friend at the pool today, "My Mom is awesome at Mario 3." Todd and I have been so hesitant to introduce video games thinking he would become too absorbed in them......maybe we are worrying about the wrong person!

6/1/10


The perinatologist told me at our last appointment he didn't want me to travel after this weekend, so we went to my family's this weekend....we had a great time and got lots of good time with everyone. Friday night my younger sister and her husband had Anna Cate, Brian, and their 2 cousins (ages 5 and 4) for a sleepover and then took them to a children's museum the next day. Todd and I took advantage of the free time and went to dinner before heading to my parents house. We spent the rest of the weekend swimming, shopping, and playing. It's strange and exciting to think we will have 2 more little one's joining us for the next trip home!