I have been pretty quiet on the blog about this pregnancy, for no particular reason, but with baby number three just five weeks away from arrival I'm overdue on journaling the details. Above all, I'm ever-so-thankful that this pregnancy didn't start with a frightening first trimester. With both Adeline and Lincoln, I had intense bleeding around six weeks and was given only a 50 percent chance of carrying each to full term. Praise God they both survived and now they get to welcome another sibling into our family.
Deciding to Get Pregnant
After Lincoln arrived in 2014, Tim and I began praying for God to guide us on whether or not we should continue to grow our family. I initially thought it would be nice to wait until after West Point to try for another child. That way we would have three years baby-free, we could focus on getting connected and serving in our community, our kids would be old enough to help when another child arrived, and we might then be stationed somewhere closer to home to have more help. However, when Lincoln was just a few months old, I already felt God working in my heart and the desire for another baby began to grow. With Tim, it took significantly longer, but by the time we arrived in New York in 2016 we were pretty sure there would be another Ashcraft baby at some point while we were stationed at West Point. We weren't trying to get pregnant this past year, but if it happened, it happened, and it happened.
How We Found out
At the end of September, I was a couple days past the expectant date of my cycle, so it was time to take a test. Tim has made me promise to never take a test without him so we decided to find out as a family. Of course Lincoln had no idea what we were doing, but Adeline was very eager. After a few minutes, we glanced at the test which revealed the famous plus sign, although it was extremely faint. I was shocked to the point of not fully believing the test. Adeline jumped up and down and hugged me, exclaiming, "Thank you, thank you!" I immediately ran out to the store to get a test that would say "pregnant" or "not pregnant." Sure enough, the test showed "pregnant" and it all became real. We were elated!
From the very beginning, Adeline was convinced we were having multiple babies. Because she is uncannily intuitive, I was expecting to see two babies on our first ultrasound. Thankfully, there was only one =). God knew that was all we could handle right now. At nine weeks, we got to see the baby for the first time. We saw his or her arm move which was extra special. The heartbeat was right on track and everything looked good with the pregnancy.
Everything with this pregnancy has gone relatively smooth, for baby at least. Just as with carrying my other two children, I am struggling with hyperemesis gravidarum (severe nausea during pregnancy). This time around I really aimed to stay away from medication. With Adeline and Lincoln, I had to take Zofran every day, otherwise I would end up in the hospital as vomiting was as persistent as 30 times daily. I still had frequent vomiting up until I was 20 weeks along with this baby, but it was more dry heaving than anything. Around 14 weeks I couldn't handle the sickness without medication much longer and decided to try acupuncture for nausea relief. By a huge miracle from God, there is a doctor at West Point that offers acupuncture, which is covered by our insurance. I have seen him about once a week and it has made a dramatic difference. I still feel ill for a little bit in the mornings, but the nausea is significantly better and with no medicine! Aside from the hyperemesis, I have pretty severe sciatica that is very uncomfortable, especially when needing to lift a two-year-old up all throughout the day. Then there is all the typical stuff: exhaustion, insomnia, restless leg, anxiety, and reflux. Oh, the joys of pregnancy! My most recent blood work showed that I am anemic, which explained my extreme tiredness and pica. Pica is an eating disorder that causes constant eating of non-nutritional substances such as dirt, paint chips, and ice. Thankfully, I only crave ice, but even after taking iron supplements I can't stop eating it throughout the entire day, which my doctor says is nothing to worry about.
Adeline and Lincoln
Adeline is absolutely elated about the impending arrival of her new brother or sister, although she desperately hopes God has planned a sister for her. She speaks about her sister ALL DAY LONG, but we have been trying to prepare her that this very well may be a boy. She likes to help us come up with name options and talks about all the ways she will help with the baby. Lincoln semi-understands there is a baby in my belly, but always ask where the baby is since he cannot see him or her. He is quite a mama's boy and has a hard time sharing me with Adeline, so I pray this transition is something he can handle with a graceful heart (wishful thinking!). Luckily, he is potty trained now, weaned from the pacifier, and sleeping well in his toddler bed--all welcome steps before the birth of his sibling. On days when the kids are (mostly) kind and well behaved I feel like God has equipped me with just enough to handle this new phase of life that is to come, and on the other days when the kids are a handful, I just have to trust God that He knows what He was doing in blessing us with another child while so far away from our family in Arizona. As the due date approaches, I'm going to try and stay focused on all the sweet times between Adeline and Lincoln, and pretend the hard days don't exist =).
Preparing for Delivery
My due date is May 26 and I plan to deliver at the hospital on West Point. It's a little nerve-racking this time around since we don't have family here to help at the drop of a phone call. Adeline was three days late and Lincoln was induced at four days past my due date, so with that in mind, my mom is arriving in New York on May 27th. We are praying the baby does not come before then! If he or she decides to show up early, we have loving friends who have offered to care for the kids. My nurse said that since Lincoln's labor only lasted four hours, this baby will most likely come faster and to get to the hospital at the first sign of contractions starting. I just hope I can get there in time for an epidural. I've thought VERY little about a natural birth, but I'd rather the pain-free way! West Point is such a small community that when a woman delivers she is usually the only one in the entire labor and delivery unit, which is hard to fathom! There is no NICU unit at West Point's hospital, so we're also praying that everything goes smoothly so that baby will not have to be transferred. At my 34 weeks appointment, the doctor noted that the baby is head down and measuring on track. Now, all that's left to do is complete the nesting process: shop for baby items we need, deep clean the house, pull out and wash baby gear, and organize the rest of the house. I feel like there's a lot I want to get done because once baby arrives I imagine I won't have time to get ANYTHING done.
Names and Life Verses
As happened with Adeline and Lincoln, Tim and I cannot agree on names. Both our kids were named a couple days after birth since we were still debating. We know that we will use a great-grandparent's name for the child's middle name as we have done with our other children, but that's about all we have decided. We want something to match with Adeline and Lincoln, which we're finding to be quite challenging. I've also been perusing different options for a life verse, which we will pray over this child. Maybe it's the Holy Spirit or maybe it's my desire for an element of calm in the house, but I feel like the verse should have something to do with hope and/or peace. Here are my contenders so far:
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." --Romans 15:13
"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands." --Isaiah 55:12
I would love to hear any name ideas or Bible verses you think would work for this child!