"And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

Friday, October 8, 2010

September 25th-26th

The 25th-26th I got to go down and see Mark again. On the way there I stopped off twice this time to stretch my legs and walk some. The more pregnant I get the more quickly I get uncomfortable! My feet always swell up a little so I'm constantly trying to wiggle them or move, haha. The team had gone out for dinner at Cheddar's the night before so Mark slept in some and got things ready for the next week of training while I drove the 5hrs down there. Picked him up and we had lunch before he had to be at the pool for a 1pm water confidence session (not sure why they do these on the weekends!! oh well...) I checked in to the hotel I was staying at on base then drove back to the pool to watch the end of his training. It was neat to see some of the things they do although I know it is not as strenuous, not even close, as the training days during the week. I SO wish I could tag behind the team some weekday and just watch what all they go through! Mark is great about telling me details and stories of how things are though.

Mark and I after his water confidence session. I'm 22.4 weeks pregnant here! I have some other photos of Mark and the other guys but they are all in their speedos so I'd better ask them before I post ;)

We had a great weekend together as always! Hanging out at the hotel, going out to eat at Texas Roadhouse, seeing a movie, going to church together Sunday morning....love it :)

Oh, one funny thing was Sunday I met him at the chow hall to eat breakfast. I'd brought my own food (cereal with milk and yogurt) to make sure I got my protein in. So I sat at the table and asked him to grab me a spoon and a bowl when he went through the line. He comes back with this huge spoon! It's like a serving spoon! I laughed and said, "um thanks!" He didn't even catch it at first and then goes, "oh yeah, sorry. It's kinda a big spoon. They have smaller dessert spoons but in Basic the bigger your spoon the more food you can get down, so I've just always gotten the bigger ones!" So I ate my cereal and yogurt with a serving spoon :) haha. They gave them about 3-7 minutes every meal in basic so they all had tricks of how to eat the most food in the least amount of time!

Mark felt both the babies move again this weekend! So fun to feel them playing (or fighting!) in there. We talked more about the names....still deciding and still keeping it a secret :)

The Sunday after that weekend (October 3rd) I snapped a few maternity shots after church.

Twenty-three weeks and five days!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Scar

Seeing my reflection in the bathroom mirror, I glanced at the scar on my belly. It was a tiny cross above my belly button and I've never really liked it. Sometimes I'd wished they gone through my belly button for that surgery, but it was there and it didn't bother me too much. But today when I saw it, I loved it. I love my scar, love what it means. My eyes filled with tears and there in the bathroom I praised God for the tiny little boy and girl growing inside me....wow, who would have thought? Lord, You are amazing.

(twenty-four weeks)

September 10th, 2006 - Mark and I were dating and I was over at his parents house that Sunday. That afternoon I started to not feel so good so I went to his sister's bedroom to lay down. The pain got worse and I found myself tossing and turning. Eventually I was doubled over on the floor crying it hurt so bad. This wasn't right, this pain was too much. Then after a few hours it started to subside and was bearable. I went home that night and crawled into my own bed....in the middle of the night I called my mom to my room. This was too intense, something was wrong. We headed for the ER.

They put me in one of those tiny rooms with a stretcher and little curtain. I curled up on the stretcher and they soon had an IV started and morphine in me for pain relief. They ran several tests, including 2 cat scans, only to find nothing. The pain was still so intense that even with the morphine on board I could not stand up straight and had to have Mom to hold on to when I walked to the bathroom. "We can't even see your appendix so we don't know what is wrong," the doctor told us. "I recommend an exploratory laproscopic surgery to find out what's happening. We'll make three tiny incisions. One above your belly button and two down low on your abdomen."

It was Monday afternoon now and Mark held my hand as they rolled my stretcher onto the elevator and headed for the OR. I'd never "gone under" before and was definitely nervous. I'd seen several surgeries in nursing school and wasn't looking forward to being the patient.....things got blurry and my eyes closed.

When I woke up I was in the recovery room and Mark and my mom were by my bed. After becoming more conscious they took off the oxygen and rolled me up to a room to stay the night. They told me it was a tiny cyst on my ovary that had burst and I was bleeding internally causing the horrible pain. It had stopped bleeding on its own and everything was fine. They'd taken my appendix out for good measure. It wasn't long before I recovered and was back to normal.

April 19th, 2007 - Mark proposed to me on a boat in the middle of the lake and of course I said YES! We set our wedding date for August 18th, since my last semester of nursing school started the end of August. We were SO EXCITED and rushed around preparing for the wedding and working on fixing up the house Mark had bought.

July 16th, 2007 - I went in for my yearly appointment with my OB/GYN. It hadn't quite been a year but I wanted to just do it before I got married next month. Dr. Kolar did my check up and told me that she'd like me to have a sonogram before I left that day. I didn't think anything of it and after waiting several hours (they are always so busy) they finally got me in for a sono. Looking over at the screen I saw something huge and black. I knew there was no way I could be pregnant and I knew what I saw on that screen wasn't right. The sonographer couldn't tell me anything so after she was done I waited near a little desk in the back for Dr. Kolar to come by. She walked up with my chart and showed me the photos. "I can't tell you exactly what this is because I don't know, but you have two masses inside of you and we are going to need to do surgery." I tried to be calm but my eyes filled with tears. I was getting married next month. "I think they may be cysts attached to your ovaries but I'm not sure." The back pain I'd been having off and on started to make sense. I called Mark first thing and he prayed with me...we then told our parents. Surgery was set for Wednesday.

July 18th, 2007 - exactly one month before our wedding day and here I was again, just 10 months after my first surgery, checking into the hospital, putting on a gown, getting on a stretcher, and being wheeled into the OR. Dr. Kolar said she would do the best she possibly could but that she couldn't promise anything. She didn't know what she might have to take out. I nodded and pleaded with God to please let enough be ok for me to have kids one day.

When I woke up I remember being weak and tired. I'd been under longer than I had that first surgery and I could tell the difference. They told me the surgery had gone well but was more difficult than they had planned. There was a cyst in my ovary and it had grown to the size of a canteloupe. Another cyst next to it was the size of a grapefruit. Dr. Kolar had spent 2 1/2 hours getting the cysts out little by little and was able to save both my ovaries. She said she couldn't promise anything but that I should be able to get pregnant one day. I was thrilled and was so grateful to her for taking the time in surgery, since I knew that most drs would have just taken out an ovary saying it wouldn't make much of a difference since I had two. We were praising God that everything went well!

August 18th, 2007, 8pm - Mark and I became husband and wife and had one of the most beautiful, perfect outdoor weddings. Hurricanes were in the gulf and the weather was cool for August. A perfect and amazing sunset was behind us as we took our vows. It was one of the happiest days of my life.

August 18th, 2008 - Mark and I had been married for a year. I had graduated nursing school and was working at Harris Downtown Hospital in Antepartum (high risk pregnancies) and he had graduated from the Fort Worth Fire Academy and was working at different fire stations in Fort Worth. We loved being married and growing/learning together. We had discussed having kids but decided I would work at least a year at my job and we also had a goal of doing an Ironman.

June 21st, 2009 - After a year of training we both finished our first Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho with both sets of parents cheering us on!

We also toured Yellowstone National Park!

August 18th, 2009 - We'd been married two years now and started talking more seriously about a family.

December 2009 - We decided to set a date to start "trying." February 1st. I was so excited and so nervous all at the same time. I'd had sonograms every 3 months the first year after my last surgery to make sure nothing was going wrong. I'd recently had another check up and sonogram. Everything looked good, but still we didn't know if I would even be able to get pregnant.

January 2009 - Mark called me from the fire station one night before bed like he normally does, but this time he had something he was really excited about. A friend at the station told him about the Air Force Special Operations group called Pararescue. They are the most highly trained combat search and rescue experts in US Special Operations. The training sounded amazing, just the kind of stuff I could see Mark doing. But it was the military, it was dangerous, it meant lots of changes....and what about kids? I didn't bring up Pararescue when he came home, thinking maybe he wasn't that excited about it. But of course it came up again and after talking about it and praying about it he started looking into the qualifications. Since we didn't know when the training would start, where all he would be, and when he could be home, the February 1st date came and went. I was disappointed and cried more than once, but knew Mark was pursuing what God wanted him to do and that I could trust God on his timing. He'd taught me that through many other circumstances. I started getting excited with Mark about the possibility of Pararescue!

Finally, we knew a little more about Mark's training. Mark had passed all his try outs and made it through the horrific paperwork process. He'd be starting Air Force Basic Training on June 22nd. We had two months to get pregnant. Most people don't get pregnant that fast....I tried not to wonder or worry but just trust that God knew the best timing. And if He asked us to wait, then we'd wait.

That first month I felt different right away....was I just making it up in my head maybe because I wanted to be pregnant so bad?? We waited until I would be 4 weeks along and took a pregnancy test. Several days before, I'd purchased the clear blue "Pregnant" or "Not pregnant." I didn't want to have to figure out what lines meant what! That day we both were off work. I cleaned the whole house and we both got dressed to go out for dinner. I figured if we were pregnant then it'd be a celebration dinner and if not, that we could make it a special date. Either way I didn't want to sit around at home that night.

I took the test and set it in our bedroom. Sitting on the couch next to Mark we waited and I was shaking....getting so excited but not wanting to be disappointed either. I couldn't look so Mark walked back there to see....it took him forever! Maybe it says not pregnant and he is trying to think of how best to tell me? Then he came around the corner of the hallway smiling really big and I knew :) I jumped up and down and hugged him and ran and looked to see for myself. Then I took another one just to watch the "Pregnant" pop up on the little screen! We took pictures and headed out for our date.

We planned special family dinners at our house and had each family over to tell them the exciting news! They were thrilled for us! We were so grateful for God's amazing and obvious blessing, but little did we know He had another surprise for us.

June 17th, 2010 - Mark was leaving on the 22nd and I'd have next to no communication with him for 8 1/2 weeks. We'd planned a special overnight date at the Omni Hotel downtown and had just arrived back home. I'd volunteered at Pregnancy Lifeline doing sonograms for the last year or so and Kathy (another volunteer there and who also works on my floor at the hospital) offered to do a sonogram for me. Mark would be leaving the 22nd so I loved the idea of him being apart of something before I left. He wasn't super thrilled about seeing a little dot on a screen, but agreed to go with me and be apart. We arrived at Pregnancy Lifeline that afternoon and I got situated on the table with Mark sitting next to me in a chair. Kathy put the transducer on my belly and I looked at the screen wondering why it was fuzzy and what exactly I was seeing. I'd seen hundreds of sonograms, but I just wasn't making sense of my own until Kathy (realizing I wasn't getting it!) said, "Do twins run in your family?" Complete shock. I looked at her then looked again at the screen. It was clear as anything. My whole body started shaking, tears ran down my face, and I reached over to grab Mark's hand. He had the biggest smile I'd ever seen. It was the most amazing moment....we'll never forget it!

Not only has God blessed us with being able to get pregnant, He blessed us that first try and He blessed us with TWINS! Isn't that just like God?? Now our precious baby boy and baby girl are growing and moving around in my belly and it is the most amazing miracle I could ever imagine.

So when I look at the tiny cross, a permanent scar on my belly, right above where my precious babies are growing, I thank God. I love that scar. It means more to me than a surgery. It means a process of faith in God, of seeing Him work, of being blessed by His grace, mercy, love, faithfulness.

"Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" 
Exodus 15:11

"Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds." 
Psalm 36:5

Monday, October 4, 2010

September 11th-12th

Since Mark started his nine weeks of Indoctrination training for Pararescue, I've been able to go down and see him every other weekend! It's made things so much easier to know I get to spend time with him :) We call those weekends our "mini vacations."

On Saturday, Mark, myself, and two of Mark's friends went into downtown San Antonio to hang out for awhile. First we stopped at the USO (United Service Organization - their mission is to provide morale, welfare, and recreation-type services to uniformed military personnel) where we got coffee, cold water, cookies, watched some football, and the guys tried out the chairs in the kids area, haha :)

Downtown San Antonio....Mark, Benjamin, and looking hardcore.

Gift shop in a little mall off the riverwalk....awesome guns. 

Cold Stone Creamery ice cream on the riverwalk! Mark got his all time favorite (sweet cream with sprinkles) and I got a little kids cup with sweet cream and candy bar mixed in...mmmm. The babies like it :) We sat outside by the end of the riverwalk where they have the little mall. 

20.4 weeks pregnant! The babies and I love getting to spend time with daddy :)

Some little shop the guys found....haha. It was still pretty hot that weekend walking around downtown...just amazes me how much the heat affects me since I'm pregnant! My feet also got a little swollen from all the walking and the guys were so nice and stopped off at this little shop so we could all sit down and I could put my feet up for awhile. So ready for colder weather!!

We had a great weekend! We hung out in my hotel room on base some in the nice a/c and watched football. Sunday was the first time Mark felt the babies move! They were sleeping, but I drank some grape juice I'd brought and soon they were kicking and punching and Mark and I were laughing at them :) I loved how much he loved feeling them move. Guess it's the first real connection to them he's had. It's so amazing to feel two little lives growing! We just love our babies!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Twenty Weeks - Halfway!

Today marks twenty weeks of pregnancy for me....so happy to be at the halfway point! The "teens" were sounding early and like I had FOREVER still to be pregnant. I wanted to take some 20 week maternity shots and a tropical storm hit Texas so I thought, why not get pictures in the rain!

With pregnancy one of the biggest adjustments for me has been my workouts. I'm used to be able to push myself, whether it was running, swimming, crossfit, cycling....I could kick it and I loved the feeling of being nasty sweaty, completely exhausted, and knowing I'd done my best. I haven't biked since the day I was pregnant because of the risk for crashing. Running hurts and causes contractions now (I guess because my belly is growing so much faster with two...) so that is out. CrossFit I can do some things, modify some moves, and can never push it and get my HR up like I'm used to. Swimming is the only exercise where I feel "normal!" I love swimming and can still do my triathlon workouts I have printed up and in ziplocks in my swim bag :) Using the kickboard, pull buoy, paddles, doing intervals, working on my stroke....can still do it all and I barely feel I'm pregnant! So that is my new favorite exercise! Walking is also good, I can go fast, and often get weird looks by people driving by, haha. Just grateful to be able to do those few things and not be on bedrest yet! What a huge blessing! I'll take every day I can get.

Eating has been MUCH better. No nausea, no heartburn (unless I eat junk or chocolate), and although my appetite has never been huge like most told me it would be, working out helps amp it up and I just try and focus on what the babies need. Right now I'm juicing veggies every morning and making a green salad trying to get more veggies down which are the hardest thing to make myself eat. I average between 120 and 140 grams of protein a day thanks to shakes and meat! Although meat is also SO HARD for me to get down....I'm sick of chicken and have been doing beef lately. My goal is 150g daily so I'm still tweaking my diet trying to reach that.

Some things are uncomfortable....picking things up off the floor, putting on shoes, and sitting for more than a couple hours. My back is starting to hurt so I think soon it'll be time for me to start my chiropractic adjustments. Work has been fine so far although I'm normally pretty tired that night and the next day. But I'm still able to do full 12hr shifts and will continue to do them as long as I can get away with it! The babies move all the time which I love! My precious little girl is the most active and her brother is catching up (he's lower so I think I'm just now feeling him more since he is getting bigger and therefore moving up). Today I felt them on the outside for the first time! Hopefully Mark will get a chance to feel them kicking when I visit him this weekend.

We are pretty set on our little girls first name but still deciding on a middle name. The boy's name is growing on me...it's different and Mark likes it and I'm liking it more every day :) Not completely sure on his middle name. We still have time!

Most of all I'm just unbelievably grateful for being able to experience twenty weeks of pregnancy....wow, what an amazing gift. Way more than I ever deserved! Thanking Jesus for every day with my precious little ones. And thanking Him also for an amazing husband and daddy who loves all three of us unconditionally! Love that man. And love my babies :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Training Area

Last weekend when I went to visit Mark I got to see Medina AFB which is a smaller training base just right across the street from Lackland. Mark takes a bus over to Lackland AFB for some training as well as to go to the commissary (grocery store on base) and BX (base exchange).

Running to the bus stop to go back to Medina AFB. The PJs run everywhere no matter what!

Waiting at the bus stop. I wasn't allowed to drive him between bases. Hopefully next visit he'll get off base privileges!

Looking at the bus schedule and Mark and I together on Sunday! You can kind of see my baby bump which is growing fast. Mark said he could tell a difference in just one week! :)

This was one of the first things you see when pulling into Medina AFB.

The chow hall where Mark eats all his meals. It's just right across the street from his dorm.

Awesome helicopter and plane right by Mark's training area.

Mark's training building! On the right you can see the ropes they climb up (there is a bell at the top and they have some special routine they do, but I can't remember what it is!)

So just wanted to post those to give a little glimpse of Mark's life :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sometimes it's ok

Yesterday was my 26th birthday....so very different from the year before. At twenty-five we were still in our first little house on Augusta, Mark was a firefighter, I was a nurse, we wanted kids at some point soon, but no particular deadline, and there was no discussion about the military. Twenty-six is completely different, not in a bad way at all, but overwhelmingly different. New house, twins on the way, Mark gone two and a half months already, a move out of state in our near future, I still hold my job as a nurse but have added to that list mother and military wife. If you'd told me all that a year ago I'm not sure I'd believe you....

Wednesday morning I woke up with a bit of self-pity. We always spent my birthday together, went out to dinner, or just hung out together. This year I knew I'd get a phone call and that was it. But wait, why am I thinking that way? That's it? But I DO get that. I get to hear his voice, know he's ok, hear him say "I love you," know he is just 5 hours away. That's more than a lot of people get.

It's all about attitude. I decided I could go through my twenty-sixth birthday wallowing in self-pity that I don't get to spend the day with my husband OR I can look back over the past year, over the past 25 years and be completely overwhelmed by God's blessing. A husband who loves me, a strong marriage, two precious babies on the way, a great house, a job I love, an exciting future, fabulous support from family and friends, and twenty years of knowing my Savior. Wow. In a matter of minutes there was a smile on my face....what a great day it was to thank God for His many blessings.

And although an attitude of joy and thankfulness is vitally important there are always points of "weakness" I guess you could say. But at times that weakness is ok, or rather, that vulnerability, that depth of love for one person. Tonight after talking to him the tears just came. Week after week of not sleeping in the same bed, hugging him every day, kissing him morning and night and whenever I want, him not being there to talk to, to laugh with. It's hard, just no way around that. But sitting here with tears running down my cheeks, it made me realize that its ok to miss him and ok to cry. I'm not giving in to self-pity or choosing to be ungrateful for God's blessing. No. I just love deeply, that is all. I just understand more completely the precious gift God gives in marriage. As Mark's wife, supporting him is what God has called me to do, and I couldn't be more proud of my man. I respect him and love him with my whole heart. I wouldn't change a thing. He is doing what God has called him to do, and I support that man one hundred percent. But some days it's ok to just want him home. Because some days it's ok to love in that way. Tomorrow I'll be strong again.

"You lift me up, Holy One, Holy One
When I but come, You're enough, You're enough
You fill me up with Your love, with Your love
To You I run Holy One...."

"Holy One" by Rush of Fools

Monday, August 30, 2010

Keeping it Simple

Often I write in my head what I'd like to record, to perhaps post on here, to explain where I am spiritually and what is happening in our lives. But then it seems to stack up, the thoughts, the details....it becomes mass confusion in my head and I give up not wanting to mentally process my thoughts to get them on paper or typed out. It just seems too overwhelming! So I've decided it doesn't have to all be recorded or recorded how I'd like....I don't have to go through every thought, emotion, and lesson learned (or being learned!). Perfection is not required. So there you go :) Giving up on that "perfect, deep, well recorded blog post" and going for the real life. The simple thoughts, but yet still getting out what is in my head. Still getting things typed that I want to look back on and remember.

Mark encouraged me in this with a comment he made this past weekend. He read the last update I'd sent out about him and said how well written it was. "I was really impressed! You could write a book!" I was surprised since I've never thought of my writing skills as good and since he's never mentioned anything about it before. So I thought, "Well, since he thinks its good and interesting to read then why not pursue it a little more and keep up on my blog!" And with twins on the way and Mark going through Pararescue training, I'd like some of this time recorded. So there is my explanation for jumping back in the blogging world.

August 28th and 29th (Saturday and Sunday) I was able to drive down and see Mark for a second weekend in a row! The intense training starts on Monday, and he was definitely "in the zone," focused, and ready for Monday to be here. I was amazed by his determination, his mental grit, his do or die attitude. Of course I knew he was strong physically and mentally, but he was way beyond what I expected. It makes me just swell up with pride for him when I think about all he's accomplished and what he is setting out to do. I still stop and am amazing at what an awesome husband I have....I've loved every second of being married to him, even the rough times, because I just never realized how close you can become emotionally, physically, and spiritually to one person. And now to have two little ones on the way....the blessing is overwhelming and every time I stop to think about it, tears come to my eyes. A wretched sinner like me, deserving not a single breath or second of life, and yet God has washed me clean and given me way above all that I could ask or imagine!

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

This weekend was full of preparation for Mark's training (which started at 0330 this morning!) so we ran errands, got supplies, prepared his gear....it was so neat to see all that. To help him prepare and to see his new dorm, the training area, a small glimpse into this new phase.

Mark sent me this photo of his new room (I can't go in the dorm). There are three guys to a room and its way nicer than his basic training accomodations of course! 

Saturday afternoon, the PJs practicing some water confidence before training starts on Monday. Mark is across the pool, sitting on the edge with his hands on his hips. (cell phone photos aren't the best quality, but I was already the odd one out being pregnant at a military pool so the last thing I was going to do was pull out my Nikon D40! haha) 

Left to right: Marzilli, Driggers, Schnell, and Snyder (this guy is Mark's roommate). All three of these guys were in Mark's flight at basic training. They had to cut out the stencils and stencil their names on their training shirts. Those shirts and shorts (or a speedo for swimming) are what they wear a lot of training days. They will also have training in their ABUs (camo).

This is Mark's "radio." They give each guy a rock (about the size of Mark's fist) and they can write whatever they want on it. They have to keep it with them at all times (like they would their radio once they are out of training). Mark's added more to his "radio" now....the "Jolly Green feet" have a story behind them. From Wikipedia, "Many pararescuemen tattoo green footprints on their body. This tradition arose during the Vietnam War, at which point in time the most commonly used helicopter was the H-3 Sea King, nicknamed the Jolly Green Giant due to its enormous size and olive drab exterior. Members of the 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recover Squadron, stationed at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Navy Base, were the first to receive such tattoos on their buttocks in 1971." That is of course a quick explanation, but it you google it you can read the whole story. There are green feet painted in different places all over Lackland AFB, although you wouldn't notice them unless you were looking. Whenever the guys run past them (and they never run over them) they yell "Hooyah green feet!" It's a really respected symbol.

I have more photos, but no time to post....maybe a good post for tomorrow :)