Monday, September 30, 2013

Hi October.

It's a little remarkable to me that this baby is going to be born in October. When we first found out when I was due, I kept thinking it'd probably be last week in September. I thought the 27th especially would have been fun because Eli was born on the 27th of April. I was assuming we'd be living in SC, going to my same doctor, and things would go down like with Eli. Well obviously that's not what is happening!

I am glad our girl will share her birth month with both of Greg's grandmas. That's special! I admittedly never loved this month growing up. In fact whenever I learned my months, I usually would skip October when saying them out loud without thinking. I still do that. Freudian slip? But I know I'll learn to love it. And I do recall a conversation with a friend a few years back about my dislike of the month (mostly weather related) and she said its 'cause I didn't grow up in the south! I agree. Especially now looking back, October was always perfectly lovely in SC. Just lovely. You never had to worry about putting your Halloween costume on over a snowsuit, that's for sure. I'm hoping for a nice, mild October 2013 to welcome our girl to ND. We shall see. 

One reason I'm glad I "didn't get my way" with a September birth month and have her on the 27th is because my brother-in-law's mom passed away that evening. Dear Nancy had been battling cancer the past four years. She would have been 63 today. Even though they knew her passing was soon, death is never easy. It's especially hard knowing our niece, Alexia, isn't going to get to know her grandma. Many little blessings have been seen during this for Andrew and Amy (and the other family) but it's still a hard grieving road for them. We'll attend the funeral in a town nearby on Thursday, assuming I don't go into labor/need to be induced earlier. And I'd really like to be that has made me more patient with waiting for induction Sunday. Another small gift in these hard days. Oh cancer, you are nasty.

We love you, Browns. 

With all this going on, I still plan to blog often this week as we prepare for our second daughter's arrival. Plus I'll share any news from tomorrow's doctor appointments. Welcome, October. 


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hay Bale.

Oh autumn in North Dakota, you are gorgeous. We drove out to our friend's house where they are graciously allowing us to store our stuff while they aren't living there. Thanks Solhjems! And thanks, Thad, for your service to our country. We can't wait for when you get back to American soil and join your wife!

This is what you see from the end of their driveway:

Those are cows speckled on the horizon.
On our way, we stopped and let Eli stand on a hay bale! Oh my does this boy love hay bales! Sorry for bad picture quality but gimpy momma couldn't walk down the ditch for a better shot.

How's it going, bale?

And to be shared is the $3 permit I got so I can drive myself to my doctor's appointments (as long as I don't have to walk too far, I can handle it)! I am 31 with a handicap permit. Oi. I will get on a soap box for a moment to say people that abuse the handicap parking permits are uncool. So uncool.
I have arrived.


Friday, September 27, 2013


I'm sitting here listening to the fairly steady beat of my daughter's heart and if I could, I wouldn't leave this office for another 9 days. It's so wonderful being here knowing she's alive and good inside there. It's getting through this next week, until I show up at the hospital early Sunday morning on the 6th (or earlier if I'm actually in labor). 

I appreciate your prayers for my sanity and obviously, for our girl to make it. They tell me to be watchful of her movement and of course I am. But having to think about when the last time she moved can also be anxiety-causing. 

On top of this is the fact Eli was born at 36 weeks six days. Today I am 36 weeks five days. I so badly want this girl out knowing she'd be fine. We don't want her in the NICU, of course. But alive trumps time in the NICU. My doctor is watching things closely. We'll be back Tuesday and Friday for more tests and monitoring. But it's the in-between times where the battle is fought. It doesn't take much for me to remember we had an ultrasound three days before Maelee died that showed she was fine. Oh the unknowns, they get you if you aren't armed. 

All in all, we are in the homestretch of this marathon pregnancy (dare I say one with a good bit of drama)! And I'm feeling every bit of the six weeks of no walking coupled with the growing belly! Uffda. I have been meaning for Greg to take video of me "walking" to be able to record this in our family history. But vain me is not sure if that hilariousness should be shared! 

My mom has been here this week helping out while Greg's mom has been "on vacation" from taking care of us visiting her mom. :) She sure deserved some rest! My mom has been an awesome busy bee helping get a few odds and ends done. And for the second time, she tied the bumper pad on this crib in anticipation of a granddaughter. 

Because we are not in our own home and our girl doesn't have her own room, I decided we'll use Maelee's bedding. It hasn't been easy seeing it all ready again but at the same time, it's been a delightful hard. When we move, we'll probably find something more just for her but for now, getting to use big sister's things is a gift. 


Wednesday, September 25, 2013


We didn't discuss names for this girl in much seriousness until the end of June. I sent Greg a text one day asking him to figure out what the Greek word for "redemption" or "redeemed" was. I was feeling so full of gratitude that many things about this girl would be redeeming for us. Plus I thought it would be sweet to have her name point to the Ultimate Redeemer.

He later texted back the answer: Apollowtrowsis.

Well, shoot. Can't name our girl that! Even shortened, that is just hideous.

But I was on sort of a "redeem" kick and I thought we could just name her "Ree" - short for redeemed. I only know of one: The Pioneer Woman is named Ree (she's got red hair even). I thought it sounded pretty great with Kasowski. I do love the long "ee" ending first name with our last name. So we threw that around for awhile, which is how we roll, trying on a name to see how it feels.

Well, then July and August happened. I don't think we seriously discussed names during any of that time! Eventually Greg put the kabosh on "Ree" and my love for it waned and went stagnant as well. I kept thinking "ree-ject" and couldn't get around that.

So this baby is not Ree.

I remembered a few names that we had considered with Maelee. One of the names we loved then was "Ellie." Such a cute name. And as I've been looking around, I have found a few similar names that I think are sweet. One a few weeks ago was "Elia."

And then I had the "doh!" moment when I realized much of those names are ELI with a letter or two added. Well, shoot. Can't have an Eli and an Elia or Ellie or Evi etc, etc.

So this baby is not Ellie.

Then we thought of names that could use part of Maelee's name or allude to her somehow. I was using the "lee" and came up with "Lena" which I laughed at initially then seriously considered it. Greg liked it, too. So for awhile we were into Lena. Then I heard Ole and couldn't get around how completely hard it would be to grow up in ND with the name Lena.

So this baby is not Lena.

Of course there are loads of names that we love but are used by family or close friends so alas, we can't use them. Or won't. It wouldn't seem right. 

So this baby is not Hannah. 

I suppose some we could but sometimes you get an association with someone and you can't get around it. That rings true for random people, a name one would like but the other would say no because we knew someone in high school with that name, etc. 

So this baby is not Katie. 

We have our criteria for naming. Not as stringent as we were with Maelee, but we have some guidelines and hopes for this daughter's name. Simple, meaningful, classic yet not overly used - I'm hoping for that. Plus we have a "please let it be three letters" request from the Lipperts and a "it should have an "ia" in it like all the living granddaughters" from Grandma Mary. Pretty sure we won't fulfill either of those, however! 

All that to say, we have a few names we are trying out. We have 11 days (or less!) to make our final decision. And it will become a favorite whatever it may be!

How's that for leaving you hanging?


Saturday, September 21, 2013


We ventured out today to enjoy a local event and have fun just us three before baby comes (!!). Greg had to push me (holding Eli) in a wheelchair for the few hours, proving yet again he's awesome. Weather was gorgeous and there were loads of fun things to entertain our boy: tractors, hay ride, fire trucks, model trains, petting zoo, food, fire show, music, and "lots of peoples."

Our hay ride.
So grateful for the super nice firemen. One saw me taking photos from the wheelchair at a bad angle and offered to run over and get a better one of Eli shooting the fire hose. If you look closely, you'll see a preggo belly and a boot:

And Eli actually got into the petting zoo, as long as there was a fence barrier! And he finally was brave enough to touch the bunny. Look at his delight:
Nice bunny.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


This is the last photo of pregnant me with my roller-aid!
Bye Bye Scooter
We returned that hunk-of-metal this morning! The doctor said in all his thirty years as a podiatrist, he's never seen a pregnant lady on a roller-aid. Always good for a laugh.

My foot is 2/3 of the way healed. Not quite where the doctor wanted but we'll take it! I can bear weight on my boot but I need to be very careful. If I want it to heal up and get rid of the boot, I need to take it easy and not mess up in these next weeks.

It didn't take long to realize that just because I got rid of the roller-aid, doesn't mean I'm not a unique sight! You've heard of pregnant people waddling? Well, pretty sure I take the cake! Since the boot makes my left foot a few inches higher, plus the big belly, we are talking some sort of Frankenstein Monster Mash waddle. Oh dear me.

I has been so nice already these few hours: getting to walk to/from the car, getting my own lemonade, helping with lunch, not having to wait to have someone bring my roller-aid downstairs, being able to get to Eli's CD player without having to perform some odd scoot-reach number, etc. It doesn't sound like much but it feels like freedom!

Of course I can feel the effects of my freedom already. My foot is sore and it's going to take awhile to get my left leg muscles back from Neverland. My right calf is actually bigger now, it's worked hard. However, my right hip is sore from all that weight. #lopsided. Plus, the doctor informed me today that boot-walking is really tough on lower back and hips. So is pregnancy. #goingtoneedachiropractor


UPDATE: Couldn't get that video to work from yesterday on my phone, so it only works on a computer I think. Sorry if you were bummed not to see it. Here's a link to You Tube so you can watch Eli singing Twinkle Twinkle little star over and over:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

To You on Your Birthday.

Here's a video of Eli singing "Happy Birthday" over and over for almost forty seconds, with a mind-blank "twinkle twinkle little star" thrown in there, too. I actually tried uploading other videos... none would work but this one I randomly picked did. So let's just say this video is for you, wherever you are, on your birthday, whenever that may be.

I need this joyful, singing boy today after a overwhelmingly stressful phone call from our insurance company/Greg's former employer. Turns out they made an error in letting us continue our coverage under our current plan. It's a huge, icky, no-sane-person-would-ever-want-to-deal-with-this mess. You never want to hear "I was really dreading calling you back." Uffda. I may or may not have had a breakdown. No idea how it's all going to get worked out, how we'll change plans right before I deliver, how much it's going to actually cost us... no idea. I am sure that we would be an excellent case study in insurance care. Some sort of worst-case scenario training game: what do you do with an exiting employee who elects family coverage and pays premium, but moves across the country with a wife mid high-risk pregnancy who also breaks her foot?

Yes, it's time for some more singing Eli today.

Happy Birthday to you, whatever day out of the 365 is your special day, friend. 


Monday, September 16, 2013


We had a busy weekend. I didn't do really anything productive. Partly because it takes too much effort to do so and partly because we were having fun with family. Fun trumps to-dos. My Auntie Ruth came to help out with Eli on Friday (he loved the attention) and then Chris and Lilli showed up that night for the weekend (which to Eli is like the fun train showing up). Saturday morning the Lindvig crew came for a few hours on their way to a wedding. Let the photos of Alexia and Grace through the years begin!

Two sisters with their daughters and their granddaughters.
Cousins Chillin'

I have a long, cutesy Eli post coming. I'm going to try to get video of him to get on here because photos just can't do him justice right now. He's so hilarious and a constant stream of entertainment. I find myself watching and listening to him on the video monitor as he's heading to bed because he's talking or singing to himself. It's so freaking adorable I just want to barge in there and hug him.

Baby Update:

Friday was a good day. Baby was active during the ultrasound and nst tests. Also I switched doctors within the practice. I had seen this guy before and liked him and I haven't been jiving with my other doctor. I feel much more comfortable with this guy, like I can be completely honest and share my crazy with him. I didn't go with him initially because he's young. Like age-of-my-husband young. In my head, I wanted my SC doctor, the grandpa who has seen it all and is amazing. But this young guy is on board, understands my blood clotting disorders and I feel comfortable with him.

But the biggest news is we have our induction scheduled: Sunday, October 6. It would have been Friday or Saturday but the hospital was booked (darn you crazy-busy North Dakota). I didn't want to hit 38 weeks that Sunday, but knowing I'll be in labor that day makes it better. I know it's silly, but knowing Maelee died at exactly 38 weeks on a Sunday makes me not want to go there. Now if anything looks questionable before then, we'll induce earlier (like with Eli). OR she could decide to come on her own! Wouldn't that be awesome!!!

Regardless, we will see this girl on October 6, 2013. Exactly three-and-a-half-years after we held her sister on April 6, 2010. Oh friends, less than three weeks and we will have another daughter in our arms. There aren't quite words for that.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rolling Days.

I am 31 years old. And these days I'm being categorized with the two year olds. It's quite the feeling to know I need care just like my son. It's normal to hear "Are you on Eli and Heather?" or something along those lines. It's hilarious to be on the same level, same par as my boy, requiring someone to make sure I'm taken care of!

Now I'm not that needy. But we are all counting the days until I can boot-walk and do some things for myself or dare I say, do something for someone else. One week from today and, hopefully, my rolling days are over. We have all hit our limit at certain times this week, I think. I keep getting very frustrated with knowing that I could get something done so much quicker by myself, without having to ask for help or explain it. Plus I'm getting sick of letting things go that I am just itching to do.

Of course I had great expectations of what our time in Bismarck would be like the first few months. I figured Eli and I would take advantage of the great weather (there is so little hot sunshine weather here, you know) and explore the parks, rivers and trails around and maybe start looking at houses. And the reality is I haven’t left the house since Tuesday. Now I really could have, it’s not like I’m locked up, it’s just so hard to get me around and it’s tiring. Plus Eli got a little cold so that complicates matters. I have had to let so many expectations of how our first month(s) in Bismarck would be. I’ll get acquainted with the town later. Granted, it’ll be full of snow and freezing, so I’ll have to wait until next summer to tackle all those parks and trails.

I must say my husband is doing wonderfully. He is on Eli and me most every morning, lunch, and evening. He is tired. And in desperate need of some alone time! Plus he’s learning a new job (and doing wonderful at that, too!). My in-laws are also amazing at caring for Eli and me, feeding us, carting us around, doing our laundry, bringing us juice and snacks, etc, etc. We are no easy task. I’m so very, very grateful for them.

Perfect example of me being more work these days: I'm overhearing my mother-in-law and sister-in-law discuss getting me a wheelchair so I can go to the downtown street fair this weekend. How sweet are they?

This too shall pass. Yes, yes it will. And I will be cheering loudly when it does!


Monday, September 9, 2013


Yesterday was the 34 week mark. I remember writing on this blog when I hit that point with Maelee, saying it seems like more of a reality when you hit 34 weeks. Obviously life has changed more than I could have ever imagined since then, but it is still a milestone in some way. We are four weeks or less with this girl in my belly. One month. I'm shooting for 37 weeks (like with Eli) but doctor won't induce until 38 weeks (assuming everything is still looking normal and great). Don't get me started on how tough that last week could be... and I am hoping she'll decide to come before then on her own!

My sister sent a bunch of baby items with my dad so now we have a swing, diaper genie, spare car seat, bouncer, another boppy, another play mat, a few more baby toys, and a random assortment of girl clothes from Ali and Ava. I would like my sister and husband to have another baby, of course, but that's most likely not happening so we get to reap the benefits.

Now I know that some of you people are going to buy our baby a gift whether or not we say we want one. You are sweet. Please don't feel obligated, the girl is going to have plenty of hand-me-downs from not only her cousins but her big sister. We have kept a lot of Maelee's things and plan to use many of them. Much of Maelee's tiny stuff is South Carolina summer wear so we may need some tights and sweaters to make them work for fall/winter in North Dakota! But I'm going to try. There will be SO many moments of redemption for me getting to put my child in some of those outfits I've stared at longingly for many years. As for her crib, we are going forward using Maelee's birdie things and we'll add a few things here and there to make it specific for this girl... we'll see how that goes.

I created an amazon list awhile back to help me organize what I wanted to get and that turned into a registry for baby sister (or maybe more like online retail therapy since I've been unable to actually go out shopping for her). So you can check that out here if you want. 

Thanks for loving this sweet girl and joining with us this last month of waiting, hoping, praying and trusting for her safe arrival. I can't wait to share her with you.


Sunday, September 8, 2013


If you'd like to see more of Eli and our lives, and you know what Instagram is, you can follow me. And Greg. Yes, Greg who doesn't have much of an online presence, created an Instagram account: capitalcitygreg. I'm gretherk. As visual people, I enjoy this forum of sharing life. I also find it hilarious that we take photos of, say, our food, share it and consider it entertainment.

Today Greg posted a sweet photo of his dad and Eli; I posted one of my dad pushing Eli on the swing tonight. A pretty sweet grandparents day for Eli to see both grandpas. My dad stopped by on his way through to NW ND. It's been fun to see family more frequently, one of the main reasons for our move and the thing that keeps us happy when we are missing all our awesome SC friends. 

Yesterday we drove the hour fifteen minutes to Dickinson for niece Lilliana's sixth birthday, too. What fun to get to be a part of special days like this. Love this girl!

Added sparkles in a different app 'cause she would like that!
Jump House - two great dads here.
We got to celebrate at a community event my aunt's church was having. But we all just pretended the hoopla was for Lilli:) We also used every seat in the minivan for the drive. Joke all you want but you gotta love that efficiency!


Thursday, September 5, 2013


This is my self-portrait today. I have another two weeks of no-weight bearing, roller-aid using, boot-wearing life. But the great news is my foot is healing! And I will most likely get to ditch the roller-aid in two weeks and use my boot for walking! Boot walking sounds great to me...I can start doing lots more if I can walk, even with a boot. The world seems quite a possibility when you have an "end date" in mind, too. I had very low expectations at my appointment today, figuring my foot wasn't healing properly. So it was such a gift to know we are on track for this to heal up enough before baby arrives that I could potentially walk holding her (albeit with a boot, but I'll take it!). And just being able to say "okay, only two more weeks of rolling" and having someone do most everything for me and being so concerned about lack of blood flow... oh it lightens my heart to have an end date in mind. I won't be running any marathons in two weeks but let's be honest, I am not your marathon running type anyway.

As you can see from above photo, baby is very apparent. I'm at the weight I was when I delivered Eli. And I started out heavier then since I hadn't lost all the baby weight after Maelee. The last few weeks of not moving much have definitely shown up in those, uh, areas where my body likes to add some poundage. I'm still within the normal range and there has been no concern from my doctor, but it has been a little disheartening. Getting to be pregnant is such an amazing miracle that I'll take all this extra fluff. As long as I am bringing home a baby, it'll be worth the months (hopefully months and not years) of trying to fit back into normal pants.

And remember: if you need a good laugh, you only have two more weeks to see a large, pregnant woman half-rolling/scooting down the street.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Caffeine = Drug.

Last week baby had two non-stress tests that were well, a tiny bit stressful for me. She wasn't moving as much as they needed. She was most likely sleeping. Her little heart-rate was just steady and great... but they need to see it go up/down a certain amount of times within twenty minutes or so. I was probably in there 45 minutes one day and an hour the other (to her credit, once I rolled on my side she perked right up).

Today, however, this was not the case. Sunday night I got a migraine. Super frustrating considering my last two pregnancies migraines stopped in the second trimester and stayed away. Not surprising considering the stress of late. Mr. Migraine has stayed around, getting really bad last night and right now actually. This morning, though, I drank coffee. It helps to lessen the pounding. And let me tell you, caffeine completely and totally affects babies in utero.

Baby girl was moving like crazy! Check out the non-stress test below. That left line is her heart-rate. Last week it looked more like mine on the right, a very steady straight line with a little bump here and there. Today, there are lines zig-zagging up down all over! She passed within twenty minutes.

caffeine crazy
In her ultrasound prior, she was so cute (and I actually really mean that, alien-ish look of ultrasounds and all). She was sucking her whole little fist. You could see her mouth/jaw moving and just going to town on her fingers. It was really sweet to see. Plus she was moving around really well and scored an 8/8 on that portion of the day. Glad for that gift today.

Overall it seems that baby girl is doing fine today... even though she had a cup of Grandpa's coffee this morning and now a cherry pepsi. Pretty sure she's more active than her momma today. Oh and there is nothing you can take for migraines during pregnancy except Tylenol (bummer) and I've found caffeine actually works better. It's a drug, folks!



Eli is such a hoot. What a indescribable gift everyday, even more so during this trying time. He's learning and changing and growing up, as kids do. I love glimpses into his personality. One thing he's been doing for the last few months is lining up his vehicles. In nice, straight rows. Often even by size, smallest to biggest. It's not rare to walk into a room and see this line of cars in the middle of the room. The orderly part of my heart soars at this!

Now he can also destroy things in 2.5 seconds, don't get me wrong. But there is definitely something in his being that likes order. 

Here's a photo from this morning to show you. I forgot to bring clothes upstairs so he had a good bit of diaper-only time...which he adores. Another thing he's been doing the last few months: yelling giddily "Eli naked!!!" as he runs around free and happy. Try not smile when you see that!

They are all going to the gas station, of course.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


One day at a time.

That's how we are moving forward. Just one day at a time. This broken foot thing is so very, very humbling for me. It's hard to explain how difficult it is operating on one foot with a big 'ol belly on top of things. 

The thought of another month or more of this is overwhelming to say the least. Of course I want baby to get to stay in my belly so that she doesn't have to spend time in the NICU and I want to be able to walk holding her once she's here! But I want her here alive more than all that. And it's the not knowing, the waiting and surviving in the mean time that's the tough spot!

Simple things are insanely hard to do. I'm so very dependent on others and that is so very, very hard. So humbling. I wish I could walk, even just a little! There are many everyday tasks that I took for granted before and now I'm just longing to do again. Bringing the milk jug to the table, preparing a meal, putting laundry away, organizing things,  picking up that little piece of garbage on the floor, and pretty much lifting anything, most especially my darling son right after he naps. I have a certain way of doing things and now I just have to let it all go.

Perhaps it sounds good on paper/screen to say that someone else has to wait on you hand and foot but believe me, it doesn't feel good most of the time! It would be so much easier to do something myself versus having someone else do it. I want my shoe. Can someone go get me my shoe? I can't find my phone. Can someone find my phone please? I have a doctor's appointment at 9am. Who can get me and my roller aid there? I can barely get myself a cup of water without it being a production.

Probably the most complicated is taking a shower, oh my how I empathize with little old ladies. Since I have no boot on and can definitely not put any weight on my foot, I have to do it all with my foot up, somehow. I don't need to go into details but I always breathe a sigh of tiredness and relief when I'm done and dressed. I am so freaked out about falling. It's slippery and yet a necessity. I never want to take another normal shower for granted.

The roller aid is much more cumbersome than I had hoped. It's quite heavy, I can't lift it into the car or (obviously) carry it down the stairs so someone else always has to. It's bulky, I have gotten stuck in a corner of the bathroom a time or two. When in use, it puts all the pressure/weight on my good foot/hip/leg so I have a limit on how long I can be on it. But it's always right there with me and it's handy. It has a belly bag so I can stick stuff in there which is nice. It is not for stairs, however, so bonus points for all wheelchair ramps! For stairs, I go up/down using one crutch and putting as much weight on the crutch and railing. Stairs are really the only time I am "walking" on my boot, so I have to keep them to a minimum. We plan the day based around getting me and my roller-aid up/down the stairs. I can't believe that's my life right now!

I have good moments and bad, of course. It's easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated and wanting to have a pity party. I hate how much more work I am for Greg and his parents, even Eli. They are all so wonderful with lovely attitudes about this all, continually encouraging me and not making me feel like the burden I am. So my woe-is-me attitude is all on me, I just wish I could hold my own for awhile. (And for the record, if my in-laws ever need in-home care, pretty sure we'll be welcoming them into our home as pay back!).

I know we'll look back and laugh at this insanely crazy time. Hopefully down the road we'll really be able to see reason and purpose in some of it (and even if we don't, that's okay). I know that God is teaching me about trusting Him and being dependent on Him and others, instead of my prideful self. Letting go of my way is hard but good. I wouldn't say I'm learning joyfully as I ought to, but I am learning. Plus I know I'm gaining empathy and love for others that deal with obstacles like this.

Greg mentioned something that has stuck with me. How we as a culture often look down on those in society that don't offer anything, those that are incapable of being independent. The special needs, disabled, handicapped ones. We think less of them because they are dependent on others. And as I have been given this opportunity to be mostly dependent on others, I am shown how this attitude is even in my heart. They do not deserve this attitude, this looking down because they can't offer me anything. We shouldn't love people only if they can give us something.