Wow, this was such a neat trip. On Tuesday of this week, we woke up early, took care of all the farm chores and headed up to Washington, D.C....about a 4 hour trip from our house. We arrived near 10:30am at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America. The monastery has replicas of the shrines that you would find in the Holy Land, and it was beautiful. I handed the camera off to Isabel and she just took all kinds of pictures. We toured the main level of the church and then had a tour of the replica crypts below the church. The entire tour was about 1 hour.
From there we grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed over to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and ducked down into the crypt church to attend the Solemn Mass of First Profession to witness the first vows of ten sisters of Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara which is part of the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word.
Although people did take pictures during the Mass, I did not feel comfortable doing so, nor could I have as Ian fell asleep on my lap during the first reading and slept through the entire Mass (which lasted from 2pm until 3:45pm!) But it was so beautiful....there were so many priests and brothers there, the family of the sisters, the other nuns in the order, the celebrant was Cardinal McCarrick, the singing and atmosphere was other-worldly! What an inspiration to all of our homeschool friends who attended this ceremony....particularly those who God may be calling to a religious vocation. (Maybe even Isabel!) ;)
And after the Mass, I also have zero pictures of these beautiful sisters...but it was like attending a wedding. Their faces were just all smiles and glowing!
We went upstairs to the main part of the Basilica and found a chapel for our family to make our own family consecration...it was appropriate that we stepped into the Chapel of Our Lady of Czestochowa (as our home parish in Raleigh is a Shrine to Our Lady of Czestochowa!). There was also a mosaic (well, almost everything in the basilica is made of mosaic tiles) of Saint (Pope) John Paul II, which was really neat because our sweet homeschool friends gave us one of the holy cards of JPII that they had been handed when they walked into the vows Mass (we had come in minutes too late and they had run out of these holy cards, so I had no idea until she handed me one of theirs for us to keep) and it is not just a holy card, but a 2nd class relic of one of his garments! So walking into the chapel with both of these images was really a little smile from God. We literally had just enough time to kneel down and pray this consecration prayer that I had found online before Caroline was just at the end of her little 2 1/2 year old "rope". So it was a disappointment that Isabel was not able to see, explore, and pray at this magnificent basilica....it is just gorgeous and every nook and corner calls your attention to God's glory! What a place!
The next morning we woke up and swam in our hotel's rooftop pool (enclosed and heated, thank goodness....it was still chilly, but the kids loved it). Then we went to visit the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial which led us by the reflecting pool and both the WWII and Vietnam Memorials. The younger kids were pretty uncooperative with pictures but I suppose that was to be expected as it was a long walk from the monument to the memorial and back to our car, and they had exercised themselves quite thoroughly already in the hotel pool..... ;) So the pics that we got were just what we got!
This field trip was a great reminder that planning a trip with little ones never ends up exactly how you envision it in your mind ;)
I am 30 weeks pregnant. So we are in the real countdown! Just 10 short/long weeks left until this new baby arrives. I had an ultrasound with Maternal Fetal Medicine docs on 10/5 and baby is still showing a slightly larger area near it's kidney....it is actually the "renal pelvis" that they are looking at. But the good news is that my placenta has shifted into a favorable position, so it is no longer covering my cervix at all!
I have to go back for one more ultrasound with MFM on 10/26 and the doctor said they will know for sure by that time (32 weeks) whether or not the renal pelvis is too big/a problem. So 2 more weeks of waiting for that.
This is a super busy month and I know it will just get busier as we get into November and then December!
Isabel will be showing our baby goats in the NC State Fair in about a week! So there is a lot of preparation for that since this will be our first time showing any sort of animal in a competition! I'm sure there will be a learning curve ;)
Then we have Halloween and All Saint's Day the following weekend and right after that we zip up to Washington, D.C. to see some religious sisters take their vows! I am so excited about this trip because we will visit the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and our family is going to make a family consecration to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary while we are there. We also get to take a tour of a Franciscan monastery...it's just going to be a treat for our family and I am so looking forward to it!
Then....well, like I said it will be November and then Thanksgiving and Advent starting....whew. Then it's baby time!
Have I said that I cannot wait for baby time? I am so excited to meet this new little person!
I just hit 27 weeks and baby is delivering some strong kicks and punches these days. We attended my brother's wedding this past weekend and got some really beautiful pictures of the kids and a couple good ones of me and Rob too! :)
Poor Ian, if only I had noticed his pants button had popped open. ;)
C did not want to participate in picture taking...so I got a good one of her pouting.
I was really excited because I took all these pics myself! Well, except for the one shot I am in ;) And I was so happy with how they turned out....I can't wait to see what the wedding photographer got!
As far as the pregnancy goes, I am still on my crazy thyroid med schedule and my thyroid levels are now balanced for the time being, so I will continue with all the fasting and pill popping. My next high level ultrasound to check placenta placement and the baby's kidneys is October 5th, so I'm praying all is well/resolved and also quite excited to get another peek at baby.
I am feeling...well, achy. Ever since about mid-way through my pregnancy with Ian, and during each subsequent pregnancy, my left leg goes numb/tingly/pins and needles throughout my pregnancy and gets progressively worse. It usually resolves months after delivery, but man, this time it is really just driving me crazy. If I brush against something it either feels like hot ice (I know, that doesn't make any sense), or a bee sting, or a knife, and if I rub my leg it is painful. So, definitely counting down the weeks until little baby's arrival with great anticipation!
My NFP/NaPro doctor tweaked my thyroid meds after a blood draw last week, showing that my thyroid ratios were off.
I did not start these new meds/dosages until today because last week we were on vacation and the schedule for taking the doses is a bit crazy. I was not about to start that at the beach. But speaking of the beach, here is an updated pic of our little family from this past week!
Everyone is smiling except C!
My Armour got reduced from 45mg 1x per day to 15mg 1x/day.
And she added 5mcg of Liothyronine Sodium every 12 hours.
Now, this doesn't sound like a big deal except ideally, neither of these medicines should be taken together, and they both require fasting 4 hours prior to and 30 minutes after taking them! Plus I have to take my regular vitamins a good bit of time apart from these.
So here is my new schedule:
8pm No more eating for the night.
12am (yes, midnight) Take 1 Liothyronine Sodium pill.
6am take 1 Armour Thyroid
No food until 6:30am.
6:30am-8am Eat lots of breakfast ;)
8am No more eating until 12:30pm.
12 noon 1 Liothyronine Sodium pill.
12:30pm eat lunch!
5-6pm Take vitamins with dinner.
8pm No more eating for the night.....and my medicine cycle starts over.
I think most people take their LS pill like 6am and 6pm, but I thought that might be harder to fast from 2-6:30pm, than to do a morning fast. So when Rob recommended this time frame 12am and 12pm, I asked the pharmacist and she said that would be ideal, if it was possible for me.
I have been so moody, short and snappy lately....I can't believe I didn't guess that something was off with my thyroid levels. And frankly, I'm so glad they ARE off, because it helps explain my increased fatigue and my moodiness. So I'm actually excited to get it my hormones leveled back out and hopefully feel better even though the med schedule does sound crazy. Honestly, I am waking up so much right now to run to the bathroom in the middle of the night, that it didn't seem that out of line to just set my alarm and take a pill.
Baby is very active these days. I've started having heart burn if I eat anything with any spice....even BBQ sauce! We have a boy's name picked out and are very up-in-the-air about girl names....we have a list but I don't feel very led to a certain name for a girl at the moment....at least we still have lots of time. And of course we are thinking this baby is a boy,...so I don't feel a lot of pressure to have a girl's name ready ;) That's about it! Thanks for all the prayers for my pregnancy and Baby Holmes :)
Baby Holmes made his or her first video debut today at my anatomy ultrasound. I am 18 weeks and 6 days today and baby is moving sooooo much in the last week. I feel movement every day now.
My ultrasound went really well. I had the same male tech who has been so kind to me in my previous problem pregnancies and he just always puts me at ease and seems so genuine. Everything looked great with baby except for 2 things which they will monitor again by ultrasound in 10 weeks (early October).
First, the baby's kidneys were just slightly enlarged...the right more so than the left. Because of all the genetic testing we have had done which came back normal/negative, this is very unconcerning to the MFM doctor. He thinks it will resolve on it's own....could be the baby needs to pee, could be that there is a blockage....we just have to wait and see in 10 weeks. They were not worried about this, and we are not worried either.
Second, my placenta was very near/covering the top of my cervix. Upon first noticing this, I was having Braxton Hicks contractions, so the tech suspected it was the contraction pushing my placenta over my cervix. At the end of the ultrasound, he looked again and I was still contracting and still the placenta was over the opening of my cervix. So they couldn't tell if this is truly a placenta previa condition or if it's just the contractions pushing on my placenta. They will look at this again in 10 weeks and get a better idea. In the meantime, if I should have any bleeding that kind of rules out "contractions causing the problem", and I would wind up with a C-section as baby can't come out the cervix if my placenta is in the way. So we wait and see....it is in God's hands and I can't worry about it.
The tech definitely could tell if Baby Holmes is a girl or boy. He even said, "if you google this kidney condition, just know that it can happen in boys and girls"....which I thought was funny he mentioned this because that was my first idea...I could get a hint at what I am more likely to have if it occurs more commonly in one than the other. ;)
I really marveled today at the technology we have....I mean my parents and certainly my grandparents never got to see images like we see today of their unborn babies. It's just amazing. And to know things in advance.....the good and the bad....to be able to prepare our minds and hearts. We just have to try to find the good in all we can and give thanks.
I came home with a whole disk of videos of this little baby. In fact, I was surprised when he handed me a disk and not a printed picture! Ahhh.....times are a-changing...or maybe I'm just getting old ;)
For a friend who recently lost her unborn baby boy....please pray for healing for her. Our family has been praying for this family as their unborn baby was diagnosed with a fatal condition and it just hit so close to home; this mother has been in my thoughts and prayers day in and day out.
I recalled all the emotions from Mary Grace's diagnosis....waiting and hoping and wrestling with God, begging, struggling....the emotions were exhausting and just so heavy. It is so heavy for a mother's heart to bear....but it is such a grace that women can turn to the mother of Jesus as an example when our hearts feel like they can bear no more sorrow, grief or anguish over our children.
Mary, Mother of Jesus, please pray for this sweet mother who has lost her baby. Wrap her in your mantle and hold her close. Ask Jesus to show her His merciful hand in all of this.
Jesus, please hold this family close to your Sacred Heart and give them your consoling peace and love.
We ask all this in Your Merciful Name, Jesus...Amen.
Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.
My name is Angela Holmes. I am a wife to Robert, and a stay at home Catholic mommy to Isabel, Ian, Caroline, and 5 babies in heaven, including Mary Grace who died in utero from Triploidy. I started this blog to update friends and family as we found out about Mary Grace's condition, and then after her death continued to write as an outlet for my grief. Our story has become one of ever-deepening faith, hope and love for God, even in the midst of loss. Praise be to Jesus!
Loving, devoted husband and father, and always willing to lend a hand to a friend, he helps keep our family on the right path.
Isabel, our nature loving 9 year old, has been a great joy and blessing of love in our life!
Our charming, yet mischievious little 4 year old! He is ALL BOY!
She's 2 and she knows it!
Thank you for visiting my blog. It means alot that you are part of Mary Grace's story. Please know that my viewpoint is that of a Catholic faithful to the magisterium of the Catholic Church. You may find that you disagree with this. I welcome respectful comments and discussion and want you to know that I pray for every reader of this blog: past, present and future. I ask that you pray for my family as well. God bless!
April 2006: Baby#1 born perfectly healthy after a textbook perfect pregnancy!
Nov. 2007: Start ttc Baby#2 and get pregnant in December!
Jan. 2008: Baby#2 is an ectopic pregnancy, beautiful baby on my right ovary :( Lost at 7 1/2 weeks.
April 2008: Conceive Baby#3!
June 2008: Baby#3 no longer has a heartbeat. D&C performed at 9 1/2 weeks.
August 2008: Emergency D&E after hemorrhage at OBGYN office to remove retained tissue from previous D&C.
October 2008: Conceive Baby#4, Mary Grace!
February 2009: Learn that Mary Grace has a fatal chromosomal abnormality after our 17 week anatomy ultrasound. Lose Mary Grace, February 28th. OBGYN performs D&E after delivery.
March 2009: Start ttc immediately.
June 2009: Try Clomid, 100mg CD3-7.
September 2009: Clomid round 2, 100mg CD4-8.
October 2009: Conceive Baby#5! Lose baby in very early miscarriage at 5 weeks.
December 2009: Go back to OBGYN to request recurrent miscarriage blood panel. Start oral progesterone after ovulation, and daily baby aspirin. Start Femara CD3-7.
January 2010: Blood results come back normal for me. Femara round 2, CD3-7 + progesterone after ovulation & daily baby aspirin.
February 2010: Femara round 3, same as last month.
March 2010: Blood results come back normal for Rob. Femara round 4, CD3-7, decide not to take baby aspirin or progesterone after O this month; this cycle is also a bust.
April 2010: Not doing Femara or baby aspirin. Hoping to try Fertilaid as soon as I can get my hands on some! Waiting to hear from NaproTechnology doctor I contacted.
May 2010: DH and I are both taking Fertilaid (a fertility vitamin blend) 3x a day for 30 days. Will schedule the NaproTechnology doctor appointment for the following cycle. May cycle = not pregnant.
June 2010: Starting back on daily baby aspirin, finishing out the remainder of Fertilaid pills and going to my first NaPro Technology doctor's appointment on the 15th! Did not ovulate this month...stupid Fertilaid!
July 2010: Completely med-free cycle per new doctor. SA for Rob and lots of blood work for me. May get my follicle study in this month if I'm lucky! SURPRISE BFP! I'm pregnant!!!
April 2011: Ian is born!
July 2012: Pregnant with another little blessing; due April 11th, 2013!
April 2013: Caroline is born!
November 2013: Holy cow....pregnant again! Due August 10th, 2014....breaking the "April babies" tradition!
February 2014: Hospitalized with a partial molar pregnancy at 13 1/2 weeks which caused dangerous complications leading to an induction. Baby Francis Marie, our 2nd baby with triploidy, went to heaven February 6th.