Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

To God be the glory, great things He hath done!

These past 6 weeks have been quite a whirlwind for our family. We have had some very difficult and uncertain days, but we received some very good news this past weekend. It’s kind of a long story, but I want to share it here because I want our baby to one day know what a miracle he or she is.

Early July I went for my first ultrasound to determine how far along I was and when the due date would be. At that ultrasound, the nurse found that I was 10 weeks and everything looked good except for extra fluid along the spine at the base of the neck (called an increased nuchal translucency). This was new to me and I had no idea what it was, but she explained that sometimes it can be nothing, but that it is a marker for a chromosomal abnormality (either Trisomy 21, which is Downs, or Trisomy 18 or 13, which are fatal). Her words immediately brought back memories of another July twenty-two years ago. I had a baby brother, John Christopher, who was born when I was 6 years old with Trisomy 13. He lived for just 40 minutes after birth. I remember that time in my life very vividly, and so I was of course very scared. We were referred to have early screening and a special ultrasound done on July 19 where they would more accurately measure the nuchal fold. It was a long 2 week wait, which is why Luke sent me and the girls out to Oregon to visit my parents and grandparents! A much needed distraction!

So, fast forward to that ultrasound…they found that yes, there was definitely increased fluid there (3mm instead of the normal 1 -1.5mm) and after analyzing my bloodwork (very low hcg and Pappa-A proteins), they determined that I had a very high risk of the baby having Down syndrome. Normal risk is 1 in 1000 for a 28 year old mom. They get concerned when the risk comes back as 1 in 220. My risk was 1 in 5. Similarly my risk of having a fatal trisomy was 1 in 75 (normal is 1 in 2500). They suggested that I have further testing done and gave me some options (Amnio, CVS, or a brand new test called the Harmony Test). We knew that amnio and CVS have a risk of miscarriage, and we didn’t want to do those, but this new Harmony test is amazing! All they have to do is take blood from me, and then they send it away to some lab somewhere where they can actually separate the fetal blood cells out of my blood and can do a chromosomal analysis. So, we definitely went with that option. It took almost two weeks to get those results back (a very long two weeks), but they came back Friday and everything is normal!

To be quite honest, we really felt like God had been preparing us over the last 6 weeks to really face some difficult things but we knew that whatever it was, he would bring us through it. So truthfully we were very surprised when things came back normal. Honestly, while Downs would have been a difficult thing to learn how to handle (especially if the baby had more medical complications as a result), we really felt like we were becoming as prepared as possible for something like that. I was mostly scared to death that it would be either Trisomy 13 or 18. Obviously, for my sake, and Luke’s, but especially for Anna Kate. She had no idea that anything was ever wrong and I just don’t know how in the world we would have explained that to her (and Caroline too, but AK understands so much more).

So really, we probably will never know if there ever was something wrong that God miraculously healed, but either way, we are thanking him for a healthy baby and praying that this baby would continue to grow and develop normally! This baby is already our miracle baby, whether because of a miraculous healing, or because of how God has already used him or her to increase our faith and to grow us in our trust in and dependence on our all-powerful God.

Here is a picture of me and baby number 3 yesterday at 18 weeks, 2 days.

As for how I've been feeling....

I definitely have had the morning/all-day sickness just as bad this time (if not worse). I finally gave in and have been taking a prescription to help with it as needed. I am just starting to feel the sickness subside, though, for which I am very grateful! 

Although I have never been much of a napper, I definitely have been needing a 20-30 minute nap in the afternoons. It's pretty hard to make it through the rest of the afternoon if I don't get that. Thankfully, Caroline gives me about a 3-hour break in the afternoon, and AK sleeps for 1.5 hours and then reads for another 30 minutes in her room. So I do get some downtime. 

I feel like I started "showing" with this baby much earlier than I did with Anna Kate and Caroline. I felt like I looked pregnant at 9 or 10 weeks! Unfortunately, I've been terrible about taking pictures...

I first felt baby moving right at 16 weeks. Way earlier than my first two! I felt AK around 21 weeks and Caroline around 19 or 20. But this baby certainly lets me know that he or she is in there and active! I feel little flutters and kicks multiple times a day. 

It has been so fun to see how excited and interested Anna Kate and Caroline are about the the baby. Anna Kate is so thoughtful and sweet and is constantly telling me things like, "I think you need to sit down and rest or else you and the baby are going to be too tired." She also brings me cups of water (completely unprompted) throughout the day, saying, "Here, you and the baby need some water." Caroline is also very excited and loves to give the baby hugs and "tisses".

Well, I think that's about it for now. Our next big appointment is on September 13 where we should be able to find out if we're having baby girl #3 or baby boy #1! The poll is now open for guesses!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The things they say...

Our girls certainly keep us on our toes. And they also keep us laughing. Here are some recent happenings around the Tolbert house.

After dinner one evening...
Me: "Ok, it's time for family worship. Let's go to the living room."
AK: "Are frogs allowed to come to family worship?"
Me: ""
AK: "Well, I'm a frog, so I guess I can't come."

Caroline has quite the little sense of humor. She also loves finishing the sentences when we read stories. Normally she finishes the sentence correctly, but sometimes she makes up jokes. This morning while reading Curious George, I stopped after saying, "George's friend, the man with the yellow ______." Caroline started giggling before she even said anything and then responded, "HORSEY!"

Confession time. I need 2 hours of quiet time in the afternoon. Caroline consistently takes a 3 hour nap. Anna Kate's nap is about 1.5 hours. They normally go down right at 1pm. When AK wakes up, she is allowed to read stories in bed until she sees that the first number on the clock is a 3. Simple enough. Except for those days when we're busy, running errands, eat lunch late, whatever, and I don't get the girls down until a little after one. No problem, I just secretly change the digital clock by the bed so that it reads "1:00" no matter what time I put them down. 

Well, apparently, this is no secret. Today as AK was getting into bed, she asked, "Mommy, it's 1:10, but are you going to change the clock?" Playing ignorant, I asked, "What do you mean?" She responded matter-of-factly, "You know, change the clock to 1:00 like you always do." And the cat's out of the bag, ladies and gentlemen.

Caroline is quite a loving little girl. Literally hundreds of times a day, whenever she sees one of us, she looks right at us and says, "Mommy, I wuvytoo; Daddy, I wuvytoo; Sissy, I wuvytoo." Translation: "I love you, too!" 

Caroline also thinks it's pretty funny that she has figured out Mommy and Daddy's real names. She now feels at liberty to call us "Yuke" and "Pa-y" whenever she pleases. And of course, she giggles about it every time.

Friday, August 2, 2013


And this, friends, is the real reason that blog updates have been few and far between during June and July. Between first trimester sickness, extreme exhaustion, and lots of traveling, blogging just fell by the wayside! But, all that to say, we are thrilled to welcome baby #3 into our family somewhere near January 26, 2014. God has been so good to us!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Trip to Oregon!

Well, I hope you all like pictures, because this post is going to contain about a thousand of them! July has been such a whirlwind month in the Tolbert household that I feel like I am just beginning to catch my breath and get back in our regular routine. Our biggest adventure this month was a trip for the girls and myself out to Portland, Oregon, my hometown. This was a completely spur-of-the-moment decision that I am so glad we made! Luke came home from work on a Tuesday and said, "Do you and the girls want to go to Oregon on Thursday?" Seriously? My parents were scheduled to be in Oregon for one more week for my mom to continue recovery from her hip replacement surgery, so it was perfect timing to be able to see them, as well as my grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousins, and lots of little second cousins!

We booked our tickets, packed up all of our necessities (which I got down to two suitcases, two carseats, and two backpacks, thank you very much!), and headed to the Charlotte airport. We were scheduled to have a 45 minute layover in Dallas, and to arrive in Portland at 9pm (midnight our time). Well, that 45 minute layover turned into a crazy 5 1/2 hour layover due to weather conditions, mechanical failure, crew absences, you name it. Thank goodness for the super fun play area in the DFW airport!

The girls were really fantastic and could not have done better on the flights or in the airports. Well, I guess they could have slept a little more, but I guess they were too excited! We finally arrived in Portland at 2:30am (thanks, Dad, for picking us up!).

While I have homes in many places, I never feel truly home unless I can look up at the horizon and see this sight.
Mt. Hood

Anna Kate spent a lot of her time reading stories with anyone and everyone who would listen or read to her!

Amelia Bedelia with Grandpa

And "Goldie" (my childhood favorite!) with Great Grandpa!

We also enjoyed the absolutely perfect Oregon summer weather (it was in the 70's and sunny the whole time we were there!) by going to various playgrounds in the area.


The "Imagination Station" is a magnificent playground near my childhood home. My girls loved it as much as I did!

Mom (Grandma) pushing AK on the swings. Pretty good for 5 weeks out from hip replacement, don't you think?!?

 A new park with Great-Grandma

I love these next few pictures because they bring me back to my own childhood spending many days at Grandma and Grandpa's house. This red tractor has been well loved by my grandparents' three children, eight grandchildren, and now fourteen great-grandchildren!

And who doesn't love watching little girls perform on the big stage that is the family room hearth?!?


My Aunt Patty (who lives in Seattle) even made the 3+ hour drive to come and see us and meet Caroline for the first time. We are so grateful we were able to spend some time with her (and of course her goldendoodle, Lucy!).

One evening we had a big family get together and my girls were able to play with all of their little second cousins! It was so fun to see everyone who was able to make it!

Benaiah isn't quite big enough to get in on the blueberry picking, but he sure is cute!


Picnic time!


Sweet cousins


Mayson and Caroline became fast friends. Mayson loved making Caroline giggle!

Mommies and Babies!
From L to R, Sophie with Benaiah, Gabriel and Sarah; April with Lane, Blake and Mayson; and me with Caroline and Anna Kate! Evie, we sure missed you and Emery!

The rest of our time in Oregon was spent enjoying simple moments just being together.

Snuggling before naps

Cooking with Grandma

Evenings on the patio


Cuddles on the couch

And of course, Grandpa teasing Anna Kate!
"Don't laugh, Anna Kate!"

"I said, DON'T laugh, Anna Kate!" 

After a wonderful, but all-too-short week, it was time to say our goodbyes and head back home. The girls loved seeing all the mountains from the airplane.

Mt. Rainer (background) and Mt. St. Helens ('s the one without the top!)

Rainier and St. Helens (Left) and Mt. Adams (or is it Jefferson?) on the right

And the most beautiful of them all...Mt. Hood


Goodbye, Oregon, see you next time!