26 weeks

Today little Cooper is 26 weeks, almost 14 days old. Wow, time has been going by so fast! It just seems like yesterday we had him! Today has been one of those two steps forward one step back days. Cooper's PDA seems to be closed for now which is fantastic (but it can reopen) and his antibiotics even went down, two good things. But over the last couple days that Cooper has had with being exubated, reintubated, prodded and poked his oxygen intake has increased. I hate it. I want to see the number go down, not up. And I will be honest, the numbers still aren't "that" bad, when I left the hospital tonight they were at 37, the lowest he can go is 21 that is room air. It is discouraging when yesterday he was at 23. They had to once again reposition his tube by half a centimeter.

Today I spend nearly 12 hours at the hospital with Cooper. I wasn't able to hold him, or really get any "touch time" because he has been messed with so much they were trying to limit it today. I feel so helpless when I am not able to do anything as the nurses have to over again and again take blood from his tiny little feet. Poor Cooper's feet are swollen and bruised from it all. On days like today it is hard for me to leave. I want to be there in case anything happens. Tom reassures me he is in good hands, which I don't doubt but still I want to be there especially on bad days. I know I can't always hold him but Cooper knows when I am there. He can hear my voice as I tell him good morning, and I am his mom, I should be there.

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," I almost feel like that saying could be a motto for Tom and I. We haven't even been married for two years and it's like we have been through the hardest times of our lives. After getting through almost a year and a half of a prison term and then seven months labor watch our greatest creation be poked and prodded to help save his life has been difficult to say the least. While Tom was away I felt like it was my responsibility to "take care" of everything, the homestead, myself and make sure he was comfortable. It was a long road but we survived and it did make us stronger. 

Now seven months after his release we are put into another stressful and consuming situation, yet this one is much bigger than us, because I am sure each of us would sacrifice for Cooper. 

While I life flighted to Boise, Tom was right there. Every step of the way. When my water broke and I was life flighted to Missoula, Tom was right there. Every step of the way. And I am sure some people are thinking, "Well of course, he should be." But this a major situation in our lives and it was the first Tom was even able to be there, besides you never know how someone will be or act until you are right there in the situation. 

So as the two grueling days of being in Missoula passed and Cooper was about to arrive, I began to break down. I was so afraid of the what ifs and what could happen to Cooper and if he would even make it. I know Tom was afraid too, but he comforted me in every sense. 

Once Cooper was born and even to this day honestly, I felt helpless. Here is our little baby boy born 16 weeks early and really because of me and my body and he couldn't come home, we couldn't really interact with him and he is tested, x-rayed, blood drawn etc. etc. Tom comforted me. 

I couldn't begin to really explain what it is like to expected the unexpected with your very own child but to also have such an amazing husband who carries ME through this. I have been a complete wreck. I cry over everything, everything. I am happy. I am sad. I am overwhelmed and I am stressed but I know Tom is right there with me. He rubs my back, wipes my tears and will just hug me. If it's a day when he is home, he will listen, try to understand and help in any way he can. 

The first time Tom had to leave Cooper and I to go home and work was torture, I cried the entire way home. But the day I finally got to see him again was amazing. I was more excited to see him that day then I was when I picked up from prison. It is this weird sense of "missing" him now that we have Cooper, it's like my family is broken while he is gone. 

But when Tom is here, everything makes sense. 

Tom has completely stepped up in a way I could never imagine. I know Tom is experiencing what I am experiencing. I know he is afraid, I know he worries and yet he rarely breaks down. He is continued to be a pillar of strength throughout this because I know there is a lot riding on his shoulders. Tom is juggling working in Salmon, traveling to Missoula every single week not to mention, his son in NICU and his wife away from home. I no longer work so Tom's income is it, and while it may not be a lot Tom is doing an incredible job. 

I always felt like I was lucky to have Tom but seeing him interact with Cooper only shows how lucky I really am. Tom loves little Cooper with his entire heart, I can see it when Tom talks to him, changes his diaper and holds his hand. I feel as though Tom has been such a strong man through all of this, and yes we have had some good cries but we never let the bad break us down. 

I am really lucky, because even though I am mom, Tom as dad as a lot of stress too. Because of Tom and his hard work and dedication I am able to see and "spend time" with Cooper every single day. And I know Tom would love to be able to be here. And while he is gone, he does miss out on some of Cooper's accomplishments and I feel bad for that. 

I know this situation won't always be "easy" on our marriage but at the same time I know we both have the skills and love for each other and Cooper to communicate, support and love deeply. 

So here's to my husband: 
Tom, thank you for everything you do not only for me and Cooper but for the sake of our family and marriage. You have truly been an inspiration to me personally, you have grown and conquered so much in the past few years I am nothing but proud to call you my husband. Thank you for your continued support and love even when I don't deserve it. Thank you for taking on more responsibilities during our tough times and never complaining about it. Thank you for always being right by my side or just a phone call away. You are my one and only, my rock, my support system and I love you for all of that and more. Thank you for being you. You truly are the best thing that has ever happened to me and I am ever so lucky to call you my husband! 

Being Mom

After 10 days of giving birth to my precious baby boy, I got to finally hold him. Hold him on him, his skin to my skin, we could feel one another's breaths, smell one another and be loved by one another. His tiny legs fit into my bra, his arms stretched and his small head rested upon my chest. It was the best two hours yet, in the past 10 days. I was so overjoyed, so happy. I am disappointed my husband missed the moment, but I can't wait until it is his moment. The moment when he will be able to hold his son for the first time. The moment when he can feel Cooper's little warm body against his. At that moment nothing else matters. Cooper and I got to gently rock and nap for two whole hours. It was so great and so amazing, I really can't put it into words to describe what its like to hold your son 10 days after giving birth to him. This skin to skin "kangaroo care" is the best thing ever for a preemie mom. It just makes you fall in love all over again.

I have been slacking on my blogs and really don't have any excuses but I can happily report that Cooper is well. Over the past few days we have really experienced the "two steps forward and the one step back."

We found out that Cooper has Patent Duct Arteriosus which is when a valve in the heart fails to close at birth. The valve is open while the baby is in the womb to supply blood between baby and the placenta. Once a baby is born the valve closes keeping the blood going through the lungs, sometimes it takes a few weeks to close. Cooper's is open still. They started him on indicine to help close the valve for him. He will get his third dose of medicine today. The cons to the medication is it can increase the bleeding on his brain, luckily he has been responding to it. He was restarted on antibiotics since there was still an infection in the placenta. He hasn't shown any side effects of the antibiotics which is good as well.

Cooper was recently removed from the oscillator and graduated to a regular ventilator, which is good. The ventilator actually encourages more of a normal breathing pattern while the oscillator was just providing him with air and his lungs permanently open.

Last night while doing Cooper's oral care, I noticed that the white stickies that hold his breathing tube seemed lopsided and sideways. I pointed it out to the nurse and sure it enough it was not only drooping his breathing tube was partially out. She needed assistance from another nurse, and as soon as they pointed out his "breathing bag" I had to walk out of the room. Since the tube was partially out they had to extubate him, meaning take his tube out. I stood there watching the nurses move quickly, the machines beeping, lights blinking, more nurses rushing to the room and then them calling the doctor.

My heart seemed to stop. I will spare you the thoughts running through my head as I sat there through what seemed like the longest half hour ever. By the time he was done, I was a wreck overwhelmed and scared. Cooper was fine. The gave his nasal cannulas rather than a tube in his throat which would be the next step after the ventilator. It was good and bad. The doctor said he was showing great numbers with the cannulas but he may just not be ready for it yet. So he continued to slowly ween with the cannulas. But by 3 a.m. I got a call from the doctor they had to reincubate him, replace the tube in his throat. So he is on a ventilator and it wasn't as though he stopped breathing or anything but his blood gas number were bad for cannulas. As of now he has really weened with the ventilator down to 23 which I think is the lowest since birth.

First Christmas Eve

It is our first Christmas Eve not only for Tom and I but little Cooper as well. Last year Tom was away so we had made our plans of what we thought we wanted to do but then our Christmas present arrived early. See all our plans went out the window because all we ever needed is right here between the three of us. Don't get me wrong we would love to be with family and friends and be able to break bread with them all, share laughs and Christmas joy - Cooper is our everything. We didn't even get presents for people our lives have been so hectic and chaotic the past few weeks, and while I feel bad we couldn't do so it seemed everything fell into place. Tom came up today after what seemed like the longest 4 days of my life, I literally never missed him so much! I missed him more of the past four days then I did over the year he was away. But its for a good reason, Tom and I have this precious gift, this precious little boy that deserves more than Christmas joy, presents, cookies and milk - our love, support and care is what all three of us need. Once Tom got here we unloaded the car and here he brings gifts, from our families. Set up in my room at the Ronald McDonald House is a little tree our presents fit perfectly under it. And then it all seemed to make sense. This was plenty. It doesn't matter we won't see our families, share a meal with them or even have a day full of fun what matters is that he and I are together and we will see Cooper spend time with him to get him well to come home. This is the perfect place for us. Together. Besides Cooper has no idea what is going on. So tonight I will enjoy the roof and warmth of this House, the comfort of my husband being by my side and the little pillar of strength known as my son, Cooper.

25 weeks

I can't believe Cooper is 25 weeks today, such a little fighter! He seems so content and comfy just as though he is sailing along until the doctors let him come home. Everyday seems like he is just a little different. His face, his reactions, I am just so in love with this little miracle.

He has been very content for the past few days, with great results from blood gas tests and slowly but surely the oscillator down a little. Yesterday, the day nurse had him at room air for a short while, and of course it didn't last but it wasn't all that bad either.

Today he got his first real "feeding" of breast milk via tube, which is great too. The nurses clean out his stomach every six hours and I was warned that the milk may still be in his stomach by the next feeding, that his stomach may not know what to do yet. Well by touch time there was barely any milk left, yay! He will have another head ultrasound in the next few days to watch the bleed, which we hope for good results of course.

Cooper is just so responsive, I even caught him on video opening his eyes and looking around. Tom and I couldn't be happier with his progress and strength, of course 2 steps forward 1 step back, its one day at a time. We know we will be here awhile and will just wait on little Cooper and his progression through the next few months so he can be a healthy, happy little boy.

24 weeks 6 days - 5 days old

These days I can't remember what I said, did or told anyone, it's like my brain has turned into mush. I can't really concentrate and I am always tired. I ended up buying a calendar where I can write down Cooper's accomplishments and struggles daily, something where I can go back and reference to. Of course everyday could be a new thing, a new struggle yet a new accomplishment, like the nurses said "two steps forward one step back."

Tomorrow Cooper will be 25 weeks, five days old.

He is currently on a oscillator, a high frequency oscillatory ventilator. Traditional ventilators physically inflates and deflates the patient's lungs, the oscillator actually keeps lungs permanently open with a positive end-expiratory pressure, and by vibrating the air at a high rate. When looking at the oscillator there are three numbers Tom and I look for. *Side note we are paraphrasing and don't know the exact terms or any for that matter* The number one the left started at 8.5 and the one on the right was at 28, we want both numbers to go down. The third number is on the side and it is was percentage Cooper is breathing. Normal healthy people breath the air at 27 percent, Cooper is at 33. The higher the number the more they are supplying him. Today the number went from 8.5 to 8.0 and 28 went down to 22. His blood gases are tested daily to see how he is doing as the numbers come down. Sometimes the number comes down and he is fine and then it needs to be raised again. It is all up to him. They don't have an "expected" date of when he will no longer be on an oscillator and move to a ventilator it is all dependent on Cooper.

Most premature babies are born with bleeding on their brain, that is why pregnant women who are going to deliver early they put on magnesium sulphate, it helps reduce the bleeding on the brain. I was on magnesium for almost 48 hours. Cooper had his first brain ultrasound the day after he was born. It showed that he had a bilateral bleed. The bleeds are broken down in "grades" 4 being the highest and 1 being the least. Cooper was just under a 1 for both sides, which was great news. As long as he is on the oscillator they will perform ultrasounds about four days. So in the mean time we have had another ultrasound done to see if there are any changes because the grades don't necessarily go from grade 1 to grade 2, it can jump from grade 1 to grade 4. But the results were great, one side had completely resolved and the other was the exact same.

Cooper is doing great considering his gestation. Him responding to breast milk by trying to suck as much as he can are good signs. He is active as can be, kicking, yawning, stretching, frowning and whatever else he wants to do. I am sure there is more I could share but I can't think of it right now! =]

Missing Daddy

Today was a "big" day for us, it was the day Tom would go home to work for a few days and I would come back to stay. We are in the process of figuring out our own routine of him coming and going and me figuring out what to do with my time. So today we spent our am with Cooper for touch time and then we headed out of town so Tom could work and I could get much needed clothes and hygiene products - things we have missed for about a week.

While packing my things, which seemed like all my things it just hit me, of how hard this will be. How much I will miss Tom and feel a little disconnected from the world. Don't get me wrong it is completely worth it, because Cooper is our priority - this situation is very overwhelming.

After packing and taking the three hour trip back to Missoula, I made touch time with Cooper. I took his temperature, sat with my finger upon his body and it didn't feel right without Tom there. I guess I never realized how much he supports me and how much I really do need him. I could barely keep it together in Cooper's room, missing Tom, wishing he could be there because I know he wishes he could be too. Not only did I miss Tom but Cooper did too.

What seemed to be perfect timing, while the nurse was cleaning out Tom's mouth, his right eye started to open.

There he was this little angel, so tiny and small, just with this tiny little opening of his eye. While he can't "see" me, he can see shadows maybe movement. The moment was special. Special because for us its a little milestone, something very precious. We didn't expect his eyes to open this early so it sure was surprise. He couldn't get his left eye open yet, so one will have to do. It was almost like Cooper was looking for Tom, he missed his daddy's "hey buddy."

* On a side note, Cooper's tests have come back good. Of course the NICU doctors and nurses say its two steps forward and one step back so we take everyday on with its new challenges *

Touch Time

With pre-mature babies, the nurses and doctors try not to over stimulate them. They tell you not to stroke or pet his skin to just lay your finger or hand there and they specific times they perform certain things to keep him content and not over stimulated. For Cooper it is 8 a.m., 2 p.m., 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. what Tom has called "Touch Time." We are able to get hands on with taking his temperature, changing diapers and feeding him some breast milk.

The first time we were able to do it, I was too nervous. I stood on the sideline and allowed Tom to take over which was fine, because I was so nervous. He is so tiny and fragile I was almost afraid to break him or hurt him. Of course Tom was happy and ready to go he go into the incubator like he was a perfect 40-week baby. I watched and thought about it. About we are about to embark on the biggest journey of both of our lives and while we thought Tom being gone was tough or the "hardest thing" we would go through, it's amazing that in that little time all of THAT hurt and pain goes away and THIS is so much bigger than us. It is so much bigger than the little letters we exchanged, the short phone calls - we have a son. A beautiful son that deserves the best in the world and we are determined to do that for him.

The next day I built up the courage to feed him some milk on a cotton swab. While he is getting some breathing help through a venilator, Cooper does love to try to suck on the swab. When we are in his room he reacts to our voices, begins to kick and stretch a little more, a blessing. Touch time is something that will be very important to little Cooper and being able to bond as much as possible with us at this time.

Thomas Cooper Lewis III, born December 18, 2012 in Missoula, Montana
 1 pound 10 ounces and 12.5 inches long

After a hectic and rough two weeks there was no stopping our little man joining us early. My water broke early December 16 forcing Tom and I to head to the emergency room when I was later flown to Community Medical Center in Missoula, Montana. Slowly but surely my body was getting ready to welcome Mr. Cooper to the world and after some contractions and late night he made his first little noise at 12:48 p.m. December 18, born at 24 weeks 2 days, Thomas Cooper Lewis III. 

Luckily with everything else that Tom and I had to jump through we bought Cooper two very precious weeks. Anything before 24 weeks a baby isn't considered "viable," which is why we decided to get a cerclage, a very wise decision. 

Tom and I had no idea what to expect from little Cooper or what would happen or not happen all we knew was that he was coming. We talked with neonatal doctors about what to expect and the journey we are about to embark on. Something the doctors said is that we shouldn't expect him to cry, hold him or touch him which was hard to understand but we knew he would be in great hands. So needless to say when he was born and we heard two little, "cries" from him, it was sort of a relief. Cooper went straight to the neonatal table specially set up for him where they stabilize him and then transfer him to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Once I gave birth and I was "done" we had to wait until we got the "go" from the NICU to see him. 

The entire NICU unit is sterile, clean and secure. Walking down the halls with small babies in incubators is very overwhelming. You always see those pics on the internet of premature babies and you never really know what to expect or how you will feel. 

The clear incubator encompassed his tiny 1 pound 10 ounce body. They warn you about the tubes and wires sticking out of his body, but it doesn't hit you until you are there seeing his little body getting the help it needs to breath, the wires and lines attached to his little belly button to help run tests. I can honestly say I didn't know how to act or react. Cry? Smile? Rejoice? Because I wanted to do all of it! Rejoice that our little guy is alive and as healthy as he could be, smile because I have never loved something so much and yet cry because my own body decided to cut his gestation short. 

We were amazed by the him, his hands, his feet and his tiny little head. We created this amazing thing, that is all ours. While we don't have the technology or knowledge to care for him on our own, we love him so much. He is a blessing to us, our life, and this journey we started just under two years ago. We officially became a family. 

Who I am

Day 4 of bed rest, has forced me to try new things, self portraits. Well I suppose not "new" necessarily because everyone takes photos of themselves but none the less, I needed something to do! I seem to always struggle while taking photos, avoid shadows on my Italian nose passed by my dad, accentuate my big eyes I inherited from my mom. Growing up I had such bad confidence in myself and a lot of that had to do with what I looked like. I was embarrassed of my over-sized nose, my dark straight hair and my lips I never grew into. I know all children go through that stage of "am I pretty?" and the "if only I looked like her." It took years and sometimes I still have those days but I love who I am. And that doesn't just include my looks. I love the woman I have became at 26 years old, and of course there are things I wish I could change (like carrying a baby without bed res) but I love who I am.

It can take years to realize who you are and what you want to be. While taking self portraits of myself I wondered how I could really capture how I feel. How do I capture my strength, independence and most importantly my love and happiness. While I am facing some complications at the moment I am still happy. Happy to have the love of my life home, to be expecting our first child and happy with life in general. I have so much to be grateful for and so many things to love and feel loved from. I truly do feel lucky, lucky that everything has fallen into place in my life at the right time, at the right moment that has made me who I am.

You got a friend in me

I have been so lucky to have such amazing friends, and I did not just realize this. From when Tom was gone for over a year and even before that my friends have been so great in every way.


I think I have some of the BEST friends anyone could ask for especially during this time. Since surgery and now being on best rest for about four days, I am over it. I want to get up do something, work - something. While I know I can't I have depended on my family and friends a lot and of course my wonderful husband.
The scare of being in the emergency room, life flighted and really the unknown of the future of the pregnancy is has been a tough and emotional week! But no matter what I have had so much help and support through this time. Being on bed rest is most certainly not fun. Having to lay down and "take it easy" takes it toll on me. While some people might like it, for me it seems to be torture.

But I just wanted to take time to share a big thank you to all my friends who have made dinner, brought me ice cream or even just call and care. I truly appreciate every bit of it.

Also I appreciate my one and only husband, who has been very patient and kind even when I am not. He has been a real rock even when I feel defeated and depressed he can make me laugh and lift my spirits.

Thank you.

Let it Snow

Today I woke up to snowfall, lots and lots of it. I couldn't help but grab my new camera and shoot some pics, through a window of course but none the less take some pics! We live in such an amazingly beautiful town and this view is right out our bedroom window. While I am not a big fan of winter, at this point I would love to just walk outside a little, maybe just enjoy the snow and the cold. It seems to be hard for me to cope with this new way of life. I go from two jobs to no jobs to just hanging out at home, watching TV, writing, playing games whatever I can do to occupy my mind. Boredom is something I try to overcome every day. Finding something to do that is "rest and relaxed" since my walking is limited, Resting on the bed, the couch or reclined in a chair is my now permanent position until the baby comes. I know that in the long run this will all be worth it, but I most definitely need some patience. 

Blooming Boredom

First day of bed rest without Tom, boredom. And not necessarily because Tom wasn't home, because I had visitors, boredom because I can't do anything (well I'm not suppose to). I can walk to the bathroom, shower sitting down, make a sandwich or heat soup but that is it. I will migrate from my bed to the couch, since the doctor said I can sit up for a little bit but that's my day.

Today I received a long-awaited package of my new Canon DSLR camera. I haven't just been waiting for weeks for it to arrive but I have wanted one for years. I fell in love with DSLRs while I was working. So arriving while on bed rest, is bittersweet. I got to play around with it for awhile and limited to what to shoot from bed or the couch.

But I got this cute bouquet of flowers from Tom and decided that should be my subject, visable from my sitting spot in the living room. I got pretty excited to see the camera body, plus the two lenses, the filters, the lens adapters and more. Makes me wish I could at least take a walk outside, fresh air would be nice too.

I guess during my "down" time I will be writing a lot, reading and wishing I could take more photos. So here is my first blog of my "blooming boredom."

Life in the Slow Lane

I have been on bed rest for for about five days now and weeks of it ahead of me, and I can honestly say it is hard. Not being ale to move, get up and do anything is hard. I am sore, my back hurts and it makes me anxious. I know in the long run it will help not only me but little Cooper as well. It will help ensure that little Cooper stays inside hopefully until he is viable to breath on his own.

We are always coming and going but it takes something major to stop us and make us realize how precious life is and how in an instant it can change. Going from working 2-3 jobs to not working at all and on bed rest is a hard concept for me to grasp right now. I just want to get up and do something.

While it seems Tom and I have had an up and down year, 2012 has brought us good news and great news yet saddening and hard news but together we always prevail. Quite honestly you never know the depths of someone until you are faced with tough decisions. Decisions that affect both of you.
Making the decision of either having surgery or no surgery that puts your baby in risk put Tom and I in a tough place. Without surgery we took the risk of my body progressing and having the baby early with no going back. The surgery gave us an option of trying to keep the baby inside longer. While it is risky, it could break your water and then there is no turning back. Tom and I made the decision to move onward with surgery. All went well with surgery and now hopefully that and bed rest buys us precious time.

I wouldn't have imagined that my own body wouldn't be able to hold a baby, that me, myself was the one that was "incapable." It makes me feel un-womanly. Something women should be able to do you and my body can't, while I am grateful I can get pregnant unlike many women its just an odd feeling that my own body wants to give birth to a child that isn't viable. I couldn't be more grateful for modern medicine.

Something else I am completely grateful for - my husband. When it comes down to it the tough decisions it's something Tom and I really had to talk and contemplate, along and together. Any surgery is scary and carries its own risks. When Tom and I first found out that I could loose the baby, we both started crying, something we weren't really prepared to hear and were anxious to know our options if any. Since I was life-flighted out Tom had to wait to the next day to get down here. When we were kinda in a bind to have the surgery because I started spotting again. At one point Tom looked over at me and said, "We will be able to have more children, but I only get one of you." In that moment I knew that I was lucky to him. He was right, no matter the outcome we had one another, we could heal and prevail. Luckily for us, we have bought ourselves and our little Cooper time to hopefully have a happy and healthy baby boy!

Maybe this is all more than I deserve, but I am grateful for all of it.

Office chair to hospital bed

Here I am sitting in Boise at St. Luke's to hopefully prolong the time until little Cooper is here.

What started as a normal Tuesday turned dramatic when I started spotting, something I shouldn't be doing at 22 weeks. I immediately went to the emergency room, which resulted in an ultrasound and exam in the clinic. After an exam and ultrasound - it was determined that my cervix was thinning. The baby is fine, normal with a great heartbeat - it's my own body that is forcing me into premature labor.

I was ordered to bed rest. Laying down flat bed rest. No pressure on my cervix to make it thin more. Search and Rescue had to keep me flat from the ultrasound bed to the gurney to a hospital bed. After blood, IV, ultrasound, spectrum, steroids and bed pans I honestly couldn't believe I was in this situation. Being only 22 weeks, St. Pats in Missoula wouldn't accept me, so the next place was St. Luke's in Boise.
Due to weather I wasn't able to fly until the next afternoon via plane and continuing to stay flat. Once I got to Boise, I was subjected to their own tests and ultrasounds. When I finally could settle it hit me in the fact that I was in this position. There are no clear cu signs of this happening or why, the only clue is that I have a "weak" cervix unable to hold the weight or size of a baby.

I had two options. One would be to continue on bed rest and hope I didn't progress. I never had any contractions but I wasn't sure I wanted to take that chance. What if I had just been on bed rest, and my body continued to progress we risked the having little Cooper early, at a stage in which he isn't viable.

My second option was a cervical cerclage, which means they stitch my cervix closed. Since I haven't had any contractions or cramps I was a good candidate for it, plus they don't do it past 24 weeks. The cerclage isn't a guaranteed fix but it works in hope to keep the baby in a little longer, hopefully.

Both options have their risks, and pros and cons. Thursday afternoon I began spotting again which meant my body could be progressing so Tom finally arrived in Boise around 2:30 and I was in pre-op by 5 to get a cerclage.

It was a chance that Tom and I needed to take, while the risk was if the doctor hit a membrane it would break my water and I would lose the pregnancy - the risk was low enough or us to feel some what comfortable. I was so scared and nervous. Afraid of the outcome. Afraid of the unknown. I was risking losing my unborn child yet to save my unborn child. It was a decision in which I wasn't sure which was "right" or "wrong."

I made it through surgery, the only problem was I had spasm in my throat which was making my throat close so they had to put back under to make sure I would be fine. But I am fine and the baby is fine. All went well which is a blessing. Now we play the waiting game. I will be on bed rest until I have the baby. Originally I wouldn't be able to go home to Salmon until 35-37 weeks pregnant, but I may be able to go home Monday which would be a blessing in itself. Somewhere where I would have friends and family to help and of course Tom.

You never know what will happen, when you will need your family and friends and when you will depend on your husband more than ever. But I am grateful for all of it. While I will have to be on bed rest until little Cooper arrives, it is more certainly worth every minute to have our lil man!

19 weeks of unknown

It is such an amazing experience to not only know that you are creating life within your own body but to be able to see it, ahhh, in heaven
Seeing our little baby move, twirl, flip and spin on screen was so reassuring to me. Since I haven't been able to feel an actual kick or punch, seeing the movement and relating that to how I feel was great. Seeing the little heart pitter-patter on screen and to heart can be such an amazing experience. As a first time mom all of these things are not only new to me, but I don't even know what to expect. And as the baby was making its many movements there was a moment when it just opened its legs and for a quick second we could maybe guess the gender. To me there was a just a small white dot, while Tom was under the impression he may have seen more there. So at 19 weeks, it is inconclusive. It is still unknown whether we will bring a beautiful baby girl home or a handsome baby boy. While I want a girl and Tom wants a boy, we will be happy and blessed just t have a healthy baby, no matter what it is. 

Star Bright

Not even Thanksgiving yet and Tom and I have already put up a Christmas tree - that't right, Christmas tree. Yes, it's probably way to early but oh well. It being out first Christmas with Tom home and together, I was so anxious. We purchased a six-foot tree and lots and lots of ornaments. We decided to go for more of a color theme of white, silver and blue. Of course you have to make a Christmas tree "your own" so I glittered some clothes pins and printed off some black and white photos from the year. I made a banner that reads, "LEWIS" and together - I love you.

I couldn't even begin to explain how happy just having the Christmas tree up makes me. To me it signifies a beautiful season. For me as a little girl one of my fondest memories is when my mom hosted Christmas with her siblings, my dad's best friend and all my cousins. I remember the tree standing in the corner, it was so big and beautiful to me. And having about 13 cousin, the presents overtook the living room, the bright reds, greens and curled ribbon made it so everyone had to crawl over the boxes. I can remember my Aunt Gayle "tend the bar," she was always so much fun, my Uncle Nick, I remember him convincing me to go to bed so Santa Clause could come. That night is the first night I questioned Santa, since I could hear him talk about eating the cookies. Memories like that, the love, the family and the comfort of being altogether is something I want for my children. My mom has five siblings, my dad has a big Italian family and it seems as time goes on the family parts more and more. I want the memories of playing games on holidays, early breakfasts everything my growing family. So having this tree, our very first one together means a lot to me. It's like creating new memories for our very own family. 

Everything from the glittery ornaments, bright lights or shimmery ribbon - I love it all. Being able to share this time with Tom and knowing this time next year we will have a little one is a true blessing. I couldn't ask for anything more, anything better. 

For You I Have Prayed

Starting my fifth month of pregnancy has me anxious, nervous yet so excited and thankful. Soon enough I will be feeling our lil bambino moving around in there, little kicks, punches and hiccups. I am so excited.

I have so many emotions running through me of things I feel like I need to do, things that need to be done and things I feel like I want.

I have a list of things added to the registry of things "suggested," I am slowly planning my "at home time" since I won't be working right away.

But with everything I feel like needs to be done I can't help but sit and be thankful. I remember when Tom first came home and I use to lay in bed and pray silently in my head. Tom and I were wanting to have children but we allowed it to happen when it was suppose to happen. I want to say I was so ready for it, yet I wasn't. I had asked for this miracle to happen, for our lives to change and it did. I feel so grateful that this has happened at a perfect time for us. That we are able to bring our child into the world without worrying about me being a single mom, nights without Tom home or the chance of him leaving again. For this child, I have prayed. I have prayed for a life with a wonderful man, a life of great family and friends, a career I love and a child I can love for an eternity, and I am getting everything I prayed for, everything I asked for. How lucky am I?

Predicting the Future

One thing I am super anxious about it knowing
 the gender of my baby!! 
Boy? Girl? 
I have been so anxious to know, some woman claim that "they know." While most people tell me I am having a boy they, "just know," I am not sure about that! There are so many wives tales of what you should feel like or the symptoms of having a boy versus a girl, not to mention the Chinese calendar, the swinging ring thing and more. So then while reading all these different "tips" like carrying high or low, craving salt or sweet and stumbled up the Gender Prediction Test. Supposedly it is about 90 percent accurate and tests the hormones through a urine test. Of course you have to use morning urine, cant have sex 48 hours prior to taking the test and shouldn't take it if you drink a lot of fluids at night. And there other restrictions to like if you take certain medications or have PCOS. So I purchased the test and was very excited and nervous to take it! Last night I read through all the directions and what exactly has to be done because I didn't want to get a wrong result or screw it up, the test is $27! So this morning I got up gathered everything I had set aside and took the test. You have to wait until the 5 minute mark to "read" the test. On the testing jar, on side says boy with a green label and on the opposite side it says girl with an orange label. If the urine turns green its a boy and if it turns orange its a girl, the colored label help determine the color and gender. So I set me stopwatch on my phone and at exactly 5 minutes determine whether it was green or orange. I personally thought that the test would be easy to read - orange or green. I found it to be hard. So I took pictures of it since it is no recommended to read the test past the 5 minute mark, which made it even worse thanks to the lighting and the wonderful shadows in which I placed it! At first I thought, "Ahhh, its not that dark, its orange - GIRL." Then I looked again and it was like, "Hmmmm, not sure." There is a layer or light on top of what looks dark, its not solid, if that makes any sense. 
In a few weeks we will be able to know the gender via ultrasound so as far as right now I want to say girl, but I could be wrong! 

Moving Right Along

It seems like I have been pregnant forever. When we went and got our first ultrasound, I was eight weeks, which makes me like four to six weeks when we told everyone! Of course we thought I was much farther along and we may have held off announcing it to the world but it is what it is. So now at 16 weeks, it feels like forever ago I took the at home test. Most women won't find out that they are expecting until they are 10-12 weeks. We are slowly waiting for my pregnancy to "take off" while the baby is quickly growing inside I am ready for the belly, for the movements and everything fun, supposedly that probably won't feel anything for a few more weeks. This past week we finally got our nursery furniture, no thanks to Walmart. We had to re-order a whole new set, and decided to use Target instead. Tom spent part of the day assembling the changing table and second dresser by himself. Together we put the crib together. It became so real. So real that I would become a mother and Tom a father again. The set we chose, I am in love with - all white, just simple and sophisticated. The one thing we are missing is a white rocking chair, something I wish we had just so I could sit in the room enjoy it. Looking over in what was the spare room, but now a baby room - is an amazing feeling, an overwhelming feeling, almost something you can't even explain. The idea of bringing home a baby boy and baby girl is something I am so anxious for. Hell, I am anxious just to know whether we are going to bring home a boy or a girl. I am excited to buy colored clothing, paint a beautiful watercolor and add small details that make the room even that more special. I want to fill the closet, the drawers with anything and everything from outfits, to onsies, diapers and burp clothes. Never did I imagine that I would be here, right now. Of course as a first time mother I wonder the whats ifs and the am I's? 

Am I going to be a good mom? 
What if I do something wrong? 

I second guess myself even though that my heart, my soul is there and that I want nothing more than to have a happy, healthy, loved baby. Only a few more weeks and I am into my fifth month, we are moving right along! 

At 31 years old, believe it or not Tom has never carved a pumpkin! So while Halloween quickly approaches he is so excited since it is his favorite "holiday," we decorated the front of our place with fake spider webs, spiders, fake gravestones, a bloody door cover and he was so happy. I on the other hand was so excited to carve pumpkins something I have been doing since I was young. So we decided to go pick a pumpkin rather then just go to the grocery store and buy one, I wanted to make it a special day, one-of-a-kind day. We made the drive to the pumpkin patch, carefully walked through to ind the perfect one, he played a little sling shot game and found three "perfect" pumpkins. We made our purchase and saved the carving for a few days later when we had time to really focus and clean up. Tom was not excited at all to carve pumpkins. Once I had cut the top of my off and began to de-gut it, he was not impressed but he continued. He started his and cleaned it out, of course the worst part. He told me how he wanted his pumpkin to look, so I drew a little stencil for him to go by. As soon as he got in the hang of it, he liked it. So we both began to cut into the pumpkins. 

It was so nice to just sit at home, listen to music and not even talk, just carve and be with one another. We just enjoyed each other's company, compared carvings and spent a great night together. Once we were done, we quickly found some tea lights to put in the pumpkins. We decorated our little steps, one pumpkin for each and we thought they turned out fantastic. Little nights like this, begin what I hope becomes a tradition. By next year we will have a child to share these traditions with, while our child won't be old enough to participate, we will make it special! 

Enough for Me

Wow. I can't believe I will be a mother. It is slowly consuming my brain that inside of me there is life. A different soul that is not my own. And all that came even more to life August 30, 2012 when Tom and I enjoyed how first ultrasound together. It was amazing. Amazing probably isn't even a good enough word but that is all that is coming to me now! As a woman lays on here back with an awkward device searching her body, the site of something else in your body was breathtaking. Then as we all became quiet, the beat of our baby's heart beat was an even more amazing thing. To hear it race at 150 something beats a minute, it gave me satisfaction that, that beautiful miracle is really there. I couldn't even describe that feeling, the switch in feelings from being just me, to being a mom. I am obviously still working on it and we have awhile to go. But I feel so blessed. Truly blessed that all my prayers, my dreams are coming true. From my wonderful husband being here to starting a family together. Its like my life feels complete and that in itself is enough for me.

Fresh Beginnings & Sweet Endings

Written August 19 "Last time I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach was Tom's pre-trial release hearing, April 26. I was so afraid I didn't know what the outcome would be, what to expect. Like tomorrow. I don't know what will happen, if Tom will be gone tomorrow home for a short six weeks before leaving and that is the scariest. The unknown.  Tom has worked so hard, he has continued to stay clean and sober and I couldn't be prouder of him. He has stepped up and has become the man he has always wanted too. But what is scary is - is the judge going to see the same thing? Is he going to see that Tom never wanted possession of the gun? Is he going to see that he took steps to distance himself from it? Is he going to see that he has made positive changes in his life? All we can do is have courage, strength and a lot of hope. Tomorrow may be one of the most important days of our lives besides our children's birth. It's difficult to be unsure of the future, of our future. I am nervous as hell. Scared as hell and I know Tom is too. All we can do is be strong together - Tom and I with our family and friends." 

It seemed like just another day as we drove to Pocatello, about a 3.5 hour drive from our hometown. When we arrived in town we quickly changed into our court clothes. We made our way to the federal courthouse and we sat. We sat and waited. It was almost like torture. Waiting for the courtroom to open waiting for it to start. Tom paced back and forth. I know he was nervous but never once said anything. I was so nervous for him, at this point there were no more words that we could have shared that would have helped in the situation at all. 

When we finally moved into the courtroom, Tom sat with his lawyer upfront and we sat behind, patiently waiting

The judge entered and there he was the man that would determine our future. It seemed to go so fast. It was like as soon as we sat down after the judge, the district attorney jumped to the podium and asked the judge to impose the full term according to the guidelines, 15 to 21 months. I can't say it was a shock because of course they would ask for the full term, we came in with no plea agreement or anything. But to still hear, "Impose 15 to 21 months," was heartbreaking. It was then Tom's lawyer's turn. 

He went on to explain the situation, the time Tom had already served and the positive ways Tom has turned now. He pointed out that Tom tried distancing himself from the firearm, while in the wrong way, he did do it. He explained how Tom has continued employment since the first week he was out. Tom spoke on his own behalf, and that was one of the worst parts for me personally. His voice, he was pleading for his life and you could hear it in his voice. 

The judge then went on and pointed out various back charges Tom had. He pointed out how most of his charges if not all of them were drug related somehow. Which is true. Its amazing how drugs can ruin your life without even realizing it. He was level headed and asked a few questions. He then said, "I am sitting here trying to think of reasons why you should serve more time and I'm not coming up with anything." The judge then asked Tom is rise, it went by so fast. It was barely 2:30, just 30 minutes past the time is started. 

As the judge opened his mouth my head dropped, I was afraid of the outcome, it would affect our whole life. Our future as a family. Tom stood there and the judge says, "I sentence you to time served." A relief. My shoulders dropped and I couldn't help but be happy, I couldn't hold the tears any longer. He continued to list the punishments, of course no drugs, no alcohol and three years of supervised probation yet no more ankle monitor. It was like the two black clouds were lifting. What we had seen, done, said, and heard over the past year and half seemed to disappear. It no longer mattered that Tom and I went over a year without seeing each other. It no longer mattered of the number of missed calls, enormous amount of money it was and strength it took. In the long run it worked out, like people told me all along. 

It is true, things do work out. It was most certainly hard to believe at the time but it did. Its like having to pinch yourself just to make sure it is real. The tears, the heartache, the distance was all worth it. And yet I am scared. I have lived this "scared" life, a life when you don't know what will happen next, and now here I sit with my husband by my side. I have to sit and think how blessed I am, blessed that he is home and we have made it through this nightmare. 

It makes me think of who and what am I now. I am no longer a "prison wife," something I have adapted who I am too. I almost feel left out yet I almost feel like its finally over. 

As this chapter closes we are beginning a new one. Finally husband and wife together and not separated and we are expanding our family with a baby on the way. New things are happening with fresh beginnings and sweet endings. 

Dedicated & In Love

Just a few days from now Tom and I will be traveling four hours to sit in front of a judge who will predict our future. It is so nerve wrecking, I can't contain it. When Tom went away for the first time there was no time to wait, to see what happened, it just happened. This time we have had four months to sit and wait for this day. We have done our homework on the situation, we have supplied anything extra we could - yet I don't feel comfortable about it or with it.

Our lives will drastically change, and the judge ultimately is deciding both Tom and my lives since I am pregnant. If he decides Tom needs more jail time, I then become a "single mother" of an unborn child with the posability of Tom missing the first few months of our child's life. He is not just taking away Tom, but my husband, my unborn child's father.

I have heard "you're so strong" and "you will be able to do it" so many times this week, it makes me just as sick as my head in the toilet in my first trimester. I don't feel particularly strong or able to go through more time without Tom. I don't think it is something you want to prepare for. I don't see my self as "strong" I see myself as dedicated and in love. I had to do something to keep my husband, and that was sticking by him while he was in prison, going over a year without seeing him and being 100 percent faithful. That is dedication. That is love.

I am tired of hearing, "Everything will be alright." How the hell do you know? I don't even know that and this is my life. I am scared to death that Tom could be gone again for up to two years. The thought makes me sick, the hurt makes me depressed and now I sit here - sit here and just wait for the days to pass.

Monday will either set us back and leave us apart or encourage and empower us to move forward and upward with our lives!

Something New

It is such an odd feeling and thought that I am pregnant.

Me. I am pregnant.

I was the one girl that always said, "I don't want kids." I have never been the "kid type" while there are a few kids that I love being a parent never seemed to match for me. I can't say I really never wanted kids, because I do want children. I want the name of "mom." And here I am.

I am getting everything I ever wanted yet I am not only the one who is, Tom is as well. Tom is so ecstatic that we are having a baby. The joy in his eyes, makes it worth while. I think about it all day. That I will soon by "mom." That I now have to take care of me and another.

I have indulged myself into online articles, videos and photos. Picking colors, furniture, and focusing on being healthy. The new changes taking over my body and mind and remarkable to me. The changes have brought on a new bond between Tom and I. We are both excited about the new edition and the life that we will soon have. Bringing a child into this world is something serious. New worries, new issues and protection. A protection and love that can be like no other than mother and child or father and child.

I am anxious. Nervous. Excited.

Falling Into Place

At 26 years old I sometimes feel as though of where my life is and where it was going. Since Tom has been home its slowly moving forward. It was like my soul was waiting for him and now that he is home, I am alive. Together we have fun, we love, we laugh, we care - and we are careless. Careless in a way that allows us to live out lives for us, not for anyone else and not for what anyone else thinks. Maybe that is what makes us so "together" we have the same mind-set on where we are at now in our lives and what we want in our future.

We want a future full of love, children, accomplished dreams and everlasting respect.

That love starts with us. The children begins at conception and the dreams will be accomplished and that respect will continue. Today one of our dreams flourished. As two pink lines appeared on a pregnancy test, shock ran through my entire body. I ran to the front where Tom was walking to get the mail, I made him come in and share in the excitement. We just looked at each other, double checking to make sure we were reading it right.

We are. We are pregnant.

Excitement. Nervousness. Shock. Happiness. Love. All flow through my body. Tom is ecstatic! He tells anyone and everyone he can and of course he is hoping for a boy. To my calculation I think I am about 5-7 weeks, but not sure. Doctors appointment is in our near future.

The Lewis clan is expanding. The two will soon be three. <3

Fun, Family and Fireworks

Fourth of July is a staple of summer. What seems to the real kick off to summer fun, it really is a true highlight in Salmon. Falling on Wednesday, it forced us to really depend on what we wanted to do rather than walking the street fair or watching the parade. So we had our first (hopefully an annual event) family barbecue. The night before I prepared clam dip, pasta salad, deviled eggs and pineapple upside down cupcakes. Tom and I got up early July 4 to go clean the pool, to get it ready for everyone to enjoy.

It was finally something we have been waiting for, our families coming together. My dad, my step-mom, sister and Tom's mom and step-dad, niece. Of course family members were missing but we were grateful for who was there. 

The weather was perfect. The sun shining it wasn't too hot, a slight breeze and everyone was together something which has been missed since Tom was away. In fact, it was Tom and my first holiday together. Something I was looking forward to and we knew it had to be a great day. Getting everyone together seemed so right, it was smooth and effortless. Tom set up the horseshoe pit and we split to teams. My dad jumped on the barbecue to showcase his talents. 

The kids were swimming, the sun shining, horseshoes thrown and it was then that I realized that Tom is home. The amazing feeling it was to have him home, to have everyone there, to be with everyone. I am sure it is something he looked forward to and appreciated.

Tom's favorite part was "everyone being together." It was nice. Plain and simple. No expectations, no alternative motives just family, enjoying one another's company.

We spent around four hours in the pool playing chicken, marco pollo and a mean game of basketball. I love going swimming with Tom and having everyone else there was a great topper.
Just a few months ago it seemed like we would never have been doing this, especially so soon. We feel blessed that we were able to do this because of the fact that Tom is home and was able to get his curfew extended.

I am so proud of Tom. Seeing how happy he was yesterday made me realize and how desperately he needed this. He needed everyone together, having a good time, having fun. He deserves it. He deserves all the fun and happiness in the world and I am lucky enough to share every day with him.

Tom LOVES fireworks, so of course after coming home and settling we took his niece, Bre, to watch the fireworks. We parked high on Discovery Hill, laying on the hood of the car. You can see the entire town making us able to see everyone's fireworks as well the city's. As Bre sat next to me wrapped in her soft purple blanket with her sucker utters, "This is probably gonna be the best day of my life." That right there, is what makes us happy. It was a great day. Worth the food prep, the sunburn and all.

As the fireworks shot up in the air, each boom made Tom more and more excited with every other sentence with "I love fireworks." The day was full of fun, family and fireworks and I wouldn't trade it for anything or anyone. It was amazing. I am really grateful Tom is home today.

Make Custom Gifts at CafePress