Wednesday, December 11, 2013

36 week update

Well, my pregnancy has been pretty uneventful up until now.  Other than a little nausea and back pain in the beginning and sleepless nights and acid reflux for the past 3 or 4 weeks, I've had an easy pregnancy.  

When I went to the doctor several weeks ago for my glucose test, I barely passed so they had me redo it.  I barely passed the 2nd one, but they didn't make me do the 3 hour test...thank goodness.  

I went back last week and my blood pressure was high, especially for me.  I usually run less than 120/80 and it was 140s/80s, 130s/90s both times they took it.  They drew PIH labs (pregnancy-induced hypertension) and sent me home with a 24 hour urine jug.  Yehaw.  I tell ya, there is nothing more annoying than having to pee as much as pregnant women do AND having to save it each time.  I went back to the doctor today and my 24 hour urine test wasn't completely normal, but not bad enough for me to have to do it all over again...yet.  My PIH labs weren't completely normal either, but he said the abnormal values were expected to be abnormal during pregnancy.  He checked to make sure I wasn't having any of the preeclampsia symptoms...headache, swelling, blurry vision, seeing spots.  I'm not symptomatic, but just to be safe, he wants me to come back tomorrow to do a biophysical profile to make sure Brooks is still growing like he should be and being as active as he should be.  Brooks is SUPER active, so I'm not concerned about that.  The doctor said I was measuring perfectly so he's not concerned at this point that the baby is having any growth issues related to my blood pressure.

Long story short, he is going to closely monitor my blood pressures, labs and Brooks and if need be, induce me within the next couple of weeks.  He said he would like me to get at least to 38 weeks...(CHRISTMAS EVE!) but if I started to become symptomatic, he would go ahead and induce me before then. Soooo, we might end up having an early Christmas present!  

I definitely went into this pregnancy not wanting to be induced and not wanting a c-section if at all possible.  But, of course, I want whatever is best for me and Brooks so whatever happens, happens!  Going through nursing school and working in labor and delivery has definitely helped keep me calm about the whole thing, so I'm thankful for that.  

Just pray for our little family that everything works out how it's supposed to and that we have a healthy baby boy in the next few weeks :o)


Friday, October 25, 2013

Spread too thin...

Never have I thought I "spread myself too thin" until this semester.  Nursing school will do that to you.  I'm sure my friends feel the same way.  Growing a baby, nursing school, working, weekend plans, and clinical is a LOT to squeeze into 7 days each week.

As I was making my "final countdown" to-do list (yes, I sang the Rocky song in my head when I wrote it), I started to get excited and freak out all at once.
1.  I only have 50 days to finish all of these assignments and clinical hours.
2.  I only have 50 days until I am FINISHED with nursing school!
3.  I'll have a baby in 2 months.
4.  I don't know where we are going to live after January.

My goal for the next two months is to take time and enjoy my pregnancy and stop stressing so much about everything that needs to be done.  I refuse to wish away the next two months because that would mean I was wishing away the time I get to spend growing this precious baby.  My mantra for the next 50 days will definitely be, "Just breathe."  


Thursday, September 26, 2013

25 Week Update

Sorry I've been MIA!  I noticed I hadn't blogged since August 15, which was when school started, so I'll use that as my excuse.

My pregnancy has been fairly uneventful, thank goodness.  Aside from the nausea in Mexico, I've felt pretty good overall.  Even worse than the morning (all day) sickness, was the stabbing pain I had in my back from weeks 20-21.  That was definitely the hardest two weeks of my pregnancy thus far.  I'm not sure if it was due to his position or the stretching/growing of my belly and joints, but it was a sharp nerve pain that made it hard to breathe.  It would come and go, and some days were better than others.  I just pray it doesn't return!

Luckily, I haven't had to deal with any excessive weight gain or swelling yet.  Hopefully, I will stay close to my normal size so I don't have quite as much work to do once he comes!  Note to other pregnant women, don't go from wearing sandals/flip flops to cowboy boots when you get weighed at your doctors office.  They'll imply that you've gained too much weight by telling you to exercise and eat healthy.

I was really nervous going into our last ultrasound.  At our 18 week ultrasound, his heart wasn't big enough to definitively say that it was developing normal.  I wasn't concerned then, but as our next ultrasound neared, I began to run all the "what ifs" through my head.  I was also a little concerned because he said my placenta was "low-lying" and I definitely didn't want to have a c-section if it stayed that way or shifted even lower.  Luckily, all my fears were put to rest quickly.  The ultrasound tech said that his heart was perfect and that all his organs and bones looked great.  Also, my placenta has moved "far away" from my cervix so that is another relief!

The best part of my pregnancy so far has absolutely been watching and feeling him move around.  I love the constant reminder that I am growing a little person in my belly.  He sure is active!  I like to call him my little kick boxer because sometimes it looks as if all four limbs are kicking and punching at the same time, as hard as they can.  To be only a pound or two, he is strong!  I can't imagine how it will be when he gets a little bit bigger!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

It's a Boy!

This past Saturday was one of the best days of my life...right up there with my engagement day, wedding day and the day we found out we were having a baby.  We found out we were having a baby BOY!

Needless to say, we were both shocked.  I was 99.9328% sure we were going to see pink balloons, so of course, I had Clay convinced (and everyone else I know).  This goes to show you shouldn't rely on the heart rate (which has been above 150 the entire time), or any old wives tales or gender predictor games or quizzes!  All of them said we were having a girl, so I just knew we were.  I'm kind of glad we were so convinced though, because it made for some very authentic surprised faces!

Clay and I are so excited to be having a baby boy.  We love the fact that his siblings will have an older brother to look after and protect them.  I'm so happy that Clay will have a partner in crime that he can pass on his love of baseball, Clemson tiger football, hunting and fishing to.  I can.not.wait. to see Clay with our sweet baby boy.  I know it will fill my heart with a love that it has never known before.  Plus, we know that little boys love their mama. ;o)      

Tons of people have asked how we pulled off the reveal without anyone, including ourselves, knowing.  Here's what we did:  We had the ultrasound tech write the gender on the back of our gender reveal party invitation.  She covered it with a post-it note to ensure we couldn't see through the envelope.  The morning of the party, we took the sealed envelope to the flower shop, along with our box.  While we were gone they blew up the blue balloons, put them in the box, and sealed it for us.  Luckily, they made sure not to put the color of the balloons on the receipt ;o).  We took the box home and decorated it.  We left it inside until party time so the balloons wouldn't fall from the heat.  I can honestly say that no one other than the ultrasound tech and the flower ladies knew what we were having. The same could be done if you wanted to do a cake reveal (pink or blue frosting in the center).  You would just take the envelope to the baker instead.

We are so happy we had a gender reveal party.  The waiting was absolutely worth it.  We had to go two whole days not knowing what we were having, which seemed like an eternity.  It was so much fun to be able to watch the video of us opening the balloons.  The best part of having a gender reveal party instead of finding out at the ultrasound, was that our family and friends were all there to celebrate with us.

My favorite part of the reveal was definitely Clay's reaction.  He screamed before I even had a chance to open my eyes!  If you get a chance to watch, the video is posted on my facebook page.  It's hilarious.

Here are some more of my favorite pictures from the day!

We also announced our name!  For the name frame, I took a picture of our girl and boy names in the sand at Ocean Isle Beach.  This is my favorite place in the entire world, so I thought it was fitting to take the picture somewhere that is so special to me.  I put the pictures in a frame and when we found out we were having a boy, I ran inside and switched the pictures so that the boy name was in the frame.  We decided to name our little boy Stuart Brooks Johnson.  We've always loved the name Brooks and knew that's what we wanted to name our son if we had one.  We decided on Stuart, after my daddy, because we love the name and wanted to honor the man who helped make me who I am.  What is even more special about the picture of his name in the sand is that my daddy's ashes were spread in the Atlantic Ocean at Ocean Isle Beach, so I like to think little Brooks already knows his grandpa.

We are so grateful to all of our family and friends for helping to make our party so special.  We couldn't have done it without you!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

18 weeks...almost halfway there!

Since I was lying wide awake in bed and haven't posted in a month, I thought now would be a good time to update everyone on what's been going on in the Johnson household over the last few weeks!

I am 18 weeks pregnant today (well, yesterday)!  Baby J is about 5.5 inches long and weighs about 7 oz.  He or she is going to be doing a lot of growing in the coming weeks!  I can't believe that I will be halfway through my pregnancy in just 2 short weeks.  What's even more exciting is that we are only 4 days away from finding out if we are going to have a sweet baby boy or girl!  It's going to be so hard to go to our anatomy ultrasound on Thursday afternoon knowing we aren't going to leave knowing the sex of our little one.  I knew before I even got pregnant that I wanted to have a gender reveal party.  I know some parents find out what their baby is going to be and then have the party to reveal the news to all their friends or family.  That thought never even crossed our minds.  We are so excited to find out at the same time as all those we love.  

I can't tell you how many times I've thought about what life would be like with a little boy or girl, and how many times I've been asked, "What do you want it to be?"  I think everyone has an idea of what they think they would want but of course, all we really want is a healthy baby.  Originally, I wanted a girl and Clay wanted a boy.  Then, we both switched and he decided he wanted a girl and I wanted a, obviously we'd be happy either way.  (I still feel like it's going to be a girl...mother's intuition?)  All of the tests and old wives tales we have done have came out a girl.  We'll see on Saturday...if baby J cooperates!  Other exciting news...we are revealing our baby name at the party on Saturday.  :o) 

Today was an exciting day!  First of all, baby is 18 weeks today.  Secondly, I got to park in the expectant mother's spot at Hobby Lobby!!  Did I need to?  No.  Was it really any closer?  No.  But hey, I'm an expectant mother, so I just thought I should utilize the spaces they so graciously provided.  Now, had it been the only one available, I wouldn't have parked there.  I could only imagine the looks I would have gotten from some 39 week pregnant woman who can barely waddle her way out of her car, thinking her water could break at any  moment.  Finally, Clay & I were lying in bed tonight and it was the first time I could really feel my uterus. Being in OB clinicals this summer, I felt a lot of women's fundi (funduses?)...the top of the uterus...but actually being able to feel your own and know that there's a little life inside of there was amazing and brought tears to my eyes.  I've noticed so many changes over the past week and I know there are going to be new discoveries and changes daily from this point on.  The thing I am most excited about is feeling the baby move.  Everything I've read says it will probably happen between 18 and 20 weeks.  I can't even imagine how that is going to feel physically and emotionally.  

On the school front, summer semester ended July 24.  It.was.awful.  I don't know how in the world I made it out with all A's.  Going in, I had heard so many horror stories about Complex and how people have failed the class by missing a question or two on a computer test that we have to take in all our classes.  What was even more scary is that we had to take it in 8 weeks instead of 16.  We also had OB/Peds, which I loved.  The worst part of the summer had to be having a test every week and having two big assignments looming over our heads all summer for our Mexico maymester.  But, I got through it...hallelujah!  It's so hard to believe that we will be finished in December.  It seems like we just started!  I have more motivation now than ever to finish strong and finish on time!  Mama needs to get out of school and get a job!  

I am trying to enjoy my last couple weeks of summer before the madness starts back.  I am working 5 days next week at the hospital, so this is my last chance to relax and get things ready for our party on Saturday.  Luckily, my mom planned an amazing Ocean Isle family beach trip last week, so I was able to enjoy time with my family since I won't be seeing them much until pinning on Dec. 14!  

My next post will be an exciting one...our gender reveal party post!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Father's Day

June 16, 2013
Father’s Day

            First, a pregnancy update!  I’m currently 10 weeks and 5 days.  Baby J is the size of a kumquat!  Thankfully, I haven’t had very much morning sickness at all…except while I was in Mexico, but that’s a story for another day.  I’m not having any cravings really, but I've noticed I can’t eat as much as I used to because I get full really fast.  Also, a lot of things upset my stomach these days.  I have been eating a lot of pickles and drinking a lot of spicy V8, though!  I can’t believe how fast the weeks are flying by…I’m almost finished with my first trimester!  Hopefully the 2nd trimester will be just as easy as the first!

            I knew I wanted to write this blog for Father’s Day but I knew that it would be a tough one to start.  This post is dedicated to all the fathers in my life:  my daddy, Clay’s daddy, my uncle Kent, and of course, our sweet baby’s father-to-be. 

            I want to start with my daddy.  My daddy, Stuart John Ross grew up in Miami in the 50s.  From the stories I've heard, he led a very hard life, beginning with his childhood.  These hard beginnings helped shape him into the man he became.  He was one SO smart.  He had more common sense than I will ever have.  He was an amazing welder.  He was so talented.  I remember him yelling up from the basement, asking me to come downstairs and help him on one of his latest art projects.  He made belt buckles, bracelets, and stained glass.  He never did anything halfway.  He put everything he had into everything he did. 

Unfortunately, life never got any easier for him.  He worked hard for every dime he made.  He tried his best to give us girls what we needed and wanted.  I’ll never forget how happy I was when he’d come home with candy from Jerry’s Neighborhood Store after work.  He was always thinking about us, whether we knew it or not.  My sisters are 8 and 11 years older than me, so I got to experience my daddy pretty much as an only child for many years.  There were times I wanted nothing to do with him.  It’s amazing how your perspective on things change as you get older.  All the bad times seem to fade away and all you are left with are the good memories you choose to hold on to.

When my mom and dad split up, I honestly didn’t know if I would ever want to see him again.  When he got sick a few years later, when I was in college, my mom invited him to move back in so she could take care of him.  It makes me tear up just thinking about how selfless my mom is.  She loved him when he didn't love himself.  I’ll never forget those years that allowed us to reconnect.  He even got to see my cheer at one of my college football games!  I will always be grateful for that short time.  Those were the last times I got to spend with him.  The summer after I graduated, he got really sick and was admitted into the hospital.  He died a few days later on June 27, 2008.  One regret I will always have is not calling him back that summer when I got back from Italy at the end of May and had a voice mail from him.  That was the last time I heard his voice.  I like to think he knew I was there at the hospital with him though.  I have to believe he did. 

It was hard when I got married and he wasn't there, but it was even harder when I found out I was pregnant and realized he wouldn't be here for that either.  I just pray every day that he knows how much I love him and miss him.  I think about him in everything I do, hoping I am making him proud.

Whenever I get sad, these lyrics give me comfort…

Sometimes, I feel my heart is breaking
But I stay strong, and I hold on because I know
I will see you again,
This is not where it ends.
I will carry you with me…

Love you, daddy!

             Even though my daddy is gone, I have no lack of amazing men in my life.  My uncle Kent is one of the most amazing, generous, and kind men I've ever met.  I spent the first 10 or more years of my life afraid to even go near him because I was so shy.  When I would have to walk by his chair, I would stay as far away as I could.  After a few years, that all passed and I got to know what an unbelievable man he is.  I will never be able to thank him enough for stepping in and being a father figure to me and helping our family out when we needed it the most.  He has always been there for us, no questions asked. 

Kent, you have helped to shape me into the person I am today, and I am so honored to be your niece and I love you to the moon and back!

            Clay’s daddy, Karlie is the sweetest man you will ever meet.  I could not have hand-picked a better father-in-law.  He would do absolutely anything for us and I can see so many of his qualities in Clay.  He is so gentle, caring, funny, and generous.  I am so lucky that our baby will have such an incredible role model to grow up with.  If Clay is half the daddy you are, this baby will be the most loved little thing in the world.  Love you, Karlie!

            Lastly, to the father of our sweet little baby…  First of all, thanks for choosing me.  I know things haven’t been easy the last few years with me totally uprooting us and changing careers.  Thank you for letting me follow my dreams.  You will never know how much I appreciate your support and selflessness.  When I picture our little baby, I see a perfect mix of you and me…my tender heart, your sensibility.  My book smarts, your common sense.  My need for attention, your independence.  You are going to be the most amazing father.  Watching you with Bailey and Zoey made me long for the day you would be able to play with our own little baby.  I am so thankful that our baby is going to grow up with a daddy who will love him or her more than life itself.  I am so excited to start the next chapter of our lives with you!  I love you more than you will EVER know.  xoxo

Sunday, June 30, 2013


Here is my first baby blog post from June 6, when I was 9 weeks.

176.  That’s the number of times my sweet baby’s heart beats in one minute.  It’s crazy to think that something so small can have such a powerful heart already!  She (I’m going to refer to the baby as a she…much better than “it” J) is only an inch long right now…about the size of a grape.  I am 9 weeks and 2 days.  The weeks are flying by!

I had my first ultrasound yesterday.  Luckily, Clay was able to come with me to see our sweet baby for the first time.  My friends and family can attest to the fact that I was an absolute nervous wreck before the ultrasound.  Besides a little nausea at times, I didn’t really feel pregnant.  I know that’s normal in the beginning, but when something is growing inside of you, you at least want to be able to tell it’s there!  We waited for about 20 minutes and then the nurse came and took us back.  Within minutes, I was on the table and a picture of my baby was up on the big TV.  I can’t even describe the emotions that were rushing through my mind.  As soon as the baby popped up on the screen and she said there’s the heart, I just lost it.  All those worries just slipped away and I was overcome with joy and awe.  Tears immediately started streaming down my cheeks and Clay squeezed my leg to let me know he was there, as always. 

I always wondered what it would be like to hear your baby’s heart beat for the first time.  I can say it is like nothing else you will ever experience.  I remember hearing my niece Zoey’s heart beat for the first time.  Now I know how my sister felt.  It all becomes real.  I am growing a PERSON inside of me.  How crazy is that?!  I never thought I could love something so much.

It all started a couple months ago.  Clay and I walked up to the pool and sat one evening and started talking about when we thought we would start trying to have kids.  As my friends know, I've been ready for a baby for so long, but with school and moving around so much, the timing just never seemed right.  I knew if I could at least wait until March,  the baby would be born after I was finished with school, so any time after that was fair game for me…not so much for Clay.  He wasn't so sure about having a baby yet but finally gave in and said we could start trying late summer.  When we got back into our apartment, Clay was using our living room as a putting green.  I said if I made the ball between the two quarters, we would start trying sooner.  Well, of course I missed the first time.  How about 3 tries?  I miss the 2nd and made the 3rd.  Then, we did the quarter flip.   I won, twice in a row.  Looks like we weren't going to have to wait til the end of summer!  Well, two months later, here we are!  I never thought I’d be able to get pregnant so fast.  I always worried that I would have trouble.  

God’s timing was so much better than mine ever could have been.  My due date is January 7, so I’ll have my last month of pregnancy off from school to relax and the first two months after she’s born to spend with her (or him) while I study for NCLEX.   Yes, being pregnant during nursing school is going to be hard, but the majority will be during my 2nd trimester which I hear isn't so bad.  The best part is that I feel so much more prepared for the pregnancy and what to expect because of all the experiences I've gotten at Northside working in labor and delivery.  Also, I’m in my OB/Peds rotation this summer…good timing, huh?

Besides hearing our baby’s heart beat and seeing her for the first time, telling our families and friends was one of our favorite things so far.  Their reactions were all so different, and each one was precious.  That will be another post…with videos. J 

Thank you all for taking this journey with us.  Please pray for a healthy mama, daddy, and baby!  

Friday, January 25, 2013

It's a 'God thing'...

This past year has been full of what I like to call "God things".  I am so used to saying, "that's just my luck" when something doesn't go my way.  This entire year has made me realize that those times have to happen because something even better is yet to come.

On Valentine's Day 2011, we closed on our first house house in South Carolina.

Two days later, Clay got a job in Georgia.  Great.  Newlyweds, just bought a house with a nice piece of land, a fence, shop, and pool...and we don't get to live together.  It was tough coming to terms with the thought that the house we just bought wasn't going to be ours for long.  Little did I know, but Clay getting a job in Georgia would turn out to be the first of many "God things".  

Since I was so unhappy teaching, I started looking into going back to school for nursing since that was really what I wanted to do after my daddy died. forward to June and I don't have a job, my husband lives in another state, AND we are going to have to sell our house.  Perfect.

Then, Clay & I are in the pool one day and he says, "Why don't you go to Kennesaw State?"  My response was, "What the heck is that??"  He said, "It's in Georgia and I think they have a bass fishing team."  Oh, would know that.  So, I look into it, and sure enough they have a second degree nursing program.  Hmmm....this is when things start to fall into place.

I decided to start taking my pre-reqs and worked it out so that I could have them all finished in time to start school last fall.  I applied to Emory & Kennesaw and I was so shocked to learn that I had gotten into both programs.  I never in a million years thought I'd be one of the 120 chosen out of the 900 applications KSU received.  If I had known there were that many applicants, I probably would have talked myself out of applying all together...but, I didn't, and I got in.  God thing number 2.

Fast forward to 2012.  So, now we have a house in SC, aren't living together, and I got accepted to a program in Georgia.  Time to sell the house!  We listed our house in March and had an offer by the end of May.  Who the heck sells their house in less than 2 months in this Pickens??  God thing number 3.

Then, Clay and I find the perfect apartment in precious Woodstock and it is in our price range and is available as soon as we need it to be.  God thing number 4.

We knew it was going to be tough with me going to school full time and living off of one salary, so I needed to get a job ASAP.  Kohl's offered me a job two hours after I arrived in Woodstock.  God thing number 5.

Last semester was a whirl wind!  I was working 20-30 hours and I'm in the accelerated program, so I had an extra class.  It was hard work and the entire semester I was just praying that I would do well to validate my choice to change careers...I got all A's, so I'd say my first semester was a success! God thing number 6.

I am lucky enough to be going to Mexico for two weeks in May to work in two hospitals and live with a Mexican family.  This will be such a great experience to be able to work on my skills and learn more about healthcare in areas that aren't as fortunate as we are.  I am SO excited about this amazing opportunity to serve others.  God thing number 7.

I applied to participate in Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's college volunteer program and I start on February 2!  I will be at an urgent care center every Saturday hopefully making sick children smile :)  God thing number 8.

Finally, back in December a hiring manager in labor and delivery at Northside Hospital in Atlanta got my resume and sent it to HR.  Last week, I got a call to set up an interview on this Wednesday.  Today, I got the call that I had received the externship position!  I feel so blessed that I've been chosen for this position.  I can't wait to start working with all those sweet mamas and babies (and poor, sleep-deprived husbands).  I have been praying that I would find an opportunity to get into a hospital and gain some experience and finally, I am getting that chance!  God thing number 9.

This year has really made me look back and reflect on all those times I was selfish and mad that things weren't happening the way I wanted them to, when I wanted them to.  I am finally able to step back and see that everything happens for a reason.  I finally feel like all the tough times we faced the past couple of years are starting to pay off.  It's amazing what God will do in your life when you stop sulking about all the things that aren't happening.  These next 12 months are going to be so much work, but it will be totally worth it.  I'm so excited to see what other 'God things' He has in store!  

I just want to say a special thank you to all my friends and family for being so encouraging and always rooting for me.  It's nice to know that you are all in my corner when things get hard!

To Clay- you are amazing.  I don't know how in the world you have handled all of these changes like you have.  You are the most unselfish person I've ever met.  Love you to the moon and back!

To my nursing girls- Lord knows I couldn't have made it this far without all of you...I love you all and I am so thankful for you!

This time next year, I'll be Casey Johnson, RN, BSN!