22 Week Bumpdate and Pregnancy Letter Board

We are officially over the hump, people! 22 weeks means we have 18 weeks (or less) to go! I can’t even believe how fast this pregnancy is moving. Maybe because it’s not been as stressful as Addie’s? Who knows!

Love this baby bump letter board by The Vintage Modern Wife. 22 weeks pregnant!

If you haven’t kept up with us online lately, at 20 weeks we had our ultrasound and amniocentesis with our Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor and had the cutest fall gender reveal ever to celebrate sweet baby Lawson. It was a complete surprise to us (as you can see in the video!) The 20 week ultrasound was so good and Addie got to meet the doctor that delivered her and checked up on her the entire time I was pregnant with her. We were overjoyed to hear that they couldn’t detect any physical abnormalities, and that it was completely up to us to do the amniocentesis or not. We opted to do it for genetic purposes to make sure our sweet boy didn’t have any complications like Addie, and the day before Thanksgiving we got a call that there were absolutely zero markers for any genetic abnormalities. Praise Jesus! It took such a load off our backs and now we can completely focus on the fact that our sweet boy is going to be healthy. We would have loved him regardless, just as we do Addie, but it’s nice to know that we won’t have the challenges that we had with her.

How far along: 22 weeks

Name: Lawson Avery

Size: Lawson is measuring about a week ahead so he’s the size of a grapefruit at 22 weeks! That’s 11.3 inches and 1.10 pounds.

How I’m feeling: Great! Starting to find that it’s getting a little harder to breathe (especially when I carry Addie) and I definitely can’t eat as much because there’s less room!

Sickness: None! I had 1 day where I couldn’t keep a meal down, but I think it was a fluke.

Cravings: I really haven’t had many cravings this pregnancy, although I will say I have been wanting more red meat the past couple weeks. So I guess I must be craving that!

Aversions: Chicken. It doesn’t gross me out or anything, I just haven’t been in the mood for it.

Weight gain: I think I’ve gained 7 pounds total. Not too bad but it’s definitely getting to where I’m actually starting to gain. Since I was so sick in the beginning I hadn’t gained anything, but 7 pounds isn’t bad!

Physical changes: Rounder tummy! I see a little chubbier face than at 16 weeks, but it happens.

Pregnancy purchases so far: I’ve made a few purchases so far that I wanted to share that have been helpful—

  • Floral Sweater (it’s not maternity)- When we went down to visit my family for my dad’s birthday the other week, we hit up Target for some Black Friday shopping. I fell in love with this sweater and had to have it. I’ll tell ya, it runs big. So if you like that oversized look, grab your normal size. If you like a more fitted look (or you’re short like me), size down. I’m wearing a medium and it fits perfectly. The large was like a dress on me!
  • Ningxia Red (and lots of it)- If you’ve been dragging lately, struggling to make healthy food choices, could use some help supporting your blood sugar, immune system or any other system of the body, then you need to learn about Ningxia Red. This powerful fruit puree is what we swear by for our family’s health! Young Living has exclusive distribution rights for the NingXia wolfberry, and just one ounce of NingXia Red is equivalent to each of the following in terms of antioxidant nutritional value: 4 pounds of carrots, 2 quarts of carrot juice, 8 oranges, 1 pint of orange juice, 2 pounds of beets, 2 cups of beet juice, 3 cups of raspberries, or 2 cups of blueberries! Wow! I drink 2-4 oz a day for antioxidant benefits to keep me staying healthy (which can be really hard this time of year with sugary snacks, unhealthy foods, and people spreading their germs like crazy.) I love that it keeps me energized because my blood sugar levels stay nice and balanced, and it’s just nice to drink with some LaCroix instead of a soda!
  • Tomorrow Sleep mattress– I’ll be blogging about this super soon, but this new mattress has been amazing for pregnancy. Our old mattress was like 13 years old (ew!) and I was waking up with aches and pains every morning. During pregnancy it’s advised to sleep on your side and I’m typically a tummy sleeper. So my hips, ribs, and knees would always be so painful and I’d toss and turn from the pain. Happy to report I’m no longer worrying about that! I can’t wait to tell y’all more soon.

As far as more purchases for Lawson, I haven’t done any. My mom and sister have bought Lawson a couple outfits, but that’s about it. We really only need a few things since he’s our second (like a crib, mattress, bedding,  DockaTot, Milk Snob car seat cover-  that kind of thing) but I started making a registry in case we have a shower later on in the new year. I’ve been focusing more on family birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and January birthdays and so baby stuff hasn’t been on the priority list. I figure once we get to January, I’ll start buying more stuff.

Love this baby bump letter board progression by The Vintage Modern Wife. 12-22 weeks pregnant!

Thanks for joining me for another bumpdate! Make sure you’re following me on Instagram and Facebook for daily life updates and more on Addie and Lawson!

The Cutest Fall Gender Reveal

This post on The Cutest Fall Gender Reveal is sponsored by Oriental Trading although all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Looking for the cutest fall gender reveal? This pumpkin gender reveal by The Vintage Modern Wife can't be beat! So many cute ideas!

This pregnancy is just flying by! I can’t believe I’m already over halfway through it and our sweet baby will be here in 18 weeks or less! A few weekends ago we had about 30 of our closest friends and family over to our home and had the cutest fall gender reveal you’ve ever seen. It was so wonderful and I’m still replaying our amazing time in my mind. We had family and friends travel from 3, 4, and 6 hours away- even friends that happened to have flown into town the night before come to our little fall gender reveal. Ah, it was great!

Looking for the cutest fall gender reveal? This pumpkin gender reveal by The Vintage Modern Wife can't be beat! So many cute ideas!

Because we had our little fall pregnancy announcement at the Dallas Arboretum with tons of pumpkins in the pictures, we thought it would be fun to continue on with our pumpkin theme for our fall gender reveal. I wasn’t sure where to even begin, except that I wanted pumpkins in it. I remembered that Oriental Trading had awesome decorations at affordable prices so I set out to work on our fall decor for the party. Immediately I noticed ideas for trunk or treats on their website and one stuck out to me that was orange and teal. I knew we wouldn’t be going the traditional route like our big gender reveal party during my pregnancy with Addie, and this was perfect!

Looking for the cutest fall gender reveal? This pumpkin gender reveal by The Vintage Modern Wife can't be beat! So many cute ideas!

Lucky for me, all the products used in the photo were actually listed at the bottom of the page so it made it incredibly easy for me to get everything I needed. I ordered tassel garland, a plastic table cloth, pom pom decorations, paper plates, napkins, cups, forks, strawshoneycomb tissue balls, mini hanging lanterns, the cutest chevron table runner, and a semi fanburst garland, all from Oriental Trading and it arrived super fast. I don’t know why I expected it to take a while to arrive to me, but everything I ordered was at my house in a matter of days. Not only that, all the decorations for our entire party cost less than $100! Talk about staying within budget! Woo!

Looking for the cutest fall gender reveal? This pumpkin gender reveal by The Vintage Modern Wife can't be beat! So many cute ideas!

Everything was incredibly easy to set it up. I actually set up most of the party a couple days before because usually it can be so tedious. However, I was mostly done within 20 minutes except for the things that needed to be hung at the top of the curtain rod and of course outside where the actual reveal would be held. Since we have a square table, I folded the tablecloth in half and I loved how it made it more opaque. I also cut the chevron table runner and both the turquoise and silver tassel garlands in half so one half was on the table and the other was at the drink station. It worked out perfectly and was twice the decorations for half the price! Winning!


Looking for the cutest fall gender reveal? This pumpkin gender reveal by The Vintage Modern Wife can't be beat! So many cute ideas!

I will say, I had visions of putting the fruit and veggie dips into hollowed out pumpkins filled with bowls, but since it’s almost Thanksgiving, all the pumpkins are gone from the stores. I had some from my porch, but I didn’t want to take the chance of cutting one open and it being yucky. I kept them for outside and was ok with that. Still, I kept the food simple for budget purposes and so people could have a snack before going and grabbing lunch after the party. We had fruit with a cream cheese and whipped cream dip (with 2 drops of Orange Vitality essential oil- so delish!), a veggie tray with homemade ranch dip, the cutest little pumpkin deviled eggs (made by my awesome mother-in-law), and yummy puff pastry filled with sausage, cream cheese, and jalapenos (also made by my mother-in-law). Of course, no party is complete without cake, so we got assorted cupcakes and had a delicious punch to go along with it all.

Looking for the cutest fall gender reveal? This pumpkin gender reveal by The Vintage Modern Wife can't be beat! So many cute ideas!

Looking for the cutest fall gender reveal? This pumpkin gender reveal by The Vintage Modern Wife can't be beat! So many cute ideas!

Looking for the cutest fall gender reveal? This pumpkin gender reveal by The Vintage Modern Wife can't be beat! So many cute ideas!

We had our entry way set up with a fun chalkboard and our small end table, and I had a foam pumpkin for people to sign with paint pens with well-wishes for the baby, along with stickers I’d made with the pumpkins from the invitations and our name choices for each gender. We chose Amelia if our baby was a girl, and Lawson if our baby was a boy. I mimicked the chalkboard I’d made for Addie’s big gender reveal party and it was fun to see the differences between the two pregnancies so far!

I also bought some gorgeous flowers at H-E-B (shout out to the ladies in Floral who always do an incredible job) and they were beautiful on our coffee table. When I was getting groceries for the party, I got stopped so many times with people loving the flowers. Made me happy!

Looking for the cutest fall gender reveal? This pumpkin gender reveal by The Vintage Modern Wife can't be beat! So many cute ideas!

After everyone had their fill of snacks, the anticipation was so thick, so we went outside for our gender reveal. A sweet friend lent me a couple bales of hay, and I ended up using the semi fanburst garlandpom pom decorations, and our leftover Halloween pumpkins for the reveal spot! It was pretty windy but Mathew was smart enough to staple gun the decorations to the fence and it was perfect!

Looking for the cutest fall gender reveal? This pumpkin gender reveal by The Vintage Modern Wife can't be beat! So many cute ideas!

With Addie in tow (and without her vent, might I add!), we gathered everyone outside for the big fall gender reveal! I can not even begin to tell you the bundle of nerves that swept over me once we started walking outside. With Addie’s big gender reveal party we knew she was a girl before the party. We wanted to know during our anatomy scan so we could have the moment with just the two of us, and then we surprised everyone else at the gender reveal. This time, we had no idea.

All pregnancy long I “knew” it was a boy. Things were just SO different this time around and it was so easy for us to choose a boy name. The girl name? Not so easy. Once we’d picked a girl name we struggled (even until gender reveal day) to pick a middle name. When I was pregnant with Addie, I “knew” it was a girl and we easily picked a girl name. We struggled so hard until the day of the ultrasound to choose a boy name. Interestingly enough though, I thought our baby was a boy up until 18 weeks. I had an appointment with our doctor and we did a quick sonogram to ease my mind. Since we’d found Addie’s SCT at 18 weeks, I was a bit worried. The doctor and I looked at the baby together and he initially called the baby a “he”. But then, I mentioned how the ankles were crossed and I remarked that I slept that way and Addie does too so maybe it was a girl. Then, the doctor called it a “she”. It was likely by accident just because I was talking about girls, but I took it as a slip up and “swore” the baby was a girl.

When we went in at 19.5 weeks for our big anatomy scan, I had the tech tell my sister in secret the sex of the baby. She ordered confetti poppers for me and had them shipped straight to the house. Once we walked outside for the reveal, they were handed to us and I was shaking. Here’s how it all went down:


I can’t even believe it- can you? Our sweet baby is a BOY! We can’t wait to bring sweet Lawson Avery into the world in April 2018. I never would have imagined that I would be a boy mom, but I’m excited for this whole new world. Since Addie’s newborn stage was so atypical, I’m interested to see how we handle parenting a newborn AND Addie together. It should be a fun ride! Mathew and I were in SHOCK that the confetti was blue, and I won’t lie- I shed some tears. The good tears, of course! I can’t wait to see how this journey of ours unfolds!

Did you guess correctly? What was your favorite part of the gender reveal?

To the Mom Unsure How to Approach My Special Needs Daughter…

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen yesterday about the unfortunate event that occurred to our family. We were asked to participate in an interview for a woman filming various non-profits around town so we could help represent a local organization geared towards children with special needs. If you’ve ever seen us out and about, you know that it’s not an easy feat.

Not sure how to approach someone with a special needs child or are you looking to educate your children on those with special needs? Check out this letter, "To the Mom Unsure How to Approach My Special Needs Daughter..." and get a glimpse of what to say from a special needs mom, herself.

Mathew had a prior engagement and I asked my mother-in-law if she would come with us for the interview. What you may not know about Addie is that it takes 2 people to drive her places because of her trach and ventilator. One person has to drive and the other needs to stay in the back in case she needs to be suctioned, she cries (because of her bronchomalacia she can quickly turn purple and lose oxygen when getting overly upset), her trach becomes dislodged, or her ventilator circuit pops off. Not only that, but we have to pack many things just to get out of the house. A bottle of oxygen, a spare bottle of oxygen, her ventilator, ventilator charger, pulse oximeter, ambubag, extra ventilator circuit, extra suction catheter, 2 extra trachs (1 her current size and 1 of a smaller size), a suction machine, and of course the usual diapers, wipes, and snacks. Being pregnant has also made things harder because Addie is heavy and I lose my breath a lot easier because I have less room inside to breathe. All that to say- if we go somewhere, it’s because we really want to be there or need to be there because it’s so much work.

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When we arrived at the location for the interview to be filmed, I took Addie and all her gear out. It easily takes 5 minutes to get her in her stroller just so we can get to wherever we need because we have to load up her and all of her equipment. The woman who was interviewing us brought her children to the shoot (which I totally understand, because #momlife) but her children were constantly staring at Addie. I brushed it off because children are curious and I tried to not let it bother me. That was until one of the children made not one, but TWO ugly comments about Addie’s appearance. Again, I understand it happens and children don’t generally have tact nor do they know how to react to a child with special needs. But, I was entirely taken aback when the woman never said anything to her child such as, “Honey, we don’t say ugly things to people.” She never even apologized to me or said, “Oh I’m so sorry. My children have never been around someone with special needs. I apologize for what he said.” Nothing. I was so offended that I asked if I could interview first because I needed to leave soon (which was true), and quickly did the interview.

As soon as I got into the car with Addie and had all her stuff unloaded, I lost it. I got into the car and just bawled. I bawled because I couldn’t believe the mother did nothing to acknowledge her child’s comments towards Addie, especially because we had gone through so much effort to be there on a particularly busy day. My mother in law happened to be there and drove back to the location and talked to the woman about how hurt we were, and as she did, I made this video on Instagram stories:

I had SO many of you guys comment and tell me you would be more conscious about talking to your children about those with special needs. Many of you also said you realized you needed to take action and talk to your children, but didn’t know how. Some also asked what exactly you should say in a public situation, and so many more of you asked me to blog about this to help bring awareness. So…here I am. Now let me mention- I’m no expert. I’m learning as I go along this journey, so if you’re a special needs mom and you have input on how you personally would do things, I’d love to read in the comments.

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To the mom unsure how to approach my special needs daughter,

I see you. I see you and your children around town. I see your stares. I also see your curiosity. I see your wheels turning as you try to figure out in your mind if you should acknowledge us, quickly put your head down and walk away, or gaze away as fast as you see me noticing you. I see your child who is curious too and is trying to ask you questions. You’re frozen.

I want you to know something. I want you to acknowledge us. If I look your way and smile, I want you to smile back. And if I’m not smiling? Smile at me anyway because our family might be having a particularly rough day. I’m ok with you and your child having questions. I was once just a woman without a daughter that has special needs and I used to be curious too. I GET it.

 

If your child is curious, please don’t shush them. Have them ask you their question, and feel free to come up to me and ask it yourself if you feel like your child may not be tactful or kind. Please introduce yourselves and acknowledge my daughter…because SHE IS A PERSON. Plus, she loves when people come up to her and smile and want to get to know her. Please don’t act like my daughter isn’t there. It hurts my heart and it’s insensitive. Treat her as kind as any other 3 year old.

Curious about her trach? I’m cool with that. You can ask me, “Why does she have that tube?” I’m happy to tell you that Addie can’t breathe on her own and her trach and her ventilator help give her breaths. I’ve had many children ask me about it and I will say I appreciate their faces of concern when they realize she can’t breathe on her own. Their compassion does my heart so much good because I know there are still sweet people in this world that show concern and care for my sweet girl.

 

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Wondering why she may not look like a typically developing child? My daughter has hydrocephalus and has epilepsy. She also has vision deficits and has a cochlear implant because she used to not be able to hear. You may ask me kindly, “Can you tell me more about your sweet girl?” or “Is it ok if I ask you about your daughter?” Chances are I’ll say yes. I’m happy to tell you more about Addie and the 10 months that she was hospitalized. How we almost lost her several times in the middle of the night. How my baby has gone through more surgeries than I can even count (because honestly, I’m done counting.) How we’ve made amazing friends in the medical field and how Addie has multiple therapies DAILY so she can be the strong girl she needs to be. How doctors told me Addie would not be able to do so many things, yet here she is, kicking ass and taking names (sorry- there’s no better way to say it.) How I quit my job as a teacher to be by her side for 18 hours a day in that hospital. How I would sleep by her bed in the NICU after surgeries even though we weren’t technically allowed. Maybe I won’t divulge ALL of that in one sitting or in the store, but I’ll tell you the Reader’s Digest version for sure.

 

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Here’s what I’m not ok with though- I’m not ok with being ignored. I’m not ok with you not correcting your child if they say something rude. I’m not ok with you brushing off rude remarks as if they’re meaningless. I’m not ok with stares without a sweet smile quickly coming after.

Disabilities cover a wide range. Some are obvious like Addie who has a physical disability, or a child with a visual impairment. Other disabilities may be more “hidden” such as children who have learning disabilities or are on the autism spectrum. I want you to share with your child that no two people are the same and God made everyone special and unique. I want you to share that a disability defines no one. Just because my daughter or another child may have special needs, these kids are just like you and have feelings, likes/dislikes, strengths, and even challenges. I want you to share that children can be born with special needs or they can become disables from an accident or an illness, but they can’t “catch” it from my child. I want you to tell your child to be sweet and kind to my girl, and that she would love to be their friend. Your child should also know that children with special needs can do lots of things that they can! Addie plays soccer and is about to start cheerleading in the new year- how cool is that? She just may need help or adaptive equipment to help her, and that’s ok! I would also tell you, try to use clear, respectful language when talking about someone with special needs. “She has that tube because she can’t breathe on her own and needs help” is enough information for most children to get the concept of why Addie needs her trach. PLEASE make sure that you talk to your child about name calling or rude comments is NEVER acceptable and it hurts Addie’s feelings.

 

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Here’s what else I want you to know, especially if we’re already friends. Invite us over. Sure, it’s a lot of work, but boy, does our family love to be invited to things. Even if you “don’t think” we will be able to join you, it means the WORLD to us for you to have us over for dinner, board games, play dates, and birthday parties. Addie doesn’t go to school and is often forgotten because she isn’t around her peers much. She wants to have more friends, she just doesn’t have many opportunities. Thankfully, soccer and cheerleading have changed that, but we still find ourselves forgotten sometimes. Heck, invite yourselves over too! Mathew and I both work from home and we want you to come over! We love visitors and Addie always enjoys snuggling and playing with friends.

Love, Stephanie (aka Addie’s Mom)

 

There’s so much more I’ve surely missed, but I hope this is the start to some beautiful conversations between you and moms of special needs kiddos. If you know someone that has a child with special needs, reach out to them. Start a discussion and ask how you can learn to be more loving and accepting and how you can teach your children to be the same.

If you are interested in learning more about Addie and her story, make sure you add us on Instagram and Facebook for daily updates.

If you see a special needs mama in the store/at the zoo/ wherever, please be kind. Always be kind.