Saturday, August 28, 2010

Walking together...

When I transferred from Winthrop to Clemson, there was no real way for me to find a roommate.  It was a bad time...No one needs a new roommate in January...and I didn't really know many people to start with.  Randomly (yeah right) I saw a girl I barely knew through an acquaintance outside of Target the day I found out I would be going to Clemson.  I told her I was transferring...and then, months later, she sent me a message over Facebook asking if I had a roommate lined up.  It is interesting to note that this friend sent me a message a few days before New Years...I was moving to Clemson for the Spring semester in January.  She had a friend who knew a girl who was transferring from Wake.  Enter...Bethany :)  (Seriously...what are the chances?)
We talked on the phone after being sent each other's numbers and I knew within moments that she was a "kindred spirit".  (Remember Anne of Green Gables and Diana...same thing :) )  We are as a different as night and day, but kindred spirits all the same :)  We moved into Clemson together and begin making our way as transfer students.

We went to our first games together, led a Bible study together, went to events together....shared our families with one another.  We lived in an on-campus apartment together, eventually moved into an apartment off campus...and then back into a dorm room....all together.  Even though we are incredibly different....Bethany is tall, sensitive, emotional, and discerning...I'm short, to-the-point, logical, and daring...we became the sisters we'd never had.  

We both spent a lot of weekends driving to see our out-of-town boyfriends.  Her's proposed on Easter...mine..just after Labor Day.  So we planned our very different weddings together...and giggled, prayed over, and discussed all that we knew and didn't know about marriage.


                                    
Bethany and me with our wonderful men at the shower they threw for us!


Bethany and me with our moms for the lingerie shower we threw for her :)




At our weddings :)

As we've traveled through early marriage and starting careers together, we have kept up on the phone, texts, and countless BBMs :)  Many things have changed in our lives just in two years.  This past November, Bethany's sweet grandfather passed away.  On Thanksgiving, Ma also passed away.  It was a hard time for both of our families, but as God was taking life to heaven, He was also sending it to Earth. The day after Christmas, Bethany called to tell me she was pregnant.  3 days later, I called her to confirm that I was too!  We started planning and talking about this next precious phase of life!  We both went to our first appointments and got our due dates...two days apart :)  


                                                     
Bethany and me at 34 weeks

Bethany has been an amazing friend...we have called each other in the middle of the night to ask about strange symptoms...called after doctor visits to see if her doctor had said what my doctor had said...you get the idea. Even though Bethany lives in Charlotte, it has been such a blessing to walk through pregnancy together.  It means so much to have someone to talk to who is literally going through exactly what you are!

And today....Bethany's moment is HERE!  Anna Grace was born at Friday, August 27th, weighing 8lbs and is 20 inches long.  She is a beautiful, beautiful little girl...as I knew she would be.  Anna Grace has received "grace upon grace" in having Bethany as a mother.  She will always have a lady of grace, beauty, and wisdom to model for her what being a woman of God is all about.

I'm glad you're here Anna Grace.  I'm grateful for you Bethany.  


                                                
*Photo taken by April Walker*


Anna Grace

Carter...I'm sure you get the hint :)  Anna Grace was due two days before you....so.....

Friday, August 27, 2010

Our Prayers for Carter

     I have wanted to write this particular blog for some time...I just haven't because tagging it on to the end of another story made other blogs unbelievably long.  Additionally, I haven't really had time to write about it.  So...before I miss my chance, I wanted to chronicle these thoughts (for you to read, or course, but also so that I have this in the printed version I'm saving for him).  
     Steven and I had picked out a name for our sweet boy a few months before we got pregnant.  We had tossed around lots of ideas, but loved Carter Steven.  It had a good sound, wasn't difficult to spell or say, and had history and meaning.  As we have spent the last nine months preparing and praying for Carter, his name has become so much more.  The Lord has directed our thinking and prayers by the Holy Spirit, and we are daily being guided in how to praying for this sweet little man that is coming into our lives.  As most of you know, Carter is my mom's maiden name.  To me, the name Carter has always represented her side of the family.

This is my Grandpa Carter (Mama's daddy).  He was the second in his family, preceded by an older brother and followed by two younger sisters and another brother.  Grandpa Carter was a pastor who loved people more than anything else in this world.   
    
People...and ice cream.  That man loved ice cream....and AW Root Beer.  I think it was genetic, because I also love those two things!  He worked hard his entire life.  Being a pastor of small churches means working multiple jobs...and still coming home with very little.  My grandmother was a teacher.  (Another high-paying job, huh?)  She worked as a pastor's wife, often leading the music in the churches where Grandpa pastored, visiting the sick and elderly with Grandpa, leading women's meetings...and teaching full-time...with three little girls.  I don't have to say much to help you see what hard workers both of my grandparents were (and are...Grandma still works part time and serves the people around her in a way that I hope to emulate).  
     Grandpa passed away when I was in seventh grade, but I am grateful to have so many memories of the man he was.  I remember mostly visiting people in the nursing home and hospitals with him.  He loved showing me off...and I was ham enough to love being shown.  I dragged Travis behind me and we sang, talked to, and sat in the laps of a million people Grandpa cared about.  He took us to Dairy Queen in the summer when they blast the AC to make the restaurant 10 degrees below zero to compensate for the sticky Alabama heat...and we shivered in booths and devoured yummy ice cream treats.  I also went on quite a few "Saints Alive" trips where Grandpa served as fearless leader after his health made it impossible for him to preach full time.  Grandpa served other people his entire life.  The name "Carter" means "cart driver."  Not a lot of romance there.  But, as I think about Grandpa's life serving Jesus and His Church...when I think about Grandma's life serving her husband, family and many generations of students....and as I hear stories of Grandpa's parents, brothers, and sisters who served in the military, pastorate, and everyday, hardworking jobs....I hope Carter can live up to that namesake, "cart driver."  I pray he does learn to be a hard worker...in the simple and in the complex.  I pray he takes what the Lord gives him to do each day and does it to the best of his ability.  Much grace has been shown to the Carter family as they have been given the strength to serve the Lord...I pray that Carter continues that heritage.
     We chose to make "Steven" Carter's middle name after his daddy.  I pray that Carter grows up to be like his daddy.  Strong, discerning, patient, protective, kind....dashingly handsome :)  But there is more to it than that.  Steven's given name is "Esteban" (he goes my Steven for people like Mama who still occasionally pronounce tortilla with an "L" sound :)) which means "crowned one".  Since Castillo means "castle", Steven's name literally means, "crowned one of the castle"...try to top that!  I think the neatest thing about his name is that the "crowning" of Steven as one of God's own heirs was an act of such unbelievable grace and mercy to his family.  I can't tell the whole story as it is Steven's to tell (and I might botch all the details!), but Steven comes from a long line of men and women who lived in sin and rebellion against God.  As a result of their sin, Steven and his brothers grew up in a home that was abusive and full of hardship.  In an unbelievable act of rescue, God brought their family into His...redeeming each member to Himself.  Now, each of them walk with God in grace and salvation.  Their family is whole and an example of grace that is unearned, undeserved, and unrelenting.  What was broken was restored!  
 
(L-R: Rique, Greg, Steven)

In the same way, I pray that God will rescue Carter's soul from his sin-nature, redeeming him to Himself.  I pray that Carter's life will be a showcase of God's grace in his heart...and the hearts around him.  Carter will be the beginning of a Castillo generation that grows up with parents who believe in Christ and raise their families to honor and enjoy Him.  He is the beginning of a heritage for the Castillos...just as he continues the heritage of God's grace to the Carters.  I pray that he becomes a "crowned one"...and heir of God.  

As we pray these things for Carter, the Lord has given us a piece of scripture that we are praying over him word for word.  I wouldn't know what to pray...to pray for a son is enormous responsibility.  This is just one of a million examples of the way the Holy Spirit is interceding...and teaching us to be parents.

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."  
Eph. 3:14-19


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The "What do you think?" Game

When we were younger, Mama always played the "What do you think?" game with Travis and me.  It went in phases, changing as we got older.

Elementary phase:
Mama: How did you do on your test?
Travis: I don't know.
Mama: Well, what do you think?
Travis: I don't know, hopefully good!
Mama: Well, if you had to guess, how many do you think you didn't know?
Travis: ummm...I think I knew all of them?

Middle school phase:
Mama: Do you think you'll be able to do the backhandspring today?
Teri Lee: I don't know.
Mama: Well, what do you think?
Teri Lee: I hope so!
Mama: Do you have a good feeling about it?
Teri Lee: Maybe.

High school:
Mama: Do you think Travis is going to get that job at RA camp?
Teri Lee: I'm sure he will.
Mama: You really think so?
Teri Lee: Yeah...we'll know in a few weeks for sure though.
Mama.  That's true.  I wish we knew for sure.  You really think he will?
Teri Lee: Yes ma'am.  I think he will.

You get the idea.  Mama always wanted us to tell her information that we didn't really have.  Since I think like my daddy and act like my mama, I tried a similar tactic today at the doctor's office.

Dr.: Well, you're still about 3 cm dilated and a little more than 50% effaced.  So...we'll see!
Teri Lee: Does it look like I'm going to go into labor soon?
Dr.: Well, there's really no way to tell.   You might.
Teri Lee: What do you think?
Dr.: I don't have a crystal ball.  It could be this week, it could be longer.  We'll see!
Teri Lee: If you had to guess...
Dr.: I still don't have a crystal ball.
Teri Lee: Oh...
Teri Lee:  Well....no predictions?
Dr.: No.

So that was basically the appointment.  :)  He told me he could induce me Monday...but I held out again.  He did say that there was no medical reason to induce.  I am measuring at 37 weeks, so Carter doesn't seem to be getting too big for me to deliver (he reminded me again, though, that there's no crystal ball for that either...just a best guess).  My blood pressure, weight, protein...it's all perfect...so...no reason to induce.  I'm grateful for that...because it does mean I'm healthy.  It just extends the waiting game.  However, he did say that he does not want to wait more than 41 weeks because of health risks...so...it can't be too terribly much longer!  I think the best thing I can do is set in my mind that I will be having him around 41 1/2 weeks...and then anything sooner will be a happy surprise!

So...Carter will be here...sometime..
I think....
I feel...
If I had to guess...

:)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

38.5 week appointment

     I went to the doctor today and he said I am ready to have a baby! :)  I was dilated at 3 cm and was over 50% effaced.  These numbers don't necessarily mean anything other than I am progressing.  He always reminds me that you can walk around that dilated for weeks, days, or hours!  So...we'll see!  He did say that I look ready...and that he was willing to go ahead and induce me on Monday.  I wanted to say yes SO badly...I am so ready to meet Carter!  However, I know that waiting for my body to start this process on its own will be much better for us both in the long run.  Hopefully, he'll just come on his own soon! :)  Dr. Lattimore said that he didn't think Carter was getting too big for me to deliver..and he said that he was willing to wait and see what happened.  My blood pressure was still really low and nothing is swelling so...there really isn't any reason at all to induce.  He also asked if I had been having any contractions.  I told him that I haven't felt anything...and that that was a little disappointing to me...because contractions means my body is prepping for Carter.  I had to laugh though.  When Dr. Lattimore was checking my stomach for Carter's position...he had to wait a minute because he could feel a contraction passing through and things were too tight to feel Carter, lol.  I thought Carter was just moving and making things tighter.  So, I guess I am having some contractions after all!  He will be here before we know it!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

1 hour? 2 weeks? 3 days?...The Countdown is Broken!

38 weeks

     I've always been one to mentally prepare myself for things.  I also count almost everything.  I count in my head every morning while I'm rinsing with mouthwash to make sure I spend enough time...while I'm visualizing how the day will play out.  I count how many days until any event occurs...and visualize how that event will begin, endure, and end.  I count items on my grocery list...and visualize the "departments" so that I can visit each efficiently without having to go back to different aisles in the end.  (If you are thinking that this all sounds a little OCD...I'm aware.)  Pregnancy hasn't been terribly different.  I count weeks, pounds, minutes spent in activity and rest, growth and development, weeks remaining...and ahh...that's where I have suddenly found myself in a quandary.  16 weeks to go is a fairly arbitrary amount of time.  I can visualize that.  13 days is not.  Especially when those 13 days could stretch to 27...or a few hours.  It's hard to mentally prepare yourself for one of life's biggest changes when you wake up thinking "Today could be the day....or 3 weeks from now!"  That's a huge difference!  AND I can't visualize.  Who knows how labor will be?  Or what time...or what day it will occur!  For a counter and visualizer, this is somewhat puzzling for my brain to process.  But I think it might be life's way of easing me into being a more flexible person.  I think that's pretty much a "mom requirement".  This is not the last thing I will not be able to plan in Carter's life...it seems fitting that his first moments are pretty out of my control...as will be the rest of his life!  It's almost like the Lord reminding me that His plan for Carter is more important than any plan I could make...and I am blessed by that.  So...maybe I will be blogging next about this sweet baby's entrance into the world...or...I could be blogging next about yet another doctor's appointment.  We'll see!
     Last week, lots of fun things happened!  The last hardwood laid, a visitor from Indiana from the week, another doctor's appointment, and an amazing "family reunion" cookout!  So...in chronological order... (of course ;) )
     The hardwoods are finished!  They look AMAZING!  I am so proud of Steven.  He learned so much, worked SO SO SO hard...and did an unbelievable job in the midst of one hundred other projects he worked on.  We also would have never been able to finish this without Mama and Daddy who spent MANY evenings at our house, teaching, felting, working, and sawing.  They sacrificed a lot of restful evenings to us...and we are so grateful.  I hope so much that we will be the kind of parents to Carter that they are to us!
     As we finished laying the last bits of flooring on Saturday, Kyle arrived!  Steven and I love our friend so much and were so glad he got to visit from Indiana!  For those of you who don't know Kyle, he is a friend from my childhood.  We met in second grade, and our mothers became dear friends.  We played together after school, were in the same class in elementary and middle school, carpooled together, and played at recess together.  We were very quirky little friends.  He was very, very quiet and reserved.  I was...well...not.  He was unassuming and laid back.  I was bossy and into everything and everyone.  He was and is a math genius (and that's no exaggeration)...I loved to read.  He was my saving grace at recess.  I wanted to play football and basketball with the boys.  They didn't want me on their team because I had cooties.  Kyle was athletic enough to always get to be captain...and nice enough to always pick me...even if it was last ;)  In return, I talked to people for Kyle.  Perfect friendship.  When we were in sixth grade, Kyle moved with his family to Indiana.  We wrote a few letters...meaning I wrote him several and he wrote me back exactly once...his mother probably made him.  In the next few years, our families would meet for spring breaks...and finally it was time for both of us to go to college.  We both chose Winthrop and picked up right where we left off.  Me talking and him...putting up with that :)  Kyle is another brother to me...and would have been a bridesmaid if he would have ever consented to that :)  I am blessed that he and Steven also really enjoy each other...in their quiet ways.  There have been several times that I have heard them laughing and talking in another room...and marveled that two such quiet people would ever even speak! :)  Kyle is a dear friend to our family...and we REALLY enjoyed him visiting!

Our awkward Winthrop picture, freshman year.  Pictures of this kid are hard to find...he runs like a banshee from the camera.

Our junior year...at Clemson's homecoming.

Ma and her favorite grandchild at our wedding.  She seriously loved Kyle Neeley like nobody's business.  And he loved her back :)  Kyle won't do just anything people tell him to...unless they're Ma.

I meant to take a picture of Kyle and me while he was here...but I forgot... :(

     So, I had a doctor's appointment last Thursday around lunch time.  I visited a different doctor (which I've done before...no big deal) this time because Dr. Lattimore was booked.  He didn't really answer my questions and I didn't learn a single thing (except for that I don't like him!).  I'm a pretty persistent patient AND I generally like Earth's entire population, so it took some effort on his part to not answer my questions and make me not like him.  Needless to say, I will wait in the waiting room for one million hours next time if that's what it takes to not see him again.  Ba humbug!  I have another appointment (with Dr. Lattimore) this coming Thursday...I'm hoping he'll just send me right on the hospital! :)  However, I have no real reason to think he'll do anything other than check me, tell me I'm healthy, and send me right on home.  I've noticed little differences, but it's pretty easy to read into everything if you want to see something.  I have noticed my legs hurting ALOT...which, as many of you know, is my body's way of responding to big changes and stress.  Those legs are like a little barometer...and I can tell from the pain increase that something is up in this body of mine.  I'm not stressed one bit...so I think it's just my body's way of getting prepared for a big event.  We'll see!
     On my way home from the doctor's office, Kyle called in a voice I have never heard from my friend before and ended up telling me he was in the emergency room!  He had gone to Rock Hill to visit some friends and ended up with severe pain and other symptoms.  He has some other health issues, so this was even scarier than normal!  Steven, the dream husband, came straight home when I called, I packed the last few things into our hospital bag (perfect, right?) and we loaded the van to head to Rock Hill.  We weren't sure if he would be admitted or what might happen.  In the end, Kyle ended up having the mother of all kidney stones (his direct quote was, "Go big or go home"...typical Kyle) and was given pain medication.  We were very glad he was okay...and that we had driven up because he couldn't drive on the pain meds.  An additional plus was that we were able to give our "call the husband, pack the hospital bag, and, in a bit of emotional upheaval, call everyone and get on the road" protocol a practice run...and I must say...we did pretty well.  :)  We are ready for you Carter :)
     On Saturday, Kyle left :(, but we had a fun day planned.  Travis and I had several brothers and sisters that we spent our entire childhoods with.  We went to school and church together, played sports together...even went to college near or with each other.  Our parents did projects together...and we played hard together :)    Since we have all started getting married (and having babies! :) ), it is harder and harder for us to see each other.  But we were able to reunite on Saturday with a cookout at our house!  We had a blast, stayed up really late, and talked a lot (and Stacy didn't even get in trouble for talking too loud, ;) lol)  It is such a blessing to have such good friends that last forever.  It started pouring rain as we were getting ready to start the grill...and dinner ended up being served an hour and a half after I told them it would be ready...and it didn't bother me one bit...because I've blown it WAY worse with this group of people...late dinner is nothing!  These are lifelong family....way better than a simple group of friends.  Jonathan took a picture..so I'll be posting that as soon as I got it from him (no pressure Jonathan :) ).  
     So...that's what's up at our house...and this is an unbelievably long post!  I will update you again when something happens...maybe when I go back to the doctor...maybe to let you know Carter is on his way...we'll see!

T-minus "God's number of days" till Carter!





Maddie is ready for a little brother :) :) :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

36 week appointment

     I almost never went to the doctor growing up.  We just didn't get sick very much.  And anytime we went...it was for something bizarre.  I mean, we did go to the doctor for strep and stuff on occasion when we were kids...but the last five appointments I remember before pregnancy were (1) figuring out why I was suddenly riddled with leg pain all the time...which they solved by sucking all my blood...kidding, but almost not (2) checking out my eye and nose after being hit in the face with a surfboard (3) getting a once-over after my visit to India, including, but not limited to, a flesh-eating fungus and after-effects of taking "don't throw up pills"(4) regular ole physical so that I could be a teacher (5) a boring sinus infection...although it was slightly less boring because I had waited till the point that my mucus was orange...go Tigers??)  The doctors always had this puzzled expression as they looked over my file.  Partially, I think, from trying to remember who I was...and partially because I have such a funky record, lol.  Anyway, I think that type of history makes these weekly visits feel that much more frequent..and normal, lol.  I feel like I go to see Stephanie (my nurse) and Dr. Lattimore more than I see some of my good friends...which is true!  However, I DO like that I get to hear about how Carter's doing...and his precious little heartbeat so often.  Today, Dr. Lattimore said that it looks like I'm starting to look more like someone who is preparing for labor.  He could tell that things were progressing...I was dilated at 2 cm.  He cautioned me that that could mean anything, really.  He said that some of his patients will stay at 2 for 5 weeks....and some will deliver the next day!  While he doesn't think I'm going into labor tomorrow, he said that I am progressing at what he deemed a "normal and healthy rate".  He said that Carter had dropped a good bit (which I could have told him!) and that things looked great!  I'll go back in another week :)  I've pretty much psyched myself into believing that Carter will come late...that way I won't be disappointed if I watch my due date pass by without any sign of a baby.  (But of course, I have everything prepared like he's coming tonight...just in case, lol)   So...3 1/2 weeks until Carter is due.  Or as Dr. Lattimore says, "1 1/2-5 1/2 weeks to go!"  Unbelievable :)
     So, this is what things are looking like now:
There are times of the day that those 28 extra pounds feel like 1 million...and there are times that I feel like it's no big deal at all!  I am blessed to still feel well enough to walk with Maddie every morning...but I also am tired enough to take a nap every day...which is VERY abnormal for me.  It all balances out! :)

This weekend, our small group threw a shower for Carter!  It was so much fun...and such a blessing to us!

                                                         
Decorated with my favorites...hydrangeas :)

                                           
Yummy, yummy chocolate cake!

I mean...a picture is worth a thousand words here.  I ate almost the whole bowl :)

We played really funny games...here, all of the guests used a piece of yarn to estimate the circumference of my ever-expanding waistline.  The closest to the real thing won!

Some of the pals gathered around the "measuring wall".  A fifth grader beat the pants off of ALL the adults...followed closely by a third grader.  You can't beat the observation skills of kids...and the ability of my friends at small group to OVERestimate my size! ;)  (For the record, when we played this at the shower Travis and Susanna threw...a five year old one....it's a game for the kids!)


We also played a game where we were given household items (3 or so) and made up baby products from them.  (I think this item ended up being a baby snatcher....and the noodle in the background became a BP-style containment product for "poop in the pool" problems, lol.  This was, by far, the best entertainment of the shower. :)



Another baby product advertisement...the clamp was for reducing less than ideal head size of poor baby...and I believe the air pump was for increasing aforementioned head size...lol.


Then we were treated to many precious, wonderful gifts for Carter!  What a blessing our small group family is to us!


I can't show pictures of every single gift...it would make for a boring blog...BUT I wanted to put this one out there.  If you can't read on it...click it.  It will enlarge the picture in another window.

If you did what I asked...just think of all the people that just unwittingly agreed to change a diaper for us!
Yes. :)

We had a wonderful time...and send a HUGE thank you to our small group for all the love and support as we prepare for parenthood.  We are so blessed by each of you!

I will update next week with yet another appointment update...and hopefully some news of a visit from a favorite houseguest of ours.  :)