Life Lately | Big Sister

Our sweet girl is a little over 2 now (almost 27 months if you’d like exacts) and we’ve been really caught up in life all about baby brother lately so I wanted to do a post just for her. I’m sure there will at least be mention of Huck though, because she’s pretty into him too. 

I guess the biggest milestone is that she got a big girl bed last week! I’m still waiting to put a few more things on her wall above her bed but her new room is pretty much complete. We decided to skip the toddler bed and just go with a twin that was close to the floor. Prior to the switch, she would go down for the night pretty easily in her crib, and sleep through the night. She started calling for me when she’d wake up in the mornings a few months ago. I was a little worried about her getting up too much during the night or falling out of it. We talked a lot about how she’s a big girl now and asked her if it was okay if we give the baby bed to Huck. She was pretty excited about it all. The first night she was really excited to get in it… until she realized she had to stay in it. There were lots of tears and saying “scared” so I ended up staying with her a while, patting her back and telling her it was okay. But every time I’d try to leave, she got upset. So I eventually bribed her and said if she stayed all night in her big girl bed, she’d get a surprise in the morning (a few m&ms after breakfast). And it worked! She slept all night and called for me when she woke up. Each night got a little easier and then she figured out she could get up by herself in the morning, but thankfully (knock on wood) she hasn’t gotten up in the middle of the night yet. So far, so good. It hasn’t quite been a whole week yet though.

She’s pretty talkative these days and I’m not sure if I understand her so well because I’m her momma but I feel like she speaks more clearly than some 3 and 4 year olds I know. A few conversations lately:

A neighbors dog was in our yard while we were outside playing. 

Momma! A puppy!!

Whitlee, I’m not sure about that puppy. He might not be nice. Let’s leave him alone and see if he’ll go home. 

Mag mag knows this puppy. It okay momma. 

(Mag mag is our dog, Maggie)

Whitlee, what did you and mawmaw do today?

Umm… go to Target! (They didn’t)

You did?! Did you get me a present??

Uh huh!!

What did you get me??

Umm… tape! 


Uh huh!! REAL tape!!

While getting paint for Huck’s room mixed at Walmart 

Look, that guy is mixing the paint for Huck’s room. He’s gonna shake it up real good for us. 

That for baby Huck’s room?

Yes, that paint is for his wall

She starts trying to pull my shirt up over my belly

Uh, excuse me. What are you doing, ma’am?

Pull you shirt up so baby Huck can see his paint. 

Anytime I grunt or groan, usually when I’m getting up from the floor or couch 

What mad bout, momma?

Our conversations are usually extremely funny and her perspective on things is so fun to watch. She’s also learned a few bad habits and has small tantrums pretty often. We usually make her go stand in the corner when she throws stuff during a fit or tries to hit or kick, and it calms her down really fast. Thankfully her fits are pretty short lived. 

She can also count to 12 and say her whole ABC’s. 

As far as Huck goes, she asks about him a lot but she doesn’t know he’s sick. She just asks “when Huck be here, momma?” Or she points at things in his room and says “that for baby Huck!” She also says his whole name if you ask what her brother’s name is. 

So that’s just a little update on our first little love. We can’t believe she’ll be a big sister soon!! 

Baby Hillin #2 | 24 Weeks

How Far Along: 24 Weeks

Baby is the size of a(n): cantaloupe.. or according to the Ovia app, a chinchilla!

Gender: It’s a Boy!

Weight Gain: I think I’m up about 25 lbs. Not too bad. I kind of expect to gain around 50 like I did with Whitlee but I’m hoping he’s a big boy so maybe it’ll be more Huck weight than mama weight. 😊

Maternity Clothes: Pants, yes definitely. Shirts I’m still managing some maternity and some non maternity. But I have several outfits from pregnancy with Whitlee that do not fit at all. I feel like that means I’m carrying different. 

Belly Button In or Out: Flat.. pretty flat

Wedding Rings On or Off: On

Sleep: I sleep really hard, and I am napping almost every day. Still getting up to pee a lot and the SPD bothers me when rolling over but I’m making it. 

Best Moment The Last Few Weeks: Feeling him getting stronger. I feel kicks on both sides of my belly at one time and he’s pretty active anytime I’m still. 

Miss Anything: Not really! Maybe being able to walk and breathe easily.

Movement: He’s starting to develop more of a pattern and I just love feeling him move. He’s pretty active in the morning and at night. Throughout the day is pretty random but he’s kicking away as I’m typing this and it’s around lunch.

Cravings/Aversions: I’ve been craving crawfish.. I keep thinking I smell it all the time and it makes me want some really bad! Also been craving fruit, specifically pears. 

Symptoms: Nothing really new here I don’t think. Same SPD pain and a tiny bit of heartburn lately. I’m starting to feel pretty big and have trouble reaching my feet to tie my shoes or to pick something up. My hair and nails are pretty awesome these day, thank you prenatal vitamins.

Additional Notes: I think I’ve updated the best I can for now on Huck’s Heart (last two posts) so for now it’s a waiting game on more information. We see his pediatric cardiologist again in March. I’m still seeing my original OB for now and I have a growth scan ultrasound in two weeks and then my 28 week appointment and glucose test two weeks after that. Originally they were going to start NST’s twice a week at 32 weeks but they mentioned they may go ahead and start them at 28 weeks since there is a known issue. So far so good on preeclampsia but I don’t think I was showing signs this early with Whitlee. I did read on one of my older updates that I was already having some feet and hand swelling so maybe that was a small sign but I haven’t had any significant swelling this time yet. Maybe a hint of some in my feet after driving in the car or being on them a lot.

Oh and his nursery is in progress! I still need to pick a paint color for his accent wall, but his bedding has been ordered, changing table plans have been delegated to my dad to build, and I bought and stained some large wooden letters to go above his crib. I can’t wait to see it all come together. 

15 weeks to go! Gotta stay pregnant!! 

24 Weeks With Whitlee 

Huck’s Heart | Questions

We’ve had a lot of questions and I thought this might be a good place to answer some of them. A lot of these are generalized for now but will be more detailed plans once we see Huck’s doctors again in March. Right now they just want me to stay. pregnant.

What will happen when he’s born?

As soon as he’s born, they’ll make sure he’s stable and get him to the NICU. He’ll have some things to help him remain stable until his first surgery, like prostaglandin for his lungs, and they’ll do testing and heart echos to get a 100% sure clear idea of how his surgery needs to go. He’ll have his first open heart surgery (the Norwood) within the first week. Second surgery will be at 3-6 months and third surgery will be at 2-3 years old. His most critical time will be the time between first and second surgeries.

When will he get to go home?

They said he’ll get to go home after a few weeks barring any additional complications but our house will be like a mini hospital and we won’t be going many places, if any. We will have to be diligent in limiting visitors and making sure they’re not sick. If he’s around anyone remotely sick or anyone that smokes, it could literally kill him.

How common is HLHS?

HLHS is pretty rare, and according to the CDC, less than 1% of babies born in the US have it which is about 960 babies each year. Congenital heart defects as a group affects 1 in 100 babies. #1in100

What causes it?

They’ve told us that it’s mostly hereditary, but since we don’t have a family history on either side of any type of congenital heart defect they think in our case it was sporadic. Sometimes if the mom doesn’t know she’s pregnant for an extended amount of time, certain medications or lifestyles (drugs, alcohol, smoking) can cause it but we knew we were trying and we knew I was pregnant prior to a missed period, so I was extra careful even before we found out. Not that I do drugs or smoke but I have an occasional beer that I refrained from, starting when we started talking about baby #2.

Where will I deliver? 

We live in a small town about 45 minutes from our current OB. We live about 2 and a half hours from where his surgeries will happen in Houston, Texas. I will deliver at the same hospital his surgeries will happen at. We actually have to pick a new OB but that decision will happen after our next appointment with the pediatric cardiologist when we discuss detailed surgery plans and it will also depend a bit on our insurance. Some of you know I lost my job in June of this past year and with that, I lost our insurance coverage. We had to get coverage privately and it has limited the places that accept us, plus being high risk. I’m currently remaining under the care of my original OB and they’re aware of the situation and going to continue monitoring heavily for preeclampsia and checking growth patterns on Huck. They’ve actually increased my visits a little bit and have said they’ll see me every day if need be.

Will he be able to live a normal life?

For the most part, yes. It’s all based individually on each child with HLHS but we have every faith in the world that our boy will get the best care possible and once these doctors perform these miracles on him, he’ll be no different than any other little boy. He probably won’t play sports or run marathons, but let’s be honest… Nolan and I aren’t really sporty people and if you see me running, you better run too because something is chasing me. I’m sure he’ll have plenty of hobbies otherwise. Nolan already talks about hunting and fishing with him. 😍

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. I’m glad to answer them if you’re curious. I won’t find anything offensive and to me, it helps to raise awareness about HLHS and congenital heart defects. A lot of HLHS cases are individually based on the specific child so every story you read on the internet is different. Also, February 7-14 is congenital heart defect awareness week.

I also wanted to say a sincere and huge thank you to all of the support we’ve been receiving lately. My mom started a Go Fund Me and I have cried more than once seeing the donations from people we know. My mother in law has cooked dinner for us so many times in the last few weeks and it has been great to have one less thing to think about. My  sister in law and brother in law donated the proceeds from a garage sale we had last weekend to help with expenses and my dad and stepmom are planning a benefit event and raffle in April. And just the rest of our family, friends, and community have been amazing at showing their support and offering help and prayers. I’ve had so many people text just to say we were on their minds and I think we’re on every church prayer list in southeast Texas. The amount of gratitude we have is unexplainable. So thank you from the bottom of our hearts. 

Huck’s Heart | CCHD Mama

I feel somewhat like I’ve been hiding something from my blog friends but this has been a hard post to write. I’ve actually started and erased several times but now that we know where we’re headed, this will become my place to not only track and record the rest of my pregnancy but the journey of our sweet baby Huck. This post is long but getting to this point has been sort of long in real life already, and we have even longer roads ahead of us. 

January 20th is a day we won’t ever forget. That’s the day they told us our baby only has half a heart, unofficially diagnosing him with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). We knew after our anatomy scan a couple of weeks ago at 20 weeks that something was off but our OB’s office reassured us that it was probably just a positioning issue or that he was too active, and they scheduled us to come back to check again at 22 weeks. I researched fetal hearts to what I thought was an insane amount so when we went back I knew what his heart should look like. When the scan started, and she checked his heart, I knew it wasn’t all there. Without recounting several conversations with different office staff word for word, I’ll say that my doctors office treated me very poorly that day, doing a follow up scan without plans in place for there being a problem. They apparently intended to do the scan and send me home to wait for a phone call, whenever that would be, but after I demanded some kind of answer and they sent me out to the waiting room basically in hysterics, they somehow tracked down my doctor and had him review the scans and he simply sent his RN to talk to me. My family and I are all so appalled at their lack of compassion when they clearly knew there was a critical issue. It makes my blood boil to even type this much of it. The RN ended up telling us they were referring us to a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor for a level 2 ultrasound and fetal echo. We weren’t sure how soon this would happen but she said she marked the paperwork “urgent”. 

The next day we got the phone call that we’d be seen in two days at UTMB in Galveston, Texas. I had been praying it would be fast, but was pleasantly surprised at just how fast.

On January 20, we left bright and early and drove 2 and a half hours to Galveston to our appointment. Everyone there was so insanely nice and understanding. The tech started the ultrasound and explained every single thing she was taking pictures of. She got in depth measurements of so many body parts and organs, again confirming he’s a boy (fourth check now) and helping Nolan understand exactly what he was seeing on the large screen on the wall. He’s never had anyone take the time to show him and he’s always a little unsure of what he’s seeing, so ultrasounds haven’t been that exciting for him. But this time because of the time she took and the quality of the machine, he saw everything from 5 little toes and 5 little fingers to lips and nose. We even saw Huck playing with his toes and putting his hand in his mouth. We saw him opening and closing his mouth and flipping around like crazy in there. When the tech switched over to the fetal echo and started on his heart, she went silent. We knew then something was truly wrong. She scanned and took pictures for well over 30 minutes then left to get the MFM specialist. He came in and looked at the ultrasound machine with the tech, asking for specific views himself. He asked if we had any family history of congenital heart defects and we said no. He left to get a book of pictures and brought them back to us. He showed us a normal heart and then an HLHS heart and explained that he either did not have a left side or that it was severely underdeveloped. He said he was referring us on to a pediatric cardiologist and they would try to get us in very quickly with him as well. That visit would be in Pearland this time, which is two hours from us. We asked a few questions about how it happens, what his outcome would be and what life would be like for him. He explained the best he could that sometimes it’s genetic and sometimes environmental and sometimes just random chance. He said Huck would need a series of (hopefully) three reconstructive open heart surgeries starting when he’s born and ending when he’s a toddler. He said that 20 years ago this defect was fatal. But they’ve come a long way with this reconstructive surgery series and now babies are living into their 20’s. There isn’t much data past that because it hasn’t been around long enough. He was optimistic that while he probably wouldn’t ever be an athlete, he had chances to live a fairly normal life. 
From there we notified family and close friends about what we’d found out and waited for the phone call about his next appointment.  

We got the call on Monday the 23rd that our appointment with the pediatric cardiologist would be Thursday the 26th. I made a list three pages long of questions I had. I knew some of them wouldn’t be able to be answered just yet until we find out about my OB care.

So today we saw the pediatric cardiologist and got confirmation that our sweet baby boy has been diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. We were able to ask a lot of the questions we had about his quality of life (which should be fairly normal once he’s past the surgeries) but mostly just confirmed the diagnosis and treatment plan which will indeed be the three part series of reconstructive open heart surgeries, starting when he’s born. We felt really comfortable with the cardiologist and his experience specifically with this defect. He currently has a 27 year old patient surviving with it and doing well. Right now our doctors and his surgical team are making plans for Huck, monitoring both of us, and we will find out more a little later around 30 weeks. 

The goal of utmost importance right now is keeping me pregnant as long as possible. So we’re praying the preeclampsia stays at bay this time and a full term baby boy. That will give Huck the best shot at his life. 

I posted today on Instagram and now here, but I put that I debated if and when to start posting about everything but we want to celebrate his life and my pregnancy with him just like we would have otherwise. I will still continue to do my updates every 3 weeks and more updates on his heart as they happen. We still have a lot of unknowns to face and a long road ahead but we appreciate any thoughts and prayers sent our way. 

Thank you so much to everyone that has known about this so far for keeping us in your thoughts. We feel surrounded by love and know that we’ll be bringing Huck into a world that loves him so much already. ❤️💙

Baby Hillin #2 | 21 Weeks

How Far Along: 21 Weeks

Baby is the size of a(n): banana.. or according to the Ovia app, a baseball cap

Gender: It’s a Boy!

Weight Gain: At my 20 week appointment, I had gained 17 pounds and was measuring 21 weeks. So I’m sure I’m up a pound or two and up a week as well. 

Maternity Clothes: Oh man. This has become a struggle. I so didn’t want to buy anymore maternity clothes but my jeans from pregnancy with Whitlee don’t really fit as well and I’m seriously outgrowing shirts at rapid pace. I’m still trying to pair non maternity and maternity but this belly is large. 

Belly Button In or Out: In, flatter by the day. 

Wedding Rings On or Off: On

Sleep: I sleep really hard, but still getting up to pee a lot and the SPD bothers me when rolling over but I’m making it. 

Best Moment The Last Few Weeks: Feeling a few kicks from the outside!

Miss Anything: Nothing, really. Just trying to enjoy it the best I can. 

Movement: Getting stronger. I actually felt him from the outside for the first time on New Years Eve, literally just after midnight. I guess he was ringing in the new year! This is your year, baby boy! I’ve since felt him from the outside just a few times. Currently his head is up near my ribs on the left and I still feel fluttery feelings there but his feet are down low to the right and he kicks a lot there. I found out I have an anterior placenta again, they didn’t mention low lying this time, but the placenta could be blocking some of his movements. 

Cravings/Aversions: I don’t think I’ve had many strong cravings lately. I do seem to like sweets a little more this pregnancy than last, which is way backwards on old wives tales. Oh and tator tots from Sonic have been tasting like dirty sink water to me lately but I’m not sure if that’s a pregnancy thing or a Sonic thing. 

Symptoms: Well, I’ve been having some increased spd pain, so bad that sometimes it’s so painful to walk for a few steps and then it eases up. And the Braxton Hicks have gotten a little crazy. I had the same exact thing happen with Whitlee at this point last time and thankfully my cervix went unchanged. I ended up getting checked this past week because over the weekend between 20 and 21 weeks, the BH were way too close together, way too frequent. Cervix was good.. hard and closed and measured 4″ at my last ultrasound. I’ve been drinking more water and trying to rest more but it may just be that I have an irritable uterus and I may have to get cervical checks more often to be on the safe side. 

Additional Notes: I try to make sure I record everything because it’s actually been really helpful to be able to read posts from Whitlee’s pregnancy and know what’s normal for me and what’s not. At Huck’s anatomy scan, I mentioned he was extremely wiggly, which is sort of crazy because I just don’t feel him as much as we saw him. He does seem to move more when I lay on my back, like for ultrasounds or when they measure my belly and check heart tones so maybe that’s why he was so active. But they called last Friday and said “nothing to panic about, it’s completely common for this to happen, it’s a super hard shot to get, especially if baby is really active… but they weren’t able to get a good picture of his heart and didn’t see all four chambers.” They want us to come back in two weeks from that, which is this coming Tuesday. We’re praying that he was just too active and that nothing is wrong with our baby boy’s sweet little heart but I can’t help but be a little nervous. Heartbeat was good and strong and he’s measuring a little ahead so they said those were great signs. I’ll try to update after that appointment. Nolan is more logical than I am, but he’s probably right – he thinks that if it were something bad, they would have gotten us straight to the level 2 ultrasound or called us in immediately. Supposedly there’s a lot of growth between 20 and 22 weeks so that may help them see his heart a little better. My appointment is also in the afternoon vs the morning so maybe he’ll be more relaxed and still for them. 

Other than that, things are going well. Just hoping we can make it full term this time! I can’t believe we only have about 4 months left!

Baby Hillin #2 | Halfway Update

Nolan and I went to my 20 week appointment this morning for the anatomy scan ultrasound and checkup. They checked on all of Huck’s organs and parts, measured everything in depth, and confirmed he is indeed a boy. I had this weird fear that “what if our first ultrasound was wrong” but he’s definitely a boy! His heartbeat was 145 and he’s weighing about 13 oz and measuring about 4 days ahead. Nolan’s pawpaw is predicting a 9 pounder. I guess we’ll see! I’d be thrilled with a big baby as long as he’s healthy. Unfortunately, baby boy had his hands all in his face again and kept turning back and forth facing my back so the ultrasound tech couldn’t get a shot of his profile, just another odd face picture and a picture of his boy parts. I’ll spare you that one. I kind of hate that we had so many good ultrasound pictures of Whitlee at this point but none of Huck yet. We did get to see his profile for a split second but it was fast and he turned again. 

I’ve gained 17 lbs now and I’m measuring 21 weeks. I was correct about my uterus being above my belly button, which is why its flat already. The charts I looked at before were for an average torso and mine is a little shorter than average but since he’s measuring a little ahead, it’s not too bad that I am too. I’ll take it! And I love being able to use that as my comeback – well actually we’re right on track, thank you very much! 

Since this was the halfway mark, we talked a bit about the plan for the rest of my pregnancy. My blood pressure has been doing really well on the Aldomet and I’m still on the lowest dose so that’s good. All of our blood work for spinal birth defects came back normal. We were told I’d be starting ultrasounds every 4 weeks for the rest of my pregnancy, so 4 or 5 more, at least. I’ll also start non stress tests at 32 weeks and do those twice a week until delivery. Oh and glucose tolerance around 26 weeks. I’m really glad they’re monitoring everything really close and feel like we all agree that healthy and full term is the main goal. So here’s to an uneventful second half! 

Baby Hillin #2 | 19 Weeks

How Far Along: 19 Weeks

Baby is the size of a(n): mango.. or according to the Ovia app, a game boy.  

Gender: It’s a Boy!

Weight Gain: I could have sworn I wrote it down somewhere but cannot for the life of me find where but I think they said I was up to 10 lbs at my 16 week appt. I’ll try to come back and update this after next weeks appointment. I also have my anatomy scan next week and will probably do a post with ultrasound pictures if possible. Last ultrasound, baby boy had his hands all over his face so the pictures are a little weird. 

*update – I’ve gained 17 lbs at 20 weeks. Pretty decent!

Maternity Clothes: Haven’t bought anything new that is actually maternity but I’ve bought a few items that are loose and flowy that I’ll wear after baby as well. Have my eye on some Blanqi support leggings or tank right now too. 

Belly Button In or Out: Umm, it’s technically still in but whew, the flatness is right around the corner. If that’s any indication of where my uterus is, according to fundal charts I could be measuring in the neighborhood of 22 weeks. 😳 

Wedding Rings On or Off: On

Sleep: It’s really hit or miss. I either sleep really hard and really well or just completely terrible. I got a pregnancy pillow for Christmas and it has been uhh-mazing. 

Best Moment The Last Few Weeks: finding out we’re having a baby boy! I can’t believe we are so blessed to get to have one of each. Also, seeing our sweet Whitlee’s face Christmas morning. 

Miss Anything: Nothing really! Maybe getting a good nights sleep. 

Movement: Still fluttering around in there. I’ve felt an actual light thump a time or two but nothing major yet. Sometimes I feel an odd thing like he kicks my bladder but I’m not sure if it’s my imagination. Also, I might be misremembering being pregnant with Whitlee but it seems like he is a lot less active than her. 

Cravings/Aversions: I’ve decided this little boy must like “man food”. I’ve wanted steak and burgers and like home cooked meat and potato type meals. I’m usually a big snacker and haven’t been snacking near as much. I just want “real” food. 

Symptoms: I’ve been having a lot of round ligament pain. So much that I have to be careful when rolling over, sneezing, coughing, bending, etc. I asked my nurse practitioner about it and she said it’s because it’s a second pregnancy and everything is already a little looser and not holding everything in as tight. Also Braxton Hicks have started up again. 

Additional Notes: I mentioned last post that we had a name picked either way, and in case you missed the reveal post – his name is Huck Inlow! 

I’d originally said my husband and I were going to find out the gender with everyone else but we actually couldn’t stand it and found out the day of. He convinced me to open the envelope early and I’m really glad we did. I feel like our reactions were more genuine than if we’d been in front of everyone. We (ahem, hormone city over here) were really emotional about it. I started crying out of pure happiness and kept saying oh my God, it’s a boy, it’s a boy! We’re all so excited and feel so blessed. 

Few more bump pics for fun!