Grace Lee: Weeks 34-39

motherhood, Uncategorized

I was blessed to have a fairly uneventful pregnancy – aside from an ER visit early on at around 14 weeks due to severe stomach pain (which resulted in a doctor-recommendation of Colace… that’s a totally different and embarrassing story) – I went to my visits, dealt with the occasional swollen feet and back discomfort, but was overall very healthy… up until I reached the 34th week.

As I was sitting at my desk at work, I suddenly felt dizziness that wouldn’t subside. I couldn’t concentrate. I tried to ignore it and push through, assuming it was just an unpleasant new symptom of pregnancy. Later that evening, I felt an extreme exhaustion that was new. I just didn’t feel like it was normal. I stopped at the grocery store to take my blood pressure reading, mostly because I had drank tons of water and couldn’t think of any other reason for this feeling… 150s/90s. My normal reading had been 110/70 throughout pregnancy. Knowing that those grocery store measures could be inaccurate, I stopped at my mom’s on the way home and used her cuff… same readings. I called the after-hours line and was directed to call as soon as the office opened the next morning.

Bright and early, Corey and I made our way in for an appointment. When the nurse took my reading, my BP had reached 160/100… the doctor never even came into the room – instead, she sent me directly to triage for monitoring. There, I had an ultrasound – everything looked good, but the tech said she could not see Grace ‘practicing’ to breathe. Maternal Fetal Medicine would need to come in to do another ultrasound – thankfully, this ultrasound showed Grace breathing. The next few hours, I was hooked up to a stress test and my blood pressure reading was taken every 30 minutes. I received the first of 2 steroid shots to help mature Grace’s lungs, should I have to be induced. My BP came down with rest. I’d also need to do a 24-hour urine collection to test for preeclampsia. 10 hours later, I was discharged with instructions to lay on my left side through the weekend, and come back to the Heart the next morning for the second steroid shot.

The day after, we dropped off the urine hold, which Corey carried out to the car. Could this seemingly unimportant and semi-gross little tidbit be left untold in this story? Probably. But it also made me realize how helpless, vulnerable, and how any sense of pride or modesty that I had would need to be pushed aside. It also reminded me of my husbands selflessness, humility, and love for me.

When I followed up with my OB on the following Monday morning, after a weekend of rest, my blood pressure was again sky-high. The first thing our doctor said to me was, “You’re done working.” Immediately my heart began racing thinking of all of the loose ends I still wanted to tie up at the office… not to mention a presentation I was scheduled to give to the marketing team of a celebrity’s makeup line that week. Thankfully, my 24-hour hold came back clear and I did not have preeclampsia… BUT again, I was sent to the hospital for more monitoring. My blood pressure came down again with rest, but an ultrasound showed low amniotic fluid. Thus began a 2-3x per week appointment schedule between MFM and my OB – checking my BP, baby’s heart rate with countless stress tests, and amniotic fluid levels – which thankfully stayed on “the low side of normal” which was not ideal but was normal, nonetheless.

Throughout the following weeks, my blood pressure would range from 130/80 to 160/100. Because I was having average readings a few times per day, I was not put on any medications to lower it for fear that it would drop TOO low which would have been dangerous as well.

I’ve been asked so many times what I did during 4 full weeks of prescribed bed rest. When I was pregnant, I would daydream about naps. Like most pregnant ladies, I craved sleep… and a day of doing nothing. Let me tell you, bed rest was great for the very first day… and maybe half of the second day. After that, it was pure torture. So here is what I did:

  • I watched a lot of TV: Catfish, Teen Mom, Law & Order: SVU, This Is Us.
  • I read a book: Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn.
  • I pinned on my phone… but you’d be surprised how quickly that gets boring.
  • I read gossip magazines.
  • I packed our hospital bags VERY slowly. If you’re interested in what I packed, click here.
  • I put conditioning treatments in my hair.
  • I ordered stuff from Amazon that we did not need: a bluetooth speaker, the I Know What You Did Last Summer DVD collector set, motion sensor lights, and an eye pillow.
  • I scrapbooked – until my blood pressure went up from sitting upright… yes, it was that sensitive.
  • I ate… and I mean ate. I gained 18 pounds (on top of the 50 I had already gained…) during those 4 weeks.

But mostly, each day involved sleeping, praying, talking to Grace, and wondering what she would look like, and wondering if today would be the day.

I talk about it lightly now, but it was the scariest time of my life. I had no control of anything, and gosh I worried, and the more I worried, the higher my BP would rise. I reread the same two verses over and over again:

He who started a good work in you will carry it to completion.

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear, I will help you.

And God did help us. He was so faithful to us. I worried for Grace, and Corey put on a brave face but he would later tell me how scared he was for me.

Each week at the doctor’s office, there would be talk of inducing the following week, but we all were determined to keep Grace in my belly as long as possible. At my 38-week appointment, I was 1cm dilated and 70% effaced. The doctor said she saw no reason to keep me pregnant past 39 weeks, so we scheduled my induction for November 24th – Black Friday.

a first time mama’s hospital bag


When you’re on bed rest for 4 weeks leading up to your induction, you really have a way of making sure every t is crossed and every i is dotted when it comes to checking off your hospital bag list. I read blog after blog and multiple books outlining what I had to make sure I brought to the hospital with us. Hindsight is 20/20. This was my list…BOLDED what I actually USED!

  • Birth Plan
  • Insurance information
  • Ultrasound picture to push inspiration


  • My glasses
  • Pillow + old pillowcase
  • Witch hazel wipes
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Vaseline
  • Hair bands
  • Contact lens case and solution
  • Hair Brush
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • MascaraI actually was glad I brought it. Putting it on for visitors made me feel at least a bit more human!
  • Face wipes
  • Bath Towels


    • iPad & charger
    • Cell phone chargerI’d recommend this one.
    • Bible
    • Snoogle
    • Yoga eye pillow


  • Nursing bra
  • Robe & nursing dressI’d recommend this. It was practical and I felt comfortable when guests came to visit.
  • Change of clothes for going home
  • Throwaway undiesEnded up wearing Depends.
  • non skid socks


  • Boppy
  • Nipple cream
  • Nursing pads


  • Blanket
  • Swaddle
  • Going home outfit
  • What I didn’t pack but wish I would have: Baby nail clippers!

For Corey: I packed protein bars. And they were EATEN!

My advice? When you’re at the hospital, family, friends, and nurses can bring you any items you absolutely need. Spend time researching the self-care and breastfeeding items you will need when you return to your home.

  • Set up a nursing station at your house:Breastpump
      • Bottles, bags, caps
    • Phone charger
    • Remote
    • Boppy
    • Large water bottle
    • Nipple cream
    • Milk savers – I actually slept in these at night when Grace would go long stretches in those early months!
  • Self-care baskets in your bathrooms:Depends
    • Dermaplast
    • Witch hazel wipes – I’d recommend these. They are shaped like wipes instead of the Tucks small round pads and were more effective at alleviating pain.

What were your hospital bag must haves?




A year ago today, I never could have imagined what this birthday would look like. I could barely get through 9/21/2016 without crying. A week prior to my 27th birthday I lost my first pregnancy.

In the months following, I dreamt of how I would tell Corey I was pregnant again when it happened, getting the nursery ready, and what it would be like to feel a first kick someday. I imagined all of these moments so vividly but it was still so hard to believe any of them could ever be real. I felt overwhelmed with guilt for being so undeservingly blessed, but still feeling an emptiness. I wrestled with the constant tug of the calling God gave me to be a mother, and the pull of it so easily becoming an idol. We prayed a lot in those months following; For a baby, yes, but mostly for completeness in Christ and contentment in the season we were in. The first month I let go of expectations and surrendered, God gave us Grace: Our sweet daughter, and truly the definition of the word.

My heart will always mourn the soul of the one we lost. There are so many of us who have experienced miscarriage, and I never realized how common and devastating it was until I went through it myself. It is isolating. When emotional situations arise, I notoriously “go into my shell” – as my best friend lovingly describes it, but I found myself consumed with grief and wanting to talk about it constantly but feeling like a burden if I did. It was by far the darkest time in my life and perhaps that’s why almost a year later, I still have hesitancy in sharing such a personal piece of our story.

But… there is always a sense of thankfulness for our rainbow and cherishing each and every flutter, elbow jab, and unpleasant symptom that reminds me our little one is with me. Her heart is next to mine, both of us so fragile.

by the hands of God


Siesta Key, Florida

On the pathway by the beach, I pick up the tiniest shell I’ve ever seen. I trace the spiraling grooves, shift it between my fingers and wonder all the places it has been. I think about how it was molded into beauty by violent thrashing waves, before washing up on shore. Each line, each curve tells of travels in sea and land. Perfectly in tact. And I tremble at the thought of this little one growing within me, barely the size of this shell now. So small, but so powerful it has shaken our world in an instant…crafted by the hands of God, the greatest gift we will come to know. I tuck the shell inside my bag. God finds ways to speak to us in the ordinary if we look closely enough.