Category Archives: Pregnancy


It has been a long week. This baby within me is growing, as is my physical discomfort. Contractions — the painful kind — started making their appearance on Wednesday, and and have returned sporadically since then. I’m achy. I’m tired but I can’t sleep. Insomnia + achiness does not a good night’s sleep make. Going to bed has become the most un-restful part of my day. I’m tired of not being able to carry my babies or snuggle close with them on my lap, as they have been asking me to. I can’t keep my house very clean, and caring for the physical and spiritual needs of my kids has become a challenge. I have been blessed with a lot of help and understanding from my wonderful family and husband, but still — I have been ready to move on to the next stage of all of this…focused on hoping that baby N will be here soon (that hope increased by the fact that my other two babies arrived a couple weeks early) so that I can once again be comfortable and feel like the mom I want to be….

…but then I’ve been reflecting on a conversation I had on Thursday morning with a new friend from my Bible Study Fellowship group. We were talking about how I was nearing the end of my pregnancy, and though I can’t remember her exact words, she made a comment to the effect of “Just think of how bittersweet it will be to finish this stage of things”. At first I thought she was talking about pregnancy itself, so I said “Yeah…I’m sure I’ll miss feeling the baby move, and all of that…”, but then she explained that she was talking not only about pregnancy itself, but about this stage of family. These are the last few weeks (days) when we will be a family of 4 — when my two kids will be the only two kids. Once the baby is born, things will forever be different — GOOD different, but different.

So…with that thought in my mind, I want to focus on savoring this time as best I can before things change. I am uncomfortable and I don’t know how I can possibly make it for 4 more weeks until my due date…but I pray that I don’t lose sight of the fact that there is so much to treasure and enjoy, even in this moment when it’s so easy to focus on what’s next.

And I’m pretty sure this is a life lesson I’ll need to remember even after this baby has arrived!


The Way We Found Out

It’s late and I’m having some trouble getting to sleep, so I thought I’d tell the story of how we found out I was pregnant this go-around. It’s a bit unusual.

On Sunday, August 3rd, I was feeling a little sad…a little melancholy…a little wistful, and for reasons I’m still not altogether sure of (I had no symptoms whatsoever), I remembered I had an extra home pregnancy test in the bathroom cupboard – and decided to take it.

Much to my surprise, it was positive.

My shock and delight, however, was quickly tempered as I realized that, for many reasons, it could have very well been a “false positive” result. Still…there was no way of knowing for sure, right at that moment, so I needed to tell my husband…

I have a history of sharing this type of news with my husband in, shall we say “not-so-special” ways (i.e. running into the kitchen and blurting out “I’m pregnant!”). I’d vowed that whenever the time came to share this news with him again, I would make it meaningful. So I ran over to the local Hallmark, grabbed a card, and presented it to him at dinner. It was definitely more special than blurting it out…but still, a card that says “I MIGHT be pregnant, but probably not” just doesn’t pack the same punch as having a more definitive announcement to share.

We decided that we would wait a week or two to see what unfolded before calling my doctor to schedule a blood test.

2 days later, I called the dr. to schedule a blood test.

2 days after that — on a Thursday afternoon — I went to the dr. for my blood test. My doctor is a very sweet woman, who knew I’d had a difficult month and assured me that she would try to get the results of my test before the weekend.

That evening, I went with my sister Katie and parents to First Ave (a music club located downtown) to see She and Him (To clarify, She and Him is a musical duo; not a pair of random pronouns I decided to throw into my post). The “She” in She and Him is Zooey Deschanel — better known as Jovie from Elf. The “Him” in She and Him is M. Ward, who apparently is a famous and accomplished musician in his own right, which I’m sure I would have known if I was up on all that is trendy in the grassroots music world. But I’m not, and had never heard of him before. Anyway, I like their music alot, so I was very excited to get to see them live! We got there early and staked out our spot on the floor in front of the stage (because, you know, we Dugans are real moshers). It was there that I decided to check my voice mail on my cell. There was one message, and it went something like this:

“Hi…this is Dr. _______________, and I’m just calling to let you know that…the results are back, and they’re 436….so that’s good…!”.

(Translation: 436 = pregnant. The dr. was trying as best she could to discreetly leave a message telling me I was pregnant!)

There I was, standing on the dance floor of a dark and loud music club, with my sister and parents, and I just found out I was pregnant.

Needless to say, this was not exactly the time nor the place I’d ever pictured receiving such news! I wanted to jump for joy, but for obvious reasons, had to contain my excitement. Still, I needed to figure out how to tell my husband the news! There really wasn’t a good corner to go call him from…and we were trying to save our spots on the floor…

And that is the story of how my husband learned of my pregnancy via text message.

The concert went on, and it was great. Here is a picture that was in the paper next day. We were standing somewhere in the yellow oval:

(side note: check out the lady playing bass. It’s kind of hard to see in this picture, but she was WAY pregnant!)

After the concert, we went to Hard Rock for a bite to eat, and a funny thing happened. When the waitress came to take our drink orders, I quickly grabbed the menu, scanned it to no avail, and finally just ordered a raspberry lemonade. Then, just as soon as she’d walked away, I looked down at my menu. Much to my shock and horror, I realized I’d had it open to the cocktail page – and that the first cocktail on the menu was called “Raspberry Lemonade”! This put me in a pickle. Had she ordered me the cocktail, or just a regular old raspberry lemonade? To me, there was a BIG difference. Obviously, alcoholic beverages & I weren’t going to mix at that point! I casually mentioned to the others (while panicking inside) that I wasn’t sure if the beverage I’d ordered was non-alcoholic. “Oh, I’m sure you’ll know after the first sip,” my mom said. Um, that’s not going to fly, I thought. No sips for me! The waitress finally brought my drink, and I swallowed my pride and asked her if it was non-alcoholic. It WASN’T! Yikes! So I apologized, explained my error, and she took it away. I felt kind of bad…under other circumstances, I would have probably just kept it. But, then again, these were pretty good circumstances to be in, so I wasn’t about to complain. And I tried to be extra nice to the waitress the rest of the night. 🙂

So…that’s the story of how we found out we were expecting our little bean. Now it’s your turn. How did you find out your kids were on the way, and how did you share the news with your spouse?

p.s. to close, here’s a video of one of my favorite She and Him songs:

Will Benjamin is Here & A Baby Story, part 1

It is hard to believe that two weeks have passed now since the arrival of our precious baby boy, Will Benjamin — and it’s almost harder to believe that I haven’t blogged here about it yet! It is amazing how drastically having a newborn revolutionizes one’s life…suddenly free time is a precious commodity (though not so precious as time spent snuggling with my new baby :)), and tasks like blogging and returning emails and phone calls must be fit into carefully strategized slots of time!

Mommyhood is amazing so far. I am up half the night, smell like spit-up (even as I type), have been out of the house 4 times in the last 2 weeks, and my life revolves almost entirely around feeding a baby and changing poopy diapers – but I love it. Even changing poopy diapers is cute! How weird is that. Only a mother could say that, I think. Mark & I feel so blessed by our precious little gift – Psalm 127 says that children are a reward from the Lord, and I totally get that. Will is such a treasure that we feel so unworthy of!

We have also been blessed by an enormous amount of help. Several friends and family have visited, prepared meals, and showered us with needs and goodies, and both my family and Mark’s parents have been here every day this week to help out – I have been so blessed by their help around the house (they’ve cleaned, brought meals, helped with laundry, and held baby Will so I can catch up on my sleep as I finish recovering) as well as simply their company.

Mark & I have enjoyed reflecting on the events surrounding Will’s arrival, and I thought it might be fun to write the story out here (for our reading enjoyment if no one else’s :)). It’s my very own episode of “A Baby Story”. :)…

Thursday, September 13 was an unusually busy day for me. I spent the morning at a lovely little “baby brunch” at Perkin’s with the ladies from my neighborhood Bible study (I ate strawberry waffles, if anyone was wondering), the afternoon teaching the preschool class at Minnehaha Christian Homeschool Co-Op, followed by an early dinner at Panera with my good friend Aimee. That night I went to bed around 10:00, only to awaken at around 12:30, feeling a bit under the weather – my throat ached (which was likely from teaching the preschool class – I hadn’t talked that loudly, that much in awhile :)) and I just generally felt a bit sick. At any rate, I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I spent some time putzing around the house. At around 2:00 am, I decided to get back into bed and give sleep another go…I tossed and turned for about a half an hour, before a particular toss (or was it a turn?) especially caught my attention. I was lying on my left side, flipped over to my right side, and two things happened:

1. I  noticed that the baby “stretched out” rather oddly in my belly. I was about to laugh at this strange contortion, when suddenly…

2. I heard/felt a “pop”, and felt what seemed like the baby punching a hole in my abdomen! My first thought was that something dreadful had happened, so I quickly woke Mark up. At first, he was a bit groggily irritated, thinking I was awakening him to tell him about some minor issue (“I feel the baby kicking me!”, etc). Soon, however, the truth became apparent: my water had broken! The instant I shared this realization with him, he flew out of bed and I had his full attention!

We called the midwife, who told us that unless contractions started coming at 5 minutes apart, I should try to get some sleep and could wait until 8:00 am to go in to the hospital.  No sooner had I hung up the phone, however, than the contractions started to hit…slowly, at first…

From that point on, all systems were “go”, and we began scrambling around the house making last minute preparations. Mark ran to his computer to pull together sub plans to send to school the next day; I ran (er…walked) around the house, collecting last minute items for the hospital bag. I also straightened my hair (still not sure of my rationale behind this one. It was late.). The contractions steadily progressed, increasing in intensity, and far more painful than I ever realized they would be! Ouch! They got to be between 7-9 minutes apart, and I began to get nervous. Just two days earlier, the midwife had told me that the baby was at +1 station (low) and that I was 90% effaced – meaning that once I went into labor, it would likely go fast. So, wanting to avoid an unplanned home birth, I called the midwife again, and she gave us the OK to come on in to the hospital. So…we were off!

The car ride there is a bit of a blur – I remember pain, darkness, and…Mark eating a banana (more on that later :)).

We finally arrived at the hospital, where we headed straight for the admissions desk, stopping every few minutes for a contraction. By this time they were around 5 minutes apart. While were were standing at the admitting desk, I had a contraction — followed just a couple of minutes later by another one, as we sat down in the waiting area. This was the first time they had been 2 minutes apart – it was really a fluke – but the receptionist observed this and must have panicked, because we heard her pick up the phone, say something like “Code _____…you better hurry, they’re 2 minutes apart!”. Within seconds, a nurse ran down with a wheelchair, seated me in it, turned to Mark and said “Keep up!”, and…we were off again, running down the halls, ER style.

As Mark & I reflect on the labor experience, there are a couple little vignettes that come to mind that make us laugh. One of them happened during this time. There we were, speeding down the corridors, turning corner after corner, panicking at the thought that perhaps I was going to give birth in this little triage area of the hospital, when suddenly we were stopped by two older gentleman, moving in front of our path at a turtle’s pace (insert the cartoon sound of screeching brakes here). “Excuuuuse meeee”, one man slowly said to the nurse “my faaaather herrrre is supposed to have kneee surgery this morniiing, but there’s nooo one at the admitting desk….where shooould wee goooo?”  “Well, you’ll just have to wait at the desk for someone to help you,” the nurse quickly replied, eager to move on. But the gentleman was not satisfied with this answer. “But, you don’t understaaand,” he said with a puzzled expression, “his suuurgeryyyy is supposed to start in a few miiiinutes….”. The nurse seemed at a loss for words; helpless, somehow torn between helping this gentleman find his way and getting me to the care I needed before the baby popped out right there. Thankfully, my hero of a husband stepped in at this point “We’ve got to go,” he said directly to our old friend, then pointed at me and said “She’s in labor!”. The old man’s eyebrows raised, and he looked at me as though he hadn’t noticed me (and my obvious condition). “Ohhh dear, yes you must go on your wayyyy”. And just as quickly as we stopped…we were off again.

…to be continued (you’re all in suspense, I know)… 

Reflections on Pregnancy

Now that I am in the home-stretch of my first pregnancy, I thought I’d share some random observations I’ve made over the course of the last several months:

• Bella Bands ( are one of the greatest inventions ever.

• Many people seem to have no problem with openly staring at a pregnant woman, as though they’ve never before seen such an odd creature. And if they are not the staring type, alot of people you pass will at least let their gaze fall from your face, to your belly, back to your face.

• Swimming — even on the chillier of days — is one of the best activities ever! Yay for weightlessness!

• When swimming while pregnant, you find yourself more easily annoyed when people hang on/around the ladder – your only means for climbing in/out of the pool. Combine this mild annoyance with pregnancy hormones, and you’ve got a problem.

• When you’re pregnant, the tears really do flow a little more freely.

• Feeling a baby move around inside of you is one of the coolest things ever.

• You notice (and appreciate) alot more about little kids when you’re expecting one of your own.

• One comment that should never, ever be made to a pregnant woman: “So…there’s just one in in there?!”

• Many complete strangers are really nice to you when you’re pregnant.

• Sometimes complete strangers are able to predict, with accuracy, the sex of your child, based solely on the way you are “carrying”. This can be a little creepy. (For example: “Oh, I see you’re pregnant! And it’s a boy, right?”)

• Painting your toenails – or really any summertime foot maintenance at all – becomes sort of a lost cause when you’re pregnant. Too much work to bend over that belly.

• TLC (The Learning Channel) airs several “baby reality shows” each weekday – from 8-10 and then again from 1-3.

• Sleep becomes more elusive…yet more needed. Still trying to figure out how this works.

• It’s a pretty amazing experience!

Lemon Meringue Pie

So for lunch today I stopped over at Festival Foods, where I was immediately greeted by a large display stocked full of delectable lemon meringue pies, on sale for 3.99 (instead of 8.50). I resisted the urge to pick one up, and continue with my shopping, but I could not get “lemon meringue” out of my head. I thought about buying an individual slice, but that would have cost 2.69, which would have seemed ludicrous, with a whole pie being only just over a dollar more. So I did it. I purchased a whole lemon meringue pie. And I’ve already eaten 2 pieces. And they were good. What’s extra weird is that I don’t even normally like lemon meringue pie that much. I guess pregnancy does things like this to a person!