I love that this post is immediately following my one about potentially having a girl. Haha!

On Thursday (the 20th) I had my 14 week checkup at the doctor. Everything looked good and the heartbeat was strong around 150bpm. Before leaving I asked her about scheduling the ultrasound (typically done between weeks 18 & 20). I was a bit surprised and disappointed when she responded saying she wanted me to wait until 21 weeks... and even more bummed when I heard that the hospital where I have to go to get my ultrasound won't do it before 22 weeks! I had really been hoping to find out the gender of our little one... and more importantly know that he or she was healthy... sometime in June. It was so hard to think I might not see our baby until halfway through July!

As I sat around bummed about this situation, it eventually dawned on me that I have friends who know an ultrasound tech and they were able to see her for a gender check around week 16. Had I been able to get my regular ultrasound at 18 or 19 weeks, I could have been patient... but knowing the long wait I was in for I decided to talk to one of my friends to see if I could possibly get in with this tech that they know.

Lo and behold I get a phone call on Friday morning saying that the tech was not only able to see me, but could get me in that day (just one day shy of 15 weeks at this point)! We were scheduled to meet with her at 3:45, so I spent my afternoon watching the clock with anticipation. So excited to see my little one!

Brent, Lydia, and I all went to the appointment - which was fantastic! The tech was so wonderful as she pointed out our little one's head, heart, tummy, and feet. At first the baby was squirming around a ton and kept crossing legs and putting hands between them, but eventually we got the view we were looking for. There it was... the "kickstand" as our tech put it... our baby is a BOY! We had fun getting different views of our son and eventually I asked the tech how sure she was about the gender. Her first response was that she never says 100% because she believes nothing is for sure until you are holding the baby. Then a bit later I asked her if we would get the 95% sure from her and she said, "Hmm... I think I'm actually going to go ahead and give you guys the 100%!" When a professional who has done this for 12 years gives you 100% certainty, I think that's trustworthy!

I left still feeling a bit in shock. I was afraid to really let myself believe we're having a son (I'm sure I would have reacted the same way to a girl... because I'm a skeptic like that), but as I sat in Red Lobster waiting for a table (our traditional celebration dinner after baby ultrasounds) I let it sink in and my heart melted at the thought of holding my little boy in November. Over dinner Brent and I discussed names a bit. We had already tentatively decided, but now it was time to set it in stone. We mostly tossed around various versions of the name Eli - Elijah, Elisha, Elias, Eli... in all cases planning to call him Eli. So in the end we decided that our baby boy will be named...

Eli Anthony Pirolli

I've always been a fan of Biblical names and want our children to be named after worthy characters in the Bible. Eli was the high priest who raised the prophet Samuel. Additionally, I've always liked the idea of our children having middle names that reflect our ties to family. Lydia ended up with my middle name and Eli will have Brent's middle name - which has actually been passed down through Brent's father from his grandfather.

So there you have it. Come November, we will be the Pirolli family of four - Brent, Sarah, Lydia, and Eli!

Random fun fact - Lydia's first, and so far only, letter that she learned is "E" ... and we never really made efforts to teach that to her. Perhaps she knew she'd have a brother named Eli someday?
I know I've been pretty lax about writing about this pregnancy compared to my last. Maybe it is in part because it's my 2nd and I just don't think about it as much... or maybe it's because I've not had nearly the complications this time around that I had last time. Regardless, I really AM excited to be pregnant again and do think about this baby quite often! I just don't have the time to sit and write about what I have been thinking or feeling as easily as I could the 1st time around.

This past Saturday I officially entered my 2nd trimester. Yay! I am 14 weeks and 2 days along now and have my next OB appointment on Thursday. Still very much looking forward to hearing that sweet heartbeat (even if I do have to get up waaay early for a 7:45 appointment this time)! I've been feeling really good. It's easy to forget that I'm pregnant since I've been feeling so great. No sickness, the fatigue is wearing off, and no other complications. Still waiting to feel those first little movements, though I've felt a few things that have made me wonder at times. Nothing but shrinking clothes (aka growing belly) to remind me of the sweet little one growing inside.

Random side note - I compared pictures that I took of my belly at 13 weeks with this pregnancy to ones at 17 weeks with my first and they look pretty darn identical except that this baby seems to be carrying a little lower. Looks like the estimate of "showing" 4 weeks ahead of the first pregnancy is holding pretty true for me!

So you are probably wondering what the title of this post means. It's a girl? No we have not confirmed the gender of Baby 2 yet, but I couldn't help but grab an at-home gender test for $10 when I had the chance. These normally cost upwards of $30, which I was not willing to pay, but by agreeing to share my results I could get one for 1/3 of the price at bestbabygender.com. They claim 99% accuracy after week 14 (I don't really buy it), but figured... why not? I followed all of the instructions carefully and took the test this morning. The result? Apparently we're having another little girl!

Green or yellow indicates a girl result (red or orange means boy). Again, I don't put a whole lot of faith in this test. We will still wait for our ultrasound in about a month before calling the baby by name and painting the nursery. I would love for Lydia to have a sister... and I would love to have a little boy... so I'm going to be happy either way. I'm just curious to see if the test turns out to be correct.

I've been meaning to take the time to write out the story of my Christian walk on my blog and just haven't gotten around to it. But here I am with a little bit of time on my hands (seems so hard to come by these days!) and I decided that now is just as good a time as any.

My journey has been a simple one. Or at least a straight-forward one. I don't have one of those major conversion stories about how I was a druggie and prostitute who ended up in jail at the end of my rope when God opened my eyes and changed my life forever. Nope. That's not me. And for a long time I felt like my story wasn't worth telling because it wasn't very dramatic. There aren't any crazy intense moments that reach a climax before I at last "see the light" and turn to the happily-ever-after that I've always wanted.

I was so incredibly blessed to grow up in a strong Christian household with parents who were (and are) REAL. They loved me and my brothers. They taught us to value ourselves, respect others, and learn about all that God created us to be. I am eternally thankful that God gave me such wonderful role models, and as a result of their love and prayers I remember sitting on my bed with my Daddy and accepting Jesus into my heart when I was just 5 or 6 years old. And somehow, no doubt only by God's grace, that decision stuck. Even as young as I was, it changed my life. I never looked back and I never questioned if I really "meant it" when I prayed that prayer. I knew that I did.

Unlike many who come to faith as children, I did not hit a rebellious stage as a teen or young adult. Like I said, the decision I made was real and it stuck. I remained active in youth group throughout my high school years and knew that God had a plan for my future that didn't involve all of the teenage drama. However there was one big defining moment for me as a teen. Crazy kid that I was, I remember standing in our kitchen one day and just crying out to God, "Test me! Try me! If faith is strengthened through trial, then bring it on!" Bad move. Ha! Seriously, if you ever ask God for a trial, He will deliver!

Over the course of the next year or so I faced a most unexpected challenge. Something I hadn't anticipated and certainly had never experienced. My expectations were that God would put me through the kind of trials that others would see... a death in the family, some sort of injury or life crisis, you know, the typical hardships that people endure. But God had something different in mind for me. Something I would have to get through more or less on my own. For the first time ever, I suddenly felt alone. God got quiet.

I can't explain why things suddenly felt this way, but confusion and doubt quickly flooded in. Where are you, God? What am I supposed to be doing? As I worked through this time in my life, I came to understand that God had taken my request for a trial and gave me the opportunity to stand on my own. Like a parent who lets go to allow a child to take her first steps. It's not that the parent has left or that they no longer love or care about the child, but they recognize the need for growth. God was helping me grow up.

I struggled for about a year, analyzing my beliefs, considering what God wanted for my life, and ensuring that this truly was the path I wanted to follow. I learned a lot in that time. For starters, I quickly learned that faith is not about feelings. When I no longer felt like God was near me, did that mean that He wasn't there? No. He was always there. I also grew confident that my faith was not just a result of mimicking my family... just following it because it's what I had been taught... but rather an honest decision that I made for myself. And I also learned more about loving others. I learned about stepping out of my comfort zone. Reaching others for Christ rather than sitting in my "holy huddle" of fellow believers. I learned that it's not just about knowing the Bible, but rather about caring for people.

After that period in my life, I felt rejuvenated and recommitted to what I had chosen on that day sitting in my room with my Dad. I definitely still struggle at times with finding the passion in my faith that I've seen in the past. My life feels crazy right now with raising babies and growing a family. Sometimes I feel like I'm failing at my mission. But being a mom is part of the mission that I have always wanted to have. I love my parents so much and am so grateful for the Christian example that they were. They helped me find the right path in life and keep with it. I hope and pray that I can do the same for my children. Even if the only lives I feel like I ever change are theirs, it will be worth it to me. I can only hope to one day be a part of their stories of falling in love with their Creator. That would make the perfect end to my story.