Approaching Labor

This pregnancy has been a bull ride.  Which is why you haven’t heard much from me for the past, oh five, six, seven, eight months.  With one hand on the bull and the other trying to keep track of a toddler, I haven’t had enough free hands for typing for a long while.

Today I am just under two weeks away from my due date on September 24th.  September 21st is the date that I miscarried during my second pregnancy.  September 18th is my birthday and the date that I began the miscarrying process.  So the coming weeks are full of significant dates for me.  To me, it’s not as much coincidental or ironic that this baby is due around the same time that I miscarried last year, as it is redemptive.  Of course I’m praying that she would be born on either the 18th or the 21st because I love redemptive stories, but regardless, God’s faithful hand is on this entire event and He knows when baby girl should and will be born.

This pregnancy, like I stated, has been a bull ride.  Some days I’ve felt incredible – kind of like a super woman when I’ve been sweating it out at the gym or keeping up on projects around the house or doing something adventurous with my son.  However, plenty of other days, and probably more of them then the super-feeling ones, have been incredibly difficult.  There’s a good chance I just blocked a lot of it out the first time around, but I truly don’t remember pregnancy being so hard physically when I was pregnant with Cameron.  A lot of it probably had to do with sitting at a desk all day at work and being able to rest every evening while my husband cooked dinner instead of scurrying around to finish household tasks and wrangle a squirmy toddler into his bed every night.  Yeah, that could have something to do with it.

That being said though, I am fortunate.  I haven’t had any pregnancy complications or anything abnormal.  Just a lot of the normal pregnancy symptoms that are difficult to endure over a long spread of nine months.  Of course the nausea, headache and fatigue in the beginning months.  Then the belly aches, cramping and the acid reflux that set in.  Then the back aches.   At one point, my skin itched so badly every night that I couldn’t sleep.  Waking up every morning for the past eight months having only five minutes to get something into my stomach before I feel sick – yep, can’t wait for that one to go.  Someday soon I’ll eat again because I’m actually hungry, rather than to stave off nausea.  Now, in the final stretch, I’m getting weird nerve pinches in the lower half of my body and I literally feel like the baby is between my legs when I’m walking around.  Getting up to use the restroom seven times a night wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to roll myself off the bed like an elephant seal flopping towards the water.  And lastly, there have been times where I’ve just had a real winner of a personality.  Enough so that on more than a few occasions I have closed the door to my room and taken fifteen minutes by myself because I’ve recognized the boiling pot of hormonal imbalance inside of me and decided it was in the best interest of everyone around me that I take a little timeout to let the emotions fizzle out as I mindlessly scrolled through Facebook.

But with labor approaching, I’ve actually found that this last week has been one of my best.  Maybe it’s because I know that this entire pregnancy journey is truly almost over and I’m already beginning to feel giddy about that.  In the half marathon that I ran last year, the last two miles were the easiest and most exciting because I knew I had already completed the bulk of the work and I could see the finish line floating on the horizon.  So I turned up my music and just jammed my way to the finish line, legs wobbling and arms swinging around.  And whether you believe me or not, I can honestly say that training for and running a half marathon is SO much easier than completing a pregnancy – both mentally and physically.  In fact, I’ll take a full marathon over pregnancy any day!

I’ve definitely been preparing for this labor differently than I did my first labor with Cameron.  For my first labor I read a lot of crunchy books and decided that I was going to prepare for the most calm birthing experience possible.  I decked out my hospital room in white Christmas lights to set a nice mood-enhancing glow.  I comprised a few different playlists of worship music that would carry me through each contraction.  I came prepared with a soft labor gown and fuzzy socks to help complete my cozy hospital stay.  This time, while I do plan to incorporate each of these items in my labor experience, I will also be showing up to the hospital ready to kick down the door because I’m going to have AC/DC’s Thunderstruck playing as my mental theme song and more adrenaline pumping through my over-sized body than a seventeen year old boy on steroids.  If it wouldn’t result in judgement and possibly sub-par medical treatment or arrest, I might even show up with my face streaked in war paint and a club of fire to start waving around at everybody.  This time, while I may be wearing fuzzy socks, I am coming prepared for an all out war, followed by a peaceful flood of emotion as I get to finally hold my daughter.

If this sounds a little over the top or exaggerated to you, then you have either A) never given birth or B) had better labors than me in the past and I therefore envy your experience.  My labor with Cameron was 24 hours, my miscarriage labor was 4 hours and I am just hoping and praying that this coming labor falls a bit closer to the 4 than to the 24 hour mark.  I’ve been drinking that delicious Third Trimester tea for months now and popping those red raspberry leaf capsules daily as well so hopefully my uterus is nice and toned like the box of tea promises it will be…but soon enough I will be finding out for sure how my daughter plans to enter this world.  She will either come out to a tune of clanging gongs and birds chirping or she will always have a strange, yet powerful affection for AC/DC and probably never know why.

Here are some cute pictures from the nursery and where I found some of these items – This is by far my favorite room in the house right now, which will hopefully help me feel all sunny during all those 3 a.m. hangouts with my girl.

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Dresser: yard sale (and my super cool husband reconstructed it into this masterpiece of femininity!), Changing pad cover: Iviebaby.com, Mirror: thrift store,  Arrow sign: World Market.  And I am still missing one key piece of art to hang in that gap on the wall.

photo (13)Dresser hardware: Home Depot

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Mobile: re purposed a Christmas tree ornament and painted some brown tags from Michael’s gold, Canvas: spray painted it baby pink and then splattered gold paint.

photo (7)Nightlight: bought this strand of lights on Amazon and then put in a jar from the dollar store

photo (8)Elephant bank: Thrift store, Squares: Target spice racks painted white, Flameless candles: Costco

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Shelves: Ikea spice racks painted white, Lamp: Target (with a soft pink bulb – they are my favorite and create perfect soft lighting), Hamper: 3Sprouts (bought on Amazon)

photo (10)Couch: Ikea (Craigslist find), Ottoman: Ikea (gift from a friend), Ottoman fabric: Spoonflower.com, Rug: Ikea, Side table/stool: Ikea and spray painted pink, Pillows: yardsale but originally Target, Wicker dresser: Bed Bath & Beyond

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Crib: bought second hand, but painted gray a few years ago for Cam’s nursery…took 9 hours…so I don’t recommend painting a crib unless you feel like tackling a long, long, tedious project, Crib skirt: queen bed skirt from Bed Bath & Beyond that used to be on my bed, Crib sheet: Circo brand from Target (probably the softest/fuzziest sheet in the world!) White crocheted blanket: made by my aunt, Coral blanket: made by my grandma

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Are We Pregnant Yet?

On New Year’s Eve, my husband Jon and I decided that we felt ready to start trying for baby number two.  Since baby number one was a complete and total surprise, the idea of trying seemed so strange and foreign to us.  We felt sure about wanting another baby, but then the next moment we would question our sanity.  How could we ever be sure?  We decided that we couldn’t, so we had to just trust our hearts and take a leap of faith.

As January 1st came and went we assumed that by the end of the month we would be celebrating the conception of our next child.

But it didn’t happen.

Despite 1,000 signs that I was pregnant, the tests said no.

Call it ‘power of the mind’ or a pregnancy that didn’t last…I’ll never know…

But it was a reality check.

It was a much needed reminder that God is the creator of life.  Yes, we play our parts, but we do not determine when someone will be born or who that someone will be.

I was grateful for a friend who reminded me that God knows the names of my children.  He knows the days on which they will be born.  He knows their life.  He knows them.  And although I sometimes think I am in control of the development of my family, nothing happens apart from Him.  He is the giver of taker of life.

So January passed and as February dawned, Jon and I decided not to try so hard.  Trying felt awkward and stressful and I’ll stop before I share too much…so moving forward we decided instead just to let things happen.  I didn’t think about babies or pregnancy too much in February until I was late of course.  8 days late.

[TMI Warning: Sometimes after you have a baby and you are breastfeeding, your cycles can get all wack and irregular.]

I took a pregnancy test everyday.  I told myself not to get my hopes up, but as the days passed, my anticipation of baby news grew.

But again, the tests kept saying no and I soon found out for sure that I wasn’t pregnant after all.

It’s so strange how taking a pregnancy test can either be the most thrilling, horrifying, relieving, or disappointing moment you’ve ever experienced, depending on your mind-frame at the time.

I’m not sharing any of this for sympathy or because I want the whole world to know that I was trying to have another baby.  In fact, the thought of that is pretty weird.

I honestly have no idea when the best time for me to be pregnant with another child would be, so I’m glad these things are not left entirely in my hands.  I’m glad the destiny of my family isn’t left up to whims and sudden magical feelings of faith for a second child.  Plus, wanting a child for two months is hardly anything compared to the heart-wrenching praying and waiting that many couples go through.

Honestly, I think a lot of the reason I want to be pregnant again is that my husband has one year of school left.  Two years down, one more to go.  The past couple months have been the most difficult time for me in his schooling so far.  After two years of doing my best to be supportive and understanding of the crazy schedules and insane workload, I think I’ve become tired of it.  I’m ready for it all to end.  I think I just want to move on and enjoy life on the other side of the giant wall we’ve been climbing for two years.  I’m tired of saying things like, “When you’re done with school we will ____.”  The past couple months my life have begun to feel like a waiting game, so in my mind there would be nothing better to distract me for the next year than the anticipation of another baby.  (Mom, if you’re reading this, please let your eyebrows relax- I know this all sounds crazy.)

I’m not really sure what my conclusion to all of this is.  I think this is more of a journal entry to myself so I can wade through my feelings and feel like by putting them down on paper, somehow I am removing them all from me.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
-Isaiah 5:8-9

I reminded myself today that Cameron was not my idea; he was God’s.

If it had been up to me, Cameron wouldn’t even exist because Jon and I thought it would be better to put of having kids until he was finished with school…

I’ve been praying lately that God would soften my heart.  I want to enjoy this season of life to the fullest, instead of wishing it was different.  I want to be a supportive wife through the rough patches as well as the easy ones.  I want to let this whole wanting a baby idea go like a balloon on a windy day.  I just want to feel God’s perfect peace.  It’s all possible.  It’s all things God has helped me with before in other circumstances.  I just need him to help me again now.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
-Ecclesiastes 3:11

26 Weeks

26 weeks feels pretty good for the most part.  Except as soon as I said goodbye to queasy, sleepless showed up.  Oh well.

Cameron moves around a lot now and one of my favorite things to do in the evenings is just sit on the couch and watch my tummy, waiting to see his next move.

The top 3 things I’ve craved recently:

  1. Orange juice with lots of pulp
  2. Lucky Charms cereal
  3. Aloe juice with pulp
  4. And corn dogs comes in a close fourth
Number 1 thing I used to love but can’t stand since getting pregnant:
  1. Eggs
In the past few weeks the desire to meet this little guy has also kicked in big time, but I still have three-ish months to go.  Maybe it’s because I’m more aware of him since I can feel him more?  Whatever it is, it’s a really great feeling.

There’s A Fish In My Belly

I’ve gotten to the point in my pregnancy where I can feel little Cameron making some pretty big movements at times.  My favorite pregnancy story to tell so far is that the other day Jon put his cheek against my tummy to see if he could hear the baby…and about two seconds later, Cameron kicked him in the face…hard enough that Jon said “Ouch!”

Not sure why I’m so amused by that story, but I am.

One thing that Jon keeps asking me lately is, “What does it feel like to have a baby inside of you?”  This is my answer:

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It’s like a little fish…at first, it is so tiny you can hardly tell it’s even there…

…and as it grows, sometimes you can feel it swim around and flutter…

…then, when it’s bigger it starts to bump into the sides of the bowl…


..and eventually, it gets big.  And at times it squirms like it’s a trout caught on a hook, fighting for it’s life…

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That’s the best description I got.

Top Ten List: Why Being Pregnant is Awesome

Photo credit:  Free To Live Photography –  

Pictured: The adorable Jessica and Ted Stuhlmiller a few weeks before baby Daniel was born. 

Being pregnant could be described as a lot of different things.  Many descriptions revolve around the many (usually unpleasant) side effects that someone can experience including nausea, mood swings, fatigue, etc.  And yes, sometimes those things happen.  But today, my good friend Mendy sent me a nice message on Facebook saying she was thinking about all the wonderful benefits of pregnancy.  Mendy is the mother of two adorable children: Judah 2 years and Eden 9 weeks.  She is a great mom and not only that, she is very passionate about mothers, babies and children in general.  She is also someone who claims she LOVES being pregnant!

So thanks to Mendy’s inspiration, here are the top 10 reasons why being pregnant is AWESOME:

10.  There’s so much to dream and pray about.  Having a baby is the most important long term investment you can make!  So naturally there are so many great things you can do to prepare and build your excitement.  The Bible is full of amazing promises for families, women and children so that’s a great place to start finding hope for your little one’s amazing future.

9.  You lower your chances of breast cancer and cervical cancer.

8.  Longer, stronger hair and nails thanks to those fancy prenatal vitamins and increased nutrition!

7.  You might need to buy a bigger bra for the first time since high school.

6.  You take your body less seriously.  Especially in our culture where there is so much emphasis on a woman’s body looking a certain “ideal” way.  Women deal with pressure all the time to tone up and slim down.  But when you’re pregnant, you learn to take your body less seriously.  You learn to laugh a little bit more about all the strange and unsual things changing – because you can’t control them anyway!!  (And some of the changes are actually kind of cool!)

5.  You get to rest.  Sometimes in life we get used to being so productive and busy that we forget it’s important to take time to slow down and rest.  Being pregnant is a great motivation to actually take the time to listen to your body and give yourself some extra grace in how much you really need to get done in a day.

4.  You get to eat WHATEVER YOU “FEEL” LIKE!  Enough said.

3.  Compliments!  In fact, nine months of compliments!  I don’t think anyone (maybe other than a bride) gets more compliments than a pregnant woman.  “You look great!”  “You’re glowing!”  “You are the cutest pregnant lady!”  “Gosh, your baby is going to be cute!”  “You’re pregnant!?!? Congratulations!!!”  Who doesn’t love receiving compliments where ever they go?

2.  You become a friend-magnet.  For some reason everyone (family, friends and even strangers) become very interested in what is going on inside your belly.  Suddenly everyone wants to know how you’re feeling and what kinds of decisions you’ve been making recently.  Being pregnant is an instant conversation starter!

1.  At the end of the pregnancy you get to have your very own, one-of-a-kind BABY!!!  Wow!  And once you do, according to Mendy you get to enjoy acting like a kid again yourself as you spend time making funny faces, sound effects and running around with your little ones.  And of course, like mothers everywhere say, you learn that you can love someone more than you ever thought possible.  [happy sigh!]

7 Weeks

It’s hard to know what to write about when my entire existence the past few days has centered around not throwing up.

Who really wants to hear about that???

Well no one.  But it’s all I have to talk about.

I’ve been trying lots of tricks that people have shared with me and I’ve come up with some of my own as well.  So far, the tricks that work the best for me include eating something in my bed in the mornings before I ever even get up, sipping on sparking water, always keeping something in my tummy and constantly sucking on Jolly Ranchers.  Jolly Ranchers are my friend right now.

In fact, on Saturday I plan to keep a few Jolly Ranchers in my fist at all times because I will be standing up front as a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding and I hope for everyone’s sake that I do not throw up at any point during the wedding.  I had one of those half awake/half asleep visions this morning where I saw myself puking right in the middle of their vows.  Awesome.  Nothing says everlasting love and romance like puke does.

It is a strange phenominon to despise the sight, the smell and the taste of food.  I’m just glad this part isn’t supposed to last very long.  I’m also very glad that I have the most supportive husband in the world who is willing to put other things on hold to take care of me.  He really is the best.

I got a very sweet message from my friend Jessica Stuhlmiller that really helped me “embrace” the way I’m feeling right now.  The message was longer, but I wanted to share my favorite part of what she wrote:

“You are the only woman God felt could love and care for this child the way it will require. He looked all over, and of all the women, you were the only perfect match. God not only knows that you are the mom this child needs, he knows EXACTLY what you will need to be a mom to this child. Already he is filling store houses with strength, joy, and grace for the moments, days and years ahead.”

Beautiful, right?

So if I seem to be a little sparse in my blogging these days, I hope you can understand why.  As soon as I have something worthwhile to write about, I will attempt to write it.

Actually, I still need to post some pictures from last weekend’s catering kick-off so I’ll try and do that soon!