Joy in the journey

Walking to work this morning it hit me how soon I will meet my daughter face to face! It is so easy to get distracted from that joy with all the pregnant stuff, and preparations and just life.  This is a good time to practice that art of putting what really matters first I think. My Mom was asking me if everything was ready, and I was like “well we have everything we need, I just seem to have so much organizing and cleaning and washing to do and never seem to have the energy to do it after I get home from work”.  She said that really that was the way motherhood is, you never really have time to get everything done, and most Mom’s seem to say they wish they had not stressed so much about baby’s room and housework and spent all that energy enjoying their new baby. I know she will grow sooooo quick! I know that having a clean, organized home is a good thing and I want to do my best managing our household, but I don’t want to be a woman who stresses over every dust bunny and teaches her that what matters is chores and not joy. I want to teach her to manage a household and be helpful and have a servant’s heart, but I want her to know she always matters more than a dirty dish or toys that are out of place. So their definitely needs to be a balance between work and rest, but I want to be sure it isn’t all work in my house.

I think it really helped me going out for a surprise date with David last night. I have definitely been having some third trimester blues lately. I have just been so tired and uncomfortable. Work is almost done, but hey this job is going nowhere 😉 and I want to use that energy for more productive feeling things at this point.  (the count is seven more work days FYI).  It was good to just connect with David, forget about to do lists and chores.

I can’t wait to see David and Leia meeting as well! So soon everything will change for our family and I am so happy for this new season for us. It is scary and overwhelming to think of being responsible for this little person, and David and I both have really high standards for ourselves as parents, just as we have always had for our marriage. Raising Leia is a sacred trust between us and the Lord, we have a huge responsibility to diligently train her up in the way she should go. On the flip side of that though, is the comfort in knowing that God gave us Leia Juliet specifically and we are a part of the plan for her life.  It is no accident she is our daughter! With all our imperfections this baby was meant for us.

OK, this post was maybe a bit on the serious and mushy side, but I am glad to be focusing on the good things coming my way for a bit rather than how ridiculously pregnant I am! Hopefully I will post a pic soon of her little room (or half room, half of it will still be storage). I am waiting on a a couple more items in the mail to make it complete 🙂

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Oh Lord, give me patience or let her come early :)

So today I am sitting in church having all kinds of Braxton Hicks contractions and it hits me, I could be pregnant for 5 more weeks.  I mean this could go on until the end of April if she wants to come two weeks late. I am sure this doesn’t sound like a big deal, and it shouldn’t really be a surprise. At that moment though 5 weeks just sounded ridiculously long, almost like nine more months somehow!

I have tried to not focus on the due date, they are pretty arbitrary. I have told myself there is really like a 5 week window here when she might come. Somehow though I have been focusing on the fact I only have ten more days of work and seem to have been hearing more early baby stories as opposed to late ones (one couple in our childbirth class never made it to the second session because she was rushed from her regular weekly check up to the hospital for a C-section) and it just seems so hard to imagine I could theoretically have over a month to go (or I could go into labor tomorrow or in a week, arrgh!).

I know, I know, babies come when they are ready, enjoy having her so close etc etc. It is all true and good advice and I totally agree with it. It is amazing that she is in there rolling around and I am so happy she seems to be healthy and we had such a quick conception and the pregnancy has been normal. We are bringing her into a loving and stable home and we have provision for her and everything she needs. I am so blessed!

It’s just things like not feeling like I have been able to breathe for months, moving around like Jabba the Hut, heartburn, hot flashes, etc etc etc. I literally have to roll out of bed now, it takes so much to get in and out of bed, to try and get comfortable only to have to go to the bathroom a little later. My stomach contracting in weird and sometimes painful ways, especially at night when I am trying to rest. Then just being tired. I have things I want to accomplish, small tasks like laundry and light cleaning, that just seem to never get done because when I come home from work I have no steam left. I can’t really remember not being pregnant, it is a pretty long road. Then of course it ends with labor. I really would rather not think about it anymore and get on with it. I just want to get into the zone and power through it and meet our girl!

It’s strange I am at peace with three weeks, getting to that due date, having my nesting burst of energy come when I am at home not working anymore and then she comes. Maybe even four weeks, but five that just sounds crazy to me right now! I am more comfortable with her coming early and me not having all the things done I wanted to get done too, I mean hey if she was really early who can blame me? The car seat is in the car anyway.

I know early or late will not matter at all after she comes, and she will be in my arms and all the weird, gross and uncomfortable things that have happened to me the last 37 weeks will fade away from my mind and be replaced with taking care of a tiny newborn. I know it, but it is hard to not feel like a week makes a huge difference right now.

This is a cool quote I found though:

“Birth is God’s time. It can’t be rushed or programmed to suit anyone’s clock. It is a time to simply be there, respecting the woman’s space and the natural rhythms of her body. Think of how time ceases to have relevance when you are caught up in the presence of God worshipping Him or when you are in love and spending time with your beloved. Time flies by and you barely notice. Birth time is the timing of nature. Who knows when spring will come? Can a budding flower be found open? Yet in time, these things unfold. So does birth.  – Julie Bell

No one knows the hour or the day!

Well if I never pee in a cup again it will be too soon! Going to the doctor every week now. Things are always fine. Leia was in the head down birth position when I went yesterday.  No more tests until labor. I just pee in cups, get my blood pressure and temp taken, get weighed, and the doctor looks at the baby and listens to her heartbeat. So far no checking for dilation or anything like that. I only seem to gain about a pound a week lately, so I really think it is pretty much actual baby weight so that is good.

My doctor said she always thought this was the worst part of pregnancy, I am beginning to agree. I thought nothing could be worse than the nauseated purgatory of the first trimester, and plus you have the peace of mind of feeling more secure that your baby is OK after the first trimester is over, but the third trimester is pretty darn uncomfortable and once you get to where I am you may have all kind of practice contractions and you are always wondering, does this mean something? Could I go into labor? It’s extra hard since I have never actually done this before and thus it is impossible to really know what it feel like or how it will go. Everyone’s descriptions are so different too, so I don’t know what I will experience. Some people don’t even notice braxton hicks contractions, some people’s water doesn’t even break, while some people have it burst open all at once. Some people go fast or early, some late and slow, so who knows what is in store for me?? What I do know is things are going on and changing in my belly. I have had the braxton Hicks contractions for a long time now, but they have really increased in frequency and last night there was some pain. Relaxing, taking a bath made them stop for a while, but I am wondering how many weeks of practice contractions or false labor I will have. I just try and stay relaxed when the contractions happen and practice breathing and relaxation techniques. At least the car seat is in the car!

I have tried to make myself believe there is no way she will come early and to expect April 15th to come and go with no baby, but then I hear so many early baby stories and feel like I have to be ready for that too.

13 more work days I think. I only count work days and not weekends. After this week I only have two more work weeks left! (unless she comes early of course!). It is pretty crazy, I haven’t reflected on it very much, too busy being pregnant and thinking about baby to think about the end of my teaching at Judson. It will have been almost four years working here.  I just can’t seem to get philosophical about it though, it is just a challenge going in each day and all my thoughts are taken up by my baby coming!

Just a few more things to do before she comes really. I pretty much have everything I need I think. I just need to get it all assembled and organized (but then I keep thinking of little things too). I am so thankful to have gathered so many baby things.  I just need the energy to make those final preparations, a lot of times I putter out before I can finish a to do list, or start having fake contractions and feel the need to rest.  Also thankful for my supportive husband, he lets me rest and take all the baths I need and has gotten used to the lack of good home cooked meals lately. Plus, sometimes talks me into going out to a movie, which is good too 🙂



home stretch- ugh

I still think David Fincher’s “Seven” is one of the best crime dramas ever, I mean with a fast forward button because its really gross at times, but the script is fantastic. The young ambitious Brad Pitt and the seasoned detective Morgan Freeman are  great together. At one point near the end Morgan Freeman says this to Brad Pitt’s character “If John Doe’s head splits open and a UFO should fly out, I want you to have expected it.” I kind of feel that way about pregnancy at this point. The third trimester can be pretty rough. It seems like every week brings a new way for my body to work against me. It’s like “Oh yeah, your arm fell off, totally normal part of pregnancy, you didn’t know?”  There are so many things you have no idea are a normal part of pregnancy that can just pop up and make you more uncomfortable. I won’t go into it here, but one symptom is driving me nuts right now, its gross and weird and I had no idea it was something pregnant women were prone to, until I got pregnant! (If you are curious you can message me I don’t mind talking about it, but I don’t know who all reads this and it wouldn’t be ladylike to discuss with just anyone). These things just seem to pile up too, aches and pains, heartburn, shortness of breath, charlie horses and on and on. Somehow it helps when I can understand why it probably happens. I had this awful cold last week for example, worst cold I have ever had, it is still hanging on a bit. Anyway, just finding out that it was so bad probably because my immune system is compromised by the pregnancy somehow helped. Your first pregnancy there just seems to be so much you have no idea about! I am sure it wasn’t always like this, or in other cultures it probably isn’t like this, but pregnancy and child rearing just aren’t as public as they should be in our society. I think it all should seem a lot more natural than it does to most first time American Moms, but a lot of us just seem to have to be surprised by so many things and read about things on the internet we should have grown up seeing and hearing about through women around us. That’s my opinion anyway.

I’m almost there though! I really am! 19 more workdays before I am a full time Mom (unless she comes early!).  I certainly don’t regret any of it, she is pretty big now so I feel her a lot, along with braxton hicks contractions like all the time. Pretty insane that my uterus was once this tiny thing and now covers my whole belly and holds a nearly to term child. Equally crazy that I will lose like 20 pounds in a matter of seconds soon!

I just need enough energy to do a few more things. Get the hospital bags packed, car seat in the car, finish baby’s room and the neverending laundry parade! I mean I can’t believe how many things I need to wash for this girl and she has gotten nothing dirty!!! Getting the last few things she really needs together, and thanks to grandpa Don and Libby will get her crib and changing table set up soon!

I am looking forward to that last burst of nesting energy, because recently I haven’t had any at all. I feel like such a big lump, I feel bad for David, sometimes I make dinner sometimes I just hate the thought, half the time I am not hungry in the slightest, my appetite is really weird. He is really busy so he is out a lot, but when he is home I wish I had more energy for him, because I know that after she comes it will be a while before we get a normal kind of routine back as well. We will survive and we will have a baby soon! We both wish she was here so much!

pregnant and sick- that ain’t right!

Staying home with what I think is just a really bad cold today. Yesterday afternoon I kind of thought it was getting better, but I think it is just at its worst mornings and evenings. I have a really sore throat, a gross cough, not much of a voice and an occasional earache. I really don’t see why pregnant women are not exempt from such travails? I have an OB visit (one every week from here until D-Day) so if it is anything more hopefully they will catch it. It’s an inservice day at work, so I don’t feel  bad because they don’t have to worry about finding me a sub or anything, and frankly with 4 weeks of work left most of what will happen in the afternoon meetings will probably not really apply to me, so I thought some extra rest would be more productive today. Hopefully I will be back to my old energy filled self soon- oh wait I mean my old pregnant tired self!

Oh well, enough of that. There is a lot going on on the pregnant front lately. I am really getting near the end. I wrote about our hospital tour recently. We followed that up with our first of two Lamaze classes. I really liked it. I always thought the birth experience was really universal in some ways, but as I have done reading and listened to people it really isn’t. I am trying to expect the best and stay calm, because I think women that expect the worst and freak out experience a lot more actual pain. I mean we are dealing with muscles here, so if you tense them up and work against what your body is doing it makes sense it will hurt worse. Childbirth in a lot of other cultures is way less traumatic than it is made out to be in ours and consequently women just don’t seem to have as much pain as American women. A lot of it really seems to be a mental game.  Even here in our own culture, different women have really different experiences as far as how manageable they thought the pain was. I have a supportive husband and doula so I am hoping for the best!

One more Lamaze class to go, meet with our doula again, and of course OB visits once a week, but things are really getting checked off the list and pretty soon I know it will be showtime! There is still stuff to be done, I have a lot more reading I would like to get done for one thing. Though I admit I am kind of getting burnt out, there are just so many different things to try and learn about, birth, breastfeeding, infant care, general child rearing, it’s a lot. I am getting to the point I just want her to come and we will sort everything out along the way! I think we have all the big baby things that we need, crib is on its way, I have a little bassinet type thing for the very beginning (and if she comes so early the crib isn’t put together) car seat (which we need to practice with and put in the car) strollers. She has plenty of little clothes for the beginning I think. Just some odds and ends. I am accumulating the cloth diapers and will need to wash those at least 3 times before she can use them! I feel like I am always doing laundry washing her little things and folding them, and she isn’t even getting anything dirty yet!  Things really are coming together, I just need to get diapers in order and get her room actually put together, but in general things are ready I suppose, and worse comes to worse some of this could totally be done after she gets here anyway 🙂

I had my long distance baby shower with out of state family and friends. It was a lot of fun, heard some voices I hadn’t heard in years! Got some really great stuff for Leia too! I am so excited to use my new diaper bags, David’s Mom and sister got me one for summer and one for fall and they are very stylish. I also got Leia’s crib bedding! Another thing that makes me feel like things are coming together somehow. I got a Moby wrap to get started on my baby wearing journey! Loads of cute clothes, including a very special Lost onsie from my Mom and just so many wonderful and useful things (like some cloth diapers)!  So all in all I am feeling more and more ready (and then sometimes I don’t feel ready at all lol!).

Hollywood baby

Went to take our tour of Kaiser Sunset’s maternity ward today. Driving to the hospital I started thinking how weird it is that my first child will be born in Hollywood. I don’t think I ever thought she would be born in the midwest, but I know I never would have thought I would start my family right in the heart of LA. Right across from the hospital is a huge bright purple Scientology building too, I mean huge and PURPLE! For this midwestern girl it all seems a bit too la la land.

Literally though, just as this thought crossed my mind and I passed the purple and silver John Travolta church, Chris Tomlin’s “God of this city” suddenly came on the radio.  First line “You’re the God of this city”… It was great, I think it was meant to remind me that Leia Juliet and her Mom and Dad are exactly where God wants them, which is the very best place to be! If you are not familiar with the song and are curious- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d61LamkXfwk

As for the hospital, it really looks nice. I love the fact that all the rooms are private. FYI no visiting hours because all the rooms are private, so if you are around and want to stop by the time is very flexible 🙂  Though, assuming everything is normal and I don’t have a C section I will only be there for around 24 hours. I had a list of questions (mostly taken from “My Best birth”) and they were really all answered satisfactorily. My other favorite thing is that Kaiser is really big on baby with Mom as soon as she is born and not taken from Mom while they are in the hospital. I get a visit with the lactation consultant before I leave and then I think one a few days after we are home too.  They kept talking about making me walk around, they have a nice garden for walking, they have bars (birthing bars for squatting, not the kind with liquor of course!) and big showers in the labor room. I just hope my doctors and nurses will really listen when I want to move around and stuff.Both my doctor and the nurse on the tour said it will just depend on my individual situation and doctor overseeing my case at the time. I am prepared to be proactive about it if I need to I think!  Ireally hope that my time in labor and delivery is mostly the end part of my labor and not all the early slow part anyway.

Part of me really kind of wanted my water to break right then and there, I mean why make another trip? I was feeling so tired on the walking tour and stiff and getting braxton hicks contractions (I get then a lot now).  Of course, car seat isn’t in the car yet! I just can’t wait to have my baby out and in my arms, so ready to start the real adventure! All the preparations are kind of getting a little old. I have become convinced pregnancy is really my full time job and my full time teaching job is just something I have to fit in on the side.  The classes, tours, and now weekly doctors visits, plus all the books to read, room to get ready, and then the total take over of my physical body and energy are just a lot lately! It is kind of like when I was getting married, I just wasn’t the girl who spent years cutting out pics of wedding gowns and wanted to sample a millions cakes and what not, I wanted to get married to David! Way more excited about the marriage than the wedding, and I definitely feel that way now, I want my baby, I want to graft her into our life and whatever isn’t done before she comes can be done later 🙂

Just a few more weeks, just a few more weeks….

Climbing Mt. Third Trimester

I have heard a womans body at rest in the third trimester is in some ways working harder than a non pregnant body while mountain climbing, it just isn’t as visible. My body is using more oxygen, heart working to pump more blood, and wow am I feeling it lately.  I have been fascinated by the lengths people go to to climb things like Mt. Everest, and loved to watch documentaries on the subject, now I am kind of like “meh, try being pregnant buddy”.

I feel so ridiculous some days, sometimes things as simple as getting dressed or rolling over in bed makes me so out of breath. My morning walks with my dog feel like 5k runs! Some days are definitely better than others, but the last couple of days I just feel like collapsing when I get home from work. I keep hoping the baby will drop down or something so I can BREATHE and also get a break from the heartburn. I am just really tired of feeling like everything is squished together in there.  Days when I really can’t get my breath are so frustrating. Isn’t so much of labor about breathing too?

I kind of wonder why it is like this, I know you are supposed to get this weird burst of nesting energy right before labor, why can’t it be like that all through the third trimester? I have things I want to do. Then I think, aah what if I go into labor really early or for some reason or get stuck on bedrest near the end, what will become of my mental to do list of things I am to tired to do now? Oh well, I know there is a lesson in my weakness.Maybe pregnancy should be about learning how to rest, because frankly there are times when you have no choice. So I can rebel and lay around in a bad mood, or I can rejoice and use those times to practice resting in God, and also it should help me let go of worrying about things that don’t really matter in the long run, seeing the difference between things that are urgent and things that really are not. That will be important as a full time Mom, there are so many mundane household items you have to manage, but as important as it is to be busy at home, those things have to be put into perspective in the face of the needs of your kids and husband too.  Plus, self care, a big stumbling block for women I think, is especially important during pregnancy, but important when you are trying to serve your family  on a daily basis too. So I will keep my bubble baths going over the next few weeks to be sure.

Momentum is continuing though, despite the fact that it is March, a long month with no holidays to speak of. I have a personal day Thursday and we will take our hospital maternity ward tour, then Friday another birthing class, this one involved pillows and learning different birthing positions. Then Saturday my “long distance virtual shower” with friends and fam who are out of state 🙂 And only 28 more actual work days for me before I am officially a full time Mom! (Why does that not feel like a short time at the moment? It feels more like an endurance test right now.) Unless of course Leia comes early, I hit 34 weeks Friday, if I start going into labor my doctor says they will probably just let it happen at that point! I am sure that won’t be the case and I am trying to mentally gear up for April 15th to come and go with no baby, but still the thought that it could happen is something.