Tag Archives: pregnancy

A Letter to My Third Child 

This is a post I wrote a few weeks before D was born. It was up on Mom Babble for a while, and I only just remembered I hadn’t ever published it here. It’s such a sweet memory for me, especially now that he’s 16 months old, running around, beginning to talk, and generally being more self-sufficient than my other two were at this point in their lives. It’s sweet to think of the anticipation I was feeling when he wasn’t quite here yet. I hope you enjoy it.

My sweet little D,

I’m getting really excited for you to get here. There are just nine weeks left until you’re due to arrive, and I already wish I could just see you next week. Mostly, I’m excited to meet you, see what you look like, and introduce you to your crazy siblings. Also I’m getting uncomfortable, peeing all the time, and sleeping less than ever. But mostly I want to meet you.

I know you’ve been in my womb, hearing the squeals and shouts and cries and songs of your family. We may be a loud bunch, but we’re a good one, too. We love big, and we show it often. When you get out here, you’re going to feel the love from all the kisses and hugs you get from all of us. You might also get a love tap or seven from J, but it’s just because he can’t wait for you to be big enough to wrestle him. EK will probably want to choose your outfits and give you bottles and push you in the stroller. I promise to help you look like the boy that you are instead of a princess, and only let her push you fast once you can handle it.

You gave us a scare, when you were just the size of a lime. I took some tests that made us think you weren’t healthy, that you might not make it. Well, you sure showed us! We should have had faith in you and in God, and known that you would be fine. But we had a couple of hard, sad weeks, praying for your safety. You were loved, prayed for, and longed for, even then. We can’t describe how much more you are right now, and how much more you will be once you’re in our arms.

I am sure you will be every bit as amazing as your dad and your siblings. Strong, smart, handsome, musical, hilarious, snuggly, and compassionate… those are things you’ve got going for you. I know it must seem like a tall order to such a little dude, but you’ve got a little while to grow into it.

I hope you don’t mind sharing all those things (and all the other things ever) with your siblings. You’ve got quite a bit of third-hand clothing and toys, in various stages of worn-in. But you know what? There is one thing that you get brand new, just for you, that you never have to share with anyone:

My love.

You see, I have a lot of love. There is plenty to go around. I’ve got a special love for your Dad, that only he knows about. I’ve got a love for EK that’s just for her, shared between this Mommy and her daughter. I’ve got a love for J that will also be different than my love for you; he is a special guy. The love that I have for you will be a special thing that you and I will share. The love I have for exactly you will be special between us, and it will never run out or grow weary. I get all my love from the most inexhaustible source imaginable; I get all my love from Jesus. One day, you will know Him too. You can already have His love – everyone has it. He loves us all with a big, awesome love that we can hardly understand.

Always remember: you’re brave, smart and kind, you can do anything you set your mind to, and I will always love you.

Love,
Mama

Things I Forgot About Labor Till I Saw It From the Sidelines

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus

A couple of weeks ago, I was given the privilege of being in the hospital with my best friend and her husband as she labored and they prepared to meet their little girl. I don’t know how helpful I was – mostly cracking jokes to relieve tension and trying to find something good on TV – but I truly enjoyed being there, and experiencing labor from the sidelines. It’s a little different when you’re not the one in pain. There are a few things I totally forgot about, even having done it three times. I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten about these things…

The shakes and the itching. Epidurals, and just plain ol’ high pain levels can cause crazy side effects. Thanks universe, the pain wasn’t bad enough without itchy feet and shaky hands.

The waiting. As if you haven’t had enough waiting for things during your entire pregnancy, it just multiples in the labor and delivery ward. It is so BORING when you’re waiting to dilate, waiting for the next time you’re getting checked, waiting for the medicine to kick in, waiting for the next contraction, waiting to finally start pushing… The waiting seems to never end.

The endless flow of Coca-Cola. After trying for nine months to cut out most of your caffeine, stay hydrated, and be as healthy as possible, the labor nurses come in with Coke after Coke after Coke… and the most perfect little pellets of ice… it’s glorious.

The crappy TV. If you’ve labored late during or through the night, you know that the only thing on TV to distract you is pure crap. Nothing but low-budget infomercials and strange, B-list celebrity reality shows happen between midnight and the 5 o’clock news.

The mindless banter. Nurses come in to check on you, and you answer questions, maybe crack a joke. Whoever is in the room with you – spouse, friend, etc – mentions random things from their Facebook newsfeeds or funny stories that pop into their heads. Your doctor comes in to see how you’re doing, and you make small talk about the same thing every time they come in. It’s purely to be polite, when you’d really just like to be left alone.

When your bladder is empty, your contractions don’t seem as bad. I still don’t fully know the science behind it, but contractions are SO much worse when your bladder is full. So after your third Coke, just go ahead and have them empty your bladder for you. It’ll help – really.

The inability to be still. You get to a certain point in your labor when the epidural isn’t doing much, and your body wants to push, but they say you aren’t ready yet. This leads to wanting to hop off the bed and do jumping jacks until the baby comes out. That’s a little unrealistic, of course, so you resort to squirming on the bed, nervous for the next contraction, but also wanting them to come more quickly and get the process over with.

Labor is a beautiful process, because at the end, you’ve added a bundle of joy to your family. But whether they’re things etched in your memory forever, or things that get glossed over in your mind the older your baby gets, the labor process is full of all those little moments – some sweet, some funny, and some just plain miserable – that make up your entire experience.

Top Posts of 2015

Well, 2015 was a landmark year for me as a writer. I was published on three sites other than my own, and even paid for my work! That’s something that I never thought would happen, and I’m so proud of myself, if I’m allowed a little pat on the back.

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So, in honor of a successful year of writing, AND because tons of my blogger friends were doing this, here are my top five posts from 2015! Thanks for reading, commenting, sharing your lives, caring about mine, and contributing to my success!

Things I’ve Heard at 33 Weeks Pregnant – a hilarious account of all the things that strangers tell you when you’re very obviously pregnant.

10 Tips for Soon-to-Be Moms – a first installment of a series (the second is here!) of tips and tricks for moms, soon-to-be moms, and friends of moms.

Why I Decided to Stop Breastfeeding (and You Can, Too) – my breastfeeding journey with D

Accidental Announcement – that one time I told y’all I was pregnant, but I didn’t mean to.

An Open Letter to Friends Who Don’t Invite Me to Stuff Just Because I Have Kids – because I have feelings, and I still want to hang out!

What were your favorite posts of the year?

Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day

My story is one of redemption. It’s a story of loss, of sadness, of time passing very slowly… and a story of the sweetest redemption I could’ve asked for.

After I had my daughter, Hubby and I didn’t wait to get pregnant again. We didn’t try necessarily, but we knew we wanted another, so we just waited it out. When EK was almost 11 months old, we found out we were pregnant again! How quickly you grow attached to the little one in your womb. Just the idea of that baby was the most wonderful thought in my head day in and day out. But two weeks later, I was feeling terrible and crampy, and started bleeding. By the time I got into the doctor’s office for an ultrasound, it was already clear I was losing the baby. Hubby was leaving town, I had to work, and I didn’t have time to properly mourn. I couldn’t believe it had ended so quickly and quietly. Or was I glad it had ended that way, instead of further along and with more to-do? I don’t know.

But after three months of waiting to try again, of being sad every time I even thought about babies… I was chatting with some girlfriends, asking how much longer it should be before I could move on and try again. I was startled, taken aback by the question. The subject had been a little taboo, or else people hadn’t even known about it. So when I got my calendar out, counted up weeks… I realized it had been plenty long enough to have started again and been trying.

When I got home, I took a test that had been waiting in the bottom of my bathroom drawer, awaiting just such an occasion as this uncertainty. I waited with bated breath… and when I finally looked at it, two bold, pink lines were showing.

Positive.

Positively pregnant.

I could barely believe what I was seeing. I somehow had ovulated and conceived without any sign. I was baffled, and still thought it was a mistake. Could the pregnancy hormones have hung around this long? Could it somehow be a false positive, staring back, taunting me?

It wasn’t.

My grief dissipated, and my heart hung on to this new little one… who is now 21 months old, my sweet Joseph. I know that this isn’t always the happy ending parents get after losing a baby. I know that the grief is more intense the longer the pregnancy and older the baby. I know that multiple losses cause more and more pain. But there can be redemption in the midst, and joy in the morning. It may not be identical to my redemption… but it will come.

Infant and pregnancy loss are real, folks. And they are truly tragedies, spoken and unspoken. Remember those who have lost little ones, big ones, tiny ones, and grown ones. It’s never easy to lose a child. Hug someone’s neck or send a note to say you remember. It will go a long way.

This post is in honor of infant and pregnancy loss awareness day (October 15) and month (October) in 2015.

Things I Missed While I Was Pregnant

  
When you become pregnant, it’s a fun secret. You don’t tell everyone right away, and sneaky moments alone with your spouse or your best friend might be the only time you get to dish about how you’re feeling, how excited you are, or things you’re planning for the pregnancy/baby. Then, you’re able to tell everyone. It’s still really exciting, the excitement outweighs the trepidation certainly, and you’re seeing the world through those famous rose-colored glasses. However, once you’ve been following your specialized diet for a while, once you’ve gotten pretty big, and once you’re just plain ready for the baby to arrive, you are, as you might say, “over” being pregnant. Not over having a baby, but over your size, your restrictions, and the waiting game. Here are a few things that I miss when I’m pregnant:

Running. I’m not a hardcore runner, but I do love it. I don’t run terribly long distances – the farthest I’ve ever run at once is a 10k – but I miss being able to run farther than the top to the bottom of the playground slide. I know some women keep it up throughout their pregnancies, but I was feeling too yucky at the beginning of this past pregnancy to keep it up for long. Therefore, it’s been months since I’ve been on a nice, long, mood-uplifting run. I’ll be glad to get to my six-week check up and get cleared to exercise again! 

Alcohol. Specifically, wine. More specifically, Prosecco. That’s my drink of choice on any given occasion. Especially during the summer, when it’s hot and I want a cool, bubbly glass of something. And on the list of diet restrictions, let’s just leave tuna and sushi right here. I’ve already had those things several times since my delivery a week and a half ago…

Reaching my toes. It’s a bit laboring to see my toes for the last couple of months, much less be able to cut my toenails or (are you kidding?!) paint them. And because this past one was my third baby, it was almost impossible to find a time to go get them done, so I was stuck with scraggly-looking toenails. You’re welcome for that image.

Having an entire wardrobe. This may sound superficial, but here’s the deal. I’m just not going to buy tons of maternity clothes. First off, they’re pretty expensive, and you’re only wearing them for a handful of months. Secondly, to really have them fit you correctly (or as well as they can), you’d need to get a set of clothes for the first half of your pregnancy where you’re out of your regular clothes but not enormous, and a second set for the rest, when you truly are… enormous. Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

Sleeping on my stomach. I’m a stomach sleeper if I have the choice. I love being flat on my belly to sleep, with my squished-flat, down pillow. Obviously I lost the ability to do that months ago, even if I was going to ignore the “sleep on your left side” advice. I also know from experience it’ll be a few more weeks before I get that back, because my boobs are engorged and leaky and I don’t want to lay on them. You’re welcome for that image, as well.

Breathing normally. Y’all, I took for granted how easy it was just to breathe. Towards the end of the pregnancy, it was so difficult sometimes that I actually had to change positions just to do it. The only time I was super comfortable was when I was standing (you know, for the first two minutes) or laying down. There wasn’t really a seated position that worked for me for very long.

Going through a store without anyone talking to me. I know this sounds selfish, but every time I went to the grocery store, to drop my car off at the shop, or (God forbid) into Babies R Us, everyone was all up in my business. When am I due? How am I feeling? How far along am I? Is it my first baby? Am I worried my water’s going to break on the way home? Do I think this third baby is going to fall right out? (I am totally serious.) I love people, and I love talking. But I feel like I pretty much exhausted this subject with every stranger I met.

What are some things you missed while you were pregnant? Are you missing them right now?

The Hospital Bag

When preparing to have a baby, there are tons of things you must do. On your to-do list, packing a hospital bag should be towards the top during your third trimester. However, I’ve procrastinated like a pro. Here I am at 38 weeks today, and I’ve only just done it. Oh well. In my experience, I’ve over-packed both of the last times, so this time, I chose a smaller bag, and tried to really pare down what I’m bringing with me. We live only a couple of miles from the hospital, and I know Hubby will be going back and forth a lot because the kids will be at home and will need him to be around since I won’t be. If I forget anything, I’ll have him bring it to me, right?

Here’s the bag I chose. It was a gift from a friend a while back, and I LOVE it. It’s adorable and it’s Lilly Pulitzer. Total win.

 

One important thing to pack for is self-care. It’s dry in hospitals, so I’ve got lotion and chapstick. I’ve got oral care (I HATE having yucky teeth), hair pins/band, and I need contacts to see! I’ll also pack my face wash, deodorant, and glasses at the last minute, since I’ll be using those up until that time.

Now for a few things for baby D… Like these swaddles! The hospital blankets are totally fine, but my kids picked out these “choo choo” swaddles for their brother, and I know they’ll love to see him in them when they meet him. (And obviously they’re Aden & Anais, because those are the best.)

Newborn fingernails tend to be scratchy, so I always bring a few pairs of mittens so he doesn’t scratch himself! (I like these Gerber ones better than some of the Carter’s ones I have, simply because they stay on the tiniest wrists a little better. The Carter’s ones are good for when baby starts to get chunky!)

For clothes, I like these shirts that I call “kimono” shirts… they wrap about baby so you don’t have to pull anything over their heads.  (Pictured: Gerber’s and Carter’s. They’re both favorites.)

Gowns are a MUST for newborns, because they’re easy access for the all-the-time diaper changes. (Pictured: both from Carter’s… one stretchy one-piece, and one zip-up. I also have a couple Three Marthas brand that I like just as much.)

And for a “going home” outfit, I chose this adorable little rainbow duck outfit. It was a gift from a sweet mama in Maryland who got my name in a “mystery mama” project. She sent me gifts for three months, and this was one of them! Thanks, Ashley!  

For lounge and nursing attire, I packed a couple of nursing bras/tank tops (different sizes, since I won’t know exactly how big/small I’ll be in that first couple of days, my favorite thin robe, and a nursing cover. All comfortable, all easy-access while I’m still in the hospital.(Not pictured: my favorite high school volleyball shorts. Loose and comfy!)

Things to do… my Kindle (Maze Runner currently on deck) and Phase 10 to play with Hubby. During labor, there can be some time that you’re not “doing” much… just playing the waiting game. After baby gets there, when there aren’t any visitors and baby is nursing ALL THE TIME, you might want some reading material if you’re like me.

There aren’t many more things that will get added after these. Probably a bottle of water, a Luna bar or two, and I’ll bring my pillow. Otherwise, I’ll have the clothes on my back and whatever I beg someone to bring me later. You just don’t need that much. Everything for baby will be provided, as well as everything you need as a newly-delivered mother. I’m all about using (and gathering for take-home) anything and everything the hospital will provide: diapers, wipes, nose sucker, measuring tape (to keep track, of course!), nipple balm, pads, mesh underwear (yeah, I went there), and everything else I could possibly need for my first few days post-partum. Use the resources you have!

What did you pack in your hospital bag? Is there anything I’ve forgotten?

Currently

I’m linking up this week with Becky at Choose Happy for her Currently link-up! If you’ve never joined us, you should! I love reading what everyone is currently up to. What’s going on with you?

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Reading || I actually finished The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton! I’ve been working on it for an embarrassingly long time… but I’m done! I loved it, I just didn’t have much time to be reading. Anyway, I’ve just started the first book in the Maze Runner series. So far, it seems like the Hunger Games or the Divergent series in that it’s a dystopian society and there are a lot of weird things going on. It was on my “recommended books” list from Amazon based on what I’d read, and was rated pretty well. I’ll let you know how it is!

age of innocence

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Watching || The Harry Potter movies! We finally got them out of storage and are watching them! We’ve watched the first two, and my withdrawal is finally satiated. Hopefully we’ll get through the eight movies before the baby gets here, but who knows!

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Loving || the new tile in our bathroom! Everything is supposed to be finished and put back together by the end of the week, so naturally I’m really excited to use my own bathroom again. It’s been interesting either going to the hallway bathroom or all the way downstairs (to the newer, nicer one of course!) to do everything, and I’ll be glad to be back in my regular routine… upstairs.


Preparing || our freezer and our nursery! I’ve got everything to make two recipes worth of muffins, and enough frozen fruit to feed 1000 people breakfast smoothies! I wanted to at least have some breakfasts taken care of so that the morning routine with the kids wouldn’t go awry if I could help it. Having a healthy breakfast is a priority for me, and starting the day smoothly helps the rest of the day stay along the same lines. When my kids are throwing their breakfasts in the floor or refusing to eat them (because that obviously happens sometimes – FOR NO REASON AT ALL) it can throw my mood off. I planned for smoothies they love and muffins they devour that are also healthy! I’m excited about it. The nursery is now clear of bathroom stuff (even if our closet isn’t) and has been rearranged. The floor is super clean, the drawers are full of clean clothes, and I even have some diapers! I call that progress! Now if I could pack a hospital bag, I’d really be in business.

I mean, it’s coming along, right?
Messy but it’s happening!

Coveting || this Lily-Jade diaper bag. I saw it on Instagram a while back, and have been looking at it again and again ever since. It’s beautiful, flexible, and well-made, but totally out of my price range. The SALE PRICE is $295 and I just can’t justify it. But it sure is one beautiful bag!

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Celebrating || the Fourth of July! We had a day of eating red, white and blue donuts, and spending time with friends! Not many photos, but it was a good day! We even let the kids stay up for the local fireworks, watched from the elementary school in our neighborhood- the perfect spot!  IMG_1716

This girl loves donuts!
This is J’s only patriotic swag. (Sorry Hubby, for posting this photo bomb, but I was only trying to get the photo of J!)
If you’ve got a couple of toddlers, you know how tough it is to get a family photo!
The only photo from the fireworks… J sleepily snuggling my friend Lauren and loving his glow sticks! They are a must for fireworks, am I right?

Well, we’ve had a busy week, and things just keep getting busier as we prepare for our little guy! What has been going on with you? What are you preparing for? Link up and join us!