Pregnancy Update

A couple of nights ago, I spent some time going through my old blog posts from my pregnancy with Riley. That was when I first started blogging, and I would do weekly updates on how my pregnancy was progressing.

I haven’t done that at all during this pregnancy. I think there are a few reasons for that:

(1) I think you just tend to do stuff like that more during your first pregnancy. When we were pregnant with Riley, we had plans for the color and design of her nursery, and had it all set up a couple months before she arrived! With this one, well let’s see… we have his clothes hanging in the closet? That’s about it! There are no nursery plans or decorating ideas. I guess he will just sleep in our room until he is sleeping through the night, and then he will share a room with his big sister. At that point, maybe we’ll change some of the decor?

I think the same thing goes for blogging. When I was pregnant with Riley, my whole world pretty much revolved around that one thing (my pregnancy). I was constantly consumed with it. When you have other kids though, your life is consumed by other things (those “things” being kids). You are just distracted. And I’m sure it is more like that with each kid you have. You don’t love them any less, of course, you’re just busy parenting! My mom said that she has a very detailed Baby Book for me from when I was born. It even includes clippings of hair from my first haircut! I was the firstborn. My sister has a little bit less in her baby book, and my brother (the 3rd born) has a Baby Book but… nothing in it. 😉

(2) In my first pregnancy, not only was I consumed by thinking about it all the time, but I assumed other people wanted to know all about it too. Maybe they did! Or at least a few people (Hi Mom, Grammy, and Anne!). But this time around…eh, I don’t think people really care much what kind of fruit he is the size of or what symptoms I’m having. So I haven’t felt compelled to document them.

(3) This pregnancy with our Rainbow Baby happened very quickly after our loss. So it has been a different pregnancy, having to navigate it while still grieving the loss of our baby before this one. For a while I felt a little guilty for rejoicing in this pregnancy, since it was right after my loss. It felt like it would in some way invalidate my sorrow over losing Salem or would devalue his short life in some way. It probably wasn’t until our 20 week ultrasound when we found out we are having a boy that I was actually able to let myself get excited and plan as if this is really happening. After our loss, there was a lot of fear in this pregnancy. I didn’t want to get too excited about weekly updates or developments, because I knew all too well that there are no guarantees, and I wanted to protect my heart in some way. Also because of our loss, I wanted to be careful about what I post publicly. I know how difficult it is to be a woman struggling in some area of fertility and to be bombarded by social media updates with all of the healthy pregnancies. I still want to be very sensitive to that.

ALL of that being said, when I read my pregnancy updates from my first pregnancy, I felt a little sad that I haven’t documented this one at all. There was something really cool for me about going back and reminiscing, and it also was helpful being able to compare that pregnancy to this one. I realized that I want to have SOMETHING to look back on to remind me about this time when I carried our son inside of me.

So here it is. I figured I would just do 1 big summary post of this pregnancy:

1st Trimester: My “tired” trimester (actually, that hasn’t really changed in any of the other trimesters!). I remember a friend telling me that once you already have a toddler, you don’t really get relief from the exhaustion you feel in pregnancy like you did when 2nd trimester hit in your first pregnancy, and boy has that been true for me! But first trimester was definitely the most tiring for me. I napped every day, was ready for bed by 9/9:30 pm, and STILL felt like I could sleep for days straight! I was definitely nauseous throughout my 1st trimester, but it was not nearly as bad as the nausea I experienced in my first pregnancy with Riley, and I never got sick from it. It was just kind of a constant, underlying wave of nausea that wasn’t enough to make me throw up or unable to function, but it did just make the day- to- day feel slightly miserable. I had a lot of food aversions, just like my first pregnancy. I had an aversion to coffee, to meat, to vegetables, and peanut butter – which is interesting since peanut butter then became one of my strongest cravings throughout the 2nd and 3rd trimester! All that ever sounded good to eat was carbs and cheese, which is ironic considering it wasn’t too long before this pregnancy that I had cut gluten and dairy out of my diet for awhile. I pretty much started eating the exact opposite of that. I ate a lot of biscuits, bagels, mac & cheese and cereal. Hmm, it is really a mystery where those 10 lbs I gained in first trimester came from… 😉

2nd Trimester: My “emotional” trimester. Thankfully once 2nd trimester hit, my food aversions and nausea disappeared. I was able to start eating healthy again, start drinking coffee again (super helpful when you’re a toddler mama!), and exercising more regularly. I actually lost 4 lbs at the beginning of 2nd trimester, which my doctor had told me might happen if my food aversions disappeared and I started to eat a little better. So physically, 2nd trimester was just as glamorous as they say it is, and very similar to my 2nd trimester with Riley. However, one thing that was different and difficult in this pregnancy was how crazy emotional I was! I cried so much through 2nd trimester. I really wrestled with depression. I shut down. I started to shut out God, Jordan, and my community in small ways. I wasn’t a very good friend. I just kind of wanted to resort into myself and indulge in my sadness. I struggled to be an intentional mother to Riley.

It was during 2nd trimester that we passed Salem’s due date, so I’m sure that had something to do with it. It was also during 2nd trimester that Jordan hit a really crazy season of ministry and was pretty burnt out. I felt alone and exhausted and cried all the time. As a matter of fact, when I wasn’t crying, Riley would say (over and over again), “Mama all done cry! Mama happy now!” and it would just break my heart. It really made me worried about having a 2nd child to take care of soon and made me wonder if I would have postpartum depression.

Strangely though, this all disappeared once 3rd trimester hit. I don’t really understand that, but I’m thankful! I would much rather be physically uncomfortable than emotionally distraught like that. Hormones… they are some crazy things!

3rd Trimester: My “everything hurts and I’m dying” trimester. I remember my 3rd trimester with Riley was difficult and uncomfortable. For some reason though, I really thought I was going to escape that this pregnancy! I think because I have remained active throughout my pregnancy, have eaten healthier (well… for the most part), and haven’t gained as much weight – I just assumed that I would be more physically capable and in less pain. NOPE. No such luck on that one. Pretty much once 32 weeks hit (I’m 35 weeks now) all sorts of aches and pains have started sneaking up on me. Low blood pressure/circulation issues, getting Charlie horses in my calves at night, hip pain, back pain, pins & needles in my arms, heartburn, ligament pain, pelvic pain & pressure, “lightening crotch” (umm, OUCH! I mean really. It feels like Baby boy has a knife and is just driving it into my pelvis. When it happens in public, I’m sure everyone thinks I’m in labor!), swollen feet, trouble sleeping. Again, I would still prefer this to the emotional mess I was in 2nd trimester! And I’m super thankful, because Baby Boy is growing and healthy and I would endure any amount of physical discomfort for that to be the case. But still, it’s challenging. You really forget how challenging pregnancy can be until you go through it again. I had told Jordan a couple of months ago that I wanted to keep my part of the gym membership through December because I wanted to workout until the very end of my pregnancy. Umm… haha. We’ll see how that goes! I’m still trying to workout, but it’s happening much less frequently and sometimes I just can’t do it (last weekend I only lasted 6 minutes on the eliptical because it was so painful). At this point I’ve gained 33 lbs, which is encouraging to me because at this point in my pregnancy with Riley I had gained 50! But that doesn’t change the fact that I still feel about as big as a whale. This was a conversation I had with Riley a couple of days ago:

Me: I feel like a whale! Do I look like a whale?
Riley: (looks at me) Yes.

🙂

You’ve got to love the honesty of a toddler. But seriously, even 33 lbs is a lot of extra weight when you’re only 5’1″ and most of it is carried out front. I have been daydreaming about what it would be like if our condo was like an indoor pool – filled with warm water, and I could just swim from room to room. It sounds amazing! There is a reason that whales don’t walk around on land, and it’s not just because of oxygen (in my opinion).

I’ve also hit a major grumpy phase. Poor Jordan. I’m sure he’s counting down the days as much as I am! I just feel so irritable and uncomfortable, and unfortunately he bears the brunt of it.

But we are SO close! I cannot wait to meet this little person that is growing inside of me, practicing his kickboxing right now as I type. Now that I know how sweet and incredible it is to have a child, I could not be more excited! I will say, I have struggled to bond with him as much as I felt like I bonded with Riley during pregnancy. I’ve heard that is very normal after experiencing the loss of a baby, and even with a second or third child. Even so, I love him so much already and I know that once I hold him in my arms, my whole world will change. In the best way! I have a feeling that I am going to be particularly attached to this little guy, and will probably have a hard time letting him out of my arms or out of my sight.

I look forward to sharing his birth story in the (hopefully) near future!

Here are some pics of the little guy, and the growing bump (and please excuse the messy room behind me in some of the bump pics! This is reality folks.  I didn’t stage the pictures, but now I realize that maybe I should have!):

Baby Son at 20 Weeks - I think he's cute already!

Baby Son at 20 Weeks – I think he’s cute already!

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KM.

The Big Rocks

Recently Jordan and I have felt pretty weary. Or maybe we’ve felt that way this whole past year. I’m too tired to think much past today, but I think that’s right. I think we’ve felt this way all year.

Perhaps it’s the fact that we kicked the year off with the loss of our second baby. Maybe it’s that being in full time ministry (and trying to balance it with a healthy family life) is just plain out tiring. Maybe it’s that I’ve been pregnant for much of the year, which makes normal life more difficult for me and puts more on Jordan. It could be that we’ve felt a lack of community for awhile, or that money is tight or that there just always seems to be 203984930 random life tasks on the to-do list that pile up and never get done.

Whatever combination of reasons, this season has been a weary one.

I know that sometimes it can get annoying when Christians over-use that phrase. I’m in a “season” of this or a “season” of that. What I love about that phrase, however, is the perspective that it shines on my life. Seasons come and go. They are temporary, but you can count on them coming. Each season has it’s misery and it’s glory.

For example, I hate the heat and humidity of the summer here in North Carolina. But I love to go to the pool, the lake, the beach, and on family vacation – all of which happen in the summer! I hate how I get sick all the time in the fall.  But wouldn’t it be tragic if I didn’t take time to appreciate the leaves and the crisp air and the fun fashion trends of the season? I think so. Winter is cold and barren, but with it comes slipper socks, cozy blankets, fires going in the fireplace, and the comforting smells, sounds, and ambiance of the Christmas season! Spring brings awful allergies, but also the beauty of flowers and grass in bloom and the amazing 60-70 degree temps!

If there is one thing we can be certain of in life, it’s that there will always be seasons. Seasons of joy and rest, life and energy.  Seasons of pain and grief, death and exhaustion. Every season is meaningful. Every season shapes us in new ways. And every season offers us the invitation to know God more, to rely on Him, and to make Him our greatest desire.

I don’t want to simply “get through” this season and miss what it may have to offer me. I don’t want to miss the beautiful and sweet things that God has placed all around me, that are unique to this particular season we are in. I don’t want to miss the things that God is trying to do in our lives and in our hearts. I don’t want to be distracted and discouraged.

A friend gave an analogy recently of filling a bucket. He said if you take a bucket and put some big rocks in it, you will still have some room to fill the bucket. You could put in some smaller stones, and you would still have some room. You could add some sand. Even then, you would probably still have room for water – in order to make the best use of filling that bucket. But let’s say instead of starting out with the big rocks, you start with the water. If you pour water in a bucket, you might be able to add a few small stones, and you might even be able to pour a little bit of sand in too. But you will not have any room for the big rocks.

One of the most difficult things in life is to figure out what the “big rocks” are, and then to orient our lives around those things. If we don’t put them first, then it’s likely they will not fit after all of the other things we let fill our lives.

In this season, I’m afraid Jordan and I have let the water fill the bucket first. There hasn’t been enough room for the big rocks. So we’re going to take some time to identify what exactly those big rocks are. What are the greatest priorities in our life? Time alone with God? Family worship? Community? Getting out of debt? Generosity? Ministry? Hospitality? Financial goals? Me staying home with the kinds?  Me bringing in some income? Exercise? Rest? I’m not sure, but as we figure them out, we are going to try to better orient our life around them.

This has been a difficult season, but we refuse to keep letting it fill our bucket with water that doesn’t leave room for the rocks. I don’t want to miss the riches that are hidden in this particular time in our life. And I know that the sooner we can figure out what our big rocks are and how to orient our life in such a way as to prioritize them, the sooner we can live fully in each new season that our life encounters.

What are your “big rocks” and how have you found ways to shape your life around them?