pregnancy week by week

Hearts of Palm

It’s October 3, and we’ve now bridge the four month mark. According to thebump.com, baby is the size of an artichoke!

I am 18 weeks now and, though still not to the halfway mark, in a weird state.  I have fully embraced this pregnancy, as I have had due knowledge of it for the past 14 weeks, (longer than a trimester). I have crossed finally past the threshold of sickness and dodgy energy levels, only to be met by my growing stomach as the new reminder there is life inside.  I am still able to do everything I want, but having to be mindful of limits due to the size of the one growing in me.

For now, it has still remained hidden from strangers, those who offer up the polite and kind remarks about how they “had no idea I was pregnant”, but it is coming.  Depending on how I fit my shirts, I either appear to be slightly over my normal weight, or growing something artichokey in size at the center of my body. Not a win either way.

I am down to the last few pairs of regular jeans that fit me and know it’s only a matter of time and discomfort before I pull out the elastic bands.  Once I see those, it is a long journey of learning to love them, but there is an undercurrent of a rallying cry with this “one last time”.

By all accounts it’s still summer here, and could be for a while.  But I have a hatred of all but one pair of shorts and few flattering tanks left.  It’s probably time to spring for some maternity clothes but we have such few days left in this season, it seems futile to purchase those of the warm weather variety.  With this baby coming in, so they tell me, early March, I hopefully will be back into “normal” clothes by the time I’m in need of them next summer. So I move through it, ill-fitting clothes bearing witness to my discomfort.

I think we have settled on a name. This is big for us.  A moment of time that I relish, but feel hesitant to embrace this time.  I think because this is my last baby I will name, I feel decelerated by the concept of finality.  Right now, this name is being put through every test I can think of.  Does it fit our mold?  Do I love the meaning?  Will I still like it on a teenager?  Is it edgy enough for us?  Is this good enough for a grand finale?  Do I like it as much as the other girls’ names?

Still I catch myself scanning for birth announcements and ruminating on new names, trying them out in my daydreams for a bit, and on my tongue if they are lucky.  Everything around me has become a potential naming source, a network for helping me cross that final bridge.

I think it’s a good sign that I keep coming back to the one after all of these.  So I will hold onto that thought, close for now.

What I do like about the potential name is that it has multi-layered significant meaning. But that is all I will say for now.  I suppose we will do a name game again at 30 weeks, though it’s going to be tough to think of clues I haven’t already used 3x over!

Sleep has become a contemptuous master and one that I will fight with for the remainder.  I am evermore thankful for a king size bed when I am pregnant.  Each night, I carefully set up my throne with two pillows for my head and a pillow to cushion each side.  That way if I accidentally roll to my stomach or back, I have something soft to protect me from going fully prone.

All of these items must be weightily moved in the middle of the night for my, no less than, four trips to the bathroom.  Getting less than nine hours of sleep also makes for an unwelcome afternoon slump and a day of mentally fighting against laziness.  I have become not only a guardian of my children’s rest, but my own.

I am careful in sitting up now, not wanting to, for lack of better words, blow my abs out on this baby.  It feels silly to use your arms and elbows so much to reach a sitting position, but I hope my protection will pay off in the reward of no diastasis recti.

Every time I am still and restful (which, with three little ones, equals about an hour a day before bed), I feel her little limbs tapping around in my belly.  It still brings a rush of excitement and hope that a tiny, unknown being is alive in there, growing to join our family in about 5 months.

After a stressful or exhausting day, feeling her move gives me a little edge of hope and I’d like to think of this is a small allowance from God to remember his kindness towards us and His control over our lives.  I am still amazed at He how is piecing this storyline together and still waiting with expectation to see how He finishes it.

But for now, this feels a good place to be.

-smk

Just peachy

As much to your shock as mine, we have ended the first trimester and moved on to trimester two with our little surprise!

On Saturday I turned 14 weeks, and baby is now the size of a peach.  A peach!  I truly can’t believe sometimes how fast this is going or really that I have another thing inside of me that’s growing so exponentially every week.

She is, however, starting to make her presence known as I am starting to feel the earliest flutters and kicks that remind me of her wakeful status.  It seems early to detect movement, but my placenta is not in the front this time (as it was for Sib and MG), so I am able to feel a little more freely in the front.  Plus, being a mom four times over means you just know when you start to feel them. It’s the same ingrained feeling as when you feel that first wave of morning sickness and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt you are pregnant.

I said in my last few posts that a few things about this pregnancy have been different, but many things similar.  My nausea is starting to fade, other than resurfacing in the evening, usually around bedtime.  My energy still greatly wanes in the afternoon, and sometimes a nap is required to get through the day, but still, greatly better than the days of just wanting to stay in bed all day long.  My appetite is still largely present and probably will remain so until the very end.  If I don’t get lunch right on time, the queasiness resurfaces and my whole body lets me know it.

My cravings this time around have been very consistent with the past: cheese, carbs, sour candy, water (my thirst has been off the charts).  Aversions include: some meat, vegetables, and some sweets. Often, I crave slushies or sour candy and water in an effort to slay what feels like an impossible thirst to quench.  Cheese always sounds good to me, and many lunches were made out of grilled cheese and some kind of smooth soup throughout the first trimester.

One major difference in this pregnancy has been that I have kept up with my running.  In the past, running made me feel very out of breath and light headed, but this time it has been different.  Now don’t get me wrong, I went from running 100% of my runs, to about 75%, and now down to 50% (stopping to walk when I feel overheated or heartbeat too high), but it still feels like a great accomplishment and I hope to keep going for as long as I can.

Another thing that has felt different is the way the doctors and nursing staff treats you when it’s your fourth baby.  The approach seems to be more hands-off and respectful of my past. This is something I craved with the first pregnancies, but only just now earned.  Hopefully, this pregnancy will be as smooth and uneventful as my last ones.

This first trimester has brought a lot of decisions too.  We had to find a new doctor down here, and decide where to deliver.  My main criteria with the hospital was somewhere close (i.e. not an hour away this time), and one that had laboring tubs.  That narrowed the list down to two.  Of these two, I was able to choose based on the doctor I wanted and a few other minor things.  Overall, this decision felt rushed and forced, not the excited anticipation I felt the past few times.

I haven’t lost sleep over this decision, though.  As sleep has come easily to me.  Really,  I want to crawl into bed as soon as the girls are safely tucked in and read for an hour before my eyelids become impossibly heavy.  I am thankful, though, to skip afternoon naps and to sleep the entire night through with just a few 2 minute wake-ups.

I’ve also been making a list of items to buy.  We did give away a lot of our baby & maternity items in a moving purge, and as Sib outgrew them.  Thankfully, my sister is willing to lend me some things as her baby outgrows them.  Still, we will probably need to make a few more purchases as well as decide when to move Sib into her own room (or in with the other two?).

We found out this month that we are expecting a girl, as I said previously.  We took the NIPT again, though used a different brand (the one preferred by my new dr).  We received the results in 6 days this time and once again, it was a good experience.  I love knowing this early what gender to expect, especially now that my energy is returning.  I have been window shopping for fabric and dreaming up some outfits to sew.

Last night I spent a considerable amount of time on baby name blogs and googling potential keepers.  There was one name I keep coming back to (i.e. the safe choice), one that I really like but N isn’t thrilled about, and one I wish I could use but it feels too wrapped up in slight, but potential controversy.  I keep praying that God will send some clarity to me.  But once again, it’s not keeping me up at night.

It struck me last night that this will be the last time I will name a baby.  There’s a lot of other lasts with this one too: last birth story, last pregnancy, last birth announcement, last time to sew tiny clothes for my own.  It’s nice to know for certain when it’s the last time, so you can savor it, but it also adds a small taste of bitter to the sweet.

So many things to think about, feeling  that much more weighty because we didn’t choose them. But, I still get butterflies when I think about the moment of meeting this special child, the one God chose to add to our family.

-smk

Pumpkin Pie

This week, at 38 weeks, Mayby is the size of a pumpkin.

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Yikes.

She is almost out of room in there and I can’t believe we still have possibly-up-to-but-no-longer-than four weeks to go?!

At 38 weeks, I’m feeling uncomfortable.  Falling asleep is a nightly work in progress.  I first attempt to find a comfortable position…which is next to impossible when you share the bed with a full-grown man, a stretchy cat, and a plethora of body pillows.

As soon as I get settled in, Mayby decides that for the first time all day, she has my undivided attention.  She begins her nightly limbering movements, which have changed significantly since she has grown larger.  Imagine a sharp elbow s-l-o-w-l-y drawing it’s away across the inside of your stomach  while a tiny foot kicks you repeatedly in the ribs and a pointed head turns this way and that into your insides.  Miraculous, creepy, and painful all at the same time.

Randomly pick one of the following and add it to the mix: calf/thigh/foot cramps, strained muscles from turning over, acid reflux, a tingling sensation in your stomach that feels like it is falling asleep because she is laying on a nerve, swollen feet.

About the time she begins to settle in, it is time to use the bathroom, with urgency.

And thus the process begins again….and repeats every two hours.

But I suppose I am getting more sleep now than I will in a matter of time so I should be savoring it, right?

While on the topic of sleep, I think it’s funny that I’ve been having running dreams lately.  In my dreams, I’ve completed at least two full marathons while 38 weeks pregnant.  Not sure if this is a matter of wishful thinking, my limbs trying to tell me “they’ve still got it”, or my body prepping for labor to come.  Either way, as ugly as it will be, I’m already excited for that first postpartum spring run :).

These last few weeks have put me into a fury of feathering.  When I’m not doing a project, I’m making up new ones to do tomorrow.  Somehow there is still always that one more thing that needs to be done before she comes.  I’m ready, but I’m not ready.

My doc and I are on friendly terms as I see her once a week these days.  I’m making some progress, getting adjusted, downing Evening Primrose Oil & Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, walking like mad, and attempting to do all the things necessary to ensure a timely arrival. I have a good feeling this time.  Personally, I’m predicting we’ll land somewhere within a week of the big DD.

As sure as I am, I kind of feel like a first time mom again.  I’m not really sure what going into labor looks like for me. Seeing as how I haven’t had any contractions again this time around, I guess as soon as I have one I will be prepared enough to know that this is probably it.

My emotions are all over the place these days.  One minute I am butterfly-nervous-excited to meet her, the next minute I am looking into sweet MG’s eyes thinking, “please don’t let this change you.”

But I think I am finally and truly ready.  After all of this furying and feathering, I’m ready for life to just slow down for a little.  I’m excited to spend–although not the most quality–quantity time with our family.  I’m looking forward to drinking in the new baby smell in the late nights and the early mornings, to drawing on my been-there-done-that new mama confidence, to taking a few weeks off from cooking/cleaning and accessing the freezer/take-out,  to dressing my little in the new AND old and dear clothing in her closet, to seeing what little personality and being that God has decided to bless us with next, to watching my husband and eldest adjust with me into this newfound change.  It’s about to get crazy.  But in a good way.

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Sweet little pumpkin, we are so anxious to meet you!  See you soon,

Pineapple Passion

This week, Mayby is the size of a Pineapple!

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That means she’s already about the length  she will be at birth and now just packing on the pounds to be nice and cute when it’s time to come!

I, on the other hand, am ready to start de-packing some pounds.  I’ve hit that “large and cumbersome stage” where it’s a pain to sit, a pain to lay down, a pain to bend over, a pain to walk, and well, you get the idea.  Comfortable is a thing of the past.  If it were up to me, I would say the perfect gestational period would be about 8 months.  Anything beyond that just seems like unusual punishment.

On the other hand, I do know what’s coming, so I’m trying not to wish it away and enjoy all of the time I have now to do my hair, to take a nap when MG’s napping, and to stay warm in bed all night long (save for the 2-5 trips to the bathroom).  Maybe that is what the last month is for: to savor the “me time” until it gets to the point where all you want to do is meet your baby.  Even then, you still have about 2 weeks left…so by the time they arrive, you are more than ready.

My nesting energy is at an all-time low.  Thankfully, my list has been mostly checked off (update to come soon, I hope) and my new mantra is “nope, don’t feel like it, don’t care.”

As in, maybe I should do something other than sleep during MG’s nap.  “Nope, don’t feel like it.”

Maybe I should get down on my hands and knees and wipe down the baseboards and scrub the floors. “Nope, don’t care.”

Maybe I should eat something other than jelly beans and almonds for a snack.  “Nope.”

I’m surprised to say this, but I’m getting  great sleep too.  Often I will nap during the day and still get about 8 hours at night.  Insomnia hasn’t kicked in and I can’t say that I’m disappointed.  I don’t, however, remember going into MG’s birth very well rested, so I’m trying to take advantage as I’m guessing that’s going to change soon.

The crazy dreams have calmed a bit and last night I had the most wonderful dream that she arrived.  Four weeks early, weighing 8 lbs, 1 ounce, and an easy labor to boot.  The only thing not perfect about her was that she was a boy.  Which was fine, but most of the dream was spent debating over what to name her/him.  I’m going to take that as a sign that I’ve conquered my fears that she will be late with a bad labor.  Now I guess I need to deal with this subconscious fear that she’s a boy 🙂  (or maybe that I won’t be prepared??).

Speaking of preparation, in recent weeks, we’ve taken a tour of our hospital (delivering at a different one this time), taken MG on an only-child-moon (lots of pictures coming your way soon), wrapped up a few loose ends, and really just focused on spending some quality time as a family.  It has been wonderful.

Mayby is already being preceded by her reputation.  She is lazy and quiet by morning and active and feisty by night.  I’m thinking she’s going to be another night owl like Big Sis.  Often, I find myself just wondering about her.  Will she be similar in size?  Will she have dark hair when she is born that later turns blonde?  Will she look exactly like baby MG?  It’s hard to picture anything else, but just thinking about her puts a smile on my face.

See you in 4-8 weeks (but hopefully more like six), little Pineapple,

 

My Butternut Squash

This week Mayby is the size of a Butternut squash.

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(My sweet and amazingly talented photographer friend, Kimmy, took these photos when we were eating dinner at her house one night.  My favorite thing about them is that they were taken in her backyard and truly capture the beauty of where we live in the last throes of winter.)

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Well I am 30 weeks and that means a few things: bi-weekly doctor appointments; a terrible, uncontrollable urge to nest; waning energy; a growing and rather cumbersome belly; a bladder that will never be quiet; and that the countdown has officially begun!  10, 9, 8….each week that passes brings us closer and closer to meeting her.

It also means that starting next week, I will begin revealing some clues to her top-secret name!  But more on that later…

For all of you who so kindly ask me on a regular basis, I am proud to report that as far as nausea goes, I am feeling GREAT!  I have been for about the last 4 weeks.  Maybe my body has finally adjusted to this whole pregnancy thing? *update: so I wrote this PRIOR to last night when I came down with a case of full-blown first trimester nausea which I still haven’t kicked.  Verdict’s out to whether it is a fluke or will be sticking around till the end.  Wah Wah.*

It does, however, like to remind me of how large I am getting by giving me roaring joint pain at the end of the day, especially in my hips and lower back.  I guess they are stretching out and easing into preparation for what’s to come.

Sleep has still been good to me.  Other than catching myself trying to sleep on my back (bad) and stomach (worse), I am only waking a few times a night and then able to go right back to sleep.  As far as dreams?  I could write a book on their inspiration alone.  Most likely it would be a dystopian novel with a hastily concocted, cliffhanger ending.  No idea what’s fueling them.

There’s a song by Marc Broussard called “Lonely Night in Georgia.”  The lyrics speak of a man coming home to his wife after a long  journey and there’s a line that says, “Now my senses are heightened by the last hundred miles.”  I feel that.  My senses have been heightened.  My emotions are quick.  My heart is holding onto things ever tightly.  My feelings are sensitive.  My eyes and ears and hands are noticing the smallest of details.

It’s as if it is saying: “Your life is about to transform.  Notice this, remember this moment, savor this time.  It won’t ever be like this again.  Soon you will be changed.”

It makes me laugh and it makes me cry.  Both sometimes together.  Tis the life of the pregnant mama!

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Oh we are waiting on you, Baby Girl. Two more months until you are ours!

The Coolest Cucumber

This week Mayby is the size of a cucumber….

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But with a belly like that, who’s to really say?

I’m 26 weeks now and it’s official: I’m pregnant!  I’ve started to get stranger comments so if there was any doubt before, I think we can now safely put it to rest.

Twenty-six weeks also means that I’m one week away from…gulp…the third trimester.  I know, crazy right?  We can’t believe it either.  I was enjoying the second trimester so much that I’m kinda sad  to say goodbye.  I remember the days being pregnant with MG just c-r-a-w-l-i-n-g by and I’m kinda wishing this one would slow down a bit too.

But God has a way of preparing you for the next stage and I’m already starting to feel some of the groanings of the third trimester: more fatigue, a bit of sciatia, the tight-as-a-tick belly after eating (no matter the size of the meal),  the slightest touch of heartburn at night (just enough to get me excited that maybe she’s growing some hair in there!!), ribaches and backaches at the end of the day, an underestimate of the size of my belly (we’re getting to the stage where it’s not uncommon to look down and find a splotch of pasta sauce or chocolate ice cream on a not too discreet spot on my protruding belly) and a belabored dread of bending over.

Oh and feeling much better too.  Other than getting “sympathy belly” every time someone mentions the (shudder, shudder) nasty stomach bug that is going around right now.  Every once in a while the nausea will return at night and then it becomes a game of pregnancy or Norovirus?  Kind of like the gunshot or fireworks? game on the fourth of July, but much less exciting.

It’s just the beginning, but it’s the beginning of the end (sniff, sniff).  Bittersweet because I don’t know if I’ll ever do this again (Lord willing, maybe?), but sweet because I also get more excited everyday about meeting her.

MG is too!  Just in the past month or so, she has become very curious about my big belly and about all of this sister talk.  She asks questions about her all the time.  “Mama help me?  Change Mayby’s diaper?” translation: Mama will I be able to help you change Mayby’s diaper?  (oh yes, child, as often as your little heart desires)

Oh, and one final note to all pregnant women: don’t watch the Business of Being Born Pt 2 at 26 weeks into your second pregnancy.  It will send you straight into full-blown Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder.  And Lord have mercy, there’s no going back now…

See you in (eek) 3 months, Mayby!

Love ya, Papaya

This week Mayby is the size of a papaya…

 Or so they say.
Twenty-two weeks feels like a big accomplishment.  We are almost to the stage of (Heaven forbid) viability outside of the womb and each week that ticks by is a little sigh of relief.
So how are you feeling??
Well, I can’t say I’m not enjoying this pregnancy “sweet spot”.  The time right before I’m large and uncomfortable, but right after the yuckiness of the first trimester.  I am glad to land here for a while.  It is so nice to know a little about our Mayby and to start making  preparations for her arrival.  And I love feeling the regular kicks that I know I can count on when sitting or lying down or while enjoying a good meal :).  It was only at this point last time that I began to feel MG’s first kicks, due to the way the placenta was positioned.  So this is a welcome change.
I thought I was out of the woods with the sickness as I had about 2-3 days of absolutely no nausea whatsoever.  But lo and behold it reared its ugly head the past two nights starting around 10pm and lasting throughout my sleep.  That is all I have to complain about though so I feel very blessed.
Very blessed indeed as I have had some friends go through some trying things like infant loss and premature births in recent weeks.  It is so hard to understand why?  and why not me?  If I have taken anything away from their stories it is not to take this little wiggling life inside of me for granted.  I am so attached to her now, I feel it would destroy me if something happened to her.  In the beginning, it was different.  I gave her my heart but held a tiny piece of it back for the what ifs and the just in case.  And I always checked for blood and let myself be indifferent at the doctor’s office and had horrible miscarriage dreams where the only conclusion was, “well I knew this was going to happen.”  But we’ve since crossed the line. She is one of mine now.   Every night, I rub my hand across my ever-expanding belly, letting her know that I am there,  praying for the health and safety of my girls.  After all, there’s not much else I can do.
If there is anything I have learned from this pregnancy it is that she doesn’t belong to me.  She is a gift.  A beautiful and treasured gift that I will fight to appreciate every day that I have with her.
We love ya, Papaya.  See you in 4 months!

 

P.S.  Starting next week, I’ll be sharing the story of our Mayby, so stay tuned!

The Sweetest Potato

This week, Mayby is the size of a sweet potato.

But let’s be real, sweet potatoes come in all different shapes and sizes: some wimpy and tubular, others warped and overgrown.  So that doesn’t really give me much to go off of.
We have crossed into 18 weeks and surprisingly the nausea has still.not.left.  Granted, it is not nearly, NEARLY what it used to be.  But it still catches me off guard every single night has I reach for a snack, without fail, two hours after dinner.  It then resurfaces two hours after snack.  At least it is remedied by carbs.
No crazy cravings anymore, just normal ones (I get food cravings in regular life, not just pregnancy life).  Every day I’ve had some kind of soup and a grilled cheese for lunch.  Oh and those clementine cuties too.  I’ve never been fond of citrus other than grapefruits…but right now I can’t get enough.
Eighteen weeks also means that the BIG ultrasound is a little over a week away.  Still lots of thoughts to share about that (all to come next week).  But I’ve been having some crazy dreams about it lately.  The first one was pretty normal.  First they told me it was a boy, but then after careful examination said, “nope, it’s a girl.”  The second two both came on the same night and both involved somehow missing the ultrasound.  Which was crazy stressful because apparently we were driving from over two hours away and made it with only an hour to spare until closing.  The tech refused to see us but said that we were definitely having a boy.  That was fine, but I was sure that I needed proof.  I begged her to examine me, but she refused.  Ahh, the beautiful stage of crazy pregnancy dreams.  I’m ready for them just to put me out of my misery and tell me one way or the other.

Other than that, sleep has been pretty mercifully easy.  I still catch myself sleeping on my belly, but I know the time for that is drawing to a close.  About time to break out the body pillow!

N was able to feel our little potato kicking around for the first time last night.  It is crazy how much we’ve both forgotten since last time.  It makes this one feel new and fresh and I love that.
It has also made this pregnancy fly by.  We are nearing the half-way mark which is just ludicrous.  The mothering instinct is kicking in hardcore as I try to figure out how to make room for another little person in my nest.
Only 5 more months!  Let the feathering begin!

 

Lulu-Lemon

Today Mayby is the size of a lemon….or so they say.

And that means one thing: I am feeling remarkably better! Woohoo!!  I turned the corner just in time for my favorite holiday—Thanksgiving. The nausea still comes on strong before every meal/snack but is quickly remedied and the next thing I know I am back to feeling like myself.  Food is still a somewhat tentative relationship, so maybe no pumpkin pie or yams for me this year (too sweet), but I’ll make up for it with plenty of turkey and dressing.  And oh yes, cranberry sauce.  Just talking about cranberries is making me weak in the knees right now.
My energy is slowly recharging and I no longer need that afternoon nap every single day.  Which means I’ve been having lots of fun catching up on crafts (MG’s bday is coming up soon!), scrapbooking, and some decorating.  No, not for Christmas…yet.  I just can’t go there.  But come November 23rd, as soon as the turkey is cool to the touch, our house will be blaring NSYNC’s “The First Noel” and will reek of pine.  I can’t wait.  Plus it snowed here once, randomly, but today it is a mild 62 degrees (still warm enough to walk outside!)  So I’m still not (thankfully) in the Christmas spirit yet.
MG has been my little buddy this week as Daddy has been putting in some extra hours.  And even as we have our moments, I can tell that she has one of the sweetest, most sensitive spirits.  I am eager to nurture that trait in her as she grows.  I have also been reminded this week how blessed I am that she loves babies so much.  From being mesmerized and wanting to know the constant whereabouts of a friend’s Baby Hannah to holding newborn baby Eli’s hand while his mom changed him to spending hours changing all of her baby’s “poopy” diapers this week (her imagination, not mine :)). I am so thankful that God gave her such a mama heart.  And even though I know this change will be very hard on her in many ways, I have a feeling that she will initially welcome Mayby with open arms and very curious eyes.
Mayby has been on my mind and heart all week this week.  When sick, it was hard for me to get excited about the pregnancy like I did with MG. That was really hard on me.  But now that I am feeling better, I am starting to recapture some of that magical new mama emotion.  Like the swoony, weepy, love that I feel when I see a picture of a newborn or hear a new love song.  I can’t hardly stand the wait to find out which little baby I am carrying in there, but God has given me a sense of peace and calm towards this pregnancy that I didn’t feel last time.  And I want to feel everything.  I want to enjoy every stage. (well, from here on out, at least).  I want to relish every ounce of this pregnancy because this time there is so little unknown.  We know what that love feels like and looks like.  We know the beauty in the end result.  We know that our hearts grew about 3 times with the birth of MG and we know there is room for more.  This time we will slow down and enjoy the process.
We have so much to be thankful for, here’s to a week’s worth of Thanksgiving!