babysurprise

Baby Name Game (Round 4), Clue #8

Clue #6

                                                                     Clue #7

Both of the girls, but MG in particular, have been asking us what we’ve named this baby.  We have chosen again to keep silent on that front because of the pressure in keeping a secret for our little ones. But with little to lose and not many ideas to begin with, we have asked for, and considered their suggestions, though in the meantime.

Around the time of finding out about our pregnancy, MG had read the book Chrysanthemum. It’s about a pregnant teacher who gives her class a chance to suggest the perfect name. In the end, the teacher ends up choosing “Chrysanthemum” because she likes the unusual name of one of the little girls (mouse) in the class.

MG thought this was a good name for our baby.  I guess, technically, it could have gone in the color name slot, but still, a little too far from our norm for me to consider.  She also has repeatedly suggested Lilly and Rosie* (I guess she has a thing for flowers).  While I like those names, especially Rosie,

Clue #8: we have chosen to not give this baby any first name nor second name that could be considered or be related to a color name.

That puts both Lily (white) and Rosie (red/pink) off of our list (as well as a few other names I am fond of).  However, unbeknownst to MG, she did have a hand in helping to name this baby.  I’ll save that story for after the reveal though.

With my affinity for color names, it should come as no surprise to you that I do like other nature names. One example being Birdie, which was the name of our sweet kitty at the schoolhouse.  If it wasn’t a cat name to us, I think it would make an adorable nickname for a little girl.  While the chosen name will not having anything to do with a color, our little girl’s name WILL have a component of nature to it.

-smk

*Two friends have also had dreams (random!) that we named our baby Rose/Rosie. How strange is that?

 

Baby Name Game (Round 4), Clue #7

Clue #5

                                                                     Clue #6

When we couldn’t quite come up with an initial match in our family tree (as mentioned last week), we decided to, ahem, branch out, and consider places of importance or significant meanings.

One name I’ve had on my list forever is Louise or something Lou-related.  I liked the significance to the city we were married in (St. Louis).   I also tried to finagle a way to get us to the nickname Indy, a tribute to the birthplace of our relationship and early years of marriage.

Another place I looked were lessons we had been taught this year, hoping to bury a memory in the meaning of her name. I spent a long time really pouring over baby name meanings like never before.

Clue #7: In the past, they were more of an afterthought, but this time name meaning played a central role.  

Each of her given two first names AND her nickname hold a certain value to us because of what they mean.  I think that’s why I finally was able to say, “this is the one”, because not only did this name fit our other criteria (as mentioned in clues previous), but I also loved the significance of the meaning behind it.  It was the moment everything finally gelled together.

I hope these clues are keeping your interest.  Only three more to go (or maybe less if this baby decides to make an early appearance!)  The countdown is starting to get exciting!

-smk

Clue #8

Pineapple of my eye

Eight months.  We’ve arrived at the final month of pregnancy and I still can’t quite wrap my mind around the concept that we have another baby, another daughter, another LIFE coming into our family..  N and I keep remarking how quickly this pregnancy has flown by, and it feels truer than ever before. Since we didn’t have months of planning it beforehand, and only the knowledge of it already a month into it, it has felt short by all standards.  Regardless, here we are.  In those ways, I think Surprise Babies are definitely the way to go.

February is the shortest month, which means we only have four more weeks left until our due date!   This is the month I begin to meet with my doctor weekly, prep for labor and delivery, and wake up every day wondering if today is the day? Meanwhile baby is the size of a pineapple & fattening up for birth while maturing her lungs and brain.  I hope she lands somewhere close to #1 & 2’s birth weights (8lbs, 10&11ozs), and slightly less than Sib’s (9lbs, 2oz).

Considering I’ve gained the same this time as the first two girls, it looks likely, but you never know.  (for some reason, I gained a few more pounds with Sib. Some of that was just pounds, but some of it was also water weight. I swelled really badly the last month with her. Thankfully, I’ve avoided that so far with this one. Also avoided heartburn and had it the worst with Sib…?  Insomnia, on the other hand, has been so bad…pregnancy roulette, a “fun” game each time!)

N and I were saying just this morning how maybe this will be the baby we “actually get to enjoy”.  Having MG was a wonderful, love-intoxicating experience, but we also didn’t know what we were doing and missed out on some enjoyable moments simply because she was our first.  With both Bea and Sib, we highly anticipated their arrivals and sought to enjoy them as much as possible, but we also moved with both of them when they were each still under 6 months (and each move brought a new job, new house, and it’s own share of hardships).  We also bought a new car and a new house in Sibby’s first year of life, i.e. not exactly peaceful times.  But this baby, with this one we are already settled, have no major life changes on the horizon, and no large expenses to make in order to fit her into her life.  Maybe this will be our redemption baby.

As predicted in an earlier monthly post, January is the month where everything finally came together for this baby.  After a December focusing on the holidays, plus weeks of sickness, January was a breath of fresh air.  We had a, somewhat unexpected, but still wonderful ten day break from school, as ice and snow fell at just the right times surrounding MLK weekend.  N was off for much of that time and built her crib.  He also helped me purge closets and storage spaces, and we got Sib moved up and into her new room (to eventually be a shared nursery).

We were supposed to take our babymoon over MLK weekend, with the promise of an extra day off, but the ice and snow pushed our plans back one week.  It turned out to be a great weekend away anyway, as we saved money on the hotel alone (i.e. not a holiday weekend), and the weather pushed up into the upper 60’s, which gave us plenty of incentive to explore Atlanta by foot.

We ate so much delicious food that we had to pace ourselves to actually be able to enjoy each meal (i.e. not eating dinner until about 8:30pm).  Also included in this trip was a quintessential IKEA run, giving us the finishing touches for the nursery.

Way back in October when I bought the baby’s carseat, I bought it during a deal that would give me a $100 Buy, Buy, Baby gift card to use in the future.  I finally received that and used it to buy some essentials like bottles, pacis, and clean, white newborn onesies (to be embroidered, of course!).  We are fully stocked on diapers for the first six weeks or so, and thanks to my sister and her help today, freezer meals as well.

Finally, I got the newborn/0-3mo clothes out of storage and they are sorted, washed, and hung.  Added to these are my own stash that I’ve personally made, thanks to tons of creative and physical energy this month (I don’t know why it’s lasted so long with this pregnancy, but I’m enjoying it while it’s here!)

It seemed with Sib I never truly got the nesting bug, at least not to the measure I’ve had it this month (maybe that’s because God was saving it for when I would truly need it–AFTER she was born).  But I’ve been so happy being able to scratch it over and over as we check these little things off our list as we prepare.

Though not physically speaking, I feel like she could come tomorrow and I would be ready for her.  That feels so good.  This pregnancy has me constantly flip flopping between two opposite, but equally strong emotions.  One is “this has gone by too fast”. And the other being, “I hope she hurries up because I can’t wait to meet her”.  That is the running theme of this pregnancy.  It plagues me constantly.

The crazy thing is, she’s going to complicate our little routine-oriented life so much. I’ll be tied to a feeding schedule every three or so hours.  I’ll be working around naps and won’t be able to just pick up and go anymore.  And I’ll have an extra little body to dress, tend to, and tote around; one that is 100% dependent on me.  But oh, I can’t wait to meet her.  And I’m so tired of being large and pregnant. So tired.  It’s hard to savor something in the moment that isn’t exactly enjoyable, but i know in just a few short weeks, I’ll look back with fondness to this small season of prepping.  I also know I will wail as she crosses each milestone, knowing it is my last time to raise my own.  So I’m ready, but not in a hurry, if that makes sense.

This baby to come and I, we are bonded together right now.  Completely physically bonded. But our emotional connection has not yet begun.  That will begin in the days that we meet her and learn her personality.  We’ve made physical provision for her in our house, but we do not have emotional provision for her yet.  There is mystery surrounding her story and how she will enter our life.  There is a blank space in my mind when I try to picture her.  I do not know and love her like I do my other three.  There are no endearing mannerisms of hers I know, nor physical attributes I remark over.  Not yet.  But I do so look forward to falling in love with her the same way I did with the others.

One more month…and counting.

-smk

Baby Name Game (Round 4), Clue #2

Intro

                                                                      Clue #1

So as I said last week, this baby will have three given names, followed by our last name.  That means she will have two middle names, with the second one being more of a “stick it on there because it looks/sounds pretty”, versus something she will forever be legally documenting.  All of our girls have the same formula for their names and this means

Clue #2, Baby Surprise’s second middle name will be a color name

Yes, we did this on a whim with our first, but it stuck for the second and we like that all of our girls will have this, both as a conversation piece and also as a common thread amongst them.  Why a color name?  Well, there’s no good answer to that.  I have some artistic background (and that’s mostly where I’ve come across the color names we’ve used previously, in oil paint sets and the like) and N appreciates and has a deep love for art.  So I guess you could say it harkens back to that.  A slight nod to our interests.

Least you think we will use something like Blue, Scarlett, or Violet, let me warn you first, though:

1) This color name is in a different color family than the others we’ve used before. This was important to me even though I found myself, once again, drawn to so many shades of blue, green, and purple and their prettily named variants. I would rather the girls each have their own shade.

Truthfully, I initially had my sights set on Marigold. This satisfied the equation since it is a yellowy-orange color, not one of the named above.  I also like that it had Downton Abbey ties, which is silly, but all of our girls so far, have had a piece of their name featured on the show.  but…

2) N really wanted us to use something that wasn’t so obvious. Since we often explain our girls’ names to people and then have to explain what color their color names actually describe, he wanted this baby to have her own illustrious but inconspicuous name.  He went on a hunt and came up with a short list to present to me (a first for both of us).  One name on there stuck out and long story short, it won.

It satisfies both criteria: different from the other colors we’ve chosen and uncommon enough that we have to tell people what color family it is from. (plus it sounds good with her name, which, of course was our unnamed third criteria).

So there you go.  Another piece of the convoluted puzzle as to how we come up with our babies’ names.  This one a shout-out to dad, who for the first time ever, both suggested and partially named one of our girls.

-smk

Clue #3

Asparagus Spear me the details

Well surprise, Surprise, we have come upon another month, month seven.  I’m about 31.5 weeks and we are down to the final countdown.  10, 9, 8…single digits from here on out.  It just struck me yesterday that I will only write two more of these.  And that’s IF I make it all the way to my due date (which seems more than likely given my history, but a pregnant girl can hope–for just a few days early, right??)

Baby Surprise is the size of an asparagus stalk (really??) and growing bigger/fatter each day. This is an important season of brain growth and lung development for her, as well as packing on the pounds to be as ready as possible for birth.  She is still not a very active baby, but when she is, it is very noticeable.  Her movements are a lot more forceful now that she’s bigger, and I can also feel the more subtle ones as well.  Standing up has become a new dread, because as soon as I do, all of the pressure from her little body and extra fluid goes right to my bladder.  Not a good time of year to also have a cold, let me just say that.

I do believe she is head down now, based on where I can feel her most forcefully.  Occasionally she goes somewhat diagonal, head pointing to my left hand side, a favorite position for all my babies.

In a moment of candidness the other night, I was attempting to tell MG how I always get a little sad following the close of Christmas and the beginning of a new year. But then I realized that I have one VERY exciting thing to look forward to and it is just around the corner.  Sadness squashed.

This is a great time of year to be large and pregnant because winter has finally arrived and in many ways, I have found it refreshing.  I rarely find myself cold these days (well, indoors), an improbability if you look at my past history.  Skin, as a whole, is covered up and pools are closed so it is easy to hide beneath a large sweater and jeans that feel like pajamas.  There are treats in abundance right now, and seeing as how I passed my second GD test, I am able to enjoy them without counting the cost of every single one. There have been many retellings of the Christmas story, each one a boon to pregnant women and the stirring up of the emotional mirth as it relates to being a mom, having a baby, giving birth.

The only downfall, as I see it, is the sickness going around.  And this year it has been especially bad.  The flu, strep, stomach bugs, and all kinds of mysterious upper respiratory junk is going around and this month alone, we’ve had fevers, coughs, and a terrible amount of mucous.  MG brought it home first and true to form, about a week later, I found myself feeling like I was going to die (or at least wishing someone would come and put me out of my misery).  Ten o-clock at night, after a day of prepping for Christmas activity and talking all day, my throat feeling like cut glass every time I spoke or cough, my voice baritone with congestion, I found myself violently shaking from chills, unable to even sleep for about two hours as this precipitated into a fever.  The fever thankfully, for myself and the baby, only lasted for about 24 hours and never got above 101, but it cost me my extended family Christmas that I was looking forward to and bought me a recovery day on the couch in an empty house.

These mysterious illnesses are always miserable, but imagine having this while you are pregnant, so there are literally no medicines you can take without severe warnings (and potentially harsh consequences), you must continue to monitor your baby throughout, making sure she is kicking around normally, and there are no comfortable positions as you may not recline on your back or stomach so that baby has enough blood flow and room to move.  Misery.

Anyway, the hope is that we will have an iron immune system for the rest of the pregnancy and first precarious months of the baby’s life, and I think we’ve earned it, too, with the amount of stomach bugs, colds, and coughs we faced in 2017.

On the horizon of this month, I see another chiropractor appointment (and because I FELL in a slippery parking lot this month {while holding Sib}, I’m hoping she can correct whatever damage I did in that), bi-weekly doctor appointments, a babymoon for just N and I, a LOT of sewing/prepping (or at least I am hopeful), and gathering the last of the baby items.  Oh, and we still haven’t transitioned Sib up to her new room but we’ve started the process of transforming the room and it feels so good.  January is the longest month of this pregnancy we have left, as February is just a short four weeks and then it’s baby month!

January is also always a purging month and I love to hop aboard that train after filling our house with sweets, Christmas decor, and lots of new toys. We’ve been selling a lot of unused items via Craigslist and marketplace and that is certainly something that scratches the nesting itch for me.  As soon as the Christmas decor came down, I felt an OVERWHELMING need to clean, organize, discard, and prepare. I spent the first few days of the year doing just that and it felt just as good as I imagined it.  I now feel like I can breathe, create, and continue to make way for this baby.  I’ve got my lists and I’m checking them off, twice!

There has been little sleep this month, but lots of rest, with a nearly three week Christmas break and lots of time at home with little sick ones.  Insomnia has plagued me hard, though not in the traditional sense.  If I get woken up in the night (other than to use the bathroom, of course, which still happens with great regularity), a fairly common probability with all the people that live here, it takes me no less than two hours to fall back asleep, sometimes more.

I’ve tried all the tricks in the book, thinking about nothing, thinking about every problem and solving them 100x over, breathing techniques, not looking at any screens or turning on any lights, relaxing, etc.  Frankly, I just lay there, eyes closed, often surprised when I have to visit the restroom throughout the duration, that another hour has passed.  It’s a costly problem to have when you have children hard-wired to wake up at a pre-determined early time every single day, but the only thing I can do to help it is to go to bed early and hope for the best.  So that is the continual plan for now.

Soon those awake hours will not result in a restful, prone position, but rocking and shushing for undetermined amounts of time. So I’ll count my blessings for now and pray that the next two months bring us a lot less sickness and more time enjoying our final moments as a family of five!

-smk

Baby Name Game (Round 4), Clue #1

If you haven’t already, check out our Intro to the Games here, first

It’s time to begin the clues and the first one should come to you with very little, well, surprise:

  1. This baby will have three given names, followed by our last name.

As I said previously, we have a little baby name box that we neatly try to fit all of our girls’ names into (and would-have-been-boys as well).  We didn’t start out thinking we would create our own baby naming guidebook (for ourselves), but after the first two were set just so, we wanted the third and fourth to feel a part of the group too.  Having three names to pick for EACH girl has been a little trying at times (especially towards the end), but also fun as it gives us a little bit more of a creative stretch.

In truth, almost no legal forms have ever asked for our girls’ second middle name; so in the eyes of the law, these names are nearly non-existent. BUT, we enjoy that each of our girls have the same formula to their names, a bond they can share over the years.

When they get married, they will almost certainly drop one, if not both, of their middle names.  But we like that they have the choice in that and which one they will keep going forward.  A theme you will see woven throughout is that we like to give our girls options.  Both N and I ALSO have two middle names as he was given two in the hospital (his parents couldn’t agree in the moment which one to use and therefore decided to go with both).  And I added my maiden name onto my legal name when I got married, in order to match, so technically I have two as well.

We are a family of four-namers, and we like it that way,

-smk

Clue #2

Baby Name Game, Round 4!

Well, here we are!  I’m 31 weeks, which is when I typically start this riveting game*, but I’m still running about a week behind because this is the INTRO into the game, not the first actual clue.  I *do* have a basic outline written for the clues, so it should be easy to pump them out soon, BUT, I’ve been catching up on other projects lately and with the holidays this week, this has not been as big of a priority as I would have liked.

As announced in the title, this is round 4!  Rounds 2 & 3, should be easy to find in the archives and round 1 was only visible to our “lucky” family.  Back when I was pregnant with MG, it started as a series of emails since we did not reveal the name to anyone prior to her birth. I still appreciate a good surprise (for others, not myself!) and I know I’ve said this many times, but just for the sake of fitting it neatly in here, I love the moment of the big reveal of our baby name.  Because we put so much thought into our names and because I feel like our chosen names say something about us, I revel in that moment of the announcement.  Right up until that very moment, I am sealed lips about the name and often have nightmares in which I accidentally tell someone or publish it publicly.  It just wouldn’t be the same to me if it went down that way.

I’ve been a name aficionado since, well about as long as I can remember.  I put a lot of deep thought into the names I gave my dolls and stuffed animals, pets, and then of course girls.  I spent money on baby name books long before we were pregnant and would flip through the pages,circling potential winners (those are pretty funny to look back on now!).  A badge of honor on my chest is that I’ve had multiple friends solicit my naming advice over the years (though in full disclosure, none have actually used any of my suggestions, to my knowledge).  I also have been able to successfully guess a few friends and acquaintances babies’ names prior to their birth (okay, like 3).  Nameberry.com has been my favorite naming website to consult through the years and even though I had given up on the idea of adding another little girl to our family some time ago, I, thankfully, still had a running list of inspirational names that we were able to draw from when we found out about our little surprise.

It is a topic I’ve chatted about, ad nauseam, to many friends, my sister, and my husband.  One of the saddest things about closing this chapter of my life is also not having any more future babies to name.  But because we follow a similar pattern with each of our girls, it has also gotten a little harder each time. And so, for that reason, it took us a little longer than usual to settle on this name. But that is all I will say for now.  The upcoming clues will give you some more peaks behind the scenes.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, this isn’t really a game at all.  The clues are specifically designed so that you CAN’T guess the actual name.  Really, this is an anticipation-building (hopefully) activity that can help pass the time for both of us and also give you some insight into the complicated logic of how we choose our dear daughters’ names.

Just a heads up that these clues are going to be very similar to the the rounds posted previously.  Some will be nearly identical, because, well, we have ourselves a little baby name box that we neatly outline each time.  What can we say, we didn’t think we were theme-y people, but look at us now!

After her birth, all will be revealed and I will break down the clues to help explain them further, as well as give you the total meaning behind her name.

That being said, and just to throw some confusion to the plot, there are actually SOME differences this time so I will leave you to read about those in the clues that follow.

Let the pre-gaming ceremonies begin!

-smk

(*”game” is a loose interpretation, depending on how much you enjoy being stumped for 10 weeks of vague “clues”)

Clue #1

Lettuce Have a Baby

Six months have passed with our little surprise and that means we are in the FINAL trimester of the FINAL M pregnancy.  It’s no doubt this has been my quickest pregnancy yet (based on feelings), and though one would think with your fourth pregnancy, especially one of the same gender, one would know what exactly what to expect.  Unfortunately, this hasn’t exactly rung true.  But for now, let’s take a look back on this month.

I am 27 weeks and baby is the size of a head of lettuce (or something like that).  I do know that three weeks ago, she measured a pound and a half (average, so they said), as I had a followup ultrasound to check on the PAC I mentioned last time.

It was my first and only time at an MFM (maternal fetal medicine) and for that I am so grateful.  Those places are a little bleak, with rarely good news coming from them, and I was reminded of an author, one in particular that I have closely followed her story, who received dire news about her baby at that very building a few years ago.  Thankfully, my visit was mostly precautionary, though there was always the chance they could discover something unexpected as they looked at things a little more in depth than my initial anatomy ultrasound.

The tech spent about thirty minutes on me, measuring the normal things again, studying baby’s heartbeat, and then the majority of her time was spent thoroughly looking at her heart.  And I mean THOROUGHLY.   She looked at it from every angle, having me position myself in different ways at times, zooming in on certain spots, and sometimes displaying colors on the screen to show blood flow.  The tone of the exam was a positive one, though she warned me she could not tell me results directly, it seemed to be going well.

Afterward, I met with the doctor on staff (i.e. not my normal OBGYN) who explained that everything came back healthy, from the look and function of her heart to her heartbeat.  There was nothing abnormal discovered in her heartbeat this time!  He said that it’s not uncommon for that to happen either. So I was merrily dismissed and breathed a sigh of relief that we could check this box off on the list of pregnancy anxieties.

The next big surprise this month came in the form of a little clear, 10oz drink.  On the morning of November 17, just a week or so before Thanksgiving,  I went in to take my glucose tolerance test.  Once again, this being my fourth time, I knew the drill.  I protein loaded in the morning and swallowed my drink quickly, met with my doctor in the interim time it took for the hour blood test to be drawn.  I felt fine, all things considered, as I have most of the pregnancy (well especially so in comparison to my previous ones).  I felt a little ill that afternoon (hours after the test), but chalked that up to the combination of the sugary drink and a high carb lunch.  It resolved when I ate a healthy dinner.

So it came as a big surprise when the nurse called me on Monday morning to tell me that I had FAILED!  I wasn’t sure if I should take it as a greater loss that I had failed by 3 points (so close!), or a sign of encouragement (I was so close to the line that I’ll more than likely pass the next test?).

Nevertheless, I was dazed for a few hours from the news.  The three hour test scares me a little (12 hours of fasting, drinking the glucose, then three more hours of blood draws and fasting).  The diagnosis of gestational diabetes scares me even more (greater risks for so many things, including a induction, which I have been DESPERATELY hoping and praying against).  That test comes this week, and since I’ve had some time to process the news, I’ve been able to come to more of a peace about it.  A few personal friends and acquaintances have had GD and while it is a serious diagnosis, thankfully can be mostly managed by a clean diet (and that has a few more benefits to oneself as well).  In the mean time, I have cut way back on carbs and sugar, hoping that baby can remain happy no matter what, and am resolved to my fate, whatever that may be.

I’ve also been preoccupied this month with baby’s position.  The ultrasound revealed she was breech, and though this isn’t anything serious yet as she is still small enough to change frequently, it made me consider what I can do to get and hold her in a good position until birth.  In the past, birth positioning has been a struggle with all three of mine.  For some reason, my body likes to hold them high, fluid level also high, so they do not drop down and become engaged, signaling for labor to begin.  Bea was the only one that I went into labor on my own, and that was with my water breaking first, so who knows if she even intended to come at that point.

Even so, I had my easiest labor with her as she came out correctly and with no back pain on my end.  With the other two, I was induced (by water breaking), and had horrible back pain, specifically in my sacrum (a bone or two above the tailbone, from my understanding).  All three have wanted to come out sunny side up, but only MG succeeded.

Anyway, this had me researching spinning babies (i.e. everyday exercises you can do to help position your baby more ideally for birth) and the Webster technique (i.e. a technique done by a certified chiropractor that aligns your sacrum).  I found a chiropractor who specializes in it and I went to see her today.  It was a good experience, not too unlike my other prenatal chiropractor experiences, but I’m seeing her a bit more preemptively this time.  I’m hoping she can help me avoid this dreadful pain again, and the price will be worth it, if not for peace of mine alone.

One thing she asked me to work on is not crossing my legs.  I am a habitual offender of this (I’m struggling right now as I type not to cross at the knee.  My legs always feel so much happier elevated).  Every time I cross my legs, my hips go out of alignment a bit and with my already loose ligaments, they don’t naturally go back in place right away.  This creates a less than ideal opening for baby to comfortably sink into, and instead could be a reason why my babies stay high, avoiding sharp bones poking them as they attempt descent.  So add this to the list of ways a pregnant woman must make herself uncomfortable, including not sleeping back nor belly, trying to stay on left side as much as possible, never reclining (to keep baby from going spine to spine), and now no crossed legs.  It feels like a lot, but I am determined to do everything, in my power at least, to make this my best labor and delivery yet.

Finally, we were able to tour the hospital where we will (Lord willing), be delivering this baby in roughly 3 months.  The facilities are nice and very accommodating for the natural birth I hope to have again this time.  This being a new hospital for us (4 babies, 3 different hospitals!), there are some things I miss about my last experiences, but also some things this hospital has to offer that my previous ones didn’t.  It’s hard for me to let go of past experiences sometimes, and not let them shape how I think the future will be.  But that’s what I’m working through right now and I love this verse that came up in my Bible app this morning, “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.'” (Isaiah 41:13)

Between all of that, Thanksgiving, MG’s birthday, deal shopping, company, and the like, this has been an eventful month.  I anticipate next month to be similar, if not even more busy. That’s part of what makes the time pass so quickly, but also so thankful for so many good things to celebrate.

As I order another embroidered PBK stocking and sign our names to another annual Christmas card, I think about what Christmas will look like this time next year.  Four girls (!) to trim the tree, curl up and read Christmas books together, open the Advent calendar, circle every last thing in the Target toy catalogue, cut and decorate sugar cookies, and talk about Jesus’s birth.  There is something about the feeling of our family’s circle coming to a close.  It makes the traditions feel more alive and the memories more noteworthy. No more waiting for things to change and no more years of progress with anticipation of regression.  This is the time of our lives.

-smk

Grapefruit-ful month

Five months (today) or 23 weeks (tomorrow) and baby girl is now the size of a grapefruit!

Crazy. This month has brought a lot of exciting milestones: the anatomy ultrasound, the halfway point, & the point of viability.  Plus, she’s getting very big with her movements and predictable in the timing of them (like always when I’m lying down)

I shared this on IG (@030318babysurprise), but our anatomy ultrasound  at 20 weeks turned up a slightly abnormal heartbeat called a PAC.  My doctor didn’t seem too concerned about it, but I will have to have an echocardiogram done in about 10 days (basically a high level ultrasound), to determine if there is anything more concerning about it.  The structure of the heart, itself, looked good, and she reassured me that many babies outgrow it (some even before birth), as well as a few adult friends of mine saying they have it to this day and it doesn’t slow them down.  Out of all the things to turn up on an ultrasound, it feels probably the least alarming, but I still hate the fact that there is something there at all.

The halfway point of this pregnancy technically came at 20 weeks, but I think it should be more like 22 weeks, seeing as how we didn’t find out for the first 4 and that would leave us with 18 & 18 on either side of 22.  Either way, now we are beyond both of those, which means we have less time left in this pregnancy (Lord willing) than we started with.  Unbelievable!

I certainly wouldn’t mind an earlier babe this time (somewhere between 39 weeks and 41 weeks sounds ideal).  And one of my biggest prayers this time around is that I will not have to do another induction.  While the planner in me loves the thought of being in control of the date and having everything lined up in order for it, I know my mental state going into those too well and struggle with that aspect of it.

When people ask me how I’m feeling, I usually say one of two things: 1) about as good as it gets for me during pregnancy (we are about to tip the scale to the bad side again…). Or 2) I’m doing fine physically but not mentally.  This pregnancy, more than the others as I can recall, I have struggled with fear (but only for labor and delivery), excitement (well lack thereof), and another missing piece of the joy of nesting (a combo of life being so full right now and also the lack of control I had over this one)

One thing that has been very present from the start of this pregnancy was a strong fear about labor and delivery.  I realize that encompasses about 6 hours, give or take, of a given pregnancy, but I could not stop thinking about.

Prior to getting pregnant, every time I heard a traumatic birth story or was reminded of the pain, I rationalized it away, thinking I’ll never have to do that again.  I even remember saying aloud, directly after Sibby’s birth, “I’ll never do that again!”, although by the idyllic hospital day two, I was already recanting my words.

This time it felt forced upon me, and I think that was part of the fear. I did not choose this, this time.  I did not want to do this again.

Things came to a head about 2 weeks ago when I clicked over to YouTube to watch (someone I admire’s) birth story, which turned into an unexpected traumatic epilogue and showed a lot of live footage of labor (contractions and hospital stuff). The fear came up from the subconscious right into the foreground and gripped me so hard, I did not know if it would leave or not.  I realized then that I needed to turn the fear over and release it so that I could move forward with excitement and love for this baby.

I read a book intentionally dealing with fear and pregnancy (though I would not recommend it), and have spent a lot of time in prayer about it.  Ever since that night, I’ve not had the gripping fear again, it has been replaced by peace.

The nesting and excitement piece I mentioned makes me a little sad, because usually that is my go-to pregnancy emotion and the thing I look forward to during the darker moments.  I believe part of this is me over-thinking everything (I’ll go into more detail on this in a later post).

Anyway, despite these lagging emotions, I have been able to accumulate a few necessities for this baby.  I found good deals on a new carseat and stroller (still keeping our double BOB, just needed something less cumbersome for dr appointments and errands with 2 under 2–yikes–still scary to say that).  I’ve been thinking of the “little girls’ room” (vs. the big girls’ room) and how to decorate it.  And just this week I’ve started sewing a few little things for a new baby layette.

This month I have de-graduated my running back to walking.  My initial goal was 24 weeks but 22 weeks was my stopping point.  Physically, it just became too much but I’m thankful that this weather has stayed so pleasant and I’ve been able to stay very active still.  So far, I don’t notice any difference with this pregnancy that involved running versus my other ones that involved only walking, so I’m not sure it made much of a difference.  Hopefully, it will be easier to graduate back into it though, postpartum, since I didn’t take so much time off from it.

Another, rather unpleasant, side effect from this month was a bad stomach virus that gripped me for about 48 hours.  Just to prove how pregnancy doesn’t well suit me, even in the second trimester, I didn’t even realize I had anything until the side effects starting coming from all corners of the earth. I just thought the cramps I was feeling were normal pregnancy pains for me (because they are, especially in the evening).  Anyway, I get one or two of these things every pregnancy, AS WELL AS, morning sickness, which makes me think God is just trying to cure me of my fear of puke.  Well, it’s working.

Aside from that unpleasantness, I’ve been enjoying cooking this month and haven’t been too bothered by food.  Occasionally, I’ll get a bit of heartburn, but nothing to write home about yet. As fall enters, I’ve been spending some free time on Pinterest, planning soups and slow cooker meals, and dreaming of the holidays.  Although I’m not 100% myself, I’m thankful that I’m feeling pretty good for a pregnancy and I’m excited about all of the festivities to come with very excitable little ones.  It’s nice that while we have our go-to traditions, they are still young enough, and transitions have come often enough, that we haven’t been locked into too many things yet.  Each year feels like a fresh start to try and see what sticks best for our family.

Four months and counting, and thankful for every one I get with my last “homegrown” babe.

-smk

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

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