Month: September 2017

One Year Out

It’s been nearly one year to the day since we packed up the schoolhouse and headed south on 65.  We pulled into our new, strange neighborhood in a new, strange territory.

The whole thing didn’t feel entirely strange, as we had my family as a welcoming committee, and it is also the South, where there seems to be an air of familiarity everywhere you go, but still a bit strange nonetheless.

The lessons I have learned this year? Well, through those I am still processing.  I feel God has been kind to us here, after the rocky end to 2016, with the lessons coming slowly and mostly peacefully.  And we have enjoyed our little life we have made here, trials and all.

The highlights of our new life still include lots of family gatherings and spontaneous meet-ups throughout the week; food, delicious food, becoming such a pivotal part of our life; frequent company (though I know that will die down soon, but for now we are enjoying life as tourists too, as we have many friends wanting to visit and explore our city with us); navigating a new place and finding our new favorites, and all the wonders suburbia has to offer (a short commute, a neighborhood pool, great neighbor kids, etc)

We have found several great babysitters (besides family, of course!), a good church, a favorite gym, extracurricular classes to attend, invitations to bar-b-ques and baby showers, and our phones filling up with new contacts.  I guess you could say we’ve been established.

On the flip side, I still OFTEN find myself plugging coordinates into a GPS, a blank landscape in my mind when people describe familiar landmarks, a nagging irritation on days off with the girls that there are too many new things to try and not enough old standbys to rely on, a constant conversation about where our social standing will eventually land, and a few wistful thoughts about our life left behind.

A few things that have surprised me about our new hometown is that:

1) there are so many newcomers here.  On one hand, it feels a little old hat to not be the “only” new girl in town, but the bonus is, there are a lot of us out here looking for each other.

2) This is going to go a little deep, but I am surprised at how I’ve been confronted with my own racism and thoughts towards socioeconomic disparity .  I used to think I was very tolerant and inclusive, only to move down here and realize I have so much work to do.  It’s surprising to find this in the South because the stereotype is that racism is rampant here, but what I’ve found to be more true, at least in my hometown, is that it is confronted a lot more here.  And that is encouraging, while also giving me a heavy awareness of my own inherent thoughts.

A respected Sunday school teacher once said that the white North doesn’t care how far Black people advance in their social standing as long as they don’t live too near them.  And the reverse is true for the white South.  They don’t care about how close they live to Black people as long as they don’t cause distress in their social strata.  I have thought about this a lot since moving here and have found my background in the North is helping me unpack my future in the South, a little bit.  Two unique perspectives, both trying to root out the unnecessary in my own life (and truthfully, there are a lot more colors down here than just two, something I am grateful for my girls to experience).

3) the heat has never bothered me beyond what I remember up North, and I only wore my winter coat three times last year (once being upon return to IN).  So that’s a win in my book any day.  I no longer feel a dread of fall that winter is just around the corner, because it doesn’t feel as daunting anymore.

4) I thought I was well versed in Southern culture, having spent 12 years growing up here, but I am still learning the culture of this unique city and, and even more minutely, the community where we live.  There have been some unique struggles to N’s job that only affect me as his wife.  And that’s something I’m learning how to live with too.  Sometimes I forget how much change we have made in our lives since 2015, but we are still in many ways, transitioning, and that doesn’t always conclude in a year.

It’s been a year, but it’s been a year.  And that’s it.  Many that have gone before us have reassured me it takes 3 years to establish yourself in a new place.  Having moved twice before, I believe that wholeheartedly.  I also believe having babies retards that process a little, as the neediness keeps me home more than I like and I am less apt to go out and explore in the evenings.  Nevertheless this is our season, both to nurture and raise, and to meet and establish.  I do feel that we will be here a while, Lord willing, so I don’t feel rushed in the process daily, just small longings at times for friends with history.

There’s still a bit of anxiety about trying new things and where to spend our time and with whom.  That’s one of the byproducts of moving is not knowing immediately where or how to spend your time and the loss of a good rhythm.  I am still searching for that rhythm here, as it has changed a few times with the passing of milestones for Sibs.  I will always feel a little scattered without a good rhythm, but with a big disruption coming in March, it feels futile to try too hard to beat one out now.

The good news is, in a town this size, there are plenty of things clamoring for our attention and eager to place us in their tune, it’s just a matter of time and effort to figure out where we best harmonize.

-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