Monday, October 31, 2011

18 Weeks and Other Fall Things

If you happened over here on Friday, you probably read about my high levels of anxiety.  If you didn't, I wouldn't necessarily recommend going and reading that post.  I was having a small meltdown.... okay, a big one.  Hormones and the unknown of the first pregnancy were getting to me and I was a M.E.S.S.  (MES used to be my initials, how funny.) 


After doing some praying, some talking, some more-in-depth reading about this stage of pregnancy, and about 20 hours of sleeping this weekend, I'm feeling much more sane, rational, and overall good about things.

After reading one article from a obstetrician, I started to skim the comments left by "experienced moms."  This one immediately spoke to me:

"Have faith! Look at all those twinges and discomforts as positive signs that your body is changing and baby is growing. Remember that you will never be as close to your baby as you are during your pregnancy. You know exactly where your child is and your body is nurturing and protecting that child. That goes away once you give birth, so enjoy the time when you have it! Instead of reaching for a doppler (and spending your hard earned money on it), relax and connect with your child during those times when you find yourself most nervous. Find your faith, because you will need it over and over again as a parent!"

Now, I'm not saying I still might not convince myself at some point to rent a doppler (because peace of mind might be worth it), but for now I'm content to have faith, and I'm going to try to enjoy this time.

So. Without further ado, a silly 18 Week Pregnancy Update:

This morning I made sure to take a picture when I didn't look like something the cat dragged in.  I still fit into nearly all my jeans (the perk of low rise jeans), but my belly is definitely expanding.  I'm attempting to monitor that at a healthy level - so far, so good.

Pregnancy Highlights:

How Far Along: 18 Weeks

Size of Baby: The "peanut" or "LBF (little bitty fella)," as we call him/her is now about 5 and 1/2 inches long, roughly the length of a good sized bell pepper.  LBF weighs about 7 ounces and is doing all sorts of developmental growth!

Maternity Clothes: As I mentioned, I fit into all my jeans.  (Most of my work pants are a little too snug.... so I'm a jeans to work kind of teacher now.)  Okay, you caught me in a small fib - on one pair of jeans, I have to do the elastic band through the button hole trick, but that's it.  Fortunately for me, I had bought several shirts that were "larger" and "flow-ier" over the summer since I had gained weight over the last year, so I'm not really buying maternity clothes yet.  I need to go do some initial looking, because the time will be coming soon, I think, and I want to have a style and look good.

Gender: November 9th is our new holiday: Boy or Girl Day!  That's next week, so we're pretty excited.  We have about a fifty-fifty split in our family's thoughts.  Some have stated they think it's a boy, some have dreamt it's a girl (including Husband!), and some have just stated their "wish list."  I think I kind of hope she's a girl, but think he might be a boy, but either way, want a healthy baby.

Movement: Maybe the tiniest of little flutters?  Or maybe just gas?  Who knows?  Hoping to feel something more definitive soon.  Husband is, too.  He wants a turn to feel something.

Sleep: Body Pillow: best invention ever.  That's really helping me be more comfortable and stay off my back, which is how I like to sleep when my back hurts, which is often.  But the last few nights I've gotten really good sleep, despite the plethora of weird and never-ending dreams and the occasional potty break.

Cravings:  I don't really have any cravings that I didn't have before... I mean, I always love salty food.  But I am trying to cut back on the non-healthy things and be more concious of what I eat.

What I miss: Feeling skinny.... although I haven't felt that way in a while. :)  But I'm excited that at least I have an "excuse" and some people think pregnant women are beautiful.  I also miss feeling normal.

Symptoms: Well, I think I was pretty clear about those on Friday.  I have lots of indigestion, some discomfort at times, and I do have to pee frequently.  But as mentioned earlier in this post, I'm working on embracing those things.

Things People Say: No one has really said anything obnoxious.  Being the non-mushy person I am, I find it strange and kind of weird when people comment on how cute my baby belly is or talk about my "showing."  I have had people already touch my belly, and that has got to stop. :)  Other than that, people are mostly trying to be encouraging, and I can't fault them for that or for my over-sensitive hormones.

Best Moment(s) This Week: Well.  Calming the heck down.  And having Husband really start clearing things out of the former-guest room soon-to-be baby room.  The more-empty room really makes me think.

In other news, I have been so self-involved with the baby stuff, I never posted about how much I love fall.   I LOVE FALL.  I do, I do, I do.  It represents so many happy things to me, which you can read about here.

Here's a quick peek at my overly-pumpkin-ed house.  I like it that way, so don't judge.

An overall glance.

My homemade "Give Thanks" pumpkins.

Some of my Autumn things from my MIL.

A close-up, because the saying is worth reading.

More pumpkins... and a DELICIOUS smelling candle.

The mantle.

The buffet with... more pumpkins.

Real acorns from Nebraska (where Husband grew up) -
we got them last year when we visited.

Ginny following me around and wondering why I was taking so many pictures.

Happy Monday, friends.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Lovely Morning.

I'm having a lovely decided-to-skip-church-this-morning-and-just-be morning.  A rare occurence. 

Here's what it's looked like:

A delicious cup of coffee...

Ginny all snuggled up on the couch beside me.

My husband sitting in the room with me, half-watching the movie, half doing something on the iPad.

A mini-Harry Potter marathon while I get some grading and online work done.

And me...  wow.  I'm going to get up now and get in the shower, after posting this terrifyingly honest picture of what I currently look like.

Next?  Family lunch at Zio's.  Yumm.  Then more HP, school work, and, most likely, PJs again.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thank You

Dear friends,

Thank you for your words of encouragement.  As I was telling Husband last night, my rational, logical self knows that I am probably okay, and that this is most likely very normal.  It's just that I can't seem to let that part of my brain rule right now.  Emotions and hormones are crazy controllers at times.  Still, as many of you referenced, and as my mom told me this morning, I cannot let fear be my controller.  A spirit of fear is NOT from God.  I may still call the doctor on Monday morning and ask if I can come in, just for some peace of mind, but I will continue to day by day hope and work on trusting. 
Thank you for understanding that I am not a crazy person, and that I do know that I'm probably fine, but for sharing your words of wisdom and experience, anyway.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Am I Normal?

A brutally-honest post here.  Please don't mind me.

Seventeen-nearly-eighteen weeks pregnant.  I should be posting cute little "pregnancy posts" every now and then, shouldn't I?  Letting you know how I'm doing and feeling and letting you see my baby belly.  That's what "normal" first-time blogging moms-to-be do, right?  Sharing my experiences with you, portraying with word and picture the joyful development of my pregnancy.  Shouldn't I?

Yet, emotionally, I don't feel capable of any such posts, at least not right now.  I'm not feeling particularly cute, excited, happy.  Instead, I feel worried, anxious, scared.  Is that normal?  It certainly isn't for me.  I'm not a worrier, not even a little bit, usually.  That's my sister, my Husband.  They worry sometimes to the extent that they make themselves sick.  But not me.  I most often can see past the worry and head straight into the trusting or the making a plan so things work out.  But not about this, even though my rational brain says nothing has changed.  I'm worried, anxious, scared.  All the time.  The only escape is to be busy, to teach, to be surrounded by my students and not have a moment to stop or breathe or think.... and even then, sometimes, in the midst of the doing, I still feel afraid.

I'm about to put my greatest fear into words for you.  You might think I'm crazy.  You might understand.  You might be upset I would write it.  But I'm going to be honest.

I'm practically convinced that my child is dead in my uterus.  Right now.

Why?  I don't know.  I don't really have a valid reason to think that.  I just do. 

Perhaps it's because I've known a few women in the last couple of years who've carried their babies almost to full term, only to have their sweet babies meet Jesus before birth. Perhaps it's because my hormones are totally out of whack and I'm an insane person.  Perhaps it's because I don't feel great, but I'm not sure what I'm supposed to feel like.

I don't know why, exactly.  I can't describe it very well.  I'm just terrified. 

Is that normal?  If it is, why didn't someone warn me that I was going to be an emotional disaster area, a doomsday-sayer, a total and complete wreck?  If it isn't, well, then.... I guess I'm nuts.  (To be fair, I know I'm not totally alone in my craziness; a friend last night told me that his wife went through the same phase.  But she is a nurse who worked on the peds floor at the hospital and go in and listen to her baby's heartbeat every lunch.  No fair.)

I don't know what pregnancy is supposed to feel like.  And yes, I know that it's different for each person, but I don't know what it's supposed to be like for me.

I've been super blessed in my life - I've never had menstrual cramps, and I've never had indigestion.  Lucky me!  (I once made the mistake of asking a friend in college mid-cycle what cramps felt like.... I thought she might kill me.)  I'm not complaining - I know I've been fortunate.

But now, I can't tell what I'm supposed to feel and what I'm not.  I have really bad indigestion almost all the time these days - not heartburn, but an odd combination of gas and constipation, of an achy-crampy tummy box feeling.  (I don't mean cramps like menstrual cramps, but I don't know what other word to use.)  I just don't feel great.

I feel twinges of discomfort in my abodmen sometimes.  Is that normal?  I don't know if it, as my doctor told me at the beginning, is just my uterus expanding and pushing my insides all around, or if it's a symptom of a bigger problem.  I am exhausted and out of breath when I walk up the stairs.  Normal?  Or a sign of a problem?

And I don't feel any movement, I don't think.  I rationally know that it's okay - that first time moms feel their babies at different times, but I want to feel this child moving, so then I would know he/she is okay.  I need to feel him/her.  I'm going crazy.

Our next doctor's appointment isn't until the 9th.  We're scheduled to have our next ultrasound and find out who will be joining our family - Baby Boy C or Baby Girl C. What I wouldn't give for it to be next week, so I could just find out.  Rationally, so I could be calmed the heck down, because I "know" that everything is okay.  Our previous two appointments yielded nothing but positives.  A healthy heartbeat, lots of movement.  Irrationally, so I could just find out and deal with whatever happens. 

I don't want to call the doctor and ask to come in early, because I'm probably just being neurotic and freaking myself out unnecessarily.  But I don't know if I'm feeling normal things, so then I think maybe I should call.  But then I think I should just wait.

As I said, I'm worried, anxious, scared.  Pretty much a disaster area.  I want to be cute and excited and happy, but this week, that's just not happening. So that's me, for real.

And now back to work, to filling my mind with my job, my students.  Distraction, come my way, thank you very much.

Coffee Company, one thing that always makes me happy.
5 Minute Fridays, where we're talking about what's relevant.  And this is all I am, this week.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Finding Out: The Story (Part 1)

Post disclaimer (and perhaps a blog disclaimer, too): I'm honest and forthcoming to a fault.  I'm going to tell you everything, so.... if you're not into that, don't read my blog. :)

Months ago I shared with you what was on my heart: the desire to have a baby.  If you know me at all, I'm not really a "mushy" person, so I've never been someone who gushes over things like weddings and babies, but Husband and I had decided, we wanted to be parents. 

That decision didn't change very much for us, at the time.  Husband would say he's incredibly good at "compartmentalizing" (or, truthfully, simply just not thinking about something at all).  If I were to be honest, I'm pretty good at that, too.  Don't get me wrong - I think too much sometimes - but I'm also quite capable of saying something like, "yes, let's have kids," and then not thinking about it again.

At the end of July, though, I started to wonder.  I couldn't rememeber exactly when my last period was - I had a fair idea, but I wasn't totally sure. My breasts were definitely bigger than normal, but I had been struggling with weight gain over the last year or so, and so thought maybe I could chalk it up to that.  I was starting to be more tired than I should be for summer break, but then, I was doing  a lot and working out and being busy.

The first weekend in August, we headed out to see Husband's mom, Laura, in Nebraska.  A few days before we left, I remember having coffee with a friend who asked if I would tell her if I were pregnant.  I assured I would, but told her I wasn't.... even though at that point the doubt was slowly creeping into my mind.

With Husband and sister-in-law in the truck, we left early Friday morning for our eight hour drive.  I wondered.  And wondered.  And kept it to myself  because, surely, I would get my period that weekend.  And if I didn't, well, then I'd figure it out when I got home.  And I wouldn't tell Husband just yet, because I kind of wanted to take him out for a fun dinner and tell him if I were pregnant.

Come Saturday morning, though, I realized, I just plain wasn't strong enough to carry the question on my own, so I confided in Husband that I was freaking out a little (okay, a lot) about whether or not I was pregnant.  I think he was surprised, but kind of excited.   While he was out running some errands, I did some math from when I thought I'd last had my period, and completely freaked myself out, realizing that I was definitely (mostly, probably, am I over-reacting?) overdue.  When he came home, we decided that we would both go pick up lunch for everyone and, while we were out, make a quick trip to the drug store to buy a pregnancy test. 

I can't even really begin to describe the emotions I was feeling.  Scared, excited, panicked, hopeful, fearful... I tried to explain to him what I was thinking - if I were pregnant, that was terrifying, because everything was going to change and be a big dang deal.  And if I weren't, well, that would be devastating, even though I had just started to think I might be. 

Buying a pregnancy test is a weird thing, don't you think?  Even in the middle of another state, in a city where I know about 10 people, in a store I'd never been to, I felt funny.  Like it was shameful, even though it absolutely wasn't.  I couldn't look the cashier in the eye - I paid, grabbed the bag, and all but ran out of the store and hopped back in the truck.

After picking up Chipotle for everyone, we headed back to Laura's house, where I immediately made a beeline to our bathroom downstairs.  I couldn't wait another second to find out.  (And here all along I thought I was this sort of level-headed, patient person.)  I took the test, and waited..... wondering what Husband was thinking as he was upstairs with his mom and sister.... and waited.   The little "is the test working" line appeared in the first window, and then ... a vertical line appeared boldly and so blue in the second window.  The horizontal line?  There, but oh-so faint.  I studied the pictures in the instruction booklet, trying to decide.  As far as I could tell, there should have been a bold horizontal line and no vertical line at all if the test was negative.....

So I must be pregnant.

I about fell to pieces.

My eyes immediately filled with tears, and I kid you not - I thought I might hyperventilate.  But I realized that if I went upstairs a total disaster, I'd have to tell.  And I wasn't ready to do that. I mean, what if I'd read the test wrong?  What if it weren't accurate?   I needed to pull myself together, so I did.

After a minute, I went upstairs, and when asked where I'd been, said I'd had to use the bathroom, and left it that.  I made eye contact with Husband for a split second, gave a small grin, and then looked away, diving into my Chipotle.  We ate all together, talking about the most random things, for at least another half an hour before Husband and I had a chance to be alone.  It was the weirdest thing, thinking I was pregnant, and not saying anything about it, jus sitting there, eating my Chipotle burrito bowl, watching T.V., talking, laughing, with the rest of the world (okay, slight exaggeration) not having a clue what was really going on in my head. 

The possibility that everything was about to change was overwhelming.

The rest of the story to come.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Little Peanut Changes Ordinary in a Big Way

Linking up this morning with two of my favorite Friday morning reads: Coffee Company and Five Minute Fridays.

At Coffee Company, we just share our lives, as we would over a cup of coffee.  See my post here about how I'm feeling about Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  At Five Minute Fridays, we get a topic to chat about each week and share whatever our hearts say on that topic.

Today's discussion at FMF works perfectly for what I wanted to share over coffee.

Our topic?

What's Ordinary.

The reality is, my ordinary is changing every day, friends, and here's why.

I actually normally am really bothered by people who put up pictures of their ultrasound.... I mean, who wants to look at my uterus?  But.... I decided to succumb and do it anyway.  Here's our little munchkin at about 11 weeks.  (I'm now about 14 weeks.)

Ginny was very interested in the picture.... we like to pretend she understands and we tell her about her new baby sister or brother all the time.  We're pretty convinced she's going to be a great big sister.  And please excuse my messy table.  I was tired that day.

Some of the fun things friends have given us to keep reminding us of what's to come.  I prefer that over the conversations about how painful labor is going to be.

And a horrible picture of me.  The other pictures of me I looked even worse.  (Next time I'll have to make Husband take the picture and make sure I do my hair and don't look like crap.  It took me 15 minutes and I'm still unhappy with this photo.)

So as you can see, friends, my ordinary isn't ordinary.  I'm still processing the whole "I'm going to be a mom" thing.  I am excited, fearful, estatic, worried..... and a plethora of other emotions.  We're thinking of names, of how we need to change things, of how we need to "get our acts together" before baby comes, of what we need to do with our house to be baby ready, etc.... even though we have six months left. 

What was ordinary before still is, but isn't.  We do our lives each day, I teach, do StuCo, spend time with family.  But I think and act on all these other things, too.

It's been crazy waiting to tell the world and people outside of our close family and friends circle, because it's all we've thought about since the first week in August..... but now it's out to the world.....  So I'm counting on all your help to share your wise Mommy Wisdom with me over the next months and years.

Anyway, my five minutes are long up. 

Here's to my ordinary, whatever it actually is.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pumpkin Spice....

Dear Pumpkin Spice Latte Lovers,

I'm sincerely happy that the latte you love to sip is back, and that you're enjoying the deliciousness of it's spicy aroma and flavor.  I hope you'll enjoy every single one you drink until they go out of season again.   I'm quite aware that the Pumpkin Spice Latte signals the arrival of the fall season, perhaps one of my most favoritest (yes, that should be a word) seasons of all, for so many reasons.   May you savor every sip with a sigh of satisfaction.

But would you please stop rubbing it in my face that it isn't quite yet my turn, as the Gingerbread Latte season has not yet arrived?  I don't begrudge you your happiness, but you're doing an awfully good job at making me jealous and a little sad. 

My time is coming however.... and, of course, when it doesn, it means that yours will be at an end.

A Gingerbread Latte Girl

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

On Being Small, Going it Alone, and Other Things

Husband and I have been doing a little quick devotional together each night recently - and by at night, I mean, at night, or, if we forgot, the next morning.  It's about time - it only took us three years of marriage to figure out that the small devotional together was the way we could be consistent.

A friend (and I can't exactly remember who, but I feel like it might have been Dawn, since she posted on this same devotional recently) gave me the book Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young.

We really like it. 

Each day has a short reading, followed by some verses you can look up if you feel so inclined.  Sometimes we get to the verses, sometimes we are too involved in a conversation inspired by what we've read already.  It's nice - Husband is someone who processes slowly, so if I want to talk about something longer, like a sermon we heard, he's not going to be ready to do so for a while.  With these little devos, he can think about it more quickly, and we are able to talk right then and there.

Yesterdays' reading was written straight for me, I think.  It's not long, so, even though this might be a copyright issue, I'm going to share it with you.   (Credit: It's the October 4 reading, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young.)

I am the Creator of Heaven and Earth: Lord of all that is and all that will ever be.  Although I am unimaginably vast, I choose to dwell within you, permeating you with My Presence.  Only in the spirit realm could Someone so infinitely great live within someone so very small.  Be awed by the Power and the Glory of My Spirit within you!

Though the Holy Spirit is infinite, He deigns to be your Helper.  He is always ready to offer assistance; all you need to do is ask.  When the path before you looks easy and straightforward, you may be tempted to go it alone instead of relying on Me.  This is when you are in the greatest danger of stumbling.  Ask My Spirit to help you as you go each step of the way.  Never neglect this glorious source of strength within you.

When I'm standing amidst the ridges and trees and vistas of the mountains, or before the expansive vastness of the ocean, I always meet God.  In my entire life, God has never failed to show up when I was in one of those places.  I'm struck by the hugeness of God, and the tinyness of me, and by how, even though I am so tiny in comparsion, and just one tiny person amidst a world of tiny people, He loves me infinitely.  But I'm not sure I've ever given much thought to the fact that that same HUGE God lives in me.  I'm awed by His Hugeness, by His Vastness, by His Unfathomable Love for me.  But I don't often get to the part where I'm awed by the fact that He deigns, as the text says, to live in me.  Serious food for thought, here.

And then the next part, well, arrow to my heart, Lord.

I am so the person who attempts to go it alone when things are easy and straightforward.  I'm great at clinging to God during hard times, but ummm... other than that, not so much.  I mean, I go to church and get a lot from ther sermons.  I have quiet times periodically (sometimes often, sometimes not), and I hear from and love God.  But the rest of the minutes of the hours of the days, well, I'm not paying much attention.

Recently I was talking to someone and, as we were discussing what our challenges were, commented that I subconciously (and now conciously) consider myself to be a pretty self-sufficient person.  And I don't want to be.  I want the Vast Huge God to be my sufficiency, not myself.  And if my thinking that the other day wasn't enough of a hint, here came this devotional to remind me. 

If I'm going to attempt to go it alone, I'm going to stumble.

I mean, I'm probably going to stumble anyway, but it's a different kind of stumble, I think.

Okay, God.  Message is slowly starting to be received.  May You be the One I consider, the One I turn to for everything and anything, the One I am awed by and in love with.  May I crave spending time with You, getting your advice, and doing what You want and will.

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