Thirty Week Update

Here we are, Baby Girl, 30 weeks into our mother-daughter relationship. This 7th month has been – by far – my favorite. I have started taking prescription meds for the heartburn which is a medical blessing. I look unquestionably pregnant and don’t yet feel like a blimp. My energy level and emotions have been well-balanced. (Although you might want to ask your dad if that’s an accurate statement or not.)

first day of subbing selfie

Your movements are so frequent and definitive. I love it! I can press my hand to my belly and feel you press back. I can tell which body part is protruding (or I like to think I can). It is the coolest. You seem to be stubborn and/or mysteriously calmed whenever your daddy tries to feel the squirms and kicks. I hope he has that effect on you after birth too. (Please, Lord, let it be so.)

I am feeling more and more prepared and less fearful for the impending labor and delivery. This is mostly thanks to the Lord and to my 4 week Holy Yoga pre-natal instruction class I’m taking right now. Also, the weekly yoga  class I teach has been physically encouraging and helping me stay strong. It’s mentally calming to have many of the ladies tell me how much my trained breathing and focus in yoga will aid in childbirth. I have begun to pray earnestly for the process: that God would be my steadfast focus, and that I would seek his peace. May God keep us both safe, Little Girl, and deliver you strong and healthy into my weary, weepy arms. 

a sweet subbing gift from a sweet friend

Speaking of which, I cannot wait to hold you. And I’m almost more excited for your daddy to wrap his arms around you. It seems a little unfair – these months I get to spend just me and you.

I have been substitute teaching a few days a week. It’s been a healthy distraction from the ticking of time and a good challenge. The students have been wonderful for my self-confidence – telling me how beautiful I am, being excited about the baby, whispering in the hall about how I’m their favorite. Every single class tries to weasel your name out of me. “We don’t even know you! You can tell us!” But I’ve kept our little secret between just your dad and me. I have also been thrilled with my consistent headache-free state in which I return home. That’s a miracle, for real. I love telling stories about the kids or my teaching tactics, and your dad and I often go for a long walk or hit the $1 hour at Arby’s to talk. The only downside to teaching would have to be vomiting in public school restrooms. This morning was a first and I hope it’s the last.

subbing selfie. 30wks 3 days.

We are now to the point of bi-weekly prenatal appointments. It’s become a nicely predictable routine: blood pressure (~114/60), pulse (in the 80s or 90s which is way high for me, but good because hello extra liters of blood), weight (on target), baby’s heart beat (140bpm), belly measurement (right on schedule) and Q&A. All has been wonderfully “textbook” and we are so thankful. Plus we get to hang out with our dear friend and neighbor and worship team member and church board member, Cathy (our CNM), at every single visit. Kinda cool how that works. I think it’s funny to imagine what onlookers think as the three of us banter, as they have no clue how well we know one another.

Come quickly, Little One. (But not really soon. Wait at least 8 weeks.)

Love,

Mama

On belly shirts

First of all, Daughter of Mine, I can only hope that you have my innate desire to never wear a belly shirt no matter how in style they are. (Seriously, how are belly shirts allowed to be in style again?)

Secondly, I find it ironically hilarious how many shirts I was certain would fit me throughout pregnancy. “These are my loose, billowy tops,” I’d said, dreaming of filling up the stylish extra space with a baby bump. A few drapey yoga tops lasted until about the 6th month, but now…no way. They cannot cover The Bump; rather, there’s a slight draft at my waistline (wherever the heck that is right now…) at the bottom of my belly which I cannot see, but the breeze seems to find it. I have a few zip ups that I can still …well…zip up over The Bump, but they are a good 3 inches from covering my entire belly. Layers are required.

I finally broke down and ordered a slew of maternity tank tops that I could wear for yoga, to the gym (so I just didn’t look like that grungy-topped woman who seemed to get chubbier every week…), and underneath the lovely belly zip-ups.

I *literally* have an entirely new wardrobe. I did not see this coming. I can already laugh at my naïvety.

Thirdly, Little Girl, I adore you. I imagine what you must be hearing and thinking, why you’re kicking and squirming and dancing and perfecting downward facing dog at such a young age. I am in love with your every move. In the middle of conversations, or your daddy’s sermons, or out to dinner, I’ll just stop and stare at my belly watching its wave-like rhythms as you rock and roll. I never tire of it.

IMG_4220I must confess, with shock and disappointment, I am not a lover of pregnancy. This is HARD WORK. It’s especially hard if you’re a control freak like me who is experiencing physical and emotional and lifestyle changes occurring without her permission. I do not love knowing what heartburn is after almost 30 blissful years without that fire in my throat. I do not love having to catch my breath while singing or talking. I do not love fighting cankles. I do not love sleeping with extra pillows or chomping on Tums or buying new coats to fit my uncontrollable girth.

I do not love missing another season of Fall running. I crave these 45 degree runs with the crisp air and the autumn skies, the brilliant colors and the inspiration to run extra miles. I am passionate about runs in the Fall. Maybe next year I’ll take you with me? At least I can still go for walks on our country roads. Sure, I can barely make it back in time for the bathroom, but it’s a good thing for my psyche and my physique to get out and power walk as much as possible. (TMI side note…the bladder issues of pregnancy are probably the main reason I am incapable of running. Holy Moses, just no.)  

These recent weeks have been the “glory days” of pregnancy, though. Mostly because strangers can tell I’m pregnant and the kids I’m subbing for tell me how beautiful I am and everyone seems to point out the infamous “pregnancy glow.” All of those symptoms and side effects are relatively minor and I’m relishing in the few days or weeks I have left before I want to say, “Enough is enough. Come on out Baby Girl.” 

Despite all of the things I don’t like about being pregnant, I am overjoyed and totally honored that God called me to motherhood. I am crazy excited to meet you and snuggle you and smell your baby head. I am terrified and exhilarated knowing our lives are about to change for good in a few weeks. May God anoint you even now with his grace, Little Girl.   Psalm 139:13-16 (NET)

Certainly you made my mind and heart; you wove me together in my mother’s womb. I will give you thanks because your deeds are awesome and amazing. You knew me thoroughly; my bones were not hidden from you, when I was made in secret and sewed together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was inside the womb. All the days ordained for me were recorded in your scroll before one of them came into existence.

29w4d

The Unspoken Club

As our little girl’s due date looms closer and closer, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of preparation and the questions of inquiring minds…but it’s impossible to forget where we were just months ago. In March I was truly believing that God might be calling us to childlessness. My identity was steeped in infertility, my spiritual journey rooted in that ache, my hopes dwindled. And we were ok.

For the past many years, since first sharing our story, we have been covered in prayers and support. And then there’s the unofficial club we joined – the Infertility Club. There were a few friends who confided that they, too, were unable to conceive. Together we walked through the tears, the anger, the envy, the heartbreak. We experienced tests, doctor’s appointments, artificial hormones, invasive procedures, and shared all the details because one of us was inevitably headed down the same road. We knew what to expect when we walked into the doctor’s office because good friends told their own nitty gritty stories to reassure us.

And our entire goal was to see each of us become parents.

But when you leave you that Club, it’s with mixed feelings. You get a call from your friend who lovingly shares her joyous news with you hoping you won’t be devastated by it. This is the whole point, isn’t it? Yeah, but this is a sisterhood that can’t be duplicated. And it feels a little bit like betrayal to be the “successful one.”

So as I watch my belly bubble with little movements and complain about the weight gain and the heartburn, my heart aches for the friends I’ve left behind. In my joy, they rejoice. And in their sorrow, I mourn.

To the unspoken, hush-hush sisterhood of infertility, my love abides and my prayers continue.