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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Perspective

Today I opened my journal and fell across an entry dated July 1, 2009, exactly three years ago tomorrow. I was frustrated, depressed, anxious, worried, unsettled...the complaining went on and on.

Three years ago we had just moved to Colorado because we had no job prospects in Oregon. We moved in with Michael's sister and started applying for jobs. In the month of July I applied to over 40 teaching jobs, and Michael had applied to several as well.

We had both been unemployed for months, having recently returned from Rwanda, and were feeling the pains of having no money, jobs, health insurance, or direction.

We were also in our sixth consecutive month of "trying" to get pregnant. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself for all of the above, lamenting on how I wasn't getting any younger and how much I wanted to be a mom and how life was just pretty miserable.

Fast forward three years: we've been settled in Fresno for almost three years. Literally two weeks after that July 1 journal entry Michael was contacted by MCC and that got the ball rolling for us to move to Fresno within a month. We've been able to pay off all the debt we accrued while unemployed and even paid off a small school loan or two and saved some money before I quit my job to stay home with Ellie.

And the biggest change of all: I'm restless three years later, but for such an amazingly different reason. I'm waiting to give birth to my second daughter.

I've been anxious for the last few days and weeks, complaining about being pregnant and wanting this to be over, to hold my baby. Rereading my journal entries from three years ago was a helpful reminder to put this all in perspective.

I don't want to forget how much we struggled to get pregnant. I don't want to take for granted that I've been able to conceive three times, have one healthy, beautiful baby girl, have had two super healthy pregnancies, and will hopefully be giving birth to another healthy girl this week.

Today I'm accutely aware of how blessed and fortunate I am.

I am so thankful to be where we are today. I can look back and see God's timing in so many areas of our life (one of the many reasons I keep a journal). At times I wonder what God is up to these days with our family and what changes will happen next, but I want to take this intentional moment to just be so thankful for these precious moments of our life today, because they are fleeting.

I'm so looking forward to meeting my daughter this week.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

40 Lunar Weeks

Today is my due date. 

Yes, I know it's statistically unlikely to have your baby on the actual due date. Still, I'd bet every pregnant woman keeps their eye on the calendar and counts down for 40 weeks to D-Day, and then feels deflated as the sun goes down on the golden day.

I know she will come "in her timing," as I've heard several times in the last few days.
I understand that hoping to go into natural labor and deliver on my due date is not likely.
I am aware that my due date is more of an "estimate" than a guarantee.

But knowing all of this doesn't make today any less frustrating or disheartening, especially after my doctor's appointment today. My doctor told me nothing has happened in a week (despite my walking twice a day, sitting on the ball, and trying to move around a lot). 

In fact, his exact words were, "it looks like your uterus just wants to stay pregnant forever." Is that supposed to be helpful? 

The plan if I don't go into labor on my own is this:

Tuesday I have another scheduled appointment. At that appointment I will have a non-stress test and I think an ultrasound, and if everything looks good I will have a couple more days to try to go into labor on my own. If nothing happens I will head to the hospital Thursday or Friday. My doctor might break my waters and let me try to go into labor before heading straight to a C-section, but we will discuss that next week if it comes to that.

Obviously a lot can happen in the next several days, so here's to hoping this baby decides she's ready to make an entrance!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Curb Walking

My due date is in 7 days. If I make it another week past that I will be scheduled for a C-section.

This means our baby will be here within the next 14 days. Wow. That's soon.

Of course, I'm hoping for earlier so I've started trying a few of the old wive's tales for inducing labor: walking (I've been trying to walk once, if not twice a day), squats, sitting on an exercise ball, and something I just learned about a few days ago: curb walking.

Never heard of it? Neither had I. It's just walking along a curb, one step on top of the curb, one on the road. It's supposed to jostle the baby down into the pelvis. It's good cardio and also a good gluteus maximus workout, in case you ever want to add to your workout regimen.


Some mothers swear that these and some other things will induce labor, that it "totally worked" for them, but then go on to tell me that they did it for days or weeks before it "worked." The pessimistic side of me thinks, maybe it worked, maybe the baby was just ready. But I know some of these things are shown to help a lot of women jump start labor.

Despite my doubts, I have to admit that two nights ago I tried curb walking and during that walk I experienced a few harder contractions than I've had to date, plus yesterday I felt several more, something I never experienced with Ellie. 

Guess what I'm going to be doing after dinner tonight? More curb walking. And I might sit on an exercise ball while eating spicy food.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nerves

Yesterday I was feeling extremely anxious. I laid down to take a nap and suddenly felt overwhelmed to the point of tears. I couldn't explain it. I think I was thinking ahead to a week "stuck" at home, dreading the hours and days going by way too slowly. We only have one car right now so Michael drives it to work unless I need it, in which case he rides his bike. The mere thought of not having the option of getting out of the house bogged me down.

My mom arrives on Saturday and the arrival of family makes the end seem tangible. I wasn't feeling overwhelmed about the birthing process itself but actually anxious about having to wait longer. Part of me is so ready to be done with this pregnancy that the idea of potentially a couple more weeks is hard to swallow. I'm tired and sore. I don't remember feeling quite this "done" at this stage with Ellie. I seem to be having a bit of pelvic pain and some Braxton Hicks which I didn't have with Ellie. I'm hoping this hints that this whole process will play out differently than an overdue baby and C-section.

Today I'm feeling less anxious about my week at home and trying to focus on bonding with Ellie. I'm excited to see her as a big sister but I know my firstborn little baby will not ever be quite the same again. Before naptime today we read Ellie's I'm a Big Sister book and it helped me to think of her that way.

Today I'm feeling a bit nervous about the birthing process itself. I hope to have a natural birth but have many doubts.

-Since I ended up having an epidural last time, will I give in sooner because I've tasted that relief before?
-Do I have the physical and mental stamina it will take to fight through the pain (if I even get to that point)?
-Does walking and eating spicy food and sitting on a birth ball really help induce labor?
-Am I really ready for sleepless nights and helping Ellie adjust to a newborn?
-Am I really ready for the pain of contractions and labor and giving birth?

The more ready I feel and simultaneously the more time that goes by, the more I question myself and whether I can do this. Though it's my second birth, there are many things I didn't experience the first time around that now are looming ahead of me, intimidating me and calling my confidence into question.

In the meantime, Ellie and I are enjoying time together. We finally set up our little pool in the back yard and are spending a lot of time staying cool in water.

(The blanket above her head is draped over our clothesline. My attempt at shade over the pool.)

Happy Summer Days to you!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Tick Tock Tick Tock...

"Any time." 

That's what my doctor said to me today. It can happen any time. Not that it means it will, but it could. 
Too bad this baby doesn't seem to be in a hurry. I was induced five days past my due date with Ellie because she wasn't in a hurry, either. I'm hoping that's not a trend.

Now we play the waiting game, where I try to not go stir-crazy but also try to relax, rest, and enjoy not being on a 2-3 hour eat/sleep schedule yet.

And, I keep chipping away at (and simultaneously adding to) my To-Do List.

Last night I spent a few hours deep cleaning the kitchen, wiping out cupboards and drawers.  Reorganizing. The only major thing I have left to do is pack for the hospital.

When I was pregnant with Ellie I took a picture almost every single week to track my belly growth. This time, I took one at about 8 weeks and then just a few random pictures throughout the months. 

So, here's me today at 38 weeks and 1 Day:
 For the sake of comparison, here's me at 38 weeks with Ellie:
 And a flashback to a fun little photo shoot we had 11 days before my due date with Ellie:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Time Out

My due date is two weeks from today. Soon I will be writing about our new baby so I wanted to post about Ellie. Lately I've been blown away by how much my little girl is growing and changing. She makes Michael and I laugh all the time with her quirky humor and the funny antics and copycat stage she's in. She surprises us every day with her personality and character.

She's also stubborn and entering her toddler "terrible twos," but there are so many fun things that trump the tantrums (usually.) Like our fun play dates in the park:
Or exercising together:
Or walking to the library:
We've started using time outs for Ellie and a chance to chill out seems to help in many situations. We try not to overuse the word "no," but it seems to be Ellie's favorite word to say and to hear. (Yes, we are in full blown toddlerhood). The time out corner and "no" often overlap.

A few days ago Ellie was playing and told me "no" and then went and put herself in time out. I couldn't stop laughing, although I tried to hide it. It made me realize that maybe the time out corner is making some kind of impact (although the jury is still out on what kind of impact).
 

 Today Ellie was playing with her doll and suddenly told her "no" and carried her over to the corner. It took her some effort to get her doll to sit in the corner, but she did it. She bent over, cocked her head to the side, and told her doll "no" a few more times.








(Ellie emphatically telling me "no.")
















Ellie is very much into soccer ("skocker") and loves to play with and kick her ball, especially with daddy. She knows the difference between soccer and football. We recently taught her to kick the ball instead of picking it up, and she's getting better. Here's a little video of our mini Mia Hamm, although I accidentally deleted the better video:
video
We're having fun watching Ellie grow up but it feels like it's going too fast. I was writing in Ellie's journal recently and I found myself suddenly overcome with emotions and tears. My baby is growing up and her life is about to change, as is our whole family's. She's going to be a big sister!

We're excited for the changes and are ready to embrace life as a family of four.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Babymoon

Tonight Ellie is staying the night at another family's house so Michael and I can take a Babymoon.

We've only been away from Ellie overnight one other time together, last December, so this is going to be good for us all. That's what I keep telling myself. I know it will be harder on me than her but I am very excited to spend time with Michael. We see it as a major priority before life changes again in a few short weeks. And I have to admit I'm looking forward to sleeping in and not feeling scheduled for a short time.
We're heading up to a friend's cabin at Shaver Lake. We are so thankful to have connected to people in Fresno who are so generous. In January I joined a Mom's Bible Study through another church and have been blessed by the community and connectedness I've found. These ladies have encouraged and supported me in so many ways. Bringing me soup when I'm sick. Volunteering to watch Ellie when I need childcare. Offering us a tent trailer for family to stay in when our new baby arrives. And now, offering to watch Ellie overnight and offering a free place to stay. We've been in Fresno for almost three years and I've felt more connected in the last several months than the previous years.

I'm thankful for community in this time of life. 
I'm thankful I get to spend some quality time with my husband. 
I'm thankful for my precious daughter and my healthy pregnancy. 

I'm feeling blessed today.