The In-Between, the Intermission

2018

It’s already been a heck of a year, and it’s only July.

I have learned how to slow down, I have learned how to listen to my body and my spirit, and I have fully embraced change (which, if you know me, can be hit or miss).

School starts August 13th, and I will not be there. I have not started hoarding school supplies, and I am not poring over teaching materials; I am cleaning out my classroom.

I was happy to teach the last two weeks of the school year and gain some closure after my extended absence. Even with the inconvenience of pumping at school and Chris having to stay home to watch our son, I loved remembering that I had a job and meaningful relationships at school. Surprisingly, even sleep deprived, I managed to clean up my room mostly.

This past week, we found out my husband will be starting a job out of state and we will be moving. This has been the plan since we married: Chris goes to graduate school, Rachel teaches, maybe a baby the last year or so of grad. school, and then Rachel will stay home with the kids in the early years while Chris works, at a location TBD by Chris’s employment.

Traditional? Yes, but not really, because all of it was discussed at length well in advance. I have some misgivings about being an effective stay-at-home mom, but Chris says I can always go back to work. I feel very fortunate to have a supportive husband who wouldn’t resent me if I can’t hack it not working, and I acknowledge the privilege I have that many mothers yearn for.

All this is to say that I am now finding myself at a crossroads; I have worked non-stop (barring bedrest and summer breaks) since 2007. Honestly, I love all that I have done, but I’m not sure it’s the best for my health and well-being. This year has taught me that I need to adjust my pace, especially if I want to last in education and as a mother.

What I know for certain is that I will need to figure out teacher licensure; I am up for renewal in Arkansas, but I’m not sure if I should renew and then transfer it to the new state, or just keep it current in Arkansas. I am also beginning to look at Masters Programs.

I will need an online program (or a combination of online courses with minimal classes in person), and I’ll have to decide what to study. I am staying in education because I believe it is a calling on my life. What I’m not assuming is how it will look in the future.

I adore working with students, watching them grow, sharing my passion for reading, writing, and all things English! I love creating learning experiences and endlessly seeking new ways to perfect my craft.

What I don’t love is the constant stress of standardized testing, the difficulties of classroom management (and a low public opinion of education), and the idea that I am supposed to assume that teaching will eat up my time, resources, and effort at a detriment to my family and finances… all while smiling.

I am glad to be in this in-between. I’m glad I have the opportunity to reflect before I burn out. I am wistful as I consider how I can fulfill my calling and ultimately help students develop into lifelong learners and thoughtful human beings.

 

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Mothers’ Day

Here’s the thing: after growing a baby, I realized I never actually grew the overly-sentimental part of motherhood that is often lauded in flowers, grand gestures, or public posts of fussy sentiments.

Let’s make Mothers’ Day focus on what motherhood actually is: a day to thank your mother for choosing to keep you alive! The same can be said for a first birthday as a celebration of survival of the first year, but I digress.

I have only been parenting for what will be six weeks on Sunday, so let me tell you what I actually think of motherhood at the moment:

  • It is 90% bodily fluids. If this needs explaining, ask your mom. It is literally messy every which way!
  • It is a marathon of conflicting feelings. You spend 9 months gestating or awaiting your child, and right before his/her arrival you are SO READY. Then, afterwards, you resume uncomfortable sleeping for different reasons while also hoping you don’t sleep too soundly and miss your child’s cues for care.
  • It is both maddening and heartwarming that your child needs you all the time.
  • Mothering will not change your essential nature. I still do not like too much physical touch and sometimes need baby breaks, I’m still just as pragmatic, sarcastic, and skeptical as ever. IT IS OKAY TO BE YOUR OWN KIND OF MOM!
  • Some people treat motherhood like a cult. Don’t buy into it. You are not some kind of higher being for having given birth or having children. It is different for sure, but does not make you greater than anyone else.
  • You need friends, specifically women, you can text or call or show up at their house so you don’t lose your ever-loving mind when your child, who is typically charming, decides to throw out any progress recently made in favor of a sleep strike.
  • I feel zero guilt for the things not getting done around the house. I am KEEPING A MINIATURE HUMAN AND MYSELF ALIVE! This is an accomplishment. You guys, we have left the house clean and clothed multiple times this week. I have done like 5 loads of laundry and half folded it. I’ve run the dishwasher. I shower once a day. I’m averaging about 5 hours of sleep in tiny pieces a night, so I don’t have much of a filter and I am great. Surviving. Drinking coffee. Using fragments shamelessly.

 

All this is to say, if you do actually love all the hoopla of Mother’s Day, I won’t hold it against you. You do you! I feel incredibly blessed to live in a time where I am allowed to be whatever kind of mother I’d like; there are so many ways to be an amazing mom!

And of course I forgot to publish this so now it’s the Monday after Mother’s Day. Happy first day back to work for me! Shout out to all you mamas who do this all the time and not just for two weeks at the end of the school year!

We ended up dedicating Rowan at church after attending the early service (thanks, new building, for the superb nursing room making this outing much easier), dragging ourselves home for a nap, and Chris got me flowers. Honestly, I feel very fortunate to have a life partner whose actions regularly express his gratitude for my role in our family.

Chris sacrificed SO MUCH time and energy caring for me while I was in the hospital and on modified bed rest. In January, he had to miss out on a weekend trip to see his brother, and even DROVE himself to Atlanta and back in a 48 hour period in order to be more available. In February, he put off his research trip to Germany, delaying his graduation, because he didn’t want to risk missing the birth of his son or my health going south. Additionally, he put up with LOTS of house guests who helped me keep my sanity since I wasn’t allowed to do most of my usual activities. During labor, he was a steadfast support and didn’t panic or lose patience. He drove us to each of Rowan’s appointments and numerous weight checks in his first three weeks of life without complaint. He gets up with me in the middle of the night to help situate Rowan with diaper changes or do small things for me so I can focus on feeding, even when he is going to work the next day. He does not view the last two weeks of the school year staying at home watching our son as “babysitting,” but rather as shared parenting responsibilities.

I literally could go on for quite awhile, but the point is that I feel valued and loved just about every day of the year.

Happy Mother’s Day! It’s never too late to express your gratitude to your mom. Tell her thanks for keeping you alive. 🙂

 

One Month with Rowan

Tuesday marked one month with my little man!

I am very tired. The depth of tiredness is unfathomable to anyone not living there. This past week he finally went to waking every 3 hours at night. I am grateful, although he still has rough nights where he wakes up at 2 AM and decides he wants to stay up for two hours!

He is actually a great baby. He doesn’t scream that often, and even though he likes being set down somewhere close to me for naps, he does not require me to hold him constantly, although we do love cuddles after breastfeeding.

At one month, he smiles and coos often in his sleep, but we haven’t really seen any smiles while awake yet. He wakes up slowly over the course of 10-15 minutes; most of the time he doesn’t get to full out hunger screaming unless mom has a hard time waking up in the middle of the night!

I’m a little sad he has developed some baby acne, but it’s not too bad.

We use the Rainymood.com app for white noise at night, although I’m looking for a good sound machine. We do pre-heat his bassinet with a heating pad on low to help him transition back to bed at night.

There isn’t a whole lot to say about his personality at this point, but we have figured out some preferences:

  • He likes baths, just not being cold after. We are so happy he likes the water!
  • He is a little Houdini for getting out of his swaddle (although I’m sure some of that is parental error)
  • He freaks out if his hands are not accessible, so we ditched mittens early and filed his nails instead.
  • He likes the swing.
  • He likes the Boba wrap, but not the Ergo carrier yet
  • He cries when hungry or being changed; he also has a fake cry/chirp for attention when all other needs have been met. He has also recently started accidentally grabbing his own hair when distressed (think hungry, just awake, or wet), which does make him scream, poor thing!
  • He doesn’t mind loud noises! He can turn his head toward sounds, but very little bothers him; we credit this to his early days with mom teaching. In utero, he loved her teacher voice 🙂
  • He enjoys car rides and outings; he does super well!

 

Being a mom is challenging and humbling; it definitely lends perspective to how God tirelessly loves us. It also makes me think that I’ll never entirely learn patience! Lately, I’ve been praying that God would meet all of Rowan’s needs that Chris and I can’t, and that Rowan would forgive (or just not remember) times when we fall short of being patient and loving. And yes, I also pray he’d fall asleep or settle after I set him down at night!

I don’t think I know how to entertain an infant. We do tummy time, I frequently sing to him, talk to him, or read random poetry. We also listen to audio books! Sometimes it feels like a never-ending cycle of waking and feeding and napping, punctuated by me finding myself food or trying to sneak in a load of laundry.

Chris has been incredibly helpful, but he’s beginning to have to travel again to finish research for his dissertation, so I am learning my new normal of taking care of myself and a baby! So far, we’ve been to Lake Fayetteville and the chiropractor without anyone else. We love our stroller for making this easier!

It is very strange to be so changed and not changed at the same time. For instance, I love being close to my baby, but I also do occasionally need a break because I’m not an overly cuddly person! I still hate it when people are saccharine about my child, but when have I ever appreciated that?! I don’t think I will ever be an ooey gooey affectionate mother, but I am definitely loving in my own way.

I am still me, but with an added dimension of listening for his breathing in the bassinet as we sleep at night or showering while subconsciously listening for him to stir. I am vigilant about his safety, but not consumed with fear. It is less scary having him born than in me with so many unknowns.

Here’s to many more months and years and a lifetime of beautiful moments for my son.

My First Birth Story! Almost ALLLL the Details

WARNING: Do not read further if you are uncomfortable with hearing lots of details about labor and delivery. I carefully considered whether or not I wanted to post this, but ultimately, I want to remember this for later, and I think my story offers a unique perspective, given that my preferences for labor are not popular and my complications are not that common.

I had my baby at 38 weeks and 4 days. In the week leading up to birth, I had begun having increased Braxton Hicks, and on Friday March 30th, I started to have some uncomfortable cramps with BH, but resolved to not be too excited. I lost a few bits of mucus plug that evening and was very happy my body seemed to be heading in the right direction (despite being told my cervix was high and closed at 37 weeks).

Saturday morning, I lost more of my mucus plug, but also had a lot of bleeding. I tried not to panic and thought perhaps I just have a very bloody show… but then I bled some more. It was heavier than a first day of a period for me, so we went in.

Everyone thought that yes, it did seem like a lot of blood, but my vitals and baby’s looked great, I was 2-3 cm dilated with scattered contractions, and I told them I knew it wasn’t active labor, but I was worried about the blood. They agreed I shouldn’t go home, so I was admitted. For some reason, the cervical checks were EXCRUCIATING! Everything else was fine, but I hated those and they literally made me cry each time.

The doctor on call came to see me once I was admitted and said he was very concerned about all the bleeding. The most likely cause was my low-lying placenta being irritated by early labor. He asked if he had my permission to break my water and start me on pitocin since I was only a 4. I declined, saying I wanted to walk around and see if labor would pick up since my water was still intact and I felt sure contractions would pick up if I were allowed to move around. He finally actually examined me, said it wasn’t as bad as he thought, and reluctantly allowed me to at least try to walk. I did, and just as I had thought, contractions picked up. They were uncomfortable, but doable. They became more intense over the course of the day, but I had no problem managing with my husband and my friend (a doula and an RN who works at the women’s hospital at which I was giving birth).

I was still bleeding profusely, with large clots, but I still felt all right. My platelets that morning had been a 90, but a second round of blood work in the evening showed them at 102, so that looked good too. This meant I was still eligible for an epidural if necessary.

As the evening wore on, my contractions began to fizzle out around 1 AM. I was dilated to a 5. I thought about a kick start of pitocin at that point, but they didn’t want to administer it when there wasn’t full staffing for the OR just in case. We resolved to sleep, so we all took a rest. At 4 AM, contractions picked up and were much more uncomfortable. Just before 7 AM, my water broke on its own!

Things picked up from there, but I was stuck at a 6 for the next 3 hours or so. The pain was horrible and I wasn’t making progress, so I asked what IV pain meds were an option. They told me there were options, but said my baby would have to go to the nursery to be observed for 4 hours after birth since the drugs would go to him too. I declined, and after awhile, asked for an epidural because I was frustrated at the lack of progress and was having difficulty coping knowing that I wasn’t moving forward.

The doctor wanted to redo my blood work, and of course my platelets were at an 84 (and apparently I have large platelets which means naturally I’ll have fewer to begin with). The anesthesiologist told us if it were his family member, he would still do it, but he wanted us to know the gravity of the risks. It was basically a 1 in 500 chance something could go wrong, although he had never seen a spinal epidural hematoma before. I could tell he felt badly for me, and he said my husband and I should talk it over. Apparently this risk extended to any kind of sedation, should I need an emergency c-section. We both felt as though I had been incredibly lucky to have made it this far and felt like if something abnormal would happen, it would happen to me, and we weren’t prepared to take that risk.

So, in the greatest pain of my life, I told that nice man that we were going to pass on the epidural. Once I knew the risks, it reinforced my determination to avoid a c-section or further interventions with everything I could. I may or may not have said, “This baby is just going to have to come out the same way he came in.” It’s a lot easier to labor when you decide there isn’t a doable out except to keep going.

Luckily, while waiting on all of this, I had progressed to an 8, and soon after that, a 10 around 11:45 AM. Y’all, I couldn’t not push from 8-10, so I was pushing to alleviate pain and half breathing it out when I could control myself. My doula was very supportive and told me to push if it felt like it was productive! At pushing time, I tried on my own for maybe half an hour and then accepted coaching.

I couldn’t stand any pressure on my pelvis, so I was holding myself up on the squat bar on the bed with my legs and putting the rest of my weight off on the bedside handles. In between pushes, I was almost out cold, literally gathering strength to focus on making it. I hadn’t expected to labor lying down, but I wasn’t able to rest between contractions very well propped up on the squat bar as I had been. My contractions were never consistent; even at the end, some of them were 1-2 minutes apart and others were more like 7 minutes apart. I was terrified I’d run out of energy because of all the blood loss, and at this point I hadn’t had a meal since Saturday breakfast (although we had been sneaking me light snacks throughout; I highly recommend). I told God he was going to have to get me through this since an epidural wasn’t an option, and then I lied to myself internally, looking at the clock, saying I just have to make it another half hour… and I did that about 5 times.

2.5 hours of pushing later, I finally was about to meet my little man! They kept asking if I wanted a mirror, and I kept saying, “NO! I can’t un-see that!” I finally did reach down and touch his head (they were all remarking on the amount of dark hair) and exclaimed, “OH MY GOD!” That same male doctor on call came back and began stretching out my vagina with KY Jelly, despite my requests for a warm compress. It was uncomfortable because he did it during contractions. He also asked for a tray preparing for an episiotomy, and I just looked at my husband and friend who both strongly advocated my wishes to tear rather than be cut, so he went back to stretching and complimenting my roomy pelvis. We still aren’t sure why he chose to compliment my pelvis, but perhaps he was surprised I had room? Then he started trying to tell me what could happen with a shoulder dystocia, and I had to keep interrupting him to push. Honestly, the possibility that my son wouldn’t fit was not even an option in my mind. I’m not a very large person, but my petite mother had 4 kids vaginally, one of them over 9 pounds, so I suppose I assumed if I could make it to a vaginal birth, I could absolutely birth a baby!

Finally, at 2:12 PM on Easter Sunday, my baby boy entered the world! Once his head was out, the rest of him came easily. They put him on my chest immediately, waited to cut the cord, and then let my husband do it. With the slightest gush, my placenta came out intact, and it was over. Apparently I asked what it was that came out after the baby, probably worried it was another massive clot, but I have very little recollection of that! My dear friend and doula took pictures for me that I finally had the guts to look at a week or two after birth; it is incredible awe-inspiring and moving to look at your own reaction to welcoming a child into the world.

My son was 8lbs, 3oz, and came out strong and screaming! The bleeding afterwards was less than it had been during labor, and I had no problems/pain with the fundal massage. I was up and moving later that day (albeit feeling like a train had hit me) and only had one 1st degree tear with minor stitching.

My Rowan had a rough start at feeding because he swallowed some amniotic fluid on the way out. Unfortunately, my amniotic fluid had some blood in it from all the bleeding, so after breastfeeding him, he vomited up a scary amount of dark brown bile. Additionally, my milk didn’t really come in until Thursday, so little man didn’t get that much to eat, although his output was still okay, so we knew he was getting something! It was very stressful going back for weight checks repeatedly and having him still lose weight. The first week he lost over 10 percent of his birth weight and got down to just under 7 pounds, but with supplementing extra breastmilk and lots and lots of feedings, he returned to birth weight in just under 3 weeks.

When reflecting on this experience, I am most grateful for the support of friends I had throughout a scary pregnancy. It wasn’t too rough on me physically, but emotionally, it was a mountain to climb. My two good mom friends had collectively experienced c-sections, breech babies, home birth, blood transfusions, and are doulas, so I felt confident in their ability to help me prepare for whatever birth outcome I would have. Ultimately, I made my peace with however birth would happen just before my previa resolved, but I know I wouldn’t have gotten there without their counsel. I also can’t recommend having a doula enough! Both of my friends helped me know what to ask for and how to advocate for my wishes. This is extremely difficult to do when you are in a vulnerable position; my doctor actually asked me to make medical decisions while I was lying down, legs spread open before him, and I couldn’t shake just how imbalanced the power was! I felt a bit rebellious declining his suggestions of how to proceed, but it was also incredibly empowering. You have a choice! You do not have to do everything they tell you, especially if your choices pose an inconvenience to them, but not a risk to you or your child.

Finally, this experience was humbling. I had a lot of faith in my body and my ability to have a vaginal birth, and I wanted to go unmedicated if possible, but I now have an incredible amount of empathy for anyone who chooses an epidural or other pain medications. I was right there and probably would have had one if it were less risky! At the end of the whole process, holding my son, I was amazed that my body is capable of birth and completed it without intervention, even with weird hiccups. It definitely could have ended differently, and every single healthcare professional let me know I was still an increased risk for c-section, so I am incredibly grateful that Rowan was excellent throughout the whole pregnancy and birth and that God did sustain me through the whole thing. I’m a little less eager to try for siblings at this point, but I’m hoping that maybe, just maybe, the next pregnancy will be a little more boring!

Our Baby’s Name

… is Rowan John!

I have been waiting months to spill the beans on, well, all of this. We chose not to go public on social media during my pregnancy out of a desire for privacy and because this pregnancy was fraught with complications and uncertainty; I was also working through a lot of my fears and wasn’t ready to discuss. Feel free to read all of the previous posts for a play by play.

Rowan is my maternal great-grandmother’s maiden name. They pronounced it (ROW-an; rhymes with cow-an… which is made up I know). We are going with ROH-un (as in “row your boat”). A rowan tree is a hardy variety that can grow in many different climates and environments. Rowan as a name typically means red-haired one because the rowan tree yields bright red berries. It has ancient associations with protection from witchcraft and healing properties. It also ties in nicely with the Bible passage we have been praying over him for his life.

Psalm 1

1 Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

We have been praying that, like what they have seen on every ultrasound, he would have a strong heart both physically and spiritually, that he would find favor with God and man, and that he would use this favor to advocate for the marginalized and love others deeply.

His middle name, John, is also Chris’s middle name. Our Rowan John will be the 4th generation of a first son with the middle name John. We hope our families will join us in giving our child a beautiful foundation and support as he grows up, and we are proud to incorporate that connection through his name.

Epilogue (or Perhaps Prologue)

Since my last post, so much has happened!

My placenta previa cleared entirely the Monday after the last post! I was released from the high risk doctor and considered a “normal” pregnancy cleared for a vaginal delivery. I was cleared from modified bed rest, but not for work, so I continued getting ready for baby and willing him to show up when he was ready.

I had a suspicion that he would show up between 37-38 weeks, but I also kept telling him that I was waiting on him, and if he was feeling crowded (because I sure was!), he knew how to get out!

Honestly, it was the best 3ish weeks of pregnancy because it was a break in the storm of concern, issues, and struggling to trust (rinse, wash, repeat). It was also very strange because part of me expected something else to happen, and the whole thing seemed abstract. Although I spent a lot of time seeing my son on ultrasound, hearing his heartbeat, and feeling SO MANY kicks and rolls, there were still days I felt as though I was faking the whole thing!

I had so many beautiful days just reflecting on God’s faithfulness and how glad I was for this whole experience. I was still a bit nervous about how our little man was going to arrive, but I had an incredible amount of peace about it!

I’ll work on the birth story later as I’m still processing the whole thing and am not sure I want to share ALL THE THINGS on the Internet, but it was challenging, unexpected, and yet another opportunity to have faith rewarded in the form of our beautiful son.

Fearless

Today we went to a childbirth basics class in the morning, and since no one else wanted a hospital tour (and we have already seen the labor rooms!), the kind nurse teaching the class put gowns on us and let us see what an operating room looked like.

It was such a relief! I’ve had anxiety about a possible c-section most of this pregnancy. On top of hearing I’d almost certainly need one and other “doom and gloom” warnings from my doctors about what could happen over the course of my pregnancy, I felt like today was the resolution to my fear of the unknown.

I’ve been worried about how cold the operating room might be or what it looks like; I’ve been worried about panicking on the table or en route; I’ve worried about recovery; basically, I’ve been worried about all the details for which I am not responsible.

But when we walked in and stood at the door, I realized how focused and small my fear had made my perception of the situation. It was just a room. Yes, there was equipment, but it wasn’t scary at all. This is just a short chapter of my life; why let fear blind me to all the good I have already been given?

I am incredibly grateful that God gave me these past few months to grapple with my fears and need for control and subconscious “counting” towards grace. My baby is healthy. The majority of my complications were revealed early in the pregnancy, allowing me time to not be surprised and do some work on how I perceived the situation. Many people don’t know about their complications or a change of plans until the end; I’ve seen the uncertainty of the resolution the whole way, and I don’t think that’s a mistake. Each new obstacle is an opportunity to grow and let God carry me when I feel I can’t make it.

This child is supposed to be here; I don’t think I would have lost the first pregnancy if it had not been this way. I survived most of the first trimester while Chris was away, despite my fears of another loss. It may have taken 28 weeks, but the fibroid no one thought would move, moved; all of the possible complications from that fibroid haven’t happened. The one hospital stay for complications that I was warned would probably happen a few more times before delivery has not happened, and I’m now at a much safer place if I were to deliver early.

There is one last complication left that could could make delivery interesting, but even that was to a lesser degree at my last appointment, and although I am still praying and asking for what I would prefer… I’m finding that I’m also okay with it.

I have seen the room; it’s not that bad. However God wants this child to arrive will be how he arrives.

In the meantime, I’m cherishing this time to prepare. We installed the car seat today (a great exercise in marital communication), talked about our plan, and I noticed my husband put popsicles on the grocery list in preparation for labor 🙂 My heart is full and my soul is peaceful.

Just a Snapshot of Now

I am on modified bed rest, so my sleeping schedule has changed. It can take me 3-4 hours in bed to fall asleep (!!!!). I sleep best in the morning.

Chris wakes up at 5 (sometimes earlier), and before he leaves, he puts the comforter over me because he knows I sleep hot but wake up cold. He kisses me and says goodbye before heading to the gym. I love this so much.

I wake up between 7 and 8. I go to the bathroom, check my blood sugar, and make myself some kind of breakfast. Popular choices are 2 scrambled eggs with whatever greens or onion leftovers we have, avocado toast, low sugar oatmeal packets in the microwave, fresh fruit, protein of some kind.

Then it’s devotions and breakfast, clean up, TV or other projects, sometimes an errand or a short and slow walk around the block, and it’s lunch! It has been lovely meeting Chris for coffee a couple of times and just catching up.

After lunch, I typically rest, even if I can’t sleep. I’ll play games or read up on pregnancy or have TV on just for some noise company. I’m always excited about checking the mail or organizing my schedule.

Chris comes home at varying times, and even though he’s been working all day, he cooks me dinner, sometimes even just handing me my plate. We spend time together, eat, and before you know it, it’s bedtime.

These days all sort of blend together, but I’m trying to be present in the moment and remember this later when things get chaotic. I have a beautiful life, for which I am grateful ❤

34 Weeks and Counting!

I am so excited we hit that 33 week goal and are moving on! The next few weeks will be a little nuts as we aren’t quite sure when/how he will arrive, but I think that’s what happens to most first time parents.

I have another OB appointment tomorrow, and then I’ll have one last growth scan on the 12th which will determine if my placenta has moved out of the way enough to attempt a vaginal birth (you know, or if my baby is sitting transverse or something like that hahaha, but seriously I’m praying he’s not), or if we will need to schedule a c-section.

Let’s make some lists, because lists are fun!

5 things we are doing now to prepare for baby boy:

  • Washing ALL OF THE BABY THINGS! Clothes, blankets, sterilizing things, etc.
  • Taking minimal classes! We did the American Red Cross online certification for child/infant/adult first aid/CPR/AED. We have both been certified repeatedly, but Chris hadn’t done infants before, and I haven’t been infant certified since being a camp counselor. The online version is great if you have been certified before; if not, do the in person training! We also signed up for a one-day childbirth basics class through our hospital, but it was canceled last minute yesterday (Saturday). We may see if they offer the baby boot camp class soon as it covers more newborn care.
  • Repacking the hospital bag (this was done super early after I came home from the hospital at 28 weeks as I was determined to be prepared after that).
  • Figuring out what purchases still need to be made and what we’ll wait on due to the  likelihood of relocating somewhere by the end of the year.
  • Trying to read enough information to have an informed opinion on all things related to birth and newborn care. There is so much we don’t know! Ahhhh!

 

5 shows I’ve been watching or rewatching (because modified bed rest):

  • Game of Thrones (rewatch; debating on reading the books)
  • ER- never watched this one before. It’s on Hulu!
  • Gilmore Girls (rewatch)
  • Master Chef Junior- because who doesn’t like Gordon Ramsey being nice to kids?
  • The Resident- new medical show. Yes, I have a problem. I also like Grey’s, Chicago Med., and The Good Doctor).

 

10 foods/snacks I enjoy on my diet for borderline GD:

  • Parmesan Crisps- they are chips of cheese! See salad toppings aisle.
  • Dark chocolate- we’re talking 70%+ is my favorite after-dinner treat
  • Cheese sticks
  • apples with peanut or almond butter
  • Nuts. Lots of nuts.
  • Unwich- turkey, mayo, and veggies, all wrapped in cheese instead of carbs.
  • 1/2 PB & J… because it’s a classic
  • Veggie Straws! I can have a lot of these for very few carbs
  • Justin’s Almond Butter/whole wheat pretzel snacks
  • Plain unsweetened Greek yogurt with fresh fruit in it.

 

5 Beverages I drink now:

  • Protein shakes: Premier protein, Atkins protein, Svelte Coffee protein, and occasionally Syntha-6 protein (what I drank when I was weight training 5 days/week pre-pregnancy)
  • Toasted Coconut and Almond Milk from Kalifa farms; delicious!
  • Iced Tea! I like citrus green tea, or teas with lemon and ginger brewed strongly and poured over ice.
  • Natural Calm Magnesium- always great for immune and digestive health, as well as general calm (recommended by OB early on)
  • half caff or decaf coffee. I didn’t have any until the end of the 2nd trimester. I am of the opinion that one cup a day won’t kill me.

Shifting Identities

This is the beginning of week 5 of modified bed rest.

I suppose I should be grateful that for a bad situation, things are going well, but at the moment, I’m sad about this season. I really miss my job and my students. I miss interacting with people on a daily basis. I miss being able to do things for myself. I miss being allowed to walk quickly or go to the gym or even shop at the store.

I am grateful my students have a great sub., but that doesn’t make me any happier at home. I am grateful for the friends who have spent time with me, called to check in, or otherwise made contact, but I miss when I just saw a lot of them each day

Honestly, pregnancy was nothing like I expected. It’s rough to start off motherhood with a miscarriage followed by a complicated pregnancy. And even knowing that there are so many things going right that could have gone downhill earlier or been much worse, it doesn’t change mourning the loss of a regular pregnancy.

This experience has also challenged me so much. I have learned to have peace over things out of my control (or how to accept my feelings, allow them to be felt, but not overwhelming). I have learned that life is a gamble, and you can’t really predict what will happen.

What is also interesting is I’m realizing all the friends I don’t make contact with on a regular basis because work and life tend to get busy, and being on the other side, where all of my friends are busy but I am not, this saddens me. Why are we so busy?

But I keep telling myself that this isn’t forever. I have 7 or fewer weeks left of being pregnant, and I am so so incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity, and that so far, God has been watching out for baby and me in ways we can’t begin to comprehend. And even when this short phase of life is over, a new one will begin in a dramatic way (hopefully all good) that will be incomprehensibly different than life as we know it now.

So although I mourn the difference, and I perhaps have begun shifting toward motherhood sooner than expected, I am curious to see what this new part of me will be like.