Thursday, March 6, 2014

dax's birth story

***if you have no interest in birth stories, skip this. i had no interest before i was pregnant, but then i devoured as many of them as i could. i'm writing so i remember … so if you do read, please excuse the unedited wordiness.***

i had no idea that hitting your due date, and then going past your due date, would be such a huge mental obstacle.

in the weeks leading up to our baby boy's february 16 due date, i had pregnant friends who were weeks away from giving birth and already trying everything they could to get their babies OUT. i totally judged and criticized them to myself (or to my mom), thinking - 'what's the rush? all babies come out when they're ready, why would you want them to come early?' 

while i didn't want our baby to come early, i guess i fully expected him to come out on his due date, or the day before or after. 

the day before his due date, we were at a child's birthday party and someone said to me, "ohh you're the one whose due soon, huh? so and so was worried you might have the baby here!" people kept saying things like, "oh my friend was at a birthday party the day before her baby was born! you'll probably go into labor right after this."

even though i felt no signs of labor, i took it as encouragement that maybe that would be the night. we drove home under a full moon and i thought, 'full moon - this is another very good sign that he'll come out soon.' 

we went to church and by the end of february 16, still no signs of baby. i was going c-r-a-z-y inside.

everywhere i went people said, "you're still here? you didn't have that baby yet?" yes. i am still here. i feel fine. and so help me god if you can't tell by looking at me that i did not have that baby yet, because i am enormous.

all week people would offer one suggestion after another of what worked for them. i tried everything - the obvious, evening primrose oil, eating dates, spicy food and pineapple, drinking raspberry leaf tea, lots of walking and jogging up stairs at the park, squats and lunges. 

the only "trick" i didn't try was castor oil, but i told lance that if the baby wasn't out by the next weekend i would try it, even though it freaked me out. i did not want to get induced.

on wednesday i jogged up and down stairs at the park, and instead of my usual walk i did a walk-jog-walk-jog. it felt good at the time, because it had been months since i'd gone running and i missed running. but afterward i could barely move. my muscles were so sore and i was mad at myself for thinking jogging was a good idea.

at my doctor's appointment on thursday, i was thrilled to find out that i was three centimeters dilated! (after nothing at my last two appointments.) my doctor was very optimistic that my water would break soon and i would have the baby before the end of the weekend. lance and i were THRILLED. 

my doctor wanted an ultrasound just to make sure all was well, and we went from being on cloud nine to crashing when the first thing the tech said once he was on the screen, "oh he's breech! no wonder he doesn't want to come out."

in retrospect, my sudden crash of emotions seems silly … but at the time i was devastated. i had pumped myself up so much and prepared for a natural birth and i was so sad that i now had to schedule a c-section. 

he offered me the choice of attempting an external cephalic version to try to flip the baby … but  i decided to go with my gut and skip the flip. he said normally there's maybe a 50% chance of it working, but with baby's estimated size, being past term, and my "uterine anomaly" it was a 10% chance of working. 

the anomaly … is a bicornuate (heart-shaped) uterus … and it is a rarity. (because what isn't rare about me?) 

they told me about it after my first ultrasound. some women are born with it, and no one is sure why. sometimes you can't tell that it's heart-shaped later on in the pregnancy, but sometimes women deliver early or require c-section because their baby is breech. initially i was scared, and googling it increased my fear. but as my pregnancy went on and everything looked great week after week, and my doctor said he thought the baby was in the right position … i honestly was not worried a bit. plus they say women with this anomaly have trouble conceiving … and that clearly was not a problem for me … so i was confident i'd be able to deliver naturally.

we made the appointment for a c-section on friday, february 21 at 7:30 a.m. i was angry because i knew that friday is the most popular day of the week for c-sections and even though i LOVED my doctor, i was wondering if he had been conspiring against me all along. 

from the doctor's office, we went straight across the street to get our instructions from the hospital, and i was a wreck in the little room with the labor and delivery nurse, skitch. we had to answer a billion questions that overwhelmed me because a csection was what i had NOT researched, and i do better when i am mentally prepared for things.

annoying: "what's your birth plan?" my whole birth plan went out the window with having a csection lady, i have no plan. instead i politely said i want to do skin to skin when he's born and she told me i couldn't. i still have no idea how she wanted me to answer that question or what the point was?

the worst: "who will take care of you after your surgery?"
"my husband." 
"who else?" 
"just him." 
"you don't have any family here who will help you out?" 

please skitch, remind me again that my family is not here ... because i'm not already terrified about having a major surgery without my mom anywhere nearby.

the rest of the time (we were in that room almost two hours) i was not looking her in the eye because i didn't have the energy or desire to melt down there. but no, she insisted i look at her and of course i started crying, and it was awful. that's when it occurred to her to ask - "oh are you guys military?" and she gave a little spiel thanking us for our service … but i just wanted to get out of there, and not hear her story about her cousin in the military.

i felt much better when we finally got out of there and could talk, just the two of us.

we got chipotle for my "last meal" and lance was making me laugh a lot, and everything was really funny. i called my mom and she was great and again, i felt better. lance reminded me how good it was to have a planned csection, not an emergency one. 

i was at peace, and excited that we would finally get to meet our son. 

it was the weirdest feeling to know that dax would be born the next day. our last night sleeping in our apartment just the two of us. lance fell asleep no problem, but i was awake for awhile. 

we had to be at the hospital at 6 a.m. and when we left it was downpouring. lance made a joke about dax already playing tricks on him. (he hates rain.) 

it was nice getting an early start while the world was still asleep and things were peaceful at the hospital. it was kind of fun being in a hospital together again, because that's where we met … so we have lots of fun memories of wandering through lancaster general hospital together. 

we got upstairs and i changed into my gown, and they came in and started getting me ready. my nurse was surprised i didn't even have my ears pierced. it took the other nurse three times to get my IV to stick, and it hurt, but she was so nice about it i didn't mind. the catheter they put in really bothered me and was the most painful part. 

my friend tianna, who is a labor and delivery nurse, popped into our room and pretty much made our morning. she prayed with us and i felt so peaceful. 

my catheter was bothering me, and i started fidgeting and telling lance to talk more to distract me. 

a monitor started beeping more, and that's when everything gets blurry. my nurse rushed in and then called in more people, and the anesthesiologist came in too. they were checking everything and yelling and an oxygen mask was thrown on me. i could barely see lance through all the people, which i didn't like, but i was honestly kind of relieved this was speeding things along because the catheter really hurt.

i was nervous about getting a spinal and we had specifically prayed for a good anesthesiologist. my immediate impression was that i didn't like him. he had a thick accent that made him hard to understand, he was making bad jokes, and i could barely hear him through the noise and with my mask, but he didn't seem to understand that so i kept having to ask him to repeat his questions. 

people were yelling and i was in and out, clueless as to what was happening, but someone was telling me to roll over and get on my knees. the baby's heart rate was dropping. i could hear them talking about how fast my doctor could get over there to start the surgery - that it needed to start NOW, not at 7:30.

they started wheeling me out of the room and i got scared because lance wasn't coming along, so i said a weak, "bye, i love you babe. does he get to come?" 

lance told me later that tianna was a godsend, because she found out what was going on and let him know that everything would be okay.

when we got to the operating room everyone was in a panic, rushing around, still talking about how soon the doctor could get there. my teeth were chattering uncontrollably. i do that sometimes. (it happened when i was in the car on the way to our wedding and got nervous ... my teeth wouldn't stop chattering until we got there, and then i was fine.)

finally someone was standing over me and kindly, clearly explaining what was going on. i got the spinal and it didn't bother me, and everything went numb.

lance came in, all dressed in his blue scrubs and even though he had a mask on i could tell he had been crying. it was the first time i ever saw him cry. my heart already felt full. :) 

i was a little dazed and mostly relaxed during surgery. before i knew it, they lifted dax out at 7:30 on the dot. (and joked about our doctor being super punctual, since that was when surgery was scheduled to begin.) i had prayed that dax would cry right away, but it took a few minutes - to me at least. someone said, "yup, he's definitely a boy." and then everyone was saying, "oh he definitely looks like dad!" this made me laugh, because lance had been saying at every ultrasound that dax looked like him and i just rolled my eyes and laughed all along. naturally he would come right out of my womb confirming what lance said and i laughed at. ;)

i was relieved when i heard dax cry, and glad that lance could be with him while they finished up with me. someone brought dax over to my side for a quick look, but i could barely see him it was so brief.

lance left with dax and the nurses, and as they finished sewing me up everyone gathered around to check out my uterus. it's rare enough that a lot of the staff had not seen one like it before, and i still wish that i could have seen it.

eventually they wheeled me back to the room where lance and dax were, and my heart could have burst again because i could tell that lance had been crying and he looked so happy to see me. :) i was so curious to see dax! i had worried that it would take forever to see him after the surgery, and i'm not sure if it was the drugs that made it feel shorter or if they really just moved that quickly, but it went by fast for me.

i got to do skin-to-skin with dax and he loved it. he was cute from the beginning. and yes, i had been concerned … i'm not always crazy about newborns. but i had prayed for a nice big baby, and when they told me he weighed 9lbs 7oz and was 22 inches, i was elated. :) perfect proportions, nice skin, and just the right amount of dark blonde hair. he aced his apgar tests too.

i loved that when i talked to him he recognized my voice and calmed down. i loved that right away in that hospital room i felt complete, like we were really a family. 

dax is super snuggly - another trait from lance. :) he loves laying with his head on our chests and loves tummy time too. he really does look like lance. i can't stop saying "i love you" over and over again.

we chose his name because we like the way it sounds, and the meaning. (and we like that we don't know anyone with that name.) dax means "leader" and his middle name, moses, means "deliverer." moses is one of lance's favorite people in the bible. we know dax will be strong physically, mentally and spiritually … and that God will use him as a leader.

now that dax is here, lance has said he "should have seen it coming" that i would end up needing a csection … and we laughed about it. we both tend to get thrown for loops in life. if there was a theme to the past year of my life it might be: you're not in control. God is in control and you can (should … need to) trust Him.

when we were hashing out the csection verdict the night before, i told lance i didn't even feel like praying anymore because obviously God didn't care … i had prayed so specifically the whole pregnancy that baby would be in perfect position for a natural delivery. almost every night i would declare these and other things out loud. i was so mad. lance of course said he understood, but that really wasn't a good attitude. ;)

sometimes i think that nothing being impossible for God means Him doing it my way. for example: i want a natural delivery, my body might not be shaped for that or baby positioned for it, but nothing is impossible for God so i'll ask Him to get things in order for it to go my way, because He can. 

but just because God doesn't answer my prayers according to my vision, doesn't mean He is giving me something less than the best … and it certainly doesn't mean that anything is impossible for Him. God is God and He is in control, and i am not - even though i so often forget and pretend that i am. God's way is always best, and i think that is extremely evident in the design and miracle of new LIFE.

i had mixed feelings about newborn pictures pre-dax, but i'm so glad i decided to have them done! the photographer was an answer to prayer. i searched the area for one who was my style, and the only one i liked was mega expensive. i was torn between choosing a cheap photographer whose pictures i didn't love, or splurging on the amazing one whose price was way too high for me … prayed about it, and the next day i found dinah reece - an amazing photographer with amazingly cheap prices because she wants to build her portfolio. perfect - thank you Jesus for caring about the details.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

recently read for february 19, 2014

Jo Frost's Confident Baby Care
Haven't read it cover-to-cover, but finished the bulk of it and loved her approach - basic guidelines that are simple and to the point. I'll be better able to gage how solid her advice is once baby arrives.

The Silver Star
By Jeannette Walls
I love Jeannette Walls' voice and writing. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, is one of my all-time favorite books. (Half Broke Horses was great too.) This novel is about two sisters raised by a free spirit of a mom who comes and goes as she wishes, leaving them to take a bus across the country to stay with relatives in West Virginia. Their adventures in the small town in the 1960s make for a fun, quick read.

By Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
People have been telling me this was a great book for years. Even while I was reading it, people would see it and say - 'Ooh that's a great book!' I generally don't have trouble saying no, so that chunk of the book was not necessarily insightful to me … but other chunks were WOW-worthy. A great read for anyone, because they give profound and practical help and explanations for all sorts of relationships. You will learn something helpful. Unless every relationship in your life is already absolutely perfect. Highly recommend.

Calling Me Home
By Julie Kibler
SO RIDICULOUSLY GOOD. The kind of novel that you hit a certain point, and don't want to stop reading until you're finished. It weaves the story of the friendship of an old white woman and younger black woman in the present day, with the older woman's interracial love story set in the 1940s. A smidge reminiscent of The Help (one of my favorite books and movies), but maybe even better?!

Why Revival Tarries
By Leonard Ravenhill
Powerful and convicting! I strongly encourage you to read it if you have any desire to be inspired. If I listed all of my favorite excerpts I'd end up quoting the entire book - it is that excellent. Just a few gems …

"The secret of praying is praying in secret. A sinning man will stop praying, and a praying man will stop sinning."

"He who fears God fears no man. He who kneels before God will stand in any situation. A daily glimpse at the Holy One would find us subdued by His omnipresence, staggered by His omnipotence, silenced by His omniscience, and solemnized by His holiness. His holiness would become our holiness."

"If we displease God, does it matter whom we please? If we please Him, does it matter whom we displease?"

On Becoming Babywise
By Gary Ezzo and Robert Buckham
I wanted to like this book … and I did, but I didn't. Their guidelines might be a little too "Type A" for my personality. I like the general idea, but it was overwhelming. I liked the first chapter about prioritizing your marriage best. Apparently this book is very controversial - like just about every other parenting book out there? ;)

Monday, February 10, 2014

volunteering at the pregnancy clinic

i always wanted to volunteer at a pregnancy clinic, and it worked out for me to start doing that when i moved to georgia. i volunteer one day a week and i love it, but when i was going through training i considered dropping out and forgetting the whole thing. i did not feel like i fit in with the people working and volunteering at the clinic ... and i didn't want to.

fitting in has never been my forte. i make friends easily (and i have moved and adapted to a decent amount of different environments, locations, and situations where i've had to), but i would still say that fitting in doesn't necessarily accompany that. when i was in middle and high school it bothered me that i never quite felt like i belonged, but i don't remember an occasion where it bothered me enough to give into peer pressure or do anything major. i was friends with people in all different crowds, but never felt like i truly belonged in any particular one. (and it seemed like everyone else did.)

maybe that's a universal feeling that accompanies growing up, but i always felt like i was different. i still do. around the time i went to ywam maui after i graduated high school was when i learned to know myself, what made me who i am, and who i am in Christ - my true identity. i realized that i liked who i was, and figured if other people didn't, that was their loss.

knowing who i am and having confidence is a good thing, but i need to be careful about indifference. i need to be careful about differentiating between fitting in and loving people. really LOVING … ALL people … not just people i find interesting and want relationships with. 

so when i'm volunteering at the clinic … loving the chance to counsel girls and women who come in and need to talk … i need to also love the women working and volunteering at the clinic, even if they're not people i would naturally gravitate to.

i'm glad i didn't back out of training, because there are women working at the clinic who are so positive, encouraging, and a breath of fresh air. their perspectives on faith are different than mine, but it's good for me to be around. and even though i don't feel like i fit at all with the southern baptist crowd (and we don't get each other's jokes), i love being a part of what God does there.

it was easy for me to judge during training. i shadowed counselors who said things i found condescending, judgmental (the irony is not lost on me), or insensitive to the girls and women coming in for help.

judging is easy. but the doing and the acting is what takes effort and makes things happen. i saw God come through in people's lives every time i was in the room shadowing a counselor. even when they said things in a way i would not say them, or said things i wouldn't dream of saying - God spoke through them, and people committed their lives to God and decided to choose life for their babies!

now that i counsel on my own, it is the most comforting thing to know that God uses our weakness. He doesn't expect us to be perfect - just obedient to His voice. He will speak through us even when we don't think we have the right words to say.

i complicate things and imagine that for a person to commit their life to God or to change their mind about having an abortion, another person has to say the PERFECT thing. too many days i say nothing to people about my faith because of that lie!

volunteering at the clinic forces me to speak out. when you're one-on-one with a person, who may or may not be pouring out their heart, and needs help … you have a perfect opportunity to speak up, even if you can't think of the perfect thing to say. (or anything close to perfect!)

last week i had a client who was considering having an abortion. she is married, and has three kids. her youngest is only six months old, and they're already exhausted and strapped financially, so i could understand her inclination to abort. i could have cried and cried because of how hard her situation was, and because the thought of her going through with an abortion broke my heart even more.

when i went to check her pregnancy test results, i prayed. i didn't know what to say to her and it felt desperate. her results were positive. i got a bible to give her and underlined a few verses i thought would be good for her and baby. i went back and we talked. i tried to encourage her, and then i read her the verses …

"cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." [1 peter 5:7]

"the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "before I formed you in the womb i knew you, before you were born i set you apart; i appointed you as a prophet to the nations." [jeremiah 1:4-5]

"for i know the plans i have for you," declares the Lord. "plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." [jeremiah 29:11]

i was saying that welfare in that case meant to do well and prosper - not to go on welfare like today, and we were laughing about that. before i started reading part of psalm 139 to her, she stopped me and said, "how do i find these in there after i leave here?" 

i told her that i underlined them, and then explained how to look up the books of the bible at the beginning and then find the verses.

again, i could have cried. i completely took for granted that this is not something everyone has been taught. even if they have attended church or call themselves christians because of whatever family ties they have to a religion.

so much of what i know i assume to be "common sense" that no one wants to hear. when it comes to my relationship with God, i wonder if i have anything worth sharing that hasn't been heard already. another huge lie that keeps me from speaking up!

she loved the verses, and that alone made me feel like my being there was worth it, but then she told me that she doesn't think she could go through with the abortion. that since she's married and has a family, she really doesn't have a good reason to have an abortion. and she hadn't even had her ultrasound yet!

i left the clinic that day wildly encouraged. fitting in isn't the goal in life. being different works - it works really well. so be yourself. and you have more to offer people than you might think or realize. be confident and be bold.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

winter olympics and preparing for childbirth

These commercials are the best.
Makes me so excited for the winter olympics … and to be a mom!

A few days after I posted about strangers not commenting on my belly size, a stranger on the sidewalk yelled, "OH MY GOSH IS IT TWINS?! … WHAT?! Girl, that is a BIG baby! Congratulations!" 

Less than an hour later a man said, "Any day now, huh?" I absentmindedly said yeah, because I had no idea what he was talking about, but then I said, "Actually no, not until February 16." His eyes got huge and he said, "Woooooo, my. Bless your heart!"

The other night Lance was picking something to read the baby from the Bible and I told him to read from where I was in my chronological Bible, because I hadn't read yet for that day. (I just started reading through the Bible chronologically this year, and I'm loving the fresh perspective - highly recommend it.) Naturally it was Genesis 22 - where Abraham is tested and takes Isaac up the mountain to kill him. We both looked at each other and could not stop laughing. Definitely not a Bible story that comes to mind to read your baby, but nonetheless he heard it. Here's to a baby who will live with radical obedience like Abraham.

We had our first of two "Preparing for Childbirth" classes this week. I debated taking any class at all, because so many people said childbirth classes aren't that great, and to skip it. So instead of taking it through the hospital, we did it at this amazing birth resource center where I go for prenatal yoga.

I loved it and am so glad we chose to go there. Our teacher is a doula, her husband is military, and they have four kids - including twins. She was telling us about one of her twins being just like her, and such a little punk. "She loves to do this thing where she pretends to be asleep, but she's not …"

Lance and I looked at each other and cracked up, because one of my favorite things to do (not sure why I'm admitting this on the internet) is to pretend I fell asleep. I used to do it to my mom all the time (not just as a kid, but all the way through college), and I still love doing it to Lance.

I considered telling her that I pull the exact same trick as her four-year-old daughter, but I had already made her laugh enough when I told her that I had learned one of the relaxation techniques she mentioned from an American Girl book. She said that was the best thing she'd heard all day. ;) 

The technique is to tighten/clench all of the muscles in your body and then release them one by one. It was in American Girl's Care and Keeping of You book, which I used as an exhaustive resource when I was 12. 

I am thinking baby will arrive on Valentine's Day … or be a week late.

I will be surprised if he weighs less than eight pounds.

Lance was 8lbs 8oz, and I was 10lbs 2 oz, sooo we'll see.

Friday, January 17, 2014

lone survivor, etc

we saw lone survivor tonight and it was INCREDIBLE. 

not the best movie to see when you're pregnant - i was crying, and had to charge out of the theater afterward to pee. but there were a ton of other women in the bathroom crying too. the joy of a military town. maybe there were that many tears across the rest of the country as people came out of theaters.

lance read the book and said they did a good job with the movie. a high compliment coming from him considering he goes on missions like that, and he is very critical of military movies. naturally it gave me even more respect for him and what he does … i can't even wrap my mind around it. he is strong, brave, just amazing.

i told him i want that movie to be playing while i give birth, because it would keep my mind off of it and their attitudes while they go through everything are just amazing.

mark wahlberg is pretty great, and so is taylor kitsch, (aka tim riggins from my favorite show on netflix - friday night lights.)


speaking of netflix … watch this movie. if you've ever had a fleeting thought about going to sea world, you'll never want to go again after watching this.


this is a delicious soup recipe if you're in need of something new and hearty.
and it is husband approved. which again says a lot, because normally soup would not be enough to fill him up, but this did the trick.

zuppa toscana
{via bento bloggy}

1 lb italian sausage
4 russet potatoes
1 large onion, chopped
8 slices bacon, chopped & cooked
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 C chicken broth
2.5 C water
2-3 C kale, sliced into ribbons
1/2 C heavy cream
salt + pepper to taste

remove sausage from casings and brown in pan with olive oil. add onions and bacon. cut potatoes into quarter inch pieces and add potatoes, garlic, salt + pepper to pot with sausage, onions and bacon. pour in chicken and water and bring to boil. simmer on low for an hour, or until potatoes are tender. add spices if desired. add kale and cream, simmer and serve.


and this is just funny ...

Friday, January 10, 2014

35 weeks

tomorrow marks 35 weeks. i'm starting to wonder if i'm having twins. i feel huge. this week i have started to feel uncomfortable a lot. it's becoming difficult to sleep, and i have pain that comes and goes through the days and nights.

people have said, "enjoy your sleep now!" quite a lot to me during my pregnancy. i've always enjoyed my sleep, and i'm trying to take their advice now and not take it for granted. but frankly, the time to tell people to enjoy their sleep is before they are pregnant. it's tricky to get comfortable and to change positions. i consistently wake up every few hours to pee. and i realize all of this is still easier than waking up to take care of a baby … but it's still uh, not the best sleep of your life.

thus far, i have been very pleasantly surprised by the LACK of crazy comments and random belly rubs from strangers. people have only said kind things, and only one stranger asked to touch my stomach. it was a teacher at school, so i didn't even mind. she told me to pack my hospital bags, because i would be going into labor any day … and that was at the beginning of december, so that has probably been the only semi-crazy comment from a stranger.

comments from students at school have been the best. "is there a baby in there?" "how'd it get in there?" "how will he get out?" "i hope your baby behaves!" "why would you want a baby?" when they ask the name and i say it's a surprise, their faces light up. they almost always suggest i name the baby after their sibling. nonchalantly like, "i have a baby brother named ian, so i guess you could name your baby that …" i love watching how their minds work.

as much as i know how blessed i am to be pregnant, and that bringing a new life into this world is a MIRACLE, and any changes to your physical body are more than worth it … it still sucks feeling/being fat. i miss feeling cute. yesterday i saw myself in a mirror while i was eating and just felt disgusted. so clearly i have not embraced the beauty of pregnancy the way many women seem to.

i've been thinking about women who say they love being pregnant ... and i officially do not understand, relate to, or agree. do they forget everything? or do they genuinely love it?

the up side of not feeling cute is saving money, because i'm sure as heck not shopping for myself. i only bought a few maternity clothes, and it's kind of nice having less to choose from when you're getting dressed. it helped that my stepsister had a ton of maternity clothes that she let me sort through, so i got some new treasures to add to my maternity mix when i was in pennsylvania in december.

if i end up missing anything about being pregnant, i think it will be feeling our baby move inside of me, and having him so close and safe. and the ease of getting around without a baby in tow. pregnancy has been wonderful for my hair, and i feel like it's been one good hair day after another - love that. special treatment from strangers is nice too. people are super friendly, and quick to get out of your way - which i like.

i miss working out, so i'm excited for my fitness plans for after baby arrives. (and to sleep on my stomach again - i think i miss that the most.) i still exercise, but it's not the same. i'm holding my exercise ideas with an open hand because who knows what i will feel like, or how long until i kick back into gear.

there is so much mystery with your first pregnancy. probably with every pregnancy. it's a process and miracle as old as time, but still new every time. i like that. i have so many questions and curiosities. when will he come? what will giving birth be like? what will he look like? how big will he be? what will he be like?

so many friends have said the first month (or several) of having a newborn have been some of the hardest ones of their marriage, and that scares me because i already think marriage is hard work. i think SIDS and postpartum depression are my biggest fears, and it makes me sad that i will be so far away from my family. what if there's no one to babysit and i start to go completely crazy being with a baby all the time?

i don't know, but i will stop worrying. like my last post said: worrying is like praying for what you don't want. life is hard, but there is so much joy. i am confident that our baby will bring joy unlike any i have known or experienced so far - and my life has already been full of so much joy.

having the basics of what we need for the baby makes me giddy with excitement too. i did a lot of research about baby gear because 1) i am a nerd and love to research, and 2) i am a minimalist and hate clutter, excess, and hoarding. i like to keep life simple and organized. i'm so happy with the gifts we got and what i found at yard sales and consignment shops. now i just have to resist the temptation to buy cute outfits and shoes, when what we'll really need are practical items like diapers and wipes. ;)

i keep saying this to all of my pregnant and mom friends, but i'll say it again: i love this season of life. it seems like suddenly i have tons of friends who are pregnant or having babies. i even squealed when i was walking at the park one day and another girl walked by and said to me, "i'm pregnant too!" she wasn't showing at all, but she was overjoyed and i was thrilled for her.

it's an unmatched feeling of anticipation and excitement … and still feels surreal that in five weeks (give or take) our baby boy will be here.

things to let go of

This list of 20 Things To Let Go Of Before The New Year by Shannon Kaiser, posted on MindBodyGreen, really resonated with me. I highlighted a few that really stuck out for me. Particularly #5: Worrying is like praying for what you don't want. So true! All of that energy could be invested into prayer … way more productive! What sticks out to you?
1. Let go of all thoughts that don't make you feel empowered and strong.
2. Let go of feeling guilty for doing what you truly want to do.
3. Let go of the fear of the unknown; take one small step and watch the path reveal itself.
4. Let go of regrets; at one point in your life, that “whatever” was exactly what you wanted.
5. Let go of worrying; worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.
6. Let go of blaming anyone for anything; be accountable for your own life. If you don’t like something, you have two choices, accept it or change it.
7. Let go of thinking you are damaged; you matter, and the world needs you just as you are.
8. Let go of thinking your dreams are not important; always follow your heart.
9. Let go of being the “go-to person” for everyone, all the time; stop blowing yourself off and take care of yourself first … because you matter.
10. Let go of thinking everyone else is happier, more successful or better off than you. You are right where you need to be. Your journey is unfolding perfectly for you.
11. Let go of thinking there's a right and wrong way to do things or to see the world. Enjoy the contrast and celebrate the diversity and richness of life.
12. Let go of cheating on your future with your past. It’s time to move on and tell a new story.
13. Let go of thinking you are not where you should be. You are right where you need to be to get to where you want to go, so start asking yourself where you want to go.
14. Let go of anger toward ex lovers and family. We all deserve happiness and love; just because it is over doesn’t mean the love was wrong.
15. Let go of the need to do more and be more; for today, you've done the best you can, and that's enough.
16. Let go of thinking you have to know how to make it happen; we learn the way on the way.
17. Let go of your money woes — make a plan to pay off debt and focus on your abundance.
18. Let go of trying to save or change people. Everyone has her own path, and the best thing you can do is work on yourself and stop focusing on others.
19. Let go of trying to fit in and be accepted by everyone. Your uniqueness is what makes you outstanding.
20. Let go of self-hate. You are not the shape of your body or the number on the scale. Who you are matters, and the world needs you as you are. Celebrate you!