True Beauty

My toddler rolls over in bed and touches my face. “Eww,” he says, innocently observing the obvious outbreak of Rosacea (something I never had until this year).

He closes his eyes and nestles into my arm, sound asleep. Meanwhile I stare at the ceiling mourning the beauty I once had. It wasn’t so long ago I had a slim body, tan, and a flawless complexion. My stomach was free of stretch marks and hernias, my hair and clothes had more thought put into them.

I was radiant with beauty. Or was I?

My definition of outward beauty reflected the world’s. But how quickly we dismiss the fact that the world’s definition of beauty changes in time.

Pudgy used to be sought over slender so many years ago. It showed health and fertility. On the same hand, pale skin meant that you were wealthy enough to stay indoors and avoid the harsh sun that we now seek out all summer long.

No, I am convinced now that beauty isn’t a certain set of standards but an ever-changing thing. My husband taught me this early on…he liked my messy hair pulled back hastily over the meticulous styled look that was beaten into me during my teen years.

He didn’t mind me skinny, but preferred that I was healthy. (I was underweight for my size back then). The hernia’s never bothered him, even after they were surgically fixed only to return as I carried our unborn son in my stretching stomach.

He didn’t care that I had stretch marks, that my weight stayed, that I now have Rosacea marking my face in red.

He never cared because he loves me, the beauty within and surprisingly the changing beauty of my outer appearance.

Let’s face it women. You can only grasp on to this world’s idea for so long, eventually you will change and later you’ll find that the world is changing too. Just like fashion. Stopping chasing what you were never made to chase, because it’s mere vapor anyway, you’ll never catch it.

There are times like this, with my son poking at my face, that I feel a pang of sadness over the me I once was. But it quickly passes when I turn my gaze off of myself and onto the little being beside me. He will always be beautiful (handsome) and perfect to me.

Even when he hits those teen years and his flawless skin experiences the hormonal zits that come with it. I would still find him just as perfect.

If my husband finds me beautiful during my life seasons and I can likewise feel the same awe at God’s design when I look at my son. Why can’t I feel that same acceptance with myself?

God loves me as I am. And “as I am” will always change. Maybe true beauty isn’t what we think it is….maybe true beauty is change.

The scars, the rings under our eyes, the marks on our faces, the slight pudge around our waist…they tell a story of change. And as I hold my son I think…what a beautiful story that is.

It proves that I have lived. And that I have contributed to this world something more valuable than myself. And that work has left it’s marks on my temporary frame.

I’m pregnant again, and I wonder vaguely if my body will bear more stretch marks, more battle scars.

I smile at the mirror and shrug.

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Official 8 Month Old!

Oh boy! Where’s the time gone?! You barely fit in my arms anymore and lifting your car seat carrier feels like a feat for Superman. Those cute little baby sounds have formed into your first word, “dada.” And I know someday, I’ll be hearing a “mama” too.

Your once gummy grin is now filling with tiny teeth, and that bald head is filling with blonde hair. Your eyes still remain brilliant blue, a rarity, considering our eyes of hazel and brown.

You love to stand and bounce, and every morning I wake to your squinty little smile and baby giggles which light up my life like no other sound.

You are finally enjoying the world of flavor, and it’s a joy to see your pallet grow. I wish you would love veggies more but boy do you love sweet things and mashed potatoes! Gravy all the better. 👍

I see you learning and growing, reaching new heights, and wanting to do more and more without my hand to guide you. I see a look of pride as you stand up straight, or reach that far off toy. And so I count the days and savor each moment, and give one last glance at each pair of clothes outgrown, before tucking them away in bins alongside toys and baby gear you no longer need.

I hold your tiny hand, and rock you as I sing, watching the sun rise and set on another day and memory of this chapter called “James and Me”, and excitedly await what memories summer will bring to us both.

James beside his newborn shirt

You are my sunshine ❤️ and nothing will ever change that. I pray that above all that you will ever learn, and before all the great things you will ever do, that you will know that you are loved, you’re here on this earth for such a time as this, and that this world is a temporary plain, just as you are only temporarily mine.

But that is good news son. Because beyond this life lies eternity, and beyond my love is the love of God, and the woes and pain that this world brings will someday cease. And we will all finally be home as one. But until that day, I will wipe away your tears and do my best to fill your life with light too.

I may not be perfect, we’ve had our share of tough times. But son I want to thank you for changing my life. ❤️

I love you….never lose your wonder, keep reaching, keep growing, keep becoming who God made you to be. I am so blessed to watch it all unfold and to be entrusted with raising you. Thank you God, for choosing me to be your mom.

Sleep tight, my little love ❤️

4 Months of Madness 😅

When you’re pregnant with your first, you get bombarded with horror stories about labor and delivery, needless to say, you go into labor knowing the ins and outs of what could go wrong or, hopefully, right.

What they never tell you about is what it’s like taking that baby home, the facts on how best to swaddle, feed/nurse, bathe, and flat out survive! They don’t tell you about all the unique questions you will have, the fears and anxieties, the marital stress, the bodily stress which makes after birth recovery ten times more difficult. How your body, even 4 months after, is still recovering! That being said, I want to share a bit of what I’ve learned in order to help any new mom out there.

First, meet James, my sweet (generally), little bub. He is 4 months old to the day in that picture and boy does he keep me on my toes. Being a mom is great and I love him to pieces, so don’t get too overwhelmed by my “overwhelmedness”, my story is different than your story, and no matter what your baby is like, or how you are, God chose you to be your child’s mother, that IS something and that SAYS something about you. If you ever feel underqualified, remember that God believes in you and trusts you with His own. You will survive this!!

What they never told me about nursing:

  1. It is very hard to get a proper latch, you want your baby to take in more than just the “nipple”, and any improper latching will hurt you.
  2. Those first few nights after birth are hell if you are breastfeeding because that milk doesn’t come in right away. Don’t fret and supplement with formula if you must!
  3. Prepare to pump all day and if you plan to freeze, know that not all women can freeze their milk, something about the enzymes causing milk to go bad even in the freezer! (this was true for me)
  4. Don’t feel condemnation if you can’t keep it up. Honestly, I breastfed for a month and that was all I could handle, and even James was not reacting well to the milk so formula saved us both!
  5. “Letting down” as they call it, which happens a ton when your breastfeeding, like, even if your baby so much as cries sometimes, is painful and when you do plan to dry up, you will want to limit the milk let down triggers if possible.
  6. Get a bra that holds the pumps on!!! I spent hours holding those things on because the suction doesn’t hold. Also, more milk won’t flow if you up the suction power, just put it to what level you can handle comfortably and pump often/or breast feed often if you want milk to come in faster (no food tricks will make it come in more).
  7. Babies may lose a pound at first on breastmilk, and if you notice your baby gaining too quickly later on, try to make sure they are not just getting the first fatty foremilk. Which lasts about 15 min into feeding per breast, until you reach hindmilk which has more nutrients and less fat.

What they never told me about caring for boys:

  1. Circumcisions are no joke, but they do heal within 10 days roughly and require very little care. Just buy Vaseline to have handy when you bring your little guy home and keep diapers loose…no pants either!
  2. Keep the skin around circumcision pulled back (you will need to do this even after it is healed until they are 1 to 2 years old or you risk them developing a penile adhesion. (Was never told this and our little guy almost developed one recently!)
  3. Boys have the ability too shoot pee very high (sometimes into their own face during changing time). My son pees every time we put him in the bathtub and frequently during diaper changes. Be prepared, keep a pee guard up and understand that the diapers you got at your shower may not work for you. Pampers has worked best for us when it comes to avoiding leaks up the back/sides.

What they never told me about caring for newborns:

  1. I honestly wouldn’t believe the myth that some babies just cry for no reason, my little guy has always had a reason and the whole “colic babies just cry and there isn’t much you can do about it” phrase is nonsense. My son had gas (still does) and acid reflux and it took me a long time of learning to realize what was ailing him and how to help.
  2. Learn how to massage the stomach and bicycle the legs to help with gas and constipation. As you struggle to find the right formula mix (which you should give each formula at least a month before switching), gas and bowel issues will ensue. I no longer need Mylicon drops (which barely work) to ease my kiddo.
  3. Babies have under-developed stomachs so bare with them when trying formulas and don’t just assume that your child has an allergy to milk, which apparently isn’t as common as I once thought. James had constipation for a few weeks when we switched him to a formula with milk that wasn’t so broken down for him, but now he is great on it. It just takes time.
  4. Prune juice ( a VERY tiny amount) in milk will ease constipation!
  5. Tummy time is very vital, even for newborns! And helps with gas also.
  6. Be sure to bathe every single fat crease and wrinkle on your baby-they get stinky fast (within a day) and diaper rash can develop anywhere. Newborns need bathed only ever couple days or they can dry out too much.
  7. Trim nails while baby sleeps, use a grinder if you’re afraid to trim their nails and give a newborn a few weeks before you trim them because their skin may be attached to the nails at first.
  8. In the first month of life your baby will shed a whole layer of skin, just gently wash off and keep lotion on them. This is normal adjustment to life outside the womb.
  9. Newborns breathe really funny. Like, many have periodic breathing patterns when sleeping where they stop breathing for 10 seconds. This is normal but anything longer I would keep tabs on.
  10. Babies aren’t great at regulating their temperature. My son can go from very hot to clammy and cold in a matter of minutes. Just be sure to dress your baby light at night or during naps because overheating is a major risk for SIDS.
  11. Not all newborns sleep. My son only slept 10 minutes here and there and once he kept me up 24 hrs. No joke! Get your sleep now if you’re expecting!
  12. Overstimulation can quickly cause a fussy baby. People love to make babies laugh and try to get a smile out of them but babies can only handle excitement in short bursts-the time lengthens as they age but even my 4 month old can only take so much. Overstimulation can lead to overtiredness which in turn means your baby will struggle to calm and lay down for a nap. (Just be aware of the cues that your baby is done playing), this goes for newborns and older babies.
  13. Rotate your newborn’s head while they sleep so they don’t develop flat or bald spots.
  14. If bottle feeding or breastfeeding be aware that your baby’s head is elevated properly or they may choke on the milk or even run the risk of getting ear infections. My son choked on milk a lot and stopped doing this around the 2 month mark.

What they never told me about babies:

  1. At the 4 month mark be prepared to change the way you get your baby to sleep. At this time babies don’t sleep so easily and fight it even. Rocking, singing, swinging baby may have worked before but now it can have the opposite effect, and overstimulate your already tired baby. This is the chance for you to teach your baby to self soothe. My son takes a pacifier only when he is ready to take a nap. Just get them to where they are tired but still awake and lay them down in a quiet darker location with a fan on. I might still pat his back and help him with pacifier but otherwise he sleeps on his own now. (Setting a nightly schedule is vital)
  2. Rotate your baby if they get fussy while they are sleeping-they don’t know how to roll over yet so they can get uncomfortable if in the same position for to long, just as we do.
  3. Bottle sizes/types/and nipple sizes are a challenge for new mothers. Especially when dealing with colic. My best solution was anti-colic Dr. Browns bottles or Tommee Tippee anti-colic bottles. You will want a slow flowing type bottle and start small on the nipple size until your baby shows signs of not getting milk fast enough. Do frequent burping breaks to ease colic and just let your little one have time to adjust to bottle feeding. They are learning too.
  4. Teething began as early as 3 months with my baby, prepare for the saliva and constant fingers in mouth. (you’ll want to have many teething options for when those teeth really pop through because fingers in the mouth can cause teeth issues later on). No teething toys? a rag will do in a pinch.
  5. Shots can be a rough time-but more so for you mom than the baby. My son got a fever with his second row of shots and wouldn’t take Tylenol. If your child gets a fever, try a cold wet rag on the forehead and loose clothes with no socks. If you bathe him/her, make it warm not room temp or this can cause a spike in the fever.

What they never told me about post partum healing:

  1. Using the restroom sucks, and sitting on your butt sucks for a few weeks if you had stitches. Just keep ice and witch-hazel pads handy and spray bottle with a tad of hydrogen peroxide/water.
  2. Your stomach may look ruined but it will go back to a likable shape, especially if you do exercises to strengthen them as well as doing Kegels to strengthen your other muscles.
  3. Stretch marks will be sore as they heal, but they will fade from red to purple and will eventually turn light or whitish.
  4. Your joints will be recovering awhile as well as your back since you still have relaxin hormone in your body keeping you loose.
  5. You will get random pains/cramps for months as you regulate. Your back will be the last thing to feel normal…mine still isn’t! Just try and keep back straight/good posture.
  6. Your emotions will be crazy! course that could be from the stress of having your life completely change.
  7. Your hair may fall out around 3 months. Yep, mine is falling out drastically still. I read that taking Biotin could help as well as continuing to take prenatals.
  8. Your feet may forever be larger. This never happened to me, but for some ladies, your feet get bigger due to the relaxin and stay bigger.
  9. Your breasts are done for, lol, sorry. They may just stay this large though after breast feeding is over they get thinner.
  10. You may have post partum bleeding for a long time, don’t overdo and let yourself heal. If you don’t, this process will last longer and you risk hemorrhaging.
  11. Take care of yourself!
  12. And if you plan on getting pregnant again right away, my advice is to wait at least 6 months so your body has plenty chance to heal, this is also best for your future baby.

Well, that is the jist of what I’ve learned so far as a new mother, and that’s leaving out plenty still! If you’re a new mom and have any specific questions for me, I’d love to try and answer them. I know I’m not an expert but I also know how I felt on those long rough nights when I was scared and stressed beyond belief and the doctors offices were closed or they flat out didn’t have an answer for me. Hearing other moms voice the same issues and how they resolved them gave me a sense of peace as I hope I can do for you as well.

May God bless you all for bringing new life into this world. And may He fill you with peace and joy that passes understanding, each day is a chance to renew and build positive memories. Seriously, with James, one day we are both crying, the next we are laughing and I’m marveling at him achieving new milestones. Take care of yourself and nab some sleep and rest whenever you can girl. You got this!

2 Months of Bliss

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“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, the bank balance smaller, home happier, clothes dirty, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.” -Anon

I am convinced that the greatest gifts in life come at a price. And that price is sacrificial love. Time and effort. Blood and tears. And sometimes, the price is all that you are and all that you have, which, without God, isn’t much…and yet, all He wants.

These past few months have been full of tests, fears, and adjustments. Not to mention, very little sleep, however, these pale in comparison to the joy, love, and fulfillment of motherhood. I love being a mom, and I love especially being James’s mom. God knew what He was doing when He chose me and Aaron to be this boy’s parents, not that we are perfect by any means. God is though, and He makes up for our imperfections and so long as we remain teachable, we continue to become “better” parents and people every day.

To all the mothers reading this, I know you can relate, and remember the long nights you spent caring for your little ones. I have an even greater respect now and appreciation for such love and sacrifice. And a greater wonder at how God created women. Who else can survive days without little to no sleep, or to back it up even further, can carry/grow a baby in the womb and birth the child, withstanding the greatest pain in doing so? I found a strength within me I never thought possible, and now get to enjoy the fruits of my labor and God’s blessing.

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Motherhood has changed my body, but more so, my heart. I have different priorities now, and selfishness has taken a back seat. I don’t have time to be selfish or to chase after my own whims. A child is completely dependant upon his/her parent to meet their every need and desire. I had to remind myself many times to eat and drink or I simply forgot in my constant rush to keep James content.

I’ve noticed also, that a child can challenge one’s own weaknesses or pitfalls. If you had struggles in your marriage/spiritual walk before children, those will most definitely surface when you bring that new baby home. Some tips I’ve gathered these two months on how to overcome such hurdles are as follows:

  1. Make time for your spouse!! Put aside your mothering for a few hours each day and truly talk or spend quality time with your husband. If you can, schedule a date night each week and have some trusted friends or relatives watch the little one. You need this as much as your spouse! Believe me!
  2. Surround yourself with other Christian parents/mothers that you can call or meet up with whenever you feel overwhelmed or worried. Pull from their wellspring of knowledge and put your mind at ease.
  3. Take church with you. If you are struggling to make the early morning services due to lack of sleep or fussy baby, don’t fret. As time passes you will adjust and until then, worship with your baby at home, read your bible between naps or even read it aloud to your little one. Watch sermons online at a more suitable time.
  4. Find a routine. It takes a month or so, but your baby will adjust to a routine you set firmly. Nothing major since they still have to eat/sleep more than you, but with James, we have a pretty solid nightly routine/bedtime schedule set.
  5. Communicate your needs! You and your spouse are in this together and are a team. Take turns watching the baby, doing chores, etc. Respect each other and your needs for sleep/destressing or simply to eat a meal uninterrupted.

At 2 months, I know more than I did at 1 month and will know even more at 3 months. Motherhood is a journey of constant learning and growing just as your little one learns and grows in your arms. And boy, does time fly! Remember to enjoy every minute of it, even when your stressed and your baby is crying…someday soon your little one won’t cry for you anymore but will be strong and independent, ready to take on the world.

To all mothers reading this post, God bless you ❤

He’s Here!!

James Leonard Slob
Born May 30th 2020
7lbs 1oz

On May 29th I celebrated my 26th birthday, hoping and praying that our son would come soon.

The long awaited answer to my prayers came the next morning at 3am when I woke up with cramps and a small water break. From there the clock started ticking…our son was coming soon!

I would go into details about how covid changed this experience for me, and how in some ways it tried to rob me of this joy. But I simply refuse to pay it even that much credit. God’s blessing far out weighs this cursed virus and its societal impact.

I will, however, give credit to all the mother’s out there who have labored without epidurals. Good Lord that was a pain like no other! Though I was induced and that brought what was originally the “end pain” to the beginning of my labor, with only 2-3 minute intervals of peace inbetween.

After hours of labor, once my epidural was doing it’s miraculous work, It was time to meet James. And at around 8:20pm he entered the world and changed our lives forever ❤

We stayed at the hospital 2 days and then brought our little bundle home. The first night brought me to tears as my milk hadn’t come in and James couldn’t be satisfied. That morning though God again came through and now I have plenty to feed him (even freeze for later use).

James is an easy baby, never cries, loves to look around and wave his arms when he’s hungry. He smiles during tummy time and loves to be bathed and held.

I honestly am overwhelmed by how much I love him. I never thought that such a depth was possible. Not to discredit my love for others, I’d die for my family and friends…but the love of a mother is something entirely new and terrifying. Another glimpse into the heart of Father God.

I am honored and blessed beyond measure. Thank you God for trusting me with your precious one. ❤ And thank you everyone for supporting and praying for me throughout this pregnancy journey. God bless you all!

Inducing Labor Naturally

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36 Weeks
Yep, that is my stomach making my feet look so small! Now imagine trying to bend over to put shoes on, phew!! it’s a workout. And I’m typing this late into week 37. My doctor said by 38 weeks (come Tuesday) I can begin trying to induce labor. Yay!

How to Induce labor naturally?

As a first time mother, I have yet to know what methods of labor induction actually work for me. Course, what may work this time could fail me the next pregnancy. It really is a hard thing to pinpoint or to control. Labor ultimately will happen when it happens at God’s chosen moment. Still, it is good to try and bring about what must come since laying around could keep the kid cooking in the womb beyond your due date for sure! Gravity is your friend here and during labor! 👍

I asked many mothers how they induced labor naturally and here are some of their trusted methods, hopefully, this helps! 

  1. Walking (and if cramping/contractions start-keep walking!) 
  2. Yoga ball (stuck at home? Bounce away on a yoga ball) 
  3. Sex (This really is #1 and doctors say it’s the “sure” tested method that works) 
  4. Trampoline (Small or large, a few bounces may just cut it) 
  5. Spicy foods (Some people swear by it, if anything, It couldn’t hurt I guess)
  6. Pelvic Stretches (Even if you don’t go into labor by them, they help you prepare)
  7. Chiropractor (Apparently some Chiropractors can actually induce labor by aligning your pelvic floor…fascinating)
  8. Castor Oil (I don’t recommend this one unless you really are desperate and don’t care about the possible side-effects of this natural laxative) 
  9. Chores (Let the nesting instinct take hold of you, clean, mop, sweep and maybe all that work will also bring about labor too)

I have yet to try any of these but just wanted to share what has worked for the mothers in my life in the hopes that it will help other expectant moms out there. If you can’t go into labor, don’t worry! It’s common for your first child to carry up until or after your due date. Your doctor will then make the call on what is best for you and most likely that will involve inducing you in the hospital with Pitocin/Oxytocin (a hormone that a woman produces anyway to induce labor). 

Also, don’t expect the first sign of labor to be “water breaking.” The movies make it like this is the first step when really it isn’t all that common for your water to break. This they will painlessly do at the hospital once you are in active labor. 

Lastly, be patient. 

Even if you start getting symptoms, or are dilated, it could still mean days or weeks before you meet your baby. If you are like me and don’t want the unnecessary torture of getting your cervix checked at your weekly appointments, then simply ask not to. It’s your right and honestly, checking the cervix for dilation really doesn’t tell you anything between 35-37 weeks because as I said, you could be dilated for weeks or not at all and an hour after your appointment go into labor lol (that is verbatim what my doctor said). 

Just relax, try the steps above when you are feeling energized, and pray that you will meet your baby sooner rather than later. God’s got this! ❤

 

 

 

Pregnancy: 3rd Trimester

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It’s the final stretch! At 29 weeks pregnant, I have only 11 weeks left to go! Looking back on the 2nd Trimester, though it started off rather shaky with Braxton Hicks contractions and the continuing hint of nausea, it was the easiest part of pregnancy so far!

The nausea left completely, as did my ravenous hunger, lack of energy, and overall emotional state of mind. Braxton Hicks contractions even lessoned up as I learned what triggered them. There were moments in which my heart palpitations were a nuisance, but even that symptom could be managed by drinking plenty of water and avoiding eating sugar/carbs before lying down or just avoiding large meals (a challenge in and of themselves).

At its end, I was finally enjoying pregnancy somewhat. Baby James is quite active, and my belly is finally pronounced enough to be a bump (or more so, a basketball). I feel myself bonding with James more and more as I familiarize myself with his movements, his likes, and dislikes, and his reactions to my touch and voice. It’s all becoming real!! I will be a mother in two months (give or take) and now I’m getting excited more so than anxious about the labor experience.

After months of dreading labor, to finally look forward to holding your baby in your arms is proof to me that God knew what He was doing when He decided the length of pregnancy. Anything less than 9 months is doable but stressful, anything more than 9 months is beyond our patience I think. At the time of our labor/delivery, we are just to the point of wanting the kid outa us and ready for the next step, motherhood.

I am ready for my body to be my own again, though I still savor my son’s movements and know I will never forget what it felt like to carry him inside. It is both a wonder and a mystery to see how much my body can change and what it is able to endure. Even what James is able to endure is astounding (having survived a car crash at around 25 wks!).

My doctor appointments are now every 2 weeks and at my last one, I drank the dreaded glucose serum (which wasn’t too bad) and had my blood drawn. The difficulty of the test wasn’t so much the flavor of the drink, which tasted like an overly sweet/cheap fruit punch, but in the amount and time frame in which I had to drink it. Being pregnant makes it difficult to guzzle liquid or food in any extraneous amount. Our stomachs are small and pushed up, and our digestion is slow. I found myself burping up the liquid for a while afterward but wasn’t sick from it. I believe eating crackers beforehand really helped ease my stomach and “wake it up” so that it was ready for the liquid challenge.

The blood test showed only that I needed more iron so now I take an iron supplement at an opposite time as my prenatal vitamins, which at this point is no biggie. My doctor also told me that at my next appointment we would have our final ultrasound, the long-awaited 4D images of our son!!!

I really can’t wait to see what he will look like! At 21 weeks I had a 4D shot of him and he was still underdeveloped and lacking the baby fat that he most likely has now and will carry with him into the world. To those who don’t know, these images are still rather tricky and flawed since they are attempting to capture an accurate image through flesh and amniotic fluid. I’ve seen some pictures that can be perceived as grotesque more so than “cute.” If it’s your first child and you want to capture cute images, avoid early pictures when the baby is still underdeveloped and too small to really get an image, and attempt to get your baby lively, maybe drink something sugary and arrive with a full bladder also, so that the photos have a better chance of turning out good.

With the start of my 3rd Trimester, Braxton Hicks have increased in strength and generally occur every evening after I eat dinner and am trying to get ready for bed. Sometimes they feel like they are squashing the life out of me lol. My doctor said that as the day of labor draws near, these practice contractions could become more frequent and bothersome, so long as they go away with a good night’s sleep and aren’t accompanied by other symptoms, they are nothing to worry about and can’t trigger pre-term labor.

I hope that sharing a bit of my journey helps other expectant mother’s out there. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to comment below!

March 31 is our 4D pictures!

April 4 is our baby shower!

June 2 is my due date!

I’d love to hear from other moms-to-be out there! How has the 2nd Trimester treated you? Is your baby a stretcher or a puncher? When is your due date?

God bless you all ❤

 

Pregnancy: Ups and Downs

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“A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on.”

-Carl Sandburg

I’m 24 weeks into this pregnancy journey, and boy…has it been a journey! Sometimes it feels like I’m in the back of a speeding car, other times, it’s as though I’m stuck in an empty void of “waiting.” I want to meet our child and yet, once he’s here, everything will change forever. That’s a good thing! But also, a scary thing indeed.

“Am I good enough?”

I am grateful that this question hasn’t crossed my mind, but that is only because of my faith in God. Do you know that He created you to be the best mother for your child? All of His created families are a perfect match, no matter how imperfect some of our moments are, that doesn’t change His belief in you. If God believes in you, then you are more than qualified for the job.  😉👍

At 24 weeks labor and the thought of “motherhood” still seems so far away, but getting closer every day. My focus has been solely “one day at a time” since the symptoms alone can be overwhelming!

Heart palpitations, pelvic pressure (makes it easy to overeat), Braxton Hicks contractions, fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches, skin problems, stretch marks, and random mood swings!

Yes, those are enough to be getting along with, though the pesky nausea that so plagued the beginning of this journey is basically over, besides the oversensitive “gag-reflex” which makes brushing teeth a tricky business.

My only joy has been in planning the baby shower and feeling our baby move, kick, and punch on a more regular daily schedule. (Generally, he is awake in the morning and late evening though eating/drinking and bending can stir him to action also)

I’ve discovered that pregnancy doesn’t always come with that “glow” everyone talks about. I’m torn between loving the baby bump look and hating the skin problems such as stretch marks and random blotchiness that comes from the rapid expansion of your body. Sometimes I have that energy and joy that many said I would experience in my 2nd Trimester, and other times, I feel overwhelmed, anxious, depressed and flat out tired!

It is a rollercoaster of new experiences for first-time mothers and because every pregnancy is different it’s hard to not feel “alone” on this journey. Even with your trusted spouse at your side or other more seasoned mothers reaching out to you.

I fail quite often in pulling myself out of these moments but here is what I have learned so far, I hope these tips will be helpful to you as well. A pregnant mother’s mental health is just as important as her physical one!

  1. If you are feeling down, don’t withdraw or allow yourself to become angry. And don’t lay around!! You want to pick up your spirits real quick? Get out of the house and move around, whether that’s a brisk morning walk or just doing some chores around the house/yard. Moving seems to really work at erasing the depression and in fact, sitting around can be what’s causing you to feel down. It’s hard to get started, believe me, I know! But once you do I guarantee you will feel better.
  2. Feeling overwhelmed and anxious? Talk to people! Even if they can’t completely know what you are going through, talk to them anyway. Venting is a great stress reliever and being more vocal about what you are going through to your spouse or best friend will help them to understand you at least a little bit more. If you don’t have other pregnant women to talk to, go join a forum online or find a pregnancy group in your town/city. Maybe try pregnancy yoga, or take a class.
  3. Braxton Hick’s contractions a constant? First, be sure they are false contractions and not labor (an easy way to tell is labor is painful/regular/and gets worse with time). To help ease Braxton Hick’s, change positions, drink a lot of water, don’t overeat (that really sets them off for me), try to relax by doing something that takes your mind off of them like watching a movie or reading. If your baby is being particularly active or if you have to pee this can also cause a false contraction, just remain calm and reassured that these false contractions aren’t dangerous and are quite normal. What do these feel like? A tightening and releasing of the uterine muscles (you can actually feel them tighten with your hand).
  4. Heart palpitations! I have always had these off and on before pregnancy, now It seems they can be worsened due to my increased blood volume and the extra heart strain in general. Keep an eye on them, if they get worse or are followed by other symptoms call your doctor. Otherwise, try to eat right (don’t lay down right after eating), avoid caffeine at all costs! move around/change position. Drink a glass of cold water, and do some relaxing meditations to calm yourself (stress can trigger these). What do they feel like? heart flutters and an overall faster heartbeat.

Eating right, having a good sleep/exercise schedule, and a good support group will help you through this difficult time. But I can’t stress enough the importance of drawing close to God, the one who understands you fully and what you are going through. I find peace in leaning on Him, reading His word when I’m afraid, and listening to worship music to ease my worries and emotions. Pray and surrender it all to Him, the only one who holds you and your child in His arms. With Him, you can do anything!! (Philippians 4:13)

 

 

Gender Reveal!

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1/23/20-21 weeks!

I was so excited the night before the big reveal that I could hardly sleep! Tomorrow I’d finally know a bit more about our baby.

It was a long wait in the waiting room with my parents, husband, and grandma…I was more than happy for them to share this moment since ultrasounds have changed so much over the years. My mom and grandma never had the opportunity to see their little baby in the womb or to know the gender.

We all crowded into the little dark room and I craned my neck to see what I’d been growing so impatient to see over the month.

My baby, no longer a still little peanut, but a moving and almost fully developed person! We “oohed” and “awed” until finally, the lady pointed and my mom was the first to say, “it’s a boy!”

I’m pleased to announce that I’m having a boy, June 2nd ❤😊

I couldn’t be happier, especially with so many baby girls being born right now in my circle of family and friends. I’m going to have a son!!

Right after my appointment, my mom and I went to our local pregnancy center where Aaron and I have been regularly taking classes and we picked out our son’s first outfits! (our town is blessed to have this center and others like it which are stock full of baby clothes and supplies for expectant mothers!)

We then prepared for our big gender reveal! Getting balloons and wrapping them in a box to take to our church that evening.

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Finally, as evening came and Aaron was with our pastor and his family at the church (for band practice), mom and I lugged the very light airy box, thanks to the balloons, into the sanctuary and prepared to record the big moment.

Though I obviously shoved way too many balloons into the box, it was a joyous occasion! And when asked, “what’s his name going to be?” Aaron immediately said, “James” to anyone who asked.

I’m still open to ideas as far as names go but at the end of the day, no matter what we name him, he has a name already in heaven that we know nothing about and that will fit him more perfectly than our earthly names. A good pick-me-up to those who don’t like their parent given name I’m sure!

Thank you all for reading/watching our big moment! And welcoming young James into our family ❤ your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated and felt! He is a healthy baby and though I’m battling a rather nasty sinus infection right now, he is safe and sound and kicking me in the bladder as I type this actually…

Love and God bless you all!!!

 

 

20 weeks!

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As of yesterday, I am now 20 weeks into my pregnancy (this picture is not exactly recent). I took this right before I even knew I was pregnant, a strange thing to look back on now, since it really wasn’t that long ago that my body was slim and entirely “my own.”

Another interesting thing to note was that I decided I wanted a shorter haircut around the time I became pregnant and I remember clearly that I wanted a more “motherly,” and older look. Why? People never believe that I’m 25 or that I’ve been married for over 5 years now, and in my heart, I knew that motherhood was the next big adventure awaiting me.

So at 20 weeks, I must say that I have changed as much as my body has. Perhaps it’s because, with each passing day, it all becomes more “real.” Only 20 weeks left and I will officially be holding a child in my arms, and not just in my heart.

Pregnancy so far has been interesting, and not overly challenging. I’ve had morning sickness pretty frequently during the first trimester, but only vomited a few times in all. My symptoms and doctor visits have all gone according to the book. No problems, healthy baby, normal bodily changes, and nothing to hint at an abnormal delivery.

I am thankful to God for this. And amazed at my own body’s abilities to cope with such changes, child-bearing is a natural bodily process after all. I find comfort in this when I encounter new symptoms or when my body continues to stretch and morph into someone I don’t quite recognize. It’s all worth it. And I knew what I signed up for when I wanted to be a mother even though personally I never experienced this. That is the joy of being surrounded by mothers is that they will gladly tell you all the things that pregnancy and labor entails…though I’ve discovered that those who had hard pregnancies and labors are the most vocal of the bunch.

The way I see it…God is with me and has the baby and my best interests at heart. All sin, including the fall of man, is covered in Christ’s sacrifice. To me that means the curse of painful child-bearing doesn’t have to be accepted today, it was a punishment for a sin that Christ died for.

I know, it may sound like a laughable dream of mine, but don’t all miracles sound laughable at first? I just see no reason in not trying to walk in the gifts Christ paid for today, we’ve got nothing to lose in trying and believing. It may, in fact, be necessary if we are to eventually activate these gifts…might as well test our faith now right?

Whether God gives me painless quick labor or not, I am still thankful to Him for this new life within me and I still choose to view that day as a celebration and a gift from a Good Father. Children are blessings. Amen?

Next Thursday is the big day that I find out the gender. I can’t wait to finally know! Perhaps once I know, a name will also present itself…hopefully I can discover the name that best fits our child and their amazing destiny in Christ.

Thank you all who have prayed and followed my pregnancy so far! And may God bless all you parents out there who have labored in love, I look up to you and honor you.