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pregnancy

Lifestyle

I’ll Keep You Safe, I’ll Keep You Dry

April 30, 2019

Pregnancy is such a strange and beautiful process. For 40 weeks, you give up your body for the sake of someone else, allowing them to take whatever they need to start their life.

With each week that passes, and each milestone you hit, there is a sigh of relief: you’re one step closer to meeting this tiny person you are in such close contact with every single day.

You share the news with your friends and family, then you share the news with the world, and there is a giant explosion of excitement, a baby! So small! So cute! I can’t wait!

A few months later, if you so choose, you find out if the baby is a boy or a girl, and can choose his or her name. There is another frenzy of excitement as all of the people closest to you start envisioning all the adorable clothes and things and gifts that they can get you for your sweet baby. And it is so humbling and fun to get the little onesie, or teddy bear that someone picked out especially for your baby.

If it’s your first baby, you may have a shower, and be so incredibly blessed by the outpouring of love that those people who love you so much shower upon you. It’s overwhelming in the best possible way to be loved so deeply, and to know that your baby is also loved so deeply.

Then, we start to sit and wait. The doctor gives you a month long window of when the baby could safely come, and you wait.

And each day, people ask you how you’re feeling, or if there is any movement and if the baby is gonna come. And you act like the adult you are and say “I’m feeling fine, thanks, the baby will come when she is ready.” What you want to say is: “Do you see a baby in my arms? No? Then NO. The baby has not come yet.” On a deeper level, what I want to say is: “We all have waited 272 days. She has at most 22 days left. This is the only time in her life where I can keep her perfectly safe. If I eat right, and avoid the things that I was told to avoid, and exercise and sleep and take my vitamins I can keep her safe. As soon as she is born, it is all on the table. I will not be able to protect her from the world, and with each day that she gets older, there will be a new set of fears that I have to face over and over again. So no, she is not here yet. And no, I am not miserable about it because in 22 days I cannot be her perfect shelter any longer. I am cherishing these last 22 days before my heart is beating outside of my body and I have to trust that I will do my best to raise her to be strong, smart, gentle and kind, and that though I will do anything to keep her safe, I also have to unleash her light into the world, and help her to make it a better place.

But the thing that is so befuddling to me is the commentary on my body. I am now realizing that I am a very lucky woman. I shop off the rack at every store I go to, and I can usually find something in my size that I would enjoy wearing. My boobs were always small enough that I could buy bras on a whim, and my shoes are an average size that every brand carries.

But lately, people I have never even seen before stop me in whatever store I am in to tell me how much longer I have because I am carrying so high. What these people don’t know (because they couldn’t know it, since they don’t know me from Adam) is that this comment is like a dagger to my heart.

You see, at each appointment starting at about 20 weeks, my practice takes out a paper tape measure and measures your belly from the top of your uterus to the bottom of it. Its a rough guess to help see if your baby is measuring on track (it is supposed to be the same number of centimeters as you are pregnant give or take two centimeters in either direction). I was tracking along perfectly for most of my appointments.

But then 7 weeks ago, my belly stopped measuring along with my weeks. I was within the realm of normal, but my doctor said I needed to have a growth scan just to be sure nothing was wrong. He didn’t rush order the scan. And he told me that everything was likely fine. I talked to a couple of my trusted mom friends and they said I was going to be fine. But I was crushed. What had I done wrong? Was my little girl going to be okay? I had done everything right. Why was my tummy small? Had she stopped growing? Would I have to have her early to try to give her her best chance?

For two weeks I cried every time I showered. I cried to one of my friends on Marco Polo telling her I didn’t know what I had done wrong. We went to our comfort measures class at the hospital and another woman, due one day before me, looked WAY different than I did and I cried myself to sleep worrying I had done something wrong. Those two weeks were pure torture.

Then we had our growth scan. And wouldn’t you know it, my little girl had just already dropped. She was head down, and in my pelvis, tracking at almost 5lbs and was totally fine. My body apparently didn’t want to stretch since my pelvis was a good support system for her, and just put her into that position instead of keeping her floating upwards.

My belly dropped 7 weeks ago. And it is still measuring behind. We had a second growth scan just last week, and baby was still low, and had had gained a pound and change. This is my variation of normal.

So any time some random stranger tells me that I’m carrying high, or that I still have a long time to go, it brings me back to each of those moments of fear, waiting to see if my baby was okay.

My body is unique. And my pregnancy is unique, as every woman’s body and pregnancy is. And it is really strange to me that people you don’t know find it okay to comment on your body and tell you how things are going when they literally have zero clue how your body does things.

Now, let’s also make a note that the last few weeks of pregnancy are hard. I am tired, my feet hurt at the end of the day, and there are a lot of hormones and emotions floating around as I get ready to bring this baby into the world. My body is making changes and getting itself ready. I am preparing my heart for the changes that are coming, and I am trying to maintain the level of excitement for everyone else, and put up with the random strangers at the store.

I am so excited that everyone is so excited to meet our tiny girlfriend. Believe me, no one is more excited than me to meet her. I have spent the last 39 weeks pouring my literal self into the creation of this little girl, and the moment I get to see her is going to be so mindblowingly amazing I don’t even know if I will be able to handle it.

But I am also dealing with all of the fear and excitment and transition of becoming a mother. And its a lot all at once. A newfound hero of mine, January Harshe is really big on holding space for parents in whatever they are feeling. And this is really something that I want to impress on anyone reading this. This is a really big moment in my life, and I am having ALL of the feelings to go along with it. Please, be patient and gentle with me as I step into this new role.

And to the old lady in aisle 7- just shut up. I don’t comment on your flabby arms. Stop talking about my belly.

Lifestyle

A Season of Surrender

April 8, 2019

Well hey there! For the past few years, my life has been a chaotic swirl of going going going and a constantly packed calendar that was a maze of scribbled out tasks and arrows directing to where they would go if they weren’t completed in a day.

Then, as if by some mystical force, it all culminated in ONE week. I completed a 40 page thesis, printed it 5 times and presented to the local nonprofit that I had created a marketing plan for. It went so well, and the client was so happy with not only our research, but also with the presentation we had put together. I am still waiting on a final grade, but so far it is looking good. Stay tuned!

A few days later, my sisters threw me the most beautiful baby shower. It was Eloise themed, and every detail was absolutely outstanding. Everyone showed up in a big way and really spoiled myself, Sean, and Tiny Girlfriend in a big way. I am so humbled by the outpouring of love and it is really an incredible gift to have everything I could need to care for my sweet girl once she arrives.

And with that, all the pent up stress and worry that my brain had been blocking out was lifted.

And my body decided: oh hey! I’m pregnant. I kid you not, the day after my baby shower, my body just decided it was going to feel like I thought I would feel while I was pregnant. I am more tired, and can’t move as fast. I am out of breath just carrying the laundry basket up from the basement to my bedroom.

This whole process has been so fascinating to me. To grow a whole human being over the course of 10 months is mind blowing. To do it while finishing grad school, and working is something I didn’t really take into account when making my plans. But somehow, I was able to manage all of these tasks at once. But what is really crazy to me is that now that I am done with all of these things, and have transitioned to only working from home, my body is demanding rest from me as it prepares for the biggest athletic event of my life.

This has taken an immense level of surrender on my part. I know I have mentioned this before, but I often find my value in how much I have accomplished in a given day, rather than just in having an intrinsic value.

And when your body physically shuts down at 2 PM saying: hey, I’m done, let’s sit and rest; it goes against the idea that you have to accomplish a lot in a given day. And yet here I am, feet propped up, bottle of ice water in hand and watching criminal minds and letting my body build up a store of energy for Tiny Girlfriend’s birthday.

I am really focusing on taking this time to be fully aware of the incredible thing my body is doing, and stopping to be thankful for the fact that I am good enough- sitting on the couch, or out running errands.

Gene informs me that after next week, she can come at any time. After ordering some final things on Amazon, and finishing her last load of laundry today, I feel like I can rest easy knowing I have done everything I can to be ready for her big debut.

I am surrendering to this newest phase of life. And learning how to love myself in this season.

Lifestyle

Don’t Wait to Love Yourself

November 6, 2018

This one goes out to all my girlfriends out there. In the spirit of keeping it real I want to dive right into a sensitive subject. Let’s talk about body image. Gosh even just typing those words sent a shiver down my spine.

You know, most women that I know could instantly point out the things about their body that they don’t like. My hair is too stratight. My hair is too curly. My teeth are not white enough. My face is covered in acne. My butt is too flat. What abs? If I work out a little extra, if I go on this special diet… the list goes on and on.

I was not immune to these lines of thought. As I started learning how to have a better relationship with food- viewing it as fuel for my body, and not something to just munch on when I was bored, or something to avoid to lose weight, I began to appreciate my body a little more. Then I started to work out, and I began to appreciate how strong my body actually was- I was capable of so much more than I thought I was! I was spinning three days a week, I was eating a mostly Paleo diet and I was feeling strong, confident and beautiful.

Right around this time I started gaining this confidence, my husband and I started talking about what it would be like to have a baby (SPOILER: I am writing this post nearly 14 weeks pregnant =p ). I have always known I was made to be a mother. I have known since I was a little girl, pushing bitty twins in a double jogging stroller that I wanted to be just like my mom, raising strong and good people to make this world a better place. So after nearly three years of marriage, this conversation seemed only natural.

But as we started having that conversation, those thoughts that I just had overcome started to come back. What if I gain too much weight? What if all the weight goes to my love handles? What if I get stretch marks? What if I get grey hairs? What if my hair texture changes completely? What if I get acne? OMG what if I get stray hairs on my chin that I have to pluck?

Then we got pregnant. And the first three months were no walk in the park. I was sick every night. I had dark circles under my eyes. I couldn’t use face wash because it turned my face as red as a tomato. I was now going to be doomed to acne (insert major dread here). I was bloated and none of pants fit. I found three grey hairs. AND there definitely are stray hairs on my chin that I have to pluck (LOL). WHAT IF I GET STRETCHMARKS?!

As we’ve gotten further along in the pregnancy, I am carrying all my weight in my love handles and backside. I stopped wearing pants because I couldn’t bear to keep buying bigger sizes. I had to buy all new undergarments because my body is growing in ways I didn’t know it could. I just recently had to take a break from the workout I love so much because the muscles that hold everything together are stretching so much and so rapidly that they hurt when I stand up too quickly.

And you know what the most surprising thing is to me? I am the happiest I have ever been. I could absolutely care less about gaining weight, unruly pimples on my upper lip and the side of my nose or those stray hairs I have to pluck. I haven’t found any stretchmarks yet, but I am sure they are coming, and I am ready to welcome them with open arms.

My body is physically housing another human right now. It not only created a human from scratch, but is now letting it have the space for the next 5 months to grow and get stronger and come into this world as a little human that we can hold and love.

My body is now the body of a superhero. Seriously. It is ridiculously awesome that I am actually growing another person inside of me right now. And if it takes gaining weight, and earning some tiger stripes along the way, I am happy to do that.

I am in awe of my body and all of the ways it is growing and changing. It’s amazing that it took me all these years and a completely life altering event to finally truly appreciate this body that I have been given. I only wish I could have loved and appreciated my body sooner.

If you’re reading this and you’re in the phase of wanting to change something about your body, I want to encourage you to look in the mirror and find one thing about your amazing body that you can love right now. Loving yourself is a life long process, but start today! Don’t wait.

You are amazing. If I am the only person to tell you that today, I hope it sinks in. You are truly, utterly, amazing.

Dear Twenty-Something

That’s What This Storm’s All About

November 2, 2018

2 November 2018

Dear Twenty- Something,

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”- Haruki Murakami

Do you remember yourself in middle school? There were braces, bangs, and glasses and oh so much Limited Too and Abercombie. You barely had friends, participated in a hobby that no one else liked, and couldn’t really play sports because you were so awkward and gangly and had no control of your body. Remember when you thought that if you could just have the right clothes, or that iPod mini, or a Facebook account things would be better?

Do you remember yourself in high school? There were still braces, but you painstakingly grew out your bangs. You stopped shopping at Limited Too and switched to Hot Topic, Zumiez and Pac Sun (which was an emo kid store at the time, promise).You finally had a couple friends- and you all awkwardly sat at the table near the trash can in the front of the cafeteria, and stayed long hours practicing for the musical. You weren’t what anyone would call popular, and you still wondered- if you could have been an athlete would life have been better? If you could have been friends with the popular group, would you have been happier?

Do you remember yourself in college? You slowly started to shed your tough kid style and look a little more like an adult. You made friends. You lost friends. You picked a major that would pretty much set your course for life. You lived in another country. You dated and broke up. You thought if you could get a job and move to a big city and make a name for yourself your life would be better. If you had a legacy and changed the world everything would be great. You just knew you were made for more.

What if you could go back in time and tell yourself that it does get better? That Facebook wasn’t really the most important thing after all, and that in the end, having different clothes really doesn’t make your life all that much better? That having a few good friends is far more important than having a great multitude of friends, and that being popular really isn’t going to be the summit of your life. That finding the dream job and moving to the big city actually isn’t the answer to your dreams.

What if you could go back in time and tell yourself that even though none of the things you planned for and thought would make your life better happened, that your life would be the best its ever been and you just had to wait for it because it actually DOES get better if you just let things happen the way they are supposed to happen instead of trying to force your plans on your life.

I would so tell my awkward self that it gets better if I could. Because it does. And you know what? I bet in 4 years when I hit 30 I will look back and tell myself that it gets even better. Because if my current life is any indication, it can only go up from here!

Whatever stage you are in- keep at it. It totally does get better. In fact, before you know it, you will be living your best life. And that is an awesome place to be.

-S

Lifestyle

Happy Halloween! We are Having a Baby!

October 31, 2018

Wow! I cannot believe today is finally here. I feel like I have been waiting for this day for ages.

In August, I threw Sean a surprise 30th birthday party. If you know me in real life, you know that secrets are NOT my forte. I can’t even keep a Christmas present a surprise for very long. But I planned a big ole party and people flew in from across the country, all to celebrate and love Sean! It was a great success, and that love is something I will remember for the rest of my life.

Not long after his party, we found out we were going to have a baby! I wish I could tell you that this was all romantic and involved us sitting together waiting for the countdown to end like you see in all those commercials. But actually, I really didn’t think I was pregnant, and the Frontier guy was at my house fixing something for my TV when I took the test (I can see the story now- Once Upon a Time, while a nice stranger was making sure I could watch Grey’s Anatomy, I found out you existed… you know, maybe I’ll actually write that story some day =p). Imagine my surprise when It came up with that tiny life changing word: pregnant. That ain’t no etcha sketch…That’s one doodle that can’t be undid home slice! A side note- due to the fact that I have been charting my cycle for 4.5 years, we knew about this little babe 2-4 weeks sooner than most people even find out they’re pregnant. If you want to know more about this really cool process, message me, and I can put you in touch with some incredible people who really know what they are talking about!

Sean had coincidentally forgotten something he needed at work, so I ran to TJ Maxx and got the cutest little honest company diapers, and the most hipster onesie I could find and I drove down to where he works and told him I had one last birthday gift for him. The look on his face when he saw the diapers is not one I will soon forget.

Every moment has just been such a beautiful blessing so far. Now look, don’t get me wrong- I have been feeling awful. I easily sleep 10-12 hours a night. I was having pretty rough “morning sickness” (ummm hello that’s a really awful misnomer because I didn’t get sick until the late night which made sleeping really hard lol). But thank God for modern medicine, and for the very kind nursing staff at Candlewoood Medical Group. I swear I call them at least once a week with the dumbest questions ever and they do not ever miss a beat and even thank me for calling them. Makes me feel awesome rather than stupid for calling.

As we’ve told family and friends our wonderful news, I have been incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of LOVE that already exists for this tiny peanut that is growing inside of me. My mind is blown. We have had nothing but hugs and tears and big cheers of congrats. Everyone deserves this kind of love every single day.

We were so excited when we found out that we were going to be pregnant during Halloween season because it was on my bucket list to dress up as Juno while being pregnant. Imagine my surprise when Sean actually suggested we announce like that! I was thrilled!

This baby is everthing we have hoped for, dreamed for, worked for and prayed for. Three years ago when we said I do, we knew that this is where our life was heading, and I could not be more honored or excited to start this journey.

Quick stats:

  • Baby has already been to TWO concerts: Sir Elton John and the amazing Joe Pug.
  • Starting at around 5Pm the baby gets all jumpy and when I lay down I swear I can feel he or she moving because something is definitely tickling my completely empty bladder.
  • I have completely given up on pants. They just aren’t worth it. Leggings are my absolute best friend, and thank God it’s fall and I get to wear them with tunics and swearters and scarves and boots. It’s glorious.
  • My first craving was for egg rolls. My second craving was cinnamon dolce coffee. I am currently drinking peppermint mocha coffee and it’s honestly delicious. This is a far departure from my usual dark coffee with plain half and half in it lol.

I am so looking forward to this advent season- to share with Mary the quiet excitement of being pregnant and having a tiny soul to cherish.

If you read all of this, thank you for walking this journey with me. I have missed writing, and now that the secret is out, I can’t wait to start again. And I can’t wait to see how becoming a mom helps me to grow and change into the person I was always meant to be.

 

(Still looking normal)

 

(YES! I still spin- leaving for morning workout here)

 

(Grow baby Grow! I can’t believe I have changed even since this picture just one week ago!)