3rd Trimester Reflections

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T h i n k i n g 

  • { Meeting Baby } I have long wrapped my mind around being pregnant. I believe I’ve also wrapped my mind around the idea of a baby residing within me. But I cannot even begin to imagine meeting this sweet, sweet soul! That is one of the reasons I am glad we did not learn the baby’s gender during pregnancy – there are so many mysteries wrapped around this precious life! We are absolutely thrilled to watch and help him/her grow into the person they were created to be in the days and years to come!

F e e l i n g

  • { Thankful } As the day of our Dear One’s arrival approaches (yet another mystery), I am thankful for time spent with Stephen, family, friends, and just the extra hours to get things done. The wait can be hard, and the anticipation great, but this journey has been filled to the brim with blessings that are providing me with a glimpse of motherhood.
  • { Motivated } While some days are better than others, I still have quite a bit of drive. I planned to work as long as I could, and made it working past my due date! But my maternity leave officially begins this week (week 41) and I am glad for the flexibility this will bring as the frequency of my appointments increases. (Also, I would love to get our Christmas tree up and prepare for Advent – things I have given myself to look forward to as we continue to wait for our little Cannoli.)

C h a n g i n g

  • { New Limitations } I began to notice some very sudden changes and limitations around week 36, part of which I’m sure can be attributed to really slacking on physical activity. Braxton Hicks made exercise a bit of a pain (literally) and I noticed even with yoga, what I can do one day I cannot necessarily do the next. I’ve been trying to spend more time on my exercise ball, alleviating some sciatic nerve pain that surfaced in the ninth month.
  • { Major Growth Spurt } While my own weight seems to have plateaued, starting week 38, my belly began feeling very tight and itchy from all the stretching of a growing babe. Any attempts to scratch it are left unsatisfied, as it is numb and I cannot feel anything – it is quite a bizarre sensation! I’ve had to tell myself on a somewhat daily basis that my belly is not actually going to burst, as it feels it may (just take a look at the following picture – that is a BIG belly!).

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P l a n n i n g

  • { Ready (or Not) } We have completed our various childbirth classes, including a general hospital class, a natural childbirth class, and a postpartum recovery/infant care class. Our hospital bags have been meticulously planned for and packed. Small gifts for our labor and delivery staff have been assembled. The baby’s room is organized (though not totally decorated – I figure baby will forgive me for this). Freezer meals have been prepared. The house has been cleaned from top to bottom (perhaps the last time for while). Thank you notes are written and in the mail. Now, we wait…
  • { Birth Team } I am incredibly thankful that joining Stephen and I, my sister, Allyson, will be also attending the birth. She has had six natural births, and is simply amazing. We’ve met together to talk about our hopes and plans, all scenarios considered. I know I could not ask for better support – mental, emotional, physical, spiritual – than from these two! They really are my dream team.

P r a y i n g

  • { Birth Without Fear } When you announce you are pregnant, it is as if overnight you become a walking billboard inviting others to share their birth horror stories. While I know most of these retellings come from the best of intentions – to remind the mama-to-be that all will be well regardless of how many things go “wrong” – they are often anything but helpful. As I write these words at 41 weeks, I remain grateful that anxiety has not seeped into my mind and heart as it so easily could (and so often does). Some of this may be attributed to a form of denial about all that is to come, but I truly believe this has been God’s way of protecting me from fear. For the spirit He gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).

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The next time I post, our sweet little Cannoli will be here!!

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When One Month Remains

one month remians - pursuing pearls blog

Yesterday was a big milestone for our little Trio – we are just 4 short weeks from our due date. Knowing that our sweet Cannoli will be here in the next month or so is indescribable!

Honestly, I have absolutely loved pregnancy – the growing, the changing, the learning, even some of the not-so-pleasant parts have brought me joy as Stephen so faithfully reminds me, “this change just means progress – and that’s what we want!” What a treasure, that man.

But yesterday. Yesterday was HARD. Actually, probably one of the most difficult days in pregnancy so far. Between lack of sleep, shortness of breath even just in conversation, my hips and back cracking every time I stood from my desk, and constant Braxton Hicks, my emotional stability felt as if it was hanging by a lone thread. I was a bit of a wreck.

While I physically feel better today, I realize there is no guarantee of ease in the days ahead. Yet, my heart feels restored as I ponder how each of yesterday’s complaints truly have blessings tucked within:

{ Lack of Sleep }

Cannoli is moving all the time, even at night when I am attempting to snag a few consecutive hours of coveted sleep. As disruptive and uncomfortable as this can be, I am going to miss our time together in this special way. My heart could burst when I imagine holding our baby in my arms, locking eyes for the first time, and falling in love in yet a whole new way! But this time as our Dear One’s physical home? We will never share this again, which leads me to firmly grasp every last second that remains…even at 3:00am when the party in my belly is still going strong.

{ Shortness of Breath }

Two tiny feet and knobby knees are exploring the space below (and in) my ribs, space that is steadily decreasing as baby packs on those wonderful rolls of chub. Cannoli has been head-down for several weeks now, which is right where we want him/her to be! As my organs continue to shift, causing a variety of uneasiness, I am comforted knowing our baby’s organs are mostly developed now. It is just a matter of growing bigger and stronger, and readying to face this new world! It is so exciting!

{ Creaking Hips and Back }

Thanks to the release of the hormone relaxin, my ligaments are loosening as my body prepares for baby’s entrance into the world. I am sure I will be especially thankful for this once labor comes!

{ Braxton Hicks }

These “practice contractions” really are a blessing, because I need all the practice I can get! But in all seriousness, they have been directing my mind toward labor. What an incredible, unknown, and beautiful experience that stands before us. We have practiced breathing through and timing contractions, in addition to pain management and mindfulness as the anticipation builds. I know I could never imagine what labor will be like, but am confident knowing that my body was made for this, and that even in the darkest of moments I will never be alone.

{ Wavering Emotions }

Learning to take captive every thought is such a challenging discipline, yet one I will lean on all of my life. I have been turning to Philippians 4:8 for guidance whenever I need to be redirected:

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

It is easy to become overwhelmed with worry, comparison, discontentment, or fear when I am placing my focus on things other than those above. When I feel my emotions beginning to get away from me, I remember to practice taking captive those runaway thoughts.

Regardless of what the next few weeks may hold, I am determining to remain thankful for it all with the knowledge that each hurdle is just a thread in the tapestry. These days are so precious, and they are numbered.

 

2nd Trimester Reflections

second trimester reflections - pursuing pearls blog

T h i n k i n g

  • { Time is Flying } I can’t believe how fast pregnancy is progressing! Only about three months remain – though, I’m sure the days will feel longer as the Big Day approaches.  I am determining to not dwell on our due date or any sort of countdown, knowing that baby will come at just the right time. I keep telling myself, our Dear One will be here for Christmas! What a beautiful time to be making an entrance into this world.

F e e l i n g 

  • { Hungry Again } My interest in food returned, which makes me oh-so-happy! I have not had many particular cravings or aversions, and my appetite feels rather normal at this point…which may in fact be dangerous because the “normal” me can throw back a pint of ice cream…
  • { Tired!! } Naps are my favorite pastime, as sleeping at night has been fairly challenging and unfulfilling the last several weeks. I have learned to use peak times of energy and motivation to the absolutely fullest, and to have guiltless-rest when needed. Listening to my changing body is an ongoing lesson in humility and grace.

C h a n g i n g

  • { Growing Pains } It is surreal that the little person inside of me is already over a foot long and two pounds! I am beginning to feel the aches and pains from the recent acceleration in growth, which makes me all the more thankful to have had my prenatal yoga classes throughout this whole trimester! It has been helping me cope with symptoms, learn useful breathing and relaxation techniques, and meet other lovely expectant mamas! Such a blessing, and I highly recommend it. I supplement yoga with long morning walks (before it is too hot!) and short pregnancy workouts on YouTube, wanting to remain strong every step of this journey.
  • { On the Move } Our little Cannoli is busy each morning and night with lots of wonderful kicks, jumps, spins, twirls, and front handsprings (or so it seems!), as well little thumps that seem to say “I’m still in here!” all throughout the day. I cherish our family time in bed each night, as baby is active as ever, and Stephen reads our favorite stories.

P l a n n i n g

  • { Boy or Girl? } We opted out of learning the baby’s gender, something I wasn’t sure I could do but now am so glad we did! This hasn’t affected our planning, and if anything, has saved me money by not buying an exuberant amount of baby clothing. (; So far, the guesses rolling in consist of dozens for boy, and only one guess for girl. I do enjoy hearing everyone’s predictions!
  • { Nursery } The last few months I have worked on my vision for the nursery, though there is not much to show for it yet. I have a rocking chair that will eventually have cushions and that is almost it! But I’m trying not to stress about it because let’s be honest – how much “stuff” does an infant need anyway? (Not much.) Is little Cannoli really going to care how their room looks? (No.)
  • { Appointments } Just one more 4-week routine visit before we start seeing the midwives every other week. This milestone is making things more real than ever. I have had such a positive experience with the medical staff so far, and leave each appointment feeling more reassured that I am at the right place for us!

P r a y i n g

  • { Smooth Transitions } Right now my prayer is for a smooth transition back to school and wedding season. Our fall is booked with photography and events, with only one free weekend before baby is here. ONE. Honestly, that does intimidate me some. Asking for wisdom to know when I need to rest and for opportunities to do so. Also thanking God for my ever-supportive husband who often meets my needs before I even realize I have them – he is living out fatherhood and husbandhood so wonderfully.