On Patience and Letting Go

Dear London,

I have said it before and I will say it again- you are my biggest adventure. 

My biggest life lesson.

My biggest lesson on patience.

My biggest teacher on learning to let go of control.

On Monday morning we had a scheduled appointment for a non-stress test to make sure you were doing well and staying healthy at 41 weeks. They hooked me up to the monitor with one strap monitoring your heart beat and another strap to monitor me and record any contractions. They strapped me up and left me and your dad in the room for 30 minutes while we listened to your sweet little heart beat. While we were listening, I noticed that my stomach was for lack of better words, balling up and moving up high. I thought that was you trying to get away and move up from the heart monitor because you always seem to wiggle away when they listen to you. I remember exclaiming to your Dad how intense it felt and how strange it was for you to move up like that. Every time “you moved” the line on my monitor would shoot up like a mountain. When the midwife came back in, she looked at the print out of the test and said “Girl, you are contracting!”. I looked at your Dad in disbelief and laughed. I wasn’t in any pain, it was just extremely uncomfortable and weird feeling. The midwife needed to monitor us a little longer so she once again left the room. While she was gone, I begun to recognize the rhythm of the pressure waves and they seemed to be getting more and more intense. Once she came back in, she asked if I would like to be checked (for dilation) and I agreed. She declared that I was 50% effaced and 2cm dilated, almost 3. I was a little disappointed by that but glad that there was some change since the last time I was there. She asked if I wanted my membranes swept to encourage more dilation and said that since I was already contracting that this would be a good time to try to kick things into gear. I agreed once again and almost immediately regretted it. I was not expecting the extreme amount of pain that followed. I had not prepared my mind for it. I had read up on the procedure before and it was described as a gentle sweeping of the bags of water from the cervix. I thought it would feel much like a dilation check. I was very wrong. It tried breathing through it but totally forgot to turn to my hypnosis because it happened so quickly. I quickly began doubting that if getting my membranes swept was this bad that there was no way I could give birth to a big ole’ baby! Once she left the room, I crumbled into your Dad’s arms and cried. Partly, because I was in a lot of pain but mostly because I felt like I had already failed and surrendered to a medicated birth.

He reminded me that I didn’t use my hypnotherapy and that I was contracting while she was sweeping my membranes. He gave me a major pep talk and reassured me that I could still do this and be true to my birth plan and hypnobabies method. That Dad of yours, is true knight in shining armor.

By the time we got the car in the parking lot, my pressure waves were so very intense and I knew I wouldn’t be able to drive home. (Your Dad and I drove separately because he was supposed to go to work straight after.) I wasn’t even ready to be driven home; the thought of riding passenger while these pressure waves were going on was unbearable. So your Dad and I sat in the car for a good 30 minutes and waited to see what would happen. Finally, I realized we just needed to get home so that I could stretch out and get more comfortable. So off we went, and by the time I got home the pressure waves were still consistent but not as intense. I soaked in the tub for a while and listened to my hypnobabies tracks and instantly felt relaxed and calm. I really begin to enjoy the fact that I could identify when a pressure wave was starting and when it started to roll away. It gave me confidence that I could anticipate them and get into the rhythm of them. I also got excited because I really felt that you were coming soon.

This went on for hours and hours. I moved around and practiced different positions but I was surprisingly most comfortable when I was laying on my back. I felt like I could focus better and control my deep breathing better. The intensity of the pressure waves varied. There were waves of very intense, long pressure waves, sometimes coming in 2 at a time- before one would dissolve another surge would rush in. Those were especially exhausting because I didn’t get to rest in between them. Others would be weaker and not as long. Around 4:45 I noticed them coming in quicker and more intense. They were a minute or less apart and lasting about 3 minutes. That’s when I told your Dad to go ahead and pack up the remaining toiletries because I felt like the real deal was going to happen. I wanted to make sure that this was in fact the real deal so we waited a couple more hours and kept track with pressure waves. They remained the same rhythm and so we called my Mom and let her know that she probably should head our way because we were thinking about going to the hospital soon. Your Dad was great about calling the midwives and communicating what was happening. Once Mum Mum got there, my pressure waves had reached a new intensity and the pressure and sensations were no longer confined to my abdomen but ran all the way into my legs and were rolling in quicker. My Mom and Lucas knew it was time to go and without saying anything Lucas left the bedroom and called the midwives and I broke down in tears. I cried not because of the intensity I was feeling but because I allowed fear to creep in- I was nervous for what was to come and in my mind I knew it was time to go to the hospital.

The midwife told us to come on over so she could check me to see if I had dilated since that morning. So in record time, we all calmly got in the car. Your Mum-Mum sat behind me and massaged my shoulders and hummed which kept me calm and collected and I continued to listen to my Hypnobabies tracks. We checked into Triage and I was pretty disappointed in how we were handled. I was told that I was already pre registered since I was a midwife patient and that all I would have to do is let them knew who I was. That was far from the case. I barely could focus enough to fill in the form and then a gruff man that wreaked of smoke begrudgingly led me through a series of electronic forms to sign. This is not what I expected and standing through my pressure waves while trying to be conscience enough to sign my name a million times was proving to be difficult. I was then led by a nurse to my room in Triage where she asked me to put on a hospital gown. I had decided a long time ago to wear my own clothes for various reasons- self empowerment, not feeling like a sick patient, comfort and I didn’t want my ass to be hanging out when I wanted to walk the hallways. The nurse immediately was taken a back from my request (I asked if I could wear my own dress) and she told me it would be easier if I wore the gown. The usual passive Sydney would have relented and would have put on the gown to avoid conflict, but Mama Bear Sydney came out and I looked her in the eye and politely told her that I would be more comfortable wearing my own clothes. She again was taken aback by my assertiveness but didn’t challenge me about it again. I surprised myself a bit but was glad that something in me was able to communicate my needs. Mum Mum and your Dad were not happy how I was treated by the Triage staff either but all became better once the Midwife and Midwife student came in. I was totally reassured by their peacefulness, genuine concern and communication. The mood of the entire room changed and I knew I was in good hands. They monitored us both again with the non stress test and I continued to have pressure waves, though they seemed to be dwindling in intensity. The midwife checked my dilation and I was still at a 2. I knew then, that this wasn’t real labor because the 8 hours of pressure waves hadn’t caused me to dilate. They asked me to walk the hallways for a hour and come back to be checked again to see if there was any change. I accepted then and there that I would be sent home and didn’t think walking the hallways was necessary but I followed their advice for good measure. Once the nurse and midwives left the room, my Mom commented on how different the attitudes of the triage staff were compared to my midwives- she said she could tell the midwives genuinely loved what they did and were passionate about it whereas my nurse seemed to be just counting down the hours to her paycheck. It definitely was a night and day difference and who knows, maybe I came in at the end of a shift change and she had had a long day but nonetheless, I was thankful and reassured by my decision to be cared for by the midwives.

Your Dad and Mum Mum walked around the hallways for a hour with me while I stopped and breathed through pressure waves. I could feel them lighten and roll in further a part. We got a good idea of the layout of the 4th floor though and peeked in a few of the postpartum rooms. When the hour was up we went back and I was checked again and just as I had expected, there was no change but she did say that your head had come down further. She said that she recommended a sleeping pill so that I could get some rest and sleep through the pressure waves so that if real labor was to start, I would be well rested. She also ordered me to eat a meal since I had only snacked on little things all day. So, I agreed to the sleeping pill and we stopped and ate before we headed home. Once my head hit the pillow, I was out and only got up a couple of times (compared to the 5 or 6 times I usually have to go) to use the restroom. When I woke that morning, the pressure waves had gone and I knew I had officially been faked out. Mum Mum had stayed the night in case labor was pending so she decided to stay with me the entire day and go walking with me to try to jump start things again.

So off to the Franklin Square we went and we walked and walked and walked. It was unbearably hot so once we walked the entire down town of Franklin, we decided to walk in the cool air of the Cool Springs Mall. Again, we walked and walked and walked until I could walk no more. We headed home where we both crashed and took a nap. Your Dad took the day to spend with Gramps (his Dad) and his cousin. I was glad he was able to have some guy time after being so involved and hard working the day before. Once he came home Mum Mum decided it was time for her to head back home and told us to call her if she needed to turn around. I knew you wouldn’t come last night.

As we laid down to go to sleep last night, you became more active than I have ever felt you before. Your movement as of late has slowed down and changed because the lack of room but last night I suppose you decided to test your confines. You kicked me hard and dug into my ribs and pelvis and it felt as if you were beating me up from the insides. At times, I yelped out loud because of your aggressiveness. Your Dad couldn’t believe how wildly you were moving and how you made my stomach contort every which way. This continued for quite some time and there was no way you were going to let me sleep. Thankfully, you settled down and I must have crashed. I woke up this morning feeling defeated and feeling the time constraint of your impending medical induction.

2 more days. 

I never ask for prayer but last night as your were practicing kick boxing, I called out in a lonely Facebook status for prayer that you would come on your own.

strongly want nothing to do with a scheduled induction for so many reasons. I really don’t want to start medical induction that could very well lead to the downward hill of many interventions. More than anything, I do not want Pitocin because of it’s many horrible side effects to baby and Mom. And with Pitocin, natural pain free labor is nearly impossible and I have prepared and prepared to have you naturally because I really believe it is what is best for us. I do not judge anyone who has gone the medicated route one bit. For some, it is the best way to go for their situation. I do not want others to think that I think I’m some how above medical intervention because if it comes to it then I will have to submit and let go. It won’t be easy for me, especially since I feel so passionate about letting nature take its course but I will trust my guidance from the midwives and our carers. I just want to give you the best possible start to life- I realize how important that is. I also realize that there are completely wonderful and healthy moms and babies born every day that under go medical intervention. In fact, the majority of American moms and babies do.

Letting go of the control is just a very difficult lesson for me to go through. If your anything like me, you will come to these mountains and have to face them too. Right now, it’s hard for me to see the peak but I’m trying to let go and trust. For someone who doesn’t believe that “everything happens for a reason” it’s hard to hear the comments that this is all God’s plan. I don’t sign up to the theology that everything is predetermined and we are just puppets on a string being played out by some god. I believe God exists and lives within each of us and when we recognize this we become active participants of bringing forth the Kingdom of God on Earth. Ultimately, it is our decisions and the way we live our lives that cultivates the love of God in our communities and homes and makes God alive and real. So, at times, it’s very hard for me to just be side lined and say God’s plan will prevail. I do understand though, that there is a balance to be found. That although it is I who can directly accept the God in me to live through my life and callings, that I also must submit to the Spirit’s whisper, quietness and calm. Because I am a go-getter and I push to make things happen, I have to be so intentional about allowing God to move within me rather than trying to make God move. It’s my stubborn nature that gets in the way of being patient and letting myself go to God’s spirit and I already see my stubbornness in you. Your poor Dad has no chance!

So as I’m learning one of the hardest life lessons, I see and feel the God in me more than ever. I recognize the phrase “Namaste” which means the God in me sees the God in you in a completely new and deeper way. I understand better that the God in you is already cultivating a deeper relationship to the God that lives in me and is challenging me to be more receptive of the God spark that resides in each of us.

My dear little one (although the midwife estimates that you will be at least 9 pounds of wonderfulness!), I hope your Dad and I and our community as a whole allows you to cultivate the God spark within you in the way that you can relate to and understand. I hope we can find the balance of not forcing our views and beliefs on you but give you the tools, confidence and curiosity to pursue your own truth.  I hope you don’t allow your stubbornness hinder your opportunities to love deeper, understand better and trust within. But if you do, I hope that when the real hard life lessons present themselves, you choose to let go and be patient with yourself and others and allow yourself to learn.

Whether you come on your own, or medical induction becomes necessary, I know that I will have my sweet London June in my arms by this weekend and that gives me great joy and victory.

I thank God that you are my greatest adventure, my biggest joy and my best teacher. 

See you soon little one,

Mom xo

Advertisements

Fashionably Late: On Community & 40 Weeks Update

…just like your Mama.

Girl, we can never be on time and it drives your Dad nuts. I have a feeling you will be following my free spirited philosophy about being prompt and on schedule. My due date has come and gone and I am now 40 weeks + 4 days.

This is what I know:

Babies very rarely come on their due date.

The average 1st time mom has her baby 40 weeks + 5 days.

You are safe and healthy.

I am safe and healthy.

You will come when you are ready.

Knowing all of this, I still found myself curled up in a ball crying because you didn’t come on a specific, estimated date. I know it is silly, and as I was crying I knew it then too but I still could not control the tears. Since then, I’ve shed tears more times than I would like to admit. The reason for my tears is a mixed bag. Sometimes, I’m not really even sure why I am crying. I think a good deal of them is because:

+ I’m a little scared. Scared of the huge change that will occur once your here. I’m nervous about how the dynamic of your Dad and I’s relationship will change. Again, I know it will be  beyond words wonderful once you’re here but the unknown is still nerve wrecking.

+ I definitely feel the pressure from loved ones that are sooo excited about you. One day in particular I had a ton of people check in on me and wanted to know when you would be here. I feel so appreciative that I have such an awesome support system and a community who reaches out to us. However that day, I felt the weight of anticipation of everyone else and combined with my already out of control anxiety of not knowing when you would come, I crumbled. I turned off my phone and cried. I just couldn’t face another question or labor inducing suggestion. I already feel on edge not knowing the minute you will decide to join us and some days the introvert in me does not know how to handle community. So I always default to withdrawing. Sometimes, I just need to shut down in order to remain sane. Thankfully, this just lasted a day and I was able to bounce back the next morning and welcome my community back into my life. Little London, always welcome community. However, if it all seems too much sometimes, just like Jesus, we all need to retreat for some quiet to regain our composure so that we can go back nourished in Spirit, ready to dance with our community again.

Here are the two biggest emotions I have been dealing with:

+ I am sad to let you go. This sounds funny, I know. I was reading about how sometimes mental walls can delay labor. Our own sub conscience fears can actually send signals to our body telling us that we aren’t ready to give birth. At first, I scoffed at the idea and thought that there was nothing standing in the way of me wanting you here. But a few days passed and I found myself in deep reflection and quiet and I quickly realized that I indeed had some mental blocks and fears. I realized that I am nervous to let you go from the home you’ve built inside my womb. I have really come (and in the beginning, I never thought I would come to this place) to love being pregnant and having you inside my tummy. I have loved feeling you grow and change. I have loved being able to feel you wrestle, twist and turn. I have loved being able to know how you are positioned and always feeling you stick out that little booty of yours every day. I have loved feeling you hiccup and kick Daddy in the ear anytime he lays his head on my tummy. I have loved feeling you dance anytime I play music. I have loved that you are with me no matter where I go. I have loved seeing a little bit more of God within me. And of course I realize the better part of the deal is about to reveal itself, but I will miss this type of relationship with you. It’s so very fleeting in comparison to the time I will have with you on this side of the world. As this time slips away, I am faced with both sadness and anticipation. I have been praying a prayer of release- asking God to give me the courage and wisdom to gracefully accept the change that will inevitably happen.

+ I am so ready to hear you take your first breath. While I am sad to let you go from my womb, I am so ready to hold you and be done with the waiting game and constant anticipation and the anxiety that accompanies it. I want to feel you in my arms and see your Daddy get his turn of holding you after all this time. I want to kiss you and count your rolls and smell the top of your head. I can’t wait to breastfeed and give you the nourishment you need. I can’t wait for your family to meet you and fall in love with you. The past few days I have really come to terms with the next step of meeting you and releasing you from me. I have prayed for release a thousand times and I am so ready for you now.

No pregnancy book or experienced mom can prepare you for these feelings because no one pregnancy is the same. Sure, you hear stories but creating your own that directly affects your dynamics of life can not be taught. Others stories can be helpful and sometimes even hurtful to your own depending how you decide to hear hear it. Living in community can be difficult and it’s the farthest thing from perfect but it can be wildly beautiful too. Being pregnant pushes introverts like myself in direct contact with community whether you pursue it or not. It forces you to vulnerable with people you never intended to share some of the most vulnerable parts of your story with. For me, I definitely struggle with my new relationship to my community- it has come and continues to come with a lot of growing pains. When I want to slam the door to relationship, I find people knocking that door down and I am humbled. Sometimes, I think I could do this on my own and that it would be easier and more efficient if I just locked myself from community. I realize now though, that not only do I need community, I want it. I have come to even love it. Sure, it can be a pain in the ass sometimes but that’s just part of its wild and beautiful nature. So, my little London, you have introduced and helped me find my place in community. You have given me the courage to open the door and say “yes” instead of slamming it shut and saying “no”. I’m glad to welcome you to the community I have struggled to be vulnerable with. I am glad you are a part of my community.

So along with all these feelings, emotions and reflections I thought I would share a 40 week update:

Image

At 40 weeks I am:

+craving cold cubes of watermelon. I can not get enough of it.

+having severe sciatic back pain whenever I put weight on my left leg.

+walking a lot which funny enough seems to help with the sciatic pain.

+1 cm dilated which I was happy to hear since the past two times I wasn’t dilated at all!

+scheduled to be induced  the night of June 28th (right at 42 weeks). This is absolute latest they will allow me to be pregnant

+praying that I won’t have to make that appointment and that you come on your own.

+trying every possible natural induction technique there is- walking, spicy food, sex, acupuncture and even doing handstands in the pool! Image

+your daddy and I had a “vacation” day yesterday- he could see that I was slipping back into a funk so we went to our midwife appointment,

ate at our favorite coffee shop FidoImage

actually convinced your Daddy to get a pedicure with me (!!!!)

Image

had lunch with my family,

read at Barnes and NobleImage

and then ended by going to Aunt KK’s and cousins’ house to celebrate your Gramp’s father day with yummy dinner

A funny, short video clip of your cousins!

So my sweet baby, until you arrive I will try to remain in vulnerability with my wonderful community, continue to pray for release and rest in the love of our maker. I love you. Always. Forever.

Love,

Mom xo

Baby Showers, Sobbing, and Nesting

Dear London June,

Some time has passed since I last wrote you. My entire pregnancy has flown by, but especially the past few weeks. I am actually 37 weeks pregnant as of yesterday but I want to update on all the ongoings that have been going on.

35 weeks:

I craved BBQ turkey from Whitt’s even though I haven’t been there in like 10 years.

I went to my Midwife appointment and I was measuring right at 35 weeks. She pushed all over my tummy to locate your position and you were still head down. She took your Dad and my hands and pushed them down so we could feel your head! It was so weird. I asked if the bump I always feel above my belly button was your bottom and she confirmed that I was right. Girl, you move that booty all over. One second it will be on my right side and then the next moment it’s all the way over to the left. Workin’ it already. Last night I woke up because my belly felt so tight I thought it might explode- I rubbed my hands all over and woke your Dad to feel because there was a HUGE lump on the left of my stomach. You were sticking that little booty WAY out. Hilarious…and a little alarming. The midwife appointment before this past one, she checked your heart beat we could hear you hiccup the entire time. It was so sweet.

-You are so very active. I LOVE feeling you move and seeing it too but sometimes you are so active it wears me out! So exhausting but so worth it. The other night your Dad was making a birth play list of calm and relaxing music to play while I labor with you in the hospital. We started to play some upbeat Ray Charles and etc and you apparently loved it- I have never felt you move so much, so fast and so crazy! It’s as if you were dancing! We put my phone on top of my stomach and you moved it all over the place. Your Dad was especially amazed and said watching you move in my stomach could never get old. He still loves laying his head on my stomach (it has become VERY uncomfortable for him to do this so I ask him not to put his weight on it) and feeling you kick and move- you still kick him in the ear.

-We had three baby showers and girl, you racked up! Your Aunt Whinnie and your Mum Mum hosted the first one and it was absolutely amazing! We had an English High Tea and so many came out to shower you with things you need. I was amazed by the generosity and the amount of handmade gifts. People are so excited to meet you!

Shower #1 (British High Tea): Your Mum Mum & Aunt Whinnie threw the absolute perfect, dreamy shower.

photo-103

photo-84

photo-86photo-91

photo-90 photo-102 photo-95

photo-104

photo-85

photo-105

487395_10102132129372527_1994740305_n

Baby Shower #2 (Cute, vintage inspired shower at work)

Ms. Megan, Ruby and Ms. Brenda (Your future preschool teachers!!) photo-98

photo-96

Shower #3 (Casual, SO fun shower at my favorite place, Taco Mamacita)

These ladies are your crazy dance aunts. They are over the moon excited about you and I can’t wait for you to meet them and hear them laugh and teach you to love dance and life.

photo-100

photo-99

We feel so very thankful and blessed by so many who have showered us with so much love, support, excitement and goodies for you. It has been so refreshing to see our community uplift us during this time. It truly takes a village! I am so excited for you to meet your community in the many forms it exists.

Now that I am week 37 and full-term, you could come at any moment and that is so very exciting…and nerve-wrecking! I am so anxious for your mysterious arrival- when will decide to come? Will it be while I’m at work or at 3 in the morning? Will my water break in public or will I start labor with contractions? As a slight (ok, full-on) control freak, I’m trying my best to be patient and calm and it’s not always easy. Recently, I have really struggled with feeling overwhelmed and under prepared for your arrival. I was (and sometimes still am) having a difficult time seeing how we are going to afford the extra bills that come with a new human. I was stressed by the messiness of our house- how did it get so out of control recently? And what are we going to do with all this new stuff for you? I also really have been struggling with not so much the fear of actual labor (Hypnobirthing has truly helped with my anxiety with that) but more about the aftermath and recovery of birthing. Earlier this week all of this just crashed down on me at once and I wasn’t capable to sift through all of this emotion at once. Your sweet Daddy wanted to sit down and write out 5 year goal plan. I know he feels under pressure too and this was his way of trying to make us feel more prepared but at the moment he presented this idea, I was already on the verge of tears. Oh boy, did they roll. I wasn’t sure how to organize my current emotions and feelings at that current moment, let alone plan out 5 years of goals. I sobbed.  and sobbed. and sobbed. I sobbed because of all my fears & emotions and then I sobbed because I felt bad that I had ruined your Dad’s sweet attempt to look out for his family. I sobbed because I couldn’t stop sobbing. I sobbed for every reason in the world.  Your Dad disappeared for a bit and then returned and swooped me up to the bathroom where a candle lit bubble bath was awaiting me to the melodies of Norah Jones. He totally knows me. And then, instead of shutting the door and letting me be, he sat on the edge of the tub as I sobbed and rubbed my shoulders and splashed warm water on my back until I calmed down and the tears stopped. Never had I felt more vulnerable. Never did I feel more loved. He didn’t utter a word, he just met me in my vulnerable brokenness. He was present with me. Normally, it would have been easier perhaps for both of us if he had shut the bathroom door and let me deal with it. But because he was willing to sit in my vulnerability with me and I allowed him to love me in that way, we both connected in a much deeper way than ever before. So, my little London, you have brought us together in new ways and deepened our understanding of marriage, commitment and relationship. I have already fallen deeper in love with your Daddy as I watch him transform into a Father. The way he was excited to install your car seat, how he loves to pick out a book of your already vast library to read to you every night (already…its so sweet and you kick and move the whole time he reads), the way he talks about and dreams about you. I can’t wait to see him hold you for the very first time.

I needed that good sobbing session. I was holding onto fears that were both legitimate and silly. This past weekend we accomplished a lot. We went through each room of the house and de-cluttered every cabinet, drawer and crevice and then deep cleaned it all. It took one and a half days and totally kicked both our behinds but now we both feel so much better. You might say that I am in deep nesting mode. My anxiety level has completely lowered quite a bit by making the house welcoming and perfect for when ever you decide to come. We also deep cleaned the car, inside and out and installed your car seat and packed our hospital bags in the trunk. The birth plan is written and ready to go and there is a basket of diapers and wipes in every living space of the house. We are so stinkin’ prepared it’s almost laughable. What I am not emotionally prepared for, we are double prepared for practically. My goal for my life is to live intentionally, but sometimes I take it to the extremes and put far too much pressure on myself and others. I’m always in constant search for middle ground and some type of balance.

You are still my biggest adventure and life lesson.  

Love,

Mom xo

37 weeks

(I still have LOTS to post. Posts coming up: Your nursery, Meaning of your Name, Hypnobirthing and Birth Plan. Hopefully, I can get all of these written and posted before you arrive!)

 

Filling your Closet & Self Worth

Dear London June,

27 weeks later, I still find you to be my biggest joy- even when I’m not feeling quite cheerful all the time. I haven’t written to you since Granny Boo’s funeral because life happens so quickly. I feel like every time I find my “new normal” something else comes along and twirls me off my feet and I’m left trying to regroup and reorder. Such is life. Learn to flex when life does or you’ll end up breaking into pieces.  The flexing might be uncomfortable and it will stretch you to extremes but it’s much more difficult to move forward when your trying to gather and mend the million pieces of your shattered spirit. So move with the wind and make friends with it. Dance with it and invite others to join you. Don’t go it alone.

We recently found out that you are 2 whole weeks older than we originally thought. I think that news hit your Dad pretty hard. I’m excited to see you two weeks earlier but your Dad and I are feeling the time constraints of buying our first home tighten. …And so we go with the wind and learn to flex. We are trying to find peace in the midst of the unknown. We want to be as prepared as we can for you and make things perfect but we know that life doesn’t come in a perfect package. You, however are the greatest gift I could wish for and I’m like a little girl on Christmas Eve waiting for your arrival. Giddy while standing tippy-toed.

I’ve been avidly shopping for you on Instagram. It’s gotten out of control. Your wardrobe (you already have a full one waiting for you) is full of vintage perfection. In fact, 99% of it is vintage.

London wardrobe 1

london wardrobe 3

london wardrobe 2

It’s swoon worthy.

Instagram is a social media outlet that allows you to upload photos and share them instantly with your friends. A huge community of moms trying to make a little money sell their used and vintage thrift baby clothes finds for VERY affordable prices. Some use it to make money where most use it to afford new clothes for their children. I recently opened up my own shop called “LovedbyLondon” (inspired by you London June, obviously!) where I have been selling my vintage finds from thrift stores! My goal is to save enough money from my profit to buy a fancy dancy digital SLR camera before you arrive so I can take ridiculous (and ridiculously high quality ) amounts of photos of you.

lovedbylondon

I was surprised how well I’ve done so far. I have found it just as fun to sell as it is to buy! I love sharing unique, precious and vintage pieces that make other mamas and babies happy to wear. I plan on doing this as long as it makes sense. One day I hope to sell the clothes you out grow even though parting with it already seems unbearable. You will be one fabulously dressed little lady. When I go into big box stores, I rarely find things I like for you. It seems like dressing your baby in teenage styles is the “in” thing but I can’t bare the thought of putting you in a neon pink onesie with a garish logo slapped onto the chest. Oh lawdy. No ma’am!

Today a fellow IG Shop owner @babylegslove (Go follow her adorable shop!) is hosting an IG Shop Appreciation Day. Each shopper is encouraged to post a picture of an item they have bought from an IG and tag the shop they bought it from. What a cool way to connect, share joy and spread the love! It’s also just too fun.

IG

I love that I’ve found this little community of mothers that share my joy and love for vintage and baby wear. I have made several shopping buddies and I am really thankful for all the support and encouragement this community exudes. For all my readers out there I highly encourage you to jump this bandwagon if you are looking for a fun, affordable, quick and easy way to shop for you and your kiddos. It’s like a giant yard sale with out the early mornings and  gas money. Not only can you find something for your little one, you can also find something for you. Housewares (like vintage pyrex, afghans and decor), jewelry, shoes & makeup. And unlike shopping at that creepy old man’s yard sale next door, you know that the money you are spending is helping out a fellow mama! Now that I am selling, I can truly say that it is fun but it is also a TON of hard work and coordination. I have always been treated so well while shopping my friends’ shops and I really appreciate the time they take to answer questions, take detail photos of their product and tag me in products they think I would like. Not to mention that many take time to write sweet little notes and tuck them away in your package! You can’t get that kind of compassionate customer service anywhere else.  I love opening my mailbox and finding packages from my IG shopping friends- I’m sure my mailman is suspicious though.

So how do you get started?

Follow some of my favorite shops:

@rockitvintage @irisandfriends @mythriftedgoodies @la_luneandstars @jandmcloset  @ottoandadelaide  @baileyandmommy @lydiaslittles @shopholeinmypocket @finnleysgarden @riversthings @hazelandgray @babylegslove @babylovesclothes @punky_mac @minascloset @djshandsies @djsvintage @gocharliejo @shoplittlemouse @juliesvintagefinds @modernnest @ohhadaleelee @penelopesthings @lydielove @scarlettandkhloe @kimballscloset @0nelittlehanger (spelt with a zero) @aboyandgirlshop @thriftyjune @wornbyus @kingsklothz @emptyingemm@chels_littleones @shoplittleacorn @robinsonthread @kingandnavy @moxie_mina_shop 

All of my items posted in the above photos were bought from shops like these! All you need to do is set up a Paypal account if you do not have one already. Then start shopping! Most shops have a policy that is pretty standard: Claim your item by leaving you Paypal address. Pay for your item(s) within 24 hours. No refunds/returns. Some shops include shipping into their prices but others, like myself price items as sold and are determined by the buyers zip code/weight of items.  Before claiming an item, make sure you read the shop’s policy because they can vary.

Before you know it, you will have made friends, shopping buddies and scored some priceless treasures. I already know I want to save a lot of my IG finds for London’s memory box/future little girls.

Now, back to you my sweet little girl.
Not only has my spirit been flexed and stretched but so has my body. I feel like a giant elephant on a hot summer African day. In other words, mama aint feelin too sexy these days.
I know I’m supposed to embrace this new “shape” I’m taking (expanding) on but I avoid full length mirrors (especially right out of the shower) like the plague. I have literally doubled in two weeks and this is by far the most extreme change I’ve endured so far. (and it definitely shows in my facial expressions- LOL.) (Also, the second photo was taken after my beloved hair dryer died during mid blow and my hair was outta control. wah wah)
photo-46
photo-48
I’m not wanting sympathy; I just want to shine light on the fact that watching your body grow uncontrollably at race car speeds is tough. It’s really tough. And it’s okay to acknowledge that. Yes, I know my belly resembles Santa Clause’s tummy after a full world’s helping of Christmas Eve because I am growing a spectacular little human being but I’m just trying to learn how to love the stranger I see in the mirror. London June, if you are anything like me and every other woman in the world, you will struggle with your self-worth, identity and image. Please know that it is normal and okay to face that struggle. But please also know not to allow that struggle to lie to you and tell you that you are nothing less than important. People can be really mean..really really mean (especially girls, and even women). Surround yourself with people that exude love and encouragement. Let their words be the ones that you take to heart and spirit. And if you ever have a single doubt that you are beautiful run to me so that I can gush over you and confirm your beauty. Even, especially when you are going through those awkward teenager years. I will probably be thrifting amazing clothes for you then and hopefully encouraging you to create your very own style but just know that all the amazing (and beautiful vintage) clothes your closet holds can never hold a light to your inner beauty (I know, cheeeeeeesy but oh so true). I hope I can model that your wardrobe is just the (fabulous) outer shell of the even more fabulous inner spirit of you.  So, as I struggle to embrace the sexy pregnant goddess within, I encourage you to embrace whatever stage you find yourself in when you read this. You might miserably fail and end up stripping down naked and crying in an empty bath tub after trying on 6 different outfits that made you feel more elephant than the last one. But then you can call me and I will tell you to get your naked ass up and get dressed and do what you have to do. Move on, learn to flex and bend and dance with the wind. And if you do end up snapping and your spirit breaks into a million pieces, I will be there to help mend them back together. One by one.
Love you so much already, London June. You are still my biggest adventure.
-Mom.

Dear London June,

That’s correct. You are a London June. A sweet little girl. The fulfillment of my wildest dreams. Everyone seemed to know you were a girl too, especially Daddy. He knew from the very beginning. I have a feeling you will be a daddy’s girl. Ever since I was a little girl and I would play pretend, my babies were always girls. I’ve only ever imagined myself with a little girl and when I got pregnant I tried my best to be unbiased and open my heart to receiving a little boy. By the time it was time to find out what you were, I had convinced myself that you were a boy.

We chose not to find out your sex while having the ultrasound. We wanted to wait so we could share the moment with just the two of us and record our reactions on video. While the ultrasound tech was examining me, she said “..and there’s his little nose…” and I instantly accepted the fact that you were a Finley Monroe and not a London June. I asked your Daddy as we were leaving if he caught her slip up and he did indeed.

But to my great surprise, you were a girl! Joy of joys!!

Seeing you on the ultrasound was holy and wonderful. I felt like I’ve never studied or focused on something more in my life. I was absolutely captivated, blown away and giddy. She told us where everything was located and I could hardly believe it all. She would point out your kidneys and liver and heart which we saw beating at 155 bpm! We even saw your blood flow from the umbilical cord to your heart and it was amazing.

ultrasound

While she was trying to capture and measure all the necessary pictures you were busily flipping, rolling and kicking up a storm! She even felt a huge kick to the doppler. I think it must have been the cold O.J. I drank before because I really felt you a lot!

nails oj

You kept your hands by your sweet little face the entire time- I wonder if you will do that once you are out here with us. You also open and closed your little mouth back and forth the entire time and it took my breath away! We truly got to view a miracle in the making and I wish I could watch you forever in there. You are perfection defined.

After we celebrated the fact that you were a girl, we had a party to throw in your honor! But first, we had to buy your first outfit. Your Dad and I fell in love with a beautiful dusty pink dress decorated with white tree and bunny silhouettes from the Beatrix Potter line at GAP. Your Daddy is especially proud of it and shows a picture of it to all his friends. He’s so smitten over you.

1st dress

We came home, finished decorating and filled black balloons with pink confetti inside.

bunting

finley or london

boy or girl

joy to the world

wall

Once guests arrived, they voted on whether you were a boy or a girl. There was lots more girl votes!

boy girl

We gave everyone a balloon and a pin and counted to 3. On 3, everyone popped their balloon and pink confetti flew all over our tiny living room. Shrills and screams of excitement filled the room and everyone celebrated London June. Hugs and kisses were exchanged and joy abounded. It was a blessed evening. Your Mum Mum (my Mom) and your Aunt Winnie (my sister) had presents a ready. There was a boy gift and a girl gift. The girl gift was filled with lace, your first tu-tu, frills and pink. The boy gift was filled with beautiful books which weren’t boyish. They both knew you were London at heart. They are already spoiling you like crazy=

gifts

We recorded it all on video and then posted it on Facebook late that night. Everyone was so thrilled to know you by name and shared so much love and excitement. You have a wonderful community already that cherishes and celebrates you. I hope you learn to cherish the importance of community.

Your Aunt Winnie and I went on a thrifting exploration for you. I think she is my thrifiting good luck charm because she found most of the amazing vintage pieces we bought. They are so London June and so classy and precious. I hate most of the modern baby clothes you find in the stores. Its mostly loud, bright and far too old for itty bitty precious babes like you. Vintage baby clothes are so delicate, soft and unique. I love finding hand embroidered  little animals. Every little girl should be just that, a little girl. No zebra, silly sayings or neon colors for you little baby.

thrift haul

I have been busy Instagramming and discovered Instagram shops. Mamas from all over the country sell their baby’s used clothing often in excellent condition for very little money. I have been on a rampage that was uncontrollable and they steadily are arriving in the mailbox every day. I had to ban myself from anymore near future purchases because it was out of control girlfriend. You will be the best vintage inspired dressed baby in town and I can hardly stand it! When you start outgrowing your outfits I plan on opening up my own Instagram shop and selling some of your things. (readers can add the shop now @ lovedbylondon and keep track with recent purchases and baby growing updates or follow my personal account @ sydneyarden)

Oh, baby London- how I adore you and your kicks and the joy you already spill into our lives. You’ve given us life molding memories that I can’t wait to share with you while I tuck you into bed. You are just spectacular.

Love you sweet GIRL!

Love,

One over-joyed Mama

its a girl

And one smitten Daddy

love daddy

On Climbing the Mountain Top and Falling Back Down (16 Weeks)

Dear blueberry, 

After the dental horror, I had a few days of pure pregnancy bliss. No morning sickness, no pain and to top it all we had a glimpse of Spring weather. I wore a blouse that was comfortable and flattering and I felt good for the first time in a while. 

Image

I felt so good that when my dance family invited me for dinner and a cozy night in, I said “HECK YES!”. Oh, it was so good for my soul and I hope you heard our laughter and their voices. I hope you get to know and love these ladies as I do. We talked about the nature of God and questioned the real stuff of life and in the same wind we laughed about vaginas and all things inappropriate. We cursed ex-boyfriends and cried over heart break together. We rejoiced healing and restoration of health. We ate a ridiculous amount of steamed broccoli and linguini. We loved on each other and tried to soak in our togetherness. May you find a community that makes your soul dance just as these ladies have mine. I hope you get to know them as your Dance Aunts; they are so excited and curious about you! 

These past days have been mountain top experiences- some of the best I’ve felt since you came down from the heavens. I relished in them and praised God. 

The past two days, however, have been rough and I felt as if I had fallen into the valley again. I got really sick again which really felt frustrating. I thought my “morning” sickness was back and I wasn’t ready to welcome it again. 

This morning your Dad and I went to my 2nd pre-natal visit for our 16 week appointment. We got to hear your heart beat again and she said you sounded great! Going in, I was so worried that she was going to tell me that I had gained too much weight too fast. I have felt so insecure about my growing bump. When I asked her how much I gained, she told me that I had actually lost one pound since my first pre-natal visit. I was completely shocked- I still am! It’s hard to believe because it really does look as if I have gained at least 5 pounds! She said that was because you have moved higher and closer to the front of my tummy and that my uterus is the size of a melon! Crazytown. She said that losing wasn’t all that bad and probably due to me being so sick. She said that we just needed to try to focus on gaining a pound a week for a while. Hopefully, I can keep some food down so that you are getting all the nutrients you need. I have been putting down some kale smoothies and lots of veggies and fruit. I’m not backing down, either! We also scheduled our first ultrasound for 19 weeks (just 3 weeks away!) to determine your gender. Miss London June or Mr. Finley Monroe? We will know and celebrate who you are with family and close friends by hosting a gender reveal party. Because, everyone knows this mama likes to host a good party! You are worth celebrating. 

I am so blessed by you whether I’m standing mountain top in this journey or deep in the valley, because with you, I’m never alone. You reside right inside of me, reminding me of how important this new calling to be a mother is. Residing in both of us, is the the Spirit that whispers “You are enough” which gives my heart rest and deep comfort. Every time I hear your heart beat or feel your flutter, my heart soars to new places and gives me hope for new life. I value both my times on the mountain and in the valley because it’s shaping me into the mother you need. I’m very aware that I’m creating with God and it’s at times intimidating. Most of all, it is glorious and dance-worthy.  

Image

You are truly my biggest adventure. 

Love, Mom