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:

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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 (!!!!)

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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

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False Labor & Cheeks for Days

Dear London June, 

This week has been a whirlwind of emotions.

Monday morning I woke up at 3am very nauseous and feeling really weird. I threw up and threw up and shortly after had some intense pressure waves (contractions). I also had some extreme lightning bolt type pain through my pelvis, lots of pressure and excruciating back pain. I was sure this was the onset of my ‘birthing time’ (labor). I called the midwife and she told me all the signs pointed toward GO but I needed to time my pressure waves, take a warm bath, drink water and see if I still progressed. After I got out of the bath I noticed the pressure waves dwindling and finally laid down and before I knew it I had fallen asleep from exhaustion. I woke up and the pressure waves had completely gone and I felt defeated, sad and unsure. I had given so much of my focus and hard work during the false labor and had gotten so excited that I would finally be meeting you. I called into work to let them know that there was no way I could come in after all of that and your Dad called in too so he could stay with me.

We took another early morning nap and when I woke up I felt the strong urge to walk. I don’t know where I got that burst of energy but that’s all I wanted to do. So we went to the local park and power walked about 2 miles in the hot sun. We came home, ate lunch and then got ready for my Midwife appointment that had already been scheduled. I was so hopeful that after all that hard work that I must be a little bit dilated. She checked me and nope, not dilated at all. I almost wept. So silly, I realize but I was sure I would just be a tad dilated. I was a little bit effaced though and that made me feel better. She checked to see if she was head down and was nearly sure she was but not 100% certain. I voiced my concern that it had felt like you had flipped or moved into a higher position because since 32 weeks you dropped really low but the past few days you have seemed to be up so very high. So she suggested an ordered ultrasound just to check and make sure you were not breach. Just her saying that made my stomach turn and I instantly agreed just so that I could have the peace of mind. So this morning your Daddy and I went for the ultrasound and she checked all your organs and measured your bones and checked your position. Sure enough, you were head down and I sighed a huge breath of relief.

When we went in for your 4D ultrasound at 30 weeks we discovered that the umbilical cord was lassoed around your neck. This was unnerving to see and I asked the Midwives if there was anything we could do. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done while in utero but she assured me that this is quite common and most of the time they simply just unwrap the cord as they are delivered. I didn’t let this stress me out but it has lingered in my mind since and I have prayed that you would remain safe and healthy. So today, as she was conducting the ultrasound I asked if there was any way she could check to see if the cord was still wrapped around your neck and she surprised us by agreeing that she could and she switched to the 4D ultrasound. Thankfully, she said the umbilical cord was no longer wrapped around your neck but floating in front of your face. Once again, I breathed a huge sigh of relief!Image

I was even more surprised that she got a terrific angle of your sweet squished face! I really had no idea we would be able to see you because you were head down and facing my back. 

Let me tell you, I have never been so tickled in all my life! It was such a pleasant surprise and treat especially after my disappointment from earlier this week. We oohed and awed and giggled over your AMAZING, to die for chubby cheeks. There is NOTHING better than chubby baby cheeks and I was really hoping that you would inherit them from your Daddy and I. 

Here you are at 39 weeks and 4 days- just 3 days away from your due date! 

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The ultrasound tech also let us know that you have a head full of hair so we better get our bows ready. I failed to tell her that I already have a variety packed in your hospital bag ready to go. My Dad thought the black shadow around your head was your hair and I laughed and let him know that was just where the picture cut off because the rest of your head was too far into my pelvis to capture. If that was your hair I would laugh hysterically because it looks like an Elvis wig! Mom was concerned about the photo of you sucking your thumb because she though your eye looked like a frog eye and again we laughed. That is just the distortion of the ultrasound from where you were moving while they took the photo. I absolutely love that you were sucking your thumb and you really remind me of my sister, your Aunt Whinnie. Everyone is so smitten over how beautiful and cute you are…get ready for lots of cheek pinchers coming your way! I can not even express how smitten I am. Seeing your sweet, chubby face was exactly what I needed to get through this week and gives me something to focus on as I try to patiently await your arrival. 

As I was getting my hair trimmed today, Amanda my hair dresser & friend brought up a great point. She reminded me that Monday night, although disappointing, might just be God’s way of giving my body and mind a final dress rehearsal. That totally clicked and made sense to me and even though I am a bit disappointed you aren’t here to cuddle with, I am blessed that I got a chance to prepare myself for what’s to come. And when I look back on it, I am pretty proud at how I did and how calm and relaxed I remained. It gives me hope that I can really do Hypnobirthing and have a safe, quick and easy birthing. 

So my little chubby cheeked cherub, I will cherish the very few moments, movements & hiccups I feel inside of me because I know I will miss them and feel empty without you in there. I will feel good that you will never be more safe and cared for than you are now in my womb. I will take joy in the anticipation of awaiting your arrival and gawk at your chubby cheeks a thousand more times before I get to see, kiss and squeeze them on this side of the world. 

Love you always, 

Your very excited Mama xo 

Your Name

Dear London June,

Today I am 38 weeks pregnant with you and never have I been more excited and less patient. Every jab of pain, discomfort or Braxton Hicks contraction makes me wonder if the onset of labor is here. Even though, I am very uncomfortable these days, I am still not at the point that I have heard other mothers recall where all they want to do is “get it out!!!”. Maybe that phase is on the horizon but more than anything I am just so anxious and curious about when you will come and how. Your arrival could begin before I start typing the next paragraph or it could be next week. Your Daddy is so ready- he is willing you into existence every day. Last night he suggested we do the typical suggested natural induction techniques (spicy food, walking etc.) but I told him to just be patient. He is just so excited to meet you and he still reads to you nearly every night. So very sweet.

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Well I’ve moved onto the next paragraph and you still haven’t started labor which is good because I would like to get in a couple more blog posts before you arrive. Today, I wanted to take time to explain why we chose your name.

London June.

I have loved the name London far longer than you were thought of. I love it because it connects you to my heritage. My grandparents and Mom’s side of the family are from England. I lived there for 3 years and feel deeply connected to that culture. My Mom (your Mum Mum) is both an American and British citizen. I can’t wait for you to meet my Grandparents- they are some of the most interesting people I know and you will surely be intrigued by their accents that now have a bit of Tennessean peppering some of their words. I also liked the name because it links you to a place just like my name links me to a place. I was named after my Great Grandfather (my Mom’s Grandfather) who lived in England until he moved over to the states- he was named Sydney because his brother moved to Sydney, Australia.

When we tell people your middle name they instantly assume we chose “June” because that’s the month you are due. However, we chose this name a very long time ago, again before you were thought of. It’s just a beautiful coincidence and stroke of grace that you will also be born in June. Your middle name is honoring Lucas’ Grandmother, Verla June and I think she is quite smitten about it. She has been busy the past month or so creating you a beautiful quilt, just as she did for our wedding. It will be something you will treasure and cherish forever.

I can’t wait to hold you, London June and see all the little ways that make you who you are and who you will be. I can’t wait to see my biggest dream brought to flesh.

I have a feeling you will be arriving sooner than later and I don’t think that’s my wishful thinking talking. My body is definitely trying to tell me that you will be here soon and preparing for labor. My spirit has followed suit and I find myself nesting like crazy and trying to prepare for you in every way.

In the mean time, I have been listening and practicing my Hypnobirthing techniques and deep relaxation methods. Your Dad has learned how to help prompt and guide me through it and is so good at motivating me to practice. We have a full moon coming up and it is said that lots of women go into labor on a full moon. June 8th (next Saturday) the moon will be in full swing and who knows you might be too which I would love because 8 has always been my favorite number, silly I know.

I hope to do my next post about Hypnobirthing and perhaps you will wait until I can do that. But, if not, I guess I will have to post about my biggest adventure and proudest joy. I think I might just be able to manage that 😉

Love you so,

Mom xo

 EDIT: I went to the midwife today and she checked me…not dilated at all! She said she would be surprised if you came next week. So, it looks like I have a week or two to enjoy you in my tummy- just the two of us. Soon, I will have to share you with the rest of the world and although that excites me, I will miss feeling you move inside me and having you with me wherever I go.