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

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

On Letting Go: When Joy & Sorrow Meet

Dear sweet girl,
    This week is proving to be an ongoing lesson that I’m learning to navigate as I go. This week I am learning how to let go.
Letting go of a soul who loved, breathed, created, laughed, danced, sang, painted, advocated, shared, cooked, traveled.
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This week death swept over us and in doing so we have had to learn how to grieve and find our new normal. I am still unsure how to grieve and mourn. This is my first close family death. Up until now, I’ve been protected in a bubble from this type of pain. I’m trying to grieve healthily because I’m all too aware of how I tend to suppress negative emotions to protect myself. When I didn’t cry immediately hearing the news, I was worried I was going down the wrong path. Your Dad told me the news and I didn’t respond at all. It wasn’t until we were on our way to my Mom’s house and we stopped for gas that she swept over me. Your dad got out to pump gas and when it was then, when I was left by myself for a few quiet moments that the pain of her loss swept over. I had to let go and cry. In a way, I was relieved because I knew that I wasn’t going down my normal path of suppressing my pain but revealing and accepting it. I allowed the hurt to soak in and I allowed myself to miss her.
I called her Granny Boo.
Oh, how I miss her. I hurt because I know that her perfume won’t linger in our house days after she would leave like it used to. I hurt because I won’t be able to sassily banter back and forth with her anymore or hear her opinions or her laughter. I will miss her little canister of lip balm that she always carried with her and applied it to any type of ailment. I will miss her sass, the kind that everyone claims I got a full dose of. I will miss her cooking and her creativity. I will miss how she always put on gloves to pump her diesel in her oversized truck. Most of all, I will miss that she won’t meet or hold you in this life time.
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The last time I saw her was about a week ago and in a way she did meet you. I showed her your ultrasound picture and she shook her head like she just couldn’t believe it. She reached out to my tummy, to you, and rubbed it…I kept finding her doing that the entire time I stood by her hospital bed. Although she didn’t speak at the end of her life, she acknowledged you and I knew she understood. I knew she was frustrated that she couldn’t share in the excitement. I know she can share fully in her excitement now that she is free from the hospitals, medicines and surgeries.

She is free from it all and I’m glad because none of that suited who she was.

I share all of this with you because one day death will sweep over you and you will have to learn how to mourn and grieve in your own way. It might not look like how I grieve or the way the person next to you grieves. Please recognize though, that tears are good and holy healing filled droplets. Welcome them. Allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to feel the pain that comes with loss. Don’t allow yourself to stay in the pain though for joy comes in the morning. I learned all of this later than I should have and I’m still learning how to peel back the layers I have created over the years. Pain and joy are necessary in this life and when we learn to cultivate and intermingle them together, we truly live. We see the face of God a bit clearer. A bit closer.
I love you London June and I know Granny Boo does too.
Loving you through the pain & the joy,
Mom

20 Weeks with you, London June

Dear London June,

This past week we have celebrated 20 weeks with you which included seeing you for the very first time, finding out that you are a sweet little girl and buying you sweet vintage dresses. I’m 21 weeks today but wanted to recap this milestone.

20 weeks

 

How far along?  20 weeks, 1 day
Total weight gain/loss? 4 pounds gained
Maternity clothes?  A few pieces but still rocking a lot of my dresses with leggings and maxi skirts!
Stretch marks? A tiny few that I got in the beginning but no more since- yay!
Sleep? What’s that? Getting up 2-3 times a night to pee and then tossing and turning for the rest of it- also having horrible nightmares EVERY night.
Best moment last week? Seeing you for the 1st time, finding out that you are a London June and sharing it with our friends!
Movement?  Yes, everyday! Usually about 30 minutes after I eat. I love every kick and sometimes it takes my breath away! Daddy is still jealous he can’t feel them yet.
Food cravings? Sweet things which is so abnormal for me since I’ve always been a salty person!
Gender? GIRL!
Labor signs? Oh lordy, no.
Belly button in/out? In.
What I miss: Sleep, my clarity of thought, my brain (better get used to all of it)
What I am looking forward to: Holding you for the 1st time, seeing you move from the outside, daddy being able to feel you kick
Milestones: Half way there baby!!!

My evening ritual is soaking in a hot bath to relieve some of the aches and pain and decompress from the stress I’ve been feeling. This past week is the first time I’ve really felt pregnant. My belly is stretching and aching and round ligament pain is a daily occurrence (OMG!).  Your Daddy is a hero though, and massages my sore feet before I go to bed. Heaven sent.

I’ve entered an odd stage of life where joy and pain collide and I often find myself clueless on how to merge the two. It is a confusing journey that is riddled with guilt and submerged in grey. You are our joy- it abounds and runneth over. The pain involves relationship turmoil and illness of a loved one. Then add in major life decisions (job and upcoming house purchase and relocation), pregnancy hormones  and lack of sleep and this mama is on the breaking point. Whenever I feel the joy abounding, the guilt quickly sets in and asks “have you forgotten the pain?” I know this is preparing my heart for a lifetime of weaving the joy and pain together but knowing that truth doesn’t make it easier. I know this isn’t the first time joy and pain have collided in my life but never has it been so tangibly apparent. You will find yourself in this place one day, sweet girl, and I hope you rely on the love that surrounds you. I hope the pain isn’t so lethal that it steals your joy away. Nothing and no once could steal the joy we have because of you.

As I trudge through the joy and pain and try to make sense of it all, I love you through it all. The changes my body is going through mirror my soul search. Your growth and health cause my body pain and make my bones ache but it is that pain that is bringing me close to my joy, my baby. You are my biggest life lesson, you are God revealed, you are my revelation.

Love you London June.

Mom

Week 18.

Dear Blueberry,

My immune system died. So puny.

BUT I just don’t care.

I’ve come to accept it and I’ve become a pro at nursing my illnesses.

I took 4 whole days off of work because of my viral infection and stayed in bed the entire time.

I don’t know the last time I’ve ever done that.

[Major strugglefest]

But I’m on the mend.

During my bed ridden times I researched all natural remedies and I think I’m becoming more and more hippyish by the second.

I’m learning a lot about the dangers of modern medicine and how we have a lot of healthy, natural medicines at our finger tips.

So, Im drinking Elderberry syrup like it’s going out of style to help build my immune system and curb the chance of another bug/viral infection.

DETERMINED.

On Saturday, I drug myself out of bed to attend a mandatory training class for a world church conference I am a voting delegate for. I was miserable and there was no way of hiding it. During the midst of training a very dear church family member (he married your Dad & I) came up to me and whispered something in my ear. He said he could see I was feeling awful and wanted to remind me that if I wanted to be anointed with oil and prayed for I could. This is one of our church’s sacraments and it’s something a lot of churches don’t do and I’m so glad our church upholds this holy act found in scripture. I have only ever been anointed once when I was in third grade and struggling with major health issues. I was passing out a lot in the middle of class and went through a lot of different specialists and tests to basically come back with no answers. When I look back, I think I had anxiety attacks mixed with a vitamin overdose. I took a bottle of Flinstone vitamins and ate all of them and didn’t tell anyone until years later after I saw a documentary about how a kid had done the same and suffered the same type of symptoms I did. (In my defense they tasted like candy and were shaped like Flinstone characters- yum!) ANYWAYS, I remember there being something very special about being anointed with oil and prayed for. That’s all I really remember…and the fact that I wasn’t fond of how the oil made my hair look. This time, I realized how special and holy it was to me. I don’t think it is a magical wave of a wand that is meant to make me all better. Instead, it reminded me of the deep love and care my Maker has for little ole me. It reminded me that in our weakest moments, God forces us to ask for help from others. It reminded me how good community is. It reminded me that to see God, I had to become my most vulnerable. Did that prayer heal me of my illnesses? No. It did something much bigger. It soaked my soul in holiness, hope, community, dependence, humility and restoration.

And, in a way it did make me feel “better”. I’m now strong enough to move on, even in my physical state, to love others deeper, wider and stronger. It forced me to get over it and look at a much wider perspective.

and then there’s you. you have given me the greatest joy this week. the type of joy all the moms that have gone before me have told me as I was head over toilet, throwing up and asking “what have i gotten myself into?!” “but it’s so worth it” they would smugly say. “you’ll forget about all of this when the baby is here” i would weakly nod my head and subconsciously roll my eyes because those words only tease me in the here and now of the struggle. but you, blueberry show me a glimpse that speaks much louder than their good hearted comforts. you have been busily dancing away in my tummy- wild enough that i can feel you through out the day. in odd places where i just cant wrap my mind around what’s going on inside of me while i order coffee or get a root canal. its a bizarre and wonderful sensation. like a special secret that i only know about. the kind you really want to loudly proclaim but can’t because your best friend swore you to secrecy. you twirl and twist and oddly im much more at home with the feeling than i previously thought i would be. you surprise me daily. you’re moving as i type this, connecting me to my thoughts and screen scribbles in a new way. your dad is overly jealous and anxious to feel you more than ever. so impatient, that dad of yours. bless him. as he was trying to find your heartbeat on the doppler, you surprised the both of us with your 1st big kick. with a loud “POP!” to the doppler, your dad’s eyes almost popped out of his head. he spent the better part of the night trying to recreate the moment, pressing on my belly, trying desperately to entice you to strike back. you played hard to get and he sulked back to his side of the bed, defeated. already working him. totally whipped. warms my heart so much. 

18 weeks

we then proceeded to watch unreasonable amounts of YouTube videos of babies moving around inside mama bellies. we were equally traumatized and in awe by the experience.

The music is so dramatic.

 

Love you.

Mom

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. 

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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.  

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You are truly my biggest adventure. 

Love, Mom 

The Glory.

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Dear baby,

I have felt your pull long before you we’re actually here in my tummy. I tried ignoring it the best I could but the Pinterest boards full of baby, possible names scribbled on scrap pieces of paper and napkins, the joy I felt when I held a baby or the way I would stare a pregnant woman down were all obvious signs how much I longed for you. The times when a pregnancy scare brought me to tears when they turned negative and the false positive that brought me too my knees. All signs of you tugging gently at my seams, nudging me. When the false positive occurred during a already emotionally turbulent time in our marriage, we decided to wait a “few years” to bring you down from the heavens. I never was 100% convinced of it, but it gave me a way to move past the sadness that you weren’t and helped me focus forward.

Heaven has a way though, of lifting the veil and surprising you out of no where. It’s like a smack in the face with a handful of glory. Glory is a word that isn’t all sunshine and rainbows though. It’s more like radiant joy and striking fear immersed and soaked all together. That’s how I felt the moment I found out you were real. Radiant joy because no longer were you just a tug, but I could sense the warmth of your presence. Striking fear because now that I have you, there’s the chance I could loose you too. And if it was anything like how I felt when I found out that the false positive was indeed false, I was unsure how I could move forward from that.

I still struggle with the glory of you.

I pray the glory allows me to let go a bit of the striking fear and bathe in the radiant joy a bit more as I progress.

I feel so vulnerable right now and not at all confident. Partly, because I’m struggling with the way my body is changing and partly because of all the information I receive (voluntary and involuntary). It overwhelms me at times and causes me high anxiety. I know this sounds funny but sometimes I feel like pregnancy is almost like choosing and following a religion. There are so many methods and opinions and styles and beliefs and theology. So right now, I’m the seeker researching all the different “religions” and trying to figure out which one fits just right.

It’s so me to get caught up seeking, researching, questioning that I over stress myself without need. It’s the natural theologian coming out of me. I do this with my faith and I’m doing this with parenting. I just need to breathe and I have to remind myself to once in awhile find peace in my Makers arms. We both can rest there.

So, my darling, may we find rest in our Maker together; now, when your home is my belly and later when you are breathing this world’s air.

I loved you when you were just tugging at the seams, I love you now as you grow inside my womb and I’ll love you till forever more.

Love,
Mom

Struggle

Today I struggle with the world I am bringing you into. I wept for far too long today after watching some very tragic news. My heart is breaking for innocence swept away and lives lost. You are safe inside of me now. Secure. Warm. There will be one day though, that you will be breathing in this world’s air. You will be vulnerable and I won’t be able to protect you at all times and that makes me sick to my stomach. I’m nervous to unleash you into this place. You will always find security though, in my arms and in the arms of your Maker.

May God always envelop you with enduring love & peace especially when you are frightened and unsure. When my love is not enough, may God’s be. May you seek it and know it well within your soul. 

Loving and wrapping my arms around you more than ever today, 

Mom.