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 

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

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

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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

Shining Light on Honesty & Doubt

Dear baby,
Today I come with honesty and struggle. I woke up at 4am with a stunning migraine and didn’t go back to sleep until 8 and then slept for another hour. The migraine persisted through out the day so I laid in the bedroom, curtains drawn, covered in blankets. I thought about crying but knew that would aggravate my head even more. So, I laid there for hours alone with nothing but my migraine, my thoughts and you.

Fear crept in.

For the first time in my pregnancy I had a moment of thinking “What am I doing, what have I gotten myself into, am I really ready for this, for you?” Even though I’ve yearned for you for some time, I never expected to get pregnant so soon. After we told everyone, a common response was “You’ve only been married a year?! Wow!” I have suppressed that sting of judgement but it all surfaced today when I rested in silence. The reason that response stings is because it lifts the veil and shine lights on my own self doubt.

Is this too soon? Are we ready? Have we had enough time as a married couple before we bring you into our lives?

I can try to justify and defend myself when people respond with that scary reminder that your dad and I have built a very strong relationship for six years in the making. But the fact of the matter is that there will always be someone judging someone for whatever reason. What I have to focus on is not the responses and judgment of others but of my own self judgment and self worth. I need to remind myself that God is in the midst of my fear and struggle- both physically and mentally and that this is now a part of my story. Struggles, fear and the joy of it all. The Glory.

I could write letters to you that only shared the positive and exciting things but I would be robbing you from the fact that life needs suffering and joy. Labor will truly be an example- my suffering will bring joy (you) into the world. When Jesus gave his entire life and ministry to the ones suffering around him, he labored tirelessly. In doing so, he brought life and joy into the world. People ridiculed judged and eventually murdered him. It was there on the cross, that he faced doubt- “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It was there on the cross, where he gave us permission to question and hold our suffering and doubt to the light. No longer, do we have to pretend that everything is okay and going well. We had been freed to be honest with our hearts.

My dear baby, I hope you learn this sooner than I did. I hope you know it is okay to question your faith and your thoughts. I hope you know that I will love you no matter what you believe or how you believe it.

I hope you truly know and feel loved. Always. I pray your Dad and I do a good job making sure you do.

So, even in my struggle and doubt please know that I want and love you through it all. I have days where I feel so prepared to be your Mom and then I have days like today where I swim in doubt. And yet, you are a part of me now and a part of our story.

Love you always,
Mom