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

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 

5 Things you should never say to a Pregnant Lady

This post is sassy and I do not apologize for that.

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I never thought it would be necessary to compile a list of things you shouldn’t say to someone creating life but over the last 8 months it has come to my attention that a large part of the population lacks tact, sensitivity or awareness when it comes to the subject of pregnant bodies. Apparently, any lessons taught about how you are to speak about others physical appearance do not apply once a lady is impregnated. I did not know about this secret- I just assumed it was as off topic as it was to let someone know their face looked really broken out that day or to tell Ms. Mary at church that she looked like she was packing a on a few more doughnuts in her thigh region. But I was wrong. So very wrong. No one gave me the memo until I found myself wearing maternity jeans. When a woman is around 8 months pregnant her appearance and weight is open topic to converse about in public sometimes with exclamation loud enough for everyone to hear. This is usually accompanied by wild hand gestures, tummy poking or rubbing.Image

So because so many think this is what makes pregnant mamas gleam with pride and confidence let me share the 5 things you should never say to a pregnant lady. 

1. “Holy cow! How many are you carrying in there? Are you sure it’s not twins?”
– No I’m not sure, for all I know its a litter of kittens in there or maybe its a litter of baby hippos because apparently I look like a mama hippo to you. Thanks for the pep talk though! Now I feel truly slim, trim and dynamic.
2. “There’s no way you are going to make it to your due date!”
– Oh no! Have I not been notified that your my Dr. or Midwife? You mean that I have been accidentally seeing an unqualified ding bat this entire time? Well, they sure had me convinced with all their medical degrees! Should I drop my panties now and have you examine my cervix?
3. “You need to put a bucket under your legs! or Be careful, that baby is about to fall out in the floor!”
– A bucket? Is that how they deliver babies these days? Do I really look as if I am in active labor? Are you trying to say I look far too big to be walking around in public? Actually, I have at least 5 more weeks until my baby arrives and if she was to drop on the floor right now she would be premature. Thanks for your innovative delivery idea though, dumbass. Stay classy!
4. (For my smaller baby bump friends) “There’s no way you are that far along- you’re barely even showing!”
– Thanks for making me feel insecure about the development of my baby. Is my baby okay? Should I be worried? If I wasn’t already worried enough, I am now!
5. “You are HUGE!!!”
-Sigh. Punch to the throat!
Unfortunately, I’ve heard all these comments and more (even #4 in the earlier months) for what seems like several hundred times. I don’t know what it is to make people think that saying things like this is normal or even okay to say to anyone but especially to women who are already stretching their physical, mental and emotional capacities to the edge.
Guess what?
 We are far more aware about how our bodies have dramatically changed in just a few months than you. In fact, we sometimes find it difficult to even face the mirror some mornings, especially whilst trying to bend over and apply stretch mark lotion to our expanding bellies. Some mornings we try on so many outfits that we end up crying atop the pile of discarded clothes. Most days we struggle with the fact that our bodies will forever be changed and wonder if we will ever get back to the size we once were. We wonder if our husbands and partners still find us attractive and if our stretch marks might send them into the arms of another. We fear that we aren’t doing it right- not eating the right things, not exercising enough, not reading enough parenting books, not resisting that cookie at the potluck. We are inundated with massive amounts of information, health advice, parenting advice, social and cultural expectations, breastfeeding tips, relational changes, job changes, maternity leave, insecurity, emotional stress, lack of sleep, nausea, weight gain and loss, swelling, medical tests, complications with mom and or baby, fear, delivery options, pain management plans, choosing pediatricians, preparing a nursery, budgeting, wondering how are we going to pay the bills, questions- countless questions, childcare, carseats, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, judgement and the list goes on and on.
So before you make a careless comment (even if your intentions are golden and pure) stop and think before you comment about her size and appearance. She is already overwhelmed with not just the physical changes she is going through but with the “big life” stuff too. Ask yourself first if the thing you are about to say will uplift and praise her or only confirm her insecurity and lack of confidence. Remember that you are just one out of 20-30 people she will interact with that day who might (most likely) also comment on her appearance and that you might be the one who her southern sweetness decides to evade her for the moment while she ends up kicking your ass.
Your best bet? Tell her she has never looked more beautiful because she has never needed to hear that more than she does right now. Allow her to actually be proud of the amazing dwelling space her body has accommodated for the new life she is creating. Celebrate the way her body miraculously transforms to create life.
Relentlessly sassy and real,
-the pregnant lady
What are some of the crazy things said to you when you were pregnant?