My Word for 2016

In 2015, I focused on savor.  2014 was about the word grow.  2013 was a year to celebrate.  This year I’ve chosen the most challenging word yet.  I’m taking grow a step further and focusing on the word deeper.  To be honest, it makes me a little nervous.  I still feel some resistance to this word, but that’s how I know it’s the right one.  For my purposes here, deeper means trying harder, digging below the surface, being more intentional with my time and, really, whatever else God reveals to me this year.

Since it is already late March (ahem), I can talk about what deeper has looked like so far this year.  Here’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned.  One way I can go deeper this year is to get more organized so that I can invest time in worthy causes without giving up my peaceful home hours.  

I’ve had a tendency to be too guarded with my time, so as part of my effort to live out my word for the year, I’ve tried to step up my involvement in activities when an opportunity comes up. In February, I ending up helping to plan events for two different groups that I’m involved with in the same week, and I almost didn’t recognize my life with so little down time.  [Please note that I realize this is just a normal week for some of you.  I’m talking to you, extroverts.  :)]  I felt guilty that I wasn’t home much during the day because Ben’s nap schedule was suffering and frazzled without my quiet time in the house to regroup.  Both events went extremely well, and knowing that I helped make them happen was really satisfying.  While I don’t regret participating, I also learned that it’s okay if I need a couple of quiet hours at home most days.

So, this gets pretty detailed, but I need to be able to refer back to it.  In no particular order, here are some goals that have developed out of choosing the word deeper, and steps I’m taking…

Get organized and balance my time

Steps Taken:

  • Drawing inspiration from women who have a routine or structure that is working well.  There are so many great ideas out there in the blog and podcast world, in addition to real life examples, of course.
  • Committing to some weekly routines like MOPS/Bible Study and story time at the library.
  • Being diligent with bed time and nap time for the baby.

Steps to Take:

  • Consider trying a bullet journal.
  • Try to structure time when Ben is sleeping so that I’m using it more effectively.

Go deeper spiritually

Steps Taken:

  • Joining a Bible study.
  • Attending church ladies’ retreat.
  • Having more consistent Bible reading time with my husband.  **work in progress

Steps to Take:

  • Embrace the renewed urgency I feel to deeper in my relationship with God and be prayerful and open to where he will lead.
  • Be fearless when he opens a door I might not have expected.

Build skills at home

Steps Taken:

  • Learning every day how to be a mom to this rapidly growing baby boy.IMG_0926
  • Repainting the cabinets in our guest bathroom!
  • Doing more reading and less TV watching, which makes me feel better about life.
    • TV is not an inherently bad thing, but it can become too time-consuming and even harmful to our spirits, in some cases.  When Parenthood and Parks and Recreation ended, for example, we didn’t replace them with new shows.  Now my beloved Downton Abbey has ended, too, (sigh) and the timing is good.  I’m getting a lot of book recommendations and making more frequent trips to the library.  My little guy is finally old enough for story time!  I cannot even describe the joy this brings to my inner literary nerd.  Libraries are a happy place.
  • Exercising most days
    • Right now that means a fast-paced walk with the stroller on the trail system near our house.  I love it and so does my boy.  This falls into the spirituality category, too.  It’s easier for me to find peace and connection with God when I am outside breathing fresh air and taking in natural scenes of trees and hills, etc.  It’s a win win.
  • In the kitchen— .
    • I made my own chicken broth. You know what?  It really does taste better.  :)  It is definitely labor intensive, but one thing I love about cooking is how it reminds us that good things are worth waiting for.
    • I’ve enjoyed making food for Ben these last few months as well.  My personal favorite is sweet potatoes with applesauce and a pinch of cinnamon.  Que rico!
    • I’m finding some favorite meatless recipes for us, and I try to do a meatless meal at least once a week.
  • Trying to be more hospitable.
    • We love hosting family and friends for gatherings, whether special meals or just people stopping by.  We have done some of that already this year, and I’m really looking forward to some overnight guests coming up, too.

Steps to Take:

  • Get better at cleaning.
  • Make more progress on the long list of culinary endeavors I hope to tackle.
    • From scratch bread, yogurt, ranch dressing, some recipes from my fancy books, etc.
  • Start practicing yoga again.
    • I’ve heard about a great yoga YouTube channel, and I would like to start utilizing that to work on strength.
  • Take on more home improvement projects.
    • More painting, fireplace, yard…
  • Invest more time in writing.
  • Find more ways to be hospitable.

It should be an interesting and rewarding year, and I appreciate the accountability of being able to talk about my one word in this space.  Can any of you relate to the challenges I’m laying out for the year?  I would love to hear your experiences and any wisdom you have to offer.

Looking Back on My Word for 2015

I never wrote about my word for 2015, although I did choose one.  It was probably the most emotional, life-changing year I’d have thus far.  I didn’t write much at all in 2015, because I was busy living life as fully as I could.  I was tired with the pregnancy and, later, with a new baby, so I focused the energy I had on simply trying to savor my experiences.

Savor was, in fact, my word, and it fit the year perfectly.  It’s defined as “to give oneself to the enjoyment of.”  (dictionary.com)  I was not always successful, but choosing this word to focus on really helped me remember that I was in a sacred season.  I tried not to judge myself based on the standards we have in our culture for being “productive”.  I spent a lot of time holding my baby.  20150412-DSC_2611I tried to savor the awe I felt over this miracle God had done through my body instead of waiting impatiently for it to heal and shed the extra pounds I’d gained.  I even enjoyed the quiet of being home with Benjamin during the day.

I became a student of this little person and tried to learn everything I could about him.  We played music and cuddled, and I had many one-sided conversations and dance parties with him as he peered up at me.  Later, he began responding with meaningful coos and babble.  I watched him grow like crazy.  We went for walks on the trail near our house every day while I listened to podcasts.  Oh, how I savored (and still savor) our walks.  I love that he insists on fresh air and exercise every day.  My little outdoorsman.  IMG_0071-1In 2015, he learned new things each week or so, and it felt like I was constantly packing away darling little outfits that he only wore a handful of times.  I took a lot of pictures and videos and sent them to Bryan at work and to our families, sometimes.  I allowed myself to rest when I had an opportunity.  I started to enjoy cooking again!  It was like reconnecting with a beloved old friend.  I soaked in the joy of giving our families their first grandson/nephew/great grandson.  Watching them with Ben is pretty great.  IMG_0177I marveled at the fall leaves in our new neighborhood and took in a few sunsets with my sweetheart.  We started planning date nights and cherishing that quality time together.  I enjoyed my family’s first visit to Costa Rica and spent my birthday at one of my favorite places there.  Talk about savoring…IMG_0411

Even amidst all the adjustments—the sleep deprivation, leaving my job and figuring out new ways to interact with other adults, what it means for my identity to not be in the professional world right now, learning to breastfeed, having someone who is completely dependent on me, trying to balance our time and energy so that we’re still taking care of our marriage, changing our budget, feeling vulnerable in a way I had never experienced before…—even in processing ALL of this, it was an incredibly sweet, joyful time that I will always look back on with deep gratitude.

Now we are barely into the new year, but when I reflect on 2015 a lot of it feels almost like a beautiful, crazy dream.  I’m so glad that I choose savor for this past year, and I want to continue this practice.  I hope you will do some savoring of your own, too.  I will leave you with this song that helped define 2015 for me.  It was played often in our house and car.

My next post will reveal my word for 2016.  Grace and peace to you all.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
-Robert Frost

I love this poem, and I always think about it this time of year.  It’s haunting and wistful and dreamy.  Some people say that Texas doesn’t have four seasons.  I think autumn here is just so fleeting that it’s easy to miss.  The temperatures do start to dip and the leaves do change to glorious shades of orange, red and gold.IMG_0329 copy  Everyone seems to walk with more vigor.  We’ve survived the long, hot summer, and the promise of the holiday season is in the air.  We start to cook with more cinnamon and nutmeg and smile at every pumpkin we pass.  It just lasts a few weeks and then fades discreetly into Christmastime.

This autumn’s had a different meaning to me as a new mom.  I love so much about being a parent thus far, but I have to say that one of my favorite aspects of this journey we’ve just begun is watching our son discover the world.  You always hear that they grow and change so rapidly, and that has certainly been confirmed by our experience.  When we left the hospital with our newborn the day before Easter, I tried to fathom the idea that this was Benjamin’s first time outside…ever.  He was breathing fresh air, seeing the sky (sort of), hearing birds and cows.  The wonder I see in his eyes, the complete trust…it just blows my mind.  In the span of two weeks he learned to sit up, started forming and repeating new sounds and tried solid food for the first time.  He rolls across the room in seconds, and each time we go somewhere new his eyes get big and his head darts around, scanning his surroundings.  He’s learning how to wave and chuckles when people engage with him.  He grabs absolutely everything he can reach.  He’s soaking in this great big world.  IMG_0404 copyThis time as the cooler temperatures hit and the leaves started to change, I thought about 2015 coming to an end.  2015, the year of Benjamin’s birth; it’s almost over.  Last year at this time, I was feeling him kick against my hand on my belly and dreaming of seeing him in footsie pajamas.  

Lately that Amy Grant song has been playing in my head, “Oh how the years go by…”  It’s romantic to mourn the loss of something while you still have it because you love it so much that you dread letting go.  But that’s not how I want to live when it comes to being a mom.  My little heart can’t take it.  I’m practicing gratitude to combat this feeling of loss.  It’s my motherhood mantra of sorts.  Instead of ugly crying when my son grew out of his newborn clothes, I tried to remember that some babies are sick and don’t grow.  I made myself focus on my gratitude for a healthy, growing boy.  This really helps me cope.  Please don’t hear me saying that any sadness over our babies growing up is bad.  Not at all.  A therapist once came to speak to one of my social work classes, and she said something that stuck with me.  How you feel is never wrong.  It’s good and healthy sometimes to let the sadness wash over us for a little while. But it would be easy for me to err on the side of being too brokenhearted.  When I look back on my life, I don’t want to feel as though I wasted my babies’ childhoods feeling sad that they couldn’t stay small longer.  We only get one shot at raising them.

This practice of changing my perspective and focusing on gratitude as my little boy grows from infant to baby to toddler and beyond…well, it’s helping my heart to stay peaceful.  It feels holy.  I’m able to do a better job of enjoying the positive things about the phase we’re in.  I know I have a lot of difficult and wonderful parenting experiences ahead, and I have SO much to learn.  So, right now I’ll enjoy the otherworldly beauty of his little face when he falls asleep in my arms.  And later I’ll be thankful for his ability to use words to tell me what’s bothering him so that we can work on a solution.  Someday, Lord willing, I’ll look up to my son, and I’ll take joy in that.  Autumn doesn’t last long and babies grow up fast, but there is always something else good to look forward to and plenty to give thanks for in the midst of change.  I’m clinging to that truth more than ever this year.  Nothing gold can stay.  Indeed.

Guest Post!

Good morning, all!  I am excited to be sharing an article I wrote for Hello, Dearest this month.  Hello, Dearest is the blog for MOPS International–an awesome group of moms that have blessed me so much already with their encouragement, funny stories, advice, organizational/craft skills, playdates and general willingness to share this crazy adventure.  If you’re a mom (even a newbie like me) and you have the time, I would definitely encourage you to find a local chapter and check it out.  More information can be found on their website, and HERE is the link to my article, entitled “The Goodness of Shared Wisdom”.  I talk about my reaction to the advice I got during my pregnancy.  Don’t worry, it’s not a complaining post.  :)  I’d love it if you would click on over.

Six Months of Awesome

I’m having a hard time writing about motherhood.  It’s too much.  I feel all of the things (mostly intense joy).  Also, the “mom brain” phenomenon that I heard about has hit me hard, and I’m not my most articulate self lately.  I’m not so much with the words.  It’s sad, but I’m hopeful that it won’t be a permanent condition.

Our sweet boy turned six months old last Friday in the midst of two weeks of travel and hosting and babysitting, so now I sit down to write about this milestone…and I just…there are no words big enough to describe my thoughts on this subject.  Benjamin is feisty and social and hilarious.  He loves to snuggle but he also loves to move. He is as wild as his hair would suggest and as sweet as his smile would indicate.  He sleeps like a champ and eats as though he’s certain each feeding will be his last.  He’s very verbal and laughs a lot.  He is DETERMINED.  He has a wide range of dramatic facial expressions.  He loves to grab everything in sight (his favorite is having two fistfuls of someone’s hair).  He fights naps because he doesn’t want to miss anything.  He loves music and the great outdoors.  His eyes light up when he’s in a new place or has a new experience (most recently starting solid foods).

He has the ability to completely wear us out, but he has brought us more joy than we ever could have imagined.  Benjamin has taught us so much about our Creator.  Bryan and I are so thankful for this beautiful, vivacious boy and humbled that God chose us to be his parents.  And since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few that express the past six months a bit better than I can…

*Note:  The pictures on the striped rug are his monthly pictures, starting with 1 month old.

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Ben’s Nursery

We bought our first house when I was seven months pregnant.  I don’t necessarily recommend this, but with our lease ending March 31st and the baby’s due date at April 2nd, it was the best choice for us.  I’m so thankful that we were able to move in and make it feel like home before Ben was born.  Getting his nursery ready was so much fun, and I mentioned awhile ago that I would share some pictures.  So, here is a little tour…

I’m not a huge theme person, but I started sort of jokingly referring to this as “global baby chic”.  We have a lot of different colors, too.  There are touches of navy and lighter gray/blue, and I love the rug with green, orange, brown, robin’s egg blue and tan.  I wanted his nursery to feel cozy and colorful—a place where he can rest well and play hard and let his imagination run wild.

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It’s really special to me that we are using the crib my dad built when my parents were expecting me.  My two younger siblings used it, too.  We decided that my dad would paint the top part white to modernize it for the next generation.  It’s got tons of storage, and it’s just so beautiful.  Ben has been sleeping very well in the crib for about two months.  We have several cute fitted sheets with animals in lieu of a full crib set.  This one is my favorite.

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We also have this little rocker that was mine.  My hope is that this will become a favorite reading spot for Ben when he’s a bit older.

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I got this little bookshelf for my tiny garage apartment when I was in grad school.  I’m not sure if Target still carries it, but I might like to get one or two more.  I love to see it full of children’s books now!  We have some in English and Spanish.

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The dresser was the last item purchased.  We went to several secondhand and discount places but didn’t have any luck, and so we found ourselves making the trek to IKEA when I was basically ready to give birth at any moment.  This ended up being just the right size.  Worth it.

My sister, the artist, painted this beautiful mirror for Ben.  He loves to look at it while we’re changing him.  His eyes get really big.  :)

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We got a glider and decided that we’d rather use it in the living room.

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I have included links below if you’re interested.  Thanks for coming on the tour, friends!

*Please note that, in addition to reused or homemade pieces, we used gift cards and bought discontinued and sale items, etc.  I don’t think we paid full price for anything.

Dresser: IKEA

Window hanging (similar):  World Market

Spanish prints:  Etsy

Crib: Made by Dad circa 1984

Bookshelf:  Target

Rocker:  Passed down from me

Lamp:  World Market (discontinued)

Laundry hamper:  Target

Glider:  (similar) Buy Buy Baby

Rug:  (similar) World Market

Painted Mirror:  Made by Aunt Katie

Ben’s Birth Story: The Finale

Here is the conclusion of Ben’s birth story!  If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking with me.  :)

At first, I thought the nurse who was with us during this time was less friendly than the others had been.  Then I realized that she was just focused and serious because she needed to be prepared for anything to happen.  This was the main event.  I pushed for about 40 minutes, with Bryan, the nurse and (toward the end) my awesome OB encouraging me.  It really didn’t feel like a long time, and I was concentrating hard on making as much progress as possible with each push.  I was SO ready to meet my boy!  I remember being surprised that for much of this time it was just me, Bryan and our nurse in the room.  It felt quiet and less dramatic than I imagined it would be.  We also thought they would have Bryan put on scrubs.  Apparently, that’s only for C-sections.  I could tell when the baby was close to being born by the increasing pressure and the rising level of excitement in the room.

My heart was beating fast, and a wave of emotion swept over me as I took in the reality of the moment.  “Look down,” my doctor said.  And just like that, she held him up.  I couldn’t breathe.  It was so surreal.  She placed this tiny, beautiful boy on my chest and time stood still.  It was love at first sight.  I don’t remember the OB showing Bryan where to cut the cord because I couldn’t take my eyes off of my baby’s sweet face.  I did a weird laugh/cry kind of thing and looked at Bryan.  His eyes were as big as his smile.  They took Ben over to give him his first bath and do the tests and measurements.  He was fussing a little bit, which was a beautiful sound for us.  When I heard his weight, I couldn’t believe it.  He was not the big baby I was expecting.  Everything looked good.  Praise God!  Bryan told me that he wanted to go out and tell our family, but he wouldn’t announce the name.  He would let me do that.  He came back quickly, and awhile later we were settled in our postpartum room.

Everyone came in walking gingerly and speaking in hushed, reverent tones.  I loved watching the awe on their faces–all these people who have loved me so well for my whole life.  Now, we were making them grandparents, aunts, uncles, great grandparents, great aunts and uncles and whatever you call your cousins’ relationship to your kids.  They gathered around the bed as I introduced him by name for the first time.  I’ve always loved the name Benjamin, and Benjamin in the Bible was beloved.  The apostle Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin.  Our son’s middle name is Walter after my Pawpaw.  I hope I never forget the look on my Dad’s face when he heard that.  The cozy hospital room radiated with joy.  Just as everyone started to pass Ben around, I saw someone outside the doorway in my peripheral vision.  It was the nurse who helped me deliver Ben, and she was smiling.  She didn’t come in, and I don’t think she saw me notice her there, but I’m so glad she got to see our family celebrating this little life she helped me bring into the world.

It was difficult to choose which pictures to share here, but I’ve included a few of those first few days with our little Easter baby.

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Thank you for sharing in our joy!

Ben’s Birth Story Continued

When they wheeled me off the elevator on the Labor and Delivery floor, I started having a contraction.  I was holding my stomach with one hand and gripping the wheelchair with the other while taking short, fast breaths.  I remember thinking that it felt like how labor is always depicted in the movies.  We wheeled past the nurse who had checked me that morning.  Bryan told me later that she expressed her disappointment as we were passing that her shift was ending right as we arrived.  Very sweet.  We really felt the whole time like the nurses taking care of us loved their jobs.  Their attitudes had a positive impact on our experience, and I was so grateful for each of them.  They got us settled in the room and hooked me up to IV antibiotics because I had tested positive for strep B (not a big deal, apparently, but they want you to have antibiotics to protect the baby as a precaution).

My parents and sister arrived, and we all sat around in the room chatting.  We were excited that the wait was almost over, and I felt so much love and support from everyone.  Our nurse told Bryan that she noticed I was tensing up my shoulders during contractions and encouraged him to help me relax those muscles while I breathed.  I tried to focus on relaxing my muscles, and the contractions continued steadily about 4 minutes apart.  About 3am, I decided to go for a walk with Bryan and my IV pole.  I knew I would probably want an epidural at some point, and I wanted to be mobile while I still could.  We made two laps around the L&D floor, and the intensity of the contractions really kicked up.  I was HURTING!  At this point I had been laboring for more than twelve hours with no pain relief.  I decided I was ready for the epidural.

Our family left the room, and the nurse anesthitist was there within 10 or 15 minutes.  I remembered what to expect from our “prepared childbirth” class, and that helped me to be mentally at ease during the process.  Everything went smoothly and the three parents and my sister came back in.  I was dilated to a 5 or 6 by then.  They decided to go get some sleep at our house since it was close to the hospital.  Bryan and I tried to rest.  The epidural started wearing off on my right side around 10am, so they gave me more medicine.  Suddenly, it was like my body realized how exhausted it was after weeks of not sleeping well, carrying around this huge belly, and then 12+ hours of labor.  I got more relaxed than I’d been since…well, before I was pregnant, probably, and fell into a deep, deep sleep.  It was indescribably glorious.  My friend Julie told me that she experienced something similar, which made me feel less crazy, because, really—what a weird time for a great nap.

At some point, my doctor came in to check me and broke my water.  Bryan told me that our family was back and hanging out in the waiting room area.  My brother was on his way.  It worked out well that the next day was Good Friday, so he would have left that day to come home from college for Easter anyway. The waiting room crew  :)

The waiting room crew had grown by the afternoon.

The next thing I remember is hearing the nurse call my OB and seeing someone wheel an incubator into the room.  They were getting ready.  It was about to be go time!  “I must wake up and give birth!” I thought.

Bryan snapped this picture while I was using the phone screen as a mirror—getting the hair up and getting focused.  Here we go!

Bryan snapped this picture while I was using the phone screen as a mirror—getting the hair up and getting focused. Here we go!

 

Apparently this is going to be a three parter.  :)

 

Ben’s Birth Story

Well, I’ve been itching to write again, and I have much to share.  Benjamin Walter Rodriguez was born at 3:27pm on April 2nd (his due date).  He was 6 lbs, 14 ounces, 20.5 inches long and had a full head of dark hair.  We are still beside ourselves with joy that God has chosen us to parent this tiny, beautiful little boy.  He’s grown and changed so rapidly these past almost three months, and he’s just more fun each day.  So, without further ado, here is the story of Benjamin’s birth…[Disclaimer:  If birth stories freak you out, consider stopping here.  I will include some details, because I appreciate details when someone is telling me a story.]

My last day of work was March 20th, and I had somehow gotten it into my head that the baby would come early.  My OB had me do an ultrasound at 36 weeks, and he was measuring in the 78th percentile, so when she asked if I wanted to schedule an induction, I chose his due date without giving it much thought.  It didn’t occur to me that I might actually have to be induced.  I never expected to make it that far.  I woke up every morning surprised (and disappointed, truth be told) that labor hadn’t started during the night.  I felt huge and swollen and was still having terrible heartburn every day.  Braxton Hicks contractions were coming  occasionally,  and I was starting to dilate, but I just wasn’t going into labor.  Ben is the first grandchild on both sides, so even though I wasn’t overdue yet, our families were getting almost as impatient as I was.

Clockwise from top right—My hand, my sister's, my granny's and my mom's

Clockwise from top right—My hand, my sister’s, my granny’s and my mom’s

We went for a lot of walks.  I did lunges and squats.  I made spicy “kick-start your labor” cookies and ate pizza from a local place that’s supposed to help (seriously?).  We tried everything except castor oil.  I just couldn’t do that.  Nothing worked.  The week of my due date began, and I started to realize that I needed to make peace with the idea of being induced.  As much as I wanted the baby to come on his own, it looked like we might make it to Thursday morning.  I considered canceling, but it was scheduled, my mother-in-law’s plane ticket was purchased,  and everyone was ready to meet this (supposedly large) baby.  So, I just prayed a lot.

Finally, at about 7am on April 1st, I felt some strong cramping and thought my water might have broken.  I called the doctor’s office and explained that I couldn’t time contractions.  It was more of a constant pain.  The lady on the phone said that when the contractions were measurable I would know, but that I should go ahead to the hospital to be checked.  We called my dad who was standing by to pick Bryan’s mom up from the airport in case this happened.  When we got to the hospital, they checked me and found that my water had not broken, and I was at a 3.  The nurse was very nice and said I was close enough that they would probably go ahead and admit me except that they only had one room open.  It was hospital policy to keep one room open for women who come in and are like 9 cm and ready to push.  So, she suggested that I go home and rest, have lunch, etc.  She explained that women progress at different rates, and I might be back in a couple of hours or later that evening.  I thought to myself, “Lunch sounds good.”  Haha.  So we left the hospital about 2pm to pick up lunch and meet my dad and Bryan’s mom at our house.  About 2:30, I started to understand what the lady on the phone meant by “you’ll know“.  I started recording my contractions on an app on my phone.  They were 5 to 8 minutes apart, and intense enough that I couldn’t talk during them.

For the rest of the day, we had lunch, spent time with Bryan’s mom, had dinner, went for a walk and rested while I continued to labor.

The last profile shot of the belly—approximately three weeks before Ben arrived  :)

The last profile shot of the belly—approximately three weeks before Ben arrived🙂

[Side note:  We moved into our house at the end of January, so we’re still getting to know the neighborhood.  On our walk, we passed a mom with a 6-week old in a stroller, and we ended up exchanging numbers.  Now we go for walks each week with our babies.  She is awesome.  What a great “how we met” story, right?]  The contractions were still 4 to 5 minutes apart, so I was able to have conversations with Bryan and my mother-in-law between them.  They were, however, getting slightly stronger, so I took a shower and we loaded up in the car to head back to the hospital.  I felt more excitement than anxiety on our way there.  My spirit was calm, and I was thrilled at the thought that I was about to meet my son!  I was admitted at about 12:30am, and I realized at that point that not only did I not have to be induced, but also my son would likely be born on his due date.  April Fool’s Day was over.  I smiled to myself and said a prayer of thanksgiving.

To be continued…

Pregnancy is Crazy: Part Two

Here is the link to Part One if you missed it yesterday.  I’m blogging my thoughts on pregnancy this week.  A few more things about this experience that I want to remember…

I want to remember how pregnancy has changed my body image and taught me so much about self-sacrifice and humility.  Some days I feel cute or even beautiful with my curves, thicker hair, perpetually rosy cheeks.  Other days I feel huge and clumsy.  I’ve always thought of other pregnant women as beautiful, so I’m trying to see myself in that same light.  We are often our own harshest critics, aren’t we?  The comments can be disconcerting, too.  Last week someone told me I was going to have a big baby.  Rude.  Today, someone told me I’m only showing in my stomach.  Huh.  Thanks.  These contradictory comments happen all the time.  For the record, Bryan has told me often how beautiful I am to him, and that helps.  My body is changing rapidly, and it’s out of my control.  This is something that I must accept–even embrace–as I focus on my baby’s well being.  My priorities have shifted, and that’s a good thing.

I want to remember the pure, unadulterated joy of family and friends when we shared our news and as the pregnancy  progresses.  Nothing quite compares to being able to tell your parents that they are going to become grandparents and your siblings that they will become aunts and uncles for the first time.  Bryan and I both got to experience this.  Our families mean the world to us.  They have done so much for us and supported us so well in a million different ways.  I will never forget how deeply satisfying it was to share this good news with them and see their smiles and happy tears.  Now we watch their faces light up as they witness my growing belly and help us prepare for his arrival.  :)  What a blessing.

I want to remember my sheer delight in preparing.  Now that we’re officially moved into our new house and getting settled, I am able to do something that I’ve been waiting to do since about September.  I am nesting!  I will do a future post about Baby’s nursery, but suffice it to say I am loving the process of planning it out and selecting his things.  We have some showers coming up in February, and I’m really looking forward to that.

I want to remember daydreaming about holding him and imagining countless details about the person he will be.  I often wonder what he will look like.  This little boy:IMG_0946Kara2and this little girl:eyesgrew up and fell in love.

What kind of tiny human will the combination of our features make?  I can hardly wait to see him!  I just keep picturing a mini version of my handsome husband, and I have to remind myself that we could have a blonde or even a redhead, and that would be okay, too.  Haha.  I know for certain that we will be completely in love with our little guy.  We already are!  If you read this someday, Baby, I want you to know how loved you were even before you were born.  Your papa and I (and the rest of your family and friends) can’t wait to meet you in just a couple of months!IMG_5586