Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pregnancy: This Time Around

Wow. Today I’m 29 weeks pregnant--in my final trimester--with less than three months to go until our baby girl arrives in July. I’m absolutely thrilled, but still somewhat in disbelief. With Caleb, we’d waited so long to become parents, it was almost as if we’d been “expecting” him for years.

But this was a complete surprise. I never could’ve imagined or expected such a miracle. It’s almost too good to be true--I even feel guilty, because I know so many people still waiting for their miracle. Isn’t it their turn?

I don’t know why this second miracle pregnancy happened so quickly, but this little girl must be meant for our family right now, and so many things have fallen into place--my health, great doctors, our financial situation (thanks also to Ben graduating and years of working and saving)--to make it possible. It’s all through the hand of God, and we’re in absolute awe.

I know well enough that not all pregnancies end with healthy babies. I’ve lost three. But just like I did with Caleb, I’ve tried not to fear what I can’t control and instead trust in God’s plan. Every day and week and month that this baby continues to grow inside of me is a miracle and a gift.

Now that I’m in my last trimester, it’s all becoming real, even if it still feels too good to be true, and it’s time to get ready for this little girl. It’s as terrifying as it is exciting.

One thing I feel like I need to “check off my list” is to share some memories from this pregnancy to look back on later. I’m so glad I did this with my pregnancy with Caleb; I’ve loved going back and reading about all those new, exciting, and scary first-time feelings. You can read about my pregnancy with Caleb here.

Finding Out We Were Expecting Again

Funny, NO ONE kept calm.
The moment we found out we were expecting another baby was that magical moment I dreamed about so many times, after tossing so many negative pregnancy tests in the trash over those first 5 years of our marriage. With Caleb, I found out by myself in a doctor’s office, and I thought it meant I was having another miscarriage, so it wasn’t the happiest moment.

All those years I’d imagined getting that positive test at home, running and shouting for Ben, then hugging and crying and laughing with excitement. And that’s just how it happened this time, except Caleb was in the middle of all the hugging and laughing and crying. It was completely unexpected and absolutely beautiful.

It’s Different This Time Around

Not surprisingly, this pregnancy has been very different from my pregnancy with Caleb. Mainly, it’s not as relaxing or enjoyable, even as exciting as it is. I’m putting so much energy every day into chasing and playing with and taking care of my little boy, it’s hard to feel like I’m taking care of my little girl and myself the way I was able to with Caleb. I know this is only a glimpse of what it will be like once she arrives, so it’s good to start learning that balance, but it’s definitely more stressful than my pregnancy with Caleb.

The upside is that I was much less nauseous with this pregnancy. I threw up only a few times the entire first trimester, while with Caleb I was throwing up a few times a day. It was miserable and I could barely function, but this time around I could keep most food down, and we only ran out of clean underwear a couple times. It wasn’t too bad, but I was definitely glad when it was over.

Our sweet little babe at 12 weeks

My little bump at 14 weeks

It’s A Girl!

Again, I know every pregnancy is different, but there were some early signs that this one might be a girl: I was emotional and moody, breaking out like in high school, and craving sugar cookies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (I don’t even like sugar cookies, or sweets for that matter, except chocolate). With Caleb, I was on an emotional high, had the clearest skin of my life, and craved hot dogs and ham sandwiches.

Even high-def 3D ultrasound couldn't show the gender...
Those legs were locked down (at 15 weeks)
I expected to have my suspicions confirmed during one of our early ultrasounds--after all, we found out Caleb was a boy at 13 weeks. Just to give some background, I have ultrasounds every 2-4 weeks during the first trimester, since I’m considered “high-risk” due to my 3 previous miscarriages. We went in for ultrasound after ultrasound, but time after time I was disappointed--this baby was too modest! I guess you could say that was another sign she was a girl (everyone said so, anyway).

And sure enough, during our 20 week ultrasound, which is the standard hour-long ultrasound for all pregnancies, the technician had to try 3 separate times and spent several minutes coaxing our baby into position to see the gender. But once she was into position, it became clear--it’s a girl!

Girly Stuff

And yes, we have a name picked out: Lydia. And we already call her “Lydia,” too. I always thought it was a little strange when people named their babies before they born, but I get it now; it just feels natural this time. But who knows? Maybe we’ll change our minds when she gets here. With Caleb, we didn’t decide on his name until a few hours after he was born, and even then it took a few weeks to feel like it really fit. So we’ll see.

I’m not too worried about the name, though. Mainly I worry about girl stuff: doing hair (um, I have no idea...I’ve worn my hair pretty much the same way every day for 20 years), drama (I don’t do drama), boys (let’s not even go there), and other uncharted territory: princesses, Barbies, coordinating outfits (boys are so easy...throw on some jeans and a shirt and go!). I guess it’s silly, but the idea of taking care of two kids is already a little overwhelming without worrying about how I’m going to make that mother-daughter connection. Maybe she’ll be more of a tomboy like me. My dad always said I was the best kind of girl: one who liked to be clean and pretty, but didn’t mind getting dirty.

She's got my nose, at least...

Also, I was worried about where I was going to find girl clothes, since we have dozens of nephews and collected so many hand-me-downs for Caleb that we didn’t have to buy any clothes for his whole first year. It was great! But oh my goodness, I think I already have about twice as many hand-me-downs for Lydia, and more to come. I have so many generous friends who have cleared out their garages and closets for me, and I’m so grateful!

I even have an adorable bedding set from my sister-in-law’s sweet friend, so I can dress up the nursery to be a little more “girly.” We’re going to paint the room a pale yellow and change out the drapes for something more feminine, too. (To see what the nursery, which is still Caleb’s room, looks like now, click here then scroll to the bottom.)

UPDATE: See photos of Lydia's finished nursery here.

Other Details I Want to Remember

Overall, she seems much more laid-back than Caleb so far. She moves more like a wave or a little fish swimming around, while Caleb bounced and kicked and punched all day long. That’s the other thing: he moved mostly during the day, and she moves more at night. For Caleb, that pattern continued after he was born--he’s always been very active, but a pretty good sleeper at night--so we’ll what that means for this little girl.

I guess the last thing worth mentioning--but I’m not sure if it’s worth remembering--is how I’ve been feeling really on edge with this pregnancy. Throughout my pregnancy with Caleb, I had a strong reassurance from God that he would be born healthy, which helped calm my anxiety, and I didn’t worry at all how I was going to handle nights with no sleep and days with no shower. I was ready for that.

I don’t feel that same reassurance with this one, so I can’t help worrying that something is going to happen to her. I just want her to be okay, but then I have no idea how I’m going to handle having two little ones once she gets here. I’m worried I’ll be a total failure and everything will crumble into utter chaos, and then everyone will be unhappy. I just feel on edge sometimes, like I’m in for something I can’t handle, whatever it is.

Now, as her due date gets closer, I’m actually feeling less on edge and more excited and confident. I know it’s going to be crazy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be just as wonderful as when Caleb joined our family. As our friend Luke put it, “It’s more crazy, but it’s more awesome.” And as far as we know, she’s healthy, so like I said at the beginning, I’m trying to trust God rather than worry about what I can’t control.

So again, it's terrifying, but exciting. Either way, she's an absolute miracle, and we are so grateful for her. We'll see what the next few months bring!

At 22 weeks

That big round thing is my placenta; it's right in front,
which means I can't feel her moving as well sometimes.

She's resting on the placenta like a pillow,
with her hands tucked under her cheek.

With her little tush in the air (water?), at 20 weeks