Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Exciting Times!

As of Sunday, we crossed into 37 weeks of pregnancy!!

Jim and I are so excited about welcoming our second baby into our lives very soon. In three weeks, plus or minus two weeks, we will have a newborn in our arms again. We have so many questions... will it be a boy or a girl? Will it have red hair? Will he/she be as big as Ian was (8 lbs 14 oz) or bigger? Please say it won't be so! How will Ian respond? Which of the names we have picked out will we actually choose? Will he/she be a good sleeper or nurser? So many unknowns when you have a baby.

Of course, the only thing we really pray for is a healthy baby. I can do without sleep. I can handle a large baby (I hope!). I just hope and pray for a healthy and smooth delivery.

When we went on our baby moon a few of my fears about labor were brought to light. It was so nice to get the tears and burden I didn't even know I was carrying off of my chest. Ian's labor was long and hard and this baby's might be, too. You just never know! Verbalizing them, seeing the understanding in Jim's eyes and hearing his reassuring voice speak through each concern really helped me to move past the fear mode and more toward the "can-do" and "we're in this together" mode.

We also decided fully that we'd like our friend, Joi, to be our doula for the entire labor. Given Jim's limited time off, I had asked her to be there for my laboring at home, since Jim might not be there the entire time. After our weekend away we agreed that her presence would be comforting, supportive, and encouraging. It eased my mind just to think about having her there.

So much of having a baby is mental. Any ease and comfort that can be organized ahead of time is HUGE.

Today I had my 37 week appointment and Ian went with me. The nurse went to weigh me on the manual scale and asked, "Have you hit 150 yet?" HA!!! Yep, about thirty pounds ago! This pregnancy I have gained about 45 lbs., so far. And I still have a few weeks to go.

We listened to the baby's heartbeat for the longest time so far and it was all over the place! The doctor said that for high-risk pregnancies they do non-stress tests and that our baby was showing us that he/she was absolutely not stressed. His/her heartbeat was moving up and down as he/she was moving and stretching a whole lot. Ian listened to the heartbeat, too.

It's so fun to bring him along to the appointments. He sits in a chair in the corner and eats his snack and drinks water, listening to our conversations. He never gets up or complains. The nurses and the doctors always try to chat him up, but he normally stays pretty quiet. Today he talked to Dr. Hudgins about the snow days and how he threw snow at Mama & Papa.

I asked her if I would have felt the baby switch positions and she checked to see where he/she was. She was confident that his/her head is still down and said that the head is very well engaged. Woo!

After our appointment, Ian and I went for a tour of the birthing center. This is a whole new practice and a whole new hospital for me and so I wanted to be able to picture where I'd be. I also read an article about the importance of showing the older sibling(s) where Mama & Papa will be, so that when they hear that we are in the hospital, they can visualize it as a place they know and have seen before. Ian and I have been doing a lot of talking about what will happen in the coming weeks, and it was really neat to have him there with me today.

We talked about how I would likely be lying in the bed with our baby, Papa would be there, and Äma would bring you to visit me in the bed. And today I even told him that our baby would be bringing him a gift, which he then repeated to me again when we were at home. He seems to really be understanding and processing it. Yesterday on the playground, he was about to go up the steps and turned to me and said, "Äma comes and Mama and Papa come back." Yes, Äma will come and stay with you while Mama & Papa are in the hospital, you'll get to visit us, and then we'll come back.

The facility seems really nice and similar to the one I'd stayed in before.

A letter to "Baby B":

Dear Baby,

You are so very loved. As I write this, you have some unbelievably strong hiccups and you are bouncing my whole belly. This happens often during the night, as well! I was pretty confident that you were head down because your little hands keep nudging me in the pelvic bone and in my lower uterus. You have one foot that you really like to stick straight out to my right side. Sometimes it seems like I should be able to see the whole imprint of a foot in my side! How incredible it is to feel you moving within me.

Sweet babe, you have been working your way into our hearts steadily throughout this entire pregnancy. You've been carving out space for yourself in our family as you grow bigger and take up more room in my lap, where Ian normally sits, and in front of me, how I normally embrace your papa. I love how our bodies are designed and that the significance of your presence is obvious long before you even enter the world.

It has been so very hard for us to wait to learn your gender this time! Only time will tell...

Although we are terribly excited to meet you, I truly want you to come in your own time and at your own pace. We have decades to look forward to with you outside of my womb. Know that we will await your arrival patiently and peacefully until you are ready.

I hope and pray that when you do arrive, you feel the warmth and love that we have for you, making you feel secure and safe in this busy world outside. February is a cold time to begin life, but we promise to cuddle and snuggle you through each day. By the time warmer weather hits, you'll be itching to roll, sit, and crawl... that's so crazy to imagine right now. But, if we learned one thing from raising Ian so far, it's that time waits and slows for no one. We know how precious it is to enjoy every nap on our chests and every coo. We'll savor it all.

And, oh sweet darling, we are so excited for you to meet your brother. He is a joy and loves you so much already. We hope and pray that you two become good playmates in your early years and good friends when you're older. Siblings are such a wonderful, challenging, and life-shaping relationship. We hope to foster a healthy sense of teamwork and love between you. We know there will be trials and conflicts between you, it's only normal, but you can also learn the hardest and best lessons from a sibling who knows us best, gets under our skin, and still loves us anyway.

You are blessed to have a wonderful, caring Papa, too. He works so hard to provide for us but he also makes and takes the time to be present with us as much as he can. He loves adventure, learning (especially about permaculture, at the moment), sports (especially rugby and basketball), creating & woodworking, and playing with Ian. You are going to adore him and he will look at you with only eyes of love. He's a great papa. We're fortunate to have him.

We're fortunate to have family on both sides who encourage and support us and we are blessed to have many friends in our village who are eager to meet you, bring meals, and help us. You will be loved by so many. You already are.

So, come when you're ready. We have almost everything ready for you and what's not ready will get done in due time :) Our love is here and waiting... that's all you really need.

Mama, Papa, & Ian

Stay tuned...

Boy or Girl?
Arrival Date?

To be determined.

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