Not for the faint of heart. Part two.

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Grace personified: {Laila Grace’s birth story}.

Sometimes, God doesn’t give us what we want; He gives us what we need.  This statement is true for me with the birth of Laila Grace.  I wanted it to be easy but what I needed was to learn how to go with the flow.

What’s funny is that a month ago, I would have considered a birth story like mine to be terribly traumatic.  Sitting here, writing it out and thinking through everything that happened, I can only view my birth story as beautiful.  It is a sweet testament of God’s faithfulness to walk me through uncharted territory.  He took care of me.  And, Laila, well she’s teaching me about Grace.

{Journal entry from 10.9.2014- the day that I would go into labor with Laila Grace}

BB,

You’re due to arrive tomorrow and everyone is so excited about it!  Namely Daddy and me.  We can’t wait to kiss your cheeks, to study your little hands and your baby feet.  We can’t wait to snuggle you and get to know your personality.  You see, you’re the answer to our secret prayers.  You’re a way that God is showing His love and His provision.  You are our gift.

I’ve been waking up much earlier than normal every day this week.  Today and Tuesday “earlier than normal” has meant that I awaken at 3 a.m.  I’m not sure why.  The only reason I can think of is that I’m excited to meet you.

I went to an appointment at the Birth Center yesterday and I heard your heartbeat.  Hearing that blows me away every single time.  Why?  Because- besides your constant movement in Mama’s belly- your heartbeat is a sure sign of life.  I LOVE THAT.

I’ve probably already written this but I feel that I must confess: I don’t feel qualified to be your mommy.  I am still struggling with selfishness.  I still struggle with keeping my words and my attitude in check.  I’m not even nearly as perfect as I want to be but I guess that just goes to show that God sometimes tells us to “go” before we think we’re ready… or, rather, before we feel we’re ready.

You are my step of faith.

I am praying that I don’t let you down.  So, come when you’re ready but just know that we’re ready to meet you now.  It’ll be exciting to see which birthday you choose and which gender you are and which attributes you get from Daddy and which attributes you get from Mommy.  BB, I love you so much.  Thank you for the honor of choosing Daddy and me to be your parents.

Love,

Mama

Step of Faith

I’ve heard people compare birth to running a race.  For the record, my birth experience with Laila Grace was not at all like running a half marathon… or maybe it was.  My sis in law said it best.  She said that my birth was like running but without the runner’s high that comes as the reward at the end.

10:58 a.m. My water breaks.  It is at this time that I remember that I never quite finished packing the overnight bag.  I kept saying that I was going to do it but I never actually finished the job.  I guess now was good a time as any.  I kept forgetting what I needed and then water would drip all over the floor every time I moved.  I decided to get a towel to drag behind me as I walked through the house like a chicken with its head cut off.

They say I was pretty calm.  I know that I tried really hard to be calm.  I was freaking out on the inside, though.  I originally thought that I would have the baby on Tuesday.  I just had a feeling.  Tuesday came and went without any signs of baby’s arrival.  I also had a “feeling” that baby was going to be a boy…I was wrong about that, too.

Every once in a while, one of the tightenings (the word I used for ‘contraction’) would hurt and then I would pray and remind myself that giving birth did not have to hurt.  That I am free from the curse of pain in childbirth.  The pain would subside when I confessed these things.  I liked that.

I called Wes, Dawn and my doula, Jenn.  At my doula’s suggestion, I also called the Birth Center.  I was told to come down to the BC for a non stress test to make sure that I was actually in labor.  I was in labor.

I was so hungry.  I mean, my water broke at my (almost) lunch time.  Wes arrived home and made sure that I was okay.  He helped me finish packing, took the stuff to the car, gave me a kiss and off we went.  But, I was hungry.  There was no way that I would have the strength to give birth to my baby on an empty stomach.  We stopped at Carl’s Jr. I kind of regret the choice of food because it would be disgusting when it came back up a couple of hours later.

2:30 p.m. My favorite midwife and my favorite nurse are the ones who will be attending the birth because I am in active labor.  The midwife directs us to the stairs outside to walk around through my tightenings.

“The contractions are every two to three minutes,”  Wes says.  You know that numbers are his thing.  The two- three minutes is good news because had the contractions not been that close together then I would have needed to go to the hospital.  When the tightenings came upon me, I would sometimes tense up and sometimes (at the prodding of my doula and Dawn) I would remember to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth.  Giving birth is a lot like practicing yoga with all of the deep breathing.  I didn’t practice or intend to use any sort of breathing method the breathing just seemed like a natural thing to do.

{Three hours of labor}  Four centimeters dilated and I really just want to take a nap.  This has been going on since the morning.  And I’m tired.  It’s the 4 o’clock slump except I can’t slump: I’M ABOUT TO HAVE MY BABY!!!

Wes, Dawn and I are directed to go walk the stairs.  Let me tell you that it was very hard to walk up the stairs!  The midwife wanted me to continue to walk during the tightenings.  Mind over matter.  Mind over matter.

It turns out the Laila was in occiput posterior position which means that the back of her head was against my back. Which would explain what happens later… The walking up the stairs was an attempt to get her to change her position so that she could make her appearance into the world.  I think she was being a little stubborn…I wonder which parent she gets that trait from?

{Four and a half hours} I wasn’t sure if I wanted to give birth in the water but I brought clothes that I could use to wear in the water should I choose to do so.  I decided to get in.  The water was marvelous.   The warmth enveloped my entire body.  I could float.  When I needed to, I could brace my feet against the edge of the table to take off some of the impact of the tightenings.  It was relaxing.  I felt so calm. Imagine wrapping your whole body in a heating pad that never ever got out of place no matter which way you moved.  That’s how it felt.  The tub wasn’t at all weird.  I thought it was going to be weird.

But it started to get kind of hot in there.  My doula and Dawn placed cold towels on my forehead and gave me ice chips.  Perfect.

Things got more intense when I was in the tub.  Not sure why.  I guess it’s just because the labor was progressing.  Wes came back into the room and I could. hear. him. breathing.  It drove me crazy.

“Get out,”  I said to Wes.  Pretty sternly, I guess.

Wes, being the guy that he is, moved in closer instead.  I had a towel over my eyes so that I didn’t have to watch everyone watching me give birth.  I heard him move but it didn’t sound like he left.  I lifted up the towel, looked him straight in the eye and repeated my directions, “Get out.”  And out he went.

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The midwife in training was sitting right beside the tub.  She kept clicking her pen.  Click. Click. Click. Click.  The sound was so irritating.  My aversion to that sound was not just a phenomenon of birth but a persistent pet peeve.  I remembered something that my mom told me: I could fire her if I wanted to.  And fire her I did.

I prayed a lot while in the tub. “Dude.  This is not what I was expecting.”  I remember praying this one specifically because I was shocked by how different the birth was as compared to my expectations.  I was expecting rainbows.  Double rainbows!  I wanted unicorns.  This was primal.  This was super intense.  This was…hard.

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{Eight and a half hours}  By this time, I have gotten out of the tub (with Wes’ help).  He came in to check on me or something.  I don’t really remember but I do remember that I needed him to get me out of the tub.  He’s strong.  I continued to labor by walking around (which was getting increasingly difficult to do).  The pain was in my back.  Yes.. PAIN.  It felt like when I had Valley Fever eating away at my spine and I was in constant pain.  It was like fierce, unquenchable achiness that could not be contained.  Not in my power.  Then Jenn, my doula, had the idea to use a scarf and tie it around my mid section.  When the pain would come, she, Dawn and/or Wes would pull on either side of the scarf to apply counter pressure.

The thing is that the counter pressure, while it relieved the back pain, seemed to make the contractions come on stronger.

Rebozo

{Twelve hours}  Yes.  It’s freaking morning…again.  The midwife checks to see how much I’ve dilated or progressed and the check, as usual, is both uncomfortable and painful and it makes the contraction come on again.  They would always wait until I was in a break in the contraction to check me even though the checking made me have a contraction.  I don’t really understand it but I’m sure there’s a method to the madness.  Maybe I asked the midwife to wait.  I don’t remember.

The midwife checks me and I’m still at 7 cm.  Not only that but there appears to be meconium in my fluid.  According to Medline Plus, meconium is the first stool that the baby releases.  This can sometimes be released into the fluid inside of the mother when births go past term or when the baby is under stress because the supply of oxygen and blood decreases.  I wasn’t past term.  As a matter of fact, now that it was morning again, I was actually laboring on my due date.  How cool is that?!

The meconium put the baby at even more risk than the long labor which more than likely caused the meconium to be released in the first place.  I need to transfer to the hospital.  The midwife looks me in the eye and says, “Sam, I know you don’t like to be told what to do but I really think you should get an epidural.”  I comply.  And, frankly, I was relieved that she suggested it.  I was going to receive relief soon.  If I was going to be in labor until kingdom come at least I would have some relief!

This was not my original “plan.”  Remember when I said that I wanted unicorns and double rainbows?  That wasn’t hyperbole.  During my entire pregnancy I tried to shield my ears from the terrible birth stories of people around me.  And, you know how willing women are to share their traumatic experiences when they see a pregnant woman as if said woman doesn’t have enough things on her mind.  I think I wrote about that before.  It’s a pet peeve.  It still is.

{Thirteen hours} We arrive at the hospital and are quickly admitted.  It felt like forever to me but, apparently, nurses were working at a record pace to get me in the system.   I’m so glad that the Birth Center had us go on a tour to the hospital!  I was admitted to the room that we saw during the tour.  That made me feel more comfortable.

The anesthesiologist had some issues with the epidural.  In fact, after two attempts, she was unable to place it.  Like seriously.  So, I had to wait…until 7 a.m. when the anesthesiologists changed shifts.  I had to wait through more intense contractions that seemed to have an even shorter break in between.  I think they said that the contractions were 180 seconds (sometimes longer) with 60 seconds in between and then they started to “even out” to 60 seconds with 120 seconds in between.  It felt more like 10 seconds in between but I guess I can’t argue.  I mean, they had me hooked up to a lot of high tech machines that knew what was going on inside of my body much more than I did.  Plus, I was sleep deprived.

The second anesthesiologist administered the epidural and still it takes two tries but he gets it on the second attempt.  I’m so grateful to him.  I needed the reprieve.  By 7 a.m., I had been in labor for 17 hours.  I never in a million years would have thought that I’d be one of those people with those terrible birth stories of having been in labor for days and days and days, yet, here I am.

{Twenty one hours}  The midwife comes in and checks me.  I don’t care this time because I won’t be able to feel it.  I also no longer care who sees me naked or half naked.  Birth has already changed me and I haven’t even finished the process yet.  Giving birth is freeing.

{Twenty two hours}  A doctor who works with the midwives at the Birth Center comes in to check me.  He says that I am 6-7 cm dilated.  So, basically, there hasn’t been a change in dilation since the previous day.  Even with the subjectiveness of the measurements, something needed to be done.  Pitocin is administered to try to “get things moving along.”

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{Twenty four hours}  The doctor and midwife come back to check me for what turns out to be the last time.  Even after the pitocin, there hasn’t been any change.  There is no way that Laila Grace will be born naturally.

After a little bit of discussion, we all decide that the best way for Laila Grace to enter the world will be via Caesarean section.  Wes was so curious during the C-section.  He actually stood up and watched the whole procedure (minus the initial incision).  He saw everything.  I was awake and could hear everything but I couldn’t see anything because of the curtain that they put up.  Kind of a big deal since Mr. Beard gets queasy with blood and such.

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On October 10 at 2:57 p.m., Wes and I were able to meet our remarkably strong, beautiful, lanky little girl: Laila Grace.

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{The adventure continues…}

Because of the extremely stressful labor, my positive Group B Strep test and the meconium that Laila Grace excreted into the waters, Baby Girl was admitted to NICU to get treatments of oxygen, antibiotics and for surveillance.  We were able to see her and touch her but this whole thing added a lot more stress to the birth situation. We prayed lots of prayers.  I cried lots of tears.  Both tears of joy and of tears of fear.LailainNICU

Every two-three hours, I went to NICU to visit Laila Grace.  Wes and I would sing to her, hold her, pray for her and have skin to skin time with our girl.  I didn’t have a good night of sleep until Sunday (October 12).  That’s when Laila was released from NICU.  Her blood sugars were finally stable and she no longer needed the oxygen treatment.  The skin to skin time did the trick…and the prayers, of course.

Another astonishing thing happened.  The nurses were concerned that Laila wasn’t eating and therefore wouldn’t be able to leave NICU.  One of the head nurses told me that they wanted to give my girl formula.  I refused.  Thinking quick on my feet, I asked about getting donated breast milk if Laila needed it.  The nurse didn’t really like my suggestion but she accepted it.  She had to.  I was the one in charge.  One of the lovely mamas from a breastfeeding group I found on Facebook, offered to give me milk for Laila.  We didn’t end up needing the milk but I was blown away by the generosity of strangers.  Everything came into place.

So, basically, things for Laila’s birth were most certainly not in my control.  I CAN say that it was what I needed.  Why?  Because I needed to learn to go with the flow so that I can be content in this phase of my life.  This phase where I am not doing the thing I planned on doing (teaching) but am doing the thing I never in my wildest dreams thought I could or would be capable of doing (parenting).  It’s easy to become dissatisfied with things going on in life when I feel out of control.  But I’m not in control and I never have been.  All of my steps have been ordered by Someone greater than me.  He knew what I needed.  He knew my capabilities and He still called me to do this… now… for Laila Grace.

Wes came across this a very interesting post on the meaning of our girl’s name.  It stated that, “Lailah represents strength where there is darkness.”   And, one of my sister friends sent me this text:

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My girl has got a big mission from God.  A task that only she can complete.  She is the instrument through which God will help me learn to let go and go with the flow.  I will also learn about grace.  God’s grace.  To both accept it and to give it freely.  I’m glad I didn’t get the unicorns and double rainbows.  I got something much better: Grace personified.

LailaGraceSmile

 

sam

 

*I used the notes from my doula, Jennifer Bultman, to outline the birth story.  If you’re interested in hiring a doula, consider contacting the doula I used: http://www.lightandlovedoula.wordpress.com.  To find a doula in your area, try http://www.doulamatch.net

I love you but I quit.

I’ve alluded to it but I’ll just come out and say it.  I quit.  This is my last week of teaching.  This is my last week of enlightening (or, rather, attempting to enlighten) my high school kids.  This is my last week of obsessing over the perfect lesson plans, worrying about how I can reach that one particular student, fretting over keeping up with things like putting grades in the electronic grade book or the always awkward parent/teacher conferences or even the pleasure of joking around with my kids all day.  I’m finished.

I’m grateful that I’m not jaded.  I LOVE my job.  Like a lot.  And I probably love my kids more than a teacher should.  But, the thing is that I’m a mommy now.  (I have become more comfortable with saying that I am a mommy rather than I’ll be a mommy.)  For me, teaching and parenting come from the same place in my heart.  There is no way that I’ll be able to teach the way I feel I need to teach and parent the way I feel I need to parent when I’m trying to stretch myself in both directions giving 100 percent in both places.  I. can’t. do. it.  I know I can’t.

This was not an easy decision.  I cried about it a lot.  I cried because I felt that I wasted my time attaining my dream: a college degree.  I cried because I never wanted this to be my life.  I cried because if I could have planned out every single thing that I would do/ accomplish/ experience in my life, quitting was not in my scope of vision.  Becoming a wife was not in my scope of vision.  Becoming a mother was not in my scope of vision.  Becoming a stay at home mother was most definitely not in my scope of vision.  I had other plans for my life.

““My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”” – Isaiah 55:8-9

The timing is perfect.  October.  The month of pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING! The changing of the seasons in nature as well as in my life.  Fall.  In literature, this season can symbolize the changing from youth to “a more mature part of life that is full of wisdom and knowledge…”   But it is also, “the harvest season[.] When the spoils of the year’s labor are gathered and plenty becomes visible for all eyes to see before much of it is put away in preparation for the leaner months.”   Leaner months of getting to know BB.  Getting to know myself as a parent.  Leaner months of watching Wes in his role as daddy.  It’s exciting.  It’s scary.  It’s my life.  I cannot believe that this is my life.

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One day, when I was hanging out with Dee, we had a little talk about the transition.  I explained how I was feeling. (I love how openly I can talk with her.  She really does know me very, very well.  Isn’t it amazing how God can make your best friends out of siblings?). Anyway, I was talking and she said something to the effect of why I am surprised that my life is taking these drastic turns.  She said it’s because this is how other people’s lives go.  Not my life.  This is the story book.  I’m living a dream and I’m not used to the things in my life turning out like they do in those feel-good movies.  In my life (and in my little sister’s life) there always seems to be that unexpected plot twist (except it’s not unexpected for us because it always happens…or, at least, it used to happen).

So… off I go to live my almost too-good-to-be-true life with my more than perfect husband and my new baby (due in three weeks).  It will be one heck of a ride.  Am I scared?  Heck yes.  Am I certain that this is what I’m supposed to do?  With all of my heart and soul.  Do I think it will be easy?  Not even.  But, I’m sure I’ll write about it because that’s what I do.  I’m actually really looking forward to this transition.  Phase two.

But what I’m not looking forward to is telling my students that I will not be back.  I will have to tell them the answer to the question that they have been asking me since they found out that I am pregnant.  I will have to tell them, “I love you but I quit.”

 

unstoppable

sam

Sam. Day thirteen.

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before.  The woman existed, but the mother, never.  A mother is something absolutely new.”  — Bhagwan Shrew Rajneesh

 

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Hands.  My hands.  Touching BB.

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Sam. Day seven.

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I’ve started this new thing where I read more than one book at a time. I like this new chaotic book reading method because I almost never get bored with what I’m reading. Some of these are books that I’ve read before and, others, I am digging into for the first time.

I also throw in some e-books into the mix because I really like getting books from the library instead of purchasing them all.

Books (and ebooks) I’m currently reading:

The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Only Pregnancy Book You’ll Ever Need Paula Ford- Martin, Britt Brandon, CFNS, CPT and others

Jesus Is ______. Judah Smith (I’m re-reading this one.  Can’t get enough!)

Tattoos of the Heart: the power of boundless compassion Gregory Boyle

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth Ina May Gaskin

Change Your Words, Change Your Life Joyce Meyer

What to Expect When You’re Expecting Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff, Sandee E. Hathaway, B. S. N.

Rain of Gold Victor Villaseñor (I’m re-reading this one.  The last time I read it, I was in high school… that was a longgggg time ago.)

 

E-books

The Confident Mom Joyce Meyer

Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom Lisa Jo Baker

The Social Animal David Brooks

 

 

Because everyone has a story.

anomaly [uh-nom-uh-lee]- a deviation from the common rule, type, arrangement, or form. Synonyms: abnormality, exception, peculiarity. 

“Anomaly.” Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 05 June 2014.

 

A very clichéd way to begin a work of writing is with a definition.  In my opinion, doing this means one of these things: 1) you have no idea what you really want to say, 2) your piece of writing has a length requirement that you a struggling to meet or, 3) you think your reader is stupid.  As a rule, I NEVER allow my students to begin their essays with definitions. It’s a rule. But I digress…

There is a social media movement going on right beneath our noses. A movement where people tell a snippet of their testimony using the hashtag #anomaly. This hashtag has been seen on such platforms as Instagram (you can find me here and Dee here), Twitter (you can find me here) and even on Facebook. Go ahead, look up the hashtag and be blessed. Well, that is if the sharers did it right.

How can the sharers do “it” wrong? That’s probably what you’re thinking. There’s no way a testimony can be wrong…right? Well, actually, there is. In the Christian world, testimonies are supposed to point the hearer back to God. For example, “This and this and this happened…but God.” The testimony is not supposed to glorify the person giving the testimony; the testimony glorifies the one Who changes everything: God.  So, yes, we can do it wrong.

The Lord has revealed our righteousness.  Come and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God. Jeremiah 51:10 (NKJV)

Come and hear, all you who feared God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul. Psalm 66:16 (NKJV)

And in that day you will say: “Praise the Lord, call upon HIs name; decree His deeds among the peoples, make mention that His name is exalted.  Sing to the Lord, for He has done excellent things; this is known in all the earth…” Isaiah 12: 4, 5 (NKJV)

So, why did I start this post with a definition that seems to have nothing to do with what I’ve written about thus far? Well, I had a little trouble deciding which portion of my testimony to share with the #anomaly movement. Should I talk about being healed from the repercussions of the sickness that nearly cost me my life? Should I talk about my little miracle baby (even though I’m pretty sure you all are tired of hearing about my transformation to #mommymode)? Should I talk about the journey that God is walking me through to become the best possible wife to Wes? What should I talk about?

I looked through the hashtag and was really blown away by so many of the stories.  As of right now, on Instagram, there are 12, 931 postings.  Some are perfect and others are either 1) very self serving (personal ads for people’s startup businesses, radio shows, even for blogs… don’t worry, I didn’t do that.  It would be SO hypocritical!), or 2) they don’t actually talk about something that is an anomaly… (which is kind of the point).  I was slightly annoyed and I talked to Wes about people “doing it wrong” and THAT is the reason that I began this blog entry with a definition.

Here are some of my bloopers and out takes before I decided what to share. I wanted to make sure that my #anomaly story didn’t glorify me instead of God…even if it doesn’t blatantly say that God did it (my readers are smart).  And, yes, I had trouble with the correct spelling of anomaly. Kind of embarrassing.

First, there was the brainstorm:

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Then I had to make a decision as to which one to keep.  But, first, I had to figure out how to spell “anomaly.”

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I finally figured out how to spell “anomaly”…

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but then I decided that I could do a lot better than talking about Valley Fever AND I didn’t want to talk about running because I felt that was self-serving like, “Look at me!  I’m a Black girl who runs!  Did you know that Black girls don’t run?!  I’m so freaking cool!” (I’ll save those posts for Instagram.) … – and isn’t my testimony supposed to be ALL about me? … [that was sarcasm]…

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I’m still not sure why I scratched the previous one but I plowed forth!

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…and forgot how to spell, again.  I need to read more books! And, then I hit the mother load:

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But I decided that I didn’t need to say that part about marriage and interventions… So here’s the story I decided to tell:

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I think that about sums it up.  I’m still attempting to write the post about how this all came about (here’s a good place to start).  The miracle baby.  The running.  The Valley Fever.   I really don’t know how God does the miraculous things He does.  I just love to hear the stories about His greatness.  #ANOMALY

 

sam

Love notes to BB.

Dearest BB,

Happy 20th week of gestation!  We’re just that much closer to meeting you!  It’s scary and exciting at the same time that we’re more than halfway there.  You’re the game changer.  That may seem like a lot of pressure but it’s really not.  I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life but it turns out that there are other plans…better plans.  Plans that I couldn’t have imagined six months ago even!

I never thought that I was cut out for motherhood even though I’m bossy and I guess in some ways, nurturing.  The thought of having my own children was always a scary idea for me.  The way that I dealt with this fear in the past was to believe that it was impossible for me to mother children.  I fostered this idea for so long time, I decided that I “didn’t want” children and if I did become a mother, it would be by way of adoption.  Easy fix.  No disappointment.

You, my child, have changed that.  Your pending arrival is turning me into a woman that I never thought I’d be.  I’m grateful.  I’ll spend the rest of my days being the best mommy to you that I can possibly be.  The scary part is I have no idea what that will look like.  How life will be modified.  How behaviors will be adapted.  It will not be easy but it will be worth it… for you, BB.

LoveNotesto Baby

Pride.

I never knew that I was prideful about my job until I went to a baby shower a few weeks back.  The women were all sitting around talking.  Mostly making small talk.  The worst.  Finally someone talked to me (I don’t really like talking to strangers).  She asked me what my husband did for work.  I told her.  And then she said something, she asked me if I stayed at home.  My reply, “Ummmm… no.  I’m a teacher.”   It made me feel so good to say that.  But why?  I felt good knowing that I had a job “outside of the home” even though I have quite a few friends who are blessed and happy to be stay at home moms.  While I respect them, I just never thought the stay-at-home gig was for me.

Flash forward to Easter Sunday.

As of today, I’m 15.5 weeks pregnant.  But when I got dressed for church today, I put on a long fitted t-shirt and a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans.  I told Wes, “I don’t look pregnant today.  Just pudgy.”  His response, “You look beautiful.”  He’s so good for my ego but I wish I always felt beautiful.  Like if I could harness the way that he looks at me and see myself that way, it would be freaking awesome!  It can’t be that hard… can it?

I didn’t think anymore about it until we got to church and I started rambling:

“I mean, I guess it’s good that I’m not noticeably pregnant yet.  I don’t want to gain a lot of weight.  It’s just that before I started exercising, people would always ask me when the baby was due or if I was pregnant.  That was part of the reason that I started wanted to walk for exercise and eat more consciously.  Now, that I am actually pregnant and I’m not pudgy with just fat, I want people to notice.  I don’t want them to think it’s normal.  I mean, ask me when my baby’s due.  Pleaseeeeee.”

And there’s the pride.  Pride about my job.  My career.  Pride about my looks and the pudge that I worked really, really hard to get rid of.  Pride.  Always showing up when I least expect it.

pride

 

sam

Liar, liar. Pants on fire.

personality

Lies are one thing I can’t stand.

Have I ever told a lie? Yes. Many times. Do I regret it? Yes. The thing is that once a person hears something over and over, they start to believe it. Growing up, my mom always told me how smart I was and I believed it. This worked out for me since I’m a teacher now and I’ve got some education under my belt but the issue I have with this is what about the other good qualities that I possessed that she didn’t highlight?

Did she tell me I was pretty or cute or even beautiful? No. Did she tell me that I was giving and generous? No. As far as I knew, the only thing that I had “going for me” were my smarts. I can’t really say that I blame my mom. I think she was trying to find something, anything positive that she could point out to me to make me feel special…maybe there weren’t very many good things about me from her perspective.

Was she attempting to scar me? No. Did she know she had the potential of scarring me? Probably not. But I gave my mom lots of power because she was the most powerful person that I knew. So whatever she said, I believed because…why would she lie to me? I didn’t set about writing this post to talk about parents. What I wanted to touch on was lies. How they impact people.

Another thing people lie about?   Being happy for others when they accomplish something.  Am I guilty of this one?  You’d better believe it.  It’s not really that I’m lying, it’s that I’m happy with a twinge of jealousy.  So, that may be lying but I’m not entirely certain yet.  I’m in this really weird place where I’m not accomplishing any goals.  But I’ve been trying not to have any goals so that I can give myself a break.  That’s a story for another day.  The stories that I’m most jealous of are my friends who are accomplishing lots of fitness goals.  I’m happy for them and the cool, new things that they are finding that they are capable of but I’m also jealous.  I’m jealous that they’re doing all of this cool stuff while I’m just here pregnant and trying not to eat every single thing that I can get my hands on.  Haha!  Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way feeling sorry for myself but I feel the need to just sort of let this out.  What better way than in a public forum that holds my vulnerability up for scrutiny?  Isn’t that fun?!

It’s nice to end a blog entry with a nice, new piece of wisdom that I’ve discovered about the topic that I’m covering but I don’t have any wisdom.  I just know that there’s still a lot of work that needs to be completed within me so that I can truly be happy for people (including my friends) without being jealous.  And I don’t want to feel as though I am lying when I congratulate them on their accomplishments.

 

 

 

sam

Why?!?!?!?!?!?!

Image

Now that I’m pregnant, I’ve noticed the negative little comments that people make about parenthood and motherhood and pregnancy.  Can I just ask why all the negativity?  Some of us are embarking on new territories and don’t need our impressionable minds filled with pessimistic ideas about parenting.  Like, seriously.

Pregnancy:

I wear a nice dress with some pretty tall wedge shoes and the comments that I get aren’t anywhere along the lines of “you look so cute!”  They’re more like, “you’d better enjoy wearing those shoes now because soon you won’t be able to…”  Like, what the freaking heck?!

Or, people ask how I’m feeling and I say that I haven’t been sick just tired and people -instead of rejoicing- say, “wow!  Really? I puked for the first 6 months of all of my pregnancies!” or something along those lines.

Parenthood:

“You’d better be careful or your baby is gonna be just as snarky as you are.”  -Or- a lecture that I somehow fell victim to while talking to my dad on the telephone:

“Some things you just don’t understand until you’re a parent.  Once you’re a parent you’ll see why your mother and I did the things that we did with you and your siblings…” Maybe, he’s got a point… but maybe he doesn’t. -Or-

“You’d better get all the sleep you can now because you won’t be sleeping once the baby comes!!!”

 

I’m not even going to mention the other unsolicited parenting advice or the warnings to make sure that I exercise so that I don’t get fat. It’s like really?  I exercise pretty consistently and have for quite some time now, I think I’ve kinda sorta got this under control…sort of.  It’s not that I’m against receiving advice it’s just that (as my mom says), “everybody’s an expert.”  Maybe it’s a pride thing that I don’t want everyone telling me what to do or maybe it’s not.

Keep in mind that I have gotten some pretty good advice (when I’ve been open to receiving it) and some great encouragement about birth and the process and the whole miracle of it.  I’ve also bought some pretty stellar books such as Jackie Mize’s Supernatural Childbirth (recommended to me by two of my friends on two separate occassions) and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (I watched a documentary on Netflix called The Business of Being Born and this one was talked about a lot).  

I wanna just say that God is pretty awesome for making our bodies the way that He did.  And equipping us with the tools that we need to have pain free births.  Supernatural births.  But, it seems that for me, the things that seem to stay at the forefront of my mind are the negative things.  That kind of makes me angry.

 

sam