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How time flies! Back in my first trimester, baby was so small and tiny, and delivery day seemed so far away. There was still that nagging feeling of “what if something happens to baby while he’s so fragile?”, and even as we talked about plans and child training and home birth, the reality of it actually walking through it all was always “later in the future”.
Now reality is upon us! Today baby is 38 weeks old and, at least physically, pretty much ready to meet the world. In celebration of greeting week 37 last weekend, the warmer weather, and our general enjoyment of capturing special moments together as a couple (WE’RE HAVING A BABY!), we did our maternity shoot around Peoria. I’ve included my favorites from our session below. Technically I should have scheduled the shoot for about 2 months earlier when I wasn’t quite so huge, but who wants to take photos in dirty snow with their noses running?
This pregnancy has gone fairly well, and we are so very thankful. I recently read a blog post including photos of a 14 week old baby who was miscarried, and showed the photos to my husband, both of us in awe over the perfection and details of the tiny life that was lost so young… the parents having to say goodbye as soon as they said hello. I found myself in tears as I felt our son move inside of me, realizing how often I have taken for granted God’s protection over our baby these past 9 months.
I would definitely have to say that the first trimester was the hardest; with feeling sick, having a hard time eating, being more tired and sleeping a lot, and dealing with inflammation that caused some pretty intense lower back/hip pain. Thankfully once I moved past that, the 2nd trimester was great, and the third has only brought the normal little complaints that simply mean I’m carrying a chubby human being inside of me!
Ashton has been wonderful throughout the pregnancy, allowing me to rest and sleep in, doing the dishes as my belly makes it difficult to reach across the sink (who knew?), being patient with my changing needs and desires, and talking through everything baby-related with me so that we’re both in the decision process together… even decisions like which brand of changing pad to get for the nursery.
The past month in preparation for baby, I finished up teaching the last session of ballet/exercise classes I had been doing with moms and daughters once a week. I’m really glad I was able to teach throughout my pregnancy- it was refreshing to get myself out of the house even when I wasn’t feeling well, and a good motivation to try to workout when I could… plus I just had fun with the ladies in class!
We also attended two baby showers and received so many adorable, lovely things for baby! Unpackaging, washing and folding all the blankets and clothes was so much fun as I freaked out over how tiny and adorable everything was… and the fact that my own little baby will be filling out those clothes very soon.
Our prenatal visits have gone very well, and we are so excited to be having a home birth. We love our midwife, our doula, and the fact that (Lord willing, barring any need to transfer) I will be able to labor and we’ll be able to bring our son into the world in a peaceful, familiar and natural environment. We are blessed to have supportive family and friends throughout the process of planning the best we can for baby… desiring to be natural but wise, and are confident that the Lord will give us wisdom in each decision as I deliver baby, and as we raise him. God’s providence, I think, is such a huge source of peace and comfort as we look ahead to the huge responsibility of caring for and raising our child.
I’m still in shock that we’re so close to meeting him. It’s also weird to think about going into labor soon, because I haven’t had any braxton hicks at all throughout this pregnancy, and other than a few aches and pains, really have nothing with which to liken oncoming labor to. The idea of going from “normal” to “get-this-baby-out-mode” in a short amount of time is rather odd. Right now, though, I’m just hoping my water doesn’t break in Church… you know, right during the prayer time.
I’m so thankful that regardless of how long labor is, when it happens, or how difficult it may be, I know I’ll have my husband beside me to walk me through it. Plus, we’ve been to Bradley class, so he’ll know how to recognize signs of different stages in labor and help me (and him!) stay calm throughout the natural process even when it’s all so new. Husbands really are the best!
One thing I specifically appreciate- and so desperately need from my husband- is his constant and genuine affirmation of me as my body is changing. Especially with a dancer’s background, it’s been more difficult than I thought it would be to reconcile the fact that my body will never be the same again. I always KNEW this about pregnancy and motherhood, and that it is so, so worth the changes… but of course reality is always different on the other side of the fence.
Even as I want to take care of my body, this temple for the Lord, as best I can, I know there will be increasing demands on my sleep, energy… goodness, even my wardrobe will be greatly affected (challenged? slimmed down?) as I enter the world of nursing. Believe it or not, this can be a huge emotional hurtle for someone who likes her affordable, flattering, and wide range of clothing options!
I also have to be careful not to look at photos of myself pre-pregnancy or I’ll feel like a whale with no hope of ever wearing pencil skirts again. But through all of this, my husband blesses me by not just being okay with the changes, but appreciating them! It does this proud heart good to catch him looking fondly at my giant belly, or looking for stretch marks because they’re “badges of honor”, or still finding me sexy… and to humbly realize that my standard of beauty is not God’s, and my husband’s delight over my changing body is a special way He uses to strip me of my pride and self-imposed standards of false perfection.
It’s a lesson I know I’ll need to keep on learning in the years ahead. My body is not my own! And when I realize and fully embrace His calling to give up of myself for my family (what greater privilege could there be!) I know in the end, I will be blessed in return.
We are so in awe of this gift the Lord has given us, and we can’t wait to see our son’s face, to hold him, to study his tiny features. The whole picture of raising him, teaching him, guiding him and being good and godly examples seems so impossibly overwhelming… until I bring myself back to the present and realize that God in His mercy only gives us one day at a time. And I know each day as a mommy, whether hard or easy, sweet or monotonous, will be precious.
Only a few more weeks!