the waiting game

Image

So, it’s Thursday April 3, 2014.

The day before our due date.

I have officially been on maternity leave for the past two days and have been waiting for our little girl to make her grand entrance into this world since Tuesday. I never knew waiting could be so hard and so frustrating at times. We are literally out of baby preparedness things to do and it’s starting to become difficult to think of things I can do around here to keep myself occupied and productive. I am a person that has a really hard time sitting, relaxing, and being patient. Even when I take a vacation I always find myself taking the first couple of days before my brain will let me actually relax.

It’s so funny because I feel like I have been waiting and waiting for certain milestones, these big check point dates to come and go and show our progress through this whole pregnancy journey.

-I remember counting down the days until we could finally announce our pregnancy to friends and family. Making it to 12 weeks seemed like such a long wait and the two days that we finally started telling people was such a relief.

-Then there was the countdown to the second trimester. Waiting for the magical date that would signal brighter, less nauseated days ahead and hopefully a little bump to prove I was actually pregnant.

-On to the countdown to finding out the gender. Proving that my husband was and has always been right that our first baby would be a little girl.

-And then there was the count down to spring break, when I decided I would use the break to finish preparing our nursery and getting things ready in case she decided to make an early arrival.

-Then I counted down the days to my maternity leave and hoping and praying that I would make it to March 31st so that I could have everything in my classroom ready for my sub and my students prepared for my impending leave.

-And here we are… counting down the days to when this little one may or may not decide on her own to show up. This is the hardest wait of all.

But this is just another example of one of the many instances God has made me wait on His timing. Who knew that someone so small could teach someone such big things? It’s crazy to think how much I have learned from this girl in these past 9 months and how much more there is to learn. It’s crazy to think that we have made it through so many milestones and yet there are so many ahead and how more often than I would like to admit – I wasn’t ever sure we would make it all the way to the end. At times I feel like I just can’t wait to meet her, but if it means waiting for the best and most beautiful person I have ever met…I can wait, but at least I know my heart is ready.

*photo by Kate Love Photography

bumpdate: 37 weeks

Image

If I am being completely honest, this photo is from last weekend so technically its a 36 week bump. However, I have already changed into my comfy pants for the evening and I’d rather my husband NOT document my leggings-and-oversized-t-shirt bump at the moment. Not nearly as cute.

This past week was spring break (continuing on tomorrow because my school district is being the nicest) and was used to the fullest to interview pediatricians, continue daycare tours, and prep for the little lady. Nursery things are pretty much established, gifts are placed, laundry done-ish, and our hospital bag is FINALLY packed. I have definitely been feeling the need to waddle more at the end of the day and that she is sitting lower that usual. I experienced a few fairly strong contractions this week and a pretty tight belly. All was well at my appointment last week and we are hoping for another good report tomorrow! It’s just crazy that we are down to weekly appointments now and that things are getting so real. I can’t believe this pregnancy is almost over. It really has flown by in a lot of ways. We are so ready to meet this little one – but also super anxious and nervous. Any and all thoughts and prayers greatly appreciated!

showers on showers on showers

This past weekend we had our LAST baby shower! We are so fortunate to have so many different groups of friends and family that were all willing to throw us sweet celebrations as we prepare for this little girl. When we first started accepting shower offers I didn’t think that five would feel like so many – but by the time we reached this past weekend I was pretty tired. But like I said, even through the exhaustion we had a fabulous time at each and every shower and it is already abundantly clear how loved this little girl is! Here are a few snaps from our showers over the past couple of months. Starting with an adorable The Very Hungry Caterpillar themed shower thrown by my mother-in-law and aunt-in-law in NOLA, followed by a shower put on by our college ministry friends, a triple baby shower to celebrate THREE new baby girls in our Lifeteen Core Member group, my sweet school shower that was put on by my team, and last but not least a shower that was thrown by one of my dearest high school friends and sister in Dallas. (Are you tired after reading that list? Just think about my cankles that have started to swell!)IMG_0279 IMG_0294 IMG_0288 IMG_0552 IMG_0547 IMG_0545 IMG_0333 IMG_0593 IMG_0713 IMG_0708 IMG_0695 IMG_0691 IMG_0686 IMG_0658 IMG_0653 IMG_0647 IMG_0632 IMG_0601IMG_0593

to teach or not to teach

…these are the two options that have been frequenting my thoughts for the past 8 (almost 9) months.

This is a post that has been sitting in my drafts for a long while because I wasn’t sure if this was something I should post about. If this was something that I should share with the internet because of the people I do and don’t know who read this blog. But lately I have been thinking about it more (for obvious-upcoming-birth reasons) and have also felt the need to finish my thoughts and hit publish. I have also been confronted with this topic more and more the closer we get to meeting this little girl and I realize that this is something that EVERY woman-becoming-a-mother must think about in some capacity.

I haven’t really openly talked about my options for next year much aside from conversations with my (wonderful, patient, etc.etc.) husband because I don’t think I have really known what I want for this next year or what my opinions on working vs. not working were. I don’t like talking about big life changes when I don’t really have an answer to give because I feel that it leaves me feeling others unfulfilled or worried. Basically, the decision is mine. We are fortunate enough to be at a place where I am able to consider my options and really weigh both as equally as possible. (However, to clear up any questions – the final verdict is still out and I am nowhere near making any sort of decision at the moment.)

This weekend we had dinner with an old college friend who just had her second (adorable) little boy and once again I was asked, “So, what are you going to do about next year???” She is a fellow teacher and decided to stay at home after being confronted with a series of decisions after their first son was born almost two years ago. She is definitely an advocate for taking the time off to get to know your kiddos and kept talking up their whole situation and choice. That night, instead of leaving with a feeling of confirmation or being able to side one way or another I left feeling torn. Honestly, I was a little frustrated because I had been doing such a great job pushing these thoughts to the back of my mind for so long and there I was having to think about them again. No one likes thinking about hard decisions.

It left me asking myself why. Why do I feel so torn? Where is my mind on all of this? Where is my heart?It also left me asking my husband what his opinions were. Which as awful as it might sound is something I had yet to do…or I at least I hadn’t been giving his thoughts a fair chance.

A part of me is completely unaware of what my husband and I are about to get ourselves into. We have a vague concept of babies and are both so excited about this next venture in life – but at the end of the day we have no clue what to expect. I don’t know how I am going to feel when I finally meet this little person, I don’t know how my body is going to be effected, I don’t know if everything will go smoothly or if there will be some bumps along the way. I don’t honestly know if I feel really, truly comfortable not being around my kid for the majority of the day and letting some other person bond with her.

On the other hand I look at where I have come in these past three years of teaching. All that I have learned, all that I have grown to love about my career choice and I wonder…am I throwing it all away? To stay home? To…just. be. a. mom. Why can’t I be one of those people who is so completely in love with this concept of being a stay at home mom? Will I be seen as lazy by friends, family, coworkers, parents of current and former students, my boss? Just because there is a part of me that wants to be with my family? This school year has been tough. Pregnancy aside, I would have to say that this year has challenged my philosophies on education more than any other year and for once I’m not entirely sure where I stand. Where do I go from here? I have always been very open and honest with myself and others that I have never wanted to stay in the classroom forever. I have always had thoughts of pursuing higher education, possibly obtaining a masters in counseling, looking into other career opportunities with kids, etc. But just I don’t know right now and to say that this is something that completely terrifies me is a huge understatement.

There are so many people I have talked to since announcing our pregnancy that have shared their thoughts and feelings. Both working and nonworking moms alike have been very open and honest with me about their personal feelings on this subject and that no matter what our decision is in the end everyone has assured me with the same sentiment: all that truly matters is what’s best for our family. I just wish I knew what was best for our family right now. I’m really looking forward to this time in Lent to focus on this big question and seeking some clarity and answers. I think the Gospel reading during mass yesterday said it perfectly and that really even if I never receive full confirmation one way or another – I can’t waste my time worrying right now:

“Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?”

Mt. 6:24-34

IMG_0620

embracing motherhood: when I found out I was a mom

One of the definitions of the word embrace is: accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically. These are a few thoughts on motherhood and how I am embracing it in my life or rather how it is embracing me.

We found out we were pregnant the day after getting home from a celebratory weekend honoring our one year anniversary. We stayed at a local historic hotel and ventured around the downtown/uptown area of our city. We went out to eat, walked, adventured, and even went on a brewery tour (perfect timing eh?;) to reminisce our first year in this crazy, wonderful sacrament. It was an absolutely perfect weekend and I think about it often.

But that weekend I was feeling a little funny, and the day we were leaving the hotel I knew something was wrong. We ventured down to the hotel restaurant to grab a bite before checking out. When I looked at my delicious breakfast that consisted of the two largest pieces of bacon I have ever laid eyes on (bacon is by far my favorite food group, close runners up are chocolate and diet coke, you can call me the queen of healthy)…and I couldn’t stand the thought of eating them. Let the red flags abound!

We had been talking about starting our family all summer and we were both open to the opportunity of a new life within the coming year. We thought it would be the perfect time – financially, emotionally, physically – we were as “ready” to enter into parenthood as we would ever be so…we went for it.

After tossing my beloved (yet at the time disgusting) bacon aside and finishing up breakfast we drove home. When we walked back into our little apartment, I had this tugging at my heart telling me I needed to take a pregnancy test. However, being the paranoid newly wed that I was I had a pretty good stockpile going because every month I just KNEW I was pregnant.   As Eric was unloading the car I popped into the bathroom and  humbled myself to the little stick. This time the feeling felt different. It wasn’t the. “I think I am, I think I am, I think I am…but I know I’m really not.” It was, “I don’t know if I am…what if I am? Is this it?”

So then I did it. I took the test. Turned it over so I wouldn’t peek and waited for what really was the longest 3 minutes of my life. I heard Eric come into our room while I was waiting and I just knew he was probably suspicious of what I was doing because I had been in there for an eternity (re: 1.5 minutes had passed by).

Then what do you know…an extra little blue line that had never been on any test I had taken before. Happy Anniversary mom and dad!

IMG_0635

After I took 1 more test (I mean ClearBlue is pretty much fool proof – there are no lines to decode just prego or no) I came out of the bathroom to find Eric laying on our bed looking at his phone. Because of our recent baby talk I of course had been scheming of really obnoxiously cute and adorable ways to tell him there was a little resident in my womb – when the day came. Little did I know that my overly compulsive, word vommitting self would just not have cute and adorable that day because I blurted it out then and there that we had ourselves an anniversary present!

Those first few days, scheduling a doctors appointment, confirming the little blue lines, it was all so full of love and emotion and dear lord was it full of hormones. I just remember thinking – do I want this? yes. do I want this? I don’t know. can I handle this? absolutely not. do I want this? yes.

So here I am…on the verge of 31 weeks and still asking myself if I can handle this but my heart wants nothing more. There are days where I know my soul embraces motherhood full force, thinking about nothing else but the excitement I feel when I think about this girl. But there are days where I think… I can’t do this. I’m so young. What were we thinking? If I’m being completely honest with myself (and who ever deems this blog worthy reading material) today was a day that fell with the latter sentiment.  After finishing up our birth and childcare class last night I left thinking – what. am.  I. DOING? I can’t even swaddle a baby! How am I going to keep this tiny person alive for more than an hour by myself? How am I going to work and mother at the same time? Baby poop has the most variations of poops I have ever seen! Feeding times! Sleep times! Trying to get sleep yourself! HOLY. COW.

It’s days like today where I like thinking about the day I found out we were pregnant. A day where nothing else mattered but the love between God and my husband and me. A day that had it’s doubts and worries but above all else it was the day where I had to truly start embracing this whole mom thing…and to think, it’s only the beginning.