The calm (and the crazy) before baby

Pregnancy has been a beautiful experience. As I approach week 39, I’m simultaneously wishing for time to both speed up and slow down.

On one of our many walks around Cathedral Hill as of late.

On the one hand, I’ve somewhat reached that point where I’m physically ready to be not pregnant. I’ve had a fairly easy pregnancy with very little aches and pains (and I’m grateful!), but I am looking forward to…not…being…pregnant :). I also just want to meet this baby! He’s been moving, shaking, and kicking all this time and I’m just so excited to see what he looks like, to hold him, to get to know him!

Before the rain, wind, & snow washed away [most of] the pretty fall colors.
Then there’s the other part of me that is soaking up all this time with just me and Kevin. Our marriage always comes first and while we’ve longingly waited for this child, we’ve also been immensely blessed with 3 1/2 years of just us. We’ve had some legitimate struggles during that time, and we’ve learned to cope (and THRIVE) through it all. God has lead us to a place of such joy in our marriage, and while I know there is greater joy ahead, there is a twinge of sadness in these last days of Katie & Kevin.

Ultimately, though, we are [as] ready for parenthood [as we’ll ever be]. Enough talking about this mystery child and time to meet him!

During the last several months, we’ve had loooong to-do lists that only seem to grow. There’s something about having your first child that makes you realize “oh we need to do X before he comes.” There will always be all the things, but as of a few weeks ago we finally feel like we’ve done the absolutely necessary tasks. Now we are just relaxing (as much as we ever really relax) and awaiting his arrival.

What have we been doing in these final days? Oh ya know, going on all the dates we can at our my favorite places – taking advantage of being able to eat a few more things (which basically means some dairy)  before I go back to a stricter paleo diet. We also may have gone through Stranger Things Season 2 a little bit too quickly/immoderately. #noregrets #sortof #mvpsteveharrington

And before it got too cold (I don’t have a winter coat that fits over my belly), lots of walks – the hallmark activity of our family. We’ve dabbled with going outside this past week, but don’t make it super long since 30 degree weather and all.

Finally, just a little praise for my husband. He’s been a total rockstar throughout this pregnancy. Infertility was a struggle for both of us, but adding a new person to our family comes with it’s own [exciting] challenges. During this time, we’ve made a lot of decisions that will have a large impact on our family, not the least of which being to pursue Kevin’s business around both his sacred art and education. We’re not quite sure how long it will take to see some fruits of this venture, but we’re confident that this is what God is asking of us. So while Kevin has been working hard on laying this foundation (which is not a 9-5 thing), he’s also been doing like a million other things to make my life easier and to prepare our little Nazareth for the coming of this baby. Love you, Kevin!

Pregnancy Progress: 34 Weeks

I haven’t documented this pregnancy much – not sure why! Maybe because in the beginning I was hesitant to get too attached given our loss a couple years ago. Then I was in that awkward weight gain period for a while where i just looked super bloated – definitely not the “cute pregnancy” look. But here we are – I’ve made it substantially through the third trimester and life is pretty wonderful! So I’m just here to make sure some details of this joyous time are put into words.

Early Pregnancy

  • We found out we were pregnant on March 7th – feast of Sts. Perpetua & Felicity. It was a Tuesday morning, and I took the test before Kevin woke up – I like to surprise him like that. Surprised he was.
  • I continued to take pregnancy tests for five days in a row until I actually believed I was pregnant. They stayed lined up in the bathroom so I could confirm they were getting darker.
  • That cycle was the first in a long while that I thought there might be a possibility of conceiving. Many thanks to a combination of a fantastic surgeon (now my OB), a wonderful naturopathic doctor, a miraculous Arvigo massage therapist, a perfectly supportive husband who helped me to persevere, many prayers from friends & family, and, of course, our great & merciful God.
  • We had an early ultrasound given my history, and the doc found a subchorianic bleed, which made me all nervous (he didn’t seem concerned). It ended up resolving itself by the next ultrasound two weeks later. (For those who may encounter this and it turns out to be a real issue – my clinic administers progesterone to help!)
  • From the time our doctor confirmed the pregnancy (same doc that performed my surgery – he’s the best), I was put on progesterone injections as a precaution (again, given my history). True love is your husband giving you a shot twice a week in your lower behind.

Getting in my pregnancy groove

  • First trimester was not always the most fun, despite being so grateful for this little life. Looooots of nausea, crazy exhaustion, awful bloating. The hardest part was adhering to my strict diet when most of the foods I ate on a daily basis made me sick (ie: meat & veggies). So my NP suggested I introduce a few things back in during pregnancy, since the immune system lets up a bit during this time (I don’t have a harsh autoimmune disease, so temporary adjustments shouldn’t cause major problems postpartum). I began eating cheese, occasional goat milk yogurt, eggs, nuts, and some gluten free items (since we knew that I tolerate rice & corn okay). It was trial & error at first as I realized there were still some things that really didn’t agree with me, but for the most part it’s been alright.
  • I gained most of my pregnancy weight (or so I think – I see to have plateaued a bit in these past few weeks) in the first 20 weeks. In the first trimester alone, I gained 15 pounds! I attributed it to the addition of dairy into my diet, but looking back it may just be the way my body needed to adjust. In the third trimester, I’ve maybe gained 3 pounds so far? But back at 15 weeks, I was seriously concerned at what was going on haha.
  • Progesterone shots continued up to 20 weeks, at which point my levels were too high to justify continuing. So yay! It was a wonderful feeling to dispose of all those needles in the Whole Foods bathroom (they have a proper disposal there, I didn’t just choose a random place to trash my materials.)
  • We went into the 20 week ultrasound CONVINCED we were having a girl. Even when the ultrasound tech pointed at his male parts, I stubbornly said “GIRL.” Kevin gave me a look, and the tech corrected me. We could not believe it. But it made our name choice far easier because girl names are just too much fun.
  • Little boy began kicking – like, truly kicking – at 17 weeks. Kevin could even feel it. We spent a few weeks just laying in bed each night with Kevin reading The Hobbit to our baby and waiting for the kicks to start. It was perfect.
  • About halfway through pregnancy, my skin – which had been giving me problems for the past 3-4 years – completely cleared up. When I met with my NP, we were able to finally conclude that YES a lot of my health issues have been primarily hormonal, which is helpful knowledge as we prepare to navigate postpartum life.

Third Trimester

  • The week I entered the third trimester, sleep became my battle zone. I mean, I’d been used to waking up throughout the night to pee the entire pregnancy, but now I started getting sore legs! I’ve been able to alleviate the issue with additional magnesium via a nightly spray, but it’s still the one major discomfort of pregnancy. And even that, though, I can live with. I’m tremendously grateful for a fairly easy pregnancy, particularly at this point.
  • We invested in a birthing ball, which I’ve been sitting on at work at least 50% of the time. But boy, it’s hard work! My shoulders are not used to that kind of workout. Clearly my posture needs improvement.
  • I’ve been indulging in grain-free pizza a bit more than I probably ought. I’m somewhat taking advantage of this time of life with dairy. Because once baby is born, it’s back to the old ways! I’ve been slowly filling up our freezer with compliant meals/snacks for postpartum, which I’m actually quite excited for. It’ll be nice to go back to having set rules, as much as I’ll miss ma cheese.
  • We’ve taken a few classes: natural childbirth (Amma), newborns 101 & breastfeeding (Amma), abdominals after birth (Blooma – just me). We’ve also read a few books between the both of us, and been practicing and preparing extensively for the big event (which, in the end, is somewhat out of our control). We are very well-versed on pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding…but like, life with a newborn and what we do besides feed him…we have no clue. We shall take it as it comes!

I’m still a bit overwhelmed at all of the “to-do’s,” BUT I’m also joyfully awaiting the big day. What NEEDS to get done will be done, and everything else we will just have to take in stride. It’s hard to believe he could literally be here in like four weeks. We are so thrilled and so grateful and so humbled that God has given us this great gift, in His perfect time. I could write a book about the providence of God’s timing, but I will spare you. Know that it is good.

7QT: third trimester & other things

Linking up with Kelly!

1 // I’ve made it to the third trimester! I’m 30 weeks! I still can’t believe we’re this far along and will be meeting our baby boy this fall. I have a loooong to-do list of things before he gets here, but I’m also quite ready to just enter into that stage of life and let what happens happen.Also, our little boy is QUITE active! And I loooooove it. He has been kicking pretty consistently (with great strength) since 17 or 18 weeks. This past week he was a bit quieter, but then Kevin began reciting some movie lines from his favorite films one night and little boy was back to his normal self.

2 // COLDPLAY COLDPLAY COLDPLAY! We saw Coldplay for the second time a few weeks ago, this time in Minneapolis AND with floor seating. It was quite the experience. It seemed like a much more chill concert than Philly, and I really loved it. I was amazed how close we were to them – what a gift. They are so unbelievably talented – the absolute greatest performers.

3 // Kevin and I spent a week in August in San Diego on vacation with my family. It was so great seeing everyone, especially my two nieces! They are both almost 2, which is SUCH a sweet age. Seeing them interact with each other was incredible. They understand things and are trying to communicate (sometimes quite hilariously). I loved every second of it. One of the highlights for me was spending a day with Kevin and my younger sister going for a hike in Torrey Pines. I actually was not very thrilled in the moment (I blame pregnancy hormones), but it was a good day scattered about with cliffs, the beach, a random taco joint in an office park, and some of the best coffee I’ve ever had. All the while finding a bathroom every 30 minutes.

4 // I recently splurged on a maternity stitch fix and it was great. Pricey…but great. I was SUPER impressed at how well everything fit. I certainly would not have been able to get all that right on the first try with my growing body. I ended up keeping everything because of the discount for buying all items and the credit I had – it wouldn’t have made a difference to return two items. I got a super nice pair of jeans, a great top that will work postpartum as well, the best cardigan I’ve ever owned, and two dresses (both work well for work and weekend wear).

5 // We hit up the Minnesota State Fair last Friday night, and while there’s not a TON for me to do and eat there, it’s always a great experience. I can always count on French Meadow Bakery to cater to at least some of my needs (they had multiple gluten-free options that night), and I was quite satisfied with a visit to their location. Gluten-free donut holes filled with nutella & marshmallow – umm, yes please. We also always enjoy our time seeing the goats. Love me the goats.

6 // One of my favorite things as of late is my new planner: Orderly Days by Motherhood Press. I have tried so many planners over the years. Some have worked well, and then I was unable to get the same one the following year. I love the Blessed is She planner, but unfortunately it didn’t really work out for my particularly needs last year and ended up sitting in my work desk most of the time, unused. Orderly Days is a very manageable size, and totally customizable. It has seven sections, so one part can be my monthly/weekly planner, one for work, one for our new business (more to come!), one for spiritual notes/journaling, and more. I really love it. I also love that I’m not restricted with what I put in there. I hole punch any printables that tickle my fancy and add them in where appropriate. I’m still figuring out how it’ll best work day-to-day, but it is a big YES in my book! Highly recommended!

7 // On Labor Day, Kevin and I visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, WI. We’ve been there once before, last fall, and have been eager to go back. It was a lovely & peaceful day. And while last year, we were praying for a little miracle, this year we could give thanks for that little miracle! Oh how much can change in a year!

1 Samuel 1:27-28

For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me my petition which I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.”

889 days. It was October 2014 when we decided to change up our NFP routine and actively try for children. It was sooner than we had originally intended, but it was clear that God had wanted us to get started…or at least try. After eight rough months, we did conceive a child who lived a short life here on earth, but is now our little one in heaven interceding for us. We continued to wait, pray, and work hard (surgery, elimination diets, lifestyle changes, somuchmore).

And PRAISE GOD! On March 7th, we found out that I was pregnant! While the wait was often not easy and many tears were shed, I could not be more grateful for how the Lord worked and for the timing of this gift. This trial has brought Kevin and I closer together, it has put our trust in the Lord to work, and it’s allowed us to take note of so many other blessings throughout these past few years that could easily have been overlooked.

Life is still a bunch of unknowns for us, but that’s okay. This pregnancy has been full of so much peace and a tremendous amount of joy. I know for certain this is the Lord’s work, and not mine (as much as I’d love to boast it is), because of these fruits. What shall we do for childcare? How will we financially thrive? What career changes might need to be made? Will our current living situation suffice? Will we survive without any family around? Lots of questions and no answers. But still, that’s okay. God’s grace is flowing and I have every confidence that these things will be figured out in due time. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” [Matthew 6:34]

Also, since so much time has passed on our wait (and yet, so little compared to what many couples experience), we’ve been blessed to witness many of our friends and family welcome babies (and second babies) into this world. We’ve seen our friends cope with tremendous obstacles during this season of life: military demands, life-changing prenatal diagnoses, cross-country moves and new jobs, postpartum anxiety/depression, and marital struggles. We’ve been inspired by their faithfulness and love, despite the difficulties presented to them. We’ve also been able to see the joy that a new child brings to their lives, even when the struggle is real. (That’s probably because we know such wonderful men & women.) They allow these hardships to bear fruit in their family life, and this gives Kevin and I strength as we embark on this journey. As well as a whole lot of wisdom to benefit from.

So while I could easily complain about how long it’s taken (I’ve certainly done enough of that over the years) and how much money/time has been spent on my health (which has actually been a real blessing), I sincerely thank God for this gift. I really trust that His timing is perfect. And if this pregnancy does not result in a healthy child born this November, than we will continue to trust that all things work for good for those who love God. But for now, we simply say deo gratias.

Baby Gearns coming November 2017 🙂