12.25.2016

Pregnancy Update: Christmas

The past couple weeks I've had more anxiety about motherhood. There are just so many transitions that I'm trying to prepare for and everyone keeps warning me about how much my life is going to change. I sometimes appreciate the advice and warnings, but sometimes I'm so nervous and worried in my own head that it is difficult to hear other people compounding my own concerns. Last night was one of those that got the better of me. I was thinking about how much I needed to do to try to keep unpacking boxes and get settled for the baby, while also thinking about the dinners we're hosting this week and trying to get enough things moved around so you can walk through the front door. After work, I ran a few errands to get some things to organize the house and some Christmas gifts for our new neighbors that have been so nice to us. By the time I got home to make dinner, I was tired. The dishwasher needs to be emptied. The other dishes are stacked in the sink. Clean dishes are still "out to dry" on the counter and need to be put away. I started dinner, but then Greg left work late since he's got a time crunch on his latest headphone. And then his commute was long and he had to make a stop at the auto parts store to fix something on my car.

By the time he got home and dinner was very much done and waiting, I just broke down. Again. Sometimes just the basics of life seem really involved and tiring and so the thought of adding more, such as a small infant who needs constant care, seems really overwhelming. I'm the worrying type so when I think about the future, I tend to think of all the obstacles that will be in that future and the pessimist in me doesn't remember to hope for the good. Greg tries to help me with this but it's not easy. So I finished eating and climbed in bed to cry for awhile. Again, not a rarity with me. Especially during the winter months or in seasons of major change (our first month of marriage). I try to keep remembering just how many moms there are out there. It doesn't take long to just think about the people around me, in my family, friends I see online, etc. There are a lot of people who have done this before me and it's not rocket science. A lot of people take on the life transition of parenthood. Most people survive labor and delivery. I keep trying to remember things and tell myself that what I'm doing is not that big of a deal. But then I think about every other "big deal" in my life and how it doesn't really matter if someone else has experienced it, it's new to me, and it's ok to be scared of what that newness will bring.

I was feeling all these feelings as I drove to work this morning. With my new, slightly longer commute, I usually listen to a podcast. But this morning I turned on my favorite Amy Grant "Home for Christmas" album. I put it on shuffle and sang some of my favorite tunes. Then the song "Breath of Heaven" came on. I've listened to this song many-a-times. I've played it on the piano. I've heard it sung in church. I've even done karaoke to it. I know this song. I started singing and then stopped to just listen to the words. I had never heard them in this way before. They had a new affect and the lyrics hit me deeply.

Cold and weary, with a babe inside. 
Holy Father, you have come and chosen me now to carry your son. 
I am waiting in a silent prayer. I am frightened by the load I bear. Be with me now.  
Breath of heaven, hold me together. Be forever near me. Lighten my darkness.  
Do you wonder as you watch my face if a wiser one should have had my place? But I offer all I am, for the mercy of your plan. Help me be strong.  

In just 3 minutes, changing lanes on I-15, I felt renewed. I felt a connection with Mary and the nativity story that I wasn't expecting. I am internalizing the fear and anxiety she must have had as she approached this same life change, being a mother for the first time. Although I am well equipped with modern assistance, a savings account, a hospital, a husband I've known and chosen, a new home to raise our son, I'm still nervous. But she was even younger than me and had more unknowns in her future. We both carried "sons of God" and have been trusted to bring them into the world. It's a big task. I always knew it was a big task but having to experience it myself this year has made me understand how much it takes: not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically as well.

This December has been an odd one for me. Combining my lack of energy with the new house and moving, I've had less time for the Christmas festivities that I so enjoy. I would have loved to participate in the #lighttheworld campaign and tried to figure out how to put more service in my month. I wish I could have made more handmade gifts for my family and friends. I wish I could have sent out Christmas cards and gone to see Christmas lights. But maybe this year the Christmas songs were all I needed to have my connection to nativity and the birth of Christ. Grateful for an opportunity to consider his birth in a new, especially poignant way for me this year. Merry Christmas!

P.S. If you haven't heard the song, here's a YouTube video of it:




12.22.2016

Pregnancy Update: Learning from Others



I read a fantastic book last month called "Great With Child" by Beth Ann Fennelly. It really helped me to calm down and have some more long term insight into the mental preparation for this big life change. I would definitely recommend it to anyone in a similar position. She faced a lot of topics head on: how difficult it is to share equal responsibility and how our generation is having to re-define that when it comes to working outside of the home, gift giving, accepting hormones and choosing to not medicate them away, balancing time, the importance of language and vocabulary for a child to develop memories, not judging yourself or other mothers for doing something differently, making time and energy for yourself, leaving the planet better for our children than it is now, how worrying changes with every phase of your child's life (but never stops). I absolutely loved it and would definitely recommend it to anyone in this phase of life.

Two more things that she touched on that really connected with me.

Insight #1

Here's a snippet from the book:
My best piece of maternal advice, “The best thing you can do for your child is have a happy marriage.”
She spent the whole book giving all sorts of advice and then ended with this as the best piece she could give. I've already internally known this, but it was a good to have another reminder. We've had some challenges this year that have stretched our communication habits. With the purchase of our house and coming to terms with our budgets and life goals, we've had to figure out better communication tactics about things that are typically hard to talk about. We've been listening to podcasts together about financial planning and then we read a marriage communication book together that has really made a difference! Reading it at the same time meant we could discuss each chapter and the new things we learned and want to try. We tried to carve out more time for little trips together, including our baby moon, that involved lots of just driving around and talking. We're hopeful that some of these new habits and routines we've made will help us sustain the difficulties we'll be facing ahead.

Insight #2

Treating non-mothers with kindness. I'm not very old, but in my lifetime of friendship circles most of my friends have had children earlier than I have. Many of them got married before I did. When you're single, you want to maintain those friendships but it gets difficult when priorities change and you can't relate to each other about all aspects of your life. As more of my friends got married and had children, I tried to make it a priority to maintain our friendships. I remember a particular baby shower I was at while I was in college. I hadn't really wanted to go but it was a nice gal who didn't have a lot of friends in the area and I felt she would appreciate my efforts to support her. I looked up her registry, bought a gift (which can be difficult with a part-time job in college), and headed to her shower. When I got there, I was grateful I had made the effort because there weren't a lot of people there. However, of the few people who were there, they were all married and expecting children or already mothers.

We were catching up and I was asking questions about their lives, and then the conversation pointed to me for a split second. I could tell they didn't really know what types of questions to even ask me because my life looked so different than there's. We got talking about my lack of dating and then one of them blurted out, "Well when are you going to move on with your life? Do you even WANT to get married?"

I was shocked and really hurt. Of course I wanted to get married. What girl in their young 20s wouldn't want a guy to love her and think she's the best thing and put a diamond ring on her hand? Especially in a time of being surrounded by all my friends getting married, of course marriage was on my mind and something I had always hoped for myself, but unfortunately, it's not one of those things I could just "set my mind to and make it happen."

I felt the same way about longing to be a mother. It's not something that you can just go get just because you want it, which makes it hard and difficult. And it's really unfair when people assume that you don't want that thing just because it hasn't happened.

Here is a little snippet from the book I was reading:
I started thinking about how poorly childless women are sometimes treated. Because I was thirty before I had Claire, I got occasional doses of the bland arrogance, the if-you-aint-got-kids-you-aint-got-nothing types, women who seemed to speak in code to other mothers, who look down on childless women. Once at a baby shower when I was handing my gift to the mother-to-be, my fingernail snapped off.
“Rats,” I announced to the room full of mothers, “I broke a nail.”
“I remembered when I cared about stuff like that,” said one mother, and the room broke up in laughter. I chuckled along but understood that my life seemed trivial to these women who were trading the names of babysitters like stock tips. The other day, a student who’s 33 said that she hates to go home for Thanksgiving because she still has to sit at the kids’ table. If she doesn’t have a child, she must be one. Let’s swear never to treat childless women this way.

I connected so much with this passage. I hope to never get so caught up in my new priorities of motherhood that I would say anything that makes someone else's life and situation less important than my own.

We Bought a House!



Finally, I can post about the biggest purchase of our lives! We bought a house! It's wonderful and perfect for us. As you may know, we've been looking for quite awhile. Here's a little timeline for history sake. :)

September 2015: Took a home-buying class in community education
January 2016: Met with a lender, got pre-approved for a home loan
February 2016: Met with our realtor, started looking at houses. Usually 2-3 a week.
March 2016: Submitted our first offer (a cute little house in the neighborhood where we were renting)
April 2016: More offers, including the house we thought was perfect.
May 2016: More offers!
June 2016: More offers! Found out we were expecting a baby!

At this point, I took a break from the house search. Every day, two times a day, we were getting emails that had all the specs of the houses that had gone on the market in our price range and zip code goals in the last 12 hours. I would read every single email and look at every listing, twice a day! It was a job in and of itself. I was pretty obsessive. I memorized specs, MLS numbers, I constantly had the app open. I'm one of those people that fully commits. Obviously.

I was getting super bummed when none of our offers were getting accepted. I felt like I did a pretty good job of separating myself from the emotional connection to specific houses. After 7 offers, I became pretty good at speeding through the paperwork and trying to just make it a financial decision. At this point I didn't really care about all the house details, I just wanted to make sure we locked one in. But as I was getting sick with pregnancy and found myself with less energy, I let it go. I stopped reading the emails. I felt like I only had so much capacity and the house hunt was sucking too much of it.

But Greg, he's the MVP of this story. We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted after looking so many house visits. He kept looking at the emails, all-be-it a little more casually. I don't think he really read them every single day, but every couple days he would skim and see if square footage, list price, and zip code looked like a real possibility. About once a month we would go see something that looked promising. In November, he found this house. It was in an area that we really liked. We had put an offer on a similar house a few blocks away in June. So we went to see it.

We liked a lot of things about it, but it needs a ton of work to make it something we love. As we drove away, I complained about the entryway for a good 5 minutes and we didn't think much about it. A couple days later we were chatting about our long term goals and casually started talking about the house. The more we talked, the more we liked it. So we looked up the listing again and saw that the price had dropped. We took it as a sign that we could get it at the price we wanted. We liked that the price was dropping, the square footage was what we wanted, we were already sold on location, the garage was big enough to hold Greg's dreams for the next little bit, and as an added bonus- it's something we can comfortably live in for awhile as we save up to do remodels. Suddenly, we had to have it. So we called our realtor, made a plan, and drove to my office to get my laptop for the paperwork.

We went back and forth the next few days with the realtor and seller. The more complications arose, the more we wanted it. On Friday night, I couldn't sleep and I kept thinking "We have to have it! We have to get this one!" So I patiently (not my strong suit) waited for Greg to wake up. When he did, I told him how much I wanted it and that I felt like we had to lock it in before the open house on Saturday afternoon. So we called our realtor and told him how much we wanted it to happen and then headed to our all day labor and delivery class. A few hours later (while watching a live birth and epidural video in a hospital classroom) we got the call that they had accepted and we signed the final paperwork in the dark classroom. Woot woot! On our way home, we drove by the house and saw that no one was at the open house that they cancelled. BOO YAH!

We did our due diligence and closed the first week in December. We've been packing and cleaning and unpacking and cleaning and we're finally getting close to being settled! We moved in December 10th with the world's best team. It was so nice to have so much help. Our coworkers boxes and packing supplies so we didn't need to buy much of anything. My parents rented us a huge U-haul truck and were ready on a drizzly Saturday morning at the crack of dawn to load it. Luckily, 8 guys from our elders quorum came over and loaded up the whole apartment in about 40 minutes. It was awesome. My brother Jesse came and helped load his truck too. We excused the elders and then the rest of us proceeded to the new house.

Greg's friends Uly, Isaac, and Michael all showed up to unload the truck which was awesome! Luckily it had stopped raining. My dad and Greg figured out some plumbing with the old fridge and all the guys helped take that around the house to the garage. Greg's sister Megan came with her impressive muscles and carried in furniture. She also built our bed with my brother so that we had a place to sleep that night. So grateful for that. I was worried we were going to have to sleep on the couches, which my pregnant back would not have loved. My mom was a trooper and unloaded all of the kitchen boxes and organized our kitchen in just a couple hours. It was crazy. She also came the day before and scrubbed the house for hours so that we would be ready to unload. Miracles, people. My dad calls her the Energizer bunny!

After we finished up with the unloading and another truck load to get Greg's garage stuff and a few things at his parents' house in Murray, Greg's friend Mo showed up for the next phase of the move. We drove the truck to Alpine to get some more furniture that we couldn't have loaded without him. Then we drove back in the rain and my brother and his girlfriend came over again to help us unload all of that stuff in the pouring rain and thus mud. We finally finished around 5 pm, which was just enough time for us to shower and leave to get to my holiday party up at Sundance. An absolute whirlwind of a day! But we were so, so grateful for all the help we had. And couldn't believe how fast we got it done. The next day, Greg's parents brought us dinner and leftovers for the next couple days. Which gave Greg and I some extra time to put up our Christmas decorations! Yay!

Here are a few pictures. Just remember, the kitchen is the real weak link. We're planning to remodel that this summer and unfortunately, we're not keeping the yellow counters! Kidding. It's a good thing we're ditching most everything in the kitchen. Just ask my mom who scrubbed every cabinet. Thanks mom!

 

 

 
  

 


 
   

12.19.2016

Pregnancy Update: Third Trimester



Another pregnancy update! We're at 33.5 weeks and I truly feel a big difference in the pregnancy.

Energy & Sleep

As I read online, the fatigue has come back. I don't know if it's just because I've been doing more manual labor this month or if it's a combination of pregnancy, but my energy is lacking. I fall asleep pretty early and every afternoon, I feel like I need a nap. I'm trying to get as much sleep as possible, because I know I'll need to enjoy it while I can! 

Diet & Exercise

Could be the combination of the holidays and cravings, but I can't get enough sweets these days! Our office gets a lot of gifts from vendors so there is no shortage of chocolate and caramels and peppermint flavored delights. I've been eating a lot, a lot of Farr's peppermint stick ice cream with Trader Joe's hot fudge on top. I keep thinking that maybe I should tame the cravings, but who knows if I'll ever be pregnant over the holidays again? Formal exercise is pretty much non-existent right now because I use up any extra energy moving things around our new house and cleaning. We are in a split-level so it means more stairs and square footage than I'm used to, so I definitely feel like I'm getting a work out, just not in my normal "taking a walk around the block" or pre-natal yoga. 

I still have the energy to cook so I'm grateful for that. 

Breathing

My biggest symptom this month has been a lack of air. We're approaching inversion season in the Salt Lake Valley and so pollution outside is a bit concerning. The rhinitis has been quite bad, especially at night. I've started sleeping with my head elevated, which means a sore neck in the morning, but at least I'm able to sleep more through the night. I'm congested all the time but I don't have any other cold symptoms. I've been grateful that I have been able to stay healthy and not pick up the flu that seems to be going around everywhere. I do feel like I'm short of breath quite regularly, mostly going up the several flights of stairs at my office. But I've heard this is normal because the baby is pressing on my lungs so it's harder to get a full breath. I'm looking forward to deeper breaths in the new year when I get to meet this little guy! 

Classes

We're all finished with our classes! My goal was to schedule them all before the holidays and I'm glad we did. Our last class was about breast feeding and we felt a lot more comfortable about the how-to's and how important it is to immediately get help if something seems off. I'm glad I have an arsenal of resources and know the signs to look for if it's a struggle for us. 

Baby's Movement

This guy is moving a lot! I noticed the kicks before, but they were always quite minimal. Now that he's getting so big, my stomach actually moves around and it's definitely noticeable to the human eye, instead of just touch. Greg and I both love to sit still at night and just watch him move all around. It makes this whole thing seem even more real! 

Baby Showers

We have a couple baby showers planned in the next few weeks that I'm really excited about! I'm excited to meet with old friends and new and gain some more advice on how to do all this! And I think it will be fun to start the celebrating for our new little guy.