32 Weeks, and I Crave Air Conditioning

Peter and I with his niece - a possible glimpse into our future in a few years!

Peter and I with his niece – a possible glimpse into our future in a few years!

It’s funny to me that even though I can see my belly getting larger and I can feel Adalyn moving a lot, I still feel surprised that this is really happening. I feel like that kid on the YouTube video after a dentist appointment asking, “Is this real life?!?”

In many ways, the idea of pregnancy (and especially delivery) has always seemed more weird and scary to me than beautiful or exciting. Before I met Peter, I talked often of adopting four children – partially in order to provide a home for orphans, and also somewhat so that I wouldn’t have to be pregnant.

But yet here we are, and one of my early thoughts after seeing the positive test was, “Well, there’s no going back now!”

I am currently going through some testing for something that could mean some meds, extra monitoring each week, and being induced around 37 weeks. It’s not official yet, but I’ll be surprised if the test results do not point us in this direction. If they do, Adalyn could join us in about five weeks. FIVE WEEKS.

Wow.

I’m very excited to see her and cuddle with her and learn all about her. I’m not exactly thrilled about the process of getting her out. (Prayers appreciated!)

I told some friends the other day that I’ve been around plenty of babies recently, so I don’t feel scared about what life will be like after she arrives. I’m trying to be pretty realistic about things like nursing, exhaustion, crying, etc.

However, lately my eye has been twitching occasionally when I think of everything that needs to be done before she arrives. Of course, with my job change, I have a whole classroom to set up, and it is currently a work in progress. I also have to basically figure out how to teach first grade and then put that in writing to tell someone else how to do it for twelve weeks. No big deal. Ha! Our bathrooms are almost finished, so then we can move on to try to reclaim our house from dust and disarray/clutter. The nursery isn’t ready yet because I didn’t want to feel like it was getting Sheetrock dust all over it. Plus, all of the things we have been buying for her at rummage sales (Alabama translation: yard sales) are stacked in a pile upstairs. I still need to wash everything and put it all away. (Plus we have a baby shower August 9th! Woohoo!!! This is great because although we have already gotten a ridiculous amount of clothes and other things like a car seat, crib, stroller, boppy pillow, bumbo seat, bathtub, etc., we are still missing lots of basics like diapers, wipes, hangers, crib sheets, blankets, burp cloths… Do babies really need so much stuff?!?)

It’s times like these that I really wish my mom lived closer so she could help me organize and prepare.

Anyway, it will all be okay. The house will be what it will be whenever we bring her home. The children will be taught, and I’m sure my sub will do a great job. Adalyn will have somewhere to sleep and clothes to wear. One favorite line that I’ve basically overused lately is, “It will be what it will be!”

As for the third trimester, I’m doing okay. I don’t feel as big as I think pictures show. (Maybe that’s God protecting me from the harshness of my mirrors!) However, I move really slowly and grunt a bit when trying to get up from sitting on the floor. Actually, I move slowly in general – getting up from a chair or the couch, getting out of bed, getting out of the car, walking, etc. But at least I’m still moving! Haha!

I was just telling my mom yesterday that I’m often hungry but nothing really sounds good. I’ve really slacked on cooking lately because nothing seems worth the effort. I still really love cold things. This could be because it’s a warm summer, but I also felt this way back in February during the first trimester. I definitely remember eating a lot of cereal back then because it was quick, easy, and cold. I’ve also enjoyed things like popsicles, ice cream, water with lots of ice, and really cold skim milk.

Most recently, when people ask if I have weird cravings, my answer is air conditioning. I love it. When I walk past a vent in our house, I often stop momentarily to let it blow right on me. It’s my current happy place. :)

I’ve been swelling for a long time now. I think it just hit me early and often. I really miss my wedding ring and being able to wear all of my shoes. I pretty much live in my Chacos, but instead of a Chaco tan line for summer, I wind up with imprints of the straps cross the tops of my feet. At least they provide great arch support!

I also miss smaller and cuter clothes. There have been a few days when I was out grocery shopping or something and got suddenly jealous of skinny girls walking around in cute outfits. Perhaps I should avoid the mall for a while.

Adalyn moves often throughout the day, and it’s really reassuring. She has finally moved up and out of my hip bones and has been pushing mostly near my belly button or just above. This week I’ve noticed she really prefers my right side, and she often rolls in such a way that she sticks out a little more over there, and my stomach looks a little lop-sided when I look down. I can feel her there too. My left side is a little softer and I can push it in more, but there are often specific spots on my right side that are hard and feel like she is pressing right up against them. I just wish I knew what part of her I was feeling. Something tells me it’s her bottom, but I really don’t know what position she is in now, so that could be all wrong.

I’ve heard that it’s fun to see the ways babies act after they are born and how that reflects their habits in the womb as well. If that is the case, I’m not sure that Adalyn will do a lot of kicking or punching, but I bet she will be a squirmer and maybe an early roller! We’ll see!

I’ve been reading Bible stories to her from the Jesus Storybook Bible, and I love that. I also talk to her often when she moves. I tend to ask her what she is doing! I love when Peter talks to her and feels her moving. She often responds to his voice with a kick or punch or something. He is so excited to meet her, and I love it! I’m the one who tries to remind us of reality, “Yes, but it will be really hard. We are going to be so tired and she will probably cry a lot.” And he just takes it all in stride and talks about how much joy she will bring. He is going to be a great daddy.

I know I have way too much to do to wish the time away, but I’m definitely excited for fall already. The temps will cool off, we will hopefully settle into our new normal with her, I will be home on maternity leave and not working all day everyday to prepare for something, and we can do things like cuddling with her while watching college football. (Plus I think it will feel nice to start to get my body back so maybe I can move and breathe a little easier!) It will be here soon, and maybe even sooner than we have been anticipating! :)

Changes Ahead

2013 was a pretty intense year for us… Peter and I dated, got engaged, planned a wedding, got married, and lived in the same state for the first time. I changed jobs and moved a thousand miles from home. We bought a house. Everything felt new.

When 2014 came, I desperately craved stability. I just wanted a year in which things could settle down a bit. I’m sure there were some bumps in the road, but overall, I got what I wanted.

2015 has been a whole different story.

the-eleventh-hour-758926_1280

In January, we found out we are expecting and due in September.

In February, Peter changed jobs and started working so close to our home, he might as well be in our backyard.

In April, we found out we are having a girl.

At the end of May, we began the process of having both of our bathrooms completely gutted and redone – embarking on our first major home renovation together.

And in late May/early June, I made an unexpected decision to change jobs. I will now teach first grade in a classroom that is approximately four blocks from my house.

The decision wasn’t easy. There were so many pros and cons to both jobs. I hadn’t ever really been in a situation before involving a major job change by choice instead of by need (such as moving). Ultimately this change revolved heavily around prioritizing my growing family and reclaiming more time in the workday from a long commute. Though I had planned to spend the summer nesting or relaxing in my cool basement with my feet propped up as I grow larger each day and Miss Adalyn Grace kicks, squirms, and rolls around, I will now be setting up a classroom and writing lesson plans.

I’m so excited.

I love a fresh start. I love a challenge. I love the warmth that has already greeted me at my new school and in our community.

I imagine the transition could once again be a lot to handle, especially as I adjust to so many changes personally and professionally at the same time.

But I guess I’ve kind of been there and done that. Maybe 2016 will be a bit calmer. :)

19 Weeks and Counting…

Well, we made it to 19 weeks in this pregnancy so far, and I am celebrating with a sick day at home… I’ve started learning a lot over the last five-ish months, including the fact that pregnancy lowers your body’s immunity to germs. I know God planned it that way so that our bodies would accept and nurture this new being growing inside, but it doesn’t necessarily bode well for an elementary school teacher in the winter and spring. On top of morning sickness (which is better now but can still cause me to toss my cookies sometimes, or toss my oatmeal in the shower, as was the case yesterday morning. FYI – it doesn’t drain as well as one would hope.), I have had two really hard colds, one miserable sinus infection, and most recently strep throat. I’m just amazed and thankful that I never got the stomach virus that Peter endured all alone a few months ago. I basically abandoned him for a couple of days so I would be minimally exposed to it.

On the bright side, we have three weeks and two days left until summer break, and I am incredibly hopeful that I will stay healthy when I am not constantly working closely with germy children. (Fingers crossed!)

In other news, in case anyone missed the Facebook announcement…

Girl announcement

We are having a girl!!!

We found out a few weeks early because I had probably been exposed to a virus that is common in children but could be very dangerous for the baby if I got it while pregnant. (See? Running theme… Teaching = germs.) At first, I stayed really calm and relaxed about it all. I read online that there was only a small risk, and I felt pretty confident that we were taking the overly-cautious-but-it’s-probably-fine route by going through the testing. I had lab work done on a Wednesday afternoon, and we waited to find out if I had the virus at the time or if it indicated I had it in the past, in which case I would be immune to it now. Obviously, that was our prayer, but I had never heard of it before and didn’t feel confident that it would be the case.

I waited pretty calmly for results on the first day, but as the second day crept by and I kept checking my phone and email for alerts, my anxiety level began to creep up. I made the HORRIBLE decision to try to research it a bit more online, and I found a forum where lots of mothers shared their stories about losing their babies because of exposure to this virus. Then I struggled with feeling bitter toward the child for putting my baby in danger, even though he didn’t know and couldn’t help it. I felt angry that I could lose my child and endure such terrible suffering all because I was doing my job well. I knew that during his likely contagious period, I had sat closely to him, passed materials back and forth, hugged him, and held his hand while walking around the playground. I just kept thinking that it wasn’t fair…

Well, God’s timing is pretty specific. The nurse had told me on the phone that we would receive the results in the next day or two, and as the first day passed, I was struggling. I know that it is no coincidence that I spent the second day flying to meet my mom in Indiana to visit family. God knew I needed her. In fact, within the first hour of being together after she picked me up, we talked openly about it and I cried. I admitted that it had all happened so quickly that I didn’t have the ability to step back and see the big picture through faith. Instead, I went into more of a desperate panic mode. I needed my mom to speak truth and encourage me about God’s sovereignty and His goodness. She told me that this was just the beginning of surrendering control over this child and that even if everything turned out okay in this situation, I would not be able to perfectly shield and protect his or her life. Whether in the womb or outside of it, I cannot control everything that he or she is exposed to. I just have to TRUST God’s plans and release my own.

I felt so much better after that conversation, and it was now about 6:00 on a Friday evening, so I was prepared to wait until Monday for the results. Yet about an hour later, I received an email with the link to my chart, and I was able to celebrate with my mom that my blood work showed the antibodies that suggested I had the virus previously and should be immune to it now. The baby should be safe from this scare. Praise the Lord!!!

Fast forward one week, and we continued as planned for an extra ultrasound and a consultation with a high-risk pregnancy doctor. Peter was able to miss a few hours of work to come with me because although we had good reason to believe that everything would be fine, we also knew there was a possibility that we could learn the gender. The ultrasound tech moved quickly through a detailed look at the baby, stopping frequently to take pictures and measurements. She started at the head and moved down, and I had to catch my breath for a minute when we saw the little hands and fingers. I reached for Peter’s hand behind me, and we held hands through the rest of the time. When the time came to look for the gender, the tech seemed very confident. “There’s a leg. There’s a leg. And there in the middle are three lines. It’s a girl!”

WHAT?!?

Part of me thinks we would have been surprised either way because it made things seem a bit more real. However, there were also lots of people predicting it would be a boy, and we had already picked out a boy name!

I still can’t believe it… I have spent almost all of my thirty years of life thinking about being a mom. I was the child who was obsessed with baby dolls. (Even now, I see tutorials on Pinterest for how to swaddle a baby, and I think, “I already know how. My mom taught me to do that with my dolls!”) I just can’t believe that God has given us a daughter.

We think we have a name now, but I’m not quite ready to share it yet just in case we change our minds. The permanent commitment is a little daunting!

The ultrasound was moving along normally. (I always get flashbacks to Friends when Rachel is watching the ultrasound of Emma and she cries because she can’t see it… I’m getting a little better, but it can really be hard sometimes!) The next thing we knew, the tech hit a button and suddenly everything on the screen changed and came to life. She switched it to 4D! We were able to see our little girl’s face! Actually, at first we saw part of her face with her hand over it as if to say, “No… Don’t take my picture!” We were filled with wonder at her little personality! Will she be dramatic? opinionated? (With us as parents, this is HIGHLY LIKELY.) resistant? Even now, we sometimes make up funny comments of what she would say about us, as if we already embarrass her, and we cover our faces like she did. Peter wants to make t-shirts… She will never live this down. Haha…

The next thing we knew, the tech pushed on my stomach a bit with the probe and got her to move her hand. I swear she shook her head back and forth like she was saying, “No!” (Yikes… I’m starting to think we are really in for it!) Then we got a clearer view of her face, and although I didn’t notice it at the time, the printed pictures make it look like she may have even been sucking her thumb. (Like mother, like daughter!)

After the ultrasound tech finished, she left briefly and returned with the doctor. He had looked over the images in his office, and he always likes to come in and see the babies live as well. He confirmed that the blood work looked very positive, and the ultrasound looked healthy and fine. He also double-checked and agreed that she is a girl! One of our favorite parts of the whole morning was his ultrasound because he didn’t fly through different views like she did. Instead, he would find her with the probe and simply sit still with that view so that we had the time to watch her move. It was amazing. I still don’t know that I can feel her moving yet, and although I’m definitely growing, I don’t feel large enough to have a person inside of me. Being able to watch her like that was such a joy. I remember thinking, “Aww, okay. I’ll be sick for her. She’s worth it.”

Even though everything looks good, we will go back to him one more time for another detailed ultrasound in the first week of May to check on her again and try to get an even better look at her heart after it has had a few more weeks to develop. In some ways, I’m thankful for this because we get an even more thorough look at her through the eyes of a highly trained specialist. Every once in a while, fear returns and my mind slips into, “What if this is all for a reason? What if there really is a problem, and this is God’s way of helping us find it.” This whole trust, faith, and lack of control thing will definitely be a life-long journey for me. In some ways, my family has been through some significant trials, and it’s like I come to expect them more than blessings. I’m hopeful that God will restore my faith in the balance.

So today I’m just resting and waiting for the antibiotics to kick in so I shouldn’t be contagious anymore. My throat hurt the worst last weekend, so this feels like it’s a day late and a dollar short. I feel bad for missing work, but I guess I need to start adjusting to life using up my sick days. It really won’t be long, and there will be two of us to care for!

Enough

I haven’t been writing…

I’ve blamed it on time, or the lack thereof, and that is partly true. However, I also think it is because of pressure.

Whenever I do something, I want to do it well or not do it at all. I guess last year I read one too many books, articles, and blog posts about blogging, and all of a sudden – there were too many rules. It was too complicated.

Well, I’m over it. I miss reflective writing and sharing.

Our lives have been pretty tiring and challenging lately. Peter started a new job in our town, and it’s been going well, but it’s still a transition and a change. All the while, I was going through the first trimester, which I guess some have called the “worst trimester.” I certainly hope that is true. I’m 14 weeks and 3 days right now, so I am really hoping that the second trimester is the light at the end of this dark tunnel.

Even though I’ve been pretty sick (with morning sickness that lasts all day), I know it could have been much worse, so I feel guilty for all the complaining that I have done. Most days, my job has been all that I could (barely) handle, and I have spent my evenings, nights, and weekends being anything but productive. I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything, and I basically went into a late winter hibernation, especially through February. My energy is finally coming back, and I felt really good on Friday and most of the day on Saturday until I accidentally got hungry before supper. (Maybe it’s a boy since I get super hungry every three or four hours?!?)

Even my faith has suffered through the last couple of months. Most days have slipped by in survival mode, and I have forgotten or avoided the efforts and delights of fellowship, prayer, and reading Scripture.

Just this morning I was reading encouragement from a sweet friend, and I felt my soul breathe out, “God, I’m sorry, but I just have nothing else to give.”

And I felt like He told me, “It’s enough.”

I don’t want to be lazy or make excuses, but I am thankful that this is a temporary season, and God’s love for me and approval of me have not changed because of my lacking productivity. I’m thankful He is constant.

It’s funny to me now, but a week before we found out we are expecting, I took some time to journal out a deeply honest prayer about my unfulfilled desire to be a mom. We hadn’t been trying for long yet, but I had already begun to worry that it would never happen for us. Then I realized that most of my major life decisions for the last 15 years have revolved around my desire to be a wife and mother. It affected my education and career choices, shaped my dreams of life here with Peter, and even became the motivating vision for buying this house. All I had ever pictured for my adult life was to serve the Lord in my marriage and by raising children to know Him. If that wasn’t what my life and faith would look like, then what? I felt aimless.

I wonder if God laughs at us sometimes when He can see the big picture and we can’t. Little did I know, even as I was writing out these questions, He was forming life inside of me. It’s amazing.

I guess my heart hasn’t changed very much in the last three years, because He brought me to similar questions and prayers right before I met Peter. A few months before we met, I remember having a very eye-opening conversation after Bible study with my friend Katie in which I realized and tried to explain that nothing in my life felt like it would be fulfilling if I never got married. I reached a point where I was willing to give it all away – my job, my education, my goals, etc. – to share my life with someone. Maybe God had to bring me to that place of willing surrender because He knew that I was really going to give up those things to follow Him to a man in South Dakota.

So now this feels very similar. God works in my heart first before He changes my circumstances. Perhaps I needed to realize that this is not about my plans, my timing, or my comparison with others. Instead, it’s about serving Him by raising and teaching a child (or children) to know, follow, and love Him.

I still don’t feel “ready,” but I’m doing it one day at a time. Even though it looks different than my life and faith before, I’m already serving Him through motherhood.

And I’m thankful that’s enough for now.

Home Is Where My People Are

For possibly the first time since I moved to this frozen tundra, today both Alabama and South Dakota received snow…

The ironic part? My home in Alabama got significantly more.

The sad part? While my friends, family, and former coworkers got a much-deserved day off that will not have to be made up, I still had to go to work. Boo…

Home has really been on my mind and heart lately. Perhaps it’s because of the doldrums of winter. Perhaps it’s because of sickness and exhaustion that come along with the first trimester. (Hopefully you’ve heard, we’re expecting our first baby September 19th!) Regardless of the reason, I find myself prowling on Facebook for familiar pictures and updates, and I’ve even resorted to checking websites for the local news in Birmingham pretty frequently. (By the way, that is really more depressing than comforting.)

Enter this book.

Home

Have you ever read a book that just felt like summer? I am telling you, this kept me company on a few very cold winter nights and really warmed my heart. I loved the storytelling, the familiarity of southern culture, and the wisdom and humor scattered throughout.

I’ve been following Sophie Hudson’s blog for a while now, so I knew that she would be sharing stories about growing up in Mississippi and eventually moving to Birmingham, Alabama. (By the way – stalker alert – we went to the same church for awhile! She still goes there. I moved a thousand miles away. You know the story.) What I didn’t know was that she would begin teaching me things right from the start in Chapter 1.

Home 2

I loved feeling encouraged that “home” is more about people than a place, and she reminded me that it really is possible to have two homes. Loving South Dakota and my life here does not mean that I have turned my back on my home in Alabama. However, missing my home in Alabama does not mean that I am dissatisfied or unhappy with my home here. I’m blessed to have both.

I really recommend this book as an easy and enjoyable read that will also encourage you at the same time. Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or directly from the Tyndale publishing company. You can also ask for it in your local Christian book store.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of writing a review. I also retrieved the images in this post from the book’s website.

A Little More Like Home…

Winter is not even here yet, and I am already starting to struggle with the long days. Waking up before the sun is not my spiritual gift, and pulling into my driveway, exhausted, as the dark returns can feel defeating day after day. The weather hasn’t been awful yet, so I am thankful. However, two weeks off from school and a week in Alabama will hopefully provide refreshment to cheer up my spirit.

Until then, there is this:

IMG_0051.JPG

IMG_0052.JPG

These friends are an answer to prayer for which I can never express enough thanks.

We laugh and cry and pray… We run after Jesus, all wanting to go deeper in His Word – to know and love Him more, and to become more like Him… We figure out marriage and home-owning… We rock a couple of babies (and hopefully there will be more babies to rock as time goes on!)… We eat together often, and next weekend some of us will spend a day baking treats and exchanging gifts…

I always feel encouraged and stronger when we have been together…

They help South Dakota feel more like home.

We Met Online: Last Post in the Series

In the last post, I shared about our decision to get married and the long-distance logistics that led us to set a wedding date before Peter actually bought a ring and proposed. In fact, we booked the church and I bought a dress first too!

Our proposal story has already been posted here.

Then I moved to South Dakota, and I officially started this blog on June 17, 2013 with a post called The Beginning.

That means we have basically made it to the end of this story.

March-June flew by pretty quickly in a whirlwind of resigning from my job, packing up my classroom and my personal things, saying lots of goodbyes, and wedding planning… Peter and I began to learn about give and take as we made decisions for the wedding. I gave him a church wedding, but I worked extremely hard to keep it simple and put my own spin on it. I used a picture of a tablescape from Pinterest to inspire my colors, and I ran with it from there…

Wedding details

I found the picture of the table setting on Pinterest, and I have no idea who should receive credit for it. It inspired our colors. :)

Weddings are a lot of work… I mean, they are if you decide to be the bride, planner, florist, caterer, decorator, etc., etc., etc. I think I’m still tired and glad all of the decisions and work are done, but I’m thankful when I look back on our day. I remember feeling like it was going by too quickly. I didn’t feel like I imagined a bride would feel. I kind of felt like a little girl playing dress up.

Our wedding

We tried to design our ceremony, not to point to us, but to point to the Lord and to be a time of thanksgiving, celebration, and worship. Even though this is the end of what we call “our story,” it was really just the beginning of our commitment to each other. We desire to love each other well and to honor, love, and serve the Lord together. I can’t think of a better way to end this series than with our vows. I heard them at a friend’s wedding and discovered they had been written by my pastor and edited just a bit. We didn’t change a thing. Today, they hang on our living room wall beneath our wedding photo to remind us of the story that God is still writing.

I, Peter, take you, Jamey, to be my wife.
I commit to love you as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25).
I will lead you by serving you, and serve you by leading you (Mk. 10:45).
I will encourage you to treasure Christ above everything else in this world (Phil. 3:1-10).
I will forgive you as Christ has forgiven me (Matthew 6:9-15).
I will care for you with humility, kindness, gentleness, and patience (Col. 3:12-17).
I will please you by putting your interests above my own (Phil. 2:1-11).
I will honor you with my purity (Hebrews 13:4).
I will join with you in the global mission God has entrusted to us (Ps. 67; Matt. 28:18-20).
I will sacrifice my life for your sake (1 John 3:16-18).
I will cherish you as a child of God (Gal. 4:4-8).
And by the grace of God, I will be faithful to this covenant as long as we both shall live (Gen. 2:22-24).

I, Jamey, take you, Peter, to be my husband.
I commit to love you as the church loves Christ (Eph. 5:23).
I will trust you by submitting to you (Eph. 5:24).
I will encourage you to treasure Christ above everything else in this world (Phil. 3:1-10).
I will forgive you as Christ has forgiven me (Matthew 6:9-15).
I will care for you with humility, kindness, gentleness, and patience (Col. 3:12-17).
I will please you by putting your interests above my own (Phil. 2:1-11).
I will honor you with my purity (Hebrews 13:4).
I will join with you in the global mission God has entrusted to us (Ps. 67; Matt. 28:18-20).
I will sacrifice my life for your sake (1 John 3:16-18).
I will cherish you as a child of God (Gal. 4:4-8).
And by the grace of God, I will be faithful to this covenant as long as we both shall live (Gen. 2:22-24).

We Met Online: Wednesday Series at www.themiddleoflife.com

This is the eighteenth post in a series called We Met Online: Wednesday Series! Start from the beginning here, or you can also retrace the whole story here! I hope to write every Wednesday, using my old journals, photos, and memories to tell our story. I truly hope that it blesses you and brings glory to our Savior. Thanks so much for reading. Feel free to share this with others and check back for more soon! You can also subscribe to receive posts by email so you don’t miss anything!