Friday, December 19, 2008

Baby Girl's Name!

I have not shared online yet what name we have chosen for Baby Girl, even though we've known it since sometime in October. Let's back up a bit.

Jonathan and I have always had names we liked. We've agreed on a few in fact, before we ever were married! But somehow when we found out we were really pregnant with a little girl, all the "pretty" names we'd thought we'd use didn't seem to fit. Jonathan was deployed and we'd talk and look up names online based on their meaning, but never really come to an agreement where we felt "this is it." He finally told me one day, "We just need to pray for her name. God knows it already, He just has to reveal it to us." So, that's what we did. We prayed. For about 2 months.

One day, over chat, Jonathan told me a name had come to his mind on the flight he'd had the previous night. He said it was "Eliana". He didn't know what it meant or how to spell it. So he looked it up right then. It means, "The Lord has answered." (I knew that, as I'd had an online friend use it over a year ago.) Isn't that amazing? We just knew, this was her name! We're going to spell it Elyana. It will be Elyana Ruth. Ruth means "companion, friend". We've always loved the name Ruth, and the book. But long ago, before we were even trying for a baby, I told Jonathan (seriously joking) that I'd prefer a girl first, to have a "little buddy" to go places with, talk to all day, and have tea/coffee with. I, of course, changed my mind quickly and just prayed so long for a healthy live baby, no matter anything else. But the fact that God's given us a girl is a sweet reminder of what friendship I plan to have with my daughter (as I have with my mom!).

So that's it! Elyana Ruth. We can't wait.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Thoughts on Being Pregnant

I have done a lot of "what we've been up to" posts lately, and not too many thoughtful or pondering ones. Which I enjoy reading both types from other people's blogs, so I try to do some of each here too. And since pregnancy was something I desired so greatly and spent so much time praying for, thinking about, struggling with, and longing for, it's only appropriate for me to now share about what it's like achieving it, as I've only a little over a month left of it (if Baby Girl comes close to when she's due)

Pregnancy has been amazing, it's been challenging, it's been totally not what I expected, and yet everything I dreamed.

I spent the first trimester so glad to be preganant and yet too unwilling because of my fear to really live in it and celebrate it. I did not talk about the baby a lot, nor did I indulge in much conversation about "how I felt" and all the pregnancy "symptoms" I had (or didn't). Which everyone likes to do or ask you about when it's that new/exciting. I was feeling like I was "missing out" by not being able to be blithely and innocently happy about it, because I could not reconcile with myself that pregnancy = a baby 9 months later. And looking back now? I really didn't miss out. God gives us 9 whole months to be pregnant, and there are plenty of days and hours to dream giddily about the future, and plan and prepare and talk about everything pregnancy does to your body. Missing out 13 weeks isn't a big deal at all.

Morning sickness was my favorite first trimester symptom. Let me be clear, I had it pretty easy! I only threw up 6 times, and my nausea wasn't horrible. I hated being nauseous, because it was so incapacitating, but it was the only symptom that felt real and tangible then. Whenever I did throw up, I was secretly cheering inside, so happy the baby was making me sick.

My second trimester I recall some bad weeks. I had an incredible pain in my right-upper rib that was so awful, I had to tightly wrap ace bandages around for 6-8 hours each day just to contain the pain. I got sick around week 25/26 and it was horrible! My belly ached all the time, and I could never tell if it was a problem with the baby or just an achy stomach from a bug. I worried a lot about going into preterm labor and not realizing it. While sick, sleeping became the hardest thing for me: my sides ached and ached and my belly constantly needed propping up and yet it still hurt when I slept. My sister announced her 3rd pregnancy, and I was so excited for her, but one of my first few thoughts were, "What if I lose the baby and she gives birth in June? How will I bear that?" Yes, I know those aren't profitable thoughts, but I was pretty unsure still if I would get a real live baby in the end. It took a long time for me to overcome this.

There is a very uncomfortable stage that for me was between 9 and 22 weeks. You don't really not fit your old clothes, and yet they're too tight to be comfy. You walk around knowing you're pregnant, but feeling like you just look fat since there's not an obvious baby bump. You can try on five shirts and fix pants/skirts before heading out before finding one that actually looks ok. It was weird for me, because I wanted to look pregnant, and yet I knew I'd still have months and months of looking pregnant, so I also tried to hold onto my slimmer self as long as possible. It's hard to feel you look good, when you're convinced you look chunky in the tummy.

Ah but when you finally pop out - as I so obviously have - it is wonderful. Strangers are always asking about the baby, little girls look and stare and smile. And me? I love it! I love looking different, because I know it's so short-lived. I don't know if this is the only time the Lord will grace us with a pregnancy, so I am loving it dearly.

Yet truth be told, being so big makes so many things hard that you never give a though to. It's hard for me to feel like I'm the slower and weaker one when I'm out and about. It's harder for me to not try to carry "more than my share." It's hard for me to admit how tired out smaller things make me. It's hard how much a chore things I used to enjoy can seem. I will be glad when shaving is easy and breezy again. I'll be glad when I can saddle up a tree stand quickly and without fear of falling and hurting the baby. So I try to realized these are just annoyances I have to put up with for the next few weeks, and to not obsess about them.

Sometime around 27 weeks, I read the Bradley book about childbirth/labor. I learned the processes my body should go through to (normally) deliver this baby. I had been praying a long time for a release from fear and complete trust in God over this child. Sometime around now, I got it. I finally trusted my body that it would do what it was created to, on time, correctly. I did not fear it betraying me anymore, as I felt it had betrayed me with my infertility and with my miscarriage. My body was not viewed as "the enemy" anymore to this baby's life. It was helping the baby thrive and live and God had created it to do a certain thing, and He was enabling it. So fear left me. And with it came a great release.

And the very best of the best of the best part of being pregnant, the part I wish was always there: feeling the baby move! I live for each twist and turn and kick and hiccup and sommersault that Baby Girl does. It is my delight. I could press my hand to my stomach all day, or watch it as it jumps around. It's the most wonderful thing about pregnancy, without a doubt!

I don't know how these next 5 weeks will play out, but I do pray daily for a safe delivery of our daughter, and for labor to go as I desire it to. We shall see, but in the meantime I just trust, and continue to eat healthy, work on the nursery, and do my labor practicing/exercises!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My favorite pictures of all!

So, a LOT has happened since the last update. There was Thanksgiving, which this year was one of the best Thanksgivings in a long time! Maybe because we served at 6pm rather than 2pm, giving the girls ample time in the kitchen and lots of leisure to prepare this and that... Maybe because I had it with my family which I haven't since '05... Maybe because we all sat at one table rather than 3 tables, since Seths' built an awesome extention to my family's main dining table (we had 20 people at Thanksgiving dinner). Whatever it was, it was amazing!

Then I was honored and totally blessed with a baby shower than my mom and sisters threw. It was incredible! I cried of course, because of all the love and generosity people showed, but also because there was I sitting there at 33 weeks pregnant, just astounded God has kept this little girl so safe and healthy. I could have never foreseen that day!

And then Jonathan and I spent 5 incredible days traipsing around downtown Chicago, going to my company's swanky Christmas party, attending The Screwtape Letters with my parents, museum going, and dining to the nines! It was a romantic and much desired getaway for us two, and our last fancy one before Baby Girl comes along. I'm grateful we had that chance!

So, pictures for the above will follow later, with more details. But for now I'll share the best picture of all: those of Baby Girl. We got a 34 week ultrasound and it was SOOOO wonderful! It was the first time I cried during an ultrasound. She looked so fully developed, and she was moving around just like I've seen little newborns do! She is so precious!!! We got to watch in 4-D for a while, and got 2 pictures in 3-D you see below. Is it not amazing??? Jonathan and I just love the clarity and are so excited to meet her soon!!!! Her growth is great, she weighs about 4lb5oz (38th percentile, so a bit small, but I am too, so it's expected). She is head down currently and moves around like a champ all the time! I did start iron injections for 6 weeks, I don't know if they'll help or not, but they can't hurt. I can't keep my iron up with eating, supplementing, and the perscription iron I've been on since 11 weeks.

This was my first glimpse of Jonathan when he returned!!!!
And a lovely shot of us in New Bern back together again!

Precious Baby Girl - smiling at us!!!

Me in the nursery with my 33 week belly!