Thoughts on Being Pregnant | Week 32

I'm going to cut right to the chase here. Please don't misinterpret my words for anger or hate. I have felt so much love from many people, some who don't even know me and just want to say they are praying for us. I am grateful for that. The Lord has placed an amazing support team in our lives. In these situations, in addition to the good, you also get the not so good. In the past several weeks, I have encountered people who want to hug me or talk to me or whatever and their motivation seems to be completely emotional. I'm not okay if you walk up to me in tears. I'm not okay if you hug me and tell me to let it all out. It is unacceptable to try to be my mom, I have one of those. Moving forward, if I feel for one second a person is trying to evoke an emotional response from me, we are done. Conversation/hug/text/interaction over. Sorry, not sorry, but I cannot spend time caring about your feelings. My emotional energy is completely and totally focused on my husband and my daughter. That's it.

Perhaps this surprises some of you. I've always been a people-pleaser. Always. I get it from my mother. I don't want people to have a bad day. I hate to disappoint others. But that's over now. It's time for me to be the protective mother and wife.

I want you to imagine what it's like to go through this. We've all lost a family member, right? Well, my life feels like I'm at the viewing of a loved one, standing beside his/her casket, and an endless sea of people are constantly saying "I'm sorry for your loss" over and over and over again. (I am not using this analogy to imply my daughter will not live. Do not misunderstand this example.) Could you live in that kind of torment for FIVE MONTHS? Perhaps next time you see me (or someone in a similar situation), you will use some discretion. Will what you say potentially upset them? Could what you say be self-serving or does it actually help this person? Why are you approaching this person? Think before speaking.

At this point, I've already been emotionally imposed upon, but I'm not just writing this for me. I'm writing it for the woman you know who had a miscarriage. I'm writing for family you know who just found out their baby won't make it past birth. I'm writing for someone...it could be you one day. No one thinks these things will happen to them. I certainly didn't. I'm positive I've stuck my foot in my mouth more times than I know or said well-meaning words that actually struck a nerve with a hurting person. Think before speaking.

"So what can I say to you, Sterling?" Well, for starters, you could just say "hello" like you would to any other person in the hallway at work or church or school. You can leave out the sappy talk. You can talk to me about the weather or weddings (I LOVE THOSE!) or politics. We can laugh about how ridiculous this upcoming election is going to be. You can tell me what's going on in your life, I'll listen. Basically, treat me like a person, not a person going through a tough time. If I want to talk to you about things, I will.

Things baby girl got to do this week:
-VBS! Cal and I have hosted the Vacation Bible School morning rally for the past 5 years. We normally put on a silly charade, this year is no different. We are having a blast. I love the kids and many of them have asked if I'm pregnant. Haha....I'm like a little doughy submariner. My response is normally, "Nah, I just had a big breakfast."
-She celebrated her dad's birthday. Cal turned 31, which makes him about 6 years older than me...ahem. Related, she also gave him a Father's Day present. Well, she and the kitties.
-The nursery is 95% finished. We were lucky to receive several adorable decorations at my last shower. They are all up on the walls and sometimes, I just go sit in there and stare at how cute everything is.

 Skipper Sterling and Chief Cal

Skipper Sterling and Chief Cal

With just 8 weeks left (AH! HELP!), I'm starting to feel anxious, scared, excited, curious...basically every emotion. I am so excited to meet her. I can't wait to share her name, pictures of her cute nursery, and our upcoming maternity session. I'm excited to be a mother and HOW FORTUNATE I will be to have my child need me a little bit more than a child normally needs her mother. Several people have asked if we need anything or if we have a registry. We are still preparing for our daughter like we would any other child. In case you're curious, our registries are here: Target, Babies R Us.

Again, I hope everyone reads my words through a filter of love and patience. The best thing you can do for us is pray.
 

Thoughts on Being Pregnant | Week 31 | My Baby Shower

Week 31 is here!

Baby girl has been moving more than ever! She and I play a game of who can out-poke the other. She'll kick me and I'll push back. This happens back and forth for several minutes. I've always heard how cool it is to feel the baby move, but could not have imagined how much I would like it. She's welcome to stay there as long as she'd like.

I'm feeling a little slower than usual lately. Weddings are done until after she gets here, so I'm going to spend a good chunk of time doing activities of a slower pace. I loved having weddings over the past several months, but I cannot imagine doing another one in my current state. You should have seen me running to grab something last Saturday. HILARIOUS. I'm certain I looked like Humpty Dumpty teetering along.

I have decided not to share any other sneak peeks of the nursery for now. My good friend, Daytona, will be taking my maternity photos and will fully document the nursery as well. Trust me, her pictures will be far superior to any I could ever take with my phone.

I'm going to be honest. I didn't want a baby shower. Back when we first learned of our impending challenges, I thought it would be too hard. Well, my first baby shower was this past weekend. While it was difficult to sit in front of 30 people and open cute little girl presents, I'm thankful everyone came out for it. I do feel loved by so many people - that gives me strength.

Here are a few moments from my shower this past weekend!

 My best friend's mom makes these. They are the only brownies that ever need to exist. Fortunately, I have a private stash in my fridge.

My best friend's mom makes these. They are the only brownies that ever need to exist. Fortunately, I have a private stash in my fridge.

 Oooooo, cupcakes!

Oooooo, cupcakes!

 Me and the moms and aunts. There are a lot of clashing patterns in this shot. Haha! We need to work on our coordinating outfits!

Me and the moms and aunts. There are a lot of clashing patterns in this shot. Haha! We need to work on our coordinating outfits!

 My girls! From left to right: Lauren (my soon-to-be cousin in law), cousin Christin, my best friend Kim, cousin Melissa, and cousin Amanda. These ladies are so special to me.

My girls! From left to right: Lauren (my soon-to-be cousin in law), cousin Christin, my best friend Kim, cousin Melissa, and cousin Amanda. These ladies are so special to me.

 Of course, I cried a few times, but not as much as when I opened this little crocheted dress. My Granny made this YEARS ago and it was uncovered when she and my Papa moved out of their home. I will treasure this piece always. It's currently hanging in a spot of honor until little miss gets big enough to wear it.

Of course, I cried a few times, but not as much as when I opened this little crocheted dress. My Granny made this YEARS ago and it was uncovered when she and my Papa moved out of their home. I will treasure this piece always. It's currently hanging in a spot of honor until little miss gets big enough to wear it.

There were a billion more photos, but the process of downloading the entire lot and uploading more than I already have exhausted me. Ha! I don't know how you photographers do it!

I am so grateful for this pregnancy and the way it has propelled me closer to God. I don't have much more to say than that for now. Thank you so much for your continued prayers. We are spending most of our time like any other first time parents, filled with excitement and a little anxiety about bringing this new person into the world. ...and wondering how much we will end up spending on diapers. :)

Thoughts on Being Pregnant | WEEK THIRTY!!!

Week 30!!! Ten more to go. We have so many things to be thankful for in the midst of our challenges. She moves so much, I cannot help but think that's a good sign. Our doctors are still as great as ever and have promised to be there for us in whatever way we need. *I will speak on my overall opinion of EVMS at another date. It's a good for them they have pretty much cornered the market for high risk pregnancies....or else I'd be flying that coop. 

I have to give myself a pat on the back. This past weekend, my heavy little belly and I completed two weddings. Thanks to my incredible assistants (one being my dear husband), each day was a success. You can read about them here and here, if you'd like. If you happened to read the review I wrote on my new Tieks, you'll know my footwear was of great concern to me. I managed to wear them for a little on Friday night, but stuck with my ballet flat Crocs all of Sunday. They're not the prettiest ever, but my legs thanked me. Who knew gaining this amount of weight would feel like a billion pounds.

Clothes
I've pretty much decided what I have in my possession is what I'll wear for the rest of my pregnancy. I did get a cute, cheap dress online this week AND my dress for my maternity photo session came in. I'm pretty much in love with it.

Baby Shower
My first shower is this weekend! I'm so excited I could burst. It will be so great to see everyone and I know my cousins and bff are going to do a magnificent job putting it all together.

Cats
I'm spending more time hugging them these days. Niles loves to cuddle right up under my neck, so I'll just hold him there like a little baby. I know it'll be tough for them once Miss gets here and I want to give them as much attention as possible. After all, they have done more for me than I ever imagined was possible.

Cravings
You people and your "cravings"...I'm not so sure they exist. If they do, they have yet to arrive here. Trust me, I don't mind at all.

 My dear friend, Sharra and I at Kim and Matt's wedding. This was the only bump pic I took this week. Sorry it's so grainy.

My dear friend, Sharra and I at Kim and Matt's wedding. This was the only bump pic I took this week. Sorry it's so grainy.

Things baby got to do this week:
-She discovered my ribs! Goodness gracious, have mercy! It doesn't hurt, she's still not that big, but it's a weird sensation. I was driving home one night this week and she literally kicked my ribs the entire drive. I kept trying to reposition myself, but when you're driving, you can only move so much. It made me laugh. Poor girl must have been uncomfortable. Or she was tap dancing to the classical music on the radio.
-She has become more of a night owl. I know, I know, "She's preparing you for after birth, keeping you up all night." But I kid you not, as soon as my head hits the pillow, this dancer goes to town.
-Her food highlight of the week was wedding cake. I mean, how could it not be? There was also a giant bowl of snap peas Cal grew in our church garden. Eating those was almost like having a dessert, they were so sweet.
-I started making the banner that will hang over her window. I'm not doing curtains. One, I have cats and any piece of long, flowing fabric is a temptation they cannot resist. And two, I didn't want a valance. I'm hoping to be done with that by next week...it's going to be so cute!

Last week, I mentioned not having a functioning ice maker in our house AND I couldn't find my hammer to hang things on my walls. My dear friend, Jennifer brought me ice trays. My bff, Kim brought me a bag of Sonic ice. Cal got me a new hammer. All is right in the world. Thank you, everyone!

From Dessert Song by Hillsong. We sang this in church this past Sunday.
These words have never been more real to me.
All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

Thoughts on Being Pregnant | Week 29

Do you know what comes after 29? 30! Then the 10 week countdown. Ten. Ten weeks. Okay, so right now, I have 11. Still, it feels like only yesterday that I got that positive test result. Our first ultrasound was like 2 weeks ago, right?

My Health
On Sunday morning, I visited my brother in law's small group before heading to my own. He leads the young adults group. One of them asked if I ran there. I was so winded from walking up the stairs...ahaha! I've totally reached the point of barely being able to see my feet when I look down. Small tasks make me winded. Bending over is a small challenge. BUT I can still turn over in my sleep without waking up. WIN!

Cal
He is hands down the best guy to deal with my pregnant demands. Ladies, marry the man who will tolerate your emotions, silly requests, and lovingly keep you in check.

Cravings
I still haven't had any cravings. I'm not sure I will, or maybe I'm just so preoccupied with other issues. The one thing I want is ice in my drink. Is that too much to ask? It's getting HOT and this mama needs to cool down. Our ice machine broke and after a superbly terrible encounter with an appliance repair company, it will probably stay broken. I have one ice tray. Granted, it makes Mickey-shaped ice, but I use an entire tray in one fell swoop. Gonna be a long summer.

Nursery
I showed you a picture of the crib in last week's post. I wanted to get a few more things up on the walls, but our hammer has vanished. "But Sterling, it's so easy to borrow a hammer from a friend or neighbor." Yes, it is. If I didn't have a billion things going on in my brain (aka -  double wedding week, people!), I would remember to ask someone. The real goal is to have the room ready by the end of July, so I still have plenty of time. Maybe we'll find our hammer.

Bump Pic
FINALLY remembered to take one!

Things baby girl got to do this week:
-Eat at Cook Out! You knew there was going to be at least one food highlight on this list. I mean, food is pretty much the most excitement a baby can have in the womb. I crushed an entire tray AND a milkshake.
-We slept! Seriously, I was able to get so much rest this past weekend. It was needed. This included a lot of kitten snuggling. I call her "sister" when I talk to the buddies. I'm hoping it'll be a word they recognize.
-We went shopping together. Haha - this seems so silly, but I found a few things on major sale. Gotta start 'em while they're young. This little baby already has waaaayyy too much newborn sized clothing. Between my mom and I, we've ensured she'll be well dressed the first 2-3 weeks of her life.
-She got her first baby gift off the registry! Our dear friend and her sweet kids sent us a car seat! The kittens are forever trying to learn what it does.

Cal and I have received so many sweet cards of encouragement lately. From family to friends, it is incredible how loved it makes us feel. I could not imagine going through life's challenges without a good support system. Surround yourself with people who will love you when you need it most. Fortunately, I was born into a top-notch family, but if they weren't around, I know my friends would be there just the same.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
Proverbs 16:9

Thoughts on Being Pregnant | Week 28

We're now at week 28!!! This week wasn't much different than the last. I have failed, once again, to take a bump picture. One piece of advice I got early on was to take regular photos. Maybe I'll take pictures after the birth and run them in reverse order as I lose weight. lol

Something new that has come up: rib pain. Honestly, it feels like I've been stabbed and my lung is leaking air. I read online that this is relatively normal, but made a call to the triage nurse just in case. Basically, there's nothing to do about it other than stretching and taking Tylenol. I try not to take anything, so I guess I'll stick with the pain. Also, I've hit a new level of needing to sit down.

The nursery is coming along quite swimmingly. The cats are especially (not) helpful.

 Niles has found his purpose in life. You'll rue the day you try to take his box from him.

Niles has found his purpose in life. You'll rue the day you try to take his box from him.

We decided not to do an actual theme. I had colors in mind and found items that matched. Mint, gold, white, and grey are the main colors. Add in some pink - boom - a girl's room. There are a few decorations on our registries. I look forward to putting everything else up on the walls so I can share with you!

 These beautiful paper flowers were made for my branding shoot by my friend Camberly of  Sweet Pear Paper . I didn't want to hang anything heavy over the crib and these are just paper - BINGO! ps- YES, I know you can't keep a pillow in an infant's crib.

These beautiful paper flowers were made for my branding shoot by my friend Camberly of Sweet Pear Paper. I didn't want to hang anything heavy over the crib and these are just paper - BINGO! ps- YES, I know you can't keep a pillow in an infant's crib.

A few things have been very helpful to me as I enter the third trimester. Body Glide! THIS STUFF IS A LIFE SAVER. If you have ever worked out or gained weight, you understand chaffing is a horrible nuisance and can literally destroy your day. Well, I ordered some Body Glide and it is the real MVP. Another HUGE blessing is my body pillow. Part of my Christmas gift (to myself) was a Bump Nest pillow. After reading about this beauty for a few years, I knew it would be the one to try. I L O V E it. Cal calls it the Great Wall. When it comes down to it, a girl needs her sleep and this thing delivers.

Things baby got to do this week:
-She got to try all the yummies at last weekend's wedding. So much cake.
-I have been watching Harry Potter or listening to the soundtracks. If babies can learn/understand anything from the womb, I want her to know about three things: Jesus, music, and Harry Potter. I cannot wait to read the books to her one day.
-We are going to enter this child in the 2016 Olympics for the breaststroke. Serious power kicks, batman.
-We've been breaking in the nursery glider. I'll sit and rock and listen to the quiet in her room.

I'll be honest, it's getting more difficult to keep up with these posts. I want to stop time or start moving backwards. Alas, pregnancy is a train that is slow to take off, but eventually moves full steam ahead. I hardly know the girl who wrote posts for weeks 11-19. A lot of people say things when situations like ours come up. "I know so and so and she got bad news about her baby, but he was born 100% normal"..."The doctors could be wrong"..."My one friend went through this, but of course, her baby didn't make it"....that last one, honestly, why do people tell me that?! People say these things because it makes them feel better. I get it. They don't know what else to say. It makes them feel like they are helping. It doesn't help. Our experience is what it is. God is still God whether she is perfect, has some needs, or goes off to Heaven. In fact, that is the case in any circumstance. What are we going to do about it? We pray. We trust.

Looking forward, we are going to do our best to prepare for her, parent her, and tend to her needs, whatever they may be. On that note, welcome third trimester. (Yikes!)

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18