a little sister

We found out today that Lily and Oli will have a baby sister come September and we are SO THANKFUL. She's measuring right on target and 100% healthy so far. Jesus, you give good gifts and lavish us with your grace. And a GIRL! Oh... my heart was hoping :)

illustration by Slovly, and such a ringer for Lily + her baby sister :)


Pregnancy Sweet Spot (aka middle of the 2nd trimester)

Guys. Life is GREAT. At any given time, sure, there are things a prego in my shoes could complain or worry about. The leg and foot cramps have begun. Already. Any day now I'll be too big to carry both of my toddlers down the stairs at the same time, and then how the heck are we supposed to leave the house? But those thoughts can wait. Because pregnancy is so sweet right now.


Baby is starting to kick, but not in a painful, annoying, ruin-your-sleep kind of way. More like in a sweet, gentle, reminding-you-I'm here kind of way. And I love it! It wasn't too long ago I was in the ER with a friend (Brad was out of town) with severe cramps, sure I was miscarrying. Those kicks are signs of life for me and I am so thankful for every.single.one.

Nausea and vomiting are gone, and I haven't felt those wicked symptoms in weeks. I also haven't had to take the anti-pregnancy-nausea pills in months, which made me even more exhausted than I already was. I can enjoy food as a result, and cooking and baking too.

I'm showing and maybe even glowing. I don't know about the last part - but I've heard it once or twice. Probably more the glow you get when you haven't showered in a couple days and your kids are making you laugh and it's finally hot outside and you've been chasing the toddlers around. That glow, that's not at all related to pregnancy, is probably more the one I have, but I'll take the compliment :) And showing is great because people always give me their seats on the metro and I get a lot of smiles and kindness from the general population at large.

Our kids can see I'm pregnant and they're excited. Lily didn't know what the heck was happening when she was 4.5 months old and I ran to tell her the good news that she was going to be a big sister. Obviously.  But now she's 2.5 years old and well aware, she's even told us without a doubt that the baby is a girl! And even Oli understands a bit - at least much more than she did when I was pregnant with him! He kisses my tummy and says "baby!" a lot and cuddles it too.

I have some energy again, so I'm enjoying it. The 1st trimester and 3rd are often just such a blur of exhaustion, but the 2nd trimester really is grand. Some moms I know say they've never had more energy, and while I can't relate to that, I am feeling so much better than before that it seems that way. I'm loving taking the kids out in this nice weather and getting things done during some naptimes if I'm feeling extra empowered.

I'm realizing that my 3rd child is coming... soon! The 1st trimester is all about survival. I don't think much beyond the toilet bowl. I can't pretend I spend those early weeks dreaming of the baby who is being knit together in my womb. I'm thinking about what I ate last and how it's making me want to vomit. But now, I'm in a place where I can prepare, dream, and long for our third little sapling. I've begun buying some things we need (some cloth diapers in size 1, a car seat, etc), and I've started to prepare and get excited even for breastfeeding. I know September will fly by (and baby could come any time that month too!) and we have a busy summer ahead so he'she will be here before we know it!

it's a sweet sweet time and I'm savouring every last drop.

prego stats - week 18

otherwise known as the Pregnancy Sweet Spot (more on that coming).

How far along: 18 weeks

Total weight gain: 7lbs

How big is baby: size of a sweet potato

Maternity Clothes: yes, and I'm gradually gaining more thanks to friend's hand-me-downs! Not to mention a huge collection of nursing tanks and bras, so I'll be prepared :)

Sleep: sleep is good, I'm needing it a bit less and don't nap every day now. I wake almost every morning with leg or foot cramps though. Oh I forgot about that annoying symptom. I used to just get it at the tail end of my third trimester, but I guess the third time around it'll be for 20 weeks. sweet.

Best moment this week: hearing baby3's heartbeat on Thursday at an appointment and being reassured by my OBGYN that though the epidural didn't work last time, that's no indication that it won't work this coming time. It still may not, but it's just bad luck and fast labour when it doesn't - so she suggested I get it sooner this time instead of waiting out the pain for fear of getting it TOO SOON like last time. That was ironic! Oli was born minutes after getting the failed epidural, so it certainly wasn't too soon! This time around, I'm getting it ASAP.
Movement: YES! definitely, and it's noticeable by more than just me! I especially feel baby3 when I'm laying on my back or trying to rest (go figure), and he/she feels decidedly low for 18 weeks, but again, third baby... different ballgame. I love the gentle movements - they're not painful or annoying yet so I'm enjoying every minute!

Food cravings: It hadn't occurred to me that it was a "craving" but I have eaten a truck load of beets lately... wonder if that's pregnancy related?

Food aversions: Some meats still. I'm always more vegetarian when I'm pregnant.

Gender:we find out ON TUESDAY. I'm dying. And hoping for a girl, but just eager to KNOW.

Labor signs: n/a

Belly button in or out: out.

What I miss: energy for sure, but not much else right now :)

What I'm not loving: The foot and leg cramps. They hurt so badly and are a terrible way to wake for the day! But thankfully the constipation is almost gone and the heart burn isn't as bad anymore either... Wonder of they were a 1st trimester thing?

What I’m looking forward to: TUESDAY.

What I'm loving: everything. I'm in a great place. Not sick or huge or in pain. No real back pain yet (that left me almost bed ridden in my third trimester last time), and no symptoms I can't get through. It's starting to hit me for real: our THIRD baby is coming. We are so blessed. Thank you father.

Milestone(s): nothing I can think of this week, but next week I'll definitely have something to write home about!


on trying to nurse, for the third time.

A few months ago, I had almost officially resolved to not even give nursing a go. I had come to terms with the idea that with the challenges I've faced in the past, and less time/energy/ability to put into nursing than ever before (with three kids now, not two, or one, like in times past), nursing likely wouldn't work at all, so why bother. And I sincerely thought I would bottle feed formula from the delivery room.

Now, before I go any further, I NEED to emphasize that nursing and parenting are very personal things and there is great potential for guilt and emotions to influence both. I don't support women who look down on other women for the way they feed their child. Breast, Pumped, Bottle, Formula - I don't care as long as you're taking care of your baby and filling their tummy with nutrients. I choose to believe that each mama is trying her best and doing what she can, and that looks different in every situation, in every family, and for every mom and child. So if you breastfeed til your kids are old enough to walk over and ask for it - cool. If you bottle feed formula in the delivery room for reasons that are all your own - great. It's your call, and judgements are unfair and unnecessary in an already difficult gig like parenting. That's my stance on the feeding issue, and I hope other people (especially moms) will give me the same curtsey, regardless of how I end up feeding my baby in the end.

SO ANYWAY. I was perfectly content, and almost excited about the thought of not entering the painful, emotional, exhausting world of nursing with my third child. Brad wasn't as happy about me not wanting to try it at all, but in the end he prayed about it and said he wanted me to make the call and he'd submit to my decision and support it. GOOD MAN. And we left it at that for many months.

But recently, I've been reevaluating my goals for nursing: what they were in the past and what might make them healthier should I nurse again. See, the guilt when my supply was low and I wasn't able to feed my babies exclusively on breast milk was partly from other people  - I received such horrible comments from La Leche League representatives, read hurtful things on blogs and facebook statuses, and felt condemned by many moms who couldn't understand why I was having trouble - but it was also from myself.

I went into motherhood the first time vowing to never use formula and to nurse for at least 6 months, hopefully a year. I looked down on those who didn't breastfeed (and there was no reason good enough in my books to stop breastfeeding). When my supply dwindled early on, I was crushed. I was embarrassed. I felt I'd failed my child and myself. It was obvious breastfeeding was an idol because when I couldn't live up to it my self worth was diminished.

Going into motherhood the second time, I thought I had my head on straight. I thought I was approaching the nursing thing in a healthy way. I told others I was going to try and hope for the best, but deep down I didn't believe it. I believed that the first time was a fluke and that this time would be different! And the first few weeks my supply was actually greater than with Lily! It was working!! YES! I was succeeding! And then it, too, dwindled, plus Oli's latch didn't improve even with lactation consultants helping me. And just like that, all the same guilt and feelings of failure were back. If I couldn't do it I wanted to quit as soon as possible because it was too exhausting and painful to only do a few times a day, if that.

I hope and pray that I've learned enough and that the idol of breastfeeding has lost it's power over me, because I find myself wanting to try nursing for the first time in over a year. I know it's because of a drastic change in expectations, and I hope that makes it realistic and less emotional this third time.

My goal? Just to nurse. Period. To offer and provide my baby breastmilk, for as long as it's there (though likely not after age 1). In my experience it likely won't be longer than 4 months, and it will be served with a healthy side dose of formula, but my goal is to still breastfeed sometimes, as much as I can.

See, in the past my goal and hope and ultimate worth was that I'd nurse exclusively and for a long time, and when that didn't happen I felt like a failure. I spent hours on the pump trying to increase supply, I changed my diet and schedule too. Nothing helped, and quitting only made me feel worse. This time, I'm hoping that going in with low expectations and healthy goals will make it easier. If I can nurse at all (and history tells me I absolutely can), thank God! If I have any milk at all (and history tells me I more than likely will), I'll offer it to baby #3 and be thankful. And at any sign of lowering supply, instead of spending all my free time and energy at the pump or taking supplements, I'll offer formula, guilt-free, and enjoy my other two children while doing so.

Brad and I are both very comfortable using formula, since our first two beautiful children drank a whole lot of it in infancy. But we both agree that breast milk is ideal, when possible. So the plan is to try, to do what I can, to not take extraordinary time-consuming measures (read: no crazy pumping sessions unless it's so I can go on a hot date with my man, not to increase supply!), to nurse for as long as there's milk (instead of quitting from discouragement when my supply is low), and to be content with what God has allowed.

I may end up nursing for as few as 1-3 feeds per day by the end, and using formula the rest of the time, but that will be OK based on my new goals and hopes. That will actually be GREAT! I hope to nurse for much longer than the 8 weeks I nursed Oli, but I'm assuming that will only be possible if I am content with not exclusively breastfeeding.

So, I've been collecting nursing bras from mom friends (I was all too happy to be rid of mine when I was done with Oli!), and plan to buy some nursing tanks, and am dusting off my nursing pump (for date nights, only!), because I do plan to try to nurse this third time around. It's actually both liberating and terrifying to admit that publicly. Nursing was not a lovely experience for me as it is for many moms, and I didn't miss it when I was done. I feel like I more or less survived the nursing season, and came out worse for wear. But, here's to the third attempt! Hoping for the best :)


The Drop Box

Here's a trailer for a documentary I'd just love to see. A pastor in South Korea started a ministry/orphanage based on babies dropped in a box by unwilling/unable mothers. In South Korea, like many places in the world, thousands of babies die from abandonment (often in the streets, hours after birth). This pastor wanted to provide another option. To be the salt and light and love of Jesus to these mothers and to their babies. What a man and what a legacy! I cried so much in the trailer, I think I need to re-watch it because I'm sure I missed parts.

"The Drop Box" - Documentary PROMO from Brian Ivie on Vimeo.


prego stats - week 17

How far along: 17 whole weeks!

Total weight gain: 5 lbs

How big is baby: an onion

Maternity Clothes: yes, sir! 

Sleep: It's funny. The 2nd trimester brings more energy, to be sure, but I still have the odd day where I can hardly scrape myself off the couch/bed/floor/laundry heap. Today was one of those days. I skipped napping this morning because I slept for a good 8 hours last night and felt rested. Plus someone was coming over to buy some old cloth diapers from me that I listed on craigslist, in the middle of nap time. And then I went out on a walk with Morgan and the kids and felt great. Until about 3:30pm. OH MY WORD. Morgan left around 4pm, and at 4:45 I woke up on the reading ottoman corner in the kids room, no idea how I got there. Ladies and gentlemen, THAT is what you call tired.

Best moment this week: feeling baby movement and planning for baby #3 has been so fun!

Movement: YES! Occasionally I feel it, and I love it. It's so reassuring and I am reminded of the great gift I'm carrying each and every time. Need to remember that when the movement is less joyful and more painful and inconvenient in the 3rd trimester :)

Food cravings: I'm eating Lebanese take out right now. Does that answer your question?

Food aversions: Still some meats, but basically nothing anymore.

Gender: FIFTEEN MORE DAYS, PLAYERS! I can't wait to find out. Vote on the sidebar for the sex you think it'll be. Because it's fun, and for no other reason :)

Labor signs: n/a

Belly button in or out: Out.

What I miss: energy, my old clothes, the days before stretch marks (but that was 3 years ago...)

What I'm not loving: Constipation like woah. Is that TMI?

What I’m looking forward to: OK this deserves a post all to itself, and one is coming this week, but get this: NURSING. I know, me, who had two horrific experiences complete with poor latching, low supply, mama guilt like woah, evil laleche ladies telling me I'm a bad mom and all the rest of it.... I am excited to try nursing again. 

What I'm loving: Oli kissing my tummy and saying "baby!" all the time, and Lily asking if she can "hold" the baby (and then putting her two little hands on either side of my bump). These two are going to be great big siblings!

Milestone(s): 2nd trimester, movement, and breast tenderness and tingling (signs of milk production, we hope!).


prego stats - week 16

I am LOVING being pregnant this week. Of course, I'm tired, but the absence of nausea and vomiting are not lost on me. I am SO thankful to be at week 16 of a healthy pregnancy, past the terrible morning sickness and crippling fatigue, and still small enough to get around without a fork lift :) Life is good. And now, les stats.

How far along: 16 weeks

Total weight gain: 5 lbs (I was 4 lbs up last week at my appointment, so I'm estimating)

How big is baby: avocado

Maternity Clothes: I'm in a tough spot because a lot of maternity clothes I own are too big for me (from previous pregnancies, hand-me-downs, etc. I have two pair of skinny jeans (one blue one demin) and I love them both, but they're the only two that fit me, so I'm debating buying more. I would love to wear my other jeans but they're not fitting right, though they probably will later on in pregnancy (as if I'll need long pants in August, though!)

Sleep: Some days I don't nap, and that hasn't been the end of the world this week. I'm still trying to get more than 8 hours at night and 2 in the day, but that's not always happening with life and all.

Best moment this week: Feeling the baby move about in my womb. YES! BABY MOVEMENT! Earliest I've felt it yet, but that's not uncommon for a third pregnancy, I'm told.

Movement: holllllller.

Food cravings: Not really this week. I'm cutting back on sugar and trying to eat healthy since my appetite is finally resembling that of someone carrying another human. I'm HUNGRY.

Food aversions: still whole chicken, which we used to cook once a week! I'm not sure why, but it's the last aversion I can shake. Brad misses his favourite roast chicken, but I sure don't right now!

Gender: Guys, am I a bad mama if I hope it's a girl? I know if/when I find out it's a boy I'll eventually be thrilled (and Oli rocks my world), but right now it feels like so long since we've had a baby girl in the house and it's all I can think about. We'll find out April 30th! Get your vote on! (sidebar)

Labor signs: n/a

Belly button in or out: out and proud.

What I miss: having lots of clothes to wear! options in the closet!

What I'm not loving: heart burn + constipation are getting niiiice and comfy around here.

What I’m looking forward to: April 30th. Duh. And a check up I have on the 25th just before. I just love checking in with my fabulous doctor and hearing the heart beat :)

What I'm loving: every.single.week. Seriously, this pregnancy (maybe because we had to try longer than the first two, maybe because we had two scares early on, or maybe because we're grieved with many many friends who've miscarried during this pregnancy) is such a blessing. I am not taking it for granted and I am in awe of God.

Milestone(s): movement!