Category Archives: Pregnancy

#nope

I know (because some of you have emailed me as much, you sweet things) that anyone coming to my blog today is hoping for any news except that…

I’m still pregnant.

41 weeks

{Here I am in all of my royal blue, big-bellied, 41 week & 5 days glory. Looking very large and in charge and awkwardly posed thanks to photo credit going to sweet Della}

But–le sigh–it is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. (Please help me, God).

think that I have now officially been pregnant for the longest amount of time in my considerable reproductive history.

Theo came 11 days late, but we passed up that mark yesterday.

Simon and Della were both 14 days late on the dot. BUT! The dates in my head (that I was pretty sure of) were different (later) than the sonograms, and so I think they were probably both “only” 9 days “late.” (Clearly, they both came in God’s timing, and both were perfectly healthy–if 3 pounds different in weight!!).

#babynumber7′s dates are spot on–in my head and on the sonogram (like to the day), which means that I am now 12 days overdue and counting…

How do I feel about this?

Still surprisingly chill.

As long as I don’t think too much about the fact that I may have to evict a 10 pound baby from my body with nothing more than willpower and zero abs, I feel fine. Definitely relying on the Lord for grace when the time does come.

So, mentally, I’m as good as a hugely pregnant lady is gonna be.

And physically, I’m good too. Not even that uncomfortable. Most of the time.

Although…

I finally gave up my fitness classes this week, but it was less to do with a physical inability to teach them and more about a weariness with being asked, “Is he STILL in there???!” every time I waddled in the door.

That said, after all of that talk I’ve done in the past few weeks about how grateful I am not to have had very many “warm-up” rounds to mess with my brain, I have been contracting at regular intervals ALL. WEEK. LONG. (which was definitely a contributing factor to deciding to get subs for my classes…contracting in the middle of a jump kick is no fun)…starting Monday afternoon and then continuing with intermittent fits and starts until, well, riiiiiiiight now (yup, just got a good squeeze).

There have been two nights that I thought, “Hmmm…if these stick, we’ll have a baby in–oh–20 hours.” (Insert eye roll at my suuuuh-low body). But most of the time, I’m just ignoring them completely.

There have been other signs of labor whose gory details I’ll spare you, but suffice it to say that, one morning, when one of them occurred, I was all: “WOOHOOO! I’m going into labor soon!!”

And then, I remembered that I was 41 weeks 3 days pregnant, so of course I’m going into labor soon (one way or another), and I felt distinctly like Cuzco in The Emperor’s New Groove when he throws his hooves in the air and hollers: “YAY! I’m a llama again…oh…wait.” #underwhelming

P.S. If you’ve never seen The Emperor’s New Groove, you must, at least once, for the character of Kronk alone (I mean, he does his own theme music).

ANYhoo, as much as it feels a bit like I’ve got my bags all packed for vacation (exciting) but don’t know when I get to leave (deflating), I’ve finally learned how to enjoy being overdue.

Ready for my I’m-over-a-week-overdue-and-I-don’t-even-care motto?

Carpe everything, man.

This is hardly my normal mantra, but when I’m about to have a baby, I have learned to say yes to pretty much any opportunity to do something a little different and fun–with my family, with friends, by myself…whatever.

So, the last two weeks have been full of much-needed house-cleaning and organizing, as many get-togethers with friends and family as possible, and at least 2 dates with my husband. To say that it’s been a productive and enjoyable first half of January would actually be an accurate statement–despite that I’m down to two pairs of pants that fit and have such bad round ligament pain that turning over in bed is literally a 10-point process (bend, flex, shift, roll, repeat).

craft rooom

{My amazing, servant-hearted sister-in-law came to my house 3 different days this week and cleaned my messy craft room–among other things. She’s theeeee best!}

With Simon and Della (my technically 2-week-late babies), I spent a good 3 weeks throwing myself one pity party after another that I wasn’t having a baby by the end of the day. Sure, I accomplished things–both practical and fun–but begrudgingly. As in: I’d rather be having a baby right now than on a rare date with my husband. Hmph.

No more, though. If Shaun and are I at the movies (something that usually happens once every 4 months at most), I’m thinking, “Don’t you dare come out before I see the end credits, baby boy!” If the girls and Theo and I are out junking and having a lunch date (as we were this afternoon–hence actually bothering to get dressed in that blue outfit above), then that’s what I want to be doing.

41 weeks1

{The weather here has been nuts; a week ago, it was 15 degrees. The other night, when Shaun and I went on a date to see Hidden Figures, it was so warm, that I wore this open-toed sandals + summer dress ditty and was practically sweating…and not just because I’m currently baking a human}

Being grateful for and engaged in the moment has drastically changed my mindset about being “overdue.” I don’t love the ever-expanding belly and uncertainty. But neither do I despise them. It just is what it is. And what it is is an incentive to be more intentional with my time–which will soon be sucked up (quite literally) by a precious little (hopefully) bundle of needy, newborn joy.

house progress

{We’ve made a ton of house progress lately too…sheetrock + wall texture are done-zo. We’re moving on to permanent power, A/C, cabinetry, trim, floors, doors, and such next. It’s pretty exciting stuff! So exciting, apparently, that ,even when Hannah–sister-in-law–and I loaded the van with tons of furniture and boxes to take over to the new house, it still didn’t send me into labor}

By the way, for those of you who are worried about my chillness because you’re sure this baby can’t possibly be safe in this-here-reluctant womb of mine, let me assure you that my midwife keeps a very close monitor on all things baby–especially during these last few weeks. I’ve had weekly appointments for over a month during which she checks all the things (except dilation, unless I ask, because–quite honestly–that means nothing).

And if this little guy isn’t here by Tuesday, I have a sono scheduled to do a complete bio-physical assessment and make sure that my amniotic fluid levels and placenta are good (I had to get those with Simon and Della too and was either in laborat the time or started it shortly thereafter). Other than that? The baby comes when he’s ready, and I am okay with that.

The Lord has just been so good to guard my heart and mind with his peace that passes all understanding in pretty much every area this pregnancy, but the one thing that does still make me nervous if I dwell on it is the labor itself. Every time I picture transition or pushing, I start to sweat. You would think that by your sixth labor, you wouldn’t dread it so, but I have been. At least until the last few days. By this point, though, I’m pretty much good with anytime he’s ready–even though I know it will hurt like the Dickens.

So, who knows? Maybe I’m the one who has been subconsciously holding us up. Whooooo knows…

As always I appreciate all of your assurances of prayer and kind words. It’s actually kind of amazing to know that I’m being upheld before the Lord by–not only my own family and friends–but a sisterhood of women around the world whom I’ve never met.

Y’all are the best!

And don’t worry. I will post as soon (within reason) as there is a baby. I’d want to know too.

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25 Week Pregnancy Check In {Baby #7}

Welp. I’m 25 weeks pregnant today. Which means it’s about time for another oh-so-fascinating check-in on how this little guy is doing.

25 weeks logo

Overall, I’ve felt bigger this time around (even though the scale, which I’ve only stepped on once, says I have gained the same amount of weight as I had at this point last time). Rounder belly earlier. Just generally more change in my body more quickly than I’m used to. I think my body is distributing things differently. Baby’s higher than usual, for sure. I’m usually a super low carrier.

P.S. I am NOT complaining here. Merely observing a difference between this pregnancy and others.

And, after looking back at my 24 week pregnancy update with Theo, I can definitely see a difference in my shape (not bad, not good; just different), so…I guess it’s good to know I’m not just imagining things?

theo24 weeks

Considering that I started with the “faux-questionnaire” format last time, I guess I’ll just go with that again.

So, here are the answers to all of the questions that maybe no one has even asked, just in case you might possibly have been wondering.

How has this pregnancy compared to the others?

Hm…I guess I already sort of answered part of this with how I think my body’s reacting differently.

I touched on this in my recap of the first 20 weeks, but this has maybe been the hardest pregnancy yet (other than the twins’). More exhaustion, more nausea, more mood swings, more/worse varicose veins. Yippee! That said, I think I’m finally completely in the clear on the debilitating exhaustion and nausea front. I’ve only taken one nap (other than Sunday…Sunday naps are sacred) in the last month, and, in general, I have decent energy until bedtime. I’ve even had a burst or two of nesting but nothing sustained. As in, the piece of furniture I hauled upstairs that used to hold all of random toys (that I sorted, threw out, and organized the same day) is still sitting in the same place I left it over a week ago. Sigh. Baby steps (Ha).

What is this baby like?

Hmm…well, I thought he was super-wiggly and was a little worried that we had a hyper one on our hands, but Shaun claimed that I said the same thing about Theo (aka: Lil’ Chill Dude), and as I looked back on my 24 Week Update, it turns out he was right. I talked about Theo being a mover and shaker too. Which kind of makes me glad that I’m taking the time to write these. (Because aren’t we just so sure we’ll remember every little last detail, and then, no matter how hard we try to hang on, it all starts to fade? Good thing for labor. Bad for the rest).

Do you have a name yet?

Yup. :) Although…I’m not stuck on the middle name, so we’ll see.

Are you still exercising/teaching fitness classes?

I am. I teach 6 classes a week, and Tuesday is fast becoming my least favorite exercise day of the week, since I teach Grit Plyo (think: squat jumps off of a bench, tons of burpees, jack push-ups, tuck jumps, etc.) and then BODYPUMP. Grit is exhausting in its own right, but halfway through Pump, all I can think is: are we done yet?

I’m already having to modify majorly in Grit (not Pump), but I’ve joked with my participants that, by the end, I’ll be sitting in a deck chair with a glass of lemonade calling: “JUMP! DROP! PUSH-UPS!” At least I think I’m joking.

Funny story: the other day, a new childcare worker told me, “This is weird, but I had a dream about you. You were, like, 9 month pregnant and still teaching…” at which point, I said, “Um, well, that part’s not a dream. I do that every time.” And she was like, “Whaaaat? No way! Oh, and then you went into labor.” And I was: “Um, yeah. That’s probably not going to happen, and even if it did, I’d probably just finish teaching the class, then go home, eat dinner, and do some laundry before I had the baby.” #darnslowlabors

Still planning on a home birth?

You better believe it! I’m not one to say never, but, barring some kind of significant change in my mindset/midwife situation/health, I think I’m going to be a home birth girl from here ’til there are no more babies to birth. I just love being in my own bed with no one prodding or poking me afterwards. No monitors. No nothing. Being able to eat/walk around/get in the tub/just generally do as I please during labor is pretty awesome too.

Of course, I have family that is willing to take my kids for a couple of days when the baby comes, so I’m sure I would be more enthralled with the hospital option if I didn’t.

I’ll be using Melena again (one of the midwives who assisted at the twins’ birth and then was the primary at Theo’s birth after my longtime midwife, Thalia, died suddenly from a stroke), and I’m super-happy to have someone that I trust so much assisting me again.

How have people responded to your having another baby?

Honestly? I’ve made very few “official” announcements. And, in the South, if someone doesn’t give you a big toe in the door to say something (you know, besides, “Bless your heart”), then you don’t necessarily say anything at all (well, to their face…ha!).

So, while my belly is growing by the day, I haven’t gotten just tons of comments, either good or bad. I think there were many weeks of, “Has Abbie just given up and starting eating bon-bons for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?” at the gym since no one much officially knew until we got back from Colorado. But now that they do, nobody much seems to notice.

Which is TOTALLY cool with me!

I think, maybe, by this point, it’s kind of obvious that this is just what we do. And everybody has, more or less, accepted that. Our family on both sides are very supportive of our having however many kids the Lord blesses us with, so we’ve never heard a peep of opposition from them (yes, I know; we’re very thankful). And I’ve actually gotten FEWER comments lately at the grocery store. I think part of this is because we only go once a week, which is one of the few times I run errands anymore with all 6 kids with me, and the rest of the time, I usually have little kids with me while the older ones are at piano practice or Softa’s (my mom’s) house.

WHATEVER the reason, I’m completely fine with the lull in comments. (They were pretty intense when the twins were babies and both in car seats; that was quite the attraction, apparently). On the one hand, they definitely give me an opportunity to share the Lord with people, so I should desire more contact, but my flesh would definitely prefer to just zoom in and out of Walmart without too many roadblocks along the way.

Hmm…maybe I should start praying for more people to stop and talk to us.

Any big pregnancy quirks?

Um, y’all. It’s so embarrassing, but I am quite the snorer when I’m pregnant. I sleep on my side and everything, but, combine my–what? pregnancy sleep apneia?–with the cold that I’ve been fighting for almost 3 weeks now, and I actually feel a little sorry for my husband. He’s a pretty sound sleeper, though, and hasn’t resorted to sleeping on the couch yet, so I guess we’re fine.

And now it’s your turn.

If you’re pregnant right now, give me a shout out and let me know how far along you are, when the baby’s due, how many other kids you have, whether or not you snore…you know…the important stuff.

I’d love to learn more about you!

Did I leave out something that you’re just dying to know?

I can’t even imagine, but if so, ask away!

 

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#Tiebreakerbaby (Baby #7): Who am I?

First up, THANK YOU so much for your words of encouragement, excitement, and celebration with us. I know that we’ve never made it anything close to a secret that if the Lord gave us more children, we’d happily take them, but still, announcing a seventh kid is not always met with such joy and positivity, and I can’t really adequately express how grateful I am for each of you that took the time to say YAY with us! (And each of you who thought: Whuuut? They CRAZY?!…and kept it to yourselves. insert laughing/crying emoji).

7 weeks

7 Weeks – Oh, abs. How I miss thee. Push-ups just aren’t the same without you.

I’ve false started on this post at least 6 times because I wasn’t sure which direction to go with it. Do I do a recap of the whole pregnancy so far? (YAWN…no, really…that would be a good word to sum up how I’ve felt for the most part). Do I hit the highlights? Do I skip the whole first half and go straight to the gender poll? (Because you know I love me a good gender poll).

9 weeks

9 Weeks – Trying on a dress my husband loved in the Vancouver Anthro…sucking in mightily.

So, here is the briefest (that I know how) of recaps, and then we’ll get straight to guessing exactly who is kicking around rather impressively in this big ol’ belly of mine.

I knew VEEEEERRRY early that I was pregnant. How? Because I woke up one morning with the vividest of dreams. Seriously. That was my first clue, at least. Like at maybe 1 week (well, technically, 3 weeks…if you count the two weeks from the 1st day of your last period that they include in your 40 weeks…SO weird that you’re already considered 2 weeks pregnant before you even conceive…but I digress).

13 weeks

13 Weeks – Shopping for the girls. Full of dinner from Zoe’s (my fave “fast” food), and…sucking in mightily.

I literally went from having completely dreamless sleep to 3 days in a row of such intense sleep adventures that I had trouble waking up from them.

And that was it. I just knew.

16 weeks

16 Weeks – at the wedding in Colorado…and not sucking in mightily
enough, I guess. I saw this picture and was like, “Whoa, baby.” And I
wasn’t talking about my husband, although he does look dashing.

So far, this pregnancy has been very similar to my others (well, the twins’ was a little different, but that’s a given). Which is to say: fairly easy and blessedly uneventful.

Buuuuuutttt…I’ve been SO tired. I think (oh, Lord, please) that I’m finally getting some of my energy back, but I’ve really never hit that magical 2nd trimester rush of endorphins and perkiness. I take naps every chance I get, and there have been days when it’s felt like if I didn’t lie down right that second, I might die. Only a slight exaggeration, y’all. This was legit exhaustion.

17 weeks

17 Weeks – on a date in Boulder with Shaun (duh) and–you guessed it–sucking in/angling for all I’m worth.

I’ve also been considerably more nauseated than ever before (including the twins). It’s still nothing compared to what some (many) people deal with–just a generally icky feeling on a fairly regular basis that won’t just go away and stay gone.

ANYhoo, other than that (and let’s face it: the fact that I really don’t like the physical changes and challenges that a pregnancy brings to my body…I’m not a lover of pregnancy, in general), it’s all been good.

Of course, the awesome part is that no amount of tiredness, sickness, aches, or expanding hips can even hold a candle to the exquisite bliss of holding a baby, fresh from heaven, in my arms and marveling at the fact that the Lord used my body to create this little bundle of perfection.

So, that’s where we stand.

baby74

20 Weeks – Because “outtakes” are fun (ahem, twins + my derpy expression). NOT sucking in at all.

This pregnancy has felt slow as molasses so far (despite the summer streaking by in a lightning blur of activity), but I’m hoping, with school starting, that the weeks will just melt away. (I can only imagine once we get into the holiday season).

And now we get to my favoritest part: the gender poll.

So, what do you think?
Is #tiebreakerbaby a boy or a girl?

Because, yes, there is just one in there.

P.S. Guessing whether it’s a boy or a girl is not the same thing as saying that you want it to be a boy or a girl, and my asking what you think is not saying that I have a preference either, so no fair saying: Team Healthy Baby. We are ALL on that team together! :)

P.P.S. After I announce a pregnancy,  I always get an influx of emails asking me questions about: pregnancy (of course), life with lots of kids, birth (particularly of the unmedicated variety), family planning, even pregnancy fashion. I’m happy to (and do) answer all of these individually, but I thought if there are that many folks willing to send emails, then maybe there are others who don’t message me that have questions too? Maybe I’m way off on that. BUT! If you do have a such a question, feel free to ask it in the comments, and I’ll put together a blog post answering all of them soon(ish) :) .

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“Overdue”

Okay, so first off, I’m so glad that y’all got a kick out of Monday’s ThredUP post. I wasn’t sure how many of you would already be familiar with it or might think I was a bit of a nut for getting so excited about having used clothes mailed to my door, but apparently, if I’m a nut, y’all are too because I got an inbox full of referral requests in addition to your blog comments.

HOWEVER, although I went through every single name I received and sent referrals to each of you, I know for a fact that not all of them went through (some of you emailed and let me know, and then some of them just refused to show up in my referral history).

So! If you’re still interested in a $10 code to ThreadUp and are thinking that I’m ignoring you…I promise I’m not. I just can’t figure out how to make them all go through.

HOWEVER (again), I *think* you should be able to use this code whether or not you got an email from me.

Let me know if it works for you!

Okay, so you know from my anti-getting-dressed rant on Monday that I’m not super into wearing normal clothes these days.

Which is why, I have to admit, that this post is a bit of cheat. Shaun snapped these shots of me after church one day a couple weeks back (I think I was 37ish weeks along). But I never actually got a post written about them.

polka dots4

The funny thing is that, even though I’m still measuring about a month behind, at almost 40 weeks now, I’m getting every belly-reaction possible–from the woman at Beall’s who said, “Goodness! You’re about to pop, huh?” to the lady who made me turn sideways and told me I couldn’t possibly be ready to deliver a baby because my belly wasn’t big enough (both of these occurred on the same day while I was wearing the same outfit).

polka dot2

So, I have no idea what to think about how pregnant I look or not, but I know this: I’M READY.

I shouldn’t be. I should be totally content with being pregnant for another few weeks (since I probably will be), but the reality is this funny meme that my friend, Shanna, sent me:

overdue

Ha! Right??

Of course, I agree with the “overdue” part being in quotation marks since I genuinely believe that God’s timing is perfect and that babies come when they are good and ready.

HOWEVER (take three). While I haven’t even reached my official “due date” (which ranges anywhere from tomorrow through Sunday, depending on the source of the info), and  I’m MOST happy with whatever date gives him the healthiest entry into this world, it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t prefer him on the outside where I can hold him rightthisverysecond.  polka dots

I will say, though, that–while it’s been a lesson long in coming–I think I’ve finally, mostly (pretty much) gotten the hang of not worrying about it too much. (I almost lost my mind when, after having Ezra, my first, 6 days early, my next two BOTH showed up two weeks “late,” and then the twins hung around for 39 weeks and 4 whole extremely uncomfortable days).

Just the other day, as I felt that familiar antsy feeling creeping up my spine, I forced myself to open my Bible to the Psalms right then and there and read about God’s unfailing goodness and how He has a plan for my life that far surpasses any that I could conjure up. It helped a lot. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t get a bit frustrated again yesterday (hey, I need lots of reminders). But every time I turn to Jesus with my jitters–which is usually the truly overdue thing in my life–I’m amazed (I shouldn’t be by now) at the almost tangible peace that overtakes my anxious heart.

As my blog friend, Ruth, is always saying, “Motherhood is sanctifying.” And, I might add to that, “Pregnancy too!” :)

Of course, pregnancy is hardly the most anxiety-inducing thing on the planet, and I know many of you have worries that far surpass anything I’m dealing with right now.

So, I thought I’d take the opportunity to turn this post around to you and encourage you to take your worries to the Lord today, whatever they are.

And, if you want, you can even email me at blogabbie{at}gmail{dot}com if you’d like me to pray for something that’s keeping you up at night, and I would be honored to lift you up before our Father in heaven. I mean, you’ll get prayed for, and I’ll have something other than the fact that I’m not in labor to focus on when I wake up in the middle of the night. It’ll be good for both of us, I promise!

Linking up with Lindsey

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38 Week Pregnancy Check-in {Baby #6}

So, I didn’t exactly intend to leave you hanging without a preggo update for the last 7 weeks (because I’m so sure that you’ve been dying to know exactly how many hormonal breakdowns I’ve had in the last two months), but since my last check-in was at 31 weeks, I guess that’s exactly what I’ve done.

So sorry. I will do my best to include as much minutiae as possible to make up for it, k? (Yippee).

38weeksedited

Welp. I must say that I’m not the least bit surprised to be giving you a 38-week-update because–as I’ve mentioned before–my babies tend to stay verrrry comfy in this belly o’ mine. (I just keep telling myself, “4 more weeks,” just in case, but I don’t honestly think we’ll make it that far…famous last words). Weirdly enough, after feeling ready-to-the-max about 6 weeks ago, I’m experiencing a level of chill I probably never have before at this late in the game. Part of that is because life is just so stinkin’ full, and it kind of feels like, “As much as I’d like to meet you right this very second, buddy–not to mention give my aching lower back a break–I’m kind of too busy to have a baby right now.”

NESTING: In keeping with what I just mentioned, I’ve been trying to get as much done as possible before he comes when I feel that frenzy of MUST-CLEAN-ALL-THE-THINGS coming on. Which…usually manifests itself in a 4-hour-long flurry of dragging things out to wash them or dust them or sort them or bag them. Oh, and lots of cooking. I’ve made double-batches of various staples for the last several weeks and have built up a respectable back-log of freezer meals for when he comes. In fact,  I’ve just about gotten everything to the point that I feel like, if he came tonight, I wouldn’t feel crazy. BUT, I know that it won’t stay all nice and tidy for long, so I’m trying not to worry about it too much.

ATTITUDE: A friend of three who isn’t having any more asked me the other day if I felt like my attitude towards this baby is different than my first–citing her own more relaxed standards by Baby #3 (and expressing a tinge of worry at what Baby # 4′s fate would have been had they had one)–and I just started laughing.

With Ezra, my first, everything was done. I mean, people throw you multiple showers. You’ve got baby gear threatening to swallow your house whole (please tell me I’m not the only one who has tripped over the bassinet, only to fall into the giant stroller box, on my way to the bathroom at 3 in the morning). The car seat and the crib and the rocker and the changing table and the diapers and the diaper Genie and the bottles, the bibs, the blankets…you get the idea.

But by the time Baby # _____ (I’m sure the number is different for everyone) rolls around, not only do you already have a pretty good stash of (spit-up and poop stained) everything, you also have a much better idea of what you actually need. So, basically, my response to my friend’s question was: “Welp. We have no small diapers, but that should be fixed by Saturday (some sweet friends are throwing me a diaper shower), and even if he comes before then, we can probably get some by the time I have him with how slow my labors are. I just washed a bunch of clothes and his bassinet cover, so he won’t have to be naked or bedless. And I’m pretty sure we’ve got a warm hat and a blanket somewhere around here (although they’re probably pink). Oh, and I have boobs. So, I think we’re good.”

Poor kid. Hope he’s not expecting too much. (Although, really, what newborn expects more than warmth, snuggles, clean pants, and food?).

EXERCISE: I’m still truckin’. In fact, last week, when everyone was out for Thanksgiving, I subbed 5 classes on top of my usual 3. Another instructor quipped, “That’ll teach ya not to go out of town for the holidays!” But, honestly, I had a lot of fun and felt great pretty much every time I taught. This week has been a slightly different story. This little guy’s head is definitely lower, and doing a roundhouse kick with that kind of pressure on your pelvis is…interesting. I plan on teaching ’til the bitter end, though, so I’m just grateful that everything’s still functioning on some level or another.

PREGNANCY SIDE EFFECTS: Don’t hate me for saying this, but I feel pretty awesome for being this pregnant. I mean, yes, my back and hips hurt constantly, and I could take a nap standing up pretty much always, but I’m not miserable. My varicose vein-y leg flairs up every now and then (wow, I feel 90 when I type that), but overall, I’m doing about as well as could be hoped for at the about-to-pop stage.

I attribute a lot of that to the whole exercising-til-the-bitter-end thing. As I was walking along with all five kids about to leave the gym one night, Nola dropped her blankie, and one of class participants marveled to her husband: “Did you just see that? This woman is 36-weeks-pregnant with her 6th child, and she just leaned down and swooped something up off the floor totally flat-footed. That’s just wrong.”

And I just laughed because I had no idea where she had been going with that and totally wasn’t expecting her to say that (and totally hadn’t even realized what I’d done). But the truth is that, because I bend and move so much when I exercise, my range of motion probably is better than could usually be expected with such a big belly.

I try to remind myself of little blessings like that when the twins spill milk all over the floor…again. At least I can still get down there to clean it up. The key word being try. Sometimes, it sounds a lot more like Yosemite Sam after Bugs Bunny tricks him into stepping off a cliff…again. Frickasammin’ is a fun word.

WEIGHT GAIN: I still haven’t stepped on a scale since 20 weeks, and I don’t plan to. I don’t think. I’m kind of curious but mostly blissful in my ignorance. But he’s definitely growing. At 33 weeks, I was only measuring 25 cm, and the baby was breach. But somewhere between that midwife appointment and the next (I’m pretty sure it was in the middle of a jump kick in BODYCOMBAT), he flipped (Praise Jesus!), and I had–ahem–jumped to 30 cm by my 35 week appointment. And then this past week, I had another big bump up to 34 cm. (If you’re not familiar with what these measurements mean, they represent the size of your uterus and usually correspond roughly 1 cm to 1 gestational week; I always measure a little behind, though).

CRAVINGS: None to speak of unless it’s just the random craving for carbonation or chocolate, but I have pretty much reached that point where it’s like, “I probably shouldn’t eat that, but I might anyway because I’ve only got a few weeks left, and it sounds good.” Which means that this little guy needs to get out before I gain 10 pounds in the last two weeks of my pregnancy.

Aaaaaaand there you have it. More maternal minutiae that you could possibly have ever wanted to read.

I know a few of you are due around the same time as I am. How are y’all doing? No, really. I want to know. Because pretty much every last person that has been pregnant in real life with me has had her baby already, and it’s starting to feel a bit insulting to still be pregnant.

Do you feel like your “standards” have dropped with each baby? At this point, if we have any more, he’s probably going to be wearing one of his older brother’s diapers and whatever mildly babyish thing we can find to shove him in.

 

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Bump Style + Life Lately

Wanna hear something crazy?

I will be 36 weeks pregnant this week. I know, right?

I mean, that’s, like, legit or…something. And, after feeling like this pregnancy has draaaaaagged for the last 8 months, this whole being-right-at-the-tail-end business has really sneaked up on me.

Probably because I’ve been in a combination of survival + extra-busy mode lately. Shaun has been traveling for the last two weeks and home on the weekends (hence, the survival mode), and while he’s gone, I’m pretty much in P.J.s or exercise clothes all the live long day.

The extra-busyness has come on the weekends, when we’ve had soccer games (the season is over now; I’m not particularly sad about it) and two weddings in as many weeks to attend.

So, as far as clothing goes, I’ve been swinging on a rather wild pendulum from slob-fest to way more dressed up than I pretty much ever get. Like the time I wore this emerald green maxi to my good friend, Katie’s, wedding. katieweekend4 Sadly, this blurry shot is the only one we got with Katie and her new husband, Matt. But I did enlist Shaun to snap a quick shot of the full dress. Both with my coat on… katieweekend1 and off…

katieweekend2

{The no-coat thing didn’t last long at all. It was chilly!}

Of course, as much as I loved getting to see a friend tie the knot, I have to admit that her wedding’s being a couple of hours away gave us a pretty awesome excuse for an extended date. We ate dinner at one of our favorite places, then headed to Dallas on a Saturday evening, watched a movie (The 100 Foot Journey–highly recommend! It’s fun and clean, plus it was a late-run movie, so we paid a whopping $5 for both of us. SCORE!}, and then had a leisurely morning (breakfast at La Madeleine, YUM!) and early afternoon before heading to the wedding. katieweekend3

{This is what I wore to dinner and the movie}

I’m grateful that I can still wear some of my low-waisted regular jeans, like these trouser-style ones that I’ve had since Simon was born. It makes me feel a little more normal and cute when I actually do bother to dress the bump these days.

However, THESE Big Star jeans that I bought from Mandy several years back have seen their last wear before this baby makes his grand appearance. At least, as long as I don’t want him to come out with a “Big Star” button imprint on his noggin. katieweekend {As you can see, I’m still loving my Kenneth Cole leather jacket splurge} Oh, and as far as what you’d see at a soccer game, this is about as fancy as it gets.

soccer mom

Of course, church is always a good reason to actually get dressed these days, so I hauled out this royal blue J. Crew shirt I bought on clearance months ago, intending to save it for “the end.” blue shirt {Yay for non-blurry pictures!}

But then, it occurred to me that this sort of is “the end,” and if I’m going to wear it this side of pregnancy, I’d better get after it.

So I did.

Thankfully, the wedding we attended this past weekend was indoors, but it’s still a bit of a challenge to find something that fits over the bump as is still warm enough and dressy enough.

 

Solution?

wedding

Layers. A summer dress + a sweater, tights, boots and  coat (not pictured, obviously) = covered up, hopefully event appropriate, and warm (it’s been unusually chilly for the first few weeks in November).

So, there you have it, folks! A recap of life lately (minus the super mundane parts, although…I’m working on that post…no, seriously) + how I’ve been styling the bump in the home stretch.

Home. Stretch (probably with the emphasis on the word “stretch,” but we’ll see).

How has November been treating you guys? If you think to pray for us as we make it through week 3 of Shaun’s being gone, I’d appreciate it.

And what about Christmas music? Anybody listening yet? We’ve never started this early before, but we turned it on during a craft activity the other day, and now I can’t stop!

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The Parisian Lady Tee

On my birthday weekend, the last stop on our “way” back from Houston was actually a bit of detour to an outlet mall.

I had grand plans of getting some Christmas shopping done, since the idea of buying for myself at 30 + weeks pregnant was far from alluring. IMG_5235

But the sales at all the kids’ stores were less than stellar, so we basically walked the entire loop of the mall, stopping into a few stores here and there, and then vamoosed.    IMG_5237-001

If that sounds like a rather lackluster shopping trip…I suppose it was…although I’ll take an excuse to wander around, sifting through sales racks and holding my husband’s hand any day.

The one notable exception was the Parisian Lady tee.

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I spotted this fun graphic tee on jcrewfactory.com (the online version of the outlet store) a while back for $17.99 and really loved its cheerful, cheeky style. But, with shipping being $5 and my having no idea about the quality or fit, I wasn’t quite willing to shell out $20+ for a t-shirt I couldn’t easily return.

Turns out, they had one Parisian Lady left in the J. Crew outlet at this mall, and it was my size (or close enough, given the belly). It was $29.99, though, and the store guy I talked to said they didn’t match online pricing.

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HOWEVER. The outlet store had an extra 50% off of sale prices dealio going, so I decided to take the plunge. Even better, they had one other shirt that I had been eyeing in just my size–also on sale with the extra 50% off (and this one had been over $30 online, so there was no way I was going for it without being able to try it on). That one ended up being a winner too, and we even threw some shorts for Shaun into the mix, which brought our total to a whopping 3 items.

When we got to the register, somehow it came up that it was my birthday (Shaun said it, not me), and the guy ringing up our purchases congratulated me. And then I mentioned to him that I’d signed up for the J. Crew Factory birthday rewards (which was supposed to give you an extra 20% off your entire purchase during your birthday month) but had never received the promised email. I just kind of trailed off because he had already made a point that they were a separate entity from the online store. I figured he would probably say there was nothing he could do.

But no. Instead, he said, “Tell you what–I’ll give an extra 30% off on top of your extra 50% off. How does that sound?”

To which I replied by doing cartwheels around the bin of striped ties next to me. No small feat with this belly, I tell you.

Just kidding.

I haven’t been able to do a cartwheel since 4th grade.

I did thank him profusely for his kindness, though.

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And then I wore my Parisian Lady tee with polka dot skinnies (from Old Navy a while back), striped wedges (from Target last spring), and a smile almost as smug as the Parisian lady’s herself.

I think we all know the moral of this story.

Never do cartwheels while pregnant.

Always, ALWAYS ask for a better price if there’s any justifiable reason to do so. (I’m not quite brazen enough to wander up with a full-priced dress and ask if I can have it for 50% off just because. But I’m close).

Ever gotten special treatment (doesn’t have to be shopping related) just because it was your birthday? I feel like there have been other instances of this that I can’t remember at the moment. But getting two shirts I’d been wanting on my birthday for way less than the price of one online made this bargain-loving chick quite happy.

 

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31 Week Pregnancy Check-in {Baby #6}

On the one hand, it seems strange that I’m already in the 30′s of this pregnancy. On the other, it feels like I’ve been pregnant for at least a year already.  31 weeks

Pretty sure I’ve felt this way for the last 3 pregnancies, although the twins’ was different enough that each new stage was a bit of an adventure.

And, should the Lord bless us with any more kids, I have a feeling I will start feeling “done” with being pregnant earlier and earlier. And that, right there, folks, is how I really feel. Gimme all the babies! Just, could we hurry this pregnancy business along, please?

Of course, the second I think, “Man, oh man, I would have this kid rightthisverysecond if he were actually fully cooked”…

I remember labor.

And then, I’m all: hope you’re comfy in there, little dude, because Mama can’t deal with that yet. In fact, after 4 natural deliveries (which produced 5 kids because of the twins, obviously), I literally can’t think about the details of labor with any level of objectivity at all. It makes me queasy. And panicky.

In fact, I find it absolutely fascinating that God designed us so that, by the time we get to the end, we are so genuinely done, desperate to see our little sweetie, and full of “get-this-kid-out-of-me-NOW-I-don’t-care-what-it-takes” angst that we’re spazzing out, Cuba-Gooding-Jr.-style, hollering, “Show. me. the. PAIN!”

I posted something similar to this sentiment to Instagram/Facebook a while back (somewhere around 24 weeks, which was the first week that I started getting that whole: “Urgh. Can I please be done, already?” feeling).

I got some amens, some “you should not be wishing for a preemie baby” (totally not what I was saying), and perhaps most surprisingly of all, some: “I would give birth again in a heartbeat. It was AWESOME!”

(For some reason, I keep hearing Inigo Montoya saying: “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means”).

Now, don’t get me wrong. My labors aren’t bad. They’re long. And frustrating. (Have you read the twins’ birth story?). But the really, truly excruciating part is “only” about 5 hours long, and I’ve yet to have any complications.

Those 5 hours, though. Those are the ones I have to mentally avoid.

Praise Jesus for squishy little babes that make it all worth it in the end, amen?

ANYWAY, so I guess that gives you a bit of an overview about my current mental state, which is a not-so-straightforward: ready (if he were ready)/not ready (even if he were).

As far as the rest…

Cravings: Other than carbonation, I really don’t have any of these.Not consistently. My food definitely develops a traffic jam somewhere in the region of my ribcage when I eat. Which, of course, means that I fill up quickly, only to feel hungry 20 minutes later. Which, of course, means that I’m munching on something small practically all day long.

Weight gain: No clue. I haven’t stepped on the scale since 27 weeks, and I don’t plan to (so grateful for a midwife who doesn’t make me a long as I’m growing). But I do feel like things have leveled out a bit after a big jump back in the early 20′s.

Exercise: I feel SO much better than I did a month ago. My round ligament pain (that searing burn that runs from your obliques down to your inner thighs on both sides) has eased up considerably, and I can pretty much pop right up from my bench when I’m doing chest press for BODYPUMP, even though my belly is bigger. I even tried some jump-moves in BODYCOMBAT last week and discovered that, outside of a sudden inspiration to invent Depends–the Exercise Version, I could actually get some air, and it felt fine (and looked absolutely ridiculously, I’m sure).

Pregnancy Side Effects: Midday exhaustion is my nemesis. Also, I’ve been battling more moodiness and “down-ness” than usual, but over all, the hormones are relatively tame. (Although…this is the first pregnancy that I’ve cried over spilled salad). I know I already said this, but the Collinsonia Root and MK-2 supplement I’m taking for the varicose veins in my right leg really do seem to make a difference. I didn’t take them for 3 straight days because I forgot to take them to Houston with us for my birthday, and by day 3, my leg was aching. Within two days of resuming the supplements, though, I felt great.

Energy: Totally depends on the day. But I wouldn’t mind having more than I do, pretty much all the time. (Not sure this has as much to do with pregnancy as homeschooling and chasing 2 toddlers who think that life is not worth living unless they change into a different outfit–doesn’t matter whose–14 times an hour).

And now we get to the part where I discuss pregnancy math: I’ve run into a whole rash of folks lately who do not understand the correlation between months and weeks in pregnancy. (Which, admittedly, can be a bit confusing). For example, I have an acquaintance who is due only a few days before I am. And yet, at 22 weeks, she called herself 6-months-pregnant. And then a few weeks ago, she mentioned being “almost 8 months.” Which was a real head-scratcher for me since we’re due at the same time, and I knew I had a few weeks to go until I even made it to 7 months.

Basically, the common misconception is that a month = 4 weeks. But that’s actually only true for the month of February (which is 28 days), which means that the other 11 months give you 2-3 “extra” days per month. Sounds like a throw-away, right? But when you multiply 2 X 9 (months of pregnancy), you get 18. Throw in January, March, May, August, July, October, and December, and you’ve potentially got another 7 “extra” days.  That’s 3 1/2 weeks of “extra” time you’re not even counting.

So, if you consider yourself 8 months pregnant when you’re 32 weeks along (because 32 weeks divided by 4 = 8), then you’re in for a bit of a surprise when 4 weeks later, you’ve still got 4 weeks to go!

No, you’re not pregnant for 10 months. Months just don’t generally happen to be exactly 28 weeks long, and those “extra” days add up in a sneaky way.

If you’ve made it this far into our math lesson today and are just burning to know (hi, all two of you that are still here!), since pregnancy is 9 full months, that makes each trimester right at 13 weeks and 3 days long. So…

13 weeks + 3 days = 3 months pregnant

26 weeks + 6 days = 6 months pregnant

31 weeks + 3 days = 7 months pregnant

35 weeks + 4 days = 8 months pregnant

40 weeks = 9 months

I could go into how, for 2 of those 40 weeks, you’re not even technically pregnant, but I think I’ve geeked out on you guys for long enough, so I’ll quit.

ANYhoo, the long and the short of it is that this little guy (and CHRISTMAS!) will be here before I even have time to process either, I’m sure, so I’m just trying to take this pregnancy/life one day at a time with Jesus by my side.

Which, yes, should be my plan all the time, pregnant or not.

Do you guys dread labor too? Do you go the epidural route? Home birth? Hospital all the way? C-section? While I go the home birth route and love it, I’m all for any choice that is the safest/best for each woman that is birthing her own baby. I have friends who want the epidural waiting in the parking lot of the hospital, some who do natural births in the hospital, some who do home-births, some who have planned C-sections. I even know a few folks who get a little bit of back pain and barely realize what’s going on before–hello!–the baby is crowning!(These folks and I cannot truly be friends; my jealousy is way too strong :) ).

Do you count by weeks or months? Or just not worry about it all? In a completely myopic episode of everyone-must-think-like-I-do, I was genuinely shocked one day when I discovered that some people don’t have much of a clue how far along they are and don’t bother about it. (Seems smart, in a lot of ways, but I can’t seem to turn my mental weeks-pregnant calculator off).

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Kindred spirits

Turning 32 has been one of the more joyful and relaxing birthday experiences I’ve had in a while…mostly because I came into it with very few expectations.

I love birthdays and look forward to mine each year as it approaches. But this one seemed to sneak up on me out of all of the busyness of homeschooling and projects and soccer seasons starting. Oh yeah, and growing a tiny human in my belly.

And let’s face it–32 isn’t exactly momentous in the grand scheme of “important” birthday years.

But between my family and Shaun, I felt very loved and celebrated, despite the mundanity of the number.

And then, as a cherry on top of it all, I got the chance to go out for dinner with some of my best girls this past weekend (I’m a big fan of stretching birthdays out over at least a week; way more festive than blowing all your fun on one day :) ).

villa montez

{Here we all are outside one of my favorite local restaurants}

We spent the evening eating really good food and laughing really hard at silly things like when my friend Lindsay’s husband sent her this Hey Girl meme after she told him she wouldn’t be bringing him home any leftovers.

hey girl

But we also talked about more important things like motherhood and the way it forces us to face a lot of our insecurities as it strips away any facades we try to present to the public. (We all agreed that our kids are not in the least bit fooled when we attempt to pretend to the rest of the world that we’re nice mama or have it all together all the time).

We talked about the ways Jesus is working in our lives and forcing us to dig deeper or fall even flatter on our faces than we do on an average Monday.

And I came away from that dinner just so very grateful to have a core group of girls who will encourage me when I need it and, more importantly, will speak truth–even the hard kind–and pray for me when I need it more.IMG_5212

Friends who totally nail it when they buy you coral eyelet dresses that you can wear with your 30-week bump and beyond. IMG_5215

And friends who notice when you get really excited about a pretty leather Fossil bag at Ross and then make sure your husband knows about it in time for your birthday.IMG_5219

And friends who give you a whole bag of pretty utensils and dishes that match your kitchen redo perfectly because they totally get your style and know that stirring with a fun, aqua spoon can make even the most run-of-the-meal dinner prep way cheerier.

In other words, friends who get why celebrating 32 is a worthwhile thing to do and go out of their way to do it well.

I don’t have a lot of breathing room in my life right now for lots of close friends. I don’t say that snobbishly. I’m always up for meeting new people, and I definitely wish there were more hours in the day to spend getting to know cool chicks.

But since that’s not a luxury I have right now, I am doubly grateful for these fellow women, wives, mothers, sinners, and sisters in Christ (some of whom weren’t there that night)–in a phrase that my beloved Anne so aptly coined: “kindred spirits”–who, in their own unique ways, convict and compel me to be more like Jesus, whether or not they know they’re doing it.

In fact, I would say that I have zero complaints whatsoever, except that–really—if they were 100% perfect, they wouldn’t have let me forget to grab my to-go box with the half-burrito that wouldn’t fit past my ribcage (I mean, you gotta help the lady with the preggo brain out!).

But I’ll admit, if missing out on leftovers is my #1 complaint (especially when–ahem–I suppose a grown woman should take responsibility for her own doggie bag)  I’ve got it pretty darn good.

What about you guys? Any kindred spirits you’d like to give a shout out? She wasn’t there because she was helping watch my kids, but my sweet Mama is definitely a kindred spirit too, and I’m so glad I get to call her friend.

Linking up with Lindsey.

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6 Months Pregnant with Baby #6!

Well, look at me go with a pregnancy update only 3 short weeks after the last one.

27 weeks

(Can you tell that I’ve got pregnancy hair? Thick. and. bushy)

6 months (27 weeks) just seemed a little too momentous to pass up.

On the one hand, I think, “Holy wow! I’ll be snuggling this little guy in no time!” On the other, all I can think is: 3. More. Months.

I know it will go fast, especially considering that we have 4 birthdays, and multiple holiday celebrations between now and then. But still. 3. More. Months.

I could try to look on the bright side by reminding myself that–hey!–at least I don’t have to gestate my offspring in my body for 2 years like elephants do, but there’s really nothing about comparing myself to an elephant that makes me feel better, so I’ll pass.

So, here’s the lowdown on how things are going right now.

Cravings: These are still random and rare (I haven’t had an Icee in weeks). I usually eat eggs and turkey bacon for breakfast, an apple with peanut butter for a morning snack, a salad (topped with yummy stuff like chicken, pecans, cheese, and croutons) for lunch, a kale smoothie for an afternoon snack, almonds + dried fruit for an even later afternoon snack, and whatever I’ve made for dinner in the evening. Throw in an occasional bowl of ice cream or other treat, and you have the rundown on the never-ending process that is getting (and keeping) me full. Usually, after dinner, I’m good to go and don’t get hungry again before bedtime, but up until then, I’m munching on something every two hours or getting hangrier by the second. (My kids are lined up behind me saying, AMEN!)

Weight gain: Pretty darn high. There’s a reason I’m trying not to think about elephants, y’all. I hadn’t weighed myself once during this pregnancy, but I made myself step on the scale the other day because of that whole being 6-months-pregnant business. And now I wish I hadn’t. It’s amazing what 3 little digital numbers can do to your morale. Still, I know it’s for my little guy’s good, and it will be totally worth the extra time it takes to come off after he’s here.

Exercise: Still teaching and taking classes…although it’s definitely harder than it was even three short weeks ago. I’m modifying more and skipping workouts here and there when my body feels particularly crabby. But for the most part, I still feel better after I make myself sweat and plan to keep going to the end, barring something unexpected. I’m hoping the feeling of lead in my legs subsides a little in the coming weeks (which probably sounds strange, but I actually felt better from months 6-8 with the twins than I did for several months before that…here’s hoping).

Pregnancy side effects: The wild and crazy dreams have amped up considerably over the last few weeks. Sometimes, I wake up with the entire plot for a very convoluted action movie in my head, feeling a little bit worn out from “experiencing it.” I’m convinced I’d be the next big hit director in Hollywood, except that the vividness of the details starts to fade just minutes after I really get my eyes open, and I’m left with just a general impression of sword fights and derring-do.

Also, as an update to the varicose veins complaint…they’re still there. I think they’re actually more prolific than ever. However, I’ve been faithfully taking a combination of an MK-2 supplement and Collinsonia Root, and I’m happy to say that, while it still looks like a colony of aliens is about to crawl out of my right leg, it no longer feels that way. The pain has diminished considerably, so for all of you “ME TOO-ers”…there’s my tip.

Energy: Some days, I feel as normal as a woman who’s been growing her 6th baby for the last 6 months can. Other days, I feel…a little like a Mack truck smacked me, backed up, then did it again. Okay, that might be a wee bit dramatic. I generally feel fine, but my initial nesting phase (which came earlier than it ever had before) has kind of petered out, and there are days (like yesterday, ahem) that my planned 25 minute nap turns into an hour, and I wake up wondering when bedtime’s coming.

Overall though, I have no complaints. And I was reminded how easy my pregnancies are just the other day when my midwife, Diane, said to her apprentice, “See? Abbie’s the perfect example of how you really can do a prenatal check-up in 15 minutes. Or, in her case, 5.”

It’s hard to get too upset over aches and pains and exhaustion when I really stop to think about the awesome and exclusive privilege I get of nourishing my child  for 9 months until (after a healthy dose of pain and agony), he comes out, and I get to see his wrinkly little turtle face and feel his amazingly strong grip as his fingers curl instinctively around mine.

One of my favorite anticipatory activities for my babies is imagining how they’ll compare to their siblings. Each of my children has a distinct look (well, minus the twins, of course…although, even they are quite unique from each other, once you get to know them), but we do kind of have a Shaun + Abbie = THIS mold that they all loosely fit into.

So, the other day, when someone suggested that #6 might have brown eyes, I couldn’t even wrap my brain around it. All of my children have blue eyes. The thought of any other color just feels silly at this point. But that’s the fun of it. He could have brown eyes. Or green. He could be bald as an egg (all of my babies have had hair, thanks to their rather hirsute Mama). Who knows?!

Only God at this point. But I’ll tell you what: this Mama can’t wait to find out.

So, what about y’all? Any updates to share? I know lots of you are pregnant right now, so don’t leave me hanging! :) Anybody else not on speaking terms with their scales right now? I think we’re going to stay broken up until a good three months after I give birth.

Did I leave out anything you’re itching to know?
I thought about including a chart for how many times I pee a day, but something told me you’d be all right without it.

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