Friday, April 26, 2013

Only Ten More Weeks

At 29 weeks, Evie was supposedly about the size of a chinese cabbage. I did not write "my little cabbage" in chinese, though that would have been impressive! I went with the french phrase instead, as it is also used as a term of endearment. :) 

In spite of the crazy April weather, I went ahead and got a summery hair cut. So, now I'm ready for summer, right? Well, as I've been warned so often about how miserable I'll feel this summer, I am actually incredibly thankful for the prolonged wintery weather. Everyday beneath 90 degrees is such a blessing! 

The following two shots were taken at complete randomness a few days before my 30th week mark. I was feeling, as I often am, particularly affectionate about that vigorously active little one in my tummy, and loving carrying her around. Lately, I have been making more of a point to stop and cherish her movements (which are, of course, signs of good health), and even talk to her about our excitement for her arrival, about how much her daddy loves her and how wonderful he is... things like that. I also try to sing to her La Mer, a song I've decided she actually really likes. After all, there was that one morning when she stopped her powerful movements just long enough for me to sing the entire song, and then started moving again. :) I love feeling her movements at regular intervals- particularly right after I wake up in the mornings and before I go to sleep at night. I feel like we are developing a rhythm together already- just another way to feel connected.

The only 30 week shot I'm posting is below. It is incredibly difficult to get these one-handed iphone shots in, by the way. So only Evie made the cut this time. :) And yes, you are seeing more navy blue. Why the fetish? I have no idea. I'm feeling summery, patriotic, and maybe nautical these days.

So what is new? My lunchtime appetite has strangely disappeared. I have to force myself to eat during the middle of the day, and I end up feeling far too full after dinner, and then hungry again in the middle of the night. Despite being more active and still not eating a ton of food, my weight gain has been much more rapid for the last 3-4 weeks. I hope it doesn't continue like this for the next ten weeks! That would be a lot of weight gain! Although my stomach is getting bigger, I still don't feel "fat and ugly and uncomfortable" as so many women describe their pregnancies. What a shame that would be! I don't feel like my body is being wrecked or ruined, either. Though, that might come during labor and delivery. ha!

Back aches come and go, necessitating that I alter activities often, from being up on my feet to sitting down, and then back on my feet again. It's very manageable and nothing to complain of. However, I've noticed that I am significantly less friendly toward Micah when my back hurts, so I have to be aware of that and apologize a lot. ;) 

I don't know if it is due to more frequent bursts of energy (hormones? supplements?) or a nesting instinct, which has gloriously allowed me to be much more productive at times. At least 1-2 days a week, I am so exhausted all day long, and incredibly sleepy without being able to nap. But in the last week, there have been a surprising amount of productive days, with the sweet blessing of a sense of motivation that I used to know before my pregnant days began. It feels so incredibly good to want to do things, be able to do them, and have accomplished them fairly easily. It affects my mood so powerfully... I just can't stress enough how good it is. :) Praise God!

A few more things: I love taking walks with Micah in the evening. They are often far too short, due to my discomfort or a lack of time. But it is nice to enjoy the outdoors with him and talk about our day, our epiphanies, and funny stories. We have decided recently to really focus on connecting and enjoying these last several weeks alone together- not at all dreading leaving them behind, but rather to savor each season as it is given to us. We are trying to be more careful about preserving some weekend time together, as well as spending time getting things ready for Evie. A sense of urgency and excitement has overtaken us both as we realized we only have ten more weeks! Of course, for all we know, it could be more like eight or twelve. Regardless, we have much to do. 

Additionally, our Monday nights will be taken up for a while, as we've started our Childbirth Preparedness class together. It's really fun and informative and challenging. Have you ever held a handful of crushed ice in your closed hand, while practicing breathing exercises for a full minute? It is challenging to focus on relaxing and breathing when your hand is going numb and leaking water all over the floor. But I know it is nothing compared to the demands of labor, so I'm thankful for this way to practice.

I have started taking more supplements in preparation for my Group B Strep test coming up. I'm now taking (in addition to pregnancy and raspberry leaf teas, prenatals, and vitamin D) a daily probiotic, greek yoghurt, dark chocolate, and iodine. Okay, so the iodine is actually random. It's for general health, and probably has no benefit for preventing GBS. But the rest could possibly be the difference between passing or failing the test, and therefore mean the difference between Evie needing Penicillin at birth or not. Since I want to go as natural as possible and labor as freely as possible, I'd really like to avoid GBS.

And last but not least, I am spending time editing my novel much more regularly. Is it possible to have it finished and ready to send to an agent by the time Evie arrives? I'm not sure. But I'm just starting to attempt it again, so we'll see how much effort I can put into it in the coming weeks. 

Natasha W.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Third Trimester Begins

Well now I am too far behind! 

I just hit 29 weeks today, but I'll save that for next week.

At 27 weeks, I considered myself at the start of the third trimester. As you may know, those in the medical field have conflicting views on when exactly the third trimester starts...not that it matters. I figured that with only 13 weeks to go, this made the most sense for me, and it was time to celebrate. 

So here are a couple of 27 week photos:

I found it interesting that almost as soon as the new trimester started (think: by the end of the week), I already began to feel totally different from my second trimester. In retrospect, the 2nd was full of 1st trimester symptoms about halfway through, and the transition from morning sickness to normalcy was very slow. I never really did hit that wind of energy that everyone assured me I would feel. Nor did I ever get a voracious appetite or crave bizarre foods. I did have back pain for the last 3 or 4 weeks of the second trimester. But even that changed almost immediately going into week 27. 

So far the third trimester has consisted of a lot of surprising symptoms, though nothing to complain of, really:

A strange bruise-like pain at the top of my abdomen. My midwife believes it is just my organs struggling to get out of the way for Evie. Weird! 
I have had some back pain, but not nearly as bad or consistent as it was during the 2nd trimester. 
I've been able to be more active some days, and have even prepared dinner fairly consistently. 
However, other days, I've hit a complete wall with absolutely no energy all day long! It has been really strange. 
Also, my morning sickness randomly flares up again. 
My appetite seems quite normal (not pregnant normal) most of the time, though I've been waking up around 4 or 5 a.m. completely starving. 
Evelyn seems to think she should try to climb on out of there by pushing her way out of my belly. It is very amusing, and looks totally freaky. :)
She is also getting the hiccups a LOT more often. Oh, the idea of her hiccuping. The cuteness is almost too much!! Cannot wait to see that in July. :) <333333 p="">

Random thoughts:

I've realized that over the last several months, I have been studying and preparing furiously for July 2nd (-ish), even when I was letting the house go and not handling other tasks very well. A book that I found at the library completely changed everything for me, though, in a good way. I LOVE Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel. It seems absolutely perfect for me and Micah and Evie, and it has challenged a few things that I'd believed beforehand. I've also switched from drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea exclusively, to also drinking Pregnancy Tea by Traditional Medicinals. I'm hoping to increase both as this trimester progresses. 

Just a couple of 28 week photos:

("28 weeks pregnant")

And here is a much belated picture of the painting we found long ago at Pier 1. We are using it as inspiration for the decor and theme of Evie's room. I'm thinking also of incorporating the scripture about considering the birds of the air. 

Somehow, I have become very attached to the color navy blue, and other shades of blue. Those who know me well may be shocked to think I'm not bathing the room in shades of pink. I'm a little shocked myself. We do plan to raise our daughter to be a lady and to be feminine, after all. I suppose I've just come to realize that femininity does not equal pink. I want Evie to embrace color and artistic expression and so much more than what mainstream America has to offer, so much more than what our culture defines as beautiful. 

We stumbled on this beautiful mirror (below) in a shop in Eureka Springs. The tessellated pattern of blues reminded me of exotic bird feathers. :)

We finally started the layette. And perhaps this is where I discovered my peculiar attachment to navy blue stripes! From here we are definitely planning to incorporate more pinks into this little lady's wardrobe. But I couldn't pass up on these outfits. Also, Micah fell in love with what we call "the whale onesie", though I think it is technically called something else. (I'm still trying to get a handle on these baby clothes names!) He also insisted upon the white bonnet from the Gap.

I hope to update next week. 

I also hope this tornado watch doesn't turn into tornadoes. If you need me, I'll be in the closet with a heavy shoe (for killing spiders) and a cordless dust buster (to dispose of the bodies) probably crying myself senseless. That is, if these "watches" turn into "warnings." Also, if a tornado destroys the nursery, I'll be pretty crushed. It is just now starting to come together in there, so that I actually enjoy spending time in that room! 

Stay safe and God bless!

Natasha W.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Baby Mooning

Brace yourself for picture overload!

These are pictures of our "Baby Moon" in Eureka Springs.

We stayed in a B&B at the top of a steep hill above the main roads of the tourist town.

This is me, checking out the fancy bathroom and lovely decor over the windows. We were on the third floor, by the way. Note to future pregnant self: Stay somewhere with an elevator, or stay on the ground floor!

This is the handsome photographer husband, doing what handsome photographer husbands do when on a nature walk.

This is our appetizer at my favorite restaurant, Ermilio's. Lucky us, it was within walking distance from our B&B, so we went there almost as soon as we arrived in town. That is a bowl of mussels in a heavenly sauce. Random fact: The waiter dared us to drink the sauce. We didn't do it, but almost did. It was that good. They also instructed us to spread the roasted garlic cloves on our bread with butter. This was a lot of work, but we did as we were told. 

This is me with crazy hair and a fake smile. I really was happy, but my camera smiles were kind of weird on this trip for some reason. Excusez-moi.

The B&B provided free coffee and that thing all fancy establishments are required to provide- chocolate on the pillow. Nothing like waking up in the morning to coffee and a kiss. ;)

We had gourmet breakfasts delivered to our table in our bedroom every morning. This plate was particularly phenomenal. Those potatoes... Oh my. Although, in the future, I think I'll plan on staying somewhere in which they don't walk into your bedroom first thing in the morning. One feels the pressure of putting on airs, if you know what I mean. 

Orange juice was served in these giant glass bottles. Totally cool. Micah felt the urge to drink straight from the glass. Also, our napkins were wrapped with a bent fork, as pictured below. We decided to be goofy. Why??? Because we're on vacation, silly. 

Oh, and the room had lots of antique mirrors and decorations. The above-right is just such a mirror, picturing yours truly. It is random, but maybe not un-artistic. 

THE coffee shop in town. Um... talk about snooty! It's so weird to be in an establishment smack dab in the middle of a tourist town, in which the owners quite clearly hate tourists. ??? And the coffee is... okay. The service was sloooooow and unfriendly. And there was a creepy Easter parade going on outside, composed of lots of religious chanting, about four Jesus impersonators, some big trucks, and a Jesus/Sheep/Star-shaped statue. And they threw candy at people. One barista up and walked out to watch for her father in this lame-sauce, twilight-zone parade. There was a long line. The other barista ignored us. We eventually were able to pay too much money for our mediocre beverages and exchange frightened looks at the spectacle moving slowly by in the street. All is well that ends well.

We obviously enjoyed the chocolatey whipped cream on our drinks, however. :) Yes, we have always been this photogenic. It's a gift. Don't feel bad.

The lower level of the town, captured from the top of a bridge that crosses from a building to the upper street. I love this view.

My date in the dimly lit Rogue's Manor. Very atmospheric. One feels the need to whisper. And order steak. We did indeed whisper, and order steak. Such a heavenly steak one has never tasted before. I almost fell asleep. That's how good it was.

An amazing creme brulee on a fancy plate. The really amazing thing was the cup of coffee we ordered with it. (Creme brulee and black coffee= heavenly combo, by the way) I had never tasted a coffee that was so close in flavor and quality to what we drank in Papua New Guinea.  It was uncanny. Next time we visit Eureka Springs, I think we'll just get a plain coffee to go from this friendly, fancy restaurant rather than annoy the owners of Daily Roast Coffee. 

Me, excited about breakfast again. Story of my life.

(Above Left) Adventures in the humidor. (Above Right) Saying goodbye to our staircase and B&B. 

A rare photo of us together. We need to do more of these. Those darn iphones are hard to take pictures with, since we don't have the kind that let you see yourself on the screen. Also, our regular camera was out of action all weekend. But here we are. 4 1/2 years after our honeymoon, on a babymoon. What's the difference, you ask? Well, this mama had a ridiculously hard time trekking all across town, up and down steep hills and stair cases, etc. That is the difference. Also, no wine-sipping. I sort of missed that. But I suppose that's about it. 

Some sentimental pictures of Evie and I. We couldn't forget about our baby girl while we were on vacation!

I sincerely hope to make it back within the next five years. A lot changes in five years, in case you wondered. And a lot changed in Eureka, it seemed. The spiritual stuff in that town is getting a little weird. There is an odd mixture of Christianity/Religiosity (meaning, some of it feels a little unauthentic, though I'm sure not all of it is), and Eastern Religion/Self-worship/Mysticism. It's interesting, for sure. But I was certainly blessed to be able to escape on a romantic adventure. Getting away, as rarely as we do, always breathes fresh life into my spirit, offers new perspectives and inspiration. I really felt like a new woman when I stepped back into our tiny, yet cozy abode in Oklahoma. Getting away is good. Coming back home is good. And now I'm ready to get this place ready for Evelyn's arrival. :)

 The End.