Well, week 32/33 did NOT go as planned. Last Sunday after church, I noticed that I was having more Braxton Hicks than usual. That's actually saying a lot because I had a lot with Calista and have been having them for weeks this pregnancy already. I've even talked to 3/5 doctors I have about what would be a cause for concern. Each one said if there were more than 4/5 in an hour, give them a call. So, I started tracking. I'll call them all contractions because at this point the difference between a contraction and a Braxton Hicks gets a little hazy. Hour One- 5 contractions. Hour Two- 7 contractions with one of them not going away with changes in position, etc. So, I called. They had me come in to triage and that 3rd hour, I had more than 5-6. While I was hooked up to the machine, my doctor came in and noticed that these weren't Braxton Hicks, but real contractions. Cue panic. They did a FFN test which basically measures a protein that can determine whether or not you will go into labor in the next 2 weeks. It took 1.5 hours for it to come back and during this time I was given what I call "the jitterbug drug" to stop my contractions since at this point they were ranging anywhere from 2-7 minutes apart. Once the FFN test gloriously came back negative, aka less than 2% chance of going into labor barring my water breaking, they sent me home. Strict bedrest. Feet same level as your hips bedrest. 😳
Needless to say that is a doozy for a mother of a 21 month old who teaches fitness classes. I was able to get into my follow up appointment within 18 hours and this doctor, who saw me through my entire pregnancy with Calista, was very reassuring. He modified my bedrest orders to be a little more realistic but stressed the need to get to today, 34 weeks. He said that because of the FFN and the condition of my cervix, he has no reason to believe she will come before now. However, we have NO way of knowing that if these "preterm contractions", not preterm labor, mean that she will come early at all. If she does, at this stage of the pregnancy he wouldn't interfere with her making her appearance.
So, I've been stressed. I've been struggling with peace as I contemplate a preterm birth and NICU stay for my girl. I've been worried about not being able to teach classes or keeping up with Calista, BUT God is so good. He has shown us that we are surrounded by people who want to help in any way that they can. Tim's mom came in to help us get last minute baby items done and to help with Calista. We've had friends bring by food. My parents helped us with Calista while I was at the hospital. We've had more messages than we could ever imagine. I have to say that I'm incredibly grateful.
At the the end of pregnancy, there is always uncertainty. You never know how this baby will enter the world, but now that the biggest cause for concern is past us with this 34 week marker, I can breathe a sigh of relief.
I am still having contractions, oh yes I am. They vary from 20 minutes apart to every 5 minutes for over an hour. This makes it hard for me to imagine her waiting for 6 more weeks, even though it's possible. So we are waiting. We are waiting for my contractions to be 5 minutes apart and painful, like whoa painful. So far, no dice.
I have a doctor's appointment Thursday and we pray that everything looks good. After that appt, I may try to do some light movement because not working out is making me bonkers. I'm not considering anything intense, but being able to do some gentle yoga or a few squats would go a long way. It's mentally hard on me after working so hard this pregnancy to stay strong and healthy that I might lose it all at the end. Prayers for peace here would be much appreciated. 😍
Note: I would love to make it to at least 37 weeks if not further, but pray that it's not over 40. 😘 Contractions all day and night for over a week is already exhausting me, let alone 3-6 more weeks. It's good news that 80% of women who go into preterm labor (I'm not even technically preterm labor, just contractions) do not deliver before 37 weeks! Priority number one is always baby B's healthy, safe delivery. I can't wait to give her kisses and hold her sweet little hands.
Filling The Void
I'll be honest, when I first heard this quote I felt like I was sucker-punched. So many times I feel like I'm searching and running after something that I will never obtain. Whether it's a friendship, my marriage, work, motherhood, you name it, it's as if I need someone to tell me that I'm enough. Good thing is that all that striving isn't necessary. All that trying and chasing and feeling like a failure isn't true. God made us so that we need Him. Not more food, more money, more friends, more influence... we need Jesus.
So when you feel the need to chase after anything, I pray that this quote gives you a soft gut-punch 😘 and reminds you that you should be chasing after God more than anything on this earth. God is the only one that can fill that void and He does perfectly. 🙌🏻
Life at 31 Weeks
These updates seem few and far between, but I was warned it would be like this. :) Let me try to keep it organized for all of our sakes. This may seem more like a journal than a blog, but these days I'm just happy I'm documenting something somewhere. 😜 Overall, I'm incredibly grateful for this messy, precious, hard, and special life I get to live.
Calista: She's 20 months and in the last week and a half has cut her bottom two 2-yr molars, which aren't even supposed to consider coming in until 23-31 months. 😳 She's on a bedtime and naptime strike and we've had to re-institute the 3, 5, and 10 minute check ins. She's also getting really good at taking her clothes and diaper off at naptime and has even been known to rip some blinds so she can watch the birds out the window. Her words. We've moved her crib to the middle of her big girl room and now it's a favorite game to play peek-a-boo all the way around it. 😂 She's combining words to make short sentences and also gets really frustrated, as in flailing on the floor frustrated, when she can't explain herself, but such is toddler life. On my favorite notes, she has felt her little sister kick, calls her by name, and asks to kiss my belly. She even tried to feed my belly a few times. It's pretty sweet and I'm getting really excited to watch her with the baby. She just learned to say "love", which resulted in my favorite mama moment ever... "mama, I love you." 😍 She loves bows, picking out her own clothes, saying "no" followed immediately with "yes" and is newly loving the potty. Today she even asked herself to go and went 3 times, so I'm thinking in the 8.5 weeks we have before baby sister gets here I might be potty training. 😳
Baby Girl: She's roughly 3-3.5 lbs and instead of slowing down, she's speeding up. This child is so strong and constantly moving. Seriously, Calista moved A LOT, but this one, wow. It makes me really curious as to what her personality will be like. We already know she looks more clearly like me than Calista, and Calista is becoming more easy-going like her daddy, so we may have a trouble-maker, wild thing on our hands. I am pretty confident that they will both be stubborn and headstrong just like me. :) This one will be a Taurus just like her mommy since her due date is my bday. She wakes up when I wake up. It's like she hears my heart rate change and boom, awake. It doesn't bode well. 😂 I'm carrying more in front and not as wide in the hips, and she's head down so that's good. The concerns over the placenta location are gone and my cyst is out of the way and will be dealt with at a later date.
Workouts: Up until this past week, I've been teaching 3 classes at a local church. I teach an advanced Barre on Wednesday nights, a yoga/Pilates/bodyweight class Thursday mornings, and Barre on Friday AM. I've been doing BOD Active Maternity on Mondays, resting Tuesday, and doing 3 Week Yoga Retreat on Saturdays. I am no longer recovering well enough to teach Thursday, so I'm dropping down to 2 classes a week. I will need to either do Active Maternity or another Beachbody On Demand workout on Thursdays and I'm grateful to have such a large selection from which to choose. I get out of breath very easily since the baby is moving up towards my lungs. I'm still lunging, squatting, and planking as long as I feel stable and my form does NOT suffer.
Physical: My ribs are almost as wide as they were with Calista which means they have separated approximately 5-6 inches. This causes me near constant pain and I've tried wrapping my belly and it doesn't really help. I'm using a heating pad and trying to strengthen my back through my workouts to counterbalance the weight in the front. It's better this pregnancy, but it isn't good. I'm not having as many hip problems this time around and I'm grateful. However, I'm swelling and this is early for me. It's just normal swelling and my BP at the last visit was 118/68. I'm rocking some Braxton Hicks contractions but the doc isn't worried as long as I don't have more than 5 full uterus contractions an hour.
At that same 30 week visit, I had gained 36 lbs. That is faster weight gain than with Calista and my total with her was 49. I have to say, I freaked out a little, okay, maybe a lot. I have honestly been sooooo healthy this pregnancy. I've barely had any chests and my workouts are seriously happening and I'm not just coasting by. I did NOT keep this pace with Calista. I was really hoping that these healthy choices would lead to less weight gain, but apparently my body needs it. I want to be clear, my recommended weight gain was 25-35 lbs. I have tried incredibly hard to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle this entire pregnancy. Since I have, my doctors are not worried, but mentally it's daunting to face that type of gain and ponder the postpartum work I will have to do. I am convinced however that it will be easier this time because I am way stronger than I was with Calista and I'm also praying this makes pushing less than 4 hours. 😜Speaking of pushing.... I seriously think this girl is coming a week or so early or maybe that's wishful thinking. Tim thinks I'm nuts but I'm entering delivery the same way I did with Calista, let's see how long I can go without an epidural and if I can do it unmedicated, which with C was not really an option (her birth story is on my YouTube), then I'll go natural. 😳 I've lost my mind.
Nutrition: Still rocking the 6 servings of carbs a day like recommended and I need every single one of them. I'm loving finding healthy versions of treats and overall, I'm craving broccoli and taco salad. I am crushing on some veggies this pregnancy and that's wicked weird to me. I'm still drinking vegan chocolate Shakeology and taking my Rainbow Light Prenatal One. I recently ran a group where I did research on the majority of the ingredients in Shakeology and I'm convinced it's why I feel as good as I do. Having girls takes a lot out of you and I'm grateful for as many nutrients as possible. I also had to take my glucose test not once, but twice, and then do the 3 hour test. I passed, but it was interesting to learn that the way that I eat plant-based, high healthy fats, and mainly gluten-free complex carbs has changed my body into a sugar burner, which is why I spike at one hour.
Life lessons: God is awesome and He has really surrounded me with some wonderful friends who encourage, listen, and support me. This has allowed me to make tough decisions like quitting teaching a class 6 weeks earlier than planned. It's kept me from losing my mind when I did a side by side comparison and saw the size of this belly. They've sent me essential oils to help with my feelings of anxiety that I can't tell if they are coming from not being able to physically take a deep breath or because in less than 9 weeks I will have 2 children and a husband that works odd hours. I've learned that no matter our financial situation, our careers, our house, our cool baby things, fancy nursery or not, the list goes on... no matter any of that, we are incredibly loved, blessed, and God's plan is truly better than anything I could ever have imagined. I don't know how I'm going to do 5 bedtimes a week by myself, but I'll figure it out. I don't know how I'm going to nurse through a growth spurt with a toddler, but I'll deal. I don't know when I'll get back to actively working on building my Beachbody and training business, but I will. God has shown me that this season is to be treasured. Today is all that matters. Now is the time of salvation. Now is where He wants me, and so, I will be here. I will love every crazy hard challenging second. I will embrace the tears of pain, struggle, joy, and sheer wonder. I can't believe God loves me so much that He has crafted every aspect of my life and I will choose to see each moment as a blessing, hard or easy, because He calls it all good, me included.
Just for fun... nursery and first initial sneak peek!
A Little Light on a Dreary Day
About 6 months ago, my husband lost his job. The very next week, we found out we had been blessed with this little lady currently 31 weeks in the womb. We were at a loss at how to process this blessing of a child next to what seemed to be a curse. You see, this was the 4th time he lost his job and it was only 10 months after the last. How in the world are we going to provide for this baby? How are we going to keep a roof over our heads? WHY do we keep going through this?
I honestly asked God to help me see His plan and to help me trust in His faithfulness because really, I couldn't see it. I know He provides, we've seen it time and time again, yet I couldn't see how He could possibly do so this time. I remember the prayer vividly because I don't know if I've ever spoken so boldly to God before. "I know you provide, but I just don't see how this time. Please show me."
That same day I spoke to a wonderful friend and mentor. As I explained my personal battle with this war we've been fighting for 3 or so years, she simply said "God has something for you." You see, I even recognize that God is working furiously in me. He has pruned me via friendships, jobs, cities, circumstances, etc. He has pruned me dramatically. He has been chasing after my heart and soul so incredibly that I swear you can see it and witness it on a minute to minute basis. It's truly incredible, humbling and sometimes, downright scary. I am NOT the girl I was 2 years ago, definitely 3-4 years ago. I have seen God work time and time again in our family's lives, yet it's still hard to trust when the struggle is all to real.
Last week in the current bible study I'm doing, All Things New, Kelly Minter spoke of these words her dad said over her in a season of struggle, "God has something for you." It just really, truly humbled me. We may struggle; His word guarantees it. We may not see the way out; He is all seeing. We may not understand the struggle; His comfort always matches our struggle. We may not get why we hurt so very bad, BUT God loves us immeasurably more than we can even understand.
I want to pray these same words over you today. God has something for you, and it's good. So please, trust Him. Hang on to His every word. Stop looking at the world. Stop striving to be more, do more, figure it out. God has something for you. Love you!