July 14, 2013

21 weeks and Away "We" Go!

Week 21
July 8-14
Genevieve is now 10.5 inches long! She is getting so big and wiggling so much. 
I can tell when she rolls because I feel like I am on a roller coaster. I didn't realize her movements could make me so queasy but I do love feeling life inside of me!
Don't mind the post yoga physique ;) Look how big this belly is getting!? And just over halfway. It is pretty amazing what our bodies can do. 
Michael and I had a little break from the stresses of the week when are good friends Aaron and Chelsea came through town for the night. We met them on our December Uganda Kenya trip just a few months ago and really hit it off. It was so wonderful catching up with them!
Here we are in Uganda at the Nile river the day they got engaged! Special day!
 And a few months later.
We can't wait to celebrate their marriage in September!
And now it's time to leave for India. 
This week has been a little stressful for me as I try and wrap everything up at work and home. 
Everyone has asked me if I am excited about going. 
It's hard to answer that question with a quick response.

1. I will terribly miss Michael. Now that I am pregnant I want nothing more than to stay cocooned with Michael and my belly and nest as a family. But I know there will be time for that when I return. 

2. I am nervous about the physical challenge of being pregnant while in India. There will be some long and hot days. Even though I have a touch of anxious moments here and there, I can't describe the amount of peace I feel about leading this team. I feel really prepared - in the last few days I had my prenatal yoga class, chiropractor adjustment and midwife appointment. I have researched every type of alternative everything for treating anything I could get. I've asked all the questions I needed to our travel insurance company. And the couple we are working with in India are also pregnant! Which is really special to share. 2nd trimester really is the best time to travel - no nausea, minor food aversions, and lots more energy!

3. I can't wait to meet this team in person. There are 10 amazing women going on this trip. We have had 6 conference calls and a few coffee dates with some of them leading up to today. I feel such a connection and unity with them already. I know we are going to make some life-long memories together. And did I mention I get to travel with my mom!?! I had the privilege of traveling with her last May to Ethiopia and Uganda and this time she is my official co-leader. There is nothing like traveling with your mom (especially when pregnant). I know we will make memories together that I will treasure forever as we both enter into a new season as Mom and Bibi (my mom's grandmother name).

4. I feel so much anticipation for how God will use this team. I have learned from traveling 4 times overseas last year that when I have nothing to offer and no expectations, that is when God uses me the most. It is in that place of 'weakness' that I find the supernatural strength. I've never been to India before, I am not really sure what all to expect and I don't know exactly what all I will experience. But I am totally open and willing to be used wherever and however God places this team. I anticipate miracles, and challenges, and moments where the team cannot stop laughing because we are filled with joy, jet-lag and exhaustion ;) I know our faith will grow as we trust God!

Defining moments have some high highs and low lows. I know this trip will be hard and good. It is an opportunity for to be refined and experience God's love in a new way.
So in that spirit, I embrace the fear and unknown. 
 Here we go!

P.S. Not sure when the next weekly update will be. Probably when I get home. 
P.P.S. Those in Nashville, please keep my husband company! 

July 8, 2013

Halfway there!

Week 20
July 1-7
I can't believe we are halfway through this pregnancy!

With the best things in life there is this tension between the mundane moving slowly and the special moments flying by quickly. I feel like my favorite things about life have both those elements. In some ways I don't remember not being pregnant - it's like I've been pregnant for forever and yet February wasn't that long ago. So strange. The mix of emotions are still really high for me.

I don't want this intimacy with Genevieve to ever stop.
I love that she goes with me everywhere I go and I feel all of her movements. I am unbelievably connected with her. And yet my goodness, the moment I get to hold her and look her in the eye and connect with her on a deeper level is unreal and definitely worth the wait.

I am trying to view this process as a special season.
This helps me get through most things in life. It would be very easy to focus on the loss of something/someone every time change happens. I don't do change well, I never have. But I find peace in knowing that my life will always be changing and instead of dwelling on the loss I want to be grateful for the time I had that experience. I am definitely allowing myself to feel the emotions of my "kid-less" life coming to an end and to embrace the fact that my baby will not always live inside of me. I think it is a healthy way to process. It helps me live in the moment and appreciate each memory. These moments are what make up my story. And the best part of embracing change is that there is so much joy in the anticipation for what's to come.

I know Genevieve's kicks so well now. I feel them just about every time I sit down. I also officially felt my first Braxton Hicks contraction. It's amazing that my body is already preparing for her birth. Just not yet! Increasing my water intake as we speak.

So today I will sit and relax and enjoy these CONSTANT kicks and flips.
 And close my eyes and connect with my daughter. I will soak in every moment of this pregnancy and allow myself the time to process the emotions. And when the time comes, I will fully embrace the next season as Genevieve makes her entrance to this world. 

To my sweet Genevieve,
You are one active baby. You already bring so much joy to our lives - our happy Lark. You love to swim and kick. All day long. I grab your Dad's hand every time you start to dance. After one big kick, he looked at me and started tearing up thinking about how much he loves you already. I am in awe that your home is inside of me and that I could have so much love for someone I haven't even "met" yet. I hope you can already feel the love we have for you. It will only increase every day. We are so excited for the day we welcome you earth-side, but no rush. These next 20 weeks will be treasured forever.
Weeks 6-20 of the baby bump:

July 2, 2013

My 19 week mango baby

Week 19
June 24 - 30
Baby is mango sized!
This week continues to be very special for us. 
The kicking is starting to be more noticeable. I definitely felt Genevieve move externally on Monday. And Michael got to feel her move for the first time on Wednesday. 
It was so special.

Sweet craving
I don't have a sweet tooth. I don't mind dessert, I just don't crave it. I LOVE fruit, but I could go without chocolate any day. This little girl has ruined me! I crave sweets. I want chocolate cake. Cookies sound delicious. What on earth? I've heard those sweet cravings will likely stay with you post-pregnancy. Just lovely. Thanks Genevieve, now I can relate with the rest of the world. Give me sugar!!

The last 5 weeks I've been taking a prenatal yoga class with my dear pregnant friend, Becca. I hope to continue this yoga until Genevieve arrives (and then I'll start post-natal yoga ;) I know there are mixed thoughts on yoga these days but it has been one of the most important practices during this pregnancy. I mentioned last week that my attention has shifted from me being pregnant to Genevieve growing inside of me. My thoughts are more internal. For those who don't know, I am an external processor - almost 100%. The idea of 'going inside of myself' and processing thoughts alone is one of the most terrifying things for me. I need a sounding board, I need to vocalize my thoughts. I can't be alone and journal to come to a conclusion. I am terrible at it.

One week before we found out we were pregnant, my coworkers and I went to a one-day retreat called The Soul Care Project. In one of the 'meditate/spend time listening to God' exercises, I had a vivid picture of God asking me to let go of control. If I let go of my perfect timing, God would plant the seed inside of me (my baby). This was month 4 of trying to conceive and it was a very hard and emotional time for me. I was being stripped of control and my timeline. It was in that moment that I chose to trust God to plant and nurture the life in me. And that was the month we conceived. That spiritual, intimate experience was the start of this journey I am currently on.

Pregnancy is a very spiritual season. It is the first time where I have been able to internally process my thoughts and emotions. It is something that only I can experience for myself. I don't think you can really understand pregnancy until you have experienced it personally. I have felt every emotion under the sun these last 20 weeks. I've been utterly happy, incredibly overwhelmed, slightly anxious, exhausted more than ever, ready to meet my daughter and yet I don't want it to end - quite a roller coaster. It's hard to put into words, but as life physically grows inside of me, I am now grasping the idea that I am the dwelling place of the presence of God. This theme has been so important to me - Immauel - God with us. The power of God lives in me. That is huge, that is a big deal. And it changes the way I look at others, too. I start to see them as image-bearers and dwelling places of God as well.

It allows me to find God in everything, the good, the beautiful and the blessings in my life. So with yoga when we silence our minds and focus on the divine within - I have never felt so close to God. And I love the greeting namaste:"The divine (or spirit) in me acknowledges the divine in you." If only we saw people and greeted people with this idea - that we are connected because Christ is in us. It's a beautiful thing. And focusing on breathing is so powerful, too. There is something so significant about breathing. I love that in Hebrew 'spirit' is the word Ruah which also means 'breath' and 'wind'. It is the tangible acknowledgement of God with us. Not only is it a reminder but it is our source of life.

And of course touching my belly, my baby's home, connects me to my daughter. We do a lot of exercises in yoga where we focus on the life in us. I also spend 20 minutes every morning sitting in the nursery connecting with God and my baby. I don't want to just get caught up in what type of reusable diaper and swaddling blanket to register for (although still important and fun to research). I want to focus on this spiritual experience. I want to pray over my baby, speak truth and love over her and connect with her even in-utero. I feel like I am learning more about myself on a new, deeper level. I treasure those quiet moments and intimacy I experience with God when I learn to still myself and listen. I am so grateful for this journey and all I am learning.
Post Yoga work-out
I have loved reading all of these books and using my beautiful journal (thank you Corrine!) these last few weeks. 

I topped the week off by hanging out with my coworkers and their families.
Lovely ice cream at Jenis - which I enjoy 20x more with a sweet tooth ;)
My coworker, Chrystal, is due the exact same day as me. Unintentionally, we dressed the same for a comfortable picnic at the park. Seriously, maxi skirts are the way to go during pregnancy!!

I love spending time with everyone's families and chasing chickens around the yard ;)
And to top off my weekend, I got to see my best friend! Natalie was living in New Zealand for the last year and just moved back. It was the most wonderful thing seeing her again!
Here's to another great week ahead.