September 27, 2013

Week 31 and the start of Fall

Week 31
September 16 - 22

My problem with this vegetable/fruit comparison is that I eat organic food and it is always way smaller than what google says. I am sorry, but the jicama I eat is not 17 inches long. So we improvised with what we had. Although, I am sure this is WAY huge ;)
Most of my week was consumed by our bi-annual leader training for my work. I love when 35 leaders from around the US come together for 3 days with the same passion. It was inspiring and exhausting! My favorite part was getting to see some of my previous team members, now training to be leaders. 
This me and Carol in Kenya!
And showing off my little grandma chickens. 
Laurie and me in Ethiopia! 
When she found out I was going to India she told me to buy some henna so she could paint my belly when she came to town. 
I loved getting the henna done. It was so relaxing.
I also love the idea of honoring your belly. This is your baby's home for almost a year and I think there should be reverence for how incredible that truly is. It amazes me every day how God designed our bodies to work. Pregnancy has really opened my eyes to the wonder of creation. 
This was the following morning on the first day of Fall. 
It was in the process of peeling off. 
Michael and I celebrated the first day of this new season by spending the day at the park. 
My sweet Genevieve,
This is the season that you will arrive. 
I can't believe we are already entering into Fall. 
As the leaves start to change, I can feel that you are going to be here so soon.
I know this will be one cozy winter when you arrive. 
We are so excited for days of snuggling with you!
Hang tight for a few more weeks and then you are welcome any time :)

September 19, 2013

Week 30 and Baby Shower!

A Week of Celebration
September 9 - 15
Our little one is getting bigger and bigger. 
She is almost 16 inches long and weighs about 3 pounds.
Every week that goes by I breath a sigh of relief. I want her to stay put as long as necessary! 
In some ways I feel more nervous now than I did in the early weeks of pregnancy. 
I know I will breath easier once I get to 36 weeks. 

This week was full of celebration!
I celebrated my 24th birthday.
My husband celebrated his 25th birthday.
And I had my baby shower. 
So much joy and blessing :)
My birthday dinner was at Husk. 
It was wonderful! They even printed us special menus that said "Happy Birthday" on them. 
That was a nice touch ;)
Michael didn't realize that I have not been writing restaurant blogs. 
We have been to quite a few since I became pregnant but I have not had the drive to write them... 
He really enjoyed Husk and so I told him he could write the blog post about this restaurant. 
Coming soon!
Michael made me a frame for a floor length mirror!
I haven't had one in years and I am so happy with how it turned out.
And this shows how all my non-maternity shirts fit me now ;)
My mom did such a great job with all the details and decor. 
It turned out so lovely :)
I loved this crafty activity!
Everyone made these sweet wooden blocks for Genevieve. 
They turned out great!
My faces crack me up. I look like I am going to cry. 
Thank you to my mother-in-law for the most adorable outfit from Paris and the BEAUTIFUL quilt she crocheted for Genevieve. 
I love them both so much!
One of my favorite parts of the shower was the "Blessing Ceremony".
Just like the guy asks the father for his blessing to marry his daughter, I think receiving a blessing is a big deal. Even at my lingerie shower, of all places, I received a blessing from many of the same women as I was about to walk into marriage and become a wife. I suppose I never do showers the traditional way!
We passed around a bowl full of different glass beads. 
Everyone picked one out and came up to me to bless me as I enter into motherhood. 
Baby showers use to be full of rituals that focused around the mother to be. 
Grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and sisters would come together and shower the mother in preparation for motherhood. 
Don't get me wrong, I am beyond blessed to have received so many of the items I needed/wanted for Genevieve. It was such a HUGE financial blessing for me. 
However, the spiritual and emotional blessing I received that day outweighed any gift. 
I had 40 women in my life affirm me as I become Genevieve's mother. 
Some of these women I have known for 15 years, some just months, and then a few of my mom's friends I met that day! But that didn't matter. 
It was women from all walks of my life imparting wisdom and advice.
Blessing me with patience, joy, courage and trust in myself. 

We strung the necklace together and I plan on wearing it when I go into labor. 
I really do feel empowered to walk into the unknown and the wonderful task of becoming a mom. And to not feel alone in the transition. I have so many amazing women in my life supporting me - that is the biggest blessing!

"Birth is not only about making babies, birth is about making mothers -- strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength" - Barbara Katz Rothman

September 10, 2013

Week 29 and Arkansas

This week we went to Arkansas and experienced lots of baby kicks!
September 2 - 8
We changed it up a bit and decided to go by weight. 
At 29 weeks, our little one weighs almost 3 pounds! 
She is the weight of this used bag of flour. 
And let me tell you, for someone that hasn't gained much weight, I feel every extra pound! 
Genevieve is so active! 
She loves wiggling and squirming all day long. ALL DAY LONG. 
At night I will sit on the couch and watch her dance her way across my belly. 
It's incredible that there is a living human inside of me!
It really is strange.
I've probably talked about it on so many posts but pregnancy continues to be such an unique experience!

With all things pregnancy, there is a mix of emotions involved with those movements:
1. I love the kicks. My daughter is alive and active and with me everywhere.
2. I dread the kicks. She is sitting on my bladder, literally. I have to get up 6-8 times a night because of it. And quite honestly, it hurts sometimes. Well, most of the time. It pinches and spasms and can be very shocking. Like the picture above, sometimes I feel like she is going to stretch through my skin. 
3. I don't want it to stop. I love that my body feeds her, regulates her temperature and keeps her comfortable. I don't want her to be exposed to the world. I want to keep her safe inside of me. 
4. And in the same breath, I can't wait to share her with the world! There are so many amazing people waiting to meet her. I get to be her caretaker but she isn't 'mine'. She is an individual worthy of sharing. 
So I will just enjoy, despise, love, hate, want, and relish these kicks for the remaining weeks. 
 Michael and I took a little road trip to Arkansas. I've never been there before. Quite honestly, didn't even know exactly where it fell on the map. We were so excited to see our dear friends from our December Africa trip get married. We were there when they got engaged by the Nile River and now we got to share in their wedding celebration. It was great!
Our road trip could not be complete without LOTS of snacks and good reading.
This is my 3rd go-round with Ina May Gaskin's "A guide to Childbirth". I really love it. And Michael enjoys reading it to. I probably have 10+ natural birthing books on my shelf that I have read through multiple times but it is a whole different ball game when you are reading it pregnant. We are going to embark on the birthing adventure very soon!
The wedding took place at an airport hanger. 
I love unconventional wedding locations!
The beautiful bride, Chelsea, and another team member, Carla, who made her way from Indiana for the ceremony. Such a beautiful wedding and reception!
This was the last of our travels before baby arrives. Now we get to 'rest', enjoy our birthdays, baby shower, birthing classes, and nesting in the remaining weeks. 

September 4, 2013

Week 28 and one week closer!

August 26 - September 1st
Oh my how this little girl is growing. 
And it's already September!?!
This week she is about 15 inches long and weighs almost 3 pounds!
I can't believe how big she is getting.
We improvised with this fennel because I refused to go to more than 2 grocery stores to find a squash or eggplant or some sort of veggie that was long enough. 
The measures I take for these pictures ;)
This week I took my glucose test. Everyone talks up this horrible orange drink.
It was not that bad, although I certainty did not enjoy chugging it in 5 minutes. 
It's like drinking the syrup you would use to make snow cones.
After not eating for 6 hours before the drink and then putting so much sugar in my blood, I did have slurred speech, headaches, dizziness and could not think straight.
But a few blood tests later - I don't have gestational diabetes! 
I also experienced my first consignment sale this week.
We have a friend that helps put on the sale so we got to be one of the first shoppers. 
Let me tell you, VIP treatment at a sale this big was wonderful. 
No lines, first look at the huge selection, no crowds.
It was amazing. 
Now the only big needs I have are all my reusable diapers. I have about 5 but a good collection is 24-36 (depending on how often you want to do laundry). So I have a ways to go. But most of my big items are purchased!
Let the nesting begin!
Ok, this picture was a joke.
No, my best friend and my twin sister are not pregnant...
Although that would be so much fun!
This was an attempt at solidarity.
I want those around me to 'understand' as best as they can what this whole thing is like.
Even though my husband has felt Genevieve kick countless times, I still grab his hand to feel her every time she moves. I like sharing it all. 
So we improvised using mixing bowls filled with 3 pound bags of flour tucked into belly bands, maternity pants and maternity tops. 
I loved it!
They experienced the weight of the belly and the difficulty of doing minor tasks.
I had them doing yoga exercises, shifting positions in bed, bending down to pick things up, getting up off the floor, the whole nine yards. 
I think they also started to grasp why 'the belly' becomes the focus of all our conversations and pictures. It is just so prominent and hard not to talk about. 

Pregnancy is an experience difficult to describe. 
On one hand, I feel like the most special person in the world. 
I am creating life. 
I am growing a human inside of me and she moves and wiggles and flips.
I am like some "Earth momma warrior princess" connected to nature and all things living.
I feel like I am going through the most miraculous process a human can go through.

And while it's so sacred and singular, every human on this planet arrived through this experience.
I will share this event with most women on this Earth.
It is so holy and yet so ordinary.

I think that is why I love it. 
Pregnancy, this pregnancy, is very unique to me. 
I make of it what I want and it is really just shared between me and Genevieve. 

And on the other hand, I am beyond blessed to 'join the club'.
To compare stories and symptoms.
To look at another pregnant woman and say, "I totally understand!"
I find myself drawn to all the women in my life that are pregnant or new mothers.
It's a special camaraderie or some womanhood community that I feel honored to be a part of. 

It is still so much for me to process.
The emotional, hormonal pregnancy symptoms are just now hitting me - hard.  
Her movements in my side are more painful and shocking than sweet. 
I really do feel sad when I think about my life not being just me and Michael. 
We are about to raise a child! 
It's a lot. 
I cry a lot.
I get really excited a lot.
I feel impatient most of the time.
And I want time to slow down.
But I am allowing myself to feel it all.

One day this season will seem so far away. 
I am trying to soak it all in!