The pregnancy went by quickly, in some ways, yet in other ways it seems like I have been pregnant forever, and it's almost strange that soon I won't be. Soon the awkward baby bump will be exchanged for a recovering body and a precious little distraction to nurture. My hideous veins will shrink back to something resembling a normal lower half of a body, while a new scar forms at the site of the doctor's careful incision. Eventually I won't feel so short of breath when I walk up stairs (assuming I get back into a workout routine!) or lightheaded when I delay breakfast for more than half an hour after rising. The delightful kicks, stretches, and hiccups of a growing fetus will be exchanged for the intimacy of nursing and night wakings. Overall, I love being pregnant in many ways, but I am happy to exchange it for a new addition to our family!
This pregnancy has been fairly uneventful, yet slightly different from others. I have had occasional insomnia; if I wake up in the middle of the night, it takes an hour to fall back asleep. I often feel that God is keeping me away during these times to pray, and I try to take advantage of that precious time with Him. I have not gained much weight - only about 18 pounds. With my first pregnancy, I gained almost 30 pounds, and my little Donny turned out to be only 5 pounds, 5 ounces! It will be interesting to find out how big (or small) this baby is. Certainly she seems to be a calcium-craver, because I have been consuming chocolate milk, yogurt (which I formerly hated), and milk-based smoothies on a daily basis. Earlier in the pregnancy, I suspected that she would be shy and mellow, because ultrasounds showed baby holding an arm over her face, and it seemed that she didn't move much in the second trimester. See the little arm covering the face on this 12 week ultrasound photo?
Now that I have been watching my belly twitch and contort for a few months, however, I have no doubt that this little one will be as active as her sister and brothers. I have had Braxton-Hicks contractions for a few minutes each day since 27 weeks, but the past few weeks have brought frequent, more uncomfortable contractions, especially in the evenings, that imitate early labor and then disappear. With my history of long labors, I don't expect to have to rush off to the hospital at any moment, but the contractions do serve as a reminder that baby is coming soon!
And on that end, I am finally feeling prepared. In the past few weeks, I have checked a satisfying number of items off of my nesting to-do list. Baby clothes, blankets, and diapers are freshly washed and put away. Cupboards and drawers are organized. Shopping, baking, and miscellaneous appointments are done. Babysitters and birth plans are in place. The Pack 'N Play and new Moses basket are waiting for a sweet little bundle of dreams to be nestled in them. If only for a day or two, the house is clean, ready for our family to return home.
The "big kids" are ready too. Their fall clothes are unpacked, new shoes purchased, summer things are washed and put away. Lydia sleeps in the boys' room now (for part of the night, at least) on her own trundle mattress, while Hayden gets the full-size bottom bunk and Donny has his own special top-bunk space. The boys have been plugging away at their first grade work, so we will have only two weeks of curriculum to finish up after we settle in with baby. Lydia is excited to be a big sister, and eagerly tells how the baby will wear pink jammies, and "After the baby comes out of Mumma's belly, Daddy will help me pick up the baby and give her a big hug!" Even now, she gives my belly sweet hugs and kisses, and since one of her favorite lines is, "What can I do to help you?" I trust that she will be a great helper to me. The boys are looking forward to meeting their new sister, too. Donny even made a card to give to the new baby:
It is reassuring to know that even though I technically picked the date of my scheduled c-section, this baby, like any other, will be arriving in God's perfect time. He is the one who allowed the conception to occur in just the right time to bless us with the first October birthday in the family. Don just mentioned, as he decided to procrastinate on his Sunday School lesson, that perhaps the Rapture will happen tonight, and he won't even need a lesson. I replied that it is also possible, and slightly even more likely, that the baby will come tonight! Though we don't know the day or the hour when Jesus will return, it is the sweetest anticipation to know that He is coming again. And while we wait here on earth, there are blessings to look forward to, like the tiny miracle I am anticipating on Monday.
Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws,
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts.