jude

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Introducing Jude William Butterfras!

As you can probably imagine, Ryan and I are both head over heals for this cutie, and I still can’t believe we get to keep him! Truly the greatest gift our family could receive.

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I’ve been advised to write down the birth story before I forget everything that happened, so below that is what you’ll find. I will warn you (especially if you’re a guy) that some of the details you may or may not want to read (childbirth is not for the faint of heart). Proceed with caution.. you have been warned!

No one (not even my doctor) thought I would make it all the way to my due date, but I did! Thursday morning, January 14 I had an OB checkup, and found that I was still only 1 1/2 cm dilated and about 85% effaced. I asked my doc to strip my membranes to try to get things going, because after a certain point they have to induce you (because the placenta becomes too mature and stops producing nutrients for the baby after about 41 weeks). That day we scheduled my induction for the following Monday, but I was determined to get this baby out of me before that day came (I did not think I could handle 4 more days with him inside of me!). We went home, and that afternoon I put on a podcast and walked the halls of our apartment building for about 45 mins. By the end of that podcast, I was starting to get a really bad stomach ache (ps. I went poo like 7 times that day… the body is weird…. I’m just glad I didn’t poop on the doctor or nurses while pushing during labor). About an hour later (at 6p) I started having contractions, but wasn’t sure if that’s what they were because I realized that no one had ever told me what they felt like! FYI, super early contractions just feel like menstrual cramps. We started timing them, and once they became consistent between 5 and 7 mins apart, we packed up our toiletries and gave the hospital a call.

Once we got to the hospital, we waited around for a while until they had a room and nurse ready for us (which by the way, when you’re having contractions, feels like forever). Once in the room they checked me, and a few hours later decided that they weren’t going to send me home because my contractions sped up to every 2 to 4 mins. That night was a long one. I labored for 12 hrs with contractions that progressed to 2 mins apart all night long (meaning I didn’t sleep). At 6a the nurse came to check me again, and told me the last thing I wanted to hear: that I was only dilated 3cm. She talked to me about giving me pitocin, and as soon as she said that some women stay in early labor for DAYS, I said yes. There was no way I was about to have contractions every 2 mins for days on end. Nope. It would be different if they were more spread out, but with them being so close together I was not able to get any rest, and was already exhausted from being up all night. The pitocin made the contractions more intense, but spread them out to 5 mins apart, which I thought was a good trade off. The nurse also gave me an IV drug to make me drowsy so that I could sleep in between the contractions, because she was worried about me being too tired by the time pushing came. I literally would wake up to a very intense contraction, and then fall back asleep as soon as it was over.

Once I was dilated to 7 1/2 cm the contractions became no joke (my water broke when I was 7cm). No more sleeping in between. Word of caution – this is graphic and gross. Skip the next 2 paragraphs if you don’t want to know. Active labor contractions feel like a massive, dry tampon being pulled out slowly over a 90 second period. Yea, ladies. At least that’s what my contractions felt like. That went on for a few hours. At one point I told Ryan and the nurse, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” They both laughed. It got so intense that I started talking to the nurse about the possibility of an epidural. Something to remember: pray to God that you have a good nurse. My nurse was so, so very wonderful, and I really could not have done it without her. She reminded me that my first wish was to try to have this baby without meds. She said that we can definitely do an epidural if I really want it, but in that moment I was speaking out of pain, and she really wanted to honor my first wishes. She told me that I was handling the contractions really well, and she really believes that I can do it. It was her confidence in me that gave me the extra push to hang in there. I asked her, “But how much worse is it going to get?” Her response: “It’s going to get really bad. But I have no doubt you can do this.” That is a good nurse. I’m so glad she didn’t go the easy route for either of us. She helped me breathe through it, and gave me permission to do whatever I needed to do to release the pain. She told me at one point, “Girl, if you need to yell, go ahead and do it.” Haha. There was so much freedom being cared for by her, and I’m so thankful God placed her in my room.

When it’s time to push, you seriously won’t be able to concentrate on anything else. My doc walked in just in time, right as I was ready to push. It feels like the biggest case of constipation you’ve ever experienced, times 100. Everything in me had this compulsion to push, and my doctor was rushing around telling me, “Don’t push yet, I don’t have my gloves on!” My response: “I haaaave to!”
Some people told me that pushing is the worst part of labor. Not for me. The contractions were by far the worst. Once pushing comes, you really can’t think about anything else. It’s almost like the concentration of the contraction distracts you from the pain of it. Pushing is pretty exhausting. I only pushed for about 20 mins, and by the end of it I felt lightheaded. Ladies – start working out now, and don’t stop during pregnancy unless you doctor tells you to! You’re going to need the training in endurance, breathing, and efficiency of effort and energy exerted. My doctor had me push 4 times per contraction. During the pushing, you have to hold your breath as she counts to 10… you then have about 5 seconds to take another deep breath, and then back to pushing. You have to give your everything every time, which is why it’s so tiring. By the 4th push I felt like I didn’t have anything left to give! I already gave it all to you, lady! Ryan was my saving grace in the last 5 mins. There’s a part of me that thought to myself that he’s never going to come out, and I’m just going to be doing this forever (I know, irrational, but remember that I was in the worst pain of my life and I hadn’t slept all night). One of the last pushes Ryan said, “I can see his black hair! He has black hair!” What a trooper. Ryan watched the whole thing, and cheered me on the whole time. It was his words made me decide, “Ok, I can do this. I’m getting this baby out now.” A few more pushes and he was here!

Ps. You feel the shoulders, too. Not just the head… it’s the shoulders, too. Our kid came out superman-ing. One arm up in the air by his head (as if his head wasn’t big enough… he had to stick the hand out, too). As soon as he came out there was a sudden relief, and Ryan and I both started crying. Such an overwhelming feeling to see and hear your son, and realize that this was all worthwhile. Some people say you forget about the pain of labor as soon as you see your child. Not true. I still remember that pain. Worst pain of my life. But would I do it all over again to have him? Absolutely.

Here’s another paragraph you might not want to read if you don’t like nasty stuff. Because my kid was SO huge (8lb 9oz), I tore pretty badly, so the doctor had to sew me up. Now, because I didn’t have an epidural, I felt that mess. Yes, I did. My doctor told me while she was sewing me up that this was one part people who have epidurals never think about, because they don’t feel a thing. I saw the needle.. it looks like a fishhook…… and it feels like a fishhook. Good thing they gave me my baby so I could just stare at him and love on him while trying to distract myself from the stitches. And let’s be real, he is so stinking adorable.

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I still can’t take my eyes off our sweet Jude-bug, and can’t believe just a couple weeks ago he was living inside of me! He already has the funniest personality, and is totally chill (I think he’s going to be a lot like daddy). We can’t believe this little blessing. Such grace.

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39 weeks | awaiting the babe

39 Weeks edit

We made it to 39 weeks! It’s crazy and kind of sad to think that my last post was 10 weeks ago (sorry, y’all). Life has been full in every kind of way, and I finally feel like I’ve crossed the finish line, while at the same time crossing the start of a new beginning.

The past few months have held holiday celebrations (Thanksgiving with my family in MO and Christmas with Ryan’s here in Houston), many, many CARES events, my belly growing beyond what I can comprehend, of course, work, another trip to the ER for a kidney infection (thanks to this child sitting so low and flattening my bladder so much that it’s prone to infection), and now, we arrive at the end of pregnancy, awaiting the birth of this precious baby.

I’ve been reflecting on my experience being pregnant, and savoring each moment I have left. If I’m honest, I’m going to miss this little bug being inside of me. I really cherish secrets and not everyone knowing my business all the time, and I feel like this baby and I share a secret that no one else has been invited into just yet. I feel him move throughout the day, and it reminds me of the miraculous wonder of God’s creation. I have had nothing to do with the growth of this now 7lb baby, and yet, I had the gift of sharing the joy of our Creator by witnessing first hand my son being intricately knit together. It truly is a gift, and I think a lot of women miss out on that because we’re so focused on the not-so-fun parts of pregnancy, namely the way it affects our bodies and minds. Truly, I have enjoyed being pregnant, and I thank God for a very uncomplicated journey; even the little gifts like not really experiencing much morning sickness. I am careful to tell people that I have enjoyed it because I know a lot of people have pretty miserable experiences, and I don’t want to disregard their struggle in any way. But as I sit and wait for labor to draw near, I can’t help but have some bittersweet feelings about the fact that this little secret of ours will be over. I am beyond thrilled to share him with all of you, but I have definitely enjoyed this one-on-one gift the Lord has granted me.

We had an appointment yesterday, and though I’m only dilating 1 1/2 cm, I am 85% effaced, so the Dr. isn’t very worried about the baby not coming on his own. He’s been sitting very low for a long time, and his head and shoulders are in place and ready to go. He’s really just waiting on my body to take the lead, now! We’re hoping that he comes after this weekend, but before his due date… all for selfish reasons. :) We’re throwing an event tonight for CARES, and tomorrow night we have a friend’s birthday party. I personally want him to come before his due date so that I don’t have to push out an 8lb baby. Pray for that with me?

I am a little anxious about delivery simply because it’s something I’ve never experienced before. I’m picturing giving birth in my mind similar to the way I’ve approached races. I’ve been exercising and eating healthy for the most part, and all of it leads up to this point! I often tell my clients that the mind battle they have to win is the majority of it. Get control of your mind, and you’ll get control of your body. If you’ve already given up mentally, you stand no chance against what you’re about to face. But if you walk into your challenge knowing that the Lord has already promised victory, you have already won. Many moms in my classes have told me that giving birth is very similar. The stress your body goes through is inevitable, but a lot of it depends on the stress you put on your mind. When you’re freaking out, your body freaks out, and responds with fear which can lead to more pain. Remembering to relax seems to be the key. We’ll see how well I remember all of that during delivery. ;)

Oh! We finally finished the baby’s room! I still need to make the mobile, but that shouldn’t take very long. And I’m also ok with the room being incomplete without it for a little while. :)

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I can’t wait til the next update, which will (please, Lord) be the introduction of our baby boy! Thanks for walking this road with me, and I look forward to sharing this joy with you!


 

39 Week Update:

How Far Along: 39 weeks

Maternity Clothes?: Full on. I’m actually mostly wearing Ryan’s tshirts because not a whole lot else covers my belly!

Stretch Marks: Sort of, in a weird way. Just last week my belly started getting really itchy around my belly button, and I noticed some pull on my skin. I’ve been moisturizing multiple times a day just to keep the itch away! Baby is out of room!

Sleep: Still sleeping hard, but waking up to go to the bathroom about 5 times a night.

Best Moment of This Week: Finishing the baby’s room! Woohoo!

Miss Anything: I really do miss the simple things of having a normal body, like sitting in a chair the regular way, pulling my knees to my chest, sleeping on my stomach, not having to move (no matter what position) every 5 mins.

Movement: His moves have slowed down. Still consistent, but is more like stretching now than squirming or kicking. Like I said, kid’s out of room.

Food Cravings: Nothing in particular. Still a little of everything I have craved throughout the pregnancy, but not as severe or often.

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick: I’m cramping a bunch. Kinda like menstrual cramps, but the kind that make you feel a little nauseous. It’s like the beginning of pregnancy again!

Have You Started to Show Yet?: Ha. You should hear people’s comments.

Gender: Baby Boy!

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?: I feel fine, but I have lost my filter. Now everyone just knows all the things I’m thinking, whereas before I held some things back.

Looking Forward To: Holding our baby and feeling all his movements from the outside!

christmas letter 2015

20151128_Ryan&TiffBabe_011photo by ANH Photography

Dear Family & Friends,

We are delighted to share with you all that the Lord has done in 2015! It really is incredible how much can fit into a year, and how much life can change in such a (considerably) short time. Share our joy as we walk through some of our favorite parts from 2015:

Last January, I (Tiffany) completed my first full marathon! This was a huge milestone for me, and something I’d had on my list of goals to accomplish in my lifetime. After completing the half-marathon in 2014, I scoffed at the thought of having to do 13 more miles on top of that, and swore that I’d never voluntarily run that distance. Thanks to some friends who know my competitive nature all too well, and my desire to complete it at least once in my life (though I had buried that pretty deeply), I signed up for the full. I will say that training for that race was THE most trying task I’ve ever faced, and I was pushed to limits physically, emotionally, and mentally that I was not expecting. It’s amazing what God can teach you about yourself during a long, drawn out goal you commit to. My 21 mile training run was by far the worst thing I’ve experienced. Only God’s grace got me through that one. I was spent in more ways than I could handle, and God met me there to both break me and carry me through. Race day, on the other hand, was incredible, and I say to this day that I would do it all again if every training run could be like that race. I know better than that. :)

Speaking of long commitments, Ryan and I officially became a CARES Team at the end of January, and threw our first event in February. CARES has been a huge part of our lives, and has become a large part of who we are. God has done amazing things in us personally, and again has stretched us beyond what we ever thought we could handle. As a team we throw 3 events a month for the residents of our apartment community, as well as welcome new residents and check in on those who’ve been living in the building for a while. We act as an extension of the management, and our goal is to connect with residents in a way that the staff just don’t have the capacity to. Our first year with CARES has been an absolute gift, and we could not be more grateful for what God has done both in us and in our community. We’ve been able to build friendships with people we would have never encountered otherwise, and love how those relationships have grown. God is so good. Pray that we would do our job well, and that the Lord would use us to bring hope and a sense of belonging in lives of those who have none through our being present.

In April, we received another gift and found out we are pregnant! This news was such indescribable joy, and Ryan and I cherished this secret life, thanking God for his good gift. We were able to tell Ryan’s family on Mother’s Day, and then my family during a visit to Florida at the end of May. Everyone was so ecstatic, and could barely contain their excitement! We made them wait until June to share publicly, and I think we almost had a few family members explode during that time. In the beginning of September we had a party to reveal that the baby is a boy! Now as we await the arrival of our son, we anticipate how much our lives will change for the good. I’m due on January 14, so we will hopefully have an update soon about that baby!

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When we went to visit my family in Orlando in May, Ryan had conspired with my parents and surprised me with my first trip to Disney World! We all had so much fun, and that place really is magical (especially with kids). My oldest niece had her 13th birthday during our visit, and had no idea Ryan and I were coming! We got to surprise her with a horseback riding day, which is alone is a testament of how much we love her because I do not love horses. :)

In July we got to go back to Destin, our family’s tradition with Ryan’s side, and my parents and some siblings were able to join us for part of the trip! Now that my parents and little brother live in Orlando, it worked out to where they could come stay with us for a few days. We had lots of fun as always, but I sadly had to pass up some awesome boogie boarding days since I was still in the first trimester (not a good idea to go tumbling off a board with that current). That didn’t hold any of us back from some great volleyball tournaments, though. We always enjoy that vacation, and it is a great break right in the middle of the year.

In September we celebrated Living Water International’s 25th anniversary, and Ryan’s 3rd anniversary with the organization. Ryan is in the IT department, and has recently had the opportunity to expand his knowledge and explore some network administration within his duties. That is by far his favorite part of the job. I am especially proud of him as a wife, as everyone I meet at LWI is very quick to tell me how much they love him, and how helpful and friendly he always is. Love that.

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This fall we celebrated 4 years of marriage, and are so thankful for all we have learned and experienced together! We have been on countless adventures, and are no doubt about to enter the greatest one yet as we become parents! We can hardly believe this gift entrusted to us, and can’t wait to meet our boy.

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As you reflect on 2015 may you recall the good gifts the Lord has lavished upon you, and may you find thankfulness and joy overflowing from within. Let us encourage each other toward Him, and learn of His faithfulness as we walk through life. Live fully and love deeply!

Ryan, Tiffany, and Baby B

29 weeks | last stretch!

29 Weeks (1)

So many people have told me that pregnancy will fly for everyone but me. Well, I’m here to say that it has gone faster than I can blink! Every week I just think to myself, “How in the world are we already at [enter week]?” A couple weeks ago I officially entered the third trimester, and that about gave me a heart attack. I also saw a post that was reminding everyone that the Houston Marathon is just 12 weeks away. That race is 1 week after my due date… that means we have 11 weeks to go before this baby comes! That just seems unreal. 2 1/2 more months. I’m also aware that 2 of those weeks are holiday weeks (Thanksgiving and Christmas), so I’m trying to stay ahead of the game as far as preparation goes, since those weeks will be out of the picture in terms of getting stuff done.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced is being mentally and spiritually prepared. Shocker, right? I feel that as a natural do-er, I lean towards getting all the “stuff” done, and often neglect my spiritual and emotional well-being. It seems God is always reminding me to slow down and rest in Him, and it seems I’m always fighting to believe that spending significant time reading/studying etc is not wasting time. Anyone else struggle with that? I know you’re not supposed to actually admit that as a Christian, but that is my battle, almost every day. It was before I was pregnant, and I know it won’t magically disappear once this baby comes. I need to often recite scripture to myself to remind myself that time with Him is more valuable than an entire day of crossing items off my to-do list. It’s not just with God, though. I do the same with people. I literally have to consciously remember that time spent with people is worth while… many times worth more than all the stuff I need to do. I am the worst at initiating hang-outs, and if I’m honest, I don’t even think about it majority of the time. I think a lot about things…. I like being “productive” and “accomplishing tasks”. When I do hang out with people, I am making a point to be and enjoy the things that really matter, while letting all the stuff sit for a while longer. I know it’s worth it, but it’s work! I’m so thankful for the people in my life that know this and love me anyway. They also are good about initiating hang outs because they know I am terrible at it. I so appreciate that.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your life when you get cluttered with whatever it is in your world? What do you do to combat that? One relevant thing I’ve done is decided it’s ok that my posts are becoming less and less. If I can invest in real relationships over having a new post on time every other week, I’ll take it. That’s a hard choice for me (that might seem silly), but it’s something I know is so very worth it, and I won’t regret later on.


A couple weeks ago, my sis-in-law threw us a baby shower with the help of my lifelong friend, Jenna. They did such a wonderful job, and we are so thankful for everyone who made it to the shower and prayed over us! It also relieved so much for me mentally, as my overwhelming list of things we need for the baby before he comes was cut down drastically. We’re now getting the last major things together, which includes a dresser so I can have a place to put his endless piles of tiny clothes! I’ll definitely post pictures once it’s all ready. Can’t promise that will be very soon, though. His room is a mess.

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how adorable is this hanging art that Micah from Blue Giraffe Art Works made for me??

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the lovely hostesses!


29 Week Update:

How Far Along: 29 weeks

Maternity Clothes?: Still about 40% of the time

Stretch Marks: Not yet!

Sleep: I sleep hard, but it’s difficult falling asleep. I feel like I’ve inherited some sort of restless leg syndrome.

Best Moment of This Week: We’re celebrating our anniversary early, and we went to see Peter Pan 360 yesterday! Really wonderful show. We were so blown away by it!

Miss Anything: Just feeling like a normal person in general. Also looking forward to sleeping on my back and stomach again.

Movement: Constantly. He likes to squirm more than kick now. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to have bruised ribs by the end of this pregnancy.

Food Cravings: French fries!

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick: I started taking an iron supplement, which I think is giving me a stomach ache every once in a while. Nothing too bad, though.

Have You Started to Show Yet?: It’s all out there.

Gender: Baby Boy!

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?: Mostly happy. Just don’t make jokes about how I’ve really “let myself go” when it’s 5:45a. Not funny anytime, especially that early.

Looking Forward To: Meeting this squirmy little guy!

week 25 | it’s a….!!!

25 Weeks (1)

Boy! 

Well, if you haven’t yet followed my update on Facebook or Instagram like 4 weeks ago, here’s the official news! We are so ecstatic about this little guy, and are super thrilled to meet him! He still remains nameless, as choosing a name for your kid is a lot harder than it would seem. You can be praying that his name becomes clear soon!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated, which kinda testifies to my crazy schedule lately. BUT, I want to share with you some photos from our super fun gender reveal party! Side note: it’s kind of hilarious when you tell anyone over 40 about your gender reveal party. That just wasn’t a thing before our generation, and most of our parents didn’t even find out whether they were having a boy or girl until delivery day. I’ve received lots of strange looks, confused comments, and some amazingly funny remarks concerning our party. One sweet lady asked me if I’m throwing a party to celebrate Caitlyn Jenner. This lady was like 70. I was impressed that she made that kind of association.

I have to say that my dear friend Jamie is a rockstar. I had this idea for a reveal party months ago, and while I was at a fitness conference in Dallas, she just ran with some ideas and turned this party into a most adorable celebration! Also, I do have to mention that I love throwing parties (if you didn’t know that already). There have been a few people that have rolled their eyes at me, and assumed that I’m just trying to make a huge, unnecessary deal out of my kid. If planning parties was a stressful thing to me, believe me, I would not have even thought about it. My husband and I plan 3 events a month for our residents in our apartment community, and it is a joy. This is just something God put in me, and it doesn’t matter what it is… I love a good party. In fact, I love parties even more when I get to throw them for someone else, because I have issues with a ton of attention being on me at once. Jamie is kind of the same way, and so she made this day elaborate and fabulous. I am very thankful for her. :)

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People asked me after the reveal if I was shocked. Honestly, not so much. I had a feeling the entire time that it was a boy, and there was really no way for me to feel that way. I just knew! It was such an exciting moment, but not surprising. :) Ryan, on the other hand, straight up ran away from me immediately after popping the confetti balloon and pranced around the room, ending on the floor making snow angels in the blue sea of paper. You could say he was a little surprised.

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It was so fun to be able to have my parents in town for that weekend! We don’t get to see each other often since they live in Florida, and I really do wish I could share more of my pregnancy with all my family members. It was such a gift that they were able to fly in for the weekend, and we had a great time helping them soak in as much of Houston as they could during their short visit. My mom is making plans to stay with us for a couple weeks after the baby comes, which really gives this daughter a form of comfort entering a whole new phase of life.

Since that party we’ve had another appointment, and babe is growing right on track! He is super active, and literally kicks me at least once every hour of the day. That anterior placenta thing is supposed to make his kicks more subtle, which kinda scares me with how not-subtle he has been. My favorite times with him are early in the morning, right when I wake up (which is about 4:45/5a since I’m usually at the gym by 5:45). He’s most active at that time, and I feel connected to him in the quietness of the morning as I just lay and feel him move around. I do hope this doesn’t mean he’s a morning person, though I am enjoying it right now.


25 Week Update:

How Far Along: 25 weeks

Maternity Clothes?: About 40% of the time

Stretch Marks: Not yet!

Sleep: It’s off and on. Some nights great, some not so great. The earlier I go to bed, the better.

Best Moment of This Week: Honestly? Sleeping til 8a on Sunday. Haha.

Miss Anything: My pre-pregnant body. Go ahead a judge me. I feel like a sumo wrestler. I’ll stomp on you.

Movement: Oh yes. He especially likes to kick my bladder (thanks, kid).

Food Cravings: Fall breads (pumpkin, banana, pecan). But let’s be real… that always happens around this time of year.

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick: Not really!

Have You Started to Show Yet?: Yes. Even people I don’t know now know that I’m pregnant. Which is better than them not being too sure.

Gender: Baby Boy!

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?: Mostly happy. Just really tired by noon every day.

Looking Forward To: The holidays! I know that’s a little ways away, but I LOVE this time of year!

week 20 | what not to say to a pregnant woman

20 Weeks (1)

Last week I asked women to send me the most outrageous things that were said to them while pregnant. Some things made me laugh; others left me speechless! Just in case you’re wondering while you read through, none of these things are ok to say to pregnant women, and most are not ok to say to anyone.. man or woman, pregnant or not. A great thing to do would be to never repeat these things in conversation…. ever. ;) Ps. Sorry if I left any out. I think I got everyone’s, but I also forget at least one thing a day, so there’s that.

Enjoy…

“Wow! You look like you’re ready to explode!” – said by vendor at farmer’s market
“I promptly left his booth and walked away.”

“Craziest (scariest) thing: someone offered to give me castor oil to induce labor at 34 weeks with [second child] (um… what???)”

“Don’t you own a television?!” (after seeing 5 children)

“I don’t remember you ever being this big when you were pregnant with [first child].” – said by husband of woman

“When are you due?” (after just delivering baby)

“Oh you CAN’T find out the gender. I didn’t!” Or, “You HAVE to find out the gender! I did!”

“I was talking to a lady in November and wasn’t due til March. She asked me if I was having a Christmas baby. I said no. She said, “How about New Years?” I politely told her no. Then she said, “how about Chinese New Year?” Finally, I just said that I wasn’t due til almost Easter and she just stared at me not knowing what to say. Later that week I had someone tell me they didn’t even realize I was pregnant because I was so small!”

“Are they ALL yours? Do they all have the same father??”

“I can tell that you’re gaining weight!” Or, “How much weight have you gained?”

“You should listen to 89.3… your baby would really like it.” – said by man at HEB

“Is there a baby in your belly? Can I touch it?” – said by 4 yr old girl at the mall

“No offense, but I think you are going to be huge! 3 months to go, and you almost look full term! I mean, are you not also scared that there is monster baby growing inside of you?” – said by husband of woman

“You sure there’s just one in there?”

“The day before I delivered, I was walking out of Walmart and an old man walked past me towards the store. As we passed we made eye contact. With a self satisfied grin and a tickled tone he said, ‘Damn girl you gotcha a whole litter in there don’t cha sweet toots, when you gonna push out dem pups?’ I was incredulous. I cannot say I was entirely surprised by the old backwoods trunk dweller. Still, I was speechless. I cannot think of another time in my life that I was rendered without words. It took me so long to process what he said, by the time I was confidant I heard him right and could respond, he was already safely inside Walmart and I was trying to squeeze behind my steering wheel. My water broke that night.”

“‘Can I touch your belly?’ I wanna be like, ‘Can I touch yours, random stranger in Walmart?'”

“This doesn’t so much have to do with being pregnant but I was asked if I was going to continue work and when I said no they asked what my husband did for a living. Who are you to be concerned about our financial stability?!”

“Oh, being pregnant is so much fun!”

“You’re too young to have a baby!”

“I had a coworker slap my hand once, like you would to a child, because I lifted my hands above my head. In front of everyone. She said it would make the cord wrap around the baby’s neck. I think I went at least a couple days without speaking to her. I was livid. Now it’s just funny.”

“Are you pregnant?”

“You know what causes that, right?”

“So are you like, really emotional/crazy/illogical now that you’re pregnant?”

“I didn’t know you were trying to get pregnant/You didn’t tell me you were trying/Was this on purpose/Were you using protection?”


On the other hand, here are some suggestions for you on what to say instead. :)

1. Instead of asking how she’s feeling (she’s been asked that 12 times today), start the convo with, “You’re looking good/great/cute!” Whether she believes you or not, it will help her to know that not everyone sees her as a balloon.

2. Are there any new things that have happened this week?

3. What are you looking forward to the most?

4. I know that stinks… I felt that way too. Sorry about that.

5. How exciting that you’re going to be parents! How can I pray for you/help you?

6. One day I had a client that started our convo out with, “If I say anything offensive or ask a question that you don’t want to answer, just let me know.” The very fact that she said that and acknowledged that there might be something she says or asks that makes me uncomfortable automatically gave me the ability to let my walls down and not be easily offended by any well-meaning but slightly rude comments that might head my way. That was a pleasant surprise!

The truth is, most people mean well. Not many people are looking to offend when they say crazy things or ask way too personal of questions. Just remember that not everything is your business, and some people are more private than others. Go into the conversation not expecting her to answer every question you have if she doesn’t want to. And think about how you would take it if someone were to ask you that same question or say that statement. Just be understanding, and know that she’s most likely already working hard to be kind among all those extra hormones. We’re on the same team here!


20 Week Update:

How Far Along: 20 weeks

Maternity Clothes?: Some! Most are still too big, but some are working.

Stretch Marks: Nope.

Sleep: Great, except I’m needing a LOT more of it in order to last the whole day. A nap in between works too.

Best Moment of This Week: Just yesterday we had our mid-way ultrasound (what.. we’re halfway?)! We got to see the baby, and they determined the gender! We had them put the results in an envelope, and we’ll find that out in a couple weeks. The technician also had to remeasure the arms, legs and torso because we have a little spazz and it wouldn’t stop moving!

Miss Anything: Hmm.. if I do I don’t remember. Still missing my memory, I guess. Lol.

Movement: A little every day. I found out at our appt yesterday that I have an anterior placenta, which is totally fine and only means that because the placenta has implanted itself at the front of my abdomen, I won’t be able to feel as many kicks, since it acts as a pillow. Babe is getting some punching bag action.

Food Cravings: Iced Lattes

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick: Not this week!

Have You Started to Show Yet?: Yep!

Gender: There is one human in this world that knows, and she is under lock and key.

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?: This week I was definitely moody. I didn’t even want to be around myself.

Looking Forward To: Finding out what this lil chunk is!

18 weeks | a word to the wise

18 Weeks

Now that I’m showing more, I’m entering the awkward phase of people always wanting to touch me. Don’t get me wrong, there were those few that touched my belly even when we first announced our pregnancy, and that was weird (talk about making you feel self conscious about your stomach fat!). But now that baby is finally making itself more apparent, more people than I know what to do with have the impulse to touch me. Let me just say this: I’ve never been a super touchy person, and even hugs aren’t my thing unless you’re my husband or one of my best friends and I haven’t seen you in a million years. Other than that, I am totally content with the “what’s up” wave or the head nod. I’ll hug people if they want to, but to be really honest, I’m not really getting anything out of it (I hear my Ireland teammates laughing at me right now). So, you can imagine how awkward I feel when people walk up to me and touch (often rub… for a long time) my belly. If I didn’t have to worry about the way people take things, I would be wearing the shirt in this picture:

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Some people have no problem with this at all, and some people even invite others to touch their bellies. A word of advise to you… unless you are invited, or unless you are the husband, don’t touch. And an invite doesn’t work like this: “Do you mind if I touch your belly?” Ok, got permission. When people ask me that (especially around several other people) I feel obligated to say it’s ok. Often I say no anyway, but it just makes a really awkward situation, and embarrassment to all parties involved. I feel so much less awkward if you are the only one around and you ask for a feel. But when there are other people and you’re all staring at me and touching me, now that is weird. I’m not a museum! Oh, wait a minute, you’re not allowed to touch in museums either! Scratch that. Treat me like a museum!

For those who don’t understand this concept or why it’s such a big deal, just remember that it’s still my stomach, meaning that I can still feel your hand. Imagine if someone walked up to you after you just ate a huge meal and feel bloated, and starts rubbing your belly. Remember that when someone is pregnant, even though majority of that bloat is baby, a lot of it is still fat layering on top of that baby. And every woman FEELS like it’s more fat than it really is, so it really just feels like you’re rubbing my fat belly. I didn’t want people to touch me before I was pregnant, and that hasn’t really changed. I’ll let you know if it changes in the future. ;)

If any of y’all have come up with a good way to ask people to not touch without lying or being rude, please share your wisdom! One article I read said to tell people that you’re feeling sick, and touching it makes it worse. I’m just not ok with lying (people need to know the real reason!), so those kind of excuses don’t really help. I’m still trying to figure out how to decline without being really offensive or make people feel dumb or invasive for asking. Most people are completely shocked that I would tell them no. Still navigating how to work through that conversation.

On the other hand, if you put it there, or if you are invited, go for it!

18 Week Update:

How Far Along: 18 weeks

Maternity Clothes?: One friend let me borrow some super cute maternity shorts, and they are the only maternity clothes that fit me right now! So comfortable. It’s probably because she is so much tinier than I am… it worked out for my in between stage! Anyway, rocking those today.

Stretch Marks: Nope.

Sleep: Ok, y’all. If you’re debating on whether to get one of those C shaped pillows or not, DO IT! DO IT. I didn’t even realize I wasn’t sleeping well until I started sleeping with that thing!

Best Moment of This Week: Last Monday (the 3rd) we had another appt and got to hear the heartbeat again! Everything is looking great.

Miss Anything: Sleeping on my back & belly.

Movement: So, I felt a very unusual sensation in my lower abdomen on Thursday. Hard to explain, but I’ll just say it definitely wasn’t gas. Weirdest feeling ever… and kind of awesome.

Food Cravings: Dr. Pepper float with chocolate ice cream.

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick: Headaches (they make me nauseous). Which I’ve had a lot of lately. Boo.

Have You Started to Show Yet?: Yep!

Gender: We get to find out in a few weeks!

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?: Happy except when I have to be outside for any amount of time. Why is it sooo hot in Houston? Like, 104? Really???

Looking Forward To: The Fall!!

16 weeks | trusting better

16 Weeks 2

There’s a lot to update y’all on, and I’ll try to not write a novel about it. We’ve had quite an adventurous weekend!

But first, back a couple weeks to week 14, when we heard the heartbeat for the first time! That appointment was one of our favorites so far. Ryan recorded it on a voice memo on his phone, so we’ve been able to listen to it over and over again. It’s a big jump from 8 weeks (our last appt) to 14, and it was such a realization to hear our child’s life inside my belly! During our first ultrasound we didn’t get to hear the heartbeat because the machine was apparently a new model that didn’t have that feature. So hearing our baby’s heart pumping at 149bpm was such a fun experience.

Fast forward a couple weeks to last Sunday. We were at 15 1/2 weeks, and just going about a normal Sunday. I was sitting on the couch, and all of a sudden I felt this pain in my back. At first it just felt like a pinch, so I stood up to see if my back needed to crack while I straightened out. I walked into our bedroom, and before I knew it, I was on the floor, unable to get up. I called for Ryan and told him I felt like I was having the worst menstrual pains in my life, except it was all in my back. We waited it out a while until I threw up for a second time, and then Ryan called our OB office. The nurse on duty surveyed me over the phone, and told me I most likely have a UTI, and something with side flank something… yea, I was in too much pain to really understand what she was talking about. She told us to get to the ER, so Ryan grabbed all his stuff and we walked/crawled out the door. By the time we got there I was very dehydrated and they immediately put me on an IV (I remember my lips being so dried out, but unable to drink water). I continued to throw up as the Dr. there was trying to ask me questions.

Y’all, I am a pretty private person. I had the hospital gown on, untied in the back, and I literally did not care who saw me naked. I just wanted someone to fix whatever was going on. Keep in mind too that we had no idea what was happening, and we were both really worried about the baby.

The Dr. took a look at my back to listen to my breathing, and was surprised at how much my back and left side were bulging out. She kept feeling it and telling me how tight it was (uh.. I know!). After trying to ask me questions which I could not answer through the puke bag, she decided to just get me some medication and come back later to talk.

After a low dose of morphine was in my system, it brought my pain level down enough to sit still and have a conversation. They weren’t able to give me enough to make the pain go away, but I was happy for whatever I could get. They then did an ultrasound to check on the baby, and we got to see our sweet little one and rest in the knowledge that it’s perfectly healthy. When Ryan saw it he said, “Look, it’s doing bicycle crunches, and it’s got one hand behind its head!” That made me laugh a bit, and definitely calmed me down. The Dr. said it is very healthy and very active.

My results came back with a minor UTI, which our (ER) Dr. said should not cause the bulging, and she was pretty sure I must have strained something. I am not sure I agree with her (sorry) because of a few reasons: I was sitting on the couch when it happened; I exercise regularly and have a considerably strong core and have never hurt my back in any activity or exercise; I hadn’t worked out since the Friday morning before, and it was Sunday afternoon. My mom said it sounded like I had a kidney stone, and after looking up kidney stones during pregnancy and identifying with every single thing people were writing about, I’m also convinced that’s what it was. One mom even wrote that her kidney stone during pregnancy was worse than her labor. After reading so many testimonies, it made me feel a little less like a wimp (a UTI and a back strain?? I was for real getting worried about how in the world I am going to be able to push this thing out of me).

That night and next morning were pretty miserable, as they sent me home and told me I could take Tylenol (what??). But thankfully the pain never got worse than it was in the hospital, and mid-morning on Monday it straight up disappeared. I could still feel a pinch in my back, which I’ve been really careful about, but no pain.

I’m so thankful for our community of friends who stepped in and took care of us. Because I could not get up for more than 30 seconds without throwing up, Ryan was on 24hr duty taking care of me (sweet man woke up with me every hour through the night). Our friends contacted Ryan and coordinated breakfast, lunch, and dinner for us. We also received very unexpected gifts and were flooded with prayers. I am beyond thankful, and the generosity and love we received from them left me speechless.

Also, my husband is the best. I know he was scared out of his mind, but through the whole experience he kept calm and prayed over me and our baby, encouraged me, and took care of all the logistics of going to a hospital like a pro. I could see on his face how hard it was for him to watch me in pain and unable to do anything about it. He is my favorite person and I can’t imagine doing any of this without him.

One of my friends prayed over me this week that I would have a very unexciting pregnancy for the remainder of it. I’m ok with you all praying that over us as well. :)

The main thing I learned through this whole situation is a deeper understanding of how our lives are in God’s hands. When I have no idea what is going on inside my body, and I have no control over the protection of my child, I am brought to a place where I have nothing but to trust in God’s goodness. There were times that night when I could not even speak, and all I could think was Jesus’ name. I came to a point where I knew that whether that situation were to turn out good or bad, He is still good, and He has our best good in mind, including our baby’s. That is a hard place to be, but in that moment, my belief in Him grew. I’m thankful to belong to Him, and I’m thankful for even the difficult opportunities to trust Him better.

 

16 Week Update:

How Far Along: 16 weeks

Maternity Clothes?: None yet, but I’m definitely running out of clothes to wear. It’s like I’m too small for maternity clothes, but too big for regular clothes. And I refuse to buy clothes a size up when I know I’m just going to grow out of them in a month!

Stretch Marks: Nope.

Sleep: Sleeping so well now that I’m not in pain anymore!

Best Moment of This Week: Seeing our baby on the ultrasound, healthy and kicking like crazy.

Miss Anything: Lifting heavy (during workouts).

Movement: Not yet! Supposed to be able to feel something within the next few weeks.

Food Cravings: Soup soup soup. Especially Chick-fil-a chicken noodle and Jason’s Deli broccoli cheese. And a nice salad to go with it.

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick: Eating even just a little bit too much. I feel like it sits in my throat for the rest of the day.

Have You Started to Show Yet?: Oh yea, that babe is letting it all show now.

Gender: Still don’t know, and won’t be able to find out until week 20. :(

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?: Really happy and energetic this week. No idea where all that energy came from (maybe cuz I’m not on a hospital bed feeling like I’m gonna die).

Looking Forward To: Our appointment on Monday! We have another checkup on Monday which should be similar to our last one.

13 weeks | trimester #2!

13 Weeks (1)

 

Well, I’m a week and 2 days late for an update, but as of Thursday I’m officially in my 2nd trimester! Just saying that sounds crazy, realizing that we’re already a third of the way through this pregnancy. I’ve heard the first trimester feels the fastest because the first month you don’t even know you’re pregnant, and also you’re not really showing, so it doesn’t seem as real yet. I think especially because I haven’t experienced any sickness it’s been harder to remember that this is a real thing. But I’m starting to show more, and being in a swimsuit for pretty much the whole week surprisingly helped me to not feel as “chubby” and more pregnant.

Speaking of swimsuits, we just got back from a week long vacation in Destin with Ryan’s family (which would be why I totally missed last week’s update). My parents, 2 brothers, and sister-in-law also got to join us for a couple days, which was a super last minute surprise for all of us! My weekly update scenery was a lot prettier than my typical dining area shot, thanks to the gorgeous sunset and my cousin behind the lens. Somehow along the way my child has inherited the sudo name, Cornelius. Poor kid. I guess we’d better come up with a name fast. Left to our families, this child has a lifetime of embarrassment ahead of it.

We have our second appointment on Monday, so next Thursday should be a fun update. We’ll have a better idea of how accurate our given due date is, and hopefully get some news on how our little peach is doing!

 

13 Week Update:

How Far Along: 13 weeks

Maternity Clothes?: Still none!

Stretch Marks: Nope.

Sleep: Slept hard but woke up hurting every day. That was due to the bed we were in this week, though. Can’t wait to see my chiropractor.

Best Moment of This Week: Being in Destin with both mine and Ryan’s families!

Miss Anything: Right now I’m missing eating clean. Ate so badly this week and I’m feeling it!

Movement: Nope.

Food Cravings: Still hooked on the mashed potatoes.

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick: Surprisingly have been more sensitive to foods this week. Just the smell and sight of some things make me gag. Also, I could be soooo hungry, and then halfway into the meal doing everything I can to just to swallow the food in my mouth. Getting full faster, and appetite changing like rapid fire.

Have You Started to Show Yet?: A little more every day. I feel like my tan is making it more noticeable.

Gender: ??

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?: Both. I am like so happy, and then all of a sudden enraged by something as simple as an indecisive person. I feel crazy. And crazier that I feel like I can’t help it.

Looking Forward To: Our appointment on Monday!

11 weeks – that stranger in the mirror

11 Weeks 2

Ok, before you go all crazy on me after reading that title, my kid is the size of a lime this week. Which makes every pregnant woman at 11 weeks (or at 9 months for goodness sake) feel like the size of a hippopotamus, no matter what size they actually are. So instead of rolling your eyes at the next preggo you run into who feels like a big pile of french fries, follow me down imagination trail for a moment…

Imagine your fav tex-mex restaurant (if you’ve never been to TX, I’m sorry… for more reasons than one). Now I’m sure it won’t be hard for you to imagine you just ate 3 baskets of chips and salsa (or creamy jalepeno, hello!), and your meal is about to come to the table. You are already full, but let’s be real. You then proceed to stuff yourself with greasy goodness, be it fajitas or enchiladas, or whatever your preferred dish happens to be. You know what I’m talking about because you’ve been there. Now, after you have successfully stuffed yourself and are halfway pleased and halfway terrified about the amount of food you just consumed, you find yourself 30 mins later begging the Lord to please stop that rice from expanding any more inside of your poor, abused stomach.

Got it?

Ok, now imagine that last feeling, except imagine that instead of that amazing tex-mex and your self-destructive reward,  you actually didn’t eat it at all. You ate a salad for lunch. But you feel that after-tex-mex feeling. Pretty terrible, eh? Yea. Now, I can’t speak for every woman, but that is exactly how this mama felt on Monday.

Note: don’t be that person who says, “But you’re pregnant; it’s ok for you to feel that way.” That’s like saying, “Oh, it’s ok that you feel fat because you have an excuse to be fat now.” Too bad that doesn’t make anyone feel any better.

I can’t explain for any particular reason why it struck me on Monday, but it was so much that all I wanted to do was sit all day, because I had no energy and felt legitimately fat. I’ve been healthy for several years, so this feeling hasn’t plagued me, really ever in my life, except for those actual tex-mex occasional occurrences. My sister happened to text me that day and ask me how I was doing, and I straight up told her I feel fatter than I’ve ever felt in my life. She responded with a solid, “Yea, that sucks.” And then went on to share with me how this could be used as a blessing, to sympathize with clients and friends who have some weight to lose, but no motivation. She has experienced this before, so she was able in that moment to speak that truth into my overwhelmed emotions. I was able at that moment to thank God for the feeling – though miserable – for giving me the opportunity to empathize with others who are going through the exact same thing, in a way I truly haven’t been able to before.

It’s interesting because I’ve actually had some people comment on the fact that they’re intimidated to train with me by the fact that I’m not overweight (before I was pregnant). I’ve never understood this, because I’ve never considered myself any better than anyone who needs to lose weight, or even thinking that I didn’t need the exact same discipline and self control it takes to lose weight and keep it off. It’s an ongoing battle for everyone, not just people who have the weight to lose. It’s never been easy for me to make good decisions on my eating habits, and therefore I’ve never felt like I have anything else to offer except that Jesus is so much better than the small rewards we choose over Him, and that’s what helps me to make good decisions on a daily basis. BUT, on Monday, I finally understood what people are talking about. It’s not the fact that I don’t have weight to lose that’s intimidating. It’s the fact that I’ve never felt the emotions and the defeat that comes with seeing the weight, having the desire to lose it, but daily wondering if it’s even worth it when at the end of the day, you look in the mirror and it’s so hard to see past your own nearsightedness. I could sympathize, but I couldn’t empathize. I’m not claiming to know it all or understand every battle that you might face in any given moment, but I’m choosing to thank God for this small battle in front of me, and ask Him to continue to keep my eyes set on Him and use this tex-mex awfulness for His glory, and the abundant benefit and joy of anyone I might come in contact with.

And you know what? God gave me some unexpected free time in between a client and a class I had to teach, and I got to TAKE a spin class. Not teach it, just take it, and work my discouraged behind off and receive encouragement from a fabulous instructor. Nothing in my body or mind or spirit wanted to take that class. But when I realized I had the extra time, and I couldn’t even set up early for my class because this spin class was taking place in the same room, I took it as a gift from the Lord to help me in my weakness. When I got off that bike I still felt fat, but I felt 100 times better. My spirit was lifted, and I wasn’t in the dumps anymore.

Whether you are pregnant or not, know that wherever you find yourself, the Lord not only is ok with you, but cherishes you there. You are valued because you are His. Don’t let the enemy steal away the beautiful story He wants to walk you through. It will be painful and sometimes miserable, and there will be times that you’ll look at yourself in the mirror (literally or metaphorically) and not even recognize yourself. You will feel like giving up, and try to tell yourself that all of that work and consistency is not worth it. But do you know why it is worth it? Because HE is worth it. No, your frail, slowly decaying body might not be worth it. But He is. And He promises joy in this life, and in the life to come. I pray that you find that joy in your moments of tex-mex.

11 Week Update:

How Far Along: 11 weeks

Total Weight Gain: Yea, def didn’t weigh myself this week. :)

Maternity Clothes?: Nope.

Stretch Marks: Nope.

Sleep: Better than last week.

Best Moment of This Week: Celebrating pre-Father’s Day for my huz!

Miss Anything: The motivation to work hard in exercise.

Movement: Nope.

Food Cravings: Saturday I craved a Cherry Dr. Pepper from Sonic, and Sunday I could have hurt someone over Saltgrass mashed potatoes. What? Who am I?

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick: Haha. Ryan took these vitamins and started talking about how bad they tasted. Hearing about it made me gag, and I literally had to leave the room and breathe really deeply to avoid throwing up.

Have You Started to Show Yet?: That lime is poking out a bit.

Gender: ??

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?: Uhhh, did you read the blog above?

Looking Forward To: Going on vacay to Destin!