Pregnancy - 34 Weeks


34 Weeks Along

The time is passing quickly. 
My belly is growing quickly. 

My husband and I finally settled on some names this week. We won't share them ahead of time, but it's a load off my mind to at least have settled the name issue. 

Sleep is becoming more elusive at night. I consider it preparation for late-night feedings and such. I still take a nap most afternoons, which helps get me through the rest of the day. 

People often ask if my kids are excited about the baby. My 10-year-old daughter remembers when we brought her little brother home almost 6 years ago. She remembers the crying and so she's not so excited about a new baby due to that one fact alone - the loud crying. My son, however, has no experience with a younger sibling so he's more excited (and doesn't know what to expect really).

Just a few more weeks until we meet Baby Flutter. 
We love you!

Field Trip to the Zoo


Last week, before the turned more fall-like, we enjoyed a field trip to the local zoo with some friends. Our friends had a zoo membership pass and the attendant allowed all of us to get in for free with their pass.

We try to visit the zoo annually, but hadn't been there yet this year. So it was time for a visit. This zoo is a good size for us (especially for me, walking it in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy). It doesn't have everything a big zoo has, but it has enough - lions, tigers, zebras, alligators, monkeys, kangaroos, snakes.

After the zoo, we walked to a nearby playground. This is so fun that it rivals the fun of the zoo for my kids.

Yeah for local, free, fun and educational field trips!

A Week to Remember


This week, to me, is a week set aside to remember my miscarried children. 

Why this week? Well, the whole month of October is set aside nationally as Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month. But my reasons are more personal. It was one year ago this week that we lost one of our babies - Isaac. And one year ago this week one of our other miscarried babies - Hope - we due to be born. So this week is a double-whammie of miscarriage memories. 

Last year I posted about how much I hate October in general, but especially because of numerous negative experiences I've had during this month. You can read that blog post here. This year my outlook is much clearer and brighter than last year. A year makes a difference in perspective. Of course, the fact that I am currently 33-weeks pregnant is a constant reminder of the hope of new life after loss. 

And so I say a prayer this week for others who have walked this path of miscarriage, asking for strength to carry on when our hearts so long to be with our babies in heaven. 
And I thank God for the opportunity to be a mommy to all 6 of my children - the ones on earth and the ones in heaven. 

We love you - Grant, Hope and Isaac!

Baby Traditions: The Cradle


This is our cradle.

This cradle is very special. My husband, who is both artistic and good at wood-working, designed and built this cradle. 

The year was 2003. Our baby was due in August. We lived in a small apartment in downtown Chicago. We had friends, though, in the northern Indiana area. One of these friends had a wood shop and lots of tools, which he graciously allowed my man to use. My hubby made many weekend trips to Indiana to work on the cradle parts. Then he brought it back to our tiny apartment and put it together. 

It is so very beautiful! And even more so because of the love that went into making it for our babies.

Here's one of our babes in the cradle. We use the cradle for the first month or so with our babies before they outgrow it. Then we etch their names in the bottom of it, as a record of who has used this precious cradle for their bed. 

Someday we'll pass this heirloom on to one of our children as they move into the parenting stage of life.

Another beautiful baby tradition!

Baby Traditions: The Sweater


Here is "the sweater" 

This sweater is part of a tradition that goes back two generations now.

When my mother was pregnant with her first child, a friend knitted this sweater and hat set for her baby. She put my oldest brother in it when she brought him home from the hospital. She continued to use this sweater for the "going home" outfit for her next 3 children as well, including me. Then she packed it away as a keepsake. 

When grandchildren started arriving, she pulled it back out and has provided it for each of the grandchildren to wear. It's been shipped to Las Vegas, Chicago, Indiana and numerous locations around Wisconsin. 

Here's my jumbo-sized son wearing the petite sweater. My mom thought it was small on her 9-pound baby 40 years ago... it was even smaller on my 11-pounder! 

Last week my mom sent me a package with this little sweater in it, to include in our hospital bag for baby's going-home outfit. 

A beautiful baby tradition!

Baby Traditions: In-Utero Names


My husband and I started a tradition with our first child, giving an in-utero name for the baby. 

Back in 2003, when we were pregnant for the first time, we named our baby "Itty Bitty." This was the name we always used to refer to our baby, throughout the pregnancy. I was working full-time until my due date. My co-workers allowed me to set up "Itty Bitty's Pretty Piggy" - a real piggy bank in the office that collected loose change to start a savings account for the baby. 

In 2007, our in-utero baby name was "Tink" (short for Tinker). This was a perfect name for our son, though we didn't know at the time if the baby would be a boy or a girl. Turns out that our son is such a tinker (he gets that from his dad), loving to take things about and explore how they work and try to put them together again. The name Tink stuck with him for many months after his birth, as one of his toddler cousins had a hard time switching her mind from Tink to his real name. :-) 

 We used the name "Spark" and "Peanut" for two of the babies we lost to miscarriage.

This time around, we call our baby "Flutter" which again turns out to be very appropriate. This baby is very active - more than I remember with the others. Lots of flutters, movements, kicks and pokes are happening.

We like to choose in-utero names as a help to connect with baby even before birth. A little more personal and less generic than just always referring to "the baby."

Tomorrow I'll share another of our baby traditions!

Family Photo Friday


It's Friday once again which means I post a few photos from our week. 

We enjoyed a field trip to a local botanical garden this week. What fun! We are still seeing beautiful summer-like temps and lots of sun, which made the outdoor nature hiking a perfect activity.  

My son has been doing a little bit more formal schooling now. Still nothing too intense, but learning how to properly write letters and how to pronounce letter sounds. It's a struggle for me to not compare him with his fast-learning older sister who was reading at age 4. He's almost 6, loves to be read to but isn't showing many signs of being ready to read by himself yet. It'll come.

The penny horse ride at our local Meijer store. A favorite that just MUST happen when we make a rare visit to Meijer.

The biggest apple we'd ever seen, ready to be eaten. We were blessed with almost 40-pounds of apples last week = applesauce coming out our ears, almost. We love our apples and applesauce!

Happy weekend to you!

Pregnancy - 32 Weeks


32 Weeks Along 

The reality of our baby's soon arrival is settling in. 
I've got the car seat ready and waiting.
Baby's hospital bag with going-home clothes is packed.

The weight of carrying around my big belly is tiring. 
I'm not sleeping as well at night, tossing and turning from one side to the other all night long. 

This week I had experienced one of those nasty charley horse pains in my calf that often accompany pregnancy. Ouch, ouch, ouch! 
All day the next day - ouch, ouch, ouch! 

Even so, I continue to thank the Lord for the opportunity to bring a new life into this world. Even with the pains and sacrifices, the outcome is worth it! 

We love you, Baby Flutter! Just a few more weeks!

The Pink Slip


My husband has been laid off from his job this week. He'd been there 6 years. The company also laid off 20-some other employees, some of whom had been employed there for decades. 

However, we have much to be thankful for. 

1. We saw this coming a few months ago, hearing rumors that lay offs and cutbacks were on the way. So we've been looking at our budget and discussing "worst case scenarios" for a few months. This made it somewhat less stressful because we were as prepared as we could be for this happening (without knowing with any certainty IF it would really happen or not).

2. His company is providing some severance pay, pay for unused vacation time, and help with 2-months worth of health insurance. Of course all of that will help during this transition. 

3. My husband is a hard-worker who is not looking for a handout. I'm so thankful for his determination and his work ethic. He desires to provide for our family, not sit around to collect unemployment on a long-term basis. 

4. God knows all about this. God knew it was coming. God knows what tomorrow holds. He has good plans in store for us and we're excited to see what the next steps will be. 

And so a new journey begins. If you think of us, join us in praying for God's direction and provision during this time.

A Pregnancy Devotional: Living in Me


1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us that God's Holy Spirit dwells within those of us who are believers in Christ. A few weeks ago we were focusing on Bible verses about the Holy Spirit and that one stood out to me. "Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you?"

I am 31 weeks pregnant. The idea of "living in me" naturally went to thoughts of my unborn baby. My baby is living in me. I love my baby. I make choices daily that are based on what is best for my baby. Recently my doctors encouraged some changes in my diet because that is what would be "best for the baby." Of course, I comply, because as a loving mother I want what is best for my baby. I comply even if the changes are a bit uncomfortable, even if they "cramp my style" or cause me to give up some things I love or crave. 

Immediately upon having those thoughts, God brought about some questions to ask myself. 

Do I respond so quickly and appropriately to the promptings of the Holy Spirit who is living in me? 

When I feel His conviction, do I immediately change my ways to "do what is best" by Him?

Or do I somehow plug my ears to what He is saying, ignoring Him and what He is asking of me? Why? 

I love my baby and therefore do what is best for my baby who is living in me. If I love the Holy Spirit of God who lives in me, do I therefore respond to what He needs or asks of me or prompts me to do in the same manner as I do for my baby?

I know that the answer is no. That sometimes my actions indicate that I love my baby more than I love God. I act like I can pick and choose what promptings to obey, based solely on what is easier for me or more comfortable for me or fits with my schedule. 

The other incredible thing is that we need no interpreter, no testing to be done to figure out what the Holy Spirit needs or wants from us. The Bible makes it clear and He speaks directly to us. Unlike figuring out what is best for a baby, which requires medical tests and blood work and doctor's opinions, we need no mediator to hear from God through the Holy Spirit. He lives in us and we commune with Him. What a gift... and yet we squelch His voice so often.

Lord, make me mindful of Your Holy Spirit who lives in me. And not just mindful, but obedient to what He asks of me - whether it's a big thing or a little thing. I do care. And just as I would not neglect my baby or intentionally do something to harm my baby, I do not want to grieve Your Holy Spirit who lives in me. I do not want a hard heart to Your promptings. Help me in this area, I pray, Amen!

Pregnancy Update - 31 Weeks


31 Weeks Along

The reality of a new baby is slowly coming back to me. I've been sorting and organizing baby clothes. Since we're not finding out the gender ahead of time, I have 3 piles - boy, girl and neutral. It would be easier to prepare if we found out the gender... but more fun to be surprised, if we can hold out!  

These days, my husband and I are in negotiations about baby names. :-)  We're settled on a few girl name possibilities, but have no boy name options that we agree on. We'll keep talking, though we won't be sharing any name possibilities until the baby arrives and the "real" name is chosen. So no need to ask ahead of time :-) 

Sleeping well at night is becoming difficult. I'll be honest that most days I try to squeeze in an afternoon nap. 

I was talking recently with mom friend who is also my age (mid to late 30s) and is pregnant. We were comparing notes of how this pregnancy differs from pregnancies in our 20s. More fatigue, aches and pains. Getting bigger sooner. But also a greater appreciation for life and baby. A great recognition of the sacrifice, yes, but also the fact that it's so worth it. 

We love you, Baby Flutter, and anxiously await your arrival in about 9-10 weeks!