preggo comparison

some side-by-side shots to show the bump differences. elinor on the left and ridley on the right. hover over the image to see the pregnancy week.

 

i have tried to let this pregnancy experience stand on its own. be its own thing. but it is only natural to compare one experience to another. i didn’t want to bring any preconceived (ha, punny) notions into this pregnancy. i didn’t want to make myself crazy and obsessive or worried that this or that wasn’t like the other… and so far, so good. but, it has been fun to have a reference this time around. to look back through old blog posts and journal entries and see what was different and what was completely the same. and i do get a kick out of comparing bump shots. remembering what i felt like when that picture was taken. recalling what we were doing and where we were heading. and one thing’s for sure: i make just as many exaggerated expressions now as i did then.

in a lot of ways, this ridley gestation has been incredibly similar to my elinor gestation. not sure how i feel about the word “gestation” by the way. and yet, it has felt so different.

with elinor, i felt like from the moment i saw the + sign on the preggo stick, my body jumped into gear and got going. i immediately spread out and thickened up all over. i was just, bigger. my legs were thicker and my arms and my chest and face and everything. and elinor seemed to pack on her pounds toward the end of the second trimester (as did i) and then kind of chilled for the last couple of months. my bump didn’t do a whole lot of changing in those final weeks.

with ridley, i got more of a slow start. he stayed tucked in there for quite a few weeks. i mean, i could tell i was pregnant but there wasn’t a whole lot going on. my body stayed pretty much the same and then, pop! a tiny bump appeared. my pre-pregnancy clothes fit comfortably with little to no modification necessary. and then in the second trimester, my hips started to spread and the bump grew steadily. but it really hasn’t been until the last few weeks when i felt pregnant-pregnant. and these final weeks have brought a ton of change. he is growing like crazy. the bump definitely grows week to week (if not day to day). i think he has been saving up for a whizbang finish.

with elinor, everything was new and unfamiliar. i didn’t know if it was “just me” or if it was “just pregnancy”. this time, it has been fun to experience sensations and emotions that seem familiar to me.

i was a tad more emotional with elinor. perhaps because it was my first time around. i held things together pretty well but emotions were always there, ready to bubble over. i felt things more deeply than normal. i was more on the sensitive side. more tender and hormonal, i suppose. (thanks female baby growing hormones…estrogen, sheesh.) i remember crying over something totally ridiculous and irrational in the middle of the kitchen. that was fun for ben… the tears flowing from his usually stoic-composed-robot wife. kind of freaked him out a bit. with ridley, there hasn’t been any of that stuff. we’ll see how these final weeks treat me…

last time, i had a bit of melasma. if the sun hit my cheeks for even a moment, my beautiful brown “pregnancy mask” would appear. this time, nothing. but with ridley, i have a full linea nigra on my belly, starting above my bellybutton and extending below. with elinor, i only had a tiny line below my bellybutton. so, this old wives’ tale is definitely ringing true.

with elinor, all i wanted was cheese and dairy. and burgers, they were tasty too. and sushi. with ridley, i have wanted to keep it light and fresh. (or boring, as ben likes to say). the cheese/dairy has not been as prevalent this time around. yes, we have enjoyed our weekly bread nights (with plenty of cheese) and i have indulged with some ice cream and the occasional cheeseburger. BUT, it is not nearly as crazy. i suppose my chocolate obsession is stronger with ridley. so, there’s that! and i am looking forward to ben whipping up some pregnancy pasta, though. that is on the menu for this weekend and i am looking forward to diving into a big bowl of that.

i am so grateful that i have been able to experience pregnancy again. craziness and changes, notwithstanding. it is an honor to be used by God to grow a baby and bring a baby into this world. for me, it gives a deeper understanding of what it means to be an “earthen vessel” for the Lord. allowing Him to use this humble and frail and fallen and imperfect body to do miraculous things. being a willing participant in His work. letting Him mold and shape and fill and pour out and use for His glory and our good. Soli Deo Gloria!

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this is ourselves under pressure {dum, dum, dum, da-da-dum-dum}

photo

so, i am someone’s mama now.  i have a daughter.  this is quite the identity shift.  good-ness.  a tiny little person now looks at me with helpless wonder.  i have to take care of her.  my decisions directly influence her life.  her wellbeing.  her personality. her identity.  her outlook.  kind of heavy, no?  but wow, so good.  such a tremendous blessing.

but boy oh boy, there are so many decisions to make!  and they come at you fast and furious from the first moment of life.  two seconds after labor ends, the choices begin.  because before you can bat an eye, you are handed a sweet little bundle and immediately make the leap from pregnant lady to mother.  the last nine months worth of pregnancy literature is tossed out the window and now you have to know about how to care for a little one.  nurses ask you questions.  you have to provide nourishment.  you have legal documents to sign.  do you want newborn photos?  meanwhile, you are elbow deep in meconium diapers and still rocking your swanky hospital garb.  and then the real decisions come. and with each one, a corresponding judgement by others.  whether it is stated or simply perceived judgment, it feels real: would you like the vitamin k eye goop? (or do you want your baby to get an eye infection) will she receive the immunizations? (or are you one of those people) breast or bottle? (breast is best, bottles are for slackers)  sheesh.

now if you have made it to this point, you have already weathered the judgey-wudgy-ness of pregnancy.  you are having a med free birth? (good luck.  yeah right.  you will cave and get the epidural.)  how are you feeling?  great? (oh.  well, just wait until the next one.  you are lucky.  i hope the baby is as easy on you once she arrives…)  look at you!  (you are so small!  you look like you are about to pop!)  and round and round we go.  people are so strange with their comments.  it is like they just have to point out the downside for fear that you will be too positive.  thank you people.  there are so many positive people in my life who utter kind words and offer prayers.  elinor is blessed to have loving family and kind influences.  however, i have been shocked by the amount of “other” comments that have been less than warm and fuzzy.  strangers and acquaintances who feel the need to point out the flipside.

you make all these decisions and just pray that God protects your little one.  and no matter how much you research and feel comfortable with your choices, there are always the nay-sayers and dooms-dayers there to make you second guess and feel discouraged.  just when you are feeling good…just when you are settling into motherhood and breastfeeding and baby hygiene and scheduling and sleeping…someone says something insensitive and rude.  and why do these remarks seem to come from women?  women!  mothers!  people who have been through that fragile time.  what is that?  shouldn’t women be the most understanding and encouraging?  why then do women get so sassy?  it isn’t always blatant, sometimes it is just a tone.  but it is there.  and you can’t win.  there is always another opinion.

you are breastfeeding?  good luck having a life.

you are bottle feeding?  so you are just selfish and don’t want what is best for your child.

you are vaccinating?  so you think it is okay to inject poison into your baby’s tiny system.  you must want them to have developmental issues…

you aren’t vaccinating?  so you want your baby to get polio.

you are co-sleeping?  you must enjoy needy, weirdo children.

your baby sleeps in a crib?  so you want your child to be detached and sad.  good luck bonding.

you demand feed?  your baby will be selfish and you must do it to fulfill your own needs.

you schedule feed?  so you don’t care about the needs of your baby.

you are using a pacifier?  cheater.  and have fun with that nipple confusion…

you have been out on a date with your husband already? wow.  i could never leave my precious baby this soon.

you aren’t baby-wearing?  too bad you won’t have a real attachment to your child.

you are baby-wearing?  what are you, some kind of hippie?  enjoy your co-dependent child.

what kind of stroller are you using?  oh, that is an interesting choice.

how is her tummy time quality?  you know how vital that is.

how is she eating?  oh, she is a good eater?  well, just you wait until you introduce solids / just wait until she teethes / just wait until…

are you getting any sleep?  wow.  she has been sleeping through the night since five weeks?  ha. i’m sure you won’t be so lucky with the next / just you wait until you introduce solids / just wait until she teethes / just wait until…

and round and round we go.

you feel discouraged and stressed and pressured.  and it is so senseless.  i mean, don’t we put enough pressure on ourselves to be übermom?  why let the words of others seep in and mess with our minds too?   each day has enough trouble of its own.  how about we all just make a pact to speak words of encouragement to each other.  come on preggos and mamas!  let us just be kind.  let us open our ears and arms and close our mouths.  let us pray instead of preach.  let us speak words of blessing.  let us lift each other up instead of comparing.  let us inspire and learn from each other instead of passing judgement.  this whole mama thing is such a remarkable thing.  such a meaningful calling.  how about taking a deep breath, allowing ourselves to just enjoy the experience, praying for the wisdom and grace to make it through another day or growth spurt or stage, and quit it with all the pressure-cooker parenting.

footnote:  this new role of mine has inspired a new feature on the blog, mama musings.  i plan to feature stories of amazing mamas and also use it as a place for my honest experiences with our sweet little E.  stay tuned.  and drop me an email at swankyanddapper@gmail.com if you have something to share.

dear peanut

dear peanut,

this has been quite a week.  and may i just say that i am slightly overwhelmed that you are already THREE WEEKS OLD!  and, you are starting to fill out your 0-3 clothing!  you are such a good little eater…even though you occasionally ooze some of your food onto your papa.  burp cloths are his new best friend.  it’s all about the defense.

we have gone on many strolls together in the neighborhood, through parks, and around outdoor shopping areas, and you have been a trooper.  there have been visitors as well, because people want to see your cute little face!  and who can blame them.  thank you for being so good as we parade you about the city and plop you in and out of car seats and strollers and carriers.  you seem to somewhat enjoy the activity which we think is pretty great.  and especially during this festive season.  there is much to do and you go with the flow and seem to like the hustle and bustle.

we are really settling into life together and it is so good.  you know that nighttime is for sleeping and you love to be wide-eyed during the daytime so you don’t miss anything that is happening around you.  the world is such a big and fascinating place for your little eyes to behold.  and i love holding you while you explore your surroundings.  i can see your brain spinning and taking it all in.  so much fun.  and then, once you have had your fill…you crash for a nap.  gotta get in all those hours.  and you are doing it beautifully.  we are so excited to watch you grow and learn in the coming days and weeks and months and years.  you are doing it all so quickly and we are just trying to keep up and rejoice with every moment.

love, your mama + your papa

dear peanut

::  ten days  ::

dear elinor,

your papa and i are just so in love with you.  you are so darn cute!  those little mouse squeaks and sighs.  your fussy face with furrowed brow.  your fists of fury that punch wildly when you are frustrated or leaving a little something for us in your diaper.  your yogi frog legs.  your bicycle kicks.  your fingers and toes.  your wild eyes.  your sweet smirk.  we are in big trouble, little lady.

by the way…your papa is pretty amazing with you.  such a natural.  he is taking such good care of us.  and hearing him call us “his girls” is my new favorite.  i sure do like our little family.  and i know that it will just get better and better as we continue to learn about each other and settle into our family unit-ness.

i feel like we are getting to know you pretty well.  and what we know about you is that you have a whole lot of personality in that tiny bundle.  you love to surprise us.  sometimes you want to be a sassy little grumpus and sometimes you are just a doll.  well, most times you are a doll… sometimes you want to be all bundled up and rock while we sing and read and sometimes you want to just be left alone to move about and show off your baby skills, straining to prove that you can control your own head and move about with ease.

you are always curious.  you love to observe, eyes darting around to capture your surroundings.  and all the while, God is using you to teach me.  i am learning how to be more patient and soft and nurturing.  i am learning when to take action and when to be still.  when to guide and provide structure for you.  when to let you work things out and adjust to things on your own.  i am learning how to protect and put your needs ahead of my own.  and i am definitely a swaddle artist at this point.  i am learning how to make tweaks to maximize our feeding sessions.  reading your cues and being sensitive to your needs while insuring routine and reliability.  i am learning to anticipate.  i am learning how to pray.  i am learning how to savor the moment and fully engage in the present.  i am learning that i have so much to learn.  i am learning anew how much i need a savior and very present help.

here’s to exploring and growing and learning – together – with God’s help.

love, your mama

contemplations of mr. charles

greetings, ladies and gentlemen.

well…things have really changed around here.  we now have a tiny human living with us.  you know that elinor that everyone was talking about?  well, turns out she is a tiny human.  she has some fur on her head which i like to sniff and occasionally groom with my tongue, only when my mom and dad aren’t looking.  she makes funny sounds all the time – squeaks and hiccups and sighs.  she also makes a really loud “waaahh” noise every so often.  i don’t like that sound and i don’t think my parents like it either.

since bringing her home, coco and i have been trying to adjust.  coco has accepted things rather quickly.  she just wags her tail and visits from time to time before lying down on her furry blanket.  i, on the other hand, have taken up my post as protector of the tiny human.  from the first moment i met her, i knew that i needed to take care of her.  this is my charge.  i stand guard while mom feeds her and i stay on high alert whenever others come to our home and try to hold her.  i do my best to make sure people don’t make her “waaahh”.  and i sit nearby while she is eats and burps and sleeps – just to make sure that she isn’t disturbed.

i must say that i am quite enjoying my new life as elinor guardian.  i think that we will get along rather swimmingly.

{an extra special} dear peanut

our little peanut has arrived.  {sigh}

oh, we just love that little face.

elinor grace whitehouse

november 4, 2012

8:34 pm

5 pounds 14.7 ounces

18.5 inches

comparatively, elinor arrived rather quickly for a first-timer.  and on her due date, no less!  slow and steady home labor lasted about 11 hours and then things picked up around 3:30pm.  an hour of pushing and she arrived five hours after arriving at the birth center.  i was able to have a wonderful natural birth with ben, my mom, and ben’s mom there to witness…and the rest of our family waiting just outside the door.  elinor came out with a bold yell and is doing beautifully.

all is well.  we are just settling into life and enjoying our time together as a family of three.  eating, sleeping, pooping, cuddling, swaddling, oohing and ahhing.  you know, all that amazing baby stuff.  complete with newborn smell.  {sigh}  God is good.

i will be checking in to post pictures.  but i do i have some special guest posts lined up so that you don’t just overload on baby cuteness.  here’s to a new adventure!