Thursday, February 26, 2009

Expectations and surprises

Some things I read/heard about pregnancy and thought, "Oh, that won't happen to me" . . .

I am forgetting last names, names of books, authors, movies, what I wore yesterday, what day it is and where I'm supposed to be. Well, I'm just forgetting everything.

I am not really getting that pregnancy glow - to be honest, I many times have a pregnancy scowl. Is this normal?

I am noticing people wanting to touch (or in a few cases are actually touching) my stomach. Which to be honest, I don't even always let Trevor do. It's funny. This is probably good preparation for realizing my body is not my own.

I am hearing the following often:
"Oh, you're pregnant?! I didn't want to ask, but I was kind of wondering . . ." Admittedly, my first thought after hearing this is, "Um, how long have you been wondering?" Yes, I'm glad I'm showing. And yes, I'm vain and look forward to being past the chubby stage and on to the no-doubt-she's-prego-round-belly.

"I can't believe how BIG you're getting." Again, yes I'm glad people are engaging me in my pregnancy. And yes, I'm ever vain.

I am experiencing some nightmares, mostly dealing with breastfeeding (or more like, not feeding) my baby.

Pretty uplifting thoughts, right? Well, there are PLENTY of positives, too . . .

I am growing! Like, I am actually starting to look pregnant! There IS a baby in there.

I am crying for joy a lot. Or crying at songs. I really don't mind crying, in fact I rather like it.

I am feeling less a sense of fear than I did before, thank God.

I am less concerned about gaining weight and worry less about body image than I thought I would. Bring it on!

I am learning a lot about breastfeeding, which has all of a sudden become a big deal for me. As in, I feel very impassioned that I have to breastfeed, no matter what.

I am increasingly thankful for Trevor's support and encouragement and understanding.

Will I look back at all these "I ams" someday and laugh at myself (notice the me, me, me . . . I have a feeling that will change too!)? Of course. Engulfed in sleep deprivation and diapers, none of these things will matter. And yet, I am just reveling in this journey, this stage of thinking about/praying for/loving this baby that we can't even see yet. Life is a miracle (sniff sniff!).

The past week has been filled with memorable times - last weekend my youngest bro-in-law was here and we had a great time introducing him to the finer parts of Minneapolis. Like eating enchiladas in our dining room and learning how to play Dutch Blitz and re-watching various parts of ridiculous movies. Add in a viewing of 7 Pounds (disturbing), lunch at Chipotle, more Dutch Blitz. Well, it was basically the perfect weekend - thanks T, for coming to stay with us!

On Shrove Tuesday (aka pancake day), we naturally ate chili and cornbread (because that's all I cook lately!). The fun part was the guests who joined us, try to follow this: it was a wife, husband, and their 9 month old baby girl. I used to babysit the husband, who is actually my brother's best friend from growing up. I mean - I could babysit the BABY of the guy I used to babysit. Life. Wow. It was so good to see what amazing parents they are, and they were filled with stories and advice - all of which we're devouring with increasing appetites.

Ash Wednesday was a reflective time. From the liturgy: "You have created us out of the dust of the earch: Grant that these ashes may be to us a sign of our mortality and penitence, that we may remember that it is only by your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Saviour."

And now Thursday - the "weather terrorists" were correct, and we got a big dump of snow - it really is beautiful. I'm finding the weather to be more tolerable when the tv and radio are off, those media are so anxiety ridden, and it's all going to happen anyway so why worry. I mean, I still worry of course, but why? I think weather is a good reminder of how out of control we really are.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Around the world . . . in books

The past few weeks of reading have been so fascinating for me, I'd feel badly if I didn't somehow record how different books have intersected with each other and given me the feeling that I've traveled the world and part of its history through their pages:

The Hiding Place (autobiography of Corrie Ten Boom). Here I traveled to Holland and beyond, envisioned cobbled streets, the community that the people shared, and the tragedy that was World War II. I imagined being brave and courageous enough to work in the underground efforts to hide Jews from a tragic death.

Evidence not Seen (autobiography of Darlene Deibler Rose). I'm in the middle of this one, but have been able to picture the majestic landscape of Papua New Guinea, the indigenous tribes, and again the risking of one's life to follow a calling and to act on personal convictions.

A Chance to Die: The Biography of Amy Carmichael (written by Elizabeth Elliott). Here I glanced into the life of a woman who gave her life to serve people around the world, from Japan and then settling into a life in India for the rest of her days to practically adopt and school hundreds of precious children.

Significant to reading all of these within a couple weeks of each other has been their stark similarities: All women. All missionaries. All are at some time affected by/set in World War II. All risked their lives. All sacrificed comfort for a greater cause. All remained faithful and positive. All are legendary. All left legacies that will never die.

And now I'm reminded of that song by Nicole Nordeman, "I want to leave a legacy, how will they remember me? Did I choose to love? Did I point to You? I want to leave a mark on things, to leave a kind of offering." These women certainly did, and I'm inspired by their example. Not because I want someone to write a book about me (although the same song continues, "I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me - I enjoy an accolade, like the rest - we all need an atta boy or atta girl"). But because I want to know my life counted (the song continues, "I just want to hear You say, well done, good and faithful one").

So true! And yet in the daily things, often so hard. I bury myself in my tasks, my schedule, "my, my, my, my, my" and forget that it's NOT about ME at all.

But, there is grace. We're heading into the season of Lent tomorrow, and that time of reflection is much needed righted about now - to remember what life IS all about.

Last year Trevor and I gave up movies, the year before it was Oprah and Subway (I mean, Trevor was getting really addicted to Oprah and it had to stop - just kidding, of course. My addiction is much healed thankfully). This year, I appreciated what a friend decided to do . . . add something instead of denying. Which I'm sure takes equal amounts of discipline and certainly more time. It will be a good season.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

In the running

Wow - I just LOVE the comments and hearing some of you all's life soundtracks (I know there are more of you itching to express your's . . . a certain co-worker who recently posed this question to me for example . . .). No pressure, of course.

The song "It Won't Be Like This For Long" by Darius Rucker (um, a.k.a. Hootie and the Blowfish lead singer- whaaaaa? That brings me back, too - a little "Hold My Hand" anyone?) might be in the running. Trevor and I heard it together on Monday night during the whole soundtrack conversation. We were driving back from Elk River where we had the honor of attendeding the dedication of a dear baby boy of some wonderful friends who now live in Chicago. The sanctuary was filled with just their family and some friends, with meaningful scripture, a message by the grandpa, and some praiseful singing. What made the night especially significant is how long they tried for and waited for this beautiful boy. I sat there completely humbled, thinking, "WHY?!? Why do they, who wanted nothing more than to have a baby have to go through so much pain and waiting to have a child? And then we, who all of a sudden decide to start trying are blessed right away?" Again, another topic for another post. But I did feel an incredible sense of peace sitting in that pew looking at the altar at our friends' family - if not for all that time and pain, they would not have THAT amazing boy. And God only knows how much they must appreciate their child after so much heartache.

Back to soundtracks . . . I'm not convinced yet about this Hootie guy, the song talks about a girl and we think we're having a boy. And it's mostly about the dad - and hey, I need to fit into this somewhere too. But listening to it on my way to work today, I did shed a tear or two, so . . .

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The soundtrack of life

I fully realize this is not a novel idea, but last night Trevor and I were discussing the different soundtracks for the various years of our lives. I had this moment of, "Oh my gosh, we need to find a SONG for this time in our lives - for the baby!" You know, one that we'll look back on forever and turn to each other when we hear it in the mall, at Subway or on SNAP fitness's radio system (because these are the only places in my life to reference right now that play oldies and goodies, such as Ace of Base's "The Sign"). Like now, when we're eating our yummy and very classy Subway dinners and hear Aerosmith's "Angel", which we inevitably do about every other time we dine in there (which of course means either they play it a lot or we eat there unreasonably much) and I say to Trev, "Oh, it's 'Angel' . . . remember our prom night . . . wow, I was so mad at you that night, and I can't believe you got so sick . . . "

I'd love to hear YOUR soundtracks for life.

Some others of ours include:
- Rascal Flatt's "I Miss Mayberry" for when we moved to the East Coast
- The entire Elizabethtown soundtrack for when we moved cross country back to the Midwest
- Alison Krause for the middle of our time on the East Coast
- The last couple years: Nathan, Brandi Carlisle, Dan in Real Life

And my personal faves from growing up:

- The Cranberries "Linger" and Guns n Roses' "November Rain" for all those terribly uncomfortable Junior High dances
- Of course, Ace of Base's "The Sign" for all those volleyball practices
- "Three Princes" (by ????) for carpooling days
- Anything Boyz II Men for basically all of late elementary/middle school sleepovers
- As I moved into high school . . . Jars of Clay, The Beatles' "Hey Jude"
- College . . . Nickel Creek's "When you Come Back Down", Jamestown College Concert Choir, Nellly Fortado's "I'm Like a Bird", anything Norah Jones

The latest song obsession we could come up with for the past couple months is from the new James Bond movie. It's not appropriate for a soundtrack to represent this time in our lives, so we're still thinking.

And notice I'm worried about things like life soundtracks, but don't seem to care all too much that what I really need is a good pair of maternity pants and workout clothes so people don't have to see my open fly at work and overhanging belly as I use the elliptical. Hmmmm.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Telling our families . . .

So, backing up and starting some story time . . . Trevor and I found out about this little baby very early in the morning on Saturday, December 20th. I will always remember waking Trevor up with a soft shout, and the way he hopped out of bed (later he said he thought I'd thrown up . . . and that he suspected I was pg - which he did, he was the one who thought I should test). Anyways, it was a memorable day for us, as we were packing up to head back home to Bismarck for Christmas the next day. Two friends, one from high school, the other my maid of honor, both got stranded here with canceled flights. We had a good old party with them and then all packed up the next day for the trek west (which, by the way was a blast - our friends are hilarious and made the trip fly).

I just remember feeling like we were keeping the biggest secret from everyone, and it was SO HARD to not tell my brother (who lives with us). But we had it all planned out - we wanted all of each of our families to be together when we told them, so we waited a few days . . .

And then on Tuesday night my bro arrived in Bis, and we said we wanted to give them all a Christmas gift (and did the same with all of Trev's side on Christmas Eve). We tried to turn it into a guessing game, with these clues:

  1. It's very small, but will hopefully last a very long time.
  2. We gave them a jar of "Prego" spaghetti sauce (get it, Prego?!?). The guesses for that one were funny! My mom was saying something about being "traditional" because that was on the label. Trevor's mom guessed that we were cooking them a meal or going to Italy. It was fun.
  3. Trevor wore a certain t-shirt that my dad had bought him several years ago in VA at a Macy's clearance rack. You can hopefully see it in one of the pictures below . . . bright yellow, big horse, the word "STUD". Enough said - we always said he'd wear it when we announced pregnancy.

Well, interestingly enough, when we told my side of the fam, it was my bro who guessed. Trev's side of the fam, one of his brothers guessed. I think it's something about the parents not wanting to guess "baby" and then be wrong! Both tellings were memorable and received wonderful reponses of shock and awe and delight. And really, it was just so special to be able to share the gift in person, and to know that we have such amazing family to support and love us and any of our children. We are thankful.

And now, the pics.

Telling the "Pans" . . .

At the Pope's - a better view of the Prego and T-shirt

And another at the bottom here just for fun - feeling maybe relieved that the secret is out . . . I remember shaking the first MANY times that we told anyone.

As a side note, we announced to friends a little differently:

Trevor: "I impregnated my wife."
Andrea: "I got knocked up."

No matter how you say it, it's really fun news to share - thanks to all for your love and support. It's funny. People have babies everyday, but when it's YOU, it becomes the biggest deal in the world.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Soothing statements

Phrases I never thought I'd be so happy to hear (from my first OB appt. this morning):
  • "Those are strong, real heart sounds - not just 'whoosh whoosh'."
  • "The baby is basically bulletproof right now - almost nothing you do can hurt it right now." (I was worried after taking a nasty spill on ice last week).
  • "You can eat lunch meat in moderation."
  • "Your uterus is right where it should be."
  • "There is an almost zero chance of miscarriage at this point."
  • "You've gained five pounds - I'm glad to see that."

Aside from all those soothing statements, I was comforted by the cross pin on the doctor's coat lapel. I feel so protected and provided for, I practically skipped out of the clinic.

Ever since we found out that I'm pregnant, I've been waiting to have that one startling and memorable moment of ecstatic realization - more specifically, a good cry fest that wells from joy. Well, I finally had it on my drive into work this morning after the appointment. The sobs came as I listened to the song "Untitled Hymn" by Chris rice.

You can listen here.

The lyrics that really got me were:

"Now your burden's lifted
And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain, so
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live"

I think up to this point I've been so fearful that something would go wrong (specifically miscarriage), that to have made it to this "safe" point feels like such a relief. I fully plan on writing about all that fear at a later time - it's a big issue!

and this verse . . .

"O, and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can't contain your joy inside, then
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live"

If I could've danced in my car, I almost might have (I'm not much of a dancer!). Listening to this song I was just reminded of the brevity of life, and what a gift it is to see and know this little one from its very beginning. Trevor and I are so thankful, and mindful that today is a gift and that God has tomorrow taken care of, and He has all of this baby's tomorrows taken care of too.

And as a perfect end to this memorable day . . . some dear neighbors of our's came over for dinner and then had us to their home to watch their pg videos and birth video! It was honestly so helpful (for Trev especially I think . . . after watching The Business of Being Born, I think I've seen it all) and I'm thankful for their openness with that part of their lives. Not to mention, we LOVE their little girl, which made it all the more meaningful.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

He's baaaaaaaaack

Isn't he wonderful? And safe. And in one piece. Not that I was at all worried. And oh yeah, he had a lot of fun too. Welcome home, daddy!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Picture time

So yeah, this is the first pg pic. A lot of what I've been reading says I shouldn't show until later . . . but this is me and I think I'm "showing." Just seeing this makes it all seem more real. The first 12 weeks went so smoothly, and I'm very thankful - other than getting the flu for a few days, I only had a couple weeks of nausea and some aversions to things that I normally can't live without (I must say I was very proud to have not purchased ANY coffee in 2009 until the 3rd week in January. However, I did make up for that with Wendy's drive thru runs for almost a week straight. I guess everything evens out!). And for the record, coffee just started tasting good again - but I have to remind myself that just because I like something doesn't mean I have to buy it.

Trevor seemed to think I was a little moody throughout the past few months, and I suppose I could agree to that! But he has been nothing but patient and fun and excited and a sponge for information. We both especially reveled in taking a day off together for my first appointment, where we got to see the heartbeat. What a miracle, and what a joy to share in the joy together. We're calling this little one "Sammy" in utero - Trevor sometimes puts his head to my stomach to see if he can hear the heartbeat, it's precious. And for some reason, we both feel very strongly that we'll be welcoming a little boy in August, and we'll know more certainly about that on April 3rd.

On a random side note, Trevor is leaving this weekend for our church's annual mens' ski trip . . . and he bought a helmet. And not even at my prompting. I think Sammy might have influenced him somehow . . . I just keep telling him that I need him alive. One of the first things Trevor ever said to me was on our 9th grade ski trip to Huff Hills: "Andrea, just remember - speed is your friend!" I'm still frightened by that phrase, especially since hearing about his concussion-induced ER visits at a young guy (from biking incidents). God bless all those skiiers with safety this weekend!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Pope is having a baby . . .

I hardly know where to start, but I figure I a good move would be to pull the final post from my former blog (thepopeswife) to start this fresh blog off . . .

(written today)

Approximately one year ago . . .

  • Trevor was getting ready to leave for the annual men's ski retreat.
  • We were banning movies (well, giving them up, so to speak, for Lent . . . kind of started with the obsession with Dan in Real Life).
  • I got to talk to my FAVE radio host for the first of what would be several times.
  • I was reading She's Come Undone, feeling very disturbed but unable to put it down.
  • I was having pizza with a new friend who was quite pregnant.

And now, a year later . . .

  • Trevor is getting ready to leave for the annual men's ski retreat.
  • We (meaning Trevor and a co-worker) wired our house so that we can watch movies on demand from Netflix (the first one we tried was Dan in Real Life, of course).
  • My fave radio host is pursuing other career paths (which has been quite a grieving process for me - I miss Kim!)
  • I am reading a book called The Red Tent and contemplating the wonders of midwifery.
  • My then-pregnant friend is now a dear friend who has a 10 month old beautiful girl.
  • I am having pizza with Trevor, and also with my brother who now lives with us.

So yeah, I thought it was time to say that - we (Trevor and I, because you know we're kind of in this together) are officially 12 weeks along into this journey of preparing to have a baby. I cannot express how thankful we are to God, in awe of His goodness, the miracle of life, the lessons He's already teaching us on this road. And so, thepopeswife is now thepopesbabe . . . and you can find us at I've not posted anything yet, but plan to this evening. Thank you all faithful readers, I hope you'll follow us, pray for us, and also let us know how YOU'RE doing so we can follow you and pray for YOU (Facebook has made this so possible, maybe part of the reason I've not been blogging lately?).


So there, the pregnancy blog has thus begun! Whether any else reads this or not is besides the point, I'm just looking forward to having a place to express thoughts, concerns, joys, & trivial happenings that we can look back on and remember, "I didn't remember that!" . . . or, "I can't believe we thought that." . . . or, "I wish I would've known that."

And to set an expectation for anyone who does decide to follow this, I hope to be random too - to not have every topic revolve around a certain set of topics (although, God knows, everything I think or talk about lately is baby-related).

My first random thought is a quote I read today that really has me thinking: "Do something every day that scares you." I love that idea, because I tend to live a safe life. I only do what I absolutely know I can do well, which let's be honest is not that much! So, for today, starting this blog is that "one thing". I was scared to start it. It's vulnerable, it's creative, and I don't know how to post pictures yet. But I'll learn (that might be tomorrow's thing).