Technically still 38 weeks, but pretty darn close to 39

A little over six years ago I injured my hamstring in a triathlon. I’d iced, stretched, rested, done physical therapy, and still it wasn’t quite right. I kept running, but I could only run conservatively — I couldn’t push myself. Two years later when I got pregnant with David, my hamstring was still bothering me. I ran through 37 weeks of my pregnancy, then after David was born I took six weeks off and started running again. And, suddenly, the injury was gone. Poof!

Fifteen months later, I ran my fastest half-marathon ever with no hamstring pain.

It was like the pregnancy put me back together.

I feel like the opposite is happening in this pregnancy. Instead of getting put back together, it’s like things are moving out of place, being stretched and used in ways they aren’t meant to be. Aches! Pains! Discomfort! I look at other people walking their dogs wistfully, “I remember when I could do that — walk a whole block without having to recover for the rest of the day.”

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This third pregnancy is no joke. I’m experiencing pregnancy symptoms I — somewhat smugly — didn’t have the first two times. I have heartburn, shortness of breath, a lot of round ligament soreness. Last weekend I woke up with such a bad charlie horse that I had to put my foot on the ground and force it flat with both hands. And my calf is still sore.

I’d also like to share my favorite rude comment from this week:
“Wow! Just looking at you gives me PTSD!” then after a bit of chatting, “And after the baby gets here you can look forward to the nursing and the carnage that comes with that!”

What I want that lady to know is: despite how uncomfortable I look, we’re doing great. Tom is amazingly supportive. He tells me I’m pretty, and lets me sleep in almost every morning. Most evenings he cleans the kitchen while I wallow on the couch. Meanwhile, Mary Virginia has figured out how to snuggle around my giant belly.

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I’m taking cues from my body and resting. Not just wallowing — meaningful rest. Going to bed early, spending the mornings with the kids reading books on the couch, and sunny afternoons drawing outside with sidewalk chalk. I’m trying to carve out quiet moments in our daily routine, and soak in these final days I have as a mama of two and also three.

I’m not the nesting type, but seeing my friends welcome new babies inspired me to pack my hospital bag, update my birth plan, write out the kids’ schedules for my mom and dad while we’re in the hospital. Our baby clothes are folded and organized, Tom put together the crib, and I keep meaning to ask him to bring the carseat down from the attic.

This baby is much more active than my other two. There is constant shifting, rolling, kicking and occasionally a hilarious jerking — it feels and looks like what a cat does when it’s trying to get a piece of tape off its paw.

Even though I can see this baby kick, it feels surreal. David asks me what the baby is doing, and I explain that it’s growing and getting bigger. Then he asks me where the baby will sit at our table — we only have four chairs — then he asks another question and another about where and when and why and how, and the answers are a bit too complex for him. And, to be honest, when I think about all the new life that is coming, and the inevitable changes that will follow, it’s both a bit too much and too wonderful for me to comprehend as well.

What little boys are made of

The other day during breakfast, David leaned over and whispered into his sister’s ear. Then he looked up at me and said, “Mommy, I just told Mary Virginia she’s going to die soon.”

He informed me like it was something we’d talked about ahead of time, and then he went right back to eating his pancakes.

The comment is so typically David. He says things all the time that make me roll my eyes and giggle behind my coffee cup — wiley, clever, and occasionally just a little bit formidable.

He’s also sweet, thoughtful, and sensitive. Sometimes he yells rudely at me through frustrated tears and I wonder how I’ll ever get him to respect me — his mother! — even a little bit. Then when we all have a chance to calm down, he explains that I hurt his feelings; that’s why he yelled.

He is a little boy who matter-of-factly explains mortality to his baby sister and then runs outside and picks a bouquet of flowers for his mama.

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“Mommy, here are some beautiful flowers! For you! Dande-wions!”

I get several dandelion bouquets a day. He picks them when we go outside to play, or any time we’re headed to or from the car. I usually drop them a few minutes later because, well, I get so many. Plus, I don’t love the way dandelions make my hands smell, and because they’re just weeds. Or maybe because I’m a unsentimental, heartless human being.

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But I had a change of heart. I’m holding on to these. I’ve got them pressed between the pages of a book to help me remember my sweet little blonde boy when he was just three years old, and as a reminder of how very blessed I am to be his mama.

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The Life Of Faith

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Mary Virginia loves babies. She acts like an over-eager grandmother when she hears about an infant. She gets so excited that she starts talking in falsetto, and has to channel her energy into frantically knitting tiny sweaters and bootees. Then when she’s actually in the room with an infant, she transforms into a middle-school-aged boy with a crush. She really wants to be close to the baby, to touch the baby, to kiss the baby. But she doesn’t quite know what to do, so she just avoids eye contact.

Last week we went to visit a new baby, and while she waited five agonizing seconds for me to unbuckle her carseat, she screamed, “Where is that baby? WHERE IS THAT BABY?”

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Two of my very closest friends were both expecting baby girls on the same day. One came a bit early and the other came a bit late, and here they are — born two weeks apart, separated by one ounce, one inch and one very dark, very full head of hair.

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Felicity Rich Ramsey
Born April 2
8 lbs., 5 oz., 20 in.

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Psalm Elizabeth Krieger
Born April 16
8lbs, 6oz., 21 in.

I’m so privileged to get to watch these girls grow, and to share this wonderful and challenging phase of life — when the need for community and connection is deep and can be difficult to find — with such wonderful, close friends.

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These baby girls also serve as very, very adorable reminders that I will probably not be pregnant forever. Even though, as I approach week 38, I’m gearing up to be pregnant for at least three more weeks.

Or forever.

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