30 Weeks | Maternity Leave and Career Decisions Settled

Something major happened inside of me when I hit 30 weeks yesterday. A wave of sheer excitement passed through my spirit, for sure. Do you know that most women have their babies before they hit week 40? That means that I very well, likely could, have my baby in the week of the THIRTIES. That is precisely where I am right 7, 8, 9 weeks. You get the point. 

On another note, something else pretty major happened yesterday in addition to this pregnancy-week-milestone: I finished my last day of real work. And I wrote all about those feelings and what I am anticipating for the future of my photography business, and I wrote about it here, at my NEW little photography blog space. 

So what does maternity leave look like for this woman? Well, I've made an official to-do list of things that need to be done before this sweet girl arrives. Things that have to do with organization and setting up the nursery, stuff of that sort. Maternity photos are officially booked for next week (eek!). I also have a million midwife appointments approaching. Starting the 1st, I go every 2 weeks. Hunter and I are starting our birthing classes in May (there will be 5 or 6, we feel like we will be cramming for an exam or something). Family and friends are visiting in May for the baby shower set on the 24th (Still waiting to receive my invitation that my sister had especially designed and printed, whaaaat? This is going the be the shower to end all showers). Our baby moon and anniversary is also in May. Then guess what? My birthday and the baby's birthday is in June. We will see who's comes first :) Then, lots and lots and lots of visitors and guests to meet our, currently, nameless child. Maternity leave will then be filled with adjusting to new life and an abundance of baby cuddles. We are pretty stoked about it. You could say that I'm more than ready to be on leave, and definitely at peace with closing down the biz for a while, if not permanently. 

Life is sweet right now and don't think for a second that a smidgeon of it goes unnoticed by us without the realization that God is the giver of that which is good in our lives. So, we may be skipping through, what seems, a perfect little life right now, but we are skipping with gratefulness and humility. We thank you Lord, for all that you do and give us.

Blouse: Rue 21 (old) | Maternity Top: Motherhood Maternity, similar here | Maternity Jeans: Motherhood Maternity | Sandals: American Eagle


28 Weeks | Entering the Third Trimester

Wow, it is so very strange realizing that our little family has made it to this stage, the final stage. This being my first pregnancy, everything has sort of felt that way, strange that is, but this is beyond the average adapting to pregnancy oddities, this is a reality check. I have been pregnant for 7 whole months. How on earth did it go by so quickly? 

As we look forward to the next couple of months, and the future arrival of our daughter, small amounts of panic have begun to set in. We are realizing the areas where we aren't prepared, and are feeling the drive to prepare them. Hunter has had a to-do list since the day we found out we'd be bringing a baby into the world, one of them being building a changing table/dresser for all her clothes and diapers. Of which, it isn't even sketched yet. He pointed a few things out to me in the house that I've ignored since we moved in 3 months ago. A box that sits on our landing is full of picture frames intended to be hung, a project I was really excited about, until the exhaustion of pregnancy set in, and then the busyness of life. "We don't even notice it anymore," he said, "but once the baby is here, it'll never get done." Then he mentioned several other things, too. Then we both made lists of things we'd like to get done before she is here, and our mouths dropped wide.

Not to mention, this is the last month where I am working. How strange that feels to even say it. I have really slowed down all booking with my business months ago, due to all the nausea and other life-consuming-baby-on-the-way tasks, but remained employed with the magazine that I have spent the last year photographing for and then writing for. It is now going to be missed by me after I finish my part of April's issue, by the middle of this month, and it's a bittersweet parting.

The past 7 months have been full of doctor's visits and midwife visits and ultrasounds and parenting classes and blood tests and glucose tests and weight gain and baby kicks and all sorts of wonders and newness that my life was never full of before. We've had to make all sorts of big decisions about where to birth and how to birth and, seemingly impossible decisions like,  finding a pediatrician (This is still in the works). There is so much involved that it's frankly overwhelming at times. Not to mention all the crazy that comes with her living outside of my womb. It's quite serious how, from the moment you know you are with child, that life is full, in every way, with the obligations and joys that come with preparing for motherhood and fatherhood. 

And we've only got a couple of months left, eek!


What We Thought We Were Having

There are certain times in your life when all you can do is talk about one thing, and one thing only--a time where you are so engrossed in a single topic, that to veer off track, even to mention the weather, only brings you back to the original point. When you are pregnant, the topic is always, always: Baby.

One of the first things people will ask you is if you are going to find out the gender. Then they will ask you which one you think you are having. Then they will ask you which one you want. Then they will ask you about names. It's always the same thing. And it never, ever, ever grows old when it's your turn. I don't know why, it just doesn't. Perhaps because you are so stinkin' excited yourself that you are happy to just answer their millions of questions. It's a fun, glorious time.

Now that Hunter and I officially know that we are having a girl, I thought I'd answer these questions here, for the sake of all who care. And let's face it, just because I need another outlet to talk about it!

We did find out the gender of our baby before she has officially arrived. It's just something I couldn't stand to not do. And I think one of the main reasons for that is because, from the very beginning, I just knew she was a girl. I literally read the pregnancy test, fell to the floor in tears of joy, and then began praying for my baby girl. And I began praying for her by name. A name was given to me instantly. It's just something that happened. So, from day one I felt like a girl was being formed in my womb and the idea of having to wait 5 months to know for sure was as much like torture as I could imagine. But not really, I can think of actual torture and it's much worse, I'm not a lunatic.

Here's the hard question: Is a girl what I wanted? Yes. There is a weird part of parenting, during the pregnancy process, where you have to cope with the part of yourself that may want a girl more than a boy or a boy more than a girl. And as much as you really believe that you would be happy either way, and you really would, there is still a part of you that clings more to the idea of one over the other. It's a harsh truth sometimes because our culture is GREAT at finding things to make us feel like worthless parents, but I choose to just deal with the reality and say, "This is the truth." So, yes, I really, really wanted a little girl. I'm not sure why. I would have loved a son and I hope to have a son one day, but a girl was planted in my heart and so I embraced that.

Hunter also wanted a little girl. He's often told me that he'd love a house full of little girls.

But that's not what he thought we were having. He was convinced, along with every other family member of mine, that we were having a boy. He just felt like it was a boy, and was preparing himself for the role of fatherhood to a little man, and what that would look like, and the things he'd need to teach him about following God, and what a real man is, and what a real man isn't.

And I'm really excited to see him father a son one day, and father him in a way most young boys don't get to be fathered. But for now, he gets his little girl. And I get mine. And I can tell she's already a daddy's girl and he's already completely in love. She just settles down when he's near. I can't explain it really. She will be moving around so much that I nearly need to get out of bed and he'll place his hand on my bulging belly and she will stop in an instant--he calms her spirit. And I am so, so excited to watch him father this sweet bundle, in a way most little girls dream of. To be loved the way he'll love her, will destroy me, in the best possible way.

And just when you think I'm ending on the sweetest note possible, Hunter does not really like the name that was given to me. So pray for us. To this day, we haven't picked out, or discussed further, names. I have a feeling this will be one of the hardest parts for us. Anyone who has had a hard time in this department (i.e. spouses not agreeing on names), please, please leave advice for us. Much appreciated :)

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