29 weeks! There's something about being on the cusp of the 3/4 mark that gets me excited. What isn't so exciting is that Elias has gotten particularily clingy. We're back to a season of 'only mama.' In addition, he's getting scared at night so we're doing all sorts of fun trouble shooting with getting good sleep happening in the Sprague house again.
Although pregnancy + good sleep isn't really a logical combination.
The good news is, it's all pretty normal. Just google two year sleep regression or anything else and you'll get a accurate description of our son right now. I'm enjoying the extra cuddles and choosing to cherish the time of having him as the baby of the family. It's wild to even consider him no longer being the youngest.
What they say about the third kid is true. People for the most part leave you alone. I think by this point most assume you are atleast familiar with what you're doing and leave you to it. Here in Alabama it's fortunate that many families have three or more, so I find myself resting at ease. The city is a pretty child-friendly place which is a blessing to this mama heart. Couple that with kind grocers that will help me with my groceries to my car and I'm living cloud 9.
Over the next few months we will be chipping away at unpacking more boxes, goodwill runs and building the last of any furniture (we have a dresser and a desk left over!)
We have all but a handful of things for baby, and if it's a girl we'll have even more clothes for it (I unpacked a box or two of all my favorites of Eowyns and I may or may not have squeeled.) If we get a boy, I'm confident I'll find a way to find cute clothes for him too :P Either way we've got ourselves nearly ready for the newest addition.
Pregnancy with a toddler and a preschooler is hard. I read on a friends blog many moons ago about 'finishing well' when discussing her third pregnancy. I keep repeating those to words to myself. What does finishing well look like in this season? Mostly, I'm prioritizing rest and cherishing these two kids. I'm giving our whole family permission to be instead of perpetually do (even though the impulse in me is to do all the things before baby arrives!) and I think it has made a world of difference. Very few things on my to do list MUST be done as soon as possible. But, these kids? and the extra requests to 'nuggle' and play and paint? I'm trying to treat it all as priority, even if the baby in my belly seems to not be too keen on both kids snuggling me at the same time (four in a chair!)
Cheers to the third trimester. Hoping to get atleast one more photo in before baby arrives :P
But we find ourselves with a quiet evening and better now than never!
We've lived in Montgomery now over a month (!!!) and in that time have set up a home, purchased a car, set up ikea furniture and misc. amazon furniture, broke down boxes, lived with a broken fridge, unpacked half of our minnesota boxes, adventured with family (we've had family visit already 3 times!) discovered bugs, and played hard.
Now we're hitting a stride of relative calm before the new baby comes.
People have been kind to check in and ask us how we're feeling with this big leap in culture and adjusting back into the american life. Honestly, there's things I absolutely love and missed and am happy to be reunited again, and then there are things that I struggle with deeply.
Ultimately moving back has been a very tender process.
We're grateful that we foound a church we think we'll be joining. We're grateful for a home that accomodates guests when they come (we were able to provide beds for my sister and her crew of 6! wouldn't have been able to do that in Helsinki!) We're grateful for grass outside and warm weather. For an obstetrician who is kind and chill and seems to be a really good fit. I'm grateful for a mom group that is an inter-denominational one and meets quite regularily. I'm grateful for a home with a bathtub for this sore body. All the unpacking and ikea building and hustling in my now third trimester has me one tired mama.
I struggle with how it all feels normal and different. I both delight and feel stretched by the merging of the two worlds-our life in Europe and our life in the states. I catch my breath at how easy and how hard it all can seem to feel all at once. I'm not convinced we ever went through a honeymoon stage with the culture shock. Friendships feel weird. Everything just feels weird.
We've always said this and I'll say it again. There's something to love about any place you live. There's something to own and to grow and to decide to commit to in each little space God has brought us to. So we're seeking out places that we can love, seeking out faces to love even more, seeking out reasons to celebrate.
One of the more easy things to celebrate is family coming. We've had Ben's parents visit twice and my sister and her husband came through on their kids spring break. The photos in this post are from the couple of times I grabbed my camera with them.
What a blessing it's been to be closer to family. Next time we see the crew we'll be welcoming cousin #7 to the crew!
After digging out my camera and stacking all my pillows on top of eachother, I snapped a few pictures, because the weeks are racing by, and I dont want to only have one set of pictures from this pregnancy.
This has been the most challenging of pregnancies out of the lot I've experienced. The naseau was absolutely impressive. Lasting well into the second trimester, and the lack of kicks made my heart feel anxious during the initial meetings with an OB when they begin asking if we've felt kicks yet. With the other two I felt them by 14-15, so to wait till 18/19 to feel them for certain, it made my heart hold its breath.
But praise God, right before the we moved I prayed that I would begin to feel this baby, with all the uncertainty, it was all the more difficult to fight worse case scenario thoughts. Then, sure enough within the next few days I began feeling this little one regularily.
God has found all sorts of little ways to be kind to me. While many of the prayers I've prayed (like "please God make this sickness go away!" ) haven't happened in the timing I would have liked, He has proven himself trustworthy.
We just scheduled our first OB appointment here in Alabama. I'm curious how it will feel to go back to the American system of healthcare after going to the Finnish one. They asked me to bring in all medical records, which I think will be funny. When I hand them documents in a very complex language, I wonder how useful those papers will be. Perhaps much of it is medical jargon and so it will be easily translatable.
I was sharing with Ben that this pregnancy is entirely different in every way. With Eowyn, my thoughts were often on how it would change our family. I daydreamed about our little baby coming new and making me and Ben parents. When Elias was growing, I absolutely delighted in daydreaming about the big sister Eowyn would be. Now with this pregnancy, I often find myself trying to calculate the logistics: "okay, so how do parents take three kids into a grocery store when solo?" and "how should we organize the carseats in our van?" (P.S. we bought a minivan. No going back now.)
While on one hand, I sometimes feel at a loss at the hustle of this pregnancy-as if this baby isn't getting quite the attention the others have-on the other hand, I feel like my hopes and prayers have shifted entirely. Parenting a newborn feels much less about all the responsibilities, and I am now more excited to discover who this little person will be. See, I know that the logistics work themselves out. We've figured everything else out twice over. I do know it will be entirely different, but in the same breath, I have a comfort of the history we know. When it comes to kids, God is kind in leading us through.
So, I pray for wisdom as I discover who this new son or daughter of mine will be. I pray for kindness as I grow to manage three kids in our home, and I pray for joy in the midst of the crazy.
I especially am praying for the wisdom to recognize how wonderful the sweet moments are. There's a quote I love by Kurt Vonnegut that says
" I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."
We're finding a lot of those little moments, and I'm certain that when you arrive, there will only be more.
16 weeks left, sweetheart. Looking so forward to meeting you. I imagine i'll think something like that quote above when I first lay eyes on you. "If this isn't beautiful, if this isn't pure blessing, if this isn't such an overflow from my Jesus, I dont know what is."
I am humbled by the reality of getting to be your mother.