On Pregnancy

This is me the day I found out I was pregnant with Rose.

I’ve now been pregnant four times. Nothing in my life has been as humbling for me as pregnancy. Nothing has reminded me more of how little I control. So while this fourth pregnancy was relatively “straightforward”, it was a nine month exercise in trust. It taught me bravery in a way I hadn’t known before.

After I miscarried at sixteen weeks in September 2016, we were fortunate to get pregnant again relatively quickly and I learned of this new life growing inside of me on a grey January day. The first person I told (after Peter, of course) was our pastor. While this wasn’t planned – I blurted it out when he asked me how I was doing the following Sunday – it felt fitting. Peter and I made the decision to not officially announce this pregnancy but instead we told several people close to us early on, knowing that they would pray for us and our baby.

February 2017

The flip side of not announcing pregnancy was that starting at around 20 weeks I got a lot of “So…how are you?” with meaningful glances at my belly. With our late-arriving spring weather, I was able to hide my growing bump under jackets and big sweaters. Even into my second trimester I found I was nervous about sharing our news.

Prayer got me through this pregnancy. After miscarrying in the second trimester, there was never a point in this pregnancy where I felt “safe”. In the first trimester, I had bleeding that lasted about three weeks. An ultrasound at 14 weeks revealed the cause and my doctor reassured me that it was quite common and rarely led to miscarriage. Since I was already at a higher risk of miscarrying, this information was only mildly comforting. I thought that I might be able to relax once I’d passed the sixteen week mark but found that wasn’t so. In the end, what helped most was that around eighteen weeks, this little baby started to move and she almost never stopped. She was an incredibly active baby and had very regular periods of time where I felt her move. It was a beautiful reassurance that my baby was there, alive and growing.

May 2017 – about halfway through

Overall though, it was a very normal pregnancy. I had some nausea in the first trimester, similar to what I had with my previous two pregnancies. With Pearl, I felt good for most of the second trimester and had more energy until my back started hurting at around 30 weeks. This time around, I never really got that burst of energy but my back did start to bother me at about the same point and until around 35 weeks. I’m not sure if this was due to simply being a different pregnancy or the fact that I was also running around after a tw0-year-old.

June 2017

One major difference I noticed between Rose’s pregnancy and Pearl’s was that I carried a lot higher this time around. I was able to make a lot of my non-maternity points and shorts work well into my second trimester. I also didn’t have to dress for an office job like I did last time, which probably helped. Strangers who shared their opinions all told me I was having a boy because of the way I carried. I gained around the same amount of weight as I did with Pearl but since I carried differently, my belly ended up looking smaller. Rose was also nearly a pound smaller than Pearl, which probably made a difference too. The one person who consistently insisted that I was having a girl? Pearl. (She also wanted to name the baby “Baby Girl”.)

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July, trying to get Pearl to pose for a photo with me.

I’m not one of those women who loves being pregnant in and of itself. I don’t feel powerful and beautiful. I feel tired and sweaty (especially during our heat wave at the end of August). I try on all of my clothes and then end up wearing the same three things. (Thank goodness for light, loose dresses for summer pregnancies.)

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August 2017

At the same time, I am so, so thankful to be pregnant. I know several women who have struggled to get pregnant and so I don’t take my body’s ability for granted. I am thankful for each little life that God has allowed to grow in me. And while I fervently wish that my body were better at supporting those lives, I know how fortunate I am for the two babies I have. That knowledge was always in my mind, through every day of pregnancy.

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Early September 2017

It’s in my mind now as I try on the clothes that don’t quite fit again yet, and it’s in my mind in the moments when I feel impossibly pulled between the needs of two little people. Two little people that I am so blessed to be given. I look at Pearl and Rose (one month old today!) and I know I wouldn’t change a thing.

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Pearl and Me – August 2017

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Reading with Pearl: Train Edition

Some of Pearl’s favourites.

I’m not sure that Pearl has ever actually seen a train but she sure seems to enjoy stories about them. And there seem to be multiple classic children’s books revolving around trains. Our story selection tends toward mid-20th century and I’m having trouble thinking of more modern train stories. Any suggestions?

Pearl’s favourite of these currently is probably The Little Red Caboose. We found that one at a Goodwill in Portland and Pearl and I curled up in a chair in the furniture section to read it over and over again while Peter looked at clothes. The pictures are pretty outdated (one page definitely borders on the offensive) but the story is sweet and simple and has a nice rhythm to it.

On the other hand, Peter and I don’t love the story of Tootle which seems to preach the message of “stay in your lane and don’t try and be different”. Fortunately, Pearl seems to like it most for the pictures and I can understand that when some of them are of a train wearing a crown of daisies and frolicking in a field.

I’m a big fan of Bill Peet’s work and Pearl has just started to enjoy some of his stories. The Caboose Who Got Loose is a rhyming story with a happy ending and while longer than the others, I enjoy reading it.

Any recommendations for train stories out there? Especially anything from the 21st Century!

Reading with Pearl: Bunny Edition

Some of Pearl’s bunny books

If you ask Pearl currently what she wants to be when she grows up she will gleefully tell you, “A bunny!” This is mostly due to the book on the top left, When Bunny Grows Up. Regardless, bunnies are popular in our household and Pearl’s book collection reflects that. When Bunny Grows Up and Home for a Bunny are two of her very favourite books right now. In fact (mom brag coming), she can tell you page by page what happens in Home for a Bunny. (Spoiler alert: The ending involves two bunnies, which is very exciting for Pearl.) I found both of these Golden books at our local thrift store and was thrilled to find some lesser known works from Margaret Wise Brown, Garth Williams, and the Scarrys.

Nobunny’s Perfect by Anna Dewdney has been a good way to remind Pearl of manners, something we’ve worked on more and more as she gets older. Lately she’s been quite good with her “please” and “thank you” but we’re still learning about being gentle with other people. (Pulling hair and poking faces hurts!) The sweet pictures and the rhyme make it less of a nagging reminder and more of a fun story.

And, of course, Peter Rabbit is always a classic. This isn’t actually Pearl’s favourite Beatrix Potter – that honour goes to Jeremy Fisher – but she does seem to enjoy it and I like having the abridged version when I feel like I just don’t want to read the whole thing over again. And again. (I’ve read all of these books many, many times.)

Any bunny favourites in your households?

Life in June

June is coming to a hectic end and we are heading full force into July without a break in sight. But the sun is shining and Peter’s work schedule will (eventually) slow down so June is also getting really good. We spent a good portion of this past weekend at the beach, including a Saturday dinner picnic. Pearl loved playing in the sand and the creek and trying to find tiny crabs. Here are a few pictures from our life lately:

Our hikes (or “forest walks”, as Pearl calls them) often look like this when we have Bella around. Bella runs ahead and off the trail, Pearl runs after her, yelling, “Bewwa! Come!” Bella does not often listen.

The tricycle we found at a thrift store in Washington is a big hit. Pearl is now tall enough so that her feet can reach the pedals. Bike riding is limited to the carport/driveway currently but we have big plans to one day bike to the park.

“Pearl help!” is something I hear a lot. And while it would definitely be faster for me to empty the dishwasher myself (and the cutlery would get into the correct spots), I remind myself that we are (hopefully) instilling good habits. Plus, she’s such a cheerful and eager helper!

We are currently spending a lot of time in our backyard and in this little pool.

No one can say Pearl doesn’t know how to relax.

I decided to let go of keeping the play dough colours separate. It still makes me cringe when she mashes them all into one giant ball, but it also means I can let her play by herself and get something else done and that’s worth it to me in the long run.

We are currently making our lists of goals and dreams and projects for the summer. No big plans but lots of fun and friends and sunshine ahead, I hope.

Spring Break 2016 – Sechelt

Things that happened without leaving home:

  • We did some local hikes and exploration.

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  • Which also included some time at the neighbourhood park.

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(That swing is not really Pearl-sized.)

  • We hung out in our backyard for basically the first time this year.

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  • It was sunny enough to hang laundry to dry outside for the first time in 2016, something I’m weirdly excited about. (Being a grown-up is strange.)
  • We celebrated Easter for the second time as a family of 3. (Our Easter last year.)
  • Pearl had her first Easter Egg Hunt.
She rocked it and looked good doing it!

She rocked it and looked good doing it!

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  • Followed by Pearl’s first time eating chocolate. I think it’s safe to say she enjoyed it.
  • Not pictured: Pearl got a new tooth, I got insanely sick for one day (so thankful it happened while Peter was off work!), we did some good thrift store shopping, welcomed new babies of friends near and far, and Pearl wore gum boots for the first time. It’s been great.