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38 weeks.

Dear baby girl,

You’re moving like crazy right now, and as I sit here envisioning what you look like and praying for a healthy baby girl, I can’t help but feel a little sad that very soon I will no longer be pregnant.

There’s something special that happens when you’re pregnant, feeling tiny life forming inside of you, watching your belly slowly grow bigger and bigger from week to week.

I no longer view my body the same way that I used to. It isn’t just mine anymore. It is a vessel. A home for you. I provide your nourishment. Your sustenance. I am all that you know right now, and only from the inside.

Very soon you will know me from the outside. My voice will be more clear, and you will begin to see and know me as your mother. Even though I will be sad to no longer be carrying you on the inside, I am so excited to hold you in my arms for the first time.

I look forward to the moment when we will finally meet; I will stare at you as I memorize your eyes and your gaze, holding your tiny fingers in my hand. You have been knit in my womb, and very soon I will see who God has been forming for the past nine months. You are His. And you are mine.

Our days are numbered as a family of three. When I first got pregnant, I was anxious about all of the changes that meant for our family. I didn’t know what to expect (and I still don’t). I was (and still am a little) nervous about how stressful it will be.

But the farther I have come along, I have felt thankful. Blessed beyond measure. So fortunate for the opportunity to bring a second daughter into this world.

The closer I get to your arrival, the more my worries subside, and the more excited I become for the changes ahead. I can’t wait to see Hannah become a big sister, and I am looking forward to seeing your daddy fall in love with you just as I already have. And I couldn’t be more excited to be your mommy. To have you in our family. To become a family of four very soon.

With love,
Momma

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37 weeks: The Final Countdown

Dear baby,

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind as Daddy and I prepare for your arrival. I can’t believe your due date is just three weeks away!

This month has been full with football, family and fun. Your Uncle Brian is a kicker for the football team at Simpson College, and he and the team are having a great year. (It makes up for the fact that the Steelers are not.) Just so you know, baby, you are being born into a family that has some pretty serious Pittsburgh Steelers fans. You may have some Steelers onesies already. Your Grandma and Pap Pap Schaaf grew up in Pittsburgh, and most of your daddy’s extended family still lives in the area.

When I haven’t been tailgating and watching football, I have been celebrating your arrival with family and friends at two baby showers. You wouldn’t believe how much people love you already! Your nursery is now full of clothes, books and toys, and we’re fully stocked on onesies, blankets and bath time items.

onesies galore
Family decorated homemade onesies just for you!

shower
Gammie, me and your Aunt Katie. And you hiding in that bump!

Speaking of your nursery, your daddy spent some time putting the furniture together and getting it set up. I am so happy with how everything came together.

nursery before
The before picture of the nursery…

nursery after
After – the nursery furniture set up.

crib with pooh
After – your crib looks just as I imagined!

We’re waiting to put some finishing touches in your nursery after you’re born, including your name on the wall. Believe it or not, your daddy and I have names picked out for you! Just a couple hours ago we picked our top two boy and girl names. It was a long process with a lot more disagreeing than I expected, but Daddy and I are both happy with our final choices. We are not sharing these names with anyone, and we have decided to wait until we meet you to decide which name suits you best.

At 37 weeks, it’s crazy to think that you could be born at any time now, and I will be a mom in just a few short weeks. I’m showing signs that you’re getting ready and am starting to feel a lot more pregnant. I think about you all the time and hope and pray you’re doing well in there. I know it’s up to you whenever you are ready, and I just need to patiently wait for you to get here. Just make sure to make your arrival easy on Momma, okay? 🙂 I know the wait and the labor will all be worth it.

I can’t wait to see you soon!

With love,
Momma

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Families are like quilts.

Dear baby,

Your great-great aunt Evelyn wrote a note with your baby shower gift that has stuck with me:

“Families are like quilts: lives pieced together and bound by love.”

Right now, our lives literally are pieced together. It is the most amazing, indescribable feeling to carry and nourish you as your life forms inside of me. Feeling your little jabs, tiny hiccups and your body stretch in my growing belly are forever changing my perspective on my body. It is no longer just my body that I fuel and care for. I am now a vehicle that builds and sustains life – your life. You are a treasure that I must protect.

In about five weeks, give or take a few days, we will no longer be bound physically, but my heart to nourish, care for and protect you will grow even more as your momma. I can only fathom just how much this will continue to develop and change over the years as I watch you grow and become your own person.

For the first several years of your life, you will be dependent upon me for your survival. It is in these years that I will cherish the closeness that we share, with your snuggles and kisses you will need from momma. Then you will start to explore the world, realizing the freedom you have. These years I will want to protect you from getting hurt, but I will also want you to learn, discover yourself and become a strong person.

Before I know it, this freedom will lead you on your own adventures, and you will be writing your own story. You will no longer be dependent on me, but because our lives are pieced and bound together, you will still return to me. These years will likely break my heart because my baby no longer needs me, but they will also enrich my heart because I will be proud of the person you have become. As the years go by, we will forever be bound together by our love, no matter the changes or distance.

I know I am getting way ahead of myself here. I say all this not to fast forward through time or wish I could stop it forever; I write this to you because I need to. With every moment of being your momma, my heart will hold on to knowing that we will forever be bound by our love. No matter the circumstance, our bond cannot be broken.

Because families are like quilts: lives pieced together and bound by love.

With love,
Momma

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My promise.

Dear baby,

I can’t believe how close we’re getting to the end of this pregnancy journey. Time has flown, and this weekend marks six weeks until your due date. I can hardly believe that in just a couple months I will be your momma. Your little jabs, kicks and hiccups I will no longer feel in me, but I will finally get to see you. I will get to meet the precious gift that I have been waiting for.

I remember when I was little, the biggest anticipation was built up for Christmas each year. It wasn’t even just about the presents (although I’m not going to lie, I was pretty giddy about what my parents and Santa would bring me). It was also about the excitement of getting to see my extended family and spend time with my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. I would even anticipate the goodies – the pie, the cookies, the mashed potatoes. I eagerly awaited it all. And when the time came, I always had a blast, but the time always went by way too quickly.

As I near the end of pregnancy and the anticipation of your arrival builds, I know that a new journey is just beginning. Parenthood is going to be the most exciting, challenging, demanding and rewarding job of my life. I have eagerly awaited this for so long, and I plan to savor every moment and milestone – because I know time will pass way too quickly.

I also want to make a promise to you tonight, baby. I see and hear too many parents publicly complain about the woes and struggles of being a parent and the things their children do. I know sometimes you need to vent, but there is a time and place for that. It is the continual public rants and complaints that just hurt my heart. I know they love their children, but there is no need to shame them. As a parent, you make that choice and you make sacrifices.

Which is why I promise that even when I am frustrated, when you cause so much trouble or do some incredibly gross bodily function and leave it all over the floor, I will never publicly complain about being your momma. I know it’s going to be hard. I know there will be days when I may question myself. But I know what I am signing up for. I would sacrifice anything for you. At the end of the day, you are my precious gift, my love, my baby. Nothing you do will ever change that.

Parenthood is going to be a roller coaster. Our journey is going to be one crazy and amazing adventure. And through it all I will always love you.

With love,
Momma

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Big week.

Dear baby,

As I round the corner into week 30, I am feeling pretty good. (Other than the fact that you are turned sideways in my belly, causing a great bit of discomfort. I feel like you’re trying to push your way out through my belly button. :)) I just bought this cute dress on clearance that allows me to breathe (and you to stretch) a bit.

30 weeks cropped

This past week we crossed many things off of our baby to-do list, which makes me one happy and less stressful momma.

1. We were finally able to donate several items we’ve had in storage so we can move your daddy’s “man cave” to the basement and turn our current office (man cave) into your nursery.

2. We picked out our daycare for you to be taken care of while your daddy and I are at work during the day. This was no easy task. It took a lot of research, asking of others and visiting several places to find the right one. But when your daddy and I visited last week, we knew we found the one. A nice, family-owned center that also has a preschool. Your nursery space is bright and cheerful, filled with toys and books, and of course has your own crib to sleep in.

3. We’ve [almost] found your pediatrician. I found out our family practice doctor loves children and would have been a pediatrician had he not gone into family practice. The receptionist I spoke with said all of her grandchildren have been seeing him as their pediatrician. I just want to ask the doctor a few questions before making that final decision, which I should hopefully do this week.

4. We bought your nursery furniture! Clearly, this is the one I am the most excited about. It took several of hours (okay, months) of research, scouring the Internet and chatting with your daddy to find the perfect items for your room:
crib
Your crib, which I absolutely love.
dresser
Your dresser that will store all of your essentials. We’ll put a changing pad on top of the dresser for you.

glider
This glider is where I will spend countless hours holding you, nursing you and reading to you. 

I cannot wait for these items to arrive so we can finally get your nursery ready. I am leaning towards light green and yellow colors and am looking for inspiration from friends and the Internet. It will be the perfect, cozy space for momma to relax with you and for you to enjoy as you grow older.

It’s been a good, busy week, and I just know the final 10 weeks are going to fly. With football games, a couple of baby showers and time with family and friends, I have just about every weekend full until your due date! It’s time for momma to get in nesting mode and ready for you to get here. 🙂  Because November will be here before we know it!

With love,
Momma

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Baby comments.

Dear baby,

It seems the past few weeks I’ve heard nothing but:

“You’re so tiny!”

“You don’t even look pregnant.”

“Oh, you’re popping out finally!”

“You’re so cute pregnant.”

I know these things are said with good intentions. Those who say the comments mean well, but it digs at me a little bit and makes me wonder: Am I too small? Should I be looking more pregnant? And I still don’t completely understand when people say I don’t look pregnant from behind. Am I supposed to grow my belly out sideways?

The important thing is that my doctor says I am doing fine and that you are growing just as you should. (Yes baby, you are still perfect.)

But these constant comments from others beg the question: Why do people feel the need to comment on the way that I look while pregnant? It seems to be the thing to say to a pregnant woman, along with the “How are you feeling?” question. I’m starting to realize that people just don’t know what to say to a pregnant woman, so they just say or ask the same thing every time.

Baby, the one person I truly appreciate these comments from is your daddy. Even though it seems he asks me every five minutes how I’m feeling or if I am doing okay, it makes me feel so loved to know he is looking out for me and for you. Your daddy is the type of daddy who would do anything to ensure we are taken care of and happy. He will put you and me before himself, and he will fix anything that isn’t right. He’s a great husband, and I know he’s going to be an awesome daddy.

I went on a little tangent there…I guess I really shouldn’t be complaining about the kindness from others in my life. It may be getting a little old, but I do appreciate the love and support from my family and friends. Most of all, I appreciate the love and support from your daddy. His comments make me feel that much more excited about and ready for the three of us to be a family.

With love,
Momma

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Kicks.

Dear baby,

It’s hard to believe we are less than three months from your due date and that I am just days away from starting my third trimester. It seems this journey just began when I saw that faint blue line and when I heard your heart beat for the first time. My heart smiles at those first special moments and soars as I get that much closer to your arrival. Three months feels like a long way off, yet I know the weeks will fly by.

Within the past couple weeks I’ve really felt you growing and becoming more mobile in my belly. What started as a few occasional flutters has now become a continual reminder of your presence with each little kick or jab against my stomach. As uncomfortable as things are starting to become, I take so much delight in feeling you move around in there. In a way it makes me feel at peace, knowing you are growing and strengthening each day. And at the same time I feel a connection to you, one that I cannot describe with any other word than special.

Even as you manage to pinch my insides or kick my side (I swear you were lying sideways for a few days!), I have to admit, I love being pregnant. There is something so magical about this process: watching my body change, feeling you grow and move within me, and learning about how to care for you and myself while pregnant, all while I prepare for what’s ahead.

There is still so much to do (like pretty much everything), but your daddy and I have started planning and getting ready. We’ve visited some daycares, gotten our registry set up and narrowed down some furniture options for your nursery. Now we just need to make some decisions and purchases – the hard part!

In due time, we will have everything ready for you. Whether we will emotionally feel ready is another story! I am so thankful for these nine months of pregnancy – not just to plan for what’s to come, but also because of this amazing journey and blessing it is being your momma.

With love,
Momma