Friday, January 30, 2015

Men who say "We're Pregnant"

A while ago, I remember seeing a little blurb on facebook about a famous actress who took issue with men saying "we're pregnant." At the time, I wasn't pregnant, and I remember agreeing. After all, it isn't men who have to do the hard work of carrying the baby and giving birth to it!

But now, as I sit here seven months pregnant, I think I've changed my mind. You see, I never expected how much pregnancy would be a team effort for me and my husband.

In the first trimester, when I was going through weird food aversions he graciously changed his eating habits. I couldn't stand smelling him cook bacon or hamburgers, so those went by the wayside for a time. When I was tossing and turning to find a comfortable position at night, he dealt with the sleep deprivation it caused even though he had to get up for work at 5:00 am the next morning (and he is NOT a morning person). When I got weird pregnancy migraines that caused nausea and horrible pain for a couple days, he never made me feel the least bit like a nuisance.

In the second trimester, he gave me countless massages to help relieve the strain that carrying this extra weight puts on my legs and hips. And now, in the third trimester, I can't even believe all that he is doing for me. He takes walks with me, as I waddle along like a penguin and deal with contractions. He attends Bradley birth classes with me every week, and does the nightly exercises with me, coaching me in relaxation. He helps around the house, ties my shoes because I can't bend that far, lifts heavy things for me, listens to me constantly talk about labor, birth, and all my aches and pains, comforts me during hormonal mood changes, and gives me daily encouragement.

So if my husband were to want to say "we're pregnant" (which he wouldn't, because he would think it sounds weird), I would completely understand. Because to him, there is a huge emphasis on the "we." We are doing this together. It has been so clear during this pregnancy through his words and in his actions. I don't feel like I'm alone or that this is my "thing."

And as any pregnant lady knows, during this time, all the focus is on us, no matter where we go--church, the store, any friend's house. Everyone wants to talk about the baby or how you are feeling. And that's nice. It is. But sometimes I wish that my husband could get a little attention too, for all that he's doing. Because he is a huge part of this!

Maybe I'm the only one, but I think it would be very easy to get caught up in a self-focus during pregnancy. After all, we are going through a lot. But in the midst of it all, I don't want to take my husband for granted in all that he selflessly does for me and for our baby. It's so clear to me how much he already cares about our family, and that makes me beam from ear to ear.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Finished Cloth Diaper Stash

I've finally finished sewing the cloth diaper stash I want to have ready when baby arrives. Because we are keeping the gender a surprise, I went with neutral prints. My goal was to make 15 of these cloth fitted pocket diapers (which are the same ones I sell in my Etsy store), and I ended up making 16. 

 I will be pairing these with Prorap Classic Diaper Covers in different sizes. My friend who used my cloth diapers with her girls used these covers and found them to work really well together, so hopefully it does for us too!

For the first few weeks, I plan on using disposable diapers and wipes just because I don't want to be doing laundry and learning all about cloth diapering at a time that I need to recover and bond with our baby. But after that, I can't wait to use our cloth diapers and wipes. It will save us so much money!

My husband installed these shelves in our bedroom where we are keeping the diapers and wipes handy. 

Now my baby sewing project list has another thing crossed off! Which only leaves:
  • 50 cloth wipes -- made 60
  • 15 cloth diapers --  made 16
  • 2 diaper wet bags -- made 1
  • 15 nursing pads
  • K'tan baby carrier (really excited to follow this tutorial here)
  • Diaper changing clutch (using this tutorial here)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ah, That Fresh Laundry Smell...

I love living in a place where I can hang my laundry up to dry in my backyard. I love almost all things old-fashioned, and it's calming to look out my window at clean laundry hanging on the line.

If you know anything about hanging laundry to dry on the line, you will know that it gives your laundry a fresh smell. You know, that airy, breezy smell that all the fabric softeners and detergents try to mimic?

Ah, yes, but apparently this is a bit of fiction. A major falsehood. Because let me tell you, my line-dried laundry does not smell like that. No, sir. 

I can only describe it as smelling like a man that has been doing yard work for hours in the hot sun. And that is certainly not what you want your sheets to smell like when you climb into bed at night.

So where did this myth of the fresh laundry smell start? And who is perpetuating it?

Or, gulp, is it just that my backyard air is that polluted?

I confess, the mixture of air smells in our neighborhood may not make for the best concoction. Maybe it's the smoke of the many wood-burning fireplaces. Or the horses, goats, and other livestock. Or the fact that random neighborhood cats love to pee right under the laundry line. Or maybe it's a perfect mixture of all these icky things.

After researching this issue (I'm not the only one apparently!), I found that some say their clothes smell after being only washed on the cold cycle (our washer only has cold water access). I will be asking our landlord if we can get hot water access before the baby comes since we will be cloth diapering, and we'll see if it changes anything...

*sigh* Not all the old-fashioned ways of doing things are what I romanticize them to be.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Living Out Our "Anti-Birth Control" Convictions

It's one thing when you are younger to set up your convictions and your ideals for how you will live out your life as you get married and have a family. It's another thing when you get to that point and have to actually live it.

For my husband and I, we both know that God has called us to put our fertility into His hands. He has convicted us not to use birth control, whether by artificial or natural means. I would not claim that everyone should be convicted of this, because I think it is one of those things that was spoken of in Romans 14:

"Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God..."

For us, we are fully convinced. And because of this conviction, we think and live very differently from prevailing cultural norms. We live on one income and make choices based on the fact that there might be many more children to come. Still, it doesn't stop the voices and thoughts coming to me, of "What if we were like everyone else?" It is so hard not to make comparisons from time to time. 

For instance, what if we didn't have kids right away? What if we held off on child-bearing for a few years, like most people we know? Maybe we would own a house already, like so-and-so. Maybe we could go out to eat instead of always eating at home? Maybe we would have such-and-such number in our savings account, instead of all our savings going to the midwife?

There are so many what-ifs and comparisons that could be made. And I have to admit, I hear that whisper of discontentment trying to plant these ideas in my head from time to time. Especially since this is just such a different route than people we know are taking. 

But in the past weeks, God opened my eyes and showed me how these thoughts were creeping up on me. He did something radical in our lives that forced me to trust Him and depend on Him wholly.

My husband was laid off at the beginning of the new year. The one income that we depended on was suddenly gone. 

And in that sentence alone you can see what I was depending on: my husband's job and income. God showed me that I had been wrapping too much of my thoughts up in our finances, budgeting, and saving. Without consciously realizing it, I was focusing on money and financial security instead of God. 

God can take away a job in an instant. We could lose our health, our car, or our spouse. There is so much that could change in a matter of mere seconds. Ultimately, we have to trust God for each and every step we take. Every day is in His hands. He is the one who gives us our daily bread.

God was gracious to us and provided a new job for my husband in less than two weeks. I can already tell that he will enjoy this job more and be more relaxed there and that is a huge blessing! But this new job has meant a cut in the income that we had before and things will be tighter. We will have to give up things, right at the time we are expecting our first child. 

It's not easy, but I know that God is giving us our daily bread. We have the basics. Food, shelter, clothes. We have a lovely apartment and we even have a lot of things beyond what we need. We have things people in other countries would die for.

 I would be ashamed to send my sponsored child this picture of our home because of how different it would be in her eyes. Our apartment is probably 500 square feet, but to her it would be like a palace. It's almost laughable that I feel I am giving up things when I compare my life to what she has access to. We may not have what everyone else around us seems to have, but we have plenty. We really do.

Once I take my eyes off of what the American culture tells me I need to have--once I remember what God has personally called us to--things become clearer. I know that this child is more important than wealth-building, owning our home, and "x" amount of dollars in a savings account. They are an eternal soul coming into the world. I know when I hold this baby, that I will be so glad I didn't let silly ideas of how much more I should have get in the way of their entrance into the world. 

Baby Update: 28 Weeks


28 Weeks

How far along? I'm actually 30 weeks today, but I'm going back in time to do my 28 week update (This picture is from 28 weeks).
Baby Size: About the size of an eggplant.
  Total weight gain: 25 lbs. I gained a lot of weight in December but I've started plateauing since then. 
 Maternity clothes? Almost exclusively. And even they are starting to feel a bit snug! I'm hoping I can make it to the end without having to make any more purchases.
Stretch Marks? None at this point. 
Sleep: I'm still sleeping soundly. My husband's work routine has changed and we thankfully no longer have to get up at 5 am, which I have really appreciated.
Best moment this week: Having the crib arrive and setting it up!
Miss Anything? I am starting to miss my pre-pregnancy wardrobe. My maternity wear is limited and I'm looking forward to wearing some of my favorites again. 
Movement: Baby is very active, still mostly at night. Luckily, the baby has turned and is now head down, and hopefully will stay that way till birth.
Food cravings: Sugar, sugar, sugar. I hated sugar in the first trimester, but now I crave it all the time.
Gender Prediction: Oddly enough, I'm starting to lean towards girl, for no reason whatsoever! 
Symptoms: Lots of creaking from all that relaxin that is in a pregnant lady's system. I feel everything loosening up. 
Mood:  I find myself having very little patience with people's cautions and/or stories of terrible labors and complications. I am usually very patient and don't take what people say seriously if I don't want to, but I'm finding I now have very little tolerance for all the horror stories people love to tell pregnant women.
Looking forward to: Finishing my sewing projects, like my cloth diaper stash and the sling I plan to make.