Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pregnancy Update--Week 23

Pregnancy Highlights:
How Far Along:  23 Weeks
Total Weight Gain/Loss:  9 pounds
Maternity Clothes: Um, yes.  I think I exploded over the past two weeks...
Best Moment this week:  Feeling the baby move regularly every day!
Gender: It's a boy!  And he doesn't have a name yet!
Movement:  Yes!  And I love it because it's not at the point where it's really painful or uncomfortable!
Food Craving:  I had been craving breakfast tacos, but my appetite has been kinda strange the past few days.
What I miss:  Sleeping on my belly and sleeping through the night!
Sleep:  I am having really strange dreams.  They always involve people I know, and somehow, they always involve people I'd prefer not to dream about!
What I am looking forward to:  The rest of the second trimester!  What were we thinking having a baby at the end of August!  My entire third trimester is gonna be over the summer!
Belly Button:  In.  It's never popped "out."  It just kinda becomes "flat."
Symptoms:  I feel great!  Just a little bit extra tired, but that's about it!  I had a lot of back problems with Carter though throughout the second half of the pregnancy, and it seems like that must go with the territory of having a boy because I've noticed the past few days that my back is hurting pretty badly by the end of the day.
I'll try to update this specific topic on Mondays since that's when we officially count the weeks.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Planning Ahead for Sundays

As a young mom of two preschoolers, with another on the way, I know exactly how hard it can be to get the entire family ready for church on Sunday.  I also know that the destination of Sunday mornings can cause even more stress.  By that I mean that even if we've had a rough Sunday morning, woke up late, didn't get breakfast, couldn't find one of the kid's shoes, etc., we still feel the need need to play ourselves off as the perfect Christian family who looks properly dressed and appropriately put together when we walk through the doors of our place of worship. 

First of all, I'm thankful that my church (www.calvaryrosenberg.org) is filled with real people who accept me as I am, faults and all, and even on the days when I don't feel like putting on make up.  If your church makes you feel like you need to be someone other than who you are in order to "fit in," then you might want to re-evaluate your relationship with your church; HOWEVER, I would bet that 9/10 times, the pressure to be perfect comes from within and not from our church.

Nonetheless, here are some practical tips that our family has decided to "implement" in order to eliminate as many excuses for not going to church and as many potential Sunday morning problems as possible. 

  • Set Sunday morning worship apart as a priority.  In order for you to "go the extra mile" in order to make sure that you make it to church on Sunday morning, you've got to determine ahead of time that it IS a family priority.  Decide as a family that with the exception of some major illness or family emergency or the occasional family vacation, that you WILL make worshiping together as a family the most important event on your family's weekly calendar.  I've seen families go to great lengths to protect a baseball game, hunting trip, or family member's birthday party.  Are we willing to go to the same lengths or beyond to protect our plans for Sunday morning?
  • Take it easy on Saturday evening.  Give yourself a family "curfew" so that you can be home to get stuff taken care of for the next day.  Don't be legalistic about this and turn down every single social event on a Saturday, but if you know that your kids need to be in bed by 9:00 p.m. in order to be well-rested and manageable in the morning, don't drag them to some social event that begins at 8:00 p.m. and ends at 11:00 p.m. and expect them to be willing to get up in time in the morning.  If you must attend something in the evening (it happens!), get a baby-sitter so that at least the kids will get to bed on time OR just bite the bullet, get up and make it to church, and then reserve your Sunday afternoon for family nap time. 
  • Determine ahead of time (this is a hard commitment!) that one person being sick and staying home from church does not require the ENTIRE family to stay home from church.  Obviously if one of your children is sick, a parent is required to stay home and take care of them.  However, I've seen this situation cause an entire family to miss out on worshiping together.  Send the other kids with the other parent to church.
  • Set out clothes for the entire family the night before.  Every Saturday night during bath time, while Stephen is taking care of the kids, I go into each of their closets and pull out what they're going to wear the next morning to church.  This means the entire outfit, including shoes, socks, hairbows, rubberbands, etc.  I KNOW that it seems extreme, but we have had too many chaotic Sunday mornings complete with bad attitudes and angry parents, and have finally learned our lesson. 
  • Get all your "stuff" together the night before!  For us, "stuff" includes getting the diapers bags ready and getting our Bibles in a common place (right by the diaper bags) so that we don't have to worry about that on Sunday morning too. 
  • Have convenient things available for breakfast.  Not only do you want to get there, but you also want to avoid being late as much as possible.  So have something easy to eat with minimal preparation available.  For us this usually means that I make some muffins the night before.  
  • Don't just attend your church's corporate (large group) worship service.  Get involved in whatever your church offers as a small group (like Sunday School).  There is much more accountability in smaller numbers, and you will grow and make more friends and meaningful relationships in that area.  PLUS, (and I don't recommend doing this every week unless you're made of money), you can make plans ahead of time to eat lunch together after church with a family or a handful of families.  Then you HAVE to make it church because no one wants to be stood up on a lunch date!  :)
All of these tips come from personal experience.  I know that you may read this and think, "well, you have to make it to church because it's your job."  Well, I guess technically it is my job, but that doesn't make it any easier on our family, and it certainly doesn't make it any more of a priority just because I'm expected to be there.  I can't tell you how many Sunday morning arguments have been because we didn't have our act together and were undisciplined with the way we handled our time the night before, and we've sat in church beside each other with arms folded and eyes narrowed because we were angry from something petty that had happened that could have been avoided with a little planning.  It's not worth it!  Thankfully we've learned our lesson and have made deliberate choices since then!

On that note, I'll see you Sunday!

P.S. I intend for this blog to cover a lot of our family happenings also, but I can't figure out how to upload the pictures from our new camera onto this dern computer, so I'm working on that.  Pictures of my kids are a lot cuter than anything that I have to say!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

So...you're pregnant again?

I couldn't tell you how many times we've heard that question...even from the kiddos that I work with in the children's ministry at church!

Here's a list of other popular questions that we field on a regular basis:
  • Were you trying to get pregnant?
  • Aren't you on birth control?
  • Do you know how to keep from getting pregnant? (No, I'm not kidding...)
  • When are you gonna stop?  (Uh, Hello...I'm not Michelle Duggar, although I do respect her and aspire to be like her in so many ways.)
It is very difficult for me to answer this question for two reasons: (1) I don't want to be judged for the convictions that Stephen and I have been led to regarding birth control, and (2) I don't want ANYONE to think that because our convictions might be different than theirs, that we are judging them for their choices regarding birth control.

A little background info might be somewhat helpful...
I have taken birth control before for contraceptive purposes.  I did what most women do and started on the Pill about 5 months before we got married.  We had no intentions of getting pregnant or starting a family as soon as we did.  I did not respond well to the hormones within the Pill, and I wasn't a very pleasant newlywed.  Also, I am TERRIBLE at routine, mundane things in life such as taking a pill once a day (yes, you can infer from that that I am the worst about taking prenatal vitamins).  I am terrible about brushing my teeth every day, giving my kids any meds that they have to take for an extended period of time, and I was HORRIBLE about taking attendance in my classroom every day back when I was teaching.  So, all of those reasons combined, we decided to look into other methods of family planning.

Also, Stephen and I believe that life begins at fertilization...not just at implantation. I wanted to learn about how other methods of hormonal birth control work (i.e. the ring, the patch, the shot, etc.), and so I began to do some not-so-scientific research on a not-always-accurate resource known as the Internet.  However, one thing that seemed to have overlooked before I started taking the Pill was that there is a subtle, not-so-widely-discussed way that the effects of the Pill can end an existing pregnancy (because, like I said, our family believes that life begins at fertilization, not just at implantation).  The most well-known way that the Pill can prevent pregnancy is be preventing ovulation (I have no problem with this).  Another way that it prevents pregnancy is by thickening the mucous around the cervix so that the sperm cannot travel into the uterus (Again, no problem here.). 

Disclaimer:  I promise to never again write a blog post with the words mucous, sperm, cervix, or uterus. 

The third and final way that hormonal birth control stops pregnancy is what led us to make a different choice.  You can look it up for yourself if you have any questions.  The lining of the cervix is affected by the hormones in such a way that if ovulation occurs and an egg is fertilized (which to us=pregnancy), it will not attach to the lining of the uterus and will just flush out of the woman's body.  (To our family this translates...an existing pregnancy has been terminated.)

I know that this may seem that we made drastic decisions regarding our family planning due to a little-known, overlooked fact about birth control that some might call "the fine print."  There's a reason for the fine print, though, and I'm sure we can all think of times in our life when we wish we'd read the fine print. 

Like I said before, we have many friends and family members who use forms of hormonal birth control to prevent pregnancy, and this is not something that affects or determines our friendships with others.  In fact, this may be the first time that I've ever shared our convictions with some of you.  However, unless asked directly about it, we don't typically discuss this with others because of the reasons that I stated above. 

 So to address the question about whether we were planning on getting pregnant this time.  No.  But on that note, not one of our three pregnancies was planned ahead of time (by us).  We have never looked at a calendar or considered several months into the future and thought, "Well, now would be a good time to get pregnant because we want to have a baby on _________ day." 

So what do we do to prevent pregnancy?  Well, we have babies which makes us really tired.  :)  Just kidding.  We have no concerns about preventative forms of birth control, as long as they are preventative only.  Methods such as condoms, the calendar method, vasectomies, tubal ligations, etc., don't concern us because they merely prevent pregnancy from occurring in the first place and do not interfere with an already existing pregnancy.  We've obviously not had anything surgically done to prevent pregnancies, but I don't think it's necessary to post on the World Wide Web what we do choose to use. 

So, to answer the other questions briefly...(Ha!  Like Courtney Wilcox can be brief!)
Yes, we know how to prevent pregnancies...I just really love my husband, and I'm convinced that he loves me too. 

I don't know the answer to "When are you gonna stop?"  But I can tell you this: we have no intentions of having a family that warrants attention from any show produced by TLC.  After your third unplanned pregnancy, you become very aware of some things that seemed out of your control but that really are.  We just want to control our family planning in a way that allows us to sleep at night...if we want to.  Ha!  :)

Hope that answered some questions!  Please don't ask me about this when you see me because I'm pretty sure that my face is red just typing some of these anatomical words, so I can only imagine what would happen if we discussed it face to face!