Monday, December 6, 2021

The In-Between

A friend sent this to me last night and it made me tear up when I read it this morning. I've been feeling this deeply but hadn't really seen it put into words anywhere. Because the internet it fickle, I'm pasting the whole thing right here so I can remember.

The article is from Mothering.com and it was written by a Midwife named Jana Studelska


The Last Days of Pregnancy

The last days of pregnancy are a distinct time of in-between. It's a tricky time for mothers, as these last few days are biological and psychological events.

She's curled up on the couch, waiting, a ball of baby and emotions. A scrambled pile of books on pregnancy, labor, baby names, breastfeeding, and not one more word can be absorbed. The birth supplies are loaded in a laundry basket, ready for action. The freezer is filled with meals, the car seat installed, the camera charged. It's time to hurry up and wait. Not a comfortable place to be, but wholly necessary.

The last days of pregnancy - sometimes stretching to agonizing weeks - are a distinct place, time, event, stage. It is a time of in between. Neither here nor there. Your old self and your new self, balanced on the edge of a pregnancy. One foot in your old world, one foot in a new world.

Shouldn't there be a word for this state of being, describing the time and place where mothers linger, waiting to be called forward?

Germans have a word, zwischen, which means between. I've co-opted that word for my own obstetrical uses. When I sense the discomfort and tension of late pregnancy in my clients, I suggest that they are now in The Time of Zwischen. The time of in between, where the opening begins. Giving it a name gives it dimension, an experience closer to wonder than endurance.

I tell these beautiful, round, swollen, weepy women to go with it and be okay there. Feel it, think it, don't push it away. Write it down, sing really loudly when no one else is home, go commune with nature, or crawl into your own mama's lap so she can rub your head until you feel better. I tell their men to let go of their worry; this is an early sign of labor. I encourage them to sequester themselves if they need space, to go out if they need distraction, to enjoy the last hours of this life-as-they-now-know-it. I try to give them permission to follow the instinctual gravitational pulls that are at work within them, just as real and necessary as labor.

The discomforts of late pregnancy are easy to Google: painful pelvis, squished bladder, swollen ankles, leaky nipples, weight unevenly distributed in a girth that makes scratching an itch at ankle level a feat of flexibility. "You might find yourself teary and exhausted," says one website, "but your baby is coming soon!" Cheer up, sweetie, you're having a baby. More messaging that what is going on is incidental and insignificant.

What we don't have is reverence or relevance - or even a working understanding of the vulnerability and openness a woman experiences at this time. Our language and culture fails us. This surely explains why many women find this time so complicated and tricky. But whether we recognize it or not, these last days of pregnancy are a distinct biologic and psychological event, essential to the birth of a mother.

We don't scientifically understand the complex hormones at play that loosen both her hips and her awareness. In fact, this uncomfortable time of aching is an early form of labor in which a woman begins opening her cervix and her soul. Someday, maybe we will be able to quantify this hormonal advance - the prolactin, oxytocin, cortisol, relaxin. But for now, it is still shrouded in mystery, and we know only how to measure thinning and dilation.

I believe that this is more than biological. It is spiritual. To give birth, whether at home in a birth tub with candles and family or in a surgical suite with machines and a neonatal team, a woman must go to the place between this world and the next, to that thin membrane between here and there. To the place where life comes from, to the mystery, in order to reach over to bring forth the child that is hers. The heroic tales of Odysseus are with us, each ordinary day. This round woman is not going into battle, but she is going to the edge of her being where every resource she has will be called on to assist in this journey.

We need time and space to prepare for that journey. And somewhere, deep inside us, at a primal level, our cells and hormones and mind and soul know this, and begin the work with or without our awareness.

I call out Zwischen in prenatals as a way of offering comfort and, also, as a way of offering protection. I see how simple it is to exploit and abuse this time. A scheduled induction is seductive, promising a sense of control. Fearful and confused family can trigger a crisis of confidence. We are not a culture that waits for anything, nor are we believers in normal birth; waiting for a baby can feel like insanity. Giving this a name points her toward listening and developing her own intuition. That, in turn, is a powerful training ground for motherhood.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

40. Weeks.

Welp, this is what it feels like for all my pregnant cohorts to deliver before me, to feel like the last month of pregnancy lasts forever, to feel like the baby is never going to come. I couldn't bring myself to write a 39 week update because I thought surely he'd be here the next day, then the next...

I've had a few more nights of prodromal labor that amounted to exactly nothing, though, so if I went through a lot of denial, anger, and bargaining after changing birth plans, I've gone through depression and acceptance in the past two weeks. Just today, I really felt like I was able to accept that he really is just that cozy and safe in there. Likely the warmest, securest, safest place you'll ever be, I guess. Reframing it has helped. I no longer feel like something's "wrong" and he's not going to be able to come out. He's just not in a rush and so far, that's okay. I'm not going to harshly evict him just because I'm uncomfortable. Time to practice what I preach ;-)

I went to PT yesterday and felt like baby "dropped" a lot by this morning. His AFI was 16+ and HR 143 at today's OB appointment, I measured at 38 weeks which maybe corroborates with the feeling of "dropping" and also reassures me maybe he's not ginormous yet. His head was down and flexed and ready to go! I went to acupuncture for gentle "induction" after lunch, and then to the chiropractor ("you are not STILL pregnant!"). Then we had our first outdoor playdate in ages which certainly kept me distracted, if not self-conscious about how little we've seen other people these days.

Pregnancy in the time of this stupid virus has brought a lot more stress than I anticipated, given that it seemed to be fading out when we got pregnant back in March, and this isn't my first baby. However, the world as it now presents itself and affects personal relationships has had its tremendously stressful and isolating moments, and even normal cold and flu season after Rosie's RSV scare is enough to keep me in hiding. I've been SO GRATEFUL for the sunshine and unseasonably warm weather, and the kids mostly seem to be getting along and enjoying the change of pace... for now. I'm hoping this lasts!

They're getting pretty tired of the answer to, "what's the plan for tomorrow?" simply being, "waiting for baby brother." While on the one hand, it's a wonderful illustration of Advent, on the other, it's getting fairly monotonous.

After he didn't come by Thanksgiving like we initially told the kids, we all placed bets on when he'd be born. Winner gets to pick the next place we get takeout from. Rosie was the first to place her bet, confidently saying he'd be born on his due date (today). I bet that he'd come last Saturday when my doula got back in town. I had 3 hours of contractions that night, but clearly no baby. Noah bet November 30, which came and went. Then tonight at bedtime, Rosie sadly said, "I guess baby brother forgot it was his due date!" Ross voted for Dec. 4 which was offensive at the time ("you're betting on me being uncomfortable for another week?!") but doesn't seem so far-fetched now. 

I can't believe November wasn't baby month, after all the prodromal labor, let alone the significant birthdays and milestones and memories it holds. But maybe this is part of God doing this new thing. It's all new. This baby exists because God wants him to exist, not because he fits some neat and tidy narrative, as much as my brain like that sort of thing.

Baby brother, I love that you're chill and safe and you know what you like. But also, gosh, we are so ready to snuggle with you on the outside. As fun as your copious wiggles are on the inside, we are just ready to meet you in full after 9 months of experiencing you in part!


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

38 weeks

Oh my stars. Did I just post on Instagram last week about having an experience of calm at the end of pregnancy for once? Just kidding. Let's see... last Friday I had a huge podcast interview and immediately afterwards I felt like baby wiggled around a bunch and "dropped" and I was having lots of pressure. I slept like a ROCK that night after getting home late from my homeschool book club. The best I've slept all pregnancy, I think. Saturday, I had a massage, got my breast pump (finally), ran some errands, and probably didn't hydrate enough. Saturday night, I was up for 2 hours with regular contractions every 10-12 minutes. All day Sunday I had Braxton-Hicks and tons of discomfort. 

Monday, my home birth midwife came over to tell me that she was having to cancel the rest of her contracts for the year based on circumstances that are 100% outside of my control. Insert *record scratching* in my brain. What?! 

I spent the whole afternoon alternating between shock, crying, and staring at my phone trying to talk to people and find ANY way to still make this homebirth happen. I knew I was so excited about it, but I don't think I realized how much I'd invested in it in terms of a corrective emotional experience until it was taken away at what is really the very last minute. No one's going to take a new client at 38 weeks. Even if they were willing to since I've had homebirth prenatal care and could essentially transfer my records from a reputable midwife, they're likely booked AND next week is a holiday. Those are the answers I was getting. Or else people suggesting I drive to another state to deliver in an AirBNB. Sorry, but to me that's not a HOME birth. At least not the kind I was wanting. 

I wanted to see what it was like to trust my body and be surrounded with a team I've gotten to know for 9 months who ALSO trust my body. I wanted to know what uninterrupted labor felt like in a safe environment that I was in control of. I wanted to birth in the water. I wanted to shower in my own shower and sleep in my own bed. It felt like I went from an entire pregnancy of looking forward to how completely NORMAL it felt to have the midwife come to me and to think about starting and ending labor in the comfort of my own home to being paralyzed at the thought of arriving in the hospital and experiencing the high levels of stress I had last time when the team was questioning my body and therefore I was, too. Just... no. I was devastated and it felt like all doors were closing in my face after free, easy, access to the idea of a homebirth from day one of this pregnancy. What the heck!?

It brought up lots of baggage from the last 3 years, too: Why can't anything go the way I planned? Why would something that felt so right go so wrong? Why did I get my hopes up only to be disappointed yet again?! And then, of course, fears: does this mean something bad will happen and I am going to NEED to be in the hospital? After crying all night (seriously, my eyes were swollen the entire next day) I reached out to a new set of people as well as to my counselors because I knew I needed to reframe. I talked with the OB on the phone and asked A LOT of questions about making a hospital birth more like the birth experience I'd been planning on this time. I talked with a doula acquaintance that I'd just seen last week who was actually willing to take me on this late in the game simply because she knows me. 

I also started challenging myself to reframe because I needed to get ahold of myself after being in shock for 48 hours. I realized I was partly so upset because of the loss of control and all that brings up, but also partly because the hospital has become really stressful to me between Rosie's 2 hospitalizations and working in a hostile environment during COVID with a horrible manager. I wanted to bypass the whole thing. Maybe I'll never know why I don't get to. But maybe this is an opportunity to address ALL of it and REALLY turn the page on an entirely new chapter. Not just to have a corrective emotional experience around birth and marriage, but around parenting and holding my ground and believing in myself and not really caring so much what other people think of me. I'm educated and informed and my no one cares more about my body and my baby than I do, thank you very much. So. Time will tell. 

My doula does leave town for the holiday next week, so I've been telling baby that it's safe to come any time between now and next Tuesday! What's WILD is that after the midwife came over this Monday, I felt like the baby UN-engaged from my pelvis and weeks of Braxton-Hicks contractions just STOPPED. For a full 24 hours, nothing but occasional baby kicks. Like he KNEW he couldn't come until we had a safe place for him to arrive in. Last night, I started having Braxton-Hicks again and baby has been moving a ton and re-engaging and that's all encouraging. Poor guy. I'm sure the stress hormones were a shock to his system, too.

I teared up a little as I moved things from my birth cart to the hospital bag last night. I really was the most prepared, excited homebirth mama-in-waiting you ever did see. Setting up the birth cart and envisioning the magic was SO fun. Filling the hospital bag and trying to write a birth plan that didn't sound defensive wasn't nearly as fun. But today Rosie asked about the coconut water, apple juice, and applesauce on the stairs and I told her I needed to pack it in my hospital bag so I had energy during labor. (The kids are also sad homebirth is no longer happening, especially Noah. He loves a good party.) She took it up stairs for me and said, "so baby brother has energy, too, because what you eat he eats!" We are all so ready to meet him. As fun as feeling the kicks are, seeing them will be even better.

So. Here's the little "survey" I planned to write this week before everything hit the fan! But it's still a fun recap of what I think/HOPE will be my last pregnancy update!



How far along? I'm technically writing this at 37 weeks and 6 days. Today feels big. We have a new birth plan in place with a provider, a location, and a doula. I sent my birth plan (the first one I've ever written) to the OB and spent an hour on the phone with the doula talking about my birth preferences. Our family maternity pictures arrived in my inbox! My podcast interview for Freely Rooted came out!

Weight gain: I will maybe check tomorrow morning, but as of 37 weeks it was up 26 pounds, which is basically on-par with the first two even though I'm eating way more food. I did start this pregnancy a full 20 pounds heavier, so this is by far the most weight I've ever carried and I feel it in my knees the last few weeks. But I've worked so hard to nourish my body better this time and I'm so hopeful it pays off postpartum!

Stretch marks? Shockingly, no new ones! My sweet belly is just stretching and stretching on baby's behalf.

Sleep: Meh. I'm so used to not sleeping. Let's just say I've read A LOT of novels in the middle of the night this pregnancy! At least I'm not panicked about it like I was at the beginning. I'm also pretty sore and generally have to rotate from side to side because my glutes cramp up after about 90 minutes on one side. And the left side, as always, remains the more painful one. Especially where the round ligament attaches to the pubic bone.

Best moment of the week: Maternity pics and the podcast are both like little presents today after a hard few days. So was my conversation with the doula who just made me feel a lot more at peace.

Miss anything? I so badly miss not being out of breath all the time. Being able to bend at the waist and pick stuff up off the floor will be nice again, too.  Although the last few months are teaching me these kids are big enough to be expected to do more and more of this themselves.

Movement: Lots of little kicks and wiggles as well as hiccups once or twice a day most days.

Cravings? I've actually been craving sushi (philly roll with smoked salmon) or else a pot of mussels from Dario's. Neither is easily accessible right now.

Aversions? Food is so tedious. I've mastered some of the reflux I was having with baking soda in water before bed and being vigilant with digestive enzymes with meals, but I still just have a sour stomach most of the time. Noah's fighting off a stomach bug so I'm sure that's not helping me either.

Symptoms: Of pregnancy? LOL all of them. Low-key nausea, low-key heartburn, shortness of breath, nasal congestion, fatigue, insomnia, back pain, hip pain... But also mystery, delight, anticipation, awe... it really is the best of times and the worst of times.

Signs of labor? Lots of Braxton-Hicks, occasionally some painful contractions. Definitely a sense of baby being lower. But aside from those two hours Saturday night, nothing that could actually be considered pre-labor. But... so weird... my boobs have been more sore again in the last week and I swear I smell like milk all the time now!

Belly button in or out? Oh it's been basically an outie since the end of the first trimester, if not sooner. It's allllmost in umbilical hernia territory but it's barely hanging on. Hopefully I can rehab the separation there without surgery over the course of the next year.

Happy or moody? Less anxious than I have been, which is good. Mostly just tired. It's been a wild ride. Really wanting to soak up the last few days with baby on the inside AND with Noah and Rosie. I feel like I "lost" a few days in the scramble of the changes this week.

Looking forward to: Being in labor and not constantly wondering if today is the day! MEETING THIS BABY.


Thursday, November 11, 2021

37 weeks

Weeks 34-36 were so claustrophobic and I was so over it, and now it feels like suddenly here we are: "full-term" (okay okay I know in my brain it's technically still late-preterm until 38) and I'm totally on labor watch after a little scare earlier this week. I'm 37 weeks today. My app says baby's hands and feet are basically at their newborn size (the kids LOVE looking at this illustration every week). The excitement is palpable in those moments, but at other times I can tell Rosie in particular is struggling to wrap her head around the changes to come-- her behavior has definitely changed. Noah's like, "old news. I know how she feels but I've done this before." And of course I can't find half of the "having a baby" books we got back in the spring when we told the kids. They weren't super interested then, but now that it's clear things are changing I want to read them again to prepare.

I'm alternating between being so excited for labor to start, and between being so shocked that the end of pregnancy is already here and that our family will never look the same. I'm excited to meet this new person but it's still so hard to imagine. Pregnancy is so wild and the belly gets so big so quickly at the end, I can't really wrap my mind around it. I feel like even when I do look in the mirror, I don't get a great picture of what I *really* look like. My bump was a lot smaller at 34 weeks, but that's when we got maternity pictures and I'm SO EXCITED to hopefully get them back this week and see what we all look like as a family of almost-five.

I dug back and found a little survey I did when I was pregnant with Rosie and thought it would be fun to look back again this time.


Most exciting moment: 
Probably the morning I got the positive pregnancy test. I just really didn't know if we'd get to do this again, and I cried tears of joy when it looked like it was all happening. Subsequently, starting to "show" and digging out maternity clothes again was really fun. Dressing a bump is way more exciting than getting dressed at any other time (unless, maybe, you're a 4 year old girl and every morning is an opportunity to ask, "do I look beautiful?!")

I don't know if it qualifies as exciting, but my Mother's Blessing in KC a few weeks ago was REALLY special. I loved being around super familiar friends who have been through all the hard things with me, and celebrating a good, sweet thing. It was so helpful to have a day to process and cry happy tears and feel seen and loved.


Most challenging moment: 
The first trimester was different and stressful with several bleeding scares. Seeing baby on the ultrasound with his heart beating away afterwards was always reassuring (and farther into the first tri, seeing him just chilling there with his little legs crossed at the ankles). But there was a lot of low-key uncertainty in my mind and body until I could feel regular movements. Sometimes it STILL feels too good to be true.

One thing I'm proud of:
The first trimester was, of course, rough. I was crazy fatigued and had a hard time fueling myself enough to sleep through the night without waking up hungry and wired. Then summer was HOT. I think I was good about expressing my overwhelm and doing something about it whether it was reaching out to a friend to vent, scheduling a counseling appointment, etc. Self-care as a homeschooling mom is hard and it hasn't been as regimented or as consistent as I'd like, but I'm proud of myself for not neglecting it or trying to power through. I've been able to give myself more grace, cry when I needed to cry, and celebrate the joyful moments too. I'm also proud of myself for getting through what feels like our first "real" homeschool term even though we homeschooled all last year. I put a lot of work in this summer organizing a full Charlotte Mason year for Noah, and that planning has paid off. We have one week left in our term and we all mostly enjoy our school mornings! Thank goodness for rhythm and routine *somewhere.*

One thing I wish were different:
COVID. I thought it wouldn't affect me as much since this isn't my first rodeo, but being the new people in town in this weird time has been really hard. We started getting out a lot more this spring and summer, but when cases started to rise again at the end of July, I started getting pretty anxious. Even more so as we enter cold and flu season in general. It has been a bit lonely and will continue to be so until this coming spring, I'm afraid. That's been pretty challenging, especially for the lone extrovert in the family. 

Favorite foods:
I don't even know. Sushi always sounds good, even though it often makes me cold! I've had very few moments of craving fulfilled or foods that truly hit the spot (but man, especially in the first trimester when something actually hits the spot, it's REALLY good). At this point, I'm not terribly excited about food in general. Lots of reflux and not a lot of room. I think the only consistently tolerable (albeit not terribly excitable) food has been cookie dough Larabars for midnight snacks. Currently, collagen hot chocolate for a bedtime snack is also hitting the spot. But there's not much I crave or love, although I could go for a pot of mussels from Dario's with some crusty bread right at this moment. 

Least favorite food:
Anything I make myself? Seriously. First trimester cravings unfulfilled kind of haunt me. I really missed all of our favorite KC restaurants. There are no real food options in Blair, so it's been ALL HOMEMADE ALL THE TIME. I'm so tired of cooking, of leftovers, of forcing myself to eat protein... I'm almost looking forward to the crazy breastfeeding hunger just to enjoy food again.

Physical state: 
It varies SO MUCH from day to day. Some days I want to cry because every step hurts. Some days I feel alllllmost normal. Lately, I've been feeling the extra weight I started with this time around. My knees have never had to bear this much weight before. Overall, I'm grateful that my biggest complaints have been musculoskeletal and we've had the resources to get chiropractic care and physical therapy/CST. I don't know what I'd be doing right now without that! Everything else has been more or less an improvement over the last pregnancy, very much in thanks to pro-metabolic eating and supplements the past 18 months. I don't even know if I blogged about when movements started getting consistent, or when Braxton-Hicks started. It's all just feel like a normal progression of a normal part of life, which I'm really grateful for. I'm excited that even planning to labor and birth at home is a continuation of that feeling of normalcy.

Mental state:
Depends on the minute. Currently I'm anxious and a little nervous about a major podcast interview I have tomorrow. After that, I think I will feel a lot of relief. I'm celebrating with a massage on Saturday, and that marks the end of our concrete plans. Then we will just be waiting for baby!

One thing that surprised me: 
How much COVID has impacted me mentally. I've been more reclusive than I anticipated, and I'm anxious about not having solid postpartum support this time around. Most of my friends are past this life stage and it seems like they don't even remember that I'm pregnant, which is a bummer. Then again, I probably consider them my friends more than they consider me theirs. Such is the fun of moving as an adult.

Looking forward to: 
Labor starting! I just really wasn't on labor watch with the first two, and this time I totally am. I'm so excited we are doing things differently and I'm ready to EXPERIENCE it instead of sitting here worrying about pushing a watermelon out of my nostril (thanks, Friends, for that timeless analogy).

36 weeks and 36 years old

At 36 weeks I can officially deliver at the local hospital down the street, and and 37 weeks I can safely deliver with my midwife at home. Basically, I've been counting down the days. In the meantime, I taught my last pre-baby Newborn Care and Breastfeeding classes and I'm alternately "over" pregnancy and slightly freaking out that this baby is growing by the day and has to somehow *gulp* get from there to here. It is immensely reassuring knowing my body has done this before. But also, it's a freaking fantastic achievement and a lot of hard work! It's all fun and games when the bump is tiny. These days it feels like I might just pop open at the belly button, he's getting so big. I actually measured two weeks ahead at my last appointment. I'm sincerely hoping there was some user error with the tape measure or he was just stretching out. I'm perfectly happy with another baby in the 7 pound range!

I was looking back at my pregnancies with Noah and Rosie and remembering that life was majorly stressful at this time. Between 36-37 weeks with Noah, we were just moving into our still-under-construction house after living out of suitcases with family for a month! At this same time with Rosie, Ross was getting a last-minute knee surgery and narrowly avoided cardioversion and a night in the CICU. It's no wonder I was anxious for a few more weeks of baby tucked inside!

This time, no such story. Everything I have left to do will be *easier* when I can bend at the waist and move around like my normal self. I'm so grateful for a normal experience and now I have a little more empathy for women who are impatient at the end of pregnancy. Because somehow, here we are. Approaching the end of this journey and this season of life.

Time feels so slippery and elusive these days. I'm slowly surrendering to the messes that aren't going to get organized and walls that aren't going to get painted (urgh) and instead wrapping up some mental and emotional loose ends. I still need to write letters to the kids before the baby arrives. I had one last in-person lactation consult, and I have a BIG podcast interview on Friday. Then... maternity leave. And then... baby. I had a bit of a scare on Monday this week with some painful cramping. Never figured out what was going on, but it made the impending arrival a LOT more real.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

35 weeks? Check.

Time is flying. When my pregnancy app countdown first switched to single digit weeks remaining until my due date, I freaked out a bit. But now seeing those numbers get smaller each day is downright THRILLING. 

I'm feeling like this is a November baby and prior to my midwife appointment this week, I hadn't even let myself think I might still be pregnant at 39... 40... 41 weeks. I am NOT mentally or physically prepared for that. In my head, once I hit 38 weeks all bets are off and that baby is coming, right?

Right?

At least now Ross and I have had a conversation about what to do that week if there's still no baby (take the kids on a 24-hour staycation, schedule a massage, splurge on dinner and a movie as a family...)

But I'm still also okay if he comes in, oh, 8 days once we reach full-term. All along, there was a tiny question as to whether my midwife would be available. Her daughter-in-law was due exactly a month before me, but if she went to 42 weeks and I went to 38 and the midwife was out of town... ???

However, the baby has been born, the travel has been scheduled, and she'll be back by the time I reach 37 weeks, which is the earliest I could deliver with her anyway. So that's one questions answered, which is nice!

Between 34-35 weeks, I reached a level of OVER IT that I don't recall from previous pregnancies. Then again, it feels like FOREVER since I've been pregnant and I'm experiencing it all again from scratch.


Highs from this past week: 

Mom, Rosie, and I spent all day Saturday making freezer meals and it was SO MUCH more fun and productive than when I spent like 3 days doing it alone last time. We even got to play outside in the last of the fall weather for a bit that afternoon. And I have like TEN great meals in the freezer ready to go, plus lactation cookies and a few loaves of bread.

Counseling on Tuesday was EXACTLY what I needed and I was really reminded that I'd like these next few days and weeks to be cozy and making memories with the two kids I do have right now, because they're amazing and everything is about to change, even if it's good change. The to-do list is just about as done as it can be (even though it's not as DONE as my OCD brain wants it to be). The birth cart is ready and newborn and postpartum clothes are washed. Diapers have been purchased for the first time in over 2 years (eek) and it's all happening. 

Lows: 

My pelvic pain was SO bad Saturday just moving around the kitchen in a limited capacity. Then Sunday and Monday I had a horrible headache and was feeling really overwhelmed and claustrophobic in my body. 

It's so hard to do physical tasks these days even on the best days. I drop everything and can hardly bend over to pick things up! I still need to clean up the bathtub for prospective water birth, maybe tie up some financial loose ends (I'm paranoid what if I die in labor and Ross doesn't even know where my retirement money is), finish our school term... Although after chatting with my Charlotte Mason group and with the counselor, I'm feeling way less stressed about doing that 100% perfectly these last few weeks. Taking last Thursday and Friday off was much-needed and more beneficial than a picture-perfect 12-week term. Do I want my kid to remember the last few pre-baby fun things, or a few extra math lessons? Easy answer!

Overall, I'm ready to be done but also so grateful for the journey. This pregnancy has gone by really quickly in a lot of ways. It's also felt so... normal? Like, my friend Whitney in KC and I talk a lot because all our kids are close in age and being pregnant together was good for my sanity and there's a lot of solidarity there. But many of my friends here have 3, 4, 5+ kids already? So being pregnant with my third is old news. Also, I'd say my friend net here has been cast wide but not as deep as I'd like thanks to the timing of our move. I don't have super close friends here yet and there's less social everything these days. Also, I'm... different now than I was 4.5 years ago and not so emotionally attached to being a pregnant person. I think maybe that will make the transition to newborn life easier? I'm trying to take the delightful parts of pregnancy, celebrate, cherish, and remember them, and leave the rest.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Sweet Potato, Onion, and Italian Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner

This is not a perfectly exact recipe, because it doesn't need to be. So stinking easy, and my kids say it smells like pizza while it's baking!

Ingredients:

2 packages sweet Italian chicken sausage links, sliced into 1/2 inch segments

2 bags frozen, pre-cubed sweet potatoes (or roughly 3-4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed)

1 yellow onion, very coarsely chopped

1-2 Tbs avocado or olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, dump all ingredients on the sheet pan and mix until everything is covered in oil.

3. Bake for 20 minutes, flip, and bake for another 20 minutes.