39wks1day

“40 weeks is an average.”

“Baby will come when Baby is ready.”

“No, we’ve tried all the ‘tricks’ to get labor going in the past and nothing worked.”

“Yes, I’ve hit the point where every day feels like a week in length.”

And so much more.

Allllll of these things I have said, many times, and find myself saying them more and more – to myself and others – here recently because, well, because. 39wks1Day. With Baby No.5. Sidenote: I don’t know why that has to be added there, but somehow, along with every other oddity/uniqueism this pregnancy has brought, I’ll tack on SUPER impatient as well (and I doubt I was very patient with the other four, for that matter).

Maybe I’m just ready to be done. And this time we are DONE DONE, so really, this is the end of an era, so let’s just do it, OK?

Or perhaps I’m just done with the guessing games and the wondering each night if I’m going to sleep or going into labor (or neither), only to do the whole routine again the next night.

But probably I’m just ready to meet this Little One. The anticipation on this hoped for/tried for/but not exactly known was something we’d ever go for (prior to two years ago) Baby has been intense the entire pregnancy. And now more than ever, I just want to hold him or her in my arms and be on the other side of this journey.

I mean, I get it. It’s not actually any easier to have Baby on the outside than on the inside (although I will be able to see my toes again as well as the children and furniture which I keep bumping into which will be helpful), but there comes a point where you just feel ready to dive into the next level of chaos because, dang, it’s coming anyway, and the not-knowing when is crazy making.

Now, by no means do I mean to complain about pregnancy. Thankfully my husband and BFFs absorb most of that with stride and understand that when I whine, it’s not from a lack of gratitude, just an extreme amount of hormones and weeks pregnant (one friend recently pardoned me when I confessed to her about being super grouchy with my kids because I’m “45 weeks pregnant” which made me laugh and laugh because, TRUTH).

And as much as I try to be transparent here on the blog, I’ll keep the list of AYFKMs to myself right now because in the last two weeks there have been such odd (not harmful to the babe, mind you) physical symptoms and side effects and just shtuff that has again made me want to be so done with this part of the journey, that if I went into detail, it would be 1) embarrassing and 2) ungrateful sounding.

So here we are….39wks1day, checking in and knowing that Babe might just stay put for many more days yet to come because above all else, this is not my journey alone.

I mean, not even my belly photos are even my own at this point, so there you have it. 😉 IMG_2532

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BDD + Me

This morning I participated on a panel at our church that was all about Embodied Faith, focusing on changes in our bodies and the resulting journey that stemmed from those changes. I realize my updates on the blog have been few and far between in recent months and even more so in terms of body image, which was my contribution to the panel specifically in regards to pregnancy, but with 10 days to go until Baby No.5’s due date, it was a fitting (and, not shockingly, emotional) time for me to share more of my story with all those that were in attendance.WelschFallMini-17

For those that weren’t, there will eventually be a link I can post to the recorded session, so you can also hear the stories of the other four amazing women who shared their experiences, too. For now, though, I’ll share the questions that were asked of us and my responses. I didn’t quite share all of this information and not in this precise order, either, but it’s still a pretty fair glimpse at the journey that I’ve been on for the last four years and why/how I hope to continue the work.

 

What body changes did you experience, and how was that for you?

The body change I experienced came at a six-week post-birth check-up after having my third baby. I was completely thrown by the weight that registered on the scale at that visit and it was actually my irritation and fixation on this number that finally pushed me to seek out professional help for body image issues that had been lurking and bothering me since my freshman year of college. I wanted to change the power these numbers had on me and I knew at that point that I needed someone with training to help me do that.

EXTRA ? – What is body dysmorphia and how has it shaped your journey/experience: Body dysmorphia (BDD) is a mental disorder that is different from the more well-known eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, however it can still have physical impacts on the body. It includes a fixation on physical flaws that may be entirely unnoticeable to others, but that can be anxiety-inducing and behavior-altering for the person who suffers from it; in other words, we tend not to see ourselves in the same way others see us, and we sometimes allow these self-critical thought patterns to control us mentally or manifest in physical mistreatment/changes to the body. My body dysmorphia does not center on one particular body part/flaw so much as my weight and appearance to others in general, so in relationship to pregnancy, I tend to, even with the help of my therapist during these last two, struggle a great deal with the things people say about my size and shape, as people do, especially to pregnant women. While I logically can tell myself that people don’t mean any harm with their words, I can still fall down the rabbit hole of body negativity and flaw fixation pretty easily, as my work with this is still in progress. Considering that I didn’t even know BDD was a “thing” until I was 31 years old, I try to remind myself in those moments of struggle that I am still relatively new at dealing with this disorder and that it is my continued work that really matters, more so than bumps along the way.

How do you talk to God/Spirit about this?

            Music is medicine to me, so I’ll quote a song lyric here from an artist named Nahko, in which he says, “The body talks, but meditation helps.” In recent years, this concept has become my go-to for connecting to Spirit about many things, but especially my body and my body image issues. I believe that mediation is different from prayer in that it opens us up to receive directly from source, from spirit, rather than being the one doing all the “talking” as sometimes happens in prayer. My body (and brain) tend to chatter a lot at me, but when I can sit regularly in my meditation practice (7-11 minutes a day, several days a week), I am automatically creating space in my head (and heart) for healing, positivity, and kindness – all directed at myself which I can then in turn share more easily with others.

Is there a song or scripture or poem that’s been helpful for you? 

India Arie – “I am Light”

I am not the things my family did/I am not the voices in my head
I am not the pieces of the brokenness inside,
I am light

I’m not the mistakes that I have made/Or any of the things that caused me pain
I am not the pieces of the dream I left behind,

I am light

I am not the color of my eyes/I am not the skin on the outside
I am not my age, I am not my race
My soul inside is all light
I am divinity defined/I am the God on the inside
I am a star, a piece of it all
I am light

What have you learned from this journey about God/Spirit?

I have begun to move away from body fixation to understanding that, much like the India Arie song gets at, I am not the me that others see or that I see through this body dysmorphia distorted lens. The real “me” is the spirit, the soul, that is housed by this – as one of my favorite yoga teachers, Kathryn Budig, calls it – meat suit. And I think God would agree, because while I believe in taking care of and honoring all that my body does and is, ultimately it is not my body on which I will be judged, but rather the actions and words that come from the real me and my own spirit.

What have been the gifts of this journey?

            Because of this struggle and eventual outreach for help, I started my committed, regular yoga practice just over four years ago, shortly after I started therapy. Three years ago, I became a certified yoga teacher and now own my own yoga business in which I can help others find and nurture their own mind/body/spirit connections as I continue to do the same for myself. Doing the work of healing body image issues has also made me a better parent, as it is my children who are the real motivation for my own desire to change my story for the sake of not passing on my same issues to them as they grow.

If the class were to offer prayers on your behalf, for what would you request prayers?

            Continued progress on my journey. I don’t ever expect to be perfect, but any progress made benefits not only me, but also my family, friends, students, and so on.

Rest over Nest

For the last week and a half (or more), my nesting has been in full force. I have been tackling long untouched areas of the house, so much so that one morning I stirred up an alarming amount of sneeze-inducing dust for a 9-month-preggers-with-Baby-No5 woman to exposure herself to unprotected. And every night I have been trying to make sure that the house is tidy enough just in case I’m not actually here in the morning because said Baby No5 decided we needed to head to the hospital overnight. 

But today all of that went by the wayside not because of said Baby, but because of said Baby’s big sister. When RL came down with a stomach bug around midnight last night (& let’s face it; I don’t think my twitchy legs/false contracty belly had really slept prior to that), I went from sort of hoping labor was coming to adamantly hoping it was NOT. 

20+ hours later and I am glad to say that that remains the case because, wow, today would not have been a good one for needing to go to the hospital. Poor RL hasn’t kept a thing down all day. And while it is tempting to say I got nothing done today as a result, that’s not true. I got to be next to her as she got sick (again and again) and reassure her that everything was OK, and I also got to forego all naps and run around the house cleaning moments because those first two jobs took all time and attention today.

And in a bizarre way, I am OK with that because my system is shot and the fact that I did not try to overdo it today to make sure the house is in pristine order is good. Even though I could not nap, I could still let my body and the baby chill a bit and clearly that worked because no signs of labor today is exactly what I wanted and I got that, so perhaps we can get some actual sleep tonight and recover a bit before real sleep dep comes with newborn mode (however based on this sentence, I fear my brain has already gone there a bit). 

So fingers crossed that RL is only one to get sick and that she is all better come Morning because as much as I can sing, “rest is best” (thanks, DT) I don’t know if another day of being forced into it over nesting is something I or my kitchen counter can handle right now. 

At-Home Halloween (Awesomeness)

Sunday night Ben looked at the forecast for this week and saw that temps would be hovering around freezing for Halloween and my immediate reaction was, I just can’t. And also, Yuck. Add in the fact that Truman started sporting a runny nose on Sunday and the fact that I am doing everything in my power NOT to get sick right now, I had a moment of momspiration, daring to ask him, “Do you think if we offer to get the kids pizza and let them each pick out a bag of candy to ‘trick-or-treat’ around the house for, they’d let us skip the actual door-to-door stuff?”

You see, we’ve been doing some offers like this lately and they’ve worked, so even though I didn’t think my odds were great, I was still hopeful. Last Friday night, for example, we were at the Y’s Family Halloween event, waiting in a rather long, fairly slow line (for which the kids were being patient rock stars, I might add) and our window of time left before we needed to bail for bedtime was dwindling. Problem was, we’d promised them one more game/activity after said long-line. Or that was the case until I threw out the notion of, “Hey, guys! How about you all get to eat one more piece of candy and then we’ll just go home?!” and they totally went for it and everyone was very, very happy, even though I had no idea how it actually worked.

This was exactly the same case Monday morning when we proposed the whole Family Halloween Party concept (plus going to the store to pick your own bag of candy each!) and they totally went for that, too! #WINNING is about all I can say because it would have taken all of .2 seconds for them to have denied it, too.

But wait. It gets better!

First of all, we already had in the works a “free” Halloween going, as all of the kids picked to either repeat last year’s costume or configure a homemade one out of stuff from the playroom. I’m sorry – does it get any easier than that?!

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Turns out it does, because when B took the crew to the store yesterday after school to get their Top Picks of candy that he and I would then hand out to them tonight around the house, they picked the most comical selection ever:

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That’s right. Two bags of suckers, some candy corn, and the smallest bag of pumpkins you’ve ever seen. LOL! Clearly they have no idea what an opportunity they squandered! And also, because I’m uber pregnant (and not a monster), I totally got myself a big oldimg_8181 mix of chocolate choices this morning when I went to get some decorations for the house, because, hello! It’s not Halloween with Twix, tyvm.

 

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But, yes. Because we got away with the stay-at-home option, I spent a little bit on balloons and streamers and glow sticks so we could do up the house in style and make the after school hours through bedtime super fun for them without freezing anyone in the process. I also looked up a bunch of activities and printables on Pinterest (and totally busted out the laminater this morning) so we could also do some sit down stuff after all the trick-or-treat/Hide-and-Seek + candy and pizza consumption.

And truth be told? It was fantastic.

Of course we missed being with our friends who always do a big group trick-or-treat run together here in town, but I think they all understood where we were coming from and know that we hope very much to be back with them next year (when hopefully parkas aren’t needed for the main event). But for this year, our little Family Night turned out to be just right, and the kids even got to hand out candy to the most trick-or-treaters we’ve ever had, so that was great, too. img_8206

Oh! And a note about costumes…RL totally ditched her Ballerina Butterfly that she’s beenimg_8201 planning on for weeks (and wore to the Y) and went with a mermaid dress up outfit instead (and eye shadow which thrilled her to no end because of how “creepy” it made her look – lol), and Truman literally wore one Wild Kratz glove, but whatevs. He was very TWO today, so I’m counting the fact that he did anything a win. Ben’s after school clothes turned him into a yoga teacher (*snort*) img_8196and I went from telling the kids I would wear my “fake hair” (i.e. my blond wig for my Xtina/Voice costume) to last minute ripping up a sheet to wrap about my torso and spreading purple eye shadow all over my face to become a MUMmy, which the kids freaking loved.

So somehow we won the dang lottery this year with Halloween and now I get to celebrate with just a few more Twix, because, I mean, really, while this was definitely the warmer option, it was still not without some effort, meaning this MUMmy earned that extra chocolate, for sure!

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Sliding Doors Moments and Ricochet Deer

So last night was book club night for one of my groups and I was super looking forward to it. We read a Cather book that I haven’t read since grad school and I couldn’t wait to be together with the greats (friends, food, and fiction). We were set to meet at a member’s house who lives in a development just south of Hastings, so I picked up one my favorite reader friends and away we went, snacks and books ready to go.

And go we did, until Mother Nature decided to GO at us instead.

For those of you unfamiliar with the area, Hwy 6 runs south of town and as you drive west out of Hastings, you quickly run into farmland, which as you may know, is in the midst of harvest. Add in the fact that it is later-October and it was dusk as we were driving out, what happened is not all that shocking, except that when a huge doe (and no, not just saying that because she hit me, but because she was BIG) came out of the ditch from the field/treeline that is RIGHTTHERE by the highway and then bounced off the front of my car, “shocking” is pretty much the only word that applies.

My first response? To keep going to book club.

No joke.

Because the doe kept heading north, I assumed I had just clipped her back end and that my 2000 Chrysler LHS (literally the size of a whale, my friends; the B-52s knew their stuff) was fine. I mean, I knew I was fine, because the airbags had not gone off and because there was no time to react (i.e. brake), just hit, the seat belt didn’t pull on me or the baby at all, so why not just keep driving, right?

Well, enter my more reasonable passenger who wisely told me to pull off at the next available drive a 1/4 mile down the road, because once we did, we realized the car was steaming (burst radiator) and her door could no longer open. So out we scrambled, book club snacks in hand, to assess the smashed, hissing damage.

It wasn’t pretty (photos are super dark because we didn’t get them taken until after all the phone calls/texts had been made to the authorities and husbands and, yes, book club):

I won’t chronicle every single moment (or swear word) that happened after that, but I can tell you that I definitely burst into tears when I realized that the car was done-for. We’ve had it for eight years and it brought home one of my babies from the hospital, so I think  I was having a bit of an emotional attachment reaction, but also a realistic Oh, Shit moment of realizing that we were indeed going to need to find a new around-town car.

The amount of damage WAY outweighs the value of the car and we only had liability insurance on it (for obvious reasons), so last night really was the last night for The White Car (we are are super creative on vehicle names, folks), which just sucks. But here’s the thing. As stressed out as this whole thing made my supposed-to-be-pure-fun Sunday evening and now this week, I’ve got a list of Sliding Doors/Gratitude moments going through my brain (if you have not seen this movie, please watch it, but in the mean time, it refers to a story line that splits in two, following the different lives a woman would have lead depending on catching/missing a train):

  1. There was an optional road I could have taken a half mile prior that would have kept me away from that doe. Same thing could be said for if we had left 30 seconds earlier or later, or made/missed a stop light on the way. That’s just how tight the timing/space was on the whole thing. But apparently that just was not meant to be, and so, here we are.
  2. I was going to drive the van last night. It’s easier for me to get in/out of these days (truth), but then I got behind and the white car was already out, so it was what I drove instead. Thank goodness because we would be in a world of hurt without our family vehicle and to replace the “school car” is obviously easier than one that can carry all soon-to-be-seven of us.
  3. There was a big-ass pickup on my ass while driving on Hwy 6 (pardon the language; it’s still a step up from my descriptors used last night), and I honestly believe that my not hitting the brakes in the split second between seeing/colliding with the deer was a godsend. One, it kept the belt from straining against my belly. Two, it kept the deer from sliding up the hood into the windshield. And most of all, Three, it kept that big #$&*&@* truck from ending up in my rear end (yes, it was that close to me, and no, it did not stop to see if we were OK when we pulled over). Although what happened sucked, it was very easy to see even in the immediate aftermath that it could have been so much worse.
  4. After we got everything squared away for the time being, my friend’s husband (who had come out to help us while Ben was at the house making phone calls to insurance and checking with our awesome neighbors about borrowing a vehicle to get to school today) still took us to book club. I can’t tell you how much I needed to see those faces and laugh as much as that group tends to do. Best medicine for a shaken spirit, for sure. I mean, you guys, they renamed the night O, PioDEERS! for us. That’s amazing.

And so, today is a new day. We’ll make phone calls and figure out how to officially say goodbye to TWC as we begin trying to find its replacement. Not at all what we thought we would be doing a month prior to Baby’s arrival, but since the accident thankfully didn’t send me into labor, we’ve got the time to get this stuff done and be, once again, set and ready to go when s/he decides to join us. I am just beyond thankful that once again, in this pregnancy of strange circumstances (food poisoning, altitude sickness, and now deer attack), Baby is totally fine, totally content in my tummy.

P.S. If anyone local knows of a good school car for sale or has a recommendation of where you have purchased (and were happy with) a car, please message me!

 

What a Wednesday

Y’all, it has been A Morning, and, for the record, as I start writing this it is currently just 9:34 a.m.! So why so frantic considering so little of the day has gone by? Well, we’re smack dab in the middle of a BIG week and today of all days, HD decided to get himself up but let everyone else keep sleeping, so from the time we realized this (about 20 minutes later than we should have, but c’mon – those of you with little Littles know just how precious/valuable/vital 20 minutes can be, especially in the mornings!), we were scrambling.

It also happened to be the kids’ second day of Walk to School and Lincoln’s second day of swimming lessons, so, enter: CHAOS.

For Walking Days (where we meet up with a 100 or so other Longfellow kids and walk to the school from the museum) we have to be out the door a solid 25 minutes earlier than normal. So if you are math-y (ha! not me!), I’m pretty sure that means we lost 45 minutes of prep time today, so no wonder we were a little frantic and frazzled! When you add in the fact that LT lost his ever-loving mind about having to put his swim trunks on, and then stood there in the kitchen for another solid 12 minutes refusing to put his arms in his sleeves so he could put on his coat and then his shoes, well, yeah – F.U.N. for all!

Best part? When he finally decided to cooperate, which was a good 4 minutes after we should have been OUT the door, I couldn’t find one of his shoes (because of course he refused to wear the pair that had two available shoes, ready to go). Bless the Bigs’ hearts – while I blanketed the toddler in the stroller, they went back in the house and magically found the MIA shoe AND got it on his foot so we could in fact finally rush out the door.

Friends, I thought I was going to send myself into labor trying to get the kids to their walking spot on time. Cardio, beyond basic motherhood and having a toddler, has not exactly been a part of my routine, so trying to walk super fast on streets we don’t normally walk (that have way more traffic) while keeping up with not-wanting-to-be-late school-agers and a still-dragging-his-feet preschooler (while pushing the stroller-contained toddler) was sweat inducing.

But, we made it. And the kids got their signs, and I got to walk behind HD and his buddies (last time I walked with Raegge) all the way to school before then hurrying home so we could load up the still-mad-about-swimming Lincoln to get him to preK (late, because, such was our morning). And then it was off to the grocery store with Truman, because, food, but going to Walmart was actually the easiest part of my day thus far, and that is saying something!

Why record all this? Because this is life right now. One frantic part to the next, and it is worth nothing that as crazy as it was today, no one (besides the aforementioned 4yo) lost their shit this morning. Not even me! Although, truth? It’s possible the youngest two learned their first 4-letter word as I definitely didn’t filter a couple of the shit!s that came out with my deep exhales in the middle of shoe searching/trying to get everyone everywhere on time.

And so it goes. We are going to have shit moments and we are going to have shit mornings. I’m working to check my anger and my privilege, because if the worst thing I have to stress me out right now is the clock and some effing swim trunks, then I think we are pretty darn fortunate in the face of all the other struggles and hardships and hurts out there. In fact, our radar blip today is nothing compared to the large picture, and stepping back to remember that from time to time is important.

Our experiences? Our emotions and reactions? They still matter. But I’m trying not to get so stuck in them as often because they pass, sometimes rather quickly, and to be aware of that is a good thing. The more we can sit (or keep running around like our hair is on fire because who has time to sit?!) with the hot discomforts that bubble up inside rather than shove them back down, the more we do to improve how we interact with and treat others and the ripple effect of that? The world needs it….

…even if we still let whispered 4-letter words come out as part of our steam-release.

Mostly Cloudy with a Chance of Breakdowns

In the last eight sleeps, only two have not involved being up for hours in the middle of the wee early night/morning. Each one of these disjointed sleeps eventually included a short “nap” before the rest of the house woke for the day, but I am here today to admit how much I am struggling as a result of all this and just how relative that lurking darkness in the seemingly fine, bright clouds in the sky feels to me. img_7753

Zombie jokes don’t even begin to describe the dark and ragey place my overtired but brain now seems to live. And while this is not new territory for me, especially this late in pregnancy, it is certainly unwelcome as it is making normal existence as a functional human being difficult, much less the challenge it is adding to parenting. Anything and everything my crew decides to throw at me right now feels huge and heavy and fit-inducing, for both them and me.

Like 7:50a.m.-we-need-to-be-out-the-door-just-tie-your-shoes meltdowns.

Like someone who learned (where? how? WHY?) the phrase, “Bye, Stupid!”

Like another someone who insists on sitting on my head as I try to take a PBS nap on the family room couch.

Like all the sass and attitude that I might normally be able to deflect or redirect, but that suddenly feels personal and like the epitome of reflection of how much I am sucking right now.

It’s all of these things and a dozen other little bumps in any given day that I’m not handling well. At all. I’m mad. I’m sad. I’m yelling. I’m crying. I’m the stereotypical wrung out mom (to-be) and the crap part is, I have absolutely no idea what I can do to turn it around, because try as I may have in the last 8+ years of baby growing, I still haven’t found the magic cure for taming the hormones that will 1) bring rest in order to 2) bring peace.

Now, I know that part of today’s particular struggles (that list from above? Yeah, that could be any given day in the last week-ish, but it was all this morning before noon) have been compounded not only by the lack of sleep but the excess of activity. I had a HUGE weekend with two major work events and a book club and normal church activities Sunday morning, and while that’s all good stuff, it meant I was moving from one to the next to the next to the next, fueled on adrenaline, coffee, and a Sunday afternoon power nap that I’m sure I should have been doing something productive around the house during, but AYFKM? My body and brain are SO. BEHIND.

Also not so helpful? Ben has conferences tonight, so after a not-great morning, I’m in charge of nighttime stuff that is normally not “mine” and I’m basically using this screen-time post-writing opportunity to officially offer a wild-flung hope and prayer that we all make it through without more yelling or more tears, from any of the parties involved. That actually sounds like I am asking for a miracle, but I guess a mama can dream, even if she can’t sleep.

And the moral of this post? Yep, there’s not one. Other than to say, for honesty’s sake, that Baby No.5 has landed me in the not-sleeping place far, FAR sooner than I would have liked and that, too, is worth documenting, in all of it’s weepy, very un-shiny glory because I know no mama alone, but the other worn-the-eff-out mamas need to know it, too: I see your dark circles, friend, and I know just how uneasily they are earned.