Saturday, February 21, 2015

Jail term nearly complete - and escape/release imminent!

It's such a funny feeling to be writing some reflections on what (we hope) is nearly the end of this pregnancy. I still frequently stop and have moments of total disbelief that I am in fact pregnant. And although nine months is a greater part of the year, and it sounds like a cliche, I really can't believe how quickly this has gone. I'm not quite at that stage where I'm desperate to have him out although I'm more excited than ever to meet him and the pain from my SPD has gone up 20 notches so I'm certainly heading in that direction. If he could hang on in there until next Friday so we can go and watch Wicked I know his daddy will be very pleased. We didn't book tickets knowing we'd be heavily pregnant. In fact, we booked these some 14 months ago which is itself a mystery because we never do things like that. Anyway, I digress.

Whilst this fully cooked bun is still just about keeping warm in the oven and I still have a few minutes to spare, here's what the third trimester has been like.

It feels appropriate to put a disclaimer at the front of this post and say that my brain has turned to absolute mush in the last couple of months so I may in fact recollect very little of what's been happening. I have honestly got awful at remembering names or places or in fact anything and frequently stop mid-sentence having totally lost my train of thought. I hear pregnancy-brain is swiftly followed by baby brain so I could use this as a legitimate excuse for not having one coherent thought for the next few years of my life :)

Our baby boy has been growing at an incredible rate if the growth of my belly is anything to go by although that could very easily just be all the cake I've been consuming. I can't remember a time in my life quite like this, when I'd happily eat cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then some in between. I use the term 'cake' to cover a multitude of sinful sweet treats - cakes, pastries, chocolate, biscuits - I'll have them all please, thankyouverymuch. This in addition to my usual preference for savoury, meaty food. My main pregnancy craving has continued to be cheese so we are still buying cheddar in industrial quantities.

Seriously though, without properly knowing what's going on the inside I've been *quite* healthy and we hope baby boy is healthy too. He's measuring right and my sugar and BP and all those sorts of things have been achingly normal which does help alleviate worry a little bit.

He's a very active baby and has been lying back to back for quite a few weeks now which means I feel his kicks and punches much more vigourously than usual. Before he goes to work each morning Steve tends to say to him, "Bye baby, have fun in mummy's tummy today" which the little one often interprets to mean - you have permission to kick the c**p out of her if you like :S Thanks Daddy! 

It really is fine though. I know that an active baby is a real blessing and takes away all the worries that come with a quiet one.

And although I've got a dodgy pelvis and there are moments when I'd like to just unstrap this two stone in weight that's attached to my body, and going up and down the stairs has become pretty uncomfortable, I genuinely do like being pregnant and I suspect I'm going to miss it a little bit when the baby arrives. The little fellow reacts to sound and light and poking and prodding and it's very cute, but has none of the crying , feeding issues or dirty nappies to go with it. What's not to miss hey?!

Equally fun has been preparing for little boys arrival. We've decided on a name that we really love and that's been a fun activity for us both. Boy names are so much harder than girl names. We have names lined up for our first, second and third daughters so I suspect we're never going to have any of those. We've been trying to think about parenting and family life and praying through the kind of people we would like to be and that's been challenging already, but so exciting. We know we will need so much help & grace on this journey and we will mess up in a thousand different ways. More than anything we want to show this little boy Jesus in the way that we love and forgive and talk and act and that feels massive.
The easier but more tangible prep has been getting stuff ready for his arrival. Buying the pram and the cot, washing and putting away loads of tiny newborn clothes, framing pictures for his room and buying lots and lots of books. 
So many people have been so generous to us and to him and I've said before but we feel so overwhelmed by how many people love and pray for this baby already. A sweet girlfriend organised a really lovely baby shower and it was a really special, fun time to celebrate this pregnancy and the gift of this Little child.

These last few months it's been such a privilege to be sharing this pregnancy and new parenting journey with others. We have five couples who are quickly becoming friends from our NCT class and it's been great getting to know them. Four of those babies have been born already and there are a couple left to go including ours. There are 10 couples in our first time moms and dads group at church and I think six of the 10 babies have now arrived. I know not everyone has the privilege of doing life with others at a similar stage but it's really helpful to watch and learn and read together and pray for one another as we all go through this massive change in our lives, together.

There really has been so much good stuff but the reality has also been very hard. My mum is right in the thick of chemo which means she isn't here with us and probably won't get over any time soon and that's been really difficult for her and for us. I struggle more on days when she is sick and in pain but this baby has been a real blessing and especially in terms of having something to look forward to. Being on maternity leave means we can spend lots of quality time on FaceTime and those days are really nice when we can talk about the baby and catch up and plan and dream, and the cancer and the reality of being apart feel less difficult on those days. I think God is teaching all of us hard but wonderful lessons in trusting him for all of this.

I may have said before but we hope that everything will go OK with the birth and recovery and we can get over to see everyone at home in Bangalore ASAP. 
God is definitely working in all of this so we just leave that to him because he knows better that us what he's doing. 

I feel like there's so much more to ramble on about but I'll leave this right here for the moment. We'll aim to be back with some final pictures but that may never happen if the little man has other plans! Signing off with lots of excitement, terror and nervous anticipation for the change that is to come!! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

On de-cluttering the mind...(And heart and soul)

It must be a side-effect of pregnancy but my tolerance for clutter and mess and stuff is definitely waning.
I've said before that I feel desperate to just clean and sort and tidy and throw away. All the junk we seem to accumulate daily, and the bags of bits and bobs that haven't been moved once since before our wedding, when I moved in.

And it feels very therapeutic:
Bouquets of dried flowers and baskets of pine cones and pots of lavender - gone
Dozens of clothes and pairs of shoes - ruthlessly bagged and taken to the charity shop.
DVDs - Put in the loft
Toileteries, smelly bath things etc. - binned or given away
Wii + controllers + wii fit board  - up for grabs. Anyone?! (just kidding Steve. kind of.)
Paperwork and boxes of admin-y things - Not going to lie, one step more than I feel motivated to tackle at the moment. But I would like it gone.

Anyway, like I was saying - it feels really good just getting rid of stuff.  Mainly because I know we're clearing up and de-cluttering and making space in our lives for something lovely and so much better than all this! And it has made me think about why I'm not so driven to periodically and intentionally try and do the same with my heart and mind.

Because when I stop and take a good long look it's very clear to see that there's a whole lot of junk lying around.
Habits that really need to be un-habituated. (word?!)
Thought patterns that do more harm than good.
Judgemental defaults that grow bitterness and a spirit that isn't very generous.
Baggage of heart and mind that we haven't gone near for years.
Faith that so often tends to trust myself more than God.
Laziness, mean words, anger, selfish deeds. 

I could go on, but I'd just like to change. And the only way to sort this mess and take out the trash is with the Holy Spirit's help. I need some daily dusting and some monthly pruning and a more often than yearly spring clean. And I need to soak myself in his wonderful word and be still in his delighting presence and talk to his always listening ears. And I so want the Father to enable that work in me, that my life would bear the fruit of his spirit.

Volume 1.36 of the super stripey bump series

It was -2°C outside, my pregnancy bloat face is giving you its best performance, I had about 45 seconds before running to work and it's now taken me about 5 days to put this up. For your viewing pleasure despite all odds ladies and gentlemen - the 36 week stripey bump!! (Cut this pregnant lady a bit of slack won't you and ignore the minor technicality that it is in fact  my cardi that is stripey and not my bump).

Friday, February 6, 2015

That Friday post...{6}

It's FRIDAY. Amazing.

It's my last day at work before a long summer holiday x 8. Woohoo!

I am so excited about the potential for daytime coffee, cake and lunches with friends anytime I fancy! Hello new life experiences! 

I can't stop crying. What on earth is going on. You blasted hormones! :S

I'd say that pretty much sums up what my whole week actually. We've had some proper meltdowns but some real joy moments too. 

We're seeing lots of lovely friends this weekend - some that we haven't see in a while and probably won't see in a while, and others who are about to have a baby in the next few weeks too. We're going to a baby dedication, women's breakfast (just me!), watching the football but not the rugby (definitely not me!) and hopefully getting lots of jobs done as well. 

I hope your weekend is cheery, whatever you are getting up to. 

p.s. I thought you might enjoy my little Shetland ponies :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pembrokeshire, January 2015

It's true. What the Beatles wrote. True of these friends in the photos below and all the others we are so blessed to have around us and that are kind enough to do life with us. The good and bad bits. The friends that make us laugh, and sharpen us, and sing with us and provide practical help in so many selfless ways. And I hope we never take them for granted!
Some pics from the other weekend, if you'd like to see...