Life Update: Pregnancy (week 37), Parenting in the Pandemic, and an update on Champ



37 weeks!! I know it probably sounds cliche but it’s true: I honestly can’t believe I’m full-term!!

Highlights

I got to have another ultrasound and baby again scored 8 out of 8 and everything looks great. We also ran labs again to check on my hemoglobin and it’s stayed stable — which is huge, amazing praise considering how much I’ve struggled with this in previous pregnancies.

I’m finally starting to feel really pregnant and I’m moving much slower and wanting to rest a lot more. That said, except for some evenings, I’m still not at the “get this baby out ASAP” stage, but I’m finally feeling like I am okay with having this baby soon.

(Up until a few days ago, I felt like there was too much else that needed to be in place before I was ready, so I couldn’t even think about the possibility of having a baby. I’ve started to feel much more ready the past two days. However, I usually go late, so I don’t ever expect that I’ll go early. I learned my lesson the hard way with my first pregnancy!!)

Notable

I’m having a bit of swelling in my legs/ankles. Up until this point, I hadn’t had almost any swelling, unless I was on my feet for at least 3-5 hours.

My doctor said since my blood pressure and other things look great, that she’s not worried about it. I am just trying to make sure to keep my feet up as much as I can, continue walking for 30 mins/day, and drinking lots of water. That seems to make a big difference!

I think baby has dropped quite a bit (even though you can’t really tell from this pic) because I’m having a lot less pain in my ribs/underneath my ribs, which has been so nice! And I still can’t believe that I’ve not had the horrible extreme heartburn I usually have. But I am very much looking forward to being able to eat a much more normal diet after baby gets here! 😉

Usually, the last 4-5 weeks of pregnancy drag on and on for me, but so far, it feels like time is pretty much flying by. I think having a little newborn to care for has definitely helped my days go by quickly! And it’s certainly meant that I’m not struggling to sleep… because when my head hits the pillow, I’m out!

Speaking of Champ (the sweet newborn we’re fostering), he gained 8 oz. in 9 days and is almost 6 pounds!!!! I am guessing he’s likely still smaller than this baby but I’m hoping he’ll catch up soon!

Since little Champ is still pretty much needing round-the-clock care/watching, we all take shifts. I typically go to bed early and then take the middle of the night shift and then go back to bed at 6:30 a.m. and sleep for a few hours.

Pretty much every morning when I wake up, I come out to the living room to see these two boys sitting like this. Silas loves caring for Champ and does such a good job with him!

A lot of you have asked for my thoughts on how we’re dealing with the Pandemic as parents. Every child is different and you know your kids best, so I’m only sharing how we are approaching things at our house…

Don’t dismiss your kids’ feelings. Feelings are not right or wrong and no one can tell you how you feel or don’t feel. It’s what you choose to do with those feelings that matters most. Give them space to talk about whatever it is they are feeling — anger, sadness, loneliness, grief, frustration, boredom.

Don’t preach sermons. I know it’s easy to want to use this as a way to teach valuable life lessons… but probably way more than sermons, your kids just need a listening ear and empathy. And trust me, your kids ARE going to learn many valuable lessons from this, but a listening ear goes a long way to help them feel seen, heard, and loved.

Don’t stress yourself out trying to get it all right. There is no manual on how to parent well through COVID-19. We’re all just doing the best we can do! When you feel overwhelmed or unsure how to handle a situation, it’s okay to acknowledge this and give yourself some grace. If you are a Christian, this is an amazing opportunity to cry out to the Lord for wisdom and direction for how to respond and love your kids well.

Do remember that you set the tone for your home. If you are extremely stressed and irritable, it’s going to trickle down to your kids and make them feel stressed and on edge. Make sure you’re not spreading yourself too thin so that you are completely zapped and exhausted.

Do relax some of your usual rules/standards. We are allowing a lot more sleeping in, PJ-wearing, screen time, and junk food eating than usual. Yes, I probably just lost some followers over admitting that, but I feel like a lot has been taken away from our kids right now and as long you’re doing your chores and school, I’m pretty chill about a lot of other things in this season.

Do look for the humor in everything. We’ve laughed so hard as a family in the last few weeks — over so many ridiculous things. Laughter has been such good medicine for us and we’ve sought to find the funny in the ordinary.

I’ve fallen in love more with my husband with the birth of each of our kids, but I never knew how much I’d fall in love with him watching him love on our little Champ.

Y’all, this man has loved this precious boy 100% as his own. He has spent hours holding him, talking to him, loving on him. And my heart has been in a puddle getting to observe it.

The best part? Getting to watch Champ cooing back at him, “talking” to him, and soaking up the love and nurture.

I don’t know what Champ’s future holds long term, but I do know that all of our lives will forever be richer because of the opportunity to get to love on him. He has expanded each of our hearts in the most profound and beautiful ways.

(Note: I know many of you aren’t in a season or place where you could become foster parents. I totally, totally get that. If that’s you, can I just encourage you to instead ask yourselves, “What can we do?” There are so many needs all around us, especially in the foster care system. Could you donate time, money, or resources? Could you offer to buy diapers or dinner for a family who is fostering? Or maybe to just send a text to say, “How are you really doing today?” The more I talk to other foster parents, the more I realize how the support of others — even through a simple text of support — can mean the world!)

Real talk: I’ve had many moments in the last few weeks when I’ve wondered if I have what it takes to mother five kids well — a teenager, an almost teenager, a pre-teen, a medically fragile newborn, and another newborn who is due in the next few weeks.

I know lots of moms have more kids and more complex situations, but I’m not other moms, I’m me. And I know my own limitations and struggles.

But over and over again, I keep hearing God’s quiet reassurances to me: “Have I not carried you in the past? Have I not been faithful to you in the past? I have called you to this and I will be faithful and carry you in this. I am trustworthy and you are in the center of my will. I can’t promise it will be easy; but I can promise that I am WITH you.”

When we look at our circumstances and surroundings, we can feel overwhelmed. But when we looked to Jesus, we have courage to be overcomers… because we don’t have to do this life on our own, in our own strength.

I don’t know what battles or mountains you’re facing today. I don’t know the burdens you’re bearing. I don’t know the heaviness weighing on you today.

But I do know this: you don’t have to do this alone. You don’t have to walk this by yourself. You can place your trust, your confidence, and your confidence in the One Who “will never, ever leave you or forsake you” and the One Who “goes with you to fight for you… and give you the victory.”

Thanks to @sincerelybykara and @hertrueworth for this timely graphic.





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