Sunday, February 14, 2016

Babykins #3: Halfway Home (Reflections and Comparisons at Twenty Weeks)

 So....we're halfway (plus a few weeks) to meeting this baby girl. Gosh, it feels good to say that!

A month or so ago, I realized how my phone pictures were just awful in quality compared to the pictures from my "real" camera with Graves (though it was actually back when all we had was a point and shoot). Honestly, it's so much more effortless to just use the phone and this time around, I don't think I could make the whole get Peyton to take the picture and then upload the picture thing happen every week. BUT, I do value documenting things so much and I figured it wouldn't be too stressful to commit to taking pictures with the big camera monthly for the rest of the pregnancy.

Here's the first round of those:

And, of course, a comparison to Graves:

 As I've said countless times now, things look a lot different this go round.  I'm thirty instead of twenty five. I have a dark mop that's somewhere between a pixie and a bob instead of a flippy blond 'do, I have my nose pierced, and I look quite a bit heavier and more tired. But more than just that has changed.

 A few things I haven't (I don't think) fleshed out in my weekly posts:

- I'm sort of grateful for how hard it's been. Actually, it sounds counter intuitive but I'm really grateful. Peyton was pretty adamant this be our last biological child and at least every few days, I take a deep breath and say that I couldn't agree more. I'm sure if I wasn't struggling as bad as I am (and it's mostly nothing dangerous, it's just been HARD) there might be the temptation to want to do it one more time. If this were our first baby, I doubt I'd say that. But it seems like this gets harder and harder each time and I've really struggled in so many areas (physically, mentally, emotionally). Lately, I've also struggled with some guilt that it's simply not been possible for me to be as present with Annie and Graves as I want to be. I'm not saying our family is for sure complete, but I have a strong peace that we're done doing it this way.

- I'm already trying to learn to find the balance between fully immersing myself in things happening for "the last time" and not obsessing over it. The best example is feeling this baby move. She's so active and I love it. Sometimes, I just sit and enjoy it without much thought. Sometimes admittedly, I get uncomfortable and dream about June. And sometimes, I'm struck by that thought of "Oh gosh, this is the last time I'll get to experience this". There have been a couple of times where I've tried to memorize the feeling-- such an impossible thing to do really. Overall, I feel like I've had a healthy mentality with it and I hope that keeps up once she arrives. I remember being a lot more anxious and fearful about this kind of thing with Annie and Graves and that's another reason I'm grateful to get to do this one more time. I think, in general, I'm at a more emotionally healthy place these days and I'm able to hold things more loosely (which was a prayer of mine for a long time).

- With both of the kids, but specifically Annie, I went way overboard as far as what we "needed". While we're very much set this time, I've let myself indulge or plan on letting myself indulge in a few things (new crib sheets, a pretty bonnet, a blanket that's just hers, and possibly a new carrier). We're planning on her sleeping in a Pack N Play in our room for awhile and then moving her in with the big kids- a friend of mine pointed out that it's very much a traditional "nursery" and I can't help but think of the Darling children awaiting Peter, Wendy so close to grown and Michael still in footie pajamas. I love that image so much. For some reason, the little purchases have been so much more exciting, I guess because they're so few and far between, and the idea of decorating her little corner thrills me more than planning a whole nursery did.

- We haven't settled on anything and we're planning on keeping it a surprise until she arrives, but again- I've been more giddy than ever before about naming this little girl. I don't know if it's because it's the last time, or because we have other children old enough to participate in the conversation, or because we've started more from a blank slate, or because I'm just less uptight and I enjoy a lot of life more these days than I did six and four years ago. We had two girl names picked that were big front runners when I was pregnant with Graves and we've taken both those off the table pretty much and it's been really fun to just start from scratch and bounce lots of different names off each other. With Annie we named her basically when we were dating. Initially we thought our boy would be "Jackson" and though we decided against that pretty early on when I was pregnant with Graves, we still just went back and forth between just a couple of names and then settled firmly on and announced his name around twenty seven weeks. I would not be surprised if we don't pick a name until the last minute and the list seems to be getting longer instead of shorter. Occasionally, that feels stressful to me but mostly it's been unexpected and delightful.

- By the time our New Girl arrives on the scene, Annie will be seven and Graves will be five. It really is like starting all over again. Especially since seeing the ways Graves has matured in the last few months...weeks. There will be a totally different dynamic with this third sibling. I can't wait to watch how they enjoy and love and care for her and I'm hopeful that they will let her into their little friendship in so much as is possible with such a big age difference because their relationship is one of the most beautiful things I've literally ever witnessed. BUT, I'm holding onto this hope loosely, also. I'm not going to fret over it because I'm fortuante enough to have the hindsight of a very hard first year when the tension between Annie and her baby brother was nearly palpable. If anything, I have a lot more perspective than I did when we welcomed him. I know it will all work out.

So here we are.

My excitement is high, my expectations are low, my patience is limited, and my exhaustion and thankfulness are abundant.

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