Pregnancy Update! Weeks 21 – 24!
Baby: Our little girl was the size of a banana when we last met, and now she’s the size of a rutabaga! Yes, we’re all wondering what in the world that is and how many inches long/wide, etc. it is. Wait, wait, I just looked it up – it’s a cross between a cabbage and a turnip, so try to imagine that. In any case, Baby Charlotte is getting bigger as the fruit/vegetable size references get vaguer. She’s about 13.5″ head to toe now and weighs around 1.5lb. A much more meaningful assessment of her growth (for me, anyway) is that I can’t comfortably lean over because *something* is in the way. She kicks like crazy and I love knowing her rhythms of being awake and asleep. At night, when I lie down, I can feel around and find where in my belly she is and she’ll begin her aerobics as soon as we start poking her. She’s begun to respond to any pressure placed on my belly, whether it’s the seatbelt, my hand, or Zack’s head, she’ll retaliate with a kick or a punch. Basically at this stage in development she’s just filling out and (hopefully) getting some hair. Over the next month she’ll get a bit fatter and her senses will become more developed as she starts to open her eyes, practice breathing, and can hear loud noises. I have yet to feel hiccups, but I’m assured that this is coming.
Belly: The bump just gets bigger. I think the weirdest thing about all of pregnancy – and I’m sure some may dispute me on this, there’s just so much weirdness – is having an organ that grows exponentially bigger over the course of nine months. My uterus started off the size of a pear, and now it’s roughly as big as a soccer ball. Having an internal organ balloon like that is just crazy – and uncomfortable. It’s absolutely remarkable how a woman’s body completely changes to accommodate this new life. I love my pregnant body – I love my belly and feeling my baby respond to my touch. It’s surreal to look in the mirror and see the bump reflected there. For so long I dreamed about this time and I remember taking that pregnancy test and trying to imagine what I would look like and how it would feel to have a baby bump. It feels pretty great ;) Also, did I mention I officially have an outie now? As my body changes so much and acquires, ahem, new features (stretch marks, anyone?) I have had some worries about what I will look like postpartum – how different it will be. But my husband is a wonderful man. He assures me each day of how he loves my big belly and our baby, and I love looking up to catch him staring at me with such a wonder and love in his gaze. He is just as in awe of the masterful design of motherhood as I am.
For some reference points, let’s look back to my very first every pregnancy picture and compare to one at about eighteen weeks, and one from today (ignore the extremely poor photo/staging quality):
My Favorite Things: Most of my favorite things aren’t exactly baby-related lately *guilty grin*. Sorry baby, but Mama’s gotta get her house in order! I’ve been Craigslisting up a storm and trying to pull our home together and have some semblance of order and comfort before Charlotte arrives. Here’s a list of faves: my Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag (!), my beautiful new (to me) dining set, adorable baby clothes being gifted left and right, maternity tank tops, our humidifier, red raspberry leaf iced tea, iced coffee (yes, I know it’s winter, I just can’t give up my iced drinks), the model babies my midwife brought to my last appointment, Sweet things – yes, lots of sweet things sound yummy. I haven’t really had many cravings, per se, so I’m thankful to be able to assuage these sugary desires with things I make myself. I love Chocolate Covered Katie for delicious, easy, healthy desserts. Oh, and nesting! Oh, nesting. I have been so focused on this absolute need to feather our nest. I even caught myself neurotically planning how I would fix this dilapidated house I passed while driving the other day. *first, clean the yard – plant some rosebushes, new coat of paint to those shutters, re-shingle the roof, bright yellow door* … um, no.
My Not-Favorite Things: This crazy cold-flu thing going around! Seriously, Zack and I were sick on and off for the entire month of January. Some things that helped, to all those still up against the beast: lemon water, hot-water-lemon-honey mix, a humidifier (thanks for the tip, Kellyn!), garlic, spicy food, which allowed us to breathe again, and rest. And Battlestar Galactica, which falls under the rest category, of course. That said, I’ve become even more aware of how sickness brings about the need to pause and the opportunity to think about why there is illness and discomfort in the world. So we are thankful for the month-long callback to note the effects of sin in the world and remember the great mercy of our God :)
On My Mind: It’s really starting to sink in that we are having a daughter. A little girl. I’ve been reading Bringing Up Girls by James Dobson, and the precious nature of this child entrusted to us has become all the more real. Girlhood is a special, hallowed thing. I’ve written about this before in reviewing Anne of Green Gables and the beauty of girlhood. It’s all the more meaningful to me that our daughter’s name attests to that beauty. Charlotte means feminine and Avonlea is home to Green Gables and the little orphan girl. I feel this need already to protect Charlotte’s girlhood and to safeguard it to be a time of beauty and growth that will provide a steadfast foundation for the whole of her life to bloom and grow out of. By God’s grace I hope to mother this little girl in a way that empowers her to embrace her talents and serve the Lord. It can be the most daunting task to look at and realize that so much of a child’s physical, psychological, and spiritual wellbeing is dependent upon her parents, but the Lord’s grace is sufficient and only by that grace can I do any semblance of good in my daughter’s life. So I rest in him.