Wednesday, June 25, 2014

39 weeks and 6 days

39 weeks and 6 days
(Carter at 40 weeks)  

I'm a day early, but I went to the midwife today and had time to update, so I thought I should probably act on that :)  Due date is tomorrow....our girl still has the day to be early :)

Weight Gain: +20 pounds

Sleep: Up a lot to try to shift Ella off some uncomfortable spot...or to use the restroom again...or to pick up a little boy's thrown pillow...but I don't feel exhausted.  I've slept a lot less in this early parenthood season, so it's not so bad.  Such good reasons to be up in the middle of the night.  (Though yes, full nights of sleep one day will be kind of amazing.)

Gender: Carter was right...we're having a girl!

Feeling: Full.  All the time.  Like I have overeaten every single moment of the day.  And heavy.  But not terrible.  I am super grateful for air conditioning and helping hands with the boys that make daily tasks much more manageable.  I truly am able to enjoy these last days with just two boys, and I am so grateful for that.

Cravings: None at all.

Health: I finally decided to let the midwife check at this visit. It just doesn't really mean anything and can mess with your head...but I needed information this time to be able to keep up a good attitude about still rolling pregnant these days :)  I was 5 cm, 80% effaced and -1 station. She told me to run and not walk when real labor actually starts.  Hopefully that means it won't be long and that active labor will not drag out.  We'll see what actually happens...

Movement: She's still poking out her little foot in that crazy way she does, but she isn't moving with big, huge moves anymore.  There's no space for all that!

Next Appointment: July 2nd with the midwife.  Maybe we'll go to the hospital before then...but maybe not.  We'll just see what our little lady decides!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

39 weeks

39 weeks
(Carter at 40 weeks)  
**Just in case there are no more comparison shots :)**

Weight Gain: +18 pounds

Sleep: Mostly fine.  Much more sleep than I will have in a few days/weeks, I am sure :)

Gender: Carter was right...we're having a girl!

Feeling: I actually am feeling much better lately.  Plenty of contractions that have increased in intensity, but not frequency.  I am grateful that the only "maladies" I can complain about is the ever present heartburn, constant bathroom trips, and some crazy nerve action in my legs when she moves or when I am having contractions and she is in different positions.  Suddenly I feel like I am having crazy leg cramps shooting down my legs, but I can't figure out how to move to relieve them.  I think she is just sitting on nerves when it happens...and when everything contracts around her, she can't help put push down on all of them.  It's weird, but not anything to complain about.  I'm grateful to feel so much better, overall, in these last weeks than I have felt in past months.  It's a much nicer way to say goodbye to pregnancy :)

Cravings: None at all.

Health: So thankful...nothing but blue skies and good reports.

Movement: Still moving and causing people to stare.  I have no idea what she will be like when she gets here, but Ella is showing some serious strength these days in her ability to squirm in a very tight living space.

Next Appointment: June day short of Ella's due day!  I don't feel any rush this time.  I'm not overly worried that I am carrying some giant baby...and I am enjoying these last days with the boys.  When she's ready...she'll come!

Aaaaand an outtake from this week's selfie attempt.  It's always fun :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Letters to Carter

Dear Carter,

My how you've changed in the past several months.  You are still bright yellow, all joy and fury and bold and bright.  Your emotions run deeply and you do everything you do with your whole self and soul.  I love that about you.  I have seen you begin to gain some self-control in the past few months that helps you regulate all the emotion you feel.  I am grateful.  It helps you not lose your cool quite so easily, helps you solve problems by thinking instead of just crashing all the toys, helps you explain things to Samuel instead of making him your unfortunate target.  As your self-control has matured, your attention span has lengthened.  You make up games that last a long time and you work to figure things out instead of getting upset and bringing everything to me to solve.  You make up stories and scenarios when you are playing that are so much fun to listen in on.  Your imagination is bright and interesting, and it makes me even more grateful for these years before school that are open for you to be a child, play and have space to explore the creative nooks of your mind before you have "to-do lists" of things to learn.  You are starting to really interact with the children around you in meaningful ways instead of just running alongside them or playing beside each other.

You are such a first child.  You have become an excellent helper, willing and able to follow directions.  It is a really great time for that :)  I am grateful for you and your desire to help, but also for your tenderness for those around you.  You take good care of Samuel and you are really, really excited to help take care of Ella.  One of your favorite games is pretending to change Samuel's diaper and having him pretend to be asleep in bed, cry and let you check on him.  You are so tender and kind in your play with will be such a good daddy one day.  On the other hand, you can be incredibly bossy.  Samuel is fairly willing to comply with all your playtime demands, but there are many times when your little brother is more interested in his own game than the one you are trying to pull him into.  You get so mad when he won't join you!  You hold Samuel's hand when I ask you, even when he isn't being cooperative.  You help him do things that are difficult and you get highly offended when his version of the "right way"' to do something conflicts with yours.  You're everything I hoped for when I imagined you as a big brother...I can't wait to see you with your little sister.

You've gained more bravery when it comes to trying new things.  This summer, you are super excited about swimming.  I am having so much fun with you in the pool.  You are much happier getting your face wet than you have ever been in the past.  You like holding my hands and jumping in from the edge and paddling around in your puddle jumper for toys. You love to be thrown in the air and come splashing back in.  I'm so happy that fear isn't keeping you from the joy of the water anymore.  It's exciting to see you learn to try new things.

You remember so many details and ask really interesting questions.  You make up funny stories and you pray really funny, detail-filled prayers unless supper is really enticing and you're in a hurry.  You still thank Jesus for a "trip day" every meal.  You give really good hugs on purpose instead of just accepting them.  You have the best belly laugh I have ever heard, and you have the gift of a free-thinking, independent spirit.  I'm grateful to spend my days with you, my dear love.

I love you,

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Letters to Samuel

Dear Samuel,

You are the funniest person I have ever met.  I daily stop what I am doing to lean over and laugh great laughs at the things you do and say.  I will never be able to capture your humor to my great, great sadness.  Your comedy is all in the delivery.  There is something about the person you are that is innately humorous.  It's not even always about what you say or do as it is how you deliver it that send the people around you into peals of laughter.  You are impish and silly and I am ever, ever, ever so grateful for your hilarity in my life.

Because you are Samuel, you decided to potty train yourself in the last couple of weeks.  I can't even.  I was never going to potty train you before Ella because EVERYTHING you read says that children who potty train just before a baby just regress when the little one arrives.  Plus, you're two and I had this whole rule of thumb for waiting until closer to three years old with little boys so the process is easier.  Plus, it has been such a process with Carter, and I was too tired for another such process.  Well.  You literally just asked one day to sit on the potty and poop.  When you had some success and realized you got prizes for the success, you were hooked.  There are still small accidents here and there as you figure it all out, but you are asking to go potty on your own and are completely pleased with yourself.  I am shocked.  It has been such a thing with your brother, that I am completely taken off guard with your ability to just...go.  And tell me when you need to go.  On your own.  You are something else my little guy.

Everyone who sees you talks about one of two things: your eyes and your words.  They love your big, brown eyes like I do.  They are amazed by how many words you have and how well you use them to express yourself.  It can be like playing Mad Gabs all day to figure out exactly what you are saying, but generally you can say whatever you want to.  I know Carter and I talk and talk and talk all day, so maybe we can credit your verbose personality to tons of word exposure, but I think it might just be part of your personality that just tries things even if you're not sure you can do them correctly.  That part of you allows you to accomplish so much that you wouldn't normally be able to do if you had a heart and personality ruled by caution and perfection.  You use your words to explain things, make us laugh, and tell us what you need.

Your ability to communicate makes many things about being two a lot easier, because you have no trouble telling us what you want and need.  In other ways, it has given you a voice of independence.  You have used those little words to tell me "NO!" that you are "in charge" and to explain to me what you want even when I have not given permission.  You have also honed in on some non-verbal ways to express this disagreement.  Dropping your entire body to the ground while we are walking together in public is one of your favorites (and my least favorites.)  Another one you enjoy is fleeing the scene of your persecution.  You are every bit of "two" as I expected you to be, though it looks much different than Carter's version.  You are truly your own little person.  My biggest concern these days is being consistent and finding ways to keep a straight face as you always manage to make even the worst disobedience seem a little funny.

Your favorite thing these days is Andi's and Boo's dog, Josi.  Your bravery and toughness make you two perfect friends.  You chase her massive self around and laugh as her tail whacks you straight in the face.  You lie down beside her in the grass, grab her tail when you can catch it, and pee beside her in the grass, to her distress.  You insist on shoving all your toys in her nose so she can see them and feed her her dog food by hand.  She is so incredibly patient with you and you take great delight in her friendship.

The same bravery and toughness that make you a good friend to Josi send me into regular contractions as I try my best to keep you from death and injury.  Samuel Beckett Castillo, you are literally one inch from death at all times.  You are one of the quiet ones who sneaks up beside danger before anyone is any the wiser.  You insist on doing everything alone and do things that require balance and care with big laughs wracking your body as you look around carelessly while you should be focusing on keeping your body from falling.  You put yourself in more precarious positions than should be possible.  It's terrifying.  At the same time, I secretly admire your willingness to try things that you don't necessarily know you can be successful at.  I admire your toughness when you take big falls and jump up without a tear.  I admire your ability to do things that are really too big for you, learn things that are beyond your skill level and hop up from experiences that would discourage a different boy.  This bravery and toughness will serve you well in life my dear...though I am afraid of the bones it will break!

Your favorite color is blue and you guess that every item in the world is blue before you try another hue.  It fits your personality.  You are so laid back and flexible.  You are cool and comfortable, kind and deep.

I am so glad for the hugs you give me, pulling me in with your little arms and planting a kiss on me with purpose and joy.  You are such grace to me when I am weary, joy when I am sad, and a challenge to my cautious soul that wants to do things just so.  I admire you and I love you Samuel bear.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Letters to Ella

Dear Ella,
I don't know when I'll meet you, but I know it won't be long.  I am so grateful for you already.  I can picture you in my mind though I don't actually know what your features will be.  I can imagine your body, snuggled in my arms though I've only felt you move inside.  There is something precious and freeing that I feel this time.  I'm not trying to figure out so many things about motherhood this time.  I can  And enjoy you.  I don't know what you'll need or what you'll be like, but I KNOW we'll work it out.  God has given me just what I need to be your mother, and though I don't know what all that will mean, I am so glad for the chance.

Ella-girl, before Carter came, anytime I thought about him, one word came to mind.  It was "strong."  And strong he is.  He is a strong personality, full of willpower and grit.  He's a hard worker, a fast runner, and has strong opinions.  He sticks to what he says, works at things till he gets them right, and doesn't sway his ideas when others around him do.  Carter has strong focus that when placed on others gives them the benefit of extremely tender care.I pray he'll grow into a man of strong character, strong morals, and strong arms that will care for others before himself.  I pray that his arms and soul will be filled with the true strength of the great King, granting him the ability to move through life bearing burdens, slaying enemies, and bringing redemption where darkness has invaded to the point others would cower in fear.

When I was pregnant with Samuel, the one word that always came to me was "grace."  It's been such a theme of these past two years of his life.  He was sweet, redeeming grace to me as a mother when delivery, nursing and infanthood were so much simpler than they were for me the first time around.  He is grace to everyone around him with all the sweet laughs he offers, hugs he freely gives and life that lights up all around him.  He is grace to his brother, full of forgiveness and patience for all his strong opinions.  My prayer is that his experience with the grace of Jesus will fill him with a grace to others that frees them to be the people God intended for them to be while he experiences the freedom to walk the way of the Kingdom even here on Earth.

Sweet girl, since I knew I was pregnant with you, my mind has centered on the word, "joy."  I know your life won't always be happy situations, but I sense you have been given the sweet gift of a joy that runs more deeply than circumstances.  Little one, there is a joy in the Lord that bubbles despite the greatest sadness of this world.  There is a joy in the Lord that supersedes the brokenness around us.  There is a joy that I pray you will know that is a gift to others when they have run out.  There is a joy that I pray you will experience that is so profoundly deep that no one can ever rob you of because it is literally knit into your soul by the Lord.  There is a hope in the redemption of Christ that gives root to a joy that runs so deep it can stabilize the most rocky situation.  It overflows in a way that it is capable of bursting light into the darkest of days.  My dear girl, it is my prayer that you will not only know this joy deep in your bones, but that that joy will be part of your gift to those around you when they have forgotten hope and joy rings tinny in their hearts.  I pray it will be the song of your heart and the light that gives your certainty in your steps.

I don't claim to be a prophet Ella.  I don't know what you will be like or what life will hold for you.  As your mother, I am leaning into Jesus.  I am quieting my own hopes and fears to hear His heart toward you.  If you are old enough to read, you'll be old enough to know that I am a failure apart from Christ.  I am just a person.  A person who often feels like this whole motherhood calling is too high and holy for someone like me.  But in Christ?  He changes everything Ella-girl.  My deepest prayer is that you will know the life and freedom found in believing what He says is true.

I love you...and I cannot wait to hold you in my arms sweet girl.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

37 weeks

37 weeks
(Carter at 36 weeks and 38 weeks)

Weight Gain: + 18 pounds

Sleep:You know, you win some, you lose some. 

Gender: Carter was right...we're having a girl!
Feeling: Hit or miss.  I really can't complain because I don't have sciatica, swollen feet, bed-rest, high blood pressure, severe pelvic pain, fractured ribs from baby kicks....none of those things that people deal with in pregnancy.  It's just that I was so spoiled to have so much energy during my pregnancy with the boys that makes the tiredness/heartburn/contractions all the time feel like a much bigger deal than it is.  Even though I know I have it easy...and I'm grateful, I am still feeling pretty ready to meet this girl of mine.

Cravings: Ice cream.  But I'm not sure how different that is from real life. 

Health: So thankful...nothing but blue skies and good reports.

Movement:She's still in perfect position for birth...which is great considering how much she moves.  Big, crazy movements that make people stare at my belly in a mix of awe/horror/interest.  It's intense.

Next Appointment:June 13 (a day after the due date I made up...we'll see if I am at the midwive's office or the hospital ;) )