40 weeks. I was hoping I wouldn’t make it to this last photo in the series before Isaiah made his appearance but alas, here we are. On my due date I was a little bummed, despite words of encouragement and funny quips from many friends. (My favorite is the friend who said, “The over ripe ones are the sweetest!”) We ended my due date with amazing Indian food for dinner, hoping I could heat him out. Didn’t work but it sure was delicious. I woke up today and did my usual morning ritual. I read my Bible and Jesus Calling while I ate breakfast. Then I prayed blessings over Zay and his delivery while I drank my tea.
On my drive to work I had a realization that it was absurd for me to be disappointed that he wasn’t born when I expected. What about this entire process—from his conception to today—has been within the grasp of my control? I had some more thoughts about this as I was taking a walk on my lunch break and I shared them on my Instagram (@mrsallbright) with the photo below:
I’m taking a walk today because it’s gorgeous outside and I get tired of sitting on my butt in a cubicle all day, not because I’m trying to induce labor. Yesterday I was feeling a bit disappointed that my due date came and went and I didn’t get what I expected. Today I asked God to forgive me for wanting to control something that’s so far beyond my human ability. I should have learned this lesson already. Nothing about becoming a parent went as I originally planned or expected and it has turned out so much better this way. God waited until a point when I was completely content in my motherhood to our precious Alianna and as a foster mama to five other beautiful babies, and was truly content to not ever experience pregnancy to surprise us with this sweet little blessing growing in my belly. Jason and I always knew it was possible and we purposefully decided we’d stop preventing it OR pursuing it and just leave it up to the Creator. Surprises are way more fun! There is so much peace when we can fully let go in trust and go on with life.
I had my 40 week check-up yesterday. Everything looked great, as usual, except that my belly was measuring smaller than the previous week’s appointment. My doctor requested that I get an ultrasound just to make sure fluid levels were still good. So Jason, Ali and I got to go to an unexpected ultrasound. It was hard to get a good look at him because he’s so tight in there and he moves a lot. We did get a quick glimpse of half of his face. Everything is measuring just fine with Zay, my amniotic fluid, etc. Thank you, God! He’s average size and in position to come out without any problems. We are ready and we are content. As another friend joked, “They always seem to come on their birthdays.” He’ll be here soon!
Leave a Comment » | Art, Faith, Family, Family: Froggie/Isaiah, Family: Me | Tagged: baby, baby boy, expecting, froggie, pregnancy, pregnant | Permalink
Posted by mahlbrandt
I’m 36 weeks pregnant and just as tired as I ever was at the beginning of my pregnancy, if not more. The most basic human functions of breathing, walking and sleeping are all more challenging. I’m not sleeping well due to hip joint pain, getting up frequently to pee, heartburn and sudden leg cramps that jolt me out of bed faster than anything else. As unfun as all of that sounds (and is), it’s still totally worth it because I’m just in awe of this kid growing inside of me and the amazing transformation my body is capable of going through. And as I’ve said in my past several updates, I’m totally in love with feeling Isaiah’s movements. I love to interact with him. All of the complaints…I’m positive that it’s part of God’s design when it comes to the end of pregnancy that the mother is so mentally and physically done with being pregnant that she is ready to endure whatever it takes to hold her child in her arms. I have four more weeks until my due date (April 21) but dude is considered full term next week at 37 weeks and all the way up until 42 weeks is considered a healthy pregnancy. Lord, I know your timing is perfect and you have Isaiah’s birth date already picked out. I just pray it’s on the early side and if not, that you would give me lots of patience! Speaking of God’s perfect timing, Jason is a touring musician and he just got a new gig, which is a huge answer to prayer, especially as it pertains to income during a time when I’m about to take a big chunk of unpaid time off work. It also means he will be out of town 7 or 8 days in next three weeks. Again, I’m totally trusting that God has got the timing of all of this worked out perfectly so that Jason will be present for Isaiah’s birth. I think Easter would be a great day to have a baby…just putting that out there. I am so excited to deliver our little guy and start into the next season of our lives. Pregnancy has been harder than I expected and more amazing than I expected. I’m ready to be done now. Speaking of done…
Isaiah’s room is officially done. There is nothing I’m waiting to finish. The bouncer will end up in the living room once he arrives, not in front of the closet. And we’ll have him sleep in our room in a Moses basket for the first little while so he’s closer for feedings. I love to sit in this room to pray and dream. The other day Jason came in here to open the window and sighed, “Isaiah’s room is so peaceful.” That’s the best compliment I could get on his nursery design.
Big sister Ali loves to feel her little brother’s hiccups. (I do too!) She’s always asking me if he’s hiccuping and reminding me to tell her whenever he starts.
The picture below is me giving Ali a bath… I put her in the tub and then I collapse on the nearest couch. “Mommy, I’m done playing. Come wash me!” she calls from the bathroom. “I can’t… I’m stuck on the couch.” Seriously, it feels like I’m pinned down by a small boulder. Thankfully Jason has been jumping in as much as possible to take over my typical mom duties and turns out she likes it better when he does her baths anyway because “you’re more gentle than Mommy.” Win-win. 😉
And now for some pregnancy memes to explain how I really feel:
Our bags are mostly packed. The car seat is installed in the van. Arrangements are in place with family and friends to take care of Ali and our animals. We have plans in place with our jobs. My doctor says everything is on track and looks perfect. In summary, here’s the hashtag I’ve been using frequently on Instagram: #imreadywhenyouarebaby.
1 Comment | Art, Art: Bedoom for Foster Kids, Art: interior design, Art: new home nursery, Family, Family: Froggie/Isaiah, Family: Me, Family: Precious/Ali | Tagged: baby, baby boy, expecting, froggie, pregnancy, pregnant | Permalink
Posted by mahlbrandt
At 32 weeks, It’s starting to feel like my boy is running out of space in my belly. Perhaps he’s been growing faster than my body can stretch or perhaps that’s just what it feels like as he gets tighter and tighter in there until my due date. I can tell his head is down where it’s supposed to be a lot of the time now, which means it’s getting easier to tell where his arms, bum and legs are located, especially when he’s moving. Which is often. It’s neat to look down at my belly and almost be able to visualize the little guy. His nursery is all ready. His coming home outfit is ready and his diaper bag is packed for the hospital. His clothes are washed and waiting in his dresser. Diapers, wipes, bibs, burp cloths are all stocked. We are ready for him. Of course, there will be more nesting to be done in the next 8 weeks… I’d love to have a stockpile of frozen meals and I’m hoping for the inspiration to clean out the pantry. I started packing my own suitcase for the hospital and then realized most of what I need I’ll have to throw in at the last minute (clothes I’m still wearing every week, toiletries, chargers for electronics, snacks, etc.) In a few weeks I’ll wash the infant car seat cover and install it in our van. In some ways, I’m so ready to not be pregnant anymore, and in other ways, it feels like I’ve been pregnant for so long that I can’t imagine not being pregnant. It will be a strange feeling to not be physically connect to my son anymore. More than anything, I’m excited to see and hold my son in my arms, to kiss his little face, and to share him with the rest of my family.
Leave a Comment » | Family, Family: Froggie/Isaiah, Family: Precious/Ali | Tagged: baby, baby boy, expecting, froggie, pregnancy, pregnant | Permalink
Posted by mahlbrandt
Oh man… it’s been 3.5 weeks since I’ve updated my blog. I used to post daily. Now I’m not even sure where to begin again. The past several weeks have been packed full—busy work deadlines, a spontaneous roadie trip on the tour bus with Jason to Texas, my baby shower and visit from out of town family, a weekend retreat in Atlanta with my foster/adoptive mom friends, the reopening of my Etsy shop and my first wedding invitation order in ages, and most of all—growing a baby is tiring! This space has been nudged down the priority list and that makes me sad. I’m back with a 28 Week update on my little Froggie…but thing is, I’m actually 30 weeks now. I did manage to get my 28 week photos so the growth progression here is accurate:
At 30 weeks I’m feeling…big. My face is getting rounder. Ok, everything is getting rounder. It takes a lot of effort to roll from one side to the other when I’m sleeping, I have to pee every 30 minutes and my back and legs take the brunt of the struggle with aches and cramps (depending on whether I’m standing/walking a lot or sitting a lot). I waddle.
That will be the extent of my complaining. Mostly, it’s awesome. I’m still enjoying food a lot but have to keep the quantity down since my stomach is getting smaller. My baby boy is growing bigger everyday, strong and healthy. Everything has checked out perfectly at my prenatal visits, which just increased to biweekly, including a passed gestational diabetes test last week. My boy moves around a ton and I still think it’s the most fascinating thing ever. He’s mostly still at night, just shifting when I shift. During the day he has several long periods of sleep and several active periods. He hiccups regularly and ever since I read that you can tell where the baby’s head is based on where you feel the hiccups, that’s been a new game we play. He’s starting to move his head down into the position where he’ll be waiting until delivery but he also spends a fair amount of time traverse, too. (That’s lying horizontally across my belly.) I love to interact with him. It’s funny to imagine a baby out of the womb that you just keep poking and pushing on, waiting for him to push back. But while he’s on the inside, that’s the only affectionate touch we get. I love my little son so much already. I’m very excited for his birth and getting to hold him, kiss his little face and rubbing my cheek against his soft hair.
We get asked regularly about his name. I think I’ve already explained that we’re not telling until he’s born but that’s also because we’re not telling until we decide and we probably won’t decide until he’s born. I think we have agreed on a top 3 but it’s too soon to say. I’ve resorted to the fluffy, cuddly nickname of Sonny Bunny when I speak to him.
Ali still refers to him as Donut everyday. If she wants to call her little brother Donut for the rest of his life, it’s fine by me. I’m really excited to see how Ali interacts with him. She hasn’t shown the slightest hint of jealousy, even with the influx of baby gifts, the appointments, and the way it’s limited my interactions with her (when I’m too tired to play or my back is too sore to pick her up). She’s been such a gentle and loving big sister already. She talks to him and rubs my belly. Every night she thanks God for Baby Donut. We talk a lot about what to expect. She’s eager to teach him how to talk and how to play with toys and how to eat real food. I’ve warned her that at first all we need to teach him is that he’s loved by giving him lots of hugs and kisses and meeting his needs with milk and fresh diaper changes. She’s excited to help with feeding and changing too. We had a gift return credit at Target last night so I asked Ali to help me pick out something for baby brother. She picked this hoodie sweatshirt. Then she spotted some purple pants she liked for herself. We were looking through the girls t-shirts and I spotted one with a big glittery donut on it that I just couldn’t resist. She (ok, we all) love donuts around here. I think we should definitely celebrate his birth and their first meeting with a box of Dunkin Donuts. Blueberry cake for me, please.
68 days til my due date! But who’s counting?
2 Comments | Family, Family: Froggie/Isaiah, Family: Precious/Ali | Tagged: baby, baby boy, expecting, froggie, pregnancy, pregnant | Permalink
Posted by mahlbrandt
Pacifier Strap & Clip
I bought these mitten clasps last summer when we had little Firefly but I never got around to making him a pacifier strap before he left. This was very simple to make. I cut a strip of cotton fabric, folded it in half with right sides together, pressed open a seam allowance on one end, sewed the sides together and cut off the scrap close to my seam. The only difficult part was turning the little thing right side out. Once I did that, I pressed it flat with an iron. I sewed a small piece of elastic into the open end, closing it off. I folded and pressed the other end of the strap and sewed in around the mitten clasp.
Since it was such a pain to turn the strap right side out, I decided to make a second one using ribbon left over from the suspenders of his coming home outfit. This one was even faster but I think it would have been better with wider ribbon.
Pacifier Storage Bag (inspired by this)
I could have made a simply bag but I happened to have this cotton pouch saved from a recent purchase of a queen sheet set. It’s a bit bigger than needed for pacifiers and paci clips but that’s fine. All I did was make two equal lengths of brown ribbon and sewed it onto each side of the bag. Pacifiers will be easy to locate at rest times and when baby boy is bigger, he can reach into the bag himself if he needs one at night time.
Door Latch Silencer / Soft Close Cover (inspired by this)
I used hair elastics like the inspiration link above but I found them very difficult to sew through. Next time I think I’ll just use elastic.
1 Comment | Art, Art: crafts, Family, Family: Froggie/Isaiah | Tagged: baby, baby boy, crafts, DIY, froggie, sewing | Permalink
Posted by mahlbrandt
That’s lot of words, huh? We had a Christmas baby-gender-reveal surprise baby shower. It was an unforgettable blessing organized by my friend Steph with a part of our foster mom support community from across the country. I had passed Steph the sealed envelope from the ultrasound tech because she offered to give us something more special than a piece of paper to open on Christmas day. (And she’s one of the most creative people I know!) She rallied the troops behind my back and they sent gifts to Steph to wrap and organize into a really unique gender reveal surprise for us. I am still so overwhelmed with gratitude that they would bless our family like this. Most of these women I’ve never even met in person, although we connect daily through social media to encourage, pray for, commiserate with and entertain each other.
The first present to open was this ornament that Steph made. It will be such a special keepsake on our Christmas tree every year.
(Please excuse my Christmas-morning-no-makeup-pajamas family.)
The first baby boy outfit we opened…
Ali got some special gifts, too.
These little knee pads made me swoon.
A teething necklace in one of my favorite colors.
A fellow chicken mama sent this one!
At some point while I was opening gifts and Jason was documenting it, Ali started taking photos with my DSLR.
These are her photos…
I am so thankful! What an amazing surprise for Christmas day, to find out we’re having a son and to be showered with so many thoughtful and adorable gifts for him.
Leave a Comment » | Family, Family: Extended Family and Friends, Family: Foster Parenting, Family: Froggie/Isaiah, Family: Jason, Family: Me, Family: Precious/Ali | Tagged: baby boy, baby froggie, baby shower, Christmas, foster care, foster parenting, gender reveal, surprise baby shower | Permalink
Posted by mahlbrandt
In my excited anticipation of Baby Boy’s arrival in April I decided to start putting together an outfit for him to wear home from the hospital. I bought some black-and-white striped ribbon and sewed it onto a white onesie with faint blue stars to look like suspenders. I paired it with gray paints, no-scratch mittens and a hat that I made last summer for Firefly. I also made the bow tie for Firefly for a photo shoot. The onesie and little blue socks are the only pieces I didn’t make. Nothing inspires me to sew more than a new baby! Next up is a baby blanket.
6 Comments | Art, Art: crafts, Art: fashion, Family, Family: Froggie/Isaiah | Tagged: baby boy, baby froggie, crafts, fashion for kids, froggie, sewing | Permalink
Posted by mahlbrandt