Thursday, December 8, 2016

My PAL Journey: Weeks 20-26

In my last post, I shared I was struggling greatly with anxiety and worry about the baby.  While there obviously is still some of that - that is natural for someone with my history - I am grateful to say the panic has decreased.

"Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."  -Isaiah 40:31

Our Pastor has been doing a sermon series on Sundays about the search for meaning in our lives. While this was not on Mothering specifically, the general concept is that our purpose, worth, value, and meaning are not found in this world.  Not in work, accomplishment, money, relationships, or success.  Our value is in Christ alone.  My worth is as a Christian.  My purpose for being is to worship Him.

I caught myself telling God "Okay, you need to keep this baby alive because being a mom is my whole world.  My purpose for existence is being a mom.  I could not go on without my children."  I stopped mid-prayer.  Wait a minute.  Isn't my soul's purpose found in Christ?  Do not all my children belong to Him? If I wasn't a mom I would still have value.  

For sure my children are more precious to me than anything on this earth.  But God's in control, not me.  It is scary when things are outside of my control.  In that, I can put my Hope in the Lord.  My Hope goes deeper than a longing.  My Trust is in the Lord.  My Purpose is in Him.  My Rest is in the Lord.

If this is true then I am more than a mom.  I still adore motherhood.  But I always felt that was what defined me and it is not.  So much peace is found in placing my soul's value - my sole purpose - in God.  Fear's power over me is fading and losing ground.  I so dearly love this baby boy.  I want him to arrive healthy and breathing and hold him in my arms.  But the intense grip fear had on me is loosening as I find my purpose in Christ.  

I am sure I am not saying any of this eloquently and don't misinterpret this to mean I don't place high value in my work as a mom or that I don't have deep love for my kids.  Just to say my anxiety is decreasing.  I don't necessarily feel "safe" or "secure" about the pregnancy, just peace.  

It helps that Little Man is kicking and I feel movement throughout the day, which brings a lot of reassurance with it.  Look at this crazy ultrasound photo of his feet right up by his head!

Baby is growing well.  I've been having very strong, painful, frequent contractions but they aren't doing too much damage.  A little thinning and dilating but we did expect preterm labor to happen so it isn't anything too surprising.  I added another med to relax contractions and prevent labor but it makes me very sleepy so I am pretty limited as to when I can take it.  So I spend most days with intense contractions & painful cramps as my baseline.  The pelvic, back, and leg pain is increasing as well.  But I've made it to the 3rd trimester so that's pretty normal stuff, especially for my 7th baby (this will be 7 deliveries).  

The kids love feeling Little Man kick and are getting excited about his arrival in 3 months.  I didn't want anyone to get too attached or get their hopes up but loving the baby just came naturally!

Otherwise things are pretty status quo.  Baby's growth is good. A little behind in some measurements and a little ahead in others (like really long legs) and it averages together perfectly - 51st percentile. I'm continuing to see the doctor weekly for P17 injections and heart tones.  I just graduated from 10 weeks of weekly ultrasounds to measure cervix length and am a couple weeks away from the biophysical profile monitoring; kinda in a holding zone. It's not a bad place to be though.

20 weeks! I made it halfway!

25 week baby bump.  I'm gonna be huge by the end of this! I'm working on being okay with that and the whole body-acceptance thing.  It's worth it in the end.