Exhale and reflect as usual

18922055_10209337729105775_5596093069402948099_nThis pregnancy has been amazing thus far.  I love the feeling of my baby inside of me.  I love every kick and punch and flip… even the uncomfortable ones where I politely move my baby’s little foot or fist back into my belly before he/she bursts out tiny limb first like a mini Spartan warrior.  Sure there are days when I reminisce on photographs of my cute pre-pregnancy body but I have to say I have such a greater appreciation for my pre-pregnancy figure now that I’ve grown horizontally.  I always thought I looked healthy but not beautiful or something to aspire to… but after baby is out I will simply be aspiring to the old Chantelle, which makes me proud of my old body and myself (=

Since I have been pregnant before I am usually asked if this pregnancy is different than my first.  It’s similar mood wise.  I am very in love with my baby just as I was with Ari.  But I had a lot more nausea with Ari.  I was sick all day with her.  This baby wasn’t too bad.  With Ari there was a lot more fear as I had never even held a baby before!  With this baby I am just excited to finally hold a baby again!  I also gained more weight with this baby!  At 8 1/2 months pregnant I have gained what I did full term with Ari.  But I’m going to keep the exact number to myself.  Also my life is just more settled with this baby, more on that later.  I also knew I was having a girl with Ari, this time I don’t know and it’d driving me crazy.  There is a certain time during each day when I just look at my belly and ask it, “what are you?!”  There are so many adorable outfits out there and I feel like I can’t pull the trigger until I know what my baby’s gender is.  Maybe my husband did this on purpose to protect our finances.  He insisted that the gender remain a surprise until birth though, so here I sit and wait for my little bambino or bambina to arrive.  Meanwhile I do have a couple of really girly outfits stowed away just in case the baby is a bambina!  Although it would be really wonderful to have a little boy.  I just don’t know, I don’t even really know what I want it to be, just get here baby, nice and healthy and a little on the chubby side (=

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For any pregnant woman I would have to summarize pregnancy as the first trimester sucks because nausea just well.. sucks for lack of better words.  The second trimester is a dream come true.  You finally feel your baby move, you are filled with love and an unexplainable connection/ protectiveness over your tiny human.  You also get to see the result of all of baby’s hard work growing: a wee little beautiful bump.  Then the third trimester comes along and you begin to lose your mind over making sure your baby has enough socks, but are the socks organic cotton, what is the best formula just in case I don’t produce enough milk at first, does the baby have enough diapers, where can I get little nightlights for our late night feedings, what if I fall down the stairs from exhaustion or slipping on a step?!?! Ahh!  Or maybe that is just me.

I started the nesting phase super early with this baby.  My nursery is completely set up and I have washed and rewashed and folded and refolded and arranged and rearranged enough times to be diagnosed with OCD.

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The painting were done by me in an effort to save money!

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98% of the time I am filled with joy and excitement over being able to soon hold my baby, but the labor process does cross my mind and make me cringe.  I would like to be honest with every woman who has not had a baby.  Labor hurts like hell.  It feels like you are being run over.. over and over again.  I don’t understand how any woman can say labor is beautiful and such an incredible experience that they would joyfully do again.  What hallucinogenic are these women on?  Where can I get them?  Perhaps they are just so overwhelmed by the beautiful out of this world emotional joy and end result of holding their beautiful baby in their arms finally, that they forget what had to happen for their cervix to expand to the size of a donut so a human being could fit through it.  Unfortunately I have the memory of an elephant.  I’ve never blacked out, I’ve never had a night or even a few hours that I can’t recall from any sort of recreational activities.   Everything is crystal clear to me including the long labor of my first baby girl.  Anyway that’s just the straight truth not the sugar coated version.  But women are strong and we’ve been doing this for centuries and centuries.  The female body in my opinion is the most phenomenal creation, God given, beautiful, resilient and other adjectives that make my heart burst with pride for our gender.

Being older and more informed there are new things that I have pondered about with this pregnancy.  I like to think I live a healthy holistic lifestyle… but to be honest when I’m eating my organic strawberries it’s accompanied with several (heaping) spoonfuls of nutella.  With that being put out there the new holistic homeopath in me says, no vaccinations, eat the placenta, and drink Raspberry Leaf tea everyday to strengthen my uterus (which I’m beginning to loathe).  Then the alternative side of me says, just a tiny sip of warm earthy coffee is probably okay, and what if the negative studies on vaccines are just anxiety ridden poppy cock and eating the placenta?!?  If the body wants it out, then the body does not want it back in!!!  Honestly I didn’t even know that was a thing.  I read that eating the placenta can fight the baby blues, but I didn’t even know that there was such thing as post partum depression.  After I had my daughter Arianna I felt so happy.  I was filled with pride over how beautiful and healthy she was.  I also felt beautiful regardless of the 40 plus pounds I had gained.  Now knowing that women get post part depression actually gives me anxiety wondering if this time around I may fall victim!  Sometimes the old adage rings true, ” ignorance is bliss.”  No matter what life throws at us though I know everything will turn out alright.  Women are so much more open and transparent with each other these days.  I know I won’t have to feel alone if I ever do feel blue.

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I had a little nursery reveal party at my house. I know that no one does nursery reveal parties but I worked so bloody hard on it and cried so many happy tears in it that I deemed it necessary to share with my loved ones. I also like excuses to celebrate.

I do feel so blessed that this time around I will be able to give 100% of myself to this baby as a stay at home mum.  Knowing this makes me feel so at ease.  I’m not questioning, what will I do next?  How am I going to manage this?  Who is going to watch the baby?  What if said caregiver makes a mistake…Etc… With Arianna I was able to stay with her full time for three months thanks to my family’s generosity but after that time period was up it was time to get back into the real world, which meant a road trip back to UNC Chapel Hill.  I had a full scholarship I couldn’t just lay down and cry “Uncle” just because no one believed I could finish school now that I had a baby.  That scholarship was a gift from the University.  It was God seeing into my future knowing I would need that!

Arianna’s life was never a choice, regardless of others telling me her life was a decision I could make.  There were people who truly made me feel like my life would be over if I had a baby.  Things did fall apart for me, but they would have fallen apart regardless.  My ex was cheating on me and I realized it when Ari was maybe 9 months old.  All of the signs were there, he didn’t  live with me, he rarely called but I blamed it on his busy soccer career.  I was wonderfully and dreadfully naive to evil.   I was forced to go through with the legal process of divorce and every day for a couple of years I cried because of it.  I truly didn’t believe I would ever love or trust someone ever again.  I also didn’t think anyone would love me in return and that is another thing I was told as a result of having a baby.  I definitely struggled financially and it just seemed like everything was spiraling out of control.  But I had this ooey gooey squishy little girl who loved me so much and that was everything.  A child’s love is everything.  It’s the sun, the moon, the stars, my universe was in my child’s embrace.  She kept me so busy I didn’t have enough time to have the proper mental breakdown that my circumstances would have warranted.  I look back and my memories are full of her smiles and hugs and kisses and silly ramblings, dance moves, falling asleep on my chest, trying to pronounce, “I love you.”  My memories rarely draw back on my tears and when they do it’s because I want to encourage someone else who is going through something similar.

Anyway I didn’t mean to make that a pro life tangent.  I just feel so blessed that God forged a path for my first baby and me that led to a loving and growing family.  I couldn’t see it back then and no one else could either.  Sometimes I sit in Baby Fedeli’s nursery and I am filled with happy tears because today I feel so safe and secure and there is nothing like that feeling when you went so long without it.  Everything turned out beautifully.  I did graduate.  I met amazing fellow mom friends.  The women who came into my life to help me and my child are forever in my heart and forever testimonies to me that God’s love is here on earth.  It’s shown through every selfless act, through every act of unconditional love to another, to a stranger.  I did end up falling in love again and being loved in return.  The nightmare marriage was annulled which felt like the removal of an ugly scar.  Arianna has a mom and a dad now plus a big loving family!   I could go on and on and sometimes I do when I’m in the notes section of my cell phone.  I’m so grateful.  It’s like finally being able to exhale.

One of my friends showed me this passage when I was beginning to go through well everything… Every time I read it I am in awe.  Isaiah 54:

6 The Lord will call you back
    as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—
a wife who married young,
    only to be rejected,” says your God.
“For a brief moment I abandoned you,
    but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
In a surge of anger
    I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
    I will have compassion on you,”
    says the Lord your Redeemer.

“To me this is like the days of Noah,
    when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
    never to rebuke you again.
10 Though the mountains be shaken
    and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
    nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
    says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

11 “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
    I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,[a]
    your foundations with lapis lazuli.
12 I will make your battlements of rubies,
    your gates of sparkling jewels,
    and all your walls of precious stones.
13 All your children will be taught by the Lord,
    and great will be their peace.
14 In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
    you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
    it will not come near you.
15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing;
    whoever attacks you will surrender to you.

16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith
    who fans the coals into flame
    and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc;
17     no weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

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Lovely flowers that were done by Pieter and Gwen, same people who did the flowers at my wedding!  The cake was also made by the same bakers who made my wedding cake, Nick and his wife Grace.  Cassata of course ❤

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