The Ro Man's Birth Story (Part All of It)

29 September 2015

I usually write birth stories in installments. But for this one, I didn't. Which means it's LONG. Be warned. I don't have the mental energy to make it any shorter.

It was Saturday morning. I was 39 weeks along, and I started having contractions. My BH contractions had been strong and getting stronger for weeks, but this particular Saturday morning they started to feel a little different, a little more REAL. But they weren't regular: they would stop altogether for hours at a time.

Both of my previous labors had started in the morning, and from the first faintest contraction I pretty much knew it was real, and then went on to have a baby by supper time. Not this time. This time I had no idea what to think.

I hadn't really expected this baby to come before his due date, and I still didn't think he would, but I decided to fish some onesies from the unpacked boxes and toss them in the washer just in case.

Some of my Houston cronies had organized a pedicure date, so I went to get my toes done and wondered if a little ankle massaging would send me over the edge. It didn't. The contractions just kept on going nowhere for the entire day. I fell asleep that night wondering if they would pick up, but the sun greeted me and my still pregnant belly seven hours later.

All day Sunday I had spotty contractions. We went to Mass. 2 contractions. We got donuts afterwards. 1 contraction. We got some soccer gear for Jake and picked up a Craigslist find. 2 contractions. I got home and took a little nap. 0 contractions. Went to a birthday party. 3 contractions. By this point I was gearing up for a week of this kind of thing.

My brother and his girlfriend were coming over for dinner, and as we made dinner that night the contractions started to get a little stronger, so Jacob made me lie down. And no surprise: they stopped almost completely. I got up to have dinner and had a couple more contractions during the meal. They were stronger, but I could still sit and talk through them with relative ease. Jacob and I had enough sense to put my brother on call in case I actually went into labor that night.

We went to bed at 9:30, and I fully expected to wake up the next morning still pregnant. These fizzly every fifteen minute contractions just didn't have me convinced that I was truly in labor. I fell asleep and fifteen minutes later woke up with a contraction - it's rather jarring to have a contraction while half asleep with drool all over your face. A few minutes after the contraction I convinced myself I was not in labor, and a few minutes after that I fell asleep again, and a few minutes after that I was lurched awake by another contraction. This repeated itself about six times before I couldn't get back to sleep and thought maybe I should call my midwife.

I called in around 11pm, and as warm and maternal as the midwife image is, I could hear over the phone that she was not very excited about her middle of the night patient. I told her that I'd been having contractions for two days and while they were still fifteen minutes apart they were getting stronger and my last labor had escalated rather quickly and I just really really wanted this baby to be born where we'd planned for it to be born: in a hospital and not in Jacob's work truck or the hospital lobby or something. She gave me a very inviting: "Well, it's your third baby, so if you think you're in labor then you should probably come in. How far apart are your contractions again?" "15 minutes" Silence "'s your call." Second guessing second guessing second guessing. RESOLVE "I think I should come in."

So we called my brother and packed up the hospital bag, and by 11:30 we were on our way to the hospital.

I'd never been in labor at night; I'd never wanted to be in labor at night. But the traffic-free, one-contraction drive to the hospital was nice. Jacob and I chatted and I fretted about not really being in labor and making my midwife come in in the middle of the night just to turn me away. The contractions still weren't picking up at all, and I was nervous they would peter out altogether. We self-parked and took the elevator up to the main floor of the hospital. The woman at the welcome desk smiled big and asked us if we were coming in for an induction. At this I almost turned around and went right back down the elevator: one harmless question had convinced me I wasn't in labor. But onward we trudged to triage, and soon I was in a gown waiting for my midwife who showed up about 1 contraction or ~10 minutes later.

Verdict: 4cm, 90% effaced. "Well you're definitely staying."

And so it was. We were actually about to have a baby. These noncommittal contractions seemed to be doing something.  We were here in plenty of time to settle in before labor got too intense. I was very pleased.

And then the poking began. The veins in my left arm weren't cooperating, so they switched to my right. There was a billing issue that I had to sort out. Medical history questions, an interview with anesthesia, and a slow ride up to labor and delivery where I was able to sit on a ball while lucky Strep B me got a round of penicillin and an IV bag until PLEASE GOD CAN I JUST GET IN THE TUB ALREADY.

I've had all three babies in hospitals, but with the first two I was pretty hazy by the time I arrived - Lucy June was practically born in the hallway - so this was the first time I was very aware of just how many annoying little things had to happen before I could just hunker down and labor. FINALLY all the pokes and questions were done, and the midwife had guessed correctly that Jacob and I just wanted to be left alone, and the OB nurse was drawing me a bath, and things were looking up.

Contractions sped up a little during all the checking-in part and were around 45 seconds long and five minutes apart. They were getting more intense, but Jacob was helping me get through them, and things still felt pretty chill.

I'm gonna get a little sidetracked now, but hang in there and I promise I'll get back to the riveting birth story soon or you can just scroll down and pick it up (spoiler: a baby comes out of a mother's bottom area - that's the version Jakeboy heard anyway).

During my first labor, Jacob was not very helpful. Early labor was all nerves and making last minute preparations. I wanted to manage my own contractions while they were still easy with the hope that when they got more intense Mr. Husband Childbirth Coach would swoop in with some sweet relief, but this was stupid. You see, by the time the contractions became more intense there was no teaching people how to help me. I was a mad mess of "STOP TOUCHING ME WHY AREN'T YOU TOUCHING ME!?!?!?"

This blog isn't really into advice giving, but if you're hoping to go natty and you're envisioning some kind of laboring-wife-loving-husband dance through the waves of childbirth, then consider trying this: have your husband help you through contractions in early labor, when they're still easy. Tell him what helps and doesn't help. By the time labor heats up, he'll have a good idea what to do. In my second labor, I had Jacob help me through contractions from the get go. When the contractions were easy, I had the patience to vocalize what was and wasn't helpful. By the time my contractions were intense and rationality was flying out the window, Jacob had kinda figured out how to help and could keep on being helpful. Like super helpful.

In this last labor, Jacob would put a lot of pressure on my lower back and kind of push my hips together, and it made my contractions very manageable. Sometimes his hands would slip a little and I would become a banchie woman and curse at him in my head until he'd repositioned his grip and marital harmony would be restored once again.

By the time the antibiotic was done and the tub was ready, my contractions were still a solid five minutes apart but they were strong and would peak two or three times before fully letting go. The nurse said the bath was ready, so I shuffled to the tub after a contraction, but the contraction wasn't done yet. It was a doozie. And while the nurse tried to cool the bathwater off a little, I stood next to the tub and lifted my belly up with my hands to get a little relief as the contraction peaked two more times.

Finally: the tub.

It was deep, and it was beautiful. I sank into that thing and went contraction-free for a solid twelve minutes. Twelve minutes of watery bliss, my thoughts were a litany of love for everything and everyone in the world.

I finally started into a contraction, and I didn't move. I didn't expect it to be too strong, and I was feeling so zen, I figured I would channel my best Ina Mae and just float right on through it. But it was intense. LOVE. More intense. MORE LOVE. But then my eyes popped open and the love bubble burst abruptly because: PRESSURE.

The contraction let go, and I sunk back into the tub in disbelief.



Probably not really.

On one hand I didn't even want to hope that we were almost at the end, and on the other I had only JUST gotten into the tub and I was not ready to get out. So I didn't mention it to anyone and settled back into my bath. After a nice watery ten minutes of no contractions I had positively convinced myself that no, that hadn't been pressure.

As the next contraction came along, I pulled myself to sitting in the tub and grabbed the interior rail so Jacob could put some pressure on my lower back. It was long and big and at the peak: more pressure. After the contraction I managed to convince myself again that it wasn't REAL pressure. After two more contractions like that I started to get a little...vocal...and had to admit to the inquiring husband that maybe?? I was feeling?? some pressure?? At which point he stood up, called the nurse, turned to me and ordered me out of the tub immediately.

He handed me a big towel and the nurse instructed me to dry off really well. So while I was dutifully drying off (??? because God forbid some residual tub water get on the bed where we're about to push out a baby???) and fussing with the hospital gown, I started into the MotherContraction.

I basically crawled across the room and onto the bed, the nurse checked me and her eyes widened. She told me I had a tiny bit of cervix and my bag of water was bulging, and then she said something else, but I could hardly understand her because she was frantically trying to get a hold of my midwife. My contractions weren't letting go and I was holding onto the bedrail and all of a sudden my midwife was there and checking me and the contraction let go. She asked if I wanted her to break my water. I said no. Then she said, "Well, you can push if you want."

I can't really describe my reaction to this. I liked how calm she was, but at some point I wanted my baby-catcher to do a little cheerleading, perhaps a resounding "you're complete" or maybe a "let's do this!" but she wasn't giving me that. So I said: "I'm feeling a lot of pressure." And she said "Uhuh" And I said: "So I'm gonna push." And she said: "OK."

And then I did.

That contraction saw the biggest push of my life, complete with the guttural female warrior repertoire. I'd convinced myself that the baby was pretty much out, but at the end of it the midwife chimed in: "He's crowning."

And I thought "CROWNING?!?" My first baby had "crowned" for something like twenty minutes while my second had been out in two pushes, so I was pretty sure I'd graduated out of this "crowning" business, and I was blaming everyone in the room that the baby wasn't out yet. If that push hadn't gotten the baby out, it certainly wasn't my fault.

The next contraction kicked in and after another huge push, the baby's head was out. My contraction let go, and I stopped pushing, and my midwife made her first definitive statement of the evening: "Katie, you've got to get this baby out." So I pushed and pushed, and another contraction kicked in, and the baby was out.

And there he was squirmy and swollen. A boy! One of his ears was folded down. He was very upset. And he was big.

And I was beat. I was meeting my son, and my foggy brain was searching for some kind of euphoria, but I was mostly just aware of how tired I was.

It was three o'clock in the morning. I was hungry. I hadn't eaten anything since six. I was begrudgingly enduring all the post-birth prodding. The baby was wailing, and I wasn't very successfully trying to get him to nurse. My midwife was talking to the nurse about how she'd been asleep and that's why she'd barely made it. Jacob was telling me how proud he was. I was grateful to be done, but I was totally exhausted.

I looked down at this new little stranger and thought: I'm sure I'll love you tomorrow.

And I did, one meal, a few hours of sleep, and 1800 milligrams of ibuprofen later. 
Now my baby and my pedicure are three weeks old. The baby - at a solid 11 pounds - is aging a lot better than the pedicure. Jacob is working a lot, but I'm getting a ton of help from friends and family. And, boy, do I need it. I honestly don't know how we'd function without it because we're barely functioning with it. I feel so humbled and grateful, and I'm really trying to dwell in those emotions because the alternatives (exhaustion, anxiety, sheer terror) are never very far away.

My mother once told me that three kids really killed any illusion she had that she could "handle it." And, mom, if I was under any illusion that I could handle it before, consider me enlightened. And on that note I'm off to buy this because it's on sale today and because YES.
And if you're still there and by some impossibility want to read MORE?!?!

Jake's Birth Story


Lucy June's Birth Story

Knock yourself out.

7 Quick Takes Friday

18 September 2015

- 1 -
Things are going smoothly enough at casa Rhodes. Just smoothly enough. We're making very slow progress on the remodel, but we're managing most of life's ordinaries: and by that I mean diapers (disposable) and meals. It's pretty much about the in-one-way, out-the-other, and repeat around here. 

- 2 -
Roman is a pretty delightful little baby. He was sleeping five hour stretches at night for his whole first week and has only gotten marginally worse. My difficult baby (Jake) wasn't very difficult till he was two weeks old, so I'm holding out till Tuesdsay before I declare Roman the best Rhodes infant ever.

- 3 -
He also inherited his mom's nostril flare...#meltmyheart

- 4 -
Do you of the Catholic mom variety follow Sanctanomina? She did a birth announcement for Roman and pretty much nailed our thought process about choosing Roman's name. Definitely clickworthy!

- 5 -
I've got two loaves of zucchini bread in the oven, and I'm heating milk up to make yogurt. (Remember pretty much the only tutorial I've ever put on the blog about making yogurt without dirtying a single solitary dish except a spoon?!? I didn't think so.)

It feels like I'm seriously overreaching. This is as adventurous as I've been in the kitchen in probably a month, and even though everything seems to be going fine and two kids are sleeping and the other is semi-quietly playing with legos, I'm positive it's going to devolve with no warning. So many times in the past eleven postpartum days, my life has gone from peaceful, idyllic, newborn-sleepy-smile loveliness to a baby wailing, toddler tantruming, bodily fluids flying, and mom crying, in a matter of seconds. So yes. Bread in the oven and milk steaming on the stove feels like a recipe for total chaos.

We shall see.
- 6 -
 I scored my first curated, thrifted good from Blythe and Noelle's instagram shop "The Haul." I'm not a jewelry person or any kind of accessory person really, but I've decided to become one in my thirties. So I'm starting with bangles.

- 7 -
What with all the upheaval in our lives recently, I wanted Jake to have some new special thing,  so we started him in soccer. He's a natural.

Happy Weekend! And visit Kelly for more quick takes!


13 September 2015

So this blog has been quiet. We moved. We didn't have internet. We had a baby. We got internet again.

You know. Big stuff.

But seriously. Life has been a little crazy, and somewhere in the middle of that crazy, baby three arrived. Specifically: on September 7 at 3:06am.


Roman John Rhodes
(Roman pronounced like a citizen of Rome., not roMAHN like the nurse at the pediatrician's office presumed. We're ethnically too uninteresting to manage that pronunciation.)

Anyhow. There he is. Nice and fresh and ruddy with weirdly dark hair which will probably go full tow after a year or so of peach fuzz. Or maybe he'll keep it, and then maybe he could make a go at roMAHN. 
He was big.
Broke the family record by a pound and a half. Let's all pray along with my tailbone that he keeps that record.

 First family photo:
The kids were pretty enamored with him.
Especially Lucy June. So we have about 500 versions of this photo:
I'm doing well. I'm trying to relax, but - as you instafriends already know - our first week was a little bumpy. 

Birth story was hardly anything to write home about, but write it I soon as I have two hands to do it.
Little Ro is a pretty charming baby so far and a great sleeper. He felt like a stranger at first, but his slopey Rhodes eyes quickly melted my labor-weary heart.
Thank you thank you thank you for all the well wishes! I'll be back soon I promise!

Favorite Kids Picture Books

26 August 2015

I would classify these as family favorites for the 2-4 and 30 year old crowd.

Lucy June's favorite book is this one (she's original), and Jake's favorite is this one, and B. J. Novak's book had him practically hyperventilating. I'm pretty partial to this one, but the books that made this list are ones that ALL of us love.

This means that the kids like them genuinely, request them incessantly, recite them spontaneously, and they're not too long. I can't really handle long picture books. I really like reading out of chapter books with Jake, but there's something about the long (I'm looking at you Cars and Trucks) picture book that makes me tired. With these books you won't even have to sneak skip pages!

So now that I've set the bar adequately high: here are some of our favorite picture books. You've certainly heard of some of them, but I confess these were all new to me since having kids.

Little Owl Lost 
by Chris Haughton
The illustrations in this lean toward Microsoft Paint, and the colors are a little bit much, but I LOVE THIS BOOK. The kids get so into it. The fact that they care so much that this little owl finds its mother makes me feel pretty validated. And it's SHORT. We're talking like a sixty second commitment.

We Were Tired of Living in a House 
by Liesel Moak Skorpen
This is my favorite book on the list. These siblings take off into the wilderness and have these little adventures. It's pretty poetic ("So we packed our bag with sweaters and socks and scarves and scarlet leaves and gold and a frog who was a particular friend" - stuff like that.) In my mind it's childhood perfected.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie 
by Laura Joffe Numeroff
This one seems to make every favorite picture book list out there but for good good reason. The little kid pandering to every crazy whim of a mouse who nap-strikes. Every time I read this book I feel kind of triumphant. I'm like: "There is justice in the world because someday you will end your day in a puddle of exhaustion with cheerios in your hair too, little person!"

Frog and Toad 
by Arnold Lobel
Apparently the Frog and Toad books are kids readers that I should've been introduced to in second grade or something, but I missed them. They don't quite hold my heart like some of the books on this list, but I do really like the collection and so do my kiddos - even the not quite two year old. I like how ambiguously moral they are. I also like that it adjusts the kids to books that LOOK more like chapter books, but each story goes really quick.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt 
by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
Again. Most people know it. But such a great one. I love the rhythm of the book that the kids can latch onto so quickly. The dad and the baby in the book are delightful. And the whole time I'm reading it, I'm thinking about the mom sipping tea in her quiet quiet house.

Leave me some recommendations! I'm always on the lookout for good kids books. I'm way pickier than I ever imagined I would be!

Linking up with Jenna!

Remodel Update

25 August 2015

So we're about a week away from moving. Knock. On. Refinished Wood.

The floors are almost done, and the walls are closed up, and Jacob's buying appliances and putting in the cabinets over the next few days.

We will move in before the trim is on, before the upper cabinets are in, and before we've even ordered countertops. We haven't touched the bathroom. The tub literally has eight dead roaches in it right now. While we will address the dead roach situation, we won't update the bathroom until after we add a second bathroom sometime in the next six months.

We've blitzed the first stage of this remodel. We have about eight reasons - financial, familial, physiological - for doing it all so quickly, but it makes me nervous that we're not giving enough time to the decision making process. I've had to pick wood stains via texted photo in the grocery store parking lot while two little people screeched through the Little Einsteins theme song in their car seats.

So my anxiety is probably warranted. I'm already worried that we framed the open doorway between the living room and the kitchen too small, and that the new kitchen island won't look quite right.

But in the interest of optimism. Here are some things that are going right.

#1 The A/C works.

We can't get the furnace to light and the water heater is also a question mark, but on the scale of 1 to 100 degrees in Houston in August, I think we came out ahead on this one.

#2 The front windows.

It was Saturday and Jacob needed to frame the windows in before the drywallers were coming...on Sunday.

So we thought about buying generically sized vinyl windows from Lowes, but these would certainly clash with the front windows we'd decided to keep.

We could order cu$tom window$, but besides the hefty price tag, this would have us moving in with literal garbage bags for windows while we waited several weeks for them to come in.

So we hit up Houston Historic Salvage knowing that the likelihood of them having what we needed was really really low. But we lucked out. Though not new, we found some super high quality windows that would work for the space. New windows on the left. Old windows on the right.
Here's another after we'd replaced all the front windows and the drywall started to go up. This was about ten days (two lifetimes) ago. 
And here's me sweeping up the puzzle we used to entertain the kids while buying the windows.  
Nothing like a toddler and a precocious four year old at a salvage yard: strips of trim with exposed nails jutting out into the aisles, panes of glass leaning against door frames, vintage pedestal sinks teetering at every corner.

#3 The Floors

The floors in the entire house needed refinishing and the parquet flooring in the living room had to be replaced entirely. Here's what they looked like before.
Some parts were worse than others:
And here they are now.
I love them. The pic doesn't do them justice. The wood is red oak and we used a "Country White" stain on them. There's enough variation in the color that they should be pretty graceful when it comes to sweeping, but they are light and lovely.

Here's the kitchen as of yesterday morning.
Jacob is plugging away at it as I type, so maybe we'll have some cabinets by the time we move. Or maybe we'll eat cereal off of moving boxes and become real friendly with the neighborhood's taco trucks.

Now I'm off to scour the net for the least offensive ceiling fans with light fixtures I can find. (Tips welcome!)

7 Quick Takes: A Babymoon and A Remodel

07 August 2015

- 1 -
Jacob and I were in upstate New York for a wedding a couple weekends ago. A dear friend from grad school got married to a longtime sweetheart, and I was so happy we were able to celebrate with them.

This meant - excepting little baby in utero who makes his/her presence known in a consistent variety of ways - we were childless for three whole days and hardly knew what to do with ourselves.

The wedding was in Ithaca. We went out for breakfast Saturday morning and then to the Ithaca Farmers Market. The market was so luscious - unfortunately Houston farming right now is kinda...limp. Everything's too hot and always looks tired. The people, the produce, the trees. Not so in Ithaca. I saw dahlia's as big as my head and the happiest bunches of greens, and there was no reason for me to buy any of it...which was good because I wanted to buy EVERYTHING. 
I could've spent hours watching all the people in their chaco's and muted lavenders and olive greens and dreadlocks, juicing wheatgrass and nursing babies in the backs of Subaru Foresters. My kind of cliche. I really just need to move to Portland.

We spent one night in New York City and like the touristing bosses we are, we didn't venture outside of a two mile radius of our hotel. But we did have the best gelato I've ever tasted stateside. We went to a different place for cocktails and another place for dinner. We have priorities and they're all food related.

- 2 -
I was SO uncomfortable on the flights, but every time I thought about how kid-free we were, I couldn't muster a single complaint. No car seats or baggage carts. No naptimes to fuss with. So much less forethought. I was the only one who whined. Ah, but I missed them. I missed them a lot. It took a whole week of being back before the messes of mothering began to faze me again.

- 3 -
The kids did great at home with their grandmother and uncle. They missed us some I'm sure between the hours of water play and trips to the beach.
Lucy June did hug me for two minutes straight when we walked through the door. <3

- 4 -
The remodel is in full swing, and we're still planning on moving in early September. Can! We! Do it?!?!


So far we've begun to repair some old termite damage behind the drywall and ripped out the old kitchen.
We had the A/C reducted so the air is blowing into the house instead of into the attic. Jacob piped gas to the kitchen, and he and his brother tore out the molding parquet floor in the living room.

Originally when you opened the front door you walked straight into a coat closet.
So we knocked out that closet to open up the living room. Now when you open the front door you see clear to the backdoor.
The world tells me this is bad feng shui, but I tell the world that we're eventually going to move the backdoor.

We knocked out a built-in in the living room to open up a wider pathway between the living room and the kitchen.

- 5 -
The likelihood of our moving on time depends a lot on this weekend. My dad comes into town, and he and Jacob will tackle whatever rewiring needs to happen. We'll also try to get a sense of why the water pressure in the bathroom is terrible. If those projects are pretty straightforward, we'll be set.

Over the next couple weeks, we have floor guys and drywallers coming and Jacob will be able to focus on the kitchen installation.

- 6 -
The stress of moving again and a second blitzed remodel, is definitely charmed by getting to design another kitchen. Here are the current ideas:
We'll do some kind of light greyish/sageish/green for the lower cabinetry with gold hardware. We have very little upper cabinetry in the design, so we'll run with the nice cheap open shelving trend. I'm thinking octagonal carrara marble for the backsplash. The countertops will be white. There's a marbly quartz that I really like, but Lowes will have to give us one heck of a deal on it because it is $$$. 

- 7 -
Our trip to New York marked the end of our summer traveling. We have traveled almost every other weekend since April, and for the foreseeable future we are staying put. The next five weeks of our lives are pretty defined. Jacob will be remodeling. The kids will be eating cereal. And I will be on the couch trying to convince myself to write or maybe tackle some prenatal DoYogaWithMe videos if I can love myself enough.

And then we will move and have a baby. Hopefully in that order and not simultaneously.

Linking up with Kelly!

Scattered Thoughts on Mothering These Little People

29 July 2015

Sometime in the last year Jake has grown up into like a real KID.

I'm not used to mothering a real KID. For a long time motherhood was very toddler-y. I could engage him in activities, plop his sister down to watch him, and go along my merry way of interrupted semi-productivity.

Then I got sick with baby 3, and when I came out of the haze, Jake was a kid. A kid who plays with real legos and goes to swim lessons.

This makes me a mom who steps on legos and drives her son to activities.

I was pretty suited to toddler motherhood. I don't really like going places, and so for those couple of summers when all my child needed was a bucket of water and a porch, and I could prop up my feet with some enriching chick lit, I was in a pretty good spot. That just can't happen everyday, now that Jake knows the word "boring."

He's found out so much about the world that I successfully obscured for a very long time. He knows about candy and toys and where to buy them and who has money to buy them. He knows that certain restaurants have playplaces and others don't.

Lucy June has settled into a phase of lovely high pitched screams when she doesn't get her way and wants to do everything herself. Buckling the car seat: "MINE DO IT!" Spreading butter on her toast: "MINE DO IT!" Putting on her pants: "MINE DO IT!" It's as...endearing as it sounds.
And I'm learning. I'm learning how to understand what our family rhythms will look like. I'm slow to adapt and little people change quickly. I mostly recognize "phases" only in the rearview mirror.

Jake will always be the one to break me in.

This hurts me for him. I've needed a lot of breaking in. And the more I tread down the path of parenthood, the more breaking in I need.

Motherhood seems like such a paradox: Enjoy the little things without being overwhelmed by all the little things. Slow down and embrace today, but be ready to change tomorrow because your kids are growing so fast.
There's a necessary fluidity to mothering littles, and that fluidity can drown you or it can buoy you up.

For the past six months, I've been drowning. We've overcommitted ourselves in a variety of ways. This whole pregnancy feels kinda like an overcommitment.

Honestly it only takes about one kid to feel overcommitted to this whole mothering gig.
I know from talking to many many mothers that preserving time for yourself and a sense of yourself is a constant struggle. But if I'm learning something in this 33+ week of pregnancy in Houston's summer glory: sometimes struggling isn't the answer.

I want to learn the strokes of motherhood. It's easy enough for me to swim when the time is right, but in the difficult seasons I'm still learning how to float.

We have a lot going on in these last six weeks of pregnancy: there are some pretty big waves on the horizon. But the thing about this pregnant body: it floats. It floats pretty darn well, if I let it.
Many thanks to this lovely little friend who let me use the images she took when her family came with us to our creek house in South Texas a couple weekends ago.
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