Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Homestretch

April 21, 2015...34 years old and 35 weeks pregnant!
On Tuesday, I will be 37 weeks pregnant.  A week ago, I would have told you I could keep this baby in forever.  Now, I feel every bit of those 37 weeks.  At my doctor's appointment this week, she told me the baby is measuring bigger than my other babies (maybe it's a boy?) and that he or she is head down but other than that, showing no signs of coming anytime soon.  That's exactly what I expected her to say! My stomach feels huge, and as Jack and Hannah both showed me, my babies like to hang out as long as they can before making their arrivals into the world.  I'm sleeping well and I start every day feeling great--I've still been going to the gym (although my "cardio" these days consists of the elliptical and walking on the treadmill), and I've been doing my half hour of weight circuits 3-4 times a week.  They're nothing crazy (although you should see the stares I get at the gym) and I don't use heavy weights, but they're enough to keep my muscles moving and make me feel like I'm in some sort of shape, no matter how large my stomach may be!  By the end of each day, I'm exhausted.  My body is just tired.  It's tired from putting little ones in and out of the car, pushing them on swings, going up and down stairs...all with an extra 18 pounds on my stomach.

When my doctor told me to rest as much as possible in the weeks ahead, I just nodded my head and smiled.  She looked over at Hannah who had asked a million questions about the baby and the heartbeat and for more snacks along with "When is the baby coming out?" and "Why is the baby in mommy's tummy?"...and then laughed and said, "you probably don't get that much rest anyway, do you?"  But the past couple of days, I've tried to be smart.  I've been lying down while Hannah naps and Jack has his quiet time.  Jim has been a huge help, encouraging me to take a step back and rest more.  Last night, Jim took all three little ones to Lilly's soccer practice so that I could lie down.  It's hard to do, because there are still a lot of things I would like to do before this baby is born.  None of them are essential and many may be easier afterwards when I don't feel so big with so much pressure, but they're things that would be nice to have out of the way.  This weekend, Jim is taking the little ones to Villanova and I'm having the weekend to myself.  I might make some new little newborn hats and wash some little onesies but besides that, I have no's going to be heaven.

The baby's movements are slowing down, which always happens towards the end.  There are no more flips in my stomach, probably because the baby is now living in tight quarters, but now I get lots of jabs and pokes and feet going from one side to the other.  The baby has the hiccups all the time.  The other day while I was lying down, I felt something that I have never felt with the other three.  While my hand was on my stomach, I could feel this little one breathing.  My stomach was going in and out (just slightly) at the rapid pace of a baby's breath.  It was amazing, and lasted until the baby changed positions.  As I get closer and closer to my due date, I get more excited to find out who this little person is.  I can't wait for this baby to meet his or her older siblings.  I can't wait to see Jim become a Dad again and to see how Lilly, Jack and Hannah all react to having a newborn in our house.  Those are the thoughts that get me through those last couple of weeks.  I know what is coming, and I know how amazing it will be.  I can't wait.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Spring Break 2015

Spring Break has come and gone.  The weather was gorgeous, we had no school drop offs or pick ups, and we got a little taste of what summer will be like (+ a newborn)! We met friends at the park--friends that we don't usually get to see because they're all at school.  We played out in the back yard and rode bikes in the culdesac.  We went to the zoo and got ice cream.  We had friends over to play and have a pizza picnic outside.  We painted nails and read books and drew with chalk and rode scooters.  At the end of every day, the little ones were exhausted and I was really exhausted but this week home together just reaffirmed for me how our family works best.  I love having everyone home from school.  I love letting them wake up when they want and lounge in their pajamas and take their time eating breakfast and play with whatever lego/doll/dinosaur combination usually fancies their interests first thing in the morning.

I'm not pretending every minute at home with these three is easy and full of smiles and children playing nicely--that's not the case at all.  There are moments when Lilly is telling on Jack and Jack is telling on Hannah and Hannah is telling everyone else what to or shrieking for no reason.  There are moments when they're all talking at once and everyone has some comment to make about what they would like for dinner and how they really didn't feel like eating what I made.  There are moments when my phone rings and Hannah takes advantage of the distraction to run into a corner and go to the bathroom, and then announces to everyone that "I peed in my pants," with a huge grin on her face while Lilly and Jack chuckle in disbelief.  At one point, Jack came in to get everyone cups of water for outside and ended up with ice all over the kitchen floor, more water on the floor than was actually in the cups...and a big proud smile on his face because he got everyone 3 (almost full) cups of iced water.  The loads of laundry and the mess are endless as are the constant requests for snacks.  "No--we just had breakfast/lunch/dinner... " was probably my most used phrase over spring break.  We all took full advantage of nap time and quiet time every day--Hannah and I would often take 2 hour naps while Jack and Lilly had their time to play and read on their own.  I got to use some quiet time to listen to Lilly read, which is something that I want to do all the time but which I rarely have the opportunity to do quietly as there are always other children around asking questions.  Parts of the week were exhausting and frustrating, just like life in general.  But I would have weeks like this over and over again if I could.

I spent a lot of the week smiling.  One morning, I watched them trace each other with chalk on the driveway before going around the back for a picnic lunch.  I would see Lilly pushing Hannah on the swing while Jack was spinning himself around in circles on the tire swing.  Hannah learned how to climb up the rope ladder by herself (while giving me minor heart attacks) so that she can be up on the playground with the other two.  One afternoon, I sat outside with my iced coffee trying to pretend I wasn't there (which never works--as soon as I'm out there, they want me to play).  But, they know I've got a "giant tummy" at the moment and that means I don't run around in circles with them so eventually, I got to sit and just watch.  I watched them chase each other around in circles shrieking and yelling "try and catch me!" and the hysterical laughter that ensued when one of them caught the other.  I watched them play their "family" game where Jack is Jim, Lilly is me and Hannah is "Little Katie."  We're not sure why or where Little Katie came from, but it's been consistent enough over the past few months that if you called Little Katie across the yard, Hannah would come running.  When I see these three little people make each other laugh--real, belly laughs--I watch and smile.  Last week, they got to do what children are supposed to do.  They got to run and jump and climb and play games.  They got to choose their own clothes and I didn't have to worry about things matching.  They learned how to solve problems together and they were happy.  I was happier.  6 more weeks of school, and then we get to do this all summer.

The owl was Hannah's favorite animal at the zoo!
Jack asked me to take a picture of him and the turtle to "send to Uncle Joefy!"
The ducks were a pretty big hit too.