Posts Tagged ‘baby’

29th April
written by Michelle

I am home this week car-less and husband-less, hence the extra time for blogging. I did a pregnancy update at week 16 and week 20… so week 31 seems like a good time.

Now that my bump is very noticeable and very round, lots of people touch and comment on it. My favorite is when a Guatemalan women who I may or may not know, looks my way and says “ay, que gordita.”  Someone would never get away with this in the states. It’s kinda like the equivalent of oh, hey fatty…you’re looking good. But for some reason in a culture where women are valued for round curves and most everyone has love handles, I have learned to accept this has a compliment.

ok, the 9 most recent questions:

Do you have a name?

yep, we do. And no, we’re not sharing it quite yet :) It passed the Starbucks test back in January and we just gave a list to both of our families with 6 potential first names and middle names. We wanted to make sure both sides could pronounce her name. So, they don’t know her name either, but they have some ideas.

How are you feeling?

I go back and forth between being really, really excited and then panicking slightly thinking “ahh, we’re not ready…we don’t have diapers, clothes, or anything set up.” Thankfully, I’ve had a pretty easy, not-too-much-to-complain about pregnancy. I blame it on good genes. Thanks, mom!  My lower back gets sore if I am on my feet for more than 30 minutes and I have had congestion/head colds on and off for a few weeks. I think being pregnant really does lower the immune system or something. Yoga has been my saving grace. As well as a husband who massages my back, feet, head, etc whenever I ask. I’d kinda like his treatment to continue even after the baby is here. (hint, hint, honey :) )

How’s the midwife going?

Hannah, our midwife, has been great. She’s got her own-style, as you might expect of a midwife, but she KNOWS her stuff when it comes to babies, birth, moms, and health. We’ve started a 6-week birthing class with 4-other couples and I just love learning about labor and delivery and this little miracle that my body is making. I could seriously consider a career change as a doula or midwife- maybe in my next life. We have appointments every 2 weeks now and one of the things I love is how Hannah talks to our baby as she’s trying to measure and feel for position. I think it’s the cutest thing ever. Baby Girl is head down, which makes this Mama very happy. Mostly our appointments are for Hannah to weigh me, check the baby’s heartbeat and answers all of my bzillions of questions- more recently having to do what happens after birth. I am feeling a little relieved that she provides 40-days post-postpartum care to help with breast feeding, newborn care, and all the post-birth related aches and pains that new moms have.

 Are you settled in your new place?

For the most part, yes. A temporary settled we might say. We’re hoping to spend May getting a guest room set up and making Baby Girl a little corner in our room with her co-sleeper and some kind of changing table/dresser. We are so thankful to have found a place just a few blocks away from our current house…because we still walk back there to do laundry once a week. I call it our Sunday Laundry Party : ) — our new place doesn’t have the right hook-ups or space for our machine. I tell myself, walking a few blocks to do laundry is still better than having to wash everything by hand like so many Guatemalans do.  Construction is well underway at our old house- windows/doors knocked out, stairs being built and a new wall going up! We’re hoping for no big surprises, a quick finish and to be able to move back in October!

Can you feel her move?

Yes, all the time. Although now it’s not so much little kicks and flutters, but this shifting bulge that kind pokes against my ribs and stomach. Sometimes if I’m laying flat in bed…I can see her move her little body from side to side. And Gerber tells me when I am sleeping in the morning, he’ll place his hands on my belly and feel her move. If this kid is a morning person, G has already told me he’ll take her every morning. I love the sound of that!

How’s the daddy-to-be doing?

I think he’s more excited than I am. Maybe because he can’t feel her or sense her the way I can. He talks to her and plays music and calls her by name. I really do believe there is some kind of special bond between fathers and daughters. He has informed me that since I carried her the first 9 months, he’ll carry her the next 9 months : ) We’ll see how that goes. His biggest concern: getting to the birthing clinic, which is a good hour drive from our place. He’s worried about things like traffic, not making it in time and having a baby in the car. For some reason I am not worried about any of these scenarios.

What’s been the hardest part so far?

Maybe the not knowing what to expect. I mean I have read and listened to first time moms share advice and tips- which has all been helpful. But I know the best things I can do is learn to read our baby. Also, I also can totally understand why women schedule c-sections. I mean it would be so nice to just know when she is coming- the fact that there is a 4-5 week window (between 37 and 42 weeks) is kinda driving me crazy. How do I plan if I don’t know when she’s coming???

What are you most looking forward to?

The moment after birth when they place her on my chest and we get to meet our baby girl. Ohh, I smile just thinking about it. Also, getting excited about TWO baby showers this month, my mom visiting from California and two friends coming to stay with us!

So, 9-ish more weeks to go. Hard to believe that she and I are going to keep growing! Not sure how my skin will keep stretching, but I trust it will. Next time I do an update I will really be mas gordita. :)

10th April
written by Michelle


Before we even found out that I was pregnant one of the things I really wanted was maternity photos. I just love how a growing, round belly and a glowing mama look. However, living in Guatemala, where child raising and the whole baby culture is so, so different, I’ve learned to let go of certain expectations.

Pinterest inspired nursery? Probably not gonna happen.

Last minute trips to Target? Just not possible.

I asked once at local photography shop if they knew anyone who did maternity shots and they looked at me as if I had just asked “do you know anyone who photographs dancing cows?”

So, I let it go.

But then in February I went to a missions conference and there was this cool, young, photographer from the states who was doing FREE portraits for individuals and families. I signed up for a slot and asked him if he ever does maternity photos.

I did one just last week. Come back at 6.”

So these photos are taken on the shores of Lago Atitlan, one of my favorite places in Guatemala, at the perfect time of day where the light makes anyone look good. I read that you’re supposed to take maternity photos at 34 weeks, when you’re belly is nice and round and you can still squeeze into your maternity pants. But…hey, you work with what you got.

And I got some great photos of me and our little girl at about 23 weeks.

Special thanks to Dave Christenson Photography.

{if anyone in the Pennsylvania/New Jersey area is in need of a great photographer check out his site:}

dear mija

Maternity Shoot at the Lake

11th February
written by Michelle
Left: 4 week picture taken on my birthday          Right: 20 week picture taken a few days ago
{ I sent the one on the right to my mom to say thanks for my new LuLu birthday outfit, little did she know I was 4 weeks pregnant. Now at 20 weeks I would wear this shirt every day if I could }

We’re at the half-way point and there is definitely a growing, kicking, little life inside of me.  For those of you who are following the life of Baby P and his/her mama (that’s me) here are:

10 Things I Didn’t Expect While Being Pregnant


1. How much I would really enjoy being pregnant.
I’ve always wanted to be mom, but I never really thought much about being pregnant. In fact, I used to imagine making up fun games and science experiments to teach my kids and enlisting their help in the kitchen. Whenever I imagined having kids I always pictured them about 7 or 8. (all of you with 7 and 8 year olds, just let me keep holding onto my idealist picture of child rearing :) I imagined having conversations with my kids and going on hikes together, but somehow imagining the baby years escaped me. Maybe because I spent a lot of time around babies and toddlers and I knew how much work they take, and underneath their baby soft skin, and adorable smile is a little creature who depends on you for everything and doesn’t understand, I’m sorry, sweetie can you wait 5 min while mommy goes to the bathroom?  I’m obviously not in the baby quite stage yet, but I have so enjoyed being pregnant. Watching my belly grow, feeling little kicks against my stomach and praying for this life inside has been better than anything I could have imagined.


2. How for weeks I couldn’t tell the difference between gas bubbles and the baby kicking.
The first time I actually felt him/her kick was in yoga class at about 19 weeks. As I was relaxing in child’s pose I felt the slightest little tap, tap- like someone poking at me from the inside. I imagine the baby saying oh, I like this or hey, mom stop squishing me…probably the latter. Since then I often sit still with my hands on my belly to just feel his/her little movements. I’m convinced that the baby also has an affinity for top 40 tunes- which will make your aunts so proud- because every time we’re at the gym or cleaning the house he/she also starts kicking.
(You didn’t know I listened to top 40, huh? Well let me tell you it makes doing dishes and cleaning the house so much more fun. Next time you have a sink full of dishes or a floor to mop try playing some Gangnam style or Kelly Clarkson or a little Usher. Warning your baby may kick, too.)


3. That Google has become my first go-to source for all questions.
yeah, yeah…I know it’s probably better to email my midwife or ask a dr or a good friend, but sometimes I just want to see what Google says. Here is what I have googled so far: “pregnancy chai tea” “pregnancy bikini wax” “pregnancy iron rich foods” “pregnancy and sex” “pregnancy curly hair” “pregnancy varicose veins” “pregnancy coconut oil” and just this past week “the belly bandit.” As you can see these are very serious topics and questions. Thankfully google has not let me down.


4. How being pregnant is such a great conversation starter with strangers.
I like meeting new people and don’t mind at all when a conversation starts with “So, when are you due?” I find that even across cultural lines and language all women have something to say about being a mom or an aunt or a grandma. And for some reason I don’t even mind when they reach out and touch my belly.


5. How I could love someone who I’ve never even met.
I don’t know how, but I already love this little baby so much. We both do. It’s kind of miraculous really. The whole thing…how a little piece of me and a little piece of Gerber and a whole lot of God make this growing, living, kicking, now blinking and thumb sucking thing inside. We often will talk to the baby at night and as I rub my belly I whisper, te amamos mucho. We love you a lot!


6. How excited G was the moment he felt the baby kick for the first time.
usually our conversation would go something like this
m: ooh, the baby’s kicking…come here!
g: {resting his hand on my belly} I don’t feel anything.
m: I think it stopped.
g: {disappointed}
Of course baby’s don’t kick on demand. But the other night Gerber had his hands resting on my belly and he felt it! I don’t think I have ever seen him smile so big!


7. How extra kind people are because you’re pregnant.
Seriously, I don’t know how it is in the states…but here someone carries my grocery to the car when I ask for help, I get escorted to the front of the bank to the pregnant/with children/elderly line and people in general just seem extra patient. Now, my hope is that those same people are extra patient when I have a screaming, agitated little one strapped to my body and am taking like 30 minutes just to get them into the car-seat.


8. How there is really so little I can do for my baby.
Maybe this is part of being a mom….I mean, I can eat well and take my vitamins and try to get rest, but there is this humbling point where I’ve had to realize I cannot protect you little one from a car accident or from some explosion or a horrible earthquake. Of course, these thoughts enter my mind and when they do I say little prayer.


9. How generous people have been by sharing baby carriers and outgrown clothes and helpful pieces of advice.
We are having the baby here in Guatemala and although there may be lots of things I’d like to have from the good U S of A, we’re going to get by with less. But people both in the states and here have been so kind. Giving us used baby carriers, and newborn clothes. A friend from the states packaged up blankets and baby toys and a nursing cover and sent it down. Another friend who came on a team brought us a baby first aid kit with all those things you need but don’t think about buying. We have felt blessed and encouraged and dear Baby P, you should know how many people love you!


10. How relatively un-stressed I am.
This is so uncharacteristic for me. Any big life change, or really any change at all, usually involves lots of lists and some tears and a whole lot of stress. But for some reason the anticipation and actual pregnancy has been joyful and easy and well, really exciting. When I think back about the past few years and some of the big life changes I am reminded how transitions have often brought me stress. Moving, job changes, dating, even planning a wedding and figuring out marriage were all good, but filled with ups and downs. Almost like a roller coaster, where every so often you want off because it’s just too much. You get a little too scared, too overwhelmed, and too worried that you just cant do it right. Maybe this is what I’ll feel with a newborn. But some part of being pregnant has brought this peace. This odd feeling like this is what my body was made for. And for the moment that feeling has graciously consumed any stress…and I kind of hope it stays that way.
1st January
written by Michelle


Thanks to facebook, instagram and the twitterworld many of you already know that…

come June 2013 we will have a family of THREE.

We are beyond excited and amazed that there is a little one growing inside of me. Sometimes I still can’t believe it. But at our 12 week appointment we indeed saw it- flipping, swimming, and moving about. Our midwife’s first comment: wow, you got an active little one.

So, dear active one, here is your entrance into the blogspshere:


We think he/she is the cutest thing ever, but you can say it looks like a small alien. No offense taken.

 •    •    •

For the past three months we have kept this little one a secret, partly because we wanted to make sure everything was ok. I know miscarriages are common the first 12 weeks and we wanted to be cautious. But also, we wanted to wait and tell my parents and family in person. We shared with G’s family before we left Guatemala, but I wanted to tell my family when we arrived. It’s the first baby on my family’s side and I knew they would be excited. And excited they were.

We told my parents a week before Christmas and made them promise to keep it a secret. That involved convincing my Dad that he could not in fact use it for a sermon illustration at the Christmas Eve services.

mom’s first response: ooohhh, I knew it! congratulations!

dad’s first response: awwww, we’re so happy for you! I wana tell all of my friends.

Then, gathered around the Christmas tree last Tuesday morning my siblings (well, one via facetime) all opened cards with a picture of the ultrasound:

steph: Whhhhaaaattt?!?!

christine: {a huge GASP} oh, my gosh.

andrew: {fist pump} Yeaha!


 {evidence of the gasp }

And because my family shares an affinity for social media the news was shared on facebook, twitter and instagram. This little one is going to have so much love from all these aunts/uncles and grandparents.


We have felt so loved and supported with all the comments and excitement. Sharing baby news definitely earns you popularity points in the land of facebook. It’s all felt exciting, special and so, very 21st century.

 •    •    •

It has been so fun to share, because for the previous 3 months we were pretty silent about the whole baby news (and silent here on the blog, too- partly due to my daily napping requirement : )

So what does one do when you are kept waiting and holding a little secret?


Yep, I joined pinterest.

Thankfully, pinterest announced their secret boards right about when I was excited/overwhelmed with the amount of info out there in this crazy new baby world. So, I’ve been pinning away on these boards:


Baby on the Brain



Bilingual Baby


A New Mama


It can feel like there is so SO much out there for new moms and babies. I can get swept up in reading about the best car-seat or homemade baby food and magical swaddle sacks that promise a well rested baby. But then I remind myself that people have been having healthy babies way before there was the BreastPillow, the Ergo and SwaddleMe Blankets.

So, here’s to a New Year, learning about pregnancy and motherhood and not believing I have to have everything I see on pinterest.

Happy New Years and Merry Christmas!


Me, G and Baby P