July in Arizona is "monsoon season." Without warning, the winds pick up, the clouds roll in, and it showers. Then a few minutes later, it's moved on by.
But those sudden gusts of high winds and unexpected downpours can wreak a lot of havoc, including ripping off roofs and flash flooding.
This trimester has felt a lot like the weather. Physically, it's naturally been much harder than the rest of the pregnancy, but it's also been really rough emotionally. I thought I got off that emotional roller coaster after the first trimester, but not only is it back, but it's got a few more loops and steeper dives.
For example, I took that photo above of my breakfast at around 6:30 am one morning, after I'd been up since 3:30 am. I just woke up, wide awake, and couldn't go back to sleep. I've had some sleepless nights off and on throughout the last several months, usually tied to work stress, but this was different. I think the realization of how drastically life is about to change caught up to me. I've been struggling with anxiety ever since.
One way I've found to help with both work stress and baby anxiety is to make crafts. Art has always been my therapy. Plus, working on projects for the baby makes me feel more in control and prepared. Making my own actual clouds helps keep the metaphorical clouds away.
But the best medicine is the reminder that I'm not alone, lots of people have done this baby-making/birthing/mothering thing before, and there's people who love and care about me. And that's what I felt after these baby showers.
My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were able to come to the shower, and stayed with us about a week.
This cake. Chocolate ganache. I have no words to describe how good it was. And look how cute!
So many presents!
My in-laws have been busy - not only did they bring me all kinds of diaper bags and receiving blankets they made, they also gave me several of Brian's baby items, including two quilts, one crocheted by his great-grandma, and one hand-embroidered by his grandma, his receiving blankets, and his first outfits.
Brian went straight for the jogging stroller when we got home. He had it set up in minutes, and then he used Sirius to test it out.
Sirius was not impressed.
Speaking of Sirius, he hates swimming, but while my in-laws were here and we were spending every available moment in the pool, we taught him to climb onto this floaty, and now he lets us push him around the pool on it.
We also enjoyed an Angels and Diamondbacks game with my sister-in-law. I mostly enjoyed the Sonoran Dog, a hotdog wrapped in bacon, topped with chili, pico de gallo, and sour cream. What can I say... the baby wanted it.
Sirius has been super cuddly lately, and he likes to stretch out and get comfortable on our bed in the mornings after Brian gets up.
It took some convincing, but I went to a pool party. My friend Lorne graduated from college this year (yay!) and had a pool party to celebrate. As much as I felt self-conscious about being so, well, pregnant, I ended up having a great time, and I'm glad I went!
Baby shower #2! The same Lorne I mentioned above threw a baby shower for me at work. Look at the cuteness! And she only had a few days between traveling for work to pull it all together.
The party throwers - all who helped with the food, decor, and party coordination.
That was the beginning of week 36. A couple days later, my feet and hands swelled to previously unseen dimensions, and it wasn't going down overnight, even after swimming and chugging lemonade, a tip from my big sister, which used to always work.
That didn't stop us from having the youth group over for a 4th of July party on Friday though. And even though a storm blew up and it started raining, we played games for awhile inside, and then got back in the pool. I wish I'd taken some pictures, but I believe a great time was had by all, especially Sirius, who wore his life jacket and dutifully patrolled the edges of the pool.
But I started having some dizzy spells, and then Saturday morning, my lips were swelling too. We were worried about preeclampsia, and technically, I probably should have gone to the ER, but ... it was the 4th of July. And I really didn't want to. So I just tried to take it easy and spent the morning in bed.
But I had a long list of things I needed to get done over the weekend, like shopping for the things left on our registry we needed, and getting a few things at Ikea for the nursery, which was still in progress after all this time.
And maybe a couple other projects ... like curtains for our bedroom, curtains for the office, a gallery wall for the nursery, repotting a fern, some office organization. Also, you can never have too many candles. At least, that's Brian's philosophy - he insisted on all candles.
Then there's decorating the living room, cleaning the house, doing all the laundry, writing all the thank yous for shower gifts, finding a pediatrician and a daycare and a public cord blood donation bank ... just a couple things.
Brian really did most of the work around the house, but Sunday, I was still feeling exhausted. I spent some time in the pool on the new flamingo Brian found for us at Target. How fun is that?!
I love our backyard!
Then I took a long nap, and woke up feeling incredibly stressed. Now I was behind on everything! It all sort of culminated on Monday night when I couldn't find a gift receipt from one of the showers, and had a meltdown. Like, a first-trimester-level-basket-case meltdown.
So, this week got off to a rough start. Thankfully, my boss agreed to let me work from home Wednesday through Friday to get some rest. After a day of working wearing comfy clothes, stretched out on my couch, drinking tea, I'm already less swollen and feeling all around much better.
Beyond that, the biggest help has been texting my family, having dinner with friends, and spending some long, unhurried time in the Bible, and journaling. This week I've been reading Psalms 34, and verses 4 - 8 stood out to me:
"I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to who are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!"
When my head starts spinning with what-ifs about getting ready for the baby, what labor will be like, and what life will be like afterwards, I'm trying to take deep breaths, pray, and just let it go.
(Cue Frozen soundtrack. Now it's stuck in your head, isn' it? You're welcome.)
Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers! We're almost there!