Monday, October 29, 2012

one of those days...

I know I said I'd be writing about a birth plan and what not... but that post is still in the works. I want to make sure I am saying what I mean. I know birth options are very personal choices, so I am trying to write it so that my own personal views don't get in the way of what I'm trying to communicate. So that will be soon hopefully.

The last week or so, I have been in a funk. For the first time in my pregnancy, I have been super unhappy with what my body looks like, the way it's changing, & so on. One of the things, sometimes perks, of pregnancy is that your body is changing ALL THE TIME. Notice I didn't just say belly. your whole body. For instance:

  • my hair. I chopped my hair off in my first trimester because it was SO thick from all the hormones raging through my body. also, you don't shed hair during pregnancy like you do when you're not pregnant. You just lose it all afterwards :) so my already super thick hair was getting thicker and thicker, I was too sick to worry about taking the hour that it spent to make it look good... so I thought- "why not chop it off?" I had short hair for YEARS. WORST. DECISION. OF. MY. PREGNANCY. Sure my hair now takes 15 minutes, which I am thankful for. what I didn't consider in my decision was that long or short, the thickness would still be there. I loved it for about a week & now I hate it. Thankfully my hair is growing at an alarming rate.. all thanks again to the hormones & the prenatal vitamins. 
  • other "stuff." things that were already big... well, they just get bigger. and bigger. & continue to get bigger if you nurse. I will leave it at that ;)
  • the belly. My little, round, basketball belly is one of my favorite things about being pregnant. I loved when I finally "popped" and strangers could tell that I wasn't a skinny girl with an enormous "gut" but there was actually a little babe in there. It really does make everything feel official once the belly pops & you start feeling those kicks and wiggles. however, as the belly gets bigger, things stop fitting. I have really tried not to buy too many maternity clothes since you only wear them for such a short time. But it's about time I start stocking up for winter because the belly is getting big. Also, bending over to put on jeans, take off boots, paint toe nails, etc.... it doesn't happen anymore.
  • hips. Before being pregnant, this poor body had ZERO hips. my friends have always teased me about it. no hips. no butt. Well, pregnancy has changed that for sure. these hips don't lie. it's crazy the way the Lord designed a woman's body to change during pregnancy, but also how he prepares it ahead of time. My hips have widened to give the babe some extra space. however, this has resulted in lots of pain for mommy and some serious discomfort. but I'm glad he's comfy in there.
  • hands/feet: this is a common one that I feel like when you're NOT pregnant, you always associate with pregnant ladies. swollen feet, not being able see them, etc. What I didn't know, was that my hands could hurt so bad. Ladies can get a temporary "carpal tunnel" if you will, in their hands during pregnancy. I have had this BAD. My sweet hubby is so great about rubbing my hands every night, as well as anything else that hurts. Feels like a constant writers cramp. no fun.
  • Back/tailbone. Oh man oh man. I could write a novel on how much my back has hurt since I've been pregnant. even in the 1st trimester. I've been seeing a prenatal chiropractor since I was 7 weeks pregnant and I go EVERY WEEK. All the walking, lifting, etc I was doing at my job was a huge problem, so since I have stopped working, a lot of those issues have subsided. This also affected my knees, feet, etc. I've started getting prenatal massages as well and this helps to soothe a lot of the issues I've been having.
  • and of course... the weight gain. I have actually had a little bit of an issue gaining weight during this pregnancy. I am supposed to gain 35 lbs because I'm naturally small... I'm about 13 lbs, maybe 15 lbs heavier on a good day. I have an appt tomorrow, so I'm hoping to have gained a couple lbs. but it's an uphill battle because while weight gain is great as far as nurturing a healthy environment for the baby, giving him enough protein, etc, keeping him in there longer.. it's hard when everything starts to swell and your face gets all the weight first. I have never weighed over 125 in my life. so seeing new numbers in the scale is a little hard. but as long as baby and midwife are happy, mommy is happy.
  • this one might be TMI, but whatever. a baby is going to come out of my body soon. so I've lost what little filter I had already. also- depending on how your kid is sitting... it can affect a lot. our child has been head down for a long time. he has plenty of time to move and then get head down again, but I guess he likes where he is and is sitting super low and always on my bladder. I already had a small bladder, but now... it's almost guaranteed that I'm gonna pee every 5-10 min. then when he kicks me and he's on my bladder... well I literally feel like if I pee, he's gonna come out too. 

I don't say all this to complain... because this weekend I complained to my husband my fair share. (he's so gracious to listen to me!) I say this to pregnant mamas who have problems so they know they're not the only one & also so maybe others will have some grace for slow moving, sometimes cranky pregnant mamas. there's a lot going on in there!

Some days I do get really discouraged though. I feel frumpy. I don't feel pretty. I hate my hair. I want to drink a bottle of red wine. I don't want to watch my sugar. I get tired of defending my birthing/parenting choices to friends & family. I want the baby to hurry up and get here so I don't get any bigger. I want my clothes to fit. I want to go to a tanning bed. I want to be able to ride in the car without wanting to either vomit or feel like I need to lay down completely flat on my back because my hips and back hurt so badly from sitting up. and I think... "UGH. I HATE BEING PREGNANT." (aren't I dramatic?) I think about how little one on one time Jordan & I will have once the babe arrives. that part makes me sad sometimes. especially since I plan to breast-feed for as long as I can, it will be a time commitment to my little one, but also I have to think about the time commitment I have to my husband. I worry about the balance. I worry about the unsolicited advice from friends/family (I like to learn on my own & ask for help when I really need it). I worry about all the endless visitors that will be trickling through our apartment after baby is born. I worry about random people constantly touching my child and germs and the like. I worry about getting frustrated, feeling like I've failed, etc.

I think (I hope) all of that is really normal at some point. I know what mommies are already thinking, "wait until the END of the pregnancy." or, "just wait until the baby is here." I hear ya. I can't imagine. but I will get over it, just like I always do. my always patient husband will massage my back and shoulders (and feet, hehe), tell me how much he loves me, how beautiful he thinks I am and all will go back to normal. the Lord will affirm to me again this season to which He has called me. to from now on lay down my life for my child. to sacrifice my body. to sacrifice my time. to sacrifice the old normalcy I once had and to embrace a "new normal." to encourage me to go forward another week. At the end of the day, my kid is healthy. I am healthy. Hubby is happy. that is enough. My sister, Jennifer, told me one time that the Lord gives you grace for things when the proper time comes so that you'll be able to receive it. she is one of the most patient, loving, encouraging, fun, and sweetest moms that I know. so I will take her advice :)

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on a much more fun note... I went to my first Ole Miss football game this weekend. They played Arkansas & WE WON! For those unfamiliar with Ole Miss, they have had a rough past few seasons, but this year got a new coach. He was actually the high school coach from the story the movie "The Blindside" was based on. His name s Hugh Freeze and he has done such an unbelievable job coaching this team this year and from what I can tell, really encouraging his players. You watch him coach and he's not all angry and screaming at his players like most college football coaches, and he has really boosted the morale of the team and also I think for all of the fans. (I know the Gray household is extremely happy!)

so it was a huge win for Ole Miss, who has one of the toughest schedules in the SEC. If they win one more game, they will go to a bowl this year which hasn't happen in awhile. So I am excited for them. (my yellow jackets have disappointed me this year, but I still love them tremendously).

it was a great weekend with my man and also with his parents and younger brother. 

IT'S OFFICIALLY FALL IN TEXAS! (no big deal that it's just now the first time it's been in the 60's-70's)


this coming weekend we are heading out to Aggie Land for a wedding. November and December are huge traveling months for us. We've got weddings, holidays, baby showers, and the like. We are driving back home for Thanksgiving. so that's a good 12-13 hour drive. blah. ask me how much I am looking forward to that. BUT, a baby shower with all my girls and spending Thanksgiving with my family await us so I know on the drive back, my love tank is gonna be so full and it'll have to hold me over until the next time I see everyone. 

Thanks for reading. If I bore you, sorry. 

all my love.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

vulnerability.

I'm going to try to get better about writing in this thing. My husband has encouraged me to write more. I have been nervous to be as vulnerable as I used to be on my individual blog because I have a husband now, a baby on the way, and my words and emotions don't just affect me... they affect them too. What I reveal about my life doesn't just affect me, it affects them. More and more people have messaged me asking why I don't blog anymore and to be honest I have just been afraid. I used to write A LOT. Not just blogging, but journaling. I keep a prayer journal, a pregnancy journal, & a journal to the baby, but none of it quite grasps the same rawness that I used to express with my words.

Also to be honest- I've been a "victim" (I hate to use that word- so intense & a little dramatic in this case, but can't think of another word) of cyber bullying. I have had my pictures, my words, & some pretty slanderous things said about me on the internet over the years, all of which were 1. untrue & 2. vulgar, hurtful, and unnecessary. made me mistrust people and want to keep things to myself, because I never know who is reading this anymore.

saying all that, once baby Gray is born, I am going to post as much as I feel comfortable with posting. as his mom, I am supposed to protect him. plastering images about my boy and stories all over the internet for strangers just makes me a smidge uneasy. there are some crazies out there these days! there are also some things I will not put in PRINT in regards to me or this family. but if we are to have a nice cup of coffee somewhere, I'll be happy to share those things as well.

but living under a rock and not sharing your story is no way to be. vulnerability is where we all connect. it's where we see, "ah, okay. I'm not the only one." it's where we start to feel like we are not alone. in YWAM we used to talk about this all the time, when you open up, share your story, & be who you really are, you FREE others to do the same. how true is that? sharing your story allows other people to open up about their own, to experience real freedom, to share things they may have kept inside for entirely too long. it builds community. it opens doors for the Father's love to come in and heal all the broken places. most people, myself included, feel like if people knew who we really were, they wouldn't love us... we wouldn't be accepted. my husband has been my #1 encourager to just. be. me. he allows me to be Malloree. clumsy, sometimes outspoken, messy, overly realistic little old me. while still loving me and encouraging me to be better. how many people are afraid to share the deepest places of their hearts, to bare their souls, to love recklessly without the fear of shame or ridicule? I say it's time we stop all that. we stop keeping those dark places closed up and start opening up, loving others, and encouraging them to be who they are. that's a challenge for myself included.

SO. saying all that... let the challenge begin. here, I'll start.

Married life is by far the most wonderful thing I have ever experienced. so many people said how hard it would be after the first couple months, we're quite a bit past that, & you'd think that with a baby on the way so quickly that we would be mourning the loss of our "honeymoon" phase. I will be honest. When we first found out about our pregnancy, I was not excited, not happy, & not looking forward to what was to come. We had planned to try and wait at least a year & wanted to do all the things newlyweds do their first year of marriage. WELL. Things obviously didn't work out that way. I was overwhelmed with guilt and shame with the way I was feeling about my child. I found out very early on, as I have a very sensitive body & am ridiculously aware of any new change that happens. Jordan & I didn't really talk about it for a little bit. I don't know if we were hoping it was a false pregnancy or what... but neither of us could really come to terms with what was happening. and ya'll... I had PRAYED for a baby. prayed and prayed and prayed. before we even got married. but I had limitations on it- I wanted it when I wanted it. I wanted to have enough money saved, not be in a one bedroom apartment, to have gotten to travel with my husband for awhile and do all these fun things you're "supposed" to do when you get married.

but the Lord had other plans for us. different timing. It took me a few weeks to even come to terms with it. when we went to our 7 week appointment, we heard the heartbeat for the first time... it changed everything. no longer was the baby a little organism inside my body making me INCREDIBLY sick, no longer did I think of him as a baby... He was OUR baby. He was life. He was living, growing, and thriving in MY BODY. I was responsible for taking care of this little life. He was ours. He was Jordan's. He was mine. When you hear the heartbeat for the first time, there is a connection made. I can't explain it, but I knew then that I would do whatever it took to protect this baby. that I had a responsibility as his mother. the Lord had trusted us to be his parents. He had given our baby boy over to us, trusted us to take care of His child. He chose him for us & us for him. after that, Jordan & I both had a different outlook on this pregnancy and on our baby.

Our marriage has been strengthened in preparing for our son. While I will say, pregnancy has been an extremely wild, emotional ride, with morning sickness, indigestion, (I have had every single symptom in the book... no lie), being on bed rest for a week, having to leave work earlier than I expected, and a couple of complications along the way, it has been an amazing journey and I do love being pregnant. But I could have never done it without my husband. I credit a lot of the good parts of our marriage to our time in YWAM- where we truly got to know each other, better than I have ever known anyone in my life. so we have no secrets. there is nothing too dark or too deep to hide from. our communication is open & honest. sure, we have arguments from time to time, but very infrequently. but I think we fought more often when we were just dating! there is unwavering trust there. we really strive to honor and serve the other one. I fail a lot. Jordan does too. but we've got grace for each other. he has been such a support for me through this pregnancy- cooking dinner when the smells made me sick, coming to every single midwife & Dr. appointment, helping me do my pregnancy exercises, cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry.. all when I was on bed rest. he talks to our son/my belly every day, and baby boy knows the sound of his daddy's voice. when Jordan talks to him, he starts kicking and moving A LOT. he has read and educated himself on "Husband Coached Childbirth" (which I recommend any new dad to read) and is prepared to assist me with our labor... as well as any parenting & fathering book he can get his hands on. He is ready to father his son. He is an unbelievable man. He is the most wonderful man I could've married. he is perfect for me & I for him. I could complain about a lot of things in my life sometimes, but I could not find a thing to complain about in my marriage. For that, I am thankful.

For all you realists, like myself most of the time, YES. I know there will be trials that come up. We've had to stand against a couple of them already. And it will be hard. But our marriage is rooted in both of our relationships with the Lord, as cheesy as that sounds, & I am not worried. I hope we are always this happy & this in love with each other. I would love to be the exception to the rule. No sense tearing your own or other marriages apart because you think it's SUPPOSED to be hard, you're SUPPOSED to have to work super hard... if you put in the same effort everyday, it's not work. it's love. it's serving your spouse because you love doing it, because you love them. not because you just have to.

being parents is going to be a new challenge for us. thankfully, we come from families who parented similar ways to the other. however, we are a new family & we are going to parent how we deem necessary for our child. it's going to be a learning process. Jordan asked me last night, "what do you think the first night will be like?" and I laughed and said, "we're going to shake our heads and wonder what the hell we've just gotten ourselves into."

I am nervous to be a mother. I am nervous to be a mother to a boy. but I have heard, boys love their mamas. I pray that's true. all I know is that I love this little guy. I've still got awhile to go but I am anxious to see his sweet face & see if he has his mama's eyes or his daddy's white blonde curly hair from when he was a babe. The doctor said he is a big baby. He is a healthy little guy and we are so blessed that he is ours.

here is the progression of the belly. PLEASE understand, I don't share my weeks because I'm not sharing my due date. this is because we are having a natural birth, with a midwife, at a birth center (which I will explain in a different post) and we will not be induced if our child doesn't come at 40 weeks (which is what your due date is based on). we have about 42.5 weeks for the babe to be born. and they can come anywhere from 36-42 weeks. not because I don't love you. first time moms usually go later. this was advice of my midwife & other moms who have used our birth center. I do not want a bunch of calls/texts/emails from 36-40 weeks, wondering if the baby is here yet, and also once we hit our due date, I do not want people freaking me out if he doesn't come by that specific day. each baby takes their own time :) PLUS- it is fun to only have family and friends in the loop of when baby Gray will get here- especially since for me, all my friends & fam are in GA & have not been able to be as involved in our pregnancy. so please respect our decision to do so as we would respect yours in terms of your own pregnancy









this picture here was about a month or so ago- I look significantly bigger than I actually was. I think he was laying in a super funky position or something. not to mention at the end of the day- so much food had been consumed :) because I look bigger here than I do in the bottom 2... which are the most recent, taken this past weekend.
 



alright. that's all for now people. I'll be trying to update more this week about a birth plan... what it is, why it's helpful to have one, especially in the hospital, & what ours is.

We're heading to Little Rock, Arkansas this weekend to watch Ole Miss destroy the Razorbacks! Hotty Toddy!

all my love.