Oops! We Did It Again

Well, it looks like T-Daddy and I broke our almost 6-year streak of no unplanned pregnancies.

Yup, that’s right! We’re pregnant with baby number 3, affectionately called TB3 for the next 8 months.

So, how did this happen? I’m going to refer you to your middle school sex-ed class. Or the awkward birds and bees convo with your parents. Your choice.

Were we trying? Refer to the very first sentence of this post. We have a very special gift.

How did I find out? My temperature spiked. Seriously. So I checked to see exactly when my period was supposed to start. That day. It was still early in the morning so I blew off the temp spike and went about my day. Next morning, my basal temp was still high so I took out the infamous stick and 30 seconds later…plus sign. (Apparently, my midwives got confirmation in 10 seconds…so I’m pregnant, pregnant.)

What did I do when I found out? I freaked out. So I sent a picture of the test to my person, then I jumped in the shower and prayed. Full disclosure: 2019 came in like a lion in Casa de T4. I was worried about how to break the news to T-Daddy. We have been waiting for like forever to have a “down” period to get a hold of things. I didn’t want to add one more thing to his plate that was already overflowing. I knew he was going to go straight to finances – we just bought a house and now we’re “buying” a baby. And I didn’t have any answers or solutions. I needed a solid plan when I came to him.

I’m so thankful that God has placed women in my life who snatch me up and love me at the same time. I was reminded that it wasn’t my place to present a plan to my husband. It was only my place to say “Babe, we need to come up with a plan.” And then let us do it TOGETHER. See, I’d been here twice before – having an unplanned baby and having to break the news to T-Daddy. But I’d never been here before – having a baby (planned or not) with my husband.

How do I feel? I’m having a baby with my husband! I can’t begin to explain how good that feels. I still can’t tell my friends what it feels like to try to get pregnant and anxiously wait for that plus sign. But now I know what it feels like to have a baby with a man I have every intention of spending the rest of my life with. To bring a baby into the world and not simultaneously wonder if my relationship will still be around when the baby is born. This baby was conceived in love, not lust – a testament to how far T-Daddy and I have come in our relationship. And that alone makes me so excited! (Plus for the first time the ultrasound will say “Baby *T-Daddy’s Last Name*.” Not my maiden name.) Also, I’m having a baby!!!! This can’t be real!

So how did I tell T-Daddy? I did something I’ve never given myself the chance to do before. I made a pregnancy announcement. I wrote a poem and created a nice photo. Bought a married folk card, some Takis and a #5 candle. I let the TDs stay in aftercare and set everything up while I waited for T-Daddy to come home.

When and how did we tell the girls? We told them the night we got confirmation from my midwife (two days after we found out). We ordered some cups that said “Super Big Sister” and “Big Sister,” along with books “Big Sisters are the Best” and “I’m Going to Be a New Big Sister.” I made them hot chocolate and called them in the living room. It took them about 10 minutes to get what we were telling them. But once they did…in the words of TD1: We’ve been asking you everyday for a baby and you never gave us one.

When did we tell family? We told them the day after we told the girls. I made a quick baby announcement and we blasted it out via text and waited for them to get it lol. About 50% of them actually got it. They thought I was just making a cute picture.

So now what? T4 is becoming T5. We’re super excited (and super scared). The girls have been rubbing my belly everyday and following along with my pregnancy app.

T-Daddy and I have a lot to figure out. We’ve worked hard to build our current lifestyle and it’s not exactly designed for newborns and all that comes with them. The TDs are pretty self-sufficient. We’ve given away so much stuff. Alllllllllllllllllllllllll the baby stuff. And now we’re starting over. And childcare. I can’t work 7 days a week and care for a baby. And I can’t stay at my current jobs and not pay for childcare. So what does life with a newborn look like? Who knows!?!?!? But we’re about to find out!

Out of the Darkness 2018

T-Mommy from T4Treasure and CW from Truly Loved both completed the 2018 Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Walk in September. It was both of their first time participating in the Walk and they sat down to discuss. This post is a collaborative post co-written by them and appears on both blogs.

Signing Up/Why I Signed Up

Truly Loved: I signed up for the walk because I no longer want to remain silent about my personal struggle with depression and suicide. It also felt like a tangible way to share the message of God’s love, mercy, and hope with the world. I want to allow God to use my past to help fight the lies that this world teaches us about our worthiness and purpose. To show that through our weaknesses and imperfections God makes us strong. To proclaim that even if you have never felt loved, appreciated, or worthy you are more precious, important and loved by God than you could ever understand. 

T-Mommy: I first found out about the Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Walk in 2015 when I was looking for anxiety and depression caused and organizations to give back to. I had recently been clinically diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and Mild/Moderate Depression. My diagnosis both freed and scared me and I felt emboldened to be an advocate for others like me. 

In my research, I came across the Out of the Darkness walks. I was excited to register. So I thought. Turns out the Walk conflicted with my wedding and TD1’s bday. Maybe next year with better planning.

Maybe next year. It’s what I said in 2016 and 2017 too. Then 2018 came. Maybe this year. I marked the event as Interested on Facebook and Truly Loved commented she’d walk with me. Yay!!! I don’t have to walk alone! But I didn’t sign up. I wanted to wait to be sure there’d be no conflicts. Then one day, the walk pulled back up on my newsfeed. The Walk was approaching. I knew it was now or never. 

Being an advocate for those that are hurting, helping to provide a safe place for those feeling despair that they don’t know what to do with, it’s something I care about. But I wasn’t as ready to be their voice as I though I was. In my rush to not chicken out, I totally forgot to let TL know I was in fact doing the walk. After she found out and reminded me she’d walk with me, T-Daddy agreed to walk too. I decided to make it a family affair and signed the remaining three T’s up.

Prepping for the Walk

T-Mommy: I didn’t prep much for the Walk. I didn’t fundraise. I told my family I was walking but I didn’t talk much about it. I went to a kickoff event, recorded a video to promote the walk, but I never posted it. Was I ready to have this convo in public? How deep was I willing to allow people to dig into my own life in order to have this much needed convo?

I wanted to both scream from the mountaintops that I was doing something that I cared about and let other people know about it, but something inside me kept quieting my voice. Was it shame? Fear? Unworthiness? I busied myself with my already busy life and kept any thoughts about the Walk on a low simmer on the very back backburner of my mind. Before I knew it, Walk weekend was here. Maybe I can just sit it out and walk next year. I didn’t tell anyone I was walking. Is there still a point if no one knows? That same voice that had talked me out of walking the prior years was back. I already committed to this, so I have to see it through. I will see it through. I need to see it through.

Writing on The “Why I Walk” Wall

Truly Loved: As I stood there facing the “Why I Walk Wall.” I knew I wanted to write something but there was too much to say. So, I simply wrote “Because I’m a survivor, and through God there is always hope.” It felt wrong. It still feels wrong. My reason for walking – for breathing, for hoping, for loving, for caring, for existing– is so much more than that. I walk because I was once a prisoner to hopelessness, hate, and anger, but I no longer wear those shackles. I walk because I once lived every moment of my life in fear of man, but I now know God is bigger. I walk because my heart was once closed to those around me but it now remains open so that I can love and be loved. I walk because I now know what hope feels like. I walk because of God’s unlimited goodness and grace. I walk because He saved me and since then He has changed every aspect of my life. I walk because I want to share God and His goodness with the world. He is the only true opponent to despair.

T-Mommy: Writing on the wall wasn’t super emotional, at the moment. I wasn’t sure I was going to write on it until I was waiting to write on it. I hadn’t thought about what I was going to write until I was writing it. I wrote three names. A group – family and friends. A statement – Because God’s grace gives me hope. Even writing the names, I was so hesitant. Did I have the right to put their names up there for others to see? Would I be asked to tell stories that weren’t mine to tell?

One of the names that I wrote on the wall was my godbrother’s. He’s a big reason why this Walk first stood out to me in the first place. But, I have struggled a lot with his suicide. To this day, I find it extremely hard to look at a picture of him. It’s been almost nine years. I vividly remember getting the phone call from his sister. I remember trying to make sense of it all. Not really knowing how or what to feel. I remember feeling like I didn’t have a right to grieve or be sad. At that point, I wasn’t extremely close to him anymore. Going around the family, seeing his sister and mom, the mother of his child, his girlfriend – all these people that were a big part of his everyday life, hurting so inconsolably made me feel selfish for my own pain. I was in the process of moving 20 minutes from where he lived and I was super excited to rekindle my relationship with him, my godmom and my godsister, to get to know his little girl, when everything happened. So now here I was sad because it was never going to happen. I was mourning a dream and they were mourning a huge part of their already life. Did I, do I, have a right to walk in his honor when I didn’t know one thing about what was going on in his life at the time?

The other two names carry similar tales – one was a friend of my granny’s who used to babysit me as a kid. When she found out my granny died, she couldn’t take the news. The other was a family member, whose death wasn’t ruled a suicide but an accidental overdose. I don’t know if she committed suicide, but I do know that she was really sad about the passing of her husband and her death caused a forever split in my family that still hasn’t been repaired…almost 15 years later. So I walked for them, the pain they felt while alive and the pain that still permeates long after the news of their deaths traveled and the funerals were held.

But the biggest thing about the wall were the things I didn’t write. The names of people I know who have attempted. The times suicide threats have been used as a manipulation tool on me. My own struggles. Writing on the wall was far more complicated than what I bargained for.

Memorial Wall

Truly Loved: As I stood there staring at the memorial wall it suddenly became difficult to breathe. All those beautiful faces, all those precious lives coming to such a devastating end. As I glanced over the collage of pictures, I focused on a few of the faces. They were smiling as if they didn’t know what was waiting in their future. I tried to imagine what their lives had been like. What demons had eventually forced them into a darkness so deep that they stopped seeking the warmth of light.  That’s what despair does, it takes away all possibility of light and joy and leaves nothing but never-ending darkness. I reflected on my own struggle with despair. Those years where I suffered silently, smiling for cameras, making my sadness bearable to those around me while internally battling overwhelming feelings of self-hatred and shame. All those smiles. Were they really happy in those photos or were they already chest deep in despair? It’s so hard to tell. 

And then came the realization: My face should be up there. I too had lost the battle to despair…yet, I’m here. Feet firmly planted. Alive. Breathing. HAPPY. In so many ways it seems unfair.  

I thought about my husband and daughter. What would my husband’s life be like if he had never met me? My daughter- those precious fingers and toes, those big dreams of hers, they never would have made it into this world. 

I could have missed so much. 

I tried to understand how I made it from that place of pure, devastating, life-ending despair to a place of hope, joy, and love. It’s still hard to comprehend. There really is no worldly explanation. I am here and have all of those things because God saved me and He enriched my life with those gifts. 

In those moments, I also considered who would have cared enough about my suicide to walk for me if I had died that day. But I stopped myself before I got too far down that path because in my heart I already knew the answer. I had never experienced real love in my life until I met God. God. And then I realized that if I had died that day I never would have passed from this world unloved and forgotten like I had always assumed. There would have been mourning for my soul. Maybe not from the people that mattered to me at the time, but I would have been mourned more than I can possibly comprehend because I am loved more than I can possibly comprehend.

God and the angels in heaven would have intensely mourned the loss of my life, as they have mourned the loss of each person posted on that wall, and the lives of all others lost to earth’s despair.

Because each one of us important.

We are unique.

We are here for a purpose.

We are God’s children.

And we are loved and cherished more than our hearts and minds can possibly imagine.

T-Mommy: I didn’t look at or go near the Memorial Wall. Earlier, I talked about the internal struggle I had with writing the names on the “Why I Walk” Wall. That struggle, particularly my godbrother, is why I didn’t look at the Memorial Wall. I have not been able to look at his picture since I did his obituary for his funeral. That was almost 9 years ago. I’ve tried a few times since then, but it always seems to haunt my spirit. I’ve been to many funerals in my life, looked at tons of obituaries and even written/designed my fair share of them. None of them have had the same kind of impact on me as his. Not even my granny’s, and that was a hard one to write. Maybe it’s what his death represents – a life gone too soon (I’ve officially lived longer than he did); a battle with internal demons that I too share; an outcome that I don’t want to fully admit is a real possible one; unanswered questions that I partly am not ready to ask, scared of the answers if they exist, or not ready to accept that I’ll never truly know the answers. I don’t know. But I know that the fear of conjuring up his face in my mind is what kept me from going near the Memorial Wall. Maybe next year will be different.

Walking The Walk

T-Mommy: Once we arrived at the walk, it was exhilarating. I immediately recognized the magnitude of what I had signed up for and was happy to be a part of it. I was happy to have included my family and friend. I wished I had included more people. Had made more people aware of it. While my heart is deeply saddened by the number of people that suicide has touched – much more than the 7,000 people that showed up on that day – I am so grateful and elated that so many people rallied behind this cause to let those impacted know that they care, we care. 

I nervously posted on social media some photos of us at the Pre-Walk and the most memorable and touching comment was the one that said how happy she was that we were doing this as a family and laying the foundation for our girls to have emotional intelligence. I questioned my decision to bring the girls. How could I get them to do this without shattering their innocence? As they questioned me about what the different color Honor Beads meant and I struggled to explain to them why I had so many colors on, I wondered if this was too much too fast for them. And I know just because one person said they were happy I took the TDs, doesn’t automatically mean that T-Daddy and I made the right decision. But, it did reaffirm why we made the decision in the first place – because we want to raise emotionally intelligent children that are empathetic and compassionate to those around them. We want them to know that if they are blessed enough to live a life of comfort, security and minimal pain and sadness, that they should care about those less fortunate around them. That some of those people will be their friends, cousins, teachers, adults. I felt super uneasy trying to navigate TD2’s curiosity as she enthusiastically asked questions in sometimes inappropriate tones. 

Doing this walk alone or with just adults would have given me the opportunity to really sit in my feelings – whatever they may have been – without having to put on a face or “adult” for the girls. But having them there gave me so much hope for the future. I walked away feeling like I can make a difference. We can make a difference. 

We have a team name, a motto, logo, and a Scripture to stand behind. I’m excited to get back out there next year and walk again. Hopefully, I won’t let my fears stop me from inviting others to join us.

Truly Loved: This walk made me realize that I want to do more. I want to speak out more about my experiences, to push for resources and education regarding mental health justice. I need to put a face to this epidemic for those still in denial and for those who are silently suffering.  I am excited to do the walk again, and I am relieved that we are going in more prepared with our logo and scripture, but my hope is that between now and the next walk I will have also done something to bring education and acceptance to my community.

Year 3: Protecting Our Marriage

9+6=15

Today makes 3 years since T-Daddy and I said “I Do!” Since that day, there have been giggles, smirks and infatuation with most things lighthouse, nautical, infinity or storm-related. It’s like a forever inside joke. 

There have also been some very real and raw moments and conversations in those 3 years. I’m constantly reminded by a very dear mentor-turned-friend to protect our marriage. And be intentional in doing so. What she already knew but I didn’t fully realize till this year is that the biggest threat to our marriage isn’t other women and men, friends that don’t like him or me, or even our family. No, the biggest threat to our marriage is us.

She was telling me to protect my marriage from my insecurities, my fears, my overthinking, my grievances, my anger, my desires, my busyness. Even our children. As I set out (and failed) several times to really listen to T-Daddy, I realized that in so many instances, I was our own worst enemy. I was so busy looking for the enemy on the front lines that I never noticed the one who snuck in the back door. 

The biggest threat to our marriage is us.

Every time I chose to scroll Facebook or Instagram instead of being fully engaged in my husband’s presence, I was attacking our marriage. Every time I led our daughters to believe they were somehow equal to and therefore entitled to the same respect, authority and priority as T-Daddy, I was attacking our marriage. Every time I failed to truly become fluent in and speak T-Daddy’s love language, I was attacking our marriage. Every time I vented to my friends about how much he annoyed me, I was attacking our marriage. And every time I cringed at his words and behaviors in public because he was “embarrassing me,” I was attacking our marriage.

Hiking in Georgia

As a married woman, my biggest ministry is my family. And I know that “the overall health of our family cannot and will not exceed the health of our marriage.” It doesn’t matter what kind of daughter, sister, friend, worker I am if I’m a horrible wife. Doesn’t matter how nice or kind I am to other people if I’m rude and mean to my husband.

I was attacking our marriage.

This past weekend, I was talking to my brother and the subject of our anniversary came up. He asked how long had it been and when I told him 3 years, he enthusiastically said “That’s so cool!” Funny, that wasn’t my first, second, third or fourth thought. But he’s right. It is so cool! Today, I get to celebrate three years with a man I am perfectly happy lying with under the stars, watching the moon rise. I get to do life with a man who is most definitely cheering the hardest in everything I do and carrying me when I can’t go on, even if that means he isn’t the loudest or even seen doing so. Who’s the yin to my yang. The ice cream in my root beer float. 

And he is so worth protecting…even from myself. Especially from myself.

Broken Records and Sista Friends: How to Fix a Broken Record Book Review

“You and I will discover that we never had the power to fix our broken records in the first place, but there is Someone who doesn’t just fix them; in fact, Jesus heals.” -Amena Brown, How to Fix a Broken Record

We all have them. Broken records, or experiences and thoughts that stop us from being our best and greatest selves. In her book, How to Fix a Broken Record, Amena uses her personal experiences to deliver hope to her readers.

Amena begins her introduction talking to the reader like she’s meeting them for the first time. She ends with “Let’s find some more of those little key lime pie snickers dessert things and talk about the new records you’re listening to. I can’t wait to hear all about it.”

And just like that, the tone has been set for the rest of the book. How to Fix a Broken Record reads less like a self-help or “magical fix” book and more like a conversation with a sista friend. Loaded with musical references, Amena talks natural hair, dating, marriage, church and adulting. It’s filled with anecdotal stories that both make you reflect on your current life’s soundtrack and encourage you to surrender to God to change it indefinitely.

I was first introduced to Amena Brown when I started doing spoken word for my church. My worship pastor suggested I check out some of her work. So I did. And she was phenomenal. Listening to her talk about her relationship with her younger sister gave me hope about my own relationships with my younger siblings. I was inspired to see a black woman using her gifts for the Gospel. So to say I was excited to start reading How to Fix a Broken Record* would be an understatement.

With each paragraph, every sentence, I felt a connection being made and strengthened. Through her words, Amena gave life to experiences, thoughts and internal struggles I could never find the words for. She offered me hope when I felt defeated, comfort when I was weary, reassurance when I was insecure and laughter when I just needed it. We danced to songs of our younger years and bonded over memories of cultural staples. In 36 chapters, Amena, who is a few years older than me, became the older sister I never had and the friend I always wanted.

So yes, Amena. We can most definitely grab dessert and talk about the new records I’m listening to the next time you’re in Chicago.

How to Fix a Broken Record is available now at AmenaBrown.com. Check out Amena’s podcast, How to Fix a Broken Record on iTunes and Google Play.

*Full disclosure: I am a member of Amena’s launch team for her book, but the opinions expressed here are solely my own.

TB3: Week 21

TB3 is the size of a baseball cap. 

Physically, this has been a pretty easy week. I haven’t had one of those in a while so I’ll take it. One of the craziest things has been feeling the baby kick/move. It’s nothing like I remember. It feels like waves and clouds. I know it’s because of the whole anterior placenta thing, but I’m wondering, does it get more intense? 

I walked the Got2Run For Education race and felt it for days. I hadn’t realized how much I had halted all things, but now I want to get back out there. (And to be fair, I also power-walked the day before and power-cleanse the day after the race, so pretty sure my body was just like “slow down girl!”)

While physically this week went easy on me, it definitely brought to light some things I need to get in order before TB3 comes. That’s always a hard reality to face and an even harder one to execute. I was in denial at first, but after spending the last two days being poured into at a conference, I recognize the writing on the wall. While there’s still a lot of frustration and simply just not knowing where to start, there is also a lot of gratitude and appreciation. I’m thankful to be able to get things in order before TB3 comes.

I realize that I’ve been fighting what having this baby really means for our family. On a surface level, I’ve accepted that some things were going to have to change. The TDs need to be more independent. We need childcare. Our budget will have to change. T-Daddy will have to take over some things while I heal after delivery. Everyone around me would have to change. I never really allowed myself to be honest about the ways I’d have to change and what that looks like. Spoiler alert: I have no idea. But I’m grateful to be given the chance to figure it out before it’s critical. I have 18 (as of tomorrow) weeks to come up with a plan and start implementing it. 

If change is a result of growth, then I am excited to grow as a wife and mom and woman. I know God is trying to tell me something and wants to work on me in ways I haven’t let Him before. And whatever comes of that, TB3 will get to experience it wholly. That’s both terrifying and exciting. 

TB3: Week 20

TB3 is the size of a paper airplane.

We’re here – the halfway point!

I’ll keep this short and sweet. Week 20 was full of nice weather, time outdoors and celebrating. This week’s highlights include: finally seeing Endgame, Mother’s Day, seeing TB3 on the big screen and my favorite – BBQ.

Apparently, I have an anterior placenta (placenta is located on the front of the uterus) which means it’s going to be a little more difficult to feel the baby since my placenta is acting as a cushion between me and the baby. Not gonna lie, I’m a little bummed because baby movements are my fave part of pregnancy. There was also the news that my asthma still isn’t under control the way it should be, so I’m on a daily inhaler for the rest of my pregnancy. That being said, I still feel tons better than I did a few weeks ago.

I know you all are dying to know, so no we don’t know if TB3 is a boy or girl. Results will be revealed in two months. We have a date set, but are still trying to figure out the best way to let everyone know. Stay tuned for more details,

TB3: Week 19

TB3 is the size of a Gameboy.

*sigh* Week 19.

I’m beginning to have a love/hate relationship with this pregnancy. (Maybe I’ve always had it, and I’ve just been in denial until now.) This week started with me half-dressed looking in the mirror brushing my teeth and the next thing I know I’m on the verge of tears because it hit me that I’m really pregnant. It’s not a fry baby. Inside is a real, live baby.

There were also a series of vivid dreams. One of which involved a party being thrown for us at the hospital. During said party, we found out that we lost the baby because of my asthma and it was a boy. I had to interrupt the party to get on the mic and tell everyone the devastating news. Also, for some reason we named the baby Amir. Clearly, not a T name. So yeah, these dreams are just weird.

This week also brought two very real realizations with it.

First, I really suck at this self-care thing. I mean this isn’t a new realization as I’ve been unsuccessfully trying for years to take better care of my self and schedule regular retwists, manicures, time to myself, etc.

I once heard self-care related to the care of a vehicle: there’s the “fun” maintenance (carwashes, new accessories, springing for the top of the line interior/exterior upgrades, etc.) and there’s the necessary maintenance (oil changes, filling up gas, repairing broken parts). People like to indulge in the fun part of self-care…the massages and spa time, the quiet bubble baths and reading time. But no one really likes to think about the necessary maintenance – the daily showers, making sure you’re eating three times a day (or in my case a minimum of six), remembering to breathe.

I suck at both. I spent three weeks convincing myself I was fine when I really needed an oil change and some gas, only to look at myself one day this week and wonder when was the last time I got my eyebrows done. Or a pedicure. It’s easy for me to blame it on pregnancy, but the truth is this was a struggle before I was pregnant. It’s just a bigger struggle now because I have a tiny human zapping me of all my energy and cares.

Secondly, for the first time that I can remember I am struggling with what being pregnant, and eventually a child, means for my work.

I do not want to take maternity leave.

I know I have to. I know I would be extremely upset if either of my jobs were to say that I didn’t have a job to return to (which is basically all maternity leave guarantees you) or tried to force me back before it was time. I’d be on my soapbox about how the world doesn’t value motherhood.

I looked forward to bonding with TD1 and TD2 and couldn’t wait to meet them and dreamed of all the fun Pinteresty things we would do on my maternity leave. But as I had a mild asthma attack during a huge service and all of the people on my team were more concerned with my wellbeing than they were with the directions I was giving them, I didn’t have warm, fuzzy feelings of a baby to come. I was over it. I know that no one has ever really seen me out of breath. No matter how small of a deal it seemed to me, it was unusual to them and cause for concern. But, it made me angry.

Don’t get me wrong – I am extremely grateful to work with people that care about my wellbeing and are willing to step up to fill in the gaps when I’m not able to. But I don’t want them to. And I don’t like that this pregnancy is putting me in that position. It makes me feel weak and incompetent.

On top of that, big things are coming my way in terms of work and opportunities. And the elephant in the room is my pregnancy. Because in four months, everything that I’m working on will be put on pause or handed off to someone else while I go do what I know is a frigging blessed miracle. And then, I have to sit at home for a yet-to-be-determined amount of time and adjust to this new normal that this sweet, little adorable baby is going to bring into my life.

So right now, there’s no excitement about finding out the gender or growing our family. I’m just pregnant. And it hasn’t exactly been fun and exciting this go round. So I’m just over it. And I’m okay with that.

And yes, next week, my feelings may change. And I’m okay with that too.

TB3: Week 18

TB3 is the size of a slingshot.

So I guess David could’ve used TB3 to slay Goliath.

Week 18 is my dude. It started and ended with answers. Real. Concrete. Answers.

First. Y’all I’ve been having asthma attacks for the past three weeks and didn’t know it. Do you know how relieved I was to finally have an answer? At one point, I had to see a cardiologist to make sure my heart was okay. (It is — those answers came through later in the week.) I had a few episodes where I couldn’t breathe to the point where I thought I was gonna pass out. I was freaked out, but I also thought maybe it just meant I was doing too much and needed to slow down. Never did I guess that I literally couldn’t breathe. But now I have my inhaler and meds and a plan and I feel like it’s going to be okay. I can breathe again.

I also feel like a baby because I didn’t want to get out of bed for a week, but T-Daddy ran an entire marathon having a horrible asthma attack. I mean, I am building a whole human on the inside. So I guess you could argue I’m running my own marathon over here. 🤷🏽‍♀️

This week was also the big B2K reunion concert. I’m sure I used my inhaler more at that concert than I have in the entire 15 years since I was originally diagnosed with asthma, but it was worth it. Even the production issues didn’t ruin the concert for me. (T-Daddy may or may not have had to tell me to leave work at work and stop pointing out everything. I have a problem. I’ve accepted it. It comes with the territory of doing what I do.)

Lastly, we celebrated TD2’s 6th birthday this week. I can’t believe my baby is 6. Honestly, I’m not as emotional as I thought I would be seeing as how I’m carrying another one and it seems like just yesterday I was carrying her. With everything that has been going on, I’m just thankful that I felt up to celebrating her. It was simple – just cake and ice cream with immediate family (but to be honest between T-Daddy’s side and my side, having family over is a party). She loved it and I loved seeing her happy.

I also made sure to get a picture of me with her. I’m often behind the scenes – taking pictures and videos, making the story and memories come together. Needless to say, it can be hard for me to find pictures of me with the girls sometimes. Between being told some pretty scary things last week and having an old classmate lose her husband (please pray for her and their daughters), it’s been on my mind to want to leave them with more than faded memories if something should happen to me. So I remembered to take a picture with my daughter on her birthday. And that was a wonderful ending to a pretty good week.

TB3: Week 17

TB3 is the size of a game controller.

Remember how I called Week 16 a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week? Well, clearly I hadn’t met Week 17 yet. 

This week was off to a good start – I started feeling better just in time to produce our Good Friday and Easter services. My grandfather came home from the hospital. I was in a good mood. Things were starting to look up. 

And that’s when it happened. Family drama. Multiple anxiety attacks. An episode of not feeling well that eventually led to multiple doctor visits. Apparently, I’m either extremely stressed and overworked or I have more than the normal pregnancy symptoms going on. Either way, this mama has been prescribed less stress and more rest.  

I’m extremely thankful to T-Daddy for picking up the slack and staying by my side as I spent an entire day in the ER (and the first of multiple trips to doctors/hospitals). I’m thankful to everyone who insisted I go get checked out when I kept saying “I’m fine. It’s just been a long week.” And to everyone who has checked in on me and prayed for me.

I don’t have answers for what’s going on, but I’m hoping to find them soon. In the meantime, I am taking extra care to do a little less and pay more attention to my body over the next 22 weeks.

And because I want to end Week 17 on a high note:

  1. I finally made it to yoga. It was hard and there were tears and stopping to rest, but I. MADE. IT.
  2. I saw TB3! In attempts to get answers, a limited ultrasound was done to look at baby and my surrounding areas. And for a few blissful seconds, all I felt was joy – no pain or worry, just pure, blissful joy. I even got a picture to take home. (And yes, we showed the TDs.)

TB3: Week 16

TB3 is the size of an action figure.

Week 16 was a rough week. I should have known it was gonna be a doozy when I went to wake the girls up and started thinking about how I would feel if they didn’t wake up. Talk about starting your morning off right.

So here it is: the bad and the good of Week 16 – in no particular order.

I Could Have Done Without:

  • High blood pressure – first time ever in my ENTIRE life.
  • My anxiety peaking…again. I broke down and got a therapist. Hopefully, I get a handle on it.
  • Taking the girls to see “Breakthrough.” I get “Mother of the Year” for this one.
  • My granddad having another stroke…then finding out he’s had a series of mini-strokes in the 10 years between this one and his first one.
  • A series of “Oops! My bad.” moments at work.
  • Winter stalking us.
  • Feeling like crap for two whole days and the massive headache that wouldn’t go away.

I Could Get Used To:

  • Fries saving the day…and my head and stomach.
  • Hearing the baby’s heartbeat. It was way easier to find and louder than the last.
  • Spring telling Winter to “Hit the Road Jack!'”
  • A friend gifting me her glider to replace my broken one. I can’t wait to sit in it and stare out my front window.
  • Feeling TB3 flutter for the first time.

So there you have it – Week 16 was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. But tomorrow is a new day…and the start of a new week.

TB3: Week 15

TB3 is the size of a box of crayons.

Week 15 started out with the best news ever – I have a belly buddy due one day after me!!! It’s not someone I’m especially close with, but I do see them pretty regularly. Between work and church and friends, it just feels pretty amazing to be surrounded by so many pregnant ladies.

Apparently, my belly has officially popped to the world because the recurring comment this week was some version of “Oh look, you have a belly now. How cute!!!” As I struggle to bend down these days, “now” feels like it happened weeks ago. But, I do love being able to share this journey with people. And I don’t even mind people asking to rub my belly. (Though I’m still waiting to actually feel kicks.)

The hardest part about this week has been the sheer exhaustion. I’m not tired all the time like the first trimester. Thank goodness! But everything takes so much out of me. I haven’t quite figured out how to pace myself to make my energy lasts for longer spurts. Once I’ve hit a wall, I’m pretty much emotionally and physically useless. So grateful for the grace being shown in my house right now. (Lots of chores and cooking being mailed in these days.)

Pregnancy brain is also becoming more and more real. I texted a friend asking, “How did I not know this was happening?” She very lovingly responded, “We talked about this on Thursday. I love you.” So to everyone else, I apologize in advance for all the things I will inevitably forget. My memory is officially untrustworthy till further notice.

Tomorrow starts a new week and I can’t wait. Ok. Really, I’m just anxiously waiting for those kicks and flutters.

TB3: Week 14

TB3 is the size of a troll doll.

Troll doll
Including because childhood nostalgia.

This week went by super fast. So fast in fact that I barely even realized it went by. I won’t complain though because it brought quite a few wins with it:

  • TD2 is recovering well from her surgery. She had a few play dates, went back to school. She seems to be adjusting to her “new voice” quite well.
  • We finally got the car situation figured out. I’m the proud owner of a new-to-me minivan. And T-Daddy is somewhere in the #HappyWifeHappyLife camp, but still swearing he’s never driving “that thing.” Apparently, the only thing he hates more than minivans are boybands. Our date night later this month is going to be really interesting when he accompanies his very preggo wife to the B2K reunion concert.
  • Having two of my major worries pretty much taken care of means that my anxiety is back to normal pregnancy levels.
  • I am generally feeling good these days.
  • The sun is out!!

While Week 14 came with the wins, it also came with the realization that my stomach is huge (to/for me). I spent a few days bending over and getting low and paid severely for it. Also, trying to tie my shoes or put on shoes for that matter, is straight up the devil. I am sooooo ready for flip flop season. Maybe that will force me to find time for that pedicure I’ve been promising myself. I may have also caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror before bed one night and barely recognized the stomach staring back at me. I took a pic of it and sent it to KB, who was surprised that I was 14 weeks pregnant, but refused to tell me how pregnant she thought I was, just that maybe there’s more than 1 in there after all. Followed by “I’m just trying to help.”

And that’s just one more reason I love my friends. I’ll never know if she really thought my stomach was huge or not, but she at least let me live in the moment. Which is huge for me. Because these days, I do feel huge.* I’m staring at my belly every time I walk past the mirror, thinking how much bigger it’s gotten since the last time I looked at it. And the truth is, it is getting bigger and it is huge…for me. Even when I have a gazillion people telling me how small I am compared to how big they were when they were at this stage.

So thanks KB for letting me go on and on about my big (to me) belly and indulging me.

*Watching my belly grow and feeling the baby kick are the two most wonderful things about pregnancy to me. Right now, it’s uncomfortable and, at times, painful. But I love it. Yes, I wish it was less painful, but I thoroughly enjoy rubbing my round belly and anxiously waiting to feel those first flutters.

TB3: Week 13

TB3 is the size of a matchbox car.

This week started with the much-anticipated trip to the hospital for TD2’s surgery. I’ve had so much anxiety leading up to this surgery, so as you can guess, much of this week has been focused on TD2. Her surgery did go very well, so I am so relieved. And she is already hearing and breathing better, so this mama is resting easy knowing T-Daddy and I made the right call. I spent lots of time cuddling and catering to her and just being thankful that everything turned out okay. Thanks everyone for your prayers and well wishes!

The other big focus this week has been trying to get a car. We’ve been very blessed that the Focus hasn’t left us stranded in the middle of the street yet. Although, I did think we were going to get stranded on the expressway. On the way to the hospital, the “Check Engine” light started flashing. We pulled over, cut the car off and prayed that we could just get to the hospital in time for her surgery. Luckily, we made it there and back. We haven’t really left the house or our neighborhood too much to test it, other than a few dealerships to look at cars.

Speaking of which – did you know that car shopping with kids is a whole thing? 1. They’re very restless and impatient. But, 2. It allowed us to actually visualize ourselves in the car. Between the Focus being on life support and being a Focus, we know we need a new car before the baby comes. Otherwise, I’m risking having another baby in a car on the side of the road. And, having nowhere to fit all three of the kids. TD2 will be sitting on TD1’s lap inside a booster. So yeah, we need a bigger car. It’s surprising how bigger doesn’t always equal roomier though. I was surprised at the amount of leg room TD2 didn’t have in some of the cars we looked at. And, she’s my peanut. So if her legs are cramped now. I can only imagine what it’s going to be like later on.

Between playing nurse/pillow and looking at cars, I haven’t had much time to focus on pregnancy. Which I’m okay with. The fact that I could “forget” I was pregnant for a few days has actually been a bit of a relief. I think I’m finally in the upswing of pregnancy. I even went and did some light yard work since the weather was nice. Take that pregnancy!

Week 13 you weren’t half-bad.

Just searching for my not-so-secret treasure