The Edge of ’17

With a new year beginning, it’s time to get back into writing. I’ve been absent for a few months for a few reasons:

1. Husband and I have been traveling a lot. In the last quarter of 2016, I went to Richmond, VA for a conference while he went to southern Georgia once a month for his National Guard drills. I also went to Hiwassee, NC for a girls’ weekend. Together, we traveled to Florida twice (to Epcot in October and to Tampa for Thanksgiving), to Illinois to visit my mother-in-law and other relatives-in-law, to Savannah for a half marathon and to Clearwater in the same weekend to surprise my brother for his birthday, and to Asheville, NC for Christmas. I’m tired just thinking about the miles we covered this fall and winter.

2. We’ve had a lot of family time going on. Not only did we travel to see family, but they came to us a lot this fall. We hosted my mother-in-law for a weekend in October so Husband’s aunt and uncle could enjoy a weekend with friends at a NASCAR race in Talladega. My mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and requires full-time care. We were happy to help out Husband’s aunt and uncle by giving them a well-deserved break from their care of Mom in their home in Illinois. Because this was her first time back in Georgia since moving to Illinois in March, we invited ALL the local family over to visit. We had 11 for lunch one day and 3 for snacks and dinner the next. Plus, my mom and her man friend were staying with us that weekend for a long-planned visit. So we had a full house and full hands taking care of mom-in-law.

Side note: Alzheimer’s is not for the impatient or faint of heart, and care for Alz patients is not something to leave up in the air. My mother-in-law and late father-in-law did nothing to prepare for the full-time care she would eventually need. Now that she needs it, Husband and his family are still cobbling together/fighting over what is best for her. If you love someone in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, make financial and physical care plans now. It may be emotionally difficult to do, but the disease will progress, and you will save yourself and your family so much heartache later.

3. Happiest of all, I’ve slacked on writing because in September we found out we’re expecting a baby in May!

Baby's on it's way!
Baby’s on it’s way!
It's gonna be May
Justin, tell these nice people when my baby’s due.

Yes, this was planned, as much as you can plan a natural conception. (People have asked me if this was planned or a surprise. That’s a weird, almost rude question. Put another way, they’re asking: Did you mean to get knocked up, or is this a mistake? No, my future children are not mistakes. If you know me, my faith and my type-A personality, you know that I’m not letting a responsibility and a joy like a baby just happen.)

Having a baby is something Husband and I have talked about at length since before we married: when we wanted to have kids, where and how we want to raise them, how many we want to have. At first we thought we’d start trying a year after getting married. Husband is three years older than me and wanted kids right away because he thinks he’s getting too old to have kids. I persuaded him to give us a year, but it was quickly apparent to us both that our marriage needed work before we brought the stress of raising children into it. A year and several more months passed before we felt ready to try. I don’t regret the time we spent working on us. We need to be as solid as possible so that we can provide the stable, loving life we want to give kids, and God had so much to break down in us and rebuild in Him before we could think outside of the two of us.

My first trimester was exhausting. I was tired all the time. I took naps at my desk and in my car at lunch time. I went to bed around 10 p.m. each night, which is way earlier than my normal midnight turn-in. But I didn’t get sick, and I didn’t have any serious smell or taste aversions except for coffee. The smell or thought of coffee wasn’t abhorrent, just unappealing. I’d get a whiff of coffee from our kitchen at work or think about making a cup at home, then realize: Nope, I’m good. No desire to drink it. Which was fine, because pregnant ladies are supposed to limit their caffeine intake anyway.

My second trimester has brought back my energy, and brought on an appetite I haven’t had since I was swimming for three hours per day, six days per week in high school. I am ravenous these days. I make muffins and casseroles and big bowls of oatmeal, and I destroy it all in two days. This week, I discovered that Panera is going to give me a free bagel every day, and so far that is the highlight of 2017. I’m still exercising and running regularly (though not maxing out; my runs these days are more like leisurely jogs), so a free bagel every day is this pregnant runner’s dream.

Second trimester has also brought out my belly. I finally started to show around 18 weeks. Baby has become quite active in the past few weeks as well. His/her movements have progressed from faint flutters and itches to humming, tapping, tiny punches and kicks. It revs up about 20 minutes after I’ve eaten but also at random times while I am sitting at my desk at work or lying in bed at night.

So far, every genetics test we’ve done, every blood test I’ve submitted to, and every ultrasound we’ve sat through awestruck has shown that Baby is developing normally and is a healthy fetus. Husband and I are on cloud nine! The first few weeks, he’d turn to me at random and say, “We’ve made life!” or “I’m going to be a Dad, and you’re going to be a Mom!” Both my parents cried when we told them, and we elicited a big smile out of his mom upon telling her.

Now that our news has sunk in, we’re keeping busy visiting day cares and calling pediatricians. Soon we’ll need to start decorating the nursery and picking out furniture. We’re also being intentional about how we spend our last few months as a child-free couple: we have a date night at least once per week, we’re exercising together while we can without paying for a babysitter, and we’re checking off things we’ve talked about doing that won’t be as easy to do with a baby in arms, such as steal away to Asheville for Christmas, just the two of us. (It was lovely and perfect, and I’ll write more about it later. Even if your families would be upset at you not joining them for Christmas, I highly recommend reserving one year for just you and your spouse. Family will get over your absence, and you will have the most relaxing holiday.)

I’m planning to write more as 2017 happens, to process how we change and how our marriage changes as we become parents. This blog will remain about our marriage experience and not become focused on babies and kids, though he/she will certainly play a strong supporting role.

So now you know our secret! I’m SO excited for May!

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