The stuff that matters.

unnamedI’ve been wrestling for a little while now with the feeling of spreading myself thin and not being whatever I consider “enough.”

Balancing a full-time job with a baby, a husband, a house to take care of, life’s obligations to meet, and what feels like a million things to remember every day. Sprinkle in some anxiety, and it feels often like I never really shut my brain off, and get to the end of the day wondering whether or not I was a good employee, a good mom, and a good wife, and what the heck did I forget to do, because it was definitely something.

But I think more than that, I’ve become acutely aware lately that some of that worry and struggle to find balance is getting in the way of things that really matter. I see articles on Facebook about learning to let the dishes sit in the sink and have fun playing with your kid. I can honestly say I never let the dishes sit in the sink, even if it means losing time for something more important. Now that Clayton is eating solids, I’ve found myself panicking about the mess he’s making instead of watching him explore his new foods and appreciate how cute he is as he learns to eat. I’ve gotten fed up with his fussy moods because I had planned to do laundry during that arbitrary 15-minute window and now I have to keep him busy when he should be able to entertain himself with toys in his crib for that time. Why doesn’t he care about my plans? Why won’t he cooperate?

And typing all of this out, I see even more clearly how crazy it all sounds. I LOVE that little person so much, and I love being his mom, and I really do love this phase of life, even though it’s hectic and I’m still trying to find my new identity. I still love going to work like I did before, I love coming home and hearing all the fun stuff Clayton did with my mom while I was gone, and I love the time we get with him before he goes to bed. It’s awesome. So why can’t I relax and enjoy it fully?

Obviously an 8-month-old child isn’t going to respect the schedule I set out for myself, and obviously when he has a need, that supersedes whatever else I might “need” to be doing. In theory, I understand completely that he won’t be little forever, and I should be soaking up every moment, every phase, every mess. Believe me when I say I am trying. But I think as a byproduct of this crazy new season of life, trying to be everything all the time, we are careful with our time and so easily get thrown off when things don’t go as we planned. In the meantime, it is those moments, like getting to hold our cranky babies when they’re teething, that really matter. Like the dumb targeted Facebook posts say, the dishes and the laundry don’t matter, and they can always wait, because if they don’t, we’re going to miss time we’ll never get back.

Clayton’s 6-month update

unnamedI’m not sure how it’s possible that Clayton turned 6 months on September 1, but like I said in my Instagram milestone post, I also feel like I can totally believe it, since every time I take a step back and really look at him, I see a little boy. Every day I see something in him that reminds me he’s not a newborn anymore; he’s a tiny little person! He’s curious, determined, smart, happy, and so funny! Though certain hard phases are over (hello, great sleep and mostly predictable naps), others are unfolding into challenges of their own (teething, and what the heck to do about solid foods?). But overall, we’re happy and healthy over here, and just enjoying watching him figure out the world around him!

With that, I thought it might be fun to do a little 6-month update!

Sleep: Like I said above, sleep is one area that *knock on wood* I feel like we’ve perfected (FOR NOW). He’s always been a pretty good overnight sleeper, and it’s continuing. He pretty much always goes down around 8:30 with virtually no fuss – just a big bottle, a clean diaper, pajamas, sleep sack, white noise machine, nightlight, and pacifier – and though for a while he was steadily sleeping all the way until 7:30 a.m., he’s dialed that back to more like 6:30 a.m., which is still great, and honestly, I like starting the day a little earlier (once I’m up and moving). For a long time, the hardest part about his sleep was naps. We always assumed he was just destined to be a great night sleeper and a problematic napper, but we didn’t mess with anything for fear of ruining his good overnight stretch. Somehow in the last couple weeks (and I’ll give a shoutout to my mom for her diligence in helping us establish this routine with him during the day while she watches him – Go Roma!), his naps have become more predictable. He’ll usually do a shorter morning nap, somewhere in the 10 a.m. hour, and a longer afternoon one, sometimes up to two hours. That’s something we could have never dreamed of before! As with anything else, I’m sure once I pat ourselves on the back and think about how great he’s doing, it’ll change and we’ll be wishing for these days, but for now I am happy with where we are.

Eating: We’re still on Similac Alimentum formula for milk protein sensitivity, which he has been eating since he was about a month old. We toy with the idea of reintroducing the regular milk formula, but I am so nervous about it going poorly that I keep putting it off. Since we introduced solids at 4 months (first rice cereal, then oatmeal, then veggies, now fruits), we’ve been trying to work toward less bottles during the day. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and he still wants about as much as he had been getting before the solids. But by and large, he’s pretty regularly doing 5 six-ounce bottles plus two solid meals (a fruit for lunch and a veggie for dinner). So far, he’s loved every single thing we’ve tried, and his favorite (strangely?) has been plums. He literally yells at us to feed them to him faster. I never knew a person to love plums so much! For now I am still making his baby food using a Baby Bullet steamer and my Nutribullet, and plan to keep doing that for as long as I can keep it up. I kept hearing people say it was easy, but was skeptical, especially since I am not very comfortable in the kitchen. But REALLY. It’s easy. I am happy to share what’s been working if anyone is interested! Next on the menu for him will be peaches and pears, and then hopefully after that we’ll be moving away from strictly purees and onto mushy foods and then little bits of regular table food. As I said above, this process is confusing and, like most baby-related things, there seems to be no real science to it, but we’re trying our best and so far it seems to be working out. The kid can eat!

Play: Clayton is suddenly very into everything around him, so we’re doing our best to keep him entertained and focused on the things that are his and away from the stuff we don’t want him to touch but that he inevitably goes for (we need to babyproof ASAP). He’s doing great in his walker – we’re watching him in it and keeping him away from stairs – and jumperoo, and he loves his Eric Carle caterpillar toy and the Curious George stuffed animal Kevin brought back for him from a work trip to Harvard. It’s fun to watch him play with toys he used when he was littler but didn’t know what to do with, like things with buttons and things to twist or push down. I love watching his little baby brain in action!

Milestones: After what felt like 400 years, he finally cut his first two teeth. Hallelujah! Also in the last week or so he began sitting up pretty much unassisted. He’s continued to have fun adventures (Kevin and I were always pretty busy before Clayton arrived, and we’ve made a point to continue making plans and taking day trips or easy overnights and doing as much as we can with him, and it’s actually going really well) – he visited my Uncle Rich & Judy in Rehoboth Beach this weekend and was really interested in the sand this time; had fun meeting his new friend Colt, who’s just a week older than Clayton is!; and just generally enjoys hanging out wherever mom and dad are, just as long as he can still see us! Side note: stranger danger is becoming a very real thing over here, but we found out from the doctor at his 6-month check-up that that’s actually a developmental milestone, and doctors worry if kids around his age don’t show preference toward parents and close family. Who knew?!

Anyway, that’s about it for right now. It’s becoming a REALLY fun, REALLY tiring stage, and I can see it getting even more fun and more tiring fast! We’re looking forward to Halloween and the other fun things that will be coming up. Life is different these days, but in the best way!

Trying to “have it all”

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Clayton does not love my home office.

I’ve had this topic in my head and on my heart for a while now, but today seemed like the right day to pour it out, especially now that I am reading Rachel Hollis’ book “Girl, Wash Your Face.” The book – which I highly recommend – covers a lot of the things I think new moms and new working moms (hell, women in general) struggle with, like feeling as if we’re not enough and that we’re failing, and convincing ourselves that all the while everyone else has it all figured out.

I was off from work one day last week, and after Clayton’s morning bottle I figured I would take him and Mikey out for a walk around the neighborhood. At the risk of getting into the mundane, I have a little clip on the handlebar of the stroller that is intended to hold your purse/shopping bags, but also works (or so I thought…) to fasten Mikey’s leash, so I planned to push the stroller, leash and dog attached, and not have to use another hand. Well, in the middle of trying to do all this in our driveway, our new neighbor came over to introduce herself. Mikey made a break for it (because, attention) and almost knocked the stroller over, baby and all. Meanwhile, I’m just trying to shake this girl’s hand and not seem like a total disaster (too late) when all I really wanted in the first place was to take a walk, get a little exercise for myself and some fresh air for my teething baby, and for my dog to not feel left out, which he always does these days. Obviously, it was harder than I thought.

That may be a stupid analogy, but like I said, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our many roles and how we’re expected to balance them. The title of this blog, after all, is K8 In Balance, because I’ve always been interested in, or I guess more accurately, cognizant of, the many parts of us – our interests, hobbies, obligations, identities, priorities – that make up our whole.

Since I became a mom in March and a working mom in June, my identity, the way I view myself, and the energy I have to pour into my different “buckets”, if you will, has changed dramatically. I’ve always been a people-pleaser, and this has only intensified since I returned to work. The need to try to be everything to everyone all the time is overwhelming, but I am learning. It’s important to note is that my job has been great since I had Clayton; my current arrangement involves me working remotely two days a week, so I can see him during the day and not have to drive into the city five days a week, which has made a world of difference for me. I can’t stress enough how lucky I am to have this set-up (and I realize that many moms aren’t so lucky) and I STILL feel like lots of days I’m just barely staying afloat trying to be a good employee and the mother that Clayton deserves (oh, and the wife that Kevin deserves, because that guy’s still around, too!). All I can say is that it’s hard, and our country doesn’t make it easy for women to try to have both a career and a family. We’re all just over here trying to keep our proverbial balls in the air. And as someone who never envisioned herself as a stay at home mom (though God bless the moms that do it, because I always say that the time I spent at home with Clayton by myself on leave was a lot harder than going to the office, and I mean that), I can see why lots of moms wind up leaving work and staying home when they never intended to, because keeping those balls in the air (!) is hard, and sometimes darn near impossible.

I can’t even really pinpoint what it is that gives me stress, because Clayton is a happy, healthy, amazing little person who is learning and growing before our eyes, so clearly we’re doing something right. At work, I have taken on a lot of new responsibilities even since being back from leave, and I see a lot of growth potential for myself there. I love what I do – it’s an important part of my identity and I love getting to be creative and work as part of a team and use my talents every day for something I believe makes a difference. I guess it’s just that I feel like I’m always dividing my time. And I also can’t help but worry about how I’ll continue managing it all as Clayton gets bigger, and as we think about adding another little one to the mix (EEP!).

So, maybe this was just one big ramble without a concrete point, but I do think there are a lot of working moms out there who can relate. I don’t even necessarily have advice, I just think all we can do is try our best. Recognize that we’re enough, that LITERALLY NO ONE, ANYWHERE has it all figured out, everyone is Googling it, and nobody knows any better than you do. It’s hard enough, so why don’t we appreciate all that we’re doing well, and cut ourselves some slack? As for “having it all”? For me, it’s trying to step back for a second and be grateful. Grateful for my job, my son, my husband, and the blessings I have, that I am even in a position to be juggling all these things in the first place. Maybe, that is having it all.

So, here’s to getting out there and taking our babies and dogs for walks, and remembering that some days it will be a relaxing, Instagram-worthy stroll, and other days the dog will knock over the baby stroller and get mud on the neighbor’s shirt.

What I would tell 2-months-ago me.

I know I’ve only been a mom for two months, but in many ways, it feels like a lifetime.

I never really understood what people meant when they said “I can’t imagine life without the baby.” Like, you spent X amount of years without him or her – how do you not remember what that was like? So while I do have moments of longing for our pre-baby life, and the freedom to do what we want when we want, I think for the most part I understand that now. It’s amazing how fast your life can change, and how capable you actually are to change with it. You adapt, because you have to.

I am by no means a baby expert, but after two months – and settling in to this new life, this new reality – and a rocky beginning that had me wondering if I’d ever get used to it, much less enjoy it, I have a few thoughts for that early-March version of me:

Your postpartum depression/anxiety will get better. Thanks to your support system and the world’s most wonderful OBGYN, you will manage your symptoms quickly, and you will begin to enjoy being a mom. You’ll slowly gain confidence in yourself and understand that you can do this. You’ll find a rhythm. You will never stop worrying about that tiny person, but the worrying will become more manageable and less consuming. The fog will lift. This new life will seem less and less scary each day, and actually become pretty great.

You won’t be trapped in the house forever. Although it wasn’t long ago that the thought of dressing yourself and a baby and getting out of the house with him and his many necessities seemed impossible, it will happen, sooner than you think. In just a couple weeks, packing everything up and heading out with the stroller and diaper bag to run errands or take a walk will seem second nature. And it will keep you sane.

He will stop screaming constantly. It will take a few tries and lots of banging your heads against the wall, but you’ll find a formula that works for his sensitive stomach, and everything will fall into place from there. He’ll stop crying for what feels like no reason, sleep better, and poop as often as they tell you he should. And not only will he gain weight, he’ll catapult into the 90th percentile by his two-month checkup.

Breastfeeding wasn’t in the cards for you, and that’s okay. You tried to breastfeed, but it didn’t work out. Honestly, it was brave to make the decision to stop, because it was the best thing you could do for both yourself and for Clayton at the time. The two of you had the odds stacked against you from the beginning, with his protein and soy sensitivities, his jaundice and weight loss, his tongue tie, and your PPD, all of that coming after the labor and delivery from hell. Breastfeeding wasn’t giving him what he needed, and formula has done that. It has also allowed Kevin and other family members the chance to be involved in his feedings. So even though you still appreciate the many benefits of breastfeeding, and respect the hell out of the moms who stick with it through those long, hard nights, feeding your baby formula doesn’t make you a bad mom. And hey, you can always try again next time. If you decide you want to.

You’ll sleep again. Soon. The baby that screamed all night, every night, and regularly brought you to tears will start to sleep. Promise! By five weeks he’ll be sleeping 5 and 6 hour stretches, and as you write this, he’s coming off a 10-hour night and is currently napping like a champ in his crib! You and Kevin will find a sleeping arrangement that works great for everyone and allows you to split the responsibilities evenly, even if it means sleeping in separate beds for now.

Talking to other people in your situation is invaluable. It’s true, the idea of attending a support group made you want to vomit at first. Sharing feelings in a blog is one thing, but sharing them with strangers in person is another, and it is definitely not easy for you. But once you go, you’ll love it, and you’ll make mom friends who are going through the same things you are. You’ll even hang out with them outside of group. You should be proud of yourself for going, and sticking with it.

Maternity leave will fly by. You still have 4 weeks left, but it’s flying. It seems like once you find your rhythm with something, there’s a change, and that will be the case with this as well. But you’ll figure it out, and it will be nice to get back to a routine and have adult conversations! Appreciate the time at home, because it doesn’t last forever!

Your life is forever changed, but it’s great. It’ll seem like it happened overnight, but you’ll go from mourning your old life to appreciating and even loving your new one. You don’t have to give up everything you used to do and everything you used to be – there will be plenty of time for date nights, working out, TV shows, and even that glass of wine. It’s just a matter of finding out who this new version of you is, and what life looks like now, but you’ll figure it out sooner than you think. And trust me, you’re going to love it.

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The plan when there is no plan.

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You have nine months to prepare for your baby to arrive, and yet … it’s impossible to prepare.

I’ve had a hard time with that fact over the last few weeks since Clayton arrived. How to go through life clueless (and sleepless), relying on instincts that everyone promised you’d have but that still have you questioning yourself, how to trust you’re doing the right things, how to look at everyone’s social media and not feel like they all have it figured out and you don’t. And how to let go of the things you planned for, your to-do lists, the life you knew, and just roll with it.

First of all, I’m not a ‘just roll with it’ kind of gal, and things started to not go as planned for me in January when I found out my high blood pressure would mean the baby would be coming early. And even though I had two months to get ready for that, I didn’t fully grasp what it means to be induced until it was happening. We were scheduled to go into the hospital on Tuesday, February 27th, sometime after 7 p.m., and they told us they’d call us with one hour’s notice when a bed became available. After brunch with my in-laws and handing off Mikey, a trip to see Black Panther, packing our bags, and my favorite meal of Mexican food, we wound up not getting the call until 11 p.m. and the *adventure* began. I will save all the details for perhaps a later post, but all I can say is that when your body isn’t ready, it isn’t ready. And I … wasn’t ready. I was in labor for a total of 34 hours, and pushed for three of the longest hours of my life before our little nugget finally came out.

Our first week pretty much continued on at a similar clip, as we struggled to figure out breastfeeding, Clayton had to be re-admitted to the hospital overnight for jaundice, he lost a concerning amount of weight, was suspected to have a milk protein allergy, and I realized I was dealing with symptoms of postpartum depression, which I recognized and have since gotten under control (maybe that’ll be its own post later, too).

In the two weeks since, thanks to some tough decisions and the help of our village (you know who you are!) things have improved tremendously, and I can honestly say life is good! We’re all adjusting more and more each day, and I feel like we’re getting the hang of this newborn thing. Kevin went back to work last week, but I am home until June 5, so we have lots of time to get even more comfortable. I know that once we figure out this stage, a new one will be upon us, but the thing I want to get better at is taking each phase as it comes, and learning to be okay with not knowing, with having questions, and with not having a plan.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a couple things I’ve learned over the past month that no baby book or well-meaning friend can prepare you for when you push out a baby and bring him home, sans instructional manual:

Everyone tells you something different. This goes for friends sharing the things that worked for them and their baby, and it also goes for hospital staff. Over the course of our two nights in the hospital after Clayton was born, we were tended to by numerous doctors, nurses, and lactation specialists, and the advice from one to the next was never the same. For me, that was hard. Why is there not one right answer? Why do two staff members at the same hospital not believe the same thing? So… pacifiers are okay? They’re evil? I should start pumping tomorrow? In three weeks? He can sleep on his side if he seems to want to? Only his back? Never wake a sleeping baby. Don’t let him sleep longer than 2 hours during the day! Ya’ll. I CAN’T EVEN. The lesson, I think, is that there’s not a right answer, because every baby is different, every situation is different, and every parent is different. And I am pretty sure that the only thing you can do is see what works for your baby and do that thing. But don’t get too used to it, because tomorrow it might not work.

“You’re the parent.” During one of my panicked early phone calls to the pediatrician, a nurse responded to my question with “You’re the parent.” This kind of goes with the above thought that I want there to be one right answer to each problem, but the lesson is that there’s not, and that you are the one that can decide. I think I really struggled with being the one that makes these choices for him, rather than taking orders, but it’s getting easier.

The first night at home is hard. And lonely. I will never forget the feeling of sitting up with him in his nursery at 2 a.m. after changing, feeding, swaddling, rocking, and singing to him, and having him still scream and have no idea what to do. I felt like I was the only person awake in the world.

Babies don’t always make sense. Babies aren’t like cars or household appliances, where if you have a flat tire or a leaky pipe you fix the thing and the problem is solved. Sometimes all a baby wants is comfort, and after trying 10 other things, you finally realize it. Turns out snuggles was all he wanted.

Perhaps the biggest lesson of all, though, is to be kind to yourself, and to extend yourself the grace you would to someone else in a new, scary situation. Eating, sleeping, showering, and getting out of the house are all important, and you should make time for them, as well as whatever other types of self-care are important to you. Take your village up on offers to help, even just to take a walk around the block. Learn to be okay with things not going as planned, even if it seems impossible and takes a while to accept. Something that used to be second nature might take forever to do, and it’s okay to set one goal for the day and to feel accomplished that the laundry got done.

For now, at three weeks plus a couple days, Clayton is doing well! He’s growing and changing every day, he’s awake for longer stretches during the day, sleeping better at night, recognizing our voices, and reminding me of the above lessons. Kevin and I are navigating the new life we’ve made, and I’m looking forward to warm weather so I can spend time outside with my human child and fur child. My delivery and first couple weeks may not have been what I expected, but that’s okay, because the next ones likely won’t be, either. I’m just going to try to be ready for that.

Dear, Baby Copp

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I can’t believe you’re going to be here in just a couple weeks. It seems like forever ago that we found out about you, but it’s also hard to believe it’s already about to happen. The last 8 months have been so much fun – I’ve thought about life in a different way while I wait for you and try to figure out how to be your mom. Some days were hard – I haven’t always felt good, and some days have been overwhelming. There’s so much information out there, so much advice to consider (most of which conflicts with something else I just heard…), but I am hopeful I’ll know what to do once you’re here.

As ready as your dad and I are to meet you, I’ll miss being pregnant with you. Most nights I am awake for at least a couple hours in the middle of the night, and usually you’re moving and wiggling, and since there’s nothing else to do but lie there and wait for morning, I think about you and pretend you know you’re hanging out with me, too.

I am so excited to see your face. I keep trying to picture it. I think you look like your dad in the pictures we have of you. Most people can’t believe we don’t know yet if you’re a boy or a girl, but we think it’s fun. I think you are a boy, but we don’t care! We just want you to be healthy and happy. We don’t know what your name is going to be (we promise, Grandmom Burkholder!) – we have ideas, but we need to decide! I hope that when we see you, we will know.

This weekend, we’re putting together the furniture in your room. Once that’s done, we will decorate it and make sure you have everything you need. You already have so many clothes and toys and books – there are a lot of people who already love you!! – and your pal Mikey keeps taking your toys and hiding them while mom and dad are at work. He thinks they’re his, and I can’t really blame him, because they look pretty much the same! We’ll have to figure out how to teach him. I think you and Mikey are going to be best friends, though, so I don’t think you’ll mind sharing!

I wanted to write this letter so I could tell you about some of the people you’re going to meet and some of the things we want for you as you get older. Right now, I feel so consumed with the material things, even though I am trying not to be. Getting your nursery ready, washing your clothes and sheets, shopping for the rest of what you need. But I know that’s not what’s most important, because you’re going to be so loved.

First I want to tell you about your dad.

He would do anything for us. A few years ago, he drove 8 hours through the night from Baton Rouge to watch me run my first marathon. He made it to the starting line literally minutes before the race began, out of breath from running from his car, still in his suit from the gymnastics meet. I will never forget it. I know he will put you first like he has always put me first, and I am so looking forward to watching him take care of you, play with you, and teach you. At our baby shower, we played a game where people had to write down the thing they hope you inherit from each of us, and almost everyone said they hope you get your dad’s kindness and love of life, and I couldn’t agree more.

There are so many other special people I can’t wait for you to meet. All four of your grandparents live nearby, and we’re so lucky for that. You’re the first grand baby, and they’re going to spoil you! And my mom (we think you’ll call her Roma) is going to watch you a few days a week once I go back to work. Uncle Steve, Aunt Lisa, Uncle Steven, and Aunt Cosette will be your best pals. You will have a big family on both sides, full of interesting (!) characters to meet. We also can’t wait to introduce you to our friends, some near and some far. Some of our very best friends will be having babies right around the time we have you, and it will be fun to watch you grow up with them!

The world is a little crazy right now, and even though your dad and I feel strongly about certain parts of it, we’ll never tell you how you should feel. We just want you to grow up to be kind, especially to people who are different from you. If you don’t understand something, you should ask, and you should always listen.

We’ll teach you about Jesus, and hope you love Him too, but that will be your decision. The most important thing is that you find out who you are and what you believe, and we’ll support you.

We can’t wait to show you Athens. It’s where your dad and I met, where we found Mikey, where we fell in love, and where we got married. On Saturdays in the fall, we watch Georgia, and even though we don’t live there anymore, it’s a part of us. It’s special – you’ll see.

Did you know the Eagles just won the Super Bowl? It was awesome, and guess what, you were here for all of it! You even saw one game in person, in Charlotte. Somehow, I converted your dad from a Jets fan to an Eagles fan, and Sundays are fun because football really means family. Baseball season will be trickier – luckily you don’t really need to choose between the Phillies and Yankees because they don’t bother each other too much. When the weather gets warm, we’ll take you to your first game!

In the summer we go to the beach a lot. On Monday nights we watch the Bachelor. I like to run – I hope that soon I can take you with me when I do! Your dad does most of the cooking, and I love to clean and organize things. You’ll think I’m crazy, just wait. I hope that you’ll love and be kind to animals, and take care of the Earth. More importantly, though, we want you to find the things that you love, even if they’re not the same as what we love. We promise we’ll help you find them.

Most of all, we’re going to love you forever.

See you soon!

Baby Updates

I had the best of intentions with this blog. I really did. I actually even thought to myself, “How can I become one of those people who gets paid to blog?” (As if people are chomping at the bit to read my thoughts). But here we are, and I seem to have settled into a nice one-post-a-month routine. I also have grand plans to make sure this doesn’t just become a baby blog, because I really do want it to be a place for me to talk about all kinds of things, but I suppose for right now (and, let’s be honest, the foreseeable future), this is it. So, tonight, I’m putting together a little bit of a 2nd and 3rd trimester mash-up, and reminding myself that it’s never too late to turn over a new leaf!

I think the last time I updated in this way, I was deep-ish in the 2nd trimester, so all I will say this time around is that it really was as magical for me as everyone says. I had energy again; not only was I not sick anymore, but I had a taste for all kinds of foods, even healthy ones (!!); I was working out nearly every day; and although I wasn’t sleeping great (truly, I never do, pregnant or not), I was balancing work and the demands of regular life with baby-growing.

Theeeeeeeese days (34 weeks+1), most of the above has changed a bit, and I am starting to feel pretty relieved that this is all winding down and there’s a light – and a baby! – at the end of the tunnel.

The last few weeks, sleep has been an even bigger challenge. I have little to no desire (or energy) to work out, so I’m just trying to make sure I walk every day and can sneak in a gym workout maybe once a week. I still don’t have any cravings (one of the biggest bummers of this whole thing!), but I really don’t feel like eating much of anything, most of the time. I mean, I’m eating, but it’s random. Cookies (perfect timing, Girl Scouts), cereal, whatever sounds good in that moment. Mostly sweets. I am still handling work and life’s mundane tasks okay, I think, but a lot of things are uncomfortable and I am having a hard time admitting when I need help.

Like I shared last time, Baby Copp will be arriving roughly 3 weeks early (also known as about 3 weeks from now!). Over the last month or so, I’ve developed gestational hypertension (not preeclampsia – at least not yet), and apparently, high blood pressure isn’t something you mess around with. So, we’ll schedule an exact date around the 21st-ish of this month and the nugget will most likely join us the week of the 26th. I am actually really coming around to the idea – which is fortunate, because they didn’t consult me!

January was a crazy month over here between appointments trying to get this stuff under control, and Kevin traveling a lot, but February should be calmer. We were fortunate to be thrown a beautiful baby shower last weekend, and thanks to our wonderfully generous family and friends, Baby Copp has just about everything he or she could possibly need. We have some furniture assembling still to do, but aside from that (I’ll share nursery pics, or maybe a Facebook Live video (???) when it’s finished), I’m caught in between feeling like there’s a) a ton still to do and that I’m the most unprepared mother-to-be in history and b) that all that’s left to do is wait. Strange times!

I’m in the process of transitioning out of work in the next two weeks or so, and once I do that, it’ll be basically baby time!

The last thing I wanted to do was share some of these “bump pics” I felt obligated to take. Clearly I started out, again, with the best of intentions and trailed off, but I am thinking it has to do with eventually not loving what I saw. Pregnancy is weird! In actuality, I’ve gained about 35 pounds, which I think is just fine, and even though I hate those two bottom pictures (HOT MESS EXPRESS), it is amazing watching and learning what goes into growing a person. So, I have tried to be more kind to myself.

 

With just a couple weeks left to go, I spend most of my time wondering what he or she will be like, and how life is going to change. We got new ultrasound images yesterday, and I’ve just been staring at that blurry face. Like, who are you? What does your future hold? Will I do a good job taking care of you? I love the blurry face so much already, I can’t even imagine meeting and staring at a real person.

My heart is exploding just thinking about it.