How I'm Preparing for our Fourth Baby

Well at 8 months pregnant and with the holidays rushing upon us, I'm feeling like we're in the final stretch of baby cookin'.

With each pregnancy, I cannot wait to be full-term and hold that baby in my arms. I struggle with anxiety about the baby's health and feel out of control having him in the womb versus out in the world where I can hold him and see him breathe. I have no idea what's going on inside that belly of mine aside from the crazy gymnastic moves this little man likes to perform! I am trying to soak up these next weeks as I sense this is our last pregnancy, and am praying I will feel content in this season and not wish it away hoping for the next.

Since we're having our third boy, (that is still a shock to say) there is little prep involved (I think? My brain is fried!) Emmy and Mack are 14 months apart, this baby and Archie will be 15 months apart, so we always have had two cribs. So fun! He doesn't need any clothes or baby gear so there is no need to shop or gather items. I tweaked a few things in his nursery, moved furniture around yesterday, and got a set of blackout curtains instead of the 3 level system I currently have blocking out the light (brown pillow cases thumb tacked to the windows, with a shower curtain on top, and then a set of white curtains finishing it off! Room darkness is a HIGH priority around here lest my children realize it is actually DAYTIME while they nap).

Picking a name is the hardest thing on the docket-- being the foolish gal that I am, I was so CONVINCED this baby was a girl I promised my husband he could name it anything he wanted if it was a boy. Since I got sick only with Emmy during the 1st trimester, never with either Mack nor Archie, I felt sure during those first 15 weeks of intense nausea (I couldn't even eat which is a BIG deal for this hungry lady) we were expecting a girl. I was super surprised when the ultrasound tech told us otherwise, and may or may not have cried when Michal went through his roster of hockey player names when our appointment ended. We disagree on 99.9% of name options so it will be interesting to see what we decide on. I feel like I will forever hold the ultimate trump card because this sweet babe is actually coming out of my body-- and that is a legit deal!

I wrote a diddy last year when we were getting ready to have Archer-- looking back, my main priorities were having comfy clothes and meals lined up for when he arrived! But this time, there is just one thing I am really doing to prepare my heart and home to love and nurture this little baby -- and that is spending more intentional time with my people.

Emmy meeting Archer, last year. Mack, showing us that he could care less
I know there is a torrential downpour of "not right nows," "mommy needs to feed the baby," and "I'll do that for you laters" that are about to rain down on these kids. I know how snappy I can be with my husband when I am sleep deprived and worried about nursing. I know that my own sweet soul can struggle with the loneliness and isolation having a newborn can bring.

So I am hunkering down and focusing on what matters most right now. For me, that means closing the computer, walking away from my phone, cooking things from scratch (by this I mean following the steps on a box instead of microwaving something from the freezer!), reading my kids lots of books, and ignoring my inner "hustle." Even to sit and write this post (my version of soul-care!) I am ignoring a messy kitchen and two baskets of clean laundry but I know that it brings me joy to put my thoughts to print, so here I sit. I am trying to look my kids in the eye for as long and often as possible, and think for ways to love my husband well-- which during this season mostly looks just like cooking dinner and making sure he has clean socks! Such a romantic!

Some more "sibling love" photos to follow :)

Last night Archie slept like a newborn, it was wild. He has been sleeping 12-13 hour stretches since he was 10 months old (don't be jealous mamas, he barely naps!) but for some reason last night he was up for an hour three different times! Sidenote-- I try to not engage with my children after 7pm. This sounds harsh but since I solo parent most of the day, I feel like it's good for them and me to have some separation and boundaries. I totally get the co-sleeping and long bedtime routine, a lot of that is due to temperament and cannot be helped, it also blesses kids by giving them that extra security and bonding with mom and dad.

My kids might need counseling later, but I tell them all the time mommy is not coming into their room at night unless it's an emergency. A month ago Mack started coming into our room throughout the night to tell us various things like he was "too hot" or that his "sound machine wasn't loud enough." I reviewed our rules with him saying, "Mack you can only come in our room if you see fire, you throw up or wet the bed" and he quickly added: "Or if a big dog comes into my room!" Yes Mack, seeing as we do not have any pets, you should definitely come get us if that happens!

Another quick 'mom fail' to share with you-- a few weeks ago Mack came into my room. I was sleeping soundly as he told me he soaked through his pull-up and wet the bed. In my dreamlike state, I asked him if he could "just take care of it himself" and fell back asleep! As I woke the next morning, I remembered what happened and felt so bad that I didn't go check on him. I asked him if he was okay and what happened-- he told him he got himself changed, put a blanket down over the pee, threw out the pull-up, turned off his light, and went back to sleep! At least I am encouraging independence, right? Honestly, I really did feel guilty-- he's only three!

But back to my party last night with Archie, each time I went into his room to rescue him from his tears, I would pick him up and he'd quickly fall asleep on me. This rarely happens anymore, and just feeling the weight of his little body on my arms and shoulders was so good for my soul. As I rocked him through the night, I realized he wasn't teething or sick, he just wanted to be held (I also think he was scared of the new dresser I put in his room because he kept pointing to it and crying! I guess he isn't as into the midcentury furniture vibe as his mama). I shed many tears through the night thinking that this little boy is still a baby. He needs his mama and requires a lot of love through this stage. It is my daily prayer that he feels secure in our home, with his parents and siblings, and that our attachment can help him through this transition ahead. I sang him my favorite hymns and fought to hold on to the truth that God is arranging our family the best timing possible and that His goodness will provide everyone with what they need-- all in ways that my own parenting never can.

I have several dear friends expecting babies in the next few months and hope that this can encourage them too. Transitions are hard on kids, but watching each of mine welcome a sibling has canceled out all the stress, sleeplessness, and distractions new babies can bring. It amazes me the way they are so resilient and their love for their new brother or sister carries them through seasons where they might otherwise feel "second tier." I am definitely asking God and my friends for perspective on this as well, as we need all the advice we can get!

When ever I feel worried about my capacity as a young and clueless mama, I cling to this verse-- "When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I" -Psalm 61:2 Nothing else brings me more freedom or relief, and I need to remember that as I try to distract myself with giving our kids a knock-out Christmas to compensate for how hard it is for me to get off the couch!

1 comment:

  1. Love this so much Ally! I have felt myself wanting to spend extra special time with JR...maybe it's something maternal? Haha. Thank you for this. Keep posting, I need all the help I can get!!!


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