Third baby is different.
You're not so obsessed with weekly updates on how big baby is compared to an obscure vegetable. You don't have to spend hours researching the best car seat, stroller, bottles, or myriad of other baby gadgets, and that also means you don't create an elaborate baby registry. You're time with your other two "babies" (who happen to be 3 and 4 years old now) fills your day as you cart them around to the beach, museums, parks, grocery stores, and Grammy's house, so you hardly have time to think about all the baby prep you should probably be doing.
So here we are at 37 weeks gestation (full term!), and I am finally writing down some thoughts about this pregnancy. With Grace, my first baby, I wrote weekly blurbs and posted them by trimester. I wasn't nearly as diligent in my second pregnancy with Madelyn, but I do think I wrote a few updates throughout the 9 months. But Baby Macey #3 has gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to recording the ups and downs, dreams and fears, and crazy moments of this pregnancy. I think that is just what comes of being my third rodeo.
The first people I told were actually my daughters, Grace and Madelyn. I went straight from the positive pregnancy test in the bathroom to the living room couch where I brought my girls close to me and told them, "Mommy has a baby in her tummy!" Grace's eyes got all big and she squealed with delight. I'm pretty sure Maddy was like ,"Cool," and then went back to playing. So when Andrew came home, I had to restrain Grace from screaming it as he ascended the stairs. He sat down and I gave her permission to tell him the news. He was so excited! And Grace continued to love telling everyone she met that Mommy was expecting a baby. The news got out quick (but I don't really believe in waiting for a later date to tell anyway).
First trimester was ROUGH. I was sick a lot, even more than my other two pregnancies. It felt different, so Andrew and I were sure we were pregnant with a baby boy. Surprise, surprise, around week 16 we went to a gender reveal ultrasound and found out that baby would be another girl! We were honestly shocked. But Grace and Madelyn are thrilled to welcome a little sister to the family. They touch my belly daily and tell the baby how much they already love her. It is really tender.
Baby is a wiggly worm. When she is awake, I sometimes rub some peppermint oil on my tummy (to help with heartburn) and she will go crazy! It's like she is on a roller coaster in my belly. Grace has been able to see and feel her move a few times, and her eyes get all big as she realizes that Mommy really does have a baby in her tummy! I think it has helped make it even more real for her.
Unmedicated Labor Prep
So another way this pregnancy has been different has been in my preparation for actual delivery. I may not have spent hours researching baby products, but I have definitely spent even more hours researching and reading about natural birth.
I feel so empowered and knowledgeable. I took an online class (its called Pain Free Birth), which happened to be gears towards Christians. It was really cool to learn about how women's bodies work in pregnancy and labor to help get out babies earthbound, and it was even more meaningful to see all of that through the lens of God's perfect creation and plan for us. I have also learned a ton about different birth options, and I even had a few weeks where I looked seriously into home births with a midwife (unfortunately, it wasn't a good fit for us this pregnancy for a few reasons, but if we get pregnant again Andrew and I would highly consider it). I've learned about popular hospital policies, informed consent, vaccines, breathing and relaxation techniques, birthing positions, the changes in my body during each stage of labor, and so much more. Am I still nervous about facing an unmedicated birth? Yep. But am I also full of faith and excitement and power from all the things I have learned in the past few months. HECK YES!
I asked some of my family members to pray and fast for my upcoming labor and delivery: that my and my baby's bodies would work properly, that the medical staff could be supportive and helpful, that my birth team could feel guided as they help me navigate through the experience. My mom commented, "You seem more anxious about this birth. You have never asked me to fast for your birth before." I thought about it and replied, "I'm not more anxious. I think I am more aware of how much I need heaven's help in this process. In my studying, I know there is a point in labor close to when baby will be born where it will be really intense. I might feel like I want to give up or that I can't do it. I know that that is the moment where I need to give it all to Heavenly Father and rely on Him to pull me through. I can only do so much to prepare, but in the end I will need to put it all in His hands. That is a powerful and humbling thought. So this pregnancy I am trying to be more prayerful and in tune with the Spirit's guidance as I prepare for labor."
So here I am at 37 weeks. I had barely started packing my hospital bag, but today I felt some contractions and it pushed my butt in gear. I spent the whole day prepping freezer meals and throwing needed supplies for the hospital into a suitcase. I still have a ton I could do (and should do) before baby arrives, but honestly she can come any time and I'd be fine.
Although, Andrew and I are supposed to go the the Imagine Dragons concert next week, and a baby coming before that would definitely create a snag in that plan. haha.
Weebly (my blog host site) is on my shiz list right now. There are multiple posts I have written almost to completion and then they suddenly disappear. I've also had problems with pictures not pulling up on the correct posts. Unfortunately, this post about our trip to Big Bear is one that was erased...so now, a few weeks after the fact, I am going to try and recreate memory to the best of my abilities.
Old Memories and New
My parents are super generous and rented a cabin in the mountains this year for a family vacation. It was Andrew's first time visiting Big Bear, but for me and my brothers it was a nostalgic trip. Growing up, my Nama and Granddaddy owned a cabin in Big Bear. I have memories of driving up the windy roads, getting carsick almost every time, and feeling the relief of seeing the driveway and finally escaping the car. Then our time would be spent skiing, playing in the snow, and drinking hot chocolate in the winter. During the summer, we'd take walks around the neighborhood, float in a canoe on the lake, and laze around outside. Big Bear trips always included a visit to the Bowling Barn, the local zoo, and some attempts at hitting golf balls at the driving range.
So it was fun to bring my little family up to Big Bear and mix the old memories with a new generation. I loved seeing the kids playing together as cousins.
Some of our adventures included:
It has been an eventful 2 weeks.
Ben and Olivia and their 3 kids came to visit us for a week. The day after they left, Matt and April and their 4 kids came to visit for the next week. It has been 2 full weeks of a full house, fun adventures, late-night chats, and bonding- time with cousins.
The biggest take-away is that my kids LOVE their cousins and they LOVE the beach.
First, Ben and Liv came. We had a great few days at the beach, and then they spent a few days as a family at Disneyland. Our passes dont work during the summer (plus the hot weather does not make amusement parks look very tempting to me), so we weren't able to join them. But we still had some great bonding time. One night after the kids were in bed, we asked Amazon Alexa to play top hits from random years (birth years, teenage years, year we got married, etc) and rated who had the best year. It was silly but fun. I enjoy those random conversations that really only happen when you spend late nights together.
Then the following week, Matt and April and their 4 kids came to visit. This is the second time they have come, and it was just as fun.
We went to the beach one day. The big take-away from that beach day: Matt and April's kids hate the sand. hahaha. Oh my goodness, you would not believe the drama and belly aching just because of a little sand in their bathing suits. I guess the beach is sometimes an acquired taste.
We celebrated the 4th of July with a pancake breakfast at church and then a pool day at my parent's house. On another day, we explored the Natural History Museum. Matt and April and their kids went to the Funko Pop store and loved it (a phenomenon that I just don't understand, but whatever).
We are so grateful that we have had almost all of Andrew's family come visit us in California. It is a unique time in our lives, so I am glad everyone put the effort to visit and glimpse our current home/situation. I know it means a lot to Andrew too.
We love having family come stay with us. It is stressful (mostly because we don't have a ton of room and I always feel bad offering an air mattress crammed into our office space as their lodging), but the time is also always full of fun and new memories.
This last week, Andrew's brother, Jeremy; his wife, Stacey; and their two kids, Clara and Truman, stayed with us. It was so fun! Even now, just 24 hours after they have left, Grace tells me that she wishes she could play with her cousins again. She says that her favorite part was playing make believe princesses with Clara.
We started the visit off with a sketchy experience in downtown Los Angeles. We went to Milk Bar (spoiler: don't waste your time; it's not good). Then we went to Olvera Street. While there, Jeremy and Stacey noticed this sketchy guy totally following us. I noticed him a little while later. He was clearly following us, and would especially get close when the kids were out of the strollers and walking on their own. This guy definitely gave us all the creeps. Stacey saw a security guard and told him about her suspicion. The guards and we were able to eat some dinner, but the mood was already tense and we were all just ready to go back to the safety of our home.
The next day called for a bit of relaxation. Stacey and I went to a Mother's Brunch hosted by one of my friends. It was a fun few hours to sit with new friends, eat delicious food, and chat and laugh the morning away. When we returned, it was time to go to my parents' house to use their pool. The beautiful 82 degree weather and my parents' gorgeous backyard was the perfect setting for some relaxation. I was especially happy to see my kids practicing the swim skills they have mastered after a year of swim classes. After enjoying the pool, the kids played on the trampoline and ran through the grass as the adults sat on the swing and chatted. It was a truly lovely evening.
On Sunday we went to church and then took a trip to the beach.
And then the sickness hit...throw up, diarrhea, and lots of interrupted sleep. We had been planning on visiting the Natural History Museum, but instead we just stayed home and remained close to the toilets. Luckily, Andrew, Jeremy, and I remained untouched by whatever plagued the rest of the house. Definitely not an experience you plan on for vacation.
We celebrated Jeremy's 40th birthday by going to Disneyland for the day. After the germs of the day before, I wasn't sure we would make it. But we packed up extra clothes and went with high hopes. And surprisingly, the day went smoothly. One of my favorite parts was meeting Tinkerbell. We waited about 20 minutes (which I am usually not a huge fan of character meet and greets), and then entered Pixie Hollow. Tink was so fun and engaging to talk to. Grace even asked Tinkerbell if she had recently see her sister, Periwinkle. Since Grace went through a fairy stage, this meet and greet was truly magical. We then went on a few rides and then had a lunch fiasco (long story short, what was supposed to be an easy lunch turned into an almost 3-hour ordeal). We finally ate our food and were gifted a few Lighting Lanes/Fast Passes for our troubles. Then some good karma helped us get through a couple of other lines much quicker than expected. We ended the day eating ice cream on Disney's Main Street and leaving with some great (and not-so-great memories). An eventful day at Disneyland.
I am so glad Jeremy and Stacey and their family came down to visit us. I miss my Utah family soooo much, so I truly do cherish the moments I do get to spend with them. This was a week to remember.
My Granddaddy passed away peacefully on January 21, 2022. My mother and uncle were by his side and "Amazing Grace" was playing in the background as he took his final breath.
And just like that, my wonderful Granddaddy has departed from us, but I can only imagine the many tender reunions happening on the other side of the veil. One of which would be my Namma who passed away about 2 years ago.
Namma and Granddaddy. The true duo.
When I think of Granddaddy, I think of Christmas mornings in a mountain cabin where he would put on a skinny Santa hat at pass out presents one at a time. I think of the man who always made the most perfect bacon. I think of playing games like Scrabble, and him clapping his hands and saying "Hot dog! Look at that!" when he would get an especially good scoring word. Granddaddy had some funny sayings. "Jiminy Cricket" was another good one when something wasn't going his way.
I think of a man who was so full of love. My husband Andrew always would comment how easy it was to talk to Granddaddy. He was a great conversationalist and made everyone feel included. At his memorial, so many people talked about how Jim Messenger always made you feel like you were the best at whatever you were doing. He'd tell my mom what a beautiful skier she way. He'd tell me what a beautiful writer I was. He was always full of compliments and encouragement.
Granddaddy loved his family and he loved God. In the past few years after Namma's death, he was able to go to the temple and perform sacred ordinances to unify his family for eternity. Those are holy memories I will always treasure in my heart.
A few days before his passing, I was upstairs talking with him and my mom. Granddaddy's mind clearly wasn't fully there and he kept saying some strange things. But before I left I told him I loved him. He looked me straight in the eyes and said with a tender smile, "I love you too, Maichael." That was the true moment when we said goodbye to each other.
While I miss Granddaddy, I am so happy for him. I am happy he is no longer in a state of pain or confusion. I am happy he is reunited with his bride and extended family and friends. I am happy he left us with so many wonderful memories
Andrew and Maichael
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