I tend to forget a lot about my pregnancies after the baby comes … maybe that’s partly why we have three kids, because of mommy amnesia? God’s way of getting us to go through the whole thing again. Anyway …

I did Project 365 while pregnant with Seth, so I have an almost daily pictorial record of that precious time. I did sporadic updates with Nora while I was pregnant, so I at least have that (and pictures, of course). I didn’t blog at all while pregnant with Jude, so there’s no real record of his belly time! I want to write down what I remember about the pregnancy so I can keep these memories before they all start to fade.

Due Date: 12/26/2012        Birth Date: 12/25/2012 (HURRAY, Jude!)

When we found out: Now that I think about it, I think we found out on the six-year anniversary of when we got engaged! It was either that day or the day after … so let’s say late April. I have a vague memory of my over-developed sense of smell hinting that I was pregnant. We were expecting and hoping it was true, but I’m always super-paranoid. We were trying to get pregnant, so I had stocked up on pregnancy tests at the dollar store. Man … why didn’t I learn about those earlier?! Took me until the third kid to figure that one out …

How we told people: A few people had to know sooner rather than later because my morning sickness starts early and goes hard fast. We didn’t know how to get the news out to all of our family at once, though, and we wanted to make sure that we were fair in letting grandparents and aunts and uncles know around the same time. There are just too many time zones to deal with, and Facebook makes it very hard to keep a pregnancy secret! In the end, I bought some digital clip art from Etsy and made this announcement:

Pregnancy Announcement

Baby’s nickname: Since we don’t find out the baby’s sex, each of our kids gets a special nickname for the pregnancy. Seth was Bunny, Nora was Duckie, and Jude was our Baby Lamb or Lambie.

Special challenges: Horrible, awful morning sickness? check. I can now say it seems to be standard for my pregnancies. I’ve thought about naming each child “Zofran” after the anti-nausea medicine I live on four 4.5 months. Also, at about four months in (or less), I started developing excruciating pain in my hips and lower back. My OB and my chiropractor agreed that it was probably the hormone dump causing my joints there to over-loosen, and they were basically just sliding around and not staying in proper alignment at all. It was horribly painful for several months, then gave me a break, then started to come back, and then went away almost immediately after delivery. Go figure. My chiropractor became my best friend! Hey, at least it’s not the uncontrolled asthma I developed with Seth or the gall bladder issues I had with Nora!

16ish weeks - Baby Lamb
16ish weeks – Baby Lamb. Please ignore the stupid hair.

Cravings: It seemed like I craved everything, at some point in time! Let’s see … the highlights were: chicken chalupas from Chuy’s, Indian food (specifically saag paneer), Vietnamese grilled chicken and vermicelli, sushi … I think Jude should have a well-developed palate.

20 weeks - Baby Lamb
20 weeks – Baby Lamb

Weight Gained: I was doing so well until the last month, which may be a trend with my pregnancies. I had gained about 30 pounds and then – starting at about 36 weeks – I gained another 3-4 pounds PER WEEK. I was retaining water like a fiend! Gone were the wedding rings, gone were any shoes that didn’t allow for swollen-ness … ugh.  I was probably at about 40 pounds gained by the time I went into labor. Still – I wore smaller clothes sizes and felt better overall than in either of my previous pregnancies! Go, Jude!

Halloween - Baby Lamb's Moonwalk
Halloween – Baby Lamb was the moon for Astronaut Snoopy’s moonwalk

Special moments: Sharing this pregnancy with Seth and Nora has been so neat. We told them once I actually started showing and we could find the heartbeat with the fetal doppler we have at home. Nora would ask to hear baby’s heart-beep, and we’d all gather up and listen to the little baby. Seth always wanted to kiss and hug “the baby” (my belly) and give the baby zerberts, and Nora had to do it too. (Ew.)

It was also really special to have the timing of this pregnancy. I was due the day after Christmas, and I was pretty positive we were having a boy. Even though I know December 25 isn’t Christ’s actual birthday, it was very interesting to experience Advent and the Christmas preparations at (theoretically) the same stages as Mary, but with the advantage of knowing how the story ends. And it got me through those very uncomfortable last weeks. My mantra became, “At least I’m not on a donkey or giving birth in a barn.”

Also very special: my mom moved in with us in June, and this was the first of my pregnancies that she actually got to be there for. Whether or not she enjoyed it is an entirely different story.

Low lights: Morning sickness until over halfway through the pregnancy. The excruciating back and hip pain that made walking almost impossible. (There went my exercise plan!) Mountains of stress beginning in the summer: major household changes, getting our house ready to sell, putting it on the market, my sweet cat died, selling our house and moving away from my babies’ nursery, moving to a rental house right before Thanksgiving (almost 9 months pregnant), and getting ready to move again to our newly-built home (with a 5-6 week old). At least there’s not a chance of hurricane evacuation like we had to do with Seth!

35 weeks - Baby Lamb
35 weeks – Baby Lamb

Preparations: You’d think that with the third baby I’d have a lot of this down, but there is seriously so much that you forget! I had to confine myself to Pinterest for nursery preparations since we knew we were moving. Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to be pregnant and full of nesting energy and not be able to prepare for your baby? Knowing the whole time that by the time you GET to prepare, your baby will be almost out of the newborn stage, your hands will be full with everything else, and your maternity leave will almost be over? It was all good reasons for this delay but this was one of many things that made me very jealous/envious while I was pregnant. (Bad Erin.)

Physically, I couldn’t do much. Mentally, I prepped for labor and delivery by using Hypnobabies again. I love my Hypnobabies. It’s self-hypnosis (“eyes open hypnosis and anesthesia” is kind of how they bill it) tracks that you listen to while pregnant to teach yourself to relax and also automatic cues for triggering the relaxation responses while you’re out of your usual mind in labor. If anything, it’s helped me have a positive and healthier attitude while pregnant, manage my stress a little better, and it did help me during labor. (More on that later.)

A lot of our preparations were for our kids: getting them used to the idea of a new baby, planting seeds of what having a baby in our house would be like, explaining how our new baby would come to our family, etc.

Bottom line: it was a good 40 weeks … no hospitalizations (Seth), no crazy gall bladder pain (Nora), and it wasn’t during the middle of summer! And Mr. Jude came one day before his due date instead of needing to come earlier (Seth) or just hanging out an extra week (Nora). What an excellent boy. 🙂