Monday, July 29, 2013

Nothing yet.

I know everyone is excited to hear when the baby is born. Heck, I'm excited too! So far, we've had numerous "check-ins" from family and friends. Chris's mom and dad have actually started doing drive-bys to check to see if our cars are at the house. Baby stalking. Seriously. That's what it is. 

I'm thinking I might want to come up with a voicemail/answering machine/text/email auto-reply message:

Hi. You've reached Chris and Rachel. 
The baby is still in Rachel's stomach.
You will know when it is no longer in there.
Have a great day! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Week 39 Photo

Yep. I think I'm ready for the baby to come out now.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Due Date Week

This is due date week. While I don't want to fixate on the date, I am. After all, it's been almost nine months of looking toward this week as the final culmination of an awesome act of God!

As a result of last week's labor fake-out, our hospital bag is packed and we are, I think, ready.

Right now though, prepare to read some due-date-week stream of consciousness writing. I have had so many jumbled thoughts of anticipation, worry, excitement, confusion that I don't even know if I can get them all down. But for the sake of treasuring my jumbled brain, I think I'll write a bit today, without a final destination in mind....

In some ways this pregnancy has felt like nineteen months instead of nine, but other ways, it feels like just yesterday when we found out actually were pregnant. I find myself having mixed feelings about actually having the baby, about actually delivering a baby that will no longer be physically attached to me. Am I weird? 

I have enjoyed "hanging out" with my hanging-out stomach, feeling the baby move around, and anticipating motherhood for the past nine months. There is a selfish, control-freak part of me that wants to keep the baby in my stomach, where nothing can harm him/her, and where I know I am always literally a heartbeat away.

Of course this is not reality, and of course I do want to HOLD and SEE this precious baby. It hasn't been until recently that I have even entertained thoughts of the baby's gender. I think I was so mesmerized by the realization that a BABY was inside of me, let alone a BOY or a GIRL baby. That wasn't important to me. What was important was knowing that he/she was continuing to grow and was safe and was someday going to be ours. 

Ironically, today Princess Kate is in labor in England, and the world is awaiting the news of the Royal Baby. She's been in hiding for the past month so as not to be super-stalked through her last moments as an expectant mother.  I know I've become slightly annoyed with the "Wow, you're still pregnant!" "That baby's not here yet?" "Poor girl. Still plugging alone, huh?" comments from people at church or the grocery store. However, getting some perspective, I bet Princess Kate would have begged for that kind of normalcy right now.

In all of my anticipation for this baby's birth, I do feel sad in a way that Chris and I are no longer going to be Team Knipe, party of two. Instead, it will be Team Knipe, party of three. I know that the third addition to our unit will be so fulfilling, in more ways than we can know. At the same time, I have cherished our time together as a couple, just us. 

When we were trying to conceive for so long, all I wanted was to add a third member to our family. I couldn't even go a few hours without thinking about it, yearning for it. 

I pray that our marriage, our bond as the ORIGINAL Team Knipe, party of two will withstand all that this new baby and this changing world will throw at us--- times of blessing, times of despair, times of joy, times of mundane diaper changing and dishwashing. 

The past two days I spent on the couch. I had a lyme disease flare-up, which basically left me feeling 113 years old (aching joints, fever, headache). With an additional 30ish pounds pulling on my joints and a baby who likes to dance in utero, I was not feeling too hot. I couldn't get comfortable. I was hot. I was cold. I couldn't sleep. I was fearful that in this time of exhaustion and pain, I would go into labor, feeling already like I had been hit by a MAC truck. 

But through it all, Team Knipe, party of one, took care of me. I didn't even need to tell him what I needed. Chris just knew. As I reflect back at this weekend, where I was a jumbled, crying, mess of a very pregnant lady, I saw Chris being exactly who I needed, divinely appointed to love me up! 

I know that life isn't perfect. I know there will be days and nights when Chris and I are not on the same page. I know the baby will add a new element to our Team, but the reality is, we've got a really good Coach. The best one in fact. We have an all-knowing Coach, who knows what's coming next, who sees just how we all need to know love and peace. As long as we keep the Coach front and center, we're going to be fine.... all three of us.

For now, we wait. The waiting is made just a little bit easier because we know the Coach has been waiting to give us this gift for a long time too. His timing is perfect; He knows the best day and time for baby Knipe to show up. So, we wait with Him, for him/her. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Practice Round One... Check!

Note: I began writing this post LAST Sunday, but the day and then the rest of this week totally got away from me! Anyhow, here's a "fun" story from seven days ago:

Today, Chris and I went to church and then had two picnics scheduled on the calendar for the afternoon. Both places included the option to go swimming--- an option that was very appealing to me at nine months pregnant in the 95 degree heat! However, I didn't even get the chance to plop in the water because we spent the majority of the afternoon on the Labor and Delivery floor at the hospital. That's right: labor fake-out number one led us to the hospital today. Here's the now-comical, rundown of events:

We got to the picnic and I took a seat on a three-person swing in the shade. I sat for an hour or so and when I stood up, I realized the back of my dress was completely soaked. Weird, I thought. I know I didn't pee my pants.... Did I sit on something wet? Were the cushions wet on the swing?

I nonchalantly tried to see if the other two spots on the swing were wet. They were not. But the middle seat, where I had been sitting, was wet. Was it wet from me? Was it wet previously? I would have felt that when I first sat down, right? And then... as if out of nowhere...a revelation: Holy cow! Maybe my water broke!

I tried to stealthily grab Chris to come to the bathroom with me so I could have another opinion weigh in on the wet dress situation.

Chris: Rachel, the bathroom is inside to the left. Do you really need me to come with you?

Me: YES. (accompanied by the Rachel-Knipe-look-of death)

We got into the bathroom and I show him the back of my dress.

Me: I think my water broke. 

Chris: What? No. Wait. What?

Me: Seriously. I think my water broke. I checked the cushions on the seat and the only one that was wet was the one that I was just sitting on. I don't know whether it was wet because of me, or if it was already wet, although I would have felt that when I first sat down? I don't know.

Chris: Okay. What do we do? 

Me: Call the doctor to see if I need to come in.

And so I called the hospital and was told I needed to come in to be checked. And so began a comical series of events that Chris and I now refer to as: Practice Round One.

We jumped in the car, leaving the picnic quickly (attempting to NOT be seen by the masses so before we actually knew what was going on).

We drove home (without the radio on because Chris said he needed to concentrate. I was laughing), threw some essentials into a bag, and headed to the hospital. The hospital is five minutes from our house. We have been there, over a dozen times in the last few months alone, so surely Chris would know where to park, right? False.

We pulled into a spot and Chris says: Are you okay?!

My reply: Are YOU okay? Calm down. I'm fine. And we are not in the right parking lot so we need to drive around to the other side of the hospital.

Chris: Right. Duh.

Upon arrival to the Labor and Delivery floor, we were asked to show ID and insurance info.... At that moment, I realized that I had left my purse at the picnic and that Chris's wallet was IN that purse (located about a half an hour away).

So there we were, two educated, usually competent adults without photo ID or insurance information. Classic.

The admitting nurse was sweet and said we could get all hooked up the monitors and get in a room without such credentials, but should we really be in labor, we would need someone to drop them off soon!

We got back into one of the labor and delivery suites. I got into a gown. Got an arm bracelet--- it felt like a legitimate scenario!

After some time on the monitor and a few "fun" tests, the midwife determined that my water had not broken and that it didn't appear that I was in labor.

I felt like a total idiot. I didn't pee my pants. Honestly, I didn't. Perhaps I was the lucky one who got a seat cushion at the picnic that had some moisture in it that slowly soaked through my dress to my underwear? Who the heck knows. All in all, I felt like a total looser, but a looser who now has one practice round under her belt! And in reality, I think it was more beneficial for Chris than for me. After all, that kid needs to learn to calm down!

Here's to hoping that the next time we step onto the Labor and Delivery floor it will be the real deal!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Poison ivy, a crying cat, and bee stings

We've had a crazy couple of days in the Knipe household of late. Sometimes I think we live in a zoo, and we don't even have kids yet! 

This past weekend, Chris and I continued our attack on our jungle, I mean, our yard. Our one acre property continues to grow and thrive (thanks to tons of rain and humidity) with all sorts of jungle-like vines, trees, and shrubs. We have cleared much of it away, yet somehow, it keeps coming back! 

One of our core projects was our front hedge row. I once again trimmed them (proof that a 9 month pregnant woman can indeed handle a hedge trimmer) as Chris worked to pull out the random other plants growing in the hedges. On his hands and knees, he worked for over three hours thinning out and pruning the base of the hedges. They look great..... Chris's arms and legs, however look awful---- poison ivy strikes the guy again!

Chris is super allergic to poison ivy, so he tried to take the proper precautions: He wore long sleeves and gloves, came in immediately and showered with the turbo anti-poison soap, yet within two hours, he had red rashes break out all over him! Poor guy!

We no sooner came in from hedge trimming to realize that our super fat cat Lewis had vomited all over the first floor. Further, poor cat couldn't even make it to the litter box to...well, you know. Needless to say, it was a mess. 

A few days of this routine and Lew Cat started looking pretty ill. Yesterday, I drug him to the vet, his least favorite place! I had to crawl under the bed to drag him out, literally kicking and screaming.

 Picture this: Me, 9 months pregnant, carrying a 20 pound cat, hissing and crying loudly, into the vet's office. It was NOT awesome.

After leaving Lew at the vet for some further testing, Chris and I headed outside to do more yard work--- death! I was working near the back deck and out of the corner of my eye, I see Chris running like a madman toward me, arms flailing. 

Chris: "Get them off! Get them off!"

Me; "Who? What? Use your words!"

Chris: "Bees! Bees! Stinging me! Help!"

First of all, who runs, with bees trailing him, toward the pregnant woman? I mean, really?! Second, who is concerned about modesty when one has stirred up a hornet's nest? Apparently Chris. It is imperative to strip off all clothing or the person will just keep getting stung repeatedly; as I am trying to verbalize this to Chris, he refuses to take his clothes off outside and thinks it's a great idea to run INSIDE the house with 30 bees on his tail. Not smart.

Needless to say, it was quite a night. 

Chris looks like a train wreck -- poison ivy on his arms and legs intermixed with bee sting marks. He is one hot, soon-to-be-dad. 

Here's to hoping we can get ourselves together before D-Day. But then, why should we? Our future child will see we're nuts soon enough. Why hide it?

Monday, July 8, 2013

37 Weeks

At 37 weeks, Chris and I still have not solidified a baby name for either gender nor have we packed our hospital bags.... The way I figure it, we will need something to do when I'm in early labor at home:) 

The "plan" (and I use that term loosely) is to stick it out for as long as we can at home (preferably watching Father of the Bride Part II---- my all-time favorite movie) until we need to head to the hospital. I am all about distraction from pain, so I'm thinking Steve Martin should help out in that department. 

I was reading one of my pregnancy books today and it said that at 37 weeks, the baby is officially full-term. While I am glad to read the baby is pretty much "baked" I think Baby Knipe needs a few more weeks to develop some extra squeezable cheeks:) 

Documenting for Posterity's Sake

Below are pictures of the neutral nursery--- I don't think it will be this pristine in a few weeks; I'm imagining baby spit up, stained clothes, dirty diapers, etc. For now though, it's almost finished, and I love walking into this space! Quite a dramatic change from a year ago when I refused to enter this room, depressed at the thought that it wouldn't ever be used for a nursery! What a difference a year makes...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Precious Gifts

The baby showers have come and gone--- all five of them! I wrote in a post a few weeks back about my discomfort with baby showers and any situation where I feel indebted to someone else (see Pride and Pregnancy). I think God wanted to stretch me a bit to work on this area.

Not only were the showers super thoughtful, where others went way above and beyond with food, decor, gifts etc., but they were attended by so many people whom have been a part of our lives over the past twenty-nine years.

Added to the showers, have been the incredibly thoughtful gestures of friends and family. Yesterday I received a call from David, a former teaching friend from Philadelphia. He said he plans to drive up to Williamsport this week to drop off a gift for me. I told him he should just ship it, that he didn't need to make the trek to central PA. He said he wanted to give it to me personally, that it was too big, too important to ship traditionally.

What the heck could it be?

He went on to tell me the story of he and his wife's infertility journey, how they finally became pregnant with a baby but lost it just a few weeks after giving birth (Side note: sharing stories like that to a very pregnant woman, emotions and hormones in all, will lead to sobbing over the phone).

David's father had made them a one-of-a-kind wooden cradle for their baby. David and his wife have had the cradle for years, not really knowing what to do with it, but not really feeling comfortable giving it away either. That is, until now. He wants us to have the cradle.

How can we even receive such a precious gift? I thought.

And that got me thinking some more. We all know John 3:16. We know God gave His only son to die for us. Yet, do we really grasp that gift? Can we really comprehend that sacrifice, that love?

My friend David is giving us a cherished gift, one that, even with my pride issues, crumbles me and humbles me. Even more so should I value the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

I love how God knows exactly how to teach me and mold me. He knows what I need--- I need visuals. I need analogies. I need direct stories of comparison for illustration purposes.

The cradle that we will receive from David symbolizes so much more to me now, and I can only imagine how I'll feel when it's holding my son or daughter.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Childhood Best Pals

Baby Bumps: Emily 30 wks, Rachel 36 wks

Emily and I were two peas in a pod growing up. We had personalities that meshed perfectly--- I was the direct, outgoing one, and Em was the reserved, sweet one. I do believe she was my first Christian friend; what an awesome opportunity to catch up with her after years of being apart. We've shared many milestones together throughout the years... never did I think we'd be sharing this one together too! God is good!