31 down, 9 to go!

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Well… it’s official… I am starting to feel “big” and like it’s a little bit harder to maneuver my body around than it was a few months ago. And, I want you to know that I say that because I am absorbing, cherishing, and relishing every single moment of this feeling… I am not complaining about it in the least. The funniest thing is when I go to get up off the couch… I have to perform a sort of “roly poly” move, which makes me laugh out loud each time. And, Nick has tied my shoes for me a few times this week – not because I physically can’t, but because it takes him less time to do it for me than it takes for me to do myself, ha!

New things this week: stretchmarks, some restless sleep, and Braxton Hicks contractions. None of which are super concerning, just interesting new developments that you can’t quite describe or explain until they happen to you. My belly button is slowly disappearing as well. I am not sure if it will actually “pop out” or just “flatten out” so I’ll have to keep you all updated on that front. I have gone through two entire tubs of body butter/cocoa butter, which helps with the itchiness that accompanies stretchmarks, and that is a fun nighttime activity for Nick to watch/participate in as well. He is kind enough to put some on my feet and legs for me – again, since it’s getting tough to reach 🙂

At our 31 week check up yesterday, the midwife taught Nick how to feel the baby’s head, which is down and hopefully staying that way! Nugget’s back is on my left side, and his/her hands and feet are on my right side, which is why I feel most of the kicks and tickles over there. They are definitely getting stronger because Nug is too. He/she weighs as much as a coconut and is over 16 inches long now!

I am getting so anxious and excited to meet him/her. I know that soccer is going to help these next few weeks fly by, and that April will be here before we know it. I have my first baby shower this weekend, hosted by my wonderful coworkers, so I will have some fun updates next week about that!

I have 2 Valentines

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February 14, 2016

Dearest Nugget,

My darling child, how can I possibly write the proper words with which to express my love and admiration for you?  In just a few short weeks, your father and I will get to meet you, in person, for the very first time.  Although I cannot possibly predict the future, I already know in the depths of my heart, that day will be the most magical one of my life thus far.

I chose to write you this letter on Valentine’s Day because I have hit a big milestone in my pregnancy with you. Today, I have officially been carrying you for 30 whole weeks! We are 75% done with this journey together, and although I am anxiously awaiting your arrival, I am going to cherish the next 10 weeks or so, because they are so vital to your growth, nourishment, and protection.

What do you look like, little one? Do you have blonde hair and blue eyes like your daddy? Or do you have my brown hair and brown eyes? Will you be taller than us? Are you going to be funny like you dad, or will you be musical like me? Is math your favorite subject? I have so many questions for you, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life getting to know the answers to them, just as I get to know you.

Although I have lots of questions for you, there are a few things I already know are true. You like to read books! Your daddy has been reading you books ever since your Aunt Lisa gave us your very first one… Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  Every single time you hear his voice, and the story he is sharing with you, you perk up. You squirm around in my tummy, as if you are trying to get closer to the source. It’s incredible to witness. I hope your love for knowledge stays with you all the days of your life.

Guess what else you like? Yoga! I have been going to pre-natal yoga classes most Friday afternoons with you, and believe it or not, as I move into new and challenging positions to prepare myself for your birth, you move into fun positions too. I smile a lot during these yoga sessions because I have a feeling that you are going to work with me, as much as you can, to make your entrance into this world a peaceful and empowering one.

You are not going to be a picky eater. I know this because I have not had any aversions to food since you’ve been growing inside me. In fact, I eat pretty much anything I want, when I want. Even sushi!!! And guess what? YOU LOVE IT! When I finish eating, particularly dinner, I can feel you rolling from side to side, before settling in for a nap after being fed. You, like your mommy, enjoy your sweet treats after dinner, and love to show me so with your movements.

Although your interests might change as they develop throughout the years, there is a certain fact right now: you are a fan of soccer. In fact, since you’ve existed, you’ve attended approximately 50 boys’ soccer games and just as many practices. Before your arrival in the next few months, you will attend approximately 40ish girls’ soccer games and practices as well. That fact, is not one to which many babies can attest! If you grow up to love the game as I do, you will have quite an impressive resume, being that you loved the sport before you were born.

The most important thing I already know about you, is that you are loved beyond words. Your father and I dreamed of what it would be like to have you, long before you were a little nugget in my belly.  The year before your birth, daddy and I had many amazing adventures, including our wedding at the farmer’s market, and our incredible trip to Italy.  All the while, we discussed how much fun we would have bringing you along with us, on our hikes, camping, to the beach, and to work in our yard and garden. We knew, all the while, that the greatest adventure of all would be our transformation into your parents.

As we await your arrival, sweet baby nugget, I hope that you can feel our love. You give us more strength than you might realize, tiny as you are. We are already proud to be your mommy and daddy, and hope that we make you feel as such every day of your life.

All my love,

Mama

The Nursery Post

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I decided to bring back the “bare belly” picture for my 29-week post, because yesterday was the first day I really started feeling some serious growing pains in my abdomen. These pains, apparently known as “round ligament pain” can be as minor as a muscle ache, or as severe as an appendicitis episode… and I had something in between the two, right before our super bowl party!! Thankfully, my sweet husband called the birthing center to make sure we didn’t need to go to the hospital or anything (after all, stomach pains during pregnancy = scary times) and I was given some helpful instructions to ease the pain and calm my anxieties. Anyways – the belly pic is starting to get bigger and more “popped out” over my pants, so I wanted to share the incredible growth with y’all!

The other great thing that happened this week had to do with putting the finishing touches on nugget’s nursery! My mom came up from Charlotte for the weekend, and we made a trip to Buy Buy Baby so that she could complete the bedding set. Although Nick and I still have approximately 10ish weeks until Nug arrives, we wanted to finish the nursery well ahead of time so that we can enjoy spending time in there and getting “used to it” as the newest room in our home.

With all of the showers we have coming up, we are looking forward to adding items as they are given to us, but most of all, we are so excited for the warm, joyous memories that will be made in our baby’s room, whether it is changing diapers, reading books, or rocking nugget to sleep at night. We wanted the grey and yellow to be a neutral, but bright, place for our sweet little one to live, and of course, the Eno River poster (one of our favorite places to explore) was the inspiration for the entire space. 🙂

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The Final Stage of Pregnancy

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Today, I am 28 weeks and 1 day pregnant. I have entered into the third and final trimester of pregnancy. The nugget weighs approximately 2.5 pounds and is around 14.8 inches from head to toe. They say that the baby is the “size of an eggplant” and can now blink his/her eyes and that he/she is developing billions of neurons in his/her brain each day.

This. Is. Incredible.

What a crazy, beautiful, strong, magnificent, amazing feeling this is. There is a real baby in there, y’all! He/She moves all the time. And, Nick and I have started our “Birthing from Within” classes on Monday nights to prepare for the day that nugget makes his/her entrance into this world. After our first class last week, it was a really refreshing reminder that, at this point, we should be focusing on the “positive” and the “things that will” rather than the “negative” and the “what ifs.” Like… one way or the other, this baby will arrive, and I need to start focusing my brain waves and energy on getting him/her out and here safely. I am working on a post about my birth plan to share with you all at a later date, so stay tuned for that.

It has also been so fun getting our house ready. Nick and I purchased a queen-sized bed this past week… not that that has anything to do with nugget, except for the fact that the three of us are not fitting in a double bed anymore and I am pregnant and get whatever I want these days (just kidding… but not really). Truthfully though, preparing our living space for the family of three that is about to inhabit it, rather than the family of two, is such a special process that I’ve come to love. Every thought, feeling, action, etc., is starting to reflect the “three of us” attitude rather than “two of us” and that, ladies and gentlemen, is life-changing.

Before I sign-off this week, I want to give an extra special shout out to Nick, who, without any hesitation, reservation, or complaint of any kind, drove to Wendy’s this week… after driving home from work and making a dinner (that I did not see fit to eat for some “weird” reason, haha) in order to buy me a junk-food meal because I was having a major craving that was affecting my mood. You, my love, are the best husband any wife/mama could ask for. I love you ❤

SUPER BOWL 50, HERE WE COME!!

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A super fast 27 week update: THE PANTHERS ARE GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL!!! Nick, Nug, and I are so freaking excited!!! We can’t wait to cheer on our team, while hosting friends for a chili cook-off competition.

I am entering into my third and final trimester next week… holy crap!!!! More on that next time — I am swamped at school because of our snow days and weather blunders (hence the crazy hair in my photo). Everybody stay warm out there! 🙂 #KeepPounding #PantherNation

25 Weeks Later…

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25 weeks have flown by! I look at the very first picture we took, 20 weeks ago, when my belly was flat and school hadn’t started yet… and I can’t believe nearly 5 months have passed. Where does the time go?!

Honestly, I’m feeling very proud of myself and of my incredible husband because we have a lot to show for ourselves since August. Both mentally and physically. We’ve accomplished so many things on our “to-do” list since getting back from Italy and finding out about our big news, and next weekend, we are rewarding ourselves with a trip to Charlottesville, VA.

I will have a larger update after that, and some pictures to share! We are excited to spend some time together as a couple… especially since the days of “snick the duo” are coming to a close very quickly. If I think 25 weeks flew by, the next 15 will probably be over before I know it. 🙂

2016, Here we come!

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This week, the three of us rang in the new year in Atlanta with family and friends. My goodness, how we are blessed! These days, it really does feel as if there are three of us, not just two anymore. The more my belly grows and the more movement I feel on an hourly basis, the more I begin to incorporate “we” and “us” into my discussions of what “I” am doing. After all, it is not just me or me and Nick anymore… Nugget is fully with us at 24 weeks, and the countdown to April has started to speed up.

We had the pleasure of spending New Year’s Eve with Nick’s sister, Emma, in Atlanta at a restaurant called Ladybird. We had dinner and (everybody but me had) drinks and got to hear a live band who played some pretty awesome Outkast covers. As the clock struck 12, I couldn’t help but picture the year ahead. 2016 is going to be, by far, the healthiest (both mentally and physically), craziest, scariest, most wonderful, most challenging, and most rewarding year of my life to date. We are only 4 days in, and I already know all of these things for a fact.

On New Year’s Day, we had brunch with Nick’s sister and then made a trip to IKEA for the last desired items for Nugget’s room. I will post the finished product in a week or two, when we have everything put in it’s place and put together. We also got to spend time with my cousins, my aunt and uncle, and my brother, Brian. It was good to catch up and spend time with my family after the holidays, and I am looking forward to my next trip down there because my sweet aunt, Molly, is throwing me a baby shower for Nug. 🙂

The weekend was topped off with a FABulous wedding for my dear friends Chris and John. I love all weddings, but I REALLY love camp weddings because I’ve known my camp friends since I was little. I’ve known Chris and John since age 12 or so – and we spent several summers together working at Mikell while we were in college. John and I are famous for singing and playing guitar together and Chris and I got our camp tattoos together in 2008, the summer after we raced through the 7th Harry Potter book while at camp (very nerdy, we know). Not only did I get to watch these two special people exchange wedding vows, but I got to see all of my other childhood/teenage/college friends who know me better than anyone else in the whole world (and love me anyway, I might add). Spending time with them always means the world to me, and it always recharges my batteries. The wedding was incredibly beautiful, and leaving such awesome events gets harder every time, especially because I have to say goodbye to everybody for months at a time.

These next four months are going to FLY by. My second semester at school starts in two weeks, as do our birthing classes, AND my third trimester in pregnancy. I am “leaning in” to 2016 with a clear mind, open arms, and full heart. I can’t wait to see what this year will bring!

22-23 Weeks/Holiday Post!

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Please excuse my bedhead and lack of a post last week – but the holidays were upon us and that brought lots of hustle, bustle, and cheer! The nugget is doing very well, we had an appointment on the 22nd and we got to hear the heartbeat, get a belly measurement, and set up my sugar glucose test for gestational diabetes next month (fingers crossed on that going well)! I feel movement every day, and it really does happen just about all day – but it is especially hefty at night. Nick loves watching the wiggles and kicks, and I love the feeling of life inside me.

On the 23rd we went to a dear friend’s wedding shower in Charlotte, and I got to see my high school friends for the first time in a while, which is always a blast. My girlfriend Jackie had a baby a few months ago, and I grilled her on all of the birth/newborn/mommy/sleep deprivation questions I could think of. Nick was in on it too, of course, and it was so good to catch up and hear how she and her sweet baby are doing. Here is a picture of me and the ladies at the party, and we are counting down until Mary Cate’s wedding in May!

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We spent Christmas Eve and Day with Nick’s family in Raleigh, which is always a treat. We attended Christmas Eve service at their family’s church and then opened presents for hours on Christmas morning, a famous Cain family tradition in which everybody goes one-at-a-time and one that I have come to love enormously. After that, we traveled to Greensboro and met up with Nick’s extended family for a night, and then rounded up our holiday travels for the week with my grandparents Mawma and Pawpa. There is nothing like the holidays spent with family and friends to remind you of how much these relationships mean to you and how much family time can recharge your batteries. Overall, we had an amazing few days, and we are looking forward to our adventures next weekend as we travel to Atlanta for a very special wedding between two childhood friends of mine from Camp Mikell. 🙂

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21 Weeks = 52% Complete!

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It is crazy for me to think that I am more than halfway through this pregnancy. It still hits me in a different way every day, and I continue to be thankful and grateful for each day that my bun grows in the oven!

We had a fabulous week, and I am getting really, really excited for this holiday season. Nick’s parents (the newly named Lollie and Pop) had a friend in town from Switzerland, with her new baby, Jack. Nick and I got to have some “parent practice” with him on Saturday, and it was the cutest thing ever. Watching Nick hold a baby (which I have seen several times before, but not since being pregnant) really woke my “mommy senses” up in a way I did not predict. I couldn’t help but melt a little as I thought about the fact that he is going to be such a supportive, loving, and kind daddy. It was also really funny to watch him practice all the different ways you can hold a baby – one of which Jack did not like – and the whole family got a chuckle out of that one.

My week, overall, was a very peaceful and calming seven days, filled with extremely incredible responses to my post from last Monday. I am so much more loved and supported than I could have ever imagined, and an experience like that can really bring things into perspective for a person. Having the opportunity to see how my actions and words have and can positively affect others was so moving, and was the type of reassurance I didn’t even realize I was looking for. Thank you all for that.

Why Eating for Two has Changed My Life

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I am halfway through my pregnancy. HALF freaking WAY! I can’t believe that 20 weeks has gone by so quickly. I mean, I can and I can’t. I feel like Nick and I have gotten so many “things” done, and yet, we have so much more to accomplish before nugget arrives. And then… at the same time… I realize that there is literally NOTHING in the world we can do to prepare for the day that he or she actually takes a breath in this world… and what will follow in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. I am coming to grips with the fact that we will just have to “figure it out” like everybody says.

Part of the reason I can say that is because I’ve had to do a lot of that lately. By lately, I mean, in the past few years of my life… I’ve spent a lot of time “figuring it out.” What I’ve been thinking about recently is how this new phase in my life has affected me in so many more ways than I can possibly describe, and this baby hasn’t even arrived yet. Some of you are like, “What in the hell is she talking about?” and some of you might have an idea. I want you to know as you continue to read this post that it has taken me YEARS to build up the courage to discuss this stuff publicly.

Why? Because it’s the hard stuff. Why is it difficult for us to talk about the “hard” stuff? Because we don’t like to put our problems on others. For me, it is like a disease. Like… I would rather DIE sometimes than risk not pleasing the people around me. That’s right, hello, my name is Sarah and I am a Type A, hardcore, people pleaser. So what does that mean? It means that when you ask me how my day is, I will tell you that it’s fabulous. I will tell you all about my weekend and who I was with and how great school is going, and how much I love my soccer team, etc… (the best part about that statement is that it could have applied to me in the past, could apply to me now, and can apply to me in the future… when I was 16 I loved my family and school and soccer and now that I am 27, funnily, I still love all of those things as a mom, wife, teacher, and coach). If I was having a bad day, the only person who would know it, was me. These days, if I am having a bad day, I’m a little better at talking about it. Why? Because I’ve gotten help from family, friends, and professionals for it. That’s right, I see a therapist. I’m not saying that my life is perfect now, and that I never have bad days, but when I do, they are a little more manageable than they used to be. I could not be more thankful for it.

I woke up one morning, about 9 months ago, after a very long series of events (including but not limited to: alcoholism, divorce, infidelity, grad school, new house, new job, etc.) that had built up over the course of (approximately) ten years, and finally admitted to myself that certain parts of my life were out of control. What I had spent a lot of those ten years doing was focusing on all of the bad thing that were “happening to me” or “being done to me” … and what I wasn’t focused on were the things that were going on “with me.” Around the time I was 17/18 years old, I became aware of this new “thing” I was developing. I have, since then, struggled with this “thing” during different times, different highs and lows, at varying levels of awareness and difficulty. This “thing” is what I’ve come to call “Ed”. I didn’t come up with that term – I have to give credit to Jenni Schaefer – because she is a woman who wrote a book called “Life Without Ed”, that I read a few years back. I came across this book after calling a random therapist I found on google in a hysterical state because I was tired of running from/hiding from/denying my eating disorder. There. I said it. Eating disorder.

My heart is already racing because I just typed those words, and now they are out here on the internet for everybody to see. The problem with talking about this stuff, among other things, is that I get really hung up on what people will think of me AFTER they find this stuff out. Will their opinions change? Will they think of me differently? Will they think I’m weak? I’m afraid that people will think I’m not fit to be a teacher, a mother, a coach … all of those things include being a “role model”. Well, here’s a little piece of MY personal experience. The few people who already know about Ed seem to love me more than they did 2 years ago, 5 years ago, 10 years ago. Do you know why? Because everybody has their shit. And it is no better or no worse than yours. The fact that we talk about it is what makes it real, and what makes it possible to connect with one another. It took me YEARS to figure this next part out: I thought that what made me a good person and a good friend and a good role model was having what everybody thought was a “perfect life.” But guess what that does? It makes you untouchable. Un-relatable. People can’t reach you on a personal level. They can’t get close to you. Real human connection comes from sharing your truth with others, and having them share their truths with you. THAT is what builds relationships. Another part of that, that took me YEARS to figure out, is that the people in my life who I looked up to the most, respected the most, trusted the most… were the people who were honest with me. People who shared their “scary” truths with me became stronger in my eyes. Not weaker. I loved them MORE than I did when I thought they were perfect.

So what does this have to do with “eating for two”? Well, lots of things. Not only am I physically feeding myself and my baby, I am mentally feeding myself and my baby. I want to be the kind of parent that can admit I have made mistakes. I want to teach my child that I have weaknesses, just like everybody else, and that it is OK to not be OK sometimes. I want to teach my child that love and honesty is what breeds acceptance and comfort, and nothing else. When I found out I was pregnant, some of my thinking was: “this is healthy for the baby” or, “I need to eat this, do this, do that, for the baby”. Over the course of the last 20 weeks, my thinking has shifted. It hit me one day in the form of this thought: “There is no way I can be the best Mommy I can possibly be if I am only ever thinking of what I need to do for my baby.” Sure, that is a HUGE part of it, and any parent knows that. But part of being a healthy person and a healthy parent is taking care of yourself. If the baby is “worth it” (putting all of the hard work it takes into being physically and mentally healthy) then SO AM I. I was worth it all along. It just took growing a life inside me to realize it.

I hope that this post can serve to help any women who are currently struggling with, or have struggled with eating disorders in the past. You don’t ever “cure” yourself. It doesn’t ever fully go away. You have to work on it, maintain it, TALK ABOUT IT. When one more person comes out and shares their story, the stigma loses its power over us that much more. Living your life inside that disease is one of secrecy and despair. I pushed people away for years, and lost some of those relationships permanently along the way. Don’t do the same, don’t be that person, don’t make my mistakes. Make your own… you have to. It’s the only way to come out on the other side alive and well. For those of you reading this who know me well, continue to love me and support me just as you have in the past. I am the same person I’ve always been, I just have a new sense of awareness and appreciation for the world these days, and I wouldn’t change one single moment of the journey that I took to get here 🙂

Blessings to you all on this lovely December day! ❤

Side note: Nick and I got to see Nugget on Friday and he or she is beautiful, thriving, and in constant motion! Nug also heard his/her first story on Sunday as Daddy read Brown Bear, Brown Bear!

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