baby bag

momma bag

Well, today’s the day.  Our bags are packed but it doesn’t look like they have done any good.  I’ve been pregnant for 10 months.  40 weeks.  Nearly a year.  Isn’t it elephants who are pregnant that long? I think I’m gestating an elephant.  A happy little octopus elephant who enjoys wiggling her bottom under one side of my ribs and her feet in the other and then head butting downward.  She’s fun.  Ha!

As I’ve said before, we thought she’d come early, then at 39 weeks by cesarean.  Now I’m scheduled for an induction at 41 weeks.  I asked my doctor if we could possibly scoot that induction up, say, a whole week and he gave me an emphatic no.  Apparently she’s too comfy in there.  So I calmly, as calmly as you can when you’re covered in a paper sheet, replied, “You mean to tell me that you all warned me this whole time that she would come early and now I have to wait PAST MY DUE DATE?”

It’s a blessing that she’s safe and healthy and will come out a toddler wanting a sandwich.  I know this.

But sheesh.

So, any tips for getting through these last few years days?  Anything we should definitely do before the baby gets here?  (And saying “sleep” doesn’t count.)  I’ve been eating my feelings in junk food because ain’t no doctor going to tell an overdue woman that she needs to watch her weight.  But I’m not sure that’s the best approach.

On June 10, 2015 · 11 Comments · In Lovely Life

baby girl nursery | Becoming Whitney

I was going to share a few peeks at baby girl’s nursery today, but it’s been a roller coaster past few days around the Gothra house.  So you get a story and a show! Ha!

All along Timothy and I have joked that we can tell our little girl is ornery just like her dad or mom, depending on who is saying it.  Well, we now have proof.  I’m growing a feisty, doctor-defying, wiggly little girl and I love her completely.

baby girl nursery | Becoming Whitney

baby girl nursery | Becoming Whitney

At the beginning of this pregnancy, the doctors said that due to a condition I *supposedly* have (I say supposedly because nothing they said would happen with it has happened.  Hallelujah!) my baby would need to get head down pretty early, or she would run out of room to turn.  So I was most likely looking at a c-section.  At around 28 weeks she was consistently head down so all worries of a c-section vanished.

Last Friday at my 38 week check the doctor was doing her thing and then got a weird look on her face.  “I think she’s breech.”  I just smiled a little and was all “surrrrrre.”  The odds of a baby turning this late are pretty rare, especially with moms in my situation.  So the doctor wheeled in a little ultrasound machine and sure enough, my baby girl had flipped sometime that week.  She excused herself from the room and when she came back she said that she just couldn’t believe it.  She had gone to talk to one of the other doctors and they just couldn’t explain how it happened.


baby girl nursery | Becoming Whitney

Next thing I knew we were scheduling a c-section for FIVE DAYS LATER, that following Wednesday.  Also known as tomorrow by the time this post goes up.  Immediately I had all these emotions and thoughts.  I was disappointed to need a surgery, but how could I be sad?  I was about to meet my little girl?!  I kept flipping from sadness to elation and back again.  All I could think to say to the doctor was that I had thought what had apparently been her head for the past week was her bottom and I had been patting it all the time.  Was that okay?  Ha!

So Timothy and I spent the weekend planning for our lives to change in just a few days.  We finished the final touches on her nursery, I bought lightbulbs and mousse (priorities), and I googled the mess out of c-sections.  All this time baby kept moving and wiggling like she always does.  I was careful not to pat her head too much, and then I lost her head somewhere in my belly.  Which can’t be good.

baby girl nursery | Becoming Whitney

Then Monday (yesterday) I had an appointment at the hospital to preregister.  I found out that they don’t scan to check the baby’s position before a c-section until you’re all prepped and in the operating room.  I had a feeling in the back of my head that I should get checked before then, so I called my doctor’s office and talked them into scanning me that day.

I got on the table and, sure enough, she had flipped again.  My little girl just kept on defying the odds.

So, we most likely will not meet our daughter tomorrow.  We’re so happy that I might not have to have the surgery after all, but we did mope around a bit last night.  This whole pregnancy has flown by and now we think that she might decide never to come after all.  Apparently she likes it in there.  And apparently I’m growing a jumping bean.

On June 2, 2015 · 2 Comments · In Lovely Life


Sweet baby girl, we’re waiting on you.

This whole pregnancy we’ve had to have extra ultrasounds because the doctors said I would have growth restrictions and you could be born prematurely.  At every single one you’ve gotten a good report.  At my 36 week appointment the doctor finally said she would consider this a normal pregnancy and that there were no problems to worry about.

Of course, I wanted to tell her “duh!  My God is a miracle worker!”  But then I was all, “wait, does this mean I may actually go to 40 weeks?  How can I wait that long?”


Sweet baby girl, I can’t wait for you to get here.  But I’m also enjoying the waiting.  I know, it makes no sense.

I can’t wait to hold you in my arms.  Your favorite thing to do is stick your bottom out of the top of my belly, so sometimes I pat it and pretend you’re already here.  Yes, your mom’s a weirdo.  Sorry.

I can’t wait to see if you’re dark like Daddy or fair like Mommy.  Will you be bald like I was or have inches of hair like he did?  Will you be snuggly or hyper?  Cranky in the mornings like Mommy or always up for adventure like Daddy?

I can’t wait to see the face I’ve been dreaming about for years.  Prepare for tons of kisses.

I can’t wait to watch your Daddy hold you.  I’ve had the sole honor of carrying you for nine months and I think he’s more than ready for his turn.

I can’t wait to show you your little room that we’ve been working so hard on.  We’ve so enjoyed making space in our hearts, lives, and home for you, sweet little girl.


But at the same time, I’m very much enjoying the waiting.

I love when Daddy puts his hand on my belly and I can confidently tell him if he’s feeling little feet or hands.  Right now I know you better than anyone, and it makes me feel so special.

I’m relishing every second of these last few weeks.  You could come tomorrow, or you could come three weeks from now.  Somehow that knowledge makes every day feel magic.

I love getting your room ready.  Buying fabric to make little clothes.  Knitting little toys.  I think I could come up with enough crafts to last me for months if you would decide to stay cooped up in my belly.  (But please don’t.  We’re out of room.)

I am loving this special time with your Daddy.  This time where you’re here with us but not here in our arms.  Everything seems so much more romantic.  More poignant.  We’re staying up extra late and calling everything a date.  We’re so much more aware of each other.  Knowing things are about to change forever makes everything now so precious.


So, my little bunny, we’re waiting.  We’re ready and waiting for you to come and change everything.

On May 27, 2015 · 2 Comments · In Lovely Life

Pregnancy has undoubtedly been my single favorite life stage so far.  It is just my jam.  I’ve been trying to talk Timothy into getting all Duggar-fied up in the Gothra house, but so far I’ve only gotten him to raise our previously agreed upon offspring number by 1 or 2.  We shall see, Gothra, we shall see.

I know when the baby gets here that life will change COMPLETELY.  And even if I didn’t somehow know that super obvious fact, I’d have all the “just you wait until…” people that surround a pregnant woman to let me know.  Life will change.  Got it.  But before that change, I wanted to make sure I remember some aspects of pregnancy and life as we currently know it.

Photo Apr 10, 10 31 19 AM

on nesting

No one ever told me that nesting is like this burning desire within you. For me, it was/is an even more powerful urge than any food craving I’ve had.  We’ve been painting the nursery and it has killed me, KILLED ME, to have to let others do the work.  I didn’t want to subject my baby to those fumes and I didn’t want to pay all the extra $$$ for no VOC paint, so I just twiddled my thumbs and set up other little projects I could work on in the meantime.  Like assembling the crib.  My husband was not very happy with me when he came home to an assembled crib, but I couldn’t help it.  I was dying!!!

Thankfully, by some miracle on high, when we went to get another can of wall paint, we discovered our paint was already no VOC and the amount of color added to it was so small that it was still perfectly safe.  So I’ve been one happy mama as I’ve sloooooowly crawled around the room with my back pain and cut in all the paint corners when no one else was around, and when it became too much I would take a break and work on her quilt.  Nesting is weird.  And fabulous.


on identifying body parts

My little girl loves the breech position.  Sometimes during the day she’ll flip into the transverse position, but when night comes she’s all about her favorite comfy spot.  One evening I was sitting upright on the bed talking to Timothy.  I felt something shift and placed my hand on my belly to feel an ENTIRE BABY HEAD just sticking out of the top of my belly.  I told Timothy to scooch over and feel her head and he was all “yeah right.”  Then when his hand cupped a little baby head I thought he was going to die.  It was amazing.  And the only time (so far) I’ve ever been a bit creeped out by the thought of an entire tiny human inside me moving independently at will.


Photo Apr 07, 12 52 04 PM


on finding the name

When I wrote the name post, I had a name in my heart already that I loved.  In fact, it was the name that we had started calling her privately just to see how it felt.  After a few days of trying it out, I told Timothy that we either needed to find a new name to start calling her or we needed to end the game quickly, because I was getting attached.  We spent an entire day going over our list, re-reading name lists online, racking our brains.  Other names that we thought we had liked just couldn’t quite make the cut.  Finally, right before church, we were sitting in our office and he turned to me and said “I just can’t imagine her being named anything else but _____!”  And then I started sobbing.  Ahh, one of my favorite moments so far.



Photo Apr 07, 3 41 43 PM

on becoming a daddy

There’s just something about this man that I married.  He was born to be a daddy.  He has his own pregnancy app and regularly gives me updates on what the baby is developing this week or what symptoms I might begin to feel that week.  He has never been around pregnancy or babies, and to watch him dive into the research and learning just turns me in to mush.  He works long hours and then comes straight home and asks what he can do to help with the nursery.  He even painted all of the hideous trim in her room without complaint.  We recently bought our first book for the baby and it’s all about animals and animal parents giving their babies kisses.  He shows everyone who comes to our house and has even started working on his sound effects.  And don’t even get me started on his sweetness when it comes to my mood swings.  Someone just give him a halo already.


on insomnia and amnesia

Starting around week 29, I began waking up every single night and struggling to fall back asleep.  I thought it was just a phase, but apparently it’s just the way of things.  I’ve actually started dreading going to sleep and dream about ways I could sleep standing up.  See, there are a few things conspiring against me.  1) My back aches all the time and the only semi-comfortable position is to lie on my side.  2) I have acid reflux and if I don’t lay down with my head propped up pretty high, I wake up gagging.  (Attractive, I know.)  3) My feet have started to swell, and my doctor told me to prop them up at night so that they are higher than my heart.  4) Because of my back, once I lay down I can barely move because laying down is the WORST.  So the 45 nightly bathroom trips make this problem fun.  So, if someone could invent a bed that allowed me to lay on my side while simultaneously propping my head up high and feet up higher, without letting my hip touch the mattress, I’d be all over that Kickstarter.

But, when morning comes, I forget all this and go back to my Duggar dreams of gobs of children.


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on decorum

I have heard that once you’re in labor, all sense of modesty flies out the window.  What I haven’t heard is that you lose your sense of decorum well into your pregnancy.  Pregnancy does weird things to your body, y’all.  And I’ve called my doctor to ask questions that involve words I never thought I’d say aloud.  I catch myself rubbing my belly like a lunatic in public.  I heave and grunt and make all kinds of attractive sounds as I try to move about.  And … most shockingly … I’ve started SNORING.  And I’m not even ashamed?!  After nearly 5.5 years of marriage, I still turn on the faucet when I use the restroom, and never let Timothy see me doing any type of weird body function.  You know, so the spark stays alive and all that jazz.  Well, apparently pregnancy makes  the spark irrelevant because we talk about my snoring all the time.  It’s bad, guys.  Pretty bad.


There are so many big and little things I hope to always remember about this season in life.  All the kicks and rolls and jabs. Running into things with my belly because there’s no way I’m actually this huge.  Going to classes at the hospital.  Video after video on my phone of belly shots, trying to capture her little movements.  Drinking enough water to quench the thirst of a small city, and being told to still drink more.  Dreaming about what she’ll look like and her little personality.  Knitting little animals that someday she’ll hold and get all slobbery.  I tell ya, it’s hard to imagine it getting better than this.

On April 10, 2015 · Leave a Comment · In Lovely Life

BECOMING WHITNEY | The Terrible Good

I’m in my office at the church, making sure everything is lined up in the music department for our special Resurrection Sunday services this weekend.  My heart speeds up with the anticipation.  New songs, a prayed over worship set, an expected crowd.  I can smell the Easter lilies in the sanctuary a few steps away.  I send out texts to our worship team.  I refill offering envelopes and announcement cards.

But something’s different this year.

Today is the Friday before Resurrection Sunday.  For me, it has always felt kind of … I don’t even know … wrong, maybe, to call it Good Friday.  The day that Jesus was crucified was anything but good. Even the earth itself mourned in earthquakes and rocks split into two on that day.  (Matthew 27:51)  Death by crucifixion is sheer horrific agony.  I know that what Jesus accomplished by allowing Himself to be crucified is the epitome of good.  He saved the world!  But when I think of that day, good just doesn’t come to mind.  That day is so heavy, so somber.  The weight of it is too much for me to comprehend.   I can’t begin to understand that kind of love. My mind can’t wrap itself around that kind of sacrifice.  To be honest, I’d like to just skip right over the Terrible Friday, and celebrate on Sunday.  The miracle of His resurrection and the sheer hope of the day is much easier for my heart to grasp and focus on.

But this year, Terrible Good Friday has burrowed into my heart.  I keep trying to think of the beauty that resulted from that act. I try to envision the stone being rolled away. I try to make my mind skip ahead and start celebrating that glorious Sunday.  But I can’t.  I’ve felt peculiar all day.  It’s some kind of combination of heaviness and awe.

And I know it’s because of these two little feet that have been kicking me in the hip all day.  Two little hands that keep stretching out and apparently hugging my lungs.  A new life, a tiny baby, being formed inside me.

When Jesus was hanging on that cross, He already knew about this tiny life.  With every excruciating gasp for air, every heartbeat that rung in His ears, every drop of blood from His thorny crown, His pierced hands, His pierced feet, He was thinking of my baby.  He could see the plans He had for her entire life.  And He knew it was worth it.   


As cliche as it may sound, I already feel a love for my baby unlike any I’ve ever known.  Maternal love is altogether different than any love I’ve felt before.  I would do anything for my family, for my husband.  I love love.  If I love, I’m all in.  But this baby is different.  I’ve willingly given my body over to become this unfamiliar version of myself.  My body is stretching, aching, growing, gaining new scars (oh, hooray!), straining to catch its breath, dropping from exhaustion way before my mind is ready to quit.  It gives a whole new meaning to the concept of being “all in” in a love relationship.

And I’m beginning to grasp that fierce mama bear love thing that is birthed right along with the baby.  It’s like my love has amped up a bit.  My heart has found a new way to love that I have never experienced before.

We recently had a friend ask us if we were nervous/afraid to raise a child in this current culture and world.  Timothy and I have talked about how the world will be different for our little girl than it was and is for us.  What seems shocking to us today will be her normal.  Agendas are being pushed everywhere you look.  People are picking and choosing when to get outraged, while the world is covered in causes to be outraged about.  It’s perfectly fine to abort a baby, but if the mom takes drugs while pregnant then she can be sent to jail. Indiana chooses to pass a “Religious Freedom” act and a crazy amount of companies, businesses, and even city and state governments choose to boycott the entire state, yet nineteen other states have already passed the law and no one has even said a word.  This world doesn’t make sense.


But when asked if we were afraid to raise a child in this crazy, messed up place?  We could only reply no.

Because there was a Terrible Good Friday.  There was a dark day when hell looked as if it had won, the ground shook, and life changed forever.  It was the day humanity was presented with the ultimate sacrifice.  It was the day Jesus took His last breath and thought of my daughter.  When He thought of me.  When He thought of you.  When He gave Himself as the perfect lamb and took away the punishment for all of our sins.  When He took back the keys of hell, and conquered forever the power of the grave.  When He made a way for us to be saved.

How can I be afraid of my daughter being surrounded by an unknown and increasingly evil world, when Jesus has already conquered it all?  See, that Terrible Good Friday didn’t just insure us a way to salvation,  it gave us a reference point for our perpetual and unexplainable hope.  This hope, this peace, was birthed on a day full of sheer evil.  On a day that the earth shook in mourning.  But this day is the reason I can feel my little baby’s kicks and be filled with a peace.  This day is the reason that I am unafraid for her to enter this world.

It’s much easier and pleasant for me to focus on the rejoicing and beautiful parts of this weekend.  But today, I’m embracing the heavy.  The incomprehensible.  The terrible good.  The day that Jesus looked at the sum of humanity and decided to give us His all.  The day He paved the way for me to be able to raise my child without fear.  The day He changed everything.  That Terrible Good Friday.

On April 3, 2015 · 2 Comments · In Lovely Life