BECOMING WHITNEY | Survival Tips for the First Trimester

So, take a quick hop over to Pinterest and you can see all kinds of these blog posts circling around.  Top Ten Must Haves for the First Trimester.  How to Rock Out the First Trimester.  What I Wish I Knew Before My First Trimester.  How Not to Actually Punch Random People and Then Cry at Auntie Anne’s Pretzels in the Mall During Your First Trimester.  You know.  Same ol’, same ol’.

But when I was in the midst of first trimester pregnancy loveliness, I devoured those posts.  And for posterity’s sake, in honor of surviving my very first first trimester, and because bloggers are gonna blog, I’m here today.  With another one of those posts.

First of all, if this is your first time being pregnant, congratulations.  You have officially entered the club.  Oh, you didn’t know there was a club?  Neither did I.  Your fellow club members are your mother, your mom friends, your mom coworkers, your mom neighbor down the street, and any woman who has ever experienced gestation that just so happens to pass by.  They’re all club members.  And they suddenly love you.  It’s awesome.

People that you’ve never been able to carry on a five minute conversation with before suddenly open up, and you realize that you’ve been discussing things like Saltine consumption and dilation for the past thirty minutes with a woman who was practically a stranger last week.

But moving on.  To the tips and such.

 

  • When someone asks how you’re feeling, you have two and only two options for answering, based on the person asking the question.

If said person is a member of the club, tell them straight up what’s going on.  I didn’t know this was a rule, and I would always say how great I was.  Because that’s what I always say.  Well, not so when you’re in the club.  If you say you’re great, then expect the mom asking the question to come back with something along the lines of Oh, honey, you are just so lucky.  When I was at that stage just one whiff of carrots would send me heaving.  I was miserable.  You’re so blessed that you aren’t getting sick.   And there’s nothing a nauseous first trimester dweller, wallowing in the pits of despair and sickness, wants to hear less than how much worse someone else had it.  You have to come back with Oh, I was lying.  I’m actually miserable.  And then it just gets awkward.

Club members want to know how you’re feeling.  They want to know if the acceleration and deceleration of your husband’s driving is making you as nauseous as their husband’s did.  They care.  If you say you’re great, they automatically assume you’re the unicorn with no sickness.

That is option one.  Option two is for most members of the male species, and certain club members.  Aside from your husband and maybe close family members, most men are not super interested in hearing the ins and outs of your unglamorous symptoms.  And certain club members aren’t interested either.  They are either just trying to be polite or they’re trying to find a way to bring up their experiences and could care less about yours.  To both of these types of people some vague answer always worked best for me.

 

BECOMING WHITNEY | Survival Tips for the First Trimester

  • Ice water, lemon water, more water.  Or ginger candies, Saltines, cheese roll-ups from Taco Bell, soft peppermints, etc.

Everyone and her mother had something in her pregnancy that helped her get through those nauseous weeks.  For me, drinking tons of extremely cold water, eating cheese roll-ups, and always having some crackers in my purse helped.  I can’t tell you what yours will be.  Ask a club member for what hers was and try it.  Search Google for tips and try those.  Even if you spend your entire first trimester trying to find something that makes you feel less like a wad of unpleasantness, your efforts will not be in vain.  One day you WILL eat something that feels like heaven and you will see the light again.

 

  • Download some good pregnancy apps.

I thought that once I got pregnant I would feel pregnant.  Like it would be a completely different set of physical and emotional things going on that I had never experienced before.  Well, not so for me.  Now, at 25 weeks, I definitely feel pregnant. But in the first trimester, I just felt nauseous, bloated, tired, out of breath, and sometimes a little (lot) emotional.  While I was excited beyond belief, I didn’t feel so glamorous or glowy or motherly or pregnant.  Having some pregnancy apps really helped during that time.  They can tell you at each week what your growing baby is working on, what parts are developing, and how big (little) she is.  They can also give you a heads up on common symptoms, so you’re not caught off guard when you suddenly can’t breathe anymore or you have rapidly turned into an insomniac.

Focusing on each stage of your developing baby really helps remind you what all this is for, and helps you bond in those early weeks before you have a belly to rub or feel little kicks.

 

  • Give yourself grace.

I wanted to say lower your expectations, but giving yourself grace sounds a little more positive.  Your body is busy growing an entire HUMAN.  All your energy is being zapped into a tiny mass of cells being knit into a baby.  If you can’t stay on top of laundry or house cleaning or combing your hair, relax.  (Well, please comb your hair.  Then relax.)  This is a stage of life that won’t last forever.  I felt like a bad wife for some of the first weeks into my first trimester sickness.  Then my husband helped me see that it didn’t matter if we had biscuits and gravy for the fifteenth time that week or if I didn’t do my usual around the house.  I was working on growing into a mom and that took precedence.

Also, give yourself grace when looking at Pinterest.  Pre-pregnancy I had this whole thing worked out about where I would take my weekly pregnancy photos, complete with cute blog posts each week about the whole experience.  Then I got pregnant and realized WHO HAS TIME FOR THIS GIVE ME FIVE BILLION PILLOWS, SOME PICKLES, AND LEAVE ME ALONE.

 

My first trimester wasn’t always a piece of cake.  I cried about not knowing what food sounded good.  I became so skilled at throwing up that I could throw up in an empty cup while driving when there was no spot to pull the car over.  I read too many internet articles about everything that could go wrong in the first trimester.  I had symptoms that I didn’t even know could come with pregnancy like a tongue that felt perpetually burned.  But I have to be honest, I enjoyed every minute of it. While I was desperately looking forward to the oh-so-glorious second trimester, I never wished the time away.  It’s all part of the process, and what a beautiful, crazy, scary, amazing process it is.

So, to any club members out there, what are some of your first trimester tips?  And to any first trimester dwellers out there, feel free to use this post as a venting zone.  Tell us all about the time you cried at Auntie Anne’s in the middle of the mall.  We won’t judge. ;)

On February 25, 2015 · 1 Comment · In Lovely Life
 

BECOMING | Knitting With God

Oh, you know, just God and I over here doing one of our favorite hobbies.

For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Psalm 139:13 (NIV)

I love that God chose the verb “knit” in describing the creation and formation of  life.  He could have used tons of other verbs.  You formed me. You molded me. You developed me. You created me. You designed, planned, configured, constructed, composed me.

But nope.  He chose knit.

I’ve always thought the idea of God knitting us together was a lovely one, especially once I started knitting.  But now that I’m a mother and am actually the one carrying this miracle currently being knit together?  Yowza.  This verse just blows my mind.  All of a sudden this concept becomes too fantastic for me.  Too precious, too awe-inspiring, to wrap my brain around.

 

For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  How precious to me are your thoughts, God!  How vast is the sum of them!  Psalm 139:13-17 (NIV)

As a knitter, the thought of God lovingly knitting my little baby together is beautiful to me.  See, knitting isn’t really something that you can just make up as you go along.  It requires intention. In painting, you can literally throw paint at the canvas and call it modern art.  In some keys while playing the piano, you can practically hit any black key willy nilly and it will sound like you are doing some cool run.  Even a lumpy bowl made by an inexperienced potter can still hold water.  But knitting just won’t work if you don’t know how to do the stitches correctly.  An incorrect stitch will stick out like a sore thumb to a knitter.

Knitting is precise.  If you want a cabled sweater to fit, you need to use the right yarn type and needle size.  Then you’ll need to knit a gauge – a little square that will tell you how many stitches to the inch you knit.  If your gauge doesn’t match up with the pattern writer’s gauge, then you have to fiddle around with your yarn weight and your needle size until you can get the right match.  Then, you have to knit the whole thing consistently.  If you knit one arm while you’re stressed and you pull each stitch super tightly and yet you knit the other arm while you’re lazily watching a movie and your stitches are super droopy, the arms will not fit the same.  And you can’t close your eyes when you’re working the cables.  You have to keep focused on the stitches to make sure they turn out correctly.

Knitting never has been and never will be considered a speed sport.  It takes time, intention, planning, and patience.  

While I imagine what the finished product will look like and hope that I don’t have to reknit any mistakes, He was thinking about my baby girl before she was even conceived.  As I pick out the right yarns and needles and cast on to knit my baby girl a little hat, I can just imagine God gathering His wisdom and power and forming her in my womb.  As I lovingly knit each stitch into a hat, He is intentionally and consistently molding skin and bone into the perfect shape of a baby.  It is a slow, purposeful process.  And I think He enjoys the knitting as much as I do.

While I’m envisioning her baby pictures in this little hat with bunny ears, He’s envisioning her as a young child, a teenager, an adult, changing her world.  While I know what my hat will look like when I’m finished because I’ve seen the pictures from the pattern designer, He knows what my daughter will be doing in ten and twenty years, because those days are already written in His book.  While I’m cherishing the process of creating something for this little human I already love fiercely, He’s cherishing the process of dreaming her up, forming her, and then watching as she carries out His precious thoughts and plans for her life.

He saw her before He created her.  He destined her to be exactly who she will be.  He has already ordained how many days on this earth she will have.  His thoughts toward her are already so much more than I could ever dream for her life.

And to think that God saw, knew, dreamed, and planned all of this before this baby girl was even conceived?  To think that she was and is this loved beyond belief before the first beat of her heart?

God chose the process of knitting to describe the formation of life.  An intentional, exact craft.  His Hands would have to touch each stitch, each part of her life, as He knit her together.  His dreams are invested.  His love is invested.  His time, wisdom, and power are all evidenced in the creation of this little life.

I’m so enjoying knitting along with Him.

On February 21, 2015 · 6 Comments · In Lovely Life
 

Photo Feb 09, 4 56 56 PM

*This post brought to you today by an Oreo dipped in Nutella.  Let’s all just have one and be happy.  Ha!*

Today I came home from a stressful day at work, grabbed a frozen Snickers bar, and hopped on to check Facebook on my iPad and relax.  I saw the same video being shared by several of my Facebook friends, complete with lots of comments.  Aha.  The newest controversy.

I watched the video, read the comments, and ugh.  That’s the only way I can explain it.  Just the whole situation.  Ugh.

In case you have no idea what this is all about, let me set the stage.  Royal Tailor is a very popular Christian band.  They formed into a group at an Apostolic Pentecostal** Bible college, and started off singing at these church events.  They quickly grew and are now touring like crazy and are on the radio with several top hits.

The sad thing is that Royal Tailor has been a source of debate for the past several years.  It started when they began covering secular artists’ songs and creating music videos that stretched the standards of most Apostolics’ values and beliefs.   The controversial, if you will, video being spread around is a clip from an interview at the Grammy’s where Royal Tailor mentions their desire to learn from Kanye West, an artist who lately has been calling himself “Yeezus” as a comparison to Jesus Christ.

And in a few short hours, my Facebook has blown up.  We are quoting scriptures left and right.  We are calling the members of this group out by name and labeling them ungodly.  We are then saying that they are just like Jesus because Jesus hung out with sinners and was misunderstood.  We are saying that this group is wrong because they should be in the world and not of the world.  Then we are saying this group is right because they are trying to shine a light in a secular arena.

We are doing a lot of talking.  And honestly, I don’t feel like social media is the place to have this discussion.

I have very definite opinions on the whole matter.  And I feel like it is without a doubt something that deserves to be talked about.  But in the right place and the right time.  Ask your pastor how he feels about the matter, talk to your music minister, talk with the young adults in the college and career ministry.  Talk about it with your leaders and with those in your circle of influence.  Figure out what you believe.

But let’s not publicly bash anyone on social media.

On the one side, let’s not call our friends out by name and point out what we perceive are flaws.  And on the other, let’s not bash other Christians for having their own convictions about this secular industry.

Yes, Jesus called people out.  He called the very religious people out and he called out those deep in sin.  He plainly let them know what their sin was.  But He had the authority to do so.  He alone was the answer to their problems, and He alone was the salvation to their sin.

Today God uses pastors and people in the ministry to lead His flock and help keep us from sin.  I know my pastor has stepped on my toes many times in church while preaching a message that God gave Him for just such a purpose.  But last I checked, no one is the pastor of Facebook.  As far as I know, no one has been called to be the Voice of the Statuses declaring what is and is not righteous.

I think that a lot of us as a group of Christians can’t see the forest for the one tree in this situation.  It is so easy to focus on this one particular band and critique their every move.  But what are we trying to accomplish here with this debate?  To change someone’s mind?  If a Facebook rant has ever truly changed someone, I’d *really* love to hear about it.  Are we trying to point out instances of hypocrisy in other Christians?  Are we trying to point out instances of sin?  I think the world is doing that job well enough without us getting involved.

Let’s leave the righteous vs. unrighteous debate in God’s hands.  Let’s pray for our own convictions and then live by them.  Let’s pray for those outside our circle of influence that we feel may be struggling and then trust God to handle the rest.

Let’s be a light to the world by individually doing what we are called to do, instead of by shining a light on others’ perceived flaws.  

 

**If you have any questions on what it means to be Apostolic Pentecostal, please comment or e-mail me.  I’d love to chat about it with you!

On February 9, 2015 · 24 Comments · In Lovely Life
 

Photo Jan 25, 4 31 35 PM

56: the amount of belly selfie pics on my phone.

3: the most frozen Snickers ice cream bars I’ve eaten in one day.

30: the amount of extra and unnecessary and embarrassing days that my Christmas decorations stayed up.

2.5: the number of children Timothy and I wanted before we got pregnant.

10: the number of children I told Timothy that I now want.  Even with all the random weird and uncomfortable things that happens to a pregnant woman’s body, I’ve never been happier.  I’m already daydreaming about a little brother or sister for my current child … who isn’t even born yet.  Yikes.

4: the most amount of cry sessions I’ve had in a single day.  (All happy tears of course.)

1: the number of times an adult has asked me whether or not I was a student at the school where I’m currently subbing.

1: the number of times a student has asked if I like being “so old.”

2: the number of people who have seriously told me that our baby will be so beautiful if she just gets her father’s tanned skin and glossy black hair.  What, pale and frizzy isn’t the standard of beauty these days?  Shocking.

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3: the number of pickle jars I’ve consumed.

12: the number of pounds I have gained over these past 22 weeks.

<1: the number of pounds my baby currently weighs.  Let’s not talk about those extra 11 pounds I’ve gained that are just … hanging out.

4: the number of nursery designs I have “settled” on.  This last one though, it’s in it to win it.  I’m not changing my mind again.  I think.

100: the percentage of time I let people rub my belly when they ask.  I’m so proud of it, I wouldn’t be surprised if I started asking people to rub it.

194739870981347: the number of times Timothy has googled some symptom I’m having to make sure it’s normal.

2: the number you hit after you call my OB for your call to be placed directly to the nurses that are on staff to answer questions.  I memorized it after practically the first week.

18: the number of weeks before the baby’s due date.

25: the amount of times Timothy and I have asked ourselves if we’re grown up enough to actually have a child.

 

What are some of the numbers in your life lately?

On February 4, 2015 · 6 Comments · In Lovely Life
 

BECOMING | Choosing Baby Names

When Timothy and I got married we talked early on about baby names and settled on a boy name pretty quickly.  Then three (yes, three!)  of our friends each had a baby boy and named him that name.  So we moved on.

Once we found out we were expecting, we surprisingly didn’t really talk about names that often.  I was afraid that we would find the “perfect” girl name and the baby would be a boy, or vice versa.  On the way home from the it’s a girl! doctor’s appointment, Timothy and I started name talking.  And talking.  And talking.

No one told me that it would be approximately a billion times more fun to talk names where there is an ACTUAL baby to name!

Surprisingly, our list of names in the running is never very long.  Well, it’s surprising to me because I’ve never been good at narrowing down favorites of anything.  And yet it’s not surprising if you have met my husband.  In a flash he can create an image of our little girl and her personality with each name we mention.  Or he can give a quick preview of every nickname the child will ever have for the rest of her life.  Ha!

afterlightTake the other night for example.  I was reading the list of top baby names and laughing at my husband until the tears were streaming.  His comebacks were so fast!  “Reese.”  “With her spoon?” –  “Hazel.” “Nut.”  – “Eden.” “Garden of.” – “Elise.” “Navidad.”

But back to the baby naming business.

For lots of reasons, we’ve decided to share the still-to-be-determined baby name once our little girl is born.  I’ve always loved the idea of waiting to see if the baby is a boy or girl until the birth, but I could never make myself wait that long.  So waiting to share her name can be a little surprise on its own.

This week, Timothy and I decided to “try out” names for our little girl.  There’s one name that I think is in the running for the top, so we’ve been privately calling her by that name and every nickname imaginable for the past few days.  It has been so much fun!  In a while, we’ll switch names and see how it feels.  This has really been helping to see if a name fits in with our little family.

 

So now I’m asking you all, for those of you who’ve named babies, do you have any tips and tricks for naming?  Did you do anything interesting to be on the lookout for names like watch movie credits or something?

And for everyone, what are some name ideas you have?  I’d love some input!  We kind of have a few “rules,” but we may be willing to bend them.  Our dream name would be a definite girl name – no gender neutral name or one that can be used for a boy or a girl.  We’d like it to be easily spelled and pronounced.  And any obvious nicknames that come from the name have to be favorable, because of my husband (obviously).  Take the name “Margo” for example.  It would never work because Timothy would probably at some point shorten the name to “Go” which would lead to “Go Go Gothra” and then “Go Go Gadget Gothra Girl” is as inevitable as the rising sun.

So, Go Go dear people, and let the name tips and ideas fly!

On January 22, 2015 · 27 Comments · In Lovely Life