It is a Sunday night. I usually try my best to not work on Sundays, but today I have energy and the inspiration to write. I am less than 30 days away from our due date. Baby Hooker is quiet at the moment in my belly. I am sitting in my office at a desk that my husband and father-in-law built for me this fall. It is beautiful and feminine and the perfect height for me to my rest legs on the ground. I have country music playing in the background. I am wondering if I should switch the playlist to Christmas music. The thought quickly passes as I know more up beat music will get Baby Hooker moving again. In the last hour his little tiny foot has protruded from my left side more times than I care to admit. I love his movements. I am going to miss that aspect of pregnancy the most. My belly feels hard as a rock in some spots. I feel pressure. My back hurts. I just turned down the air a little more as I quietly peaked at my husband who is underneath another blanket in our bed. Two thoughts cross my mind… 1. Oh, the joys of pregnancy. 2. Man, my husband is a trooper.
In the past eight months, I felt nausea. I slept more than I probably ever slept. I learned that afternoon naps were beneficial for surviving some days. I gained weight. I complained because I felt more like a “chunky monkey” than pregnant some days. I felt embarrassed when my old shirts did not reach the bottom of my belly anymore. I learned to be grateful that my husband is over six foot and his shirts easily covered my growing belly. I ate more steak than I ever thought I would. I bought baby items before we ended the first trimester. Before we knew what we were having. Before I ever said I would buy baby items just in case something happened in those first few weeks. I changed my diet. I went through countless doctor appointments. I pricked my fingers over 100+ times. My left pinky showcases those moments the most. I turned to my husband more times than I can count and asked if I could just rest my belly on him to give me some relief.
Baby Hooker is moving once again. Maybe he knows I am writing about him. I reach down on my last side and place two fingers on my belly to push his foot once again. It puts a smile on my face.
I encountered countless advice from family and friends and people I have never met before who enjoyed sharing their pregnancy stories and baby advice with me. Some of it beneficial. Other times, maybe a little awkward. I had family feel my belly, and I had strangers ask to touch my belly as well. It still surprises me how people react to pregnancy. I nested. I panicked thinking about everything we need and left to go on a shopping trip to pick up baby items only to wake up the next day wondering if what I purchased was really necessary. I forgot names and dates and things I said. Hello, #pregnancybrain. I had swollen feet. I had days where I felt beautiful. I had days where I felt nothing but exhaustion. I had days where I was grateful for this growing belly and healthy baby and feeling every movement of Baby Hooker. And I had days where I counted down to our due date. I had crazy dreams some nights. I woke my husband up in the middle night to help me climb out of bed to pee for the third time. I learned quickly about sciatic nerve troubles during those days.
As I sit here tonight, I am not sure what I expected pregnancy to be. Tired, yes. Gaining weight and a growing belly, of course. Back aches, sure. Moments of change and challenge, not this much. Physically demanding on your body at times and filled with moments where you look in the mirror wondering if this even your body anymore, nope. Filled with peace and happiness and hope, so thankful that is where my attitude fell.
I expected this growing belly to change me. To teach me lessons and challenge me. As I look back over the last nine months, I see how it has. I see my body different. I see what my body is capable of doing. I see how I rise to challenges and how quickly I am to make a change especially if it is beneficial for this little one. I see how my perspective on finances and “wants versus needs” has grown. I see how I still hate clutter and want a spot for every thing. I see how my approach to photographing motherhood has grown and how I hope to find ways in 2019 to limit the to-do list for my expectant mothers.
Baby Hooker, I am forever grateful for what you have taught me over the last nine months. I can only imagine what you will teach me in the upcoming days, months, and years. We are patiently waiting for you!