Final Days Before Welcoming Baby Thatcher

We are just about 5 days (or less) away from meeting our sweet baby boy! And we are so excited, thankful, and ready.

I wanted to take the time to write down a few thoughts before this exciting day. I will first admit I struggled with writing a title for this post. It would be easier to just say “baby #2,” and that is what most people will call him when Thatcher is born because visibly he is our second child, but in our hearts he will always be our third baby. While the majority of this pregnancy has been marked by joy, there has been an underlying ache when I think of our second baby we lost in July. Losing our sweet babe in July has made this past pregnancy feel much more anxious. Even last week when I went in for my 37 week appointment, my heart still raced when the nurse took out the doppler to find baby’s heart rate. I know what it feels like to hear nothing in the cold patient room and that trauma still follows me.

Every time I do hear that loud heartbeat and feel the strong kicks, my heart is so much more thankful than with my first pregnancy. This pregnancy feels like a miracle and I feel confident that this perspective will follow from his birth and the early newborn days. That is not to say that the postpartum days of broken sleep and sore nipples will not still be hard, but my hope is that I will be able to handle it a bit more graciously than I did when Hudson was a baby. When I hold Thatcher, I will not only see the miracle gift God gave us on some of our saddest days, I will also remember our sweet babe in heaven.

Another thought that has been running through my mind is to stay present. When you get so close to the end of your pregnancy, it is easy to just think about that. I have found myself doing that. While I am counting down the days until we get to meet our son; I am working on staying present even in these final few days of waiting for baby. I know God already has the perfect plan and it doesn’t change anything to spend the time wondering when he will arrive. I also do not want to miss out on these last few days with just the three of us. I’ve been intentionally trying to soak in these slow and mellow days. I am treasuring these days of just Hudson and I holding handing at the our weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market with friends. I am trying to say yes more every time Hudson asks me to join him in the bath or snuggle with him on the couch or read one more book. I know in the matter of days, saying yes will be more of a challenge, so I am trying to say it more now.

These final few days have all looked pretty similar. I have been soaking in as much sleep as possible and for over a month have turned off my usual 6am alarm (it used to be 5am pre-pregnancy). I wake slowly to the smell of coffee and Hudson’s little voice chatting with Lance. I know things will not be quite this easy in the mornings so I am treasuring these quiet, slow mornings. Morning time of breakfast and warm baths and morning chores, are usually followed with time in the sunshine and baseball. Baseball seems to be the only thing H wants to do these days. He spends literal hours practicing each day. I have loved watching this great love of baseball form in him at such a young age.

After sunshine and baseball, our days begin to slow down. I usually find myself back on the couch reading To Have and To Hold by Molly Millwood, which I highly recommend. It deeply resonates with how I felt in the early newborn days with Hudson and is helping me prepare for this next season with two little boys. It is making me feel less crazy and it seems to hold some of the very words my heart needs to hear.

The rest of the day usually consists of some combination of dinner time, a short walk, more baseball, cleaning up the messes that have scattered throughout the day, and doing small tasks to prepare for baby’s arrival. At this point, we feel physically pretty ready. However, I will admit, my anxiety has begun to increase. Words cannot describe how excited I am to hold our baby, but I also am beginning to feel really nervous about those early days. I really struggled the first few months with baby Hudson. I definitely was struggling with postpartum depression/anxiety. Breastfeeding was extremely challenging for us and put me to tears every single night. I felt like I was failing and it unfortunately sucked out a lot of the joy this newborn season should hold. I am a little nervous I am going to fall back into what my husband lovingly refers to as “the dark side.” Yet, I do feel hopeful things will feel a bit lighter this time around even if we are faced with some of the same challenges. I have already been prayerful about this particular postpartum season and asking the Lord to give me peace, presence, and grace regardless of what newborn life throws our direction.

I also am mentally preparing and even visualizing what the first few days and weeks will look like. With Hudson, I had no point of reference and I think that is part of the reason everything felt so, so hard. In a lot of ways it is like a challenging race. The first time is always harder because you are unfamiliar with the course, but the second time on it feels easier. It is not because the course has changed, but you are mentally prepared for the hillier sections and know the parts you really struggled with on your first time around. My hope is that this will hold true with postpartum life as well.

Along with visualizing, I am planning ahead and cutting out all dairy. The dairy really caused a lot of digestive issues with Hudson, so my hope is that this will take away some of our initial problems. I also am packing my nipple shield in my hospital bag with zero shame and will absolutely refuse to be hooked up to a pump! I still regret listening to the nurses that told me to pump the first night Hudson was born because he was not latching well. Pumping really caused a lot of issues with my milk supply and before we even left the hospital, I was painfully engorged. I literally had milk coming out of my armpits. So absolutely no pumping in the hospital and if for some reason latching is not working out, I will first try to use the nipple shield. The nipple shield was a tool that the lactation consultant suggested a couple weeks into struggling with nursing Hudson and it really is what saved nursing for us both. I ended up breastfeeding Hudson until 14-months, which I never would have thought was even possible based on how things went months 1-6. While I really hated relying on a nipple shield (and it made nursing in public a big challenge), it is what allowed me to eventually love nursing Hudson. This time around I will have no issue needing to use it if I face some of the same challenges I did with H.

All of this to say, I am savoring these last few days leading up to Thatcher’s birth and I also am prayerful that I will be able to handle this next season with greater grace than I did 3 years ago. And even if not, there is a whole lot of grace to fill in my weaknesses. And for that I am thankful.

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