Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Identifying with Mary's Heart

It's Christmastime!  This year has been special because for the last few years we have been out of the country leading up to Christmas and not able to see how the mood of the country changes around this time of year.  It's been so heartwarming to feel the season changing (even though in Florida it's still unseasonably toasty), see the Christmas lights going up, hear Christmas music playing on the radio, etc.  And this Christmas has been extra special because I find myself identifying even more closely with a special someone involved in the Christmas story...

For so many years at Christmastime, I would hear those ever popular Christmas tunes on the radio or at church:  Mary Did You Know?, Breath of Heaven (my personal favorite), Away in a Manger, Silent Night...and I would imagine what Mary must have been feeling like.  She must have been exhausted, uncomfortable...maybe she still had some lingering nausea, her feet were probably swollen...I imagine that donkey ride was none too fun at 40 weeks pregnant!  But this year, I know first hand what she was feeling beyond the scope of her "pregnancy symptoms"...

I know that she was imagining what her sweet baby Jesus was going to look like.  She was envisioning kissing those adorable baby toes, anticipating the smell of that intoxicating baby smell radiating from the top of his downy little head.  She was looking forward to those quiet moments just she and Jesus while he slept in her arms and she looked down at his peaceful face deep in dreamland.  She imagined what his hopes and dreams would be.  She wondered if she would be able to be the mother that he deserved.  She was looking past the pain of labor and delivery...she was probably often even looking past the fact that she was carrying the Son of God...because at the core of her she was a mother.  She was HIS mother.  And the implications of that were enough in and of themselves...

Before now, Christmas was an intense time of longing for me.  Much like Mother's Day, Christmas always reminded me that I wasn't quite there yet.  And it equally drummed up that longing in my heart that could only be filled with Motherhood.  I desperately wanted to know what Mary was really feeling.  What she was really thinking?  I would put my hand on my belly often and imagine what it would be like to be pregnant during Christmas...knowing I was celebrating the birth of Christ while simultaneously celebrating Christ's power in me through the creating of life inside my own body.  How badly I wanted that to be a reality!

So here I am...in 2014...and when I put my hand on my belly now I feel MY baby moving inside my body.  I listen to his beating heart on Doppler and marvel at the sound of Greysen's steady 156 heartbeat muddled with the sounds of my own.  When I listen to Breath of Heaven now, I can identify with Mary's pleading with Heaven to equip her with the skills she needed to bring Jesus into this world, to care for him, to raise him, and to love him unconditionally.  When I listen to Mary Did You Know?, I know that she knew.  She knew that being a mommy was a call to something greater than herself.  And whether she truly grasped who this baby was going to be or not, simply knowing the gravity of what it meant to be a mother was pivotal enough, don't you think?

In a year from now, Jonathan and I will be watching the wonder in our own baby's eyes when he sees Christmas lights for the first time, we will watch him crawling around our Christmas tree all decorated and lit up, he will peacefully sleep (hopefully!) through a quiet Christmas Eve service all snuggled up in my arms, we'll get to take pictures of him on Santa's lap.  We are so excited about what Christmas 2015 is going to be like!  But for Christmas 2014, I will sit quietly as often as I can and conjure up the imagine of Mary and her swelling baby bump when I place my hand on my own.  When I sing those tunes on Christmas Eve, they will have new meaning.  Greysen is my little piece of Heaven right now...God's power and perfection inside of me...the gift of LIFE that for so many years I wondered if I'd ever receive.  And here he is.  Closer to me than he'll ever be in my life or in his.  So I'm marveling at my favorite Christmas present this year...my growing baby boy!  And I'm thanking God that this year, I can truly identify with Mary and her heart.  I'm forever grateful that my Mommy heart is not longing this year.  It is full and overflowing!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Greysen Letters

On Mother's Day this year, I shared one of the many letters that I started writing to my kids years ago.  While dealing with infertility, I read an article about how you should write your kids letters and give those letters to them later in life.  I decided then that I wouldn't wait until they were here.  I began writing to them long before their conception was even a reality.  So I went back and read the letters I've been writing to Greysen.  I've been sending his name up in prayer for years.  So here's the very first letter I wrote to my little boy nearly 19 months ago.  Ironically it was written almost exactly 2 years before he will be here for real.  A May letter for my sweet May baby:

May 22, 2013                                 
Dear My Sweet Greysen,
Today is May 22, 2013.  As of right now, your Daddy and me are living in Dominica (which is a teeny tiny little island in the Caribbean).  Daddy is studying to be a doctor!  Today, I have no idea when you're going to grace us with your presence.  As a matter of fact, I'm not even pregnant yet!  I bet you can tell how much your Daddy and I want you, huh?  We think about you and dream about you all the time.  We talk about what color hair you'll have.  Whether you'll have Daddy's blue eyes, or Mommy's brown eyes.  Will you be tall and skinny like your Daddy?  Will you have Mommy's round face and button nose?  Will you be a swimmer? A basketball player?  A baseball star?  It makes us smile to imagine how smart and funny and charismatic you'll be.  You'll be such a gentleman!  We can't wait to hold you in our arms and kiss your sweet little face and tell you how much we love you.  We love you already and you're not even born yet!  

I have no idea what the future holds for your Daddy and me when it comes to babies.  But I DO know beyond a shadow of a doubt that one day I'll write Greysen Neil Womack on a birth certificate, I'll snuggle you and kiss your little baby face and tell you what a blessing and a miracle you are.  And I simply cannot wait for that day to come!

So I'll write you these little notes every once in a while.  And one day, I'll give them all to you so that you can read them and feel my love for you.  It's out of this world!

Love Beyond Words,


Monday, December 8, 2014

I Made You from Scratch...

I was watching an old episode of Grey's Anatomy the other day and one of the patients was talking about how her mother always told her to "be careful, I made that body from scratch".  I've watched that episode before, but I heard that monologue with new ears this time.  It never ceases to amaze me how incredible it is that each and every day Greysen grows a little bigger, a little stronger, a little more advanced inside my belly.  It's just incredible.

When he gets here, each little finger, each tiny toe, his little beating heart, his adorable little eyes, his pudgy little baby bottom...all those things were knit together inside of ME!  If that's not mind blowing, I don't know what is.  I'm in the process of "making this kid from scratch".  From one microscopic egg being joined with one microscopic sperm.  From this (I think Greysen is the top embryo in this pic):

To this:

In just 17 weeks!  Can it really be true that my little boy, just a short 4 1/2 months ago, was simply a tiny bubble filled with 6 cells?  And now he has legs that kick me, hands that he bunches under his chin, lips that he pooches out just like his Daddy, a beating heart, a functioning brain.  No way!  The creation of life is simply miraculous.  There is no other way to describe it.  That my body grows to make more room for my baby, that my hormones tell my blood vessels to relax so more blood can be pushed through my body to nourish my Greysen, that my body grows an entire new organ simply for the purpose of sustaining the life of my child while he grows safely in my womb...if that's not miraculous, I don't know what is.  

I just can't get over how incredible this whole process has been.  Growing a human being is TOUGH work.  It really is.  It's exhausting, it's nausea inducing, it's uncomfortable.  But every time I feel wiped out, every time I dry heave or puke, every time my round ligaments feel like tiny daggers in my lower belly...each time those things happen I'm reminded that these 40 weeks are not about me.  Everything I do, everything I eat, everything regarding my health is about Greysen.  It's about keeping him healthy, keeping him comfortable, and sacrificing my body so that he can have life.  Giving everything that I have physically, emotionally, mentally, so that my baby boy grows strong and handsome and healthy.  It's what my body was created for, what my heart was created for.  I was made for this.  

When he is here in my arms, words won't be able to describe how overwhelmingly blessed I will feel.  He is already beautifully handsome, already has an adorable personality, he is already a miraculous creation of his Father.  And when he is here for real...I can't even wrap my brain around it!  I've been feeling him move for several weeks now, but just this week I've been able to even see it from the outside sometimes!  It makes it even more real that I've got a tiny baby in my belly right now.  I love to watch him on ultrasound, because when he hears me talking or laughing he visibly relaxes.  He snuggles those hands up by his face and gets still.  It's almost like he's thinking, "I don't know what this ultrasound thing is, but as long as I can still hear my Mama, I know I'm safe."  And I intend to keep him safe for as long as there is breath in my body...

Friday, December 5, 2014

Our Nursery Theme!

I have been dreaming about setting up a nursery for so many years.  This is one of those things for me that I just refuse to abandon.  I've heard a million times, "Rachel, you don't need a nursery.  Greyson will be perfectly happy in a pack n' play."  And I know this.  I really do.  I fully intend for Greysen to be as close to me as possible for as long as possible.  But the nursery is something I've been dreaming about.  I can't wait to have the perfect little place for my Greysen to play with toys, and nap peacefully, read books, and explore.  I'm not gonna go crazy, y'all, I swear.  But after everything we've been through to get here, I want everything to be as perfect as it can be.  And honestly, our "boy nursery" has been my favorite for a long time.  Here's the skinny

Theme: Vintage Travel

That means basically planes, trains, boats, and cars with a vintage feel.  I've already found some really cute vintage sailboats and vintage maps to decorate with.  I'm gonna be on the lookout for vintage toy cars and planes too, and Pops (Charlie...Jonathan's dad) has some really cool vintage toy trains.  Here are some of my favorite ideas for the theme:

I LOVE this little sign and the quote on it.  Planning to get a little crafty once we get settled into our new place here in Miami.  Of course if any of you have amazing "typography/painting" skills I would employ you! ;)

I picked up some vintage maps that I'm super excited about utilizing.  Decoupaging vintage maps onto a big G for Greysen!

I already have my eye on a vintage wooden airplane propeller that I saw in an antique mall in Oklahoma City. I LOVE this little wall grouping above the changing table.  And I'm SURE I can employ PaPa (my dad) to help me come up with some cool framable vintage airplane pics!

Another idea for using those vintage maps.  I really love this sweet little mobile.  I'm considering cutting squares of the maps and having people write Greysen little notes on them before I fold them into paper airplanes for the mobile...sort of like the concept of writing special notes on a wall before you paint it.  That's an idea still in the works...

LOVE the idea of these vintage National Park posters.  Jonathan is a HUGE National Park buff and I think it would be really cool for Greysen to have a few of these hanging in his room...

This is maybe one of my most favorite ideas.  I've found a few vintage globes already, so I just have to pick one.  Then I'll be taking it with me to the shower and having guests sign it.  Then it will be in our nursery.  I want our Greysen to know just how much he is loved and was loved before he was even here!

Colors: Navy and Teal with some Grey and Red

First of all, the navy thing was decided on a long time ago.  Boy or girl, navy was gonna be the main color.  But Bernice has this AMAZING teal colored vintage trunk that she is graciously letting us put in the nursery!  I LOVE it so much, and therefor just HAD to add the teal.  I would really like to have a few little bits of grey and red in there too.  Here are some pics of those ideas:

In LOVE with this quilt.  Like seriously in love!  Maybe with the edges done in red or maybe one of the triangle patterns with some red...

This is our color palette.  The navy will probably be more of a true navy, but the teal and navy are the main colors.  It's so perfectly boy isn't??

So there ya have it!  I can't wait to start putting things together in there.  I've been collecting little things for a while now that I've found at antique malls and what not.  Have any cool ideas to add??  I'd LOVE to hear them!  We are hoping this theme and this color scheme will be something that will really grow with Greysen and something he will really enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2014

It's a BOY!!!

A sonographer told me a few months ago that “since I was a Scorpio” I should have a good amount of “intuition” about what the sex of my baby was.  So now that I know my Greysen is on the way, it is interesting to look back over the past 13 weeks and realize just how much intuition I really had…

            When I first learned I was pregnant, I was certain it was a boy.  Like 210% certain that we were expecting a Greysen.  I can even be heard referring to him as a “he” on the first and second ultrasound videos.  I actually bought a few things for our boy nursery theme (which I’ll reveal on my next post).  On the second ultrasound, though, I let the “old wives tales” derail my intuition a bit, because his heart rate was a strong and fast 176 BPM.  That and the fact that I’d had 2 dreams we were having a girl really made me question my initial thought that it was a boy.  So up until my first perinatal appointment about a month ago, I was about 75% convinced that it was a girl.  But at the perinatal appointment, I started beginning to go back to my initial feeling that it was a boy.  Just something about the way he looked on ultrasound and how similar his little personality was to his daddy’s (he’s a little stubborn like his daddy…) made me think, “Hmmm…I’m beginning to think this really might be Greysen…”

            But seeing that unmistakable “sign” that he was a boy on Saturday was just…man I can’t even describe it.  Immediately I yelled out his name and my brain started dressing him in bow ties and newsies hats.  My heart started envisioning his tiny little body sleeping peacefully on my chest with his hands scrunched up under his chin like he is every time we see him on ultrasound…

            In the last 48 hours I’ve been imagining his slobbery kisses on my cheeks, his perfect little coos and baby smiles.  I imagine him crawling through the halls of our house, tugging on Matilda’s tail, chewing on anything that will hold still.  I think about him playing sports, and being a scholar like his daddy, and being a gentleman.  I envision the little ladies at church just fawning over how adorably dapper he is, I think about my Greysen being the one to take care of me and Jonathan in our old age.  I imagine him protecting his younger siblings.  I think about getting those big huge “boy who loves his Mama” bear hugs.  I can’t wait to hear him say, “I love you Mommy!”  Oh how my heart is gonna melt!

            I wasn’t expecting to see him in 3D on Saturday but I was SO happy the sonographer let us get a few sneak peeks of him.  In my favorite shot of him he has his little hands bunched up under his chin and he's pooching out his lips (which were unmistakably created by Jonathan’s DNA).  At one point he flipped over and was laying on his tummy with his hands over his face (which is exactly how I sleep…).  When he is still, he is the most chill and calm little baby.  Once he finds a comfortable spot, he is unlikely to move much without LOTS of coaxing (this is another way we know this kid has mine and Jonathan’s genes…).  I have been hoping and praying that this baby would love to snuggle as much as I do, and I think I got my wish.  Greysen likes to be warm and still and cozy and I intend to keep him that way for as long as he will let me (before he starts crawling and pulling up and being on the go constantly…).  Jonathan and I are hopelessly in love with this little guy already.  We can’t wait to have him here for real!  Will he have brown eyes or blue?  Will he have our dark hair or will he get his Uncle Patrick’s red hair or his Aunt Amanda’s blonde?  Will he be long and skinny like his daddy?  One thing I can tell you for sure is that whatever features he’s blessed with, he’ll be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life.  For that matter…he really already is…

Greysen Neil Womack

17 weeks 1 day