Our Pud is now the length of a banana, from head to rump, according to What to Expect When You’re Expecting.  Little one is checking out everything I eat- did you know that the food that I put in my mouth changes the flavor of his amniotic fluid, and that he’s now swallowing it?  While I think that is the coolest tidbit of information, I have to ask who figured out that the taste of amniotic fluid changes, based on what mom eats?  How did they figure that out?  Do I really wanna know?   Pud’s swallowing his amniotic fluid to hydrate himself, for nutrition, and to practice swallowing and digesting.  Amazing how early that starts.  I’m starting to understand how well God prepares little bodies for life outside the womb- enough so, that if one does show up before the timer’s done, one has a much better chance of surviving. 

13 For you created my inmost being;
       you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.

 15 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,

 16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.  ~Psalm 139:13-16

This week, B and I have been experiencing the very real responsibility we have for this child.  He’s a blessing and a gift, yes.  He’s ours, yes- but only on loan.  I feel confident that many new parents have repeated this idea throughout centuries, but this child is destined to be a servant of the Lord.  How awesome it is to know that we get to love and care for him when he is so very small and helpless, but that our responsibility is to teach him to be God’s faithful servant, and provide him with the tools he needs to be able to do that job well.  Instead of my dream being to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant,” my dream is now that my child will go before the Lord and hear those words.  There will come a day when I have to let him go into the world and do what God has called him to do, and that may mean sending him to Ninevah willingly and with my blessing, despite the protective mama bear voice inside screaming out, “NO!”  I pray I have the strength and grace of my foremothers when that day arrives.

What do you name a child you know in your heart is destined to be God’s servant?  This has led us to pore over the baby name book and the Bible in search of a name that has a deeper meaning, not just familial significance.  That should certainly take away some of the burden of trying to find a way to honor our families without hurting anyone’s feelings.  I have come to believe that the greatest honor we can give to our families is to pass on the legacy of faith- not the legacy of names.  The search continues.  The answer will not be evident until Pud is in our arms, I’m sure, so any hopes of knowing what our baby’s name is before he’s born will have to wait.

Preparing for our baby’s physical needs has also been a journey, with a couple of breakthroughs this week.  One is that we will be the proud owners of a pretty new crib, just as soon as it is delivered from the store.   This is a gift from Grandmama and Pop-Pop, and will make arranging Pud’s nursery a much easier and more joyful experience.  We’ve also been notified that a baby shower will be given by my sister in early August at my mom’s house. 

The third, and most emotionally-uplifting, is that I had a talk with my boss yesterday.  After another week of feeling so wiped-out and emotional from working long days and trying so desperately to figure out why I can’t handle it so well anymore, I had a heartfelt talk with B and followed his recommendation to talk with my director, Mike.  A highlight of the wise words from Mike’s mouth, which make me ever-more grateful for my boss and my co-workers: “YOUR number-one priority is that baby.  OUR number-one priority is to keep you healthy and well so that you have a healthy baby.”  This lead to a conversation with my immediate supervisor, Erin, who said, “Frankly, I wondered when you’d ask not to have to work nights anymore.”  Funny how others see the writing on the wall long before we do ourselves.

My workload, therefore, will be changing.  Beginning with the end of this class session in May, I will not be working past 4 pm, which means that I won’t be teaching my night classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, but I will be working Fridays.  I elected to continue to teach the rest of this session, though I was offered the opportunity to make the change effective immediately, because my students are so very dear to me and we all need the time to prepare for a transition to a new teacher taking over my classes. 

Small price to pay, working Fridays.  My body and I will be so much happier- which will make for a healthier baby.  The relief I feel was absolutely instantaneous.  Many of my greatest struggles and stresses in trying to be healthy and prepared for Pud are fixed, just like that.  I can eat dinner before 9 at night- I can actually be in bed at 9!  I can actually see my husband and have time to talk about the many changes that are going on in our lives and the decisions that they entail.  I have time to do a little bit here and there around the house, chipping away at the many chores that need to be finished before Pud arrives.  I can take more time to walk, something both Callie and I need desperately.  

God answers prayer.  He answers as soon as we knock on the door- but He had to wait so very patiently for me to start knocking and asking for help.

During a field trip with my family literacy families this week, to Cove Springs, I saw this quote at the Children’s Memorial Garden.  It speaks so well what is in my heart these days.

“Before you were conceived I wanted you
Before you were born I loved you
Before you were here an hour I would die for you
This is the miracle of life.”  ~Maureen Hawkins

This week, more than any other, I am understanding the reality of what’s about to happen: I’m about to become a mom, and B a dad.  Our entire lives and ways of thinking are changing, and it’s incredible.